“Apologize to you—you—”
Whatever the word was, it didn’t get out, for in the same instant Darrin cried warningly:
Midshipman Jetson threw up his hands, but Darrin’s right fist landed across his offending mouth with such force as to fell the sulky midshipman flat to the earth.
AN AFFAIR OF SULKS
Having struck the blow, Midshipman Darrin stepped back, to give his opponent an unobstructed chance to rise to his feet.
“What’s this all about?” demanded Midshipman Hepson wonderingly.
“It’s gone too far for talk, now,” replied Dan Dalzell. “Wait until Darry has put a new head on this idiot.”
Jetson took his time about getting to his feet When he did rise he didn’t assume his guard at once.
“Well,” asked Darrin coolly, but mockingly, “have you had all you can stand, or are you going to back up your wild, crazy statements?”
Suddenly Jetson raised one of his feet quickly, as though to kick Dave in the belt line.
“Here, stop that!” cried Hepson and Joyce in the same breath, as they sprang forward. Darrin, seeing others interfere, didn’t attempt to strike back, but merely stepped aside.
That was the chance for which Jetson had been watching. His kick didn’t land; he hadn’t intended that it should, but Dave’s surprised recoil gave the other the chance that he really wanted. Both of Jetson’s fists struck on Dave’s nose, drawing a flood of the crimson.
“You coward! You cur!” gasped amazed Dalzell.
“Silence, all!” ordered Hepson, speaking by virtue of being a first classman. “Jet is crazy, but he can’t be expected to take up more than one affair at a time. Darry, take your time to stop the flow of blood. Then you can demand an accounting of Jetson.”
“I’ve nothing more to say,” remarked Jetson. “I was struck and I’ve returned the blow with interest. That ends my concern in the affair. Good night, all.”
“Hold on!” ordered Hepson, bounding forward and laying a strong, detaining hand on Jetson’s shoulder. “You can’t slip away like that. Matters have gone so far that they’ll simply have to go further. You’d put yourself wholly in the wrong by withdrawing now—especially after the slimy trick that you’ve played a fair opponent.”
“Slimy, eh?” cried Jetson angrily. “Mr. Hepson, you and I will have to have an accounting, too!”
“Oh, just as you like,” responded the first classman, shrugging his shoulders. “You’ll find it a better rule, however, to stick to one affair at a time. Darry, are you in shape, now, to attend to this matter from your point of view?”
“Quite,” nodded Dave, who had about succeeded in stanching the flow of blood from his injured nose. “Does Mr. Jetson desire to take his coat off or not?”
“Yes!” cried Jetson tempestuously, unbuttoning his own overcoat and tossing it to the ground. “Now, take yours off, Mr. Darrin!”