Neither Finn nor Desdemona ate the remains of that rabbit. For one thing, they were not yet really hungry, and for another thing they did not relish the musky tang left by Reynard’s jaws. Apart from this (and despite its strong scent) they were both keenly interested in the cave which had been Reynard’s home; especially Desdemona.
It seemed the bloodhound would never tire of investigating the cave, once she had satisfied herself as to Finn fully understanding that she alone, unaided, and with most complete success, had tracked down and retrieved the stolen rabbit. This fact had to be clearly appreciated before Desdemona could bring herself to lay aside the mangled rabbit. Then she invited Finn’s attention to the interior of the cave. Together they explored its resources till Finn felt almost nauseated by the smell of fox which filled the place. But Desdemona, with her far more delicate sense of smell, seemed quite unaffected by this. To and fro she padded, closely examining every inch of the place, and dragging out into the open scores of bones and other oddments which told of its long occupancy.
It really was a rather fascinating lair, despite its musky smell; and its position was superb. Being on a southern slope, and just below the crest of the highest point of Downs thereabouts, one plainly saw the sparkle of sunlight on the waters of the Channel from the mouth of this cave. On the other hand, an obliging cup-shaped hollow of the Downs, some hundred yards away to the west, gave one a vista of Sussex farm-lands extending over scores of miles; a view that many a caveless millionaire would give a fortune to secure for his home.
Again, the extreme steepness of the particular little spur, or swelling of the Downs, in which this cave had been formed, made it highly improbable that the feet of man would ever come that way. The surrounding turf had doubtless known the sharp little feet of many hundreds of generations of sheep; but it had never known the plow. It was the same unbroken turf which our early British ancestors knew in these parts, and had remained unscathed by any such trifling happenings as the Roman invasion, the Fire of London, the Wars of the Roses, or the advent of Mr. Lloyd George. The very cave itself may easily have been older than Westminster Abbey; and if there is a lord in the land whose ancestral hall can boast a longer record of un-"restored” antiquity, he may fairly claim that his forebears built most superlatively well.
At all events, the place appealed most strongly to the Lady Desdemona, and since her heart seemed set upon it, Finn cheerfully endeavored to forget the foxy smell, busied himself in securing a fresh, rabbit for supper, and generally behaved as a good mate should in the matter of helping to make a new home. And that is the plain truth in the matter of how Desdemona found her nest.