paper in the leather-smelling little harness room.
"They're meeting at Finchurst Green on Saturday,"
he announced with appropriate seriousness. It was
an important moment in my life. Finchurst Green
was not quite nine miles away.
It was a grey and chilly world that I went out into
when I started for my first day's fox-hunting. The
winter-smelling air met me as though with a hint
that serious events were afoot. Silently I stood in the
stable-yard while Dixon led Sheila out of her stall.
His demeanour was businesslike and reticent. The
horses and their accoutrements were polished up to
perfection, and he himself, in his dark-grey clothes
and hard black hat, looked a model of discretion nud
neatness. The only one who lacked conliueuce was
Stuffing a packet of sandwiches into my pocket and
pulling on my uncomfortably new gloves, I fe.lt half
aware of certain shortcomings in my outward appear-
ance. Ought one really to go out hunting in d brown
corduroy suit with a corduroy jockey-cap made to •
match the suit? Did other boys wear that sort of
thing? ... I was conscious, too, that Dixon was
regarding me with an unusually critical eye. Mute
and flustered, I mounted. Sheila seemed very fresh,
and the saddle felt cold and slippery. As we trotted
briskly through the village everything had an austere-
ly unfamiliar look about it, and my replies to Dixon
were clumsy and constrained.
Yet the village was its ordinary village self. The
feese were going single file across the green> and
ibson, the lame shoeing-smith, was clinking his