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The Bachelors A Novel   By: (1870-1953)

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THE BACHELORS A NOVEL

BY WILLIAM DANA ORCUTT

AUTHOR OF "THE MOTH," "THE LEVER," "THE SPELL," ETC.

[Illustration]

HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS NEW YORK AND LONDON MCMXV

COPYRIGHT, 1915 BY HARPER & BROTHERS

THE BACHELORS

I

They were discussing Huntington and Cosden when the two men entered the living room of the Club and strolled toward the little group indulging itself in relaxation after a more or less strenuous afternoon at golf. It was natural, perhaps, that no one quite understood the basis upon which their intimacy rested, for entirely aside from the difference in their ages they seemed far separated in disposition and natural tastes. Cosden's dynamic energy had made more than an average golf player of Huntington, and in other ways forced him out of the easy path of least resistance; the older man's dignity and quiet philosophy tempered the cyclonic tendencies of his friend. The one met the world as an antagonist, and forced from it tribute and recognition; the other, never having felt the necessity of competition, had formed the habit of taking the world into his confidence and treating it as a friend.

These differences could not fail to attract the attention of their companions at the Club as day after day they played their round together, but this was the first time the subject had become a topic of general conversation. The speaker sat with his back to the door and continued his remarks after the newcomers came within hearing, in spite of the efforts made by those around to suppress him. The sudden hush and the conscious manner of those in the group would have conveyed the information even if the words had not.

"So you're giving us the once over, are you?" Cosden demanded, dropping into a chair. "You don't mean to say that the golf autobiographies have become exhausted?"

"I never heard myself publicly discussed," added Huntington as he, too, joined the party. "I am already experiencing a thrill of pleasurable excitement. Don't stop. Connie and I are really keen to learn more of ourselves."

"Well," the speaker replied, with some hesitation, "there's no use trying to make you believe we were listening to Baker's explanation of how the bunkers have been located exactly where the golf committee knows his ball is going to strike "

"Heaven forbid!" Huntington exclaimed; "but don't apologize. I congratulate the Club that the members are at last turning their attention to serious things. 'Tell the truth and shame the devil' provided it is Connie, and not me, you are going to shame."

"Don't mind me in the least," Cosden added. "My hide is tough, and I rather like to be put through the acid test once in a while."

"Oh, it isn't as bad as all that," the speaker explained. "We love you both, but in different ways, yet we can't make out just where you two fellows hitch up. Now, that isn't lèse majesté , is it?"

"What do you think, Connie?" Huntington asked, lighting his pipe. "Is that an insult or a compliment?"

"I don't see that it makes much difference from this crowd. We don't care what they say about us as long as they pay us the compliment of noticing us. That's the main point, and I'm glad we've been able to start something."

"But why don't you tell us?" insisted the speaker. "You aren't interested in anything Monty cares for except golf, and he hasn't even a flirting acquaintance with business, which is your divinity, yet you two fellows have formed a fine young Damon and Pythias combination which we all envy. Why don't you tell us how it happened?"

"I don't know," Cosden answered, serious at last and speaking with characteristic directness. "I never stopped to think of it; but if we're satisfied, whose concern is it, anyhow?"

"If friendship requires explanation, then it isn't friendship," added Huntington... Continue reading book >>




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