During the first minute no important blows were landed on either side. Then, suddenly, Dave darted in and under, and brought a right-arm hook against Pen’s nose in a way that started that member to bleeding again, and with a steady flow.
That jarred the larger midshipman. He plunged in, heavily and blindly, blocking one of Darrin’s blows by wrapping both arms around him.
“None of that, Mr. Pennington! Break away fast!” ordered Midshipman Remington quickly.
Dave took a fair get away, not attempting to strike as the clinch was broken. But an instant later Dave came back, dancing all around his dazed opponent, landing on the short ribs, on the breast bone, under either ear and finally on the tip of the chin.
Pen was sure that none of these blows had been delivered with the force that Darrin could have sent in.
“Time!” shouted Midshipman Dawley.
The principals retired to their corners, Pennington almost wholly afraid from the conviction that his antagonist was now merely playing with him to keep the interest going.
So Pennington was still rather badly scared when the two came together for the fifth round.
“Get lively, now, gentlemen, if you can,” begged Referee Remington. “Finish this one way or the other, and let us get some of the benefits of our shore leave.”
Pen started by putting more steam behind every blow. Dave, who had used up so much of his wind by his brilliant footwork, began to find it harder to keep the upper hand.
Twice, however, he managed to land body blows. He was trying to drive in a third when Pennington blocked, following this with a left-arm jab on Darrin’s left jaw that sent the lighter man to the floor.
Instantly Dawley began to count off the seconds.
“—seven, eight, nine, te——”
Dave was up on his feet. Pen tried to make a quick rush, but Darrin dodged cleverly, them wheeled and faced his opponent as the latter wheeled about.
After that there was less footwork. Both men stood up to it, as keenly alert as they could be, each trying to drive home heavy blows. While they were still at it the call of time sounded.
“Don’t let him put it over you, David, little giant!” warned Dan, as the latter and Farley vigorously massaged Darrin’s muscles. “He all but had you, and there isn’t any need of making Pen a present of the meeting.”
“I tried to get him,” muttered Dave in an undertone, “and I shall go on trying to the last. But Pennington is pretty nearly superior to anyone in my class.”
“Just waltz in and show him,” whispered Dalzell, as the call sounded.
Pennington entered the sixth round with more confidence. He began, at the outset, to drive in heavy blows, nor did Dave do much dodging.
Bump! Twenty-five seconds only of this round had gone when Darrin landed his right fist with fearful force upon the high point of Pennington’s jaw.