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day with the new clipping machine, of which it is
enough to say that the stable-boy turned a handle
and Dixon did the rest. He had decided to clip the
horses' legs this season; the Ringwell was a bad
country for thorns, and these were naturally less
likely to be overlooked on clipped legs, which also
were more sightly and dried quicker than hairy ones.
"Only bad grooms let their horses get cracked
heels", was one of his maxims. "Only lazy grooms
wash the mud off with water'5 went without saying.
We often spoke about the new Master, who was
already the sum and substance of my happy hunting-
ground thirty miles away. Dixon remembered him
distinctly; he had always considered him the pattern
of what a young gentleman ought to be. Frequently
I wished Aunt Evelyn's sedate establishment could be
transplanted into that well-foxed and unstagnant
county. For one thing it was pretty poor fun for
Dixon if I were to be continually boxing Cockbird
and Harkaway to Downfield or staying at the Rec-
tory; but Dixon seemed satisfied by the bare fact of
jny being a hunting man.

Resplendent in my new red coat, and almost too
much admired by Aunt Evelyn and Miriam, I went
off to the opening meet by the early train from
Dumbridge to Downfield. Half an hour's ride took
me to the kennels, where I joined an impressive
concourse, mounted, in vehicles, and on foot. The
sun shone after a white frost, and everyone was
anxious to have a look at the new- Master. My new
coat was only a single spot of colour among many,
but I felt a tremendous swell all the same. Familiar
faces greeted me, and when we trotted away to draw
Pacey's Plantation, old Mr. Dearborn bumped along
beside me in his faded red coat and blue and white;