The Wind In The Willows - online version

Complete text of the classic childrens book By KENNETH GRAHAME

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somewhere. You can't get over that. Toad, my boy!' So he marched on patiently by the water's edge.
Round a bend in the canal came plodding a solitary horse, stooping forward as if in anxious thought. From rope traces attached to his collar stretched a long line, taut, but dipping with his stride, the further part of it dripping pearly drops. Toad let the horse pass, and stood waiting for what the fates were sending him.
With a pleasant swirl of quiet water at its blunt bow the barge slid up alongside of him, its gaily painted gunwale level with the towing-path, its sole occupant a big stout woman wearing a linen sun-bonnet, one brawny arm laid along the tiller.
`A nice morning, ma'am!' she remarked to Toad, as she drew up level with him.
`I dare say it is, ma'am!' responded Toad politely, as he walked along the tow-path abreast of her. `I dare it IS a nice morning to them that's not in sore trouble, like what I am. Here's my married daughter, she sends off to me post-haste to come to her at once; so off I comes, not knowing what may be happening or going to happen, but fearing the worst, as you will understand, ma'am, if you're a mother, too. And I've left my business to look after itself--I'm in the washing and laundering line, you must know, ma'am--and I've left my young children to look after themselves, and a more mischievous and troublesome set of young imps doesn't exist, ma'am; and I've lost all my money, and lost my way, and as for what may be happening to my married daughter, why, I don't like to think of it, ma'am!'
`Where might your married daughter be living, ma'am?' asked the barge-woman.
`She lives near to the river, ma'am,' replied Toad. `Close to a fine house called Toad Hall, that's somewheres hereabouts in these parts. Perhaps you may have heard of it.'
`Toad Hall? Why, I'm going that way myself,' replied the barge- woman. `This canal joins the river some miles further on, a little above Toad Hall; and then it's an easy walk. You come along in the barge with me, and I'll give you a lift.'
She steered the barge close to the bank, and Toad, with many humble and grateful acknowledgments, stepped lightly on board and sat down with great satisfaction. `Toad's luck again!' thought he. `I always come out on top!'