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19. CHAPTER XIX (continued)
"And your English lakes--Vindermere, Grasmere they, then, unhealthy?"
"No, Frau Liesecke; but that is because they are fresh water, and different. Salt water ought to have tides, and go up and down a great deal, or else it smells. Look, for instance, at an aquarium."
"An aquarium! Oh, MEESIS Munt, you mean to tell me that fresh aquariums stink less than salt? Why, then Victor, my brother-in-law, collected many tadpoles--" "You are not to say 'stink,'" interrupted Helen; "at least, you may say it, but you must pretend you are being funny while you say it."
"Then 'smell.' And the mud of your Pool down there--does it not smell, or may I say 'stink,' ha, ha?"
"There always has been mud in Poole Harbour," said Mrs. Munt, with a slight frown. "The rivers bring it down, and a most valuable oyster-fishery depends upon it."
"Yes, that is so," conceded Frieda; and another international incident was closed.
"'Bournemouth is,'" resumed their hostess, quoting a local rhyme to which she was much attached--"'Bournemouth is, Poole was, and Swanage is to be the hmst important town of all and biggest of the three.' Now, Frau Liesecke, I have shown you Bournemouth, and I have shown you Poole, so let us walk backward a little, and look down again at Swanage."
"Aunt Juley, wouldn't that be Meg's train?"
A tiny puff of smoke had been circling the harbour, and now was bearing southwards towards them over the black and the gold.
"Oh, dearest Margaret, I do hope she won't be overtired."
"Oh, I do wonder--I do wonder whether she's taken the house."
"I hope she hasn't been hasty."
"So do I--oh, SO do I."
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