forced cheerfulness made me feel as if I were going
to be hanged in the afternoon. She had never made
any reference to the possibility of her going to see the
Races. I have no doubt that she was as sensitive to
the precarious outcome of the adventure as I was.
For me the whole day, until my race started, was
pervaded by the sinking sensation which is commonly
called being in a blue funk. But when the stable-boy
(his face clearly showing his awareness that he was
at close quarters with momentous happenings) had
led Harkaway out of the stable, and I had mounted
and was trotting through the village, I was conscious
of being as fit as I'd ever been in my life, and of being
in some way harmonious with the mild, half-clouded
April morning which contained me.
The morning tasted good; but it had only one
meaning: it was the morning of the point-to-points.
To have understood the gusto of that physical experi-
ence would have been to destroy the illusion which we
call youth and immaturity—that unforeseeing actual-
ity which retrospection can transmute into a lucid
and orderly emotion. The April morning, as I see it
now, symbolized a stage which I had then reached
in my earthly pilgrimage.
But whatever "bright shoots of everlastingness"
my body may have felt, my ordinary mind manifested
itself only by instructing me to feel in my coat pocket
for the half-sheet of notepaper on which I had written
"This is to certify that Mr. G. Sherston's bay gelding
Cockbird has been fairly and regularly hunted with
the Ringwell Hounds"; to which the M.F.H. had
appended his signature adding the figures of the
current hunting season> which I had carelessly
omitted. This document had to be shown at the
scales, although when I actually got there the Clerk