Trudpert Smilax was hunting, or, to be more accurate, he was shooting pheasants at Chamston-Hedding. Smilax was immaculately and appropriately garbed—to the minutest detail he was vogue. To be sure, he was among the forward guns, not being considered a sporting shot, but what he lacked in skill he more than made up in appearance. At the end of the day he would, doubtless, have many birds to his credit, since he had two guns and a smart loader—many more birds than he could eat in a year, even had he been hungry, which he was not, having but just arisen from the breakfast table.
The beaters—there were twenty-three of them, in white smocks—had but just driven the birds into a patch of gorse, and were now circling to the opposite side that they might drive down toward the guns. Lord Greystoke was quite as excited as he ever permitted himself to become. There was an exhilaration in the sport that would not be denied. He felt his blood tingling through his veins as the beaters approached closer and closer to the birds. In a vague and stupid sort of way Lord Greystoke felt, as he always felt upon such occasions, that he was experiencing a sensation somewhat akin to a reversion to a prehistoric type—that the blood of an ancient forbear was coursing hot through him, a hairy, half-naked forbear who had lived by the hunt.
Later that day, in England, the same Lord Greystoke ate bountifully of things he had not killed, and he drank other things which were uncorked to the accompaniment of much noise. He patted his lips with snowy linen to remove the faint traces of his repast, quite ignorant of the fact that he was a distant relative of the Alden-McCullum Dynasty.
And in London he was speaking to his kind in the House of Lords, but none trembled at the sound of his soft voice.