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their greetings with his usual smiling detachment. He
took it for granted that everybody liked him, and
seemed to attribute it to their good nature rather
than to his own praiseworthiness.

But was it altogether advisable, I wondered, that
he should confer such a large and ill-diluted glass of
whisky on such a totally inexperienced man to hounds
as Kegworthy? For the moment, however, his only
wish seemed to be that the whole world should drink
his health. And they did. And would have done so
once again had time permitted. But the hounds were
about to move off., and The Mister produced his purse
with a lordly air, and the landlord kept the change,
and we went out to find our horses.

Had I been by myself I should have been sitting
on my hireling in a state of subdued excitement and
eagerness, scrutinizing the hounds with a pseudo-
knowing eye, and observing everyone around me
with the detached interest of a visiting stranger. But
I was with The Mister, and he made it all feel not
quite serious and almost dreamlike. It couldn't have
been the modicum of cherry brandy I'd sipped for
politeness' sake which made the proceedings seem a
sort of extravaganza of good-humoured absurdity.

There was The Mister, solemnly handing his im-
mense flask to the groom, who inserted it in a leather
receptacle attached to the saddle. And there was
Kegworthy, untying the strings of The Mister's white
apron; he looked happy and rather somnolent, with
his cap on one side and his crop projecting from one
of his trench boots.

Even The Mister's horses seemed in a trance-like
condition, although the bustle and fluster of depar-
ture was in full swing around them. The Mister hav-
ing hoisted himself into the saddle, I concentrated on