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Maundle was obliged to admit that the Amblehurst
course was in far from first-rate condition. And there
never seemed to be any reason for going to London,
although, of course, there were interesting things to
see there, (Aunt Evelyn was always intending to run
up for the day and go to a matinee of Beerbohm Tree's
new Shakespearean production.)

I seldom spoke to anyone while I was out for my
walks, but now and again I would meet John Home-
ward, the carrier, on his way back from the county
town where he went three days a week. Homeward
was a friendly man: I always "passed the time of day"
with him. He was a keen cricketer and one of Dixon's
chief cronies. The weather and next year's cricket
were the staple topics of our conversation. Home-
ward had been making his foot-pace journeys with
his hooded van and nodding horse ever since I could
remember, and he seemed an essential feature of the
ten miles across the Weald to Ashridge (a somnolent
town which I associated with the smell of a brewery
and the grim fact of people being hung in the gaol
there). All t he year round, whether there was snow on
the ground or blossom on the fruit trees, the carrier's
van crawled across the valley with its cargo of utilities,
but Homeward was always alone with his horse, for
he never took passengers. In my mind's eye he is
invariably walking beside his van, for he always got
out at the steep hill which winds down to the Weald.
His burly figure and kindly bearded face must have
gone up iuicl down that hill about five thousand times
before he retired to prosper with a small public-house.
I used to wonder what he thought about while on the
road, for he had the look of a man who was cogitant
rather than vegetative. Dixon told me that he spent
his whole time weighing the pros and cons of the