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I was frightened, and I might have wondered why I
was there at all if I had been old enough to analyse my
emotions. As it was I felt less forlorn and insecure
when we pulled up outside Park Wood and I caught
sight of Denis on his chestnut pony. For the time
being, however, he was unapproachable. With a
gesture of characteristic independence he had turned
his back on the jostling riders, who were going one by
one into the wood through a narrow hunting-gate.
I envied the unhesitating self-reliance with which he
cantered along the field, turned his pony to put it at
the low fence, and landed unobtrusively in the wood.
It was all accomplished with what I should to-day
describe as an unbroken rhythm. Thirty years ago
I simply thought "Why can't I ride like that?" as I
tugged nervously at Sheila's sensitive mouth and only
just avoided bumping my knee against the gate-post
as I went blundering into the covert. Dixon con-
ducted me along one of the by-paths which branched
from the main ride down the middle.

"We'll have to keep our ears open or they'll slip

away without us," he remarked sagely.    "It's an

awkward old place to get a fox away from, though,

"and we may be here most of the morning.55 Secretly

I hoped we should be.

Where we rode the winter sunshine was falling
warmly into the wood, though the long grass in the
shadows was still flaked with frost, A blackbird
went scolding away among the undergrowth, and a
jay was setting up a clatter in an ivied oak. Some
distance off Jack Pitt was shouting "Yoi-over" and
tooting his horn in. a leisurely sort of style. Then we
turned a corner and came upon Denis. He had
pulled his pony across the path, and his face wore
a glum look which, as I afterwards learnt to know,