time to wonder what I had done to incur his dis-
pleasure. So I stared helplessly until I was aware
that he had passed me and was addressing someone
immediately behind my horse's heels. . . . Looking
round I saw a surly-featured elderly man with side-
whiskers: he was on foot and wore the weathered
garments of a gamekeeper.
"What the hell do you mean by leaving the main-
earth unstopped?" the infuriated voice continued,
"Very sorry, m'lord," the man mumbled, "but
I never heard you was coming till this morning,
"Don't answer me back. I'll get you sacked for
this when Major Gamble comes down from Scotland.
I tell you I'm sick of you and your god-damned
pheasants/' and before the man could say any more
the outraged nobleman was pushing his way into the
undergrowth again and was bawling "Go on to
Hoath Wood, Jack," to the invisible huntsman.
I looked at Dixon, whose horse was nibbling Sheila's
neck. "That's the Master", he said in a low voice,
adding, "his lordship's a rough one with his tongue
when anyone gets the wrong side of him." Silently If
decided that Lord Dumborough was the most terrify-
ing man I had ever encountered. . . .
Dixon was explaining that our fox had gone to
ground and I heard another man near me saying:
"That blighter Gamble thinks of nothing but shoot-
ing* The place is crawling with birds, and the wonder
is that we ever found a fox. Last time we were here
we drew the whole place blank, and old D. cursed the
keeper's head off and accused him of poisoning the
foxes, so I suppose he did it to get a bit of his own
back!" Such was my introduction to the mysteries
of "earth-stopping", . . .