isn’t what it used to be, at all. Otters, king—fishers, dabchicks, moorhens, all of them about all day long and always wanting you to do something—as if a fellow had no business of his own to attend to!’
‘What lies over there?’ asked the Mole, waving a paw towards a background of woodland that darkly framed the water—meadows on one side of the river.
‘That? O, that’s just the Wild Wood,’ said the Rat shortly. ‘We don’t go there very much, we river—bankers.’
‘Aren’t they—aren’t they very nice people in there?’ said the Mole, a trifle nervously.
‘W—e—ll,’ replied the Rat, ‘let me see. The squirrels are all right. And the rabbits—some of ’em, but rabbits are a mixed lot. And then there’s Badger, of course. He lives' right in the heart of it; wouldn’t live anywhere else, either, if you paid him to do it. Dear old Badger! Nobody interferes with him. They’d better not,’ he added significantly.
‘Why, who should interfere with him?’ asked the Mole.
‘Well, of course—there—are others,’ explained the Rat in a hesitating sort of way.