The Wind In The Willows - online version

Complete text of the classic childrens book By KENNETH GRAHAME

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`We're NOT,' said the Toad in a huff. `I have a very elegant figure--for what I am.'
`So has my aunt,' replied the girl, `for what SHE is. But have it your own way. You horrid, proud, ungrateful animal, when I'm sorry for you, and trying to help you!'
`Yes, yes, that's all right; thank you very much indeed,' said the Toad hurriedly. `But look here! you wouldn't surely have Mr. Toad of Toad Hall, going about the country disguised as a washerwoman!'
`Then you can stop here as a Toad,' replied the girl with much spirit. `I suppose you want to go off in a coach-and-four!'
Honest Toad was always ready to admit himself in the wrong. `You are a good, kind, clever girl,' he said, `and I am indeed a proud and a stupid toad. Introduce me to your worthy aunt, if you will be so kind, and I have no doubt that the excellent lady and I will be able to arrange terms satisfactory to both parties.'
Next evening the girl ushered her aunt into Toad's cell, bearing his week's washing pinned up in a towel. The old lady had been prepared beforehand for the interview, and the sight of certain gold sovereigns that Toad had thoughtfully placed on the table in full view practically completed the matter and left little further to discuss. In return for his cash, Toad received a cotton print gown, an apron, a shawl, and a rusty black bonnet; the only stipulation the old lady made being that she should be gagged and bound and dumped down in a corner. By this not very convincing artifice, she explained, aided by picturesque fiction which she could supply herself, she hoped to retain her situation, in spite of the suspicious appearance of things.
Toad was delighted with the suggestion. It would enable him to leave the prison in some style, and with his reputation for being a desperate and dangerous fellow untarnished; and he readily helped the gaoler's daughter to make her aunt appear as much as possible the victim of circumstances over which she had no control.
`Now it's your turn, Toad,' said the girl. `Take off that coat and waistcoat of yours; you're fat enough as it is.'