And to complete this parable – well, most of what could serve as lessons has been already been expounded, but to tie up the loose ends of what is also an engaging little story, written by the best exponent of humour in English letters….. That was to make it clear that this episode, having a lot of similarities with my life insofar as the natures and habits (including temporary ones) of the principal protagonist and the narrator are concerned, is not meant to be autobiographical. There are many points of divergence, it may be pointed out – the other – the physically active – protagonists, for one. So lets carry on.
It seemed to me a case where much unpleasant explanation might be avoided by the exercise of a little tact.
“Well, some say one thing and some another,” I said. “Whether it was a spark from a cigarette——”
Celia interrupted me. The woman in her made her revolt against this well-intentioned subterfuge.
“I hit you, George!”
“Hit me?” he repeated, curiously. “What with? The Eiffel Tower?”
“With my niblick.”
“You hit me with your niblick? But why?”
She hesitated. Then she faced him bravely.
“Because you wouldn’t stop talking.”
“Me!” he said. “I wouldn’t stop talking! But I hardly talk at all. I’m noted for it.”
Celia’s eyes met mine in agonized inquiry. But I saw what had happened. The blow, the sudden shock, had operated on George’s brain-cells in such a way as to effect a complete cure. I have not the technical knowledge to be able to explain it, but the facts were plain.
“Lately, my dear fellow,” I assured him, “you have dropped into the habit of talking rather a good deal. Ever since we started out this afternoon you have kept up an incessant flow of conversation!”
“Me! On the links! It isn’t possible.”
“It is only too true, I fear. And that is why this brave girl hit you with her niblick. You started to tell her a funny story just as she was making her eleventh shot to get her ball out of this ravine, and she took what she considered the necessary steps.”
“Can you ever forgive me, George?” cried Celia.
George Mackintosh stared at me. Then a crimson blush mantled his face.
“So I did! It’s all beginning to come back to me. Oh, heavens!”
“Can you forgive me, George?” cried Celia again.
He took her hand in his.
“Forgive you?” he muttered. “Can you forgive me? Me—a tee-talker, a green-gabbler, a prattler on the links, the lowest form of life known to science! I am unclean, unclean!”
“It’s only a little mud, dearest,” said Celia, looking at the sleeve of his coat. “It will brush off when it’s dry.”
“How can you link your lot with a man who talks when people are making their shots?”
“You will never do it again.”
“But I have done it. And you stuck to me all through! Oh, Celia!”
“I loved you, George!”
The man seemed to swell with a sudden emotion. His eye lit up, and he thrust one hand into the breast of his coat while he raised the other in a sweeping gesture. For an instant he appeared on the verge of a flood of eloquence. And then, as if he had been made sharply aware of what it was that he intended to do, he suddenly sagged. The gleam died out of his eyes. He lowered his hand.
“Well, I must say that was rather decent of you,” he said.
A lame speech, but one that brought an infinite joy to both his hearers. For it showed that George Mackintosh was cured beyond possibility of relapse.
And thats where we end….