After calling-over, sure enough there were two boys at the door, calling out, "Big-side hare-and-hounds meet at White Hall;" and Tom, having girded himself with leather strap, and left all superfluous clothing behind, set off for White Hall, an old gable-ended house some quarter of a mile from the town, with East, whom he had persuaded to join, notwithstanding his prophecy that they could never get in, as it was the hardest run of the year.
At the meet they found some forty or fifty boys, and Tom felt sure, from having seen many of them run at football, that he and East were more likely to get in than they.
We run into the Cock, and every one who comes in within a quarter of an hour of the hares'll be counted, if he has been round Barby church.
The scent, though still good, is not so thick; there is no need of that, for in this part of the run every one knows the line which must be taken, and so there are no casts to be made, but good downright running and fencing to be done.
For if you would consider for a moment, you small boys, you would remember that the Cock, where the run ends and the good ale will be going, lies far out to the right on the Dunchurch road, so that every cast you take to the left is so much extra work.
But they have too little run left in themselves to pull up for their own brothers.
Young Brooke thinks so too, and says kindly, "You'll cross a lane after next field; keep down it, and you'll hit the Dunchurch road below the Cock," and then steams away for the run in, in which he's sure to be first, as if he were just starting.
Here we are, dead beat, and yet I know we're close to the run in, if we knew the country.
So they tried back slowly and sorrowfully, and found the lane, and went limping down it, plashing in the cold puddly ruts, and beginning to feel how the run had taken it out of them.
It lumbered slowly up, and the boys, mustering their last run, caught it as it passed, and began clambering up behind, in which exploit East missed his footing and fell flat on his nose along the road.