11 Plus

English Comprehension W3 Q9

COMPREHENSION

Over went the boat, and he found himself struggling in the river.

O my, how cold the water was, and O, how very wet it felt. How it sang in his ears as he went down, down, down! How bright and welcome the sun looked as he rose to the surface coughing and spluttering! How black was his despair when he felt himself sinking again! Then a firm paw gripped him by the back of his neck. It was the Rat, and he was evidently laughing—the Mole could feel him laughing, right down his arm and through his paw, and so into his—the Mole’s—neck.

The Rat got hold of a scull and shoved it under the Mole’s arm; then he did the same by the other side of him and, swimming behind, propelled the helpless animal to shore, hauled him out, and set him down on the bank, a squashy, pulpy lump of misery.

When the Rat had rubbed him down a bit, and wrung some of the wet out of him, he said, “Now, then, old fellow! Trot up and down the towing-path as hard as you can, till you’re warm and dry again, while I dive for the luncheon-basket.”

So the dismal Mole, wet without and ashamed within, trotted about till he was fairly dry, while the Rat plunged into the water again, recovered the boat, righted her and made her fast, fetched his floating property to shore by degrees, and finally dived successfully for the luncheon-basket and struggled to land with it.

When all was ready for a start once more, the Mole, limp and dejected, took his seat in the stern of the boat; and as they set off, he said in a low voice, broken with emotion, “Ratty, my generous friend! I am very sorry indeed for my foolish and ungrateful conduct. My heart quite fails me when I think how I might have lost that beautiful luncheon-basket. Indeed, I have been a complete ass, and I know it. Will you overlook it this once and forgive me, and let things go on as before?”

“That’s all right, bless you!” responded the Rat cheerily. “What’s a little wet to a Water Rat? I’m more in the water than out of it most days. Don’t you think any more about it; and, look here! I really think you had better come and stop with me for a little time. It’s very plain and rough, you know—not like Toad’s house at all—but you haven’t seen that yet; still, I can make you comfortable. And I’ll teach you to row, and to swim, and you’ll soon be as handy on the water as any of us.”

Text adapted from The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame, which is in the public domain.

Question: ‘I have been a complete ass’ (lines 21-2) is an example of a(n)…