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|Part Four||Hugh Lofting|
VII Hawk's-Head Mountain
|Page 2 of 4||
"None, Doctor. I climbed to every peak and pinnacle I could see. I searched every hollow and cleft. But not one place could I find where men might be hidden."
"And Polynesia," asked the Doctor, "did you see nothing that might put us on the right track?"
"Not a thing, Doctor--But I have a plan."
"Oh good!" cried John Dolittle, full of hope renewed. "What is it? Let's hear it."
"You still have that beetle with you," she asked--" the Biz-biz, or whatever it is you call the wretched insect?"
"Yes," said the Doctor, producing the glass-topped box from his pocket, "here it is."
"All right. Now listen," said she. "If what you have supposed is true--that is, that Long Arrow had been trapped inside the mountain by falling rock, he probably found that beetle inside the cave--perhaps many other different beetles too, eh? He wouldn't have been likely to take the Biz-biz in with him, would he?--He was hunting plants, you say, not beetles. Isn't that right?"
"Yes," said the Doctor, "that's probably so."
"Very well. It is fair to suppose then that the beetle's home, or his hole, is in that place--the part of the mountain where Long Arrow and his party are imprisoned, isn't it?"
"All right. Then the thing to do is to let the beetle go--and watch him; and sooner or later he'll return to his home in Long Arrow's cave. And there we will follow him--Or at all events," she added smoothing down her wing-feathers with a very superior air, "we will follow him till the miserable bug starts nosing under the earth. But at least he will show us what part of the mountain Long Arrow is hidden in."
"But he may fly, if I let him out," said the Doctor. "Then we shall just lose him and be no better off than we were before."
"LET him fly," snorted Polynesia scornfully. "A parrot can wing it as fast as a Biz-biz, I fancy. If he takes to the air, I'll guarantee not to let the little devil out of my sight. And if he just crawls along the ground you can follow him yourself."
"Splendid!" cried the Doctor. "Polynesia, you have a great brain. I'll set him to work at once and see what happens."
Again we all clustered round the Doctor as he carefully lifted off the glass lid and let the big beetle climb out upon his finger.
"Ladybug, Ladybug, fly away home!" crooned Bumpo. "Your house is on fire and your chil--"
"Oh, be quiet!" snapped Polynesia crossly. "Stop insulting him! Don't you suppose he has wits enough to go home without your telling him?"
"I thought perchance he might be of a philandering disposition," said Bumpo humbly. "It could be that he is tired of his home and needs to be encouraged. Shall I sing him 'Home Sweet Home,' think you?"
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