an awful nuisance to open, when Harkaway was
excited),, but it had not occurred to me that a hole in
a fence through which fifty horses have blundered is
much the same as an open gate, so far as the exodus
of a farmer's cattle is concerned. However, this
problem of trespassing by courtesy has existed as long
as fox-hunting, and it is not likely to be solved until
both the red-coated fraternity and the red-furred
carnivorous mammal which they pursue have dis-
appeared from England's green and pleasant land.
But I was occupied with my speculations about the
point-to-point course, and at Harcombe Mill, the
last little station before Downfield, I got out of the
train, lonely but light-hearted.
The direction of the course was indicated by a few
gigs and other vehicles on the road, and by a thin
stream of pedestrians who were crossing some upland
fields by a footpath. When I came to the crest of the
hill I caught sight of some tents on a tree-clustered
knoll about a mile away, and the course evidently
made a big ring round this central point. A red flag
stuck on the top of an oak tree was the only indica-
tion of a racecourse, though here and there a
hairy-looking hedge had been trimmed for a space
of a few yards.
An elderly labourer was sitting in a ditch eating
his bread and cheese and I asked him which way they
"Ay, it's a tricky old course, and no mistake", he
remarked, "and the ground be terrible heavy down
along the brook, as some of 'em'll find afore they're
Following his directions I made my way from one
obstacle to another, inspecting each one carefully.
Most of them looked alarming, and though the brook