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“ If you don't Mind my
don't Mind my Telling you"
By HOLWORTHY HALL
Illustrations by Arthur Litle
R. VALENTINE MOTT, scowl- can get out of it now; he 's waiting for
ing ferociously, made a fierce ges- me at the first tee this minute. I hope ture toward his wife, five miles distant, you don't think I 'm enjoying it; it 's a and removed the hand which he had fitted cold-blooded business proposition; we're over the transmitter as soon as the men not really paying any attention to golf; he in the nearest locker unit had begun to just sort of wants to walk around for the sing "How Dry I am!" in close and exercise and talk between shots. Well, execrable harmony. Mr. Mott leaned in I would bring him home, but he wants the utter impatience against the wall, and exercise. -Oh, absolutely! Why, I'll glowered mercilessly at his distant wife, take you anywhere you say; I had n't and forthwith interrupted her in a voice planned anything for to-morrow- Not freighted with glucose and saccharin. to-night, dear; I can't go out anywhere
"Well, I 'm awfully sorry," he said. to-night. Yes, to-morrow, and any night "Yes, I know I promised to come back next week, too. I certainly don't! I did for lunch ; I know all that - I certainly n't even expect to play this afternoon, and did intend to come back, but - Well, to-morrow I 'll drive you anywhere you you know how it is; I met this man, and Oh, it might easily mean a thousand dolhe's a good customer of ours and he wants lars to me. Yes, a thousand. Just as me to play another round with him. I soon as we finish – Oh, no, I would n't was just getting ready to change my do that! The greens committee does n't clothes when he - Oh, I could, but I like to have women on the course on Satdon't like to offend a man; these buyers urdays. I 'll start home the minute we are so touchy you would n't - Well, of finish. All right; I 'm just as sorry as course; but it 's the little personal atten- you are. Good-by!” tions that count. It's a real opportunity Mr. Mott hung up the receiver, exto get solid with him. I don't see how I haled in an abandon of relief, and smartly
accosted a cadaverous friend, who hap stood there, sniffing contemptuously at his pened to be passing through the locker- own modest rating, a trio of late arrivals room:
burst through the side door, and bore "Oh, Smithson! Made up yet for the down upon him, laughing and talking and afternoon?" Smithson paused.
forecasting the future with that incor"I 've got to go home, Val. Where's rigible golfing optimism which is Phænixthe crowd you had this morning?"
born every day out of the black ashes of “They had to go home, too,” said Mr. yesterday's sodden facts. Mr. Mott knew Mott, implying unutterable weakness on all three, and he hailed them cheerfully. the part of the henpecked miscreants.
“Hello! Looking for a fourth man?" “How in thunder do you do it?" asked "No; somebody's waiting for us. the cadaverous one in frank envy and in- What 's the event?” jured righteousness. “If I ever managed "Two of 'em, morning and afternoon, to get in thirty-six holes just once--" both straight medal-play,” said Mr. Mott.
Mr. Mott waved the hand which had “Don't you fellows ever read the anrecently done duty as a silencer.
nouncements?" “Easiest thing in the world. Mrs. “Now and then. How were you going Mott would n't any more think of spoiling this morning?" my Saturdays than-well, she just would “Oh, pretty fair— for me, of course." n't think of it. She knows I 'm working The trio hurried away, and Mr. Mott, like a dog all the week; a man 's got to lingering only to make sure that the have some recreation.”
tabular results of the competition for the “That 's so; but I can't ever seem to treasurer's cup still remained
the get it over. Well, how were you shoot- board, - he had n't been put out until the
semi-finals, and liked to see his name in "Pretty fair-for me." Mr. Mott the bracket,--strolled into the grill, and nodded, moved off in the direction of the cast about him for companionship. grill, and halted on the outskirts of a The low-studded room, as Mr. Mott group which was actively engaged in filing entered it, echoed the mad confusion of a demurrers and replications. “Everybody political convention crossed with a dairy made up?" he inquired genially.
restaurant. Crockery clattered against “I am. How 's your game?"
wooden surfaces, plated silver clattered “Not bad- that is, for me," said Mr. against crockery, tumblers clinked to Mott. “Anybody looking for an extra tumblers, and hobnails grated on the redman?"
tiled floor. Men in knickerbockers and "My foursome's complete. Say, there's men in flannels huddled close to the round a special competition on for the afternoon; tables and bawled statistics at one anheard about it?"
other; men in street clothes dragged rat“No,” said Mr. Mott, alert. "I tling caddy-bags through from the office; thought it was only morning. What is it?" men Aushed and perspiring stamped in “Straight medal-play.”
from the eighteenth green, and clamored “Is that so? I 'll have to see about it. loudly at the bar. Disheveled waiters Well, how 're you hitting 'em?"
dodged aimlessly about in answer to the There was a choral response from the insistence of a dozen members simulgroup:
taneously. Half a hundred voices swelled “Vile!”
in extenuation, alibi, defense; half a hun"Never shot worse in my life!"
dred voices rang clear in joyous prophecy. "Don't speak of it!"
Drifting clouds of light-gray smoke clung Mr. Mott shook his head in profound like a canopy to the ceiling. The atmosympathy, and went on to the bulletin- sphere was surcharged with excitement, board, where he delayed for a moment to and Mr. Mott's nostrils dilated as he inspect the current handicap-list. As he scented it. The air quivered to the un
godly tumult, and Mr. Mott's ear-drums vibrated as he heard it.
"Waiter! Hang that waiter! Here, you! I-"
"I had a putt for a forty-seven coming in; without that nine on the tenth I 'd have had a putt for a forty-one"Come on; make it a ball Nassau—"
"Why should I give you a stroke? "Well, if I'd been playing my gameHere's my suggestion -"
“Honest, I have n't touched a club since "All right! All right! Count it up June,” yourself! 5, 7, 4, 9, 6, 6, 8—”
"Oh, I was awful! How about you?" “Hey, Jim! I had a par five-"
"Waiter!" “Waiter! Waiter! I did n't order Mr. Mott smiled happily, and buttonsoun!”
holed the chairman of the handicap com"That 's ground under repair. It says mittee. so on the card—”
"Made up yet?" "Oh, I could n't hit a balloon."
How'd you come out this "If you start us ore up on each nine inorning?" and—”
"Rotten!" said Mr. Mott, promptly. “Confound it! I did n't make the “Tore up my card; I was fierce. Know rules! It costs you two strokes!"
anybody that 's looking for a match?" "Telephone! Telephone for Mr. "Yes, there 's a man out by the caddySmithson! Mrs. Smithson calling —” house. Don't know who he is, but he's
"Well, my handicap 's too low. He's alone.” been under ninety twice this year, and “Thanks.” Mr. Mott edged his way still I 've got to give him three strokes— ' to the outer door, bellowed over his shoul
"Waiter! Hurry along that club sand- der to one who had bellowed a question wich, will you?"
at him the answer, “Pretty fair— for "If you'd just keep that left shoulder me," and emerged to the gravel walk. At down, Bill, and remember to follow this hour the first tee was deserted, but through-"
before the professional's tiny house Mr. "I 'll bet you I break 110—"
Mott saw a lanky stranger in an attitude "Oh, if I could putt, I'd be all right." of longing; Mr. Mott drew near and "Chick Evans did a seventy-three-" grinned. The stranger grinned in return.
“Here, give me that check! Oh, come "Waiting for somebody?” asked Mr. now, that 's not right—"
Vott. "Then I went all to pieces -"
"No," said the stranger. "Just taking
my chances; I 'm a new mem-
"Indeed! My name's Mott."
"I 'm alone, too. Suppose we try it?"
“I'd be glad to. Your name up?"
"I'll put it up," volunteered Mr. Mott. In the top space on the ruled sheet tacked to the score-board he scrawled his own patronymic, and added his stroke allowance. "What's
your handicap?" A.L.
“They have n't given me one yet."
"Well,” said Mr. Mott, un
certainly, "then you can't very Why do I draw? This one?"
well compete -"
"Oh, I 'm not going to. I 'm not strong for tournaments, anyway. I 'll just attest your round.”
“All right.” Mr. Mott dusted his hands, and stepped
to the caddy-master. "A couple of boys ready? Who do I draw? This one? My bag there? Now, son, your job is to watch the ball. You remember that, will you? Let's have the driver." He strode within the fatal inclosure, and swung the club experimentally at a trespassing cigarette stub. The stub leaped forward a yard, accurately on the line. "What do you play around in ?”
"Oh, I 'm erratic," said “Stand still, will you? Stop rattling those clubs!"" Chapman, watching intently. "Suppose you go ahead-take the honor." "Been playing much lately?” inquired
"Well, if you say so." He teed an Mr. Mott. almost new ball, and took his stance; wag- “Not a great deal.” gled, hesitated, stooped, glanced at his "You 've got a fine follow through, caddy, and glared at him. "Another ball," though.” he said shortly. "Red-line Silver King “It did n't seem to help that last shot," out of the pocket." The caddy, over- deprecated Chapman. He selected whelmed with guilt, furnished it. It was spoon, and was hole-high to the left of the of the same brand, the same marking, the green. same weight, and showed the same degree “Beautiful! Just a trifle off," comof wear and tear as the original choice; mented Mr. Mott. With the sole of his but Mr. Mott, for reasons comprehended club he patted down a worm-cast; with his only by golfers, regarded it with far heel he deleted a tuft of grass from the greater satisfaction. It was the ball with complications of his lie. He made his efwhich he had made the last hole in a par fort, and after it he held himself rooted five on the morning round. It was, so to to the spot until he had verified, by three speak, already broken in, trained, bid- swings at vacancy, his unexpressed opinion
, dable. Mr. Mott teed it, and after swing- that, given another opportunity, he would ing once or twice in exaggeratedly correct have split the fag. “I can't keep my form, lunged downward savagely.
head down,” he lamented. “Oh, well —” “Good ball!" approved Chapman. He turned suddenly to his caddy, and sent
"Too high," said Mr. Mott, with a bolt of lightning at him. “Watch this meretricious disgust. It was the longest one!" he ordered. And the caddy obedrive he had made from the first tee in six diently watched it hobble sixty feet, and months.
disappear in the leaves of a dry trench. The stranger hit a prodigious slice out As Mr. Mott, looking aggrievedly at a of bounds. On his second attempt the pair which had come up behind him and slice was less pronounced; he was in the were yelling “Fore!” at the top of their rough. The two players set out frater- lungs, stood on the first green and noted nally on their journey.
his score, he was impelled to quote history.