Johnson Johnson 04 - Dolly and the Doctor Bird

Johnson Johnson 04 - Dolly and the Doctor Bird by Dorothy (as Dorothy Halliday Dunnett Read Free Book Online

Book: Johnson Johnson 04 - Dolly and the Doctor Bird by Dorothy (as Dorothy Halliday Dunnett Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dorothy (as Dorothy Halliday Dunnett
these reasons I have noticed that if an American can afford to play golf at all, he can usually afford to do it better than anyone else.
    Mr. Wallace Brady, self-styled acquaintance of Bartholomew Edgecombe and working on Great Harbour Cay, was an American. The first hole was over three hundred yards long, a dog-leg to the north: par for both, 4. I took out a No. 1 wood, flexed my knees, dug in my unlined Gullanes with white aprons and replaceable spikes, and swung.
    There was a whicker and a click, and my ridiculous American ball flew, straight as a rule, well over two hundred yards down the fairway. Wallace Brady said, “I knew it. I’ve asked to play ball with a tiger.”
    “Not a tiger, Mr. Brady,” I said. “Just an average player from Scotland.”
    There is no virtue in exaggeration, after all.
    To describe the round would be tedious. Paradise Island golf course is scenically attractive, with coconut palms, flowering bushes, and a small lake stocked by coots, whose wooden bridge we crossed in the golf cart. An advantage perhaps in the long American fairways, these are still to my mind no substitute for a caddy. However I am, I know, a reactionary.
    I played well that morning, and the two balls I shot into the rough I recovered, although on the fourth I had to play a tricky chip shot from the sand. The fourth, fifth, and sixth at Paradise all run by the sea, and I have known couples to break off their game to sit on the rock-strewn white sand and foster their sun-induced cutaneous cancer.
    But then, on an American course one can hardly tell golfers from sun-bathers. Brady was moderately dressed in thin stone-colored trousers and a knitted white shirt with short sleeves. But three of a foursome behind us, I noted, sported all the atrocities of bright shirts and long colored Bermudas: one overweight person in a straw hat was playing in his bare feet. For golf, I have always worn an Orkney tweed skirt with a low inverted pleat at the back, and oversocks with good shoes. If one wishes to play properly, one must be properly dressed.
    I won that hole, and Brady the next, which reduced my slight lead, but not enough to concern me: I was clearly the better player of the two. As we turned from the sea I noticed, a little way out in the channel, the long white lines of a gaff-rigged ketch tacking idly in the light wind; her power boat was quite clearly missing. Someone on
had risen early this morning. I wondered who was ashore, Spry or Johnson, and where. The thought gave me confidence, and at the next hole I got a birdie which Brady, unlike many of his sex, took in good part. After the doubtful start at the Trueman Hotel, I was finding him mildly congenial.
    He kept his good temper even at the end when we finished our nine holes, he one over and I one under par. There was time for coffee, but he would not consider help-yourself instant on the terrace and asked me instead to wait and accompany him up to the hotel. Thus it was that I entered the pro’s shop to look around while he paid for the cart.
    As usual, the golf bags looked like elephant howdahs, and there was a display of crossed irons which would have done credit to the Great Hall at Inveraray itself. The guest book was open on the counter, where he had written our names, and below it were the names of the players behind us, presumably including the ill-attired foursome who were now playing the ninth. Most of the golfers behind us gave Nassau addresses; but one quartet player gave no address at all, not even Scotland.
    But the name was MacRannoch. T. K. MacRannoch. The name of James Ulric’s despised heir.
    It was the merest coincidence, but I always prefer to make certain. I walked out of the pro’s shop, almost bowling over Wallace Brady, who was coming to find me. I had no time for Brady just then. I was looking at the fourth, sober member of the gaily dressed foursome, who was occupied, head bent, in holing an extremely difficult putt. He looked up,

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