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our constrained interview ended. Half an hour after-
wards I slunk into the stable-yard with a sinking
heart. Dixon's black retriever was dozing with his
head out of his kennel under the walnut tree. No one
seemed to be about. I could hear the usual inter-
mittent snorts and stampings from inside the stable.
There were two stalls and a loose-box. My pony
occupied the stall in the middle. My heart thumped
as I peeped over the door, the upper half of which was
open. Rob Roy was facing me; he was attached to
the "pillar-reins", still saddled and bridled. I am
certain that his face wore a look of amusement. A
sense of profound relief stole over me. ... A moment
later the stable-boy came whistling out of the barn
with a bucket. On seeing me he grinned derisively
and I retreated toward the house in dignified silence.
As I passed the kitchen window Mrs. Sosburn, the
fat, red-faced cook, dropped the cucumber which she
was peeling and greeted me with a startled squeaL

"Lawks, Master Georgie, whatever 3ave you bin
up to? The mistress 'as been in an awful state about
you, and Dixon's gone down to the village to look
for you. We thought you must Jave broke your neck
when the pony came trotting back without you."

And the well-meaning woman bustled officiously
out to make sure I hadn't any bones broken, followed
by the gaping kitchen-maid; a moment later the
parlour-maid came helter-skelter out of the pantry,
and I was inundated by exasperating female curiosity
and concern.

"Gracious goodness! To think of him going off by
himself like that, and no wonder he got thrown off,
and the wonder was he wasn't killed, and the pony
too," they chorused; whereupon my aunt's head
popped out of an upper window, and they clucked