The Vanished Messenger
Hamel sliced his ball at the ninth, and after waiting for a few minutes patiently, Esther
came to help him look for it. He was standing down on the sands, a little apart from the
two caddies who were beating out various tufts of long grass.
"Where did it go?" she asked.
"I have no idea," he admitted.
"Why don't you help look for it?"
"Searching for balls," he insisted, "is a caddy's occupation. Both the caddies are now
busy. Let us sit down here. These sand hummocks are delightful. It is perfectly sheltered,
and the sun is in our faces. Golf is an overrated pastime. Let us sit and watch that little
streak of blue find its way up between the white posts."
She hesitated for a moment.
"We shall lose our place."
"There is no one behind."
She sank on to the little knoll of sand to which he had pointed, with a resigned sigh.
"You really are a queer person," she declared. "You have been playing golf this morning
as though your very life depended upon it. You have scarcely missed a shot or spoken a
word. And now, all of a sudden, you want to sit on a sand hummock and watch the tide."
"I have been silent," he told her, "because I have been thinking."
"That may be truthful," she remarked, "but you wouldn't call it polite, would you?"
"The subject of my thoughts is my excuse. I have been thinking of you."
For a single moment her eyes seemed to have caught something of that sympathetic light
with which he was regarding her. Then she looked away.
"Was it my mashie shots you were worrying about?" she asked.
"It was not," he replied simply. "It was you - you yourself."
She laughed, not altogether naturally.
"How flattering!" she murmured. "By-the-by, you are rather a downright person, aren't
you, Mr. Hamel?"
"So much so," he admitted, "that I am going to tell you one or two things now. I am going
to be very frank indeed."
She sat suddenly quite still. Her face was turned from him, but for the first time since he
had known her there was a slight undertone of colour in her cheeks.