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those days twelve miles meant a lot, from a social
point of view. My aunt was fully two miles beyond
the radius of Lady Dumborough's "round of calls'5.
Those two miles made all the difference, and the
aristocratic yellow-wheeled barouche never entered
our unassuming white gate. I never heard rny aunt
express any regret for her topographical exclusion
from the centre of county society* But for Dixon it
was one of the lesser tragedies of life; he would have
given anything to be able to drive "the mistress" over
to Dumborough Park now and again, for the Kennels
were there, and to him the Kennels were the centre
of the local universe. As it was, he had to be content
with a few garden-parties, where he could hob-nob
with a crowd of garrulous grooms, and perhaps get a
few words with that great man. Lord Dumborough's
head coachman.

Nevertheless, as the slow seasons of my childhood
succeeded one another, he rattled my aunt along the
roads in her four-wheeled dogcart at an increasingly
lively pace. He must have been very adroit in his
management of my gentle relative and guardian,
since he perpetually found some plausible excuse for
getting rid of one of the horses. Invariably, and by
gentle gradations toward his ideal "stamp of hunter",
he replaced each criticizable quadruped with one
that looked more like galloping and jumping. The
scope of these manoeuvrings was, of course, restricted
by my aunt's refusal to pay more than a certain price
for a horse, but Dixon always had his eyes open for a
possible purchase from any sporting farmer or country
gentleman within riding distance; he also assiduously
studied the advertisements of the London horscsalcs,
and when he had finally established his supremacy
"the mistress" unprotestingly gave him permission to