The Wind In The Willows - online version

Complete text of the classic childrens book By KENNETH GRAHAME

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`Well, I shan't do it, anyway!' cried Toad, getting excited. `I'm not going to be ordered about by you fellows! It's my house we're talking about, and I know exactly what to do, and I'll tell you. I'm going to----'
By this time they were all three talking at once, at the top of their voices, and the noise was simply deafening, when a thin, dry voice made itself heard, saying, `Be quiet at once, all of you!' and instantly every one was silent.
It was the Badger, who, having finished his pie, had turned round in his chair and was looking at them severely. When he saw that he had secured their attention, and that they were evidently waiting for him to address them, he turned back to the table again and reached out for the cheese. And so great was the respect commanded by the solid qualities of that admirable animal, that not another word was uttered until he had quite finished his repast and brushed the crumbs from his knees. The Toad fidgeted a good deal, but the Rat held him firmly down.
When the Badger had quite done, he got up from his seat and stood before the fireplace, reflecting deeply. At last he spoke.
`Toad!' he said severely. `You bad, troublesome little animal! Aren't you ashamed of youself? What do you think your father, my old friend, would have said if he had been here to-night, and had known of all your goings on?'
Toad, who was on the sofa by this time, with his legs up, rolled over on his face, shaken by sobs of contrition.
`There, there!' went on the Badger, more kindly. `Never mind. Stop crying. We're going to let bygones be bygones, and try and turn over a new leaf. But what the Mole says is quite true. The stoats are on guard, at every point, and they make the best sentinels in the world. It's quite useless to think of attacking the place. They're too strong for us.'
`Then it's all over,' sobbed the Toad, crying into the sofa cushions. `I shall go and enlist for a soldier, and never see my dear Toad Hall any more!'
`Come, cheer up, Toady!' said the Badger. `There are more ways of getting back a place than taking it by storm. I haven't said my last word yet. Now I'm going to tell you a great secret.'