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being rubbed down. I always had a few things to tell
Dixon about my two hours' exercise—how I'd been
through the Hookham woods and had given him a
nice gallop, and how I'd jumped the hedge by Dunk's
Windmill on the way home (it was a very small hedge,
and I lost a stirrup and very nearly fell off, but there
was no need to mention that). And then we would
agree that the old horse was looking grand and im-
proving every day. It was also agreed that Mr.
Gaffikin must have given him a pretty thick time out
hunting and that a spell of easy work would do him
all the good in the world.

Until the middle of February his reappearance with
the hounds was not referred to. But one afternoon
(when I had modestly admitted that we had jumped
a small stile when taking the short cut between Clay
Hill and Marl Place) Dixon interrupted his hissing
to look up at me, and said in his most non-committal
tone, "I see they're meeting at Finchurst Green on
Tuesday." The significance of this remark was un-
mistakable. The next day I bicycled to Ashbridge
and bought a pair of ready-made "butcher-boots".

Of all the pairs of hunting boots which I have ever
owned, the Ashbridge pair remain vividly in my mind
as a long way the worst. Judged by the critical
standard which I have since acquired, their appear-
ance was despicable. This was equalled by the
difficulty of struggling into them, and the discomfort
they caused while I wore them. Any long-legged
"thruster" will tell you that a smart pair of boots is
bound to cause trouble for the first few days. It is the
penalty of smartness. (And I have heard of a young