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Part Four Hugh Lofting

I Shellfish Languages Again

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Table Of Contents: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

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I went on listening.

"This is most extraordinary," the Doctor kept muttering to himself as his pencil went wiggling over the page--"Most extraordinary-- but frightfully thrilling. I wonder where he--"

"Here's some more," I cried--"some more English. . . . 'THE BIG TANK NEEDS CLEANING'.... That's all. Now he's talking fish-talk again."

"The big tank!" the Doctor murmured frowning in a puzzled kind of way. "I wonder where on earth he learned--"

Then he bounded up out of his chair.

"I have it," he yelled, "this fish has escaped from an aquarium. Why, of course! Look at the kind of things he has learned: 'Picture postcards'--they always sell them in aquariums; 'Don't spit'; 'No smoking'; 'This way out'--the things the attendants say. And then, 'My, here's a queer one!' That's the kind of thing that people exclaim when they look into the tanks. It all fits. There's no doubt about it, Stubbins: we have here a fish who has escaped from captivity. And it's quite possible-- not certain, by any means, but quite possible--that I may now, through him, be able to establish communication with the shellfish. This is a great piece of luck."

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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
Hugh Lofting

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