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up-to-date (though somewhat expensive) farm-man-
agement, and every farmer in the country (except
a few stubborn Radicals) swore by Mrs. Oakfield as
the feminine gender of a jolly good fellow. As a fine
judge of cattle and sheep they respected her; and to
this was added her reputation for boundless generosity.
The Packlestone farmers were proud to see Mrs.
Oakfield riding over their land—as well they might
be, for it was a sight worth going a long way to see.
A fine figure of a woman she was, they all agreed,
as she sailed over the fences in her tall hat and
perfectly fitting black habit with a bunch of violets in
her buttonhole. This brilliant horsewoman rode over
the country in an apparently effortless manner:
always in the first flight, she never appeared to be
competing for her prominent position; quick and
dashing, she was never in a hurry; allowing for the
fact that she was very well mounted and knew the
country by heart, she was undoubtedly a paragon of
natural proficiency. John Leech would have drawn
her with delight. I admired Mrs. Oakfield enorm-
ously; her quickness to hounds was a revelation to
me, and in addition she was gracious and charming
in manner. Whether she bowed her acknowledgment
to a lifted hat at the meet or cantered easily at an
awkward bit of timber in an otherwise unjumpable
hedge, she possessed the secret of style. Needless to
say, she was the only person in the Hunt who knew
how to manage Captain Harry, who always spoke of
her as "a splendid little woman". Which brings
me back to my original explanation as to how
the behaviour of that intractable old gentleman
failed to cause as much trouble as one might have

While Captain Hinnycraft lived and bulked big in