Silent and disheartened, I longed to be alone again;
the presence of the other two made it impossible for
me to talk naturally to Stephen, and I couldn't help
feeling that they regarded me as an entry which
could be ruled out of all serious consideration. The
whole afljiir had become bleakly detached from my
previous conception of it. I was just a greenhorn.
What chance had I got against Brownrigg of the
"Blues", or those ferociously efficient Cavalry officers?
Bicycling back to the station with only just time to
catch the train, I visualized myself refusing the first
fence and colliding with Roger Pomfret, who was
associated in my memory with all my most timorous
experiments with the Dumborough.
Aunt Evelyn found me an uncommunicative com-
panion that evening; and it wasn't easy to talk to
Dixon about the course when I went to the stable
next morning, "I hear there's a very hot lot entered
for the Heavy Weights," I said, as I watched him
polishing away at Gockbird's glossy coat. My tone
was, perhaps, a shade extenuatory. I couldn't bring
myself to speak of Brownrigg of the "Blues".
Dixon straightened himself and passed his hand
along Cockbird's back. "Don't you worry about
that. I'll bet our horse gives some of 9em a shaking
up!" he replied.
Cockbird gave a playful hoist of his hind quarters
and then snatched a mouthful of hay from his rack.
I wished that the confidence of my confederates was
a little more infectious.
THE RACES were to be on Wednesday. After
exercising our minds on the problem of how best