“That’s agreeable to me,” nodded Midshipman Decker.
In twenty minutes the two seconds were back.
“We’ve found just the place,” announced Decker. “And it isn’t more than three minutes’ walk from here. Will you all hurry along?”
“The place” turned out to be a barn that had not been used for a year or more. The floor was almost immaculately clean. In consideration of two dollars handed him, the owner had agreed to display no curiosity, and not to mention the affair to any one.
“How do you like it, Darry?” asked Dan anxiously.
“It will suit me as well as any other place,” responded Dave, slipping off his blouse, folding it neatly and putting it aside, his uniform cap following.
“And you?” asked Decker of his man.
“The floor’s hard, but I don’t expect to be the man to hit it,” replied Pennington.
In five minutes both midshipmen were attired for their “affair.” Between them the different members of the party had smuggled ashore shoes, old trousers and belts for the fighters.
It being a class affair, Remington, of the third class, had come along as referee, while Dawley; was to be the time-keeper.
“If the principals are ready, let them step forward,” ordered Midshipman Remington, going to the middle of the floor. “Now, I understand that this is to be a finish fight; rounds, two minutes; rests, two minutes. I also understand that the principals do not care to shake hands before the call to mix up.”
Darrin and Pennington nodded their assent.
“Take your places, gentlemen,” ordered the referee quickly. “Are you ready, gentlemen?”
“Yes,” came from both principals.
Both men had their guards up. As the word left the referee’s lips each tried two or three passes which the other blocked. Midshipman Pennington was trying to take his opponent’s “measure.”
Then Dave ducked, darted, dodged and wheeled about. Pennington had to follow him, and it made the latter angry.
“Stand up and fight, can’t you,” hissed Pen.
“Silence during the rounds, Mr. Pennington,” admonished the referee quietly. “Let the officials do all the talking that may be necessary.”
Dave, as he dodged again, and came up unscathed, grinned broadly over this rebuke. That grin made Pen angrier than anything else could have done.
“I’ll wipe that grin off his face!” muttered Pennington angrily.
And this very thing Pennington tried hard to do. He was quick on his own feet, and for a few seconds he followed the dodging Darrin about, raining in blows that required all of Dave’s adroitness to escape.
Dave’s very success, however, made his opponent all the angrier. From annoyance, followed by excessive irritation, Pennington went into almost blind rage—and the man who does that, anywhere in life, must always pay for it.