130 THE HARDY TIN SOLDIER
£ Just look ! ' said one of them, ' there lies a tin soldier. He shall go out sailing.'
And they made a boat out of a newspaper, and put the tin soldier in the middle of it; and so he sailed down the gutter, and the two boys ran beside him and clapped their hands. Goodness preserve us ! how the waves rose in that gutter, and how fast the stream ran ! But then it had been a heavy rain. The paper boat rocked up and down, and sometimes turned round so rapidly that the tin soldier trembled; but he remained firm, and never changed countenance, but looked straight before him, and shouldered his musket.
All at once the boat went into a long drain, and it became as dark as if he had been in his box.
' Where am I going now ? ' he thought. s Yes, yes, that's the goblin's fault. Ah ! if the little lady only sat here with me in the boat, it might be twice as dark for what I should care.'
Suddenly there came a great water-rat, which lived under the drain.
' Have you a passport ? ' said the rat. ' Give me your passport.'
But the tin soldier kept silence, and held his musket tighter than ever.
The boat went on, but the rat came after it. Ugh ! how he gnashed his teeth, and called out to the bits of straw and wood,
* Hold him ! hold him ! he hasn't paid toll—he hasn't shown his passport! '
But the stream became stronger and stronger. The tin soldier could see the bright daylight where the arch ended ; but he heard a roaring noise, which might well frighten a bolder man. Only think—just where the tunnel ended, the drain ran into a great canal; and for him that would have been as dangerous as for us to be carried down a great waterfall.
Now he was already so near it that he could not stop. The boat was carried out, the poor tin soldier stiffening himself as much as he could, and no one could say that he moved an eyelid. The boat whirled round three or four times, and was full of water to the very edge—it must