of Harkaway's appearance. In fact, he'd "never
seen the old horse looking fitter". During the day I
found that the old horse was acting as my passport
into the Dumborough Hunt, and quite a number of
people eyed him with pleased recognition, and reiter-
ated his late owner's encomiums about his condition.
But as it was a poor day's sport and we were in the
woods nearly all the time, my abilities were not
severely tested, and I returned home satisfied with the
first experiment. Harkaway was not a difficult horse
to manage, but I did wish he would walk properly.
He was a most jogglesome animal to ride on the roads,
especially when his head was toward his stable.
Three nondescript days with the Dumborough
were all the hunting I did on Harkaway during the
remainder of that season. But the importance which
I attached to the proceedings made me feel quite an
accredited fox-hunter by the time Dixon had blistered
Harkaway's legs and roughed him off in readiness for
turning him out in the orchard for the summer. The
back tendon of his near foreleg was causing a certain
anxiety. February ended with some sharp frosts,
sharp enough to make hunting impossible; and then
there was a deluge of rain which caused the country
to be almost unrideable. The floods were out along
the Weald, and the pollard willows by the river were
up to their waists in water.
On one of my expeditions, after a stormy night, at
the end of March, the hounds drew all day without
finding a fox. This was my first experience of a
"blank day". But I wasn't as much upset about it
as I ought to have been, for the sun was shining and