British Writer best known for children's book, "The Wind in the Willows"
British Writer best known for children's book, "The Wind in the Willows"
The Wild Wood is pretty well populated by now; with all the usual lot, good, bad, and indifferent ? I name no names. It takes all sorts to make a world.
'This is the place of my song-dream, the place the music played to me,' whispered the Rat, as if in a trance. 'Here, in this holy place, here if anywhere, surely we shall find Him!'
When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cozy parlor firesides on winter evenings, when one's ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender, of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries.
After luncheon, accordingly, when the other two had settled themselves into the chimney-corner and had started a heated argument on the subject of EELS,
As a rule, indeed, grown-up people are fairly correct on matters of fact; it is in the higher gift of imagination that they are so sadly to seek.
'But what has become of them all?' asked the Mole. 'Who can tell?' said the Badger. 'People come ? they stay for a while, they flourish, they build ? and they go. It is their way. But we remain. There were badgers here, I've been told, long before that same city ever came to be. And now there are badgers here again. We are an enduring lot, and we may move out for a time, but we wait, and are patient, and back we come. And so it will ever be.'
He did not at all want to abandon the new life and its splendid spaces, to turn his back on sun and air and all they offered him and creep home and stay there; the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still, even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage. But it was good to think he had this to come back to; this place, which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.
I wonder,? he said to himself presently, ?I wonder if this sort of car STARTS easily?? Next moment, hardly knowing how it
'It's gone!' sighed the Rat, sinking back in his seat again. 'So beautiful and strange and new. Since it was to end so soon, I almost wish I had never heard it. For it has roused a longing in me that is pain, and nothing seems worth while but just to hear that sound once more and go on listening to it for ever. No! There it is again!' he cried, alert once more. Entranced, he was silent for a long space, spellbound. 'Now it passes on and I begin to lose it,' he said presently. 'O Mole! the beauty of it! The merry bubble and joy, the thin, clear, happy call of the distant piping! Such music I never dreamed of, and the call in it is stronger even than the music is sweet! Row on, Mole, row! For the music and the call must be for us.' The Mole, greatly wondering, obeyed. 'I hear nothing myself,' he said, 'but the wind playing in the reeds and rushes and osiers.'
No, I can't stop for sonnets; my mother is sitting up. I'll look you up tomorrow, sometime or other, and do for goodness' sake try and realise that you're a pestilential scourge, or your find yourself in a most awful fix. Good-night!
People come--they stay for a while, they flourish, they build--and they go. It is their way. But we remain. There were badgers here, I've been told, long before that same city ever came to be. And now there are badgers here again. We are an enduring lot, and we may move out for a time, but we wait, and are patient, and back we come. And so it will ever be.
Sudden and magnificent, the sun's broad golden disc showed itself over the horizon facing them; and the first rays, shooting across the level water-meadows, took the animals full in the eyes and dazzled them. When they were able to look once more, the Vision had vanished, and the air was full of the carol of birds that hailed the dawn.
The most modest and retiring dragon in the world, if he's as big as four cart-horses and covered with blue scales, cannot keep altogether out of the public view. And so in the village tavern of nights the fact that a real live dragon sat brooding in the cave on the Downs was naturally a subject for talk.
The world has held great Heroes, as history-books have showed; But never a name to go down to fame Compared with that of Toad! The clever men at Oxford know all that there is to be knowed. But they none of them know one half as much As intelligent Mr. Toad! The animals sat in the Ark and cried, their tears in torrents flowed. Who was it said, 'There's land ahead?' Encouraging Mr. Toad! The army all saluted as they marched along the road. Was it the King? or Kitchener? No. It was Mr. Toad. The Queen and her Ladies-in-waiting Sat at the window and sewed. She cried, 'Look! Who's that handsome man?' They answered, 'Mr. Toad.' There was a great deal more of the same sort, but too dreadfully conceited to be written down. These are some of the milder verses.
This time, at last, it is the real, the unmistakable thing, simple - passionate - perfect -...
When tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.
After refreshment St. George made a speech, in which he informed his audience that he had removed their direful scourge, at a great deal of trouble and inconvenience to himself, and now they weren't to go about grumbling and fancying they'd got grievances, because they hadn't. And they shouldn't be so fond of fights, because next time they might have to do the fighting themselves, which would not be the same thing at all.
As he did not go into Society himself, he had got an idea that these things belonged to the things that didn?t really matter. (We know of course that he was wrong, and took too narrow a view; because they do matter very much, though it would take too long to explain why.)
Children are the only people who accept a mood of wonderment, who are ready to welcome a perfect miracle at any hour of the day or night. Only a child can entertain an angel unawares, or to meet Sir Launcelot in shining armor on a moonlit road.
He had got down to the bones of it, and they were fine and strong and simple.
I'm going to make an animal out of you, my boy!
It's my world, and I don't want any other. What it hasn't got is not worth having, and what it doesn't know is not worth knowing.
'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 ? '
Perhaps he would never have dared to raise his eyes, but that, though the piping was now hushed, the call and the summons seemed still dominant and imperious. He might not refuse, were Death himself waiting to strike him instantly, once he had looked with mortal eye on things rightly kept hidden. Trembling he obeyed, and raised his humble head; and then, in that utter clearness of the imminent dawn, while Nature, flushed with fullness of incredible colour, seemed to hold her breath for the event, he looked in the very eyes of the Friend and Helper; saw the backward sweep of the curved horns, gleaming in the growing daylight; saw the stern, hooked nose between the kindly eyes that were looking down on them humourously, while the bearded mouth broke into a half-smile at the corners; saw the rippling muscles on the arm that lay across the broad chest, the long supple hand still holding the pan-pipes only just fallen away from the parted lips; saw the splendid curves of the shaggy limbs disposed in majestic ease on the sward; saw, last of all, nestling between his very hooves, sleeping soundly in entire peace and contentment, the little, round, podgy, childish form of the baby otter. All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.
Supper was finished at last, and each animal felt that his skin was now as tight as was decently safe.