Books > Old Books > Decent Fellows (1930)


Page 110

CHAPTER IX

din of voices and the clatter of plates came the steady pulsing of the susaphone, thumping out the time. There was an odd smell of nothing in particular. A blend of scented women and food and Turkish cigarettes and heat. It was a smell of hot luxury and it clouded the senses. They sat down at a table and Denis tried to focus his sight and hearing.
" Have you got your enclosure tickets ?" said a woman next door. " Yes, haven't you, dear ? " " No. No, Charles ; be good," and a weak little laugh. " This bottle's corked."
· It's you that's corked, old man," and a loud guffaw.
The tune had ended and the dancers returned to their tables. Denis looked at the glass-smooth strip of parquet. He stretched out a foot and found it was slippery as ice. The parquet seemed as sacred as the altar steps of college chapel.
Lady Bridget was enjoying her company. Everybody looked at the boys and afterwards at their chaperone. She half closed her eyes and stared back. " Now then, Peter, what do you want to eat ?" Peter seized the menu. " Salmon mayonnaise and strawberries and cream for me. What about you two ? "
They read the menu slowly and seriously and in the end agreed with Peter. Lady Bridget ordered some chicken.
" Drinks ? Champagne, cider cup, iced coffee, orangeade ? What do you drink at Eton ?" She looked at Denis. He wondered what she expected him to say. " I think iced coffee would be very nice. What do you think, Peter ?"
" Oliver, you choose."
" Would you mind if we had cider cup, Lady Bridget ? We are allowed cider at Tap you know."
" Of course. Have what you want. Waiter," and a carafe of swimming fruit appeared.
Peter speared a distended strawberry. " Dance, Bridget ?" Gravely he piloted her round the room. His steps were limited ; and he leaned forward in the Etonian fashion. But he had a nice sense of time and made his sister follow. Denis marvelled at the ease with which Peter did everything. Threw his hat to the cloakroom attendant,

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