Shellfish Talk

The next morning, although I had gone to bed so late the night before, I was up frightfully early. The first sparrows were just beginning to chirp sleepily on the slates outside my attic window when I jumped out of bed and scrambled into my clothes.

I could hardly wait to get back to the little house with the big garden—to see the Doctor and his private zoo. For the first time in my life I forgot all about breakfast; and creeping down the stairs on tip-toe, so as not to wake my mother and father, I opened the front door and popped out into the empty, silent street.

When I got to the Doctor’s gate I suddenly thought that perhaps it was too early to call on any one: and I began to wonder if the Doctor would be up yet. I looked into the garden. No one seemed to be about. So I opened the gate quietly and went inside.

As I turned to the left to go down a path between some hedges, I heard a voice quite close to me say,

“Good morning. How early you are!”

I turned around, and there, sitting on the top of a privet hedge, was the gray parrot, Polynesia.

“Good morning,” I said. “I suppose I am rather early. Is the Doctor still in bed?”

“Oh no,” said Polynesia. “He has been up an hour and a half. You’ll find him in the house somewhere. The front door is open. Just push it and go in, He is sure to be in the kitchen cooking breakfast—or working in his study. Walk right in. I am waiting to see the sun rise. But upon my word I believe it’s forgotten to rise. It is an awful climate, this. Now if we were in Africa the world would be blazing with sunlight at this hour of the morning. Just see that mist rolling over those cabbages. It is enough to give you rheumatism to look at it. Beastly climate—Beastly! Really I don’t know why anything but frogs ever stay in England—Well, don’t let me keep you. Run along and see the Doctor.”