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0105_001E Part Two Hugh Lofting

II Luke The Hermit

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Table Of Contents: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

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But Jip didn't answer.

For ten minutes the Doctor kept questioning him. But not a word would the dog say.

"Well," said the Doctor at last, "it is no use our standing around here in the cold. The Hermit's gone. That's all. We might as well go home to luncheon."

As we buttoned up our coats and started back across the marsh, Jip ran ahead pretending he was looking for water-rats.

"He knows something all right," whispered the Doctor. "And I think he knows what has happened too. It's funny, his not wanting to tell me. He has never done that before--not in eleven years. He has always told me everything--Strange--very strange!"

"Do you mean you think he knows all about the Hermit, the big mystery about him which folks hint at and all that?"

"I shouldn't wonder if he did," the Doctor answered slowly. "I noticed something in his expression the moment we found that door open and the hut empty. And the way he sniffed the floor too--it told him something, that floor did. He saw signs we couldn't see--I wonder why he won't tell me. I'll try him again. Here, Jip! Jip!--Where is the dog? I thought he went on in front."

"So did I," I said. "He was there a moment ago. I saw him as large as life. Jip--Jip--Jip--JIP!"

But he was gone. We called and called. We even walked back to the hut. But Jip had disappeared.

"Oh well," I said, "most likely he has just run home ahead of us. He often does that, you know. We'll find him there when we get back to the house."

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But the Doctor just closed his coat-collar tighter against the wind and strode on muttering, "Odd--very odd!"

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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
Hugh Lofting

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