everybody ‘Misters.’ Mister Bragg, rising in his stirrups with a gracious smile, passed a very polite bow along the line.

‘Here’s a fine morning, Mr Bragg,’ observed Tom Washball, who thought it knowing to talk to servants.

Yas, sir,’ replied Bragg, ‘yas,’ with a slight inclination to cap; ‘r-a-y--ther more san, p’raps, than desirable,’ continued he, raising his face towards the heavens; ‘but still by no means a bad day, sir -- no, sir -- by no means a bad day, sir.’

‘Hounds looking well,’ observed Charley Slapp between the whiffs of a cigar.

‘Yas, sir,’ said Bragg -- ‘yas,’ looking around them with a self-satisfied smile; adding, ‘so they ought, sir -- so they ought; if I can’t bring a pack out as they should be, don’t know who can.’

‘Why, here’s our old Rummager, I declare!’ exclaimed Spraggon, who, having vaulted the iron hurdles, was now among the pack. ‘Why, here’s our old Rummager, I declare!’ repeated he, laying his whip on the head of a solemn-looking black and white hound, somewhat down in the toes, and looking as if he was about done.

Sc-e-e-use me, sir,’ replied Bragg, leaning over his horse’s shoulder, and whispering into Jack’s ear; ‘sc- e-e-use me, sir, but drop that, sir, if you please, sir.’

‘Drop what?’ asked Jack, squinting through his great tortoiseshell-rimmed spectacles up into Bragg’s face.

‘’Bout knowing of that ’ound, sir,’ whispered Bragg; ‘the fact is, sir -- we call him Merryman, sir; master don’t know I got him from you, sir.’

O-o-o,’ replied Jack, squinting, if possible, more frightfully than before.

‘Ah, that’s the hound I offered to Scamperdale,’ observed Puffington, seeing the movement, and coming up to where Jack stood; ‘that’s the hound I offered to Scamperdale,’ repeated he, taking the old dog’s head between his hands. ‘There’s no better hound in the world than this,’ continued he, patting and smoothing him; ‘and no better bred hound either,’ added he, rubbing the dog’s sides with his whip.

‘How is he bred?’ asked Jack, who knew the hound’s pedigree better than he did his own.

‘Why, I got him from Reynard -- no, I mean from Downey-bird -- the Duke, you know; but he was bred by Fitzwilliam -- by his Singwell out of Darling, Singwell was by the Rutland Rallywood out of Tavistock Rhapsody; but to make a long story short, he’s lineally descended from the Beaufort Justice.’

‘Indeed!’ exclaimed Jack, hardly able to contain himself; ‘that’s undeniable blood.’

‘Well, I’m glad to hear you say so;’ replied Puffington. ‘I’m glad to hear you say so, for you understand these things -- no man better; and I confess I’ve a warm side to that Beaufort Justice blood.’

‘Don’t wonder at it,’ replied Jack, laughing his waistcoat strings off.

‘The great Mr Warde,’ continued Mr Puffington, ‘who was justly partial to his own sort, had never any objection to breeding from the Beaufort Justice.’

‘No, nor nobody else that knew what he was about,’ replied Jack, turning away to conceal his laughter.

‘We should be moving, I think, sir,’ observed Bragg, anxious to put an end to the conversation; ‘we should be moving, I think, sir,’ repeated he, with a rap of his forefinger against his cap peak. ‘It’s past eleven,’ added he, looking at his gold watch, and shutting it against his cheek.

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