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Page 120

CHAPTER IX

" Yes, Sir."
" Yes, I thought you'd agree. Well, I've seen the head about you three." Wren picked up a silver frame and studied the smug countenance within. He polished a corner of the frame with an enormous silk handkerchief. " And I'm glad to say he does not consider your case calls for expulsion." The three boys released their breath and waited.
" He has been good enough to offer you the choice of a swishing or having your leave stopped. I must say I think the head has acted very fairly and you should count yourselves extremely fortunate." Wren took off his pince-nez and gave them a vigorous polish. Then he stowed away as much of the handkerchief that would go in his breast coat pocket. " Well, Ockley ? "
" I'd rather be swished, sir."
" Bailey ? "
· So would I, Sir."
" And Harbord ? "
" Swished." Denis and Peter looked sharply at him. Oliver was smiling, but not at the thought of a swiping.
" Well, that's settled, then," said Wren, much relieved. If their Lord's leave had been stopped, either he or the dame would have had to stay at Eton to look after them.
" And no more dance clubs, eh ? Or you may not be so lucky."
" No, sir," said the boys and filed out of the room. They hurried quietly along the passage. The lower part of the house was silent. " By God, I'm going to find out who told," said Oliver. " The bloody swine."
" It may not have been anybody," said Denis.
" You wait. I'll find out." Oliver slammed his door behind him.
Denis lay awake thinking. He was not thinking so much of the swiping, or of the effect it would have on his father. He was thinking ofwhat Oliver had said, Who the devil had told ? Lady Bridget was out of the question. Robin could not have sneaked. That was obvious. And he had said that Taunton would keep his mouth shut. Wren must have

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