equally certain that, over his glass of beer, in the
evening,, he would leave no doubt in the minds of
the gossips in the bar-parlour that his young gentle-
man was a very dashing and high-class sportsman.
All this he would do with the sobriety and reticence
of an old family servant; before going to bed he
would take a last look at Harkaway to see whether
he had finished up his feed.
Driving myself to the meet in the soft, cloudy morn-
ing, I enjoyed feeling like Mr. Sponge on his way to
look at a strange pack. The only difference was that
Sponge was a bold and accomplished rider and I was
still an experimental one.
But my appearance, I hoped, would do Dixon no
discredit, and on the seat beside me was my newest
acquisition, a short leather hunting-crop with a very-
long lash to it. The length of the lash, though ex-
tremely correct, was an embarrassment. The crop
had only arrived the previous day, and I had taken it
out on to the lawn and attempted to crack it. But I
was unable to create the echoing reports which hunt
servants seemed to produce so effortlessly, and my
feeble snappings ended with a painful flick on my own
neck. So I resolved to watch very carefully and see
exactly how they did it. Big swells like Bill Jaggett
never lost an opportunity of cracking their whips when
they caught sight of a stray hound. I couldn't imagine
myself daring to do that or shout "Get along forrid"
in such tremendous tones; but it would be nice to feel
that I could make the welkin ring with my new crop
if I wanted to. I had yet to learn that the quiet and
unobtrusive rider is better liked by a huntsman and
his assistants than the noisy and officious one.
I wondered whether I should know any of the
people out with the Potford, and wished I had made