by Captain W. E. Johns
14. HOME AGAIN (Pages 168 – 173)
Shortly after sunrise, the ‘Viete’ arrives and Worrals and Frecks and most of the girls are there to meet it. The deposed Queen and her two nurses absolutely refuse to leave the island and together with her old servants, they elect to remain. Worrals decides it is not for her to force them off. She will report to the authorities at Home and if they decide they should be taken off, then they could fetch them. In any event, Donald can only accommodate a dozen on his boat. “It was decided that Worrals should fly the two girls who were nearly blind from glare, to Papeete (this is a continuity error by Johns as he had written that Mabel Stubbs had said that “three are nearly blind from the glare” in chapter 7). Donald would take the rest of the white girls to the same port, which in any case was his destination. The native girls, he declared, could stay where they were for the time being. It would be no hardship to them for this was the life to which they were accustomed; and no harm could come to them. They would have nothing to fear from the queen and her attendants, who, knowing that the story would soon be in the hands of the authorities, would not be likely to make their position worse”. In due course, Donald agrees a contract with the British Government to call at the island every six month to see how the white women were faring. “It may as well be reported here that the contract did not operate for long, for the following year, during the hurricane season, the atoll was subjected to one of its periodical inundations and everything was swept off it. On this occasion the palace disappeared, too, and Donald reported that as there was no life left, it must be presumed that the peculiar white women who dwelt on it must have perished”. The body of the doctor was never found and nor were the natives who killed her. The French Authorities sent out a lugger to pick up the native girls and return them to the islands from which they had been taken. Three weeks later, Worrals and Frecks were back in London reporting to Air Commodore Raymond. “Well, this queer business started over a cup of coffee; how about concluding it with one?” The last line of the book belongs to Worrals. “Ah well,” sighed Worrals. “It’s worth it. There’ll be plenty of time for doughnuts when we’re too old to get around”.