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probable. Peppermore senior had been a well-
known figure on the Turf, and he still owned a few
steeplechasers which his sons trained and rode. But
he had become heavy and uncommunicative with
middle age, and now devoted himself almost entirely
to looking after his farms and house property (and
putting the brake on his sons' transactions with book-
makers). Jack was the mainspring of the party, and
his drawling voice kept us all amused with a con-
tinuous flow of chaff and chatter. I wish I could
remember a single word of it, but as I am unable to
do so I can only say that I made one with the other
guests in compliant appreciation while Denis was an
attentive host, and the champagne promoted con-
viviality in moderation.

After dinner we moved into the other room, which
was even smaller. A decanter of port quickly became
empty, and a certain rowdiness began to show itself
among the company, though there was nothing to be
rowdy about and very little space to be rowdy in.
When Henry brought in the replenished decanter
Jack picked up a small tumbler and filled it. From
his demeanour it appeared that the competitive
spirit was asserting itself. A few minutes afterwards
he threw a chair across the room and the other young
men felt it incumbent on them to imitate him. He
then refilled his glass with port, standing in the
middle of the room, drank it straight off, and collapsed
on the floor. The little room was overheated by a
roaring fire, and the air was heavy with cigar smoke.
The other two guests were a bad colour, and I went
to the front door to get a breath of the frosty air.

When I returned Denis was looking after the pros-
trate Jack; he was, I remember, making a hissing
sound, as if he were grooming a horse, and I thought