ENTRY NO. XXII
I AM UTTERLY MISERABLE
On Board “Oceanic,” East-bound.
I may as well finish the sentence which ends brokenly in the preceding entry. “I am an ass.”
Three weeks have passed since I finished that entry with the most appropriate words, “I am.” They fittingly express the consummate egoism with which I was then afflicted. I have recovered—partially, at least.
I am—there goes that “I am” again—I am on the “Oceanic” pointed for London. Unless we sink—and I care little whether we do or not—I should be in that city inside of forty-eight hours.
In looking over my luggage I found this diary. I gave it to my room steward and told him to throw it overboard. Then it occurred to me that it would be my luck that it would be picked up and published as the mental meanderings of an idiot, so I called him back and took it away from him.
This steward of mine discovered my mental unbalance the first day out, but considers me harmless and treats me accordingly.
I have decided to bring this diary up to date, retain possession of it pending certain developments, and then incinerate it with appropriate ceremonies. So I will begin at the beginning, which is the ending of the last entry with its immortal declaration, “I am.”
I have forgotten what I intended to write when I started that sentence, and what it was cuts no figure. I only know that just at that instant Chilvers, Marshall, and Carter appeared, dragged me from my chair and insisted that I join them in a foursome. There was no escape, so I got ready and in a few minutes was with them at the first tee.
On my way there I met Miss Harding, Miss Ross and Miss Dangerfield. I chatted with them for a moment and went on. I remember—oh, do I not remember!—that I called Miss Harding aside and reminded her that we were to take a moonlight spin in my new automobile. She smilingly replied that she had not forgotten it, and with a look into each other’s eyes which thrilled my very being I turned to join those golfers.
How can I write this? It is like pouring a burning acid into a wound!
I have forgotten who won the game. I know I played vilely for I was not thinking of golf. I was counting the minutes which must elapse before I could be by her side and tell her that I loved her.
I was rehearsing the words I should whisper to her as we paused on the smooth crest of “Old Baldy.” I was picturing the fairy landscape shimmering in the moonlight, its rays falling on her fair face as I took her hand in mine. I saw it all as plain as I see this page in front of me. I felt it vividly as I feel the heaving of this great ship and the vibrations of its engines.
How could I play a decent game of golf under such circumstances?
On returning to the club house one of the attendants handed me a telegram which had just been received. I opened it carelessly and read: