But immediately the Emir had left, the white mouse started out through the rat hole in the corner. And all day and all night he kept busy, coming and going bringing in crumbs of food which he gathered from the houses of the town: bread crumbs, cheese crumbs, yam crumbs, potato crumbs and crumbs of meat which he pulled off bones. All these he stored carefully in the Doctor's hat in the corner of the prison. And by the end of each day he had collected enough crumbs for one good square meal.
The helmsman, battling with the birds, set up a yell for help, saying he couldn't see to steer the boat. Then the officers and sailors rushed up to his assistance and tried to beat the birds off.
Then he strode through the prison door out into the sunlit street, while the frightened people fell back on either side and covered their faces, whispering:
"A speaking tube!" the white mouse interrupted. "How was it used? I don't understand."
And smoothing back his white whiskers and curling his pink tail snugly about his small, sleek body, he blinked his eyes twice and began:
They asked the Doctor if he could give them any news of their beloved London. But he had to admit that he also had been away from that city for a long time. However, while they were talking Cheapside came into the lighthouse kitchen, looking for the Doctor. The city sparrow was delighted to find that the keepers were also Cockneys. And he gave them, through the Doctor, all the latest gossip of Wapping, Limehouse, the East India Docks and the wharves and the shipping of London River.
"I know!" cried Jip, "write to the Cats'-Meat-Man."
"Now, when we children grew up big enough to go off for ourselves our parents gave us all sorts of careful instructions about escaping cats and ferrets and weasels and dogs. But over poor me they shook their heads. They really felt that there was not much hope of my leading a peaceful life with white fur that could be seen a mile off.
In a very short time the ship presented a curious and extraordinary sight, with the mud nests stuck all over her and birds flying in thousands round her masts, coming and going, building homes and feeding young ones.
"Oh, and hurry back, Dab-Dab," the Doctor called after her as she flapped her way through the open window and set off across the sea with her burden. "I'm going to start right away for Chief Nyam-Nyam's country as soon as you are ready.
Speedy-the-Skimmer had arranged plans with the Doctor overnight. And long before the great warship pulled up her anchor and swung around upon her course the famous swallow leader was miles ahead, with a band of picked hunters, exploring up creeks and examining all the hollows of the coast where the slave trader might be hiding.下载
"Well, after you had set off in the canoe," said the Skimmer, "I and the thrush stopped on our way back here at the tree where he had lost the package. It was too dark then to hunt for it, so we roosted in the tree all night, intending to look in the morning. Just as dawn was breaking we saw this wretched squirrel here flirting about in the branches with an enormous pink pearl in his mouth. I at once pounced on him and held him down, while the thrush took the pearl away from him. Then we made him tell us where he had hidden the other two. And after we had got all three of them we put the squirrel under arrest and brought him here."
Now, Speedy-the-Skimmer, as soon as the race had begun, had come on to the warship to take a rest. And he happened to be talking to the Doctor when the order to man the guns came down from the Captain. So the Doctor and Speedy went below to watch the guns being fired.
"It changed my appearance completely. Moving through the long grass, I looked like some ordinary kind of deer. So, disguised in this manner, I sauntered out into an open meadow and grazed around till my precious Badamoshis should appear. Which they very shortly did.
"So presently, picking out the tree where I had seen the chief himself go and hide, I browsed along underneath it, pretending I suspected nothing at all. Then when the chief dropped on what he thought was my hindquarters, I struck upward with my other horns, hidden under the cowhide, and gave him a jab he will remember the rest of his days.
"I wonder who he is," said John Dolittle. "It isn't often we have white men coming in here. I don't much like the looks of him."