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sportsman of me. Whereupon he quickly circum-
vented the obvious fact that this was no jumping
matter by giving me a leg-up into the saddle (a nearly
full-sized one). There was no doubt at all that I was
a long way from the ground. Rather timidly I sur-
veyed the stable-yard from my new altitude. Then
Dixon led the cob carefully through the gate into the
paddock and she broke into a springy trot.
NOVEMBER, WITH its darkening afternoons and
smell of burning weeds, found me gradually
becoming acclimatized to "the new mare", as I
importantly called her (using Dixonian phraseology).
The groom was able to give me all his attention,
since my aunt never rode in the winter. We now
went longer distances; sometimes he would tell me
that we were "on the edge of the Dumborough
country", and he would pull up and point out to me,
a few miles away, some looming covert whe^c they
often went to draw.
The Dumborough, as I afterwards discovered, was
a scrambling sort of country to hunt in—heavily
wooded and hilly. But as we turned away from its
evening-lighted landscape I would listen eagerly to
Dixon's anecdotes of the sport he had seen there. He
spoke often of Mr. Macdoggart, Lord Dumborough's
hard-riding agent, and how one year he had seen
him win the Hunt Steeplechase by a short head ffom
a famous "gentleman rider": and how, another year,
Mr. Macdoggart had got concussion of the brain
while riding in the same race.
Our afternoon expeditions usually took us in the