Th Wind in th Wiloes


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About th electronic verzhun
Th Wind in th Wiloes
Grahame, Kenneth

Creaeshun of masheen-reedabl verzhun: Charles Keller

Converzhun to TEI.2-conformant markup: Ueniversity of Virginia Liebrairy Electronic Text Senter

This verzhun avaelabl frum th Ueniversity of Virginia Liebrairy
Charlottesville, Va.

   Noets frum Charles Keller:

   meny _italics_ wer mist bi th ocr proegram moest wer re-inserted during proofing; errors left as printed ar markt {sic}.

    Scand with Omnipage Profeshunal OCR sofftwair doenaeted bi Caere Corporaeshun.

About th print verzhun
Th Wind in th Wiloes
Kenneth Grahame
Charles Scribner's Suns
York 1917
Noet: Chekt agenst Ueniversity of Virginia liebrairy copy: PZ10.3 G76 Wi 1925

   Spel-chek and verrificaeshun maed agenst printed text.

Publisht: 1908


Revizhuns to th electronic verzhun
June 1995 corector Kelly Tetterton aded heder and minimal TEI taging; chaenjd Keller's italics referenses to conform to TEI taging; I hav not delt with Kellers' {sic} marks or sum of whut apeerd to be misspelings becauz th liebrairy text is a laeter printing; remoovd unambigueus lien-end hiefenaeshun Comershal ues proehibited; all uesej guvernd bi our Condishuns of Ues:
Fienal cheking: David




SUNS 1917

SUNS -- --
Publisht October, 1908
Ferst Edishun, October, 1908
Re-printed December, 1908
Re-printed February, 1909
Re-printed October, 1910
Re-printed June, 1911
Re-printed June, 1912
Re-printed August, 1913
Re-printed November, 1914
Re-printed December, 1915
Re-printed Mae, 1917



I. TH RIVER BANK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

II. TH OEPEN ROED. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

III. TH WIELD WUUD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

IV MR. BAJER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

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

VI. MR. TOED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .120

VII. TH PIEPER AT TH GAETS OF DAUN . . . . . . . . . . .144

VIII. TOAD'S ADVENCHERS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .163

IX. WAEFAIRERS ALL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .187

X. TH FERTHER ADVENCHERS OF TOED . . . . . . . . . . .217


XII. TH RETERN OF ULYSSES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .278

Paej 1

Chapter 1



   TH Moel had bin werking verry hard all th morning, spring-cleening his litl hoem. Ferst with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pael of whietwosh; til he had dust in his throet and ies, and splashes of whietwosh all oever his blak fer, and an aeking bak and weery arms. Spring was mooving in th air abuv and in th erth belo and around him, penetraeting eeven his dark and loely litl hous with its spirit of divien discontent and longing. It was small wunder, then, that he sudenly flung doun his brush on th flor, sed `Bother!'

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and `O blo!' and allso `Hang spring-cleening!' and boelted out of th hous without eeven waeting to puut on his coet. Sumthing up abuv was calling him impeeriusly, and he maed for th steep litl tunel which anserd in his caes to th gravelled carrej-driev oend bi animals hoos rezidenses ar neerer to th sun and air. So he scraept and scracht and scrabbled and scrooged and then he scrooged agen and scrabbled and scracht and scraept, werking bizily with his litl paws and mutering to himself, `Up we go! Up we go!' til at last, pop! his snout caem out into th sunliet, and he found himself roeling in th worm gras of a graet medo.

   `This is fien!' he sed to himself. `This is beter than whitewashing!' Th sunshien struk hot on his fer, sofft breezes carest his heeted brow, and after th secloozhun of th selarej he had livd in so long th carrol of hapy berds fel on his duld heering allmoest liek a shout. Jumping off all his foer legs at wuns, in th joi of living and th deliet of spring without its cleening, he persood his wae across th medo til he reecht th hej on th ferther sied.

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   `Hoeld up!' sed an elderly rabit at th gap. `Sixpence for th privilej of pasing bi th prievet roed!' He was bowled oever in an instant bi th impaeshent and contempchuos Moel, hoo troted along th sied of th hej chaffing th uther rabits as thae peeped herydly frum thair hoels to see whut th row was about. `Unyon-saus! Unyon-saus!' he remarkt jeeringly, and was gon befor thae cuud think of a theroely satisfactory repli. Then thae all started grumbling at eech uther. `How stoopid U ar! Whi didn't U tel him -- -- ' `Wel, whi didn't U sae -- -- ' `U miet hav remiended him -- -- ' and so on, in th uezhual wae; but, of cors, it was then much too laet, as is allwaes th caes.

   It all seemd too guud to be troo. Hither and thither thru th medoes he rambld bizily, along th hedgerows, across th copses, fiending evrywhair berds bilding, flowers buding, leevs thrusting -- evrything hapy, and progresiv, and ocuepied. And insted of having an uneezy conshens priking him and whispering `whietwosh!' he sumhow cuud oenly feel how joly it was to be th oenly iedl daug amung all thees bizy sitizens. After all,

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th best part of a holidae is perhaps not so much to be resting yurself, as to see all th uther feloes bizy werking.

   He thaut his hapynes was compleet when, as he meanderd aemlesly along, sudenly he stuud bi th ej of a fuul-fed river. Never in his lief had he seen a river befor -- this sleek, sinueus, fuul-bodyd animal, chaesing and chuckling, griping things with a gergl and leeving them with a laf, to fling itself on fresh plaemaets that shuuk themselvs free, and wer caut and held agen. All was a-shaek and a-shiver -- glints and gleams and sparkls, rusl and swerl, chater and bubl. Th Moel was bewicht, entranst, fasinaeted. Bi th sied of th river he troted as wun trots, when verry small, bi th sied of a man hoo hoelds wun spel-bound bi exsieting storys; and when tierd at last, he sat on th bank, whiel th river stil chaterd on to him, a babling proseshun of th best storys in th werld, sent frum th hart of th erth to be toeld at last to th insaeshabl see.

   As he sat on th gras and luukt across th river, a dark hoel in th bank opozit, just abuv th water's ej, caut his ie, and

Paej 5

dreemily he fel to considering whut a nies snug dweling-plaes it wuud maek for an animal with fue wonts and fond of a bijo riversied rezidens, abuv flud level and remoet frum noiz and dust. As he gaezd, sumthing briet and small seemd to twinkl doun in th hart of it, vanisht, then twinkled wuns mor liek a tieny star. But it cuud hardly be a star in such an unliekly sichuaeshun; and it was too glitering and small for a glo-werm. Then, as he luukt, it winkt at him, and so declaird itself to be an ie; and a small faes began grajualy to gro up round it, liek a fraem round a pikcher.

   A broun litl faes, with whiskers.

   A graev round faes, with th saem twinkl in its ie that had ferst atracted his noetis.

   Small neet eers and thik silky hair.

   It was th Wauter Rat!

   Then th too animals stuud and regarded eech uther caushusly.

   `Hullo, Moel!' sed th Wauter Rat.

   `Hullo, Rat!' sed th Moel.

   `Wuud U liek to cum oever?' enqierd th Rat prezently.

   `O, its all verry wel to tauk,' sed th Moel,

Paej 6

rather pettishly, he being nue to a river and riversied lief and its waes.

   Th Rat sed nuthing, but stoopt and unfasend a roep and halld on it; then lietly stept into a litl boet which th Moel had not obzervd. It was paented bloo outsied and whiet within, and was just th siez for too animals; and th Mole's hoel hart went out to it at wuns, eeven tho he did not yet fuuly understand its ueses.

   Th Rat sculled smartly across and maed fast. Then he held up his forepaw as th Moel stept jinjerly doun. `Leen on that!' he sed. `Now then, step lievly!' and th Moel to his serpriez and rapcher found himself akchualy seeted in th stern of a reeal boet.

   `This has bin a wunderful dae!' sed he, as th Rat shuvd off and tuuk to th sculls agen. `Do U noe, I`ve never bin in a boet befor in all mi lief.'

   `Whut?' cried th Rat, oepen-mouthd: `Never bin in a -- U never -- wel I -- whut hav U bin doing, then?'

   `Is it so nies as all that?' askt th Moel shiely, tho he was qiet prepaird to beleev it as he lent bak in his seet and servaed th

Paej 7

cuushuns, th ors, th rowlocks, and all th fasinaeting fitings, and felt th boet swae lietly under him.

   `Nies? It's th oenly thing,' sed th Wauter Rat solemly, as he lent forward for his stroek. `Beleev me, mi yung frend, thair is nuthing -- absoloot nuthing -- haf so much werth doing as simply mesing about in boets. Simply mesing,' he went on dreemily: `mesing -- about -- in -- boets; mesing -- -- '

   `Luuk ahed, Rat!' cried th Moel sudenly.

   It was too laet. Th boet struk th bank fuul tilt. Th dreemer, th joius orzman, lae on his bak at th botom of th boet, his heels in th air.

   ` -- about in boets -- or with boets,' th Rat went on composedly, piking himself up with a plezant laf. `In or out of 'em, it duzn't mater. Nuthing seems reealy to mater, that's th charm of it. Whether U get awae, or whether U don't; whether U ariev at yur destinaeshun or whether U reech sumwherr els, or whether U never get enywhair at all, U'r allwaes bizy, and U never do enything in particuelar; and when U'v dun it thair's allwaes sumthing els to do, and U can do

Paej 8

it if U liek, but U'd much beter not. Luuk heer! If U'v reealy nuthing els on hand this morning, supoezing we drop doun th river together, and hav a long dae of it?'

   Th Moel wagld his toes frum sheer hapynes, spred his chest with a si of fuul contentment, and leend bak blisfuly into th sofft cuushuns. `Whut a dae I'm having!' he sed. `Let us start at wuns!'

   `Hoeld hard a minit, then!' sed th Rat. He loopt th paenter thru a ring in his landing-staej, cliemd up into his hoel abuv, and after a short interval re-apeerd stagering under a fat, wiker lunchon-basket.

   `Shuv that under yur feet,' he obzervd to th Moel, as he past it doun into th boet. Then he untied th paenter and tuuk th sculls agen.

   `Whut's insied it?' askt th Moel, wriggling with cueriosity.

   `Thair's coeld chiken insied it,' replied th Rat breefly; `coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrenchrollscresssan dwichespottedmeatgingerbeerlemonadesodawater -- -- '

   `O stop, stop,' cried th Moel in ecstacies: `This is too much!'

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   `Do U reealy think so?' enqierd th Rat seeriusly. `It's oenly whut I allwaes taek on thees litl excurzhuns; and th uther animals ar allwaes teling me that I'm a meen beest and cut it verry fien!'

   Th Moel never herd a werd he was saeing. Absorbd in th nue lief he was entering upon, intoxicaeted with th sparkl, th ripl, th sents and th sounds and th sunliet, he traeld a paw in th wauter and dreemd long waeking dreems. Th Wauter Rat, liek th guud litl felo he was, sculled stedily on and forebore to disterb him.

   `I liek yur cloeths aufuly, oeld chap,' he remarkt after sum haf an our or so had past. `I'm going to get a blak velvet smoeking-soot mieself sum dae, as soon as I can aford it.'

   `I beg yur pardon,' sed th Moel, puuling himself together with an efort. `U must think me verry rood; but all this is so nue to me. So -- this -- is -- a -- River!'

   `Th River,' corected th Rat.

   `And U reealy liv bi th river? Whut a joly lief!'

   `Bi it and with it and on it and in it,' sed

Paej 10

th Rat. `It's bruther and sister to me, and ants, and cumpany, and food and drink, and (nacheraly) woshing. It's mi werld, and I don't wont eny uther. Whut it hasn't got is not werth having, and whut it duzn't noe is not werth noeing. Lord! th tiems we'v had together! Whether in winter or sumer, spring or autum, it's allwaes got its fun and its excitements. When th fluds ar on in February, and mi selars and baesment ar briming with drink that's no guud to me, and th broun wauter runs bi mi best bedroom windo; or agen when it all drops awae and, shoes paches of mud that smels liek plum-caek, and th rushes and weed clog th chanels, and I can poter about dri shod oever moest of th bed of it and fiend fresh food to eet, and things cairles peepl hav dropt out of boets!'

   `But isn't it a bit dul at tiems?' th Moel vencherd to ask. `Just U and th river, and no wun els to pas a werd with?'

   `No wun els to -- wel, I mustn't be hard on U,' sed th Rat with forbairans. `U'r nue to it, and of cors U don't noe. Th bank is so crouded now-a-daes that meny peepl ar mooving awae alltogether: O no, it

Paej 11

isn't whut it uezd to be, at all. Oters, kingfishers, dabchicks, moorhens, all of them about all dae long and allwaes wonting U to do sumthing -- as if a felo had no biznes of his oen to atend to!'

   `Whut lies oever thair?' askt th Moel, waeving a paw tords a bakground of wuudland that darkly fraemd th wauter-medoes on wun sied of th river.

   `That? O, that's just th Wield Wuud,' sed th Rat shortly. `We don't go thair verry much, we river-bankers.'

   `Arn't thae -- arn't thae verry nies peepl in thair?' sed th Moel, a triefl nervusly.

   `W-e-ll,' replied th Rat, `let me see. Th sqerels ar all riet. And th rabits -- sum of 'em, but rabits ar a mixt lot. And then thair's Bajer, of cors. He lievs riet in th hart of it; wuudn't liv enywhair els, eether, if U paed him to do it. Deer oeld Bajer! Noebody interfeers with him. Thae'd beter not,' he aded significantly.

   `Whi, hoo shuud interfeer with him?' askt th Moel.

   `Wel, of cors -- thair -- ar uthers,' explaend th Rat in a hezitaeting sort of wae.

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   `Weasels -- and stoats -- and foxes -- and so on. Thae'r all riet in a wae -- I'm verry guud frends with them -- pas th tiem of dae when we meet, and all that -- but thae braek out sumtiems, thair's no denieing it, and then -- wel, U can't reealy trust them, and that's th fact.'

   Th Moel nue wel that it is qiet agenst animal-etiket to dwel on posibl trubl ahed, or eeven to alood to it; so he dropt th subject.

   `And beyond th Wield Wuud agen?' he askt: `Wherr it's all bloo and dim, and wun sees whut mae be hils or perhaps thae mayn't, and sumthing liek th smoek of touns, or is it oenly cloud-drift?'

   `Beyond th Wield Wuud cums th Wied Werld,' sed th Rat. `And that's sumthing that duzn't mater, eether to U or me. I'v never bin thair, and I'm never going, nor U eether, if U'v got eny sens at all. Don't ever refer to it agen, pleez. Now then! Heer's our bakwauter at last, wherr we'r going to lunch.'

   Leeving th maen streem, thae now past into whut seemd at ferst siet liek a litl land-

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lokt laek. Green terf sloped doun to eether ej, broun snaeky tree-roots gleemd belo th serfis of th qieet wauter, whiel ahed of them th silvery shoelder and foemy tumbl of a weer, arm-in-arm with a restles driping mil-wheel, that held up in its tern a grae-gaebld mil-hous, fild th air with a soothing mermer of sound, dul and smothery, yet with litl cleer voises speeking up cheerfuly out of it at intervals. It was so verry buetyful that th Moel cuud oenly hoeld up boeth forpaws and gasp, `O mi! O mi! O mi!'

   Th Rat braut th boet alongsied th bank, maed her fast, helpt th stil aukward Moel saefly ashor, and swung out th lunchon-basket. Th Moel begd as a faevor to be alowd to unpak it all bi himself; and th Rat was verry pleezd to indulj him, and to sprall at fuul length on th gras and rest, whiel his exsieted frend shuuk out th taebl-clauth and spred it, tuuk out all th misteerius pakets wun bi wun and araenjd thair contents in due order, stil gasping, `O mi! O mi!' at eech fresh revelaeshun. When all was redy, th Rat sed, `Now, pich in, oeld felo!' and th Moel was indeed verry glad to oebae, for he had

Paej 14

started his spring-cleening at a verry erly our that morning, as peepl wil do, and had not pauzd for biet or sup; and he had bin thru a verry graet deel sinss that distant tiem which now seemd so meny daes ago.

   `Whut ar U luuking at?' sed th Rat prezently, when th ej of thair hungger was sumwhut duld, and th Mole's ies wer aebl to waander off th taebl-clauth a litl.

   `I am luuking,' sed th Moel, `at a streek of bubls that I see traveling along th serfis of th wauter. That is a thing that strieks me as funy.'

   `Bubls? Oho!' sed th Rat, and chirruped cheerily in an invieting sort of wae.

   A braud glisening muzl shoed itself abuv th ej of th bank, and th Oter halld himself out and shuuk th wauter frum his coet.

   `Greedy begars!' he obzervd, maeking for th provender. `Whi didn't U inviet me, Ratty?'

   `This was an impromptoo afair,' explaend th Rat. `Bi th wae -- mi frend Mr. Moel.'

   `Proud, I'm shur,' sed th Oter, and th too animals wer frends forthwith.

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   `Such a rumpus evrywhair!' continued th Oter. `All th werld seems out on th river to-dae. I caem up this bakwauter to tri and get a moment's pees, and then stumbl upon U feloes! -- At leest -- I beg pardon -- I don't exactly meen that, U noe.'

   Thair was a rusl behiend them, proseeding frum a hej wherrin last year's leevs stil clung thik, and a stripy hed, with hi shoelders behiend it, peerd forth on them.

   `Cum on, oeld Bajer!' shouted th Rat.

   Th Bajer troted forward a paes or too; then grunted, `H'm! Cumpany,' and ternd his bak and disapeerd frum vue.

   `That's just th sort of felo he is!' obzervd th disapointed Rat. `Simply haets Sosieety! Now we shan't see eny mor of him to-dae. Wel, tel us, hoo's out on th river?'

   `Toad's out, for wun,' replied th Oter. `In his brand-nue waejer-boet; nue togs, nue evrything!'

   Th too animals luukt at eech uther and laft.

   `Wuns, it was nuthing but saeling,' sed th Rat, `Then he tierd of that and tuuk to punting.

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Nuthing wuud pleez him but to punt all dae and evry dae, and a nies mes he maed of it. Last yeer it was hous-boeting, and we all had to go and stae with him in his hous-boet, and pretend we liekt it. He was going to spend th rest of his lief in a hous-boet. It's all th saem, whutever he taeks up; he gets tierd of it, and starts on sumthing fresh.'

   `Such a guud felo, too,' remarkt th Oter reflectively: `But no stability -- espeshaly in a boet!'

   Frum wherr thae sat thae cuud get a glimps of th maen streem across th ieland that separaeted them; and just then a waejer-boet flasht into vue, th rower -- a short, stout figuer -- splashing badly and roeling a guud deel, but werking his hardest. Th Rat stuud up and haeld him, but Toed -- for it was he -- shuuk his hed and setld sternly to his werk.

   `He'l be out of th boet in a minit if he roels liek that,' sed th Rat, siting doun agen.

   `Of cors he wil,' chukld th Oter. `Did I ever tel U that guud story about Toed and th lok-keeper? It hapend this wae. Toed. . . .'

   An errant Mae-fli swervd unstedily

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athwort th curent in th intoxicaeted fashun afected bi yung bluds of Mae-flies seeing lief. A swerl of wauter and a `cloop!' and th Mae-fli was vizibl no mor.

   Neether was th Oter.

   Th Moel luukt doun. Th vois was stil in his eers, but th terf wherron he had spralld was cleerly vaecant. Not an Oter to be seen, as far as th distant horiezon.

   But agen thair was a streek of bubls on th serfis of th river.

   Th Rat humd a tuen, and th Moel recolected that animal-etiket forbaed eny sort of coment on th suden disapeerans of one's frends at eny moement, for eny reezon or no reezon whutever.

   `Wel, wel,' sed th Rat, `I supoez we aut to be mooving. I wunder which of us had beter pak th lunchon-basket?' He did not speek as if he was frietfuly eeger for th treet.

   `O, pleez let me,' sed th Moel. So, of cors, th Rat let him.

   Paking th basket was not qiet such plezant werk as unpacking' th basket. It never is. But th Moel was bent on enjoiing

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evrything, and alltho just when he had got th basket pakt and strapt up tietly he saw a plaet stairing up at him frum th gras, and when th job had bin dun agen th Rat pointed out a fork which enybody aut to hav seen, and last of all, behoeld! th mustard pot, which he had bin siting on without noeing it -- stil, sumhow, th thing got finisht at last, without much loss of temper.

   Th afternoon sun was geting lo as th Rat sculled jently hoemwards in a dreemy mood, murmuring poeetry-things oever to himself, and not paeing much atenshun to Moel. But th Moel was verry fuul of lunch, and self-satisfacshun, and pried, and allredy qiet at hoem in a boet (so he thaut) and was geting a bit restles besieds: and prezently he sed, `Ratty! Pleez, I wont to ro, now!'

   Th Rat shuuk his hed with a smiel. `Not yet, mi yung frend,' he sed -- 'wait til U'v had a fue lesons. It's not so eezy as it luuks.'

   Th Moel was qieet for a minit or too. But he began to feel mor and mor jelus of Rat, sculing so strongly and so eezily along, and his pried began to whisper that he cuud do it evry bit as wel. He jumpt up and

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seezd th sculls, so sudenly, that th Rat, hoo was gaezing out oever th wauter and saeing mor poeetry-things to himself, was taeken bi serpriez and fel bakwards off his seet with his legs in th air for th second tiem, whiel th trieumfant Moel tuuk his plaes and grabd th sculls with entier confidens.

   `Stop it, U sily as!' cried th Rat, frum th botom of th boet. `U can't do it! U'l hav us oever!'

   Th Moel flung his sculls bak with a flerish, and maed a graet dig at th wauter. He mist th serfis alltogether, his legs floo up abuv his hed, and he found himself lieing on th top of th prostraet Rat. Graetly alarmd, he maed a grab at th sied of th boet, and th next moement -- Sploosh!

   Oever went th boet, and he found himself strugling in th river.

   O mi, how coeld th wauter was, and O, how verry wet it felt. How it sang in his eers as he went doun, doun, doun! How briet and welcum th sun luukt as he roez to th serfis caufing and spluttering! How blak was his despair when he felt himself sinking agen! Then a ferm paw gript him bi th

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bak of his nek. It was th Rat, and he was evidently lafing -- th Moel cuud feel him lafing, riet doun his arm and thru his paw, and so into his -- th Mole's -- nek.

   Th Rat got hoeld of a scul and shuvd it under th Mole's arm; then he did th saem bi th uther sied of him and, swiming behiend, propeld th helples animal to shor, halld him out, and set him doun on th bank, a sqoshy, pulpy lump of mizery.

   When th Rat had rubd him doun a bit, and wrung sum of th wet out of him, he sed, `Now, then, oeld felo! Trot up and doun th towing-path as hard as U can, til U'r worm and dri agen, whiel I diev for th lunchon-basket.'

   So th dizmal Moel, wet without and ashaemd within, troted about til he was fairly dri, whiel th Rat plunjd into th wauter agen, recuverd th boet, righted her and maed her fast, fetched his floeting property to shor bi degrees, and fienaly dievd sucsesfuly for th lunchon-basket and strugld to land with it.

   When all was redy for a start wuns mor, th Moel, limp and dejected, tuuk his seet in th stern of th boet; and as thae set off, he

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sed in a lo vois, broeken with emoeshun, `Ratty, mi jenerus frend! I am verry sorry indeed for mi foolish and ungraetful conduct. Mi hart qiet faels me when I think how I miet hav lost that buetyful lunchon-basket. Indeed, I hav bin a compleet as, and I noe it. Wil U oeverluuk it this wuns and forgiv me, and let things go on as befor?'

   `That's all riet, bles U!' responded th Rat cheerily. `Whut's a litl wet to a Wauter Rat? I'm mor in th wauter than out of it moest daes. Don't U think eny mor about it; and, luuk heer! I reealy think U had beter cum and stop with me for a litl tiem. It's verry plaen and ruf, U noe -- not liek Toad's hous at all -- but U havn't seen that yet; stil, I can maek U cumfortabl. And I'l teech U to ro, and to swim, and U'l soon be as handy on th wauter as eny of us.'

   Th Moel was so tucht bi his kiend maner of speeking that he cuud fiend no vois to anser him; and he had to brush awae a teer or too with th bak of his paw. But th Rat kiendly luukt in anuther direcshun, and prezently th Mole's spirits revievd agen, and he was eeven aebl to giv sum straet bak-tauk

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to a cupl of moorhens hoo wer sniggering to eech uther about his bedragld apeerans.

   When thae got hoem, th Rat maed a briet fier in th parlour, and planted th Moel in an arm-chair in frunt of it, having fetched doun a dresing-goun and slipers for him, and toeld him river storys til super-tiem. Verry thriling storys thae wer, too, to an erth-dweling animal liek Moel. Storys about weers, and suden fluds, and leeping piek, and steamers that flung hard botls -- at leest botls wer sertenly flung, and frum steamers, so prezoomably bi them; and about herrons, and how particuelar thae wer hoom thae spoek to; and about advenchers doun draens, and niet-fishings with Oter, or excurzhuns far a-feeld with Bajer. Super was a moest cheerful meel; but verry shortly afterwards a terribly sleepy Moel had to be escorted upstairs bi his consideret hoest, to th best bedroom, wherr he soon laed his hed on his pilo in graet pees and contentment, noeing that his nue-found frend th River was laping th sil of his windo.

   This dae was oenly th ferst of meny similar wuns for th emansipaeted Moel, eech of them

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longger and fuul of interest as th riepening sumer moovd onward. He learnt to swim and to ro, and enterd into th joi of runing wauter; and with his eer to th reed-stems he caut, at intervals, sumthing of whut th wind went whispering so constantly amung them.

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Chapter 2



   `RATTY,' sed th Moel sudenly, wun briet sumer morning, `if U pleez, I wont to ask U a faevor.'

   Th Rat was siting on th river bank, singing a litl song. He had just compoezd it himself, so he was verry taeken up with it, and wuud not pae proper atenshun to Moel or enything els. Sinss erly morning he had bin swiming in th river, in cumpany with his frends th duks. And when th duks stuud on thair heds sudenly, as duks wil, he wuud diev doun and tikl thair neks, justunder wherr thair chins wuud be if duks had chins, til thae wer forst tocome to th serfis agen in a hery, spluttering and anggry and shakingtheir fethers at him, for it is imposibl to sae qiet all U feel when yur hed

isPaej 25

under wauter. At last thae implord him to go awae and atend to his oen afairs and leev them to miend theirs. So th Rat went awae, and sat on th river bank in th sun, and maed up a song about them, which he calld

All along th bakwauter,
Thru th rushes tall,
Duks ar a-dabling,
Up taels all!

Ducks' taels, drakes' taels,
Yelo feet a-qiver,
Yelo bils all out of siet
Bizy in th river!

Slushy green undergroeth
Wherr th roech swim --
Heer we keep our larder,
Cool and fuul and dim.

Evrywun for whut he lieks!
We liek to be
Heds doun, taels up,
Dabling free!

Hi in th bloo abuv
Swifts wherl and call --
We ar doun a-dabling
Up taels all!

   `I don't noe that I think so verry much of that litl song, Rat,' obzervd th Moel

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caushusly. He was no poeet himself and didn't cair hoo nue it; and he had a candid naecher.

   `Nor don't th duks neether,' replied th Rat cheerfuly. `Thae sae, "Whi can't feloes be alowd to do whut thae liek when thae liek and as thae liek, insted of uther feloes siting on banks and woching them all th tiem and maeking remarks and poeetry and things about them? Whut nonsens it all is!" That's whut th duks sae.'

   `So it is, so it is,' sed th Moel, with graet hartynes.

   `No, it isn't!' cried th Rat indignantly.

   `Wel then, it isn't, it isn't,' replied th Moel soothingly. `But whut I wonted to ask U was, woen't U taek me to call on Mr. Toed? I'v herd so much about him, and I do so wont to maek his aqaentans.'

   `Whi, sertenly,' sed th guud-naecherd Rat, jumping to his feet and dismising poeetry frum his miend for th dae. `Get th boet out, and we'll padl up thair at wuns. It's never th rong tiem to call on Toed. Erly or laet he's allwaes th saem felo. Allwaes guud-temperd, allwaes glad to see U, allwaes sorry when U go!'

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   `He must be a verry nies animal,' obzervd th Moel, as he got into th boet and tuuk th sculls, whiel th Rat setld himself cumfortably in th stern.

   `He is indeed th best of animals,' replied Rat. `So simpl, so guud-naecherd, and so afecshunet. Perhaps he's not verry clever -- we can't all be jeeniuses; and it mae be that he is boeth boestful and conseeted. But he has got sum graet qolitys, has Toady.'

   Rounding a bend in th river, thae caem in siet of a hansum, dignified oeld hous of meloed red brik, with wel-kept launs reeching doun to th water's ej.

   `Thair's Toed Hall,' sed th Rat; `and that creek on th left, wherr th noetis-bord ses, "Prievet. No landing alowd," leeds to his boet-hous, wherr we'll leev th boet. Th staebls ar oever thair to th riet. That's th banqeting-hall U'r luuking at now -- verry oeld, that is. Toed is rather rich, U noe, and this is reealy wun of th niesest houses in thees parts, tho we never admit as much to Toed.'

   Thae glieded up th creek, and th Moel slipt his sculls as thae past into th

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shado of a larj boet-hous. Heer thae saw meny hansum boets, slung frum th cross beems or halld up on a slip, but nun in th wauter; and th plaes had an unuezd and a dezerted air.

   Th Rat luukt around him. `I understand,' sed he. `Boeting is plaed out. He's tierd of it, and dun with it. I wunder whut nue fad he has taeken up now? Cum along and let's luuk him up. We shal heer all about it qiet soon enuf.'

   Thae disembarked, and stroeld across th gae flower-dekt launs in serch of Toed, hoom thae prezently hapend upon resting in a wiker garden-chair, with a pre-ocuepied expreshun of faes, and a larj map spred out on his nees.

   `Hoorae!' he cried, jumping up on seeing them, `this is splendid!' He shuuk th paws of boeth of them wormly, never waeting for an introducshun to th Moel. `How kiend of U!' he went on, dansing round them. `I was just going to send a boet doun th river for U, Ratty, with strict orders that U wer to be fetched up heer at wuns, whutever U wer doing. I wont U badly -- boeth of U.

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Now whut wil U taek? Cum insied and hav sumthing! U don't noe how luky it is, yur terning up just now!'

   `Let's sit qieet a bit, Toady!' sed th Rat, throeing himself into an eezy chair, whiel th Moel tuuk anuther bi th sied of him and maed sum sivil remark about Toad's `delietful rezidens.'

   `Fienest hous on th hoel river,' cried Toed boisterously. `Or enywhair els, for that mater,' he cuud not help ading.

   Heer th Rat nujd th Moel. Unforchunetly th Toed saw him do it, and ternd verry red. Thair was a moment's paenful sielens. Then Toed berst out lafing. `All riet, Ratty,' he sed. `It's oenly mi wae, U noe. And it's not such a verry bad hous, is it? U noe U rather liek it yurself. Now, luuk heer. Let's be sensibl. U ar th verry animals I wonted. U'v got to help me. It's moest important!'

   `It's about yur rowing, I supoez,' sed th Rat, with an inosent air. `U'r geting on fairly wel, tho U splash a guud bit stil. With a graet deel of paeshens, and eny qontity of coeching, U mae -- -- '

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   `O, pooh! boeting!' interupted th Toed, in graet disgust. Sily boiish amuezment. I'v given that up long ago. Sheer waest of tiem, that's whut it is. It maeks me dounriet sorry to see U feloes, hoo aut to noe beter, spending all yur enerjys in that aemles maner. No, I'v discuverd th reeal thing, th oenly jenuein ocuepaeshun for a lief tiem. I propoez to devoet th remaender of mien to it, and can oenly regret th waested yeers that lie behiend me, sqonderd in trivialities. Cum with me, deer Ratty, and yur aemiabl frend allso, if he wil be so verry guud, just as far as th staebl-yard, and U shal see whut U shal see!'

   He led th wae to th staebl-yard acordingly, th Rat foloeing with a moest mistrustful expreshun; and thair, drawn out of th coech hous into th oepen, thae saw a gipsy carravan, shiening with nuenes, paented a canairy-yelo pikt out with green, and red wheels.

   `Thair U ar!' cried th Toed, stradling and expanding himself. `Thair's reeal lief for U, embodyd in that litl cart. Th oepen roed, th dusty hiewae, th heeth, th comon, th hedgerows, th roeling douns!

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Camps, vilejes, touns, sitys! Heer to-dae, up and off to sumwherr els to-morro! Travel, chaenj, interest, exsietment! Th hoel werld befor U, and a horiezon that's allwaes chaenjing! And miend! this is th verry fienest cart of its sort that was ever bilt, without eny exsepshun. Cum insied and luuk at th araenjments. Pland 'em all mieself, I did!'

   Th Moel was tremendusly interested and exsieted, and foloed him eegerly up th steps and into th inteerior of th carravan. Th Rat oenly snorted and thrust his hands deep into his pokets, remaening wherr he was.

   It was indeed verry compact and cumfortabl. Litl sleeping bunks -- a litl taebl that foelded up agenst th wall -- a cuuking-stoev, lockers, buukshelvs, a berd-caej with a berd in it; and pots, pans, jugs and ketls of evry siez and varieety.

   `All compleet!' sed th Toed trieumfantly, puuling oepen a loker. `U see -- biskits, poted lobster, sardeens -- evrything U can posibly wont. Soeda-wauter heer -- baccy thair -- leter-paeper, baecon, jam, cards and dominoes -- U'l fiend,' he continued, as thae desended th steps agen, `U'l fiend that nuthing whut

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ever has bin forgoten, when we maek our start this afternoon.'

   `I beg yur pardon,' sed th Rat sloely, as he chood a straw, `but did I oeverheer U sae sumthing about "we," and "start," and "this afternoon?"'

   `Now, U deer guud oeld Ratty,' sed Toed, imploringly, `don't begin tauking in that stif and sniffy sort of wae, becauz U noe U'v got to cum. I can't posibly manej without U, so pleez consider it setld, and don't argue -- it's th wun thing I can't stand. U shurly don't meen to stik to yur dul fusty oeld river all yur lief, and just liv in a hoel in a bank, and boet? I wont to sho U th werld! I'm going to maek an animal of U, mi boi!'

   `I don't cair,' sed th Rat, daugedly. `I'm not cuming, and that's flat. And I am going to stik to mi oeld river, and liv in a hoel, and boet, as I'v allwaes dun. And whut's mor, Mole's going to stik me and do as I do, arn't U, Moel?'

   `Of cors I am,' sed th Moel, loialy. `I'l allwaes stik to U, Rat, and whut U sae is to be -- has got to be. All th saem, it sounds as

Paej 33

if it miet hav bin -- wel, rather fun, U noe!' he aded, wistfuly. Pur Moel! Th Lief Advencherus was so nue a thing to him, and so thriling; and this fresh aspect of it was so tempting; and he had fallen in luv at ferst siet with th canairy-culord cart and all its litl fitments.

   Th Rat saw whut was pasing in his miend, and wavered. He haeted disapointing peepl, and he was fond of th Moel, and wuud do allmoest enything to obliej him. Toed was woching boeth of them cloesly.

   `Cum along in, and hav sum lunch,' he sed, diplomaticaly, `and we'll tauk it oever. We needn't desied enything in a hery. Of cors, I don't reealy cair. I oenly wont to giv plezher to U feloes. "Liv for uthers!" That's mi moto in lief.'

   During lunchon -- which was exselent, of cors, as evrything at Toed Hall allwaes was -- th Toed simply let himself go. Disregarding th Rat, he proseeded to plae upon th inexpeeryenst Moel as on a harp. Nacheraly a voluebl animal, and allwaes masterd bi his imajinaeshun, he paented th prospects of th trip and th jois of th oepen lief and th roed

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sied in such gloeing colours that th Moel cuud hardly sit in his chair for exsietment. Sumhow, it soon seemd taeken for granted bi all three of them that th trip was a setld thing; and th Rat, tho stil unconvinced in his miend, alowd his guud-naecher to oever-ried his personal objecshuns. He cuud not bair to disapoint his too frends, hoo wer allredy deep in skeems and antisipaeshuns, planing out eech day's separaet ocuepaeshun for several weeks ahed.

   When thae wer qiet redy, th now trieumfant Toed led his companyons to th padok and set them to capcher th oeld grae hors, hoo, without having bin consulted, and to his oen extreem anoians, had bin toeld off bi Toed for th dustiest job in this dusty expedishun. He frankly preferd th padok, and tuuk a deel of caching. Meentiem Toed pakt th lockers stil tieter with nesesairys, and hung nosebags, nets of unyons, bundls of hae, and baskets frum th botom of th cart. At last th hors was caut and harnest, and thae set off, all tauking at wuns, eech animal eether trudging bi th sied of th cart or siting on th shaft, as th huemor tuuk him. It was a

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goelden afternoon. Th smel of th dust thae kikt up was rich and satisfieing; out of thik orchards on eether sied th roed, berds calld and whisld to them cheerily; guud-naecherd waefairers, pasing them, gaev them `Guud-dae,' or stopt to sae nies things about thair buetyful cart; and rabits, siting at thair frunt dors in th hedgerows, held up thair for-paws, and sed, `O mi! O mi! O mi!'

   Laet in th eevning, tierd and hapy and miels frum hoem, thae droo up on a remoet comon far frum habitations, ternd th hors loos to graez, and aet thair simpl super siting on th gras bi th sied of th cart. Toed taukt big about all he was going to do in th daes to cum, whiel stars groo fuuler and larjer all around them, and a yelo moon, apeering sudenly and sielently frum noewherr in particuelar, caem to keep them cumpany and lisen to thair tauk. At last thae ternd in to thair litl bunks in th cart; and Toed, kiking out his legs, sleepily sed, `Wel, guud niet, U feloes! This is th reeal lief for a jentlman! Tauk about yur oeld river!'

   `I don't tauk about mi river,' replied th

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paeshent Rat. `U noe I don't, Toed. But I think about it,' he aded patheticaly, in a loeer toen: `I think about it -- all th tiem!'

   Th Moel reecht out frum under his blanket, felt for th Rat's paw in th darknes, and gaev it a sqeez. `I'l do whutever U liek, Ratty,' he whisperd. `Shal we run awae to-morro morning, qiet erly -- verry erly -- and go bak to our deer oeld hoel on th river?'

   `No, no, we'll see it out,' whisperd bak th Rat. `Thanks aufuly, but I aut to stik bi Toed til this trip is ended. It wuudn't be saef for him to be left to himself. It woen't taek verry long. His fads never do. Guud niet!'

   Th end was indeed neerer than eeven th Rat suspected.

   After so much oepen air and exsietment th Toed slept verry soundly, and no amount of shaeking cuud rouz him out of bed next morning. So th Moel and Rat ternd to, qieetly and manfuly, and whiel th Rat saw to th hors, and lit a fier, and cleend last night's cups and platers, and got things redy for brekfast, th Moel trujd off to th neerest vilej, a long wae off, for milk and egs and vairius nesesairys th Toed had, of

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cors, forgoten to provied. Th hard werk had all bin dun, and th too animals wer resting, theroely exausted, bi th tiem Toed apeerd on th seen, fresh and gae, remarking whut a plezant eezy lief it was thae wer all leeding now, after th cairs and werys and fateegs of houskeeping at hoem.

   Thae had a plezant rambl that dae oever grasy douns and along narro bi-laens, and campt as befor, on a comon, oenly this tiem th too gests tuuk cair that Toed shuud do his fair shair of werk. In conseqens, when th tiem caem for starting next morning, Toed was bi no meens so rapcherus about th simplisity of th primitiv lief, and indeed atempted to rezoom his plaes in his bunk, whens he was halld bi fors. Thair wae lae, as befor, across cuntry bi narro laens, and it was not til th afternoon that thae caem out on th hi-roed, thair ferst hi-roed; and thair dizaster, fleet and unforseen, sprang out on them -- dizaster moementus indeed to thair expedishun, but simply oeverwhelming in its efect on th after-career of Toed.

   Thae wer stroeling along th hi-roed eezily,

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th Moel bi th horse's hed, tauking to him, sinss th hors had complaend that he was being frietfuly left out of it, and noebody considerd him in th leest; th Toed and th Wauter Rat wauking behiend th cart tauking together -- at leest Toed was tauking, and Rat was saeing at intervals, `Yes, presiesly; and whut did U sae to him?' -- and thinking all th tiem of sumthing verry diferent, when far behiend them thae herd a faent worning hum; liek th droen of a distant bee. Glansing bak, thae saw a small cloud of dust, with a dark senter of enerjy, advansing on them at incredibl speed, whiel frum out th dust a faent `Poop-poop!' waeld liek an uneezy animal in paen. Hardly regarding it, thae ternd to rezoom thair conversaeshun, when in an instant (as it seemd) th peesful seen was chaenjd, and with a blast of wind and a wherl of sound that maed them jump for th neerest dich, It was on them! Th `Poop-poop' rang with a braezen shout in thair eers, thae had a moment's glimps of an inteerior of glitering plaet-glas and rich morocco, and th magnifisent moetor-car, imens, breth-snaching, pashunet, with its pielot tens and huging his wheel, pozest all erth and air

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for th fracshun of a second, flung an enveloping cloud of dust that bliended and enwrapped them uterly, and then dwindld to a spek in th far distans, chaenjd bak into a droning bee wuns mor.

   Th oeld grae hors, dreeming, as he ploded along, of his qieet padok, in a nue raw sichuaeshun such as this simply abandond himself to his nacheral emoeshuns. Reering, plunjing, baking stedily, in spiet of all th Mole's eforts at his hed, and all th Mole's lievly langgwej directed at his beter feelings, he droev th cart bakwards tords th deep dich at th sied of th roed. It wavered an instant -- then thair was a hartrending crash -- and th canairy-culord cart, thair pried and thair joi, lae on its sied in th dich, an irredeemabl rek.

   Th Rat danst up and doun in th roed, simply transported with pashun. `U vilans!' he shouted, shaeking boeth fists, `U scoundrels, U highwaymen, U -- U -- roadhogs! -- I'l hav th law of U! I'l report U! I'l taek U thru all th Corts!' His hoem-siknes had qiet slipt awae frum him, and for th moement he was th skiper of

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th canairy-culord vesel driven on a shoel bi th rekles jokying of rieval mariners, and he was trieing to recolect all th fien and bieting things he uezd to sae to masters of steem-launches when thair wosh, as thae droev too neer th bank, uezd to flud his parlour-carpet at hoem.

   Toed sat straet doun in th midl of th dusty roed, his legs strecht out befor him, and staird fixedly in th direcshun of th disapeering moetor-car. He breethd short, his faes wor a plasid satisfied expreshun, and at intervals he faently mermerd `Poop-poop!'

   Th Moel was bizy trieing to qieet th hors, which he sucseeded in doing after a tiem. Then he went to luuk at th cart, on its sied in th dich. It was indeed a sorry siet. Panels and windoes smasht, axls hoeplesly bent, wun wheel off, sardeen-tins scaterd oever th wied werld, and th berd in th berd-caej sobing pityfuly and calling to be let out.

   Th Rat caem to help him, but thair uenieted eforts wer not sufishent to riet th cart. `Hi! Toed!' thae cried. `Cum and bair a hand, can't U!'

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   Th Toed never anserd a werd, or budged frum his seet in th roed; so thae went to see whut was th mater with him. Thae found him in a sort of a trans, a hapy smiel on his faes, his ies stil fixt on th dusty waek of thair destroier. At intervals he was stil herd to mermer `Poop-poop!'

   Th Rat shuuk him bi th shoelder. `Ar U cuming to help us, Toed?' he demanded sternly.

   `Glorius, stering siet!' mermerd Toed, never offering to moov. `Th poeetry of moeshun! Th reeal wae to travel! Th oenly wae to travel! Heer to-dae -- in next week to-morro! Vil-lages skipt, touns and sitys jumpt -- allwaes sumbody else's horiezon! O blis! O poop-poop! O mi! O mi!'

   `O stop being an as, Toed!' cried th Moel despairingly.

   `And to think I never nue!' went on th Toed in a dreemy monotoen. `All thoes waested yeers that lie behiend me, I never nue, never eeven dremt! But now -- but now that I noe, now that I fuuly realise! O whut a flowery trak lies spred befor me, hensforth! Whut dust-clouds shal spring up behiend me as I

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speed on mi rekles wae! Whut carts I shal fling cairlesly into th dich in th waek of mi magnifisent onset! Horrid litl carts -- comon carts -- canairy-culord carts!'

   `Whut ar we to do with him?' askt th Moel of th Wauter Rat.

   `Nuthing at all,' replied th Rat fermly. `Becauz thair is reealy nuthing to be dun. U see, I noe him frum of oeld. He is now pozest. He has got a nue craez, and it allwaes taeks him that wae, in its ferst staej. He'l continue liek that for daes now, liek an animal wauking in a hapy dreem, qiet uesles for all practical perposes. Never miend him. Let's go and see whut thair is to be dun about th cart.'

   A cairful inspecshun shoed them that, eeven if thae sucseeded in righting it bi themselvs, th cart wuud travel no longger. Th axls wer in a hoeples staet, and th mising wheel was shaterd into peeses.

   Th Rat noted th horse's raens oever his bak and tuuk him bi th hed, carrying th berd caej and its histerrical ocuepant in th uther hand. `Cum on!' he sed grimly to th Moel. `It's fiev or six miels to th neerest toun, and

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we shal just hav to wauk it. Th sooner we maek a start th beter.'

   `But whut about Toed?' askt th Moel ankshusly, as thae set off together. `We can't leev him heer, siting in th midl of th roed bi himself, in th distracted staet he's in! It's not saef. Supoezing anuther Thing wer to cum along?'

   `O, bother Toed,' sed th Rat savejly; `I'v dun with him!'

   Thae had not proseeded verry far on thair wae, however, when thair was a pattering of feet behiend them, and Toed caut them up and thrust a paw insied th elbo of eech of them; stil breething short and stairing into vaecansy.

   `Now, luuk heer, Toed!' sed th Rat sharply: `as soon as we get to th toun, U'l hav to go straet to th polees-staeshun, and see if thae noe enything about that moetor-car and hoo it belongs to, and loj a complaent agenst it. And then U'l hav to go to a blacksmith's or a wheelwright's and araenj for th cart to be fetched and mended and puut to riets. It'l taek tiem, but it's not qiet a hoeples smash. Meenwhiel, th Moel and I wil go to an in and fiend cumfortabl rooms wherr we can stae til

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th cart's redy, and til yur nervs hav recuverd thair shok.'

   `Polees-staeshun! Complaent!'murmured Toed dreemily. `Me complaen of that buetyful, that hevenly vizhun that has bin vouchsafed me! Mend th cart! I'v dun with carts for ever. I never wont to see th cart, or to heer of it, agen. O, Ratty! U can't think how obliejd I am to U for consenting to cum on this trip! I wuudn't hav gon without U, and then I miet never hav seen that -- that swaan, that sunbeem, that thunderboelt! I miet never hav herd that entransing sound, or smelt that bewiching smel! I oe it all to U, mi best of frends!'

   Th Rat ternd frum him in despair. `U see whut it is?' he sed to th Moel, adresing him across Toad's hed: `He's qiet hoeples. I giv it up -- when we get to th toun we'll go to th raelwae staeshun, and with luk we mae pik up a traen thair that'l get us bak to riverbank to-niet. And if ever U cach me going a-pleasuring with this provoeking animal agen!'

   He snorted, and during th rest of that weery trudge adrest his remarks excloosivly to Moel.

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   On reeching th toun thae went straet to th staeshun and depozited Toed in th second-clas waeting-room, giving a porter twopence to keep a strict ie on him. Thae then left th hors at an in staebl, and gaev whut direcshuns thae cuud about th cart and its contents. Evenchualy, a slo traen having landed them at a staeshun not verry far frum Toed Hall, thae escorted th spel-bound, sleep-wauking Toed to his dor, puut him insied it, and instructed his houskeeper to feed him, undres him, and puut him to bed. Then thae got out thair boet frum th boet-hous, sculled doun th river hoem, and at a verry laet our sat doun to super in thair oen coezy riversied parlour, to th Rat's graet joi and contentment.

   Th foloeing eevning th Moel, hoo had rizen laet and taeken things verry eezy all dae, was siting on th bank fishing, when th Rat, hoo had bin luuking up his frends and gosiping, caem stroeling along to fiend him. `Herd th nues?' he sed. `Thair's nuthing els being taukt about, all along th river bank. Toed went up to Toun bi an erly traen this morning. And he has orderd a larj and verry expensiv moetor-car.'

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Chapter 3



   TH Moel had long wonted to maek th I aqaentans of th Bajer. He seemd, bi all acounts, to be such an important personej and, tho rairly vizibl, to maek his unseen inflooens felt bi evrybody about th plaes. But whenever th Moel menshund his wish to th Wauter Rat he allwaes found himself puut off. `It's all riet,' th Rat wuud sae. `Badger'll tern up sum dae or uther -- he's allwaes terning up -- and then I'l introdues U. Th best of feloes! But U must not oenly taek him as U fiend him, but when U fiend him.'

   `Cuudn't U ask him heer diner or sumthing?' sed th Moel.

   `He wuudn't cum,' replied th Rat simply. `Bajer haets Sosieety, and invitaeshuns, and diner, and all that sort of thing.'

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   `Wel, then, supoezing we go and call on him?' sugjested th Moel.

   `O, I'm shur he wuudn't liek that at all,' sed th Rat, qiet alarmd. `He's so verry shi, he'd be shur to be ofended. I'v never eeven vencherd to call on him at his oen hoem mieself, tho I noe him so wel. Besieds, we can't. It's qiet out of th qeschun, becauz he lievs in th verry midl of th Wield Wuud.'

   `Wel, supoezing he duz,' sed th Moel. `U toeld me th Wield Wuud was all riet, U noe.'

   `O, I noe, I noe, so it is,' replied th Rat evasively. `But I think we woen't go thair just now. Not just yet. It's a long wae, and he wuudn't be at hoem at this tiem of yeer enyhow, and he'l be cuming along sum dae, if U'l waet qieetly.'

   Th Moel had to be content with this. But th Bajer never caem along, and evry dae braut its amuezments, and it was not til sumer was long oever, and coeld and frost and miry waes kept them much indors, and th swoelen river raest past outsied thair windoes with a speed that mokt at boeting of

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eny sort or kiend, that he found his thauts dweling agen with much persistens on th solitairy grae Bajer, hoo livd his oen lief bi himself, in his hoel in th midl of th Wield Wuud.

   In th winter tiem th Rat slept a graet deel, retiering erly and riezing laet. During his short dae he sumtiems scribld poeetry or did uther small domestic jobs about th hous; and, of cors, thair wer allwaes animals droping in for a chat, and conseqently thair was a guud deel of story-teling and compairing noets on th past sumer and all its doings.

   Such a rich chapter it had bin, when wun caem to luuk bak on it all! With ilustraeshuns so nuemerus and so verry hiely culord! Th pajent of th river bank had marcht stedily along, unfoelding itself in seen-pikchers that sucseeded eech uther in staetly proseshun. Perpl loosestrife arievd erly, shaeking lugzhuriant tanggld loks along th ej of th miror whens its oen faes laft bak at it. Wilo-herb, tender and wistful, liek a pink sunset cloud, was not slo to folo. Comfrey, th perpl hand-in-hand with th whiet, crept forth to taek its plaes in th lien; and at last wun

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morning th difident and delaeing daug-roez stept deliketly on th staej, and wun nue, as if string-muezic had anounst it in staetly cords that straed into a gavot, that June at last was heer. Wun member of th cumpany was stil awaeted; th sheperd-boi for th nimfs to woo, th niet for hoom th laedys waeted at th windo, th prins that was to kis th sleeping sumer bak to lief and luv. But when medo-sweet, debonair and oedorus in amber jerkin, moovd graeshusly to his plaes in th groop, then th plae was redy to begin.

   And whut a plae it had bin! Drouzy animals, snug in thair hoels whiel wind and raen wer batering at thair dors, recalld stil keen mornings, an our befor sunriez, when th whiet mist, as yet undispersed, clung cloesly along th serfis of th wauter; then th shok of th erly plunj, th scamper along th bank, and th raediant transformaeshun of erth, air, and wauter, when sudenly th sun was with them agen, and grae was goeld and colour was born and sprang out of th erth wuns mor. Thae recalld th langgorus syesta of hot mid-dae, deep in green undergroeth, th sun strieking thru in tieny goelden shafts and

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spots; th boeting and baething of th afternoon, th rambls along dusty laens and thru yelo cornfields; and th long, cool eevning at last, when so meny threds wer gatherd up, so meny frendships rounded, and so meny advenchers pland for th morro. Thair was plenty to tauk about on thoes short winter daes when th animals found themselvs round th fier; stil, th Moel had a guud deel of spair tiem on his hands, and so wun afternoon, when th Rat in his arm-chair befor th blaez was allternetly doezing and trieing oever riems that wuudn't fit, he formd th rezolooshun to go out bi himself and explor th Wield Wuud, and perhaps striek up an aqaentans with Mr. Bajer.

   It was a coeld stil afternoon with a hard steely skie oeverhed, when he slipt out of th worm parlour into th oepen air. Th cuntry lae bair and entierly leafless around him, and he thaut that he had never seen so far and so intimetly into th insieds of things as on that winter dae when Naecher was deep in her anueal slumber and seemd to hav kikt th cloeths off. Copses, dells, quarries and all hiden plaeses, which had

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bin misteerius miens for exploraeshun in leefy sumer, now expoezd themselvs and thair seecrets patheticaly, and seemd to ask him to oeverluuk thair shaby poverty for a whiel, til thae cuud rieot in rich maskeraed as befor, and trik and enties him with th oeld deceptions. It was pityful in a wae, and yet cheering -- eeven exileraeting. He was glad that he liekt th cuntry undecoraeted, hard, and stript of its fienery. He had got doun to th bair boens of it, and thae wer fien and strong and simpl. He did not wont th worm cloever and th plae of seeding grases; th screens of quickset, th biloey draepery of beech and elm seemd best awae; and with graet cheerfulnes of spirit he puusht on tords th Wield Wuud, which lae befor him lo and thretening, liek a blak reef in sum stil suthern see.

   Thair was nuthing to alarm him at ferst entry. Twigs crakld under his feet, logs tript him, funguses on stumps rezembld caricatures, and startld him for th moement bi thair lieknes to sumthing familyar and far awae; but that was all fun, and exsieting. It led him on, and he penetraeted to wherr th liet was

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les, and trees croucht neerer and neerer, and hoels maed ugly mouths at him on eether sied.

   Evrything was verry stil now. Th dusk advanst on him stedily, rapidly, gathering in behiend and befor; and th liet seemd to be draening awae liek flud-wauter.

   Then th faeses began.

   It was oever his shoelder, and indistinctly, that he ferst thaut he saw a faes; a litl eevil wej-shaept faes, luuking out at him frum a hoel. When he ternd and confrunted it, th thing had vanisht.

   He qikend his paes, teling himself cheerfuly not to begin imajining things, or thair wuud be simply no end to it. He past anuther hoel, and anuther, and anuther; and then -- yes! -- no! -- yes! sertenly a litl narro faes, with hard ies, had flasht up for an instant frum a hoel, and was gon. He hezitaeted -- braest himself up for an efort and stroed on. Then sudenly, and as if it had bin so all th tiem, evry hoel, far and neer, and thair wer hundreds of them, seemd to pozes its faes, cuming and going rapidly, all fixing on him glanses of malis and haetred: all hard-ied and eevil and sharp.

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   If he cuud oenly get awae frum th hoels in th banks, he thaut, thair wuud be no mor faeses. He swung off th path and plunjd into th untrodden plaeses of th wuud.

   Then th whisling began.

   Verry faent and shril it was, and far behiend him, when ferst he herd it; but sumhow it maed him hery forward. Then, stil verry faent and shril, it sounded far ahed of him, and maed him hezitaet and wont to go bak. As he hallted in indesizhun it broek out on eether sied, and seemd to be caut up and past on thruout th hoel length of th wuud to its farthest limit. Thae wer up and alert and redy, evidently, hooever thae wer! And he -- he was aloen, and unarmd, and far frum eny help; and th niet was cloezing in.

   Then th pattering began.

   He thaut it was oenly falling leevs at ferst, so sliet and deliket was th sound of it. Then as it groo it tuuk a reguelar rithm, and he nue it for nuthing els but th pat-pat-pat of litl feet stil a verry long wae off. Was it in frunt or behiend? It seemd to be ferst wun, and then th uther, then boeth. It groo and

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it multiplied, til frum evry qorter as he lisend ankshusly, leening this wae and that, it seemd to be cloezing in on him. As he stuud stil to harken, a rabit caem runing hard tords him thru th trees. He waeted, expecting it to slaken paes, or to swerv frum him into a diferent cors. Insted, th animal allmoest brusht him as it dasht past, his faes set and hard, his ies stairing. `Get out of this, U fool, get out!' th Moel herd him muter as he swung round a stump and disapeerd doun a frendly burro.

   Th pattering increest til it sounded liek suden hael on th dri leef-carpet spred around him. Th hoel wuud seemd runing now, runing hard, hunting, chaesing, cloezing in round sumthing or -- sumbody? In panic, he began to run too, aemlesly, he nue not whither. He ran up agenst things, he fel oever things and into things, he darted under things and dojd round things. At last he tuuk refuej in th deep dark holo of an oeld beech tree, which offerd shelter, conseelment -- perhaps eeven saefty, but hoo cuud tel? Enyhow, he was too tierd to run eny ferther, and cuud oenly snugl doun into th

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dri leevs which had drifted into th holo and hoep he was saef for a tiem. And as he lae thair panting and trembling, and lisend to th whistlings and th patterings outsied, he nue it at last, in all its fuulnes, that dred thing which uther litl dwelers in feeld and hejro had encounterd heer, and noen as thair darkest moement -- that thing which th Rat had vaenly tried to sheeld him frum -- th Terror of th Wield Wuud!

   Meentiem th Rat, worm and cumfortabl, doezd bi his fiersied. His paeper of haf-finisht verses slipt frum his nee, his hed fel bak, his mouth oepend, and he waanderd bi th verdant banks of dreem-rivers. Then a coel slipt, th fier crakld and sent up a spert of flaem, and he woek with a start. Remembering whut he had bin engaejd upon, he reecht doun to th flor for his verses, pord oever them for a minit, and then luukt round for th Moel to ask him if he nue a guud riem for sumthing or uther.

   But th Moel was not thair.

   He lisend for a tiem. Th hous seemd verry qieet.

   Then he calld `Moly!' several tiems, and,

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reseeving no anser, got up and went out into th hall.

   Th Mole's cap was mising frum its acustomd peg. His goloshes, which allwaes lae bi th umbrela-stand, wer allso gon.

   Th Rat left th hous, and cairfuly examind th mudy serfis of th ground outsied, hoeping to fiend th Mole's traks. Thair thae wer, shur enuf. Th goloshes wer nue, just baut for th winter, and th pimpls on thair soels wer fresh and sharp. He cuud see th imprints of them in th mud, runing along straet and perposful, leeding direct to th Wield Wuud.

   Th Rat luukt verry graev, and stuud in deep thaut for a minit or too. Then he re-enterd th hous, strapt a belt round his waest, shuvd a braes of pistols into it, tuuk up a stout cujel that stuud in a corner of th hall, and set off for th Wield Wuud at a smart paes.

   It was allredy geting tords dusk when he reecht th ferst frinj of trees and plunjd without hezitaeshun into th wuud, luuking ankshusly on eether sied for eny sien of his frend. Heer and thair wiked litl faeses

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popt out of hoels, but vanisht imeedyetly at siet of th valorus animal, his pistols, and th graet ugly cujel in his grasp; and th whisling and pattering, which he had herd qiet plaenly on his ferst entry, died awae and seest, and all was verry stil. He maed his wae manfuly thru th length of th wuud, to its furthest ej; then, forsaeking all paths, he set himself to travers it, laboriusly werking oever th hoel ground, and all th tiem calling out cheerfuly, `Moly, Moly, Moly! Wherr ar U? It's me -- it's oeld Rat!'

   He had paeshently hunted thru th wuud for an our or mor, when at last to his joi he herd a litl ansering cri. Gieding himself bi th sound, he maed his wae thru th gathering darknes to th fuut of an oeld beech tree, with a hoel in it, and frum out of th hoel caem a feebl vois, saeing `Ratty! Is that reealy U?'

   Th Rat crept into th holo, and thair he found th Moel, exausted and stil trembling. `O Rat!' he cried, `I'v bin so frietend, U can't think!'

   `O, I qiet understand,' sed th Rat soothingly. `U shuudn't reealy hav gon and

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dun it, Moel. I did mi best to keep U frum it. We river-bankers, we hardly ever cum heer bi ourselvs. If we hav to cum, we cum in cupls, at leest; then we'r jeneraly all riet. Besieds, thair ar a hundred things wun has to noe, which we understand all about and U don't, as yet. I meen passwords, and siens, and saeings which hav power and efect, and plants U carry in yur poket, and verses U repeet, and dojes and triks U practis; all simpl enuf when U noe them, but thae'v got to be noen if U'r small, or U'l fiend yurself in trubl. Of cors if U wer Bajer or Oter, it wuud be qiet anuther mater.'

   `Shurly th braev Mr. Toed wuudn't miend cuming heer bi himself, wuud he?' inqierd th Moel.

   `Oeld Toed?' sed th Rat, lafing hartily. `He wuudn't sho his faes heer aloen, not for a hoel hatful of goelden guineas, Toed wuudn't.'

   Th Moel was graetly cheerd bi th sound of th Rat's cairles lafter, as wel as bi th siet of his stik and his gleeming pistols, and he stopt shivering and began to feel boelder and mor himself agen.

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   `Now then,' sed th Rat prezently, `we reealy must puul ourselvs together and maek a start for hoem whiel thair's stil a litl liet left. It wil never do to spend th niet heer, U understand. Too coeld, for wun thing.'

   `Deer Ratty,' sed th pur Moel, `I'm dredfuly sorry, but I'm simply ded beet and that's a solid fact. U must let me rest heer a whiel longger, and get mi strength bak, if I'm to get hoem at all.'

   `O, all riet,' sed th guud-naecherd Rat, `rest awae. It's prity neerly pich dark now, enyhow; and thair aut to be a bit of a moon laeter.'

   So th Moel got wel into th dri leevs and strecht himself out, and prezently dropt off into sleep, tho of a broeken and trubld sort; whiel th Rat cuverd himself up, too, as best he miet, for wormth, and lae paeshently waeting, with a pistol in his paw.

   When at last th Moel woek up, much refresht and in his uezhual spirits, th Rat sed, `Now then! I'l just taek a luuk outsied and see if everything's qieet, and then we reealy must be off.'

   He went to th entrans of thair retreet and

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puut his hed out. Then th Moel herd him saeing qieetly to himself, `Hullo! hullo! heer -- is -- a -- go!'

   `Whut's up, Ratty?' askt th Moel.

   `Sno is up,' replied th Rat breefly; `or rather, doun. It's snoeing hard.'

   Th Moel caem and croucht besied him, and, luuking out, saw th wuud that had bin so dredful to him in qiet a chaenjd aspect. Hoels, holoes, pools, pitfalls, and uther blak menaces to th waefairer wer vanishing fast, and a gleeming carpet of faeery was springing up evrywhair, that luukt too deliket to be trodden upon bi ruf feet. A fien pouder fild th air and carest th cheek with a tinggl in its tuch, and th blak boles of th trees shoed up in a liet that seemd to cum frum belo.

   `Wel, wel, it can't be helpt,' sed th Rat, after pondering. `We must maek a start, and taek our chans, I supoez. Th werst of it is, I don't exactly noe wherr we ar. And now this sno maeks evrything luuk so verry diferent.'

   It did indeed. Th Moel wuud not hav noen that it was th saem wuud. However,

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thae set out braevly, and tuuk th lien that seemd moest promising, hoelding on to eech uther and pretending with invinsibl cheerfulnes that thae recogniezd an oeld frend in evry fresh tree that grimly and sielently greeted them, or saw oepenings, gaps, or paths with a familyar tern in them, in th monotony of whiet spaes and blak tree-trunks that refuezd to vairy.

   An our or too laeter -- thae had lost all count of tiem -- thae puuld up, dispirited, weery, and hoeplesly at see, and sat doun on a fallen tree-trunk to recuver thair breth and consider whut was to be dun. Thae wer aeking with fateeg and broozd with tumbls; thae had fallen into several hoels and got wet thru; th sno was geting so deep that thae cuud hardly drag thair litl legs thru it, and th trees wer thiker and mor liek eech uther than ever. Thair seemd to be no end to this wuud, and no begining, and no diferens in it, and, werst of all, no wae out.

   `We can't sit heer verry long,' sed th Rat. `We shal hav to maek anuther puush for it, and do sumthing or uther. Th coeld is too auful for enything, and th sno wil soon be too deep for us to waed thru.' He peerd about

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him and considerd. `Luuk heer,' he went on, `this is whut ocurs to me. Thair's a sort of del doun heer in frunt of us, wherr th ground seems all hily and humpy and hummocky. We'll maek our wae doun into that, and tri and fiend sum sort of shelter, a caev or hoel with a dri flor to it, out of th sno and th wind, and thair we'll hav a guud rest befor we tri agen, for we'r boeth of us prity ded beet. Besieds, th sno mae leev off, or sumthing mae tern up.'

   So wuns mor thae got on thair feet, and strugld doun into th del, wherr thae hunted about for a caev or sum corner that was dri and a protecshun frum th keen wind and th wherling sno. Thae wer investigaeting wun of th hummocky bits th Rat had spoeken of, when sudenly th Moel tript up and fel forward on his faes with a sqeel.

   `O mi leg!' he cried. `O mi pur shin!' and he sat up on th sno and nursed his leg in boeth his frunt paws.

   `Pur oeld Moel!' sed th Rat kiendly.

   `U don't seem to be having much luk to-dae, do U? Let's hav a luuk at th leg. Yes,' he went on, going doun on his nees

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to luuk, `U'v cut yur shin, shur enuf. Waet til I get at mi hankerchif, and I'l ti it up for U.'

   `I must hav tript oever a hiden branch or a stump,' sed th Moel mizerably. `O, mi! O, mi!'

   `It's a verry cleen cut,' sed th Rat, examining it agen atentivly. `That was never dun bi a branch or a stump. Luuks as if it was maed bi a sharp ej of sumthing in metal. Funy!' He ponderd awhiel, and examind th humps and sloeps that serounded them.

   `Wel, never miend whut dun it,' sed th Moel, forgeting his gramar in his paen. `It herts just th saem, whutever dun it.'

   But th Rat, after cairfuly tieing up th leg with his hankerchif, had left him and was bizy scraeping in th sno. He scracht and shovelled and explord, all foer legs werking bizily, whiel th Moel waeted impaeshently, remarking at intervals, `O, cum on, Rat!'

   Sudenly th Rat cried `Hoorae!' and then `Hoorae-oo-rae-oo-rae-oo-rae!' and fel to execueting a feebl jig in th sno.

   `Whut hav U found, Ratty?' askt th Moel, stil nersing his leg.

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   `Cum and see!' sed th delieted Rat, as he jigd on.

   Th Moel hobld up to th spot and had a guud luuk.

   `Wel,' he sed at last, sloely, `I see it riet enuf. Seen th saem sort of thing befor, lots of tiems. Familyar object, I call it. A dor-scraeper! Wel, whut of it? Whi dans jigs around a dor-scraeper?'

   `But don't U see whut it meens, U -- U dul-witted animal?' cried th Rat impa-tiently.

   `Of cors I see whut it meens,' replied th Moel. `It simply meens that sum verry cairles and forgetful person has left his dor-scraeper lieing about in th midl of th Wield Wuud, just wherr it's shur to trip evrybody up. Verry thautles of him, I call it. When I get hoem I shal go and complaen about it to -- to sumbody or uther, see if I don't!'

   `O, deer! O, deer!' cried th Rat, in despair at his obtuseness. `Heer, stop argueing and cum and scraep!' And he set to werk agen and maed th sno fli in all direcshuns around him.

   After sum ferther toil his eforts wer reworded, and a verry shaby dor-mat lae expoezd to vue.

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   `Thair, whut did I tel U?' exclaemd th Rat in graet trieumf.

   `Absolootly nuthing whutever,' replied th Moel, with perfect troothfulnes. `Wel now,' he went on, `U seem to hav found anuther pees of domestic liter, dun for and throen awae, and I supoez U'r perfectly hapy. Beter go ahed and dans yur jig round that if U'v got to, and get it oever, and then perhaps we can go on and not waest eny mor tiem oever rubish-heeps. Can we eet a dormat? or sleep under a dor-mat? Or sit on a dor-mat and slej hoem oever th sno on it, U exasperaeting roedent?'

   `Do -- U -- meen -- to -- sae,' cried th exsieted Rat, `that this dor-mat duzn't tel U enything?'

   `Reealy, Rat,' sed th Moel, qiet pettishly, `I think we'd had enuf of this foly. Hoo ever herd of a dor-mat teling enywun enything? Thae simply don't do it. Thae ar not that sort at all. Dor-mats noe thair plaes.'

   `Now luuk heer, U -- U thik-heded beest,' replied th Rat, reealy anggry, `this must stop. Not anuther werd, but scraep -- scraep and scrach and dig and hunt round, espeshaly

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on th sieds of th humoks, if U wont to sleep dri and worm to-niet, for it's our last chans!'

   Th Rat atakt a sno-bank besied them with ardour, proebing with his cujel evrywhair and then diging with fuery; and th Moel scraept bizily too, mor to obliej th Rat than for eny uther reezon, for his opinyon was that his frend was geting liet-heded.

   Sum ten minutes' hard werk, and th point of th Rat's cujel struk sumthing that sounded holo. He werkt til he cuud get a paw thru and feel; then calld th Moel to cum and help him. Hard at it went th too animals, til at last th rezult of thair labours stuud fuul in vue of th astonisht and hitherto increjulus Moel.

   In th sied of whut had seemd to be a sno-bank stuud a solid-luuking litl dor, paented a dark green. An ieern bel-puul hung bi th sied, and belo it, on a small bras plaet, neetly engraevd in sqair capital leters, thae cuud reed bi th aed of moonliet MR. BAJER.

   Th Moel fel bakwards on th sno frum sheer serpriez and deliet. `Rat!' he cried in

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penitens, `U'r a wunder! A reeal wunder, that's whut U ar. I see it all now! U argued it out, step bi step, in that wiez hed of yurs, frum th verry moement that I fel and cut mi shin, and U luukt at th cut, and at wuns yur majestic miend sed to itself, "Dor-scraeper!" And then U ternd to and found th verry dor-scraeper that dun it! Did U stop thair? No. Sum peepl wuud hav bin qiet satisfied; but not U. Yur intelect went on werking. "Let me oenly just fiend a dor-mat," ses U to yurself, "and mi theeory is proovd!" And of cors U found yur dor-mat. U'r so clever, I beleev U cuud fiend enything U liekt. "Now," ses U, "that dor exists, as plaen as if I saw it. Thair's nuthing els remaens to be dun but to fiend it!" Wel, I'v reed about that sort of thing in buuks, but I'v never cum across it befor in reeal lief. U aut to go wherr U'l be properly apreeshiaeted. U'r simply waested heer, amung us feloes. If I oenly had yur hed, Ratty -- -- '

   `But as U havn't,' interupted th Rat, rather unkiendly, `I supoez U'r going to sit on th sno all niet and tauk? Get up at

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wuns and hang on to that bel-puul U see thair, and ring hard, as hard as U can, whiel I hamer!'

   Whiel th Rat atakt th dor with his stik, th Moel sprang up at th bel-puul, clucht it and swung thair, boeth feet wel off th ground, and frum qiet a long wae off thae cuud faently heer a deep-toned bel respond.

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Chapter 4



   THAE waeted paeshently for whut seemd a verry long tiem, stamping in th sno to keep thair feet worm. At last thae herd th sound of slo shuflling fuutsteps aproeching th dor frum th insied. It seemd, as th Moel remarkt to th Rat, liek sum wun wauking in carpet slipers that wer too larj for him and doun at heel; which was intelijent of Moel, becauz that was exactly whut it was.

   Thair was th noiz of a boelt shot bak, and th dor oepend a fue inches, enuf to sho a long snout and a pair of sleepy blinking ies.

   `Now, th verry next tiem this hapens,' sed a gruf and suspishus vois, `I shal be exseedingly anggry. Hoo is it this tiem, disterbing peepl on such a niet? Speek up!'

   `O, Bajer,' cried th Rat, `let us in, pleez.

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It's me, Rat, and mi frend Moel, and we'v lost our wae in th sno.'

   `Whut, Ratty, mi deer litl man!' exclaemd th Bajer, in qiet a diferent vois. `Cum along in, boeth of U, at wuns. Whi, U must be perrisht. Wel I never! Lost in th sno! And in th Wield Wuud, too, and at this tiem of niet! But cum in with U.'

   Th too animals tumbld oever eech uther in thair eegernes to get insied, and herd th dor shut behiend them with graet joi and releef.

   Th Bajer, hoo wor a long dresing-goun, and hoos slipers wer indeed verry doun at heel, carryd a flat candlstik in his paw and had probably bin on his wae to bed when thair sumons sounded. He luukt kiendly doun on them and pated boeth thair heds. `This is not th sort of niet for small animals to be out,' he sed paturnaly. `I'm afraed U'v bin up to sum of yur pranks agen, Ratty. But cum along; cum into th kichen. Thair's a ferst-raet fier thair, and super and evrything.'

   He shufld on in frunt of them, carrying th liet, and thae foloed him, nujing eech uther in an antisipaeting sort of wae, doun

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a long, gloomy, and, to tel th trooth, desiededly shaby pasej, into a sort of a sentral hall; out of which thae cuud dimly see uther long tunel-liek pasejes branching, pasejes misteerius and without aparrent end. But thair wer dors in th hall as wel -- stout oeken cumfortabl-luuking dors. Wun of thees th Bajer flung oepen, and at wuns thae found themselvs in all th glo and wormth of a larj fier-lit kichen.

   Th flor was wel-worn red brik, and on th wied harth bernt a fier of logs, between too atractiv chimny-corners tukt awae in th wall, wel out of eny suspishun of draft. A cupl of hi-bakt setls, faesing eech uther on eether sied of th fier, gaev ferther siting acomodaeshuns for th sociably dispoezd. In th midl of th room stuud a long taebl of plaen bords plaest on tresls, with benches doun eech sied. At wun end of it, wherr an arm-chair stuud puusht bak, wer spred th remaens of th Badger's plaen but ampl super. Roes of spotles plates winkt frum th shelvs of th dreser at th far end of th room, and frum th rafters oeverhed hung hams, bundls of dried herbs, nets of unyons,

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and baskets of egs. It seemd a plaes wherr heeroes cuud fitly feest after victory, wherr weery harvesters cuud lien up in scors along th taebl and keep thair Harvest Hoem with merth and song, or wherr too or three frends of simpl taests cuud sit about as thae pleezd and eet and smoek and tauk in cumfort and contentment. Th rudy brik flor smield up at th smoeky seeling; th oeken setls, shieny with long wair, exchaenjd cheerful glanses with eech uther; plates on th dreser grind at pots on th shelf, and th merry fierliet flikerd and plaed oever evrything without distinkshun.

   Th kiendly Bajer thrust them doun on a setl to toest themselvs at th fier, and baed them remoov thair wet coets and boots. Then he fetched them dresing-gouns and slipers, and himself baethd th Mole's shin with worm wauter and mended th cut with stiking-plaster til th hoel thing was just as guud as nue, if not beter. In th embraesing liet and wormth, worm and dri at last, with weery legs propt up in frunt of them, and a sugjestiv clink of plates being araenjd on th taebl behiend, it seemd to th storm-driven animals, now in

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saef ankorej, that th coeld and trakles Wield Wuud just left outsied was miels and miels awae, and all that thae had suferd in it a haf-forgoten dreem.

   When at last thae wer theroely toested, th Bajer sumond them to th taebl, wherr he had bin bizy laeing a repast. Thae had felt prity hunggry befor, but when thae akchualy saw at last th super that was spred for them, reealy it seemd oenly a qeschun of whut thae shuud atak ferst wherr all was so atractiv, and whether th uther things wuud obliejingly waet for them til thae had tiem to giv them atenshun. Conversaeshun was imposibl for a long tiem; and when it was sloely rezoomd, it was that regretabl sort of conversaeshun that rezults frum tauking with yur mouth fuul. Th Bajer did not miend that sort of thing at all, nor did he taek eny noetis of elboes on th taebl, or evrybody speeking at wuns. As he did not go into Sosieety himself, he had got an iedeea that thees things belongd to th things that didn't reealy mater. (We noe of cors that he was rong, and tuuk too narro a vue; becauz thae do mater verry much, tho it wuud

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taek too long to explaen whi.) He sat in his arm-chair at th hed of th taebl, and noded graevly at intervals as th animals toeld thair story; and he did not seem serpriezd or shokt at enything, and he never sed, `I toeld U so,' or, `Just whut I allwaes sed,' or remarkt that thae aut to hav dun so-and-so, or aut not to hav dun sumthing els. Th Moel began to feel verry frendly tords him.

   When super was reealy finisht at last, and eech animal felt that his skin was now as tiet as was deesently saef, and that bi this tiem he didn't cair a hang for enybody or enything, thae gatherd round th gloeing embers of th graet wuud fier, and thaut how joly it was to be siting up so laet, and so independent, and so fuul; and after thae had chated for a tiem about things in jeneral, th Bajer sed hartily, `Now then! tel us th nues frum yur part of th werld. How's oeld Toed going on?'

   `O, frum bad to wers,' sed th Rat graevly, whiel th Moel, cokt up on a setl and basking in th fierliet, his heels hieer than his hed, tried to luuk properly mornful. `Anuther smash-up oenly last week, and a bad wun. U see, he wil insist on drieving himself,

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and he's hoeplesly incaepabl. If he'd oenly emploi a deesent, stedy, wel-traend animal, pae him guud waejes, and leev evrything to him, he'd get on all riet. But no; he's convinst he's a heven-born driever, and noebody can teech him enything; and all th rest foloes.'

   `How meny has he had?' inqierd th Bajer gloomily.

   `Smashes, or masheens?' askt th Rat. `O, wel, after all, it's th saem thing -- with Toed. This is th seventh. As for th uthers -- U noe that coech-hous of his? Wel, it's pield up -- literaly pield up to th roof -- with fragments of moetor-cars, nun of them biger than yur hat! That acounts for th uther six -- so far as thae can be acounted for.'

   `He's bin in hospital three tiems,' puut in th Moel; `and as for th fiens he's had to pae, it's simply auful to think of.'

   `Yes, and that's part of th trubl,' continued th Rat. `Toad's rich, we all noe; but he's not a milyonair. And he's a hoeplesly bad driever, and qiet regardles of law and order. Kild or rooind -- it's got to be wun of

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th too things, sooner or laeter. Bajer! we'r his frends -- oughtn't we to do sumthing?'

   Th Bajer went thru a bit of hard thinking. `Now luuk heer!' he sed at last, rather seveerly; `of cors U noe I can't do enything now?'

   His too frends asented, qiet understanding his point. No animal, acording to th rools of animal-etiket, is ever expected to do enything strenueus, or heroeic, or eeven moderetly activ during th off-seezon of winter. All ar sleepy -- sum akchualy asleep. All ar wether-bound, mor or les; and all ar resting frum arjuos daes and niets, during which evry musl in them has bin seveerly tested, and evry enerjy kept at fuul strech.

   `Verry wel then!' continued th Bajer. `But, when wuns th yeer has reealy ternd, and th niets ar shorter, and hafwae thru them wun rouses and feels fijety and wonting to be up and doing bi sunriez, if not befor -- U noe! -- -- '

   Boeth animals noded graevly. Thae nue!

   `Wel, then,' went on th Bajer, `we -- that is, U and me and our frend th Moel heer -- we'll taek Toed seeriusly in hand. We'll stand

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no nonsens whutever. We'll bring him bak to reezon, bi fors if need be. We'll maek him be a sensibl Toed. We'll -- U'r asleep, Rat!'

   `Not me!' sed th Rat, waeking up with a jerk.

   `He's bin asleep too or three tiems sinss super,' sed th Moel, lafing. He himself was feeling qiet waekful and eeven lievly, tho he didn't noe whi. Th reezon was, of cors, that he being nacheraly an underground animal bi berth and breeding, th sichuaeshun of Badger's hous exactly sooted him and maed him feel at hoem; whiel th Rat, hoo slept evry niet in a bedroom th windoes of which oepend on a breezy river, nacheraly felt th atmosfeer stil and opresiv.

   `Wel, it's tiem we wer all in bed,' sed th Bajer, geting up and feching flat candlesticks. `Cum along, U too, and I'l sho U yur qorters. And taek yur tiem tomorro morning -- brekfast at eny our U pleez!'

   He conducted th too animals to a long room that seemd haf bedchamber and haf lofft. Th Badger's winter stors, which indeed wer

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vizibl evrywhair, tuuk up haf th room -- piels of apls, ternips, and potaetoes, baskets fuul of nuts, and jars of huny; but th too litl whiet beds on th remaender of th flor luukt sofft and invieting, and th linen on them, tho cors, was cleen and smelt buetyfuly of lavender; and th Moel and th Wauter Rat, shaeking off thair garments in sum therty seconds, tumbld in between th sheets in graet joi and contentment.

   In acordans with th kiendly Badger's injunkshuns, th too tierd animals caem doun to brekfast verry laet next morning, and found a briet fier berning in th kichen, and too yung hedgehogs siting on a bench at th taebl, eeting oetmeel porrij out of wuuden boels. Th hedgehogs dropt thair spoons, roez to thair feet, and dukt thair heds respectfuly as th too enterd.

   `Thair, sit doun, sit doun,' sed th Rat plezantly, `and go on with yur porrij. Wherr hav U yungsters cum frum? Lost yur wae in th sno, I supoez?'

   `Yes, pleez, ser,' sed th elder of th too hedgehogs respectfuly. `Me and litl Billy heer, we was trieing to fiend our wae to scool --

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muther wuud hav us go, was th wether ever so -- and of cors we lost ourselvs, ser, and Billy he got frietend and tuuk and cried, being yung and faent-hearted. And at last we hapend up agenst Mr. Badger's bak dor, and maed so boeld as to nok, ser, for Mr. Bajer he's a kiend-hearted jentlman, as evrywun noes -- -- '

   `I understand,' sed th Rat, cuting himself sum rashers frum a sied of baecon, whiel th Moel dropt sum egs into a sauspan. `And whut's th wether liek outsied? U needn't "ser" me qiet so much?' he aded.

   `O, terribl bad, ser, terribl deep th sno is,' sed th hejhog. `No geting out for th lieks of U jentlmen to-dae.'

   `Wherr's Mr. Bajer?' inqierd th Moel, as he wormd th coffy-pot befor th fier.

   `Th master's gon into his study, ser,' replied th hejhog, `and he sed as how he was going to be particuelar bizy this morning, and on no acount was he to be disterbd.'

   This explanaeshun, of cors, was theroely understuud bi evry wun prezent. Th fact is, as allredy set forth, when U liv a lief of intens activity for six munths in th yeer, and

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of comparrativ or akchual somnolens for th uther six, during th later peeriod U cannot be continuealy pleeding sleepynes when thair ar peepl about or things to be dun. Th excues gets monotonus. Th animals wel nue that Bajer, having eeten a harty brekfast, had retierd to his study and setld himself in an arm-chair with his legs up on anuther and a red coton hankerchif oever his faes, and was being `busy' in th uezhual wae at this tiem of th yeer.

   Th frunt-dor bel clangd loudly, and th Rat, hoo was verry greezy with buterd toest, sent Billy, th smaller hejhog, to see hoo it miet be. Thair was a sound of much stamping in th hall, and prezently Billy reternd in frunt of th Oter, hoo throo himself on th Rat with an embraes and a shout of afecshunet greeting.

   `Get off!' spluttered th Rat, with his mouth fuul.

   `Thaut I shuud fiend U heer all riet,' sed th Oter cheerfuly. `Thae wer all in a graet staet of alarm along River Bank when I arievd this morning. Rat never bin hoem all niet -- nor Moel eether -- sumthing dredful

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must hav hapend, thae sed; and th sno had cuverd up all yur traks, of cors. But I nue that when peepl wer in eny fix thae moestly went to Bajer, or els Bajer got to noe of it sumhow, so I caem straet off heer, thru th Wield Wuud and th sno! Mi! it was fien, cuming thru th sno as th red sun was riezing and shoeing agenst th blak tree-trunks! As U went along in th stilnes, evry now and then mases of sno slid off th branches sudenly with a flop! maeking U jump and run for cuver. Sno-casls and sno-caverns had sprung up out of noewherr in th niet -- and sno brijes, terreses, ramparts -- I cuud hav staed and plaed with them for ours. Heer and thair graet branches had bin torn awae bi th sheer waet of th sno, and robins percht and hopt on them in thair perky conseeted wae, just as if thae had dun it themselvs. A raged string of wield gees past oeverhed, hi on th grae skie, and a fue rooks wherld oever th trees, inspected, and flapt off hoemwards with a disgusted expreshun; but I met no sensibl being to ask th nues of. About hafwae across I caem on a rabit

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siting on a stump, cleening his sily faes with his paws. He was a prity scaird animal when I crept up behiend him and plaest a hevy forepaw on his shoelder. I had to cuf his hed wuns or twies to get eny sens out of it at all. At last I manejd to extract frum him that Moel had bin seen in th Wield Wuud last niet bi wun of them. It was th tauk of th burroes, he sed, how Moel, Mr. Rat's particuelar frend, was in a bad fix; how he had lost his wae, and "Thae" wer up and out hunting, and wer chivvying him round and round. "Then whi didn't eny of U do sumthing?" I askt. "U mayn't be blest with braens, but thair ar hundreds and hundreds of U, big, stout feloes, as fat as buter, and yur burroes runing in all direcshuns, and U cuud hav taeken him in and maed him saef and cumfortabl, or tried to, at all events." "Whut, us?" he meerly sed: "do sumthing? us rabits?" So I cuffed him agen and left him. Thair was nuthing els to be dun. At eny raet, I had learnt sumthing; and if I had had th luk to meet eny of "Them" I'd hav learnt sumthing mor -- or thae wuud.'

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   `Wern't U at all -- er -- nervus?' askt th Moel, sum of yesterday's terror cuming bak to him at th menshun of th Wield Wuud.

   `Nervus?' Th Oter shoed a gleeming set of strong whiet teeth as he laft. `I'd giv 'em nervs if eny of them tried enything on with me. Heer, Moel, fri me sum slieses of ham, liek th guud litl chap U ar. I'm frietfuly hunggry, and I'v got eny amount to sae to Ratty heer. Havn't seen him for an aej.'

   So th guud-naecherd Moel, having cut sum slieses of ham, set th hedgehogs to fri it, and reternd to his oen brekfast, whiel th Oter and th Rat, thair heds together, eegerly taukt river-shop, which is long shop and tauk that is endles, runing on liek th babling river itself.

   A plaet of fried ham had just bin cleerd and sent bak for mor, when th Bajer enterd, yauning and rubing his ies, and greeted them all in his qieet, simpl wae, with kiend enquiries for evry wun. `It must be geting on for lunchon tiem,' he remarkt to th Oter. `Beter stop and hav it with us. U must be hunggry, this coeld morning.'

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   `Rather!' replied th Oter, winking at th Moel. `Th siet of thees greedy yung hedgehogs stufing themselvs with fried ham maeks me feel pozitivly famished.'

   Th hedgehogs, hoo wer just begining to feel hunggry agen after thair porrij, and after werking so hard at thair frieing, luukt timidly up at Mr. Bajer, but wer too shi to sae enything.

   `Heer, U too yungsters be off hoem to yur muther,' sed th Bajer kiendly. `I'l send sum wun with U to sho U th wae. U woen't wont eny diner to-dae, I'l be bound.'

   He gaev them sixpence apees and a pat on th hed, and thae went off with much respectful swinging of caps and tuching of forelocks.

   Prezently thae all sat doun to lunchon together. Th Moel found himself plaest next to Mr. Bajer, and, as th uther too wer stil deep in river-gosip frum which nuthing cuud divert them, he tuuk th oportuenity to tel Bajer how cumfortabl and hoem-liek it all felt to him. `Wuns wel underground,' he sed, `U noe exactly wherr U ar. Nuthing

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can hapen to U, and nuthing can get at U. U'r entierly yur oen master, and U don't hav to consult enybody or miend whut thae sae. Things go on all th saem oeverhed, and U let 'em, and don't bother about 'em. When U wont to, up U go, and thair th things ar, waeting for U.'

   Th Bajer simply beemd on him. `That's exactly whut I sae,' he replied. `Thair's no secuerity, or pees and tranquillity, exsept underground. And then, if yur iedeeas get larjer and U wont to expand -- whi, a dig and a scraep, and thair U ar! If U feel yur hous is a bit too big, U stop up a hoel or too, and thair U ar agen! No bilders, no traedzmen, no remarks past on U bi feloes luuking oever yur wall, and, abuv all, no wether. Luuk at Rat, now. A cupl of feet of flud wauter, and he's got to moov into hierd lojings; uncumfortabl, inconveniently sichuaeted, and horribly expensiv. Taek Toed. I sae nuthing agenst Toed Hall; qiet th best hous in thees parts, as a hous. But supoezing a fier braeks out -- wherr's Toed? Supoezing tiels ar bloen off, or walls sink or crak, or windoes get broeken -- wherr's Toed?

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Supoezing th rooms ar drafty -- I haet a draft mieself -- wherr's Toed? No, up and out of dors is guud enuf to roem about and get one's living in; but underground to cum bak to at last -- that's mi iedeea of hoem!'

   Th Moel asented hartily; and th Bajer in conseqens got verry frendly with him. `When lunch is oever,' he sed, `I'l taek U all round this litl plaes of mien. I can see U'l apreeshiaet it. U understand whut domestic arkitekcher aut to be, U do.'

   After lunchon, acordingly, when th uther too had setld themselvs into th chimny-corner and had started a heeted arguement on th subject of eels, th Bajer lieted a lantern and baed th Moel folo him. Crossing th hall, thae past doun wun of th prinsipal tunels, and th wavering liet of th lantern gaev glimpses on eether sied of rooms boeth larj and small, sum meer cubords, uthers neerly as braud and impoezing as Toad's diening-hall. A narro pasej at riet anggls led them into anuther coridor, and heer th saem thing was repeeted. Th Moel was stagerd at th siez, th extent, th ramificaeshuns of it all; at th length of th dim pasejes, th solid

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vaultings of th cramd stor-chaembers, th maesonry evrywhair, th pilars, th arches, th paevments. `How on erth, Bajer,' he sed at last, `did U ever fiend tiem and strength to do all this? It's astonishing!'

   `It wuud be astonishing indeed,' sed th Bajer simply, `if I had dun it. But as a mater of fact I did nun of it -- oenly cleend out th pasejes and chaembers, as far as I had need of them. Thair's lots mor of it, all round about. I see U don't understand, and I must explaen it to U. Wel, verry long ago, on th spot wherr th Wield Wuud waevs now, befor ever it had planted itself and groen up to whut it now is, thair was a sity -- a sity of peepl, U noe. Heer, wherr we ar standing, thae livd, and waukt, and taukt, and slept, and carryd on thair biznes. Heer thae staebld thair horses and feasted, frum heer thae roed out to fiet or droev out to traed. Thae wer a powerful peepl, and rich, and graet bilders. Thae bilt to last, for thae thaut thair sity wuud last for ever.'

   `But whut has becum of them all?' askt th Moel.

   `Hoo can tel?' sed th Bajer. `Peepl

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cum -- thae stae for a whiel, thae flerish, thae bild -- and thae go. It is thair wae. But we remaen. Thair wer badgers heer, I'v bin toeld, long befor that saem sity ever caem to be. And now thair ar badgers heer agen. We ar an enduring lot, and we mae moov out for a tiem, but we waet, and ar paeshent, and bak we cum. And so it wil ever be.'

   `Wel, and when thae went at last, thoes peepl?' sed th Moel.

   `When thae went,' continued th Bajer, `th strong winds and persistent raens tuuk th mater in hand, paeshently, seeslesly, yeer after yeer. Perhaps we badgers too, in our small wae, helpt a litl -- hoo noes? It was all doun, doun, doun, grajualy -- rooin and levelling and disapeerans. Then it was all up, up, up, grajualy, as seeds groo to saplings, and saplings to forest trees, and brambl and fern caem creeping in to help. Leef-moeld roez and obliteraeted, streems in thair winter freshets braut sand and soil to clog and to cuver, and in cors of tiem our hoem was redy for us agen, and we moovd in. Up abuv us, on th serfis, th saem thing hapend. Animals arievd, liekt th luuk of th plaes, tuuk up

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thair qorters, setld doun, spred, and flerisht. Thae didn't bother themselvs about th past -- thae never do; thae'r too bizy. Th plaes was a bit humpy and hillocky, nacheraly, and fuul of hoels; but that was rather an advantej. And thae don't bother about th fuecher, eether -- th fuecher when perhaps th peepl wil moov in agen -- for a tiem -- as mae verry wel be. Th Wield Wuud is prity wel popuelaeted bi now; with all th uezhual lot, guud, bad, and indiferent -- I naem no naems. It taeks all sorts to maek a werld. But I fansy U noe sumthing about them yurself bi this tiem.'

   `I do indeed,' sed th Moel, with a sliet shiver.

   `Wel, wel,' sed th Bajer, pating him on th shoelder, `it was yur ferst expeeryens of them, U see. Thae'r not so bad reealy; and we must all liv and let liv. But I'l pas th werd around to-morro, and I think U'l hav no ferther trubl. Eny frend of mien wauks wherr he lieks in this cuntry, or I'l noe th reezon whi!'

   When thae got bak to th kichen agen, thae found th Rat wauking up and doun, verry

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restles. Th underground atmosfeer was oppressing him and geting on his nervs, and he seemd reealy to be afraed that th river wuud run awae if he wasn't thair to luuk after it. So he had his oevercoet on, and his pistols thrust into his belt agen. `Cum along, Moel,' he sed ankshusly, as soon as he caut siet of them. `We must get off whiel it's daeliet. Don't wont to spend anuther niet in th Wield Wuud agen.'

   `It'l be all riet, mi fien felo,' sed th Oter. `I'm cuming along with U, and I noe evry path bliendfoeld; and if thair's a hed that needs to be puncht, U can confidently reli upon me to punch it.'

   `U reealy needn't fret, Ratty,' aded th Bajer plasidly. `Mi pasejes run ferther than U think, and I'v boelt-hoels to th ej of th wuud in several direcshuns, tho I don't cair for evrybody to noe about them. When U reealy hav to go, U shal leev bi wun of mi short cuts. Meentiem, maek yurself eezy, and sit doun agen.'

   Th Rat was nevertheles stil ankshus to be off and atend to his river, so th Bajer, taeking up his lantern agen, led th wae along

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a damp and airles tunel that wound and dipt, part vallted, part huen thru solid rok, for a weery distans that seemd to be miels. At last daeliet began to sho itself confuezedly thru tanggld groeth oeverhanging th mouth of th pasej; and th Bajer, biding them a haesty guud-bi, puusht them herydly thru th oepening, maed evrything luuk as nacheral as posibl agen, with creepers, brushwuud, and ded leevs, and retreeted.

   Thae found themselvs standing on th verry ej of th Wield Wuud. Roks and brambls and tree-roots behiend them, confuezedly heept and tanggld; in frunt, a graet spaes of qieet feelds, hemd bi liens of hejes blak on th sno, and, far ahed, a glint of th familyar oeld river, whiel th wintry sun hung red and lo on th horiezon. Th Oter, as noeing all th paths, tuuk charj of th party, and thae traeld out on a bee-lien for a distant stiel. Pauzing thair a moement and luuking bak, thae saw th hoel mas of th Wield Wuud, dens, menising, compact, grimly set in vast whiet seroundings; siemultaeniusly thae ternd and maed swiftly for hoem, for fierliet and th familyar things it plaed on,

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for th vois, sounding cheerily outsied thair windo, of th river that thae nue and trusted in all its moods, that never maed them afraed with eny amaezment.

   As he heryd along, eegerly antisipaeting th moement when he wuud be at hoem agen amung th things he nue and liekt, th Moel saw cleerly that he was an animal of tild feeld and hej-ro, linkt to th ploughed fero, th freqented pascher, th laen of eevning lingerings, th cultivaeted garden-plot. For uthers th asperities, th stuborn endurans, or th clash of akchual conflict, that went with Naecher in th ruf; he must be wiez, must keep to th plezant plaeses in which his liens wer laed and which held advencher enuf, in thair wae, to last for a lieftiem.

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Chapter 5



   TH sheep ran hudling together agenst th herdls, bloeing out thin nostrils and stamping with deliket for-feet, thair heds throen bak and a liet steem riezing frum th crouded sheep-pen into th frosty air, as th too animals haesend bi in hi spirits, with much chater and lafter. Thae wer reterning across cuntry after a long day's outing with Oter, hunting and exploring on th wied uplands wherr serten streems tribuetairy to thair oen River had thair ferst small beginings; and th shaeds of th short winter dae wer cloezing in on them, and thae had stil sum distans to go. Ploding at random across th plough, thae had herd th sheep and had maed for them; and now, leeding frum th sheep-pen, thae found a beeten trak that maed wauking a lieter biznes, and responded,

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moroever, to that small inqiering sumthing which all animals carry insied them, saeing unmistaekably, `Yes, qiet riet; this leeds hoem!'

   `It luuks as if we wer cuming to a vilej,' sed th Moel sumwhut dubiously, slakening his paes, as th trak, that had in tiem becum a path and then had developt into a laen, now handed them oever to th charj of a wel-metalled roed. Th animals did not hoeld with vilejes, and thair oen hiewaes, thikly freqented as thae wer, tuuk an independent cors, regardles of cherch, poest offis, or public-hous.

   `O, never miend!' sed th Rat. `At this seezon of th yeer thae'r all saef indors bi this tiem, siting round th fier; men, wimen, and children, daugs and cats and all. We shal slip thru all riet, without eny bother or unplezantnes, and we can hav a luuk at them thru thair windoes if U liek, and see whut thae'r doing.'

   Th rapid nietfual of mid-December had qiet beset th litl vilej as thae aproecht it on sofft feet oever a ferst thin fall of poudery sno. Litl was vizibl but sqairs of a dusky

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orenj-red on eether sied of th street, wherr th fierliet or lampliet of eech cotej oeverfloed thru th casements into th dark werld without. Moest of th lo latticed windoes wer inosent of bliends, and to th lookers-in frum outsied, th inmaets, gatherd round th tee-taebl, absorbd in handywerk, or tauking with lafter and jescher, had eech that hapy graes which is th last thing th skild actor shal capcher -- th nacheral graes which goes with perfect unconsciousness of obzervaeshun. Mooving at wil frum wun theeater to anuther, th too spectaetors, so far frum hoem themselvs, had sumthing of wistfulness in thair ies as thae wocht a cat being stroekt, a sleepy chield pikt up and hudld off to bed, or a tierd man strech and nok out his piep on th end of a smouldering log.

   But it was frum wun litl windo, with its bliend drawn doun, a meer blank transpairensy on th niet, that th sens of hoem and th litl curtend werld within walls -- th larjer stresful werld of outsied Naecher shut out and forgoten -- moest pulsaeted. Cloes agenst th whiet bliend hung a berd-caej, cleerly silooeted, evry wier, perch, and appurtenance distinkt

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and recognisable, eeven to yesterday's dul-ejd lump of shuugar. On th midl perch th flufy ocuepant, hed tukt wel into fethers, seemd so neer to them as to be eezily stroekt, had thae tried; eeven th deliket tips of his plumpt-out ploomej pencilled plaenly on th iloominaeted screen. As thae luukt, th sleepy litl felo sterd uneezily, woek, shuuk himself, and raezd his hed. Thae cuud see th gaep of his tieny beek as he yawned in a bord sort of wae, luukt round, and then setld his hed into his bak agen, whiel th rufld fethers grajualy subsieded into perfect stilnes. Then a gust of biter wind tuuk them in th bak of th nek, a small sting of froezen sleet on th skin woek them as frum a dreem, and thae nue thair toes to be coeld and thair legs tierd, and thair oen hoem distant a weery wae.

   Wuns beyond th vilej, wherr th cotejes seest abruptly, on eether sied of th roed thae cuud smel thru th darknes th frendly feelds agen; and thae braest themselvs for th last long strech, th hoem strech, th strech that we noe is bound to end, sum tiem, in th ratl of th dor-lach, th suden fierliet, and th siet of familyar things greeting

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us as long-absent travelers frum far oever-see. Thae ploded along stedily and sielently, eech of them thinking his oen thauts. Th Mole's ran a guud deel on super, as it was pich-dark, and it was all a straenj cuntry for him as far as he nue, and he was foloeing oebeedyently in th waek of th Rat, leeving th giedans entierly to him. As for th Rat, he was wauking a litl wae ahed, as his habit was, his shoelders humpt, his ies fixt on th straet grae roed in frunt of him; so he did not noetis pur Moel when sudenly th sumons reecht him, and tuuk him liek an electric shok.

   We uthers, hoo hav long lost th mor sutl of th fizical senses, hav not eeven proper terms to expres an animal's inter-comuenicaeshuns with his seroundings, living or utherwiez, and hav oenly th werd `smel,' for instans, to inclood th hoel raenj of deliket thrils which mermer in th noez of th animal niet and dae, summoning, worning? insieting, repeling. It was wun of thees misteerius fairy calls frum out th void that sudenly reecht Moel in th darknes, maeking him tinggl thru and thru with its verry familyar apeel, eeven

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whiel yet he cuud not cleerly remember whut it was. He stopt ded in his traks, his noez serching hither and thither in its eforts to re-capcher th fien filament, th telegrafic curent, that had so strongly moovd him. A moement, and he had caut it agen; and with it this tiem caem recolecshun in fuulest flud.

   Hoem! That was whut thae ment, thoes caresing apeels, thoes sofft tuches wafted thru th air, thoes invisibl litl hands puuling and tuging, all wun wae! Whi, it must be qiet cloes bi him at that moement, his oeld hoem that he had herydly forsaeken and never saut agen, that dae when he ferst found th river! And now it was sending out its scouts and its mesenjers to capcher him and bring him in. Sinss his escaep on that briet morning he had hardly given it a thaut, so absorbd had he bin in his nue lief, in all its plezhers, its serpriezes, its fresh and captivaeting expeeryenses. Now, with a rush of oeld memorys, how cleerly it stuud up befor him, in th darknes! Shaby indeed, and small and purly fernisht, and yet his, th hoem he had maed for himself, th hoem he had bin so hapy to get bak to after his day's werk.

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And th hoem had bin hapy with him, too, evidently, and was mising him, and wonted him bak, and was teling him so, thru his noez, sorrowfully, reproachfully, but with no biternes or angger; oenly with plaentiv remiender that it was thair, and wonted him.

   Th call was cleer, th sumons was plaen. He must oebae it instantly, and go. `Ratty!' he calld, fuul of joiful exsietment, `hoeld on! Cum bak! I wont U, qik!'

   `O, cum along, Moel, do!' replied th Rat cheerfuly, stil ploding along.

   `Pleez stop, Ratty!' pleeded th pur Moel, in anggwish of hart. `U don't understand! It's mi hoem, mi oeld hoem! I'v just cum across th smel of it, and it's cloes bi heer, reealy qiet cloes. And I must go to it, I must, I must! O, cum bak, Ratty! Pleez, pleez cum bak!'

   Th Rat was bi this tiem verry far ahed, too far to heer cleerly whut th Moel was calling, too far to cach th sharp noet of paenful apeel in his vois. And he was much taeken up with th wether, for he too cuud smel sumthing -- sumthing suspishusly liek aproeching sno.

   `Moel, we mustn't stop now, reealy!' he calld

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bak. `We'll cum for it to-morro, whutever it is U'v found. But I daren't stop now -- it's laet, and th snow's cuming on agen, and I'm not shur of th wae! And I wont yur noez, Moel, so cum on qik, thair's a guud felo!' And th Rat prest forward on his wae without waeting for an anser.

   Pur Moel stuud aloen in th roed, his hart torn asunder, and a big sob gathering, gathering, sumwherr lo doun insied him, to leep up to th serfis prezently, he nue, in pashunet escaep. But eeven under such a test as this his loialty to his frend stuud ferm. Never for a moement did he dreem of abandoning him. Meenwhiel, th wafts frum his oeld hoem pleeded, whisperd, conjerd, and fienaly claemd him impeeriusly. He daird not tarry longger within thair majic sercl. With a rench that tore his verry hartstrings he set his faes doun th roed and foloed submissively in th trak of th Rat, whiel faent, thin litl smels, stil dauging his retreeting noez, reproached him for his nue frendship and his calus forgetfulnes.

   With an efort he caut up to th unsuspecting Rat, hoo began chatering cheerfuly about whut thae wuud do when thae got bak, and

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how joly a fier of logs in th parlour wuud be, and whut a super he ment to eet; never noetising his companion's sielens and distressful staet of miend. At last, however, when thae had gon sum considerabl wae ferther, and wer pasing sum tree-stumps at th ej of a copse that borderd th roed, he stopt and sed kiendly, `Luuk heer, Moel oeld chap, U seem ded tierd. No tauk left in U, and yur feet draging liek leed. We'll sit doun heer for a minit and rest. Th sno has held off so far, and th best part of our jerny is oever.'

   Th Moel subsieded forlornly on a tree-stump and tried to controel himself, for he felt it shurly cuming. Th sob he had faut with so long refuezd to be beeten. Up and up, it forst its wae to th air, and then anuther, and anuther, and uthers thik and fast; til pur Moel at last gaev up th strugl, and cried freely and helplesly and oepenly, now that he nue it was all oever and he had lost whut he cuud hardly be sed to hav found.

   Th Rat, astonisht and dismaed at th vieolens of Mole's parroxizm of greef, did not dair to speek for a whiel. At last he sed, verry

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qieetly and simpatheticaly, `Whut is it, oeld felo? Whutever can be th mater? Tel us yur trubl, and let me see whut I can do.'

   Pur Moel found it dificult to get eny werds out between th upheevals of his chest that foloed wun upon anuther so qikly and held bak speech and choekt it as it caem. `I noe it's a -- shaby, dinjy litl plaes,' he sobd forth at last, broekenly: `not liek -- yur coezy qorters -- or Toad's buetyful hall -- or Badger's graet hous -- but it was mi oen litl hoem -- and I was fond of it -- and I went awae and forgot all about it -- and then I smelt it sudenly -- on th roed, when I calld and U wuudn't lisen, Rat -- and evrything caem bak to me with a rush -- and I wonted it! -- O deer, O deer! -- and when U wuudn't tern bak, Ratty -- and I had to leev it, tho I was smeling it all th tiem -- I thaut mi hart wuud braek. -- We miet hav just gon and had wun luuk at it, Ratty -- oenly wun luuk -- it was cloes bi -- but U wuudn't tern bak, Ratty, U wuudn't tern bak! O deer, O deer!'

   Recolecshun braut fresh waevs of sorro,

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and sobs agen tuuk fuul charj of him, preventing ferther speech.

   Th Rat staird straet in frunt of him, saeing nuthing, oenly pating Moel jently on th shoelder. After a tiem he muterd gloomily, `I see it all now! Whut a pig I hav bin! A pig -- that's me! Just a pig -- a plaen pig!'

   He waeted til Mole's sobs becaem grajualy les stormy and mor rithmical; he waeted til at last sniffs wer freeqent and sobs oenly intermitent. Then he roez frum his seet, and, remarking cairlesly, `Wel, now we'd reealy beter be geting on, oeld chap!' set off up th roed agen, oever th toilsum wae thae had cum.

   `Wherrever ar U (hic) going to (hic), Ratty?' cried th teerful Moel, luuking up in alarm.

   `We'r going to fiend that hoem of yurs, oeld felo,' replied th Rat plezantly; `so U had beter cum along, for it wil taek sum fiending, and we shal wont yur noez.'

   `O, cum bak, Ratty, do!' cried th Moel, geting up and herying after him. `It's no guud, I tel U! It's too laet, and too dark,

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and th plaes is too far off, and th snow's cuming! And -- and I never ment to let U noe I was feeling that wae about it -- it was all an acsident and a mistaek! And think of River Bank, and yur super!'

   `Hang River Bank, and super too!' sed th Rat hartily. `I tel U, I'm going to fiend this plaes now, if I stae out all niet. So cheer up, oeld chap, and taek mi arm, and we'll verry soon be bak thair agen.'

   Stil snuffling, pleeding, and reluctant, Moel suferd himself to be dragd bak along th roed bi his impeerius companyon, hoo bi a flo of cheerful tauk and anecdoet endeavoured to begiel his spirits bak and maek th weery wae seem shorter. When at last it seemd to th Rat that thae must be neering that part of th roed wherr th Moel had bin `held up,' he sed, `Now, no mor tauking. Biznes! Uez yur noez, and giv yur miend to it.'

   Thae moovd on in sielens for sum litl wae, when sudenly th Rat was conshus, thru his arm that was linkt in Mole's, of a faent sort of electric thril that was pasing doun that animal's body. Instantly he

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disengaged himself, fel bak a paes, and waeted, all atenshun.

   Th signals wer cuming thru!

   Moel stuud a moement rijid, whiel his uplifted noez, qivering slietly, felt th air.

   Then a short, qik run forward -- a fallt -- a chek -- a tri bak; and then a slo, stedy, confident advans.

   Th Rat, much exsieted, kept cloes to his heels as th Moel, with sumthing of th air of a sleep-wauker, crosst a dri dich, scrambld thru a hej, and nosed his wae oever a feeld oepen and trakles and bair in th faent starliet.

   Sudenly, without giving worning, he dievd; but th Rat was on th alert, and promptly foloed him doun th tunel to which his unerring noez had faethfuly led him.

   It was cloes and airles, and th erthy smel was strong, and it seemd a long tiem to Rat err th pasej ended and he cuud stand erect and strech and shaek himself. Th Moel struk a mach, and bi its liet th Rat saw that thae wer standing in an oepen spaes, neetly swept and sanded underfuut, and directly faesing them was Mole's litl frunt dor, with

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`Moel End' paented, in Gothic letering, oever th bel-puul at th sied.

   Moel reecht doun a lantern frum a nael on th wael and lit it, and th Rat, luuking round him, saw that thae wer in a sort of for-cort. A garden-seet stuud on wun sied of th dor, and on th uther a roeler; for th Moel, hoo was a tiedy animal when at hoem, cuud not stand having his ground kikt up bi uther animals into litl runs that ended in erth-heeps. On th walls hung wier baskets with ferns in them, allternaeting with brakets carrying plaster stachuairy -- Garibaldi, and th infant Samuel, and Qeen Victoria, and uther heeroes of modern Italy. Doun on wun sied of th forecourt ran a skittle-aly, with benches along it and litl wuuden taebls markt with rings that hinted at beer-mugs. In th midl was a small round pond contaening goeld-fish and serounded bi a cockle-shel border. Out of th senter of th pond roez a fansyful erecshun cloethd in mor cockle-shels and topt bi a larj silvered glas ball that reflected evrything all rong and had a verry pleezing efect.

   Mole's faes-beemd at th siet of all thees objects so deer to him, and he heryd Rat

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thru th dor, lit a lamp in th hall, and tuuk wun glans round his oeld hoem. He saw th dust lieing thik on evrything, saw th cheerles, dezerted luuk of th long-neglected hous, and its narro, meagre dimenshuns, its worn and shaby contents -- and colapst agen on a hall-chair, his noez to his paws. `O Ratty!' he cried dizmaly, `whi ever did I do it? Whi did I bring U to this pur, coeld litl plaes, on a niet liek this, when U miet hav bin at River Bank bi this tiem, toesting yur toes befor a blaezing fier, with all yur oen nies things about U!'

   Th Rat paed no heed to his doelful self-reproeches. He was runing heer and thair, oepening dors, inspecting rooms and cubords, and lieting lamps and candls and stiking them, up evrywhair. `Whut a capital litl hous this is!' he calld out cheerily. `So compact! So wel pland! Evrything heer and evrything in its plaes! We'll maek a joly niet of it. Th ferst thing we wont is a guud fier; I'l see to that -- I allwaes noe wherr to fiend things. So this is th parlour? Splendid! Yur oen iedeea, thoes litl sleeping-bunks in th wall? Capital! Now, I'l fech th wuud

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and th coels, and U get a duster, Moel -- U'l fiend wun in th dror of th kichen taebl -- and tri and smarten things up a bit. Busl about, oeld chap!'

   Encurejd bi his inspiriting companyon, th Moel rouzd himself and dusted and polisht with enerjy and hartynes, whiel th Rat, runing to and fro with armfuls of fueel, soon had a cheerful blaez roring up th chimny. He haeld th Moel to cum and worm himself; but Moel promptly had anuther fit of th bloos, droping doun on a couch in dark despair and berrying his faes in his duster. `Rat,' he moend, `how about yur super, U pur, coeld, hunggry, weery animal? I'v nuthing to giv U -- nuthing -- not a crum!'

   `Whut a felo U ar for giving in!' sed th Rat reproachfully. `Whi, oenly just now I saw a sardeen-oepener on th kichen dreser, qiet distinktly; and evrybody noes that meens thair ar sardeens about sumwherr in th naeborhuud. Rouz yurself! puul yurself together, and cum with me and forej.'

   Thae went and foraged acordingly, hunting thru evry cubord and terning out evry dror. Th rezult was not so verry depresing

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after all, tho of cors it miet hav bin beter; a tin of sardeens -- a box of captain's biskits, neerly fuul -- and a German sausej encaest in silver paeper.

   `Thair's a banqet for U!' obzervd th Rat, as he araenjd th taebl. `I noe sum animals hoo wuud giv thair eers to be siting doun to super with us to-niet!'

   `No bred!' groend th Moel dolorously; `no buter, no -- -- '

   `No paet de foie gras, no shampaen!' continued th Rat, grining. `And that remiends me -- whut's that litl dor at th end of th pasej? Yur selar, of cors! Evry lugzhury in this hous! Just U waet a minit.'

   He maed for th selar-dor, and prezently re-apeerd, sumwhut dusty, with a botl of beer in eech paw and anuther under eech arm, `Self-induljent begar U seem to be, Moel,' he obzervd. `Deni yurself nuthing. This is reealy th jolliest litl plaes I ever was in. Now, wherrever did U pik up thoes prints? Maek th plaes luuk so hoem-liek, thae do. No wunder U'r so fond of it, Moel. Tel us all about it, and how U caem to maek it whut it is.'

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   Then, whiel th Rat bizyd himself feching plates, and nievs and forks, and mustard which he mixt in an eg-cup, th Moel, his buuzom stil heeving with th stres of his reesent emoeshun, relaeted -- sumwhut shiely at ferst, but with mor freedom as he wormd to his subject -- how this was pland, and how that was thaut out, and how this was got thru a windfall frum an ant, and that was a wunderful fiend and a bargen, and this uther thing was baut out of laborius saevings and a serten amount of `going without.' His spirits fienaly qiet restord, he must needs go and cares his pozeshuns, and taek a lamp and sho off thair points to his vizitor and expaeshiaet on them, qiet forgetful of th super thae boeth so much needed; Rat, hoo was desperetly hunggry but stroev to conseel it, noding seeriusly, examining with a pukerd brow, and saeing, `wunderful,' and `moest remarkabl,' at intervals, when th chans for an obzervaeshun was given him.

   At last th Rat sucseeded in decoying him to th taebl, and had just got seeriusly to werk with th sardeen-oepener when sounds wer herd frum th for-cort without -- sounds liek th

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scufling of small feet in th gravel and a confuezd mermer of tieny voises, whiel broeken sentenses reecht them -- `Now, all in a lien -- hoeld th lantern up a bit, Tommy -- cleer yur throets ferst -- no caufing after I sae wun, too, three. -- Wherr's yung Bil? -- Heer, cum on, do, we'r all a-waeting -- -- '

   `Whut's up?' inqierd th Rat, pauzing in his labours.

   `I think it must be th feeld-mies,' replied th Moel, with a tuch of pried in his maner. `Thae go round carrol-singing reguelarly at this tiem of th yeer. Thae'r qiet an institueshun in thees parts. And thae never pas me oever -- thae cum to Moel End last of all; and I uezd to giv them hot drinks, and super too sumtiems, when I cuud aford it. It wil be liek oeld tiems to heer them agen.'

   `Let's hav a luuk at them!' cried th Rat, jumping up and runing to th dor.

   It was a prity siet, and a seezonabl wun, that met thair ies when thae flung th dor oepen. In th for-cort, lit bi th dim raes of a horn lantern, sum aet or ten litl feeld-mies stuud in a semysercl, red wuusted comforters round thair throets, thair for-paws

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thrust deep into thair pokets, thair feet jigging for wormth. With briet beedy ies thae glanst shiely at eech uther, sniggering a litl, snifing and aplieing coet-sleevs a guud deel. As th dor oepend, wun of th elder wuns that carryd th lantern was just saeing, `Now then, wun, too, three!' and forthwith thair shril litl voises uprose on th air, singing wun of th oeld-tiem carrols that thair forfaathers compoezd in feelds that wer falo and held bi frost, or when sno-bound in chimny corners, and handed doun to be sung in th miry street to lamp-lit windoes at Yool-tiem.


Vilejers all, this frosty tied,
Let yur dors swing oepen wied,
Tho wind mae folo, and sno besied,
Yet draw us in bi yur fier to bied;
Joi shal be yurs in th morning!
Heer we stand in th coeld and th sleet,
Bloeing finggers and stamping feet,
Cum frum far awae U to greet --
U bi th fier and we in th street --
Biding U joi in th morning!
For err wun haf of th niet was gon,
Suden a star has led us on,
Raening blis and benison --
Blis to-morro and mor anon,
Joi for evry morning!

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Goodman Joseph toild thru th sno --
Saw th star o'er a staebl lo;
Mary she miet not ferther go --
Welcum thach, and liter belo!
Joi was hers in th morning!
And then thae herd th aenjels tel
`Hoo wer th ferst to cri Nowell?
Animals all, as it befel,
In th staebl wherr thae did dwel!
Joi shal be theirs in th morning!'

   Th voises seest, th singers, bashful but smieling, exchaenjd siedlong glanses, and sielens sucseeded -- but for a moement oenly. Then, frum up abuv and far awae, doun th tunel thae had so laetly traveld was born to thair eers in a faent muezical hum th sound of distant bels ringing a joiful and clangorous peel.

   `Verry wel sung, bois!' cried th Rat hartily. `And now cum along in, all of U, and worm yurselvs bi th fier, and hav sumthing hot!'

   `Yes, cum along, feeld-mies,' cried th Moel eegerly. `This is qiet liek oeld tiems! Shut th dor after U. Puul up that setl to th fier. Now, U just waet a minit, whiel we -- O, Ratty!' he cried in despair, plumping doun on a seet, with teers impending. `Whutever ar we doing? We'v nuthing to giv them!'

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   `U leev all that to me,' sed th masterful Rat. `Heer, U with th lantern! Cum oever this wae. I wont to tauk to U. Now, tel me, ar thair eny shops oepen at this our of th niet?'

   `Whi, sertenly, ser,' replied th feeld-mous respectfuly. `At this tiem of th yeer our shops keep oepen to all sorts of ours.'

   `Then luuk heer!' sed th Rat. `U go off at wuns, U and yur lantern, and U get me -- -- '

   Heer much muterd conversaeshun ensood, and th Moel oenly herd bits of it, such as -- `Fresh, miend! -- no, a pound of that wil do -- see U get Buggins's, for I woen't hav eny uther -- no, oenly th best -- if U can't get it thair, tri sumwherr els -- yes, of cors, hoem-maed, no tinned stuf -- wel then, do th best U can!' Fienaly, thair was a chink of coin pasing frum paw to paw, th feeld-mous was provieded with an ampl basket for his perchases, and off he heryd, he and his lantern.

   Th rest of th feeld-mies, percht in a ro on th setl, thair small legs swinging, gaev themselvs up to enjoiment of th fier, and toested thair chilblaens til thae tingled;

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whiel th Moel, faeling to draw them into eezy conversaeshun, plunjd into family history and maed eech of them resiet th naems of his nuemerus bruthers, hoo wer too yung, it apeerd, to be alowd to go out a-carolling this yeer, but luukt forward verry shortly to wining th parental consent.

   Th Rat, meenwhiel, was bizy examining th laebel on wun of th beer-botls. `I perseev this to be Oeld Burton,' he remarkt aproovingly. `Sensibl Moel! Th verry thing! Now we shal be aebl to mul sum ael! Get th things redy, Moel, whiel I draw th corks.'

   It did not taek long to prepair th broo and thrust th tin heeter wel into th red hart of th fier; and soon evry feeld-mous was siping and caufing and choeking (for a litl muld ael goes a long wae) and wieping his ies and lafing and forgeting he had ever bin coeld in all his lief.

   `Thae act plaes too, thees feloes,' th Moel explaend to th Rat. `Maek them up all bi themselvs, and act them afterwards. And verry wel thae do it, too! Thae gaev us a capital wun last yeer, about a feeld-mous hoo

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was capcherd at see bi a Barbary corsair, and maed to ro in a galy; and when he escaept and got hoem agen, his laedy-luv had gon into a convent. Heer, U! U wer in it, I remember. Get up and resiet a bit.'

   Th feeld-mous adrest got up on his legs, gigld shiely, luukt round th room, and remaend absolootly tung-tied. His comrads cheerd him on, Moel coext and encurejd him, and th Rat went so far as to taek him bi th shoelders and shaek him; but nuthing cuud oevercum his staej-friet. Thae wer all bizily engaejd on him liek watermen aplieing th Roial Huemaen Society's reguelaeshuns to a caes of long submerzhun, when th lach clikt, th dor oepend, and th feeld-mous with th lantern re-apeerd, stagering under th waet of his basket.

   Thair was no mor tauk of plae-acting wuns th verry reeal and solid contents of th basket had bin tumbld out on th taebl. Under th jeneralship of Rat, evrybody was set to do sumthing or to fech sumthing. In a verry fue minits super was redy, and Moel, as he tuuk th hed of th taebl in a sort of a dreem, saw a laetly barren bord set thik with savoury

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cumforts; saw his litl friends' faeses brighten and beem as thae fel to without delae; and then let himself loos -- for he was famished indeed -- on th provender so majicaly provieded, thinking whut a hapy hoem-cuming this had ternd out, after all. As thae aet, thae taukt of oeld tiems, and th feeld-mies gaev him th loecal gosip up to daet, and anserd as wel as thae cuud th hundred qeschuns he had to ask them. Th Rat sed litl or nuthing, oenly taeking cair that eech gest had whut he wonted, and plenty of it, and that Moel had no trubl or angzieity about enything.

   Thae claterd off at last, verry graetful and showering wishes of th seezon, with thair jaket pokets stuft with remembranses for th small bruthers and sisters at hoem. When th dor had cloezd on th last of them and th chink of th lanterns had died awae, Moel and Rat kikt th fier up, droo thair chairs in, brood themselvs a last nightcap of muld ael, and discust th events of th long dae. At last th Rat, with a tremendus yaun, sed, `Moel, oeld chap, I'm redy to drop. Sleepy is simply not th werd. That yur oen bunk oever on that sied? Verry wel, then, I'l taek this.

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Whut a riping litl hous this is! Evrything so handy!'

   He clamberd into his bunk and roeld himself wel up in th blankets, and slumber gatherd him forthwith, as a swathe of barly is foelded into th arms of th reeping masheen.

   Th weery Moel allso was glad to tern in without delae, and soon had his hed on his pilo, in graet joi and contentment. But err he cloezd his ies he let them waander round his oeld room, melo in th glo of th fierliet that plaed or rested on familyar and frendly things which had long bin unconshusly a part of him, and now smielingly reseevd him bak, without rancour. He was now in just th fraem of miend that th tactful Rat had qieetly werkt to bring about in him. He saw cleerly how plaen and simpl -- how narro, eeven -- it all was; but cleerly, too, how much it all ment to him, and th speshal value of sum such ankorej in one's existens. He did not at all wont to abandon th nue lief and its splendid spaeses, to tern his bak on sun and air and all thae offerd him and creep hoem and stae thair; th uper werld was all too strong, it calld to him stil, eeven doun thair, and he

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nue he must retern to th larjer staej. But it was guud to think he had this to cum bak to; this plaes which was all his oen, thees things which wer so glad to see him agen and cuud allwaes be counted upon for th saem simpl welcum.

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Chapter 6



   IT was a briet morning in th erly part of sumer; th river had rezoomd its wonted banks and its acustomd paes, and a hot sun seemd to be puuling evrything green and bushy and spiky up out of th erth tords him, as if bi strings. Th Moel and th Wauter Rat had bin up sinss daun, verry bizy on maters conected with boets and th oepening of th boeting seezon; paenting and varnishing, mending padls, repairing cuushuns, hunting for mising boet-huuks, and so on; and wer finishing brekfast in thair litl parlour and eegerly discusing thair plans for th dae, when a hevy nok sounded at th dor.

   `Bother!' sed th Rat, all oever eg. `See hoo it is, Moel, liek a guud chap, sinss U'v finisht.'

   Th Moel went to atend th sumons, and

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th Rat herd him uter a cri of serpriez. Then he flung th parlour dor oepen, and anounst with much importans, `Mr. Bajer!'

   This was a wunderful thing, indeed, that th Bajer shuud pae a formal call on them, or indeed on enybody. He jeneraly had to be caut, if U wonted him badly, as he slipt qieetly along a hejro of an erly morning or a laet eevning, or els hunted up in his oen hous in th midl of th Wuud, which was a seerius undertaeking.

   Th Bajer stroed hevily into th room, and stuud luuking at th too animals with an expreshun fuul of seeriusnes. Th Rat let his eg-spoon fall on th taebl-clauth, and sat oepen-mouthd.

   `Th our has cum!' sed th Bajer at last with graet solemnity.

   `Whut our?' askt th Rat uneezily, glansing at th clok on th mantelpees.

   `Hoos our, U shuud rather sae,' replied th Bajer. `Whi, Toad's our! Th our of Toed! I sed I wuud taek him in hand as soon as th winter was wel oever, and I'm going to taek him in hand to-dae!'

   `Toad's our, of cors!' cried th Moel de

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lightedly. `Hoorae! I remember now! We'll teech him to be a sensibl Toed!'

   `This verry morning,' continued th Bajer, taeking an armchair, `as I learnt last niet frum a trustwerthy sors, anuther nue and exsepshunaly powerful moetor-car wil ariev at Toed Hall on aprooval or retern. At this verry moement, perhaps, Toed is bizy araeing himself in thoes singguelarly hidius habiliments so deer to him, which transform him frum a (comparrativly) guud-luuking Toed into an Object which throes eny deesent-miended animal that cums across it into a vieolent fit. We must be up and doing, err it is too laet. U too animals wil acumpany me instantly to Toed Hall, and th werk of rescue shal be acomplisht.'

   `Riet U ar!' cried th Rat, starting up. `We'll rescue th pur unhapy animal! We'll convert him! He'l be th moest converted Toed that ever was befor we'v dun with him!'

   Thae set off up th roed on thair mishun of mersy, Bajer leeding th wae. Animals when in cumpany wauk in a proper and sensibl maner, in singgl fiel, insted of spralling all

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across th roed and being of no ues or suport to eech uther in caes of suden trubl or daenjer.

   Thae reecht th carrej-driev of Toed Hall to fiend, as th Bajer had antisipaeted, a shieny nue moetor-car, of graet siez, paented a briet red (Toad's favourite colour), standing in frunt of th hous. As thae neerd th dor it was flung oepen, and Mr. Toed, araed in gogls, cap, gaeters, and enormus oevercoet, caem swagering doun th steps, drawing on his gauntleted gluvs.

   `Hullo! cum on, U feloes!' he cried cheerfuly on caching siet of them. `U'r just in tiem to cum with me for a joly -- to cum for a joly -- for a -- er -- joly -- -- '

   His harty acsents fallterd and fel awae as he noetist th stern unbending luuk on th countenances of his sielent frends, and his invitaeshun remaend unfinisht.

   Th Bajer stroed up th steps. `Taek him insied,' he sed sternly to his companyons. Then, as Toed was husld thru th dor, strugling and proetesting, he ternd to th shoefer in charj of th nue moetor-car.

   `I'm afraed U woen't be wonted to-dae,' he

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sed. `Mr. Toed has chaenjd his miend. He wil not reqier th car. Pleez understand that this is fienal. U needn't waet.' Then he foloed th uthers insied and shut th dor.

   `Now then!' he sed to th Toed, when th foer of them stuud together in th Hall, `ferst of all, taek thoes ridicuelus things off!'

   `Shan't!' replied Toed, with graet spirit. `Whut is th meening of this groes outraej? I demand an instant explanaeshun.'

   `Taek them off him, then, U too,' orderd th Bajer breefly.

   Thae had to lae Toed out on th flor, kiking and calling all sorts of naems, befor thae cuud get to werk properly. Then th Rat sat on him, and th Moel got his moetor-cloeths off him bit bi bit, and thae stuud him up on his legs agen. A guud deel of his blustering spirit seemd to hav evaporaeted with th remooval of his fien panoply. Now that he was meerly Toed, and no longger th Terror of th Hiewae, he gigld feebly and luukt frum wun to th uther apeelingly, seeming qiet to understand th sichuaeshun.

   `U nue it must cum to this, sooner or laeter, Toed,' th Bajer explaend seveerly.

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   U'v disregarded all th wornings we'v given U, U'v gon on sqondering th muny yur faather left U, and U'r geting us animals a bad naem in th district bi yur fuerius drieving and yur smashes and yur roes with th polees. Independens is all verry wel, but we animals never alow our frends to maek fools of themselvs beyond a serten limit; and that limit U'v reecht. Now, U'r a guud felo in meny respects, and I don't wont to be too hard on U. I'l maek wun mor efort to bring U to reezon. U wil cum with me into th smoeking-room, and thair U wil heer sum facts about yurself; and we'll see whether U cum out of that room th saem Toed that U went in.'

   He tuuk Toed fermly bi th arm, led him into th smoeking-room, and cloezd th dor behiend them.

   `That's no guud!' sed th Rat contempchuosly. `Tauking to Toad'll never cuer him. He'l sae enything.'

   Thae maed themselvs cumfortabl in armchairs and waeted paeshently. Thru th cloezd dor thae cuud just heer th long continueus droen of th Badger's vois, riezing

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and falling in waevs of oratory; and prezently thae noetist that th sermon began to be punkchuaeted at intervals bi long-drawn sobs, evidently proseeding frum th buuzom of Toed, hoo was a sofft-hearted and afecshunet felo, verry eezily converted -- for th tiem being -- to eny point of vue.

   After sum three-qorters of an our th dor oepend, and th Bajer re-apeerd, solemly leeding bi th paw a verry limp and dejected Toed. His skin hung bagily about him, his legs wobld, and his cheeks wer feroed bi th teers so plentifully calld forth bi th Badger's mooving discors.

   `Sit doun thair, Toed,' sed th Bajer kiendly, pointing to a chair. `Mi frends,' he went on, `I am pleezd to inform U that Toed has at last seen th error of his waes. He is trooly sorry for his misgieded conduct in th past, and he has undertaeken to giv up moetor-cars entierly and for ever. I hav his solem promis to that efect.'

   `That is verry guud nues,' sed th Moel graevly.

   `Verry guud nues indeed,' obzervd th Rat dubiously, `if oenly -- if oenly -- -- '

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   He was luuking verry hard at Toed as he sed this, and cuud not help thinking he perseevd sumthing vaegly rezembling a twinkl in that animal's stil sorroeful ie.

   `Thair's oenly wun thing mor to be dun,' continued th gratified Bajer. `Toed, I wont U solemly to repeet, befor yur frends heer, whut U fuuly admited to me in th smoeking-room just now. Ferst, U ar sorry for whut U'v dun, and U see th foly of it all?'

   Thair was a long, long pauz. Toed luukt desperetly this wae and that, whiel th uther animals waeted in graev sielens. At last he spoek.

   `No!' he sed, a litl sulenly, but stoutly; `I'm not sorry. And it wasn't foly at all! It was simply glorius!'

   `Whut?' cried th Bajer, graetly scandalised. `U backsliding animal, didn't U tel me just now, in thair -- -- '

   `O, yes, yes, in thair,' sed Toed impaeshently. `I'd hav sed enything in thair. U'r so eloqent, deer Bajer, and so mooving, and so convinsing, and puut all yur points so frietfuly wel -- U can do whut U

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liek with me in thair, and U noe it. But I'v bin serching mi miend sinss, and going oever things in it, and I fiend that I'm not a bit sorry or repentant reealy, so it's no erthly guud saeing I am; now, is it?'

   `Then U don't promis,' sed th Bajer, `never to tuch a moetor-car agen?'

   `Sertenly not!' replied Toed emfaticaly. `On th contrairy, I faethfuly promis that th verry ferst moetor-car I see, poop-poop! off I go in it!'

   `Toeld U so, didn't I?' obzervd th Rat to th Moel.

   `Verry wel, then,' sed th Bajer fermly, riezing to his feet. `Sinss U woen't yeeld to perswaezhun, we'll tri whut fors can do. I feerd it wuud cum to this all along. U'v offen askt us three to cum and stae with U, Toed, in this hansum hous of yurs; wel, now we'r going to. When we'v converted U to a proper point of vue we mae qit, but not befor. Taek him upstairs, U too, and lok him up in his bedroom, whiel we araenj maters between ourselvs.'

   `It's for yur oen guud, Toady, U noe,' sed th Rat kiendly, as Toed, kiking and

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strugling, was halld up th stairs bi his too faethful frends. `Think whut fun we shal all hav together, just as we uezd to, when U'v qiet got oever this -- this paenful atak of yurs!'

   `We'll taek graet cair of evrything for U til U'r wel, Toed,' sed th Moel; `and we'll see yur muny isn't waested, as it has bin.'

   `No mor of thoes regretabl insidents with th polees, Toed,' sed th Rat, as thae thrust him into his bedroom.

   `And no mor weeks in hospital, being orderd about bi feemael nerses, Toed,' aded th Moel, terning th kee on him.

   Thae desended th stair, Toed shouting abuez at them thru th keehoel; and th three frends then met in conferens on th sichuaeshun.

   `It's going to be a tecdius biznes,' sed th Bajer, sieing. `I'v never seen Toed so determind. However, we wil see it out. He must never be left an instant unguarded. We shal hav to taek it in terns to be with him, til th poizon has werkt itself out of his sistem.'

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   Thae araenjd woches acordingly. Eech animal tuuk it in terns to sleep in Toad's room at niet, and thae divieded th dae up between them. At ferst Toed was undoutedly verry trieing to his cairful gardians. When his vieolent paroxysms pozest him he wuud araenj bedroom chairs in rood rezemblans of a moetorcar and wuud crouch on th formoest of them, bent forward and stairing fixedly ahed, maeking uncooth and gastly noizes, til th cliemax was reecht, when, terning a compleet sumersallt, he wuud lie prostraet amidst th rooins of th chairs, aparrently compleetly satisfied for th moement. As tiem past, however, thees paenful seizures groo grajualy les freeqent, and his frends stroev to divert his miend into fresh chanels. But his interest in uther maters did not seem to reviev, and he groo aparrently langgwid and deprest.

   Wun fien morning th Rat, hoos tern it was to go on duety, went upstairs to releev Bajer, hoom he found fidgeting to be off and strech his legs in a long rambl round his wuud and doun his erths and burroes. `Toad's stil in bed,' he toeld th Rat, outsied th dor. `Can't get much out of him, exsept, "O leev

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him aloen, he wonts nuthing, perhaps he'l be beter prezently, it mae pas off in tiem, don't be unduely ankshus," and so on. Now, U luuk out, Rat! When Toad's qieet and submisiv and plaeing at being th heero of a Sunday-scool priez, then he's at his artfullest. Thair's shur to be sumthing up. I noe him. Wel, now, I must be off.'

   `How ar U to-dae, oeld chap?' inqierd th Rat cheerfuly, as he aproecht Toad's bedsied.

   He had to waet sum minits for an anser. At last a feebl vois replied, `Thank U so much, deer Ratty! So guud of U to inqier! But ferst tel me how U ar yurself, and th exselent Moel?'

   `O, we'r all riet,' replied th Rat. `Moel,' he aded incaushusly, `is going out for a run round with Bajer. Thae'l be out til lunchon tiem, so U and I wil spend a plezant morning together, and I'l do mi best to amuez U. Now jump up, thair's a guud felo, and don't lie moping thair on a fien morning liek this!'

   `Deer, kiend Rat,' mermerd Toed, `how litl U realise mi condishun, and how verry far I am frum "jumping up" now -- if ever! But do

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not trubl about me. I haet being a berden to mi frends, and I do not expect to be wun much longger. Indeed, I allmoest hoep not.'

   `Wel, I hoep not, too,' sed th Rat hartily. `U'v bin a fien bother to us all this tiem, and I'm glad to heer it's going to stop. And in wether liek this, and th boeting seezon just begining! It's too bad of U, Toed! It isn't th trubl we miend, but U'r maeking us mis such an auful lot.'

   `I'm afraed it is th trubl U miend, tho,' replied th Toed languidly. `I can qiet understand it. It's nacheral enuf. U'r tierd of bothering about me. I mustn't ask U to do enything ferther. I'm a nuesans, I noe.'

   `U ar, indeed,' sed th Rat. `But I tel U, I'd taek eny trubl on erth for U, if oenly U'd be a sensibl animal.'

   `If I thaut that, Ratty,' mermerd Toed, mor feebly than ever, `then I wuud beg U -- for th last tiem, probably -- to step round to th vilej as qikly as posibl -- eeven now it mae be too laet -- and fech th doctor. But don't U bother. It's oenly a trubl, and perhaps we mae as wel let things taek thair cors.'

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   `Whi, whut do U wont a doctor for?' inqierd th Rat, cuming cloeser and examining him. He sertenly lae verry stil and flat, and his vois was weeker and his maner much chaenjd.

   `Shurly U hav noetist of laet -- -- ' mermerd Toed. `But, no -- whi shuud U? Noetising things is oenly a trubl. Tomorro, indeed, U mae be saeing to yurself, "O, if oenly I had noetist sooner! If oenly I had dun sumthing!" But no; it's a trubl. Never miend -- forget that I askt.'

   `Luuk heer, oeld man,' sed th Rat, begining to get rather alarmd, `of cors I'l fech a doctor to U, if U reealy think U wont him. But U can hardly be bad enuf for that yet. Let's tauk about sumthing els.'

   `I feer, deer frend,' sed Toed, with a sad smiel, `that "tauk" can do litl in a caes liek this -- or doctors eether, for that mater; stil, wun must grasp at th slietest straw. And, bi th wae -- whiel U ar about it -- I haet to giv U adishunal trubl, but I hapen to remember that U wil pas th dor -- wuud U miend at th saem tiem asking th lawyer to step up? It wuud be a conveenyuns to me,

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and thair ar moements -- perhaps I shuud sae thair is a moement -- when wun must faes disagreeabl tasks, at whutever cost to exausted naecher!'

   `A lawyer! O, he must be reealy bad!' th affrighted Rat sed to himself, as he heryd frum th room, not forgeting, however, to lok th dor cairfuly behiend him.

   Outsied, he stopt to consider. Th uther too wer far awae, and he had no wun to consult.

   `It's best to be on th saef sied,' he sed, on reflecshun. `I'v noen Toed fansy himself frietfuly bad befor, without th slietest reezon; but I'v never herd him ask for a lawyer! If thair's nuthing reealy th mater, th doctor wil tel him he's an oeld as, and cheer him up; and that wil be sumthing gaend. I'd beter huemor him and go; it woen't taek verry long.' So he ran off to th vilej on his errand of mersy.

   Th Toed, hoo had hopt lietly out of bed as soon as he herd th kee ternd in th lok, wocht him eegerly frum th windo til he disapeerd doun th carrej-driev. Then, lafing hartily, he drest as qikly as

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posibl in th smartest soot he cuud lae hands on at th moement, fild his pokets with cash which he tuuk frum a small dror in th dresing-taebl, and next, noting th sheets frum his bed together and tieing wun end of th improviezd roep round th sentral mulyon of th hansum Tudor windo which formd such a feecher of his bedroom, he scrambld out, slid lietly to th ground, and, taeking th opozit direcshun to th Rat, marcht off liet-hartedly, whisling a merry tuen.

   It was a gloomy lunchon for Rat when th Bajer and th Moel at length reternd, and he had to faes them at taebl with his pityful and unconvinsing story. Th Badger's caustic, not to sae brootal, remarks mae be imajind, and thairfor past oever; but it was paenful to th Rat that eeven th Moel, tho he tuuk his friend's sied as far as posibl, cuud not help saeing, `U'v bin a bit of a dufer this tiem, Ratty! Toed, too, of all animals!'

   `He did it aufuly wel,' sed th crestfallen Rat.

   `He did U aufuly wel!' rejoind th Bajer hotly. `However, tauking woen't mend maters. He's got cleer awae for th tiem,

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that's serten; and th werst of it is, he'l be so conseeted with whut he'l think is his clevernes that he mae comit eny foly. Wun cumfort is, we'r free now, and needn't waest eny mor of our preshus tiem doing sentry-go. But we'd beter continue to sleep at Toed Hall for a whiel longger. Toed mae be braut bak at eny moement -- on a strecher, or between too poleesmen.'

   So spoek th Bajer, not noeing whut th fuecher held in stor, or how much wauter, and of how turbid a carracter, was to run under brijes befor Toed shuud sit at eez agen in his ansestral Hall.

   Meenwhiel, Toed, gae and irresponsibl, was wauking briskly along th hi roed, sum miels frum hoem. At ferst he had taeken bi-paths, and crosst meny feelds, and chaenjd his cors several tiems, in caes of persoot; but now, feeling bi this tiem saef frum re-capcher, and th sun smieling brietly on him, and all Naecher joining in a corus of aprooval to th song of self-praez that his oen hart was singing to him, he allmoest danst along th roed in his satisfacshun and conseet.

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   `Smart pees of werk that!' he remarkt to himself chuckling. `Braen agenst broot fors -- and braen caem out on th top -- as it's bound to do. Pur oeld Ratty! Mi! woen't he cach it when th Bajer gets bak! A werthy felo, Ratty, with meny guud qolitys, but verry litl intelijens and absolootly no ejucaeshun. I must taek him in hand sum dae, and see if I can maek sumthing of him.'

   Fild fuul of conseeted thauts such as thees he stroed along, his hed in th air, til he reecht a litl toun, wherr th sien of `Th Red Lieon,' swinging across th roed hafwae doun th maen street, remiended him that he had not brekfasted that dae, and that he was exseedingly hunggry after his long wauk. He marcht into th In, orderd th best lunchon that cuud be provieded at so short a noetis, and sat doun to eet it in th coffy-room.

   He was about haf-wae thru his meel when an oenly too familyar sound, aproeching doun th street, maed him start and fall a-trembling all oever. Th poop-poop! droo neerer and neerer, th car cuud be herd to tern into th in-yard and cum to a stop, and

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Toed had to hoeld on to th leg of th taebl to conseel his oever-mastering emoeshun. Prezently th party enterd th coffy-room, hunggry, taukativ, and gae, voluebl on thair expeeryenses of th morning and th merrits of th charriot that had braut them along so wel. Toed lisend eegerly, all eers, for a tiem; at last he cuud stand it no longger. He slipt out of th room qieetly, paed his bil at th bar, and as soon as he got outsied saunterd round qieetly to th in-yard. `Thair cannot be eny harm,' he sed to himself, `in mi oenly just luuking at it!'

   Th car stuud in th midl of th yard, qiet unatended, th staebl-helps and uther hangers-on being all at thair diner. Toed waukt sloely round it, inspecting, criticising, muezing deeply.

   `I wunder,' he sed to himself prezently, `I wunder if this sort of car starts eezily?'

   Next moement, hardly noeing how it caem about, he found he had hoeld of th handl and was terning it. As th familyar sound broek forth, th oeld pashun seezd on Toed and compleetly masterd him, body and soel. As if in a dreem he found himself, sumhow, seeted in th

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driver's seet; as if in a dreem, he puuld th lever and swung th car round th yard and out thru th archwae; and, as if in a dreem, all sens of riet and rong, all feer of obvius conseqenses, seemd temporairily suspended. He increest his paes, and as th car devourd th street and lept forth on th hi roed thru th oepen cuntry, he was oenly conshus that he was Toed wuns mor, Toed at his best and hieest, Toed th terror, th trafic-queller, th Lord of th loen trael, befor hoom all must giv wae or be smiten into nuthingnes and everlasting niet. He chanted as he floo, and th car responded with sonorus droen; th miels wer eeten up under him as he sped he nue not whither, fuulfiling his instinkts, living his our, rekles of whut miet cum to him. * * * * * *

   `To mi miend,' obzervd th Chairman of th Bench of Majistraets cheerfuly, `th oenly dificulty that prezents itself in this utherwiez verry cleer caes is, how we can posibly maek it sufishently hot for th incorijibl roeg and hardend rufian hoom we see cowering in th dok befor us. Let me see: he has bin

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found gilty, on th clearest evidens, ferst, of steeling a valueabl moetor-car; secondly, of drieving to th public daenjer; and, therdly, of groes impertinens to th rural polees. Mr. Clerk, wil U tel us, pleez, whut is th verry stiffest penalty we can impoez for eech of thees ofenses? Without, of cors, giving th prizoner th benefit of eny dout, becauz thair isn't eny.'

   Th Clerk scracht his noez with his pen. `Sum peepl wuud consider,' he obzervd, `that steeling th moetor-car was th werst ofens; and so it is. But cheeking th polees undoutedly carrys th severest penalty; and so it aut. Supoezing U wer to sae twelv munths for th theft, which is mield; and three yeers for th fuerius drieving, which is leenyent; and fifteen yeers for th cheek, which was prity bad sort of cheek, jujing bi whut we'v herd frum th witnes-box, eeven if U oenly beleev wun-tenth part of whut U herd, and I never beleev mor mieself -- thoes figuers, if aded together corectly, tot up to nienteen yeers -- -- '

   `Ferst-raet!' sed th Chairman.

   ` -- So U had beter maek it a round

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twenty yeers and be on th saef sied,' conclooded th Clerk.

   `An exselent sugjeschun!' sed th Chairman aproovingly. `Prizoner! Puul yurself together and tri and stand up straet. It's going to be twenty yeers for U this tiem. And miend, if U apeer befor us agen, upon eny charj whutever, we shal hav to deel with U verry seeriusly!'

   Then th brootal minions of th law fel upon th haples Toed; loeded him with chaens, and dragd him frum th Cort Hous, shreeking, praeing, proetesting; across th marketplaes, wherr th plaeful popuelis, allwaes as seveer upon detected criem as thae ar simpathetic and helpful when wun is meerly `wonted,' asaeld him with jeers, carrots, and popuelar cach-werds; past hooting scool children, thair inosent faeses lit up with th plezher thae ever deriev frum th siet of a jentlman in dificultys; across th holo-sounding drawbrij, belo th spiky portcullis, under th frouning archwae of th grim oeld casl, hoos aenshent towers sord hi oeverhed; past guardrooms fuul of grining soeljery off duety, past sentries hoo cauft in a horrid,

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sarcastic wae, becauz that is as much as a sentry on his poest dair do to sho his contempt and abhorens of criem; up tiem-worn wiending stairs, past men-at-arms in casquet and corslet of steel, darting thretening luuks thru thair vizards; across cort-yards, wherr mastifs straend at thair leesh and pawed th air to get at him; past aenshent warders, thair halberds lent agenst th wall, doezing oever a paesty and a flagon of broun ael; on and on, past th rak-chaember and th thumscroo-room, past th terning that led to th prievet scafold, til thae reecht th dor of th grimmest dunjon that lae in th hart of th inermoest keep. Thair at last thae pauzd, wherr an aenshent gaoler sat finggering a bunch of miety kees.

   `Oddsbodikins!' sed th sarjent of polees, taeking off his helmet and wieping his forhed. `Rouz thee, oeld loon, and taek oever frum us this viel Toed, a criminal of deepest gilt and machles artfulnes and resors. Woch and word him with all thi skil; and mark thee wel, greybeard, shuud aut untord befall, thi oeld hed shal anser for his -- and a murrain on boeth of them!'

   Th gaoler noded grimly, laeing his witherd

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hand on th shoelder of th mizerabl Toed. Th rusty kee creekt in th lok, th graet dor clangd behiend them; and Toed was a helples prizoner in th remoetest dunjon of th best-garded keep of th stoutest casl in all th length and bredth of Merry England.

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Chapter 7



   TH Wilo-Ren was twitering his thin litl song, hiden himself in th dark selvedge of th river bank. Tho it was past ten o'clok at niet, th skie stil clung to and retaend sum linggering skerts of liet frum th departed dae; and th sulen heets of th torid afternoon broek up and roeld awae at th dispersing tuch of th cool finggers of th short midsumer niet. Moel lae strecht on th bank, stil panting frum th stres of th feers dae that had bin cloudles frum daun to laet sunset, and waeted for his frend to retern. He had bin on th river with sum companyons, leeving th Wauter Rat free to keep a engaejment of long standing with Oter; and he had cum bak to fiend th hous dark and dezerted, and no sien of Rat, hoo was doutles

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keeping it up laet with his oeld comrad. It was stil too hot to think of staeing indors, so he lae on sum cool dok-leevs, and thaut oever th past dae and its doings, and how verry guud thae all had bin.

   Th Rat's liet fuutfall was prezently herd aproeching oever th parcht gras. `O, th blesed coolnes!' he sed, and sat doun, gaezing thautfuly into th river, sielent and preocuepied.

   `U staed to super, of cors?' sed th Moel prezently.

   `Simply had to,' sed th Rat. `Thae wuudn't heer of mi going befor. U noe how kiend thae allwaes ar. And thae maed things as joly for me as ever thae cuud, riet up to th moement I left. But I felt a broot all th tiem, as it was cleer to me thae wer verry unhapy, tho thae tried to hied it. Moel, I'm afraed thae'r in trubl. Litl Portly is mising agen; and U noe whut a lot his faather thinks of him, tho he never ses much about it.'

   `Whut, that chield?' sed th Moel lietly. `Wel, supoez he is; whi wery about it? He's allwaes straying off and geting lost, and terning

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up agen; he's so advencherus. But no harm ever hapens to him. Evrybody heerabouts noes him and lieks him, just as thae do oeld Oter, and U mae be shur sum animal or uther wil cum across him and bring him bak agen all riet. Whi, we'v found him ourselvs, miels frum hoem, and qiet self-pozest and cheerful!'

   `Yes; but this tiem it's mor seerius,' sed th Rat graevly. `He's bin mising for sum daes now, and th Oters hav hunted evrywhair, hi and lo, without fiending th slietest traes. And thae'v askt evry animal, too, for miels around, and no wun noes enything about him. Otter's evidently mor ankshus than he'l admit. I got out of him that yung Portly hasn't learnt to swim verry wel yet, and I can see he's thinking of th weer. Thair's a lot of wauter cuming doun stil, considering th tiem of th yeer, and th plaes allwaes had a fasinaeshun for th chield. And then thair ar -- wel, traps and things -- U noe. Otter's not th felo to be nervus about eny sun of his befor it's tiem. And now he is nervus. When I left, he caem out with me -- sed he wonted sum air, and taukt about

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streching his legs. But I cuud see it wasn't that, so I droo him out and pumpt him, and got it all frum him at last. He was going to spend th niet woching bi th ford. U noe th plaes wherr th oeld ford uezd to be, in bi-gon daes befor thae bilt th brij?'

   `I noe it wel,' sed th Moel. `But whi shuud Oter chooz to woch thair?'

   `Wel, it seems that it was thair he gaev Portly his ferst swiming-leson,' continued th Rat. `Frum that shalo, gravelly spit neer th bank. And it was thair he uezd to teech him fishing, and thair yung Portly caut his ferst fish, of which he was so verry proud. Th chield luvd th spot, and Oter thinks that if he caem waandering bak frum wherrever he is -- if he is enywhair bi this tiem, pur litl chap -- he miet maek for th ford he was so fond of; or if he caem across it he'd remember it wel, and stop thair and plae, perhaps. So Oter goes thair evry niet and woches -- on th chans, U noe, just on th chans!'

   Thae wer sielent for a tiem, boeth thinking of th saem thing -- th loenly, hart-sor animal, croucht bi th ford, woching and waeting, th long niet thru -- on th chans.

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   `Wel, wel,' sed th Rat prezently, `I supoez we aut to be thinking about terning in.' But he never offerd to moov.

   `Rat,' sed th Moel, `I simply can't go and tern in, and go to sleep, and do nuthing, eeven tho thair duzn't seem to be enything to be dun. We'll get th boet out, and padl up streem. Th moon wil be up in an our or so, and then we wil serch as wel as we can -- enyhow, it wil be beter than going to bed and doing nuthing.'

   `Just whut I was thinking mieself,' sed th Rat. `It's not th sort of niet for bed enyhow; and daebraek is not so verry far off, and then we mae pik up sum nues of him frum erly risers as we go along.'

   Thae got th boet out, and th Rat tuuk th sculls, padling with caushun. Out in midstreem, thair was a cleer, narro trak that faently reflected th skie; but wherrever shadoes fel on th wauter frum bank, buush, or tree, thae wer as solid to all apeerans as th banks themselvs, and th Moel had to steer with jujment acordingly. Dark and dezerted as it was, th niet was fuul of small noizes, song and chater and rusling, teling of th bizy

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litl popuelaeshun hoo wer up and about, plieing thair traeds and vocations thru th niet til sunshien shuud fall on them at last and send them off to thair wel-ernd repoez. Th water's oen noizes, too, wer mor aparrent than bi dae, its gurglings and `cloops' mor unexpected and neer at hand; and constantly thae started at whut seemd a suden cleer call frum an akchual articuelet vois.

   Th lien of th horiezon was cleer and hard agenst th skie, and in wun particuelar qorter it shoed blak agenst a silvery clieming phosphorescence that groo and groo. At last, oever th rim of th waeting erth th moon lifted with slo majesty til it swung cleer of th horiezon and roed off, free of moorings; and wuns mor thae began to see serfises -- medoes wied-spred, and qieet gardens, and th river itself frum bank to bank, all sofftly discloezd, all wosht cleen of mistery and terror, all raediant agen as bi dae, but with a diferens that was tremendus. Thair oeld haunts greeted them agen in uther raement, as if thae had slipt awae and puut on this puer nue aparrel and cum qieetly bak, smieling as thae shiely waeted to see if thae wuud be recogniezd agen under it.

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   Fasening thair boet to a wilo, th frends landed in this sielent, silver kingdom, and paeshently explord th hejes, th holo trees, th runnels and thair litl culverts, th diches and dri wauter-waes. Embarking agen and crossing oever, thae werkt thair wae up th streem in this maner, whiel th moon, sereen and detacht in a cloudles skie, did whut she cuud, tho so far off, to help them in thair qest; til her our caem and she sank earthwards reluctantly, and left them, and mistery wuns mor held feeld and river.

   Then a chaenj began sloely to declair itself. Th horiezon becaem cleerer, feeld and tree caem mor into siet, and sumhow with a diferent luuk; th mistery began to drop awae frum them. A berd piept sudenly, and was stil; and a liet breez sprang up and set th reeds and bulrushes rusling. Rat, hoo was in th stern of th boet, whiel Moel sculled, sat up sudenly and lisend with a pashunet intentness. Moel, hoo with jentl stroeks was just keeping th boet mooving whiel he scand th banks with cair, luukt at him with cueriosity.

   `It's gon!' sied th Rat, sinking bak in his seet agen. `So buetyful and straenj and

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nue. Sinss it was to end so soon, I allmoest wish I had never herd it. For it has rouzd a longing in me that is paen, and nuthing seems werth whiel but just to heer that sound wuns mor and go on lisening to it for ever. No! Thair it is agen!' he cried, alert wuns mor. Entranst, he was sielent for a long spaes, spelbound.

   `Now it pases on and I begin to looz it,' he sed prezently. `O Moel! th buety of it! Th merry bubl and joi, th thin, cleer, hapy call of th distant pieping! Such muezic I never dreemd of, and th call in it is strongger eeven than th muezic is sweet! Ro on, Moel, ro! For th muezic and th call must be for us.'

   Th Moel, graetly wundering, oebaed. `I heer nuthing mieself,' he sed, `but th wind plaeing in th reeds and rushes and osiers.'

   Th Rat never anserd, if indeed he herd. Rapt, transported, trembling, he was pozest in all his senses bi this nue divien thing that caut up his helples soel and swung and dandled it, a powerles but hapy infant in a strong sustaening grasp.

   In sielens Moel roed stedily, and soon thae caem to a point wherr th river divieded, a long

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bakwauter branching off to wun sied. With a sliet moovment of his hed Rat, hoo had long dropt th ruder-liens, directed th rower to taek th bakwauter. Th creeping tied of liet gaend and gaend, and now thae cuud see th colour of th flowers that gemmed th water's ej.

   `Cleerer and neerer stil,' cried th Rat joiusly. `Now U must shurly heer it! Aa -- at last -- I see U do!'

   Brethles and transfixt th Moel stopt rowing as th liqid run of that glad pieping broek on him liek a waev, caut him up, and pozest him uterly. He saw th teers on his comrade's cheeks, and bowd his hed and understuud. For a spaes thae hung thair, brusht bi th perpl loos-strief that frinjd th bank; then th cleer impeerius sumons that marcht hand-in-hand with th intoxicaeting melody impoezd its wil on Moel, and mecanicaly he bent to his ors agen. And th liet groo stedily strongger, but no berds sang as thae wer wont to do at th aproech of daun; and but for th hevenly muezic all was marvellously stil.

   On eether sied of them, as thae glieded onwards,

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th rich medo-gras seemd that morning of a freshnes and a greennes unserpasabl. Never had thae noetist th roezes so vivid, th wilo-herb so rieotus, th medo-sweet so oedorus and pervaeding. Then th mermer of th aproeching weer began to hoeld th air, and thae felt a conshusnes that thae wer neering th end, whutever it miet be, that shurly awaeted thair expedishun.

   A wied haf-sercl of foem and glinting liets and shiening shoelders of green wauter, th graet weer cloezd th bakwauter frum bank to bank, trubld all th qieet serfis with twerling edys and floeting foem-streeks, and dedend all uther sounds with its solem and soothing rumbl. In midmoest of th streem, embraest in th weir's shimering arm-spred, a small ieland lae ankord, frinjd cloes with wilo and silver berch and alder. Rezervd, shi, but fuul of significans, it hid whutever it miet hoeld behiend a vael, keeping it til th our shuud cum, and, with th our, thoes hoo wer calld and choezen.

   Sloely, but with no dout or hezitaeshun whutever, and in sumthing of a solem expectansy, th too animals past thru th broeken

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toomulchuos wauter and murd thair boet at th flowery marjin of th ieland. In sielens thae landed, and puusht thru th blosom and sented herbage and undergroeth that led up to th level ground, til thae stuud on a litl laun of a marvellous green, set round with Nature's oen orchard-trees -- crab-apl, wield cherry, and slo.

   `This is th plaes of mi song-dreem, th plaes th muezic plaed to me,' whisperd th Rat, as if in a trans. `Heer, in this hoely plaes, heer if enywhair, shurly we shal fiend Him!'

   Then sudenly th Moel felt a graet Au fall upon him, an au that ternd his musls to wauter, bowd his hed, and rooted his feet to th ground. It was no panic terror -- indeed he felt wunderfuly at pees and hapy -- but it was an au that smoet and held him and, without seeing, he nue it cuud oenly meen that sum august Prezens was verry, verry neer. With dificulty he ternd to luuk for his frend. and saw him at his sied cowed, striken, and trembling vieolently. And stil thair was uter sielens in th popuelus berd-haunted branches around them; and stil th liet groo and groo.

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   Perhaps he wuud never hav daird to raez his ies, but that, tho th pieping was now husht, th call and th sumons seemd stil dominant and impeerius. He miet not refuez, wer Deth himself waeting to striek him instantly, wuns he had luukt with mortal ie on things rietly kept hiden. Trembling he oebaed, and raezd his humbl hed; and then, in that uter cleernes of th iminent daun, whiel Naecher, flusht with fulness of incredibl colour, seemd to hoeld her breth for th event, he luukt in th verry ies of th Frend and Helper; saw th bakward sweep of th curvd horns, gleeming in th groeing daeliet; saw th stern, huukt noez between th kiendly ies that wer luuking doun on them humourously, whiel th beerded mouth broek into a haf-smiel at th corners; saw th ripling musls on th arm that lae across th braud chest, th long supl hand stil hoelding th pan-pieps oenly just fallen awae frum th parted lips; saw th splendid curvs of th shagy lims dispoezd in majestic eez on th sward; saw, last of all, nesling between his verry hooves, sleeping soundly in entier pees and contentment, th litl, round, podgy, chieldish form of th

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baeby oter. All this he saw, for wun moement brethles and intens, vivid on th morning skie; and stil, as he luukt, he livd; and stil, as he livd, he wunderd.

   `Rat!' he found breth to whisper, shaeking. `Ar U afraed?'

   `Afraed?' mermerd th Rat, his ies shiening with unutterable luv. `Afraed! Of Him? O, never, never! And yet -- and yet -- O, Moel, I am afraed!'

   Then th too animals, crouching to th erth, bowd thair heds and did wership.

   Suden and magnifisent, th sun's braud goelden disk shoed itself oever th horiezon faesing them; and th ferst raes, shooting across th level wauter-medoes, tuuk th animals fuul in th ies and dazld them. When thae wer aebl to luuk wuns mor, th Vizhun had vanisht, and th air was fuul of th carrol of berds that haeld th daun.

   As thae staird blankly. in dum mizery deepening as thae sloely realised all thae had seen and all thae had lost, a caprishus litl breez, dansing up frum th serfis of th wauter, tosst th aspens, shuuk th duey roezes and bloo lietly and caressingly in thair faeses;

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and with its sofft tuch caem instant oblivion. For this is th last best gift that th kiendly demi-god is cairful to bestoe on thoes to hoom he has reveeld himself in thair helping: th gift of forgetfulnes. Lest th auful remembrans shuud remaen and gro, and oevershado merth and plezher, and th graet haunting memory shuud spoil all th after-lievs of litl animals helpt out of dificultys, in order that thae shuud be hapy and liet-harted as befor.

   Moel rubd his ies and staird at Rat, hoo was luuking about him in a puzld sort of wae. `I beg yur pardon; whut did U sae, Rat?' he askt.

   `I think I was oenly remarking,' sed Rat sloely, `that this was th riet sort of plaes, and that heer, if enywhair, we shuud fiend him. And luuk! Whi, thair he is, th litl felo!' And with a cri of deliet he ran tords th slumbering Portly.

   But Moel stuud stil a moement, held in thaut. As wun waekend sudenly frum a buetyful dreem, hoo strugls to recall it, and can re-capcher nuthing but a dim sens of th buety of it, th buety! Til that, too, fades

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awae in its tern, and th dreemer biterly acsepts th hard, coeld waeking and all its penaltys; so Moel, after strugling with his memory for a breef spaes, shuuk his hed sadly and foloed th Rat.

   Portly woek up with a joius sqeek, and wriggled with plezher at th siet of his father's frends, hoo had plaed with him so offen in past daes. In a moement, however, his faes groo blank, and he fel to hunting round in a sercl with pleeding whien. As a chield that has fallen hapily asleep in its nurse's arms, and waeks to fiend itself aloen and laed in a straenj plaes, and serches corners and cubords, and runs frum room to room, despair groeing sielently in its hart, eeven so Portly sercht th ieland and sercht, daugd and unwearying, til at last th blak moement caem for giving it up, and siting doun and crieing biterly.

   Th Moel ran qikly to cumfort th litl animal; but Rat, linggering, luukt long and doutfuly at serten huuf-marks deep in th sward.

   `Sum -- graet -- animal -- has bin heer,' he mermerd sloely and thautfuly; and stuud muezing, muezing; his miend straenjly sterd.

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   `Cum along, Rat!' calld th Moel. `Think of pur Oter, waeting up thair bi th ford!'

   Portly had soon bin cumforted bi th promis of a treet -- a jaunt on th river in Mr. Rat's reeal boet; and th too animals conducted him to th water's sied, plaest him secuerly between them in th botom of th boet, and paddled off doun th bakwauter. Th sun was fuuly up bi now, and hot on them, berds sang lustily and without restraent, and flowers smield and noded frum eether bank, but sumhow -- so thaut th animals -- with les of richnes and blaez of colour than thae seemd to remember seeing qiet reesently sumwherr -- thae wunderd wherr.

   Th maen river reecht agen, thae ternd th boat's hed upstreem, tords th point wherr thae nue thair frend was keeping his loenly vijil. As thae droo neer th familyar ford, th Moel tuuk th boet in to th bank, and thae lifted Portly out and set him on his legs on th toe-path, gaev him his marching orders and a frendly fairwel pat on th bak, and shuvd out into mid-streem. Thae wocht th litl animal as he waddled along th path

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contentedly and with importans; wocht him til thae saw his muzl sudenly lift and his waddle braek into a clumzy amble as he qikend his paes with shril whiens and wriggles of recognishun. Luuking up th river, thae cuud see Oter start up, tens and rijid, frum out of th shallows wherr he croucht in dum paeshens, and cuud heer his amaezd and joius bark as he bounded up thru th osiers on to th path. Then th Moel, with a strong puul on wun or, swung th boet round and let th fuul streem bair them doun agen whither it wuud, thair qest now hapily ended.

   `I feel straenjly tierd, Rat,' sed th Moel, leening weerily oever his ors as th boet drifted. `It's being up all niet, U'l sae, perhaps; but that's nuthing. We do as much haf th niets of th week, at this tiem of th yeer. No; I feel as if I had bin thru sumthing verry exsieting and rather terribl, and it was just oever; and yet nuthing particuelar has hapend.'

   `Or sumthing verry serpriezing and splendid and buetyful,' mermerd th Rat, leening bak and cloezing his ies. `I feel just as U do, Moel; simply ded tierd, tho not body

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tierd. It's luky we'v got th streem with us, to taek us hoem. Isn't it joly to feel th sun agen, soeking into one's boens! And hark to th wind plaeing in th reeds!'

   `It's liek muezic -- far awae muezic,' sed th Moel noding drouzily.

   `So I was thinking,' mermerd th Rat, dreamful and langgwid. `Dans-muezic -- th lilting sort that runs on without a stop -- but with werds in it, too -- it pases into werds and out of them agen -- I cach them at intervals -- then it is dans-muezic wuns mor, and then nuthing but th reeds' sofft thin whispering.'

   `U heer beter than I,' sed th Moel sadly. `I cannot cach th werds.'

   `Let me tri and giv U them,' sed th Rat sofftly, his ies stil cloezd. `Now it is terning into werds agen -- faent but cleer -- Lest th au shuud dwel -- And tern yur frolic to fret -- U shal luuk on mi power at th helping our -- But then U shal forget! Now th reeds taek it up -- forget, forget, thae si, and it dies awae in a rusl and a whisper. Then th vois reterns --

   `Lest lims be redend and rent -- I spring th trap that is set -- As I loos th snair U mae

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glimps me thair -- For shurly U shal forget! Ro neerer, Moel, neerer to th reeds! It is hard to cach, and groes eech minit fainter.

   `Helper and heeler, I cheer -- Small waifs in th wuudland wet -- Straes I fiend in it, woonds I biend in it -- Biding them all forget! Neerer, Moel, neerer! No, it is no guud; th song has died awae into reed-tauk.'

   `But whut do th werds meen?' askt th wundering Moel.

   `That I do not noe,' sed th Rat simply. `I past them on to U as thae reecht me. Aa! now thae retern agen, and this tiem fuul and cleer! This tiem, at last, it is th reeal, th unmistaekabl thing, simpl -- pashunet -- perfect -- -- '

   `Wel, let's hav it, then,' sed th Moel, after he had waeted paeshently for a fue minits, haf-doezing in th hot sun.

   But no anser caem. He luukt, and understuud th sielens. With a smiel of much hapynes on his faes, and sumthing of a lisening luuk stil linggering thair, th weery Rat was fast asleep.

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Chapter 8



   WHEN Toed found himself immured in a dank and noisum dunjon, and nue that all th grim darknes of a medyeeval fortres lae between him and th outer werld of sunshien and wel-metalled hi roeds wherr he had laetly bin so hapy, disporting himself as if he had baut up evry roed in England, he flung himself at fuul length on th flor, and shed biter teers, and abandond himself to dark despair. `This is th end of everything' (he sed), `at leest it is th end of th career of Toed, which is th saem thing; th popuelar and hansum Toed, th rich and hospitabl Toed, th Toed so free and cairles and debonair! How can I hoep to be ever set at larj again' (he sed), `hoo hav bin imprizond so justly for steeling so hansum a moetor-car in such an audaeshus maner, and

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for such lurid and imajinativ cheek, bestoed upon such a number of fat, red-faest poleesmen!' (Heer his sobs choekt him.) `Stoopid animal that I was' (he sed), `now I must langgwish in this dunjon, til peepl hoo wer proud to sae thae nue me, hav forgoten th verry naem of Toed! O wiez oeld Bajer!' (he sed), `O clever, intelijent Rat and sensibl Moel! Whut sound jujments, whut a nolej of men and maters U pozes! O unhapy and forsaeken Toed!' With lamentaeshuns such as thees he past his daes and niets for several weeks, refuezing his meels or intermeedyet liet refreshments, tho th grim and aenshent gaoler, noeing that Toad's pokets wer wel liend, freeqently pointed out that meny cumforts, and indeed lugzhurys, cuud bi araenjment be sent in -- at a pries -- frum outsied.

   Now th gaoler had a dauter, a plezant wench and guud-hearted, hoo asisted her faather in th lieter duetys of his poest. She was particuelarly fond of animals, and, besieds her canairy, hoos caej hung on a nael in th masiv wall of th keep bi dae, to th graet anoians of prizoners hoo relished an after

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diner nap, and was shrouded in an antimacassar on th parlour taebl at niet, she kept several pieballd mies and a restles revolving sqerel. This kiend-hearted gerl, pitying th mizery of Toed, sed to her faather wun dae, `Faather! I can't bair to see that pur beest so unhapy, and geting so thin! U let me hav th manejing of him. U noe how fond of animals I am. I'l maek him eet frum mi hand, and sit up, and do all sorts of things.'

   Her faather replied that she cuud do whut she liekt with him. He was tierd of Toed, and his sulks and his airs and his meennes. So that dae she went on her errand of mersy, and nokt at th dor of Toad's sel.

   `Now, cheer up, Toed,' she sed, coaxingly, on entering, `and sit up and dri yur ies and be a sensibl animal. And do tri and eet a bit of diner. See, I'v braut U sum of mien, hot frum th uven!'

   It was bubl-and-sqeek, between too plates, and its fraegrans fild th narro sel. Th penetraeting smel of cabej reecht th noez of Toed as he lae prostraet in his mizery on th flor, and gaev him th iedeea for a moement that perhaps lief was not such a blank and desperet

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thing as he had imajind. But stil he waeld, and kikt with his legs, and refuezd to be cumforted. So th wiez gerl retierd for th tiem, but, of cors, a guud deel of th smel of hot cabej remaend behiend, as it wil do, and Toed, between his sobs, snift and reflected, and grajualy began to think nue and inspiering thauts: of shivalry, and poeetry, and deeds stil to be dun; of braud medoes, and catl brouzing in them, raekt bi sun and wind; of kichen-gardens, and straet herb-borders, and worm snap-dragon beset bi bees; and of th cumforting clink of dishes set doun on th taebl at Toed Hall, and th scraep of chair-legs on th flor as evry wun puuld himself cloes up to his werk. Th air of th narro sel tuuk a roezy tinge; he began to think of his frends, and how thae wuud shurly be aebl to do sumthing; of lawyers, and how thae wuud hav enjoid his caes, and whut an as he had bin not to get in a fue; and lastly, he thaut of his oen graet clevernes and resors, and all that he was caepabl of if he oenly gaev his graet miend to it; and th cuer was allmoest compleet.

   When th gerl reternd, sum ours laeter, she

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carryd a trae, with a cup of fraegrant tee steeming on it; and a plaet pield up with verry hot buterd toest, cut thik, verry broun on boeth sieds, with th buter runing thru th hoels in it in graet goelden drops, liek huny frum th hunycoem. Th smel of that buterd toest simply taukt to Toed, and with no unsertan vois; taukt of worm kichens, of brekfasts on briet frosty mornings, of coezy parlour firesides on winter eevnings, when one's rambl was oever and slippered feet wer propt on th fender; of th pering of contented cats, and th twiter of sleepy canairys. Toed sat up on end wuns mor, dried his ies, sipt his tee and muncht his toest, and soon began tauking freely about himself, and th hous he livd in, and his doings thair, and how important he was, and whut a lot his frends thaut of him.

   Th gaoler's dauter saw that th topic was doing him as much guud as th tee, as indeed it was, and encurejd him to go on.

   `Tel me about Toed Hall," sed she. `It sounds buetyful.'

   `Toed Hall,' sed th Toed proudly, `is an elijibl self-contaend gentleman's rezidens

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verry ueneek; daeting in part frum th forteenth senchery, but repleet with evry modern conveenyuns. Up-to-daet sanitaeshun. Fiev minits frum cherch, poest-offis, and golf-links, Sootabl for -- -- '

   `Bles th animal,' sed th gerl, lafing, `I don't wont to taek it. Tel me sumthing reeal about it. But ferst waet til I fech U sum mor tee and toest.'

   She tript awae, and prezently reternd with a fresh trayful; and Toed, piching into th toest with avidity, his spirits qiet restord to thair uezhual level, toeld her about th boet-hous, and th fish-pond, and th oeld walld kichen-garden; and about th pig-styes, and th staebls, and th pijon-hous, and th hen-hous; and about th dairy, and th wosh-hous, and th chiena-cubords, and th linen-preses (she liekt that bit espeshaly); and about th banqeting-hall, and th fun thae had thair when th uther animals wer gatherd round th taebl and Toed was at his best, singing songs, teling storys, carrying on jeneraly. Then she wonted to noe about his animal-frends, and was verry interested in all he had to tel her about them and how thae livd, and

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whut thae did to pas thair tiem. Of cors, she did not sae she was fond of animals as pets, becauz she had th sens to see that Toed wuud be extreemly ofended. When she sed guud niet, having fild his wauter-jug and shaeken up his straw for him, Toed was verry much th saem sanguine, self-satisfied animal that he had bin of oeld. He sang a litl song or too, of th sort he uezd to sing at his diner -- partys, curld himself up in th straw, and had an exselent night's rest and th pleasantest of dreems.

   Thae had meny interesting tauks together, after that, as th dreery daes went on; and th gaoler's dauter groo verry sorry for Toed, and thaut it a graet shaem that a pur litl animal shuud be lokt up in prizon for whut seemd to her a verry trivial ofens. Toed, of cors, in his vanity, thaut that her interest in him proseeded frum a groeing tendernes; and he cuud not help haf-regreting that th soeshal gulf between them was so verry wied, for she was a cumly las, and evidently admierd him verry much.

   Wun morning th gerl was verry thautful, and anserd at random, and did not seem to

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Toed to be paeing proper atenshun to his wity saeings and sparkling coments.

   `Toed,' she sed prezently, `just lisen, pleez. I hav an ant hoo is a washerwoman.'

   `Thair, thair,' sed Toed, graeshusly and affably, `never miend; think no mor about it. I hav several ants hoo aut to be washerwomen.'

   `Do be qieet a minit, Toed,' sed th gerl. `U tauk too much, that's yur cheef fallt, and I'm trieing to think, and U hert mi hed. As I sed, I hav an ant hoo is a washerwoman; she duz th woshing for all th prizoners in this casl -- we tri to keep eny paeing biznes of that sort in th family, U understand. She taeks out th woshing on Monday morning, and brings it in on Friday eevning. This is a Thursday. Now, this is whut ocurs to me: U'r verry rich -- at leest U'r allwaes teling me so -- and she's verry pur. A fue pounds wuudn't maek eny diferens to U, and it wuud meen a lot to her. Now, I think if she wer properly aproecht -- sqaird, I beleev is th werd U animals uez -- U cuud cum to sum araenjment bi which she wuud let U hav her dres and

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bonet and so on, and U cuud escaep frum th casl as th ofishal washerwoman. U'r verry aliek in meny respects -- particuelarly about th figuer.'

   `We'r not,' sed th Toed in a huf. `I hav a verry elegant figuer -- for whut I am.'

   `So has mi ant,' replied th gerl, `for whut she is. But hav it yur oen wae. U horrid, proud, ungraetful animal, when I'm sorry for U, and trieing to help U!'

   `Yes, yes, that's all riet; thank U verry much indeed,' sed th Toed herydly. `But luuk heer! U wuudn't shurly hav Mr. Toed of Toed Hall, going about th cuntry disgiezd as a washerwoman!'

   `Then U can stop heer as a Toed,' replied th gerl with much spirit. `I supoez U wont to go off in a coech-and-foer!'

   Onest Toed was allwaes redy to admit himself in th rong. `U ar a guud, kiend, clever gerl,' he sed, `and I am indeed a proud and a stoopid toed. Introdues me to yur werthy ant, if U wil be so kiend, and I hav no dout that th exselent laedy and I wil be aebl to araenj terms satisfactory to boeth partys.'

   Next eevning th gerl usherd her ant into

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Toad's sel, bairing his week's woshing pind up in a towel. Th oeld laedy had bin prepaird beforhand for th intervue, and th siet of serten goeld sovrins that Toed had thautfuly plaest on th taebl in fuul vue practicaly compleeted th mater and left litl ferther to discus. In retern for his cash, Toed reseevd a coton print goun, an aepron, a shall, and a rusty blak bonet; th oenly stipuelaeshun th oeld laedy maed being that she shuud be gagd and bound and dumpt doun in a corner. Bi this not verry convinsing artifis, she explaend, aeded bi pikcheresk ficshun which she cuud supli herself, she hoept to retaen her sichuaeshun, in spiet of th suspishus apeerans of things.

   Toed was delieted with th sugjeschun. It wuud enaebl him to leev th prizon in sum stiel, and with his repuetaeshun for being a desperet and daenjerus felo untarnished; and he redily helpt th gaoler's dauter to maek her ant apeer as much as posibl th victim of sercumstanses oever which she had no controel.

   `Now it's yur tern, Toed,' sed th gerl. `Taek off that coet and waestcoet of yurs; U'r fat enuf as it is.'

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   Shaeking with lafter, she proseeded to `huuk-and-eye' him into th coton print goun, araenjd th shall with a profeshunal foeld, and tied th strings of th rusty bonet under his chin.

   `U'r th verry imej of her,' she gigld, `oenly I'm shur U never luukt haf so respectabl in all yur lief befor. Now, guud-bi, Toed, and guud luk. Go straet doun th wae U caem up; and if eny wun ses enything to U, as thae probably wil, being but men, U can chaf bak a bit, of cors, but remember U'r a wido wuuman, qiet aloen in th werld, with a carracter to looz.'

   With a qaeking hart, but as ferm a fuutstep as he cuud comand, Toed set forth caushusly on whut seemd to be a moest hair-brained and hazardus undertaeking; but he was soon agreeably serpriezd to fiend how eezy evrything was maed for him, and a litl humbld at th thaut that boeth his popuelarrity, and th sex that seemd to inspier it, wer reealy another's. Th washerwoman's sqot figuer in its familyar coton print seemd a pasport for evry bard dor and grim gaetwae; eeven when he hezitaeted, unsertan as to th riet terning to taek,

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he found himself helpt out of his dificulty bi th warder at th next gaet, ankshus to be off to his tee, summoning him to cum along sharp and not keep him waeting thair all niet. Th chaf and th humourous salys to which he was subjected, and to which, of cors, he had to provied prompt and efectiv repli, formd, indeed, his cheef daenjer; for Toed was an animal with a strong sens of his oen dignity, and th chaf was moestly (he thaut) pur and clumzy, and th huemor of th salys entierly laking. However, he kept his temper, tho with graet dificulty, sooted his retorts to his cumpany and his supoezd carracter, and did his best not to oeverstep th limits of guud taest.

   It seemd ours befor he crosst th last cort-yard, rejected th presing invitaeshuns frum th last gardroom, and dojd th outspred arms of th last warder, pleeding with simuelaeted pashun for just wun fairwel embraes. But at last he herd th wiket-gaet in th graet outer dor clik behiend him, felt th fresh air of th outer werld upon his ankshus brow, and nue that he was free!

   Dizy with th eezy sucses of his dairing

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exploit, he waukt qikly tords th liets of th toun, not noeing in th leest whut he shuud do next, oenly qiet serten of wun thing, that he must remoov himself as qikly as posibl frum th naeborhuud wherr th laedy he was forst to reprezent was so wel-noen and so popuelar a carracter.

   As he waukt along, considering, his atenshun was caut bi sum red and green liets a litl wae off, to wun sied of th toun, and th sound of th pufing and snorting of enjins and th banging of shunted truks fel on his eer. `Aha!' he thaut, `this is a pees of luk! A raelwae staeshun is th thing I wont moest in th hoel werld at this moement; and whut's mor, I needn't go thru th toun to get it, and shan't hav to suport this huemiliaeting carracter bi repartees which, tho theroely efectiv, do not asist one's sens of self-respect.'

   He maed his wae to th staeshun acordingly, consulted a tiem-taebl, and found that a traen, bound mor or les in th direcshun of his hoem, was due to start in haf-an-our. `Mor luk!' sed Toed, his spirits riezing rapidly, and went off to th buuking-offis to bi his tiket.

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   He gaev th naem of th staeshun that he nue to be neerest to th vilej of which Toed Hall was th prinsipal feecher, and mecanicaly puut his finggers, in serch of th nesesairy muny, wherr his waiscoat poket shuud hav bin. But heer th coton goun, which had noebly stuud bi him so far, and which he had basely forgoten, interveend, and frustraeted his eforts. In a sort of nietmair he strugld with th straenj uncany thing that seemd to hoeld his hands, tern all muscuelar strievings to wauter, and laf at him all th tiem; whiel uther travelers, forming up in a lien behiend, waeted with impaeshens, maeking sugjeschuns of mor or les value and coments of mor or les stringency and point. At last -- sumhow -- he never rietly understuud how -- he berst th barryers, ataend th goel, arievd at wherr all waestcoet pokets ar eternaly sichuaeted, and found -- not oenly no muny, but no poket to hoeld it, and no waestcoet to hoeld th poket!

   To his horror he recolected that he had left boeth coet and waestcoet behiend him in his sel, and with them his poket-buuk, muny, kees, woch, maches, pensil-caes -- all that maeks lief werth living, all that distinggwishes th meny-

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poketed animal, th lord of creaeshun, frum th infeerior wun-poketed or no-poketed producshuns that hop or trip about permissively, un-eqipt for th reeal contest.

   In his mizery he maed wun desperet efort to carry th thing off, and, with a retern to his fien oeld maner -- a blend of th Sqier and th Colej Don -- he sed, `Luuk heer! I fiend I'v left mi pers behiend. Just giv me that tiket, wil U, and I'l send th muny on to-morro? I'm wel-noen in thees parts.'

   Th clerk staird at him and th rusty blak bonet a moement, and then laft. `I shuud think U wer prity wel noen in thees parts,' he sed, `if U'v tried this gaem on offen. Heer, stand awae frum th windo, pleez, madam; U'r obstructing th uther pasenjers!'

   An oeld jentlman hoo had bin proding him in th bak for sum moements heer thrust him awae, and, whut was wers, adrest him as his guud wuuman, which anggerd Toed mor than enything that had ocurd that eevning.

   Bafld and fuul of despair, he waanderd bliendly doun th platform wherr th traen was standing, and teers trickled doun eech sied of

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his noez. It was hard, he thaut, to be within siet of saefty and allmoest of hoem, and to be baulked bi th wont of a fue reched shilings and bi th pettifogging mistrustfulness of paed ofishals. Verry soon his escaep wuud be discuverd, th hunt wuud be up, he wuud be caut, revield, loeded with chaens, dragd bak agen to prizon and bred-and-wauter and straw; his gards and penalities wuud be dubld; and O, whut sarcastic remarks th gerl wuud maek! Whut was to be dun? He was not swift of fuut; his figuer was unforchunetly recognisable. Cuud he not sqeez under th seet of a carrej? He had seen this method adopted bi scoolbois, when th jerny-muny provieded bi thautful pairents had bin diverted to uther and beter ends. As he ponderd, he found himself opozit th enjin, which was being oild, wiept, and jeneraly carest bi its afecshunet driever, a berly man with an oil-can in wun hand and a lump of coton-waest in th uther.

   `Hullo, muther!' sed th enjin-driever, `whut's th trubl? U don't luuk particuelarly cheerful.'

   `O, ser!' sed Toed, crieing afresh, `I am a

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pur unhapy washerwoman, and I'v lost all mi muny, and can't pae for a tiket, and I must get hoem to-niet sumhow, and whutever I am to do I don't noe. O deer, O deer!'

   `That's a bad biznes, indeed,' sed th enjin-driever reflectively. `Lost yur muny -- and can't get hoem -- and got sum kids, too, waeting for U, I dair sae?'

   `Eny amount of 'em,' sobd Toed. `And thae'l be hunggry -- and plaeing with maches -- and upseting lamps, th litl inosents! -- and quarrelling, and going on jeneraly. O deer, O deer!'

   `Wel, I'l tel U whut I'l do,' sed th guud enjin-driever. `U'r a washerwoman to yur traed, ses U. Verry wel, that's that. And I'm an enjin-driever, as U wel mae see, and thair's no denieing it's terribly derty werk. Ueses up a power of sherts, it duz, til mi missus is fair tierd of woshing of 'em. If U'l wosh a fue sherts for me when U get hoem, and send 'em along, I'l giv U a ried on mi enjin. It's agenst th Company's reguelaeshuns, but we'r not so verry particuelar in thees out-of-th-wae parts.'

   Th Toad's mizery ternd into rapcher as he

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eegerly scrambld up into th cab of th enjin. Of cors, he had never wosht a shert in his lief, and cuudn't if he tried and, enyhow, he wasn't going to begin; but he thaut: `When I get saefly hoem to Toed Hall, and hav muny agen, and pokets to puut it in, I wil send th enjin-driever enuf to pae for qiet a qontity of woshing, and that wil be th saem thing, or beter.'

   Th gard waevd his welcum flag, th enjin-driever whisld in cheerful respons, and th traen moovd out of th staeshun. As th speed increest, and th Toed cuud see on eether sied of him reeal feelds, and trees, and hejes, and cows, and horses, all flieing past him, and as he thaut how evry minit was bringing him neerer to Toed Hall, and simpathetic frends, and muny to chink in his poket, and a sofft bed to sleep in, and guud things to eet, and praez and admeraeshun at th resietal of his advenchers and his serpasing clevernes, he began to skip up and doun and shout and sing snaches of song, to th graet astonishment of th enjin-driever, hoo had cum across washerwomen befor, at long intervals, but never wun at all liek this.

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   Thae had cuverd meny and meny a miel, and Toed was allredy considering whut he wuud hav for super as soon as he got hoem, when he noetist that th enjin-driever, with a puzld expreshun on his faes, was leening oever th sied of th enjin and lisening hard. Then he saw him cliem on to th coels and gaez out oever th top of th traen; then he reternd and sed to Toed: `It's verry straenj; we'r th last traen runing in this direcshun to-niet, yet I cuud be sworn that I herd anuther foloeing us!'

   Toed seest his frivolus antics at wuns. He becaem graev and deprest, and a dul paen in th loeer part of his spien, comuenicaeting itself to his legs, maed him wont to sit doun and tri desperetly not to think of all th posibilitys.

   Bi this tiem th moon was shiening brietly, and th enjin-driever, stedying himself on th coel, cuud comand a vue of th lien behiend them for a long distans.

   Prezently he calld out, `I can see it cleerly now! It is an enjin, on our raels, cuming along at a graet paes! It luuks as if we wer being persood!'

   Th mizerabl Toed, crouching in th coel-

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dust, tried hard to think of sumthing to do, with dizmal wont of sucses.

   `Thae ar gaening on us fast!' cried th enjin-driever. And th enjin is crouded with th qeerest lot of peepl! Men liek aenshent warders, waeving halberds; poleesmen in thair helmets, waeving truncheons; and shabily drest men in pot-hats, obvius and unmistaekabl plaen-cloeths detectivs eeven at this distans, waeving revolvers and wauking-stiks; all waeving, and all shouting th saem thing -- "Stop, stop, stop!"'

   Then Toed fel on his nees amung th coels and, raezing his claspt paws in suplicaeshun, cried, `Saev me, oenly saev me, deer kiend Mr. Enjin-driever, and I wil confes evrything! I am not th simpl washerwoman I seem to be! I hav no children waeting for me, inosent or utherwiez! I am a toed -- th wel-noen and popuelar Mr. Toed, a landed proprieetor; I hav just escaept, bi mi graet dairing and clevernes, frum a loethsum dunjon into which mi enemys had flung me; and if thoes feloes on that enjin re-capcher me, it wil be chaens and bred-and-wauter and straw and mizery wuns mor for pur, unhapy, inosent Toed!'

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   Th enjin-driever luukt doun upon him verry sternly, and sed, `Now tel th trooth; whut wer U puut in prizon for?'

   `It was nuthing verry much,' sed pur Toed, colouring deeply. `I oenly borroed a moetorcar whiel th oeners wer at lunch; thae had no need of it at th tiem. I didn't meen to steel it, reealy; but peepl -- espeshaly majistraets -- taek such harsh vues of thautles and hi-spirited acshuns.'

   Th enjin-driever luukt verry graev and sed, `I feer that U hav bin indeed a wiked toed, and bi riets I aut to giv U up to ofended justis. But U ar evidently in sor trubl and distres, so I wil not dezert U. I don't hoeld with moetor-cars, for wun thing; and I don't hoeld with being orderd about bi poleesmen when I'm on mi oen enjin, for anuther. And th siet of an animal in teers allwaes maeks me feel qeer and sofft-harted. So cheer up, Toed! I'l do mi best, and we mae beet them yet!'

   Thae pield on mor coels, shovelling fueriusly; th fernis rord, th sparks floo, th enjin lept and swung but stil thair persooers sloely gaend. Th enjin-driever, with a si, wiept

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his brow with a handful of coton-waest, and sed, `I'm afraed it's no guud, Toed. U see, thae ar runing liet, and thae hav th beter enjin. Thair's just wun thing left for us to do, and it's yur oenly chans, so atend verry cairfuly to whut I tel U. A short wae ahed of us is a long tunel, and on th uther sied of that th lien pases thru a thik wuud. Now, I wil puut on all th speed I can whiel we ar runing thru th tunel, but th uther feloes wil slo doun a bit, nacheraly, for feer of an acsident. When we ar thru, I wil shut off steem and puut on braeks as hard as I can, and th moement it's saef to do so U must jump and hied in th wuud, befor thae get thru th tunel and see U. Then I wil go fuul speed ahed agen, and thae can chaes me if thae liek, for as long as thae liek, and as far as thae liek. Now miend and be redy to jump when I tel U!'

   Thae pield on mor coels, and th traen shot into th tunel, and th enjin rusht and rord and ratld, til at last thae shot out at th uther end into fresh air and th peesful moonliet, and saw th wuud lieing dark and helpful upon eether sied of th lien. Th driever

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shut off steem and puut on braeks, th Toed got doun on th step, and as th traen sloed doun to allmoest a wauking paes he herd th driever call out, `Now, jump!'

   Toed jumpt, roeld doun a short embankment, pikt himself up unhert, scrambld into th wuud and hid.

   Peeping out, he saw his traen get up speed agen and disapeer at a graet paes. Then out of th tunel berst th persooing enjin, roring and whisling, her motly croo waeving thair vairius wepons and shouting, `Stop! stop! stop!' When thae wer past, th Toed had a harty laf -- for th ferst tiem sinss he was throen into prizon.

   But he soon stopt lafing when he caem to consider that it was now verry laet and dark and coeld, and he was in an unnoen wuud, with no muny and no chans of super, and stil far frum frends and hoem; and th ded sielens of evrything, after th ror and ratl of th traen, was sumthing of a shok. He daird not leev th shelter of th trees, so he struk into th wuud, with th iedeea of leeving th raelwae as far as posibl behiend him.

   After so meny weeks within walls, he found

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th wuud straenj and unfrendly and incliend, he thaut, to maek fun of him. Niet-jars, sounding thair mecanical ratl, maed him think that th wuud was fuul of serching warders, cloezing in on him. An oul, swooping noiselessly tords him, brusht his shoelder with its wing, maeking him jump with th horrid sertenty that it was a hand; then flited off, mauth-liek, lafing its lo ho! ho! ho; which Toed thaut in verry pur taest. Wuns he met a fox, hoo stopt, luukt him up and doun in a sarcastic sort of wae, and sed, `Hullo, washerwoman! Haf a pair of soks and a pilo-caes short this week! Miend it duzn't ocur agen!' and swagerd off, sniggering. Toed luukt about for a stoen to thro at him, but cuud not sucseed in fiending wun, which vext him mor than enything. At last, coeld, hunggry, and tierd out, he saut th shelter of a holo tree, wherr with branches and ded leevs he maed himself as cumfortabl a bed as he cuud, and slept soundly til th morning.

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Chapter 9



   TH Wauter Rat was restles, and he did not exactly noe whi. To all apeerans th summer's pomp was stil at fuulest hiet, and alltho in th tild aekers green had given wae to goeld, tho rowans wer reddening, and th wuuds wer dasht heer and thair with a tauny feersnes, yet liet and wormth and colour wer stil prezent in undiminisht mezher, cleen of eny chily premonishuns of th pasing yeer. But th constant corus of th orchards and hejes had shrunk to a cazhual eevensong frum a fue yet unwearied performers; th robin was begining to asert himself wuns mor; and thair was a feeling in th air of chaenj and deparcher. Th cookoo, of cors, had long bin sielent; but meny anuther fetherd frend, for munths a part of th familyar landscaep and its small sosieety, was mising too

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and it seemd that th ranks thind stedily dae bi dae. Rat, ever obzervant of all wingd moovment, saw that it was taeking daely a southing tendensy; and eeven as he lae in bed at niet he thaut he cuud maek out, pasing in th darknes oeverhed, th beet and qiver of impaeshent pinions, oebeedyent to th peremptory call.

   Nature's Grand Hoetel has its Seezon, liek th uthers. As th gests wun bi wun pak, pae, and depart, and th seets at th taebl-d'hote shrink pityfuly at eech sucseeding meel; as sweets of rooms ar cloezd, carpets taeken up, and waeters sent awae; thoes boarders hoo ar staeing on, en penshun, until th next year's fuul re-oepening, cannot help being sumwhut afected bi all thees flittings and farewells, this eeger discushun of plans, roots, and fresh qorters, this daely shrinkej in th streem of comradship. Wun gets unsetld, deprest, and incliend to be qerrulus. Whi this craeving for chaenj? Whi not stae on qieetly heer, liek us, and be joly? U don't noe this hoetel out of th seezon, and whut fun we hav amung ourselvs, we feloes hoo remaen and see th hoel interesting yeer out. All verry troo, no dout

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th uthers allwaes repli; we qiet envy U -- and sum uther yeer perhaps -- but just now we hav engaejments -- and thair's th bus at th dor -- our tiem is up! So thae depart, with a smiel and a nod, and we mis them, and feel rezentful. Th Rat was a self-sufiesing sort of animal, rooted to th land, and, hooever went, he staed; stil, he cuud not help noetising whut was in th air, and feeling sum of its inflooens in his boens.

   It was dificult to setl doun to enything seeriusly, with all this fliting going on. Leeving th wauter-sied, wherr rushes stuud thik and tall in a streem that was becuming slugish and lo, he waanderd cuntry-words, crosst a feeld or too of pascherej allredy luuking dusty and parcht, and thrust into th graet see of wheet, yelo, waevy, and murmurous, fuul of qieet moeshun and small whisperings. Heer he offen luvd to waander, thru th forest of stif strong stauks that carryd thair oen goelden skie awae oever his hed -- a skie that was allwaes dansing, shimering, sofftly tauking; or swaeing strongly to th pasing wind and recuvering itself with a toss and a merry laf. Heer, too, he had meny small frends,

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a sosieety compleet in itself, leeding fuul and bizy lievs, but allwaes with a spair moement to gosip, and exchaenj nues with a vizitor. Todae, however, tho thae wer sivil enuf, th feeld-mies and harvest-mies seemd preocuepied. Meny wer diging and tunnelling bizily; uthers, gatherd together in small groops, examind plans and drawings of small flats, staeted to be dezierabl and compact, and sichuaeted conveenyuntly neer th Stors. Sum wer halling out dusty trunks and dres-baskets, uthers wer allredy elbo-deep paking thair belongings; whiel evrywhair piels and bundls of wheet, oets, barly, beech-mast and nuts, lae about redy for transport.

   `Heer's oeld Ratty!' thae cried as soon as thae saw him. `Cum and bair a hand, Rat, and don't stand about iedl!'

   `Whut sort of gaems ar U up to?' sed th Wauter Rat seveerly. `U noe it isn't tiem to be thinking of winter qorters yet, bi a long wae!'

   `O yes, we noe that,' explaend a feeld-mous rather shaemfaesedly; `but it's allwaes as wel to be in guud tiem, isn't it? We reealy must get all th fernicher and bagej and

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stors moovd out of this befor thoes horrid masheens begin cliking round th feelds; and then, U noe, th best flats get pikt up so qikly now-a-daes, and if U'r laet U hav to puut up with enything; and thae wont such a lot of doing up, too, befor thae'r fit to moov into. Of cors, we'r erly, we noe that; but we'r oenly just maeking a start.'

   `O, bother starts,' sed th Rat. `It's a splendid dae. Cum for a ro, or a stroel along th hejes, or a picnik in th wuuds, or sumthing.'

   `Wel, I think not to-dae, thank U,' replied th feeld-mous herydly. `Perhaps sum uther dae -- when we'v mor tiem -- -- '

   Th Rat, with a snort of contempt, swung round to go, tript oever a hat-box, and fel, with undignified remarks.

   `If peepl wuud be mor cairful,' sed a feeld-mous rather stifly, `and luuk wherr thae'r going, peepl wuudn't hert themselvs -- and forget themselvs. Miend that hoeld-all, Rat! U'd beter sit doun sumwherr. In an our or too we mae be mor free to atend to U.'

   `U woen't be "free" as U call it much

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this sied of Christmas, I can see that,' retorted th Rat grumpily, as he pikt his wae out of th feeld.

   He reternd sumwhut despondently to his river agen -- his faethful, stedy-going oeld river, which never pakt up, flited, or went into winter qorters.

   In th osiers which frinjd th bank he spied a swolo siting. Prezently it was joind bi anuther, and then bi a therd; and th berds, fidgeting restlesly on thair bow, taukt together ernestly and lo.

   `Whut, allredy,' sed th Rat, stroeling up to them. `Whut's th hery? I call it simply ridicuelus.'

   `O, we'r not off yet, if that's whut U meen,' replied th ferst swolo. `We'r oenly maeking plans and araenjing things. Tauking it oever, U noe -- whut root we'r taeking this yeer, and wherr we'll stop, and so on. That's haf th fun!'

   `Fun?' sed th Rat; `now that's just whut I don't understand. If U'v got to leev this plezant plaes, and yur frends hoo wil mis U, and yur snug hoems that U'v just setld into, whi, when th our strieks I'v no

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dout U'l go braevly, and faes all th trubl and discumfort and chaenj and nuenes, and maek beleev that U'r not verry unhapy. But to wont to tauk about it, or eeven think about it, til U reealy need -- -- '

   `No, U don't understand, nacheraly,' sed th second swolo. `Ferst, we feel it stering within us, a sweet unrest; then bak cum th recolecshuns wun bi wun, liek hoeming pijons. Thae fluter thru our dreems at niet, thae fli with us in our wheelings and circlings bi dae. We hungger to inqier of eech uther, to compair noets and ashur ourselvs that it was all reealy troo, as wun bi wun th sents and sounds and naems of long-forgoten plaeses cum grajualy bak and bekon to us.'

   `Cuudn't U stop on for just this yeer?' sugjested th Wauter Rat, wistfuly. `We'll all do our best to maek U feel at hoem. U'v no iedeea whut guud tiems we hav heer, whiel U ar far awae.'

   `I tried "stoping on" wun yeer,' sed th therd swolo. `I had groen so fond of th plaes that when th tiem caem I hung bak and let th uthers go on without me. For a fue weeks it was all wel enuf, but afterwards, O

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th weery length of th niets! Th shivering, sunless daes! Th air so clamy and chil, and not an insect in an aeker of it! No, it was no guud; mi curej broek doun, and wun coeld, stormy niet I tuuk wing, flieing wel inland on acount of th strong eesterly gaels. It was snoeing hard as I beet thru th pases of th graet mountens, and I had a stif fiet to win thru; but never shal I forget th blisful feeling of th hot sun agen on mi bak as I sped doun to th laeks that lae so bloo and plasid belo me, and th taest of mi ferst fat insect! Th past was liek a bad dreem; th fuecher was all hapy holidae as I moovd southwards week bi week, eezily, laezily, linggering as long as I daird, but allwaes heeding th call! No, I had had mi worning; never agen did I think of disoebeedyens.'

   `Aa, yes, th call of th South, of th South!' twiterd th uther too dreemily. `Its songs its hues, its raediant air! O, do U remember -- -- ' and, forgeting th Rat, thae slid into pashunet reminisens, whiel he lisend fasinaeted, and his hart bernd within him. In himself, too, he nue that it was viebraeting at last, that cord hitherto dormant and

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unsuspected. Th meer chater of thees suthern-bound berds, thair pael and second-hand reports, had yet power to awaeken this wield nue sensaeshun and thril him thru and thru with it; whut wuud wun moement of th reeal thing werk in him -- wun pashunet tuch of th reeal suthern sun, wun waft of th authentic oedor? With cloezd ies he daird to dreem a moement in fuul abandonment, and when he luukt agen th river seemd steely and chil, th green feelds grae and lightless. Then his loial hart seemd to cri out on his weeker self for its trechery.

   `Whi do U ever cum bak, then, at all?' he demanded of th swoloes jelusly. `Whut do U fiend to atract U in this pur drab litl cuntry?'

   `And do U think,' sed th ferst swolo, `that th uther call is not for us too, in its due seezon? Th call of lush medo-gras, wet orchards, worm, insect-haunted ponds, of brouzing catl, of haymaking, and all th farm-bildings clustering round th Hous of th perfect Eevs?'

   `Do U supoez,' askt th second wun, that U ar th oenly living thing that craves

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with a hunggry longing to heer th cuckoo's noet agen?'

   `In due tiem,' sed th therd, `we shal be hoem-sik wuns mor for qieet wauter-lilys swaeing on th serfis of an English streem. But to-dae all that seems pael and thin and verry far awae. Just now our blud danses to uther muezic.'

   Thae fel a-twitering amung themselvs wuns mor, and this tiem thair intoxicaeting babble was of vieolet sees, tauny sands, and lizard-haunted walls.

   Restlesly th Rat waanderd off wuns mor, cliemd th sloep that roez jently frum th north bank of th river, and lae luuking out tords th graet ring of Douns that bard his vizhun ferther southwards -- his simpl horiezon hitherto, his Mountens of th Moon, his limit behiend which lae nuthing he had caird to see or to noe. To-dae, to him gaezing South with a nueborn need stering in his hart, th cleer skie oever thair long lo outlien seemd to pulsaet with promis; to-dae, th unseen was evrything, th unnoen th oenly reeal fact of lief. On this sied of th hils was now th reeal blank, on th uther lae th crouded and culord

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panorama that his iner ie was seeing so cleerly. Whut sees lae beyond, green, leeping, and crested! Whut sun-baethd coests, along which th whiet vilas gliterd agenst th oliv wuuds! Whut qieet harbours, thronged with galant shiping bound for perpl ielands of wien and spies, ielands set lo in langgorus wauters!

   He roez and desended river-words wuns mor; then chaenjd his miend and saut th sied of th dusty laen. Thair, lieing haf-berryd in th thik, cool under-hej tanggl that borderd it, he cuud muez on th metalled roed and all th wundrus werld that it led to; on all th waefairers, too, that miet hav trodden it, and th forchuns and advenchers thae had gon to seek or found unseeking -- out thair, beyond -- beyond!

   Fuutsteps fel on his eer, and th figuer of wun that waukt sumwhut weerily caem into vue; and he saw that it was a Rat, and a verry dusty wun. Th waefairer, as he reecht him, salooted with a jescher of curtesy that had sumthing forin about it -- hezitaeted a moement -- then with a plezant smiel ternd frum th trak and sat doun bi his sied in th cool herbage. He seemd tierd, and th

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Rat let him rest unquestioned, understanding sumthing of whut was in his thauts; noeing, too, th value all animals atach at tiems to meer sielent companyonship, when th weery musls slaken and th miend marks tiem.

   Th waefairer was leen and keen-feecherd, and sumwhut bowd at th shoelders; his paws wer thin and long, his ies much rinkld at th corners, and he wor small goeld eer rings in his neetly-set wel-shaept eers. His nited jerzy was of a faeded bloo, his breeches, pacht and staend, wer baest on a bloo foundaeshun, and his small belongings that he carryd wer tied up in a bloo coton hankerchif.

   When he had rested awhiel th straenjer sied, snuft th air, and luukt about him.

   `That was cloever, that worm whiff on th breez,' he remarkt; `and thoes ar cows we heer croping th gras behiend us and bloeing sofftly between mouthfuls. Thair is a sound of distant reapers, and yonder riezes a bloo lien of cotej smoek agenst th wuudland. Th river runs sumwherr cloes bi, for I heer th call of a moorhen, and I see bi yur bild that U'r a freshwauter marriner.

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Evrything seems asleep, and yet going on all th tiem. It is a guudly lief that U leed, frend; no dout th best in th werld, if oenly U ar strong enuf to leed it!'

   `Yes, it's th lief, th oenly lief, to liv,' responded th Wauter Rat dreemily, and without his uezhual hoel-hearted convicshun.

   `I did not sae exactly that,' replied th straenjer caushusly; `but no dout it's th best. I'v tried it, and I noe. And becauz I'v just tried it -- six munths of it -- and noe it's th best, heer am I, fuutsor and hunggry, tramping awae frum it, tramping southward, foloeing th oeld call, bak to th oeld lief, th lief which is mien and which wil not let me go.'

   `Is this, then, yet anuther of them?' muezd th Rat. `And wherr hav U just cum frum?' he askt. He hardly daird to ask wherr he was bound for; he seemd to noe th anser oenly too wel.

   `Nies litl farm,' replied th waefairer, breefly. `Upalong in that direction' -- he noded northwards. `Never miend about it. I had evrything I cuud wont -- evrything I had eny riet to expect of lief, and mor; and heer I am! Glad to be heer all th saem, tho,

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glad to be heer! So meny miels ferther on th roed, so meny ours neerer to mi heart's dezier!'

   His shiening ies held fast to th horiezon, and he seemd to be lisening for sum sound that was wonting frum that inland aekerej, voecal as it was with th cheerful muezic of pascherej and farm-yard.

   `U ar not wun of us,' sed th Wauter Rat, `nor yet a farmer; nor eeven, I shuud juj, of this cuntry.'

   `Riet,' replied th straenjer. `I'm a seefairing rat, I am, and th port I orijinaly hael frum is Constantinople, tho I'm a sort of a foriner thair too, in a maner of speeking. U wil hav herd of Constantinople, frend? A fair sity, and an aenshent and glorius wun. And U mae hav herd, too, of Sigurd, King of Norway, and how he saeld thither with sixty ships, and how he and his men roed up thru streets all canopied in thair onor with perpl and goeld; and how th Emperor and Empres caem doun and banqueted with him on bord his ship. When Sigurd reternd hoem, meny of his Northmen remaend behiend and enterd th Emperor's

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body-gard, and mi ansestor, a Norwegian born, staed behiend too, with th ships that Sigurd gaev th Emperor. Seefairers we hav ever bin, and no wunder; as for me, th sity of mi berth is no mor mi hoem than eny plezant port between thair and th London River. I noe them all, and thae noe me. Set me doun on eny of thair quays or foreshores, and I am hoem agen.'

   `I supoez U go graet voiejes,' sed th Wauter Rat with groeing interest. `Munths and munths out of siet of land, and provizhuns runing short, and allowanced as to wauter, and yur miend communing with th miety oeshan, and all that sort of thing?'

   `Bi no meens,' sed th See Rat frankly. `Such a lief as U descrieb wuud not soot me at all. I'm in th coasting traed, and rairly out of siet of land. It's th joly tiems on shor that apeel to me, as much as eny seefairing. O, thoes suthern seeports! Th smel of them, th rieding-liets at niet, th glamor!'

   `Wel, perhaps U hav choezen th beter wae,' sed th Wauter Rat, but rather doutfuly. `Tel me sumthing of yur coasting, then, if

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U hav a miend to, and whut sort of harvest an animal of spirit miet hoep to bring hoem frum it to worm his later daes with galant memorys bi th fiersied; for mi lief, I confes to U, feels to me to-dae sumwhut narro and sercumscriebd.'

   `Mi last voiej,' began th See Rat, `that landed me evenchualy in this cuntry, bound with hi hoeps for mi inland farm, wil serv as a guud exampl of eny of them, and, indeed, as an epitomy of mi hiely-culord lief. Family trubls, as uezhual, began it. Th domestic storm-coen was hoisted, and I shipt mieself on bord a small traeding vesel bound frum Constantinople, bi clasic sees hoos evry waev throbs with a dethles memory, to th Grecian Ielands and th Levant. Thoes wer goelden daes and baamy niets! In and out of harbour all th tiem -- oeld frends evrywhair -- sleeping in sum cool templ or rooind sistern during th heet of th dae -- feesting and song after sundoun, under graet stars set in a velvet skie! Thens we ternd and coested up th Adriatic, its shors swiming in an atmosfeer of amber, roez, and aquamarine; we lae in wied land-lokt harbours,

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we roemd thru aenshent and noebl sitys, until at last wun morning, as th sun roez royally behiend us, we roed into Venice doun a path of goeld. O, Venice is a fien sity, wherrin a rat can waander at his eez and taek his plezher! Or, when weery of waandering, can sit at th ej of th Grand Canal at niet, feesting with his frends, when th air is fuul of muezic and th skie fuul of stars, and th liets flash and shimer on th polisht steel prows of th swaeing gondolas, pakt so that U cuud wauk across th canal on them frum sied to sied! And then th food -- do U liek shellfish? Wel, wel, we woen't lingger oever that now.'

   He was sielent for a tiem; and th Wauter Rat, sielent too and enthralld, floeted on dreem-canals and herd a fantom song pealing hi between vaeporus grae waev-lapt walls.

   `Southwards we saeld agen at last,' continued th See Rat, `coasting doun th Italian shor, til fienaly we maed Palermo, and thair I quitted for a long, hapy spel on shor. I never stik too long to wun ship; wun gets narro-miended and prejudist. Besieds, Sicily is wun of mi hapy hunting-grounds. I noe

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evrybody thair, and thair waes just soot me. I spent meny joly weeks in th ieland, staeing with frends up cuntry. When I groo restles agen I tuuk advantej of a ship that was traeding to Sardinia and Corsica; and verry glad I was to feel th fresh breez and th see-sprae in mi faes wuns mor.'

   `But isn't it verry hot and stufy, doun in th -- hoeld, I think U call it?' askt th Wauter Rat.

   Th seefairer luukt at him with th suspishun go a wink. `I'm an oeld hand,' he remarkt with much simplisity. `Th captain's cabin's guud enuf for me.'

   `It's a hard lief, bi all acounts,' mermerd th Rat, sunk in deep thaut.

   `For th croo it is,' replied th seefairer graevly, agen with th goest of a wink.

   `Frum Corsica,' he went on, `I maed ues of a ship that was taeking wien to th maenland. We maed Alassio in th eevning, lae to, halld up our wien-casks, and hoev them oeverbord, tied wun to th uther bi a long lien. Then th croo tuuk to th boets and roed shorewards, singing as thae went, and drawing after them th long bobing proseshun of casks, liek a

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miel of porpuses. On th sands thae had horses waeting, which dragd th casks up th steep street of th litl toun with a fien rush and clater and scrambl. When th last cask was in, we went and refresht and rested, and sat laet into th niet, drinking with our frends, and next morning I tuuk to th graet oliv-wuuds for a spel and a rest. For now I had dun with ielands for th tiem, and ports and shiping wer plentiful; so I led a laezy lief amung th pezants, lieing and woching them werk, or strecht hi on th hilsied with th bloo Mediterranean far belo me. And so at length, bi eezy staejes, and partly on fuut, partly bi see, to Marseilles, and th meeting of oeld shipmaets, and th viziting of graet oeshan-bound vesels, and feesting wuns mor. Tauk of shel-fish! Whi, sumtiems I dreem of th shel-fish of Marseilles, and waek up crieing!'

   `That remiends me,' sed th poliet Wauter Rat; `U hapend to menshun that U wer hunggry, and I aut to hav spoeken erlyer. Of cors, U wil stop and taek yur middae meel with me? Mi hoel is cloes bi; it is sum tiem past noon, and U ar verry welcum to whutever thair is.'

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   `Now I call that kiend and brutherly of U,' sed th See Rat. `I was indeed hunggry when I sat doun, and ever sinss I inadvertently hapend to menshun shel-fish, mi pangs hav bin extreem. But cuudn't U fech it along out heer? I am nun too fond of going under hatches, unles I'm obliejd to; and then, whiel we eet, I cuud tel U mor conserning mi voiejes and th plezant lief I leed -- at leest, it is verry plezant to me, and bi yur atenshun I juj it comends itself to U; wherras if we go indors it is a hundred to wun that I shal prezently fall asleep.'

   `That is indeed an exselent sugjeschun,' sed th Wauter Rat, and heryd off hoem. Thair he got out th lunchon-basket and pakt a simpl meel, in which, remembering th stranger's orijin and preferenses, he tuuk cair to inclood a yard of long French bred, a sausej out of which th garlic sang, sum cheez which lae doun and cried, and a long-necked straw-cuverd flask wherrin lae botld sunshien shed and garnered on far Suthern sloeps. Thus laeden, he reternd with all speed, and blusht for plezher at th oeld seaman's commendations of his taest and jujment, as

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together thae unpakt th basket and laed out th contents on th gras bi th roedsied.

   Th See Rat, as soon as his hungger was sumwhut aswaejd, continued th history of his laetest voiej, conducting his simpl heerer frum port to port of Spain, landing him at Lisbon, Oporto, and Bordeaux, introduesing him to th plezant harbours of Cornwall and Devon, and so up th Chanel to that fienal quayside, wherr, landing after winds long contrairy, storm-driven and wether-beeten, he had caut th ferst majical hints and heraldings of anuther Spring, and, fierd bi thees, had sped on a long tramp inland, hunggry for th experriment of lief on sum qieet farmsted, verry far frum th weery beeting of eny see.

   Spel-bound and qivering with exsietment, th Wauter Rat foloed th Advencherer leeg bi leeg, oever stormy baes, thru crouded roadsteads, across harbour bars on a raesing tied, up wiending rivers that hid thair bizy litl touns round a suden tern; and left him with a regretful si planted at his dul inland farm, about which he dezierd to heer nuthing.

   Bi this tiem thair meel was oever, and th Seefairer, refresht and strengthend, his vois mor

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viebrant, his ie lit with a brietnes that seemd caut frum sum far-awae see-beecon, fild his glas with th red and gloeing vintej of th South, and, leening tords th Wauter Rat, compeld his gaez and held him, body and soel, whiel he taukt. Thoes ies wer of th chaenjing foem-streekt grae-green of leeping Northern sees; in th glas shoen a hot ruby that seemd th verry hart of th South, beeting for him hoo had curej to respond to its pulsaeshun. Th twin liets, th shifting grae and th stedfast red, masterd th Wauter Rat and held him bound, fasinaeted, powerles. Th qieet werld outsied thair raes reseeded far awae and seest to be. And th tauk, th wunderful tauk floed on -- or was it speech entierly, or did it pas at tiems into song -- chanty of th saelors waeing th driping ankor, sonorus hum of th shrouds in a tairing North-Easter, balad of th fisherman halling his nets at sundoun agenst an aepricot skie, cords of gitar and mandoline frum gondola or caique? Did it chaenj into th cri of th wind, plaentiv at ferst, anggrily shril as it freshend, riezing to a tairing whisl, sinking to a muezical trikl of air frum th leech of th bellying sael? All

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thees sounds th spel-bound lisener seemd to heer, and with them th hunggry complaent of th gulls and th see-mews, th sofft thunder of th braeking waev, th cri of th proetesting shinggl. Bak into speech agen it past, and with beeting hart he was foloeing th advenchers of a duzen seeports, th fiets, th escaeps, th ralys, th comradeships, th galant undertaekings; or he sercht ielands for trezher, fished in stil lagoons and doezd dae-long on worm whiet sand. Of deep-see fishings he herd tel, and miety silver gatherings of th miel-long net; of suden perrils, noiz of braekers on a moonless niet, or th tall bows of th graet liener taeking shaep oeverhed thru th fog; of th merry hoem-cuming, th hedland rounded, th harbour liets oepend out; th groops seen dimly on th quay, th cheery hael, th splash of th hauzer; th trudge up th steep litl street tords th cumforting glo of red-curtend windoes.

   Lastly, in his waeking dreem it seemd to him that th Advencherer had rizen to his feet, but was stil speeking, stil hoelding him fast with his see-grae ies.

   `And now,' he was sofftly saeing, `I taek to

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th roed agen, hoelding on southwestwards for meny a long and dusty dae; til at last I reech th litl grae see toun I noe so wel, that clings along wun steep sied of th harbour. Thair thru dark dorwaes U luuk doun fliets of stoen steps, overhung bi graet pink tufts of valerian and ending in a pach of sparkling bloo wauter. Th litl boets that lie tetherd to th rings and stanchions of th oeld see-wall ar gaely paented as thoes I clamberd in and out of in mi oen chieldhuud; th salmon leep on th flud tied, scools of makerel flash and plae past quaysides and foreshores, and bi th windoes th graet vesels glied, niet and dae, up to thair moorings or forth to th oepen see. Thair, sooner or laeter, th ships of all seefairing naeshuns ariev; and thair, at its destind our, th ship of mi chois wil let go its ankor. I shal taek mi tiem, I shal tarry and bied, til at last th riet wun lies waeting for me, worpt out into midstreem, loeded lo, her bowsprit pointing doun harbour. I shal slip on bord, bi boet or along hauzer; and then wun morning I shal waek to th song and tramp of th saelors, th clink of th capstan, and th ratl of th ankor-chaen

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cuming merrily in. We shal braek out th jib and th forsael, th whiet houses on th harbour sied wil glied sloely past us as she gathers steering-wae, and th voiej wil hav begun! As she forges tords th hedland she wil cloeth herself with canvas; and then, wuns outsied, th sounding slap of graet green sees as she heels to th wind, pointing South!

   `And U, U wil cum too, yung bruther; for th daes pas, and never retern, and th South stil waets for U. Taek th Advencher, heed th call, now err th irrevocabl moement pases!' 'tis but a banging of th dor behiend U, a bliethsum step forward, and U ar out of th oeld lief and into th nue! Then sum dae, sum dae long hens, jog hoem heer if U wil, when th cup has bin draend and th plae has bin plaed, and sit doun bi yur qieet river with a stor of guudly memorys for cumpany. U can eezily oevertaek me on th roed, for U ar yung, and I am ageing and go sofftly. I wil lingger, and luuk bak; and at last I wil shurly see U cuming, eeger and liet-hearted, with all th South in yur faes!'

   Th vois died awae and seest as an insect's tieny trumpet dwindles swiftly into sielens;

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and th Wauter Rat, paralysed and stairing, saw at last but a distant spek on th whiet serfis of th roed.

   Mecanicaly he roez and proseeded to repack th lunchon-basket, cairfuly and without haest. Mecanicaly he reternd hoem, gatherd together a fue small nesesairys and speshal trezhers he was fond of, and puut them in a sachel; acting with slo deliberaeshun, mooving about th room liek a sleep-wauker; lisening ever with parted lips. He swung th sachel oever his shoelder, cairfuly selected a stout stik for his wayfaring, and with no haest, but with no hezitaeshun at all, he stept across th threshhoeld just as th Moel apeerd at th dor.

   `Whi, wherr ar U off to, Ratty?' askt th Moel in graet serpriez, grasping him bi th arm.

   `Going South, with th rest of them,' mermerd th Rat in a dreemy monotoen, never luuking at him. `Seawards ferst and then on shipbord, and so to th shors that ar calling me!'

   He prest rezolootly forward, stil without haest, but with daugd fixity of perpos; but

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th Moel, now theroely alarmd, plaest himself in frunt of him, and luuking into his ies saw that thae wer glaezd and set and ternd a streekt and shifting grae -- not his friend's ies, but th ies of sum uther animal! Grapling with him strongly he dragd him insied, throo him doun, and held him.

   Th Rat strugld desperetly for a fue moements, and then his strength seemd sudenly to leev him, and he lae stil and exausted, with cloezd ies, trembling. Prezently th Moel asisted him to riez and plaest him in a chair, wherr he sat colapst and shrunken into himself, his body shaeken bi a vieolent shivering, pasing in tiem into an histerrical fit of dri sobing. Moel maed th dor fast, throo th sachel into a dror and lokt it, and sat doun qieetly on th taebl bi his frend, waeting for th straenj seezher to pas. Grajualy th Rat sank into a trubld doez, broeken bi starts and confuezd murmurings of things straenj and wield and forin to th unenlightened Moel; and frum that he past into a deep slumber.

   Verry ankshus in miend, th Moel left him for a tiem and bizyd himself with hous-hoeld

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maters; and it was geting dark when he reternd to th parlour and found th Rat wherr he had left him, wied awaek indeed, but listles, sielent, and dejected. He tuuk wun haesty glans at his ies; found them, to his graet gratificaeshun, cleer and dark and broun agen as befor; and then sat doun and tried to cheer him up and help him to relaet whut had hapend to him.

   Pur Ratty did his best, bi degrees, to explaen things; but how cuud he puut into coeld werds whut had moestly bin sugjeschun? How recall, for another's benefit, th haunting see voises that had sung to him, how re-produes at second-hand th majic of th Seafarer's hundred reminisenses? Eeven to himself, now th spel was broeken and th glamor gon, he found it dificult to acount for whut had seemd, sum ours ago, th inevitabl and oenly thing. It is not serpriezing, then, that he faeld to convae to th Moel eny cleer iedeea of whut he had bin thru that dae.

   To th Moel this much was plaen: th fit, or atak, had past awae, and had left him saen agen, tho shaeken and cast doun bi th reacshun. But he seemd to hav lost all interest

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for th tiem in th things that went to maek up his daely lief, as wel as in all plezant forecastings of th allterd daes and doings that th chaenjing seezon was shurly bringing.

   Cazhualy, then, and with seeming indiferens, th Moel ternd his tauk to th harvest that was being gatherd in, th towering wagons and thair straening teems, th groeing ricks, and th larj moon riezing oever bair aekers doted with sheaves. He taukt of th reddening apls around, of th browning nuts, of jams and prezervs and th distiling of cordials; til bi eezy staejes such as thees he reecht midwinter, its harty jois and its snug hoem lief, and then he becaem simply lirical.

   Bi degrees th Rat began to sit up and to join in. His dul ie brietend, and he lost sum of his lisening air.

   Prezently th tactful Moel slipt awae and reternd with a pensil and a fue haf-sheets of paeper, which he plaest on th taebl at his friend's elbo.

   `It's qiet a long tiem sinss U did eny poeetry,' he remarkt. `U miet hav a tri at it this eevning, insted of -- wel, brooding oever things so much. I'v an iedeea that U'l

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feel a lot beter when U'v got sumthing joted doun -- if it's oenly just th riems.'

   Th Rat puusht th paeper awae frum him weerily, but th discreet Moel tuuk ocaezhun to leev th room, and when he peeped in agen sum tiem laeter, th Rat was absorbd and def to th werld; allternetly scribling and suking th top of his pensil. It is troo that he sukt a guud deel mor than he scribld; but it was joi to th Moel to noe that th cuer had at leest begun.

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Chapter 10



   TH frunt dor of th holo tree faest eastwards, so Toed was calld at an erly our; partly bi th briet sunliet streeming in on him, partly bi th exseeding coeldnes of his toes, which maed him dreem that he was at hoem in bed in his oen hansum room with th Tudor windo, on a coeld winter's niet, and his bedcloeths had got up, grumbling and proetesting thae cuudn't stand th coeld eny longger, and had run dounstairs to th kichen fier to worm themselvs; and he had foloed, on bair feet, along miels and miels of iesy stoen-paevd pasejes, argueing and beseeching them to be reezonabl. He wuud probably hav bin arouzd much erlyer, had he not slept for sum weeks on straw oever stoen flags, and

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allmoest forgoten th frendly feeling of thik blankets puuld wel up round th chin.

   Siting up, he rubd his ies ferst and his complaening toes next, wunderd for a moement wherr he was, luuking round for familyar stoen wall and litl bard windo; then, with a leep of th hart, rememberd evrything -- his escaep, his fliet, his persoot; rememberd, ferst and best thing of all, that he was free!

   Free! Th werd and th thaut aloen wer werth fifty blankets. He was worm frum end to end as he thaut of th joly werld outsied, waeting eegerly for him to maek his trieumfal entrans, redy to serv him and plae up to him, ankshus to help him and to keep him cumpany, as it allwaes had bin in daes of oeld befor misforchen fel upon him. He shuuk himself and coemd th dri leevs out of his hair with his finggers; and, his toilet compleet, marcht forth into th cumfortabl morning sun, coeld but confident, hunggry but hoepful, all nervus terrors of yesterdae dispeld bi rest and sleep and frank and hartening sunshien.

   He had th werld all to himself, that erly sumer morning. Th duey wuudland, as he threded it, was solitairy and stil: th green

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feelds that sucseeded th trees wer his oen to do as he liekt with; th roed itself, when he reecht it, in that loenlynes that was evrywhair, seemd, liek a strae daug, to be luuking ankshusly for cumpany. Toed, however, was luuking for sumthing that cuud tauk, and tel him cleerly which wae he aut to go. It is all verry wel, when U hav a liet hart, and a cleer conshens, and muny in yur poket, and noebody scouring th cuntry for U to drag U off to prizon agen, to folo wherr th roed bekons and points, not cairing whither. Th practical Toed caird verry much indeed, and he cuud hav kikt th roed for its helples sielens when evry minit was of importans to him.

   Th rezervd rustic roed was prezently joind bi a shi litl bruther in th shaep of a canal, which tuuk its hand and ambld along bi its sied in perfect confidens, but with th saem tung-tied, uncomuenicaetiv atitued tords straenjers. `Bother them!' sed Toed to himself. `But, enyhow, wun thing's cleer. Thae must boeth be cuming frum sumwherr, and going to sumwherr. U can't get oever that. Toed, mi boi!' So he marcht on paeshently bi th water's ej.

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   Round a bend in th canal caem ploding a solitairy hors, stooping forward as if in ankshus thaut. Frum roep traeses atacht to his colar strecht a long lien, taut, but diping with his stried, th ferther part of it driping perly drops. Toed let th hors pas, and stuud waeting for whut th faets wer sending him.

   With a plezant swerl of qieet wauter at its blunt bow th barj slid up alongsied of him, its gaely paented gunel level with th towing-path, its soel ocuepant a big stout wuuman wairing a linen sun-bonet, wun brauny arm laed along th tiler.

   `A nies morning, ma'am!' she remarkt to Toed, as she droo up level with him.

   `I dair sae it is, ma'am!' responded Toed polietly, as he waukt along th toe-path abrest of her. `I dair it is a nies morning to them that's not in sor trubl, liek whut I am. Heer's mi marryd dauter, she sends off to me poest-haest to cum to her at wuns; so off I cums, not noeing whut mae be hapening or going to hapen, but feering th werst, as U wil understand, ma'am, if U'r a muther, too. And I'v left mi biznes to luuk after itself -- I'm in th

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woshing and laundering lien, U must noe, ma'am -- and I'v left mi yung children to luuk after themselvs, and a mor mischivus and trublsum set of yung imps duzn't exist, ma'am; and I'v lost all mi muny, and lost mi wae, and as for whut mae be hapening to mi marryd dauter, whi, I don't liek to think of it, ma'am!'

   `Wherr miet yur marryd dauter be living, ma'am?' askt th barj-wuuman.

   `She lievs neer to th river, ma'am,' replied Toed. `Cloes to a fien hous calld Toed Hall, that's somewheres heerabouts in thees parts. Perhaps U mae hav herd of it.'

   `Toed Hall? Whi, I'm going that wae mieself,' replied th barj-wuuman. `This canal joins th river sum miels ferther on, a litl abuv Toed Hall; and then it's an eezy wauk. U cum along in th barj with me, and I'l giv U a lift.'

   She steerd th barj cloes to th bank, and Toed, with meny humbl and graetful aknolejments, stept lietly on bord and sat doun with graet satisfacshun. `Toad's luk agen!' thaut he. `I allwaes cum out on top!'

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   `So U'r in th woshing biznes, ma'am?' sed th barj-wuuman polietly, as thae glieded along. `And a verry guud biznes U'v got too, I dair sae, if I'm not maeking too free in saeing so.'

   `Fienest biznes in th hoel cuntry,' sed Toed airily. `All th jentry cum to me -- wuudn't go to eny wun els if thae wer paed, thae noe me so wel. U see, I understand mi werk theroely, and atend to it all mieself. Woshing, ieerning, cleer-starching, maeking up gents' fien sherts for eevning wair -- everything's dun under mi oen ie!'

   `But shurly U don't do all that werk yurself, ma'am?' askt th barj-wuuman respectfuly.

   `O, I hav gerls,' sed Toed lietly: `twenty gerls or thairabouts, allwaes at werk. But U noe whut gerls ar, ma'am! Nasty litl hussies, that's whut I call 'em!'

   `So do I, too,' sed th barj-wuuman with graet hartynes. `But I dair sae U set yurs to riets, th iedl trollops! And ar U verry fond of woshing?'

   `I luv it,' sed Toed. `I simply dote on it. Never so hapy as when I'v got boeth arms in th wosh-tub. But, then, it cums so eezy to

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me! No trubl at all! A reeal plezher, I ashur U, ma'am!'

   `Whut a bit of luk, meeting U!' obzervd th barj-wuuman, thautfuly. `A reguelar pees of guud forchun for boeth of us!'

   `Whi, whut do U meen?' askt Toed, nervusly.

   `Wel, luuk at me, now,' replied th barj-wuuman. `I liek woshing, too, just th saem as U do; and for that mater, whether I liek it or not I hav got to do all mi oen, nacheraly, mooving about as I do. Now mi huzband, he's such a felo for sherking his werk and leeving th barj to me, that never a moement do I get for seeing to mi oen afairs. Bi riets he aut to be heer now, eether steering or atending to th hors, tho lukily th hors has sens enuf to atend to himself. Insted of which, he's gon off with th daug, to see if thae can't pik up a rabit for diner sumwherr. Ses he'l cach me up at th next lok. Wel, that's as mae be -- I don't trust him, wuns he gets off with that daug, hoo's wers than he is. But meentiem, how am I to get on with mi woshing?'

   `O, never miend about th woshing,' sed

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Toed, not lieking th subject. `Tri and fix yur miend on that rabit. A nies fat yung rabit, I'l be bound. Got eny unyons?'

   `I can't fix mi miend on enything but mi woshing,' sed th barj-wuuman, `and I wunder U can be tauking of rabits, with such a joiful prospect befor U. Thair's a heep of things of mien that U'l fiend in a corner of th cabin. If U'l just taek wun or too of th moest nesesairy sort -- I woen't vencher to descrieb them to a laedy liek U, but U'l recognise them at a glans -- and puut them thru th wosh-tub as we go along, whi, it'l be a plezher to U, as U rietly sae, and a reeal help to me. U'l fiend a tub handy, and soep, and a ketl on th stoev, and a buket to hall up wauter frum th canal with. Then I shal noe U'r enjoiing yurself, insted of siting heer iedl, luuking at th seenery and yauning yur hed off.'

   `Heer, U let me steer!' sed Toed, now theroely frietend, `and then U can get on with yur woshing yur oen wae. I miet spoil yur things, or not do 'em as U liek. I'm mor uezd to gentlemen's things mieself. It's mi speshal lien.'

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   `Let U steer?' replied th barj-wuuman, lafing. `It taeks sum practis to steer a barj properly. Besieds, it's dul werk, and I wont U to be hapy. No, U shal do th woshing U ar so fond of, and I'l stik to th steering that I understand. Don't tri and depriev me of th plezher of giving U a treet!'

   Toed was fairly cornerd. He luukt for escaep this wae and that, saw that he was too far frum th bank for a flieing leep, and sulenly reziend himself to his faet. `If it cums to that,' he thaut in desperaeshun, `I supoez eny fool can wosh!'

   He fetched tub, soep, and uther nesesairys frum th cabin, selected a fue garments at random, tried to recolect whut he had seen in cazhual glanses thru laundry windoes, and set to.

   A long haf-our past, and evry minit of it saw Toed geting crosser and crosser. Nuthing that he cuud do to th things seemd to pleez them or do them guud. He tried coexing, he tried slaping, he tried punching; thae smield bak at him out of th tub unconverted, hapy in thair orijinal sin. Wuns or twies he luukt

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nervusly oever his shoelder at th barj-wuuman, but she apeerd to be gaezing out in frunt of her, absorbd in her steering. His bak aekt badly, and he noetist with dismae that his paws wer begining to get all crinkly. Now Toed was verry proud of his paws. He muterd under his breth werds that shuud never pas th lips of eether washerwomen or Toads; and lost th soep, for th fiftyeth tiem.

   A berst of lafter maed him straeten himself and luuk round. Th barj-wuuman was leening bak and lafing unrestrainedly, til th teers ran doun her cheeks.

   `I'v bin woching U all th tiem,' she gaspt. `I thaut U must be a humbug all along, frum th conseeted wae U taukt. Prity washerwoman U ar! Never wosht so much as a dish-clout in yur lief, I'l lae!'

   Toad's temper which had bin simmering vishusly for sum tiem, now fairly boild oever, and he lost all controel of himself.

   `U comon, lo, fat barj-wuuman!' he shouted; `don't U dair to tauk to yur betters liek that! Washerwoman indeed! I wuud hav U to noe that I am a Toed, a verry wel-noen, respected, distinggwisht Toed!

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I mae be under a bit of a cloud at prezent, but I wil not be laft at bi a bargewoman!'

   Th wuuman moovd neerer to him and peerd under his bonet keenly and cloesly. `Whi, so U ar!' she cried. `Wel, I never! A horrid, nasty, crawly Toed! And in mi nies cleen barj, too! Now that is a thing that I wil not hav.'

   She relinqisht th tiler for a moement. Wun big motld arm shot out and caut Toed bi a for-leg, whiel th uther gript him fast bi a hiend-leg. Then th werld ternd sudenly upsied doun, th barj seemd to flit lietly across th skie, th wind whisld in his eers, and Toed found himself flieing thru th air, revolving rapidly as he went.

   Th wauter, when he evenchualy reecht it with a loud splash, proovd qiet coeld enuf for his taest, tho its chil was not sufishent to qel his proud spirit, or slake th heet of his fuerius temper. He roez to th serfis spluttering, and when he had wiept th duk-weed out of his ies th ferst thing he saw was th fat barj-wuuman luuking bak at him oever th stern of th retreeting barj and lafing;

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and he vowd, as he cauft and choekt, to be eeven with her.

   He struk out for th shor, but th coton goun graetly impeeded his eforts, and when at length he tucht land he found it hard to cliem up th steep bank unasisted. He had to taek a minit or two's rest to recuver his breth; then, gathering his wet skerts wel oever his arms, he started to run after th barj as fast as his legs wuud carry him, wield with indignaeshun, thirsting for revenj.

   Th barj-wuuman was stil lafing when he droo up level with her. `Puut yurself thru yur manggl, washerwoman,' she calld out, `and ieern yur faes and crimp it, and U'l pas for qiet a deesent-luuking Toed!'

   Toed never pauzd to repli. Solid revenj was whut he wonted, not cheep, windy, verbal trieumfs, tho he had a thing or too in his miend that he wuud hav liekt to sae. He saw whut he wonted ahed of him. Runing swiftly on he oevertuuk th hors, unfasend th toeroep and cast off, jumpt lietly on th horse's bak, and erjd it to a galop bi kiking it vigorusly in th sieds. He steerd for th oepen cuntry, abandoning th toe-path, and

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swinging his steed doun a rutty laen. Wuns he luukt bak, and saw that th barj had run aground on th uther sied of th canal, and th barj-wuuman was jesticuelaeting wieldly and shouting, `Stop, stop, stop!' `I'v herd that song befor,' sed Toed, lafing, as he continued to sper his steed onward in its wield career.

   Th barj-hors was not caepabl of eny verry sustaend efort, and its galop soon subsieded into a trot, and its trot into an eezy wauk; but Toed was qiet contented with this, noeing that he, at eny raet, was mooving, and th barj was not. He had qiet recuverd his temper, now that he had dun sumthing he thaut reealy clever; and he was satisfied to jog along qieetly in th sun, steering his hors along bi-waes and briedl-paths, and trieing to forget how verry long it was sinss he had had a sqair meel, til th canal had bin left verry far behiend him.

   He had traveld sum miels, his hors and he, and he was feeling drouzy in th hot sunshien, when th hors stopt, loeerd his hed, and began to nibl th gras; and Toed, waeking up, just saevd himself frum falling off bi an

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efort. He luukt about him and found he was on a wied comon, doted with paches of gorse and brambl as far as he cuud see. Neer him stuud a dinjy gipsy carravan, and besied it a man was siting on a buket ternd upsied doun, verry bizy smoeking and stairing into th wied werld. A fier of stiks was berning neer bi, and oever th fier hung an ieern pot, and out of that pot caem forth bubblings and gurglings, and a vaeg sugjestiv steaminess. Allso smels -- worm, rich, and vairyd smels -- that twiend and twisted and reethd themselvs at last into wun compleet, volupchuos, perfect smel that seemd liek th verry soel of Naecher taeking form and apeering to her children, a troo Godes, a muther of solis and cumfort. Toed now nue wel that he had not bin reealy hunggry befor. Whut he had felt erlyer in th dae had bin a meer triefling qaam. This was th reeal thing at last, and no mistaek; and it wuud hav to be delt with speedily, too, or thair wuud be trubl for sumbody or sumthing. He luukt th gipsy oever cairfuly, wundering vaegly whether it wuud be eezyer to fiet him or cajoel him. So thair he sat, and snift and snift, and luukt

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at th gipsy; and th gipsy sat and smoekt, and luukt at him.

   Prezently th gipsy tuuk his piep out of his mouth and remarkt in a cairles wae, `Wont to sel that thair hors of yurs?'

   Toed was compleetly taeken abak. He did not noe that gipsies wer verry fond of hors-deeling, and never mist an oportuenity, and he had not reflected that carravans wer allwaes on th moov and tuuk a deel of drawing. It had not ocurd to him to tern th hors into cash, but th gipsy's sugjeschun seemd to smooth th wae tords th too things he wonted so badly -- redy muny, and a solid brekfast.

   `Whut?' he sed, `me sel this buetyful yung hors of mien? O, no; it's out of th qeschun. Hoo's going to taek th woshing hoem to mi customers evry week? Besieds, I'm too fond of him, and he simply dotes on me.'

   `Tri and luv a donky,' sugjested th gipsy. `Sum peepl do.'

   `U don't seem to see,' continued Toed, `that this fien hors of mien is a cut abuv U alltogether. He's a blud hors, he is, partly; not th part U see, of cors -- anuther part.

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And he's bin a Priez Hakny, too, in his tiem -- that was th tiem befor U nue him, but U can stil tel it on him at a glans, if U understand enything about horses. No, it's not to be thaut of for a moement. All th saem, how much miet U be dispoezd to offer me for this buetyful yung hors of mien?'

   Th gipsy luukt th hors oever, and then he luukt Toed oever with eeqal cair, and luukt at th hors agen. `Shillin' a leg,' he sed breefly, and ternd awae, continueing to smoek and tri to stair th wied werld out of countenans.

   `A shiling a leg?' cried Toed. `If U pleez, I must taek a litl tiem to werk that out, and see just whut it cums to.'

   He cliemd doun off his hors, and left it to graez, and sat doun bi th gipsy, and did sums on his finggers, and at last he sed, `A shiling a leg? Whi, that cums to exactly foer shilings, and no mor. O, no; I cuud not think of acsepting foer shilings for this buetyful yung hors of mien.'

   `Wel,' sed th gipsy, `I'l tel U whut I wil do. I'l maek it fiev shilings, and that's three-and-sixpence mor than th animal's werth. And that's mi last werd.'

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   Then Toed sat and ponderd long and deeply. For he was hunggry and qiet penyles, and stil sum wae -- he nue not how far -- frum hoem, and enemys miet stil be luuking for him. To wun in such a sichuaeshun, fiev shilings mae verry wel apeer a larj sum of muny. On th uther hand, it did not seem verry much to get for a hors. But then, agen, th hors hadn't cost him enything; so whutever he got was all cleer profit. At last he sed fermly, `Luuk heer, gipsy! I tel U whut we wil do; and this is mi last werd. U shal hand me oever six shilings and sixpence, cash doun; and ferther, in adishun thairto, U shal giv me as much brekfast as I can posibly eet, at wun siting of cors, out of that ieern pot of yurs that keeps sending forth such delishus and exsieting smels. In retern, I wil maek oever to U mi spirited yung hors, with all th buetyful harnes and trapings that ar on him, freely throen in. If that's not guud enuf for U, sae so, and I'l be geting on. I noe a man neer heer hoo's wonted this hors of mien for yeers.'

   Th gipsy grumbld frietfuly, and declaird if he did a fue mor deels of that sort he'd be

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rooind. But in th end he lugd a derty canvas bag out of th depths of his trouzer poket, and counted out six shilings and sixpence into Toad's paw. Then he disapeerd into th carravan for an instant, and reternd with a larj ieern plaet and a nief, fork, and spoon. He tilted up th pot, and a glorius streem of hot rich stoo gergld into th plaet. It was, indeed, th moest buetyful stoo in th werld, being maed of partridges, and fezants, and chikens, and hares, and rabits, and pee-hens, and guinea-fowls, and wun or too uther things. Toed tuuk th plaet on his lap, allmoest crieing, and stuft, and stuft, and stuft, and kept asking for mor, and th gipsy never grudged it him. He thaut that he had never eeten so guud a brekfast in all his lief.

   When Toed had taeken as much stoo on bord as he thaut he cuud posibly hoeld, he got up and sed guud-bi to th gipsy, and tuuk an afecshunet fairwel of th hors; and th gipsy, hoo nue th riversied wel, gaev him direcshuns which wae to go, and he set forth on his travels agen in th best posibl spirits. He was, indeed, a verry diferent Toed frum th animal of an our ago. Th sun was shiening

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brietly, his wet cloeths wer qiet dri agen, he had muny in his poket wuns mor, he was neering hoem and frends and saefty, and, moest and best of all, he had had a substanshal meel, hot and nerishing, and felt big, and strong, and cairles, and self-confident.

   As he trampt along gaely, he thaut of his advenchers and escaeps, and how when things seemd at thair werst he had allwaes manejd to fiend a wae out; and his pried and conseet began to swel within him. `Ho, ho!' he sed to himself as he marcht along with his chin in th air, `whut a clever Toed I am! Thair is shurly no animal eeqal to me for clevernes in th hoel werld! Mi enemys shut me up in prizon, ensercld bi sentries, wocht niet and dae bi warders; I wauk out thru them all, bi sheer ability cupld with curej. Thae persoo me with enjins, and poleesmen, and revolvers; I snap mi finggers at them, and vanish, lafing, into spaes. I am, unforchunetly, throen into a canal bi a wuuman fat of body and verry eevil-miended. Whut of it? I swim ashor, I seez her hors, I ried off in trieumf, and I sel th hors for a hoel poketful of muny and an exselent brekfast! Ho,

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ho! I am Th Toed, th hansum, th popuelar, th sucsesful Toed!' He got so puft up with conseet that he maed up a song as he waukt in praez of himself, and sang it at th top of his vois, tho thair was no wun to heer it but him. It was perhaps th moest conseeted song that eny animal ever compoezd.

`Th werld has held graet Heeroes,
As history-buuks hav shoed;
But never a naem to go doun to faem
Compaird with that of Toed!
`Th clever men at Oxford
Noe all that thair is to be knowed.
But thae nun of them noe wun haf as much
As intelijent Mr. Toed!
`Th animals sat in th Ark and cried,
Thair teers in torents floed.
Hoo was it sed, "Thair's land ahed?"
Encurejing Mr. Toed!
`Th army all salooted
As thae marcht along th roed.
Was it th King? Or Kitchener?
No. It was Mr. Toed.
`Th Qeen and her Laedys-in-waeting
Sat at th windo and soed.
She cried, "Luuk! hoo's that hansum man?"
Thae anserd, "Mr. Toed."'

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   Thair was a graet deel mor of th saem sort, but too dredfuly conseeted to be riten doun. Thees ar sum of th mielder verses.

   He sang as he waukt, and he waukt as he sang, and got mor inflaeted evry minit. But his pried was shortly to hav a seveer fall.

   After sum miels of cuntry laens he reecht th hi roed, and as he ternd into it and glanst along its whiet length, he saw aproeching him a spek that ternd into a dot and then into a blob, and then into sumthing verry familyar; and a dubl noet of worning, oenly too wel noen, fel on his delieted eer.

   `This is sumthing liek!' sed th exsieted Toed. `This is reeal lief agen, this is wuns mor th graet werld frum which I hav bin mist so long! I wil hael them, mi bruthers of th wheel, and pich them a yarn, of th sort that has bin so sucsesful hitherto; and thae wil giv me a lift, of cors, and then I wil tauk to them sum mor; and, perhaps, with luk, it mae eeven end in mi drieving up to Toed Hall in a moetor-car! That wil be wun in th ie for Bajer!'

   He stept confidently out into th roed to

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hael th moetor-car, which caem along at an eezy paes, sloeing doun as it neerd th laen; when sudenly he becaem verry pael, his hart ternd to wauter, his nees shuuk and yeelded under him, and he dubld up and colapst with a sikening paen in his inteerior. And wel he miet, th unhapy animal; for th aproeching car was th verry wun he had stoelen out of th yard of th Red Lieon Hoetel on that faetal dae when all his trubls began! And th peepl in it wer th verry saem peepl he had sat and wocht at lunchon in th coffy-room!

   He sank doun in a shaby, mizerabl heep in th roed, murmuring to himself in his despair, `It's all up! It's all oever now! Chaens and poleesmen agen! Prizon agen! Dri bred and wauter agen! O, whut a fool I hav bin! Whut did I wont to go struting about th cuntry for, singing conseeted songs, and haeling peepl in braud dae on th hi roed, insted of hieding til nietfual and sliping hoem qieetly bi bak waes! O haples Toed! O il-faeted animal!'

   Th terribl moetor-car droo sloely neerer and neerer, til at last he herd it stop just short

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of him. Too jentlmen got out and waukt round th trembling heep of crumpld mizery lieing in th roed, and wun of them sed, `O deer! this is verry sad! Heer is a pur oeld thing -- a washerwoman aparrently -- hoo has faented in th roed! Perhaps she is oevercum bi th heet, pur creecher; or posibly she has not had eny food to-dae. Let us lift her into th car and taek her to th neerest vilej, wherr doutles she has frends.'

   Thae tenderly lifted Toed into th moetor-car and propt him up with sofft cuushuns, and proseeded on thair wae.

   When Toed herd them tauk in so kiend and simpathetic a wae, and nue that he was not recogniezd, his curej began to reviev, and he caushusly oepend ferst wun ie and then th uther.

   `Luuk!' sed wun of th jentlmen, `she is beter allredy. Th fresh air is doing her guud. How do U feel now, ma'am?'

   `Thank U kiendly, Ser,' sed Toed in a feebl vois, `I'm feeling a graet deel beter!' `That's riet,' sed th jentlman. `Now keep qiet stil, and, abuv all, don't tri to tauk.'

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   `I woen't,' sed Toed. `I was oenly thinking, if I miet sit on th frunt seet thair, besied th driever, wherr I cuud get th fresh air fuul in mi faes, I shuud soon be all riet agen.'

   `Whut a verry sensibl wuuman!' sed th jentlman. `Of cors U shal.' So thae cairfuly helpt Toed into th frunt seet besied th driever, and on thae went agen.

   Toed was allmoest himself agen bi now. He sat up, luukt about him, and tried to beet doun th tremors, th yernings, th oeld cravings that roez up and beset him and tuuk pozeshun of him entierly.

   `It is faet!' he sed to himself. `Whi striev? whi strugl?' and he ternd to th driever at his sied.

   `Pleez, Ser,' he sed, `I wish U wuud kiendly let me tri and driev th car for a litl. I'v bin woching U cairfuly, and it luuks so eezy and so interesting, and I shuud liek to be aebl to tel mi frends that wuns I had driven a moetor-car!'

   Th driever laft at th propoezal, so hartily that th jentlman inqierd whut th mattter{sic} was. When he herd, he sed, to Toad's deliet, `Braavo, ma'am! I liek yur spirit.

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Let her hav a tri, and luuk after her. She woen't do eny harm.'

   Toed eegerly scrambld into th seet vaecaeted bi th driever, tuuk th steering-wheel in his hands, lisend with afected huemility to th instrucshuns given him, and set th car in moeshun, but verry sloely and cairfuly at ferst, for he was determind to be proodent.

   Th jentlmen behiend clapt thair hands and aplauded, and Toed herd them saeing, `How wel she duz it! Fansy a washerwoman drieving a car as wel as that, th ferst tiem!'

   Toed went a litl faster; then faster stil, and faster.

   He herd th jentlmen call out worningly, `Be cairful, washerwoman!' And this anoid him, and he began to looz his hed.

   Th driever tried to interfeer, but he pind him doun in his seet with wun elbo, and puut on fuul speed. Th rush of air in his faes, th hum of th enjins, and th liet jump of th car beneeth him intoxicaeted his weak braen. `Washerwoman, indeed!' he shouted reklesly. `Ho! ho! I am th Toed, th moetor-car snacher, th prizon-braeker, th Toed hoo allwaes escaeps! Sit stil, and U

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shal noe whut drieving reealy is, for U ar in th hands of th faemus, th skilful, th entierly feerles Toed!'

   With a cri of horror th hoel party roez and flung themselvs on him. `Seez him!' thae cried, `seez th Toed, th wiked animal hoo stoel our moetor-car! Biend him, chaen him, drag him to th neerest polees-staeshun! Doun with th desperet and daenjerus Toed!'

   Alas! thae shuud hav thaut, thae aut to hav bin mor proodent, thae shuud hav rememberd to stop th moetor-car sumhow befor plaeing eny pranks of that sort. With a haf-tern of th wheel th Toed sent th car crashing thru th lo hej that ran along th roedsied. Wun miety bound, a vieolent shok, and th wheels of th car wer cherning up th thik mud of a hors-pond.

   Toed found himself flieing thru th air with th strong upward rush and deliket curv of a swolo. He liekt th moeshun, and was just begining to wunder whether it wuud go on until he developt wings and ternd into a Toed-berd, when he landed on his bak with a thump, in th sofft rich gras of a medo. Siting up, he cuud just see th moetor-car in

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th pond, neerly submerjd; th jentlmen and th driever, encumberd bi thair long coets, wer floundering helplesly in th wauter.

   He pikt himself up rapidly, and set off runing across cuntry as hard as he cuud, scrambling thru hejes, jumping diches, pounding across feelds, til he was brethles and weery, and had to setl doun into an eezy wauk. When he had recuverd his breth sumwhut, and was aebl to think caamly, he began to gigl, and frum gigling he tuuk to lafing, and he laft til he had to sit doun under a hej. `Ho, ho!' he cried, in ecstasies of self-admeraeshun, `Toed agen! Toed, as uezhual, cums out on th top! Hoo was it got them to giv him a lift? Hoo manejd to get on th frunt seet for th saek of fresh air? Hoo perswaeded them into leting him see if he cuud driev? Hoo landed them all in a hors-pond? Hoo escaept, flieing gaely and unscaethd thru th air, leeving th narro-miended, grudging, timid excursionists in th mud wherr thae shuud rietly be? Whi, Toed, of cors; clever Toed, graet Toed, guud Toed!'

   Then he berst into song agen, and chanted with uplifted vois --

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`Th moetor-car went Poop-poop-poop,
As it raest along th roed.
Hoo was it steerd it into a pond?
Injeenius Mr. Toed!

   O, how clever I am! How clever, how clever, how verry clev -- -- '

   A sliet noiz at a distans behiend him maed him tern his hed and luuk. O horror! O mizery! O despair!

   About too feelds off, a shoefer in his lether gaeters and too larj rural poleesmen wer vizibl, runing tords him as hard as thae cuud go!

   Pur Toed sprang to his feet and pelted awae agen, his hart in his mouth. O, mi!' he gaspt, as he panted along, `whut an as I am! Whut a conseeted and heedles as! Swagering agen! Shouting and singing songs agen! Siting stil and gasing agen! O mi! O mi! O mi!'

   He glanst bak, and saw to his dismae that thae wer gaening on him. On he ran desperetly, but kept luuking bak, and saw that thae stil gaend stedily. He did his best, but he was a fat animal, and his legs wer short, and stil thae gaend. He cuud heer them cloes

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behiend him now. Seesing to heed wherr he was going, he strugld on bliendly and wieldly, luuking bak oever his shoelder at th now trieumfant enemy, when sudenly th erth faeld under his feet, he graspt at th air, and, splash! he found himself hed oever eers in deep wauter, rapid wauter, wauter that bor him along with a fors he cuud not contend with; and he nue that in his bliend panic he had run straet into th river!

   He roez to th serfis and tried to grasp th reeds and th rushes that groo along th water's ej cloes under th bank, but th streem was so strong that it tore them out of his hands. `O mi!' gaspt pur Toed, `if ever I steel a moetor-car agen! If ever I sing anuther conseeted song' -- then doun he went, and caem up brethles and spluttering. Prezently he saw that he was aproeching a big dark hoel in th bank, just abuv his hed, and as th streem bor him past he reecht up with a paw and caut hoeld of th ej and held on. Then sloely and with dificulty he droo himself up out of th wauter, til at last he was aebl to rest his elboes on th ej of th hoel. Thair he remaend for sum minits,

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pufing and panting, for he was qiet exausted.

   As he sied and bloo and staird befor him into th dark hoel, sum briet small thing shoen and twinkled in its depths, mooving tords him. As it aproecht, a faes groo up grajualy around it, and it was a familyar faes!

   Broun and small, with whiskers.

   Graev and round, with neet eers and silky hair.

   It was th Wauter Rat!

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Chapter 11



   TH Rat puut out a neet litl broun paw, gript Toed fermly bi th scruff of th nek, and gaev a graet hoist and a puul; and th wauter-logd Toed caem up sloely but shurly oever th ej of th hoel, til at last he stuud saef and sound in th hall, streekt with mud and weed to be shur, and with th wauter streeming off him, but hapy and hi-spirited as of oeld, now that he found himself wuns mor in th hous of a frend, and dodgings and evaezhuns wer oever, and he cuud lae asied a disgiez that was unwerthy of his pozishun and wonted such a lot of living up to.

   `O, Ratty!' he cried. `I'v bin thru such tiems sinss I saw U last, U can't think! Such trieals, such suferings, and all so noebly born! Then such escaeps, such disgiezes

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such subterfuejes, and all so cleverly pland and carryd out! Bin in prizon -- got out of it, of cors! Bin throen into a canal -- swam ashor! Stoel a hors -- soeld him for a larj sum of muny! Humbugged evrybody -- maed 'em all do exactly whut I wonted! O, I am a smart Toed, and no mistaek! Whut do U think mi last exploit was? Just hoeld on til I tel U -- -- '

   `Toed,' sed th Wauter Rat, graevly and fermly, `U go off upstairs at wuns, and taek off that oeld coton rag that luuks as if it miet formerly hav belongd to sum washerwoman, and cleen yurself theroely, and puut on sum of mi cloeths, and tri and cum doun luuking liek a jentlman if U can; for a mor shaby, bedragld, disrepuetabl-luuking object than U ar I never set ies on in mi hoel lief! Now, stop swagering and argueing, and be off! I'l hav sumthing to sae to U laeter!'

   Toed was at ferst incliend to stop and do sum tauking bak at him. He had had enuf of being orderd about when he was in prizon, and heer was th thing being begun all oever agen, aparrently; and bi a Rat, too! However, he caut siet of himself in th luuking-glas

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oever th hat-stand, with th rusty blak bonet percht raekishly oever wun ie, and he chaenjd his miend and went verry qikly and humbly upstairs to th Rat's dresing-room. Thair he had a thero wosh and brush-up, chaenjd his cloeths, and stuud for a long tiem befor th glas, contemplaeting himself with pried and plezher, and thinking whut uter idiots all th peepl must hav bin to hav ever mistaeken him for wun moement for a washerwoman.

   Bi th tiem he caem doun agen lunchon was on th taebl, and verry glad Toed was to see it, for he had bin thru sum trieing expeeryenses and had taeken much hard exersiez sinss th exselent brekfast provieded for him bi th gipsy. Whiel thae aet Toed toeld th Rat all his advenchers, dweling cheefly on his oen clevernes, and prezens of miend in emerjensys, and cuning in tiet plaeses; and rather maeking out that he had bin having a gae and hiely-culord expeeryens. But th mor he taukt and boested, th mor graev and sielent th Rat becaem.

   When at last Toed had taukt himself to a standstil, thair was sielens for a whiel; and then th Rat sed, `Now, Toady, I don't wont

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to giv U paen, after all U'v bin thru allredy; but, seeriusly, don't U see whut an auful as U'v bin maeking of yurself? On yur oen admishun U hav bin handcuffed, imprizond, starvd, chaest, terrified out of yur lief, insulted, jeered at, and ignominiously flung into th wauter -- bi a wuuman, too! Wherr's th amuezment in that? Wherr duz th fun cum in? And all becauz U must needs go and steel a moetor-car. U noe that U'v never had enything but trubl frum moetor-cars frum th moement U ferst set ies on wun. But if U wil be mixt up with them -- as U jeneraly ar, fiev minits after U'v started -- whi steel them? Be a cripl, if U think it's exsieting; be a bankrupt, for a chaenj, if U'v set yur miend on it: but whi chooz to be a convict? When ar U going to be sensibl, and think of yur frends, and tri and be a credit to them? Do U supoez it's eny plezher to me, for instans, to heer animals saeing, as I go about, that I'm th chap that keeps cumpany with jael-berds?'

   Now, it was a verry cumforting point in Toad's carracter that he was a theroely guud-hearted animal and never miended being

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jawed bi thoes hoo wer his reeal frends. And eeven when moest set upon a thing, he was allwaes aebl to see th uther sied of th qeschun. So alltho, whiel th Rat was tauking so seeriusly, he kept saeing to himself mutinously, `But it was fun, tho! Auful fun!' and maeking straenj suprest noizes insied him, k-i-ck-ck-ck, and poop-p-p, and uther sounds rezembling stiefld snorts, or th oepening of soeda-wauter botls, yet when th Rat had qiet finisht, he heevd a deep si and sed, verry niesly and humbly, `Qiet riet, Ratty! How sound U allwaes ar! Yes, I'v bin a conseeted oeld as, I can qiet see that; but now I'm going to be a guud Toed, and not do it eny mor. As for moetor-cars, I'v not bin at all so keen about them sinss mi last duking in that river of yurs. Th fact is, whiel I was hanging on to th ej of yur hoel and geting mi breth, I had a suden iedeea -- a reealy brilyant iedeea -- conected with moetor-boets -- thair, thair! don't taek on so, oeld chap, and stamp, and upset things; it was oenly an iedeea, and we woen't tauk eny mor about it now. We'll hav our coffy, and a smoek, and a qieet chat, and then I'm going to

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stroel qieetly doun to Toed Hall, and get into cloeths of mi oen, and set things going agen on th oeld liens. I'v had enuf of advenchers. I shal leed a qieet, stedy, respectabl lief, pottering about mi property, and improoving it, and doing a litl landscaep gardning at tiems. Thair wil allwaes be a bit of diner for mi frends when thae cum to see me; and I shal keep a poeny-shaez to jog about th cuntry in, just as I uezd to in th guud oeld daes, befor I got restles, and wonted to do things.'

   `Stroel qieetly doun to Toed Hall?' cried th Rat, graetly exsieted. `Whut ar U tauking about? Do U meen to sae U havn't herd?'

   `Herd whut?' sed Toed, terning rather pael. `Go on, Ratty! Qik! Don't spair me! Whut havn't I herd?'

   `Do U meen to tel me,' shouted th Rat, thumping with his litl fist upon th taebl, `that U'v herd nuthing about th Stoats and Weasels?'

   Whut, th Wield Wooders?' cried Toed, trembling in evry lim. `No, not a werd! Whut hav thae bin doing?'

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   ` -- And how thae'v bin and taeken Toed Hall?' continued th Rat.

   Toed leend his elboes on th taebl, and his chin on his paws; and a larj teer weld up in eech of his ies, oeverfloed and splasht on th taebl, plop! plop!

   `Go on, Ratty,' he mermerd prezently; `tel me all. Th werst is oever. I am an animal agen. I can bair it.'

   `When U -- got -- into that -- that -- trubl of yurs,' sed th Rat, sloely and impresivly; `I meen, when U -- disapeerd frum sosieety for a tiem, oever that misunderstanding about a -- a masheen, U noe -- '

   Toed meerly noded.

   `Wel, it was a guud deel taukt about doun heer, nacheraly,' continued th Rat, `not oenly along th river-sied, but eeven in th Wield Wuud. Animals tuuk sieds, as allwaes hapens. Th River-bankers stuk up for U, and sed U had bin infamously treeted, and thair was no justis to be had in th land now-a-daes. But th Wield Wuud animals sed hard things, and servd U riet, and it was tiem this sort of thing was stopt. And thae got verry coky, and went about saeing U wer dun for this

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tiem! U wuud never cum bak agen, never, never!'

   Toed noded wuns mor, keeping sielens.

   `That's th sort of litl beests thae ar,' th Rat went on. `But Moel and Bajer, thae stuk out, thru thik and thin, that U wuud cum bak agen soon, sumhow. Thae didn't noe exactly how, but sumhow!'

   Toed began to sit up in his chair agen, and to smerk a litl.

   `Thae argued frum history,' continued th Rat. `Thae sed that no criminal laws had ever bin noen to prevael agenst cheek and plauzibility such as yurs, combiend with th power of a long pers. So thae araenjd to moov thair things in to Toed Hall, and sleep thair, and keep it aird, and hav it all redy for U when U ternd up. Thae didn't ges whut was going to hapen, of cors; stil, thae had thair suspishuns of th Wield Wuud animals. Now I cum to th moest paenful and trajic part of mi story. Wun dark niet -- it was a verry dark niet, and bloeing hard, too, and raening simply cats and daugs -- a band of weasels, armd to th teeth, crept sielently up th carrej-driev to th frunt entrans. Siemultaeniusly, a body of

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desperet ferrets, advansing thru th kichen-garden, pozest themselvs of th bak-yard and offises; whiel a cumpany of skermishing stoats hoo stuk at nuthing ocuepied th conservatory and th bilyard-room, and held th French windoes oepening on to th laun.

   `Th Moel and th Bajer wer siting bi th fier in th smoeking-room, teling storys and suspecting nuthing, for it wasn't a niet for eny animals to be out in, when thoes bludthersty vilans broek doun th dors and rusht in upon them frum evry sied. Thae maed th best fiet thae cuud, but whut was th guud? Thae wer unarmd, and taeken bi serpriez, and whut can too animals do agenst hundreds? Thae tuuk and beet them seveerly with stiks, thoes too pur faethful creechers, and ternd them out into th coeld and th wet, with meny insulting and uncalld-for remarks!'

   Heer th unfeeling Toed broek into a snigger, and then puuld himself together and tried to luuk particuelarly solem.

   `And th Wield Wooders hav bin living in Toed Hall ever sinss,' continued th Rat; `and going on simply enyhow! Lieing in bed haf th dae, and brekfast at all ours, and th

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plaes in such a mes (I'm toeld) it's not fit to be seen! Eeting yur grub, and drinking yur drink, and maeking bad joeks about U, and singing vulgar songs, about -- wel, about prizons and majistraets, and poleesmen; horrid personal songs, with no huemor in them. And thae'r teling th tradespeople and evrybody that thae'v cum to stae for guud.'

   `O, hav thae!' sed Toed geting up and seezing a stik. `I'l joly soon see about that!'

   `It's no guud, Toed!' calld th Rat after him. `U'd beter cum bak and sit doun; U'l oenly get into trubl.'

   But th Toed was off, and thair was no hoelding him. He marcht rapidly doun th roed, his stik oever his shoelder, fueming and mutering to himself in his angger, til he got neer his frunt gaet, when sudenly thair popt up frum behiend th palings a long yelo ferret with a gun.

   `Hoo cums thair?' sed th ferret sharply.

   `Stuf and nonsens!' sed Toed, verry anggrily. `Whut do U meen bi tauking liek that to me? Cum out of that at wuns, or I'l -- -- '

   Th ferret sed never a werd, but he braut

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his gun up to his shoelder. Toed proodently dropt flat in th roed, and Bang! a buulet whisld oever his hed.

   Th startld Toed scrambld to his feet and scamperd off doun th roed as hard as he cuud; and as he ran he herd th ferret lafing and uther horrid thin litl lafs taeking it up and carrying on th sound.

   He went bak, verry crestfallen, and toeld th Wauter Rat.

   `Whut did I tel U?' sed th Rat. `It's no guud. Thae'v got sentries poested, and thae ar all armd. U must just waet.'

   Stil, Toed was not incliend to giv in all at wuns. So he got out th boet, and set off rowing up th river to wherr th garden frunt of Toed Hall caem doun to th wautersied.

   Arieving within siet of his oeld hoem, he rested on his ors and servaed th land caushusly. All seemd verry peesful and dezerted and qieet. He cuud see th hoel frunt of Toed Hall, gloeing in th eevning sunshien, th pijons setling bi toos and threes along th straet lien of th roof; th garden, a blaez of flowers; th creek that led up to th boet-hous, th litl wuuden brij

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that crosst it; all tranqil, uninhabited, aparrently waeting for his retern. He wuud tri th boet-hous ferst, he thaut. Verry wairily he paddled up to th mouth of th creek, and was just pasing under th brij, when . . . Crash!

   A graet stoen, dropt frum abuv, smasht thru th botom of th boet. It fild and sank, and Toed found himself strugling in deep wauter. Luuking up, he saw too stoats leening oever th parrapet of th brij and woching him with graet glee. `It wil be yur hed next tiem, Toady!' thae calld out to him. Th indignant Toed swam to shor, whiel th stoats laft and laft, suporting eech uther, and laft agen, til thae neerly had too fits -- that is, wun fit eech, of cors.

   Th Toed re-traest his weery wae on fuut, and relaeted his disapointing expeeryenses to th Wauter Rat wuns mor.

   `Wel, whut did I tel U?' sed th Rat verry crossly. `And, now, luuk heer! See whut U'v bin and dun! Lost me mi boet that I was so fond of, that's whut U'v dun! And simply rooind that nies soot of cloeths that I

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lent U! Reealy, Toed, of all th trieing animals -- I wunder U manej to keep eny frends at all!'

   Th Toed saw at wuns how rongly and foolishly he had acted. He admited his errors and rong-headedness and maed a fuul apolojy to Rat for loozing his boet and spoiling his cloeths. And he wound up bi saeing, with that frank self-serender which allwaes disarmd his friend's critisizm and wun them bak to his sied, `Ratty! I see that I hav bin a hedstrong and a wilful Toed! Hensforth, beleev me, I wil be humbl and submisiv, and wil taek no acshun without yur kiend advies and fuul aprooval!'

   `If that is reealy so,' sed th guud-naecherd Rat, allredy apeezd, `then mi advies to U is, considering th lateness of th our, to sit doun and hav yur super, which wil be on th taebl in a minit, and be verry paeshent. For I am convinst that we can do nuthing until we hav seen th Moel and th Bajer, and herd thair laetest nues, and held conferens and taeken thair advies in this dificult mater.'

   `O, aa, yes, of cors, th Moel and th Bajer,' sed Toed, lietly. `Whut's becum

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of them, th deer feloes? I had forgoten all about them.'

   `Wel mae U ask!' sed th Rat reproachfully. `Whiel U wer rieding about th cuntry in expensiv moetor-cars, and galoping proudly on blud-horses, and breakfasting on th fat of th land, thoes too pur devoeted animals hav bin camping out in th oepen, in evry sort of wether, living verry ruf bi dae and lieing verry hard bi niet; woching oever yur hous, patroeling yur bounderys, keeping a constant ie on th stoats and th weasels, skeeming and planing and contrieving how to get yur property bak for U. U don't dezerv to hav such troo and loial frends, Toed, U don't, reealy. Sum dae, when it's too laet, U'l be sorry U didn't value them mor whiel U had them!'

   `I'm an ungraetful beest, I noe,' sobd Toed, sheding biter teers. `Let me go out and fiend them, out into th coeld, dark niet, and shair thair hardships, and tri and proov bi -- -- Hoeld on a bit! Shurly I herd th chink of dishes on a trae! Supper's heer at last, hoorae! Cum on, Ratty!'

   Th Rat rememberd that pur Toed had

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bin on prizon fair for a considerabl tiem, and that larj alowanses had thairfor to be maed. He foloed him to th taebl acordingly, and hospitably encurejd him in his galant eforts to maek up for past prievaeshuns.

   Thae had just finisht thair meel and rezoomd thair armchairs, when thair caem a hevy nok at th dor.

   Toed was nervus, but th Rat, noding misteeriusly at him, went straet up to th dor and oepend it, and in waukt Mr. Bajer.

   He had all th apeerans of wun hoo for sum niets had bin kept awae frum hoem and all its litl cumforts and conveenyunses. His shoos wer cuverd with mud, and he was luuking verry ruf and touzled; but then he had never bin a verry smart man, th Bajer, at th best of tiems. He caem solemly up to Toed, shuuk him bi th paw, and sed, `Welcum hoem, Toed! Alas! whut am I saeing? Hoem, indeed! This is a pur hoem-cuming. Unhapy Toed!' Then he ternd his bak on him, sat doun to th taebl, droo his chair up, and helpt himself to a larj slies of coeld pi.

   Toed was qiet alarmd at this verry seerius and portenshus stiel of greeting; but th Rat

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whisperd to him, `Never miend; don't taek eny noetis; and don't sae enything to him just yet. He's allwaes rather lo and despondent when he's wonting his victuals. In haf an hour's tiem he'l be qiet a diferent animal.'

   So thae waeted in sielens, and prezently thair caem anuther and a lieter nok. Th Rat, with a nod to Toed, went to th dor and usherd in th Moel, verry shaby and unwashed, with bits of hae and straw stiking in his fer.

   `Hoorae! Heer's oeld Toed!' cried th Moel, his faes beeming. `Fansy having U bak agen!' And he began to dans round him. `We never dremt U wuud tern up so soon! Whi, U must hav manejd to escaep, U clever, injeenius, intelijent Toed!'

   Th Rat, alarmd, puuld him bi th elbo; but it was too laet. Toed was pufing and sweling allredy.

   `Clever? O, no!' he sed. `I'm not reealy clever, acording to mi frends. I'v oenly broeken out of th stronggest prizon in England, that's all! And capcherd a raelwae traen and escaept on it, that's all! And disgiezd mieself and gon about th cuntry humbugging evry

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body, that's all! O, no! I'm a stoopid as, I am! I'l tel U wun or too of mi litl advenchers, Moel, and U shal juj for yurself!'

   `Wel, wel,' sed th Moel, mooving tords th super-taebl; `supoezing U tauk whiel I eet. Not a biet sinss brekfast! O mi! O mi!' And he sat doun and helpt himself liberaly to coeld beef and pikls.

   Toed stradld on th harth-rug, thrust his paw into his trouzer-poket and puuld out a handful of silver. `Luuk at that!' he cried, displaeing it. `That's not so bad, is it, for a fue minutes' werk? And how do U think I dun it, Moel? Hors-deeling! That's how I dun it!'

   `Go on, Toed,' sed th Moel, imensly interested.

   `Toed, do be qieet, pleez!' sed th Rat. `And don't U eg him on, Moel, when U noe whut he is; but pleez tel us as soon as posibl whut th pozishun is, and whut's best to be dun, now that Toed is bak at last.'

   `Th position's about as bad as it can be,' replied th Moel grumpily; `and as for whut's to be dun, whi, blest if I noe! Th Bajer and I hav bin round and round th plaes, bi

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niet and bi dae; allwaes th saem thing. Sentries poested evrywhair, guns poekt out at us, stoens throen at us; allwaes an animal on th luuk-out, and when thae see us, mi! how thae do laf! That's whut anois me moest!'

   `It's a verry dificult sichuaeshun,' sed th Rat, reflecting deeply. `But I think I see now, in th depths of mi miend, whut Toed reealy aut to do. I wil tel U. He aut to -- -- '

   `No, he oughtn't!' shouted th Moel, with his mouth fuul. `Nuthing of th sort! U don't understand. Whut he aut to do is, he aut to -- -- '

   `Wel, I shan't do it, enywae!' cried Toed, geting exsieted. `I'm not going to be orderd about bi U feloes! It's mi hous we'r tauking about, and I noe exactly whut to do, and I'l tel U. I'm going to -- -- '

   Bi this tiem thae wer all three tauking at wuns, at th top of thair voises, and th noiz was simply defening, when a thin, dri vois maed itself herd, saeing, `Be qieet at wuns, all of U!' and instantly evry wun was sielent.

   It was th Bajer, hoo, having finisht his pi, had ternd round in his chair and was luuking at them seveerly. When he saw that

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he had secuerd thair atenshun, and that thae wer evidently waeting for him to adres them, he ternd bak to th taebl agen and reecht out for th cheez. And so graet was th respect comanded bi th solid qolitys of that admerabl animal, that not anuther werd was uterd until he had qiet finisht his repast and brusht th crumbs frum his nees. Th Toed fidgeted a guud deel, but th Rat held him fermly doun.

   When th Bajer had qiet dun, he got up frum his seet and stuud befor th fierplaes, reflecting deeply. At last he spoek.

   `Toed!' he sed seveerly. `U bad, trublsum litl animal! Arn't U ashaemd of youself? Whut do U think yur faather, mi oeld frend, wuud hav sed if he had bin heer toniet, and had noen of all yur goings on?'

   Toed, hoo was on th soefa bi this tiem, with his legs up, roeld oever on his faes, shaeken bi sobs of contrishun.

   `Thair, thair!' went on th Bajer, mor kiendly. `Never miend. Stop crieing. We'r going to let bygones be bygones, and tri and tern oever a nue leef. But whut th Moel ses is qiet troo. Th stoats ar on gard, at evry

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point, and thae maek th best sentinels in th werld. It's qiet uesles to think of ataking th plaes. Thae'r too strong for us.'

   `Then it's all oever,' sobd th Toed, crieing into th soefa cuushuns. `I shal go and enlist for a soeljer, and never see mi deer Toed Hall eny mor!'

   `Cum, cheer up, Toady!' sed th Bajer. `Thair ar mor waes of geting bak a plaes than taeking it bi storm. I havn't sed mi last werd yet. Now I'm going to tel U a graet seecret.'

   Toed sat up sloely and dried his ies. Seecrets had an imens atracshun for him, becauz he never cuud keep wun, and he enjoid th sort of unhallowed thril he expeeryenst when he went and toeld anuther animal, after having faethfuly promist not to.

   `Thair -- is -- an -- underground -- pasej,' sed th Bajer, impresivly, `that leeds frum th river-bank, qiet neer heer, riet up into th midl of Toed Hall.'

   `O, nonsens! Bajer,' sed Toed, rather airily. `U'v bin lisening to sum of th yarns thae spin in th public-houses about heer. I noe evry inch of Toed Hall, insied

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and out. Nuthing of th sort, I do ashur U!'

   `Mi yung frend,' sed th Bajer, with graet severrity, `yur faather, hoo was a werthy animal -- a lot worthier than sum uthers I noe -- was a particuelar frend of mien, and toeld me a graet deel he wuudn't hav dremt of teling U. He discuverd that pasej -- he didn't maek it, of cors; that was dun hundreds of yeers befor he ever caem to liv thair -- and he repaird it and cleend it out, becauz he thaut it miet cum in uesful sum dae, in caes of trubl or daenjer; and he shoed it to me. "Don't let mi sun noe about it," he sed. "He's a guud boi, but verry liet and volatil in carracter, and simply cannot hoeld his tung. If he's ever in a reeal fix, and it wuud be of ues to him, U mae tel him about th seecret pasej; but not befor."'

   Th uther animals luukt hard at Toed to see how he wuud taek it. Toed was incliend to be sulky at ferst; but he brietend up imeedyetly, liek th guud felo he was.

   `Wel, wel,' he sed; `perhaps I am a bit of a tauker. A popuelar felo such as I am -- mi frends get round me -- we chaf, we sparkl, we

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tel wity storys -- and sumhow mi tung gets waging. I hav th gift of conversaeshun. I'v bin toeld I aut to hav a salon, whutever that mae be. Never miend. Go on, Bajer. How's this pasej of yurs going to help us?'

   `I'v found out a thing or too laetly,' continued th Bajer. `I got Oter to disgiez himself as a sweep and call at th bak-dor with brushes oever his shoelder, asking for a job. Thair's going to be a big banqet to-morro niet. It's somebody's berthdae -- th Cheef Weasel's, I beleev -- and all th weasels wil be gatherd together in th diening-hall, eeting and drinking and lafing and carrying on, suspecting nuthing. No guns, no sords, no stiks, no arms of eny sort whutever!'

   `But th sentinels wil be poested as uezhual,' remarkt th Rat.

   `Exactly,' sed th Bajer; `that is mi point. Th weasels wil trust entierly to thair exselent sentinels. And that is wherr th pasej cums in. That verry uesful tunel leeds riet up under th butler's pantry, next to th diening-hall!'

   `Aha! that sqeeky bord in th butler's pantry!' sed Toed. `Now I understand it!'

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   `We shal creep out qieetly into th butler's pantry -- ' cried th Moel.

   ` -- with our pistols and sords and stiks -- ' shouted th Rat.

   ` -- and rush in upon them,' sed th Bajer.

   ` -- and whak 'em, and whak 'em, and whak 'em!' cried th Toed in extasy, runing round and round th room, and jumping oever th chairs

   `Verry wel, then,' sed th Bajer, rezooming his uezhual dri maner, `our plan is setld, and thair's nuthing mor for U to argue and sqobl about. So, as it's geting verry laet, all of U go riet off to bed at wuns. We wil maek all th nesesairy araenjments in th cors of th morning to-morro.'

   Toed, of cors, went off to bed duetyfuly with th rest -- he nue beter than to refuez -- tho he was feeling much too exsieted to sleep. But he had had a long dae, with meny events crouded into it; and sheets and blankets wer verry frendly and cumforting things, after plaen straw, and not too much of it, spred on th stoen flor of a drafty sel; and his hed had not bin meny seconds on his pilo befor he was snoring hapily. Nacheraly, he dremt a guud deel; about roeds that ran awae frum

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him just when he wonted them, and canals that chaest him and caut him, and a barj that saeld into th banqeting-hall with his week's woshing, just as he was giving a diner-party; and he was aloen in th seecret pasej, puushing onwards, but it twisted and ternd round and shuuk itself, and sat up on its end; yet sumhow, at th last, he found himself bak in Toed Hall, saef and trieumfant, with all his frends gatherd round about him, ernestly ashuring him that he reealy was a clever Toed.

   He slept til a laet our next morning, and bi th tiem he got doun he found that th uther animals had finisht thair brekfast sum tiem befor. Th Moel had slipt off sumwherr bi himself, without teling eny wun wherr he was going to. Th Bajer sat in th arm-chair, reeding th paeper, and not conserning himself in th slietest about whut was going to hapen that verry eevning. Th Rat, on th uther hand, was runing round th room bizily, with his arms fuul of wepons of evry kiend, distribueting them in foer litl heeps on th flor, and saeing exsietedly under his breth, as he ran, `Heer's-a-sord-for-th-Rat, heer's-a-sord-for-th Moel, heer's-a-sord-for-th-Toed, heer's-a-

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sord-for-th-Bajer! Heer's-a-pistol-for-th-Rat, heer's-a-pistol-for-th-Moel, heer's-a-pistol-for-th-Toed, heer's-a-pistol-for-th-Bajer!' And so on, in a reguelar, rithmical wae, whiel th foer litl heeps grajualy groo and groo.

   `That's all verry wel, Rat,' sed th Bajer prezently, luuking at th bizy litl animal oever th ej of his nuespaeper; `I'm not blaeming U. But just let us wuns get past th stoats, with thoes detestabl guns of theirs, and I ashur U we shan't wont eny sords or pistols. We foer, with our stiks, wuns we'r insied th diening-hall, whi, we shal cleer th flor of all th lot of them in fiev minits. I'd hav dun th hoel thing bi mieself, oenly I didn't wont to depriev U feloes of th fun!'

   `It's as wel to be on th saef sied,' sed th Rat reflectively, polishing a pistol-barrel on his sleev and luuking along it.

   Th Toed, having finisht his brekfast, pikt up a stout stik and swung it vigorusly, belabouring imajinairy animals. `I'l lern 'em to steel mi hous!' he cried. `I'l lern 'em, I'l lern 'em!'

   `Don't sae "lern 'em," Toed,' sed th Rat, graetly shokt. `It's not guud English.'

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   `Whut ar U allwaes naging at Toed for?' inqierd th Bajer, rather peevishly. `Whut's th mater with his English? It's th saem whut I uez mieself, and if it's guud enuf for me, it aut to be guud enuf for U!'

   `I'm verry sorry,' sed th Rat humbly. `Oenly I think it aut to be "teech 'em," not "lern 'em."'

   `But we don't wont to teech 'em,' replied th Bajer. `We wont to lern 'em -- lern 'em, lern 'em! And whut's mor, we'r going to do it, too!'

   `O, verry wel, hav it yur oen wae,' sed th Rat. He was geting rather muddled about it himself, and prezently he retierd into a corner, wherr he cuud be herd mutering, `Lern 'em, teech 'em, teech 'em, lern 'em!' til th Bajer toeld him rather sharply to leev off.

   Prezently th Moel caem tumbling into th room, evidently verry pleezd with himself. `I'v bin having such fun!' he began at wuns; `I'v bin geting a riez out of th stoats!'

   `I hoep U'v bin verry cairful, Moel?' sed th Rat ankshusly.

   `I shuud hoep so, too,' sed th Moel confidently. `I got th iedeea when I went into th

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kichen, to see about Toad's brekfast being kept hot for him. I found that oeld washerwoman-dres that he caem hoem in yesterdae, hanging on a towel-hors befor th fier. So I puut it on, and th bonet as wel, and th shall, and off I went to Toed Hall, as boeld as U pleez. Th sentries wer on th luuk-out, of cors, with thair guns and thair "Hoo cums thair?" and all th rest of thair nonsens. "Guud morning, jentlmen!" ses I, verry respectful. "Wont eny woshing dun to-dae?"

   `Thae luukt at me verry proud and stif and hauty, and sed, "Go awae, washerwoman! We don't do eny woshing on duety." "Or eny uther tiem?" ses I. Ho, ho, ho! Wasn't I funy, Toed?'

   `Pur, frivolus animal!' sed Toed, verry lofftily. Th fact is, he felt exseedingly jelus of Moel for whut he had just dun. It was exactly whut he wuud hav liekt to hav dun himself, if oenly he had thaut of it ferst, and hadn't gon and oeverslept himself.

   `Sum of th stoats ternd qiet pink,' continued th Moel, `and th Sarjent in charj, he sed to me, verry short, he sed, "Now run awae, mi guud wuuman, run awae! Don't keep

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mi men iedling and tauking on thair poests." "Run awae?" ses I; "it woen't be me that'l be runing awae, in a verry short tiem frum now!"'

   `O Moly, how cuud U?' sed th Rat, dismaed.

   Th Bajer laed doun his paeper.

   `I cuud see them priking up thair eers and luuking at eech uther,' went on th Moel; `and th Sarjent sed to them, "Never miend her; she duzn't noe whut she's tauking about."'

   `"O! don't I?"' sed I. `"Wel, let me tel U this. Mi dauter, she woshes for Mr. Bajer, and that'l sho U whether I noe whut I'm tauking about; and U'l noe prity soon, too! A hundred bludthersty badgers, armd with riefls, ar going to atak Toed Hall this verry niet, bi wae of th padok. Six boetloeds of Rats, with pistols and cutlasses, wil cum up th river and efect a landing in th garden; whiel a pikt body of Toads, noen at th Die-hards, or th Deth-or-Glory Toads, wil storm th orchard and carry evrything befor them, yeling for vengeance. Thair woen't be much left of U to wosh, bi th tiem thae'v dun with U, unles U cleer out whiel U hav th chans!" Then I ran awae,

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and when I was out of siet I hid; and prezently I caem creeping bak along th dich and tuuk a peep at them thru th hej. Thae wer all as nervus and flusterd as cuud be, runing all waes at wuns, and falling oever eech uther, and evry wun giving orders to evrybody els and not lisening; and th Sarjent kept sending off partys of stoats to distant parts of th grounds, and then sending uther feloes to fech 'em bak agen; and I herd them saeing to eech uther, "That's just liek th weasels; thae'r to stop cumfortably in th banqeting-hall, and hav feesting and toests and songs and all sorts of fun, whiel we must stae on gard in th coeld and th dark, and in th end be cut to peeses bi bludthersty Badgers!'"

   `O, U sily as, Moel!' cried Toed, `U'v bin and spoilt evrything!'

   `Moel,' sed th Bajer, in his dri, qieet wae, `I perseev U hav mor sens in yur litl fingger than sum uther animals hav in th hoel of thair fat bodys. U hav manejd exselently, and I begin to hav graet hoeps of U. Guud Moel! Clever Moel!'

   Th Toed was simply wield with jelusy,

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mor espeshaly as he cuudn't maek out for th lief of him whut th Moel had dun that was so particuelarly clever; but, forchunetly for him, befor he cuud sho temper or expoez himself to th Badger's sarcazm, th bel rang for lunchon.

   It was a simpl but sustaening meel -- baecon and braud beens, and a macaroeny puuding; and when thae had qiet dun, th Bajer setld himself into an arm-chair, and sed, `Wel, we'v got our werk cut out for us to-niet, and it wil probably be prity laet befor we'r qiet thru with it; so I'm just going to taek forty winks, whiel I can.' And he droo a hankerchif oever his faes and was soon snoring.

   Th ankshus and laborius Rat at wuns rezoomd his preparaeshuns, and started runing between his foer litl heeps, mutering, `Heer's-a-belt-for-th-Rat, heer's-a-belt-for-th Moel, heer's-a-belt-for-th-Toed, heer's-a-belt-for-th-Bajer!' and so on, with evry fresh accoutrement he produest, to which thair seemd reealy no end; so th Moel droo his arm thru Toad's, led him out into th oepen air, shuvd him into a wiker chair, and maed him tel him all his advenchers frum begining

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to end, which Toed was oenly too wiling to do. Th Moel was a guud lisener, and Toed, with no wun to chek his staetments or to criticise in an unfrendly spirit, rather let himself go. Indeed, much that he relaeted belongd mor properly to th category of whut-miet-hav-hapend-had-I-oenly-thaut-of-it-in-tiem-insted-of-ten-minits-afterwards. Thoes ar allwaes th best and th raciest advenchers; and whi shuud thae not be trooly ours, as much as th sumwhut inadeqet things that reealy cum off?

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Chapter 12



   WHEN it began to gro dark, th Rat, with an air of exsietment and mistery, sumond them bak into th parlour, stuud eech of them up alongsied of his litl heep, and proseeded to dres them up for th cuming expedishun. He was verry ernest and theroegoing about it, and th afair tuuk qiet a long tiem. Ferst, thair was a belt to go round eech animal, and then a sord to be stuk into eech belt, and then a cutlas on th uther sied to balans it. Then a pair of pistols, a policeman's trunchen, several sets of handcufs, sum bandejes and stiking-plaster, and a flask and a sandwich-caes. Th Bajer laft guud-humouredly and sed, `All riet, Ratty! It amuses U and it duzn't hert me. I'm going to do all I'v got to do with this heer stik.' But th Rat oenly sed, `Pleez, Bajer.

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U noe I shuudn't liek U to blaem me afterwards and sae I had forgoten enything!'

   When all was qiet redy, th Bajer tuuk a dark lantern in wun paw, graspt his graet stik with th uther, and sed, `Now then, folo me! Moel ferst, `cos I'm verry pleezd with him; Rat next; Toed last. And luuk heer, Toady! Don't U chater so much as uezhual, or U'l be sent bak, as shur as faet!'

   Th Toed was so ankshus not to be left out that he tuuk up th infeerior pozishun asiend to him without a mermer, and th animals set off. Th Bajer led them along bi th river for a litl wae, and then sudenly swung himself oever th ej into a hoel in th river-bank, a litl abuv th wauter. Th Moel and th Rat foloed sielently, swinging themselvs sucsesfuly into th hoel as thae had seen th Bajer do; but when it caem to Toad's tern, of cors he manejd to slip and fall into th wauter with a loud splash and a sqeel of alarm. He was halld out bi his frends, rubd doun and wrung out haestily, cumforted, and set on his legs; but th Bajer was seeriusly anggry, and toeld him that th

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verry next tiem he maed a fool of himself he wuud moest sertenly be left behiend.

   So at last thae wer in th seecret pasej, and th cuting-out expedishun had reealy begun!

   It was coeld, and dark, and damp, and lo, and narro, and pur Toed began to shiver, partly frum dred of whut miet be befor him, partly becauz he was wet thru. Th lantern was far ahed, and he cuud not help laging behiend a litl in th darknes. Then he herd th Rat call out worningly, `Cum on, Toed!' and a terror seezd him of being left behiend, aloen in th darknes, and he `caem on' with such a rush that he upset th Rat into th Moel and th Moel into th Bajer, and for a moement all was confuezhun. Th Bajer thaut thae wer being atakt frum behiend, and, as thair was no room to uez a stik or a cutlas, droo a pistol, and was on th point of puuting a buulet into Toed. When he found out whut had reealy hapend he was verry anggry indeed, and sed, `Now this tiem that tiersum Toed shal be left behiend!'

   But Toed whimpered, and th uther too promist that thae wuud be anserabl for

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his guud conduct, and at last th Bajer was pacified, and th proseshun moovd on; oenly this tiem th Rat braut up th reer, with a ferm grip on th shoelder of Toed.

   So thae groept and shufld along, with thair eers prikt up and thair paws on thair pistols, til at last th Bajer sed, `We aut bi now to be prity neerly under th Hall.'

   Then sudenly thae herd, far awae as it miet be, and yet aparrently neerly oever thair heds, a confuezd mermer of sound, as if peepl wer shouting and cheering and stamping on th flor and hammering on taebls. Th Toad's nervus terrors all reternd, but th Bajer oenly remarkt plasidly, `Thae ar going it, th Weasels!'

   Th pasej now began to sloep upwards; thae groept onward a litl ferther, and then th noiz broek out agen, qiet distinkt this tiem, and verry cloes abuv them. `Ooo-rae-ooray-oo-rae-ooray!' thae herd, and th stamping of litl feet on th flor, and th clinking of glases as litl fists pounded on th taebl. `Whut a tiem thae'r having!' sed th Bajer. `Cum on!' Thae heryd along th pasej til it caem to a fuul stop, and thae found them

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selvs standing under th trap-dor that led up into th butler's pantry.

   Such a tremendus noiz was going on in th banqeting-hall that thair was litl daenjer of thair being oeverherd. Th Bajer sed, `Now, bois, all together!' and th foer of them puut thair shoelders to th trap-dor and heevd it bak. Hoisting eech uther up, thae found themselvs standing in th pantry, with oenly a dor between them and th banqeting-hall, wherr thair unconshus enemys wer carouzing.

   Th noiz, as thae emerjd frum th pasej, was simply defening. At last, as th cheering and hammering sloely subsieded, a vois cuud be maed out saeing, `Wel, I do not propoez to detaen U much longer' -- (graet aplauz) -- `but befor I rezoom mi seat' -- (renued cheering) -- `I shuud liek to sae wun werd about our kiend hoest, Mr. Toed. We all noe Toed!' -- (graet lafter) -- `Guud Toed, modest Toed, onest Toed!' (shrieks of merriment).

   `Oenly just let me get at him!' muterd Toed, griending his teeth.

   `Hoeld hard a minit!' sed th Bajer,

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restraening him with dificulty. `Get redy, all of U!'

   ` -- Let me sing U a litl song,' went on th vois, `which I hav compoezd on th subject of Toad' -- (prolongd aplauz).

   Then th Cheef Weezel -- for it was he -- began in a hi, sqeeky vois --

`Toed he went a-pleasuring
Gaely doun th street -- '

   Th Bajer droo himself up, tuuk a ferm grip of his stik with boeth paws, glanst round at his comrads, and cried --

   `Th our is cum! Folo me!'

   And flung th dor oepen wied.


   Whut a sqeeling and a sqeeking and a screeching fild th air!

   Wel miet th terrified weasels diev under th taebls and spring madly up at th windoes! Wel miet th ferrets rush wieldly for th fierplaes and get hoeplesly jamd in th chimny! Wel miet taebls and chairs be upset, and glas and chiena be sent crashing on th flor, in th panic of that terribl moement when th foer Heeroes stroed wrathfully into th room! Th miety Bajer, his whiskers

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brisling, his graet cujel whisling thru th air; Moel, blak and grim, brandishing his stik and shouting his auful wor-cri, `A Moel! A Moel!' Rat; desperet and determind, his belt buljing with wepons of evry aej and evry varieety; Toed, frenzyd with exsietment and injerd pried, swoelen to twies his ordinairy siez, leeping into th air and emiting Toed-whoops that child them to th marro! `Toed he went a-pleasuring!' he yeld. `I'l plezher 'em!' and he went straet for th Cheef Weezel. Thae wer but foer in all, but to th panic-striken weasels th hall seemd fuul of monstrus animals, grae, blak, broun and yelo, hooping and flerishing enormus cujels; and thae broek and fled with sqeels of terror and dismae, this wae and that, thru th windoes, up th chimny, enywhair to get out of reech of thoes terribl stiks.

   Th afair was soon oever. Up and doun, th hoel length of th hall, stroed th foer Frends, whacking with thair stiks at evry hed that shoed itself; and in fiev minits th room was cleerd. Thru th broeken windoes th shrieks of terrified weasels escaeping across th laun wer born faently

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to thair eers; on th flor lae prostraet sum duzen or so of th enemy, on hoom th Moel was bizily engaejd in fiting handcufs. Th Bajer, resting frum his labours, lent on his stik and wiept his onest brow.

   `Moel,' he sed,' `U'r th best of feloes! Just cut along outsied and luuk after thoes stoat-sentries of yurs, and see whut thae'r doing. I'v an iedeea that, thanks to U, we shan't hav much trubl frum them to-niet!'

   Th Moel vanisht promptly thru a windo; and th Bajer baed th uther too set a taebl on its legs agen, pik up nievs and forks and plates and glases frum th debree on th flor, and see if thae cuud fiend mateerials for a super. `I wont sum grub, I do,' he sed, in that rather comon wae he had of speeking. `Ster yur stumps, Toed, and luuk lievly! We'v got yur hous bak for U, and U don't offer us so much as a sandwich.' Toed felt rather hert that th Bajer didn't sae plezant things to him, as he had to th Moel, and tel him whut a fien felo he was, and how splendidly he had faut; for he was rather particuelarly pleezd with himself and th wae he had gon for th Cheef Weezel and sent

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him flieing across th taebl with wun blo of his stik. But he bustled about, and so did th Rat, and soon thae found sum gwaava jely in a glas dish, and a coeld chiken, a tung that had hardly bin tucht, sum triefl, and qiet a lot of lobster salad; and in th pantry thae caem upon a basketful of French roels and eny qontity of cheez, buter, and selery. Thae wer just about to sit doun when th Moel clamberd in thru th windo, chuckling, with an armful of riefls.

   `It's all oever,' he reported. `Frum whut I can maek out, as soon as th stoats, hoo wer verry nervus and jumpy allredy, herd th shrieks and th yels and th upror insied th hall, sum of them throo doun thair riefls and fled. Th uthers stuud fast for a bit, but when th weasels caem rushing out upon them thae thaut thae wer betraed; and th stoats grapld with th weasels, and th weasels faut to get awae, and thae wrestled and wriggled and puncht eech uther, and roeld oever and oever, til moest of 'em roeld into th river! Thae'v all disapeerd bi now, wun wae or anuther; and I'v got thair riefls. So that's all riet!'

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   `Exselent and dezerving animal!' sed th Bajer, his mouth fuul of chiken and triefl. `Now, thair's just wun mor thing I wont U to do, Moel, befor U sit doun to yur super along of us; and I wuudn't trubl U oenly I noe I can trust U to see a thing dun, and I wish I cuud sae th saem of evry wun I noe. I'd send Rat, if he wasn't a poeet. I wont U to taek thoes feloes on th flor thair upstairs with U, and hav sum bedrooms cleend out and tiedyd up and maed reealy cumfortabl. See that thae sweep under th beds, and puut cleen sheets and pilo-caeses on, and tern doun wun corner of th bed-cloeths, just as U noe it aut to be dun; and hav a can of hot wauter, and cleen towels, and fresh caeks of soep, puut in eech room. And then U can giv them a liking a-pees, if it's eny satisfacshun to U, and puut them out bi th bak-dor, and we shan't see eny mor of them, I fansy. And then cum along and hav sum of this coeld tung. It's ferst raet. I'm verry pleezd with U, Moel!'

   Th goodnatured Moel pikt up a stik, formd his prizoners up in a lien on th flor, gaev them th order `Qik march!' and led

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his sqod off to th uper flor. After a tiem, he apeerd agen, smieling, and sed that evry room was redy, and as cleen as a nue pin. `And I didn't hav to lik them, eether,' he aded. `I thaut, on th hoel, thae had had liking enuf for wun niet, and th weasels, when I puut th point to them, qiet agreed with me, and sed thae wuudn't think of trubling me. Thae wer verry penitent, and sed thae wer extreemly sorry for whut thae had dun. but it was all th fallt of th Cheef Weezel and th stoats, and if ever thae cuud do enything for us at eny tiem to maek up, we had oenly got to menshun it. So I gaev them a roel a-pees, and let them out at th bak, and off thae ran, as hard as thae cuud!'

   Then th Moel puuld his chair up to th taebl, and picht into th coeld tung; and Toed, liek th jentlman he was, puut all his jelusy frum him, and sed hartily, `Thank U kiendly, deer Moel, for all yur paens and trubl toniet, and espeshaly for yur clevernes this morning!' Th Bajer was pleezd at that, and sed, `Thair spoek mi braev Toed!' So thae finisht thair super in graet joi and contentment, and prezently retierd to rest

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between cleen sheets, saef in Toad's ansestral hoem, wun bak bi machles valour, consumaet stratejy, and a proper handling of stiks.

   Th foloeing morning, Toed, hoo had oeverslept himself as uezhual, caem doun to brekfast disgraesfuly laet, and found on th taebl a serten qontity of eg-shels, sum fragments of coeld and lethery toest, a coffy-pot three-fourths empty, and reealy verry litl els; which did not tend to improov his temper, considering that, after all, it was his oen hous. Thru th French windoes of th brekfast-room he cuud see th Moel and th Wauter Rat siting in wiker-chairs out on th laun, evidently teling eech uther storys; roring with lafter and kiking thair short legs up in th air. Th Bajer, hoo was in an arm-chair and deep in th morning paeper, meerly luukt up and noded when Toed enterd th room. But Toed nue his man, so he sat doun and maed th best brekfast he cuud, meerly obzerving to himself that he wuud get sqair with th uthers sooner or laeter. When he had neerly finisht, th Bajer luukt up and remarkt rather shortly: `I'm sorry, Toed, but I'm afraed thair's a hevy morning's werk in frunt of U.

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U see, we reealy aut to hav a Banqet at wuns, to selebraet this afair. It's expected of U -- in fact, it's th rool.'

   `O, all riet!' sed th Toed, redily. `Enything to obliej. Tho whi on erth U shuud wont to hav a Banqet in th morning I cannot understand. But U noe I do not liv to pleez mieself, but meerly to fiend out whut mi frends wont, and then tri and araenj it for 'em, U deer oeld Bajer!'

   `Don't pretend to be stupider than U reealy ar,' replied th Bajer, crossly; `and don't chukl and splutter in yur coffy whiel U'r tauking; it's not maners. Whut I meen is, th Banqet wil be at niet, of cors, but th invitaeshuns wil hav to be riten and got off at wuns, and U'v got to riet 'em. Now, sit doun at that taebl -- thair's staks of leter-paeper on it, with "Toed Hall" at th top in bloo and goeld -- and riet invitaeshuns to all our frends, and if U stik to it we shal get them out befor lunchon. And I'l bair a hand, too; and taek mi shair of th berden. I'l order th Banqet.'

   `Whut!' cried Toed, dismaed. `Me stop indors and riet a lot of roten leters on

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a joly morning liek this, when I wont to go around mi property, and set evrything and evrybody to riets, and swager about and enjoi mieself! Sertenly not! I'l be -- I'l see U -- -- Stop a minit, tho! Whi, of cors, deer Bajer! Whut is mi plezher or conveenyuns compaird with that of uthers! U wish it dun, and it shal be dun. Go, Bajer, order th Banqet, order whut U liek; then join our yung frends outsied in thair inosent merth, oblivius of me and mi cairs and toils. I sacrifies this fair morning on th alltar of duety and frendship!'

   Th Bajer luukt at him verry suspishusly, but Toad's frank, oepen countenans maed it dificult to sugjest eny unwerthy moetiv in this chaenj of atitued. He quitted th room, acordingly, in th direcshun of th kichen, and as soon as th dor had cloezd behiend him, Toed heryd to th rieting-taebl. A fien iedeea had ocurd to him whiel he was tauking. He wuud riet th invitaeshuns; and he wuud taek cair to menshun th leeding part he had taeken in th fiet, and how he had laed th Cheef Weezel flat; and he wuud hint at his advenchers, and whut a career of trieumf he had to

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tel about; and on th fli-leef he wuud set out a sort of a programme of entertaenment for th eevning -- sumthing liek this, as he skecht it out in his hed: -- SPEECH . . . . BI TOED.

   (Thair wil be uther speeches bi TOED during th eevning.) ADRES . . . BI

   SINOPSIS -- Our Prizon Sistem -- th Wauterwaes of Oeld England -- Hors-deeling, and how to deel -- Property, its riets and its duetys -- Bak to th Land -- A Tipical English Sqier. SONG . . . . BI TOED.

    (Compoezd bi himself.) UTHER COMPOZISHUNS . BI

    wil be sung in th cors of th eevning bi th . . . COMPOEZER.

   Th iedeea pleezd him mightly, and he werkt verry hard and got all th leters finisht bi noon, at which our it was reported to him that thair was a small and rather bedragld weezel at th dor, inqiering timidly whether he cuud be of eny servis to th jentlmen. Toed swagerd out and found it was wun of th prizoners of th preevius

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eevning, verry respectful and ankshus to pleez. He pated him on th hed, shuvd th bundl of invitaeshuns into his paw, and toeld him to cut along qik and deliver them as fast as he cuud, and if he liekt to cum bak agen in th eevning, perhaps thair miet be a shiling for him, or, agen, perhaps thair mightn't; and th pur weezel seemd reealy qiet graetful, and heryd off eegerly to do his mishun.

   When th uther animals caem bak to lunchon, verry boisterus and breezy after a morning on th river, th Moel, hoos conshens had bin priking him, luukt doutfuly at Toed, expecting to fiend him sulky or deprest. Insted, he was so uppish and inflaeted that th Moel began to suspect sumthing; whiel th Rat and th Bajer exchaenjd significant glanses.

   As soon as th meel was oever, Toed thrust his paws deep into his trouzer-pokets, remarkt cazhualy, `Wel, luuk after yurselvs, U feloes! Ask for enything U wont!' and was swagering off in th direcshun of th garden, wherr he wonted to think out an iedeea or too for his cuming speeches, when th Rat caut him bi th arm.

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   Toed rather suspected whut he was after, and did his best to get awae; but when th Bajer tuuk him fermly bi th uther arm he began to see that th gaem was up. Th too animals conducted him between them into th small smoeking-room that oepend out of th entrans-hall, shut th dor, and puut him into a chair. Then thae boeth stuud in frunt of him, whiel Toed sat sielent and regarded them with much suspishun and il-huemor.

   `Now, luuk heer, Toed,' sed th Rat. `It's about this Banqet, and verry sorry I am to hav to speek to U liek this. But we wont U to understand cleerly, wuns and for all, that thair ar going to be no speeches and no songs. Tri and grasp th fact that on this ocaezhun we'r not argueing with U; we'r just teling U.'

   Toed saw that he was trapt. Thae understuud him, thae saw thru him, thae had got ahed of him. His plezant dreem was shaterd.

   `Mayn't I sing them just wun litl song?' he pleeded piteously.

   `No, not wun litl song,' replied th Rat fermly, tho his hart bled as he noetist th

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trembling lip of th pur disapointed Toed. `It's no guud, Toady; U noe wel that yur songs ar all conseet and boesting and vanity; and yur speeches ar all self-praez and -- and -- wel, and groes exajeraeshun and -- and -- -- '

   `And gas,' puut in th Bajer, in his comon wae.

   `It's for yur oen guud, Toady,' went on th Rat. `U noe U must tern oever a nue leef sooner or laeter, and now seems a splendid tiem to begin; a sort of terning-point in yur career. Pleez don't think that saeing all this duzn't hert me mor than it herts U.'

   Toed remaend a long whiel plunjd in thaut. At last he raezd his hed, and th traeses of strong emoeshun wer vizibl on his feechers. `U hav conkerd, mi frends,' he sed in broeken acsents. `It was, to be shur, but a small thing that I askt -- meerly leev to blosom and expand for yet wun mor eevning, to let mieself go and heer th toomulchuos aplauz that allwaes seems to me -- sumhow -- to bring out mi best qolitys. However, U ar riet, I noe, and I am rong. Hens forth I wil be a verry diferent Toed. Mi frends, U shal never hav ocaezhun to blush

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for me agen. But, O deer, O deer, this is a hard werld!'

   And, presing his hankerchif to his faes, he left th room, with falltering fuutsteps.

   `Bajer,' sed th Rat, `I feel liek a broot; I wunder whut U feel liek?'

   `O, I noe, I noe,' sed th Bajer gloomily. `But th thing had to be dun. This guud felo has got to liv heer, and hoeld his oen, and be respected. Wuud U hav him a comon lafing-stok, mokt and jeered at bi stoats and weasels?'

   `Of cors not,' sed th Rat. `And, tauking of weasels, it's luky we caem upon that litl weezel, just as he was seting out with Toad's invitaeshuns. I suspected sumthing frum whut U toeld me, and had a luuk at wun or too; thae wer simply disgraesful. I confiscaeted th lot, and th guud Moel is now siting in th bloo boodwar, filing up plaen, simpl invitaeshun cards.' * * * * *

   At last th our for th banqet began to draw neer, and Toed, hoo on leeving th uthers had retierd to his bedroom, was stil siting

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thair, melancoly and thautful. His brow resting on his paw, he ponderd long and deeply. Grajualy his countenans cleerd, and he began to smiel long, slo smiels. Then he tuuk to gigling in a shi, self-conshus maner. At last he got up, lokt th dor, droo th curtens across th windoes, colected all th chairs in th room and araenjd them in a semysercl, and tuuk up his pozishun in frunt of them, sweling vizibly. Then he bowd, cauft twies, and, leting himself go, with uplifted vois he sang, to th enrapcherd audyens that his imajinaeshun so cleerly saw,


Th Toed -- caem -- hoem!
Thair was panic in th parlours and boeling in th halls,
Thair was crieing in th cow-sheds and shreeking in th stalls,
When th Toed -- caem -- hoem!
When th Toed -- caem -- hoem!
Thair was smashing in of windo and crashing in of dor,
Thair was chivvying of weasels that faented on th flor,
When th Toed -- caem -- hoem!

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Bang! go th drums!
Th trumpeters ar tooting and th soeljers ar salooting,
And th canon thae ar shooting and th moetor-cars ar hooting,
As th -- Heero -- cums!
Shout -- Hoo-rae!
And let eech wun of th croud tri and shout it verry loud,
In onor of an animal of hoom U'r justly proud,
For it's Toad's -- graet -- dae!

   He sang this verry loud, with graet unkshun and expreshun; and when he had dun, he sang it all oever agen.

   Then he heevd a deep si; a long, long, long si.

   Then he dipt his hairbrush in th wauter-jug, parted his hair in th midl, and plasterd it doun verry straet and sleek on eech sied of his faes; and, unloking th dor, went qieetly doun th stairs to greet his gests, hoo he nue must be asembling in th drawing-room.

   All th animals cheerd when he enterd, and crouded round to congrachulaet him and sae nies things about his curej, and his clevernes, and his fieting qolitys; but Toed

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oenly smield faently, and mermerd, `Not at all!' Or, sumtiems, for a chaenj, `On th contrairy!' Oter, hoo was standing on th hearthrug, descriebing to an admiering sercl of frends exactly how he wuud hav manejd things had be{sic} bin thair, caem forward with a shout, throo his arm round Toad's nek, and tried to taek him round th room in trieumfal progres; but Toed, in a mield wae, was rather snubby to him, remarking jently, as he disengaged himself, `Badger's was th mastermiend; th Moel and th Wauter Rat bor th brunt of th fieting; I meerly servd in th ranks and did litl or nuthing.' Th animals wer evidently puzld and taeken abak bi this unexpected atitued of his; and Toed felt, as he moovd frum wun gest to th uther, maeking his modest responses, that he was an object of absorbing interest to evry wun.

   Th Bajer had orderd evrything of th best, and th banqet was a graet sucses. Thair was much tauking and lafter and chaf amung th animals, but thru it all Toed, hoo of cors was in th chair, luukt doun his noez and mermerd plezant nuthings to th animals on eether sied of him. At intervals he

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stoel a glans at th Bajer and th Rat, and allwaes when he luukt thae wer stairing at eech uther with thair mouths oepen; and this gaev him th graetest satisfacshun. Sum of th yungger and lievlyer animals, as th eevning wor on, got whispering to eech uther that things wer not so amuezing as thae uezd to be in th guud oeld daes; and thair wer sum knockings on th taebl and cries of `Toed! Speech! Speech frum Toed! Song! Mr. Toad's song!' But Toed oenly shuuk his hed jently, raezd wun paw in mield proetest, and, bi presing delicasys on his gests, bi topical small-tauk, and bi ernest inqierys after members of thair familys not yet oeld enuf to apeer at soeshal funkshuns, manejd to convae to them that this diner was being run on strictly convenshunal liens.

   He was indeed an allterd Toed! * * * * *

   After this cliemax, th foer animals continued to leed thair lievs, so roodly broeken in upon bi sivil wor, in graet joi and contentment, undisterbd bi ferther risings or invaezhuns. Toed, after due consultaeshun with his frends, selected a hansum goeld chaen and locket set with

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perls, which he dispacht to th gaoler's dauter with a leter that eeven th Bajer admited to be modest, graetful, and apreeshiaetiv; and th enjin-driever, in his tern, was properly thankt and compensaeted for all his paens and trubl. Under seveer compulshun frum th Bajer, eeven th barj-wuuman was, with sum trubl, saut out and th value of her hors discreetly maed guud to her; tho Toed kikt terribly at this, hoelding himself to be an instrument of Faet, sent to punish fat wimen with motld arms hoo cuudn't tel a reeal jentlman when thae saw wun. Th amount involvd, it was troo, was not verry berdensum, th gipsy's valueaeshun being admited bi loecal asesors to be aproximetly corect.

   Sumtiems, in th cors of long sumer eevnings, th frends wuud taek a stroel together in th Wield Wuud, now sucsesfuly taemd so far as thae wer consernd; and it was pleezing to see how respectfuly thae wer greeted bi th inhabitants, and how th muther-weasels wuud bring thair yung wuns to th mouths of thair hoels, and sae, pointing, `Luuk, baeby! Thair goes th graet Mr. Toed!

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And that's th galant Wauter Rat, a terribl fieter, wauking along o' him! And yonder cums th faemus Mr. Moel, of hoom U so offen hav herd yur faather tel!' But when thair infants wer fracshus and qiet beyond controel, thae wuud qieet them bi teling how, if thae didn't hush them and not fret them, th terribl grae Bajer wuud up and get them. This was a baes liebel on Bajer, hoo, tho he caird litl about Sosieety, was rather fond of children; but it never faeld to hav its fuul efect.