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Page 152

CHAPTER XI

attentions. Through the drawing-room door, he had caught a glimpse of a vast polished surface, which stretched away and away. But Eton had won by one wicket and with three minutes to spare, and he was at Eton.
The dinner table was laid for twelve. Denis felt superior to the others. He was staying in the house and he had been through the knife and fork business. He knew how to refuse wine when it was offered and ask for lemonade. He was almost a member of the family and it was therefore his duty to talk to the other Etonians and put them at their ease. There was Matheson from Lowe's house, whom he just knew by sight, and two lower boys from Montagu's, and one or two others he had never seen. And then Swinley walked into the room. Swinley was in Wren's library and would be captain of the house, when Freeman left. He was a sleepy sort of person, tolerant and tolerated. But this evening he was the man of the world. He was not much use at games and the lower boys laughed at him and forgot to tidy his room ; but he was in a white waistcoat and tails, and his trousers hung in elegant folds like Alec Williams's. He wore tortoise-shell glasses.
" How are you? I'm so glad you could come, Lord Swinley," said Lady Periton.
" How do you do ?" said Swinley. " Hullo, Peter ; and Bailey, I didn't see you."
" Hullo, Swinley," said Denis.
There were more boys than girls at dinner and Denis found himself between Swinley and Matheson.
" Marsala or sherry, m'lord," said Dunston. " Sherry, I think," said Swinley. " A glorious finish, wasn't it ?" said Denis.
" So I heard," said Swinley. " I had to leave before the end. Are you staying with the Peritons ?"
" Yes, since yesterday. We went to see Honey Love last night."
" Really? They tell me it is very good."
" Yes, it's a topping show."
" Who's coming to-night ? "

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