The Wind In The Willows - online version

Complete text of the classic childrens book By KENNETH GRAHAME

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`Such a rumpus everywhere!' continued the Otter. `All the world seems out on the river to-day. I came up this backwater to try and get a moment's peace, and then stumble upon you fellows!--At least--I beg pardon--I don't exactly mean that, you know.'
There was a rustle behind them, proceeding from a hedge wherein last year's leaves still clung thick, and a stripy head, with high shoulders behind it, peered forth on them.
`Come on, old Badger!' shouted the Rat.
The Badger trotted forward a pace or two; then grunted, `H'm! Company,' and turned his back and disappeared from view.
`That's JUST the sort of fellow he is!' observed the disappointed Rat. `Simply hates Society! Now we shan't see any more of him to-day. Well, tell us, WHO'S out on the river?'
`Toad's out, for one,' replied the Otter. `In his brand-new wager-boat; new togs, new everything!'
The two animals looked at each other and laughed.
`Once, it was nothing but sailing,' said the Rat, `Then he tired of that and took to punting. Nothing would please him but to punt all day and every day, and a nice mess he made of it. Last year it was house-boating, and we all had to go and stay with him in his house-boat, and pretend we liked it. He was going to spend the rest of his life in a house-boat. It's all the same, whatever he takes up; he gets tired of it, and starts on something fresh.'
`Such a good fellow, too,' remarked the Otter reflectively: `But no stability--especially in a boat!'
From where they sat they could get a glimpse of the main stream across the island that separated them; and just then a wager-boat flashed into view, the rower--a short, stout figure--splashing badly and rolling a good deal, but working his hardest. The Rat stood up and hailed him, but Toad--for it was he--shook his head and settled sternly to his work.