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Golf In The Eighteenth Century

Golf In The Eighteenth Century

A very interesting picture of contemporary Scotland is embodied in Smollett's " Humphry Clinker." The book from which the passage is quoted was written, be it remembered, in 1770.

Hard by, in the fields called the Links, the citizens of Edinburgh divert themselves at a game called Golf, in which they use a curious kind of bats, tipped with horn, and small elastic balls of leather, stuffed with feathers, rather less than tennis-balls, but of a much harder consistence ; this they strike with such force and dexterity from one hole to another, that they will fly to an incredible distance.

Of this diversion the Scots are so fond, that, when the weather will permit, you may see a multitude of all ranks, from the senator of justice to the lowest tradesman, mingled together in their shirts, and following the balls with the utmost eagerness. Among others, I was shown one particular set of golfers, the youngest of whom was turned of fourscore; they were all men of independent fortunes, who had amused themselves with this pastime for the best part of a century, without ever having felt the least alarm from sickness or disgust; and they never went to bed without having each the best part of a gallon of claret in his belly.

Tobias Smollett : " Humphry Clinker"

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