The Wind In The Willows - online version

Complete text of the classic childrens book By KENNETH GRAHAME

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`O, I quite understand,' said the Rat soothingly. `You shouldn't really have gone and done it, Mole. I did my best to keep you from it. We river-bankers, we hardly ever come here by ourselves. If we have to come, we come in couples, at least; then we're generally all right. Besides, there are a hundred things one has to know, which we understand all about and you don't, as yet. I mean passwords, and signs, and sayings which have power and effect, and plants you carry in your pocket, and verses you repeat, and dodges and tricks you practise; all simple enough when you know them, but they've got to be known if you're small, or you'll find yourself in trouble. Of course if you were Badger or Otter, it would be quite another matter.'
`Surely the brave Mr. Toad wouldn't mind coming here by himself, would he?' inquired the Mole.
`Old Toad?' said the Rat, laughing heartily. `He wouldn't show his face here alone, not for a whole hatful of golden guineas, Toad wouldn't.'
The Mole was greatly cheered by the sound of the Rat's careless laughter, as well as by the sight of his stick and his gleaming pistols, and he stopped shivering and began to feel bolder and more himself again.
`Now then,' said the Rat presently, `we really must pull ourselves together and make a start for home while there's still a little light left. It will never do to spend the night here, you understand. Too cold, for one thing.'
`Dear Ratty,' said the poor Mole, `I'm dreadfully sorry, but I'm simply dead beat and that's a solid fact. You MUST let me rest here a while longer, and get my strength back, if I'm to get home at all.'
`O, all right,' said the good-natured Rat, `rest away. It's pretty nearly pitch dark now, anyhow; and there ought to be a bit of a moon later.'
So the Mole got well into the dry leaves and stretched himself out, and presently dropped off into sleep, though of a broken and troubled sort; while the Rat covered himself up, too, as best he might, for warmth, and lay patiently waiting, with a pistol in his paw.
When at last the Mole woke up, much refreshed and in his usual spirits, the Rat said, `Now then! I'll just take a look outside and see if everything's quiet, and then we really must be off.'