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The Clicking of Cuthbert - The Long Hole

1. Dedication and Contents

2. The Clicking of Cuthbert

3. A Woman is only a Woman

4. A Mixed Threesome

5. Sundered Hearts

6. The Salvation of George Mackintosh

7. Ordeal By Golf

8. The Long Hole

9. The Heel of Achilles

10. The Rough Stuff

11. The Coming of Gowf

The Long Hole

The young man, as he sat filling his pipe in the club-house
smoking-room, was inclined to be bitter.

"If there's one thing that gives me a pain squarely in the centre of
the gizzard," he burst out, breaking a silence that had lasted for some
minutes, "it's a golf-lawyer. They oughtn't to be allowed on the

The Oldest Member, who had been meditatively putting himself outside a
cup of tea and a slice of seed-cake, raised his white eyebrows.

"The Law," he said, "is an honourable profession. Why should its
practitioners be restrained from indulgence in the game of games?"

"I don't mean actual lawyers," said the young man, his acerbity
mellowing a trifle under the influence of tobacco. "I mean the
blighters whose best club is the book of rules. You know the sort of
excrescences. Every time you think you've won a hole, they dig out Rule
eight hundred and fifty-three, section two, sub-section four, to prove
that you've disqualified yourself by having an ingrowing toe-nail.
Well, take my case." The young man's voice was high and plaintive. "I
go out with that man Hemmingway to play an ordinary friendly
round--nothing depending on it except a measly ball--and on the seventh
he pulls me up and claims the hole simply because I happened to drop my
niblick in the bunker. Oh, well, a tick's a tick, and there's nothing
more to say, I suppose."

The Sage shook his head.

"Rules are rules, my boy, and must be kept. It is odd that you should
have brought up this subject, for only a moment before you came in I
was thinking of a somewhat curious match which ultimately turned upon a
question of the rule-book. It is true that, as far as the actual prize
was concerned, it made little difference. But perhaps I had better tell
you the whole story from the beginning."

The young man shifted uneasily in his chair.

"Well, you know, I've had a pretty rotten time this afternoon

"I will call my story," said the Sage, tranquilly, "'The Long Hole',
for it involved the playing of what I am inclined to think must be the
longest hole in the history of golf. In its beginnings the story may
remind you of one I once told you about Peter Willard and James Todd,
but you will find that it develops in quite a different manner. Ralph

"I half promised to go and see a man----"

"But I will begin at the beginning," said the Sage. "I see that you are
all impatience to hear the full details."

* * * * *

Ralph Bingham and Arthur Jukes (said the Oldest Member) had never been
friends--their rivalry was too keen to admit of that--but it was not
till Amanda Trivett came to stay here that a smouldering distaste for
each other burst out into the flames of actual enmity. It is ever so.
One of the poets, whose name I cannot recall, has a passage, which I am
unable at the moment to remember, in one of his works, which for the
time being has slipped my mind, which hits off admirably this age-old
situation. The gist of his remarks is that lovely woman rarely fails to
start something. In the weeks that followed her arrival, being in the
same room with the two men was like dropping in on a reunion of
Capulets and Montagues.

You see, Ralph and Arthur were so exactly equal in their skill on the
links that life for them had for some time past resolved itself into a
silent, bitter struggle in which first one, then the other, gained some
slight advantage. If Ralph won the May medal by a stroke, Arthur would
be one ahead in the June competition, only to be nosed out again in
July. It was a state of affairs which, had they been men of a more
generous stamp, would have bred a mutual respect, esteem, and even
love. But I am sorry to say that, apart from their golf, which was in a
class of its own as far as this neighbourhood was concerned, Ralph
Bingham and Arthur Jukes were a sorry pair--and yet, mark you, far from
lacking in mere superficial good looks. They were handsome fellows,
both of them, and well aware of the fact; and when Amanda Trivett came
to stay they simply straightened their ties, twirled their moustaches,
and expected her to do the rest.

But there they were disappointed. Perfectly friendly though she was to
both of them, the lovelight was conspicuously absent from her beautiful
eyes. And it was not long before each had come independently to a
solution of this mystery. It was plain to them that the whole trouble
lay in the fact that each neutralized the other's attractions. Arthur
felt that, if he could only have a clear field, all would be over
except the sending out of the wedding invitations; and Ralph was of the
opinion that, if he could just call on the girl one evening without
finding the place all littered up with Arthur, his natural charms would
swiftly bring home the bacon. And, indeed, it was true that they had no
rivals except themselves. It happened at the moment that Woodhaven was
very short of eligible bachelors. We marry young in this delightful
spot, and all the likely men were already paired off. It seemed that,
if Amanda Trivett intended to get married, she would have to select
either Ralph Bingham or Arthur Jukes. A dreadful choice.

* * * * *

It had not occurred to me at the outset that my position in the affair
would be anything closer than that of a detached and mildly interested
spectator. Yet it was to me that Ralph came in his hour of need. When I
returned home one evening, I found that my man had brought him in and
laid him on the mat in my sitting-room.

I offered him a chair and a cigar, and he came to the point with
commendable rapidity.

"Leigh," he said, directly he had lighted his cigar, "is too small for
Arthur Jukes and myself."

"Ah, you have been talking it over and decided to move?" I said,
delighted. "I think you are perfectly right. Leigh _is_ over-built.
Men like you and Jukes need a lot of space. Where do you think of

"I'm not going."

"But I thought you said----"

"What I meant was that the time has come when one of us must leave."

"Oh, only one of you?" It was something, of course, but I confess I was
disappointed, and I think my disappointment must have shown in my
voice; for he looked at me, surprised.

"Surely you wouldn't mind Jukes going?" he said.

"Why, certainly not. He really is going, is he?"

A look of saturnine determination came into Ralph's face.

"He is. He thinks he isn't, but he is."

I failed to understand him, and said so. He looked cautiously about the
room, as if to reassure himself that he could not be overheard.

"I suppose you've noticed," he said, "the disgusting way that man Jukes
has been hanging round Miss Trivett, boring her to death?"

"I have seen them together sometimes."

"I love Amanda Trivett!" said Ralph.

"Poor girl!" I sighed.

"I beg your pardon?"

"Poor girl!" I said. "I mean, to have Arthur Jukes hanging round her."

"That's just what I think," said Ralph Bingham. "And that's why we're
going to play this match."

"What match?"

"This match we've decided to play. I want you to act as one of the
judges, to go along with Jukes and see that he doesn't play any of his
tricks. You know what he is! And in a vital match like this----"

"How much are you playing for?"

"The whole world!"

"I beg your pardon?"

"The whole world. It amounts to that. The loser is to leave Leigh for
good, and the winner stays on and marries Amanda Trivett. We have
arranged all the details. Rupert Bailey will accompany me, acting as
the other judge."

"And you want me to go round with Jukes?"

"Not round," said Ralph Bingham. "Along."

"What is the distinction?"

"We are not going to play a round. Only one hole."

"Sudden death, eh?"

"Not so very sudden. It's a longish hole. We start on the first tee
here and hole out in the town in the doorway of the Majestic Hotel in
Royal Square. A distance, I imagine, of about sixteen miles."

I was revolted. About that time a perfect epidemic of freak matches had
broken out in the club, and I had strongly opposed them from the start.
George Willis had begun it by playing a medal round with the pro.,
George's first nine against the pro.'s complete eighteen. After that
came the contest between Herbert Widgeon and Montague Brown, the
latter, a twenty-four handicap man, being entitled to shout "Boo!"
three times during the round at moments selected by himself. There had
been many more of these degrading travesties on the sacred game, and I
had writhed to see them. Playing freak golf-matches is to my mind like
ragging a great classical melody. But of the whole collection this one,
considering the sentimental interest and the magnitude of the stakes,
seemed to me the most terrible. My face, I imagine, betrayed my
disgust, for Bingham attempted extenuation.

"It's the only way," he said. "You know how Jukes and I are on the
links. We are as level as two men can be. This, of course is due to his
extraordinary luck. Everybody knows that he is the world's champion
fluker. I, on the other hand, invariably have the worst luck. The
consequence is that in an ordinary round it is always a toss-up which
of us wins. The test we propose will eliminate luck. After sixteen
miles of give-and-take play, I am certain--that is to say, the better
man is certain to be ahead. That is what I meant when I said that
Arthur Jukes would shortly be leaving Leigh. Well, may I take it that
you will consent to act as one of the judges?"

I considered. After all, the match was likely to be historic, and one
always feels tempted to hand one's name down to posterity.

"Very well," I said.

"Excellent. You will have to keep a sharp eye on Jukes, I need scarcely
remind you. You will, of course, carry a book of the rules in your
pocket and refer to them when you wish to refresh your memory. We start
at daybreak, for, if we put it off till later, the course at the other
end might be somewhat congested when we reached it. We want to avoid
publicity as far as possible. If I took a full iron and hit a
policeman, it would excite a remark."

"It would. I can tell you the exact remark which it would excite."

"We will take bicycles with us, to minimize the fatigue of covering the
distance. Well, I am glad that we have your co-operation. At daybreak
tomorrow on the first tee, and don't forget to bring your rule-book."

* * * * *

The atmosphere brooding over the first tee when I reached it on the
following morning, somewhat resembled that of a duelling-ground in the
days when these affairs were sealed with rapiers or pistols. Rupert
Bailey, an old friend of mine, was the only cheerful member of the
party. I am never at my best in the early morning, and the two rivals
glared at each other with silent sneers. I had never supposed till that
moment that men ever really sneered at one another outside the movies,
but these two were indisputably doing so. They were in the mood when
men say "Pshaw!"

They tossed for the honour, and Arthur Jukes, having won, drove off
with a fine ball that landed well down the course. Ralph Bingham,
having teed up, turned to Rupert Bailey.

"Go down on to the fairway of the seventeenth," he said. "I want you to
mark my ball."

Rupert stared.

"The seventeenth!"

"I am going to take that direction," said Ralph, pointing over the

"But that will land your second or third shot in the lake."

"I have provided for that. I have a fiat-bottomed boat moored close by
the sixteenth green. I shall use a mashie-niblick and chip my ball
aboard, row across to the other side, chip it ashore, and carry on. I
propose to go across country as far as Woodfield. I think it will save
me a stroke or two."

I gasped. I had never before realized the man's devilish cunning. His
tactics gave him a flying start. Arthur, who had driven straight down
the course, had as his objective the high road, which adjoins the waste
ground beyond the first green. Once there, he would play the orthodox
game by driving his ball along till he reached the bridge. While Arthur
was winding along the high road, Ralph would have cut off practically
two sides of a triangle. And it was hopeless for Arthur to imitate his
enemy's tactics now. From where his ball lay he would have to cross a
wide tract of marsh in order to reach the seventeenth fairway--an
impossible feat. And, even if it had been feasible, he had no boat to
take him across the water.

He uttered a violent protest. He was an unpleasant young man,
almost--it seems absurd to say so, but almost as unpleasant as Ralph
Bingham; yet at the moment I am bound to say I sympathized with him.

"What are you doing?" he demanded. "You can't play fast and loose with
the rules like that."

"To what rule do you refer?" said Ralph, coldly.

"Well, that bally boat of yours is a hazard, isn't it? And you can't
row a hazard about all over the place."

"Why not?"

The simple question seemed to take Arthur Jukes aback.

"Why not?" he repeated. "Why not? Well, you can't. That's why."

"There is nothing in the rules," said Ralph Bingham, "against moving a
hazard. If a hazard can be moved without disturbing the ball, you are
at liberty, I gather, to move it wherever you please. Besides, what is
all this about moving hazards? I have a perfect right to go for a
morning row, haven't I? If I were to ask my doctor, he would probably
actually recommend it. I am going to row my boat across the sound. If
it happens to have my ball on board, that is not my affair. I shall not
disturb my ball, and I shall play it from where it lies. Am I right in
saying that the rules enact that the ball shall be played from where it

We admitted that it was.

"Very well, then," said Ralph Bingham. "Don't let us waste any more
time. We will wait for you at Woodfield."

He addressed his ball, and drove a beauty over the trees. It flashed
out of sight in the direction of the seventeenth tee. Arthur and I made
our way down the hill to play our second.

* * * * *

It is a curious trait of the human mind that, however little personal
interest one may have in the result, it is impossible to prevent
oneself taking sides in any event of a competitive nature. I had
embarked on this affair in a purely neutral spirit, not caring which of
the two won and only sorry that both could not lose. Yet, as the
morning wore on, I found myself almost unconsciously becoming
distinctly pro-Jukes. I did not like the man. I objected to his face,
his manners, and the colour of his tie. Yet there was something in the
dogged way in which he struggled against adversity which touched me and
won my grudging support. Many men, I felt, having been so outmanoeuvred
at the start, would have given up the contest in despair; but Arthur
Jukes, for all his defects, had the soul of a true golfer. He declined
to give up. In grim silence he hacked his ball through the rough till
he reached the high road; and then, having played twenty-seven, set
himself resolutely to propel it on its long journey.

It was a lovely morning, and, as I bicycled along, keeping a fatherly
eye on Arthur's activities, I realized for the first time in my life
the full meaning of that exquisite phrase of Coleridge:

_"Clothing the palpable and familiar
With golden exhalations of the dawn,"_

for in the pellucid air everything seemed weirdly beautiful, even
Arthur Juke's heather-mixture knickerbockers, of which hitherto I had
never approved. The sun gleamed on their seat, as he bent to make his
shots, in a cheerful and almost a poetic way. The birds were singing
gaily in the hedgerows, and such was my uplifted state that I, too,
burst into song, until Arthur petulantly desired me to refrain, on the
plea that, though he yielded to no man in his enjoyment of farmyard
imitations in their proper place, I put him off his stroke. And so we
passed through Bayside in silence and started to cover that long
stretch of road which ends in the railway bridge and the gentle descent
into Woodfield.

Arthur was not doing badly. He was at least keeping them straight. And
in the circumstances straightness was to be preferred to distance. Soon
after leaving Little Hadley he had become ambitious and had used his
brassey with disastrous results, slicing his fifty-third into the rough
on the right of the road. It had taken him ten with the niblick to get
back on to the car tracks, and this had taught him prudence.

He was now using his putter for every shot, and, except when he got
trapped in the cross-lines at the top of the hill just before reaching
Bayside, he had been in no serious difficulties. He was playing a nice
easy game, getting the full face of the putter on to each shot.

At the top of the slope that drops down into Woodfield High Street he

"I think I might try my brassey again here," he said. "I have a nice

"Is it wise?" I said.

He looked down the hill.

"What I was thinking," he said, "was that with it I might wing that man
Bingham. I see he is standing right out in the middle of the fairway."

I followed his gaze. It was perfectly true. Ralph Bingham was leaning
on his bicycle in the roadway, smoking a cigarette. Even at this
distance one could detect the man's disgustingly complacent expression.
Rupert Bailey was sitting with his back against the door of the
Woodfield Garage, looking rather used up. He was a man who liked to
keep himself clean and tidy, and it was plain that the cross-country
trip had done him no good. He seemed to be scraping mud off his face. I
learned later that he had had the misfortune to fall into a ditch just
beyond Bayside.

"No," said Arthur. "On second thoughts, the safe game is the one to
play. I'll stick to the putter."

We dropped down the hill, and presently came up with the opposition. I
had not been mistaken in thinking that Ralph Bingham looked complacent.
The man was smirking.

"Playing three hundred and ninety-six," he said, as we drew near. "How
are you?"

I consulted my score-card.

"We have played a snappy seven hundred and eleven." I said.

Ralph exulted openly. Rupert Bailey made no comment. He was too busy
with the alluvial deposits on his person.

"Perhaps you would like to give up the match?" said Ralph to Arthur.

"Tchah!" said Arthur.

"Might just as well."

"Pah!" said Arthur.

"You can't win now."

"Pshaw!" said Arthur.

I am aware that Arthur's dialogue might have been brighter, but he had
been through a trying time.

Rupert Bailey sidled up to me.

"I'm going home," he said.

"Nonsense!" I replied. "You are in an official capacity. You must stick
to your post. Besides, what could be nicer than a pleasant morning

"Pleasant morning ramble my number nine foot!" he replied, peevishly.
"I want to get back to civilization and set an excavating party with
pickaxes to work on me."

"You take too gloomy a view of the matter. You are a little dusty.
Nothing more."

"And it's not only the being buried alive that I mind. I cannot stick
Ralph Bingham much longer."

"You have found him trying?"

"Trying! Why, after I had fallen into that ditch and was coming up for
the third time, all the man did was simply to call to me to admire an
infernal iron shot he had just made. No sympathy, mind you! Wrapped up
in himself. Why don't you make your man give up the match? He can't

"I refuse to admit it. Much may happen between here and Royal Square."

I have seldom known a prophecy more swiftly fulfilled. At this moment
the doors of the Woodfield Garage opened and a small car rolled out
with a grimy young man in a sweater at the wheel. He brought the
machine out into the road, and alighted and went back into the garage,
where we heard him shouting unintelligibly to someone in the rear
premises. The car remained puffing and panting against the kerb.

Engaged in conversation with Rupert Bailey, I was paying little
attention to this evidence of an awakening world, when suddenly I heard
a hoarse, triumphant cry from Arthur Jukes, and, turned, I perceived
his ball dropping neatly into the car's interior. Arthur himself,
brandishing a niblick, was dancing about in the fairway.

"Now what about your moving hazards?" he cried.

At this moment the man in the sweater returned, carrying a spanner.
Arthur Jukes sprang towards him.

"I'll give you five pounds to drive me to Royal Square," he said.

I do not know what the sweater-clad young man's engagements for the
morning had been originally, but nothing could have been more obliging
than the ready way in which he consented to revise them at a moment's
notice. I dare say you have noticed that the sturdy peasantry of our
beloved land respond to an offer of five pounds as to a bugle-call.

"You're on," said the youth.

"Good!" said Arthur Jukes.

"You think you're darned clever," said Ralph Bingham.

"I know it," said Arthur.

"Well, then," said Ralph, "perhaps you will tell us how you propose to
get the ball out of the car when you reach Royal Square?"

"Certainly," replied Arthur. "You will observe on the side of the
vehicle a convenient handle which, when turned, opens the door. The
door thus opened, I shall chip my ball out!"

"I see," said Ralph. "Yes, I never thought of that."

There was something in the way the man spoke that I did not like. His
mildness seemed to me suspicious. He had the air of a man who has
something up his sleeve. I was still musing on this when Arthur called
to me impatiently to get in. I did so, and we drove off. Arthur was in
great spirits. He had ascertained from the young man at the wheel that
there was no chance of the opposition being able to hire another car at
the garage. This machine was his own property, and the only other one
at present in the shop was suffering from complicated trouble of the
oiling-system and would not be able to be moved for at least another

I, however, shook my head when he pointed out the advantages of his
position. I was still wondering about Ralph.

"I don't like it," I said.

"Don't like what?"

"Ralph Bingham's manner."

"Of course not," said Arthur. "Nobody does. There have been complaints
on all sides."

"I mean, when you told him how you intended to get the ball out of the

"What was the matter with him?"

"He was too--ha!"

"How do you mean he was too--ha?"

"I have it!"


"I see the trap he was laying for you. It has just dawned on me. No
wonder he didn't object to your opening the door and chipping the ball
out. By doing so you would forfeit the match."

"Nonsense! Why?"

"Because," I said, "it is against the rules to tamper with a hazard. If
you had got into a sand-bunker, would you smooth away the sand? If you
had put your shot under a tree, could your caddie hold up the branches
to give you a clear shot? Obviously you would disqualify yourself if
you touched that door."

Arthur's jaw dropped.

"What! Then how the deuce am I to get it out?"

"That," I said, gravely, "is a question between you and your Maker."

It was here that Arthur Jukes forfeited the sympathy which I had begun
to feel for him. A crafty, sinister look came into his eyes.

"Listen!" he said. "It'll take them an hour to catch up with us.
Suppose, during that time, that door happened to open accidentally, as
it were, and close again? You wouldn't think it necessary to mention
the fact, eh? You would be a good fellow and keep your mouth shut, yes?
You might even see your way to go so far as to back me up in a
statement to the effect that I hooked it out with my----?"

I was revolted.

"I am a golfer," I said, coldly, "and I obey the rules."

"Yes, but----"

"Those rules were drawn up by----"--I bared my head reverently--"by the
Committee of the Royal and Ancient at St. Andrews. I have always
respected them, and I shall not deviate on this occasion from the
policy of a lifetime."

Arthur Jukes relapsed into a moody silence. He broke it once, crossing
the West Street Bridge, to observe that he would like to know if I
called myself a friend of his--a question which I was able to answer
with a whole-hearted negative. After that he did not speak till the car
drew up in front of the Majestic Hotel in Royal Square.

Early as the hour was, a certain bustle and animation already prevailed
in that centre of the city, and the spectacle of a man in a golf-coat
and plus-four knickerbockers hacking with a niblick at the floor of a
car was not long in collecting a crowd of some dimensions. Three
messenger-boys, four typists, and a gentleman in full evening-dress,
who obviously possessed or was friendly with someone who possessed a
large cellar, formed the nucleus of it; and they were joined about the
time when Arthur addressed the ball in order to play his nine hundred
and fifteenth by six news-boys, eleven charladies, and perhaps a dozen
assorted loafers, all speculating with the liveliest interest as to
which particular asylum had had the honour of sheltering Arthur before
he had contrived to elude the vigilance of his custodians.

Arthur had prepared for some such contingency. He suspended his
activities with the niblick, and drew from his pocket a large poster,
which he proceeded to hang over the side of the car. It read:


His knowledge of psychology had not misled him. Directly they gathered
that he was advertising something, the crowd declined to look at it;
they melted away, and Arthur returned to his work in solitude.

He was taking a well-earned rest after playing his eleven hundred and
fifth, a nice niblick shot with lots of wrist behind it, when out of
Bridle Street there trickled a weary-looking golf-ball, followed in the
order named by Ralph Bingham, resolute but going a trifle at the knees,
and Rupert Bailey on a bicycle. The latter, on whose face and limbs the
mud had dried, made an arresting spectacle.

"What are you playing?" I inquired.

"Eleven hundred," said Rupert. "We got into a casual dog."

"A casual dog?"

"Yes, just before the bridge. We were coming along nicely, when a stray
dog grabbed our nine hundred and ninety-eighth and took it nearly back
to Woodfield, and we had to start all over again. How are you getting

"We have just played our eleven hundred and fifth. A nice even game." I
looked at Ralph's ball, which was lying close to the kerb. "You are
farther from the hole, I think. Your shot, Bingham."

Rupert Bailey suggested breakfast. He was a man who was altogether too
fond of creature comforts. He had not the true golfing spirit.

"Breakfast!" I exclaimed.

"Breakfast," said Rupert, firmly. "If you don't know what it is, I can
teach you in half a minute. You play it with a pot of coffee, a knife
and fork, and about a hundred-weight of scrambled eggs. Try it. It's a
pastime that grows on you."

I was surprised when Ralph Bingham supported the suggestion. He was so
near holing out that I should have supposed that nothing would have
kept him from finishing the match. But he agreed heartily.

"Breakfast," he said, "is an excellent idea. You go along in. I'll
follow in a moment. I want to buy a paper."

We went into the hotel, and a few minutes later he joined us. Now that
we were actually at the table, I confess that the idea of breakfast was
by no means repugnant to me. The keen air and the exercise had given me
an appetite, and it was some little time before I was able to assure
the waiter definitely that he could cease bringing orders of scrambled
eggs. The others having finished also, I suggested a move. I was
anxious to get the match over and be free to go home.

We filed out of the hotel, Arthur Jukes leading. When I had passed
through the swing-doors, I found him gazing perplexedly up and down the

"What is the matter?" I asked.

"It's gone!"

"What has gone?"

"The car!"

"Oh, the car?" said Ralph Bingham. "That's all right. Didn't I tell you
about that? I bought it just now and engaged the driver as my
chauffeur, I've been meaning to buy a car for a long time. A man ought
to have a car."

"Where is it?" said Arthur, blankly. The man seemed dazed.

"I couldn't tell you to a mile or two," replied Ralph. "I told the man
to drive to Glasgow. Why? Had you any message for him?"

"But my ball was inside it!"

"Now that," said Ralph, "is really unfortunate! Do you mean to tell me
you hadn't managed to get it out yet? Yes, that is a little awkward for
you. I'm afraid it means that you lose the match."

"Lose the match?"

"Certainly. The rules are perfectly definite on that point. A period of
five minutes is allowed for each stroke. The player who fails to make
his stroke within that time loses the hole. Unfortunate, but there it

Arthur Jukes sank down on the path and buried his face in his hands. He
had the appearance of a broken man. Once more, I am bound to say, I
felt a certain pity for him. He had certainly struggled gamely, and it
was hard to be beaten like this on the post.

"Playing eleven hundred and one," said Ralph Bingham, in his odiously
self-satisfied voice, as he addressed his ball. He laughed jovially. A
messenger-boy had paused close by and was watching the proceedings
gravely. Ralph Bingham patted him on the head.

"Well, sonny," he said, "what club would _you_ use here?"

"I claim the match!" cried Arthur Jukes, springing up. Ralph Bingham
regarded him coldly.

"I beg your pardon?"

"I claim the match!" repeated Arthur Jukes. "The rules say that a
player who asks advice from any person other than his caddie shall lose
the hole."

"This is absurd!" said Ralph, but I noticed that he had turned pale.

"I appeal to the judges."

"We sustain the appeal," I said, after a brief consultation with Rupert
Bailey. "The rule is perfectly clear."

"But you had lost the match already by not playing within five
minutes," said Ralph, vehemently.

"It was not my turn to play. You were farther from the pin."

"Well, play now. Go on! Let's see you make your shot."

"There is no necessity," said Arthur, frigidly. "Why should I play when
you have already disqualified yourself?"

"I claim a draw!"

"I deny the claim."

"I appeal to the judges."

"Very well. We will leave it to the judges."

I consulted with Rupert Bailey. It seemed to me that Arthur Jukes was
entitled to the verdict. Rupert, who, though an amiable and delightful
companion, had always been one of Nature's fat-heads, could not see it.
We had to go back to our principals and announce that we had been
unable to agree.

"This is ridiculous," said Ralph Bingham. "We ought to have had a third

At this moment, who should come out of the hotel but Amanda Trivett! A
veritable goddess from the machine.

"It seems to me," I said, "that you would both be well advised to leave
the decision to Miss Trivett. You could have no better referee."

"I'm game," said Arthur Jukes.

"Suits _me_," said Ralph Bingham.

"Why, whatever are you all doing here with your golf-clubs?" asked the
girl, wonderingly.

"These two gentlemen," I explained, "have been playing a match, and a
point has arisen on which the judges do not find themselves in
agreement. We need an unbiased outside opinion, and we should like to
put it up to you. The facts are as follows:..."

Amanda Trivett listened attentively, but, when I had finished, she
shook her head.

"I'm afraid I don't know enough about the game to be able to decide a
question like that," she said.

"Then we must consult St. Andrews," said Rupert Bailey.

"I'll tell you who might know," said Amanda Trivett, after a moment's

"Who is that?" I asked.

"My _fiance_. He has just come back from a golfing holiday. That's
why I'm in town this morning. I've been to meet him. He is very good at
golf. He won a medal at Little-Mudbury-in-the-Wold the day before he

There was a tense silence. I had the delicacy not to look at Ralph or
Arthur. Then the silence was broken by a sharp crack. Ralph Bingham had
broken his mashie-niblick across his knee. From the direction where
Arthur Jukes was standing there came a muffled gulp.

"Shall I ask him?" said Amanda Trivett.

"Don't bother," said Ralph Bingham.

"It doesn't matter," said Arthur Jukes.

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