Kenneth Grahame on bolting

Kenneth Grahame wrote his fourth and most famous children's book, ``The Wind in the Willows,'' while working as secretary of the Bank of England. It was published in 1908, the year he retired to Blewbury in Berkshire County. When asked why he didn't continue writing after retiring, he replied that he didn't see the point of laboring over novels when he had all outdoors to live in. The original American publisher was Charles Scribner's Sons. The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home. First with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of whitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms. Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing. It was small wonder, then, that he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said ``Bother!'' and ``O blow!'' and also ``Hang spring-cleaning!'' and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat. Something up above was calling him imperiously, and he made for the steep little tunnel which answered in his case to the gravelled carriage-drive owned by animals whose residences are nearer to the sun and air. So he scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged, and then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched and scraped, working busily with his little paws and muttering to himself, ``Up we go! Up we go!'' till at last, pop! his snout came out into the sunlight, and he found himself rolling in the warm grass of a great meadow.

``This is fine!'' he said to himself. ``This is better than whitewashing!'' The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of the cellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearing almost like a shout. Jumping off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living and the delight of spring without its cleaning, he pursued his way across the meadow till he reached the hedge on the further side.

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