"We'll be there on Monday," he went on, his
long, serious face lighting up as his gaze returned to
the road before him. "Yes, we'll be drawing there
on Monday," he chuckled, "and if we can but find a
straight-necked old dog-fox, then I'll be the death of
a fi'-pun'-note—dash my wig if I won't!"
I said that it looked quite a nice bit of country and
asked whether they often ran this way. Stephen
became less cheerful as he informed me that there
was precious little reason for them to run this way.
"There's not a strand of wire till you get to the
road," he exclaimed, "but over there"—(pointing
to the left) "there's a double-distilled blighter who's
wired up all his fences. And what's more, his keeper
shoots every fox who shows his nose in the coverts.
And will you believe me when I tell you, George my
lad, that the man who owns those coverts is the same
ugly-mugged old sweep who persuaded the Guv'nor
to get me trained as a chartered accountant! And
how much longer I'm going to stick it I don't know!
Seven months I've been worriting my guts out in
London, and all on the off-chance of getting a seat
in the office of that sanctimonious old, vulpicide,"
I consoled him with a reminder that he'd spent
most of August and September shooting and fishing
in Scotland. (His father rented a place in Skye every
summer.) And during the remainder of the drive
we debated the deeply desirable and not impossible
eventuality of Stephen's escape from chartered
accountancy. His one idea was "to get into the
Army by the back door". If only he could get into
the Gunners he'd be happy. His elder brother Jack
was in the Gunners, and was expecting to be moved
from India to Ireland. And Ireland, apparently,
was a fox-hunting Elysium.