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Part Two Hugh Lofting

V Mendoza

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He put his hand over his mouth to smother a laugh and his eyes fairly sparkled with mischief. "Who is Conkey?" I asked the Doctor.

"Sh! He is speaking of the judge up there, the Honorable Eustace Beauchamp Conckley."

"Now," said Mr. Jenkyns, bringing out a notebook, "tell me a little more about yourself, Doctor. You took your degree as Doctor of Medicine at Durham, I think you said. And the name of your last book was?"

I could not hear any more for they talked in whispers; and I fell to looking round the court again.

Of course I could not understand everything that was going on, though it was all very interesting. People kept getting up in the place the Doctor called the witness-box, and the lawyers at the long table asked them questions about "the night of the 29th." Then the people would get down again and somebody else would get up and be questioned.

One of the lawyers (who, the Doctor told me afterwards, was called the Prosecutor) seemed to be doing his best to get the Hermit into trouble by asking questions which made it look as though he had always been a very bad man. He was a nasty lawyer, this Prosecutor, with a long nose.

Most of the time I could hardly keep my eyes off poor Luke, who sat there between his two policemen, staring at the floor as though he weren't interested. The only time I saw him take any notice at all was when a small dark man with wicked, little, watery eyes got up into the witness-box. I heard Bob snarl under my chair as this person came into the court-room and Luke's eyes just blazed with anger and contempt.

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This man said his name was Mendoza and that he was the one who had guided the Mexican police to the mine after Bluebeard Bill had been killed. And at every word he said I could hear Bob down below me muttering between his teeth,

"It's a lie! It's a lie! I'll chew his face. It's a lie!"

And both the Doctor and I had hard work keeping the dog under the seat.

Then I noticed that our Mr. Jenkyns had disappeared from the Doctor's side. But presently I saw him stand up at the long table to speak to the judge.

"Your Honor," said he, "I wish to introduce a new witness for the defense, Doctor John Dolittle, the naturalist. Will you please step into the witness-stand, Doctor?"

There was a buzz of excitement as the Doctor made his way across the crowded room; and I noticed the nasty lawyer with the long nose lean down and whisper something to a friend, smiling in an ugly way which made me want to pinch him.

Then Mr. Jenkyns asked the Doctor a whole lot of questions about himself and made him answer in a loud voice so the whole court could hear. He finished up by saying,

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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
Hugh Lofting

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