Wodehouse Quotations

THE CLICKING OF CUTHBERT

by. P. G. Wodehouse


THE YOUNG MAN came into the smoking-room of the club-house, and flung
his bag with a clatter on the floor. He sank moodily into an arm-chair and
pressed the bell.
"Waiter! "
"Sir?"
The young man pointed at the bag with every evidence of distaste.
"You may have these clubs," he said. "Take them away. If you don't want
them yourself, give them to one of the caddies."
Across the room the Oldest Member gazed at him with a grave sadness
through the smoke of his pipe. His eye was deep and dreamy-the eye of a man
who, as the poet says, has seen Golf steadily and seen it whole.
"You are giving up golf?" he said.
He was not altogether unprepared for such an attitude on the young
man's part: for from his eyrie on the terrace above the ninth green he had
observed him start out on the afternoon's round and had seen him lose a
couple of balls in the lake at the second hole after taking seven strokes
at the first.
"Yes!" cried the young man fiercely. "For ever, dammit! Footling game!
Blanked infernal fat-headed silly ass of a game ! Nothing but a waste of
time."
The Sage winced.
"Don't say that, my boy."
"But I do say it. What earthly good is golf? Life is stern and life is
earnest. We live in a practical age. All round us we see foreign
competition making itself unpleasant. And we spend our time playing golf !
What do we get out of it? Is golf any use? That's what I'm asking you. Can
you name me a single case where devotion to this pestilential pastime has
done a man any practical good?"
The Sage smiled gently.
"I could name a thousand."
"One will do."
"I will select," said the Sage, "from the innumerable memories that
rush to my mind, the story of Cuthbert Banks."
"Never heard of him."
"Be of good cheer," said the Oldest Member. "You are going to hear of
him now."
It was in the picturesque little settlement of Wood Hills (said the
Oldest Member) that the incidents occurred which I am about to relate. Even
if you have never been in Wood Hills, that suburban paradise is probably
familiar to you by name. Situated at a convenient distance from the city,
it combines in a notable manner the advantages of town life with the
pleasant surroundings and healthful air of the country. Its inhabitants
live in commodious houses, standing in their own grounds, and enjoy so many
luxuries - such as gravel soil, main drainage, electric light, telephone,
baths (h. and c.), and company's own water, that you might be pardoned for
imagining life to be so ideal for them that no possible improvement could
be added to their lot. Mrs. Willoughby Smethurst was under no such
delusion. What Wood Hills needed to make it perfect, she realized, was
Culture. Material comforts are all very well, but, if the summum bonum is
to be achieved, the Soul also demands a look in, and it was Mrs.
Smethurst's unfaltering resolve that never while she had her strength
should the Soul be handed the loser's end. It was her intention to make
Wood Hills a centre of all that was most cultivated and refined, and,
golly! how she had succeeded. Under her presidency the Wood Hills Literary
and Debadng Society had tripled its membership.
But there is always a fly in the ointment, a caterpillar in the salad.
The local golf club, an institution to which Mrs. Smethurst strongly
objected, had also tripled its membership; and the division of the
community into two rival camps, the Golfers and the Cultured, had become
more marked than ever. This division, always acute, had attained now to the
dimensions of a Schism. The rival sects treated one another with a cold
hostility.
Unfortunate episodes came to widen the breach. Mrs. Smethurst's house
adjoined the links, standing to the right of the fourth tee: and, as the
Literary Society was in the habit of entertaining visiting lecturers, many
a golfer had foozled his drive owing to sudden loud outbursts of applause
coinciding with his down-swing. And not long before this story opens a
sliced ball, whizzing in u the open window, had come within an ace of
incapacitating Raymond Parslow Devine, the rising young novelist (who rose
at that moment a clear foot and a half) from any further exercise of his
art. Two inches, indeed, to the right and Raymond must inevitably have
handed in his dinnerpail.
To make matters worse, a ring at the front-door bell followed almost
immediately, and the maid ushered in a young man of pleasing appearance in
a sweater and baggy knickerbockers who apologetically but firmly insisted
on playing his ball where it lay, and, what with the shock of the
lecturer's narrow escape and the spectacle of the intruder standing on the
table and working away with a niblick, the afternoon's session had to be
classed as a complete frost. Mr. Devine's determination, from which no
argument could swerve him, to deliver the rest of his lecture in the
coalcellar gave the meeting a jolt from which it never recovered.
I have dwelt upon this incident, because it was the means of
introducing Cuthbert Banks to Mrs. Smethurst's niece, Adeline. As Cuthbert,
for it was he who had so nearly reduced the muster-roll of rising novelists
by one, hopped down from the table after his stroke, he was suddenly aware
that a beautiful girl was looking at him intently. As a matter of fact,
everyone in the room was looking at him intently, none more so than Raymond
Parsloe Devine, but none of the others were beautiful girls. Long as the
members of Wood Hills Literary Society were on brain, they were short on
looks, and, to Cuthbert's excited eye, Adeline Smethurst stood out like a
jewel in a pile of coke.
He had never seen her before, for she had only arrived at her aunt's
house on the previous day, but he was perfectly certain that life, even
when lived in the midst of gravel soil, main drainage, and company's own
water, was going to be a pretty poor affair if he did not see her again.
Yes, Cuthbert was in love: and it is interesting to record, as showing the
effect of the tender emotion on a man's game that twenty minutes after he
had met Adeline he did the short eleventh in one, and as near as a toucher
got a three on the four hundred-yard twelfth.
I will skip lightly over the intermediate stages of Cuthbert's
courtship and come to the moment when-at the annual ball in aid of the
local Cottage Hospital, the only occasion during the year on which the
lion, so to speak, lay down with the lamb, and the Golfers and the Cultured
met on terms of easy comradeship, their differences temporarily laid aside-
he proposed to Adeline and was badly stymied.
That fair, soulful girl could not see him with a spy-glass.
"Mr. Banks," she said, "I will speak frankly."
"Charge right ahead," assented Cuthbert.
"Deeply sensible as I am of--- "
"I know. Of the honour and the compliment and all that. But, passing
lightly over all that guff, what seems to be the trouble? I love you to
distraction ---"
"Love is not everything."
"You're wrong," said Cuthbert earnestly. "You're right off it. Love--"
And he was about to dilate on the theme when she interrupted him.
"I am a girl of ambition."
"And very nice, too," said Cuthbert.
"I am a girl of ambition," repeated Adeline, "and I realize that the
fulfilment of my ambitions must come through my husband. I am very ordinary
myself--"
"What!" cried Cuthbert. "You ordinary? Why, you are a pearl among
women, the queen of your sex. You can't have been looking in a glass
lately. You stand alone. Simply alone. You make the rest look like battered
repaints."
"Well," said Adeline, softening a trifle, "I believe I am fairly good-
looking--- "
"Anybody who was content to call you fairly good-looking would describe
the Taj Mahal as a pretty nifty tomb."
"But that is not the point. What I mean is, if I marry a nonentity I
shall be a nonentity myself for ever. And I would sooner die than be a
nonentity."
"And, if I follow your reasoning, you think that that lets me out?"
"Well, really, Mr. Banks, have you done anything, or are you likely
ever to do anything worth while?"
Cuthbert hesitated.
ill "It's true," he said, "I didn't finish in the first ten in the
Open, and I was knocked out in the semi-final of the Amateur, but I won the
French Open last year."
"The -- what?"
"The French Open Championship. Golf, you know."
"Golf ! You waste all your time playing golf. I admire a man who is
more spiritual, more intellectual."
A pang of jealousy rent Cuthbert's bosom.
"Like What's-his-name Devine?" he said, sullenly.
"Mr. Devine," replied Adeline, blushing faintly, "is going to be a
great man. Already he has achieved much. The critics say that he is more
Russian than any other young English writer."
"And is that good?"
"Of course it's good."
"I should have thought the wheeze would be to be more English than any
other young English writer."
"Nonsense ! Who wants an English writer to be English ? You've got to
be Russian or Spanish or something to be a real success. The mantle of the
great Russians has descended on Mr. Devine."
"From what I've heard of Russians, I should hate to have that happen to
me."
"There is no danger of that," said Adeline scornfully.
"Oh ! Well, let me tell you that there is a lot more in me than you
think."
"That might easily be so."
"You think I'm not spiritual and intellectual," said Cuthbert, deeply
moved. "Very well. Tomorrow I join the Literary Society."
Even as he spoke the words his leg was itching to kick himself for
being such a chump, but the sudden expression of pleasure on Adeline's face
soothed him; and he went home that night with the feeling that he had taken
on something rather attractive. It was only in the cold grey light of the
morning that he realized what he had let himself in for.
I do not know if you have had any experience of suburban literary
societies, but the one that flourished under the eye of Mrs. Willoughby
Smethurst at Wood Hills was rather more so than the average. With my feeble
powers of narrative, I cannot hope to make clear to you all that Cuthbert
Banks endured in the next few weeks. And, even if I could, I doubt if I
should do so. It is all very well to excite pity and terror, as Aristotle
recommends, but there are limits. In the ancient Greek tragedies it was an
ironclad rule that all the real rough stuff should take place off-stage,
and I shall follow this admirable principle. It will suffice if I say
merely that J. Cuthbert Banks had a thin time. After attending eleven
debates and fourteen lectures on vers libre Poetry, the Seventeenth-Century
Essayists, the Neo-Scandinavian Movement in Portuguese Literature, and
other subjects of a similar nature, he grew so enfeebled that, on the rare
occasions when he had time for a visit to the links, he had to take a full
iron for his mashie shots.
It was not simply the oppressive nature of the debates and lectures
that sapped his Vitality. What really got right in amongst him was the
torture of seeing Adeline's adoration of Raymond Parsloe Devine. The man
seemed to have made the deepest possible impression upon her plastic
emotions. When he spoke, she leaned forward with parted lips and looked at
him. When he was not speaking-which was seldom- she leaned back and looked
at him. And when he happened to take the next seat to her, she leaned
sideways and looked at him. One glance at Mr. Devine would have been more
than enough for Cuthbert; but Adeline found him a spectacle that never
palled. She could not have gazed at him with a more rapturous intensity if
she had been a small child and he a saucer of ice-cream. All this Cuthbert
had to witness while still endeavouring to retain the possession of his
faculties sufficiently to enable him to duck and back away if somebody
suddenly asked him what he thought of the sombre realism of Vladimir
Brusiloff. It is little wonder that he tossed in bed, picking at the
coverlet, through sleepless nights, and had to have all his waistcoats
taken in- three inches to keep them from sagging.
This Vladimir Brusiloff to whom I have referred was the famous Russian
novelist, and, owing to the fact of his being in the country on a lecturing
tour at the moment, there had been something of a boom in his works. The
Wood Hills Literary Society had been studying them for weeks, and never
since his first entrance into intellectual circles had Cuthbert Banks come
nearer to throwing in the towel. Vladimir specialized in grey studies of
hopeless misery, where nothing happened till page three hundred and eighty,
when the moujik decided to commit suicide. It was tough going for a man
whose deepest reading hitherto had been Vardon on the Push-Shot, and there
can be no greater proof of the magic of love than the fact that Cuthbert
stuck it without a cry. But the strain was terrible and I am inclined to
think that he must have cracked, had it not been for the daily reports in
the papers of the internecine strife which was proceeding so briskly in
Russia. Cuthbert was an optimist at heart, and it seemed to him that, at
the rate at which the inhabitants of that interesting country were
murdering one another, the supply of Russian novelists must eventually give
out.
One morning, as he tottered down the road for the short walk which was
now almost the only exercise to which he was equal, Cuthbert met Adeline. A
spasm of anguish flitted through all his nerve centres as he saw that she
was accompanied by Raymond Parsloe Devine.
"Good morning, Mr. Banks," said Adeline.
"Good morning," said Cuthbert hollowly.
"Such good news about Vladimir Brusiloff."
"Dead?" said Cuthbert, with a touch of hope.
"Dead? Of course not. Why should he be? No, Aunt Emily met his manager
after his lecture at Queen's Hall yesterday, and he has promised that Mr.
Brusiloff shall come to her next Wednesday reception.
"Oh, ah ! " said Cuthbert, dully.
"I don't know how she managed it. I think she must have told him that
Mr. Devine would be there to meet him."
"But you said he was coming," argued Cuthbert.
"I shall be very glad," said Raymond Devine, "of the opportunity of
meeting Brusiloff."
"I'm sure," said Adeline, "he will be very glad of the opportunity of
meeting you."
"Possibly," said Mr. Devine. "Possibly. Competent critics have said
that my work closely resembles that of the great Russian Masters."
"Your psychology is so deep."
"Yes, yes."
"And your atmosphere."
"Quite."
Cuthbert in a perfect agony of spirit prepared to withdraw from this
love-feast. The sun was shining brightly, but the world was black to him.
Birds sang in the tree-tops, but he did not hear them. He might have been a
moujik for all the pleasure he found in life.
"You will be there, Mr. Banks?" said Adeline, as he turned away.
"Oh, all right," said Cuthbert.
When Cuthbert had entered the drawing-room on the following Wednesday
and had taken his usual place in a distant corner where, while able to
feast his gaze on Adeline, he had a sporting chance of being overlooked or
mistaken for a piece of furniture, he perceived the great Russian thinker
seated in the midst of a circle of admiring females. Raymond Parsloe Devine
had not yet arrived.
His first glance at the novelist surprised Cuthbert. Doubtless with the
best motives, Vladimir Brusiloff had permitted his face to become almost
entirely concealed behind a dense zareba of hair, but his eyes were visible
through the undergrowth, and it seemed to Cuthbert that there was an
expression in them not unlike that of a cat in a strange backyard
surrounded by small boys. The man looked forlorn and hopeless, and Cuthbert
wondered whether he had had bad news from home.
This was not the case. The latest news which Vladimir Brusiloff had had
from Russia had been particularly cheering. Three of his principal Editors
had perished in the last massacre of the bourgeoisie, and a man whom he
owed for five years for a samovar and a pair of overshoes had fled the
country, and had not been heard of since. It was not bad news from home
that was depressing Vladimir. What was wrong with him was the fact that
this was the eighty-second suburban literary reception he had been
compelled to attend since he had landed in the country on his lecturing
tour, and he was sick to death of it. When his agent had first suggested
the trip, he had signed on the dotted line without an instant's hesitation.
Worked out in roubles, the fees offered had seemed just about right. But
now, as he peered through the brushwood at the faces round him, and
realized that eight out of ten of those present had manuscripts of some
sort concealed on their persons, and were only waiting for an opportunity
to whip them out and start reading, he wished that he had stayed at his
quiet home in Nijni-Novgorod, where the worst thing that could happen to a
fellow was a brace of bombs coming in through the window and mixing
themselves up with his breakfast egg.
At this point in his meditations he was aware that his hostess was
looming up before him with a pale young man in horn-rimmed spectacles at
her side. There was in Mrs. Smethurst's demeanour something of the unction
of the master-of -ceremonies at the big fight who introduces the earnest
gentleman who wishes to challenge the winner.
"Oh, Mr. Brusiloff," said Mrs. Smethurst, "I do so want you to meet Mr.
Raymond Parsloe Devine, whose work I expect you know. He is one of our
younger novelists."
The distinguished visitor peered in a wary and defensive manner through
the shrubbery, but did not speak. Inwardly he was thinking how exactly like
Mr. Devine was to the eighty-one other younger novelists to whom he had
been introduced at various hamlets throughout the country. Raymond Parsloe
Devine bowed courteously, while Cuthbert, wedged into his corner, glowered
at him.
"The critics," said Mr. Devine, "have been kind enough to say that my
poor efforts contain a good deal of the Russian spirit. I owe much to the
great Russians. I have been greatly influenced by Sovietski."
Down in the forest something stirred. It was Vladimir Brusiloff's mouth
opening, as he prepared to speak. He was not a man who prattled readily,
especially in a foreign tongue. He gave the impression that each word was
excavated from his interior by some up-to-date process of mining. He glared
bleakly at Mr. Devine, and allowed three words to drop out of him.
"Sovietski no good ! "
He paused for a moment, set the machinery working again, and delivered
five more at the pithead.
"I spit me of Sovietski ! "
There was a painful sensation. The lot of a popular idol is in many
ways an enviable one, but it has the drawback of uncertainty. Here today
and gone tomorrow. Until this moment Raymond Parsloe Devine's stock had
stood at something considerably over par in Wood Hills intellectual
circles, but now there was a rapid slump. Hitherto he had been greatly
admired for being influenced by Sovietski, but it appeared now that this
was not a good thing to be. It was evidently a rotten thing to be. The law
could not touch you for being influenced by Sovietski, but there is an
ethical as well as a legal code, and this it was obvious that Raymond
Parsloe Devine had transgressed. Women drew away from him slightly, holding
their skirts. Men looked at him censoriously. Adeline Smethurst started
violently, and dropped a tea-cup. And Cuthbert Banks, doing his popular
imitation of a sardine in his corner, felt for the first time that life
held something of sunshine.
Raymond Parsloe Devine was plainly shaken, but he made an adroit
attempt to recover his lost prestige.
"Then I say I have been influenced by Sovietski, I mean, of course,
that I was once under his spell. A young writer commits many follies. I
have long since passed through that phase. The false glamour of Sovietski
has ceased to dazzle me. I now belong whole heartedly to the school of
Nastikoff."
There was a reaction. People nodded at one another sympathetically.
After all, we cannot expect old heads on young shoulders, and a lapse at
the outset of one's career should not be held against one who has
eventually seen the light.
"Nastikoff no good," said Vladimir Brusiloff, coldly. He paused,
listening to the machinery.
"Nastikoff worse than Sovietski."
He paused again.
"I spit me of Nastikoff ! " he said.
This time there was no doubt about it. The bottom had dropped out of
the market, and Raymond Parsloe Devine Preferred were down in the cellar
with no takers. It was clear to the entire assembled company that they had
been all wrong about Raymond Parsloe Devine. They had allowed him to play
on their innocence and sell them a pup. They had taken him at his own
valuation, and had been cheated into admiring him as a man who amounted to
something, and all the while he had belonged to the school of Nastikoff.
You never can tell. Mrs. Smethurst's guests were well-bred, and there was
consequently no violent demonstration, but you could see by their faces
what they felt. Those nearest Raymond Parsloe jostled to get further away.
Mrs. Smethurst eyed him stonily through a raised lorgnette. One or two low
hisses were heard, and over at the other end of the room somebody opened
the window in a marked manner.
Raymond Parsloe Devine hesitated for a moment, then, realizing his
situation, turned and slunk to the door. There was an audible sigh of
relief as it closed behind him.
Vladimir Brusiloff proceeded to sum up.
"No novelists any good except me. Sovietski-yah! Nastikoff-bah! I spit
me of zem all. No novelists anywhere any good except me. P. G. Wodehouse
and Tolstoi not bad. Not good, but not bad. No novelists any good except
me."
And, having uttered this dictum, he removed a slab of cake from a
near-by plate, steered it through the jungle, and began to champ.
It is too much to say that there was a dead silence. There could never
be that in any room in which Vladimir Brusiloff was eating cake. But
certainly what you might call the general chit-chat was pretty well down
and out. Nobody liked to be the first to speak. The members of the Wood
Hills Literary Society looked at one another timidly. Cuthbert, for his
part, gazed at Adeline; and Adeline gazed into space. It was plain that the
girl was deeply stirred. Her eyes were opened wide, a faint flush crimsoned
her cheeks, and her breath was coming quickly.
Adeline's mind was in a whirl. She felt as if she had been walking
gaily along a pleasant path and had stopped suddenly on the very brink of a
precipice It would be idle to deny that Raymond Parsloe Devine had
attracted her extraordinarily. She had taken him at his own valuation as an
extremely hot potato, and her hero-worship had gradually been turning into
love. And now her hero had been shown to have feet of clay. It was hard, I
consider, on Raymond Parsloe Devine, but that is how it goes in this world.
You get a following as a celebrity, and then you run up against another
bigger celebrity and your admirers desert you. One could moralize on this
at considerable length, but better not, perhaps. Enough to say that the
glamour of Raymond Devine ceased abruptly in that moment for Adeline, and
her most coherent thought at this juncture was the resolve, as soon as she
got up to her room, to burn the three signed photographs he had sent her
and to give the autographed presentation set of his books to the grocer's
boy.
Mrs. Smethurst, meanwhile, having rallied somewhat, was endeavouring to
set the feast of reason and flow of soul going again.
"And how do you like England, Mr. Brusiloff?" she asked.
The celebrity paused in the act of lowering another segment of cake.
"Dam good," he replied, cordially.
"I suppose you have travelled all over the country by this time?"
"You said it," agreed the Thinker.
"Have you met many of our-great public men?"
"Yais -- Yais--Quite a few of the nibs Lloyd Gorge, I meet him. But-"
Beneath the matting a discontented expression came into his face, and his
voice took on a peevish note. "But I not meet your real great men-your
Arbmishel, your Arreevadon-I not meet them. That's what gives me the
pipovitch. Have you ever met Arbmishel and Arreevadon?"
A strained, anguished look came into Mrs. Smethurst's face and was
reflected in the faces of the other members of the circle. The eminent
Russian had sprung two entirely new ones on them, and they felt that their
ignorance was about to be exposed. What would Vladimir Brusiloff think of
the Wood Hills Literary Society? The reputation of the Wood Hills Literary
Society was at stake, trembling in the balance, and coming up for the third
time. In dumb agony Mrs. Smethurst rolled her eyes about the room searching
for someone capable of coming to the rescue. She drew blank.
And then, from a distant corner, there sounded a deprecating cough, and
those nearest Cuthbert Banks saw that he had stopped twisting his right
foot round his left ankle and his left foot round his right ankle and was
sitting up with a light of almost human intelligence in his eyes.
"Er--- " said Cuthbert, blushing as every eye in the room seemed to fix
itself on him, "I think he means Abe Mitchell and Harry Vardon."
"Abe Mitchell and Harry Vardon?" repeated Mrs. Smethurst, blankly. "I
never heard of-"
"Yais! Yais! Most! Very!" shouted Vladimir Brusiloff, enthusiastically.
"Arbmishel and Arreevadon. You know them, yes, what, no, perhaps?"
"I've played with Abe Mitchell often, and I was partnered with Harry
Vardon in last year's Open."
The great Russian uttered a cry that shook the chandelier.
"You play in ze Open? Why," he demanded reproachfully of Mrs.
Smethurst, "was I not been introducted to this young man who play in
opens?"
"Well, really," faltered Mrs. Smethurst. "Well, the fact is, Mr.
Brusiloff-"
She broke off. She was unequal to the task of explaining, without
hurting anyone's feelings, that she had always regarded Cuthbert as a piece
of cheese and a blot on the landscape.
"Introduct me! " thundered the Celebrity.
"Why, certainly, certainly, of course. This is Mr. --." She looked
appealingly at Cuthbert.
"Banks," prompted Cuthbert.
"Banks! " cried Vladimir Brusiloff. "Not Cootaboot Banks?"
"Is your name Cootaboot?" asked Mrs. Smethurst, faintly.
"Well, it's Cuthbert."
"Yais! Yais! Cootaboot!" There was a rush and swirl, as the
effervescent Muscovite burst his way through the throng and rushed to where
Cuthbert sat. He stood for a moment eyeing him excitedly, then, stooping
swiftly, kissed him on both cheeks before Cuthbert could get his guard up.
"My dear young man, I saw you win ze French Open. Great ! Great ! Grand !
Superb I Hot stuff, and you can say I said so ! Will you permit one who is
but eighteen at Nijni-Novgorod to salute you once more?"
And he kissed Cuthbert again. Then, brushing aside one or two
intellectuals who were in the way, he dragged up a chair and sat down.
"You are a great man ! " he said.
"Oh, no," said Cuthbert modestly.
"Yais! Great. Most! Very! The way you lay your approach-putts dead from
anywhere I "
"Oh, I don't know."
Mr. Brusiloff drew his chair closer.
"Let me tell you one vairy funny story about putting. It was one day I
play at Nijni-Novgorod with the pro. against Lenin and Trotsky, and Trotsky
had a two-inch putt for the hole. But, just as he addresses the ball,
someone in the crowd he tries to assassinate Lenin with a rewolwer-you know
that is our great national sport, trying to assassinate Lenin with
rewolwers-and the bang puts Trotsky off his stroke and he goes five yards
past the hole, and then Lenin, who is rather shaken, you understand, he
misses again himself, and we win the hole and match and I clean up three
hundred and ninety-six thousand roubles, or fifteen shillings in your
money. Some gameovitch! And now let me tell you one other vairy funny
story "
Desultory conversation had begun in murmurs over the rest of the room,
as the Wood Hills intellectuals politely endeavoured to conceal the fact
that they realized that they were about as much out of it at this re union
of twin souls as cats at a dog -show. From time to time they started as
Vladimir Brusiloff's laugh boomed out. Perhaps it was a consolation to them
to know that he was enjoying himself.
As for Adeline, how shall I describe her emotions? She was stunned.
Before her very eyes the stone which the builders had rejected had become
the main thing, the hundred-to-one shot had walked away with the race. A
rush of tender admiration for Cuthbert Banks flooded her heart. She saw
that she had been all wrong. Cuthbert, whom she had always treated with a
patronizing superiority, was really a man to be looked up to and
worshipped. A deep, dreamy sigh shook Adeline's fragile form.
Half an hour later Vladimir and Cuthbert Banks rose.
"Goot-a-bye, Mrs. Smet-thirst," said the Celebrity. "Zank you for a
most charming visit. My friend Cootaboot and me we go now to shoot a few
holes. You will lend me clobs, friend Cootaboot?"
"Any you want."
"The niblicksky is what I use most. Goot-a-bye, Mrs. Smet-thirst."
They were moving to the door, when Cuthbert felt a light touch on his
arm. Adeline was looking up at him tenderly.
"May I come, too, and walk round with you?"
Cuthbert's bosom heaved.
"Oh," he said, with a tremor in his voice, "that you would walk round
with me for life ! "
Her eyes met his.
"Perhaps," she whispered, softly, "it could be arranged."
"And so" (concluded the Oldest Member), "you see that golf can be of
the greatest practical assistance to a man in Life's struggle. Raymond
Parsloe Devine, who was no player, had to move out of the neighbourhood
immediately, and is now, I believe, writing scenarios out in California for
the Flicker Film Company. Adeline is married to Cuthbert, and it was only
his earnest pleading which prevented her from having their eldest son
christened Abe Mitchell Ribbed-Faced Mashie Banks, for she is now as keen a
devotee of the great game as her husband. Those who know them say that
theirs is a union so devoted, so-"
The Sage broke off abruptly, for the young man had rushed to the door
and out into the passage. Through the open door he could hear him crying
passionately to the waiter to bring back his clubs.
 
 

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Index from book Wodehouse on Wodehouse. | Article "About Stories" | Dedications1 | Dedications 2 | Prefaces1 | Prefaces2 | Prefaces3 | Prefaces4 | "Facts from Usborn" (forewords from Vintage Wodehouse)

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