the steady, unrecognizing stare which he gave me
when he became conscious that I was looking at him
so intently. Our eyes met, and his calm scrutiny
reminded me of my own deficiencies in dress. I
shifted uneasily in my saddle, and the clumsy un-
presentable old hunting-crop fell out of my hand.
Dismounting awkwardly to pick it up, I wished that
it, also, had a thong (though this would make the
double reins more difficult to manage), and 1 hated
my silly jockey-cap and the badly-fitting gaiters which
pinched my legs and always refused to remain in the
correct position (indicated by Dixon). When I had
scrambled up on to Sheila again—a feat which I could
only just accomplish without assistance—I felt what a
poor figure I must be cutting in Dixon's eyes while he
compared me with that other boy, who had himself
turned away with a slight smile and was now soberly
following the dappled clusteringpack and its attendant
red-coats as they disappeared over the green, rising
ground on their way to Hoath Wood.
By all the laws of aunthood we should by now have"
been well on our way home. But Dixon was making
a real day of it. The afternoon hunt was going to be
a serious affair. There never appeared to be any
doubt about that. The field was reduced to about
forty riders, and the chattersome contingent seemed
to have gone home. We all went into the covert and
remained close together at one end. Dixon got off
and tightened my girths, which had got very loose
(as I ought to have noticed). A resolute-looking lady
in a tall hat drew her veil down after taking a good
pull at the flask which she handed back to her groom.