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It was known that the high jump would fall to one of these three, and their performances at the bar were watched with keen appreciation by a small crowd of boys in the lower school. Hattersley-Carr had just cleared five feet three, and Errington was stripping off his sweater, in preparation for taking his run, when the school porter came up, an old soldier as stiff as a ramrod, and addressed him.
“A gentleman to see you,” he said.
“Oh, bother!” said Errington. “Who is it, Perkins?”
“A stranger to me; a sort of foreigner by the look of him: in fact, what you might call a heathen Chinee.”
“Bless my aunt!” Errington ejaculated, with a droll look at Burroughs. “Did you tell him where I was?”
“I said as how you were jumping, most like; and he said as how he’d like to see; not much of a sport, either, by the looks of him.”
Now hospitality to visitors was a tradition at Cheltonia, and with the eyes of the small boys upon him Errington knew that he must accept the inevitable. But it was the law of the place that an afternoon visitor should be invited to tea at the prefects’ table, and Errington, with a school-boy’s susceptibility, at once foresaw a good deal of quizzing and subsequent “chipping” at the embarrassing presence of a Chinaman.
“Rotten nuisance!” he said, in an undertone. “Still!”–and with a half-humorous shrug he put on his sweater and blazer and walked across to the school-house.
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