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spare room. The blind on my window flapped. I
thought how different staying at Ringwell Kennels
was from what I'd expected. Yet it seemed exactly
like what it ought to be. I wondered whether old
Gockbird was asleep out in his loose-box. Thought
what an odd character the head-groom looked, and
how surprised Stephen would be when I told him all
about my visit. Meditated on the difference between
Denis hunting the hounds (unapproachable and with
"a face like a boot") and Denis indoors—homely and
kind and easy to get on with; would he really want
me to come and stay with him again, I wondered.
And then I fell into so sound a sleep that the stable-
men on the other side of the partition wall failed to
awake me when they got up at some unearthly hour
and went down the dark stairs with their clumping
boots to begin their work in the damp December


I MUST pass rather rapidly through the remainder
of that season and the one which followed it.
While Denis continued to show splendid sport, my
own achievements included learning to identify the
majority of the hounds by their names. This I did
mainly while "walking out" with them on non-
hunting days. The road by the Kennels had wide
green borders to it, and along these we used to loiter
for an hour or two at a time; the full-fed bitches,
their coats sprinkled with sulphur, were continually
being spoken to by name, and in this way I silently
acquired information. I cannot say that I ever be-
came anything of a judge of their shape and make,