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0100_005E Part Two Hugh Lofting

VI The Judge's Dog

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"What a time he takes!" I heard a fat woman in front of me whispering. "He's only pretending. Of course he can't do it! Who ever heard of talking to a dog? He must think we're children."

"Haven't you finished yet?" the judge asked the Doctor. "It shouldn't take that long just to ask what I had for supper."

"Oh no, Your Honor," said the Doctor. "The dog told me that long ago. But then he went on to tell me what you did after supper."

"Never mind that," said the judge. Tell me what answer he gave you to my question."

"He says you had a mutton-chop, two baked potatoes, a pickled walnut and a glass of ale."

The Honorable Eustace Beauchamp Conckley went white to the lips.

"Sounds like witchcraft," he muttered. "I never dreamed--"

"And after your supper," the Doctor went on, "he says you went to see a prize-fight and then sat up playing cards for money till twelve o'clock and came home singing, 'We wont get--' "

"That will do," the judge interrupted, "I am satisfied you can do as you say. The prisoner's dog shall be admitted as a witness."

"I protest, I object!" screamed the Prosecutor. "Your Honor, this is--"

"Sit down!" roared the judge. "I say the dog shall be heard. That ends the matter. Put the witness in the stand."

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And then for the first time in the solemn history of England a dog was put in the witness-stand of Her Majesty's Court of Assizes. And it was I, Tommy Stubbins (when the Doctor made a sign to me across the room) who proudly led Bob up the aisle, through the astonished crowd, past the frowning, spluttering, long-nosed Prosecutor, and made him comfortable on a high chair in the witness-box; from where the old bulldog sat scowling down over the rail upon the amazed and gaping jury.

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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
Hugh Lofting

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