THE CLICKING OF CUTHBERT
by P. G. Wodehouse
TO THE IMMORTAL MEMORY OF
JOHN HENRIE AND PAT ROGIE
WHO AT EDINBURGH IN THE YEAR 1593 A.D.
WERE IMPRISONED FOR
"PLAYING OF THE GOWFF ON THE LINKS OF LEITH
EVERY SABBATH THE TIME OF THE SERMONSES",
ALSO OF ROBERT ROBERTSON WHO GOT IT IN THE NECK
IN 1604 A.D. FOR THE SAME REASON
This book marks an epoch in my literary career. It is written in
blood. It is the outpouring of a soul as deeply seared by Fate's
unkindness as the pretty on the dog-leg hole of the second nine was
ever seared by my iron. It is the work of a very nearly desperate man,
an eighteen-handicap man who has got to look extremely slippy if he
doesn't want to find himself in the twenties again.
As a writer of light fiction, I have always till now been handicapped
by the fact that my disposition was cheerful, my heart intact, and my
life unsoured. Handicapped, I say, because the public likes to feel
that a writer of farcical stories is piquantly miserable in his private
life, and that, if he turns out anything amusing, he does it simply in
order to obtain relief from the almost insupportable weight of an
existence which he has long since realized to be a wash-out. Well,
today I am just like that.
Two years ago, I admit, I was a shallow _farceur_. My work lacked
depth. I wrote flippantly simply because I was having a thoroughly good
time. Then I took up golf, and now I can smile through the tears and
laugh, like Figaro, that I may not weep, and generally hold my head up
and feel that I am entitled to respect.
If you find anything in this volume that amuses you, kindly bear in
mind that it was probably written on my return home after losing three
balls in the gorse or breaking the head off a favourite driver: and,
with a murmured "Brave fellow! Brave fellow!" recall the story of the
clown jesting while his child lay dying at home. That is all. Thank you
for your sympathy. It means more to me than I can say. Do you think
that if I tried the square stance for a bit.... But, after all, this
cannot interest you. Leave me to my misery.
POSTSCRIPT.--In the second chapter I allude to Stout Cortez staring at
the Pacific. Shortly after the appearance of this narrative in serial
form in America, I received an anonymous letter containing the words,
"You big stiff, it wasn't Cortez, it was Balboa." This, I believe, is
historically accurate. On the other hand, if Cortez was good enough for
Keats, he is good enough for me. Besides, even if it _was_ Balboa,
the Pacific was open for being stared at about that time, and I see no
reason why Cortez should not have had a look at it as well.
P. G. WODEHOUSE.
I. THE CLICKING OF CUTHBERT
II. A WOMAN IS ONLY A WOMAN
III. A MIXED THREESOME
IV. SUNDERED HEARTS
V. THE SALVATION OF GEORGE MACKINTOSH
VI. ORDEAL BY GOLF
VII. THE LONG HOLE
VIII. THE HEEL OF ACHILLES
IX. THE ROUGH STUFF
X. THE COMING OF GOWF