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and undergrowth. I had already noticed several
sporting farmers in blue velvet caps and long-skirted
black coats of country cut. And scarlet-coated
Colonel Hesmon had proffered me a couple of brown-
gloved fingers with the jaunty airified manner of a
well-dressed absent-minded swell. He was on his
corky little grey cob, and seemed to be having rather
a rough ride. In fact the impetuous behaviour of the
cob suggested that the Colonel had yet to find the key
to his mouth.

An open space toward the top end of the wood
formed a junction of the numerous smaller paths
which were tributaries of that main channel—the
middle-ride. At this point of vantage a few of the
more prominent characters from among the field had
pulled up, and since the hounds had yet to find a fox
I was able to take a few observations of people who
afterwards became increasingly familiar to me in my
mental conspectus of the Ringwell Hunt. Among
them was the Master, of whom there is little to be said
except that he was a rich man whose resignation was
already rumoured. His only qualification was his
wealth, and he had had the bad luck (or bad judg-
ment) to engage a bad huntsman. Needless to say
the Master's perplexities had been aggravated by the
criticisms and cavillings of subscribers who had
neither the wealth, knowledge, nor initiative neces-
sary for the office which this gentleman had found so
ungrateful. Much of this I had already learned at the
Rectory, where he was given his due for having done
his best to hunt the country in handsome style.
Sitting there that morning on a too-good-looking,
well-bred horse, he seemed glum and abstracted, as
though he suspected that most of his field would poke
fun at him when his back was turned. One of his