Page:Wind in the Willows (1913).djvu/29

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THE RIVER BANK

Then he untied the painter and took the sculls again.

"What’s inside it?" asked the Mole, wriggling with curiosity.

"There’s cold chicken inside it," replied the Rat briefly: "cold​tongue​cold​ham​cold​beef​pickled​gherkins​salad​french​rolls​cress​sandwiches​potted​meat​ginger​beer​lemonade​soda​water—"

"O stop, stop!" cried the Mole in ecstasies. "This is too much!"

"Do you really think so?" enquired the Rat seriously. "It’s only what I always take on these little excursions; and the other animals are always telling me that I’m a mean beast and cut it very fine!"

The Mole never heard a word he was saying. Absorbed in the new life he was entering upon, intoxicated with the sparkle, the ripple, the scents and the sounds and the sunlight, he trailed a paw in the water and dreamed long waking dreams. The Water Rat, like the good little fellow he was, sculled steadily on and forbore to disturb him.

"I like your clothes awfully, old chap," he

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