It is said that the dog’s habit of turning round several times before settling to sleep is a survival from remote ages when they made themselves a comfortable bed by smoothing down the grass around them, but I am quite sure that Wendy does the same thing to get her coat unruffled, and in the best condition to protect her from draughts. She likes to lie curled up into a circle, so that her hind paws may come under her chin for warmth, and support her head, as her neck is so short that without a pillow of some sort she could not rest in comfort; as an alternative, she will sometimes arrange the rug in her sleeping basket to act in the same way.
We had various cobs and ponies from time to time; quite a good pony could be bought at six months old for about L12, and one of the best we had was Taffy, from a drove of Welsh. Returning from Evesham Station with my man we passed a labourer with something in a hamper on his shoulder that rattled, just as we reached the Aldington turning; Taffy started, swerved across the road in the narrowest part, and jumped through the hedge, taking cart and all; we found ourselves in a wheat-field, but were not overturned, and reached a gate in safety none the worse.
On an old May Day (May 12) I was at Bretforton Manor playing tennis and shooting rooks. About 10.30 p.m. the cart and Taffy were brought round; I had all my things in and was about to mount when, the pony fidgeting to be off, my friend’s groom caught at the rein, but he had omitted to buckle it on one side of the bit. In an instant pony and trap had disappeared, and the man was lying in the drive with a broken leg. We had to carry him home on a door, and then went in search of the pony, expecting every moment to find it and the trap in a ditch; about half a mile from Aldington we met my own man who had come in search of my remains. He told us that the pony and trap were quite safe and uninjured. The clever animal had trotted the whole distance, over two miles, with the reins dragging behind him, taken the turning from the highroad, and again at my gate, and pulled up in front of the house, where someone passing saw him and brought my man out to the rescue.
“How like a rainbow, sparkling
as a dewdrop,
Glittering as gold, and lively as a swallow,
Each left his grave-shroud and in rapture winged him
Up to the heavens.”
I have always been fascinated by the beauty of butterflies and moths, and I think I began collecting when I was about eleven, as I remember having a net when I was at school at Rottingdean. My first exciting capture was a small tortoiseshell, and I was much disappointed when I discovered that it was quite a common insect. In 1917 some nettles here were black with the larvae of this species, but I think they must have been nearly all visited by the ichneumons, which pierce the skin,