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0100_005E Part Two Hugh Lofting

IV Bob

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Table Of Contents: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

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At first I could hardly see anything, it was so dim inside. But after a little I made out a low bed against the wall, under a small barred window. On the bed, staring down at the floor between his feet, sat the Hermit, his head resting in his hands.

"Well, Luke," said the Doctor in a kindly voice, "they don't give you much light in here, do they?"

Very slowly the Hermit looked up from the floor.

"Hulloa, John Dolittle. What brings you here?"

"I've come to see you. I would have been here sooner, only I didn't hear about all this till a few minutes ago. I went to your hut to ask you if you would join me on a voyage; and when I found it empty I had no idea where you could be. I am dreadfully sorry to hear about your bad luck. I've come to see if there is anything I can do."

Luke shook his head.

"No, I don't imagine there is anything can be done. They've caught me at last. That's the end of it, I suppose."

He got up stiffly and started walking up and down the little room.

"In a way I'm glad it's over," said he. "I never got any peace, always thinking they were after me--afraid to speak to anyone. They were bound to get me in the end--Yes, I'm glad it's over."

Then the Doctor talked to Luke for more than half an hour, trying to cheer him up; while I sat around wondering what I ought to say and wishing I could do something.

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At last the Doctor said he wanted to see Bob; and we knocked upon the door and were let out by the policeman.

"Bob," said the Doctor to the big bulldog in the passage, "come out with me into the porch. I want to ask you something."

"How is he, Doctor?" asked Bob as we walked down the corridor into the Court-house porch.

"Oh, Luke's all right. Very miserable of course, but he's all right. Now tell me, Bob: you saw this business happen, didn't you? You were there when the man was killed, eh?"

"I was, Doctor," said Bob, "and I tell you--"

"All right," the Doctor interrupted, "that's all I want to know for the present. There isn't time to tell me more now. The trial is just going to begin. There are the judge and the lawyers coming up the steps. Now listen, Bob: I want you to stay with me when I go into the court-room. And whatever I tell you to do, do it. Do you understand? Don't make any scenes. Don't bite anybody, no matter what they may say about Luke. Just behave perfectly quietly and answer any question I may ask you--truthfully. Do you understand?"

"Very well. But do you think you will be able to get him off, Doctor?" asked Bob. "He's a good man, Doctor. He really is. There never was a better."

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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
Hugh Lofting

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