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weeks' timeŚwas it really as near as that now?

The thought of Mr. MacDoggart's remote victories
at Dumborough Races made me wish that I could ask
Dixou for some first-hand information about race-
riding. But although he had once worked in a racing-
stable, he'd never had an opportunity of riding in a
race. And I was shy of asking him questions which
would expose my ignorance of things which, for some
reason, I supposed that I ought to have known; so I
had to make the best of such hints as he dropped me.

And then there was the difficulty of dress, a subject
on which he never offered advice. Desperately in
need of information, I asked myself what I was to
wear on my head. Stephen had worn some sort of
cap last year, but the idea of buying a jockey-cap
seemed somehow ludicrous. (I remembered the old
brown corduroy one I wore on my first day with the

On this particular afternoon I had shortened my
stirrups by several holes. I had observed, in some
stecplechasing photographs in an illustrated paper,
that the jockeys rode with their knees ever so much
higher than mine. This experiment caused me to feel
important and professional but less secure in the
saddle. And when Cockbird made a sudden swerve
(quite needlessly alarmed by a blackbird that flew
out of the hedge which we hugged so as to make the
field as large as possible) I almost lost my balance;
in fact I nearly fell off. Dixon said nothing until
we were on our way home, and then he merely
remarked that he'd never believed in riding very
short. "They always say that for a point-to-point
there's nothing like sticking to the old-fashioned
hunting seat." I took the hint, which was a wise one.

Much depended on Cockbird; but much more