The Wind In The Willows - online version

Complete text of the classic childrens book By KENNETH GRAHAME

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`Don't pretend to be stupider than you really are,' replied the Badger, crossly; `and don't chuckle and splutter in your coffee while you're talking; it's not manners. What I mean is, the Banquet will be at night, of course, but the invitations will have to be written and got off at once, and you've got to write 'em. Now, sit down at that table--there's stacks of letter-paper on it, with "Toad Hall" at the top in blue and gold--and write invitations to all our friends, and if you stick to it we shall get them out before luncheon. And I'LL bear a hand, too; and take my share of the burden. I'LL order the Banquet.'
`What!' cried Toad, dismayed. `Me stop indoors and write a lot of rotten letters on a jolly morning like this, when I want to go around my property, and set everything and everybody to rights, and swagger about and enjoy myself! Certainly not! I'll be--I'll see you----Stop a minute, though! Why, of course, dear Badger! What is my pleasure or convenience compared with that of others! You wish it done, and it shall be done. Go, Badger, order the Banquet, order what you like; then join our young friends outside in their innocent mirth, oblivious of me and my cares and toils. I sacrifice this fair morning on the altar of duty and friendship!'
The Badger looked at him very suspiciously, but Toad's frank, open countenance made it difficult to suggest any unworthy motive in this change of attitude. He quitted the room, accordingly, in the direction of the kitchen, and as soon as the door had closed behind him, Toad hurried to the writing-table. A fine idea had occurred to him while he was talking. He WOULD write the invitations; and he would take care to mention the leading part he had taken in the fight, and how he had laid the Chief Weasel flat; and he would hint at his adventures, and what a career of triumph he had to tell about; and on the fly-leaf he would set out a sort of a programme of entertainment for the evening-- something like this, as he sketched it out in his head:--
(There will be other speeches by TOAD during the evening.)
SYNOPSIS--Our Prison System--the Waterways of Old England--Horse- dealing, and how to deal--Property, its rights and its duties-- Back to the Land--A Typical English Squire.