The Wind In The Willows - online version

Complete text of the classic childrens book By KENNETH GRAHAME

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`O, pooh! boating!' interrupted the Toad, in great disgust. Silly boyish amusement. I've given that up LONG ago. Sheer waste of time, that's what it is. It makes me downright sorry to see you fellows, who ought to know better, spending all your energies in that aimless manner. No, I've discovered the real thing, the only genuine occupation for a life time. I propose to devote the remainder of mine to it, and can only regret the wasted years that lie behind me, squandered in trivialities. Come with me, dear Ratty, and your amiable friend also, if he will be so very good, just as far as the stable-yard, and you shall see what you shall see!'
He led the way to the stable-yard accordingly, the Rat following with a most mistrustful expression; and there, drawn out of the coach house into the open, they saw a gipsy caravan, shining with newness, painted a canary-yellow picked out with green, and red wheels.
`There you are!' cried the Toad, straddling and expanding himself. `There's real life for you, embodied in that little cart. The open road, the dusty highway, the heath, the common, the hedgerows, the rolling downs! Camps, villages, towns, cities! Here to-day, up and off to somewhere else to-morrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that's always changing! And mind! this is the very finest cart of its sort that was ever built, without any exception. Come inside and look at the arrangements. Planned 'em all myself, I did!'
The Mole was tremendously interested and excited, and followed him eagerly up the steps and into the interior of the caravan. The Rat only snorted and thrust his hands deep into his pockets, remaining where he was.
It was indeed very compact and comfortable. Little sleeping bunks--a little table that folded up against the wall--a cooking- stove, lockers, bookshelves, a bird-cage with a bird in it; and pots, pans, jugs and kettles of every size and variety.
`All complete!' said the Toad triumphantly, pulling open a locker. `You see--biscuits, potted lobster, sardines--everything you can possibly want. Soda-water here--baccy there--letter-paper, bacon, jam, cards and dominoes--you'll find,' he continued, as they descended the steps again, `you'll find that nothing what ever has been forgotten, when we make our start this afternoon.'
`I beg your pardon,' said the Rat slowly, as he chewed a straw, `but did I overhear you say something about "WE," and "START," and "THIS AFTERNOON?"'