by Captain W. E. Johns



9.     TAKING THE BULL BY THE HORNS  (Pages 113 – 125)


When Worrals reaches the palace (the picture on the cover of the book) she studies the building “with a good deal of curiosity, not to say astonishment”.  Mabel says the keys are kept on one bunch by whoever is on duty and today it is the ‘Geranium’.  Worrals just opens the door and goes straight inside.  At the end of a huge room is a long table where several women in full evening dress are sat at dinner.  The table is lighted by a number of candelabra and two girls wait at the table.  Worrals walks up and asks “Am I addressing Miss Haddington?”  She asks where her friend is.  There follows a heated exchange between Worrals and Haddington and her followers, particularly the Geranium.  When the red-headed doctor goes for her rifle, Worrals pulls out her automatic.  Worrals says “I was sent here by Scotland Yard, with whom I am in touch by radio”.  Worrals get Mabel to take the rifle and the keys.  Mabel is then asked to go and open the cells and release any prisoners.  Miss Haddington says “Surely this is unnecessary?  Stay with us here.  I’ll make you chief of my police at a salary of £10,000 a year – no, £20,000”.  Worrals shook her head.  “I’m sorry, Miss Haddington, but I already have a job”.  Frecks appears and she still has her gun with her.  All the girls in the palace are bought in to see Worrals who tells them “The conditions that have prevailed on this island since you were bought here are at an end”.  “I did not arrive here by accident.  As an accredited agent of Scotland Yard, I was sent here to find out what was going on”.  Worrals asks the girls if they want to go home and they all say yes. Worrals tells them “From now one, everyone will take equal status, under my direction.  There will be no more beatings or lockings up.  What food or comforts there are here will be shared equally, although priority will of course be given to the sick.  That’s all I have to say for the present”.  Worrals asks the woman at the table if they are prepared to accept this.  A couple of elderly woman say they do accept, but the Queen springs to her feet shouting “Treason!”  Worrals tells two girls to confine Miss Haddington to her room.  Suddenly there is a shot.  Behind Worrals, a thin middle aged woman that Worrals had not seen before is fighting with Mati.  The woman has a rifle and Worrals disarms her by hitting the woman’s hand with the butt of her automatic.  “You’ll get worse than that if you don’t behave yourself,” Worrals told her with scant sympathy.