Afoot In England, By W.H. Hudson


By and by a pert-looking, bright-feathered, dapper cock
chaffinch dropped down from the bush, and, advancing to one - Page 90
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By And By A Pert-Looking, Bright-Feathered, Dapper Cock Chaffinch Dropped Down From The Bush, And, Advancing To One Of The Two, The Rustiest And Most Forlorn-Looking, Started Running Round And Round Him As If To Make A Close Inspection Of His Figure, Then Began To Tease Him.

At first I thought it was all in fun - merely animal spirit which in birds often discharges itself in this way in little pretended attacks and fights.

But the blackbird had no play and no fight in him, no heart to defend himself; all he did was to try to avoid the strokes aimed at him, and he could not always escape them. His spiritlessness served to inspire the chaffinch with greater boldness, and then it appeared that the gay little creature was really and truly incensed, possibly because the rusty, draggled, and listless appearance of the larger bird was offensive to him. Anyhow, the persecutions continued, increasing in fury until they could not be borne, and the blackbird tried to escape by hiding in the bramble. But he was not permitted to rest there; out he was soon driven and away into another bush, and again into still another further away, and finally he was hunted over the sheltering wall into the bleak wind on the other side. Then the persecutor came back and settled himself on his old perch on the bramble, well satisfied at his victory over a bird so much bigger than himself. All was again peace and harmony in the little social gathering, and the pleasant talkee-talkee went on as before. About five minutes passed, then the hunted blackbird returned, and, going to the identical spot from which he had been driven, composed himself to rest; only now he sat facing his lively little enemy.

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