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棋牌游戏 | 89750人在玩  |  时间  :  

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Indeed, if it had not been for the giant water snake, to whom mangrove swamps were the easiest kind of traveling, they would never have been able to make their way forward. But their guide went on ahead of them for hundreds of yards to lead the way through the best openings and to find the passages where the water was deep enough to float a canoe. And, although his head was out of sight most of the time in the tangled distance, he kept, in the worst stretches, a firm hold on the canoe by taking a turn about the bowpost with his tail. And whenever they were stuck in the mud he would contract that long, muscular body of his with a jerk and yank the canoe forward as though it had been no more than a can tied on the end of a string.

"'Just that,' says he. 'It's quite simple. Scale up that middle vat nowon to the edgeand dive right in. Don't be afraid. There's a string there for you to climb out by.'

And, of course, as Speedy had foretold, they wrote most of their letters to the Doctor. Soon the poor man was swamped with mail, asking for medical advice. The Esquimaux sleigh dogs wrote all the way from the Arctic Continent to know what they should do about their hair falling out. Hairwhich was all the poor creatures had to keep them warm against the Polar windswas, of course, very important to them. And John Dolittle spent a whole Saturday and Sunday experimenting with hair tonics on Jip to find a way to cure their trouble. Jip was very patient about it, knowing that the Doctor was doing it for the good of his fellow dogs. And he did not grumblealthough he did mention to Dab-Dab that he felt like a chemist's shop from all the different hair oils the Doctor had used on him. He said they ruined his keen nose entirely for two weeks, so he couldn't smell straight.

"By the way," said John Dolittle, "I've been trying to think where I've seen your face before. Did you ever build your nest in my stable in Puddleby?"

"The Doctor was washing his face in the lake"

"He has gone northward," said the Doctor. "But your ship is fast and should be able to overtake him. If he hides in some of these bays and creeks I have several birds here with me who can, as soon as it is light, seek him out for us and tell us where he is."

And this was how the first letter was sent off by the Swallow Mail: King Koko himself came one morning and, putting his large face in at the information window, asked:

To his surprise, the Doctor found that the mound, or island, on which the turtle lived was not made of mud, though muddy footprints could be seen all over it. It was made of stoneof stones cut square with a chisel.

The Doctor was tremendously impressed by his first sight of the Secret Lake. If the landscape of the swamp country had been mournful this was even more so. No eye could see across it. The edge of it was like the ocean'sjust a line where the heavens and the water meet. Ahead to the eastwardthe darkest part of the evening skyeven this line barely showed, for now the murky waters and the frowning night blurred together in an inky mass. To the right and left the Doctor could see the fringe of the swamp trees running around the lake, disappearing in the distance North and South.

After some persuasion the Doctor consented to this proposal feeling that perhaps he could do some good. Little did he realize what great labors and strange adventures he was taking upon himself as he got into the canoe with the King, Begwe and Zuzana to be paddled to the town of Fantippo.

"Why do you call it the Secret Lake?" asked the Doctor.

"So, picking myself up wearily, I started off for the miller's shop. On the threshold I paused a moment. It was a terrible step I was about to take. I gazed miserably down the street, thinking upon the hardness of life and the sadness of love, and there, coming toward me, with a bandage around his tail, was my own brother!

So off they went. And when they had come to the best place on the shore the Doctor took off his clothes and, tying them up in a bundle, he fastened them on his head, with the precious high hat on the top of all. Then he waded into the surf and, with Jip beside him, started swimming for the island.