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Part Three Hugh Lofting

V Polynesia Has A Plan

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"Yes. What I'm afraid of is that he may hit the Doctor on the head when he's not looking and make himself captain of the Curlew. Bad sailors do that sometimes. Then they run the ship their own way and take it where they want. That's what you call a mutiny."

"Yes," said Jip, "and we ought to do something pretty quick. We can't reach the Capa Blancas before the day after to-morrow at best. I don't like to leave the Doctor alone with him for a minute. He smells like a very bad man to me."

"Well, I've got it all worked out," said Polynesia. "Listen: is there a key in that door?"

We looked outside the dining-room and found that there was.

"All right," said Polynesia. "Now Bumpo lays the table for lunch and we all go and hide. Then at twelve o'clock Bumpo rings the dinner-bell down here. As soon as Ben hears it he'll come down expecting more salt beef. Bumpo must hide behind the door outside. The moment that Ben is seated at the dining-table Bumpo slams the door and locks it. Then we've got him. See?"

"How stratagenious!" Bumpo chuckled. "As Cicero said, parrots cum parishioners facilime congregation. I'll lay the table at once."

"Yes and take that Worcestershire sauce off the dresser with you when you go out," said Polynesia. "Don't leave any loose eatables around. That fellow has had enough to last any man for three days. Besides, he won't be so inclined to start a fight when we put him ashore at the Capa Blancas if we thin him down a bit before we let him out."

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So we all went and hid ourselves in the passage where we could watch what happened. And presently Bumpo came to the foot of the stairs and rang the dinner-bell like mad. Then he hopped behind the dining-room door and we all kept still and listened.

Almost immediately, THUMP, THUMP, THUMP, down the stairs tramped Ben Butcher, the able seaman. He walked into the dining-saloon, sat himself down at the head of the table in the Doctor's place, tucked a napkin under his fat chin and heaved a sigh of expectation.

Then, BANG! Bumpo slammed the door and locked it.

"That settles HIM for a while," said Polynesia coming out from her hiding-place. "Now let him teach navigation to the side-board. Gosh, the cheek of the man! I've forgotten more about the sea than that lumbering lout will ever know. Let's go upstairs and tell the Doctor. Bumpo, you will have to serve the meals in the cabin for the next couple of days."

And bursting into a rollicking Norwegian sea-song, she climbed up to my shoulder and we went on deck.

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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
Hugh Lofting

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