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and showered everyone within range with flecks of
froth. And when he got home from hunting he
would say to his confidential old head-groom: "I
think this mare's still a bit under-bitted, Dumbrell,"
and they would debate over half the bits in the
harness room before he rode the mare again.

"Sunday morning stables'9 being one of his
favourite ceremonies, the Colonel now led us from
one loose-box to another, commenting affectionately
on each inmate, and stimulated by the fact that one
of his audience was a stranger. Each of them,
apparently, was a compendium, of unique equine
qualities, on which I gazed with unaffected admira-
tion, while Stephen chimed in with "Never seen the
old chestnut look so fit, Colonel'*, or "Looking an
absolute picture", while Dumbrell was deferentially
at hand all the time to share the encomiums offered
to his charges. The Colonel, of course, had a stock
repertory of remarks about each one of them, in-
cluding how they had won a certain point-to-point or
(more frequently) why they hadn't. The last one we
looked at was a big well-bred brown horse who stood
very much "over at the knees". The Colonel had
hunted him twelve seasons and he had an equivalently
long rigmarole to recite about him, beginning with "I
remember Sam Hames saying to me (I bought him
off old Hames of Leicester, you know)—that horse is
the most natural jumper I've ever had in my stable.
And he was right, for the old horse has only given
me one bad toss in twelve years> and that was no fault
of his own, for he landed on the stump of a willow
tree; it was at that rough fence just outside Clout's
Wood—nasty place, too—you remember I showed it
you the other day, Steve"; all of which Stephen had
probably heard fifty times before, and had been