Ten and Eight by A. A. Milne
The only event of importance last week was my victory over Henry by
ten and eight. If you don't want to hear about that, then I shall
have to pass on to you a few facts about his motor bicycle. You'd
rather have the other? I thought so.
The difference between Henry and me is that he is what I should
call a good golfer, and I am what everybody else calls a bad golfer.
In consequence of this he insults me with offers of bisques.
"I'll have ten this time," I said, as we walked to the tee.
"Better have twelve. I beat you with eleven yesterday."
"Thank you," I said haughtily, "I will have ten." It is true that
he beat me last time, but then owing to bad management on my part I
had nine bisques left at the moment of defeat simply eating their
Henry teed up and drove a "Pink Spot" out of sight. Henry swears by
the "Pink Spot" if there is anything of a wind. I use either a "Quo
Vadis," which is splendid for going out of bounds, or an "Ostrich,"
which has a wonderful way of burying itself in the sand. I followed
him to the green at my leisure.
"Five," said Henry.
"Seven," said I; "and if I take three bisques it's my hole."
"You must only take one at a time," protested Henry.
"Why? There's nothing in Wisden or Baedeker about it. Besides, I
will only take one at a time if it makes it easier for you. I take
one and that brings me down to six, and then another one and that
brings me down to five, and then another one and that brings me down
to four. There! And as you did the hole in five, I win."
"Well, of course, if you like to waste them all at the start—"
"I'm not wasting them, I'm creating a moral effect. Behold, I have
won the first hole; let us be photographed together."
Henry went to the next tee slightly ruffled and topped his ball
into the road. I had kept mine well this side of it and won in four to
"I shan't take any bisques here," I said. "Two up."
At the third tee my "Quo Vadis" darted off suddenly to the left and
tried to climb the hill. I headed it off and gave it a nasty dent
from behind when it wasn't looking, and with my next shot started it
rolling down the mountains with ever-increasing velocity. Not until
it was within a foot of the pin did it condescend to stop. Henry, who
had reached the green with his drive and had taken one putt too many,
halved the hole in four. I took a bisque and was three up.
The fourth hole was prettily played by both of us, and with two
bisques I had it absolutely stiff. Unnerved by this Henry went all
out at the fifth and tried to carry the stream in two. Unfortunately
(I mean unfortunately for him) the stream was six inches too broad in
the particular place at which he tried to carry it. My own view is
that he should either have chosen another place or else have got a
narrower stream from somewhere. As it was I won in an uneventful six,
and took with a bisque the short hole which followed.
"Six up," I pointed out to Henry, "and three bisques left. They're
jolly little things, bisques, but you want to use them quickly.
Bisque dat qui cito dat. Doesn't the sea look ripping to-day?"
"Go on," growled Henry.
"I once did a two at this hole," I said as I teed my ball. "If I
did a two now and took a bisque, you'd have to do it in nothing in
order to win. A solemn thought."
At this hole you have to drive over a chasm in the cliffs. My ball
made a bee line for the beach, bounced on a rock, and disappeared
into a cave. Henry's "Pink Spot," which really seemed to have a
chance of winning a hole at last, found the wind too much for it and
followed me below.
"I'm in this cave," I said when we had found Henry's ball; and with
a lighted match in one hand and a niblick in the other I went in and
tried to persuade the "Ostrich" to come out. My eighth argument was
too much for it, and we re-appeared in the daylight together.
"How many?" I asked Henry.
"Six," he said, as he hit the top of the cliff once more, and shot
back on to the beach.
I left him and chivied my ball round to where the cliffs are
lowest; then I got it gradually on to a little mound of sand (very
delicate work this), took a terrific swing and fairly heaved it on to
the grass. Two more strokes put me on to the green in twenty. I lit a
pipe and waited for Henry to finish his game of rackets.
"I've played twenty-five," he shouted.
"Then you'll want some of my bisques," I said. "I can lend you
three till Monday."
Henry had one more rally and then picked his ball up. I had won
seven holes and I had three bisques with which to win the match. I
was a little doubtful if I could do this, but Henry settled the
question by misjudging yet again the breadth of the stream. What is
experience if it teaches us nothing? Henry must really try to enlarge
his mind about rivers.
"Dormy nine," I said at the tenth tee, "and no bisques left."
"Thank Heaven for that," sighed Henry.
"But I have only to halve one hole out of nine," I pointed out.
"Technically I am on what is known as velvet."
"Oh, shut up and drive."
I am a bad golfer, but even bad golfers do holes in bogey now and
then. In the ordinary way I was pretty certain to halve one of the
nine holes with Henry, and so win the match. Both the eleventh and
the seventeenth, for instance, are favourites of mine. Had I halved
one of those, he would have admitted cheerfully that I had played
good golf and beaten him fairly. But as things happened—
What happened, put quite briefly, was this. Bogey for the tenth is
four. I hooked my drive off the tee and down a little gully to the
left, put a good iron shot into a bunker on the right, and than ran
down a hundred-yard putt with a niblick for a three. One of those
difficult down-hill putts.
"Luck!" said Henry, as soon as he could speak.
"I've been missing those lately," I said.
"Your match," said Henry; "I can't play against luck like that."
It was true that he had given me ten bisques, but, on the other
hand, I could have given him a dozen at the seventh and still have
However, I was too magnanimous to point that out. All I said was,
"Ten and eight."
And then I added thoughtfully, "I don't think I've ever won by more