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Pageant of Summer
written by "Jefferies, Richard, 1848-1887"
...are now so broad.  Landrails are running in the grass concealed as a man would be in a wood; they have nests and eggs on the ground for which you may search in vain till the mowers come. Up in the corner a fragment of white fur and marks of scratching show where a doe has been preparing for a litter.  Some well-trodden runs lead from mound to mound; they are sandy near the hedge where the particles have been carried out adhering to the rabbits’ feet and fur.  A crow rises lazily from the upper end of the field, and perches in the chestnut.  His presence, too, was unsuspected.  He is there by far too frequently.  At this season the crows are always in the mowing-grass, searching about, stalking in winding tracks from furrow to furrow, picking up an egg here and a foolish fledgling that has wandered from the mound yonder.  Very likely there may be a moorhen or two slipping about under cover of the long grass; thus hidden, they can leave the shelter of the flags and wander a distance from the brook.  So that beneath the surface of the grass and under the screen of the leaves there are ten times more birds than are seen. Besides the singing and calling, there is a peculiar sound which is only heard in summer.  Waiting quietly to discover what birds are about, I become aware of a sound in the very air.  It is not the midsummer hum which will soon be heard over the heated hay in the valley and over the cooler hills alike.  It is not enough to be called a hum, and does but just tremble at the extreme edge of hearing.  If the branches wave and rustle they overbear it; the buzz of a passing bee is so much louder, it overcomes all of it that is in the whole field.  I cannot define it, except by calling the hours of winter to mind—they are silent; you hear a branch crack or creak as it rubs another in the wood, you hear the hoar frost crunch on the grass beneath your feet...

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