Afoot In England, By W.H. Hudson

 -   I fled on to
Newbury in quest of warmth and light, and found it indoors,
but the town was deep - Page 120
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I Fled On To Newbury In Quest Of Warmth And Light, And Found It Indoors, But The Town Was Deep In The Fog.

The next day I ventured out again to look for the sun, and found it not, but my ramble was not without its reward.

In a pine wood three miles from the town I stood awhile to listen to the sound as of copious rain of the moisture dropping from the trees, when a sudden tempest of loud, sharp metallic notes - a sound dear to the ornithologist's ears - made me jump; and down into the very tree before which I was standing dropped a flock of about twenty crossbills. So excited and noisy when coming down, the instant they touched the tree they became perfectly silent and motionless. Seven of their number had settled on the outside shoots, and sat there within forty feet of me, looking like painted wooden images of small green and greenish-yellow parrots; for a space of fifteen minutes not the slightest movement did they make, and at length, before going, I waved my arms about and shouted to frighten them, and still they refused to stir.

Next morning that memorable fog lifted, to England's joy, and quitting my refuge I went out once more into the region of high sheep-walks, adorned with beechen woods and traveller's-joy in the hedges, rambling by Highclere, Burghclere, and Kingsclere. The last - Hampshire's little Cuzco - is a small and village-like old red brick town, unapproached by a railroad and unimproved, therefore still beautiful, as were all places in other, better, less civilized days.

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