"Stick your knees in, sir," ho suitl, adding "i ran
see you'll make a rider all ritflu."
He had never called me "sir* bctuiv, ;nul my heart
warmed toward him as I struuj;hU'!ial my back and
inwardly resolved to do him nvdit.
A .THOUGH, IN my mind's eye, that first pony is
clearly visible to me, I am not going to delay my
already slow progress toward fox-hunting by describ-
ing him in detail. I twill be sufficient ifl quote Dixon,
who called him "a perfect picture of a miniature
hunter". His name was Rob Roy, and I thought him
the most wonderful pony in the world. Nimble and
lightly built, his courageous character never caused
him to behave with more than an attractive friskinrss.
My devotion to him was therefore well justified. But
as I sit here reconstructing my life from those remote
beginnings, which are so difficult to recover in their
authentic aliveness, I cannot help suspecting-that I
was, by nature, oaly half a sportsman. Dixon did his
best for me as he patiently coaxed me toward my first
fence (the idea of "jumping" made me horribly
nervous for fully twelve moaths after I became a
proud owner of horseflesh), but there must have been
moments when he had grave doubts about my future
as a horseman.
When I began my rides on Rob Roy, Dixon used
to walk beside me. Our longest expedition led to a
place about three miles from home. Down in the
Weald were some large hop-farms, and the hop-kilns
were interesting objects. It was unusual to find more
than two hop-kilns on a farm; but there was one