Afoot In England, By W.H. Hudson

 -   The
sudden sight gave me a shock of astonishment, mingled with
admiration and grief.  For how pretty it looked, though - Page 150
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The Sudden Sight Gave Me A Shock Of Astonishment, Mingled With Admiration And Grief.

For how pretty it looked, though dead, lying on its back, the little black legs stuck stiffly up, the

Long wings pressed against the sides, their black tips touching together like the clasped hands of a corpse; and the fan-like black and white tail, half open as in life, moved perpetually up and down by the wind, as if that tail-flirting action of the bird had continued after death. It was very beautiful in its delicate shape and pale harmonious colouring, resting on the golden-green mossy turf. And it was a male, undoubtedly the mate of the wheatear I had seen at the spot, and its little mate, not knowing what death is, had probably been keeping watch near it, wondering at its strange stillness and greatly fearing for its safety when I came that way, and passed by without seeing it.

Poor little migrant, did you come back across half the world for this - back to your home on Whitesheet Hill to grow cold and fail in the cold April wind, and finally to look very pretty, lying stiff and cold, to the one pair of human eyes that were destined to see you! The little birds that come and go and return to us over such vast distances, they perish like this in myriads annually; flying to and from us they are blown away by death like sere autumn leaves, "the pestilence-stricken multitudes" whirled away by the wind! They die in myriads:

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