Every now and then the fox might be seen, looking about the size of a marble, as he rounded some distant hill, each succeeding view making him less, till, at last, he seemed no bigger than a pea. Five-and-twenty minutes best pace over downs is calculated to try the mettle of anything; and, long before the leading hounds reached Cockthropple Dean, the field was choked by the pace.
The horse stopped as if shot; and getting the horn, Mr. Sponge went on, the brown laying himself out as if still full of running. Cockthropple Dean was now close at hand, and in all probability the fox would not leave it. So thought Mr. Sponge as he dived into it, astonished at the chorus and echo of the hounds.
Well, we went over the downs at a pace that nothing but blood could live with, and, though my horse has never been beat, and is as thorough-bred as Eclipse a horse that I have refused three hundred guineas for over and over again, I really did begin to think I might get to the bottom of him, when all of a sudden we came to a dean. 'Ah! Cockthropple that would be, observed Sir Harry.
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