The Wind In The Willows - online version

Complete text of the classic childrens book By KENNETH GRAHAME

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`What sort of games are you up to?' said the Water Rat severely. `You know it isn't time to be thinking of winter quarters yet, by a long way!'
`O yes, we know that,' explained a field-mouse rather shamefacedly; `but it's always as well to be in good time, isn't it? We really MUST get all the furniture and baggage and stores moved out of this before those horrid machines begin clicking round the fields; and then, you know, the best flats get picked up so quickly nowadays, and if you're late you have to put up with ANYTHING; and they want such a lot of doing up, too, before they're fit to move into. Of course, we're early, we know that; but we're only just making a start.'
`O, bother STARTS,' said the Rat. `It's a splendid day. Come for a row, or a stroll along the hedges, or a picnic in the woods, or something.'
`Well, I THINK not TO-DAY, thank you,' replied the field- mouse hurriedly. `Perhaps some OTHER day--when we've more TIME----'
The Rat, with a snort of contempt, swung round to go, tripped over a hat-box, and fell, with undignified remarks.
`If people would be more careful,' said a field-mouse rather stiffly, `and look where they're going, people wouldn't hurt themselves--and forget themselves. Mind that hold-all, Rat! You'd better sit down somewhere. In an hour or two we may be more free to attend to you.'
`You won't be "free" as you call it much this side of Christmas, I can see that,' retorted the Rat grumpily, as he picked his way out of the field.
He returned somewhat despondently to his river again--his faithful, steady-going old river, which never packed up, flitted, or went into winter quarters.
In the osiers which fringed the bank he spied a swallow sitting. Presently it was joined by another, and then by a third; and the birds, fidgeting restlessly on their bough, talked together earnestly and low.