by Captain W. E. Johns
7. THE SINGULAR STORY OF MABEL STUBBS (Pages 88 – 103)
Worrals hurries along the beach in her search for Frecks and sees a girl running towards her in the distance. Worrals stops her and says she is a friend. The girl is a Londoner called Mabel Stubbs. She tells Worrals the story of what’s going on. Worrals asks how many girls are there. “There are eleven other white girls, five brown and three black. That’s not counting Alice and Mary. They’re dead. Couldn’t stand it and did themselves in”. Three girls are nearly blind from the glare and several others are sick. Mabel says she used to work in a Laundry in Camden. She replied to a situations vacant advert for a laundress and was employed by Miss. Amelia Haddington to work on her yacht for a six month cruise, being paid £5.00 per week. Mabel was asked to keep the appointment secret. They set off in the yacht, the ‘Vanity’ and the name of the yacht was changed during the voyage. There were no men on the yacht and they were ruled with a rod of iron. Any talk of leaving was considered mutiny. “It seemed we were on a sort of floating loony-bin”. Apparently Amelia, the daughter of a millionaire, had always had everything she ever wanted, and when the man she was in love with married someone else, she had a nervous breakdown “which left her a bit queer in the head”. Nurses from a mental home looked after her and they pandered to her whims. Amelia now had a hatred of men and believed she was born to be a Queen. There are nine women running the island including Amelia and her three ministers. “First and worst is a woman doctor named Miss Boran. She’s the Prime Minister, and a fair swine she is too. Then there’s the two nurses. One’s the Home Secretary and the other the Minister for Labour. We call this bunch the three flowers”. “Why?” “Because of their names. They are Nurse Rose, Nurse Lillie, and the Geranium”. The Geranium is Dr. Borran, who dyes her hair bright red. Native girls have also been invited aboard and kept. The yacht ran through a gap in the reef and shoved her nose into the rocks where she stuck fast. Mabel says that when she saw a stranger (Frecks) she bolted for it, thinking there must be a ship in the offing. Mabel says it won’t be long before murder is done. “Amelia’s little empire is about ripe for a first-class revolution, weapons or no weapons”. Worrals decides that she needs time to think about what she is going to do.