The Wind In The Willows - online version

Complete text of the classic childrens book By KENNETH GRAHAME

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Toad saw that he was trapped. They understood him, they saw through him, they had got ahead of him. His pleasant dream was shattered.
`Mayn't I sing them just one LITTLE song?' he pleaded piteously.
`No, not ONE little song,' replied the Rat firmly, though his heart bled as he noticed the trembling lip of the poor disappointed Toad. `It's no good, Toady; you know well that your songs are all conceit and boasting and vanity; and your speeches are all self-praise and--and--well, and gross exaggeration and-- and----'
`And gas,' put in the Badger, in his common way.
`It's for your own good, Toady,' went on the Rat. `You know you MUST turn over a new leaf sooner or later, and now seems a splendid time to begin; a sort of turning-point in your career. Please don't think that saying all this doesn't hurt me more than it hurts you.'
Toad remained a long while plunged in thought. At last he raised his head, and the traces of strong emotion were visible on his features. `You have conquered, my friends,' he said in broken accents. `It was, to be sure, but a small thing that I asked-- merely leave to blossom and expand for yet one more evening, to let myself go and hear the tumultuous applause that always seems to me--somehow--to bring out my best qualities. However, you are right, I know, and I am wrong. Hence forth I will be a very different Toad. My friends, you shall never have occasion to blush for me again. But, O dear, O dear, this is a hard world!'
And, pressing his handkerchief to his face, he left the room, with faltering footsteps.
`Badger,' said the Rat, `_I_ feel like a brute; I wonder what YOU feel like?'
`O, I know, I know,' said the Badger gloomily. `But the thing had to be done. This good fellow has got to live here, and hold his own, and be respected. Would you have him a common laughing- stock, mocked and jeered at by stoats and weasels?'
`Of course not,' said the Rat. `And, talking of weasels, it's lucky we came upon that little weasel, just as he was setting out with Toad's invitations. I suspected something from what you