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  Part Six Hugh Lofting

IV The Sea-Serpent

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Table Of Contents: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

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FOR a long time after that Cabinet Meeting of which I have just told you we did not ask the Doctor anything further about going home. Life in Spidermonkey Island went forward, month in month out, busily and pleasantly. The Winter, with Christmas celebrations, came and went, and Summer was with us once again before we knew it.

As time passed the Doctor became more and more taken up with the care of his big family; and the hours he could spare for his natural history work grew fewer and fewer. I knew that he often still thought of his house and garden in Puddleby and of his old plans and ambitions; because once in a while we would notice his face grow thoughtful and a little sad, when something reminded him of England or his old life. But he never spoke of these things. And I truly believe he would have spent the remainder of his days on Spidermonkey Island if it hadn't been for an accident-- and for Polynesia.

The old parrot had grown very tired of the Indians and she made no secret of it.

"The very idea," she said to me one day as we were walking on the seashore--"the idea of the famous John Dolittle spending his valuable life waiting on these greasy natives!--Why, it's preposterous!"

All that morning we had been watching the Doctor superintend the building of the new theatre in Popsipetel--there was already an opera-house and a concert-hall; and finally she had got so grouchy and annoyed at the sight that I had suggested her taking a walk with me.

"Do you really think," I asked as we sat down on the sands, "that he will never go back to Puddleby again?"

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"I don't know," said she. "At one time I felt sure that the thought of the pets he had left behind at the house would take him home soon. But since Miranda brought him word last August that everything was all right there, that hope's gone. For months and months I've been racking my brains to think up a plan. If we could only hit upon something that would turn his thoughts back to natural history again-- I mean something big enough to get him really excited--we might manage it. But how?"--she shrugged her shoulders in disgust--"How?--when all he thinks of now is paving streets and teaching papooses that twice one are two!"

It was a perfect Popsipetel day, bright and hot, blue and yellow. Drowsily I looked out to sea thinking of my mother and father. I wondered if they were getting anxious over my long absence. Beside me old Polynesia went on grumbling away in low steady tones; and her words began to mingle and mix with the gentle lapping of the waves upon the shore. It may have been the even murmur of her voice, helped by the soft and balmy air, that lulled me to sleep. I don't know. Anyhow I presently dreamed that the island had moved again-- not floatingly as before, but suddenly, jerkily, as though something enormously powerful had heaved it up from its bed just once and let it down.

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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
Hugh Lofting

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