Imágenes de páginas

beaten him by two holes, and the Dominie was in disgrace. The White Horse had split the game with his own son; and only John Lyon could claim credit for his side, for he had beaten his apprentice by two holes. John would not have been quite so jubilant had he heard that apprentice say he would rather give his master two golf holes, than have that master return every button-hole he made during the remaining years of his apprenticeship. But John did not hear this; and in his pride he denounced Captain Manson for losing the championship to a schoolboy, and covered the schoolmaster with contempt for losing two holes to a man who three months ago did not know a golf-club from a broom-stick. They were in the heat of the argument when young Lyon returned with a fresh challenge. “We'll play ye on Saturday, an’gie ye a hole gin ye're feared; an' gin ye winna play we are to ca’ ours the Champion Kinbuck Golf Club, the youthful challenger said, looking with boyish amusement at the angry faces. Captain Manson rose in wrath. “From this moment I resign my connection with the Kinbuck Golf Club, and I am away home.’ He had endured the father, he was not to endure the son too. Captain Manson's movement broke up the meeting and the club. The Dominie followed him; the White Horse disappeared ; and darting an angry glance at his son John Lyon shot out at the door. The young.Lyon returned to his comrades in the highest glee. ‘We are the senior club noo, you fouk; the ither club's broken up, an' Captain Manson's tearin' alang the road swearin' at the hardest.’ ‘Is he P’ Tammas Weems said, starting to his feet; ‘ye'll excuse me, sirse, but gin I’m gey quick I'll get his company hame.’ Tammas caught sight of his friend in the distance and shouted, but the captain was deaf. He ran till he was breathless. In vain. Across the sands the two men hastened, and when Captain Manson saw Tammas was bent on overtaking him, he ran like a schoolboy. Open-eyed with astonishment, Tammas stood stock still and gazed while he watched his friend make straight for the Bruar, plunge in up to the waist, crawl up the opposite bank dripping, and enter his house by a back window.

‘Is the warld richt side up 2' Tammas asked himself, as he made his way soberly to the rickety wooden bridge that spans the Bruar. There were others who asked if the world were right side up. The White Horse went to bed, and when his wife asked if he were well enough, he growled— ‘Weel eneuch I gaed to my bed to keep me frae doin' something desperate.’ When John Lyon got home, he vigorously shook his son for giving impudence to people older than himself; but the mother took her son's part, and declared the impudence lay in his winning the game. John, senior, was not mollified by being advised ‘to play with his equals after this.’ Dominie Wilson had the liveliest time of all. From being the most genial of golf-players and indulgent of dominies, in a day he became a martinet. Not a boy or a girl dared smile in the school. If an offender happened to be a golf-player as well —and he had four members of the Junior Golf Club under him— the consequences were serious ; so serious, that the young White Horse in tears complained to his father; and the father comforted his son with the remark, “It was a tint (lost) that gaed by ye.’ He could scarcely say anything else, for had not he and John Lyon told the Dominie to “take his will of the loons'? The Dominie was “taking his will of them, and they found life not worth living, even with the aid of golf. On Monday morning, Tammas Weems, his enthusiasm for the game unabated, stood in the doorway of the salmon-fisher's cottage between the sea and the bents, looking for Captain Manson. ‘Imphm !’ Tammas said, making his way to the top of a hillock to look again. He was puzzled. From the top of the hillock he looked carefully around. ‘Imphm ' ' he grunted again, when he saw no one. Then he made a bee-line for the putting-green, and exclaimed hotly, “Doesna that beat a'!’ and returned home. At that moment, he remembered he had for three months shamefully neglected Jean, who for more than forty years had not left him to himself a day. That forenoon he walked with her along the margin of the waves on a wet floor, as smooth and hard as pavement; in the afternoon he repeated the attention ; and in the evening he espied Captain Manson on the course ; then, with the perfidy of which a golfer alone is capable, he

deserted Jean and made for Captain Manson; but the captain seeing him, pocketed his ball, shouldered his clubs, and went home. Tammas returned to Jean, penitent. At five next morning, Tammas saw his friend once more at his game, and hurried off to join him ; again the captain lifted his implements and left the field. Tammas Weems returned to Jean, wounded and humbled. Awaking her from her morning sleep, he said with bitter mortification— ;. ‘We’ll leave this at the end o' the week, Jean ; Bruar Bay's a disagreeable hole, an' I wonder we hae bidden so lang in it.’ Jean was overjoyed ; it was no paradise to her. So they left, and as they cast a last glance behind them they saw Captain Manson, who had played a Solitary game for a week, stand on a hillock and with jubilation watch their departure. Of the late Senior Golf Club at Kinbuck there are, up to the present date, not so many members on speaking terms with each other as would form a “twosome ; ' but there is an enthusiastic golf club at Kinbuck for all that.



LET any one think for a moment of our English wild-flowers and mentally catalogue them in the order of their prominence in the landscape and their familiarity, and I venture to think they will fall into something like the following order: Buttercups and daisies, May-blossom, blackthorn, furze and broom, dog-roses, bluebells, heather, poppies, “Michaelmas daisies, and cowslips. These are the plants, at any rate, that give us the most notable masses of colour, and form individually the most distinctive floral features in a country scene. After these come primroses, wood-anemones, yellow flags, forget-me-nots, violets, foxgloves, thistles, daffodils, and others, each of which, no doubt, . strikes, in places, a fairly loud note, but, as a rule, only helps to form, with other flowers, a varied melody of colour. The first list of ten includes, I take it, all the plants that, as we pass in a coach for instance, catch the eye and characterise a spot. We draw each other's attention to these bold sheets of colour, these masses of profuse blooms. Here and there such flowers as the mullein or the willow-herb, loose-strife or meadow-sweet, are noted where they grow in their communities, while glimpses of rosy red tell of little corner colonies of campion and ragged-robin, and idle ponds are white with congregated starwort. But, after all, these only come to the memory of each for its own prettiness' sake or else from local association. When we think broadly, nationally as it were, of our English wild-flowers, they are surely those of the hedges— the May and blackthorn; of the meadows—the buttercups, daisies, and cowslips; of the cornfields—poppies; of the woodlands— bluebells; of the heath—furze, broom, and purple heather. And they are all old English flowers, and to be found in Chaucer, and most of them by the names they still bear. So that when we go abroad among the flowers with Shakespeare, we naturally.

expect to find him in sympathy with our wild gardens and appreciative of the finer efforts of Nature. e This we do, forgetting that the genius of Shakespeare persistently opposed itself to particulars: that the great poet magnificently despised what every other writer prizes as ‘local colour, and that whenever he possibly could he turned from the actual object in Nature to its contemplation in a metaphor or its application in a moral. He always prefers to suggest rather than describe, and is often (too often for his critics) content with a name that perfects the sense and sound of his line without being over-careful as to its meaning or his own fidelity to Nature. We must take our walks abroad with him prepared for surprises, as with a man who does not think as any other man ever thought before or since, who does not appear to take any interest in the objects that pass under the observation of his senses, but who, when the time comes, proves that he had penetrated to the very heart and soul of the scene before him, and with a single magic phrase brings it so home to the understanding and sympathy of his readers that for all time to come his one short phrase is a household word where all the careful and longer descriptions of others have been forgotten. To take for instance our list of wild flowers. Shakespeare never mentions the whitethorn, the sloe, at all, though several proverbs attest the exceptional popular attention it had attracted centuries before Elizabeth. Coming too as it does before the hedges are green, and flowering in such beautiful profusion before it has any leaves, the plant is one that many poets have gladly availed themselves of, for imagery and philosophic simile. The May, again, is never mentioned by Shakespeare—our beautiful, fragrant hawthorn blossom, the delight of England from time immemorial, the delight of every other writer. How is it Shakespeare misses it? It is curious, but not more curious than scores of other omissions; than that he has no beech-trees, ash, birch, poplar, and so on in the woods; no wood-pigeons or woodpeckers; no kingfisher or water-lilies in his streams; no fern, no heather, no fields of standing corn, no faithful or lovable dog—but why extend the list It is enough for us that Shakespeare took no man's mind for a pattern. Every man's matter was his : he took it as he said the osprey takes fish— ‘by sovereignty of nature;’ but his manner was his own, as mysterious in its peculiarities as it was incomparable in results.

« AnteriorContinuar »