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Page 195

CHAPTER XIV

" The old Skittles isn't so dusty," said Featherstone. I,m going to have another pop at the barmaid after dinner."
" I wouldn't mind something more to drink," said Denis. Why couldn't they have a damned good evening together without making hopeless plots about the barmaid ?
" Whisky and soda," said Featherstone to the waiter.
" Same here," said Oliver.
" All right. I'll try one," said Denis. " Ugh, what foul muck."
" Cultivated taste," said Featherstone.
" I don't believe anyone likes the taste of whisky," said Peter. " My father always makes a face when he has a whisky and soda before going to bed."
" A night-cap," said Oliver.
" It's damned strong, isn't it ?" said Denis. He wondered how he was going to finish his glass.
" Taunton had half a dozen the night before last," said Featherstone.
" I bet you my tent orderly turn you can't drink six whiskies," said Peter.
" You do tent orderly for me, if I polish off six ?"
" Yes, and you do mine if you fail."
" Singles ? "
" Yes."
" What happens if I'm sick ?"
" I don't care, so long as you don't do it over me."
" Right," said Featherstone. " It's a bet. Oliver and Bailey, you are witnesses. Waiter, another whisky."
Dinner over, they went back to the bar. Several khaki figures were talking to the barmaid. One of them swished his puttees with a swagger cane. Two Etonian N.C.O.s were drinking port and smoking cigars in a corner.
" Cigars," said Featherstone. " No dinner is complete without cigars. 'Scuse me." He pushed his way to the bar. " What do you want, Oliver ? Coronas? "
" Anything you like."
" Four Coronas, please, and a whisky and soda," said

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