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evidently pleased that my sporting instinct was
developing so rapidly, and he refrained from asking
why I specially wanted to go to Heron's Gate. It was
enough for him that I wanted to go out at all. We
duped Aunt Evelyn by a system of mutual falsification
of distances (I couldn't find the map anywhere when
she wanted to look it up), and at half-past eight on the
Tuesday morning, in glittering sunshine, with a
melting hoar-frost on the hedgerows, we left home for
Heron's Gate.

Emboldened by the fact that I was going out hunt-
ing with an inward purpose of my own, I clip-clopped
alongside of Dixon with my head well in the air. The
cold morning had made my fingers numb, but my
thoughts moved freely in a warmer climate of their
own. I was being magnetized to a distant meet of the
hounds, not so much through my sporting instinct as
by the appeal which Denis Milden had made to my
imagination. That he would be there was the idea
uppermost m my mind. My fears lest I should again
ihake a fool of myself were, for the moment, as far
below me as my feet. Humdrum home life was
behind me; in the freshness of the morning I was
setting out for an undiscovered country. . . .

My reverie ended when Sheila slithered on a frozen
puddle and Dixon told me to pay attention to what I
was doing and not slouch about in the saddle. Having
brought me back to reality he inspected his watch and
said we were well up to time. A mile or two before
we got to the meet he stopped at an inn, where he put
our horses into the stable for twenty minutes, "to give
them a chance to stale". Then, seeing that I was