"go up to Tattersalls", whence he would return,
sedately triumphant, accompanied by the kindly
countenance of what he called "a perfect picture of an
old-fashioned sort". (A "sort", as I afterwards
learned, was a significant word in the vocabulary of
.How vividly I remember Dixon's keen-featured
face, as he proudly paraded his latest purchase on the
gravel in front of the house, or cantered it round the
big paddock at the back of the stables, while my
aunt and I watched, from a safe distance, the not in-
frequent symptoms of a sprightliness not altogether
to her taste.
"Yes, 'in," he would say, in his respectful voice, as
he pulled up and leant forward to clap the neck of the
loudly snorting animal, "I think this mare'll suit you
down to the ground."
"Fling you to the ground" would, in one or two
cases, have been a more accurate prophecy, as Aunt
Evelyn may have secretly surmised while she nerv-
ously patted the "new carriage-horse" which was
waltzing around its owner and her small nephew!
And there was, indeed, one regrettable occasion,
when a good-looking but suspiciously cheap new-
comer (bought at Tattersalls without a warrant)
decided to do his best to demolish the dogcart; from
this expedition my aunt returned somewhat shaken,
and without having left any of the cards which she
had set out to distribute on "old Mrs. Caploss, and
those new people over at Amblehurst Priory". So far
as i remember, though, the unblenching Dixon soon
managed to reassure her, and the "funny tempered
horse" was astutely exchanged for something with
"He looked a regular timber-topper^ all the same,"