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quite clearly. With a slight frown he is filling his
pipe from a tin of "Three Nuns" mixture; on the wall
behind him hangs a large engraving of "Christ
leaving the Praetorium".


EARLY IN the afternoon of the following Thursday
I journeyed homeward in the jolting annex of a
horse-box. Although it was a sort of fifth-class com-
partment I felt serenely contented as I occasionally
put my hand through the aperture to stroke Cock-
bird's velvet nose. He appeared to be a docile and
experienced railway traveller, and when he stepped
out of the box at Dumbridge Station he had an air
of knowing that he'd saved himself a twenty-mile
walk. The porters eyed him with the respect due to
such a well-bred animal. Having arranged for my
kit-bag to be conveyed to Butley on the carrier's van,
I swung myself into the saddle which I had borrowed
from the Colwoods. It was a mellow afternoon for
mid-winter, and our appearance, as reflected in the
Dumbridge shop-windows, made me feel what, in
those days, I should have called "a frightful nut".
Cockbird's impeccable behaviour out hunting on the
previous day had increased my complacency, and it
was now an established fact that I had got hold of a
top-hole performer with perfect manners.

Nobody at home was aware of what I'd been up to
down in Sussex, and Dixon got the surprise of his life
when we clattered into the stable-yard. So far as he
was concerned it was the first really independent
action of my career. When I arrived he was having
his tea in his cottage above the coach-house; I could
hear him clumping down the steep wooden stairs,