The Vanished Messenger HTML version

Chapter 16
"Let us follow the example of all great golfers," Hamel said. "Let us for this morning, at
any rate, imagine that your whole world is encompassed within these eighteen holes. We
have been sent here in a moment of good humour by your tyrant uncle. The sun shines,
and the wind is from the west. Why not?"
"That is all very well for you," she retorted, smiling, "but I have topped my drive."
"Purely an incident," he assured her. "The vicissitudes of the game do not enter into the
question. I have driven a ball far above my usual form, but I am not gloating over it. I
prefer to remember only that I am going to spend the next two hours with you."
She played her shot, and they walked for a little way together. She was suddenly silent.
"Do you know," she said finally, just a little gravely, "I am not at all used to speeches of
this sort."
"Then you ought to be," he declared. "Nothing but the lonely life you have been living
has kept you from hearing them continually."
She laughed a little at the impotence of her rebuff and paused for a moment to make her
next shot. Hame1, standing a little on one side, watched her appraisingly. Her short, grey
tweed skirt was obviously the handiwork of an accomplished tailor. Her grey stockings
and suede shoes were immaculate and showed a care for her appearance which pleased
him. Her swing, too, revealed a grace, the grace of long arms and a supple body, at which
previously he had only guessed. The sunshine seemed to have brought out a copper tinge
from her abundant brown hair.
"Do you know," he remarked, "I think I am beginning to like your uncle. Great idea of
his, sending us off here directly after breakfast."
Her face darkened for a moment, and he realised his error. The same thought, indeed, had
been in both their minds. Mr. Fentolin's courteous suggestion had been offered to them
almost in the shape of a command. It was scarcely possible to escape from the reflection
that he had desired to rid himself of their presence for the morning.
"Of course," he went on, "I knew that these links were good - quite famous, aren't they?"
"I have played on so few others," she told him. "I learned my golf here with King, the
He took off his cap and handed it to his caddy. He himself was beginning already to look
younger. The long blue waves came rippling up the creeks. The salt wind, soft with
sunshine, blew in their faces. The marshes on the landward side were mauve with
lavender blossom, In the distance, the red-tiled cottages nestled deep among a
background of green trees and rising fields.
"This indeed is a land of peace," he declared. "If I hadn't to give you quite so many
strokes, I should be really enjoying myself."
"You don't play like a man who has been living abroad for a great many years," she
remarked. " Tell me about some of the places you have visited?"