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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

influence. In our Surtces obsession we went so far
that we almost identified ourselves with certain
characters on appropriate occasions. One favourite
role which Stephen facetiously imposed on me was
that of a young gentleman named Billy Pringle
who, in the novel which he adorns, is reputed to be
very rich. My £600 a year was thus magnified to an
imaginary £10,000, and he never wearied of referring
to me as "the richest commoner in England5'. The
stress was laid on my great wealth and we never
troubled to remember that the Mr. Pringle of the
novel was a dandified muff and "only half a gentle-
man". I cannot remember that I ever succeeded in
finding a consistent role for Stephen, but I took the
Surtees game for granted from the beginning, and
our adaptation of the Ringwell Hunt to the world
created by that observant novelist was simplified by
the fact that a large proportion of the Ringwell sub-
scribers might have stepped straight out of his pages.
To their idiosyncrasies I shall return in due course:
in the meantime I am still on my way to Hoadley
Rectory, and Stephen is pointing out such fox-
hunting features of the landscape as are observable
from the high road while we sway companionably
along in the old-fashioned vehicle.

"That's Basset Wood—one of our werry best
Wednesday coverts," he remarked, indicating with
the carriage-whip a dark belt of trees a couple of
miles away under the level cloud-bars of a sallow
sunset. He eyed the dimly undulating pastures
which intervened, riding over them in his mind's eye
as he had so often ridden over them in reality.

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