A Test on the Links:
W. B. WALLACE
How Parental Interference Led to a Wise Selection in the Choice of a Husband
The match-making mamma is recognized us an institution, hut the man who permits himself to interfere in the tangled skein of love affairs is occupying an amomalous and dangeruu s position. It is not always, however, that parental interference results in trouble. Here is a case where the insight of a father led to his daughter finding true happiness. The story is told in a delightfully humorous rein.
"I THINK that I’ve recovered from this heart attack, and I suppose I can safely return to my law office next week,” said Mr Olney, to himself in a ruminative mood. “But since the doctor told me yesterday that another similar attack might be fatal, I’ve been wondering what will become of Marjory when I go. If her mother had not died-”
Mr. Olney, who had been sitting in the library in his own house, rose and pressed an electric button, and a colored boy in neat uniform soon appeared.
“Where is Miss Marjory, Theophilus?” asked Mr. Olney.
“She’s gone off in a mowter-kyar, with Mr. Pottah, sah, to see a tennis turniment, sah. She told me she would be home agin at seven o’clock, sah.”
“I don’t want to be disturbed by anyone this afternoon,” said Mr. Olney.
“Ve’y well, sah,” said the boy bowing and turning to leave the room.
The mother and the aunt of the boy had been domestics in the Olney household, and when the mother died Mr. Olney had given the boy employment in the house
“How are Uncle Peter and Aunt Chloe?” asked Mr. Olney.
“Uncle Pete ain’t goin’ to las’ long; he’s got infermation ob de brain, togedder wid an ulster in his stummick. Aunt Chloe is only middlin’, thank you, sah. Yistiddy she was tumble bad with the roomatiz, en, dis mawnin’ she was in pain, wedder she was a settin’, a layin’ or a standin’, but she’s much bettah dis aft’noon.”
“Tell her that she must not do any work until she’s quite well again,” said Mr. Olney.
“Thank you, sah.”
“So Marjory is with young Potter again,” said Mr. Olney musingly, after the boy had left the room. “I wish I could think well of him. He’s good-looking and clever and rich, but there seems to be something lacking in him. He seems good-humored, but, then, he’s always had his own way, and a man may be good-humored and not good-natured. Potter’s father was clever and smoothspoken, but selfish and ill-tempered. I hope the son has better qualities than his father. Marjory could never be happy with an ill-tempered husband. So many girls become engaged, thoughtlessly, and enter-upon marriage jauntily, as if it were a mere summer’s excursion, instead of a life companionship, and the gravest act in a woman’s life. Jeremy Taylor says that marriage is the most important die that man can throw, next to the great
cast for eternity, and it is even more vital to a woman than to a man. It would be imprudent for me to say anything to Marjory which might seem like an attempt to check the intimacy between her and this young chap. A parent’s opposition often accelerates, instead of prevents, an engagement.
“Now there’s young Walter Elliot in love with Marjory also, and I’m certain he is manly, good-tempered and unselfish. It seems strange that Marjory should hesitate between the two young men ; but perhaps I’m wrong in my estimate of young Potter. I must devise some scheme to give Marjory a fair chance to test the merits of these two suitors.”
The lawyer leaned his head on his hand, and sat in his library for a long while, absorbed in thought.
/""AN the same evening after dinner, Mr.
Olney sat in his library reading a law book, when there was a tap at the door and two young ladies entered.
“Here’s my poor old dad,” gaily exclaimed the younger one, a fair-haired girl of apparently about nineteen years of age. “It’s a shame you should be confined to the house these lovely days, while your daughter is enjoying herself outdoors like a butterfly.
“But really, father,” she added, more quietly as she kissed him affectionately, “you were in my thoughts all the afternoon, and I’m going to spend this whole evening with you, instead of going to the theatre with Cousin Louise and Mr. Potter.”
“No Marjory,” said her father, smilingly, “I must give the law-books the preference to-night, and you must go to the theatre. Was the tennis good to-day, Louie?” he asked, turning towards his
“Yes, indeed,” replied Louie, “there ; were some excellent setts.”
“I used to think tennis a fine game, until I took up golf,” said Mr. Olney, “and then I realized that there is onlv one royal and perfect game in the world, compared with which all other games seem insipid and trivial.”
“I like golf very much, father,” said Mariory, “and when you get really well again I am going to have some more golf matches with you.”
“I’m glad you like it,” said her father. “I was thinking this afternoon that as you and Louisa play golf about equally well-”
“You mean equally badly,” interjected Marjory.
“And as young Potter and young Elliot are in the one class as players, I might offer a couple of prizes to the winners in a foursome match, which you four could arrange to play. Theophilus has often caddied for me, and I’ll let you have him as one of the caddies in the contest. The outing will be a holiday for the little chap.”
“Isn’t that a capital scheme!” exclaimed Marjory rapturously. “But it’s only like the dearest, kindest and most thoughtful father that ever lived. A good match would be Ralph Potter with me against Mr. Elliot and Louie, and we could play it to-morrow.”
“Agreed,” said Mr. Olney. “My only regret is that I won’t see the contest. I’ve missed my golf very much in my illness, and often think of the superb old game. Indeed, one afternoon, sitting here, I was guilty of writing a little piece of poetry concerning it, which I’ll read to you both some day.”
“You’ll read it to us now,” said Marjory. “I am not going to leave this room until I hear it,” she added, assuming a tragic air, folding her arms resolutely, and making a very comical attempt to look heroically determined. “A corporation lawyer’s first attempt at poetry should receive prompt acknowledgment. Your victims are ready now, sir!”
“If the only way to get you out of this room is to read the ‘poem,’ I’ll do so,” said her father.
All the world’s a links,
And all the men and women merely golfers: They have their victories and their defeats; And one man in his time plays many rounds. His games having seven stages. At first the Caddy.
Dragging the golf-bag with his little arms: Then, the truant School-boy, with nimble feet. And fun-expectant face, keeping away Most^ willingly from school. And then the
Playing sweet twosomes ; with woeful excuses Made for his mistress’ foozles ; then a Star
Full of strange oaths, and critic of his “pard,” Jealous of “honors.” graceful and quick in driving
Seeking the bubble reputation Kven in the championship. And then the “Has Been,”
In fair rounds only, a bit stiff-jointed,
With eyes of care, thin hair, of Nature’s ent. Full of “I saw’s,” and reminiscences ;
And so^he plays his part: The sixth stage
From “knickers” to the quiet pantaloon, With spectacles on nose, and watery-eyed ;
Ills youthful clothes exchanged; the links too long
For his shrunk stroke ; and his big, raucous
Turning again to childish treble, chattering At club-house. Last round of all,
That ends that strange eventful history He lies in “long grass,” past “recovery,”
Sans score, sans club, sans ball, sans everything.
“Splendid!” exclaimed Marjory. “It appeals to me even more than the original lines.”
“It’s just possible that, as a critic, you would be open to the suspicion of bias,” said her father, laughingly. “Now, good night, girls, and be sure to retire at a reasonable hour to-night, so as to be in good form for the contest to-morrow.”
“But why should you stay up so late every night tiring your eyes with these dry old law books?” protested Marjory.
“My dear child, you ought not to refer so irreverently to these volumes,” replied her father, in mock indignation. “They contain many passages as enthralling, elevating and fascinating as the best lines of Shakespeare or Milton. In proof of this let me read to you a couple of soulful stanzas from Morawetz on private corporations, or would you prefer a few passionate sonnets from Colebrooke on collateral securities, or some sweet selections from the dainty lyric known as ‘Cooley on Constitutional Limitations?’ ”
But the young ladies had fled.
When Mr. Olney was alone again, he chuckled, and said half aloud, “Golf is a great revealer of character. It’s a sort of moral X-rays, as a searching test of self-control and temper. An unselfish temper is the best guarantee of happiness in the married state, and this game may disclose the temper of the two young men. Some golfing philosopher has said that the soul is very naked in a bunker.
I remember once seeing a man’s soul exposed in all its unattractive nudity when he drove a ball out of bounds. My little scheme may have good results. I want Marjory to have a husband who possesses the qualities of a true comrade, so that she may have a reasonable prospect of enjoying with him the long twosome of connubial life.”
LATE in the afternoon of the day of the match, Mr. Olney instructed his housemaid to send Theophilus to the library as soon as the boy returned from the match. The four players had arranged to dine at the club-house after the match, but Theophilus arrived at his employer’s home early in the evening.
“Now Theophilus,” said his employer, “there are some boys who go to a picnic or an excursion, but beyond being able to tell you the next day that they had a good time, they could not tell you what they really saw. Other boys have excellent powers of observation and can give a very interesting account of what they observed. You might give me a little account of any interesting points in the game you saw.”
“Well, sah, Mr. Pottah, heerd dat 1 wuz a caddy of ’speriunce, so he got Miss Mawjory to let me caddy fo’ him, and she
ingaged for herse’f young Clem Jackson, who is reckonized as jes’ ord’nary. De game wuz what dey call a two-ball forcem. De two gemmun, fust made a private bet on de match, and de whole pawty stawted off, kinder jolly-like. Mr. Pottah, Miss Mawjory’s pawtner, began by drivin’ a reg’lar ’mendyous stroke, and Miss Mawjory follered it up pretty well. Miss Louie she didun’ play quite so well as Miss Mawjory, en, aldoe her gemmun fren’, Mr. Elliot, played studdy, he was not quite up to de perfessional standin’ of Mr. Pottah, so, at de end of de mawnin’, when dey finished de fus’ half er de match, Miss Mawjory and Mr. Pottah wuz ahead by three up. Mr. Pottah was suttinly a cheerful winnah, and wuz most jubilatin’ en libely, at de result of de mawnin’ game. But, den, dere were de yuther rouns to play, yit. Well, befo’ dey stawted on de nex’ roun’, de ladies and gemmun luncheoned at de club house, and I luncheoned in de reah of de club house, under some bushes, with de yuther tree caddies. And after we caddies had tucked away a pretty good lunch, what do you s’pose Miss Mawjory brought us from de club house? Ice cream!” exclaimed the boy, his.eyes
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glistening, and his white teeth flashing, as he spoke. “Not a teeny, weeny, spoonful, or an eggcupful, as you sometimes get fum de Talian man on de street cornah for five cents, but a big sausah, piled up wit’ pink ice cream fer each of us. Oh, Lordy! but it went slick an’ fine, and wuz de bes’ I taste’ since I wuz bohn on dis yearth, sho ’nuff. Well, we fo’ caddies enjide de ice cream so much, dat we ’dopted a unanermous revolution—”
“You mean a resolution,” said Mr.
“Yas, sah, dass so, perzackly, a resolution dat Miss Mawjory am de bes’ ginuine lady c’lar to Kingdom Come, en dat, when we crosses over de Jordan, and git to Heben, we doan’ want ter git no finah ice cream dere, needer. Settin’ in de bushes a hot day like yistiddy enjoyin’ dat ice cream, we caddies wuz argufyin’ en ’scussin’ if dere would be ice cream up above dar, in Heben, where de good folks go, an’ where a man’s color ain’t never agin him, and we ’greed dat dere would be ice cream up dar. ’Tennyrate, as Clem Jackson said at de end ob de ’scussin’, ‘You can jest bet your bottom dollah dat if dere’s ice cream gettable anywhere in de nex’ wirl’ I imaginate it must be up above dar, en, sut’n’ly won’t be down below at de bottom of de bottomless pit.’
“Well, sah, byme-by, when we had all finished de ice cream, en was settin’ down dar in the bushes ’jestin’ it all, out comes Miss Mawjory en de yuthers, en dey wuz in just as good humah as we wuz. So off de pawty all stawted agin. But Mr. Pottah, he didun’ play so well dis time; he played kind of loose-like, en too much like he wuz sho’ winnah anyway. De ’proachin’ stroke is de most importanest stroke in de game and his was monstr’us pore. Miss Mawjory en Miss Louie played about de same as dey did in the mawnin’, and Mr. Elliot he wuz just as studdy as in the mawnin’, but his studdiness seemed to get a bettah rewawd, en ’twant long befo’ dey kotch up wit’ de yuthers, en de party was all squar on de day’s perceedins’. Dere wuz jus’ one mo’ i'oun’ ter play, en de game got very occitin.’ It was tetch an’ go—our side, dere side, up and down, criss-cross, nip an’ tuck, backerd and forerds, ding, dong, tu’n and tu’n about, all de way round. De ladies en de gemmun wuz all gettin’ occited, and de fo’ caddies wuz gettin’ occited too.”
“Was there any particular incident during the last round?” asked Mr. Olney.
“Dere was lots of pertikler instants, but one ob de mos’ pertikler instants wuz at de Big Pon’. At dat time de whole pawty wuz all squar, en it wuz de men’s tu’n to do de drivin’. Well, sah, Mr. Pottah, he fotch de ball a mighty pow’ful, ’mendyous swipe, but he hit it on de top, and, swish, swush, kerswosh, de ball went plum in d#r middle er de pon’. He glared eround at me as if I wuz to blame, and he acted so growly-like, dat I kep’ on my gyard, en hel’ my bref. Well, de
either gemmun, he druv kind of easy, ind it wuz jus’ dar where his studdiness »me in. De ball went over de Pon’ safe and sho’, and his lady pardner and he won dat hole e-asy. Well it was de lady’s tu’n to drive at de nex’ hole. Miss Louie she druv only jus’ a safe ball, while po’ Miss Mawjory, she got kind of emba’ssed, en she hit de groun’ in hittin’ at de ball, and de ball kind of skewd along de groun’, and went right spang in de middle of a san’ bunkah.”
“Ah! that was bad luck!” exclaimed Mr. Olney.
“No, sah, a ball in a bunkah is not bad luck, but bad struck. Well, Miss Mawjory looked so distress’ dat I was kind of hopin’ no one would make any remark, but p’ten' not to see her poor play. But Mr. Pottah he up’n say, sezee, ‘No wundah’ sezee, kind of growly, ‘No wundah dat de ball went in de bunkah, you were standin’ wrong!’ or, ‘You wern’t standin’ right!’ I jest fergit his ’zac’ wuds, but it wuz not his wuds so much as de way he said dem, and de cross look on his face. I cud see den, fer de fus’ time, dat dis gemmun had a shot tempah, and a quollin’ dispersition undah er smoove suífas, en’ dat he was as tetchy as a sore fingah, en’ would not be a ’greeable man in a oggyment. Miss Mawjory she jus’ bit her lip, but didn’t contrydict him. So dey played de hole out, and strange to say Mr. Pottah and Miss Mawjory won dat hole after all—’ca’se why? • Miss Louie had got so nervous in her play dat, aldoe Mr. Elliot, driv’ good and hahd she would trow de effec’ all away by her mise’bul po’ play. But her gemmun pardner never blamed her, but sed, dat, ef he hisself and she both buck up, dey had a good chance yit.
“Well, at one whole, where it wuz Mr. Pottah’s tu’n to drive, he druv de ball blim over de fence, and out of bounds. He jus’ grit his teet and glared aroun’, and its de Lawd’s naked trufe dat he wuz r’arin’ mad. Den he up and sez to me, sezee, ‘Why don’t you keep still when Pm drivin.’ You went and moved,’ sezee, ‘and you sp’iled my drive. Pve a mine to smash your tick skull!’ ”
“But had you moved?” asked Mr. Olney.
“I’ll take a naffydavit on a stack of bibles, sah, dat I nevah moved. I know de game too well to move or to talk when a gemmun is in de ac’ of drivin’, kas it distracks his ’tention en flusterflies him, and derefore a caddy should keep his mouf shet as tight as if dere was a poorhouse plarster ober it, and none of his ’natomy should move. So I sez to Mr. Pottah dat I hadn’t moved. Well Mr. Pottah looked so savage at me dat I got skeered, en I ’spose Miss Mawjory reckonized dat he wuz wrong, en so she spoke up. I could see de fiah in her bright eyes, as she up’n sed, sez she :
“ ‘You shouldn’t speak dat way to de po’ M boy,’ sez she. ‘He don’t deserve it,’ sez she. ‘I wuz standin’ right by him,’ sez she, ‘en he didn’t move at all.’
“I ’spec’ Miss Mawjory ’spec him to ’pollygize, but Mr. Pottah sed nothin’ and wuz kinder stubbo’n. Miss Mawjory seemed upsot, en played wusser and wusser, en at one hole she druv de ball into long grass. Mr. Pottah den fetch
a mighty swipe at it, to git it out ob der deep grass, but he skacely moved it, en he wuz bilin’ mad fer der res’ er de game. Nobuddy sed nuttin’, but, now en den Miss Mawjory guv him a ’stonished look. ’Venshually Mr. Pottah and Miss Mawjory won de match, mo’ spechually troo de monst’us po’ play of Miss Louie.
“Now Mr. Olney, you is known as de bes’ lawyer in all ’Merrikey, and I wuz gw in eter ask you ’pinion in regawds er Mr. Pottah’s conduct’ in ’busin’ me, en not ’ceppin’ my wud dat I nevah moved. Don’t he dereby ’sinuate day I’m a liah, en ain’t he derefo’ guilty of insinuendo, en ain’t dere no way dat I can be rightified when he’s done me a ninjury? Can’t a man like dat be had up befo’ der Supreme Court in bunco?”
“Your question is quite a delicate one, Theophilus,” replied Mr Olney, “and I will give it my best consideration on some future day.”
A BOUT nine o’clock in the evening -CAMr. Olney seemed to be absorbed in the reading of a law-book, when, after tapping gently at the library door, his daughter entered.
“Let me congratulate you, Marjory,” said her father.
“On winning the match,” replied her
“Oh! the match,” said Marjory, who apparently had not been thinking of golf. Hesitating for a moment, she then advanced and sat on an arm of his chair.
“Dad,” said she, “I thought at first that I would not tell you until to-morrow morning, but I cannot wait that long. Walter Elliot this evening asked me to marry him!”
“And I judge from your radiant face that you said ‘Yes’?”
“N-no,” said Marjory, “I said that I must first speak to you, and that even if you consented to our marriage, our engagement would have to be a very, very long one. But he knows that I love him, and he is willing to wait.”
“If I were a young man I would be absolutely satisfied with your reply, as meaning ‘Yes,’ ” said the delighted father, drawing his daughter towards him, and kissing her. “My little girl has made me very happy. Walter has always been a favorite of mine, but I sometimes thought that you preferred young Potter.”
“Well, dad, I scarcely knew my own heart for a while. They both seemed very fond of me, and have been very kind to me, but Walter has now absolutely won my heart. I wonder that I did not fully realize his true worth before to-day. Some day I must tell you about the game to-day, but there is no need to tell you about it to-night.”
“No,” said her father, “that story can wait, but I suspect that there is a young man in the drawing room now who can’t wait.”