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|Part Two||Hugh Lofting|
VIII Three Cheers
|Page 2 of 2||
Just as we were going to step out at a side door I heard the crowd shouting,
"The Doctor! The Doctor! Where's the Doctor? The Hermit would have hanged if it hadn't been for the Doctor. Speech! Speech!--The Doctor!"
And a man came running up to us and said,
"The people are calling for you, Sir."
"I'm very sorry," said the Doctor, "but I'm in a hurry."
"The crowd won't be denied, Sir," said the man. "They want you to make a speech in the marketplace."
"Beg them to excuse me," said the Doctor--"with my compliments. I have an appointment at my house--a very important one which I may not break. Tell Luke to make a speech. Come along, Stubbins, this way."
"Oh Lord!" he muttered as we got out into the open air and found another crowd waiting for him at the side door. "Let's go up that alleyway--to the left. Quick!--Run!"
We took to our heels, darted through a couple of side streets and just managed to get away from the crowd.
It was not till we had gained the Oxenthorpe Road that we dared to slow down to a walk and take our breath. And even when we reached the Doctor's gate and turned to look backwards towards the town, the faint murmur of many voices still reached us on the evening wind.
"They're still clamoring for you," I said. "Listen!"
The murmur suddenly swelled up into a low distant roar; and although it was a mile and half away you could distinctly hear the words,
"Three cheers for Luke the Hermit: Hooray!--Three cheers for his dog: Hooray!--Three cheers for his wife: Hooray!--Three cheers for the Doctor: Hooray! Hooray! HOO-R-A-Y!"
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