Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]

He went forward, elucidating the caddy's pedigree to him as he went”

"Absolutely threw away a stroke. My four. Well, I 'm one over four for two regular game, though-throw away one holes. Where 's the next one?" stroke every hole. Well, I got a five; They showed it to him. On the right, should have been a four. I was saying, if parallel with the line, ran a row of trees I had a mashy-niblick I'd have had a cunningly planted in echelon; on the left, a boundary wall of jagged stones. Curl- second brook. There was a silver splash ing delicately around the green, a brook in the sunshine, a dot of white on the fairoffered lodging to any transient ball which

way ahead. left the straightest route or overran. Be- "Out, by George!" breathed Bowker. tween this and the tee lay luxuriant grass "You hit that hard," said Horton. that was evidently meant to be retentive. “Right on your drive to-day,” said

“Not having had a club in my hands for Corbett. nineteen days," said Mr. Cuyler, "I may The capitalist faced them frowningly. not make it. I see you 've got to land on "I don't know what it is,” he admitted ; the green, and stick. I may not do it; “it 's beyond me. No matter how I hit probably I won't." He did n't; but the ’em, they go! I must put something on ball bobbed and bobbed until at last it the ball.” He clipped the heads from a trickled within a dozen feet of the hole pair of misplaced daisies. "It was the and came to rest. He looked at the divot follow through that saved me," he rehe had slashed; he examined critically the ported. "The shot was rotten-all but head of his driver. "Little muscular the follow through. That saved it. That strain in my shoulder," he confessed. always comes when I need it. And it 's “Had a touch of neuritis last night. It 's funny, because I don't feel like playing a wonder I can get 'em off the ground.” golf to-day. I don't believe I slept three

"If there had n't been power behind hours last night." He followed the flight it," said Bowker, "you would n't have. of Horton's ball, a perfectly straight, That 's what got you through." He clean drive which escaped the water pitched squarely on the flag; the ball hazard by the barest of margins. "How bounded into the brook.

far do, you estimate that shot?” he de"You hesitate at the top of your swing,' manded. said Mr. Cuyler. "You 'll pardon me for “He averaged two hundred and thirty saying so, but it 's very noticeable." He off the tee in the championship,” said marched dignifiedly down to his ball, and Corbett. took three skittish putts. "One over four “My reason for asking," said Mr. for three holes," he stated, fighting down Cuyler, smiling a trifle cynically as Bowhis pride. “If your course has correct ar- ker pulled into trouble, “is that I wonchitecture, the next hole ought to be a long dered how far mine went. I think I could one.”

do better if my shoulders were n't so stiff "Five hundred and thirty yards," said with neuritis." He topped savagely, and Corbett. “You want to clear the brook analyzed the effort with a wealth of on your drive, that 's all."

imagery. His third attempt was success"He'd better play safe," objected Bow- ful enough to justify a putter on the ker.

fourth. “Down in five,” he announced, Mr. Cuyler addressed his ball gingerly. beaming rapturously and breathing hard. His hands trembled, and his shoulders "Four," said Horton. sagged limply. His mouth was firmly set; "Four," said Corbett. his eyes showed indomitable resolution, “Six,” said Bowker. mixed with unholy fear.

"I am almost sorry," proclaimed the "If you gentlemen will stop talking,” capitalist, drying the moisture from his he mumbled. “It throws me off; it al- clammy hands, "that I'm starting so well.

“ ways throws me off.” In his anxiety he Of course it 's nothing extraordinary, but touched the ball, so that it toppled from I seem to be one over par for four holes. its nest of sand. “There!” he snapped.

It 's too good; it distresses me. Ought “That 's what I get for it! Took my not to keep medal scores at all — that 's my mind off it! Enough to rattle anybody. theory. Now I 'll probably press; natural It makes you stiffen up-and—” Here for anybody. I wish I had n't lost a stroke he drove with admirable precision into the on the second; I'd be even with par."

a

a

“Steady as a church,” said Corbett. "Where?” he inquired weakly. They

"Only one mistake in four holes," said indicated a yellow flag which, to his disBowker.

ordered fancy, marked a hill at least a "I thought I was a long driver,” said mile and a half to westward. “My Horton, aggrievedly, "but you 're right wrists have gone back on me," he mutwith me every shot.”

tered. “Broke one of 'em a few years ago. Mr. Cuyler stared at the lofty hill They 've gone back; afraid to hit a ball which confronted him.

any more. If I try to spare it, I 'll Aluff it. “There 's one thing about it,” he pro- Hardest shot for anybody in the world 's claimed through chattering teeth. "I- a spared shot." The mere weight of the I 've got nerve enough, but against this club carried the ball out in soaring Aight; wind, with a heavy ball-well, it 's all in Mr. Cuyler sat down on the tee-box and the day's work. What difference does it mopped his glistening countenance. His make?"

expression, as he looked at Corbett, was "Not the least," Bowker assured him the harbinger of speech, but he thought heartily. "We all play for the fun of it." better of it, and kept silence, although the

Here Mr. Cuyler hooked viciously; al- effort must have tortured him. most before the club-head had passed the "Bully!" said Bowker. "You 'll be unball he was scrutinizing it with every der forty for nine holes !" symptom of apoplexy.

"Oh, no I won't. You don't know me. "Oh, the idiots!” he rasped. "The You 're a young man. I can't climb miserable, lying, cheating, swindling around these hills; all out of breath when idiots! Look! Look at that! Feel of I come to my second shot. I'll miss it that club! It 's new; just had it made.

sure.Took it out of the bag to-day for the first He topped it, but it rolled miraculously time. Feel where the balance is! There's to the green.

He putted, and the ball two ounces too much lead back there. sank with a gratifying tinkle. Feel it turn over of its own weight at the "Three for me,” he said, fumbling for top of the swing! The idea of trying to the card and dropping his pencil. "Three, play golf with a stuffed mallet like that! and it 's a par four! It 's three hundred Now I 'm mad! I 'll tell you exactly and sixty yards; it 's uphill-a birdie what 'll happen: I 'll dub every shot from three. I 'm one over four for six holes.” here to the finish. Watch me!”

He stretched his arms wide, and inhaled Accordingly, they watched him dub deeply. "Gad! what a wonderful course!" two of them, and run down an approach he said. “A wonderful course! It 's the putt for four.

hardest in the metropolitan district, “That 's the principle of it,” praised everybody says so,—and I 'm one over Bowker.

four for six holes! Did n't expect me to "Good recovery, Mr. Cuyler!" said be going so strong, did you? Where 's Horton.

the next? Where 's the seventh?" "You can't beat him," declared Corbett. “Foot of the hill," Bowker told him.

But the capitalist was shaking from “Long, but very easy. All you have to do head to foot. Despite his theory, he had is swipe it; she'll roll indefinitely." requisitioned a card from his caddy, and Obediently, Mr. Cuyler swiped it. He recorded his own score; twice, as he was caught the ball on the toe of the club; it making the entries, the pasteboard Aut- glanced to the right, found the slope, and tered from his palsied fingers.

leaped amazingly downward. Mr. Cuy"Four," he whispered.

“One over

ler, posing rigidly in the attitude in which four, one over four, two over four, two all experts are photographed, waited until over four. I 'm two over four for five his muscles ached. holes."

"Foundered," he said, "but it rolled. "Your shot, VIr. Cuyler.”

“I don't know what it is, but I put some

a

a par

me.”

once

more

sore

[ocr errors]

stuff on 'em. They certainly do roll for Joyously they chorused directions for

reaching the tenth, which was guarded by The other three all outdrove him, but another of the Inness brooks and by a his soul was beyond envy. He found his semicircle of trees. ball in a hanging lie. Wild-eyed and “Almost wish I had n't said I 'd play,” panting, he sclaffed badly; but it was be- the man of money told them. “Sat too yond his power to nullify the influence of long in the house ; got cold.” Thus armed

; a twenty-per-cent. grade, and he had a with a reasonable excuse, he drove almost short putt for a three. The ball hung on at right angles to the course. the lip of the cup; Mr. Cuyler whirled "Too bad!" said Horton, sorrowfully. toward his caddy.

“You bet it 's too bad,” murmured Cor“There you go again!” he roared. bett. “You coughed ! You do that

"Just cold -- nothing but cold,” ex

plained Mr. Cuyler. "Serves me right; In!" cried Bowker behind him.

ought to have had more sense. Now I “What? Did it go down?”

can't relax in the swing.” He took four “It fiddled around and then dropped. shots in the rough, gouged four tremenLook in the cup!"

dous clots of sod, approached execrably, “A three for Mr. Cuyler,” said Hor- putted miserably, and was down in nine. ton, noting it.

His subsequent monologue was illuminat"Even fours to here," commented Cor- ing. The three conspirators stole covert bett. “That 's remarkable, especially for glances at one another as they walked to a man who never saw the place before the eleventh tee. to-day.”

“We think we 're extravagant if we “But I 'm so at that caddy,” play for a ball a hole," whispered Corbett growled Mr. Cuyler, "I 'm likely to go all to Bowker. "It 's possible that we played to pieces any minute. Just my luck, any- the tenth for half a million-and lost!" way. Wish I 'd had some gloves. Well, "Give him a chance!" said Bowker, now for a short slice and a merry one! mirthlessly. Take me ten strokes now, I suppose ; The eleventh was rated on the card as lucky if I get around under fifty."

a par five; Mr. Cuyler, assisted by a flat As a matter of fact, he finished the stone at the root of a tree, accomplished it first nine holes in thirty-seven, and took in seven, broke his putter over his knee, stimulants more from necessity than from and kicked his tweed hat into the brook. inclination.

"Now I 've strained my thumb!” he It was an hour before they could per- said pathetically. “Never mind; come suade him back to the course.

ahead! Everything breaks against me. I "I 'm satisfied," he said. "You gentle- don't care; I play for the fun of it. It men go ahead. I'm tired now;

I'd keeps me out in the open air. If that probably hold you back. I'm tired. Nine caddy eats another apple as loudly as he holes is plenty for an old man, anyway.” did the last one, I 'll brain him.'

"Not by the wildest stretch of the imag- The twelfth was a simple iron shot; he ination,” said Horton, gallantly, "can a played it perfectly, got his three, and man be considered old when he can go out smiled wearily. in thirty-seven at Warwick!"

"Nineteen for three holes," he observed. Eventually they led him out, and again "Great golf! One over six! And now he paused to admire the landscape.

I 've got to putt with a cleik!" “What rent do you pay?” he asked. “Lend you my putter,” said three voices "Twenty thousand," said Corbett. in unison.

“I should want thirty; that 's six per He shook his head. cent. on the investment. Where's the

"Oh, no.

No use, anyway. I 'm done. next hole?"

My nerves are all shot to pieces. First

[ocr errors]
[graphic][merged small]

time in my life I ever had a stimulant be- balloon.” Nevertheless, he brought off tween rounds. No chance now. Is this another shot which Horton characterized a long one?"

as perfect. An approach and two putts "Straight out,” said Horton, and a mo- gave him his five. ment later he added: “That 's absolutely The fourteenth tee was on the edge of perfect. Two degrees off that line, and a sickening swamp, inhabited by bullfrogs you 'd have been either out of bounds or that croaked malevolently. Once more a in the rough.”

battery of trees was placed to penalize a "But-but that was a hook !"

slice; on the left an artistic rockery glinted "Exactly. Placed perfectly."

in the sun. "But I was playing off to the right "If those darned frogs would keep more!"

quiet," said Mr. Cuyler, warmly, "per"You were standing just as I 'm going haps I could give some attention to this to. I'd have told you if you were n't.” ball. How far is it across the Gulf of

"It may be all right," said Mr. Cuyler, Mexico?" mournfully, "but if I 've got to play these "A good, full shot." holes without even knowing where I 'm "And a good, full shot is something a to shoot, I 'll be so muddled I can't hit a man of seventy-I 'm nearly seventy

« PreviousContinue »