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there was no imperative reason why I should ever
have bought a horse at all; in fact candour compels
me to confess that if I had been left to niy own devices
I should probably have spent the forty-live guineas
on something else. For though I was living so quietly
and paying Aunt Evelyn nothing for my keep, I never
seemed to have much of a balance at the bank. And
Mr. Pennett, who appeared to consider me utterly
irresponsible in matters of money, had so far refused
to disgorge more than £450 a year out of my esti-
mated income of £600. So, what with buying books
and a new bicycle, and various other apparently
indispensable odds and ends, I found myself "going in
for economy" when early in January Dixon began his
campaign to revive my interest in the stable.

During the winter I had been, taking a walk every
afternoon. I usually went five or six miles, but they
soon became apathetic ones, and I was conscious of
having no genuine connection with the countryside.
Other people owned estates, or rented farms, or did
something countrified; but I only walked along the
roads or took furtive short cuts across the fields of
persons who might easily have bawled at me if they
had caught sight of me. And I felt shy and "out of
it" among the local landowners—most of whose con-
versation was about shooting. So I went mooning,
more and more moodily, about the looming land-
scape, with its creaking-cowled hop-kilns and whirring
flocks of starlings and hop-poles pied in pyramids like
soldiers' tents. Often when I came home for five
o'clock tea I felt a vague desire to be living somewhere
else—in 1850, for instance, when everything must
have been so comfortable and old-fashioned, like the
Cathedral Close in Trollope's novels. The weather
was too bad for golf, and even "young" Squire