Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/119

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105
AT THE TURN OF THE ROAD

the only thing worth doing in the world was to settle down somewhere with three acres and a cow, and become pastoral.

There was a marked lack of traffic on the road. Once he met a cart, and once a flock of sheep with a friendly dog. Sometimes, a rabbit would dash out into the road, stop to listen, and dart into the opposite hedge, all hind-legs and white scut. But, except for these, he was alone in the world.

And, gradually, there began to be borne in upon him the conviction that he had lost his way.

It is difficult to judge distance when one is walking, but it certainly seemed to Jimmy that he must have covered five miles by this time. He must have mistaken the way. He had doubtless come straight. He could not have come straighter. On the other hand, it would be quite in keeping with the cheap substitute which served the Earl of Dreever in place of a mind that he should have forgotten to mention some important turning. Jimmy sat down by the roadside.

As he sat, there came to him from down the road the sound of a horse's feet, trotting. He got up. Here was somebody at last who would direct him.

The sound came nearer. The horse turned the corner; and Jimmy saw with surprise that it bore no rider.

"Hullo?" he said. "Accident? And, by Jove, a side-saddle!"

The curious part of it was that the horse appeared