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Point-to-Point Races. I had already been to the
Dumborough Hunt Steeplechase on Easter Monday
and had seen Mr. Gaffikin ride a whirlwind finish on
his black mare. He was beaten by half a length, and
I lost ten shillings. Even to my inexperienced eyes it
seemed as if he was far too busy with his arms and
legs as he came up the straight. He appeared to be
trying to go much faster than his mount, and the
general effect differed from what I had seen described
in sporting novels, where the hero never moved in his
saddle until a few strides from the post, when he hit
his thoroughbred once and shot home a winner.

What with the crowds jostling in front of the bellow-
ing bookmakers, the riders in their coloured jackets
thrashing their horses over the fences, and the dress
and demeanour of the sporting gentlefolk, there was a
ferocity in the atmosphere of Dumborough Races
which made me unable to imagine myself taking an
active part in such proceedings, although it was
obviously the thing to do, and to win such a race as
the Hunt Cup would be a triumph to which I could
not even aspire.

So I went home feeling more warned than edified,
and it was a relief to be reading Tennyson in my room
while the birds warbled outside in the clear April
evening, and the voice of Aunt Evelyn called to one of
her cats across the lawn. But I still wanted to go
to the Ringwell Point-to-Points, for Dixon had said
that it was "a real old-fashioned affair", and from the
little I had seen and heard of the Ringwell country I
had got an idea that it was a jolly, Surtees-likc sort of
Hunt, and preferable to the Dumborough,

The Ringwell Hunt was on the other side of the
Dumborough; its territory was almost double as large,
and it was a four-day-a-week country, whereas the