by Captain W. E. Johns



10.   DESPERATE MEASURES  (Pages 126 – 138)


Worrals finds out the woman who came in was Nurse Lillie, who had been out trying to locate the ship on which it was presumed that Frecks had arrived.  Returning to the hall and seeing and hearing Worrals she had aimed her rifle at Worrals with the intention of shooting her through the back.  Seeing her, Mati had courageously dashed forward and knocked the rifle aside, spoiling her aim.  The bullet had struck one of the waitresses, named Lucy Gray, below the shoulder.  The Queen was sitting muttering orders.  Worrals could only feel sorry for the unfortunate creature.  She, without doubt, was a mental case”.  The Queen is sent to her room under guard.  Worrals discovers that the doctor is missing.  “Where’s that redheaded demon?” she asks Frecks.  Frecks notices that the rifle that Nurse Lillie had, which was on the floor, is now missing.  Worrals arrests Nurse Lillie for attempted murder and has three girls, including Mabel, take her away to be locked in a punishment cell.  “The woman struggled like a fury, spitting language that made Worrals wince.  But the three girls had old scores to settle, and they went about their unpleasant task with firm deliberation.  Screaming and swearing vengeance, Nurse Lillie was finally dragged away”.  Worrals asks Frecks to take their plane up and try and radio for assistance.  Failing that, she instructs Frecks to fly to Papeete, in Tahiti.  By this time, the weather has taken a turn for the worse, so Frecks sets off to the aircraft at a run.  Mabel reports to Worrals that the Geranium is not inside the palace, the girls having searched it thoroughly.  Mabel then brings Worrals a mattress and a blanket so she can get some sleep.  “Thanks.  You’re a good girl,” acknowledged Worrals.  “Now get to bed”.