“Papa is very lucky in whatever he undertakes,” she said, addressing me rather than Carter, so I believe. “I could have warned you that he would have beaten you, though I cannot understand how he happened to drive a ball as far as that.”
She smiled and looked proudly at the huge figure of her father, who patted her on the cheek and laughed disdainfully.
Carter made some commonplace remark, but for the life of me I did not know what to say. The proud little head, the arched eyebrows, the cheeks faintly touched with a healthy tan, the little waist, the slender but perfect figure, and the toe of a dainty shoe held me in an aphasic spell. But the laughing eyes brought me out of it, and I made one of the most brilliant conversational efforts of my career.
“Do you play golf, Miss Harding?” I asked. Having thus broken the ice I experienced a vast sense of relief.
“I won a gold cup in a competition in Paris, didn’t I, papa?”
“Sure thing,” responded her father, “I ought to know; it cost me fifteen dollars to pay duty on that ornament.”
“And I once made the course in ninety-one,” continued Miss Harding.
“I don’t know anything about that,” said Harding. “Is ninety-one supposed to be any good?”
“It is a splendid record for a lady for eighteen holes!” I exclaimed, “and it is not a bad score for a man.”
“But this was only a nine-hole course,” explained Miss Harding, “and there were many of the ladies who did not do anywhere near as well as that. I have played considerably since then, and am confident that I can do much better.”
“You’ll have to excuse us, Kid,” interrupted her father, patting her on the arm with his huge hand. “I have important business in the club house with these gentlemen, and it is a matter which takes precedence over everything else. You can tell Smith about your golf triumphs some other time.”
He talked to her as if she were a child who was in the way. I suppose it does not occur to him that she is a woman grown. I would rather have remained where I was and attempted to talk to her, or even look at her, than to sip the finest Scotch whiskey ever bottled.
Now that I read this last line it does not convey much of a compliment, but I mean all that it implies. She certainly is very pretty. We made our excuses to her, and went to the club cafe, and I have not seen her since. She has gone to the city with her mother on a shopping tour and will not be back for several days.
I wonder how Carter became acquainted with her. He seems to know her very well, and must have met her many times. I should like to ask him, but of course that would not be the proper thing to do.
I had no idea that I would write so much as this when I started.
BISHOP’S HIRED MAN
Miss Harding is still in the city, and I have added nothing to this diary for several days. She is expected back to-morrow.