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Page 155

CHAPTER XI

stopped and they stood about till someone claimed her.
After that the dance went gaily. Quite a lot of Denis's partners had watched the match with interest and even knew the Eton eleven by name. One girl was the sister of the Eton slow bowler, who was at the moment smoking a cigarette on the balcony. He looked dirty and unimportant without his light blue cap and blazer. Swinley and Matheson were more in their element.
Then number four came. Denis stationed himself by the door and looked out for Eileen Henry. There she was, coming down the stairs with Matheson. He stuffed his programme in his pocket and straightened his tie. " Oh, I say, I'm so frightfully sorry, but I've promised to dance this one with Charles. Could we do number nine instead ?" Denis looked at his card. " I thought we were doing number nine, anyhow," he said.
" Oh, are we ? That's splendid. I'm so terribly sorry," and she glided away in Matheson's arms.
Denis went downstairs and drank two glasses of orangeade. Peter was eating a peach. " Enjoying yourself ?" he said.
" I've just been cut," said Denis.
" All the more time for socking. Who's the girl ?"
Denis showed his programme. " Oh, that little bitch, Eileen. She's always doing that. Tick her off if you get the chance. She wants it. I'm so stiff with shaking hands I can hardly eat. Have a peach?" Denis took one. "It was probably my mistake," he said.
During the next few dances he kept seeing her. She danced with a fine springy movement, her fair head thrown back and her body bent inwards to her partner. She looked up at him as she danced. When number nine came, Denis stood again at the door. She came in from the balcony and their eyes met.
" Is this ours ?" she asked. Denis piloted her on to the floor and danced his mightiest. It was easy to dance with her. All her movement melted into his own clumsy rhythm.

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