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Part Three Hugh Lofting

IX We Depart In A Hurry

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As a matter of fact, Polynesia had been right about the danger we were in. The news of our victory must have spread like lightning through the whole town. For as we came out of the shop and loaded the cab up with our stores, we saw various little knots of angry men hunting round the streets, waving sticks and shouting,

"The Englishmen! Where are those accursed Englishmen who stopped the bullfighting?--Hang them to a lamp-post!--Throw them in the sea! The Englishmen!--We want the Englishmen!"

After that we didn't waste any time, you may be sure. Bumpo grabbed the Spanish cab-driver and explained to him in signs that if he didn't drive down to the harbor as fast as he knew how and keep his mouth shut the whole way, he would choke the life out of him. Then we jumped into the cab on top of the food, slammed the door, pulled down the blinds and away we went.

"We won't get a chance to pawn the jewelry now," said Polynesia, as we bumped over the cobbly streets. "But never mind--it may come in handy later on. And anyway we've got two-thousand five-hundred pesetas left out of the bet. Don't give the cabby more than two pesetas fifty, Bumpo. That's the right fare, I know."

Well, we reached the harbor all right and we were mighty glad to find that the Doctor had sent Chee-Chee back with the row-boat to wait for us at the landing-wall.

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Unfortunately while we were in the middle of loading the supplies from the cab into the boat, the angry mob arrived upon the wharf and made a rush for us. Bumpo snatched up a big beam of wood that lay near and swung it round and round his head, letting out dreadful African battle-yells the while. This kept the crowd off while Chee-Chee and I hustled the last of the stores into the boat and clambered in ourselves. Bumpo threw his beam of wood into the thick of the Spaniards and leapt in after us. Then we pushed off and rowed like mad for the Curlew.

The mob upon the wall howled with rage, shook their fists and hurled stones and all manner of things after us. Poor old Bumpo got hit on the head with a bottle. But as he had a very strong head it only raised a small bump while the bottle smashed into a thousand pieces.

When we reached the ship's side the Doctor had the anchor drawn up and the sails set and everything in readiness to get away. Looking back we saw boats coming out from the harbor-wall after us, filled with angry, shouting men. So we didn't bother to unload our rowboat but just tied it on to the ship's stern with a rope and jumped aboard.

It only took a moment more to swing the Curlew round into the wind; and soon we were speeding out of the harbor on our way to Brazil.

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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
Hugh Lofting

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