Books > Old Books > Decent Fellows (1930)


Page 287

CHAPTER XX

In the dining-room Denis found himself half-way down the table. Wren was talking excitedly. Never before had so many old boys turned up for the match. On his right sat Charlie Page ; on his left the Earl of Wanstead, who was to captain the old boys. He wore a dark suit and talked politics in a grave way. His father had died the month before.
" You'd better change, Bailey," said Swinley after dinner. " The old boys may be one or two short." Denis got on his things and waited in the library. More cars arrived, and the possibility that he might have to play post against his tutor's house side, vanished. More than twenty old boys were down and a keen competition had started to avoid the last few places.
" I haven't played for two years," said Hurlingham, an Oxford undergraduate, in grey flannels and a pale mauve jumper.
" I shall sit in the rears till they've all gone out," said Farrar, his friend. Neither of them had been in the library, when at Wren's. Wanstead came into the room with a list. " I think we're full now. We'd better go out."
Peter and Denis hung back in the library. " What's Oxford like?" said Peter.
" Pretty boring," said Hurlingham. " But better than this." He lit a cigarette.
" I say, if m'dame smells that," said Denis.
" We can say it's the old boys. It's a good chance for a fag ourselves." Peter went to his drawer and fished out a packet of Abdullas. " Have one ?"
" Thanks," said Farrar. " I think I'll smoke a cigar, if you don't mind." He lit a small Corona and picked up the Tatler.
" I'm going up to Cambridge in a couple of weeks to try for a scholarship," said Denis. " Though I don't suppose I shall get it."
" A scholarship ? Good God."
" Even if I fail in the scholarship, I get off matric, I believe, so it's worth doing."

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