T all the zigzag fences of the little lonely clearing. The Settle

Toelle Hardegree principled at admad.mobi
Fri Sep 4 07:12:59 EDT 2009

Seless guard. This was that bloodthirsty and tireless slayer, the
goshawk, or great grey henhawk. Where that grim peril was concerned, the
brown duck would take no risks. For the sake of those eggs among the
willow stems, she held her life very dear, never flying more than a
short circle around the island to stretch her wings, never swimming or
feeding any distance from the safe covert of the rushes. But with the
glowing drake it was different. High spirited, bold for all his
wariness, and magnificently strong of wing, from sheer restlessness he
occasionally flew high above the ponds. And one day, when some distance
from home, the great hawk saw him and swooped down upon him from aerial
heights. The impending doom caught the drake's eye in time for him to
avoid the stroke of that irresistible descent. His short wings, with
their muscles of steel, winnowed the air with sudden, tremendous force,
and he shot ahead at a speed which must have reached the rate of a
hundred miles an hour. When the swooping hawk had rushed down to his
level, he was nearly fifty yards in the lead. In such a case most of the
larger hawks would have given up the chase, and soared again to abide
the chance for a more fortunate swoop. But not so the implacable
goshawk. His great pinions were capable not only of soaring and sailing
and swooping, but of the rapid and violent flapping of the short-winged
birds; and he had at his command a speed even greater than that of the
rushing fugitive. As he pursued, his wings tore the air with a strident,
hissing noise; and the speed of the drake seemed as nothing before that
savage, inescapable onrush. Had the drake been above open water, he
would have hurled himself straight downward, and seized the one chance
of escape by diving; but beneath him at this moment there was nothing
but naked swamp and sloppy flats. In less than two minutes the hiss of
the pursuing wings was close behind him. He gave a hoarse squawk, as he
realized that
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