The Wind In The Willows - online version

Complete text of the classic childrens book By KENNETH GRAHAME

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`Do you mean to tell me,' shouted the Rat, thumping with his little fist upon the table, `that you've heard nothing about the Stoats and Weasels?'
What, the Wild Wooders?' cried Toad, trembling in every limb. `No, not a word! What have they been doing?'
`--And how they've been and taken Toad Hall?' continued the Rat.
Toad leaned his elbows on the table, and his chin on his paws; and a large tear welled up in each of his eyes, overflowed and splashed on the table, plop! plop!
`Go on, Ratty,' he murmured presently; `tell me all. The worst is over. I am an animal again. I can bear it.'
`When you--got--into that--that--trouble of yours,' said the Rat, slowly and impressively; `I mean, when you--disappeared from society for a time, over that misunderstanding about a--a machine, you know--'
Toad merely nodded.
`Well, it was a good deal talked about down here, naturally,' continued the Rat, `not only along the river-side, but even in the Wild Wood. Animals took sides, as always happens. The River-bankers stuck up for you, and said you had been infamously treated, and there was no justice to be had in the land nowadays. But the Wild Wood animals said hard things, and served you right, and it was time this sort of thing was stopped. And they got very cocky, and went about saying you were done for this time! You would never come back again, never, never!'
Toad nodded once more, keeping silence.
`That's the sort of little beasts they are,' the Rat went on. `But Mole and Badger, they stuck out, through thick and thin, that you would come back again soon, somehow. They didn't know exactly how, but somehow!'