“Ten to six on the boiler-maker,” said the cabman; “I’ll take ten to six.”
“And then, of course,” Mr. Clarkson continued, “in recent times there are splendid accounts of the fights in Lavengro and Meredith’s Amazing Marriage, and Browning once refers to the Tipton Slasher, and we all know Conan Doyle.”
“No, we don’t,” said the cabman.
“It seems rather hard to explain the attraction of prize-fighting,” Mr. Clarkson went on, meditatively; “perhaps it comes simply from the dramatic element of battle. It is a war in brief, a concentrated militancy. Or perhaps it is the more barbaric delight in vicarious pain and endurance; and I think sometimes we ought to include the pleasure of our race in fair play and the just and equal rigour of the game.”
What other reasons Mr. Clarkson might have found were lost in the yelling of newsboys tearing down the Strand. Too excited to speak, the crowd engulfed them. The papers were torn from their hands. Short cries, short sentences followed. Here and there Mr. Clarkson caught an intelligible word: “Revolvers taken at gate”; “Expected Johnson would be shot if victorious”; “Opening spar almost academic in its calmness”; “Old wound on Jeffries’s right eye opened”; “Both cheeks gashed to the bone”; “Jack handed out some wicked lefts”; “Terrible gruelling”; “Both shutters out of working order”; “Defeat certain after eighth round”; “Johnson hooked his left”; “The Circassian remained on his knees”; “Counting went on”; “Fatal ten was reached.”
The crowd gasped. Then it shouted, it swore, it broke up swearing.
“Negroes had best crawl underground to-night,” said the American; “it ain’t good for negroes when their heads grow through their hair.”
“Another proof,” sighed Mr. Clarkson, “another proof that, on Roosevelt’s principle, the United States are unfit for self-government.”
When he reached his rooms it was nearly one, but a door opened softly on the top floor, and the landlady’s little boy looked over the banisters and asked: “Please, sir, did Jim win, sir?”
“Let me see,” said Mr. Clarkson, “which was Jim?”
PEACE AND WAR IN THE BALANCE
When your Committee invited me to deliver the Moncure Conway address this year, I was even more surprised at their choice of subject than at their choice of person. For the chosen subject was Peace, and my chief study, interest, and means of livelihood for some twenty years past has been War. It seemed to me like inviting a butcher to lecture on vegetarianism. So I wrote, with regret, to refuse. But your Committee very generously repeated the invitation, giving me free permission to take my own line upon the subject; and then I perceived that you did not ask for the mere celebration of an established doctrine, but were still prepared to join in pursuit, following the track