Afoot In England, By W.H. Hudson

 -   We arrived on a
Saturday, and next morning after breakfast went out for a long
walk.  Turning into the first - Page 9
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We Arrived On A Saturday, And Next Morning After Breakfast Went Out For A Long Walk.

Turning into the first path across the fields on leaving the village, we came eventually to an oak wood, which was like an open forest, very wild and solitary.

In half an hour's walk among the old oaks and underwood we saw no sign of human occupancy, and heard nothing but the woodland birds. We heard, and then saw, the cuckoo for the first time that season, though it was but April the fourth. But the cuckoo was early that spring and had been heard by some from the middle of March. At length, about half-past ten o'clock, we caught sight of a number of people walking in a kind of straggling procession by a path which crossed ours at right angles, headed by a stout old man in a black smock frock and brown leggings, who carried a big book in one hand. One of the processionists we spoke to told us they came from a hamlet a mile away on the borders of the wood and were on their way to church. We elected to follow them, thinking that the church was at some neighbouring village; to our surprise we found it was in the wood, with no other building in sight - a small ancient-looking church built on a raised mound, surrounded by a wide shallow grass-grown trench, on the border of a marshy stream. The people went in and took their seats, while we remained standing just by the door.

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