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but they seemed short ones to me for I was thinking
all the way how pleased Dixon would be. For the first
time in my career as an independent sportsman I
had a big story to tell him.

In the light of my mature experience I should say
that I had very little to tell Dixon, unless I had told
him the truth. The truth (which I couldn't have
admitted, even to my inmost self) was that my per-
formance had consisted not so much in riding to
hounds as in acting as a hindrance to Harkaway's
freedom of movement while he followed Mr. Gaffikin's
mare over several miles of closely-fenced country—
almost pulling my arms out of their sockets in the
process. Had I told the truth I'd have said that
during that gallop I was flustered, uncomfortable, and
out of breath; that at every fence we jumped I was
all over the saddle; and that, for all I had known,
there might have been no hounds at all, since they
were always a couple of fields ahead of us, and we
were, most of us, merely following the Master, who
already knew exactly which way they would go.

I lay stress on these facts because it is my firm belief
that the majority of fox-hunting riders never enjoy
a really "quick thing" while it is in progress. Their
enjoyment, therefore, mainly consists in talking about
it afterwards and congratulating themselves on their
rashness or their discretion, according to their tem-
peraments. One man remembers how he followed
the first whip over an awkward stile, while another
thinks how cleverly he made use of a lucky lane or a
line of gates. Neither of them was able to watch the
hounds while they were running. And so it was with
me. Had I been alone I should have lost the hounds
within three fields of the covert where they started.

But my complacency had been unperturbed by any