############################################################################## This document has been converted from Standard American Spelling to Cut Spelling by the BTRSPL computer program, subject to its peculiarities and possible errors. Cut Spelling was devised by Chris Upward Postal: 61 Valentine Rd., BIRMINGHAM, B14 7AJ, England. Fax: +44 (0)121 359 6153 e-mail: c.upward@aston.ac.uk Website: http://www.les.aston.ac.uk/sss/ ############################################################################## Th Wind in th Wilos

Th Wind in th Wilos


Keneth Electronic Text Centr, University of Virjinia Libry

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About th electronic version
Th Wind in th Wilos
Grahame, Keneth

Creation of machine-readbl version: Charls Keller

Conversion to TEI.2-conformant markup: University of Virjinia Libry Electronic Text Centr
This version availbl from th University of Virjinia Libry
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   Notes from Charls Keller:

   many _italics_ wer misd by th ocr program most wer reinserted during proofing; errs left as printd ar markd {sic}.

    Scand with Omnipage Professionl OCR software donated by Caere Corpration.

About th print version
Th Wind in th Wilos
Keneth Grahame
Charls Scribner's Sons
York 1917
Note: Chekd against University of Virjinia libry copy: PZ10.3 G76 Wi 1925

   Spel-chek and verification made against printd text.

Publishd: 1908

Revisions to th electronic version
June 1995 corrector Kelly Tetterton
  • add header and minml TEI tagng; chanjed Keller's italics refrnces to conform to TEI tagng; I hav not delt with Kellers' {sic} marks or som of wat apeard to be misspellings because th libry text is a later printng; removed unambiguus line-end
  • hyphenation

    etext@virjinia.edu. Comercial use prohibitd; al usaj govrnd by our Conditions of Use: http://etext.lib.virjinia.edu/conditions.html
    Final chekng: David



    SONS 1917

    COPYRYT, 1908
    SONS -- --
    Publishd October, 1908
    First Edition, October, 1908
    Reprintd Decembr, 1908
    Reprintd Febry, 1909
    Reprintd October, 1910
    Reprintd June, 1911
    Reprintd June, 1912
    Reprintd August, 1913
    Reprintd Novembr, 1914
    Reprintd Decembr, 1915
    Reprintd May, 1917


  • PAJE

  • I. TH RIVR BANK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

  • II. TH OPEN ROAD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

  • III. TH WILD WOOD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

  • IV MR. BAJR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

  • V. DULCE DOMUM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93

  • VI. MR. TOAD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .120

  • VII. TH PIPER AT TH GATES OF DAWN . . . . . . . . . . .144

  • VIII. TOAD'S ADVENTURS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .163

  • IX. WAYFARERS AL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .187

  • X. TH FURTHR ADVENTURS OF TOAD . . . . . . . . . . .217

  • XI. "LIKE SUMR TEMPESTS CAME HIS TERS". . . . . . . .247

  • XII. TH RETURN OF ULYSSES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .278

  • Paje 1

    Chaptr 1



       TH Mole had been workng very hard al th mornng, spring-cleanng his litl home. First with brooms, then with dustrs; then on ladrs and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of witewash; til he had dust in his throat and ys, and splashs of witewash al over his blak fur, and an aching bak and weary arms. Spring was moving in th air abov and in th erth belo and around him, penetrating even his dark and loly litl house with its spirit of divine discontent and longng. It was smal wondr, then, that he sudnly flung down his brush on th flor, said `Bothr!'

    Paje 2

    and `O blo!' and also `Hang spring-cleanng!' and boltd out of th house without even waitng to put on his coat. Somthing up abov was calng him imperiusly, and he made for th steep litl tunl wich ansrd in his case to th gravld carrij-drive ownd by anmls hos residnces ar nearr to th sun and air. So he scraped and scrachd and scrabld and scrooged and then he scrooged again and scrabld and scrachd and scraped, workng busily with his litl paws and mutrng to himself, `Up we go! Up we go!' til at last, pop! his snout came out into th sunlyt, and he found himself rolng in th warm grass of a gret medo.

       `This is fine!' he said to himself. `This is betr than whitewashing!' Th sunshine struk hot on his fur, soft brezes caresd his heatd brow, and aftr th seclusion of th cellarage he had livd in so long th carol of happy birds fel on his duld hearng almost like a shout. Jumpng off al his four legs at once, in th joy of livng and th delyt of spring without its cleanng, he pursud his way across th medo til he reachd th hej on th furthr side.

    Paje 3

       `Hold up!' said an eldrly rabit at th gap. `Sixpnce for th privlej of pasng by th privat road!' He was bold over in an instnt by th impatient and contemtuus Mole, ho trotd along th side of th hej chaffing th othr rabits as they peepd hurridly from ther holes to se wat th ro was about. `Onion-sauce! Onion-sauce!' he remarkd jeeringly, and was gon befor they cud think of a thoroly satisfactry reply. Then they al startd grumblng at each othr. `How stupid u ar! Wy didnt u tel him -- -- ' `Wel, wy didnt u say -- -- ' `U myt hav remindd him -- -- ' and so on, in th usul way; but, of corse, it was then much too late, as is always th case.

       It al seemd too good to be tru. Hithr and thithr thru th medos he rambld busily, along th hejros, across th copses, findng evrywher birds bildng, flowrs budng, leavs thrustng -- everything happy, and progressiv, and ocupyd. And insted of havng an unesy concience prikng him and wisprng `witewash!' he somhow cud only feel how jolly it was to be th only idle dog among al these busy citizns. Aftr al,

    Paje 4

    th best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be restng yrself, as to se al th othr felos busy workng.

       He thot his happiness was complete wen, as he meandrd aimlesly along, sudnly he stood by th ej of a ful-fed rivr. Nevr in his life had he seen a rivr befor -- this sleek, sinuus, ful-bodid anml, chasing and chuklng, gripng things with a gurgl and leving them with a laf, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselvs fre, and wer caut and held again. Al was a-shake and a-shivr -- glints and gleams and sparkls, rusl and swirl, chatr and bubl. Th Mole was bewichd, entranced, fasnated. By th side of th rivr he trotd as one trots, wen very smal, by th side of a man ho holds one spel-bound by exiting storis; and wen tired at last, he sat on th bank, wile th rivr stil chatrd on to him, a bablng procession of th best storis in th world, sent from th hart of th erth to be told at last to th insatiabl se.

       As he sat on th grass and lookd across th rivr, a dark hole in th bank oposit, just abov th water's ej, caut his y, and

    Paje 5

    dreamily he fel to considrng wat a nice snug dwelng-place it wud make for an anml with few wants and fond of a bijo rivrside residnce, abov flod levl and remote from noise and dust. As he gazed, somthing bryt and smal seemd to twinkl down in th hart of it, vanishd, then twinkld once mor like a tiny star. But it cud hardly be a star in such an unlikely situation; and it was too glitrng and smal for a glo-worm. Then, as he lookd, it winkd at him, and so declared itself to be an y; and a smal face began graduly to gro up round it, like a frame round a pictur.

       A brown litl face, with wiskrs.

       A grave round face, with th same twinkl in its y that had first atractd his notice.

       Smal neat ears and thik silky hair.

       It was th Watr Rat!

       Then th two anmls stood and regardd each othr cautiusly.

       `Helo, Mole!' said th Watr Rat.

       `Helo, Rat!' said th Mole.

       `Wud u like to com over?' inquired th Rat presntly.

       `O, its al very wel to talk,' said th Mole,

    Paje 6

    rathr pettishly, he being new to a rivr and rivrside life and its ways.

       Th Rat said nothing, but stoopd and unfasnd a rope and hauld on it; then lytly stepd into a litl boat wich th Mole had not observd. It was paintd blu outside and wite within, and was just th size for two anmls; and th Mole's hole hart went out to it at once, even tho he did not yet fuly undrstand its uses.

       Th Rat sculled smartly across and made fast. Then he held up his forepaw as th Mole stepd jinjrly down. `Lean on that!' he said. `Now then, step lively!' and th Mole to his surprise and raptur found himself actuly seatd in th stern of a real boat.

       `This has been a wondrful day!' said he, as th Rat shovd off and took to th sculls again. `Do u no, I`ve nevr been in a boat befor in al my life.'

       `Wat?' cryd th Rat, open-mouthd: `Nevr been in a -- u nevr -- wel I -- wat hav u been doing, then?'

       `Is it so nice as al that?' askd th Mole shyly, tho he was quite prepared to beleve it as he lent bak in his seat and surveyd th

    Paje 7

    cushns, th ors, th rowlocks, and al th fasnating fitngs, and felt th boat sway lytly undr him.

       `Nice? It's th only thing,' said th Watr Rat solemly, as he lent forwrd for his stroke. `Beleve me, my yung frend, ther is nothing -- abslute nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply mesng about in boats. Simply mesng,' he went on dreamily: `mesng -- about -- in -- boats; mesng -- -- '

       `Look ahed, Rat!' cryd th Mole sudnly.

       It was too late. Th boat struk th bank ful tilt. Th dreamr, th joyus oarsman, lay on his bak at th botm of th boat, his heels in th air.

       ` -- about in boats -- or with boats,' th Rat went on composedly, pikng himself up with a plesnt laf. `In or out of 'em, it dosnt matr. Nothing seems realy to matr, that's th charm of it. Wethr u get away, or wethr u dont; wethr u arive at yr destnation or wethr u reach somwher else, or wethr u nevr get anywher at al, u'r always busy, and u nevr do anything in particulr; and wen u'v don it ther's always somthing else to do, and u can do

    Paje 8

    it if u like, but u'd much betr not. Look here! If u'v realy nothing else on hand this mornng, suposing we drop down th rivr togethr, and hav a long day of it?'

       Th Mole waggled his toes from sheer happiness, spred his chest with a sy of ful contentmnt, and leand bak blisfuly into th soft cushns. `Wat a day I'm havng!' he said. `Let us start at once!'

       `Hold hard a minut, then!' said th Rat. He loopd th paintr thru a ring in his landng-staje, climbd up into his hole abov, and aftr a short intrvl reapeard stagrng undr a fat, wikr lunchn-basket.

       `Shov that undr yr feet,' he observd to th Mole, as he pasd it down into th boat. Then he untied th paintr and took th sculls again.

       `Wat's inside it?' askd th Mole, riglng with curiosity.

       `Ther's cold chikn inside it,' replyd th Rat briefly; `coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrenchrollscresssan dwichespottedmeatgingerbeerlemonadesodawater -- -- '

       `O stop, stop,' cryd th Mole in ecstacies: `This is too much!'

    Paje 9

       `Do u realy think so?' inquired th Rat seriusly. `It's only wat I always take on these litl excursions; and th othr anmls ar always telng me that I'm a mean beast and cut it very fine!'

       Th Mole nevr herd a word he was sayng. Absorbd in th new life he was entrng upon, intoxicated with th sparkl, th ripl, th sents and th sounds and th sunlyt, he traild a paw in th watr and dreamd long waking dreams. Th Watr Rat, like th good litl felo he was, sculled stedily on and forebore to disturb him.

       `I like yr clothes awfuly, old chap,' he remarkd aftr som half an our or so had pasd. `I'm going to get a blak velvet smoking-suit myself som day, as soon as I can aford it.'

       `I beg yr pardn,' said th Mole, pulng himself togethr with an efrt. `U must think me very rude; but al this is so new to me. So -- this -- is -- a -- Rivr!'

       `Th Rivr,' corectd th Rat.

       `And u realy liv by th rivr? Wat a jolly life!'

       `By it and with it and on it and in it,' said

    Paje 10

    th Rat. `It's brothr and sistr to me, and ants, and compny, and food and drink, and (natrly) washng. It's my world, and I dont want any othr. Wat it hasnt got is not worth havng, and wat it dosnt no is not worth noing. Lord! th times we'v had togethr! Wethr in wintr or sumr, spring or autm, it's always got its fun and its exitemnts. Wen th flods ar on in Febry, and my celrs and basemnt ar brimng with drink that's no good to me, and th brown watr runs by my best bedroom windo; or again wen it al drops away and, shos pachs of mud that smels like plum-cake, and th rushs and weed clog th chanls, and I can potr about dry shod over most of th bed of it and find fresh food to eat, and things careless peple hav dropd out of boats!'

       `But isnt it a bit dul at times?' th Mole venturd to ask. `Just u and th rivr, and no one else to pass a word with?'

       `No one else to -- wel, I musnt be hard on u,' said th Rat with forbernce. `U'r new to it, and of corse u dont no. Th bank is so crowdd nowadays that many peple ar moving away altogethr: O no, it

    Paje 11

    isnt wat it used to be, at al. Otrs, kingfishers, dabchicks, moorhens, al of them about al day long and always wantng u to do somthing -- as if a felo had no busness of his own to atend to!'

       `Wat lies over ther?' askd th Mole, waving a paw towards a bakground of woodland that darkly framed th watr-medos on one side of th rivr.

       `That? O, that's just th Wild Wood,' said th Rat shortly. `We dont go ther very much, we rivr-bankrs.'

       `Arnt they -- arnt they very nice peple in ther?' said th Mole, a trifle nervusly.

       `W-e-ll,' replyd th Rat, `let me se. Th squirels ar al ryt. And th rabits -- som of 'em, but rabits ar a mixd lot. And then ther's Bajr, of corse. He lives ryt in th hart of it; wudnt liv anywher else, eithr, if u paid him to do it. Dear old Bajr! Nobody intrferes with him. They'd betr not,' he add synificntly.

       `Wy, ho shud intrfere with him?' askd th Mole.

       `Wel, of corse -- ther -- ar othrs,' explaind th Rat in a hesitating sort of way.

    Paje 12

       `Weasels -- and stoats -- and foxs -- and so on. They'r al ryt in a way -- I'm very good frends with them -- pass th time of day wen we meet, and al that -- but they brek out somtimes, ther's no denyng it, and then -- wel, u cant realy trust them, and that's th fact.'

       Th Mole new wel that it is quite against anml-etiqet to dwel on posbl trubl ahed, or even to allude to it; so he dropd th subject.

       `And beyond th Wild Wood again?' he askd: `Wher it's al blu and dim, and one ses wat may be hils or perhaps they mayn't, and somthing like th smoke of towns, or is it only cloud-drift?'

       `Beyond th Wild Wood coms th Wide World,' said th Rat. `And that's somthing that dosnt matr, eithr to u or me. I'v nevr been ther, and I'm nevr going, nor u eithr, if u'v got any sense at al. Dont evr refer to it again, plese. Now then! Here's our bakwatr at last, wher we'r going to lunch.'

       Leving th main stream, they now pasd into wat seemd at first syt like a litl land-

    Paje 13

    lokd lake. Green turf sloped down to eithr ej, brown snaky tre-roots gleamd belo th surface of th quiet watr, wile ahed of them th silvry sholdr and foamy tumbl of a weir, arm-in-arm with a restless dripng mil-weel, that held up in its turn a gray-gabled mil-house, fild th air with a soothing murmr of sound, dul and smothery, yet with litl clear voices speakng up cheerfuly out of it at intrvls. It was so very butiful that th Mole cud only hold up both forpaws and gasp, `O my! O my! O my!'

       Th Rat brot th boat alongside th bank, made her fast, helpd th stil awkwrd Mole safely ashor, and swung out th lunchn-basket. Th Mole begd as a favor to be alowd to unpak it al by himself; and th Rat was very plesed to indulj him, and to sprawl at ful length on th grass and rest, wile his exited frend shook out th table-cloth and spred it, took out al th mysterius pakets one by one and aranjed ther contents in du ordr, stil gaspng, `O my! O my!' at each fresh revlation. Wen al was redy, th Rat said, `Now, pich in, old felo!' and th Mole was indeed very glad to obey, for he had

    Paje 14

    startd his spring-cleanng at a very erly our that mornng, as peple wil do, and had not pausd for bite or sup; and he had been thru a very gret deal since that distnt time wich now seemd so many days ago.

       `Wat ar u lookng at?' said th Rat presntly, wen th ej of ther hungr was somwat duld, and th Mole's ys wer able to wandr off th table-cloth a litl.

       `I am lookng,' said th Mole, `at a streak of bubls that I se travlng along th surface of th watr. That is a thing that strikes me as funny.'

       `Bubls? Oho!' said th Rat, and chirruped cheerily in an inviting sort of way.

       A brod glisnng muzl showd itself abov th ej of th bank, and th Otr hauld himself out and shook th watr from his coat.

       `Greedy begrs!' he observd, making for th provender. `Wy didnt u invite me, Ratty?'

       `This was an impromtu afair,' explaind th Rat. `By th way -- my frend Mr. Mole.'

       `Proud, I'm sure,' said th Otr, and th two anmls wer frends forthwith.

    Paje 15

       `Such a rumpus evrywher!' continud th Otr. `Al th world seems out on th rivr to-day. I came up this bakwatr to try and get a moment's pece, and then stumbl upon u felos! -- At least -- I beg pardn -- I dont exactly mean that, u no.'

       Ther was a rusl behind them, proceedng from a hej wherin last year's leavs stil clung thik, and a stripy hed, with hy sholdrs behind it, peerd forth on them.

       `Com on, old Bajr!' shoutd th Rat.

       Th Bajr trotd forwrd a pace or two; then gruntd, `H'm! Compny,' and turnd his bak and disapeard from vew.

       `That's just th sort of felo he is!' observd th disapointd Rat. `Simply hates Society! Now we shant se any mor of him to-day. Wel, tel us, ho's out on th rivr?'

       `Toad's out, for one,' replyd th Otr. `In his brand-new wajer-boat; new togs, new everything!'

       Th two anmls lookd at each othr and lafd.

       `Once, it was nothing but sailng,' said th Rat, `Then he tired of that and took to punting.

    Paje 16

    Nothing wud plese him but to punt al day and evry day, and a nice mess he made of it. Last year it was house-boatng, and we al had to go and stay with him in his house-boat, and pretend we liked it. He was going to spend th rest of his life in a house-boat. It's al th same, watevr he takes up; he gets tired of it, and starts on somthing fresh.'

       `Such a good felo, too,' remarkd th Otr reflectivly: `But no stability -- especialy in a boat!'

       From wher they sat they cud get a glimps of th main stream across th iland that seprated them; and just then a wajer-boat flashd into vew, th rower -- a short, stout figr -- splashng badly and rolng a good deal, but workng his hardst. Th Rat stood up and haild him, but Toad -- for it was he -- shook his hed and setld sternly to his work.

       `He'l be out of th boat in a minut if he rols like that,' said th Rat, sitng down again.

       `Of corse he wil,' chukld th Otr. `Did I evr tel u that good story about Toad and th lok-keepr? It hapnd this way. Toad. . . .'

       An erant May-fly swervd unstedily

    Paje 17

    athwart th curent in th intoxicated fashn afectd by yung bloods of May-flys seing life. A swirl of watr and a `cloop!' and th May-fly was visbl no mor.

       Neithr was th Otr.

       Th Mole lookd down. Th voice was stil in his ears, but th turf whereon he had sprawld was clearly vacant. Not an Otr to be seen, as far as th distnt horizon.

       But again ther was a streak of bubls on th surface of th rivr.

       Th Rat humd a tune, and th Mole reclectd that anml-etiqet forbad any sort of coment on th sudn disapearnce of one's frends at any moment, for any reasn or no reasn watevr.

       `Wel, wel,' said th Rat, `I supose we ot to be moving. I wondr wich of us had betr pak th lunchn-basket?' He did not speak as if he was frytfuly eagr for th treat.

       `O, plese let me,' said th Mole. So, of corse, th Rat let him.

       Pakng th basket was not quite such plesnt work as unpacking' th basket. It nevr is. But th Mole was bent on enjoyng

    Paje 18

    everything, and altho just wen he had got th basket pakd and strapd up tytly he saw a plate staring up at him from th grass, and wen th job had been don again th Rat pointd out a fork wich anybody ot to hav seen, and last of al, behold! th mustrd pot, wich he had been sitng on without noing it -- stil, somhow, th thing got finishd at last, without much loss of tempr.

       Th aftrnoon sun was getng lo as th Rat sculled jently homewrds in a dreamy mood, murmrng poetry-things over to himself, and not payng much atention to Mole. But th Mole was very ful of lunch, and self-satisfaction, and pride, and alredy quite at home in a boat (so he thot) and was getng a bit restless besides: and presntly he said, `Ratty! Plese, I want to ro, now!'

       Th Rat shook his hed with a smile. `Not yet, my yung frend,' he said -- 'wait til u'v had a few lesns. It's not so esy as it looks.'

       Th Mole was quiet for a minut or two. But he began to feel mor and mor jelus of Rat, sculling so strongly and so esily along, and his pride began to wispr that he cud do it evry bit as wel. He jumpd up and

    Paje 19

    sezed th sculls, so sudnly, that th Rat, ho was gazing out over th watr and sayng mor poetry-things to himself, was taken by surprise and fel bakwrds off his seat with his legs in th air for th secnd time, wile th triumfnt Mole took his place and grabd th sculls with entire confidnce.

       `Stop it, u silly ass!' cryd th Rat, from th botm of th boat. `U cant do it! U'l hav us over!'

       Th Mole flung his sculls bak with a flurish, and made a gret dig at th watr. He misd th surface altogethr, his legs flew up abov his hed, and he found himself lyng on th top of th prostrate Rat. Gretly alarmd, he made a grab at th side of th boat, and th next moment -- Sploosh!

       Over went th boat, and he found himself struglng in th rivr.

       O my, how cold th watr was, and O, how very wet it felt. How it sang in his ears as he went down, down, down! How bryt and welcm th sun lookd as he rose to th surface cofng and splutrng! How blak was his despair wen he felt himself sinkng again! Then a firm paw gripd him by th

    Paje 20

    bak of his nek. It was th Rat, and he was evidntly lafng -- th Mole cud feel him lafng, ryt down his arm and thru his paw, and so into his -- th Mole's -- nek.

       Th Rat got hold of a scull and shovd it undr th Mole's arm; then he did th same by th othr side of him and, swimng behind, propeld th helpless anml to shor, hauld him out, and set him down on th bank, a squashy, pulpy lump of misry.

       Wen th Rat had rubd him down a bit, and rung som of th wet out of him, he said, `Now, then, old felo! Trot up and down th towng-path as hard as u can, til u'r warm and dry again, wile I dive for th lunchn-basket.'

       So th disml Mole, wet without and ashamed within, trotd about til he was fairly dry, wile th Rat plunjd into th watr again, recovrd th boat, rytd her and made her fast, fechd his floatng proprty to shor by degrees, and finaly dived succesfuly for th lunchn-basket and strugld to land with it.

       Wen al was redy for a start once mor, th Mole, limp and dejectd, took his seat in th stern of th boat; and as they set off, he

    Paje 21

    said in a lo voice, broken with emotion, `Ratty, my jenrus frend! I am very sorry indeed for my foolish and ungrateful conduct. My hart quite fails me wen I think how I myt hav lost that butiful lunchn-basket. Indeed, I hav been a complete ass, and I no it. Wil u overlook it this once and forgiv me, and let things go on as befor?'

       `That's al ryt, bless u!' respondd th Rat cheerily. `Wat's a litl wet to a Watr Rat? I'm mor in th watr than out of it most days. Dont u think any mor about it; and, look here! I realy think u had betr com and stop with me for a litl time. It's very plan and ruf, u no -- not like Toad's house at al -- but u havnt seen that yet; stil, I can make u comfrtbl. And I'l teach u to ro, and to swim, and u'l soon be as handy on th watr as any of us.'

       Th Mole was so tuchd by his kind manr of speakng that he cud find no voice to ansr him; and he had to brush away a ter or two with th bak of his paw. But th Rat kindly lookd in anothr direction, and presntly th Mole's spirits revived again, and he was even able to giv som strait bak-talk

    Paje 22

    to a cupl of moorhens ho wer snigrng to each othr about his bedragld apearnce.

       Wen they got home, th Rat made a bryt fire in th parlr, and plantd th Mole in an arm-chair in front of it, havng fechd down a dresng-gown and sliprs for him, and told him rivr storis til supr-time. Very thrilng storis they wer, too, to an erth-dwelng anml like Mole. Storis about weirs, and sudn flods, and leapng pike, and steamrs that flung hard botls -- at least botls wer certnly flung, and from steamrs, so presumebly by them; and about herons, and how particulr they wer hom they spoke to; and about adventurs down drains, and nyt-fishings with Otr, or excursions far a-field with Bajr. Supr was a most cheerful meal; but very shortly aftrwrds a teribly sleepy Mole had to be escortd upstairs by his considrat host, to th best bedroom, wher he soon laid his hed on his pilo in gret pece and contentmnt, noing that his new-found frend th Rivr was lapng th sil of his windo.

       This day was only th first of many simlr ones for th emancipated Mole, each of them

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    longr and ful of intrest as th ripenng sumr moved onwrd. He lernt to swim and to ro, and entrd into th joy of runng watr; and with his ear to th reed-stems he caut, at intrvls, somthing of wat th wind went wisprng so constntly among them.

    Paje 24

    Chaptr 2



       `RATTY,' said th Mole sudnly, one bryt sumr mornng, `if u plese, I want to ask u a favor.'

       Th Rat was sitng on th rivr bank, singng a litl song. He had just composed it himself, so he was very taken up with it, and wud not pay propr atention to Mole or anything else. Since erly mornng he had been swimng in th rivr, in compny with his frends th duks. And wen th duks stood on ther heds sudnly, as duks wil, he wud dive down and tikl ther neks, justunder wher ther chins wud be if duks had chins, til they wer forced tocome to th surface again in a hurry, splutrng and angry and shakingtheir fethrs at him, for it is imposbl to say quite al u feel wen yr hed

    isPaje 25

    undr watr. At last they implord him to go away and atend to his own afairs and leve them to mind thers. So th Rat went away, and sat on th rivr bank in th sun, and made up a song about them, wich he cald

    Al along th bakwatr,
    Thru th rushs tal,
    Duks ar a-dabbling,
    Up tails al!

    Ducks' tails, drakes' tails,
    Yelo feet a-quivr,
    Yelo bils al out of syt
    Busy in th rivr!

    Slushy green undrgroth
    Wher th roach swim --
    Here we keep our lardr,
    Cool and ful and dim.

    Evryone for wat he likes!
    We like to be
    Heds down, tails up,
    Dabbling fre!

    Hy in th blu abov
    Swifts wirl and cal --
    We ar down a-dabbling
    Up tails al!

       `I dont no that I think so very much of that litl song, Rat,' observd th Mole

    Paje 26

    cautiusly. He was no poet himself and didnt care ho new it; and he had a candid natur.

       `Nor dont th duks neithr,' replyd th Rat cheerfuly. `They say, "Wy cant felos be alowd to do wat they like wen they like and as they like, insted of othr felos sitng on banks and wachng them al th time and making remarks and poetry and things about them? Wat nonsnse it al is!" That's wat th duks say.'

       `So it is, so it is,' said th Mole, with gret hartiness.

       `No, it isnt!' cryd th Rat indignntly.

       `Wel then, it isnt, it isnt,' replyd th Mole soothingly. `But wat I wantd to ask u was, wont u take me to cal on Mr. Toad? I'v herd so much about him, and I do so want to make his aquaintnce.'

       `Wy, certnly,' said th good-naturd Rat, jumpng to his feet and dismisng poetry from his mind for th day. `Get th boat out, and we'l padl up ther at once. It's nevr th rong time to cal on Toad. Erly or late he's always th same felo. Always good-temprd, always glad to se u, always sorry wen u go!'

    Paje 27

       `He must be a very nice anml,' observd th Mole, as he got into th boat and took th sculls, wile th Rat setld himself comfrtbly in th stern.

       `He is indeed th best of anmls,' replyd Rat. `So simpl, so good-naturd, and so afectionat. Perhaps he's not very clevr -- we cant al be jeniuses; and it may be that he is both boastful and conceitd. But he has got som gret qualitis, has Toady.'

       Roundng a bend in th rivr, they came in syt of a hansm, dignifyd old house of melod red brik, with wel-kept lawns reachng down to th water's ej.

       `Ther's Toad Hal,' said th Rat; `and that creek on th left, wher th notice-bord says, "Privat. No landng alowd," leads to his boat-house, wher we'l leve th boat. Th stables ar over ther to th ryt. That's th banquetng-hal u'r lookng at now -- very old, that is. Toad is rathr rich, u no, and this is realy one of th nicest houses in these parts, tho we nevr admit as much to Toad.'

       They glided up th creek, and th Mole slipd his sculls as they pasd into th

    Paje 28

    shado of a larj boat-house. Here they saw many hansm boats, slung from th cross beams or hauld up on a slip, but non in th watr; and th place had an unused and a desertd air.

       Th Rat lookd around him. `I undrstand,' said he. `Boatng is playd out. He's tired of it, and don with it. I wondr wat new fad he has taken up now? Com along and let's look him up. We shal hear al about it quite soon enuf.'

       They dismbarkd, and strold across th gay flowr-dekd lawns in serch of Toad, hom they presntly hapnd upon restng in a wikr gardn-chair, with a pre-ocupyd expression of face, and a larj map spred out on his nes.

       `Huray!' he cryd, jumpng up on seing them, `this is splendid!' He shook th paws of both of them warmly, nevr waitng for an introduction to th Mole. `How kind of u!' he went on, dancing round them. `I was just going to send a boat down th rivr for u, Ratty, with strict ordrs that u wer to be fechd up here at once, watevr u wer doing. I want u badly -- both of u.

    Paje 29

    Now wat wil u take? Com inside and hav somthing! U dont no how lucky it is, yr turnng up just now!'

       `Let's sit quiet a bit, Toady!' said th Rat, throing himself into an esy chair, wile th Mole took anothr by th side of him and made som civl remark about Toad's `delytful residnce.'

       `Finest house on th hole rivr,' cryd Toad boistrusly. `Or anywher else, for that matr,' he cud not help adng.

       Here th Rat nujd th Mole. Unfortunatly th Toad saw him do it, and turnd very red. Ther was a moment's painful silence. Then Toad burst out lafng. `Al ryt, Ratty,' he said. `It's only my way, u no. And it's not such a very bad house, is it? U no u rathr like it yrself. Now, look here. Let's be sensbl. U ar th very anmls I wantd. U'v got to help me. It's most importnt!'

       `It's about yr roing, I supose,' said th Rat, with an inocent air. `U'r getng on fairly wel, tho u splash a good bit stil. With a gret deal of patience, and any quantity of coachng, u may -- -- '

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       `O, pooh! boatng!' intruptd th Toad, in gret disgust. Silly boyish amusemnt. I'v givn that up long ago. Sheer waste of time, that's wat it is. It makes me downryt sorry to se u felos, ho ot to no betr, spendng al yr enrjis in that aimless manr. No, I'v discovrd th real thing, th only jenuin ocupation for a life time. I propose to devote th remaindr of mine to it, and can only regret th wasted years that lie behind me, squandrd in trivialitis. Com with me, dear Ratty, and yr amiabl frend also, if he wil be so very good, just as far as th stable-yard, and u shal se wat u shal se!'

       He led th way to th stable-yard acordngly, th Rat foloing with a most mistrustful expression; and ther, drawn out of th coach house into th open, they saw a jipsy caravan, shining with newness, paintd a canary-yelo pikd out with green, and red weels.

       `Ther u ar!' cryd th Toad, stradlng and expandng himself. `Ther's real life for u, embodid in that litl cart. Th open road, th dusty hyway, th heath, th comn, th hejros, th rolng downs!

    Paje 31

    Camps, vilajs, towns, citis! Here to-day, up and off to somwher else to-moro! Travl, chanje, intrest, exitemnt! Th hole world befor u, and a horizon that's always chanjing! And mind! this is th very finest cart of its sort that was evr bilt, without any exeption. Com inside and look at th aranjemnts. Pland 'em al myself, I did!'

       Th Mole was tremendusly intrestd and exited, and folod him eagrly up th steps and into th interir of th caravan. Th Rat only snortd and thrust his hands deep into his pokets, remainng wher he was.

       It was indeed very compact and comfrtbl. Litl sleepng bunks -- a litl table that foldd up against th wal -- a cookng-stove, lokrs, bookshelvs, a bird-caje with a bird in it; and pots, pans, jugs and ketls of evry size and variety.

       `Al complete!' said th Toad triumfntly, pulng open a lokr. `U se -- biscuits, potd lobstr, sardines -- everything u can posbly want. Soda-watr here -- baccy ther -- letr-paper, bacon, jam, cards and dominos -- u'l find,' he continud, as they desendd th steps again, `u'l find that nothing wat

    Paje 32

    evr has been forgotn, wen we make our start this aftrnoon.'

       `I beg yr pardn,' said th Rat sloly, as he chewd a straw, `but did I overhear u say somthing about "we," and "start," and "this aftrnoon?"'

       `Now, u dear good old Ratty,' said Toad, imploringly, `dont begin talkng in that stif and sniffy sort of way, because u no u'v got to com. I cant posbly manaj without u, so plese considr it setld, and dont argu -- it's th one thing I cant stand. U surely dont mean to stik to yr dul fusty old rivr al yr life, and just liv in a hole in a bank, and boat? I want to sho u th world! I'm going to make an anml of u, my boy!'

       `I dont care,' said th Rat, dogedly. `I'm not comng, and that's flat. And I am going to stik to my old rivr, and liv in a hole, and boat, as I'v always don. And wat's mor, Mole's going to stik me and do as I do, arnt u, Mole?'

       `Of corse I am,' said th Mole, loyly. `I'l always stik to u, Rat, and wat u say is to be -- has got to be. Al th same, it sounds as

    Paje 33

    if it myt hav been -- wel, rathr fun, u no!' he add, wistfuly. Poor Mole! Th Life Adventurus was so new a thing to him, and so thrilng; and this fresh aspect of it was so temtng; and he had falen in lov at first syt with th canary-colord cart and al its litl fitments.

       Th Rat saw wat was pasng in his mind, and waverd. He hated disapointng peple, and he was fond of th Mole, and wud do almost anything to oblije him. Toad was wachng both of them closely.

       `Com along in, and hav som lunch,' he said, diplomaticly, `and we'l talk it over. We neednt decide anything in a hurry. Of corse, I dont realy care. I only want to giv plesur to u felos. "Liv for othrs!" That's my moto in life.'

       During lunchn -- wich was exlnt, of corse, as everything at Toad Hal always was -- th Toad simply let himself go. Disregardng th Rat, he proceedd to play upon th inexperienced Mole as on a harp. Natrly a volubl anml, and always mastrd by his imajnation, he paintd th prospects of th trip and th joys of th open life and th road

    Paje 34

    side in such gloing colors that th Mole cud hardly sit in his chair for exitemnt. Somhow, it soon seemd taken for grantd by al thre of them that th trip was a setld thing; and th Rat, tho stil unconvinced in his mind, alowd his good-natur to over-ride his persnl objections. He cud not ber to disapoint his two frends, ho wer alredy deep in scemes and anticipations, planng out each day's seprate ocupation for sevrl weeks ahed.

       Wen they wer quite redy, th now triumfnt Toad led his companions to th padok and set them to captur th old gray horse, ho, without havng been consultd, and to his own extreme anoynce, had been told off by Toad for th dustiest job in this dusty expedition. He frankly preferd th padok, and took a deal of cachng. Meantime Toad pakd th lokrs stil tytr with necesris, and hung nosebags, nets of onions, bundls of hay, and baskets from th botm of th cart. At last th horse was caut and harnesd, and they set off, al talkng at once, each anml eithr trujng by th side of th cart or sitng on th shaft, as th humor took him. It was a

    Paje 35

    goldn aftrnoon. Th smel of th dust they kikd up was rich and satisfyng; out of thik orchrds on eithr side th road, birds cald and wisld to them cheerily; good-naturd wayfarers, pasng them, gave them `Good-day,' or stopd to say nice things about ther butiful cart; and rabits, sitng at ther front dors in th hejros, held up ther for-paws, and said, `O my! O my! O my!'

       Late in th evenng, tired and happy and miles from home, they drew up on a remote comn far from habitations, turnd th horse loose to graze, and ate ther simpl supr sitng on th grass by th side of th cart. Toad talkd big about al he was going to do in th days to com, wile stars grew fulr and larjr al around them, and a yelo moon, apearng sudnly and silently from nowher in particulr, came to keep them compny and lisn to ther talk. At last they turnd in to ther litl bunks in th cart; and Toad, kikng out his legs, sleepily said, `Wel, good nyt, u felos! This is th real life for a jentlman! Talk about yr old rivr!'

       `I dont talk about my rivr,' replyd th

    Paje 36

    patient Rat. `U no I dont, Toad. But I think about it,' he add patheticly, in a loer tone: `I think about it -- al th time!'

       Th Mole reachd out from undr his blanket, felt for th Rat's paw in th darkns, and gave it a squeze. `I'l do watevr u like, Ratty,' he wisprd. `Shal we run away to-moro mornng, quite erly -- very erly -- and go bak to our dear old hole on th rivr?'

       `No, no, we'l se it out,' wisprd bak th Rat. `Thanks awfuly, but I ot to stik by Toad til this trip is endd. It wudnt be safe for him to be left to himself. It wont take very long. His fads nevr do. Good nyt!'

       Th end was indeed nearr than even th Rat suspectd.

       Aftr so much open air and exitemnt th Toad slept very soundly, and no amount of shaking cud rouse him out of bed next mornng. So th Mole and Rat turnd to, quietly and manfuly, and wile th Rat saw to th horse, and lit a fire, and cleand last night's cups and platrs, and got things redy for brekfast, th Mole trujd off to th nearst vilaj, a long way off, for milk and egs and varius necesris th Toad had, of

    Paje 37

    corse, forgotn to provide. Th hard work had al been don, and th two anmls wer restng, thoroly exaustd, by th time Toad apeard on th sene, fresh and gay, remarkng wat a plesnt esy life it was they wer al leadng now, aftr th cares and worris and fatiges of houskeepng at home.

       They had a plesnt rambl that day over grassy downs and along naro by-lanes, and campd as befor, on a comn, only this time th two gests took care that Toad shud do his fair share of work. In consequence, wen th time came for startng next mornng, Toad was by no means so rapturus about th simplicity of th primitiv life, and indeed atemtd to resume his place in his bunk, wence he was hauld by force. Ther way lay, as befor, across cuntry by naro lanes, and it was not til th aftrnoon that they came out on th hy-road, ther first hy-road; and ther disastr, fleet and unforseen, sprang out on them -- disastr momentus indeed to ther expedition, but simply overwelmng in its efect on th aftr-career of Toad.

       They wer strolng along th hy-road esily,

    Paje 38

    th Mole by th horse's hed, talkng to him, since th horse had complaind that he was being frytfuly left out of it, and nobody considrd him in th least; th Toad and th Watr Rat walkng behind th cart talkng togethr -- at least Toad was talkng, and Rat was sayng at intrvls, `Yes, precisely; and wat did u say to him?' -- and thinkng al th time of somthing very difrnt, wen far behind them they herd a faint warnng hum; like th drone of a distnt be. Glancing bak, they saw a smal cloud of dust, with a dark centr of enrjy, advancing on them at incredbl speed, wile from out th dust a faint `Poop-poop!' waild like an unesy anml in pain. Hardly regardng it, they turnd to resume ther convrsation, wen in an instnt (as it seemd) th peceful sene was chanjed, and with a blast of wind and a wirl of sound that made them jump for th nearst dich, It was on them! Th `Poop-poop' rang with a brazen shout in ther ears, they had a moment's glimps of an interir of glitrng plate-glass and rich moroco, and th magnificent motor-car, imense, breth-snachng, passionat, with its pilot tense and hugng his weel, posesd al erth and air
    Paje 39

    for th fraction of a secnd, flung an envelopng cloud of dust that blindd and enwrapped them utrly, and then dwindld to a spek in th far distnce, chanjed bak into a droning be once mor.

       Th old gray horse, dreamng, as he plodd along, of his quiet padok, in a new raw situation such as this simply abandnd himself to his natrl emotions. Rearng, plunjng, bakng stedily, in spite of al th Mole's efrts at his hed, and al th Mole's lively languaj directd at his betr feelngs, he drove th cart bakwrds towards th deep dich at th side of th road. It waverd an instnt -- then ther was a heartrending crash -- and th canary-colord cart, ther pride and ther joy, lay on its side in th dich, an irredeemable rek.

       Th Rat danced up and down in th road, simply transportd with passion. `U vilans!' he shoutd, shaking both fists, `U scoundrls, u hywaymen, u -- u -- roadhogs! -- I'l hav th law of u! I'l report u! I'l take u thru al th Corts!' His home-sikness had quite slipd away from him, and for th moment he was th skipr of

    Paje 40

    th canary-colord vesl drivn on a shoal by th rekless jockying of rival marinrs, and he was tryng to reclect al th fine and biting things he used to say to mastrs of steam-launchs wen ther wash, as they drove too near th bank, used to flod his parlr-carpet at home.

       Toad sat strait down in th midl of th dusty road, his legs strechd out befor him, and stared fixedly in th direction of th disapearng motor-car. He brethed short, his face wor a placid satisfyd expression, and at intrvls he faintly murmrd `Poop-poop!'

       Th Mole was busy tryng to quiet th horse, wich he succeedd in doing aftr a time. Then he went to look at th cart, on its side in th dich. It was indeed a sorry syt. Panls and windos smashd, axls hopelesly bent, one weel off, sardine-tins scatrd over th wide world, and th bird in th bird-caje sobng pitifuly and calng to be let out.

       Th Rat came to help him, but ther united efrts wer not suficient to ryt th cart. `Hi! Toad!' they cryd. `Com and ber a hand, cant u!'

    Paje 41

       Th Toad nevr ansrd a word, or bujd from his seat in th road; so they went to se wat was th matr with him. They found him in a sort of a trance, a happy smile on his face, his ys stil fixd on th dusty wake of ther destroyr. At intrvls he was stil herd to murmr `Poop-poop!'

       Th Rat shook him by th sholdr. `Ar u comng to help us, Toad?' he demandd sternly.

       `Glorius, stirng syt!' murmrd Toad, nevr ofrng to move. `Th poetry of motion! Th real way to travl! Th only way to travl! Here to-day -- in next week to-moro! Vil-lages skipd, towns and citis jumpd -- always sombody else's horizon! O bliss! O poop-poop! O my! O my!'

       `O stop being an ass, Toad!' cryd th Mole despairngly.

       `And to think I nevr new!' went on th Toad in a dreamy monotone. `Al those wasted years that lie behind me, I nevr new, nevr even dremt! But now -- but now that I no, now that I fuly realize! O wat a flowry trak lies spred befor me, henceforth! Wat dust-clouds shal spring up behind me as I

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    speed on my rekless way! Wat carts I shal fling carelesly into th dich in th wake of my magnificent onset! Horid litl carts -- comn carts -- canary-colord carts!'

       `Wat ar we to do with him?' askd th Mole of th Watr Rat.

       `Nothing at al,' replyd th Rat firmly. `Because ther is realy nothing to be don. U se, I no him from of old. He is now posesd. He has got a new craze, and it always takes him that way, in its first staje. He'l continu like that for days now, like an anml walkng in a happy dream, quite useless for al practicl purposes. Nevr mind him. Let's go and se wat ther is to be don about th cart.'

       A careful inspection showd them that, even if they succeedd in rytng it by themselvs, th cart wud travl no longr. Th axls wer in a hopeless state, and th misng weel was shatrd into peces.

       Th Rat notd th horse's reins over his bak and took him by th hed, carrying th bird caje and its hystericl ocupnt in th othr hand. `Com on!' he said grimly to th Mole. `It's five or six miles to th nearst town, and

    Paje 43

    we shal just hav to walk it. Th soonr we make a start th betr.'

       `But wat about Toad?' askd th Mole anxiusly, as they set off togethr. `We cant leve him here, sitng in th midl of th road by himself, in th distractd state he's in! It's not safe. Suposing anothr Thing wer to com along?'

       `O, bothr Toad,' said th Rat savajly; `I'v don with him!'

       They had not proceedd very far on ther way, howevr, wen ther was a patrng of feet behind them, and Toad caut them up and thrust a paw inside th elbo of each of them; stil brething short and staring into vacancy.

       `Now, look here, Toad!' said th Rat sharply: `as soon as we get to th town, u'l hav to go strait to th police-station, and se if they no anything about that motor-car and ho it belongs to, and loj a complaint against it. And then u'l hav to go to a blacksmith's or a wheelwright's and aranje for th cart to be fechd and mendd and put to ryts. It'l take time, but it's not quite a hopeless smash. Meanwile, th Mole and I wil go to an in and find comfrtbl rooms wher we can stay til

    Paje 44

    th cart's redy, and til yr nervs hav recovrd ther shok.'

       `Police-station! Complaint!'murmured Toad dreamily. `Me complain of that butiful, that hevnly vision that has been vouchsafed me! Mend th cart! I'v don with carts for evr. I nevr want to se th cart, or to hear of it, again. O, Ratty! U cant think how oblijed I am to u for consentng to com on this trip! I wudnt hav gon without u, and then I myt nevr hav seen that -- that swan, that sunbeam, that thundrbolt! I myt nevr hav herd that entrancing sound, or smelt that bewichng smel! I o it al to u, my best of frends!'

       Th Rat turnd from him in despair. `U se wat it is?' he said to th Mole, adresng him across Toad's hed: `He's quite hopeless. I giv it up -- wen we get to th town we'l go to th railway station, and with luk we may pik up a train ther that'l get us bak to rivrbank to-nyt. And if evr u cach me going a-pleasuring with this provoking anml again!'

       He snortd, and during th rest of that weary truj adresd his remarks exclusivly to Mole.

    Paje 45

       On reachng th town they went strait to th station and depositd Toad in th secnd-class waitng-room, givng a portr twopnce to keep a strict y on him. They then left th horse at an in stable, and gave wat directions they cud about th cart and its contents. Eventuly, a slo train havng landd them at a station not very far from Toad Hal, they escortd th spel-bound, sleep-walkng Toad to his dor, put him inside it, and instructd his houskeepr to feed him, undress him, and put him to bed. Then they got out ther boat from th boat-house, sculled down th rivr home, and at a very late our sat down to supr in ther own cozy rivrside parlr, to th Rat's gret joy and contentmnt.

       Th foloing evenng th Mole, ho had risn late and taken things very esy al day, was sitng on th bank fishng, wen th Rat, ho had been lookng up his frends and gosipng, came strolng along to find him. `Herd th news?' he said. `Ther's nothing else being talkd about, al along th rivr bank. Toad went up to Town by an erly train this mornng. And he has ordrd a larj and very expensiv motor-car.'

    Paje 46

    Chaptr 3



       TH Mole had long wantd to make th I aquaintnce of th Bajr. He seemd, by al acounts, to be such an importnt persnaj and, tho rarely visbl, to make his unseen influence felt by evrybody about th place. But wenevr th Mole mentiond his wish to th Watr Rat he always found himself put off. `It's al ryt,' th Rat wud say. `Badger'll turn up som day or othr -- he's always turnng up -- and then I'l introduce u. Th best of felos! But u must not only take him as u find him, but wen u find him.'

       `Cudnt u ask him here dinr or somthing?' said th Mole.

       `He wudnt com,' replyd th Rat simply. `Bajr hates Society, and invitations, and dinr, and al that sort of thing.'

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       `Wel, then, suposing we go and cal on him?' sujestd th Mole.

       `O, I'm sure he wudnt like that at al,' said th Rat, quite alarmd. `He's so very shy, he'd be sure to be ofendd. I'v nevr even venturd to cal on him at his own home myself, tho I no him so wel. Besides, we cant. It's quite out of th question, because he lives in th very midl of th Wild Wood.'

       `Wel, suposing he dos,' said th Mole. `U told me th Wild Wood was al ryt, u no.'

       `O, I no, I no, so it is,' replyd th Rat evasivly. `But I think we wont go ther just now. Not just yet. It's a long way, and he wudnt be at home at this time of year anyhow, and he'l be comng along som day, if u'l wait quietly.'

       Th Mole had to be content with this. But th Bajr nevr came along, and evry day brot its amusemnts, and it was not til sumr was long over, and cold and frost and miry ways kept them much indors, and th swolen rivr raced past outside ther windos with a speed that mokd at boatng of

    Paje 48

    any sort or kind, that he found his thots dwelng again with much persistnce on th solitry gray Bajr, ho livd his own life by himself, in his hole in th midl of th Wild Wood.

       In th wintr time th Rat slept a gret deal, retiring erly and rising late. During his short day he somtimes scribld poetry or did othr smal domestic jobs about th house; and, of corse, ther wer always anmls dropng in for a chat, and consequently ther was a good deal of story-telng and comparing notes on th past sumr and al its doings.

       Such a rich chaptr it had been, wen one came to look bak on it al! With ilustrations so numerus and so very hyly colord! Th pajnt of th rivr bank had marchd stedily along, unfoldng itself in sene-picturs that succeedd each othr in stately procession. Purpl loosestrife arived erly, shaking luxuriant tangld loks along th ej of th mirr wence its own face lafd bak at it. Wilo-herb, tendr and wistful, like a pink sunset cloud, was not slo to folo. Comfry, th purpl hand-in-hand with th wite, crept forth to take its place in th line; and at last one

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    mornng th difidnt and delayng dog-rose stepd delicatly on th staje, and one new, as if string-music had anounced it in stately cords that strayd into a gavotte, that June at last was here. One membr of th compny was stil awaitd; th sheprd-boy for th nymfs to woo, th nyt for hom th ladis waitd at th windo, th prince that was to kiss th sleepng sumr bak to life and lov. But wen medo-sweet, debnair and odorus in ambr jerkn, moved graciusly to his place in th group, then th play was redy to begin.

       And wat a play it had been! Drowsy anmls, snug in ther holes wile wind and rain wer batrng at ther dors, recald stil keen mornngs, an our befor sunrise, wen th wite mist, as yet undispersed, clung closely along th surface of th watr; then th shok of th erly plunj, th scampr along th bank, and th radiant transfrmation of erth, air, and watr, wen sudnly th sun was with them again, and gray was gold and color was born and sprang out of th erth once mor. They recald th langrus siesta of hot mid-day, deep in green undrgroth, th sun striking thru in tiny goldn shafts and

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    spots; th boatng and bathing of th aftrnoon, th rambls along dusty lanes and thru yelo cornfields; and th long, cool evenng at last, wen so many threds wer gathrd up, so many frendships roundd, and so many adventurs pland for th moro. Ther was plenty to talk about on those short wintr days wen th anmls found themselvs round th fire; stil, th Mole had a good deal of spare time on his hands, and so one aftrnoon, wen th Rat in his arm-chair befor th blaze was alternatly dozing and tryng over ryms that wudnt fit, he formd th reslution to go out by himself and explor th Wild Wood, and perhaps strike up an aquaintnce with Mr. Bajr.

       It was a cold stil aftrnoon with a hard steely sky overhed, wen he slipd out of th warm parlr into th open air. Th cuntry lay bare and entirely leafless around him, and he thot that he had nevr seen so far and so intmatly into th insides of things as on that wintr day wen Natur was deep in her anul slumbr and seemd to hav kikd th clothes off. Copses, dells, quarris and al hidn places, wich had

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    been mysterius mines for explration in leafy sumr, now exposed themselvs and ther secrets patheticly, and seemd to ask him to overlook ther shabby povrty for a wile, til they cud riot in rich masqrade as befor, and trik and entice him with th old deceptions. It was pitiful in a way, and yet cheerng -- even exilrating. He was glad that he liked th cuntry undecorated, hard, and stripd of its finery. He had got down to th bare bones of it, and they wer fine and strong and simpl. He did not want th warm clover and th play of seedng grasses; th screens of quickset, th billowy drapery of beech and elm seemd best away; and with gret cheerfulness of spirit he pushd on towards th Wild Wood, wich lay befor him lo and thretnng, like a blak reef in som stil southern se.

       Ther was nothing to alarm him at first entry. Twigs crakld undr his feet, logs tripd him, funguses on stumps resembld caricaturs, and startld him for th moment by ther likeness to somthing familir and far away; but that was al fun, and exiting. It led him on, and he penetrated to wher th lyt was

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    less, and tres crouchd nearr and nearr, and holes made ugly mouths at him on eithr side.

       Everything was very stil now. Th dusk advanced on him stedily, rapidly, gathrng in behind and befor; and th lyt seemd to be drainng away like flod-watr.

       Then th faces began.

       It was over his sholdr, and indistinctly, that he first thot he saw a face; a litl evil wej-shaped face, lookng out at him from a hole. Wen he turnd and confrontd it, th thing had vanishd.

       He quiknd his pace, telng himself cheerfuly not to begin imajnng things, or ther wud be simply no end to it. He pasd anothr hole, and anothr, and anothr; and then -- yes! -- no! -- yes! certnly a litl naro face, with hard ys, had flashd up for an instnt from a hole, and was gon. He hesitated -- braced himself up for an efrt and strode on. Then sudnly, and as if it had been so al th time, evry hole, far and near, and ther wer hundreds of them, seemd to posess its face, comng and going rapidly, al fixng on him glances of malice and hatred: al hard-yd and evil and sharp.

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       If he cud only get away from th holes in th banks, he thot, ther wud be no mor faces. He swung off th path and plunjd into th untrodden places of th wood.

       Then th wislng began.

       Very faint and shril it was, and far behind him, wen first he herd it; but somhow it made him hurry forwrd. Then, stil very faint and shril, it soundd far ahed of him, and made him hesitate and want to go bak. As he haltd in indecision it broke out on eithr side, and seemd to be caut up and pasd on thruout th hole length of th wood to its farthst limit. They wer up and alert and redy, evidntly, hoevr they wer! And he -- he was alone, and unarmd, and far from any help; and th nyt was closing in.

       Then th patrng began.

       He thot it was only falng leavs at first, so slyt and delicat was th sound of it. Then as it grew it took a regulr rythm, and he new it for nothing else but th pat-pat-pat of litl feet stil a very long way off. Was it in front or behind? It seemd to be first one, and then th othr, then both. It grew and

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    it multiplyd, til from evry quartr as he lisnd anxiusly, leanng this way and that, it seemd to be closing in on him. As he stood stil to hearken, a rabit came runng hard towards him thru th tres. He waitd, expectng it to slakn pace, or to swerv from him into a difrnt corse. Insted, th anml almost brushd him as it dashd past, his face set and hard, his ys staring. `Get out of this, u fool, get out!' th Mole herd him mutr as he swung round a stump and disapeard down a frendly buro.

       Th patrng incresed til it soundd like sudn hail on th dry leaf-carpet spred around him. Th hole wood seemd runng now, runng hard, huntng, chasing, closing in round somthing or -- sombody? In panic, he began to run too, aimlesly, he new not withr. He ran up against things, he fel over things and into things, he dartd undr things and dojd round things. At last he took refuje in th deep dark holo of an old beech tre, wich ofrd sheltr, concealmnt -- perhaps even safety, but ho cud tel? Anyhow, he was too tired to run any furthr, and cud only snugl down into th

    Paje 55

    dry leavs wich had driftd into th holo and hope he was safe for a time. And as he lay ther pantng and tremblng, and lisnd to th whistlings and th patterings outside, he new it at last, in al its fulness, that dred thing wich othr litl dwelrs in field and hejro had encountrd here, and nown as ther darkst moment -- that thing wich th Rat had vainly tryd to shield him from -- th Terr of th Wild Wood!

       Meantime th Rat, warm and comfrtbl, dozed by his fireside. His paper of half-finishd verses slipd from his ne, his hed fel bak, his mouth opend, and he wandrd by th verdnt banks of dream-rivrs. Then a coal slipd, th fire crakld and sent up a spurt of flame, and he woke with a start. Remembrng wat he had been engajed upon, he reachd down to th flor for his verses, pord over them for a minut, and then lookd round for th Mole to ask him if he new a good rym for somthing or othr.

       But th Mole was not ther.

       He lisnd for a time. Th house seemd very quiet.

       Then he cald `Moly!' sevrl times, and,

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    receving no ansr, got up and went out into th hal.

       Th Mole's cap was misng from its acustmd peg. His goloshes, wich always lay by th umbrela-stand, wer also gon.

       Th Rat left th house, and carefuly examnd th muddy surface of th ground outside, hoping to find th Mole's traks. Ther they wer, sure enuf. Th goloshes wer new, just bot for th wintr, and th pimpls on ther soles wer fresh and sharp. He cud se th imprints of them in th mud, runng along strait and purposful, leadng direct to th Wild Wood.

       Th Rat lookd very grave, and stood in deep thot for a minut or two. Then he re-entrd th house, strapd a belt round his waist, shovd a brace of pistls into it, took up a stout cudgel that stood in a cornr of th hal, and set off for th Wild Wood at a smart pace.

       It was alredy getng towards dusk wen he reachd th first frinj of tres and plunjd without hesitation into th wood, lookng anxiusly on eithr side for any syn of his frend. Here and ther wiked litl faces

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    popd out of holes, but vanishd imediatly at syt of th valorous anml, his pistls, and th gret ugly cudgel in his grasp; and th wislng and patrng, wich he had herd quite plainly on his first entry, died away and cesed, and al was very stil. He made his way manfuly thru th length of th wood, to its furthst ej; then, forsaking al paths, he set himself to traverse it, laboriusly workng over th hole ground, and al th time calng out cheerfuly, `Moly, Moly, Moly! Wher ar u? It's me -- it's old Rat!'

       He had patiently huntd thru th wood for an our or mor, wen at last to his joy he herd a litl ansrng cry. Giding himself by th sound, he made his way thru th gathrng darkns to th foot of an old beech tre, with a hole in it, and from out of th hole came a feebl voice, sayng `Ratty! Is that realy u?'

       Th Rat crept into th holo, and ther he found th Mole, exaustd and stil tremblng. `O Rat!' he cryd, `I'v been so frytnd, u cant think!'

       `O, I quite undrstand,' said th Rat soothingly. `U shudnt realy hav gon and

    Paje 58

    don it, Mole. I did my best to keep u from it. We rivr-bankrs, we hardly evr com here by ourselvs. If we hav to com, we com in cupls, at least; then we'r jenrly al ryt. Besides, ther ar a hundred things one has to no, wich we undrstand al about and u dont, as yet. I mean passwords, and syns, and sayngs wich hav powr and efect, and plants u carry in yr poket, and verses u repeat, and dodges and triks u practis; al simpl enuf wen u no them, but they'v got to be nown if u'r smal, or u'l find yrself in trubl. Of corse if u wer Bajr or Otr, it wud be quite anothr matr.'

       `Surely th brave Mr. Toad wudnt mind comng here by himself, wud he?' inquired th Mole.

       `Old Toad?' said th Rat, lafng hartily. `He wudnt sho his face here alone, not for a hole hatful of goldn gineas, Toad wudnt.'

       Th Mole was gretly cheerd by th sound of th Rat's careless laftr, as wel as by th syt of his stik and his gleamng pistls, and he stopd shivrng and began to feel boldr and mor himself again.

    Paje 59

       `Now then,' said th Rat presntly, `we realy must pul ourselvs togethr and make a start for home wile ther's stil a litl lyt left. It wil nevr do to spend th nyt here, u undrstand. Too cold, for one thing.'

       `Dear Ratty,' said th poor Mole, `I'm dredfuly sorry, but I'm simply ded beat and that's a solid fact. U must let me rest here a wile longr, and get my strength bak, if I'm to get home at al.'

       `O, al ryt,' said th good-naturd Rat, `rest away. It's pretty nearly pich dark now, anyhow; and ther ot to be a bit of a moon later.'

       So th Mole got wel into th dry leavs and strechd himself out, and presntly dropd off into sleep, tho of a broken and trubld sort; wile th Rat covrd himself up, too, as best he myt, for warmth, and lay patiently waitng, with a pistl in his paw.

       Wen at last th Mole woke up, much refreshd and in his usul spirits, th Rat said, `Now then! I'l just take a look outside and se if everything's quiet, and then we realy must be off.'

       He went to th entrance of ther retreat and

    Paje 60

    put his hed out. Then th Mole herd him sayng quietly to himself, `Helo! helo! here -- is -- a -- go!'

       `Wat's up, Ratty?' askd th Mole.

       `Sno is up,' replyd th Rat briefly; `or rathr, down. It's snoing hard.'

       Th Mole came and crouchd beside him, and, lookng out, saw th wood that had been so dredful to him in quite a chanjed aspect. Holes, holos, pools, pitfals, and othr blak menaces to th wayfarer wer vanishng fast, and a gleamng carpet of faery was springng up evrywher, that lookd too delicat to be trodn upon by ruf feet. A fine powdr fild th air and caresd th cheek with a tingl in its tuch, and th blak boles of th tres showd up in a lyt that seemd to com from belo.

       `Wel, wel, it cant be helpd,' said th Rat, aftr pondrng. `We must make a start, and take our chance, I supose. Th worst of it is, I dont exactly no wher we ar. And now this sno makes everything look so very difrnt.'

       It did indeed. Th Mole wud not hav nown that it was th same wood. Howevr,

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    they set out bravely, and took th line that seemd most promisng, holdng on to each othr and pretendng with invincibl cheerfulness that they recognized an old frend in evry fresh tre that grimly and silently greetd them, or saw openngs, gaps, or paths with a familir turn in them, in th monotny of wite space and blak tre-trunks that refused to vary.

       An our or two later -- they had lost al count of time -- they puld up, dispiritd, weary, and hopelesly at se, and sat down on a falen tre-trunk to recovr ther breth and considr wat was to be don. They wer aching with fatige and brused with tumbls; they had falen into sevrl holes and got wet thru; th sno was getng so deep that they cud hardly drag ther litl legs thru it, and th tres wer thikr and mor like each othr than evr. Ther seemd to be no end to this wood, and no beginng, and no difrnce in it, and, worst of al, no way out.

       `We cant sit here very long,' said th Rat. `We shal hav to make anothr push for it, and do somthing or othr. Th cold is too awful for anything, and th sno wil soon be too deep for us to wade thru.' He peerd about

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    him and considrd. `Look here,' he went on, `this is wat ocurs to me. Ther's a sort of dell down here in front of us, wher th ground seems al hilly and humpy and hummocky. We'l make our way down into that, and try and find som sort of sheltr, a cave or hole with a dry flor to it, out of th sno and th wind, and ther we'l hav a good rest befor we try again, for we'r both of us pretty ded beat. Besides, th sno may leve off, or somthing may turn up.'

       So once mor they got on ther feet, and strugld down into th dell, wher they huntd about for a cave or som cornr that was dry and a protection from th keen wind and th wirlng sno. They wer investigating one of th hummocky bits th Rat had spoken of, wen sudnly th Mole tripd up and fel forwrd on his face with a squeal.

       `O my leg!' he cryd. `O my poor shin!' and he sat up on th sno and nursd his leg in both his front paws.

       `Poor old Mole!' said th Rat kindly.

       `U dont seem to be havng much luk to-day, do u? Let's hav a look at th leg. Yes,' he went on, going down on his nes

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    to look, `u'v cut yr shin, sure enuf. Wait til I get at my hankrchief, and I'l tie it up for u.'

       `I must hav tripd over a hidn branch or a stump,' said th Mole misrbly. `O, my! O, my!'

       `It's a very clean cut,' said th Rat, examnng it again atentivly. `That was nevr don by a branch or a stump. Looks as if it was made by a sharp ej of somthing in metl. Funny!' He pondrd awile, and examnd th humps and slopes that suroundd them.

       `Wel, nevr mind wat don it,' said th Mole, forgetng his gramr in his pain. `It hurts just th same, watevr don it.'

       But th Rat, aftr carefuly tyng up th leg with his hankrchief, had left him and was busy scraping in th sno. He scrachd and shovld and explord, al four legs workng busily, wile th Mole waitd impatiently, remarkng at intrvls, `O, com on, Rat!'

       Sudnly th Rat cryd `Huray!' and then `Huray-oo-ray-oo-ray-oo-ray!' and fel to executing a feebl jig in th sno.

       `Wat hav u found, Ratty?' askd th Mole, stil nursng his leg.

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       `Com and se!' said th delytd Rat, as he jigd on.

       Th Mole hobld up to th spot and had a good look.

       `Wel,' he said at last, sloly, `I se it ryt enuf. Seen th same sort of thing befor, lots of times. Familir object, I cal it. A dor-scraper! Wel, wat of it? Wy dance jigs around a dor-scraper?'

       `But dont u se wat it means, u -- u dul-witted anml?' cryd th Rat impa-tiently.

       `Of corse I se wat it means,' replyd th Mole. `It simply means that som very careless and forgetful persn has left his dor-scraper lyng about in th midl of th Wild Wood, just wher it's sure to trip evrybody up. Very thotless of him, I cal it. Wen I get home I shal go and complain about it to -- to sombody or othr, se if I dont!'

       `O, dear! O, dear!' cryd th Rat, in despair at his obtuseness. `Here, stop arguing and com and scrape!' And he set to work again and made th sno fly in al directions around him.

       Aftr som furthr toil his efrts wer rewardd, and a very shabby dor-mat lay exposed to vew.

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       `Ther, wat did I tel u?' exclaimd th Rat in gret triumf.

       `Abslutely nothing watevr,' replyd th Mole, with perfect truthfulness. `Wel now,' he went on, `u seem to hav found anothr pece of domestic litr, don for and thrown away, and I supose u'r perfectly happy. Betr go ahed and dance yr jig round that if u'v got to, and get it over, and then perhaps we can go on and not waste any mor time over rubish-heaps. Can we eat a dormat? or sleep undr a dor-mat? Or sit on a dor-mat and slej home over th sno on it, u exasprating rodent?'

       `Do -- u -- mean -- to -- say,' cryd th exited Rat, `that this dor-mat dosnt tel u anything?'

       `Realy, Rat,' said th Mole, quite pettishly, `I think we'd had enuf of this folly. Ho evr herd of a dor-mat telng anyone anything? They simply dont do it. They ar not that sort at al. Dor-mats no ther place.'

       `Now look here, u -- u thik-hedd beast,' replyd th Rat, realy angry, `this must stop. Not anothr word, but scrape -- scrape and scrach and dig and hunt round, especialy

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    on th sides of th humoks, if u want to sleep dry and warm to-nyt, for it's our last chance!'

       Th Rat atakd a sno-bank beside them with ardr, probing with his cudgel evrywher and then digng with fury; and th Mole scraped busily too, mor to oblije th Rat than for any othr reasn, for his opinion was that his frend was getng lyt-hedd.

       Som ten minutes' hard work, and th point of th Rat's cudgel struk somthing that soundd holo. He workd til he cud get a paw thru and feel; then cald th Mole to com and help him. Hard at it went th two anmls, til at last th result of ther labors stood ful in vew of th astonishd and hithrto incredulus Mole.

       In th side of wat had seemd to be a sno-bank stood a solid-lookng litl dor, paintd a dark green. An iron bel-pul hung by th side, and belo it, on a smal brass plate, neatly engraved in square capitl letrs, they cud red by th aid of moonlyt MR. BAJR.

       Th Mole fel bakwrds on th sno from sheer surprise and delyt. `Rat!' he cryd in

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    penitence, `u'r a wondr! A real wondr, that's wat u ar. I se it al now! U argud it out, step by step, in that wise hed of yrs, from th very moment that I fel and cut my shin, and u lookd at th cut, and at once yr majestic mind said to itself, "Dor-scraper!" And then u turnd to and found th very dor-scraper that don it! Did u stop ther? No. Som peple wud hav been quite satisfyd; but not u. Yr intlect went on workng. "Let me only just find a dor-mat," says u to yrself, "and my theory is proved!" And of corse u found yr dor-mat. U'r so clevr, I beleve u cud find anything u liked. "Now," says u, "that dor exists, as plan as if I saw it. Ther's nothing else remains to be don but to find it!" Wel, I'v red about that sort of thing in books, but I'v nevr com across it befor in real life. U ot to go wher u'l be proprly apreciated. U'r simply wasted here, among us felos. If I only had yr hed, Ratty -- -- '

       `But as u havnt,' intruptd th Rat, rathr unkindly, `I supose u'r going to sit on th sno al nyt and talk? Get up at

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    once and hang on to that bel-pul u se ther, and ring hard, as hard as u can, wile I hamr!'

       Wile th Rat atakd th dor with his stik, th Mole sprang up at th bel-pul, cluchd it and swung ther, both feet wel off th ground, and from quite a long way off they cud faintly hear a deep-toned bel respond.

    Paje 69

    Chaptr 4

    IV MR.


       THEY waitd patiently for wat seemd a very long time, stampng in th sno to keep ther feet warm. At last they herd th sound of slo shuflling footsteps aproachng th dor from th inside. It seemd, as th Mole remarkd to th Rat, like som one walkng in carpet sliprs that wer too larj for him and down at heel; wich was intelijnt of Mole, because that was exactly wat it was.

       Ther was th noise of a bolt shot bak, and th dor opend a few inchs, enuf to sho a long snout and a pair of sleepy blinkng ys.

       `Now, th very next time this hapns,' said a gruf and suspicius voice, `I shal be exeedngly angry. Ho is it this time, disturbng peple on such a nyt? Speak up!'

       `O, Bajr,' cryd th Rat, `let us in, plese.

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    It's me, Rat, and my frend Mole, and we'v lost our way in th sno.'

       `Wat, Ratty, my dear litl man!' exclaimd th Bajr, in quite a difrnt voice. `Com along in, both of u, at once. Wy, u must be perishd. Wel I nevr! Lost in th sno! And in th Wild Wood, too, and at this time of nyt! But com in with u.'

       Th two anmls tumbld over each othr in ther eagrness to get inside, and herd th dor shut behind them with gret joy and relief.

       Th Bajr, ho wor a long dresng-gown, and hos sliprs wer indeed very down at heel, carrid a flat candlstik in his paw and had probbly been on his way to bed wen ther sumns soundd. He lookd kindly down on them and patd both ther heds. `This is not th sort of nyt for smal anmls to be out,' he said paternly. `I'm afraid u'v been up to som of yr pranks again, Ratty. But com along; com into th kichn. Ther's a first-rate fire ther, and supr and everything.'

       He shufld on in front of them, carrying th lyt, and they folod him, nujng each othr in an anticipating sort of way, down

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    a long, gloomy, and, to tel th truth, decidedly shabby passaj, into a sort of a centrl hal; out of wich they cud dimly se othr long tunl-like passajs branchng, passajs mysterius and without aparent end. But ther wer dors in th hal as wel -- stout oakn comfrtbl-lookng dors. One of these th Bajr flung open, and at once they found themselvs in al th glo and warmth of a larj fire-lit kichn.

       Th flor was wel-worn red brik, and on th wide harth burnt a fire of logs, between two atractiv chimny-cornrs tukd away in th wal, wel out of any suspicion of draft. A cupl of hy-bakd setls, facing each othr on eithr side of th fire, gave furthr sitng acomodations for th sociably disposed. In th midl of th room stood a long table of plan bords placed on tresls, with benchs down each side. At one end of it, wher an arm-chair stood pushd bak, wer spred th remains of th Badger's plan but ampl supr. Ros of spotless plates winkd from th shelvs of th dresr at th far end of th room, and from th raftrs overhed hung hams, bundls of dryd herbs, nets of onions,

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    and baskets of egs. It seemd a place wher heros cud fitly feast aftr victry, wher weary harvestrs cud line up in scors along th table and keep ther Harvest Home with mirth and song, or wher two or thre frends of simpl tastes cud sit about as they plesed and eat and smoke and talk in comfrt and contentmnt. Th ruddy brik flor smiled up at th smoky celing; th oakn setls, shiny with long wer, exchanjed cheerful glances with each othr; plates on th dresr grinnd at pots on th shelf, and th merry firelyt flikrd and playd over everything without distinction.

       Th kindly Bajr thrust them down on a setl to toast themselvs at th fire, and bad them remove ther wet coats and boots. Then he fechd them dresng-gowns and sliprs, and himself bathd th Mole's shin with warm watr and mendd th cut with stikng-plastr til th hole thing was just as good as new, if not betr. In th embracing lyt and warmth, warm and dry at last, with weary legs propd up in front of them, and a sujestiv clink of plates being aranjed on th table behind, it seemd to th storm-drivn anmls, now in

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    safe ancraj, that th cold and trakless Wild Wood just left outside was miles and miles away, and al that they had sufrd in it a half-forgotn dream.

       Wen at last they wer thoroly toastd, th Bajr sumnd them to th table, wher he had been busy layng a repast. They had felt pretty hungry befor, but wen they actuly saw at last th supr that was spred for them, realy it seemd only a question of wat they shud atak first wher al was so atractiv, and wethr th othr things wud oblijingly wait for them til they had time to giv them atention. Convrsation was imposbl for a long time; and wen it was sloly resumed, it was that regretbl sort of convrsation that results from talkng with yr mouth ful. Th Bajr did not mind that sort of thing at al, nor did he take any notice of elbos on th table, or evrybody speakng at once. As he did not go into Society himself, he had got an idea that these things belongd to th things that didnt realy matr. (We no of corse that he was rong, and took too naro a vew; because they do matr very much, tho it wud

    Paje 74

    take too long to explain wy.) He sat in his arm-chair at th hed of th table, and nodd gravely at intrvls as th anmls told ther story; and he did not seem surprised or shokd at anything, and he nevr said, `I told u so,' or, `Just wat I always said,' or remarkd that they ot to hav don so-and-so, or ot not to hav don somthing else. Th Mole began to feel very frendly towards him.

       Wen supr was realy finishd at last, and each anml felt that his skin was now as tyt as was decently safe, and that by this time he didnt care a hang for anybody or anything, they gathrd round th gloing embrs of th gret wood fire, and thot how jolly it was to be sitng up so late, and so independnt, and so ful; and aftr they had chatd for a time about things in jenrl, th Bajr said hartily, `Now then! tel us th news from yr part of th world. How's old Toad going on?'

       `O, from bad to worse,' said th Rat gravely, wile th Mole, cokd up on a setl and baskng in th firelyt, his heels hyr than his hed, tryd to look proprly mornful. `Anothr smash-up only last week, and a bad one. U se, he wil insist on driving himself,

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    and he's hopelesly incapabl. If he'd only employ a decent, stedy, wel-traind anml, pay him good wajes, and leve everything to him, he'd get on al ryt. But no; he's convinced he's a hevn-born driver, and nobody can teach him anything; and al th rest folos.'

       `How many has he had?' inquired th Bajr gloomily.

       `Smashs, or machines?' askd th Rat. `O, wel, aftr al, it's th same thing -- with Toad. This is th sevnth. As for th othrs -- u no that coach-house of his? Wel, it's piled up -- litrly piled up to th roof -- with fragmnts of motor-cars, non of them bigr than yr hat! That acounts for th othr six -- so far as they can be acountd for.'

       `He's been in hospitl thre times,' put in th Mole; `and as for th fines he's had to pay, it's simply awful to think of.'

       `Yes, and that's part of th trubl,' continud th Rat. `Toad's rich, we al no; but he's not a milionair. And he's a hopelesly bad driver, and quite regardless of law and ordr. Kild or ruind -- it's got to be one of

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    th two things, soonr or later. Bajr! we'r his frends -- otnt we to do somthing?'

       Th Bajr went thru a bit of hard thinkng. `Now look here!' he said at last, rathr severely; `of corse u no I cant do anything now?'

       His two frends asentd, quite undrstandng his point. No anml, acordng to th rules of anml-etiqet, is evr expectd to do anything strenuus, or heroic, or even modratly activ during th off-seasn of wintr. Al ar sleepy -- som actuly asleep. Al ar wethr-bound, mor or less; and al ar restng from arduus days and nyts, during wich evry musl in them has been severely testd, and evry enrjy kept at ful strech.

       `Very wel then!' continud th Bajr. `But, wen once th year has realy turnd, and th nyts ar shortr, and halfway thru them one rouses and feels fijety and wantng to be up and doing by sunrise, if not befor -- u no! -- -- '

       Both anmls nodd gravely. They new!

       `Wel, then,' went on th Bajr, `we -- that is, u and me and our frend th Mole here -- we'l take Toad seriusly in hand. We'l stand

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    no nonsnse watevr. We'l bring him bak to reasn, by force if need be. We'l make him be a sensbl Toad. We'l -- u'r asleep, Rat!'

       `Not me!' said th Rat, waking up with a jerk.

       `He's been asleep two or thre times since supr,' said th Mole, lafng. He himself was feelng quite wakeful and even lively, tho he didnt no wy. Th reasn was, of corse, that he being natrly an undrground anml by birth and breedng, th situation of Badger's house exactly suitd him and made him feel at home; wile th Rat, ho slept evry nyt in a bedroom th windos of wich opend on a brezy rivr, natrly felt th atmosfere stil and opressiv.

       `Wel, it's time we wer al in bed,' said th Bajr, getng up and fechng flat candlstiks. `Com along, u two, and I'l sho u yr quartrs. And take yr time tomoro mornng -- brekfast at any our u plese!'

       He conductd th two anmls to a long room that seemd half bedchambr and half loft. Th Badger's wintr stors, wich indeed wer

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    visbl evrywher, took up half th room -- piles of apls, turnips, and potatos, baskets ful of nuts, and jars of hony; but th two litl wite beds on th remaindr of th flor lookd soft and inviting, and th linn on them, tho corse, was clean and smelt butifuly of lavendr; and th Mole and th Watr Rat, shaking off ther garmnts in som thirty secnds, tumbld in between th sheets in gret joy and contentmnt.

       In acordnce with th kindly Badger's injunctions, th two tired anmls came down to brekfast very late next mornng, and found a bryt fire burnng in th kichn, and two yung hejhogs sitng on a bench at th table, eatng oatmeal porij out of woodn bols. Th hejhogs dropd ther spoons, rose to ther feet, and dukd ther heds respectfuly as th two entrd.

       `Ther, sit down, sit down,' said th Rat plesntly, `and go on with yr porij. Wher hav u yungstrs com from? Lost yr way in th sno, I supose?'

       `Yes, plese, sir,' said th eldr of th two hejhogs respectfuly. `Me and litl Billy here, we was tryng to find our way to scool --

    Paje 79

    mothr wud hav us go, was th wethr evr so -- and of corse we lost ourselvs, sir, and Billy he got frytnd and took and cryd, being yung and faint-hartd. And at last we hapnd up against Mr. Badger's bak dor, and made so bold as to nok, sir, for Mr. Bajr he's a kind-hartd jentlman, as evryone nos -- -- '

       `I undrstand,' said th Rat, cutng himself som rashrs from a side of bacon, wile th Mole dropd som egs into a saucepan. `And wat's th wethr like outside? U neednt "sir" me quite so much?' he add.

       `O, teribl bad, sir, teribl deep th sno is,' said th hejhog. `No getng out for th likes of u jentlmen to-day.'

       `Wher's Mr. Bajr?' inquired th Mole, as he warmd th cofee-pot befor th fire.

       `Th master's gon into his study, sir,' replyd th hejhog, `and he said as how he was going to be particulr busy this mornng, and on no acount was he to be disturbd.'

       This explnation, of corse, was thoroly undrstood by evry one presnt. Th fact is, as alredy set forth, wen u liv a life of intense activity for six months in th year, and

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    of comparativ or actul somnolence for th othr six, during th latr period u canot be continuly pleadng sleepiness wen ther ar peple about or things to be don. Th excuse gets monotnus. Th anmls wel new that Bajr, havng eatn a harty brekfast, had retired to his study and setld himself in an arm-chair with his legs up on anothr and a red cotn hankrchief over his face, and was being `busy' in th usul way at this time of th year.

       Th front-dor bel clangd loudly, and th Rat, ho was very gresy with butrd toast, sent Billy, th smalr hejhog, to se ho it myt be. Ther was a sound of much stampng in th hal, and presntly Billy returnd in front of th Otr, ho threw himself on th Rat with an embrace and a shout of afectionat greetng.

       `Get off!' splutrd th Rat, with his mouth ful.

       `Thot I shud find u here al ryt,' said th Otr cheerfuly. `They wer al in a gret state of alarm along Rivr Bank wen I arived this mornng. Rat nevr been home al nyt -- nor Mole eithr -- somthing dredful

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    must hav hapnd, they said; and th sno had covrd up al yr traks, of corse. But I new that wen peple wer in any fix they mostly went to Bajr, or else Bajr got to no of it somhow, so I came strait off here, thru th Wild Wood and th sno! My! it was fine, comng thru th sno as th red sun was rising and shoing against th blak tre-trunks! As u went along in th stilness, evry now and then masses of sno slid off th branchs sudnly with a flop! making u jump and run for covr. Sno-casls and sno-cavrns had sprung up out of nowher in th nyt -- and sno brijs, teraces, ramparts -- I cud hav stayd and playd with them for ours. Here and ther gret branchs had been torn away by th sheer weit of th sno, and robns perchd and hopd on them in ther perky conceitd way, just as if they had don it themselvs. A raged string of wild gese pasd overhed, hy on th gray sky, and a few rooks wirld over th tres, inspectd, and flapd off homewrds with a disgustd expression; but I met no sensbl being to ask th news of. About halfway across I came on a rabit
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    sitng on a stump, cleanng his silly face with his paws. He was a pretty scared anml wen I crept up behind him and placed a hevy forepaw on his sholdr. I had to cuf his hed once or twice to get any sense out of it at al. At last I manajd to extract from him that Mole had been seen in th Wild Wood last nyt by one of them. It was th talk of th buros, he said, how Mole, Mr. Rat's particulr frend, was in a bad fix; how he had lost his way, and "They" wer up and out huntng, and wer chivvying him round and round. "Then wy didnt any of u do somthing?" I askd. "U mayn't be blest with brains, but ther ar hundreds and hundreds of u, big, stout felos, as fat as butr, and yr buros runng in al directions, and u cud hav taken him in and made him safe and comfrtbl, or tryd to, at al events." "Wat, us?" he merely said: "do somthing? us rabits?" So I cufd him again and left him. Ther was nothing else to be don. At any rate, I had lernt somthing; and if I had had th luk to meet any of "Them" I'd hav lernt somthing mor -- or they wud.'
    Paje 83

       `Wernt u at al -- er -- nervus?' askd th Mole, som of yesterday's terr comng bak to him at th mention of th Wild Wood.

       `Nervus?' Th Otr showd a gleamng set of strong wite teeth as he lafd. `I'd giv 'em nervs if any of them tryd anything on with me. Here, Mole, fry me som slices of ham, like th good litl chap u ar. I'm frytfuly hungry, and I'v got any amount to say to Ratty here. Havnt seen him for an aje.'

       So th good-naturd Mole, havng cut som slices of ham, set th hejhogs to fry it, and returnd to his own brekfast, wile th Otr and th Rat, ther heds togethr, eagrly talkd rivr-shop, wich is long shop and talk that is endless, runng on like th bablng rivr itself.

       A plate of fryd ham had just been cleard and sent bak for mor, wen th Bajr entrd, yawnng and rubng his ys, and greetd them al in his quiet, simpl way, with kind inquiris for evry one. `It must be getng on for lunchn time,' he remarkd to th Otr. `Betr stop and hav it with us. U must be hungry, this cold mornng.'

    Paje 84

       `Rathr!' replyd th Otr, winkng at th Mole. `Th syt of these greedy yung hejhogs stufng themselvs with fryd ham makes me feel positivly famishd.'

       Th hejhogs, ho wer just beginng to feel hungry again aftr ther porij, and aftr workng so hard at ther fryng, lookd timidly up at Mr. Bajr, but wer too shy to say anything.

       `Here, u two yungstrs be off home to yr mothr,' said th Bajr kindly. `I'l send som one with u to sho u th way. U wont want any dinr to-day, I'l be bound.'

       He gave them sixpnce apece and a pat on th hed, and they went off with much respectful swingng of caps and tuchng of forelocks.

       Presntly they al sat down to lunchn togethr. Th Mole found himself placed next to Mr. Bajr, and, as th othr two wer stil deep in rivr-gosip from wich nothing cud divert them, he took th oprtunity to tel Bajr how comfrtbl and home-like it al felt to him. `Once wel undrground,' he said, `u no exactly wher u ar. Nothing

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    can hapn to u, and nothing can get at u. U'r entirely yr own mastr, and u dont hav to consult anybody or mind wat they say. Things go on al th same overhed, and u let 'em, and dont bothr about 'em. Wen u want to, up u go, and ther th things ar, waitng for u.'

       Th Bajr simply beamd on him. `That's exactly wat I say,' he replyd. `Ther's no security, or pece and tranquility, exept undrground. And then, if yr ideas get larjr and u want to expand -- wy, a dig and a scrape, and ther u ar! If u feel yr house is a bit too big, u stop up a hole or two, and ther u ar again! No bildrs, no tradesmen, no remarks pasd on u by felos lookng over yr wal, and, abov al, no wethr. Look at Rat, now. A cupl of feet of flod watr, and he's got to move into hired lojngs; uncomfrtbl, inconveniently situated, and horibly expensiv. Take Toad. I say nothing against Toad Hal; quite th best house in these parts, as a house. But suposing a fire breks out -- wher's Toad? Suposing tiles ar blown off, or walls sink or crak, or windos get broken -- wher's Toad?

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    Suposing th rooms ar drafty -- I hate a draft myself -- wher's Toad? No, up and out of dors is good enuf to roam about and get one's livng in; but undrground to com bak to at last -- that's my idea of home!'

       Th Mole asentd hartily; and th Bajr in consequence got very frendly with him. `Wen lunch is over,' he said, `I'l take u al round this litl place of mine. I can se u'l apreciate it. U undrstand wat domestic architectur ot to be, u do.'

       Aftr lunchn, acordngly, wen th othr two had setld themselvs into th chimny-cornr and had startd a heatd argumnt on th subject of eels, th Bajr lytd a lantrn and bad th Mole folo him. Crosng th hal, they pasd down one of th principl tunls, and th waverng lyt of th lantrn gave glimpses on eithr side of rooms both larj and smal, som mere cubrds, othrs nearly as brod and imposing as Toad's dining-hal. A naro passaj at ryt angls led them into anothr coridr, and here th same thing was repeatd. Th Mole was stagrd at th size, th extent, th ramifications of it al; at th length of th dim passajs, th solid

    Paje 87

    vaultings of th cramd stor-chambers, th masonry evrywher, th pilrs, th archs, th pavemnts. `How on erth, Bajr,' he said at last, `did u evr find time and strength to do al this? It's astonishng!'

       `It wud be astonishng indeed,' said th Bajr simply, `if I had don it. But as a matr of fact I did non of it -- only cleand out th passajs and chambers, as far as I had need of them. Ther's lots mor of it, al round about. I se u dont undrstand, and I must explain it to u. Wel, very long ago, on th spot wher th Wild Wood waves now, befor evr it had plantd itself and grown up to wat it now is, ther was a city -- a city of peple, u no. Here, wher we ar standng, they livd, and walkd, and talkd, and slept, and carrid on ther busness. Here they stabled ther horses and feastd, from here they rode out to fyt or drove out to trade. They wer a powrful peple, and rich, and gret bildrs. They bilt to last, for they thot ther city wud last for evr.'

       `But wat has becom of them al?' askd th Mole.

       `Ho can tel?' said th Bajr. `Peple

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    com -- they stay for a wile, they flurish, they bild -- and they go. It is ther way. But we remain. Ther wer bajrs here, I'v been told, long befor that same city evr came to be. And now ther ar bajrs here again. We ar an enduring lot, and we may move out for a time, but we wait, and ar patient, and bak we com. And so it wil evr be.'

       `Wel, and wen they went at last, those peple?' said th Mole.

       `Wen they went,' continud th Bajr, `th strong winds and persistnt rains took th matr in hand, patiently, ceselesly, year aftr year. Perhaps we bajrs too, in our smal way, helpd a litl -- ho nos? It was al down, down, down, graduly -- ruin and levlng and disapearnce. Then it was al up, up, up, graduly, as seeds grew to saplngs, and saplngs to forest tres, and brambl and fern came creepng in to help. Leaf-mold rose and oblitrated, streams in ther wintr freshets brot sand and soil to clog and to covr, and in corse of time our home was redy for us again, and we moved in. Up abov us, on th surface, th same thing hapnd. Anmls arived, liked th look of th place, took up

    Paje 89

    ther quartrs, setld down, spred, and flurishd. They didnt bothr themselvs about th past -- they nevr do; they'r too busy. Th place was a bit humpy and hillocky, natrly, and ful of holes; but that was rathr an advantaj. And they dont bothr about th futur, eithr -- th futur wen perhaps th peple wil move in again -- for a time -- as may very wel be. Th Wild Wood is pretty wel populated by now; with al th usul lot, good, bad, and indifrnt -- I name no names. It takes al sorts to make a world. But I fancy u no somthing about them yrself by this time.'

       `I do indeed,' said th Mole, with a slyt shivr.

       `Wel, wel,' said th Bajr, patng him on th sholdr, `it was yr first experience of them, u se. They'r not so bad realy; and we must al liv and let liv. But I'l pass th word around to-moro, and I think u'l hav no furthr trubl. Any frend of mine walks wher he likes in this cuntry, or I'l no th reasn wy!'

       Wen they got bak to th kichn again, they found th Rat walkng up and down, very

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    restless. Th undrground atmosfere was oppressing him and getng on his nervs, and he seemd realy to be afraid that th rivr wud run away if he wasnt ther to look aftr it. So he had his overcoat on, and his pistls thrust into his belt again. `Com along, Mole,' he said anxiusly, as soon as he caut syt of them. `We must get off wile it's daylyt. Dont want to spend anothr nyt in th Wild Wood again.'

       `It'l be al ryt, my fine felo,' said th Otr. `I'm comng along with u, and I no evry path blindfold; and if ther's a hed that needs to be punchd, u can confidntly rely upon me to punch it.'

       `U realy neednt fret, Ratty,' add th Bajr placidly. `My passajs run furthr than u think, and I'v bolt-holes to th ej of th wood in sevrl directions, tho I dont care for evrybody to no about them. Wen u realy hav to go, u shal leve by one of my short cuts. Meantime, make yrself esy, and sit down again.'

       Th Rat was nevrthless stil anxius to be off and atend to his rivr, so th Bajr, taking up his lantrn again, led th way along

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    a damp and airless tunl that wound and dipd, part valtd, part hewn thru solid rok, for a weary distnce that seemd to be miles. At last daylyt began to sho itself confusedly thru tangld groth overhangng th mouth of th passaj; and th Bajr, bidng them a hasty good-by, pushd them hurridly thru th openng, made everything look as natrl as posbl again, with creeprs, brushwood, and ded leavs, and retreatd.

       They found themselvs standng on th very ej of th Wild Wood. Roks and brambls and tre-roots behind them, confusedly heapd and tangld; in front, a gret space of quiet fields, hemd by lines of hejs blak on th sno, and, far ahed, a glint of th familir old rivr, wile th wintry sun hung red and lo on th horizon. Th Otr, as noing al th paths, took charj of th party, and they traild out on a be-line for a distnt stile. Pausng ther a moment and lookng bak, they saw th hole mass of th Wild Wood, dense, menacing, compact, grimly set in vast wite suroundngs; simltaneusly they turnd and made swiftly for home, for firelyt and th familir things it playd on,

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    for th voice, soundng cheerily outside ther windo, of th rivr that they new and trustd in al its moods, that nevr made them afraid with any amazemnt.

       As he hurrid along, eagrly anticipating th moment wen he wud be at home again among th things he new and liked, th Mole saw clearly that he was an anml of tild field and hej-ro, linkd to th plowd furo, th frequentd pastur, th lane of evenng lingerings, th cultivated gardn-plot. For othrs th asperities, th stubrn endurance, or th clash of actul conflict, that went with Natur in th ruf; he must be wise, must keep to th plesnt places in wich his lines wer laid and wich held adventur enuf, in ther way, to last for a lifetime.

    Paje 93

    Chaptr 5



       TH sheep ran hudlng togethr against th hurdls, bloing out thin nostrils and stampng with delicat for-feet, ther heds thrown bak and a lyt steam rising from th crowdd sheep-pen into th frosty air, as th two anmls hasend by in hy spirits, with much chatr and laftr. They wer returng across cuntry aftr a long day's outng with Otr, huntng and explorng on th wide uplands wher certn streams tributry to ther own Rivr had ther first smal beginngs; and th shades of th short wintr day wer closing in on them, and they had stil som distnce to go. Plodng at randm across th plow, they had herd th sheep and had made for them; and now, leadng from th sheep-pen, they found a beatn trak that made walkng a lytr busness, and respondd,

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    morover, to that smal inquiring somthing wich al anmls carry inside them, sayng unmistakebly, `Yes, quite ryt; this leads home!'

       `It looks as if we wer comng to a vilaj,' said th Mole somwat dubiusly, slaknng his pace, as th trak, that had in time becom a path and then had developd into a lane, now handd them over to th charj of a wel-metalled road. Th anmls did not hold with vilajs, and ther own hyways, thikly frequentd as they wer, took an independnt corse, regardless of church, post ofice, or public-house.

       `O, nevr mind!' said th Rat. `At this seasn of th year they'r al safe indors by this time, sitng round th fire; men, women, and children, dogs and cats and al. We shal slip thru al ryt, without any bothr or unplesntness, and we can hav a look at them thru ther windos if u like, and se wat they'r doing.'

       Th rapid nytfal of mid-Decembr had quite beset th litl vilaj as they aproachd it on soft feet over a first thin fal of powdry sno. Litl was visbl but squares of a dusky

    Paje 95

    oranj-red on eithr side of th street, wher th firelyt or lamplyt of each cotaj overfloed thru th casements into th dark world without. Most of th lo laticed windos wer inocent of blinds, and to th lookers-in from outside, th inmates, gathrd round th te-table, absorbd in handiwork, or talkng with laftr and jestur, had each that happy grace wich is th last thing th skild actr shal captur -- th natrl grace wich gos with perfect unconciusness of obsrvation. Moving at wil from one theatr to anothr, th two spectators, so far from home themselvs, had somthing of wistfulness in ther ys as they wachd a cat being stroked, a sleepy child pikd up and hudld off to bed, or a tired man strech and nok out his pipe on th end of a smoldrng log.

       But it was from one litl windo, with its blind drawn down, a mere blank transparency on th nyt, that th sense of home and th litl curtnd world within walls -- th larjr stresful world of outside Natur shut out and forgotn -- most pulsated. Close against th wite blind hung a bird-caje, clearly siluetd, evry wire, perch, and appurtenance distinct

    Paje 96

    and recognizebl, even to yesterday's dul-ejd lump of sugr. On th midl perch th fluffy ocupnt, hed tukd wel into fethrs, seemd so near to them as to be esily stroked, had they tryd; even th delicat tips of his plumpd-out plumaj pencild plainly on th iluminated screen. As they lookd, th sleepy litl felo stird unesily, woke, shook himself, and rased his hed. They cud se th gape of his tiny beak as he yawnd in a bord sort of way, lookd round, and then setld his hed into his bak again, wile th rufld fethrs graduly subsided into perfect stilness. Then a gust of bitr wind took them in th bak of th nek, a smal sting of frozen sleet on th skin woke them as from a dream, and they new ther toes to be cold and ther legs tired, and ther own home distnt a weary way.

       Once beyond th vilaj, wher th cotajs cesed abruptly, on eithr side of th road they cud smel thru th darkns th frendly fields again; and they braced themselvs for th last long strech, th home strech, th strech that we no is bound to end, som time, in th ratl of th dor-lach, th sudn firelyt, and th syt of familir things greetng

    Paje 97

    us as long-absnt travlrs from far over-se. They plodd along stedily and silently, each of them thinkng his own thots. Th Mole's ran a good deal on supr, as it was pich-dark, and it was al a stranje cuntry for him as far as he new, and he was foloing obediently in th wake of th Rat, leving th gidance entirely to him. As for th Rat, he was walkng a litl way ahed, as his habit was, his sholdrs humpd, his ys fixd on th strait gray road in front of him; so he did not notice poor Mole wen sudnly th sumns reachd him, and took him like an electric shok.

       We othrs, ho hav long lost th mor sutl of th fysicl senses, hav not even propr terms to express an animal's intr-comunications with his suroundngs, livng or othrwise, and hav only th word `smel,' for instnce, to include th hole ranje of delicat thrils wich murmr in th nose of th anml nyt and day, sumnng, warnng? inciting, repelng. It was one of these mysterius fairy cals from out th void that sudnly reachd Mole in th darkns, making him tingl thru and thru with its very familir apeal, even

    Paje 98

    wile yet he cud not clearly remembr wat it was. He stopd ded in his traks, his nose serchng hithr and thithr in its efrts to recaptur th fine filamnt, th telegraphic curent, that had so strongly moved him. A moment, and he had caut it again; and with it this time came reclection in fulst flod.

       Home! That was wat they ment, those caresng apeals, those soft tuchs waftd thru th air, those invisbl litl hands pulng and tugng, al one way! Wy, it must be quite close by him at that moment, his old home that he had hurridly forsaken and nevr sot again, that day wen he first found th rivr! And now it was sendng out its scouts and its mesnjrs to captur him and bring him in. Since his escape on that bryt mornng he had hardly givn it a thot, so absorbd had he been in his new life, in al its plesurs, its surprises, its fresh and captivating experiences. Now, with a rush of old memris, how clearly it stood up befor him, in th darkns! Shabby indeed, and smal and poorly furnishd, and yet his, th home he had made for himself, th home he had been so happy to get bak to aftr his day's work.

    Paje 99

    And th home had been happy with him, too, evidntly, and was misng him, and wantd him bak, and was telng him so, thru his nose, sorofuly, reproachfuly, but with no bitrness or angr; only with plaintiv remindr that it was ther, and wantd him.

       Th cal was clear, th sumns was plan. He must obey it instntly, and go. `Ratty!' he cald, ful of joyful exitemnt, `hold on! Com bak! I want u, quik!'

       `O, com along, Mole, do!' replyd th Rat cheerfuly, stil plodng along.

       `Plese stop, Ratty!' pleadd th poor Mole, in anguish of hart. `U dont undrstand! It's my home, my old home! I'v just com across th smel of it, and it's close by here, realy quite close. And I must go to it, I must, I must! O, com bak, Ratty! Plese, plese com bak!'

       Th Rat was by this time very far ahed, too far to hear clearly wat th Mole was calng, too far to cach th sharp note of painful apeal in his voice. And he was much taken up with th wethr, for he too cud smel somthing -- somthing suspiciusly like aproachng sno.

       `Mole, we musnt stop now, realy!' he cald

    Paje 100

    bak. `We'l com for it to-moro, watevr it is u'v found. But I darent stop now -- it's late, and th snow's comng on again, and I'm not sure of th way! And I want yr nose, Mole, so com on quik, ther's a good felo!' And th Rat presd forwrd on his way without waitng for an ansr.

       Poor Mole stood alone in th road, his hart torn asundr, and a big sob gathrng, gathrng, somwher lo down inside him, to leap up to th surface presntly, he new, in passionat escape. But even undr such a test as this his loylty to his frend stood firm. Nevr for a moment did he dream of abandnng him. Meanwile, th wafts from his old home pleadd, wisprd, conjrd, and finaly claimd him imperiusly. He dared not tarry longr within ther majic circl. With a rench that tor his very heartstrings he set his face down th road and folod submissively in th trak of th Rat, wile faint, thin litl smels, stil dogging his retreatng nose, reproachd him for his new frendship and his calus forgetfulness.

       With an efrt he caut up to th unsuspectng Rat, ho began chatrng cheerfuly about wat they wud do wen they got bak, and

    Paje 101

    how jolly a fire of logs in th parlr wud be, and wat a supr he ment to eat; nevr noticing his companion's silence and distressful state of mind. At last, howevr, wen they had gon som considrbl way furthr, and wer pasng som tre-stumps at th ej of a cops that bordrd th road, he stopd and said kindly, `Look here, Mole old chap, u seem ded tired. No talk left in u, and yr feet dragng like led. We'l sit down here for a minut and rest. Th sno has held off so far, and th best part of our jurny is over.'

       Th Mole subsided forlornly on a tre-stump and tryd to control himself, for he felt it surely comng. Th sob he had fot with so long refused to be beatn. Up and up, it forced its way to th air, and then anothr, and anothr, and othrs thik and fast; til poor Mole at last gave up th strugl, and cryd frely and helplesly and openly, now that he new it was al over and he had lost wat he cud hardly be said to hav found.

       Th Rat, astonishd and dismayd at th violence of Mole's paroxysm of grief, did not dare to speak for a wile. At last he said, very

    Paje 102

    quietly and sympatheticly, `Wat is it, old felo? Watevr can be th matr? Tel us yr trubl, and let me se wat I can do.'

       Poor Mole found it dificlt to get any words out between th uphevals of his chest that folod one upon anothr so quikly and held bak speech and choked it as it came. `I no it's a -- shabby, dinjy litl place,' he sobd forth at last, brokenly: `not like -- yr cozy quartrs -- or Toad's butiful hal -- or Badger's gret house -- but it was my own litl home -- and I was fond of it -- and I went away and forgot al about it -- and then I smelt it sudnly -- on th road, wen I cald and u wudnt lisn, Rat -- and everything came bak to me with a rush -- and I wantd it! -- O dear, O dear! -- and wen u wudnt turn bak, Ratty -- and I had to leve it, tho I was smelng it al th time -- I thot my hart wud brek. -- We myt hav just gon and had one look at it, Ratty -- only one look -- it was close by -- but u wudnt turn bak, Ratty, u wudnt turn bak! O dear, O dear!'

       Reclection brot fresh waves of soro,

    Paje 103

    and sobs again took ful charj of him, preventng furthr speech.

       Th Rat stared strait in front of him, sayng nothing, only patng Mole jently on th sholdr. Aftr a time he mutrd gloomily, `I se it al now! Wat a pig I hav been! A pig -- that's me! Just a pig -- a plan pig!'

       He waitd til Mole's sobs became graduly less stormy and mor rythmicl; he waitd til at last snifs wer frequent and sobs only intrmitnt. Then he rose from his seat, and, remarkng carelesly, `Wel, now we'd realy betr be getng on, old chap!' set off up th road again, over th toilsome way they had com.

       `Wherevr ar u (hic) going to (hic), Ratty?' cryd th tearful Mole, lookng up in alarm.

       `We'r going to find that home of yrs, old felo,' replyd th Rat plesntly; `so u had betr com along, for it wil take som findng, and we shal want yr nose.'

       `O, com bak, Ratty, do!' cryd th Mole, getng up and hurrying aftr him. `It's no good, I tel u! It's too late, and too dark,

    Paje 104

    and th place is too far off, and th snow's comng! And -- and I nevr ment to let u no I was feelng that way about it -- it was al an accidnt and a mistake! And think of Rivr Bank, and yr supr!'

       `Hang Rivr Bank, and supr too!' said th Rat hartily. `I tel u, I'm going to find this place now, if I stay out al nyt. So cheer up, old chap, and take my arm, and we'l very soon be bak ther again.'

       Stil snuflng, pleadng, and reluctnt, Mole sufrd himself to be dragd bak along th road by his imperius companion, ho by a flo of cheerful talk and anecdote endevrd to beguile his spirits bak and make th weary way seem shortr. Wen at last it seemd to th Rat that they must be nearng that part of th road wher th Mole had been `held up,' he said, `Now, no mor talkng. Busness! Use yr nose, and giv yr mind to it.'

       They moved on in silence for som litl way, wen sudnly th Rat was concius, thru his arm that was linkd in Mole's, of a faint sort of electric thril that was pasng down that animal's body. Instntly he

    Paje 105

    disngajed himself, fel bak a pace, and waitd, al atention.

       Th signls wer comng thru!

       Mole stood a moment rijid, wile his upliftd nose, quivrng slytly, felt th air.

       Then a short, quik run forwrd -- a falt -- a chek -- a try bak; and then a slo, stedy, confidnt advance.

       Th Rat, much exited, kept close to his heels as th Mole, with somthing of th air of a sleep-walkr, crosd a dry dich, scrambld thru a hej, and nosed his way over a field open and trakless and bare in th faint starlyt.

       Sudnly, without givng warnng, he dived; but th Rat was on th alert, and promtly folod him down th tunl to wich his unerng nose had faithfuly led him.

       It was close and airless, and th erthy smel was strong, and it seemd a long time to Rat ere th passaj endd and he cud stand erect and strech and shake himself. Th Mole struk a mach, and by its lyt th Rat saw that they wer standng in an open space, neatly swept and sandd undrfoot, and directly facing them was Mole's litl front dor, with

    Paje 106

    `Mole End' paintd, in Gothic letrng, over th bel-pul at th side.

       Mole reachd down a lantrn from a nail on th wail and lit it, and th Rat, lookng round him, saw that they wer in a sort of for-cort. A gardn-seat stood on one side of th dor, and on th othr a rolr; for th Mole, ho was a tidy anml wen at home, cud not stand havng his ground kikd up by othr anmls into litl runs that endd in erth-heaps. On th walls hung wire baskets with ferns in them, altrnating with brakets carrying plastr statury -- Garibaldi, and th infnt Samul, and Queen Victoria, and othr heros of modrn Itly. Down on one side of th forcort ran a skittle-ally, with benchs along it and litl woodn tables markd with rings that hintd at beer-mugs. In th midl was a smal round pond containng gold-fish and suroundd by a cokl-shel bordr. Out of th centr of th pond rose a fanciful erection clothed in mor cokl-shels and topd by a larj silvrd glass bal that reflectd everything al rong and had a very plesing efect.

       Mole's face-beamd at th syt of al these objects so dear to him, and he hurrid Rat

    Paje 107

    thru th dor, lit a lamp in th hal, and took one glance round his old home. He saw th dust lyng thik on everything, saw th cheerless, desertd look of th long-neglectd house, and its naro, meagr dimensions, its worn and shabby contents -- and colapsd again on a hal-chair, his nose to his paws. `O Ratty!' he cryd dismly, `wy evr did I do it? Wy did I bring u to this poor, cold litl place, on a nyt like this, wen u myt hav been at Rivr Bank by this time, toastng yr toes befor a blazing fire, with al yr own nice things about u!'

       Th Rat paid no heed to his doleful self-reproachs. He was runng here and ther, openng dors, inspectng rooms and cubrds, and lytng lamps and candls and stikng them, up evrywher. `Wat a capitl litl house this is!' he cald out cheerily. `So compact! So wel pland! Everything here and everything in its place! We'l make a jolly nyt of it. Th first thing we want is a good fire; I'l se to that -- I always no wher to find things. So this is th parlr? Splendid! Yr own idea, those litl sleepng-bunks in th wal? Capitl! Now, I'l fech th wood

    Paje 108

    and th coals, and u get a dustr, Mole -- u'l find one in th drawr of th kichn table -- and try and smarten things up a bit. Busl about, old chap!'

       Encurajd by his inspiriting companion, th Mole rousd himself and dustd and polishd with enrjy and hartiness, wile th Rat, runng to and fro with armfuls of fuel, soon had a cheerful blaze rorng up th chimny. He haild th Mole to com and warm himself; but Mole promtly had anothr fit of th blues, dropng down on a couch in dark despair and burying his face in his dustr. `Rat,' he moand, `how about yr supr, u poor, cold, hungry, weary anml? I'v nothing to giv u -- nothing -- not a crum!'

       `Wat a felo u ar for givng in!' said th Rat reproachfuly. `Wy, only just now I saw a sardine-openr on th kichn dresr, quite distinctly; and evrybody nos that means ther ar sardines about somwher in th neibrhood. Rouse yrself! pul yrself togethr, and com with me and foraj.'

       They went and forajd acordngly, huntng thru evry cubrd and turnng out evry drawr. Th result was not so very depresng

    Paje 109

    aftr al, tho of corse it myt hav been betr; a tin of sardines -- a box of captain's biscuits, nearly ful -- and a Jermn sausaj encased in silvr paper.

       `Ther's a banquet for u!' observd th Rat, as he aranjed th table. `I no som anmls ho wud giv ther ears to be sitng down to supr with us to-nyt!'

       `No bred!' groand th Mole dolorously; `no butr, no -- -- '

       `No pate de foi gras, no champane!' continud th Rat, grinng. `And that reminds me -- wat's that litl dor at th end of th passaj? Yr celr, of corse! Evry luxury in this house! Just u wait a minut.'

       He made for th celr-dor, and presntly reapeard, somwat dusty, with a botl of beer in each paw and anothr undr each arm, `Self-induljnt begr u seem to be, Mole,' he observd. `Deny yrself nothing. This is realy th jolliest litl place I evr was in. Now, wherevr did u pik up those prints? Make th place look so home-like, they do. No wondr u'r so fond of it, Mole. Tel us al about it, and how u came to make it wat it is.'

    Paje 110

       Then, wile th Rat busid himself fechng plates, and nives and forks, and mustrd wich he mixd in an eg-cup, th Mole, his bosm stil heving with th stress of his recent emotion, related -- somwat shyly at first, but with mor fredm as he warmd to his subject -- how this was pland, and how that was thot out, and how this was got thru a windfal from an ant, and that was a wondrful find and a bargn, and this othr thing was bot out of laborius savings and a certn amount of `going without.' His spirits finaly quite restord, he must needs go and caress his posessions, and take a lamp and sho off ther points to his visitr and expatiate on them, quite forgetful of th supr they both so much needd; Rat, ho was despratly hungry but strove to conceal it, nodng seriusly, examnng with a pukrd brow, and sayng, `wondrful,' and `most remarkbl,' at intrvls, wen th chance for an obsrvation was givn him.

       At last th Rat succeedd in decoying him to th table, and had just got seriusly to work with th sardine-openr wen sounds wer herd from th for-cort without -- sounds like th

    Paje 111

    scuflng of smal feet in th gravl and a confused murmr of tiny voices, wile broken sentnces reachd them -- `Now, al in a line -- hold th lantrn up a bit, Tommy -- clear yr throats first -- no cofng aftr I say one, two, thre. -- Wher's yung Bil? -- Here, com on, do, we'r al a-waitng -- -- '

       `Wat's up?' inquired th Rat, pausng in his labors.

       `I think it must be th field-mice,' replyd th Mole, with a tuch of pride in his manr. `They go round carol-singng regulrly at this time of th year. They'r quite an institution in these parts. And they nevr pass me over -- they com to Mole End last of al; and I used to giv them hot drinks, and supr too somtimes, wen I cud aford it. It wil be like old times to hear them again.'

       `Let's hav a look at them!' cryd th Rat, jumpng up and runng to th dor.

       It was a pretty syt, and a seasonable one, that met ther ys wen they flung th dor open. In th for-cort, lit by th dim rays of a horn lantrn, som eit or ten litl field-mice stood in a semicircl, red worstd comfrtrs round ther throats, ther for-paws

    Paje 112

    thrust deep into ther pokets, ther feet jigng for warmth. With bryt beady ys they glanced shyly at each othr, snigrng a litl, snifng and aplyng coat-sleves a good deal. As th dor opend, one of th eldr ones that carrid th lantrn was just sayng, `Now then, one, two, thre!' and forthwith ther shril litl voices uprose on th air, singng one of th old-time carols that ther forfathrs composed in fields that wer falo and held by frost, or wen sno-bound in chimny cornrs, and handd down to be sung in th miry street to lamp-lit windos at Yule-time.


    Vilajrs al, this frosty tide,
    Let yr dors swing open wide,
    Tho wind may folo, and sno beside,
    Yet draw us in by yr fire to bide;
    Joy shal be yrs in th mornng!
    Here we stand in th cold and th sleet,
    Bloing fingrs and stampng feet,
    Com from far away u to greet --
    U by th fire and we in th street --
    Bidng u joy in th mornng!
    For ere one half of th nyt was gon,
    Sudn a star has led us on,
    Rainng bliss and benison --
    Bliss to-moro and mor anon,
    Joy for evry mornng!
    Paje 113

    Goodman Josef toild thru th sno --
    Saw th star oer a stable lo;
    Mary she myt not furthr go --
    Welcm thach, and litr belo!
    Joy was hers in th mornng!
    And then they herd th anjels tel
    `Ho wer th first to cry Nowell?
    Anmls al, as it befel,
    In th stable wher they did dwel!
    Joy shal be thers in th mornng!'

       Th voices cesed, th singrs, bashful but smiling, exchanjed sidelong glances, and silence succeedd -- but for a moment only. Then, from up abov and far away, down th tunl they had so lately travld was born to ther ears in a faint musicl hum th sound of distnt bels ringng a joyful and clangorous peal.

       `Very wel sung, boys!' cryd th Rat hartily. `And now com along in, al of u, and warm yrselvs by th fire, and hav somthing hot!'

       `Yes, com along, field-mice,' cryd th Mole eagrly. `This is quite like old times! Shut th dor aftr u. Pul up that setl to th fire. Now, u just wait a minut, wile we -- O, Ratty!' he cryd in despair, plumping down on a seat, with ters impendng. `Watevr ar we doing? We'v nothing to giv them!'

    Paje 114

       `U leve al that to me,' said th mastrful Rat. `Here, u with th lantrn! Com over this way. I want to talk to u. Now, tel me, ar ther any shops open at this our of th nyt?'

       `Wy, certnly, sir,' replyd th field-mouse respectfuly. `At this time of th year our shops keep open to al sorts of ours.'

       `Then look here!' said th Rat. `U go off at once, u and yr lantrn, and u get me -- -- '

       Here much mutrd convrsation ensud, and th Mole only herd bits of it, such as -- `Fresh, mind! -- no, a pound of that wil do -- se u get Buggins's, for I wont hav any othr -- no, only th best -- if u cant get it ther, try somwher else -- yes, of corse, home-made, no tind stuf -- wel then, do th best u can!' Finaly, ther was a chink of coin pasng from paw to paw, th field-mouse was provided with an ampl basket for his purchases, and off he hurrid, he and his lantrn.

       Th rest of th field-mice, perchd in a ro on th setl, ther smal legs swingng, gave themselvs up to enjoymnt of th fire, and toastd ther chilblains til they tingld;

    Paje 115

    wile th Mole, failng to draw them into esy convrsation, plunjd into famly histry and made each of them recite th names of his numerus brothrs, ho wer too yung, it apeard, to be alowd to go out a-carolling this year, but lookd forwrd very shortly to winng th parentl consent.

       Th Rat, meanwile, was busy examnng th label on one of th beer-botls. `I perceve this to be Old Burtn,' he remarkd aprovingly. `Sensbl Mole! Th very thing! Now we shal be able to mul som ale! Get th things redy, Mole, wile I draw th corks.'

       It did not take long to prepare th brew and thrust th tin heatr wel into th red hart of th fire; and soon evry field-mouse was sipng and cofng and choking (for a litl muld ale gos a long way) and wiping his ys and lafng and forgetng he had evr been cold in al his life.

       `They act plays too, these felos,' th Mole explaind to th Rat. `Make them up al by themselvs, and act them aftrwrds. And very wel they do it, too! They gave us a capitl one last year, about a field-mouse ho

    Paje 116

    was capturd at se by a Barbary corsair, and made to ro in a gally; and wen he escaped and got home again, his lady-lov had gon into a convnt. Here, u! U wer in it, I remembr. Get up and recite a bit.'

       Th field-mouse adresd got up on his legs, gigld shyly, lookd round th room, and remaind abslutely tong-tied. His comrads cheerd him on, Mole coaxd and encurajd him, and th Rat went so far as to take him by th sholdrs and shake him; but nothing cud overcom his staje-fryt. They wer al busily engajed on him like watermen aplyng th Royl Humane Society's regulations to a case of long submersion, wen th lach clikd, th dor opend, and th field-mouse with th lantrn reapeard, stagrng undr th weit of his basket.

       Ther was no mor talk of play-actng once th very real and solid contents of th basket had been tumbld out on th table. Undr th generalship of Rat, evrybody was set to do somthing or to fech somthing. In a very few minuts supr was redy, and Mole, as he took th hed of th table in a sort of a dream, saw a lately baren bord set thik with savory

    Paje 117

    comfrts; saw his litl friends' faces brytn and beam as they fel to without delay; and then let himself loose -- for he was famishd indeed -- on th provender so majicly provided, thinkng wat a happy home-comng this had turnd out, aftr al. As they ate, they talkd of old times, and th field-mice gave him th local gosip up to date, and ansrd as wel as they cud th hundred questions he had to ask them. Th Rat said litl or nothing, only taking care that each gest had wat he wantd, and plenty of it, and that Mole had no trubl or anxiety about anything.

       They clatrd off at last, very grateful and showrng wishs of th seasn, with ther jaket pokets stufd with remembrances for th smal brothrs and sistrs at home. Wen th dor had closed on th last of them and th chink of th lantrns had died away, Mole and Rat kikd th fire up, drew ther chairs in, brewd themselvs a last nytcap of muld ale, and discusd th events of th long day. At last th Rat, with a tremendus yawn, said, `Mole, old chap, I'm redy to drop. Sleepy is simply not th word. That yr own bunk over on that side? Very wel, then, I'l take this.

    Paje 118

    Wat a ripng litl house this is! Everything so handy!'

       He clambrd into his bunk and rold himself wel up in th blankets, and slumbr gathrd him forthwith, as a swathe of barly is foldd into th arms of th reapng machine.

       Th weary Mole also was glad to turn in without delay, and soon had his hed on his pilo, in gret joy and contentmnt. But ere he closed his ys he let them wandr round his old room, melo in th glo of th firelyt that playd or restd on familir and frendly things wich had long been unconciusly a part of him, and now smilingly receved him bak, without rancr. He was now in just th frame of mind that th tactful Rat had quietly workd to bring about in him. He saw clearly how plan and simpl -- how naro, even -- it al was; but clearly, too, how much it al ment to him, and th special valu of som such ancraj in one's existnce. He did not at al want to abandn th new life and its splendid spaces, to turn his bak on sun and air and al they ofrd him and creep home and stay ther; th upr world was al too strong, it cald to him stil, even down ther, and he

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    new he must return to th larjr staje. But it was good to think he had this to com bak to; this place wich was al his own, these things wich wer so glad to se him again and cud always be countd upon for th same simpl welcm.

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    Chaptr 6

    VI MR.


       IT was a bryt mornng in th erly part of sumr; th rivr had resumed its wonted banks and its acustmd pace, and a hot sun seemd to be pulng everything green and bushy and spiky up out of th erth towards him, as if by strings. Th Mole and th Watr Rat had been up since dawn, very busy on matrs conectd with boats and th openng of th boatng seasn; paintng and varnishing, mendng padls, repairng cushns, huntng for misng boat-hooks, and so on; and wer finishng brekfast in ther litl parlr and eagrly discusng ther plans for th day, wen a hevy nok soundd at th dor.

       `Bothr!' said th Rat, al over eg. `Se ho it is, Mole, like a good chap, since u'v finishd.'

       Th Mole went to atend th sumns, and

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    th Rat herd him utr a cry of surprise. Then he flung th parlr dor open, and anounced with much importnce, `Mr. Bajr!'

       This was a wondrful thing, indeed, that th Bajr shud pay a forml cal on them, or indeed on anybody. He jenrly had to be caut, if u wantd him badly, as he slipd quietly along a hejro of an erly mornng or a late evenng, or else huntd up in his own house in th midl of th Wood, wich was a serius undrtaking.

       Th Bajr strode hevily into th room, and stood lookng at th two anmls with an expression ful of seriusness. Th Rat let his eg-spoon fal on th table-cloth, and sat open-mouthd.

       `Th our has com!' said th Bajr at last with gret solemnity.

       `Wat our?' askd th Rat unesily, glancing at th clok on th mantlpece.

       `Hos our, u shud rathr say,' replyd th Bajr. `Wy, Toad's our! Th our of Toad! I said I wud take him in hand as soon as th wintr was wel over, and I'm going to take him in hand to-day!'

       `Toad's our, of corse!' cryd th Mole de

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    lightedly. `Huray! I remembr now! We'l teach him to be a sensbl Toad!'

       `This very mornng,' continud th Bajr, taking an armchair, `as I lernt last nyt from a trustworthy sorce, anothr new and exeptionly powrful motor-car wil arive at Toad Hal on aproval or return. At this very moment, perhaps, Toad is busy arraying himself in those singulrly hideus habiliments so dear to him, wich transform him from a (comparativly) good-lookng Toad into an Object wich thros any decent-mindd anml that coms across it into a violent fit. We must be up and doing, ere it is too late. U two anmls wil acompny me instntly to Toad Hal, and th work of rescu shal be acomplishd.'

       `Ryt u ar!' cryd th Rat, startng up. `We'l rescu th poor unhappy anml! We'l convert him! He'l be th most convertd Toad that evr was befor we'v don with him!'

       They set off up th road on ther mission of mercy, Bajr leadng th way. Anmls wen in compny walk in a propr and sensbl manr, in singl file, insted of sprawlng al

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    across th road and being of no use or suport to each othr in case of sudn trubl or danjer.

       They reachd th carrij-drive of Toad Hal to find, as th Bajr had anticipated, a shiny new motor-car, of gret size, paintd a bryt red (Toad's favorit color), standng in front of th house. As they neard th dor it was flung open, and Mr. Toad, arayd in gogls, cap, gaitrs, and enormus overcoat, came swagrng down th steps, drawng on his gauntleted glovs.

       `Helo! com on, u felos!' he cryd cheerfuly on cachng syt of them. `U'r just in time to com with me for a jolly -- to com for a jolly -- for a -- er -- jolly -- -- '

       His harty accents faltrd and fel away as he noticed th stern unbendng look on th countenances of his silent frends, and his invitation remaind unfinishd.

       Th Bajr strode up th steps. `Take him inside,' he said sternly to his companions. Then, as Toad was husld thru th dor, struglng and protestng, he turnd to th chaufr in charj of th new motor-car.

       `I'm afraid u wont be wantd to-day,' he

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    said. `Mr. Toad has chanjed his mind. He wil not require th car. Plese undrstand that this is final. U neednt wait.' Then he folod th othrs inside and shut th dor.

       `Now then!' he said to th Toad, wen th four of them stood togethr in th Hal, `first of al, take those ridiculus things off!'

       `Shant!' replyd Toad, with gret spirit. `Wat is th meanng of this gross outraje? I demand an instnt explnation.'

       `Take them off him, then, u two,' ordrd th Bajr briefly.

       They had to lay Toad out on th flor, kikng and calng al sorts of names, befor they cud get to work proprly. Then th Rat sat on him, and th Mole got his motor-clothes off him bit by bit, and they stood him up on his legs again. A good deal of his blustrng spirit seemd to hav evaprated with th removal of his fine panoply. Now that he was merely Toad, and no longr th Terr of th Hyway, he gigld feebly and lookd from one to th othr apealngly, seemng quite to undrstand th situation.

       `U new it must com to this, soonr or later, Toad,' th Bajr explaind severely.

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       U'v disregardd al th warnngs we'v givn u, u'v gon on squandrng th mony yr fathr left u, and u'r getng us anmls a bad name in th district by yr furius driving and yr smashs and yr ros with th police. Independnce is al very wel, but we anmls nevr alow our frends to make fools of themselvs beyond a certn limit; and that limit u'v reachd. Now, u'r a good felo in many respects, and I dont want to be too hard on u. I'l make one mor efrt to bring u to reasn. U wil com with me into th smoking-room, and ther u wil hear som facts about yrself; and we'l se wethr u com out of that room th same Toad that u went in.'

       He took Toad firmly by th arm, led him into th smoking-room, and closed th dor behind them.

       `That's no good!' said th Rat contemtuusly. `Talkng to Toad'll nevr cure him. He'l say anything.'

       They made themselvs comfrtbl in armchairs and waitd patiently. Thru th closed dor they cud just hear th long continuus drone of th Badger's voice, rising

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    and falng in waves of oratry; and presntly they noticed that th sermn began to be punctuated at intrvls by long-drawn sobs, evidntly proceedng from th bosm of Toad, ho was a soft-hartd and afectionat felo, very esily convertd -- for th time being -- to any point of vew.

       Aftr som thre-quartrs of an our th dor opend, and th Bajr reapeard, solemly leadng by th paw a very limp and dejectd Toad. His skin hung baggily about him, his legs wobld, and his cheeks wer furod by th ters so plentifuly cald forth by th Badger's moving discorse.

       `Sit down ther, Toad,' said th Bajr kindly, pointng to a chair. `My frends,' he went on, `I am plesed to inform u that Toad has at last seen th err of his ways. He is truly sorry for his misgided conduct in th past, and he has undrtaken to giv up motor-cars entirely and for evr. I hav his solem promis to that efect.'

       `That is very good news,' said th Mole gravely.

       `Very good news indeed,' observd th Rat dubiusly, `if only -- if only -- -- '

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       He was lookng very hard at Toad as he said this, and cud not help thinkng he perceved somthing vagely resemblng a twinkl in that animal's stil soroful y.

       `Ther's only one thing mor to be don,' continud th gratifyd Bajr. `Toad, I want u solemly to repeat, befor yr frends here, wat u fuly admitd to me in th smoking-room just now. First, u ar sorry for wat u'v don, and u se th folly of it al?'

       Ther was a long, long pause. Toad lookd despratly this way and that, wile th othr anmls waitd in grave silence. At last he spoke.

       `No!' he said, a litl sulenly, but stoutly; `I'm not sorry. And it wasnt folly at al! It was simply glorius!'

       `Wat?' cryd th Bajr, gretly scandalised. `U baksliding anml, didnt u tel me just now, in ther -- -- '

       `O, yes, yes, in ther,' said Toad impatiently. `I'd hav said anything in ther. U'r so eloquent, dear Bajr, and so moving, and so convincing, and put al yr points so frytfuly wel -- u can do wat u

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    like with me in ther, and u no it. But I'v been serchng my mind since, and going over things in it, and I find that I'm not a bit sorry or repentnt realy, so it's no erthly good sayng I am; now, is it?'

       `Then u dont promis,' said th Bajr, `nevr to tuch a motor-car again?'

       `Certnly not!' replyd Toad emfaticly. `On th contry, I faithfuly promis that th very first motor-car I se, poop-poop! off I go in it!'

       `Told u so, didnt I?' observd th Rat to th Mole.

       `Very wel, then,' said th Bajr firmly, rising to his feet. `Since u wont yield to persuasion, we'l try wat force can do. I feard it wud com to this al along. U'v ofn askd us thre to com and stay with u, Toad, in this hansm house of yrs; wel, now we'r going to. Wen we'v convertd u to a propr point of vew we may quit, but not befor. Take him upstairs, u two, and lok him up in his bedroom, wile we aranje matrs between ourselvs.'

       `It's for yr own good, Toady, u no,' said th Rat kindly, as Toad, kikng and

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    struglng, was hauld up th stairs by his two faithful frends. `Think wat fun we shal al hav togethr, just as we used to, wen u'v quite got over this -- this painful atak of yrs!'

       `We'l take gret care of everything for u til u'r wel, Toad,' said th Mole; `and we'l se yr mony isnt wasted, as it has been.'

       `No mor of those regretbl incidnts with th police, Toad,' said th Rat, as they thrust him into his bedroom.

       `And no mor weeks in hospitl, being ordrd about by female nurses, Toad,' add th Mole, turnng th ke on him.

       They desendd th stair, Toad shoutng abuse at them thru th kehole; and th thre frends then met in confrnce on th situation.

       `It's going to be a tedius busness,' said th Bajr, syng. `I'v nevr seen Toad so determnd. Howevr, we wil se it out. He must nevr be left an instnt ungardd. We shal hav to take it in turns to be with him, til th poisn has workd itself out of his systm.'

    Paje 130

       They aranjed wachs acordngly. Each anml took it in turns to sleep in Toad's room at nyt, and they divided th day up between them. At first Toad was undoutdly very tryng to his careful gardians. Wen his violent paroxysms posesd him he wud aranje bedroom chairs in rude resemblnce of a motorcar and wud crouch on th formost of them, bent forwrd and staring fixedly ahed, making uncuth and gastly noises, til th climax was reachd, wen, turnng a complete somrsalt, he wud lie prostrate amidst th ruins of th chairs, aparently completely satisfyd for th moment. As time pasd, howevr, these painful seizurs grew graduly less frequent, and his frends strove to divert his mind into fresh chanls. But his intrest in othr matrs did not seem to revive, and he grew aparently languid and depresd.

       One fine mornng th Rat, hos turn it was to go on duty, went upstairs to releve Bajr, hom he found fijetng to be off and strech his legs in a long rambl round his wood and down his erths and buros. `Toad's stil in bed,' he told th Rat, outside th dor. `Cant get much out of him, exept, "O leve

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    him alone, he wants nothing, perhaps he'l be betr presntly, it may pass off in time, dont be unduly anxius," and so on. Now, u look out, Rat! Wen Toad's quiet and submissiv and playng at being th hero of a Sunday-scool prize, then he's at his artfullest. Ther's sure to be somthing up. I no him. Wel, now, I must be off.'

       `How ar u to-day, old chap?' inquired th Rat cheerfuly, as he aproachd Toad's bedside.

       He had to wait som minuts for an ansr. At last a feebl voice replyd, `Thank u so much, dear Ratty! So good of u to inquire! But first tel me how u ar yrself, and th exlnt Mole?'

       `O, we'r al ryt,' replyd th Rat. `Mole,' he add incautiously, `is going out for a run round with Bajr. They'l be out til lunchn time, so u and I wil spend a plesnt mornng togethr, and I'l do my best to amuse u. Now jump up, ther's a good felo, and dont lie moping ther on a fine mornng like this!'

       `Dear, kind Rat,' murmrd Toad, `how litl u realize my condition, and how very far I am from "jumpng up" now -- if evr! But do

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    not trubl about me. I hate being a burdn to my frends, and I do not expect to be one much longr. Indeed, I almost hope not.'

       `Wel, I hope not, too,' said th Rat hartily. `U'v been a fine bothr to us al this time, and I'm glad to hear it's going to stop. And in wethr like this, and th boatng seasn just beginng! It's too bad of u, Toad! It isnt th trubl we mind, but u'r making us miss such an awful lot.'

       `I'm afraid it is th trubl u mind, tho,' replyd th Toad languidly. `I can quite undrstand it. It's natrl enuf. U'r tired of bothrng about me. I musnt ask u to do anything furthr. I'm a nusance, I no.'

       `U ar, indeed,' said th Rat. `But I tel u, I'd take any trubl on erth for u, if only u'd be a sensbl anml.'

       `If I thot that, Ratty,' murmrd Toad, mor feebly than evr, `then I wud beg u -- for th last time, probbly -- to step round to th vilaj as quikly as posbl -- even now it may be too late -- and fech th doctr. But dont u bothr. It's only a trubl, and perhaps we may as wel let things take ther corse.'

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       `Wy, wat do u want a doctr for?' inquired th Rat, comng closer and examnng him. He certnly lay very stil and flat, and his voice was weakr and his manr much chanjed.

       `Surely u hav noticed of late -- -- ' murmrd Toad. `But, no -- wy shud u? Noticing things is only a trubl. Tomoro, indeed, u may be sayng to yrself, "O, if only I had noticed soonr! If only I had don somthing!" But no; it's a trubl. Nevr mind -- forget that I askd.'

       `Look here, old man,' said th Rat, beginng to get rathr alarmd, `of corse I'l fech a doctr to u, if u realy think u want him. But u can hardly be bad enuf for that yet. Let's talk about somthing else.'

       `I fear, dear frend,' said Toad, with a sad smile, `that "talk" can do litl in a case like this -- or doctrs eithr, for that matr; stil, one must grasp at th slytst straw. And, by th way -- wile u ar about it -- I hate to giv u aditionl trubl, but I hapn to remembr that u wil pass th dor -- wud u mind at th same time askng th lawyr to step up? It wud be a convenience to me,

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    and ther ar moments -- perhaps I shud say ther is a moment -- wen one must face disagreeabl tasks, at watevr cost to exaustd natur!'

       `A lawyr! O, he must be realy bad!' th affrighted Rat said to himself, as he hurrid from th room, not forgetng, howevr, to lok th dor carefuly behind him.

       Outside, he stopd to considr. Th othr two wer far away, and he had no one to consult.

       `It's best to be on th safe side,' he said, on reflection. `I'v nown Toad fancy himself frytfuly bad befor, without th slytst reasn; but I'v nevr herd him ask for a lawyr! If ther's nothing realy th matr, th doctr wil tel him he's an old ass, and cheer him up; and that wil be somthing gaind. I'd betr humor him and go; it wont take very long.' So he ran off to th vilaj on his erand of mercy.

       Th Toad, ho had hopd lytly out of bed as soon as he herd th ke turnd in th lok, wachd him eagrly from th windo til he disapeard down th carrij-drive. Then, lafng hartily, he dresd as quikly as

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    posbl in th smartst suit he cud lay hands on at th moment, fild his pokets with cash wich he took from a smal drawr in th dresng-table, and next, notng th sheets from his bed togethr and tyng one end of th improvised rope round th centrl mullion of th hansm Tudor windo wich formd such a featur of his bedroom, he scrambld out, slid lytly to th ground, and, taking th oposit direction to th Rat, marchd off lightheartedly, wislng a merry tune.

       It was a gloomy lunchn for Rat wen th Bajr and th Mole at length returnd, and he had to face them at table with his pitiful and unconvincing story. Th Badger's caustic, not to say brutal, remarks may be imajnd, and therfor pasd over; but it was painful to th Rat that even th Mole, tho he took his friend's side as far as posbl, cud not help sayng, `U'v been a bit of a duffer this time, Ratty! Toad, too, of al anmls!'

       `He did it awfuly wel,' said th crestfalen Rat.

       `He did u awfuly wel!' rejoind th Bajr hotly. `Howevr, talkng wont mend matrs. He's got clear away for th time,

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    that's certn; and th worst of it is, he'l be so conceitd with wat he'l think is his clevrness that he may comit any folly. One comfrt is, we'r fre now, and neednt waste any mor of our precius time doing sentry-go. But we'd betr continu to sleep at Toad Hal for a wile longr. Toad may be brot bak at any moment -- on a strechr, or between two policemen.'

       So spoke th Bajr, not noing wat th futur held in stor, or how much watr, and of how turbid a caractr, was to run undr brijs befor Toad shud sit at ese again in his ancestrl Hal.

       Meanwile, Toad, gay and iresponsbl, was walkng briskly along th hy road, som miles from home. At first he had taken by-paths, and crosd many fields, and chanjed his corse sevrl times, in case of pursuit; but now, feelng by this time safe from recaptur, and th sun smiling brytly on him, and al Natur joinng in a corus of aproval to th song of self-prase that his own hart was singng to him, he almost danced along th road in his satisfaction and conceit.

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       `Smart pece of work that!' he remarkd to himself chuklng. `Brain against brute force -- and brain came out on th top -- as it's bound to do. Poor old Ratty! My! wont he cach it wen th Bajr gets bak! A worthy felo, Ratty, with many good qualitis, but very litl intelijnce and abslutely no education. I must take him in hand som day, and se if I can make somthing of him.'

       Fild ful of conceitd thots such as these he strode along, his hed in th air, til he reachd a litl town, wher th syn of `Th Red Lion,' swingng across th road halfway down th main street, remindd him that he had not brekfastd that day, and that he was exeedngly hungry aftr his long walk. He marchd into th In, ordrd th best lunchn that cud be provided at so short a notice, and sat down to eat it in th cofee-room.

       He was about half-way thru his meal wen an only too familir sound, aproachng down th street, made him start and fal a-tremblng al over. Th poop-poop! drew nearr and nearr, th car cud be herd to turn into th in-yard and com to a stop, and

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    Toad had to hold on to th leg of th table to conceal his over-mastrng emotion. Presntly th party entrd th cofee-room, hungry, talkativ, and gay, volubl on ther experiences of th mornng and th merits of th chariot that had brot them along so wel. Toad lisnd eagrly, al ears, for a time; at last he cud stand it no longr. He slipd out of th room quietly, paid his bil at th bar, and as soon as he got outside sauntrd round quietly to th in-yard. `Ther canot be any harm,' he said to himself, `in my only just lookng at it!'

       Th car stood in th midl of th yard, quite unatendd, th stable-helps and othr hangrs-on being al at ther dinr. Toad walkd sloly round it, inspectng, criticizing, musing deeply.

       `I wondr,' he said to himself presntly, `I wondr if this sort of car starts esily?'

       Next moment, hardly noing how it came about, he found he had hold of th handl and was turnng it. As th familir sound broke forth, th old passion sezed on Toad and completely mastrd him, body and sol. As if in a dream he found himself, somhow, seatd in th

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    driver's seat; as if in a dream, he puld th levr and swung th car round th yard and out thru th archway; and, as if in a dream, al sense of ryt and rong, al fear of obvius consequences, seemd temprily suspendd. He incresed his pace, and as th car devourd th street and lept forth on th hy road thru th open cuntry, he was only concius that he was Toad once mor, Toad at his best and hyest, Toad th terr, th trafic-queller, th Lord of th lone trail, befor hom al must giv way or be smitn into nothingness and evrlastng nyt. He chantd as he flew, and th car respondd with sonrus drone; th miles wer eatn up undr him as he sped he new not withr, fulfilng his instincts, livng his our, rekless of wat myt com to him. * * * * * *

       `To my mind,' observd th Chairman of th Bench of Majistrates cheerfuly, `th only dificlty that presents itself in this othrwise very clear case is, how we can posbly make it suficiently hot for th incorijbl roge and hardnd ruffian hom we se cowrng in th dok befor us. Let me se: he has been

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    found gilty, on th clearst evidnce, first, of stealng a valubl motor-car; secndly, of driving to th public danjer; and, thirdly, of gross impertnnce to th rural police. Mr. Clerk, wil u tel us, plese, wat is th very stiffest penlty we can impose for each of these ofenses? Without, of corse, givng th prisnr th benefit of any dout, because ther isnt any.'

       Th Clerk scrachd his nose with his pen. `Som peple wud considr,' he observd, `that stealng th motor-car was th worst ofense; and so it is. But cheeking th police undoutdly carris th severest penlty; and so it ot. Suposing u wer to say twelv months for th theft, wich is mild; and thre years for th furius driving, wich is lenient; and fifteen years for th cheek, wich was pretty bad sort of cheek, jujng by wat we'v herd from th witness-box, even if u only beleve one-tenth part of wat u herd, and I nevr beleve mor myself -- those figrs, if add togethr corectly, tot up to nineteen years -- -- '

       `First-rate!' said th Chairman.

       ` -- So u had betr make it a round

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    twenty years and be on th safe side,' concluded th Clerk.

       `An exlnt sujestion!' said th Chairman aprovingly. `Prisnr! Pul yrself togethr and try and stand up strait. It's going to be twenty years for u this time. And mind, if u apear befor us again, upon any charj watevr, we shal hav to deal with u very seriusly!'

       Then th brutal minions of th law fel upon th hapless Toad; loadd him with chains, and dragd him from th Cort House, shriekng, prayng, protestng; across th marketplace, wher th playful populace, always as severe upon detectd crime as they ar sympathetic and helpful wen one is merely `wantd,' asaild him with jeers, carots, and populr cach-words; past hootng scool children, ther inocent faces lit up with th plesur they evr derive from th syt of a jentlman in dificltis; across th holo-soundng drawbrij, belo th spiky portculis, undr th frownng archway of th grim old casl, hos ancient towrs sord hy overhed; past guardrooms ful of grinng soldiery off duty, past sentris ho cofd in a horid,

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    sarcastic way, because that is as much as a sentry on his post dare do to sho his contemt and abhorence of crime; up time-worn windng stairs, past men-at-arms in casquet and corselet of steel, dartng thretnng looks thru ther vizards; across cortyards, wher mastiffs straind at ther leash and pawd th air to get at him; past ancient wardrs, ther halberds lent against th wal, dozing over a pasty and a flagn of brown ale; on and on, past th rak-chamber and th thumbscrew-room, past th turnng that led to th privat scafld, til they reachd th dor of th grimmest dunjn that lay in th hart of th inrmost keep. Ther at last they pausd, wher an ancient gaoler sat fingrng a bunch of myty kes.

       `Oddsbodikins!' said th serjnt of police, taking off his helmet and wiping his forhed. `Rouse thee, old loon, and take over from us this vile Toad, a crimnl of deepst gilt and machless artfulness and resorce. Wach and ward him with al thy skil; and mark thee wel, greybeard, shud aught untoward befal, thy old hed shal ansr for his -- and a murrain on both of them!'

       Th gaoler nodd grimly, layng his withrd

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    hand on th sholdr of th misrbl Toad. Th rusty ke creakd in th lok, th gret dor clangd behind them; and Toad was a helpless prisnr in th remotest dunjn of th best-gardd keep of th stoutst casl in al th length and bredth of Merry England.

    Paje 144

    Chaptr 7



       TH Wilo-Ren was twitrng his thin litl song, hidn himself in th dark selvedge of th rivr bank. Tho it was past ten oclok at nyt, th sky stil clung to and retaind som lingrng skirts of lyt from th departd day; and th sulen heats of th torid aftrnoon broke up and rold away at th dispersng tuch of th cool fingrs of th short midsumr nyt. Mole lay strechd on th bank, stil pantng from th stress of th fierce day that had been cloudless from dawn to late sunset, and waitd for his frend to return. He had been on th rivr with som companions, leving th Watr Rat fre to keep a engajemnt of long standng with Otr; and he had com bak to find th house dark and desertd, and no syn of Rat, ho was doutless

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    keepng it up late with his old comrad. It was stil too hot to think of stayng indors, so he lay on som cool dok-leavs, and thot over th past day and its doings, and how very good they al had been.

       Th Rat's lyt footfall was presntly herd aproachng over th parchd grass. `O, th blesd coolness!' he said, and sat down, gazing thotfuly into th rivr, silent and preocupyd.

       `U stayd to supr, of corse?' said th Mole presntly.

       `Simply had to,' said th Rat. `They wudnt hear of my going befor. U no how kind they always ar. And they made things as jolly for me as evr they cud, ryt up to th moment I left. But I felt a brute al th time, as it was clear to me they wer very unhappy, tho they tryd to hide it. Mole, I'm afraid they'r in trubl. Litl Portly is misng again; and u no wat a lot his fathr thinks of him, tho he nevr says much about it.'

       `Wat, that child?' said th Mole lytly. `Wel, supose he is; wy worry about it? He's always strayng off and getng lost, and turnng

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    up again; he's so adventurus. But no harm evr hapns to him. Evrybody hereabouts nos him and likes him, just as they do old Otr, and u may be sure som anml or othr wil com across him and bring him bak again al ryt. Wy, we'v found him ourselvs, miles from home, and quite self-posesd and cheerful!'

       `Yes; but this time it's mor serius,' said th Rat gravely. `He's been misng for som days now, and th Otrs hav huntd evrywher, hy and lo, without findng th slytst trace. And they'v askd evry anml, too, for miles around, and no one nos anything about him. Otter's evidntly mor anxius than he'l admit. I got out of him that yung Portly hasnt lernt to swim very wel yet, and I can se he's thinkng of th weir. Ther's a lot of watr comng down stil, considrng th time of th year, and th place always had a fasnation for th child. And then ther ar -- wel, traps and things -- u no. Otter's not th felo to be nervus about any son of his befor it's time. And now he is nervus. Wen I left, he came out with me -- said he wantd som air, and talkd about

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    strechng his legs. But I cud se it wasnt that, so I drew him out and pumpd him, and got it al from him at last. He was going to spend th nyt wachng by th ford. U no th place wher th old ford used to be, in by-gon days befor they bilt th brij?'

       `I no it wel,' said th Mole. `But wy shud Otr choose to wach ther?'

       `Wel, it seems that it was ther he gave Portly his first swimng-lesn,' continud th Rat. `From that shalo, gravly spit near th bank. And it was ther he used to teach him fishng, and ther yung Portly caut his first fish, of wich he was so very proud. Th child lovd th spot, and Otr thinks that if he came wandrng bak from wherevr he is -- if he is anywher by this time, poor litl chap -- he myt make for th ford he was so fond of; or if he came across it he'd remembr it wel, and stop ther and play, perhaps. So Otr gos ther evry nyt and wachs -- on th chance, u no, just on th chance!'

       They wer silent for a time, both thinkng of th same thing -- th lonely, hart-sor anml, crouchd by th ford, wachng and waitng, th long nyt thru -- on th chance.

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       `Wel, wel,' said th Rat presntly, `I supose we ot to be thinkng about turnng in.' But he nevr ofrd to move.

       `Rat,' said th Mole, `I simply cant go and turn in, and go to sleep, and do nothing, even tho ther dosnt seem to be anything to be don. We'l get th boat out, and padl up stream. Th moon wil be up in an our or so, and then we wil serch as wel as we can -- anyhow, it wil be betr than going to bed and doing nothing.'

       `Just wat I was thinkng myself,' said th Rat. `It's not th sort of nyt for bed anyhow; and daybrek is not so very far off, and then we may pik up som news of him from erly risers as we go along.'

       They got th boat out, and th Rat took th sculls, padlng with caution. Out in midstream, ther was a clear, naro trak that faintly reflectd th sky; but wherevr shados fel on th watr from bank, bush, or tre, they wer as solid to al apearnce as th banks themselvs, and th Mole had to steer with jujmnt acordngly. Dark and desertd as it was, th nyt was ful of smal noises, song and chatr and ruslng, telng of th busy

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    litl population ho wer up and about, plyng ther trades and vocations thru th nyt til sunshine shud fal on them at last and send them off to ther wel-ernd repose. Th water's own noises, too, wer mor aparent than by day, its gurglings and `cloops' mor unexpectd and near at hand; and constntly they startd at wat seemd a sudn clear cal from an actul articulat voice.

       Th line of th horizon was clear and hard against th sky, and in one particulr quartr it showd blak against a silvry climbng fosfresnce that grew and grew. At last, over th rim of th waitng erth th moon liftd with slo majesty til it swung clear of th horizon and rode off, fre of moorngs; and once mor they began to se surfaces -- medos wide-spred, and quiet gardns, and th rivr itself from bank to bank, al softly disclosed, al washd clean of mystry and terr, al radiant again as by day, but with a difrnce that was tremendus. Ther old haunts greetd them again in othr raimnt, as if they had slipd away and put on this pure new aparel and com quietly bak, smiling as they shyly waitd to se if they wud be recognized again undr it.

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       Fasnng ther boat to a wilo, th frends landd in this silent, silvr kingdm, and patiently explord th hejs, th holo tres, th runnels and ther litl culverts, th dichs and dry watr-ways. Embarkng again and crosng over, they workd ther way up th stream in this manr, wile th moon, serene and detachd in a cloudless sky, did wat she cud, tho so far off, to help them in ther quest; til her our came and she sank earthwards reluctntly, and left them, and mystry once mor held field and rivr.

       Then a chanje began sloly to declare itself. Th horizon became clearr, field and tre came mor into syt, and somhow with a difrnt look; th mystry began to drop away from them. A bird piped sudnly, and was stil; and a lyt breze sprang up and set th reeds and bulrushs ruslng. Rat, ho was in th stern of th boat, wile Mole sculled, sat up sudnly and lisnd with a passionat intentness. Mole, ho with jentl strokes was just keepng th boat moving wile he scand th banks with care, lookd at him with curiosity.

       `It's gon!' syd th Rat, sinkng bak in his seat again. `So butiful and stranje and

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    new. Since it was to end so soon, I almost wish I had nevr herd it. For it has rousd a longng in me that is pain, and nothing seems worth wile but just to hear that sound once mor and go on lisnng to it for evr. No! Ther it is again!' he cryd, alert once mor. Entranced, he was silent for a long space, spelbound.

       `Now it passes on and I begin to lose it,' he said presntly. `O Mole! th buty of it! Th merry bubl and joy, th thin, clear, happy cal of th distnt piping! Such music I nevr dreamd of, and th cal in it is strongr even than th music is sweet! Ro on, Mole, ro! For th music and th cal must be for us.'

       Th Mole, gretly wondrng, obeyd. `I hear nothing myself,' he said, `but th wind playng in th reeds and rushs and osiers.'

       Th Rat nevr ansrd, if indeed he herd. Rapt, transportd, tremblng, he was posesd in al his senses by this new divine thing that caut up his helpless sol and swung and dandled it, a powrless but happy infnt in a strong sustainng grasp.

       In silence Mole roed stedily, and soon they came to a point wher th rivr divided, a long

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    bakwatr branchng off to one side. With a slyt movemnt of his hed Rat, ho had long dropd th rudr-lines, directd th rower to take th bakwatr. Th creepng tide of lyt gaind and gaind, and now they cud se th color of th flowrs that gemmed th water's ej.

       `Clearr and nearr stil,' cryd th Rat joyusly. `Now u must surely hear it! Ah -- at last -- I se u do!'

       Brethless and transfixd th Mole stopd roing as th liquid run of that glad piping broke on him like a wave, caut him up, and posesd him utrly. He saw th ters on his comrade's cheeks, and bowd his hed and undrstood. For a space they hung ther, brushd by th purpl loose-strife that frinjd th bank; then th clear imperius sumns that marchd hand-in-hand with th intoxicating melody imposed its wil on Mole, and mecanicly he bent to his ors again. And th lyt grew stedily strongr, but no birds sang as they wer wont to do at th aproach of dawn; and but for th hevnly music al was marvlusly stil.

       On eithr side of them, as they glided onwrds,

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    th rich medo-grass seemd that mornng of a freshness and a greeness unsurpassable. Nevr had they noticed th roses so vivid, th wilo-herb so riotus, th medo-sweet so odorus and pervading. Then th murmr of th aproachng weir began to hold th air, and they felt a conciusness that they wer nearng th end, watevr it myt be, that surely awaitd ther expedition.

       A wide half-circl of foam and glintng lyts and shining sholdrs of green watr, th gret weir closed th bakwatr from bank to bank, trubld al th quiet surface with twirlng eddis and floatng foam-streaks, and dednd al othr sounds with its solem and soothing rumbl. In midmost of th stream, embraced in th weir's shimrng arm-spred, a smal iland lay ancrd, frinjd close with wilo and silvr birch and aldr. Reservd, shy, but ful of significnce, it hid watevr it myt hold behind a veil, keepng it til th our shud com, and, with th our, those ho wer cald and chosen.

       Sloly, but with no dout or hesitation watevr, and in somthing of a solem expectncy, th two anmls pasd thru th broken

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    tumultuus watr and moord ther boat at th flowry marjn of th iland. In silence they landd, and pushd thru th blosm and sentd herbage and undrgroth that led up to th levl ground, til they stood on a litl lawn of a marvlus green, set round with Nature's own orchrd-tres -- crab-apl, wild cherry, and slo.

       `This is th place of my song-dream, th place th music playd to me,' wisprd th Rat, as if in a trance. `Here, in this holy place, here if anywher, surely we shal find Him!'

       Then sudnly th Mole felt a gret Aw fal upon him, an aw that turnd his musls to watr, bowd his hed, and rootd his feet to th ground. It was no panic terr -- indeed he felt wondrfuly at pece and happy -- but it was an aw that smote and held him and, without seing, he new it cud only mean that som august Presnce was very, very near. With dificlty he turnd to look for his frend. and saw him at his side cowd, strikn, and tremblng violently. And stil ther was utr silence in th populus bird-hauntd branchs around them; and stil th lyt grew and grew.

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       Perhaps he wud nevr hav dared to rase his ys, but that, tho th piping was now hushd, th cal and th sumns seemd stil domnnt and imperius. He myt not refuse, wer Deth himself waitng to strike him instntly, once he had lookd with mortl y on things rytly kept hidn. Tremblng he obeyd, and rased his humbl hed; and then, in that utr clearness of th imnnt dawn, wile Natur, flushd with fulness of incredbl color, seemd to hold her breth for th event, he lookd in th very ys of th Frend and Helpr; saw th bakwrd sweep of th curvd horns, gleamng in th groing daylyt; saw th stern, hookd nose between th kindly ys that wer lookng down on them humourously, wile th beardd mouth broke into a half-smile at th cornrs; saw th riplng musls on th arm that lay across th brod chest, th long supl hand stil holdng th pan-pipes only just falen away from th partd lips; saw th splendid curvs of th shaggy lims disposed in majestic ese on th sward; saw, last of al, neslng between his very hoovs, sleepng soundly in entire pece and contentmnt, th litl, round, pojy, childish form of th

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    baby otr. Al this he saw, for one moment brethless and intense, vivid on th mornng sky; and stil, as he lookd, he livd; and stil, as he livd, he wondrd.

       `Rat!' he found breth to wispr, shaking. `Ar u afraid?'

       `Afraid?' murmrd th Rat, his ys shining with unutrbl lov. `Afraid! Of Him? O, nevr, nevr! And yet -- and yet -- O, Mole, I am afraid!'

       Then th two anmls, crouchng to th erth, bowd ther heds and did worship.

       Sudn and magnificent, th sun's brod goldn disk showd itself over th horizon facing them; and th first rays, shootng across th levl watr-medos, took th anmls ful in th ys and dazld them. Wen they wer able to look once mor, th Vision had vanishd, and th air was ful of th carol of birds that haild th dawn.

       As they stared blankly. in dum misry deepnng as they sloly realized al they had seen and al they had lost, a capricius litl breze, dancing up from th surface of th watr, tosd th aspens, shook th dewy roses and blew lytly and caressingly in ther faces;

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    and with its soft tuch came instnt oblivion. For this is th last best gift that th kindly demi-god is careful to besto on those to hom he has reveald himself in ther helpng: th gift of forgetfulness. Lest th awful remembrnce shud remain and gro, and overshado mirth and plesur, and th gret hauntng memry shud spoil al th aftr-lives of litl anmls helpd out of dificltis, in ordr that they shud be happy and lythartd as befor.

       Mole rubd his ys and stared at Rat, ho was lookng about him in a puzld sort of way. `I beg yr pardn; wat did u say, Rat?' he askd.

       `I think I was only remarkng,' said Rat sloly, `that this was th ryt sort of place, and that here, if anywher, we shud find him. And look! Wy, ther he is, th litl felo!' And with a cry of delyt he ran towards th slumbrng Portly.

       But Mole stood stil a moment, held in thot. As one wakend sudnly from a butiful dream, ho strugls to recal it, and can re-captur nothing but a dim sense of th buty of it, th buty! Til that, too, fades

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    away in its turn, and th dreamr bitrly accepts th hard, cold waking and al its penltis; so Mole, aftr struglng with his memry for a brief space, shook his hed sadly and folod th Rat.

       Portly woke up with a joyus squeak, and rigld with plesur at th syt of his father's frends, ho had playd with him so ofn in past days. In a moment, howevr, his face grew blank, and he fel to huntng round in a circl with pleadng wine. As a child that has falen happily asleep in its nurse's arms, and wakes to find itself alone and laid in a stranje place, and serchs cornrs and cubrds, and runs from room to room, despair groing silently in its hart, even so Portly serchd th iland and serchd, doged and unwearying, til at last th blak moment came for givng it up, and sitng down and cryng bitrly.

       Th Mole ran quikly to comfrt th litl anml; but Rat, lingrng, lookd long and doutfuly at certn hoof-marks deep in th sward.

       `Som -- gret -- anml -- has been here,' he murmrd sloly and thotfuly; and stood musing, musing; his mind stranjely stird.

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       `Com along, Rat!' cald th Mole. `Think of poor Otr, waitng up ther by th ford!'

       Portly had soon been comfrtd by th promis of a treat -- a jaunt on th rivr in Mr. Rat's real boat; and th two anmls conductd him to th water's side, placed him securely between them in th botm of th boat, and padld off down th bakwatr. Th sun was fuly up by now, and hot on them, birds sang lustily and without restraint, and flowrs smiled and nodd from eithr bank, but somhow -- so thot th anmls -- with less of richness and blaze of color than they seemd to remembr seing quite recently somwher -- they wondrd wher.

       Th main rivr reachd again, they turnd th boat's hed upstream, towards th point wher they new ther frend was keepng his lonely vijl. As they drew near th familir ford, th Mole took th boat in to th bank, and they liftd Portly out and set him on his legs on th tow-path, gave him his marchng ordrs and a frendly farewel pat on th bak, and shovd out into mid-stream. They wachd th litl anml as he wadld along th path

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    contentdly and with importnce; wachd him til they saw his muzl sudnly lift and his waddle brek into a clumsy ambl as he quiknd his pace with shril whines and rigls of recognition. Lookng up th rivr, they cud se Otr start up, tense and rijid, from out of th shalos wher he crouchd in dum patience, and cud hear his amazed and joyus bark as he boundd up thru th osiers on to th path. Then th Mole, with a strong pul on one or, swung th boat round and let th ful stream ber them down again withr it wud, ther quest now happily endd.

       `I feel stranjely tired, Rat,' said th Mole, leanng wearily over his ors as th boat driftd. `It's being up al nyt, u'l say, perhaps; but that's nothing. We do as much half th nyts of th week, at this time of th year. No; I feel as if I had been thru somthing very exiting and rathr teribl, and it was just over; and yet nothing particulr has hapnd.'

       `Or somthing very surprising and splendid and butiful,' murmrd th Rat, leanng bak and closing his ys. `I feel just as u do, Mole; simply ded tired, tho not body

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    tired. It's lucky we'v got th stream with us, to take us home. Isnt it jolly to feel th sun again, soakng into one's bones! And hark to th wind playng in th reeds!'

       `It's like music -- far away music,' said th Mole nodng drowsily.

       `So I was thinkng,' murmrd th Rat, dreamful and languid. `Dance-music -- th liltng sort that runs on without a stop -- but with words in it, too -- it passes into words and out of them again -- I cach them at intrvls -- then it is dance-music once mor, and then nothing but th reeds' soft thin wisprng.'

       `U hear betr than I,' said th Mole sadly. `I canot cach th words.'

       `Let me try and giv u them,' said th Rat softly, his ys stil closed. `Now it is turnng into words again -- faint but clear -- Lest th aw shud dwel -- And turn yr frolic to fret -- U shal look on my powr at th helpng our -- But then u shal forget! Now th reeds take it up -- forget, forget, they sy, and it dies away in a rusl and a wispr. Then th voice returns --

       `Lest lims be rednd and rent -- I spring th trap that is set -- As I loose th snare u may

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    glimps me ther -- For surely u shal forget! Ro nearr, Mole, nearr to th reeds! It is hard to cach, and gros each minut faintr.

       `Helpr and healr, I cheer -- Smal waifs in th woodland wet -- Strays I find in it, wounds I bind in it -- Bidng them al forget! Nearr, Mole, nearr! No, it is no good; th song has died away into reed-talk.'

       `But wat do th words mean?' askd th wondrng Mole.

       `That I do not no,' said th Rat simply. `I pasd them on to u as they reachd me. Ah! now they return again, and this time ful and clear! This time, at last, it is th real, th unmistakebl thing, simpl -- passionat -- perfect -- -- '

       `Wel, let's hav it, then,' said th Mole, aftr he had waitd patiently for a few minuts, half-dozing in th hot sun.

       But no ansr came. He lookd, and undrstood th silence. With a smile of much happiness on his face, and somthing of a lisnng look stil lingrng ther, th weary Rat was fast asleep.

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    Chaptr 8



       WEN Toad found himself immured in a dank and noism dunjn, and new that al th grim darkns of a medievl fortress lay between him and th outr world of sunshine and wel-metalled hy roads wher he had lately been so happy, disporting himself as if he had bot up evry road in England, he flung himself at ful length on th flor, and shed bitr ters, and abandnd himself to dark despair. `This is th end of everything' (he said), `at least it is th end of th career of Toad, wich is th same thing; th populr and hansm Toad, th rich and hospitbl Toad, th Toad so fre and careless and debnair! How can I hope to be evr set at larj again' (he said), `ho hav been imprisnd so justly for stealng so hansm a motor-car in such an audacius manr, and

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    for such lurid and imajnativ cheek, bestod upon such a numbr of fat, red-faced policemen!' (Here his sobs choked him.) `Stupid anml that I was' (he said), `now I must languish in this dunjn, til peple ho wer proud to say they new me, hav forgotn th very name of Toad! O wise old Bajr!' (he said), `O clevr, intelijnt Rat and sensbl Mole! Wat sound jujmnts, wat a nolej of men and matrs u posess! O unhappy and forsaken Toad!' With lamntations such as these he pasd his days and nyts for sevrl weeks, refusing his meals or intrmediat lyt refreshmnts, tho th grim and ancient gaoler, noing that Toad's pokets wer wel lined, frequently pointd out that many comfrts, and indeed luxuris, cud by aranjemnt be sent in -- at a price -- from outside.

       Now th gaoler had a dautr, a plesnt wench and good-hartd, ho asistd her fathr in th lytr dutis of his post. She was particulrly fond of anmls, and, besides her canary, hos caje hung on a nail in th massiv wal of th keep by day, to th gret anoynce of prisnrs ho relishd an aftr

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    dinr nap, and was shroudd in an antimacassar on th parlr table at nyt, she kept sevrl piebald mice and a restless revolvng squirel. This kind-hartd girl, pitying th misry of Toad, said to her fathr one day, `Fathr! I cant ber to se that poor beast so unhappy, and getng so thin! U let me hav th manajng of him. U no how fond of anmls I am. I'l make him eat from my hand, and sit up, and do al sorts of things.'

       Her fathr replyd that she cud do wat she liked with him. He was tired of Toad, and his sulks and his airs and his meaness. So that day she went on her erand of mercy, and nokd at th dor of Toad's cel.

       `Now, cheer up, Toad,' she said, coaxingly, on entrng, `and sit up and dry yr ys and be a sensbl anml. And do try and eat a bit of dinr. Se, I'v brot u som of mine, hot from th ovn!'

       It was bubl-and-squeak, between two plates, and its fragrance fild th naro cel. Th penetrating smel of cabaj reachd th nose of Toad as he lay prostrate in his misry on th flor, and gave him th idea for a moment that perhaps life was not such a blank and desprat

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    thing as he had imajnd. But stil he waild, and kikd with his legs, and refused to be comfrtd. So th wise girl retired for th time, but, of corse, a good deal of th smel of hot cabaj remaind behind, as it wil do, and Toad, between his sobs, snifd and reflectd, and graduly began to think new and inspiring thots: of chivlry, and poetry, and deeds stil to be don; of brod medos, and catl browsng in them, raked by sun and wind; of kichn-gardns, and strait herb-bordrs, and warm snap-dragn beset by bes; and of th comfrtng clink of dishs set down on th table at Toad Hal, and th scrape of chair-legs on th flor as evry one puld himself close up to his work. Th air of th naro cel took a rosy tinj; he began to think of his frends, and how they wud surely be able to do somthing; of lawyrs, and how they wud hav enjoyd his case, and wat an ass he had been not to get in a few; and lastly, he thot of his own gret clevrness and resorce, and al that he was capabl of if he only gave his gret mind to it; and th cure was almost complete.

       Wen th girl returnd, som ours later, she

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    carrid a tray, with a cup of fragrant te steamng on it; and a plate piled up with very hot butrd toast, cut thik, very brown on both sides, with th butr runng thru th holes in it in gret goldn drops, like hony from th honycomb. Th smel of that butrd toast simply talkd to Toad, and with no uncertn voice; talkd of warm kichns, of brekfasts on bryt frosty mornngs, of cozy parlr firesides on wintr evenngs, wen one's rambl was over and sliprd feet wer propd on th fendr; of th purng of contentd cats, and th twitr of sleepy canaris. Toad sat up on end once mor, dryd his ys, sipd his te and munchd his toast, and soon began talkng frely about himself, and th house he livd in, and his doings ther, and how importnt he was, and wat a lot his frends thot of him.

       Th gaoler's dautr saw that th topic was doing him as much good as th te, as indeed it was, and encurajd him to go on.

       `Tel me about Toad Hal," said she. `It sounds butiful.'

       `Toad Hal,' said th Toad proudly, `is an elijbl self-containd gentleman's residnce

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    very uniqe; dating in part from th forteenth century, but replete with evry modrn convenience. Up-to-date sanitation. Five minuts from church, post-ofice, and golf-links, Suitbl for -- -- '

       `Bless th anml,' said th girl, lafng, `I dont want to take it. Tel me somthing real about it. But first wait til I fech u som mor te and toast.'

       She tripd away, and presntly returnd with a fresh trayful; and Toad, pichng into th toast with avidity, his spirits quite restord to ther usul levl, told her about th boathouse, and th fish-pond, and th old wald kichn-gardn; and about th pig-styes, and th stables, and th pijn-house, and th hen-house; and about th dairy, and th wash-house, and th china-cubrds, and th linn-presses (she liked that bit especialy); and about th banquetng-hal, and th fun they had ther wen th othr anmls wer gathrd round th table and Toad was at his best, singng songs, telng storis, carrying on jenrly. Then she wantd to no about his anml-frends, and was very intrestd in al he had to tel her about them and how they livd, and

    Paje 169

    wat they did to pass ther time. Of corse, she did not say she was fond of anmls as pets, because she had th sense to se that Toad wud be extremely ofendd. Wen she said good nyt, havng fild his watr-jug and shaken up his straw for him, Toad was very much th same sanguin, self-satisfyd anml that he had been of old. He sang a litl song or two, of th sort he used to sing at his dinr -- partis, curld himself up in th straw, and had an exlnt night's rest and th plesntst of dreams.

       They had many intrestng talks togethr, aftr that, as th dreary days went on; and th gaoler's dautr grew very sorry for Toad, and thot it a gret shame that a poor litl anml shud be lokd up in prisn for wat seemd to her a very trivial ofense. Toad, of corse, in his vanity, thot that her intrest in him proceedd from a groing tendrness; and he cud not help half-regretng that th social gulf between them was so very wide, for she was a comly lass, and evidntly admired him very much.

       One mornng th girl was very thotful, and ansrd at randm, and did not seem to

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    Toad to be payng propr atention to his witty sayngs and sparklng coments.

       `Toad,' she said presntly, `just lisn, plese. I hav an ant ho is a washerwoman.'

       `Ther, ther,' said Toad, graciusly and afbly, `nevr mind; think no mor about it. I hav sevrl ants ho ot to be washerwomen.'

       `Do be quiet a minut, Toad,' said th girl. `U talk too much, that's yr chief falt, and I'm tryng to think, and u hurt my hed. As I said, I hav an ant ho is a washerwoman; she dos th washng for al th prisnrs in this casl -- we try to keep any payng busness of that sort in th famly, u undrstand. She takes out th washng on Monday mornng, and brings it in on Friday evenng. This is a Thursday. Now, this is wat ocurs to me: u'r very rich -- at least u'r always telng me so -- and she's very poor. A few pounds wudnt make any difrnce to u, and it wud mean a lot to her. Now, I think if she wer proprly aproachd -- squared, I beleve is th word u anmls use -- u cud com to som aranjemnt by wich she wud let u hav her dress and

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    bonet and so on, and u cud escape from th casl as th oficial washerwoman. U'r very alike in many respects -- particulrly about th figr.'

       `We'r not,' said th Toad in a huf. `I hav a very elegnt figr -- for wat I am.'

       `So has my ant,' replyd th girl, `for wat she is. But hav it yr own way. U horid, proud, ungrateful anml, wen I'm sorry for u, and tryng to help u!'

       `Yes, yes, that's al ryt; thank u very much indeed,' said th Toad hurridly. `But look here! u wudnt surely hav Mr. Toad of Toad Hal, going about th cuntry disgised as a washerwoman!'

       `Then u can stop here as a Toad,' replyd th girl with much spirit. `I supose u want to go off in a coach-and-four!'

       Onest Toad was always redy to admit himself in th rong. `U ar a good, kind, clevr girl,' he said, `and I am indeed a proud and a stupid toad. Introduce me to yr worthy ant, if u wil be so kind, and I hav no dout that th exlnt lady and I wil be able to aranje terms satisfactry to both partis.'

       Next evenng th girl ushrd her ant into

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    Toad's cel, berng his week's washng pind up in a towl. Th old lady had been prepared beforhand for th intrvew, and th syt of certn gold sovrens that Toad had thotfuly placed on th table in ful vew practicly completed th matr and left litl furthr to discuss. In return for his cash, Toad receved a cotn print gown, an apron, a shawl, and a rusty blak bonet; th only stipulation th old lady made being that she shud be gagd and bound and dumpd down in a cornr. By this not very convincing artifice, she explaind, aidd by picturesq fiction wich she cud suply herself, she hoped to retain her situation, in spite of th suspicius apearnce of things.

       Toad was delytd with th sujestion. It wud enable him to leve th prisn in som styl, and with his reputation for being a desprat and danjerus felo untarnished; and he redily helpd th gaoler's dautr to make her ant apear as much as posbl th victm of circmstnces over wich she had no control.

       `Now it's yr turn, Toad,' said th girl. `Take off that coat and waistcoat of yrs; u'r fat enuf as it is.'

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       Shaking with laftr, she proceedd to `hook-and-eye' him into th cotn print gown, aranjed th shawl with a professionl fold, and tied th strings of th rusty bonet undr his chin.

       `U'r th very imaj of her,' she gigld, `only I'm sure u nevr lookd half so respectbl in al yr life befor. Now, good-by, Toad, and good luk. Go strait down th way u came up; and if any one says anything to u, as they probbly wil, being but men, u can chaf bak a bit, of corse, but remembr u'r a wido womn, quite alone in th world, with a caractr to lose.'

       With a quaking hart, but as firm a footstep as he cud comand, Toad set forth cautiusly on wat seemd to be a most hare-braind and hazrdus undrtaking; but he was soon agreeably surprised to find how esy everything was made for him, and a litl humbld at th thot that both his popularity, and th sex that seemd to inspire it, wer realy another's. Th washerwoman's squat figr in its familir cotn print seemd a pasport for evry bard dor and grim gateway; even wen he hesitated, uncertn as to th ryt turnng to take,

    Paje 174

    he found himself helpd out of his dificlty by th wardr at th next gate, anxius to be off to his te, sumnng him to com along sharp and not keep him waitng ther al nyt. Th chaf and th humourous sallis to wich he was subjectd, and to wich, of corse, he had to provide promt and efectiv reply, formd, indeed, his chief danjer; for Toad was an anml with a strong sense of his own dignity, and th chaf was mostly (he thot) poor and clumsy, and th humor of th sallis entirely lakng. Howevr, he kept his tempr, tho with gret dificlty, suitd his retorts to his compny and his suposed caractr, and did his best not to overstep th limits of good taste.

       It seemd ours befor he crosd th last cortyard, rejectd th presng invitations from th last guardroom, and dojd th outspred arms of th last wardr, pleadng with simulated passion for just one farewel embrace. But at last he herd th wiket-gate in th gret outr dor clik behind him, felt th fresh air of th outr world upon his anxius brow, and new that he was fre!

       Dizzy with th esy success of his daring

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    exploit, he walkd quikly towards th lyts of th town, not noing in th least wat he shud do next, only quite certn of one thing, that he must remove himself as quikly as posbl from th neibrhood wher th lady he was forced to represent was so wel-nown and so populr a caractr.

       As he walkd along, considrng, his atention was caut by som red and green lyts a litl way off, to one side of th town, and th sound of th pufng and snortng of enjns and th bangng of shuntd truks fel on his ear. `Aha!' he thot, `this is a pece of luk! A railway station is th thing I want most in th hole world at this moment; and wat's mor, I neednt go thru th town to get it, and shant hav to suport this humiliating caractr by repartees wich, tho thoroly efectiv, do not asist one's sense of self-respect.'

       He made his way to th station acordngly, consultd a time-table, and found that a train, bound mor or less in th direction of his home, was du to start in half-an-our. `Mor luk!' said Toad, his spirits rising rapidly, and went off to th bookng-ofice to by his tiket.

    Paje 176

       He gave th name of th station that he new to be nearst to th vilaj of wich Toad Hal was th principl featur, and mecanicly put his fingrs, in serch of th necesry mony, wher his waiscoat poket shud hav been. But here th cotn gown, wich had nobly stood by him so far, and wich he had basely forgotn, intrvened, and frustrated his efrts. In a sort of nytmare he strugld with th stranje uncanny thing that seemd to hold his hands, turn al musculr strivings to watr, and laf at him al th time; wile othr travlrs, formng up in a line behind, waitd with impatience, making sujestions of mor or less valu and coments of mor or less strinjncy and point. At last -- somhow -- he nevr rytly undrstood how -- he burst th barirs, ataind th goal, arived at wher al waistcoat pokets ar eternly situated, and found -- not only no mony, but no poket to hold it, and no waistcoat to hold th poket!

       To his horr he reclectd that he had left both coat and waistcoat behind him in his cel, and with them his poket-book, mony, kes, wach, machs, pencil-case -- al that makes life worth livng, al that distinguishs th many-

    Paje 177

    poketd anml, th lord of creation, from th inferir one-poketd or no-poketd productions that hop or trip about permissively, un-equipd for th real contest.

       In his misry he made one desprat efrt to carry th thing off, and, with a return to his fine old manr -- a blend of th Squire and th Colej Don -- he said, `Look here! I find I'v left my purse behind. Just giv me that tiket, wil u, and I'l send th mony on to-moro? I'm wel-nown in these parts.'

       Th clerk stared at him and th rusty blak bonet a moment, and then lafd. `I shud think u wer pretty wel nown in these parts,' he said, `if u'v tryd this game on ofn. Here, stand away from th windo, plese, madm; u'r obstructng th othr pasnjrs!'

       An old jentlman ho had been prodng him in th bak for som moments here thrust him away, and, wat was worse, adresd him as his good womn, wich angrd Toad mor than anything that had ocurd that evenng.

       Bafld and ful of despair, he wandrd blindly down th platform wher th train was standng, and ters trikld down each side of

    Paje 178

    his nose. It was hard, he thot, to be within syt of safety and almost of home, and to be balkd by th want of a few reched shilngs and by th pettifogging mistrustfulness of paid oficials. Very soon his escape wud be discovrd, th hunt wud be up, he wud be caut, reviled, loadd with chains, dragd bak again to prisn and bred-and-watr and straw; his gards and penalities wud be dubld; and O, wat sarcastic remarks th girl wud make! Wat was to be don? He was not swift of foot; his figr was unfortunatly recognizebl. Cud he not squeze undr th seat of a carrij? He had seen this method adoptd by scoolboys, wen th jurny-mony provided by thotful parents had been divertd to othr and betr ends. As he pondrd, he found himself oposit th enjn, wich was being oild, wiped, and jenrly caresd by its afectionat driver, a burly man with an oil-can in one hand and a lump of cotn-waste in th othr.

       `Helo, mothr!' said th enjn-driver, `wat's th trubl? U dont look particulrly cheerful.'

       `O, sir!' said Toad, cryng afresh, `I am a

    Paje 179

    poor unhappy washerwoman, and I'v lost al my mony, and cant pay for a tiket, and I must get home to-nyt somhow, and watevr I am to do I dont no. O dear, O dear!'

       `That's a bad busness, indeed,' said th enjn-driver reflectivly. `Lost yr mony -- and cant get home -- and got som kids, too, waitng for u, I dare say?'

       `Any amount of 'em,' sobd Toad. `And they'l be hungry -- and playng with machs -- and upsetng lamps, th litl inocents! -- and quarelng, and going on jenrly. O dear, O dear!'

       `Wel, I'l tel u wat I'l do,' said th good enjn-driver. `U'r a washerwoman to yr trade, says u. Very wel, that's that. And I'm an enjn-driver, as u wel may se, and ther's no denyng it's teribly dirty work. Uses up a powr of shirts, it dos, til my missus is fair tired of washng of 'em. If u'l wash a few shirts for me wen u get home, and send 'em along, I'l giv u a ride on my enjn. It's against th Company's regulations, but we'r not so very particulr in these out-of-th-way parts.'

       Th Toad's misry turnd into raptur as he

    Paje 180

    eagrly scrambld up into th cab of th enjn. Of corse, he had nevr washd a shirt in his life, and cudnt if he tryd and, anyhow, he wasnt going to begin; but he thot: `Wen I get safely home to Toad Hal, and hav mony again, and pokets to put it in, I wil send th enjn-driver enuf to pay for quite a quantity of washng, and that wil be th same thing, or betr.'

       Th gard waved his welcm flag, th enjn-driver wisld in cheerful response, and th train moved out of th station. As th speed incresed, and th Toad cud se on eithr side of him real fields, and tres, and hejs, and cows, and horses, al flyng past him, and as he thot how evry minut was bringng him nearr to Toad Hal, and sympathetic frends, and mony to chink in his poket, and a soft bed to sleep in, and good things to eat, and prase and admration at th recital of his adventurs and his surpasng clevrness, he began to skip up and down and shout and sing snachs of song, to th gret astonishmnt of th enjn-driver, ho had com across washerwomen befor, at long intrvls, but nevr one at al like this.

    Paje 181

       They had covrd many and many a mile, and Toad was alredy considrng wat he wud hav for supr as soon as he got home, wen he noticed that th enjn-driver, with a puzld expression on his face, was leanng over th side of th enjn and lisnng hard. Then he saw him climb on to th coals and gaze out over th top of th train; then he returnd and said to Toad: `It's very stranje; we'r th last train runng in this direction to-nyt, yet I cud be sworn that I herd anothr foloing us!'

       Toad cesed his frivlus antics at once. He became grave and depresd, and a dul pain in th loer part of his spine, comunicating itself to his legs, made him want to sit down and try despratly not to think of al th posbilitis.

       By this time th moon was shining brytly, and th enjn-driver, stedying himself on th coal, cud comand a vew of th line behind them for a long distnce.

       Presntly he cald out, `I can se it clearly now! It is an enjn, on our rails, comng along at a gret pace! It looks as if we wer being pursud!'

       Th misrbl Toad, crouchng in th coal-

    Paje 182

    dust, tryd hard to think of somthing to do, with disml want of success.

       `They ar gainng on us fast!' cryd th enjn-driver. And th enjn is crowdd with th queerest lot of peple! Men like ancient wardrs, waving halberds; policemen in ther helmets, waving trunchns; and shabbily dresd men in pot-hats, obvius and unmistakebl plan-clothes detectivs even at this distnce, waving revolvrs and walkng-stiks; al waving, and al shoutng th same thing -- "Stop, stop, stop!"'

       Then Toad fel on his nes among th coals and, rasing his claspd paws in suplication, cryd, `Save me, only save me, dear kind Mr. Enjn-driver, and I wil confess everything! I am not th simpl washerwoman I seem to be! I hav no children waitng for me, inocent or othrwise! I am a toad -- th wel-nown and populr Mr. Toad, a landd proprietr; I hav just escaped, by my gret daring and clevrness, from a lothsm dunjn into wich my enmis had flung me; and if those felos on that enjn recaptur me, it wil be chains and bred-and-watr and straw and misry once mor for poor, unhappy, inocent Toad!'

    Paje 183

       Th enjn-driver lookd down upon him very sternly, and said, `Now tel th truth; wat wer u put in prisn for?'

       `It was nothing very much,' said poor Toad, colorng deeply. `I only borod a motorcar wile th ownrs wer at lunch; they had no need of it at th time. I didnt mean to steal it, realy; but peple -- especialy majistrates -- take such harsh vews of thotless and hy-spiritd actions.'

       Th enjn-driver lookd very grave and said, `I fear that u hav been indeed a wiked toad, and by ryts I ot to giv u up to ofendd justice. But u ar evidntly in sor trubl and distress, so I wil not desert u. I dont hold with motor-cars, for one thing; and I dont hold with being ordrd about by policemen wen I'm on my own enjn, for anothr. And th syt of an anml in ters always makes me feel queer and softhearted. So cheer up, Toad! I'l do my best, and we may beat them yet!'

       They piled on mor coals, shovlng furiusly; th furnace rord, th sparks flew, th enjn lept and swung but stil ther pursurs sloly gaind. Th enjn-driver, with a sy, wiped

    Paje 184

    his brow with a handful of cotn-waste, and said, `I'm afraid it's no good, Toad. U se, they ar runng lyt, and they hav th betr enjn. Ther's just one thing left for us to do, and it's yr only chance, so atend very carefuly to wat I tel u. A short way ahed of us is a long tunl, and on th othr side of that th line passes thru a thik wood. Now, I wil put on al th speed I can wile we ar runng thru th tunl, but th othr felos wil slo down a bit, natrly, for fear of an accidnt. Wen we ar thru, I wil shut off steam and put on brakes as hard as I can, and th moment it's safe to do so u must jump and hide in th wood, befor they get thru th tunl and se u. Then I wil go ful speed ahed again, and they can chase me if they like, for as long as they like, and as far as they like. Now mind and be redy to jump wen I tel u!'

       They piled on mor coals, and th train shot into th tunl, and th enjn rushd and rord and ratld, til at last they shot out at th othr end into fresh air and th peceful moonlyt, and saw th wood lyng dark and helpful upon eithr side of th line. Th driver

    Paje 185

    shut off steam and put on brakes, th Toad got down on th step, and as th train sloed down to almost a walkng pace he herd th driver cal out, `Now, jump!'

       Toad jumpd, rold down a short embankmnt, pikd himself up unhurt, scrambld into th wood and hid.

       Peepng out, he saw his train get up speed again and disapear at a gret pace. Then out of th tunl burst th pursuing enjn, rorng and wislng, her motly crew waving ther varius wepns and shoutng, `Stop! stop! stop!' Wen they wer past, th Toad had a harty laf -- for th first time since he was thrown into prisn.

       But he soon stopd lafng wen he came to considr that it was now very late and dark and cold, and he was in an unown wood, with no mony and no chance of supr, and stil far from frends and home; and th ded silence of everything, aftr th ror and ratl of th train, was somthing of a shok. He dared not leve th sheltr of th tres, so he struk into th wood, with th idea of leving th railway as far as posbl behind him.

       Aftr so many weeks within walls, he found

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    th wood stranje and unfrendly and inclined, he thot, to make fun of him. Nyt-jars, soundng ther mecanicl ratl, made him think that th wood was ful of serchng wardrs, closing in on him. An owl, swoopng noislesly towards him, brushd his sholdr with its wing, making him jump with th horid certnty that it was a hand; then flitd off, moth-like, lafng its lo ho! ho! ho; wich Toad thot in very poor taste. Once he met a fox, ho stopd, lookd him up and down in a sarcastic sort of way, and said, `Helo, washerwoman! Half a pair of soks and a pilo-case short this week! Mind it dosnt ocur again!' and swaggered off, snigrng. Toad lookd about for a stone to thro at him, but cud not succeed in findng one, wich vexd him mor than anything. At last, cold, hungry, and tired out, he sot th sheltr of a holo tre, wher with branchs and ded leavs he made himself as comfrtbl a bed as he cud, and slept soundly til th mornng.

    Paje 187

    Chaptr 9



       TH Watr Rat was restless, and he did not exactly no wy. To al apearnce th summer's pomp was stil at fulst hyt, and altho in th tild acres green had givn way to gold, tho rowans wer rednng, and th woods wer dashd here and ther with a tawny fierceness, yet lyt and warmth and color wer stil presnt in undiminishd mesur, clean of any chilly premnitions of th pasng year. But th constnt corus of th orchrds and hejs had shrunk to a casul evensong from a few yet unwearied performrs; th robn was beginng to asert himself once mor; and ther was a feelng in th air of chanje and departur. Th cukoo, of corse, had long been silent; but many anothr fethrd frend, for months a part of th familir landscape and its smal society, was misng too

    Paje 188

    and it seemd that th ranks thind stedily day by day. Rat, evr observnt of al wingd movemnt, saw that it was taking daily a southing tendncy; and even as he lay in bed at nyt he thot he cud make out, pasng in th darkns overhed, th beat and quivr of impatient pinions, obedient to th peremtry cal.

       Nature's Grand Hotel has its Seasn, like th othrs. As th gests one by one pak, pay, and depart, and th seats at th table-d'hote shrink pitifuly at each succeedng meal; as suites of rooms ar closed, carpets taken up, and waitrs sent away; those bordrs ho ar stayng on, en pension, until th next year's ful re-openng, canot help being somwat afectd by al these flittings and farewels, this eagr discussion of plans, rutes, and fresh quartrs, this daily shrinkaj in th stream of comradship. One gets unsetld, depresd, and inclined to be querulus. Wy this craving for chanje? Wy not stay on quietly here, like us, and be jolly? U dont no this hotel out of th seasn, and wat fun we hav among ourselvs, we felos ho remain and se th hole intrestng year out. Al very tru, no dout

    Paje 189

    th othrs always reply; we quite envy u -- and som othr year perhaps -- but just now we hav engajemnts -- and ther's th bus at th dor -- our time is up! So they depart, with a smile and a nod, and we miss them, and feel resentful. Th Rat was a self-sufficing sort of anml, rootd to th land, and, hoevr went, he stayd; stil, he cud not help noticing wat was in th air, and feelng som of its influence in his bones.

       It was dificlt to setl down to anything seriusly, with al this flitng going on. Leving th watr-side, wher rushs stood thik and tal in a stream that was becomng slugish and lo, he wandrd cuntry-wards, crosd a field or two of pasturage alredy lookng dusty and parchd, and thrust into th gret se of weat, yelo, wavy, and murmrus, ful of quiet motion and smal whisperings. Here he ofn lovd to wandr, thru th forest of stif strong stalks that carrid ther own goldn sky away over his hed -- a sky that was always dancing, shimrng, softly talkng; or swayng strongly to th pasng wind and recovrng itself with a toss and a merry laf. Here, too, he had many smal frends,

    Paje 190

    a society complete in itself, leadng ful and busy lives, but always with a spare moment to gosip, and exchanje news with a visitr. Today, howevr, tho they wer civl enuf, th field-mice and harvest-mice seemd preocupyd. Many wer digng and tunlng busily; othrs, gathrd togethr in smal groups, examnd plans and drawngs of smal flats, stated to be desirebl and compact, and situated conveniently near th Stors. Som wer haulng out dusty trunks and dress-baskets, othrs wer alredy elbo-deep pakng ther belongngs; wile evrywher piles and bundls of weat, oats, barly, beech-mast and nuts, lay about redy for transport.

       `Here's old Ratty!' they cryd as soon as they saw him. `Com and ber a hand, Rat, and dont stand about idle!'

       `Wat sort of games ar u up to?' said th Watr Rat severely. `U no it isnt time to be thinkng of wintr quartrs yet, by a long way!'

       `O yes, we no that,' explaind a field-mouse rathr shamefacedly; `but it's always as wel to be in good time, isnt it? We realy must get al th furnitur and bagaj and

    Paje 191

    stors moved out of this befor those horid machines begin clikng round th fields; and then, u no, th best flats get pikd up so quikly nowadays, and if u'r late u hav to put up with anything; and they want such a lot of doing up, too, befor they'r fit to move into. Of corse, we'r erly, we no that; but we'r only just making a start.'

       `O, bothr starts,' said th Rat. `It's a splendid day. Com for a ro, or a strol along th hejs, or a picnic in th woods, or somthing.'

       `Wel, I think not to-day, thank u,' replyd th field-mouse hurridly. `Perhaps som othr day -- wen we'v mor time -- -- '

       Th Rat, with a snort of contemt, swung round to go, tripd over a hat-box, and fel, with undignifyd remarks.

       `If peple wud be mor careful,' said a field-mouse rathr stifly, `and look wher they'r going, peple wudnt hurt themselvs -- and forget themselvs. Mind that hold-al, Rat! U'd betr sit down somwher. In an our or two we may be mor fre to atend to u.'

       `U wont be "fre" as u cal it much

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    this side of Crismas, I can se that,' retortd th Rat grumpily, as he pikd his way out of th field.

       He returnd somwat despondntly to his rivr again -- his faithful, stedy-going old rivr, wich nevr pakd up, flitd, or went into wintr quartrs.

       In th osiers wich frinjd th bank he spyd a swalo sitng. Presntly it was joind by anothr, and then by a third; and th birds, fijetng restlesly on ther bou, talkd togethr ernestly and lo.

       `Wat, alredy,' said th Rat, strolng up to them. `Wat's th hurry? I cal it simply ridiculus.'

       `O, we'r not off yet, if that's wat u mean,' replyd th first swalo. `We'r only making plans and aranjing things. Talkng it over, u no -- wat rute we'r taking this year, and wher we'l stop, and so on. That's half th fun!'

       `Fun?' said th Rat; `now that's just wat I dont undrstand. If u'v got to leve this plesnt place, and yr frends ho wil miss u, and yr snug homes that u'v just setld into, wy, wen th our strikes I'v no

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    dout u'l go bravely, and face al th trubl and discomfrt and chanje and newness, and make beleve that u'r not very unhappy. But to want to talk about it, or even think about it, til u realy need -- -- '

       `No, u dont undrstand, natrly,' said th secnd swalo. `First, we feel it stirng within us, a sweet unrest; then bak com th reclections one by one, like homing pijns. They flutr thru our dreams at nyt, they fly with us in our wheelings and circlings by day. We hungr to inquire of each othr, to compare notes and asure ourselvs that it was al realy tru, as one by one th sents and sounds and names of long-forgotn places com graduly bak and bekn to us.'

       `Cudnt u stop on for just this year?' sujestd th Watr Rat, wistfuly. `We'l al do our best to make u feel at home. U'v no idea wat good times we hav here, wile u ar far away.'

       `I tryd "stopng on" one year,' said th third swalo. `I had grown so fond of th place that wen th time came I hung bak and let th othrs go on without me. For a few weeks it was al wel enuf, but aftrwrds, O

    Paje 194

    th weary length of th nyts! Th shivrng, sunless days! Th air so clammy and chil, and not an insect in an acre of it! No, it was no good; my curaj broke down, and one cold, stormy nyt I took wing, flyng wel inland on acount of th strong eastrly gales. It was snoing hard as I beat thru th passes of th gret mountns, and I had a stif fyt to win thru; but nevr shal I forget th blisful feelng of th hot sun again on my bak as I sped down to th lakes that lay so blu and placid belo me, and th taste of my first fat insect! Th past was like a bad dream; th futur was al happy holiday as I moved southwrds week by week, esily, lazily, lingrng as long as I dared, but always heedng th cal! No, I had had my warnng; nevr again did I think of disobedience.'

       `Ah, yes, th cal of th South, of th South!' twittered th othr two dreamily. `Its songs its hues, its radiant air! O, do u remembr -- -- ' and, forgetng th Rat, they slid into passionat remnisnce, wile he lisnd fasnated, and his hart burnd within him. In himself, too, he new that it was vibrating at last, that cord hithrto dormnt and

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    unsuspectd. Th mere chatr of these southern-bound birds, ther pale and secnd-hand reports, had yet powr to awaken this wild new sensation and thril him thru and thru with it; wat wud one moment of th real thing work in him -- one passionat tuch of th real southern sun, one waft of th authentic odor? With closed ys he dared to dream a moment in ful abandnmnt, and wen he lookd again th rivr seemd steely and chil, th green fields gray and lytless. Then his loyl hart seemd to cry out on his weakr self for its trechry.

       `Wy do u evr com bak, then, at al?' he demandd of th swalos jelusly. `Wat do u find to atract u in this poor drab litl cuntry?'

       `And do u think,' said th first swalo, `that th othr cal is not for us too, in its du seasn? Th cal of lush medo-grass, wet orchrds, warm, insect-hauntd ponds, of browsng catl, of haymaking, and al th farm-bildngs clustrng round th House of th perfect Eves?'

       `Do u supose,' askd th secnd one, that u ar th only livng thing that craves

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    with a hungry longng to hear th cuckoo's note again?'

       `In du time,' said th third, `we shal be home-sik once mor for quiet watr-lilis swayng on th surface of an English stream. But to-day al that seems pale and thin and very far away. Just now our blod dances to othr music.'

       They fel a-twitrng among themselvs once mor, and this time ther intoxicating babl was of violet ses, tawny sands, and lizrd-hauntd walls.

       Restlesly th Rat wandrd off once mor, climbd th slope that rose jently from th north bank of th rivr, and lay lookng out towards th gret ring of Downs that bard his vision furthr southwrds -- his simpl horizon hithrto, his Mountns of th Moon, his limit behind wich lay nothing he had cared to se or to no. To-day, to him gazing South with a newborn need stirng in his hart, th clear sky over ther long lo outline seemd to pulsate with promis; to-day, th unseen was everything, th unown th only real fact of life. On this side of th hils was now th real blank, on th othr lay th crowdd and colord

    Paje 197

    panrama that his inr y was seing so clearly. Wat ses lay beyond, green, leapng, and crestd! Wat sun-bathd coasts, along wich th wite vilas glitrd against th oliv woods! Wat quiet harbrs, throngd with galant shipng bound for purpl ilands of wine and spice, ilands set lo in langrus watrs!

       He rose and desendd rivr-wards once mor; then chanjed his mind and sot th side of th dusty lane. Ther, lyng half-burid in th thik, cool undr-hej tangl that bordrd it, he cud muse on th metalled road and al th wondrus world that it led to; on al th wayfarers, too, that myt hav trodn it, and th fortunes and adventurs they had gon to seek or found unseeking -- out ther, beyond -- beyond!

       Footsteps fel on his ear, and th figr of one that walkd somwat wearily came into vew; and he saw that it was a Rat, and a very dusty one. Th wayfarer, as he reachd him, saluted with a jestur of curtesy that had somthing foren about it -- hesitated a moment -- then with a plesnt smile turnd from th trak and sat down by his side in th cool herbage. He seemd tired, and th

    Paje 198

    Rat let him rest unquestiond, undrstandng somthing of wat was in his thots; noing, too, th valu al anmls atach at times to mere silent companionship, wen th weary musls slakn and th mind marks time.

       Th wayfarer was lean and keen-featurd, and somwat bowd at th sholdrs; his paws wer thin and long, his ys much rinkld at th cornrs, and he wor smal gold ear rings in his neatly-set wel-shaped ears. His nitd jersy was of a faded blu, his brichs, pachd and staind, wer based on a blu foundation, and his smal belongngs that he carrid wer tied up in a blu cotn hankrchief.

       Wen he had restd awile th stranjer syd, snufd th air, and lookd about him.

       `That was clover, that warm wif on th breze,' he remarkd; `and those ar cows we hear cropng th grass behind us and bloing softly between mouthfuls. Ther is a sound of distnt reapers, and yondr rises a blu line of cotaj smoke against th woodland. Th rivr runs somwher close by, for I hear th cal of a moorhen, and I se by yr bild that u'r a freshwatr marinr.

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    Everything seems asleep, and yet going on al th time. It is a goodly life that u led, frend; no dout th best in th world, if only u ar strong enuf to led it!'

       `Yes, it's th life, th only life, to liv,' respondd th Watr Rat dreamily, and without his usul hole-hartd conviction.

       `I did not say exactly that,' replyd th stranjer cautiusly; `but no dout it's th best. I'v tryd it, and I no. And because I'v just tryd it -- six months of it -- and no it's th best, here am I, footsore and hungry, trampng away from it, trampng southwrd, foloing th old cal, bak to th old life, th life wich is mine and wich wil not let me go.'

       `Is this, then, yet anothr of them?' mused th Rat. `And wher hav u just com from?' he askd. He hardly dared to ask wher he was bound for; he seemd to no th ansr only too wel.

       `Nice litl farm,' replyd th wayfarer, briefly. `Upalong in that direction' -- he nodd northwrds. `Nevr mind about it. I had everything I cud want -- everything I had any ryt to expect of life, and mor; and here I am! Glad to be here al th same, tho,

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    glad to be here! So many miles furthr on th road, so many ours nearr to my heart's desire!'

       His shining ys held fast to th horizon, and he seemd to be lisnng for som sound that was wantng from that inland acreaj, vocal as it was with th cheerful music of pasturage and farmyard.

       `U ar not one of us,' said th Watr Rat, `nor yet a farmr; nor even, I shud juj, of this cuntry.'

       `Ryt,' replyd th stranjer. `I'm a sefaring rat, I am, and th port I orijnly hail from is Constantinople, tho I'm a sort of a forenr ther too, in a manr of speakng. U wil hav herd of Constantinople, frend? A fair city, and an ancient and glorius one. And u may hav herd, too, of Sigurd, King of Norway, and how he saild thithr with sixty ships, and how he and his men rode up thru streets al canopid in ther onr with purpl and gold; and how th Emprr and Empress came down and banqueted with him on bord his ship. Wen Sigurd returnd home, many of his Northmen remaind behind and entrd th Emperor's

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    body-gard, and my ancestr, a Norwejan born, stayd behind too, with th ships that Sigurd gave th Emprr. Seafarers we hav evr been, and no wondr; as for me, th city of my birth is no mor my home than any plesnt port between ther and th Londn Rivr. I no them al, and they no me. Set me down on any of ther quays or foreshores, and I am home again.'

       `I supose u go gret voyajs,' said th Watr Rat with groing intrest. `Months and months out of syt of land, and provisions runng short, and allowanced as to watr, and yr mind communing with th myty ocen, and al that sort of thing?'

       `By no means,' said th Se Rat frankly. `Such a life as u describe wud not suit me at al. I'm in th coastng trade, and rarely out of syt of land. It's th jolly times on shor that apeal to me, as much as any sefaring. O, those southern seaports! Th smel of them, th riding-lyts at nyt, th glamr!'

       `Wel, perhaps u hav chosen th betr way,' said th Watr Rat, but rathr doutfuly. `Tel me somthing of yr coastng, then, if

    Paje 202

    u hav a mind to, and wat sort of harvest an anml of spirit myt hope to bring home from it to warm his latr days with galant memris by th fireside; for my life, I confess to u, feels to me to-day somwat naro and circmscribed.'

       `My last voyaj,' began th Se Rat, `that landd me eventuly in this cuntry, bound with hy hopes for my inland farm, wil serv as a good exampl of any of them, and, indeed, as an epitme of my hyly-colord life. Famly trubls, as usul, began it. Th domestic storm-cone was hoistd, and I shipd myself on bord a smal trading vesl bound from Constantinople, by classic ses hos evry wave throbs with a dethless memry, to th Grecian Ilands and th Levant. Those wer goldn days and balmy nyts! In and out of harbr al th time -- old frends evrywher -- sleepng in som cool templ or ruind cistrn during th heat of th day -- feastng and song aftr sundown, undr gret stars set in a velvet sky! Thence we turnd and coastd up th Adriatic, its shors swimng in an atmosfere of ambr, rose, and aquamarine; we lay in wide land-lokd harbrs,

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    we roamd thru ancient and noble citis, until at last one mornng, as th sun rose royly behind us, we rode into Venice down a path of gold. O, Venice is a fine city, wherin a rat can wandr at his ese and take his plesur! Or, wen weary of wandrng, can sit at th ej of th Grand Canal at nyt, feastng with his frends, wen th air is ful of music and th sky ful of stars, and th lyts flash and shimr on th polishd steel prows of th swayng gondolas, pakd so that u cud walk across th canal on them from side to side! And then th food -- do u like shelfish? Wel, wel, we wont lingr over that now.'

       He was silent for a time; and th Watr Rat, silent too and enthrald, floatd on dream-canals and herd a fantm song pealng hy between vaporous gray wave-lapd walls.

       `Southwrds we saild again at last,' continud th Se Rat, `coastng down th Italian shor, til finaly we made Palermo, and ther I quitted for a long, happy spel on shor. I nevr stik too long to one ship; one gets naro-mindd and prejudiced. Besides, Sicily is one of my happy huntng-grounds. I no

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    evrybody ther, and ther ways just suit me. I spent many jolly weeks in th iland, stayng with frends up cuntry. Wen I grew restless again I took advantaj of a ship that was trading to Sardinia and Corsica; and very glad I was to feel th fresh breze and th se-spray in my face once mor.'

       `But isnt it very hot and stuffy, down in th -- hold, I think u cal it?' askd th Watr Rat.

       Th seafarer lookd at him with th suspicion go a wink. `I'm an old hand,' he remarkd with much simplicity. `Th captain's cabin's good enuf for me.'

       `It's a hard life, by al acounts,' murmrd th Rat, sunk in deep thot.

       `For th crew it is,' replyd th seafarer gravely, again with th gost of a wink.

       `From Corsica,' he went on, `I made use of a ship that was taking wine to th mainland. We made Alassio in th evenng, lay to, hauld up our wine-casks, and hove them overbord, tied one to th othr by a long line. Then th crew took to th boats and roed shorewards, singng as they went, and drawng aftr them th long bobng procession of casks, like a

    Paje 205

    mile of porposes. On th sands they had horses waitng, wich dragd th casks up th steep street of th litl town with a fine rush and clatr and scrambl. Wen th last cask was in, we went and refreshd and restd, and sat late into th nyt, drinkng with our frends, and next mornng I took to th gret oliv-woods for a spel and a rest. For now I had don with ilands for th time, and ports and shipng wer plentiful; so I led a lazy life among th pesnts, lyng and wachng them work, or strechd hy on th hilside with th blu Meditranean far belo me. And so at length, by esy stajes, and partly on foot, partly by se, to Marseils, and th meetng of old shipmates, and th visitng of gret ocen-bound vesls, and feastng once mor. Talk of shel-fish! Wy, somtimes I dream of th shel-fish of Marseils, and wake up cryng!'

       `That reminds me,' said th polite Watr Rat; `u hapnd to mention that u wer hungry, and I ot to hav spoken erlir. Of corse, u wil stop and take yr miday meal with me? My hole is close by; it is som time past noon, and u ar very welcm to watevr ther is.'

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       `Now I cal that kind and brothrly of u,' said th Se Rat. `I was indeed hungry wen I sat down, and evr since I inadvertntly hapnd to mention shel-fish, my pangs hav been extreme. But cudnt u fech it along out here? I am non too fond of going undr hachs, unless I'm oblijed to; and then, wile we eat, I cud tel u mor concernng my voyajs and th plesnt life I led -- at least, it is very plesnt to me, and by yr atention I juj it commends itself to u; wheras if we go indors it is a hundred to one that I shal presntly fal asleep.'

       `That is indeed an exlnt sujestion,' said th Watr Rat, and hurrid off home. Ther he got out th lunchn-basket and pakd a simpl meal, in wich, remembrng th stranger's orijn and prefrnces, he took care to include a yard of long French bred, a sausaj out of wich th garlic sang, som chese wich lay down and cryd, and a long-nekd straw-covrd flask wherin lay botld sunshine shed and garnrd on far Southern slopes. Thus laden, he returnd with al speed, and blushd for plesur at th old seaman's commendations of his taste and jujmnt, as

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    togethr they unpakd th basket and laid out th contents on th grass by th roadside.

       Th Se Rat, as soon as his hungr was somwat asuajed, continud th histry of his latest voyaj, conductng his simpl hearr from port to port of Spain, landng him at Lisbn, Oporto, and Bordeaux, introducing him to th plesnt harbrs of Cornwal and Devn, and so up th Chanl to that final qyside, wher, landng aftr winds long contry, storm-drivn and wethr-beatn, he had caut th first majicl hints and heraldings of anothr Spring, and, fired by these, had sped on a long tramp inland, hungry for th experimnt of life on som quiet farmstead, very far from th weary beatng of any se.

       Spel-bound and quivrng with exitemnt, th Watr Rat folod th Adventurr leag by leag, over stormy bays, thru crowdd roadsteads, across harbr bars on a racing tide, up windng rivrs that hid ther busy litl towns round a sudn turn; and left him with a regretful sy plantd at his dul inland farm, about wich he desired to hear nothing.

       By this time ther meal was over, and th Seafarer, refreshd and strengthnd, his voice mor

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    vibrant, his y lit with a brytness that seemd caut from som far-away se-beacn, fild his glass with th red and gloing vintaj of th South, and, leanng towards th Watr Rat, compeld his gaze and held him, body and sol, wile he talkd. Those ys wer of th chanjing foam-streakd gray-green of leapng Northrn ses; in th glass shon a hot ruby that seemd th very hart of th South, beatng for him ho had curaj to respond to its pulsation. Th twin lyts, th shiftng gray and th stedfast red, mastrd th Watr Rat and held him bound, fasnated, powrless. Th quiet world outside ther rays receded far away and cesed to be. And th talk, th wondrful talk floed on -- or was it speech entirely, or did it pass at times into song -- chanty of th sailrs weiing th dripng ancr, sonrus hum of th shrouds in a terng North-Eastr, balad of th fishrman haulng his nets at sundown against an apricot sky, cords of gitar and mandoline from gondla or caique? Did it chanje into th cry of th wind, plaintiv at first, angrily shril as it freshnd, rising to a terng wisl, sinkng to a musicl trikl of air from th leech of th bellying sail? Al
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    these sounds th spel-bound lisnr seemd to hear, and with them th hungry complaint of th guls and th se-mews, th soft thundr of th brekng wave, th cry of th protestng shingl. Bak into speech again it pasd, and with beatng hart he was foloing th adventurs of a dozn seaports, th fyts, th escapes, th rallis, th comradeships, th galant undrtakings; or he serchd ilands for tresur, fishd in stil lagoons and dozed day-long on warm wite sand. Of deep-se fishings he herd tel, and myty silvr gathrngs of th mile-long net; of sudn perils, noise of brekrs on a moonless nyt, or th tal bos of th gret liner taking shape overhed thru th fog; of th merry home-comng, th hedland roundd, th harbr lyts opend out; th groups seen dimly on th qy, th cheery hail, th splash of th hawser; th truj up th steep litl street towards th comfrtng glo of red-curtnd windos.

       Lastly, in his waking dream it seemd to him that th Adventurr had risn to his feet, but was stil speakng, stil holdng him fast with his se-gray ys.

       `And now,' he was softly sayng, `I take to

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    th road again, holdng on southwestwards for many a long and dusty day; til at last I reach th litl gray se town I no so wel, that clings along one steep side of th harbr. Ther thru dark dorways u look down flyts of stone steps, overhung by gret pink tufts of valerian and endng in a pach of sparklng blu watr. Th litl boats that lie tethrd to th rings and stanchions of th old se-wal ar gaily paintd as those I clambrd in and out of in my own childhood; th samn leap on th flod tide, scools of makrl flash and play past quaysides and foreshores, and by th windos th gret vesls glide, nyt and day, up to ther moorngs or forth to th open se. Ther, soonr or later, th ships of al sefaring nations arive; and ther, at its destnd our, th ship of my choice wil let go its ancr. I shal take my time, I shal tarry and bide, til at last th ryt one lies waitng for me, warpd out into midstream, loadd lo, her bowsprit pointng down harbr. I shal slip on bord, by boat or along hawser; and then one mornng I shal wake to th song and tramp of th sailrs, th clink of th capstan, and th ratl of th ancr-chain
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    comng merrily in. We shal brek out th jib and th foresail, th wite houses on th harbr side wil glide sloly past us as she gathrs steerng-way, and th voyaj wil hav begun! As she forges towards th hedland she wil clothe herself with canvas; and then, once outside, th soundng slap of gret green ses as she heels to th wind, pointng South!

       `And u, u wil com too, yung brothr; for th days pass, and nevr return, and th South stil waits for u. Take th Adventur, heed th cal, now ere th irevocbl moment passes!' 'tis but a bangng of th dor behind u, a blithesome step forwrd, and u ar out of th old life and into th new! Then som day, som day long hence, jog home here if u wil, wen th cup has been draind and th play has been playd, and sit down by yr quiet rivr with a stor of goodly memris for compny. U can esily overtake me on th road, for u ar yung, and I am ajing and go softly. I wil lingr, and look bak; and at last I wil surely se u comng, eagr and lyt-hartd, with al th South in yr face!'

       Th voice died away and cesed as an insect's tiny trumpet dwindls swiftly into silence;

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    and th Watr Rat, paralyzd and staring, saw at last but a distnt spek on th wite surface of th road.

       Mecanicly he rose and proceedd to repak th lunchn-basket, carefuly and without haste. Mecanicly he returnd home, gathrd togethr a few smal necesris and special tresurs he was fond of, and put them in a sachl; actng with slo delibration, moving about th room like a sleep-walkr; lisnng evr with partd lips. He swung th sachl over his sholdr, carefuly selectd a stout stik for his wayfaring, and with no haste, but with no hesitation at al, he stepd across th threshold just as th Mole apeard at th dor.

       `Wy, wher ar u off to, Ratty?' askd th Mole in gret surprise, graspng him by th arm.

       `Going South, with th rest of them,' murmrd th Rat in a dreamy monotone, nevr lookng at him. `Seawards first and then on shipbord, and so to th shors that ar calng me!'

       He presd reslutely forwrd, stil without haste, but with doged fixity of purpos; but

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    th Mole, now thoroly alarmd, placed himself in front of him, and lookng into his ys saw that they wer glazed and set and turnd a streakd and shiftng gray -- not his friend's ys, but th ys of som othr anml! Graplng with him strongly he dragd him inside, threw him down, and held him.

       Th Rat strugld despratly for a few moments, and then his strength seemd sudnly to leve him, and he lay stil and exaustd, with closed ys, tremblng. Presntly th Mole asistd him to rise and placed him in a chair, wher he sat colapsd and shrunkn into himself, his body shaken by a violent shivrng, pasng in time into an hystericl fit of dry sobng. Mole made th dor fast, threw th sachl into a drawr and lokd it, and sat down quietly on th table by his frend, waitng for th stranje sezur to pass. Graduly th Rat sank into a trubld doze, broken by starts and confused murmurings of things stranje and wild and foren to th unenlytnd Mole; and from that he pasd into a deep slumbr.

       Very anxius in mind, th Mole left him for a time and busid himself with houshold

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    matrs; and it was getng dark wen he returnd to th parlr and found th Rat wher he had left him, wide awake indeed, but listless, silent, and dejectd. He took one hasty glance at his ys; found them, to his gret gratification, clear and dark and brown again as befor; and then sat down and tryd to cheer him up and help him to relate wat had hapnd to him.

       Poor Ratty did his best, by degrees, to explain things; but how cud he put into cold words wat had mostly been sujestion? How recal, for another's benefit, th hauntng se voices that had sung to him, how reproduce at secnd-hand th majic of th Seafarer's hundred remnisnces? Even to himself, now th spel was broken and th glamr gon, he found it dificlt to acount for wat had seemd, som ours ago, th inevitbl and only thing. It is not surprising, then, that he faild to convey to th Mole any clear idea of wat he had been thru that day.

       To th Mole this much was plan: th fit, or atak, had pasd away, and had left him sane again, tho shaken and cast down by th reaction. But he seemd to hav lost al intrest

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    for th time in th things that went to make up his daily life, as wel as in al plesnt forecastings of th altrd days and doings that th chanjing seasn was surely bringng.

       Casuly, then, and with seemng indifrnce, th Mole turnd his talk to th harvest that was being gathrd in, th towrng wagns and ther strainng teams, th groing riks, and th larj moon rising over bare acres dotd with sheves. He talkd of th rednng apls around, of th brownng nuts, of jams and preservs and th distilng of cordials; til by esy stajes such as these he reachd midwintr, its harty joys and its snug home life, and then he became simply lyricl.

       By degrees th Rat began to sit up and to join in. His dul y brytnd, and he lost som of his lisnng air.

       Presntly th tactful Mole slipd away and returnd with a pencil and a few half-sheets of paper, wich he placed on th table at his friend's elbo.

       `It's quite a long time since u did any poetry,' he remarkd. `U myt hav a try at it this evenng, insted of -- wel, broodng over things so much. I'v an idea that u'l

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    feel a lot betr wen u'v got somthing jotd down -- if it's only just th ryms.'

       Th Rat pushd th paper away from him wearily, but th discreet Mole took ocasion to leve th room, and wen he peepd in again som time later, th Rat was absorbd and def to th world; alternatly scriblng and sukng th top of his pencil. It is tru that he sukd a good deal mor than he scribld; but it was joy to th Mole to no that th cure had at least begun.

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    Chaptr 10



       TH front dor of th holo tre faced eastwrds, so Toad was cald at an erly our; partly by th bryt sunlyt streamng in on him, partly by th exeedng coldness of his toes, wich made him dream that he was at home in bed in his own hansm room with th Tudor windo, on a cold winter's nyt, and his bedclothes had got up, grumblng and protestng they cudnt stand th cold any longr, and had run downstairs to th kichn fire to warm themselvs; and he had folod, on bare feet, along miles and miles of icy stone-paved passajs, arguing and beseechng them to be reasnbl. He wud probbly hav been arousd much erlir, had he not slept for som weeks on straw over stone flags, and

    Paje 218

    almost forgotn th frendly feelng of thik blankets puld wel up round th chin.

       Sitng up, he rubd his ys first and his complainng toes next, wondrd for a moment wher he was, lookng round for familir stone wal and litl bard windo; then, with a leap of th hart, remembrd everything -- his escape, his flyt, his pursuit; remembrd, first and best thing of al, that he was fre!

       Fre! Th word and th thot alone wer worth fifty blankets. He was warm from end to end as he thot of th jolly world outside, waitng eagrly for him to make his triumfl entrance, redy to serv him and play up to him, anxius to help him and to keep him compny, as it always had been in days of old befor misfortune fel upon him. He shook himself and combd th dry leavs out of his hair with his fingrs; and, his toilet complete, marchd forth into th comfrtbl mornng sun, cold but confidnt, hungry but hopeful, al nervus terrs of yestrday dispeld by rest and sleep and frank and hartnng sunshine.

       He had th world al to himself, that erly sumr mornng. Th dewy woodland, as he thredd it, was solitry and stil: th green

    Paje 219

    fields that succeedd th tres wer his own to do as he liked with; th road itself, wen he reachd it, in that loneliness that was evrywher, seemd, like a stray dog, to be lookng anxiusly for compny. Toad, howevr, was lookng for somthing that cud talk, and tel him clearly wich way he ot to go. It is al very wel, wen u hav a lyt hart, and a clear concience, and mony in yr poket, and nobody scourng th cuntry for u to drag u off to prisn again, to folo wher th road bekns and points, not caring withr. Th practicl Toad cared very much indeed, and he cud hav kikd th road for its helpless silence wen evry minut was of importnce to him.

       Th reservd rustic road was presntly joind by a shy litl brothr in th shape of a canal, wich took its hand and ambld along by its side in perfect confidnce, but with th same tong-tied, uncomunicativ atitude towards stranjers. `Bothr them!' said Toad to himself. `But, anyhow, one thing's clear. They must both be comng from somwher, and going to somwher. U cant get over that. Toad, my boy!' So he marchd on patiently by th water's ej.

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       Round a bend in th canal came plodng a solitry horse, stoopng forwrd as if in anxius thot. From rope traces atachd to his colr strechd a long line, taut, but dipng with his stride, th furthr part of it dripng perly drops. Toad let th horse pass, and stood waitng for wat th fates wer sendng him.

       With a plesnt swirl of quiet watr at its blunt bo th barj slid up alongside of him, its gaily paintd gunl levl with th towng-path, its sole ocupnt a big stout womn werng a linn sun-bonet, one brawny arm laid along th tilr.

       `A nice mornng, mam!' she remarkd to Toad, as she drew up levl with him.

       `I dare say it is, mam!' respondd Toad politely, as he walkd along th tow-path abrest of her. `I dare it is a nice mornng to them that's not in sor trubl, like wat I am. Here's my marrid dautr, she sends off to me post-haste to com to her at once; so off I coms, not noing wat may be hapnng or going to hapn, but fearng th worst, as u wil undrstand, mam, if u'r a mothr, too. And I'v left my busness to look aftr itself -- I'm in th

    Paje 221

    washng and laundrng line, u must no, mam -- and I'v left my yung children to look aftr themselvs, and a mor mischivus and trublsm set of yung imps dosnt exist, mam; and I'v lost al my mony, and lost my way, and as for wat may be hapnng to my marrid dautr, wy, I dont like to think of it, mam!'

       `Wher myt yr marrid dautr be livng, mam?' askd th barj-womn.

       `She lives near to th rivr, mam,' replyd Toad. `Close to a fine house cald Toad Hal, that's somewheres hereabouts in these parts. Perhaps u may hav herd of it.'

       `Toad Hal? Wy, I'm going that way myself,' replyd th barj-womn. `This canal joins th rivr som miles furthr on, a litl abov Toad Hal; and then it's an esy walk. U com along in th barj with me, and I'l giv u a lift.'

       She steerd th barj close to th bank, and Toad, with many humbl and grateful aknolejmnts, stepd lytly on bord and sat down with gret satisfaction. `Toad's luk again!' thot he. `I always com out on top!'

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       `So u'r in th washng busness, mam?' said th barj-womn politely, as they glided along. `And a very good busness u'v got too, I dare say, if I'm not making too fre in sayng so.'

       `Finest busness in th hole cuntry,' said Toad airily. `Al th jentry com to me -- wudnt go to any one else if they wer paid, they no me so wel. U se, I undrstand my work thoroly, and atend to it al myself. Washng, ironng, clear-starching, making up gents' fine shirts for evenng wer -- everything's don undr my own y!'

       `But surely u dont do al that work yrself, mam?' askd th barj-womn respectfuly.

       `O, I hav girls,' said Toad lytly: `twenty girls or therabouts, always at work. But u no wat girls ar, mam! Nasty litl hussies, that's wat I cal 'em!'

       `So do I, too,' said th barj-womn with gret hartiness. `But I dare say u set yrs to ryts, th idle trollops! And ar u very fond of washng?'

       `I lov it,' said Toad. `I simply dote on it. Nevr so happy as wen I'v got both arms in th wash-tub. But, then, it coms so esy to

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    me! No trubl at al! A real plesur, I asure u, mam!'

       `Wat a bit of luk, meetng u!' observd th barj-womn, thotfuly. `A regulr pece of good fortune for both of us!'

       `Wy, wat do u mean?' askd Toad, nervusly.

       `Wel, look at me, now,' replyd th barj-womn. `I like washng, too, just th same as u do; and for that matr, wethr I like it or not I hav got to do al my own, natrly, moving about as I do. Now my husbnd, he's such a felo for shirking his work and leving th barj to me, that nevr a moment do I get for seing to my own afairs. By ryts he ot to be here now, eithr steerng or atendng to th horse, tho luckily th horse has sense enuf to atend to himself. Insted of wich, he's gon off with th dog, to se if they cant pik up a rabit for dinr somwher. Says he'l cach me up at th next lok. Wel, that's as may be -- I dont trust him, once he gets off with that dog, ho's worse than he is. But meantime, how am I to get on with my washng?'

       `O, nevr mind about th washng,' said

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    Toad, not liking th subject. `Try and fix yr mind on that rabit. A nice fat yung rabit, I'l be bound. Got any onions?'

       `I cant fix my mind on anything but my washng,' said th barj-womn, `and I wondr u can be talkng of rabits, with such a joyful prospect befor u. Ther's a heap of things of mine that u'l find in a cornr of th cabn. If u'l just take one or two of th most necesry sort -- I wont ventur to describe them to a lady like u, but u'l recognize them at a glance -- and put them thru th wash-tub as we go along, wy, it'l be a plesur to u, as u rytly say, and a real help to me. U'l find a tub handy, and soap, and a ketl on th stove, and a buket to haul up watr from th canal with. Then I shal no u'r enjoyng yrself, insted of sitng here idle, lookng at th senery and yawnng yr hed off.'

       `Here, u let me steer!' said Toad, now thoroly frytnd, `and then u can get on with yr washng yr own way. I myt spoil yr things, or not do 'em as u like. I'm mor used to gentlemen's things myself. It's my special line.'

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       `Let u steer?' replyd th barj-womn, lafng. `It takes som practis to steer a barj proprly. Besides, it's dul work, and I want u to be happy. No, u shal do th washng u ar so fond of, and I'l stik to th steerng that I undrstand. Dont try and deprive me of th plesur of givng u a treat!'

       Toad was fairly cornrd. He lookd for escape this way and that, saw that he was too far from th bank for a flyng leap, and sulenly resynd himself to his fate. `If it coms to that,' he thot in despration, `I supose any fool can wash!'

       He fechd tub, soap, and othr necesris from th cabn, selectd a few garmnts at randm, tryd to reclect wat he had seen in casul glances thru laundry windos, and set to.

       A long half-our pasd, and evry minut of it saw Toad getng crosr and crosr. Nothing that he cud do to th things seemd to plese them or do them good. He tryd coaxng, he tryd slapng, he tryd punchng; they smiled bak at him out of th tub unconverted, happy in ther orijnl sin. Once or twice he lookd

    Paje 226

    nervusly over his sholdr at th barj-womn, but she apeard to be gazing out in front of her, absorbd in her steerng. His bak ached badly, and he noticed with dismay that his paws wer beginng to get al crinkly. Now Toad was very proud of his paws. He mutrd undr his breth words that shud nevr pass th lips of eithr washerwomen or Toads; and lost th soap, for th fiftieth time.

       A burst of laftr made him straitn himself and look round. Th barj-womn was leanng bak and lafng unrestrainedly, til th ters ran down her cheeks.

       `I'v been wachng u al th time,' she gaspd. `I thot u must be a humbug al along, from th conceitd way u talkd. Pretty washerwoman u ar! Nevr washd so much as a dish-clout in yr life, I'l lay!'

       Toad's tempr wich had been simrng viciusly for som time, now fairly boild over, and he lost al control of himself.

       `U comn, lo, fat barj-womn!' he shoutd; `dont u dare to talk to yr betrs like that! Washerwoman indeed! I wud hav u to no that I am a Toad, a very wel-nown, respectd, distinguishd Toad!

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    I may be undr a bit of a cloud at presnt, but I wil not be lafd at by a bargewoman!'

       Th womn moved nearr to him and peerd undr his bonet keenly and closely. `Wy, so u ar!' she cryd. `Wel, I nevr! A horid, nasty, crawly Toad! And in my nice clean barj, too! Now that is a thing that I wil not hav.'

       She relinquishd th tilr for a moment. One big motld arm shot out and caut Toad by a for-leg, wile th othr gripd him fast by a hind-leg. Then th world turnd sudnly upside down, th barj seemd to flit lytly across th sky, th wind wisld in his ears, and Toad found himself flyng thru th air, revolvng rapidly as he went.

       Th watr, wen he eventuly reachd it with a loud splash, proved quite cold enuf for his taste, tho its chil was not suficient to quel his proud spirit, or slake th heat of his furius tempr. He rose to th surface splutrng, and wen he had wiped th duk-weed out of his ys th first thing he saw was th fat barj-womn lookng bak at him over th stern of th retreatng barj and lafng;

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    and he vowd, as he cofd and choked, to be even with her.

       He struk out for th shor, but th cotn gown gretly impeded his efrts, and wen at length he tuchd land he found it hard to climb up th steep bank unassisted. He had to take a minut or two's rest to recovr his breth; then, gathrng his wet skirts wel over his arms, he startd to run aftr th barj as fast as his legs wud carry him, wild with indignation, thirsting for revenj.

       Th barj-womn was stil lafng wen he drew up levl with her. `Put yrself thru yr mangl, washerwoman,' she cald out, `and iron yr face and crimp it, and u'l pass for quite a decent-lookng Toad!'

       Toad nevr pausd to reply. Solid revenj was wat he wantd, not cheap, windy, verbl triumfs, tho he had a thing or two in his mind that he wud hav liked to say. He saw wat he wantd ahed of him. Runng swiftly on he overtook th horse, unfasnd th towrope and cast off, jumpd lytly on th horse's bak, and urjd it to a galop by kikng it vigrusly in th sides. He steerd for th open cuntry, abandnng th tow-path, and

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    swingng his steed down a rutty lane. Once he lookd bak, and saw that th barj had run aground on th othr side of th canal, and th barj-womn was jesticulating wildly and shoutng, `Stop, stop, stop!' `I'v herd that song befor,' said Toad, lafng, as he continud to spur his steed onwrd in its wild career.

       Th barj-horse was not capabl of any very sustaind efrt, and its galop soon subsided into a trot, and its trot into an esy walk; but Toad was quite contentd with this, noing that he, at any rate, was moving, and th barj was not. He had quite recovrd his tempr, now that he had don somthing he thot realy clevr; and he was satisfyd to jog along quietly in th sun, steerng his horse along by-ways and bridle-paths, and tryng to forget how very long it was since he had had a square meal, til th canal had been left very far behind him.

       He had travld som miles, his horse and he, and he was feelng drowsy in th hot sunshine, wen th horse stopd, loerd his hed, and began to nibl th grass; and Toad, waking up, just saved himself from falng off by an

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    efrt. He lookd about him and found he was on a wide comn, dotd with pachs of gorse and brambl as far as he cud se. Near him stood a dinjy jipsy caravan, and beside it a man was sitng on a buket turnd upside down, very busy smoking and staring into th wide world. A fire of stiks was burnng near by, and over th fire hung an iron pot, and out of that pot came forth bubblings and gurglings, and a vage sujestiv steaminess. Also smels -- warm, rich, and varid smels -- that twined and twistd and rethed themselvs at last into one complete, voluptuus, perfect smel that seemd like th very sol of Natur taking form and apearng to her children, a tru Godess, a mothr of solace and comfrt. Toad now new wel that he had not been realy hungry befor. Wat he had felt erlir in th day had been a mere trifling qualm. This was th real thing at last, and no mistake; and it wud hav to be delt with speedily, too, or ther wud be trubl for sombody or somthing. He lookd th jipsy over carefuly, wondrng vagely wethr it wud be esir to fyt him or cajole him. So ther he sat, and snifd and snifd, and lookd
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    at th jipsy; and th jipsy sat and smoked, and lookd at him.

       Presntly th jipsy took his pipe out of his mouth and remarkd in a careless way, `Want to sel that ther horse of yrs?'

       Toad was completely taken abak. He did not no that jipsis wer very fond of horse-dealng, and nevr misd an oprtunity, and he had not reflectd that caravans wer always on th move and took a deal of drawng. It had not ocurd to him to turn th horse into cash, but th gipsy's sujestion seemd to smooth th way towards th two things he wantd so badly -- redy mony, and a solid brekfast.

       `Wat?' he said, `me sel this butiful yung horse of mine? O, no; it's out of th question. Ho's going to take th washng home to my custmrs evry week? Besides, I'm too fond of him, and he simply dotes on me.'

       `Try and lov a donky,' sujestd th jipsy. `Som peple do.'

       `U dont seem to se,' continud Toad, `that this fine horse of mine is a cut abov u altogethr. He's a blod horse, he is, partly; not th part u se, of corse -- anothr part.

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    And he's been a Prize Hakny, too, in his time -- that was th time befor u new him, but u can stil tel it on him at a glance, if u undrstand anything about horses. No, it's not to be thot of for a moment. Al th same, how much myt u be disposed to ofr me for this butiful yung horse of mine?'

       Th jipsy lookd th horse over, and then he lookd Toad over with equal care, and lookd at th horse again. `Shillin' a leg,' he said briefly, and turnd away, continuing to smoke and try to stare th wide world out of countnnce.

       `A shilng a leg?' cryd Toad. `If u plese, I must take a litl time to work that out, and se just wat it coms to.'

       He climbd down off his horse, and left it to graze, and sat down by th jipsy, and did sums on his fingrs, and at last he said, `A shilng a leg? Wy, that coms to exactly four shilngs, and no mor. O, no; I cud not think of acceptng four shilngs for this butiful yung horse of mine.'

       `Wel,' said th jipsy, `I'l tel u wat I wil do. I'l make it five shilngs, and that's thre-and-sixpnce mor than th animal's worth. And that's my last word.'

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       Then Toad sat and pondrd long and deeply. For he was hungry and quite penniless, and stil som way -- he new not how far -- from home, and enmis myt stil be lookng for him. To one in such a situation, five shilngs may very wel apear a larj sum of mony. On th othr hand, it did not seem very much to get for a horse. But then, again, th horse hadnt cost him anything; so watevr he got was al clear profit. At last he said firmly, `Look here, jipsy! I tel u wat we wil do; and this is my last word. U shal hand me over six shilngs and sixpnce, cash down; and furthr, in adition thereto, u shal giv me as much brekfast as I can posbly eat, at one sitng of corse, out of that iron pot of yrs that keeps sendng forth such delicius and exiting smels. In return, I wil make over to u my spiritd yung horse, with al th butiful harness and trapngs that ar on him, frely thrown in. If that's not good enuf for u, say so, and I'l be getng on. I no a man near here ho's wantd this horse of mine for years.'

       Th jipsy grumbld frytfuly, and declared if he did a few mor deals of that sort he'd be

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    ruind. But in th end he lugd a dirty canvas bag out of th depths of his trousr poket, and countd out six shilngs and sixpnce into Toad's paw. Then he disapeard into th caravan for an instnt, and returnd with a larj iron plate and a nife, fork, and spoon. He tiltd up th pot, and a glorius stream of hot rich stew gurgld into th plate. It was, indeed, th most butiful stew in th world, being made of partrijs, and fesnts, and chikns, and hares, and rabits, and pe-hens, and ginea-fowls, and one or two othr things. Toad took th plate on his lap, almost cryng, and stufd, and stufd, and stufd, and kept askng for mor, and th jipsy nevr grujd it him. He thot that he had nevr eatn so good a brekfast in al his life.

       Wen Toad had taken as much stew on bord as he thot he cud posbly hold, he got up and said good-by to th jipsy, and took an afectionat farewel of th horse; and th jipsy, ho new th rivrside wel, gave him directions wich way to go, and he set forth on his travls again in th best posbl spirits. He was, indeed, a very difrnt Toad from th anml of an our ago. Th sun was shining

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    brytly, his wet clothes wer quite dry again, he had mony in his poket once mor, he was nearng home and frends and safety, and, most and best of al, he had had a substantial meal, hot and nurishng, and felt big, and strong, and careless, and self-confidnt.

       As he trampd along gaily, he thot of his adventurs and escapes, and how wen things seemd at ther worst he had always manajd to find a way out; and his pride and conceit began to swel within him. `Ho, ho!' he said to himself as he marchd along with his chin in th air, `wat a clevr Toad I am! Ther is surely no anml equal to me for clevrness in th hole world! My enmis shut me up in prisn, encircld by sentris, wachd nyt and day by wardrs; I walk out thru them al, by sheer ability cupld with curaj. They pursu me with enjns, and policemen, and revolvrs; I snap my fingrs at them, and vanish, lafng, into space. I am, unfortunatly, thrown into a canal by a womn fat of body and very evil-mindd. Wat of it? I swim ashor, I seze her horse, I ride off in triumf, and I sel th horse for a hole pocketful of mony and an exlnt brekfast! Ho,

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    ho! I am Th Toad, th hansm, th populr, th succesful Toad!' He got so pufd up with conceit that he made up a song as he walkd in prase of himself, and sang it at th top of his voice, tho ther was no one to hear it but him. It was perhaps th most conceitd song that any anml evr composed.

    `Th world has held gret Heros,
    As histry-books hav showd;
    But nevr a name to go down to fame
    Compared with that of Toad!
    `Th clevr men at Oxfrd
    No al that ther is to be noed.
    But they non of them no one half as much
    As intelijnt Mr. Toad!
    `Th anmls sat in th Ark and cryd,
    Ther ters in torents floed.
    Ho was it said, "Ther's land ahed?"
    Encurajng Mr. Toad!
    `Th army al saluted
    As they marchd along th road.
    Was it th King? Or Kitchener?
    No. It was Mr. Toad.
    `Th Queen and her Ladis-in-waitng
    Sat at th windo and sewd.
    She cryd, "Look! ho's that hansm man?"
    They ansrd, "Mr. Toad."'

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       Ther was a gret deal mor of th same sort, but too dredfuly conceitd to be ritn down. These ar som of th mildr verses.

       He sang as he walkd, and he walkd as he sang, and got mor inflated evry minut. But his pride was shortly to hav a severe fal.

       Aftr som miles of cuntry lanes he reachd th hy road, and as he turnd into it and glanced along its wite length, he saw aproachng him a spek that turnd into a dot and then into a blob, and then into somthing very familir; and a dubl note of warnng, only too wel nown, fel on his delytd ear.

       `This is somthing like!' said th exited Toad. `This is real life again, this is once mor th gret world from wich I hav been misd so long! I wil hail them, my brothrs of th weel, and pich them a yarn, of th sort that has been so succesful hithrto; and they wil giv me a lift, of corse, and then I wil talk to them som mor; and, perhaps, with luk, it may even end in my driving up to Toad Hal in a motor-car! That wil be one in th y for Bajr!'

       He stepd confidntly out into th road to

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    hail th motor-car, wich came along at an esy pace, sloing down as it neard th lane; wen sudnly he became very pale, his hart turnd to watr, his nes shook and yieldd undr him, and he dubld up and colapsd with a siknng pain in his interir. And wel he myt, th unhappy anml; for th aproachng car was th very one he had stolen out of th yard of th Red Lion Hotel on that fatal day wen al his trubls began! And th peple in it wer th very same peple he had sat and wachd at lunchn in th cofee-room!

       He sank down in a shabby, misrbl heap in th road, murmrng to himself in his despair, `It's al up! It's al over now! Chains and policemen again! Prisn again! Dry bred and watr again! O, wat a fool I hav been! Wat did I want to go strutng about th cuntry for, singng conceitd songs, and hailng peple in brod day on th hy road, insted of hiding til nytfal and slipng home quietly by bak ways! O hapless Toad! O il-fated anml!'

       Th teribl motor-car drew sloly nearr and nearr, til at last he herd it stop just short

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    of him. Two jentlmen got out and walkd round th tremblng heap of crumpld misry lyng in th road, and one of them said, `O dear! this is very sad! Here is a poor old thing -- a washerwoman aparently -- ho has faintd in th road! Perhaps she is overcom by th heat, poor creatur; or posbly she has not had any food to-day. Let us lift her into th car and take her to th nearst vilaj, wher doutless she has frends.'

       They tendrly liftd Toad into th motor-car and propd him up with soft cushns, and proceedd on ther way.

       Wen Toad herd them talk in so kind and sympathetic a way, and new that he was not recognized, his curaj began to revive, and he cautiusly opend first one y and then th othr.

       `Look!' said one of th jentlmen, `she is betr alredy. Th fresh air is doing her good. How do u feel now, mam?'

       `Thank u kindly, Sir,' said Toad in a feebl voice, `I'm feelng a gret deal betr!' `That's ryt,' said th jentlman. `Now keep quite stil, and, abov al, dont try to talk.'

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       `I wont,' said Toad. `I was only thinkng, if I myt sit on th front seat ther, beside th driver, wher I cud get th fresh air ful in my face, I shud soon be al ryt again.'

       `Wat a very sensbl womn!' said th jentlman. `Of corse u shal.' So they carefuly helpd Toad into th front seat beside th driver, and on they went again.

       Toad was almost himself again by now. He sat up, lookd about him, and tryd to beat down th tremrs, th yernngs, th old cravings that rose up and beset him and took posession of him entirely.

       `It is fate!' he said to himself. `Wy strive? wy strugl?' and he turnd to th driver at his side.

       `Plese, Sir,' he said, `I wish u wud kindly let me try and drive th car for a litl. I'v been wachng u carefuly, and it looks so esy and so intrestng, and I shud like to be able to tel my frends that once I had drivn a motor-car!'

       Th driver lafd at th proposal, so hartily that th jentlman inquired wat th mattter{sic} was. Wen he herd, he said, to Toad's delyt, `Bravo, mam! I like yr spirit.

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    Let her hav a try, and look aftr her. She wont do any harm.'

       Toad eagrly scrambld into th seat vacated by th driver, took th steerng-weel in his hands, lisnd with afectd humility to th instructions givn him, and set th car in motion, but very sloly and carefuly at first, for he was determnd to be prudent.

       Th jentlmen behind clapd ther hands and aplaudd, and Toad herd them sayng, `How wel she dos it! Fancy a washerwoman driving a car as wel as that, th first time!'

       Toad went a litl fastr; then fastr stil, and fastr.

       He herd th jentlmen cal out warnngly, `Be careful, washerwoman!' And this anoyd him, and he began to lose his hed.

       Th driver tryd to intrfere, but he pind him down in his seat with one elbo, and put on ful speed. Th rush of air in his face, th hum of th enjns, and th lyt jump of th car beneath him intoxicated his weak brain. `Washerwoman, indeed!' he shoutd reklesly. `Ho! ho! I am th Toad, th motor-car snatchr, th prisn-breaker, th Toad ho always escapes! Sit stil, and u

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    shal no wat driving realy is, for u ar in th hands of th famus, th skilful, th entirely fearless Toad!'

       With a cry of horr th hole party rose and flung themselvs on him. `Seze him!' they cryd, `seze th Toad, th wiked anml ho stole our motor-car! Bind him, chain him, drag him to th nearst police-station! Down with th desprat and danjerus Toad!'

       Alas! they shud hav thot, they ot to hav been mor prudent, they shud hav remembrd to stop th motor-car somhow befor playng any pranks of that sort. With a half-turn of th weel th Toad sent th car crashng thru th lo hej that ran along th roadside. One myty bound, a violent shok, and th weels of th car wer churnng up th thik mud of a horse-pond.

       Toad found himself flyng thru th air with th strong upwrd rush and delicat curv of a swalo. He liked th motion, and was just beginng to wondr wethr it wud go on until he developd wings and turnd into a Toad-bird, wen he landd on his bak with a thump, in th soft rich grass of a medo. Sitng up, he cud just se th motor-car in

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    th pond, nearly submerjd; th jentlmen and th driver, encumbrd by ther long coats, wer floundrng helplesly in th watr.

       He pikd himself up rapidly, and set off runng across cuntry as hard as he cud, scramblng thru hejs, jumpng dichs, poundng across fields, til he was brethless and weary, and had to setl down into an esy walk. Wen he had recovrd his breth somwat, and was able to think calmly, he began to gigl, and from giglng he took to lafng, and he lafd til he had to sit down undr a hej. `Ho, ho!' he cryd, in ecstasis of self-admration, `Toad again! Toad, as usul, coms out on th top! Ho was it got them to giv him a lift? Ho manajd to get on th front seat for th sake of fresh air? Ho persuaded them into letng him se if he cud drive? Ho landd them al in a horse-pond? Ho escaped, flyng gaily and unscathed thru th air, leving th naro-mindd, grujng, timid excursionists in th mud wher they shud rytly be? Wy, Toad, of corse; clevr Toad, gret Toad, good Toad!'

       Then he burst into song again, and chantd with upliftd voice --

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    `Th motor-car went Poop-poop-poop,
    As it raced along th road.
    Ho was it steerd it into a pond?
    Injenius Mr. Toad!

       O, how clevr I am! How clevr, how clevr, how very clev -- -- '

       A slyt noise at a distnce behind him made him turn his hed and look. O horr! O misry! O despair!

       About two fields off, a chaufr in his lethr gaitrs and two larj rural policemen wer visbl, runng towards him as hard as they cud go!

       Poor Toad sprang to his feet and peltd away again, his hart in his mouth. O, my!' he gaspd, as he pantd along, `wat an ass I am! Wat a conceitd and heedless ass! Swagrng again! Shoutng and singng songs again! Sitng stil and gasng again! O my! O my! O my!'

       He glanced bak, and saw to his dismay that they wer gainng on him. On he ran despratly, but kept lookng bak, and saw that they stil gaind stedily. He did his best, but he was a fat anml, and his legs wer short, and stil they gaind. He cud hear them close

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    behind him now. Cesing to heed wher he was going, he strugld on blindly and wildly, lookng bak over his sholdr at th now triumfnt enmy, wen sudnly th erth faild undr his feet, he graspd at th air, and, splash! he found himself hed over ears in deep watr, rapid watr, watr that bor him along with a force he cud not contend with; and he new that in his blind panic he had run strait into th rivr!

       He rose to th surface and tryd to grasp th reeds and th rushs that grew along th water's ej close undr th bank, but th stream was so strong that it tor them out of his hands. `O my!' gaspd poor Toad, `if evr I steal a motor-car again! If evr I sing anothr conceitd song' -- then down he went, and came up brethless and splutrng. Presntly he saw that he was aproachng a big dark hole in th bank, just abov his hed, and as th stream bor him past he reachd up with a paw and caut hold of th ej and held on. Then sloly and with dificlty he drew himself up out of th watr, til at last he was able to rest his elbos on th ej of th hole. Ther he remaind for som minuts,

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    pufng and pantng, for he was quite exaustd.

       As he syd and blew and stared befor him into th dark hole, som bryt smal thing shon and twinkld in its depths, moving towards him. As it aproachd, a face grew up graduly around it, and it was a familir face!

       Brown and smal, with wiskrs.

       Grave and round, with neat ears and silky hair.

       It was th Watr Rat!

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    Chaptr 11



       TH Rat put out a neat litl brown paw, gripd Toad firmly by th scruf of th nek, and gave a gret hoist and a pul; and th watr-logd Toad came up sloly but surely over th ej of th hole, til at last he stood safe and sound in th hal, streakd with mud and weed to be sure, and with th watr streamng off him, but happy and hy-spiritd as of old, now that he found himself once mor in th house of a frend, and dodgings and evasions wer over, and he cud lay aside a disgise that was unworthy of his position and wantd such a lot of livng up to.

       `O, Ratty!' he cryd. `I'v been thru such times since I saw u last, u cant think! Such trials, such sufrngs, and al so nobly born! Then such escapes, such disgises

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    such subtrfujes, and al so clevrly pland and carrid out! Been in prisn -- got out of it, of corse! Been thrown into a canal -- swam ashor! Stole a horse -- sold him for a larj sum of mony! Humbugged evrybody -- made 'em al do exactly wat I wantd! O, I am a smart Toad, and no mistake! Wat do u think my last exploit was? Just hold on til I tel u -- -- '

       `Toad,' said th Watr Rat, gravely and firmly, `u go off upstairs at once, and take off that old cotn rag that looks as if it myt formrly hav belongd to som washerwoman, and clean yrself thoroly, and put on som of my clothes, and try and com down lookng like a jentlman if u can; for a mor shabby, bedragld, disreputbl-lookng object than u ar I nevr set ys on in my hole life! Now, stop swagrng and arguing, and be off! I'l hav somthing to say to u later!'

       Toad was at first inclined to stop and do som talkng bak at him. He had had enuf of being ordrd about wen he was in prisn, and here was th thing being begun al over again, aparently; and by a Rat, too! Howevr, he caut syt of himself in th lookng-glass

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    over th hat-stand, with th rusty blak bonet perchd rakishly over one y, and he chanjed his mind and went very quikly and humbly upstairs to th Rat's dresng-room. Ther he had a thoro wash and brush-up, chanjed his clothes, and stood for a long time befor th glass, contmplating himself with pride and plesur, and thinkng wat utr idiots al th peple must hav been to hav evr mistaken him for one moment for a washerwoman.

       By th time he came down again lunchn was on th table, and very glad Toad was to se it, for he had been thru som tryng experiences and had taken much hard exrcise since th exlnt brekfast provided for him by th jipsy. Wile they ate Toad told th Rat al his adventurs, dwelng chiefly on his own clevrness, and presnce of mind in emerjncis, and cunng in tyt places; and rathr making out that he had been havng a gay and hyly-colord experience. But th mor he talkd and boastd, th mor grave and silent th Rat became.

       Wen at last Toad had talkd himself to a standstil, ther was silence for a wile; and then th Rat said, `Now, Toady, I dont want

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    to giv u pain, aftr al u'v been thru alredy; but, seriusly, dont u se wat an awful ass u'v been making of yrself? On yr own admission u hav been handcufd, imprisnd, starvd, chased, terifyd out of yr life, insultd, jeerd at, and ignminiusly flung into th watr -- by a womn, too! Wher's th amusemnt in that? Wher dos th fun com in? And al because u must needs go and steal a motor-car. U no that u'v nevr had anything but trubl from motor-cars from th moment u first set ys on one. But if u wil be mixd up with them -- as u jenrly ar, five minuts aftr u'v startd -- wy steal them? Be a cripl, if u think it's exiting; be a bankrupt, for a chanje, if u'v set yr mind on it: but wy choose to be a convict? Wen ar u going to be sensbl, and think of yr frends, and try and be a credit to them? Do u supose it's any plesur to me, for instnce, to hear anmls sayng, as I go about, that I'm th chap that keeps compny with jail-birds?'

       Now, it was a very comfrtng point in Toad's caractr that he was a thoroly good-hartd anml and nevr mindd being

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    jawed by those ho wer his real frends. And even wen most set upon a thing, he was always able to se th othr side of th question. So altho, wile th Rat was talkng so seriusly, he kept sayng to himself mutinously, `But it was fun, tho! Awful fun!' and making stranje supresd noises inside him, k-i-ck-ck-ck, and poop-p-p, and othr sounds resemblng stifled snorts, or th openng of soda-watr botls, yet wen th Rat had quite finishd, he heved a deep sy and said, very nicely and humbly, `Quite ryt, Ratty! How sound u always ar! Yes, I'v been a conceitd old ass, I can quite se that; but now I'm going to be a good Toad, and not do it any mor. As for motor-cars, I'v not been at al so keen about them since my last dukng in that rivr of yrs. Th fact is, wile I was hangng on to th ej of yr hole and getng my breth, I had a sudn idea -- a realy briliant idea -- conectd with motor-boats -- ther, ther! dont take on so, old chap, and stamp, and upset things; it was only an idea, and we wont talk any mor about it now. We'l hav our cofee, and a smoke, and a quiet chat, and then I'm going to
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    strol quietly down to Toad Hal, and get into clothes of my own, and set things going again on th old lines. I'v had enuf of adventurs. I shal led a quiet, stedy, respectbl life, potrng about my proprty, and improving it, and doing a litl landscape gardnng at times. Ther wil always be a bit of dinr for my frends wen they com to se me; and I shal keep a pony-chaise to jog about th cuntry in, just as I used to in th good old days, befor I got restless, and wantd to do things.'

       `Strol quietly down to Toad Hal?' cryd th Rat, gretly exited. `Wat ar u talkng about? Do u mean to say u havnt herd?'

       `Herd wat?' said Toad, turnng rathr pale. `Go on, Ratty! Quik! Dont spare me! Wat havnt I herd?'

       `Do u mean to tel me,' shoutd th Rat, thumpng with his litl fist upon th table, `that u'v herd nothing about th Stoats and Weasels?'

       Wat, th Wild Wooders?' cryd Toad, tremblng in evry lim. `No, not a word! Wat hav they been doing?'

    Paje 253

       ` -- And how they'v been and taken Toad Hal?' continud th Rat.

       Toad leand his elbos on th table, and his chin on his paws; and a larj ter weld up in each of his ys, overfloed and splashd on th table, plop! plop!

       `Go on, Ratty,' he murmrd presntly; `tel me al. Th worst is over. I am an anml again. I can ber it.'

       `Wen u -- got -- into that -- that -- trubl of yrs,' said th Rat, sloly and impressivly; `I mean, wen u -- disapeard from society for a time, over that misundrstandng about a -- a machine, u no -- '

       Toad merely nodd.

       `Wel, it was a good deal talkd about down here, natrly,' continud th Rat, `not only along th rivr-side, but even in th Wild Wood. Anmls took sides, as always hapns. Th Rivr-bankrs stuk up for u, and said u had been infamously treatd, and ther was no justice to be had in th land nowadays. But th Wild Wood anmls said hard things, and servd u ryt, and it was time this sort of thing was stopd. And they got very cocky, and went about sayng u wer don for this

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    time! U wud nevr com bak again, nevr, nevr!'

       Toad nodd once mor, keepng silence.

       `That's th sort of litl beasts they ar,' th Rat went on. `But Mole and Bajr, they stuk out, thru thik and thin, that u wud com bak again soon, somhow. They didnt no exactly how, but somhow!'

       Toad began to sit up in his chair again, and to smirk a litl.

       `They argud from histry,' continud th Rat. `They said that no crimnl laws had evr been nown to prevail against cheek and plausbility such as yrs, combined with th powr of a long purse. So they aranjed to move ther things in to Toad Hal, and sleep ther, and keep it aird, and hav it al redy for u wen u turnd up. They didnt gess wat was going to hapn, of corse; stil, they had ther suspicions of th Wild Wood anmls. Now I com to th most painful and trajic part of my story. One dark nyt -- it was a very dark nyt, and bloing hard, too, and rainng simply cats and dogs -- a band of weasels, armd to th teeth, crept silently up th carrij-drive to th front entrance. Simltaneusly, a body of

    Paje 255

    desprat ferets, advancing thru th kichn-gardn, posesd themselvs of th bakyard and ofices; wile a compny of skirmishng stoats ho stuk at nothing ocupyd th conservatry and th bilird-room, and held th French windos openng on to th lawn.

       `Th Mole and th Bajr wer sitng by th fire in th smoking-room, telng storis and suspectng nothing, for it wasnt a nyt for any anmls to be out in, wen those blodthirsty vilans broke down th dors and rushd in upon them from evry side. They made th best fyt they cud, but wat was th good? They wer unarmd, and taken by surprise, and wat can two anmls do against hundreds? They took and beat them severely with stiks, those two poor faithful creaturs, and turnd them out into th cold and th wet, with many insultng and uncalled-for remarks!'

       Here th unfeelng Toad broke into a snigr, and then puld himself togethr and tryd to look particulrly solem.

       `And th Wild Wooders hav been livng in Toad Hal evr since,' continud th Rat; `and going on simply anyhow! Lyng in bed half th day, and brekfast at al ours, and th

    Paje 256

    place in such a mess (I'm told) it's not fit to be seen! Eatng yr grub, and drinkng yr drink, and making bad jokes about u, and singng vulgr songs, about -- wel, about prisns and majistrates, and policemen; horid persnl songs, with no humor in them. And they'r telng th tradespeple and evrybody that they'v com to stay for good.'

       `O, hav they!' said Toad getng up and sezing a stik. `I'l jolly soon se about that!'

       `It's no good, Toad!' cald th Rat aftr him. `U'd betr com bak and sit down; u'l only get into trubl.'

       But th Toad was off, and ther was no holdng him. He marchd rapidly down th road, his stik over his sholdr, fuming and mutrng to himself in his angr, til he got near his front gate, wen sudnly ther popd up from behind th palings a long yelo feret with a gun.

       `Ho coms ther?' said th feret sharply.

       `Stuf and nonsnse!' said Toad, very angrily. `Wat do u mean by talkng like that to me? Com out of that at once, or I'l -- -- '

       Th feret said nevr a word, but he brot

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    his gun up to his sholdr. Toad prudently dropd flat in th road, and Bang! a bulet wisld over his hed.

       Th startld Toad scrambld to his feet and scamprd off down th road as hard as he cud; and as he ran he herd th feret lafng and othr horid thin litl lafs taking it up and carrying on th sound.

       He went bak, very crestfalen, and told th Watr Rat.

       `Wat did I tel u?' said th Rat. `It's no good. They'v got sentris postd, and they ar al armd. U must just wait.'

       Stil, Toad was not inclined to giv in al at once. So he got out th boat, and set off roing up th rivr to wher th gardn front of Toad Hal came down to th watrside.

       Ariving within syt of his old home, he restd on his ors and surveyd th land cautiusly. Al seemd very peceful and desertd and quiet. He cud se th hole front of Toad Hal, gloing in th evenng sunshine, th pijns setlng by twos and thres along th strait line of th roof; th gardn, a blaze of flowrs; th creek that led up to th boat-house, th litl woodn brij

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    that crosd it; al tranquil, uninhabitd, aparently waitng for his return. He wud try th boat-house first, he thot. Very warily he padld up to th mouth of th creek, and was just pasng undr th brij, wen . . . Crash!

       A gret stone, dropd from abov, smashd thru th botm of th boat. It fild and sank, and Toad found himself struglng in deep watr. Lookng up, he saw two stoats leanng over th parapet of th brij and wachng him with gret gle. `It wil be yr hed next time, Toady!' they cald out to him. Th indignnt Toad swam to shor, wile th stoats lafd and lafd, suportng each othr, and lafd again, til they nearly had two fits -- that is, one fit each, of corse.

       Th Toad retraced his weary way on foot, and related his disapointng experiences to th Watr Rat once mor.

       `Wel, wat did I tel u?' said th Rat very crosly. `And, now, look here! Se wat u'v been and don! Lost me my boat that I was so fond of, that's wat u'v don! And simply ruind that nice suit of clothes that I

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    lent u! Realy, Toad, of al th tryng anmls -- I wondr u manaj to keep any frends at al!'

       Th Toad saw at once how rongly and foolishly he had actd. He admitd his errs and rong-headedness and made a ful apolojy to Rat for losing his boat and spoilng his clothes. And he wound up by sayng, with that frank self-surendr wich always disarmd his friend's criticism and won them bak to his side, `Ratty! I se that I hav been a hedstrong and a wilful Toad! Henceforth, beleve me, I wil be humbl and submissiv, and wil take no action without yr kind advice and ful aproval!'

       `If that is realy so,' said th good-naturd Rat, alredy apesed, `then my advice to u is, considrng th lateness of th our, to sit down and hav yr supr, wich wil be on th table in a minut, and be very patient. For I am convinced that we can do nothing until we hav seen th Mole and th Bajr, and herd ther latest news, and held confrnce and taken ther advice in this dificlt matr.'

       `O, ah, yes, of corse, th Mole and th Bajr,' said Toad, lytly. `Wat's becom

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    of them, th dear felos? I had forgotn al about them.'

       `Wel may u ask!' said th Rat reproachfuly. `Wile u wer riding about th cuntry in expensiv motor-cars, and galopng proudly on blod-horses, and brekfastng on th fat of th land, those two poor devoted anmls hav been campng out in th open, in evry sort of wethr, livng very ruf by day and lyng very hard by nyt; wachng over yr house, patrolng yr boundris, keepng a constnt y on th stoats and th weasels, sceming and planng and contriving how to get yr proprty bak for u. U dont deserv to hav such tru and loyl frends, Toad, u dont, realy. Som day, wen it's too late, u'l be sorry u didnt valu them mor wile u had them!'

       `I'm an ungrateful beast, I no,' sobd Toad, shedng bitr ters. `Let me go out and find them, out into th cold, dark nyt, and share ther hardships, and try and prove by -- -- Hold on a bit! Surely I herd th chink of dishs on a tray! Supper's here at last, huray! Com on, Ratty!'

       Th Rat remembrd that poor Toad had

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    been on prisn fare for a considrbl time, and that larj alownces had therfor to be made. He folod him to th table acordngly, and hospitably encurajd him in his galant efrts to make up for past privations.

       They had just finishd ther meal and resumed ther armchairs, wen ther came a hevy nok at th dor.

       Toad was nervus, but th Rat, nodng mysteriusly at him, went strait up to th dor and opend it, and in walkd Mr. Bajr.

       He had al th apearnce of one ho for som nyts had been kept away from home and al its litl comfrts and conveniences. His shoes wer covrd with mud, and he was lookng very ruf and touzled; but then he had nevr been a very smart man, th Bajr, at th best of times. He came solemly up to Toad, shook him by th paw, and said, `Welcm home, Toad! Alas! wat am I sayng? Home, indeed! This is a poor home-comng. Unhappy Toad!' Then he turnd his bak on him, sat down to th table, drew his chair up, and helpd himself to a larj slice of cold pie.

       Toad was quite alarmd at this very serius and portentus styl of greetng; but th Rat

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    wisprd to him, `Nevr mind; dont take any notice; and dont say anything to him just yet. He's always rathr lo and despondnt wen he's wantng his victuals. In half an hour's time he'l be quite a difrnt anml.'

       So they waitd in silence, and presntly ther came anothr and a lytr nok. Th Rat, with a nod to Toad, went to th dor and ushrd in th Mole, very shabby and unwashd, with bits of hay and straw stikng in his fur.

       `Huray! Here's old Toad!' cryd th Mole, his face beamng. `Fancy havng u bak again!' And he began to dance round him. `We nevr dremt u wud turn up so soon! Wy, u must hav manajd to escape, u clevr, injenius, intelijnt Toad!'

       Th Rat, alarmd, puld him by th elbo; but it was too late. Toad was pufng and swelng alredy.

       `Clevr? O, no!' he said. `I'm not realy clevr, acordng to my frends. I'v only broken out of th strongst prisn in England, that's al! And capturd a railway train and escaped on it, that's al! And disgised myself and gon about th cuntry humbugging evry

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    body, that's al! O, no! I'm a stupid ass, I am! I'l tel u one or two of my litl adventurs, Mole, and u shal juj for yrself!'

       `Wel, wel,' said th Mole, moving towards th supr-table; `suposing u talk wile I eat. Not a bite since brekfast! O my! O my!' And he sat down and helpd himself librly to cold beef and pikls.

       Toad stradld on th harth-rug, thrust his paw into his trousr-poket and puld out a handful of silvr. `Look at that!' he cryd, displayng it. `That's not so bad, is it, for a few minutes' work? And how do u think I don it, Mole? Horse-dealng! That's how I don it!'

       `Go on, Toad,' said th Mole, imensly intrestd.

       `Toad, do be quiet, plese!' said th Rat. `And dont u eg him on, Mole, wen u no wat he is; but plese tel us as soon as posbl wat th position is, and wat's best to be don, now that Toad is bak at last.'

       `Th position's about as bad as it can be,' replyd th Mole grumpily; `and as for wat's to be don, wy, blest if I no! Th Bajr and I hav been round and round th place, by

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    nyt and by day; always th same thing. Sentris postd evrywher, guns poked out at us, stones thrown at us; always an anml on th look-out, and wen they se us, my! how they do laf! That's wat anoys me most!'

       `It's a very dificlt situation,' said th Rat, reflectng deeply. `But I think I se now, in th depths of my mind, wat Toad realy ot to do. I wil tel u. He ot to -- -- '

       `No, he otnt!' shoutd th Mole, with his mouth ful. `Nothing of th sort! U dont undrstand. Wat he ot to do is, he ot to -- -- '

       `Wel, I shant do it, anyway!' cryd Toad, getng exited. `I'm not going to be ordrd about by u felos! It's my house we'r talkng about, and I no exactly wat to do, and I'l tel u. I'm going to -- -- '

       By this time they wer al thre talkng at once, at th top of ther voices, and th noise was simply defnng, wen a thin, dry voice made itself herd, sayng, `Be quiet at once, al of u!' and instntly evry one was silent.

       It was th Bajr, ho, havng finishd his pie, had turnd round in his chair and was lookng at them severely. Wen he saw that

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    he had secured ther atention, and that they wer evidntly waitng for him to adress them, he turnd bak to th table again and reachd out for th chese. And so gret was th respect comandd by th solid qualitis of that admrbl anml, that not anothr word was utrd until he had quite finishd his repast and brushd th crums from his nes. Th Toad fijetd a good deal, but th Rat held him firmly down.

       Wen th Bajr had quite don, he got up from his seat and stood befor th fireplace, reflectng deeply. At last he spoke.

       `Toad!' he said severely. `U bad, trublsm litl anml! Arnt u ashamed of youself? Wat do u think yr fathr, my old frend, wud hav said if he had been here tonyt, and had nown of al yr goings on?'

       Toad, ho was on th sofa by this time, with his legs up, rold over on his face, shaken by sobs of contrition.

       `Ther, ther!' went on th Bajr, mor kindly. `Nevr mind. Stop cryng. We'r going to let bygons be bygons, and try and turn over a new leaf. But wat th Mole says is quite tru. Th stoats ar on gard, at evry

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    point, and they make th best sentnls in th world. It's quite useless to think of atakng th place. They'r too strong for us.'

       `Then it's al over,' sobd th Toad, cryng into th sofa cushns. `I shal go and enlist for a soldir, and nevr se my dear Toad Hal any mor!'

       `Com, cheer up, Toady!' said th Bajr. `Ther ar mor ways of getng bak a place than taking it by storm. I havnt said my last word yet. Now I'm going to tel u a gret secret.'

       Toad sat up sloly and dryd his ys. Secrets had an imense atraction for him, because he nevr cud keep one, and he enjoyd th sort of unhallowed thril he experienced wen he went and told anothr anml, aftr havng faithfuly promisd not to.

       `Ther -- is -- an -- undrground -- passaj,' said th Bajr, impressivly, `that leads from th rivr-bank, quite near here, ryt up into th midl of Toad Hal.'

       `O, nonsnse! Bajr,' said Toad, rathr airily. `U'v been lisnng to som of th yarns they spin in th public-houses about here. I no evry inch of Toad Hal, inside

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    and out. Nothing of th sort, I do asure u!'

       `My yung frend,' said th Bajr, with gret severity, `yr fathr, ho was a worthy anml -- a lot worthier than som othrs I no -- was a particulr frend of mine, and told me a gret deal he wudnt hav dremt of telng u. He discovrd that passaj -- he didnt make it, of corse; that was don hundreds of years befor he evr came to liv ther -- and he repaird it and cleand it out, because he thot it myt com in useful som day, in case of trubl or danjer; and he showd it to me. "Dont let my son no about it," he said. "He's a good boy, but very lyt and volatl in caractr, and simply canot hold his tong. If he's evr in a real fix, and it wud be of use to him, u may tel him about th secret passaj; but not befor."'

       Th othr anmls lookd hard at Toad to se how he wud take it. Toad was inclined to be sulky at first; but he brytnd up imediatly, like th good felo he was.

       `Wel, wel,' he said; `perhaps I am a bit of a talkr. A populr felo such as I am -- my frends get round me -- we chaf, we sparkl, we

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    tel witty storis -- and somhow my tong gets wagng. I hav th gift of convrsation. I'v been told I ot to hav a salon, watevr that may be. Nevr mind. Go on, Bajr. How's this passaj of yrs going to help us?'

       `I'v found out a thing or two lately,' continud th Bajr. `I got Otr to disgise himself as a sweep and cal at th bak-dor with brushs over his sholdr, askng for a job. Ther's going to be a big banquet to-moro nyt. It's somebody's birthday -- th Chief Weasel's, I beleve -- and al th weasels wil be gathrd togethr in th dining-hal, eatng and drinkng and lafng and carrying on, suspectng nothing. No guns, no sords, no stiks, no arms of any sort watevr!'

       `But th sentnls wil be postd as usul,' remarkd th Rat.

       `Exactly,' said th Bajr; `that is my point. Th weasels wil trust entirely to ther exlnt sentnls. And that is wher th passaj coms in. That very useful tunl leads ryt up undr th butler's pantry, next to th dining-hal!'

       `Aha! that squeaky bord in th butler's pantry!' said Toad. `Now I undrstand it!'

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       `We shal creep out quietly into th butler's pantry -- ' cryd th Mole.

       ` -- with our pistls and sords and stiks -- ' shoutd th Rat.

       ` -- and rush in upon them,' said th Bajr.

       ` -- and wak 'em, and wak 'em, and wak 'em!' cryd th Toad in ecstasy, runng round and round th room, and jumpng over th chairs

       `Very wel, then,' said th Bajr, resuming his usul dry manr, `our plan is setld, and ther's nothing mor for u to argu and squabl about. So, as it's getng very late, al of u go ryt off to bed at once. We wil make al th necesry aranjemnts in th corse of th mornng to-moro.'

       Toad, of corse, went off to bed dutifuly with th rest -- he new betr than to refuse -- tho he was feelng much too exited to sleep. But he had had a long day, with many events crowdd into it; and sheets and blankets wer very frendly and comfrtng things, aftr plan straw, and not too much of it, spred on th stone flor of a drafty cel; and his hed had not been many secnds on his pilo befor he was snorng happily. Natrly, he dremt a good deal; about roads that ran away from

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    him just wen he wantd them, and canals that chased him and caut him, and a barj that saild into th banquetng-hal with his week's washng, just as he was givng a dinr-party; and he was alone in th secret passaj, pushng onwrds, but it twistd and turnd round and shook itself, and sat up on its end; yet somhow, at th last, he found himself bak in Toad Hal, safe and triumfnt, with al his frends gathrd round about him, ernestly asuring him that he realy was a clevr Toad.

       He slept til a late our next mornng, and by th time he got down he found that th othr anmls had finishd ther brekfast som time befor. Th Mole had slipd off somwher by himself, without telng any one wher he was going to. Th Bajr sat in th arm-chair, readng th paper, and not concernng himself in th slytst about wat was going to hapn that very evenng. Th Rat, on th othr hand, was runng round th room busily, with his arms ful of wepns of evry kind, distributing them in four litl heaps on th flor, and sayng exitedly undr his breth, as he ran, `Here's-a-sord-for-th-Rat, here's-a-sord-for-th Mole, here's-a-sord-for-th-Toad, here's-a-

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    sord-for-th-Bajr! Here's-a-pistl-for-th-Rat, here's-a-pistl-for-th-Mole, here's-a-pistl-for-th-Toad, here's-a-pistl-for-th-Bajr!' And so on, in a regulr, rythmicl way, wile th four litl heaps graduly grew and grew.

       `That's al very wel, Rat,' said th Bajr presntly, lookng at th busy litl anml over th ej of his newspaper; `I'm not blaming u. But just let us once get past th stoats, with those detestbl guns of thers, and I asure u we shant want any sords or pistls. We four, with our stiks, once we'r inside th dining-hal, wy, we shal clear th flor of al th lot of them in five minuts. I'd hav don th hole thing by myself, only I didnt want to deprive u felos of th fun!'

       `It's as wel to be on th safe side,' said th Rat reflectivly, polishng a pistl-barel on his sleve and lookng along it.

       Th Toad, havng finishd his brekfast, pikd up a stout stik and swung it vigrusly, belabouring imajnry anmls. `I'l lern 'em to steal my house!' he cryd. `I'l lern 'em, I'l lern 'em!'

       `Dont say "lern 'em," Toad,' said th Rat, gretly shokd. `It's not good English.'

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       `Wat ar u always nagng at Toad for?' inquired th Bajr, rathr pevishly. `Wat's th matr with his English? It's th same wat I use myself, and if it's good enuf for me, it ot to be good enuf for u!'

       `I'm very sorry,' said th Rat humbly. `Only I think it ot to be "teach 'em," not "lern 'em."'

       `But we dont want to teach 'em,' replyd th Bajr. `We want to lern 'em -- lern 'em, lern 'em! And wat's mor, we'r going to do it, too!'

       `O, very wel, hav it yr own way,' said th Rat. He was getng rathr mudld about it himself, and presntly he retired into a cornr, wher he cud be herd mutrng, `Lern 'em, teach 'em, teach 'em, lern 'em!' til th Bajr told him rathr sharply to leve off.

       Presntly th Mole came tumblng into th room, evidntly very plesed with himself. `I'v been havng such fun!' he began at once; `I'v been getng a rise out of th stoats!'

       `I hope u'v been very careful, Mole?' said th Rat anxiusly.

       `I shud hope so, too,' said th Mole confidntly. `I got th idea wen I went into th

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    kichn, to se about Toad's brekfast being kept hot for him. I found that old washerwoman-dress that he came home in yestrday, hangng on a towl-horse befor th fire. So I put it on, and th bonet as wel, and th shawl, and off I went to Toad Hal, as bold as u plese. Th sentris wer on th look-out, of corse, with ther guns and ther "Ho coms ther?" and al th rest of ther nonsnse. "Good mornng, jentlmen!" says I, very respectful. "Want any washng don to-day?"

       `They lookd at me very proud and stif and hauty, and said, "Go away, washerwoman! We dont do any washng on duty." "Or any othr time?" says I. Ho, ho, ho! Wasnt I funny, Toad?'

       `Poor, frivlus anml!' said Toad, very loftily. Th fact is, he felt exeedngly jelus of Mole for wat he had just don. It was exactly wat he wud hav liked to hav don himself, if only he had thot of it first, and hadnt gon and overslept himself.

       `Som of th stoats turnd quite pink,' continud th Mole, `and th Serjnt in charj, he said to me, very short, he said, "Now run away, my good womn, run away! Dont keep

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    my men idling and talkng on ther posts." "Run away?" says I; "it wont be me that'l be runng away, in a very short time from now!"'

       `O Moly, how cud u?' said th Rat, dismayd.

       Th Bajr laid down his paper.

       `I cud se them prikng up ther ears and lookng at each othr,' went on th Mole; `and th Serjnt said to them, "Nevr mind her; she dosnt no wat she's talkng about."'

       `"O! dont I?"' said I. `"Wel, let me tel u this. My dautr, she washs for Mr. Bajr, and that'l sho u wethr I no wat I'm talkng about; and u'l no pretty soon, too! A hundred blodthirsty bajrs, armd with rifles, ar going to atak Toad Hal this very nyt, by way of th padok. Six boatloads of Rats, with pistls and cutlasses, wil com up th rivr and efect a landng in th gardn; wile a pikd body of Toads, nown at th Die-hards, or th Deth-or-Glory Toads, wil storm th orchrd and carry everything befor them, yelng for venjnce. Ther wont be much left of u to wash, by th time they'v don with u, unless u clear out wile u hav th chance!" Then I ran away,

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    and wen I was out of syt I hid; and presntly I came creepng bak along th dich and took a peep at them thru th hej. They wer al as nervus and flustrd as cud be, runng al ways at once, and falng over each othr, and evry one givng ordrs to evrybody else and not lisnng; and th Serjnt kept sendng off partis of stoats to distnt parts of th grounds, and then sendng othr felos to fech 'em bak again; and I herd them sayng to each othr, "That's just like th weasels; they'r to stop comfrtbly in th banquetng-hal, and hav feastng and toasts and songs and al sorts of fun, wile we must stay on gard in th cold and th dark, and in th end be cut to peces by blodthirsty Bajrs!'"

       `O, u silly ass, Mole!' cryd Toad, `U'v been and spoilt everything!'

       `Mole,' said th Bajr, in his dry, quiet way, `I perceve u hav mor sense in yr litl fingr than som othr anmls hav in th hole of ther fat bodis. U hav manajd exlntly, and I begin to hav gret hopes of u. Good Mole! Clevr Mole!'

       Th Toad was simply wild with jelusy,

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    mor especialy as he cudnt make out for th life of him wat th Mole had don that was so particulrly clevr; but, fortunatly for him, befor he cud sho tempr or expose himself to th Badger's sarcasm, th bel rang for lunchn.

       It was a simpl but sustainng meal -- bacon and brod beans, and a macroni pudng; and wen they had quite don, th Bajr setld himself into an arm-chair, and said, `Wel, we'v got our work cut out for us to-nyt, and it wil probbly be pretty late befor we'r quite thru with it; so I'm just going to take forty winks, wile I can.' And he drew a hankrchief over his face and was soon snorng.

       Th anxius and laborius Rat at once resumed his preprations, and startd runng between his four litl heaps, mutrng, `Here's-a-belt-for-th-Rat, here's-a-belt-for-th Mole, here's-a-belt-for-th-Toad, here's-a-belt-for-th-Bajr!' and so on, with evry fresh accoutrement he produced, to wich ther seemd realy no end; so th Mole drew his arm thru Toad's, led him out into th open air, shovd him into a wikr chair, and made him tel him al his adventurs from beginng

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    to end, wich Toad was only too wilng to do. Th Mole was a good lisnr, and Toad, with no one to chek his statemnts or to criticize in an unfrendly spirit, rathr let himself go. Indeed, much that he related belongd mor proprly to th categry of wat-myt-hav-hapnd-had-I-only-thot-of-it-in-time-insted-of-ten-minuts-aftrwrds. Those ar always th best and th raciest adventurs; and wy shud they not be truly ours, as much as th somwat inadequat things that realy com off?

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    Chaptr 12



       WEN it began to gro dark, th Rat, with an air of exitemnt and mystry, sumnd them bak into th parlr, stood each of them up alongside of his litl heap, and proceedd to dress them up for th comng expedition. He was very ernest and thoroughgoing about it, and th afair took quite a long time. First, ther was a belt to go round each anml, and then a sord to be stuk into each belt, and then a cutlass on th othr side to balance it. Then a pair of pistls, a policeman's trunchn, sevrl sets of handcufs, som bandajs and stikng-plastr, and a flask and a sanwich-case. Th Bajr lafd good-humouredly and said, `Al ryt, Ratty! It amuses u and it dosnt hurt me. I'm going to do al I'v got to do with this here stik.' But th Rat only said, `Plese, Bajr.

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    U no I shudnt like u to blame me aftrwrds and say I had forgotn anything!'

       Wen al was quite redy, th Bajr took a dark lantrn in one paw, graspd his gret stik with th othr, and said, `Now then, folo me! Mole first, `cos I'm very plesed with him; Rat next; Toad last. And look here, Toady! Dont u chatr so much as usul, or u'l be sent bak, as sure as fate!'

       Th Toad was so anxius not to be left out that he took up th inferir position asynd to him without a murmr, and th anmls set off. Th Bajr led them along by th rivr for a litl way, and then sudnly swung himself over th ej into a hole in th rivr-bank, a litl abov th watr. Th Mole and th Rat folod silently, swingng themselvs succesfuly into th hole as they had seen th Bajr do; but wen it came to Toad's turn, of corse he manajd to slip and fal into th watr with a loud splash and a squeal of alarm. He was hauld out by his frends, rubd down and rung out hastily, comfrtd, and set on his legs; but th Bajr was seriusly angry, and told him that th

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    very next time he made a fool of himself he wud most certnly be left behind.

       So at last they wer in th secret passaj, and th cutng-out expedition had realy begun!

       It was cold, and dark, and damp, and lo, and naro, and poor Toad began to shivr, partly from dred of wat myt be befor him, partly because he was wet thru. Th lantrn was far ahed, and he cud not help lagng behind a litl in th darkns. Then he herd th Rat cal out warnngly, `Com on, Toad!' and a terr sezed him of being left behind, alone in th darkns, and he `came on' with such a rush that he upset th Rat into th Mole and th Mole into th Bajr, and for a moment al was confusion. Th Bajr thot they wer being atakd from behind, and, as ther was no room to use a stik or a cutlass, drew a pistl, and was on th point of putng a bulet into Toad. Wen he found out wat had realy hapnd he was very angry indeed, and said, `Now this time that tiresm Toad shal be left behind!'

       But Toad wimprd, and th othr two promisd that they wud be ansrbl for

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    his good conduct, and at last th Bajr was pacifyd, and th procession moved on; only this time th Rat brot up th rear, with a firm grip on th sholdr of Toad.

       So they groped and shufld along, with ther ears prikd up and ther paws on ther pistls, til at last th Bajr said, `We ot by now to be pretty nearly undr th Hal.'

       Then sudnly they herd, far away as it myt be, and yet aparently nearly over ther heds, a confused murmr of sound, as if peple wer shoutng and cheerng and stampng on th flor and hamrng on tables. Th Toad's nervus terrs al returnd, but th Bajr only remarkd placidly, `They ar going it, th Weasels!'

       Th passaj now began to slope upwrds; they groped onwrd a litl furthr, and then th noise broke out again, quite distinct this time, and very close abov them. `Ooo-ray-ooray-oo-ray-ooray!' they herd, and th stampng of litl feet on th flor, and th clinkng of glasses as litl fists poundd on th table. `Wat a time they'r havng!' said th Bajr. `Com on!' They hurrid along th passaj til it came to a ful stop, and they found them

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    selvs standng undr th trap-dor that led up into th butler's pantry.

       Such a tremendus noise was going on in th banquetng-hal that ther was litl danjer of ther being overherd. Th Bajr said, `Now, boys, al togethr!' and th four of them put ther sholdrs to th trap-dor and heved it bak. Hoistng each othr up, they found themselvs standng in th pantry, with only a dor between them and th banquetng-hal, wher ther unconcius enmis wer carousng.

       Th noise, as they emerjd from th passaj, was simply defnng. At last, as th cheerng and hamrng sloly subsided, a voice cud be made out sayng, `Wel, I do not propose to detain u much longer' -- (gret aplause) -- `but befor I resume my seat' -- (renewd cheerng) -- `I shud like to say one word about our kind host, Mr. Toad. We al no Toad!' -- (gret laftr) -- `Good Toad, modest Toad, onest Toad!' (shrieks of merrimnt).

       `Only just let me get at him!' mutrd Toad, grindng his teeth.

       `Hold hard a minut!' said th Bajr,

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    restrainng him with dificlty. `Get redy, al of u!'

       ` -- Let me sing u a litl song,' went on th voice, `wich I hav composed on th subject of Toad' -- (prolongd aplause).

       Then th Chief Weasl -- for it was he -- began in a hy, squeaky voice --

    `Toad he went a-pleasuring
    Gaily down th street -- '

       Th Bajr drew himself up, took a firm grip of his stik with both paws, glanced round at his comrads, and cryd --

       `Th our is com! Folo me!'

       And flung th dor open wide.


       Wat a squealng and a squeakng and a screechng fild th air!

       Wel myt th terifyd weasels dive undr th tables and spring madly up at th windos! Wel myt th ferets rush wildly for th fireplace and get hopelesly jamd in th chimny! Wel myt tables and chairs be upset, and glass and china be sent crashng on th flor, in th panic of that teribl moment wen th four Heros strode rathfuly into th room! Th myty Bajr, his wiskrs

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    brislng, his gret cudgel wislng thru th air; Mole, blak and grim, brandishng his stik and shoutng his awful war-cry, `A Mole! A Mole!' Rat; desprat and determnd, his belt buljng with wepns of evry aje and evry variety; Toad, frenzid with exitemnt and injrd pride, swolen to twice his ordnry size, leapng into th air and emitng Toad-woops that chilld them to th maro! `Toad he went a-pleasuring!' he yeld. `I'l plesur 'em!' and he went strait for th Chief Weasl. They wer but four in al, but to th panic-strikn weasels th hal seemd ful of monstrus anmls, gray, blak, brown and yelo, hoopng and flurishng enormus cudgels; and they broke and fled with squeals of terr and dismay, this way and that, thru th windos, up th chimny, anywher to get out of reach of those teribl stiks.

       Th afair was soon over. Up and down, th hole length of th hal, strode th four Frends, wakng with ther stiks at evry hed that showd itself; and in five minuts th room was cleard. Thru th broken windos th shrieks of terifyd weasels escaping across th lawn wer born faintly

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    to ther ears; on th flor lay prostrate som dozn or so of th enmy, on hom th Mole was busily engajed in fitng handcufs. Th Bajr, restng from his labors, lent on his stik and wiped his onest brow.

       `Mole,' he said,' `u'r th best of felos! Just cut along outside and look aftr those stoat-sentris of yrs, and se wat they'r doing. I'v an idea that, thanks to u, we shant hav much trubl from them to-nyt!'

       Th Mole vanishd promtly thru a windo; and th Bajr bad th othr two set a table on its legs again, pik up nives and forks and plates and glasses from th debri on th flor, and se if they cud find materials for a supr. `I want som grub, I do,' he said, in that rathr comn way he had of speakng. `Stir yr stumps, Toad, and look lively! We'v got yr house bak for u, and u dont ofr us so much as a sanwich.' Toad felt rathr hurt that th Bajr didnt say plesnt things to him, as he had to th Mole, and tel him wat a fine felo he was, and how splendidly he had fot; for he was rathr particulrly plesed with himself and th way he had gon for th Chief Weasl and sent

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    him flyng across th table with one blo of his stik. But he busld about, and so did th Rat, and soon they found som guava jelly in a glass dish, and a cold chikn, a tong that had hardly been tuchd, som trifle, and quite a lot of lobstr salad; and in th pantry they came upon a basketful of French rols and any quantity of chese, butr, and celry. They wer just about to sit down wen th Mole clambrd in thru th windo, chuklng, with an armful of rifles.

       `It's al over,' he reportd. `From wat I can make out, as soon as th stoats, ho wer very nervus and jumpy alredy, herd th shrieks and th yels and th upror inside th hal, som of them threw down ther rifles and fled. Th othrs stood fast for a bit, but wen th weasels came rushng out upon them they thot they wer betrayd; and th stoats grapld with th weasels, and th weasels fot to get away, and they resld and rigld and punchd each othr, and rold over and over, til most of 'em rold into th rivr! They'v al disapeard by now, one way or anothr; and I'v got ther rifles. So that's al ryt!'

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       `Exlnt and deservng anml!' said th Bajr, his mouth ful of chikn and trifle. `Now, ther's just one mor thing I want u to do, Mole, befor u sit down to yr supr along of us; and I wudnt trubl u only I no I can trust u to se a thing don, and I wish I cud say th same of evry one I no. I'd send Rat, if he wasnt a poet. I want u to take those felos on th flor ther upstairs with u, and hav som bedrooms cleand out and tidid up and made realy comfrtbl. Se that they sweep undr th beds, and put clean sheets and pilo-cases on, and turn down one cornr of th bed-clothes, just as u no it ot to be don; and hav a can of hot watr, and clean towls, and fresh cakes of soap, put in each room. And then u can giv them a likng a-pece, if it's any satisfaction to u, and put them out by th bak-dor, and we shant se any mor of them, I fancy. And then com along and hav som of this cold tong. It's first rate. I'm very plesed with u, Mole!'

       Th goodnatured Mole pikd up a stik, formd his prisnrs up in a line on th flor, gave them th ordr `Quik march!' and led

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    his squad off to th upr flor. Aftr a time, he apeard again, smiling, and said that evry room was redy, and as clean as a new pin. `And I didnt hav to lik them, eithr,' he add. `I thot, on th hole, they had had likng enuf for one nyt, and th weasels, wen I put th point to them, quite agreed with me, and said they wudnt think of trublng me. They wer very penitnt, and said they wer extremely sorry for wat they had don. but it was al th falt of th Chief Weasl and th stoats, and if evr they cud do anything for us at any time to make up, we had only got to mention it. So I gave them a rol a-pece, and let them out at th bak, and off they ran, as hard as they cud!'

       Then th Mole puld his chair up to th table, and pichd into th cold tong; and Toad, like th jentlman he was, put al his jelusy from him, and said hartily, `Thank u kindly, dear Mole, for al yr pains and trubl tonyt, and especialy for yr clevrness this mornng!' Th Bajr was plesed at that, and said, `Ther spoke my brave Toad!' So they finishd ther supr in gret joy and contentmnt, and presntly retired to rest

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    between clean sheets, safe in Toad's ancestrl home, won bak by machless valr, consmate stratejy, and a propr handlng of stiks.

       Th foloing mornng, Toad, ho had overslept himself as usul, came down to brekfast disgracefuly late, and found on th table a certn quantity of eg-shels, som fragmnts of cold and lethry toast, a cofee-pot thre-fourths emty, and realy very litl else; wich did not tend to improve his tempr, considrng that, aftr al, it was his own house. Thru th French windos of th brekfast-room he cud se th Mole and th Watr Rat sitng in wikr-chairs out on th lawn, evidntly telng each othr storis; rorng with laftr and kikng ther short legs up in th air. Th Bajr, ho was in an arm-chair and deep in th mornng paper, merely lookd up and nodd wen Toad entrd th room. But Toad new his man, so he sat down and made th best brekfast he cud, merely observng to himself that he wud get square with th othrs soonr or later. Wen he had nearly finishd, th Bajr lookd up and remarkd rathr shortly: `I'm sorry, Toad, but I'm afraid ther's a hevy morning's work in front of u.

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    U se, we realy ot to hav a Banquet at once, to celebrate this afair. It's expectd of u -- in fact, it's th rule.'

       `O, al ryt!' said th Toad, redily. `Anything to oblije. Tho wy on erth u shud want to hav a Banquet in th mornng I canot undrstand. But u no I do not liv to plese myself, but merely to find out wat my frends want, and then try and aranje it for 'em, u dear old Bajr!'

       `Dont pretend to be stupider than u realy ar,' replyd th Bajr, crosly; `and dont chukl and splutr in yr cofee wile u'r talkng; it's not manrs. Wat I mean is, th Banquet wil be at nyt, of corse, but th invitations wil hav to be ritn and got off at once, and u'v got to rite 'em. Now, sit down at that table -- ther's staks of letr-paper on it, with "Toad Hal" at th top in blu and gold -- and rite invitations to al our frends, and if u stik to it we shal get them out befor lunchn. And I'l ber a hand, too; and take my share of th burdn. I'l ordr th Banquet.'

       `Wat!' cryd Toad, dismayd. `Me stop indors and rite a lot of rotn letrs on

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    a jolly mornng like this, wen I want to go around my proprty, and set everything and evrybody to ryts, and swagr about and enjoy myself! Certnly not! I'l be -- I'l se u -- -- Stop a minut, tho! Wy, of corse, dear Bajr! Wat is my plesur or convenience compared with that of othrs! U wish it don, and it shal be don. Go, Bajr, ordr th Banquet, ordr wat u like; then join our yung frends outside in ther inocent mirth, oblivius of me and my cares and toils. I sacrifice this fair mornng on th altr of duty and frendship!'

       Th Bajr lookd at him very suspiciusly, but Toad's frank, open countnnce made it dificlt to sujest any unworthy motiv in this chanje of atitude. He quitted th room, acordngly, in th direction of th kichn, and as soon as th dor had closed behind him, Toad hurrid to th riting-table. A fine idea had ocurd to him wile he was talkng. He wud rite th invitations; and he wud take care to mention th leadng part he had taken in th fyt, and how he had laid th Chief Weasl flat; and he wud hint at his adventurs, and wat a career of triumf he had to

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    tel about; and on th fly-leaf he wud set out a sort of a program of entrtainmnt for th evenng -- somthing like this, as he skechd it out in his hed: -- SPEECH . . . . BY TOAD.

       (Ther wil be othr speechs by TOAD during th evenng.) ADRESS . . . BY

       SYNOPSIS -- Our Prisn Systm -- th Watrways of Old England -- Horse-dealng, and how to deal -- Proprty, its ryts and its dutis -- Bak to th Land -- A Typicl English Squire. SONG . . . . BY TOAD.

        (Composed by himself.) OTHR COMPOSITIONS . BY

        wil be sung in th corse of th evenng by th . . . COMPOSER.

       Th idea plesed him mightly, and he workd very hard and got al th letrs finishd by noon, at wich our it was reportd to him that ther was a smal and rathr bedragld weasl at th dor, inquiring timidly wethr he cud be of any service to th jentlmen. Toad swaggered out and found it was one of th prisnrs of th previus

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    evenng, very respectful and anxius to plese. He patd him on th hed, shovd th bundl of invitations into his paw, and told him to cut along quik and delivr them as fast as he cud, and if he liked to com bak again in th evenng, perhaps ther myt be a shilng for him, or, again, perhaps ther mytnt; and th poor weasl seemd realy quite grateful, and hurrid off eagrly to do his mission.

       Wen th othr anmls came bak to lunchn, very boistrus and brezy aftr a mornng on th rivr, th Mole, hos concience had been prikng him, lookd doutfuly at Toad, expectng to find him sulky or depresd. Insted, he was so uppish and inflated that th Mole began to suspect somthing; wile th Rat and th Bajr exchanjed synificnt glances.

       As soon as th meal was over, Toad thrust his paws deep into his trousr-pokets, remarkd casuly, `Wel, look aftr yrselvs, u felos! Ask for anything u want!' and was swagrng off in th direction of th gardn, wher he wantd to think out an idea or two for his comng speechs, wen th Rat caut him by th arm.

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       Toad rathr suspectd wat he was aftr, and did his best to get away; but wen th Bajr took him firmly by th othr arm he began to se that th game was up. Th two anmls conductd him between them into th smal smoking-room that opend out of th entrance-hal, shut th dor, and put him into a chair. Then they both stood in front of him, wile Toad sat silent and regardd them with much suspicion and il-humor.

       `Now, look here, Toad,' said th Rat. `It's about this Banquet, and very sorry I am to hav to speak to u like this. But we want u to undrstand clearly, once and for al, that ther ar going to be no speechs and no songs. Try and grasp th fact that on this ocasion we'r not arguing with u; we'r just telng u.'

       Toad saw that he was trapd. They undrstood him, they saw thru him, they had got ahed of him. His plesnt dream was shatrd.

       `Mayn't I sing them just one litl song?' he pleadd piteusly.

       `No, not one litl song,' replyd th Rat firmly, tho his hart bled as he noticed th

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    tremblng lip of th poor disapointd Toad. `It's no good, Toady; u no wel that yr songs ar al conceit and boastng and vanity; and yr speechs ar al self-prase and -- and -- wel, and gross exajration and -- and -- -- '

       `And gas,' put in th Bajr, in his comn way.

       `It's for yr own good, Toady,' went on th Rat. `U no u must turn over a new leaf soonr or later, and now seems a splendid time to begin; a sort of turnng-point in yr career. Plese dont think that sayng al this dosnt hurt me mor than it hurts u.'

       Toad remaind a long wile plunjd in thot. At last he rased his hed, and th traces of strong emotion wer visbl on his featurs. `U hav conqrd, my frends,' he said in broken accents. `It was, to be sure, but a smal thing that I askd -- merely leve to blosm and expand for yet one mor evenng, to let myself go and hear th tumultuus aplause that always seems to me -- somhow -- to bring out my best qualitis. Howevr, u ar ryt, I no, and I am rong. Hence forth I wil be a very difrnt Toad. My frends, u shal nevr hav ocasion to blush

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    for me again. But, O dear, O dear, this is a hard world!'

       And, presng his hankrchief to his face, he left th room, with faltrng footsteps.

       `Bajr,' said th Rat, `I feel like a brute; I wondr wat u feel like?'

       `O, I no, I no,' said th Bajr gloomily. `But th thing had to be don. This good felo has got to liv here, and hold his own, and be respectd. Wud u hav him a comn lafng-stok, mokd and jeerd at by stoats and weasels?'

       `Of corse not,' said th Rat. `And, talkng of weasels, it's lucky we came upon that litl weasl, just as he was setng out with Toad's invitations. I suspectd somthing from wat u told me, and had a look at one or two; they wer simply disgraceful. I confiscated th lot, and th good Mole is now sitng in th blu budoir, filng up plan, simpl invitation cards.' * * * * *

       At last th our for th banquet began to draw near, and Toad, ho on leving th othrs had retired to his bedroom, was stil sitng

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    ther, melancly and thotful. His brow restng on his paw, he pondrd long and deeply. Graduly his countnnce cleard, and he began to smile long, slo smiles. Then he took to giglng in a shy, self-concius manr. At last he got up, lokd th dor, drew th curtns across th windos, colectd al th chairs in th room and aranjed them in a semicircl, and took up his position in front of them, swelng visbly. Then he bowd, cofd twice, and, letng himself go, with upliftd voice he sang, to th enrapturd audience that his imajnation so clearly saw,


    Th Toad -- came -- home!
    Ther was panic in th parlrs and bolng in th hals,
    Ther was cryng in th cow-sheds and shriekng in th stals,
    Wen th Toad -- came -- home!
    Wen th Toad -- came -- home!
    Ther was smashng in of windo and crashng in of dor,
    Ther was chivvying of weasels that faintd on th flor,
    Wen th Toad -- came -- home!
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    Bang! go th drums!
    Th trumpetrs ar tootng and th soldirs ar saluting,
    And th cann they ar shootng and th motor-cars ar hootng,
    As th -- Hero -- coms!
    Shout -- Hoo-ray!
    And let each one of th crowd try and shout it very loud,
    In onr of an anml of hom u'r justly proud,
    For it's Toad's -- gret -- day!

       He sang this very loud, with gret unction and expression; and wen he had don, he sang it al over again.

       Then he heved a deep sy; a long, long, long sy.

       Then he dipd his hairbrush in th watr-jug, partd his hair in th midl, and plastrd it down very strait and sleek on each side of his face; and, unlokng th dor, went quietly down th stairs to greet his gests, ho he new must be asemblng in th drawng-room.

       Al th anmls cheerd wen he entrd, and crowdd round to congratulate him and say nice things about his curaj, and his clevrness, and his fytng qualitis; but Toad

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    only smiled faintly, and murmrd, `Not at al!' Or, somtimes, for a chanje, `On th contry!' Otr, ho was standng on th hearthrug, describing to an admiring circl of frends exactly how he wud hav manajd things had be{sic} been ther, came forwrd with a shout, threw his arm round Toad's nek, and tryd to take him round th room in triumfl progress; but Toad, in a mild way, was rathr snubby to him, remarkng jently, as he disngajed himself, `Badger's was th mastermind; th Mole and th Watr Rat bor th brunt of th fytng; I merely servd in th ranks and did litl or nothing.' Th anmls wer evidntly puzld and taken abak by this unexpectd atitude of his; and Toad felt, as he moved from one gest to th othr, making his modest responses, that he was an object of absorbng intrest to evry one.

       Th Bajr had ordrd everything of th best, and th banquet was a gret success. Ther was much talkng and laftr and chaf among th anmls, but thru it al Toad, ho of corse was in th chair, lookd down his nose and murmrd plesnt nothings to th anmls on eithr side of him. At intrvls he

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    stole a glance at th Bajr and th Rat, and always wen he lookd they wer staring at each othr with ther mouths open; and this gave him th gretst satisfaction. Som of th yungr and livelir anmls, as th evenng wor on, got wisprng to each othr that things wer not so amusing as they used to be in th good old days; and ther wer som knockings on th table and crys of `Toad! Speech! Speech from Toad! Song! Mr. Toad's song!' But Toad only shook his hed jently, rased one paw in mild protest, and, by presng delicacis on his gests, by topicl smal-talk, and by ernest inquiris aftr membrs of ther famlis not yet old enuf to apear at social functions, manajd to convey to them that this dinr was being run on strictly conventionl lines.

       He was indeed an altrd Toad! * * * * *

       Aftr this climax, th four anmls continud to led ther lives, so rudely broken in upon by civl war, in gret joy and contentmnt, undisturbd by furthr risings or invasions. Toad, aftr du consltation with his frends, selectd a hansm gold chain and locket set with

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    perls, wich he dispachd to th gaoler's dautr with a letr that even th Bajr admitd to be modest, grateful, and apreciativ; and th enjn-driver, in his turn, was proprly thankd and compnsated for al his pains and trubl. Undr severe compulsion from th Bajr, even th barj-womn was, with som trubl, sot out and th valu of her horse discreetly made good to her; tho Toad kikd teribly at this, holdng himself to be an instrumnt of Fate, sent to punish fat women with motld arms ho cudnt tel a real jentlman wen they saw one. Th amount involvd, it was tru, was not very burdnsm, th gipsy's valuation being admitd by local asesrs to be aproxmatly corect.

       Somtimes, in th corse of long sumr evenngs, th frends wud take a strol togethr in th Wild Wood, now succesfuly tamed so far as they wer concernd; and it was plesing to se how respectfuly they wer greetd by th inhabitnts, and how th mothr-weasels wud bring ther yung ones to th mouths of ther holes, and say, pointng, `Look, baby! Ther gos th gret Mr. Toad!

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    And that's th galant Watr Rat, a teribl fytr, walkng along o' him! And yondr coms th famus Mr. Mole, of hom u so ofn hav herd yr fathr tel!' But wen ther infnts wer fractius and quite beyond control, they wud quiet them by telng how, if they didnt hush them and not fret them, th teribl gray Bajr wud up and get them. This was a base libel on Bajr, ho, tho he cared litl about Society, was rathr fond of children; but it nevr faild to hav its ful efect.