The Wind In The Willows - online version

Complete text of the classic childrens book By KENNETH GRAHAME

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Toad began to sit up in his chair again, and to smirk a little.
`They argued from history,' continued the Rat. `They said that no criminal laws had ever been known to prevail against cheek and plausibility such as yours, combined with the power of a long purse. So they arranged to move their things in to Toad Hall, and sleep there, and keep it aired, and have it all ready for you when you turned up. They didn't guess what was going to happen, of course; still, they had their suspicions of the Wild Wood animals. Now I come to the most painful and tragic part of my story. One dark night--it was a VERY dark night, and blowing hard, too, and raining simply cats and dogs--a band of weasels, armed to the teeth, crept silently up the carriage-drive to the front entrance. Simultaneously, a body of desperate ferrets, advancing through the kitchen-garden, possessed themselves of the backyard and offices; while a company of skirmishing stoats who stuck at nothing occupied the conservatory and the billiard-room, and held the French windows opening on to the lawn.
`The Mole and the Badger were sitting by the fire in the smoking- room, telling stories and suspecting nothing, for it wasn't a night for any animals to be out in, when those bloodthirsty villains broke down the doors and rushed in upon them from every side. They made the best fight they could, but what was the good? They were unarmed, and taken by surprise, and what can two animals do against hundreds? They took and beat them severely with sticks, those two poor faithful creatures, and turned them out into the cold and the wet, with many insulting and uncalled- for remarks!'
Here the unfeeling Toad broke into a snigger, and then pulled himself together and tried to look particularly solemn.
`And the Wild Wooders have been living in Toad Hall ever since,' continued the Rat; `and going on simply anyhow! Lying in bed half the day, and breakfast at all hours, and the place in such a mess (I'm told) it's not fit to be seen! Eating your grub, and drinking your drink, and making bad jokes about you, and singing vulgar songs, about--well, about prisons and magistrates, and policemen; horrid personal songs, with no humour in them. And they're telling the tradespeople and everybody that they've come to stay for good.'
`O, have they!' said Toad getting up and seizing a stick. `I'll jolly soon see about that!'
`It's no good, Toad!' called the Rat after him. `You'd better come back and sit down; you'll only get into trouble.'