24 Feb 2014

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Question about English (US)

What does "the first of" mean in the following sentence.
Does it mean "the first part of"?

“As I crossed the long entrance hall of Monk’s Piece on my way from the dining room, where we had just enjoyed the first of the happy, festive meals, toward the drawing room and the fire around which my family were now assembled, I paused and then, as I often do in the course of an evening, went to the front door, opened it and stepped outside.”

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