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IT WAS close on Christmas, but the weather re-
mained mild, and in the following week I wrote a
concise letter offering myself as a guest at Ringwell
after Wednesday's hunting—the meet being only a
few miles from the Kennels. At home I said not a
word about my sudden elevation in the sporting
world, and I allowed Aunt Evelyn to take it for
granted that I was going to Hoadley Rectory. After
I had actually been to the Kennels I could talk about
it, but not before. It was too important an event for
casual conversation, and even Dixon was kept in the
dark about it. Aunt Evelyn had shown the right
amount of interest in Denis Milden, remembering
him as such a nice-looking boy, and remembering
also how she had come across his people in North-
amptonshire when she was a girl—a well-known
sporting family who had a large place near, she
thought, Daventry. I sometimes wished that my
own family was like that, for the architecture of my
existence seemed meagre, and I wanted to be strongly
connected with the hunting organism which at that
time I thought of as the only one worth belonging to.
And it was (though a limited one) a clearly defined
world, which is an idea that most of us cling to,
unless we happen to be transcendental thinkers.

Staying at the Kennels was the most significant
occasion my little world could offer me, and in order
that he might share my sublunary advancement I
took Gockbird with me, In reply to my reserved
little note I received a cheery letter from Denis: he
would be delighted to see me and gave detailed in-