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Part Four Hugh Lofting

IV Wrecked!

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Table Of Contents: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

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After swooping over the sea around me (just looking for food, I supposed) he went off in the direction from which he had come. And I was alone once more.

I found I was somewhat hungry--and a little thirsty too. I began to think all sorts of miserable thoughts, the way one does when he is lonesome and has missed breakfast. What was going to become of me now, if the Doctor and the rest were drowned? I would starve to death or die of thirst. Then the sun went behind some clouds and I felt cold. How many hundreds or thousands of miles was I from any land? What if another storm should come and smash up even this poor raft on which I stood?

I went on like this for a while, growing gloomier and gloomier, when suddenly I thought of Polynesia. "You're always safe with the Doctor," she had said. "He gets there. Remember that."

I'm sure I wouldn't have minded so much if he had been here with me. It was this being all alone that made me want to weep. And yet the petrel was alone!--What a baby I was, I told myself, to be scared to the verge of tears just by loneliness! I was quite safe where I was--for the present anyhow. John Dolittle wouldn't get scared by a little thing like this. He only got excited when he made a discovery, found a new bug or something. And if what Polynesia had said was true, he couldn't be drowned and things would come out all right in the end somehow.

I threw out my chest, buttoned up my collar and began walking up and down the short raft to keep warm. I would be like John Dolittle. I wouldn't cry-- And I wouldn't get excited.

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How long I paced back and forth I don't know. But it was a long time-- for I had nothing else to do.

At last I got tired and lay down to rest. And in spite of all my troubles, I soon fell fast asleep.

This time when I woke up, stars were staring down at me out of a cloudless sky. The sea was still calm; and my strange craft was rocking gently under me on an easy swell. All my fine courage left me as I gazed up into the big silent night and felt the pains of hunger and thirst set to work in my stomach harder than ever.

"Are you awake?" said a high silvery voice at my elbow.

I sprang up as though some one had stuck a pin in me. And there, perched at the very end of my raft, her beautiful golden tail glowing dimly in the starlight, sat Miranda, the Purple Bird-of-Paradise!

Never have I been so glad to see any one in my life. I almost f ell into the water as I leapt to hug her.

"I didn't want to wake you," said she. "I guessed you must be tired after all you've been through--Don't squash the life out of me, boy: I'm not a stuffed duck, you know."

"Oh, Miranda, you dear old thing," said I, "I'm so glad to see you. Tell me, where is the Doctor? Is he alive?"

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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
Hugh Lofting

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