Just at that moment we heard the noise of some one running behind us; and turning round we saw Jip the dog rushing down the road after us, as fast as his legs could bring him. He seemed very excited about something, and as soon as he came up to us, he started barking and whining to the Doctor in a peculiar way. Then the Doctor too seemed to get all worked up and began talking and making queer signs to the dog. At length he turned to me, his face shining with happiness.
“Polynesia has come back!” he cried. “Imagine it. Jip says she has just arrived at the house. My! And it’s five years since I saw her—Excuse me a minute.”
He turned as if to go back home. But the parrot, Polynesia, was already flying towards us. The Doctor clapped his hands like a child getting a new toy; while the swarm of sparrows in the roadway fluttered, gossiping, up on to the fences, highly scandalized to see a gray and scarlet parrot skimming down an English lane.
On she came, straight on to the Doctor’s shoulder, where she immediately began talking a steady stream in a language I could not understand. She seemed to have a terrible lot to say. And very soon the Doctor had forgotten all about me and my squirrel and Jip and everything else; till at length the bird clearly asked him something about me.
“Oh excuse me, Stubbins!” said the Doctor. “I was so interested listening to my old friend here. We must get on and see this squirrel of yours—Polynesia, this is Thomas Stubbins.”
The parrot, on the Doctor’s shoulder, nodded gravely towards me and then, to my great surprise, said quite plainly in English,
“How do you do? I remember the night you were born. It was a terribly cold winter. You were a very ugly baby.”
“Stubbins is anxious to learn animal language,” said the Doctor. “I was just telling him about you and the lessons you gave me when Jip ran up and told us you had arrived.”