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215 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1951
"Unfortunate, dark, and immoral goshawk: I had myself been subjected to his brutality. In the beak he was not formidable, but in the talons there was death. … Once, when he thought I was going to take his food away from him, he had struck my bare forefinger. … I should only have hurt myself horribly by trying to get away, and was already being hurt."
"Brock: the last of the English bears: I had been proud that her race lived in the same wood with me. She had done nobody any harm. … Hob would be a good name for a badger. She dripped blood gently over the gate, while I held up her muzzle in the falconer's glove and looked into her small, opaque, ursine eyes. She was dead. What could I use her for? Surely, being killed, some definite good would ensue."
"I did not want to remember a young, short-sighted, retiring, industrious, ultimately prolific female who had been turned back by two frightened ladies, cornered by lusty and unlettered puppies, knocked on the nose by a peer. … Never mind. I was a badger too, in my snug cottage that lay in the badger's wood: and when the war-world came to tear me apart with whoops and halloas, the young sow and myself would be quits."
"It happened like this in the world. Old things lost their grip and dropped away; not always because they were bad things, but sometimes because the new things were more bad, and stronger."
What a bursting heart of gratitude and triumph as the ravening monster slowly paced down the arm with gripping steps and pounced upon his breakfast! The rest of the day was a glow of pleasure, a kind of still life in which the sun shone on the flowers with more than natural brilliance, giving them the high lights of porcelain.
He deserved to be free, but I wanted him still.
I felt lonely without him, and caught myself at moments wondering what I ought to be doing now. After all, it had been quite right of him to resist to the last: to recognize, long after a falcon would have given in (you could train two or three falcons in the time of one goshawk), that I was an unnatural force. Why should he, a wild princeling of Teutonic origin, submit to an enforced captivity? He had hated and distrusted me, the intransigent small robber baron. He had had guts, to stand up against love so long. I hoped he would snap his jesses safely, the ungovernable barbarian, and live a very long happy life in the wild world: unless I could catch him again, as a partner whom I should never dare to treat as captive. He deserved to be free, but I wanted him still. Love asketh but himself to please, To bind another to his delight, Joys in another's loss of ease, and And builds a hell in heaven's despite.