He got two or three taps in the next round which made his ’ead ring, and then he got ’ome on the mark and follered it up by a left-’anded punch on Bill’s jaw that surprised ’em both—Bill because he didn’t think Ginger could hit so ’ard, and Ginger because ’e didn’t think that prize-fighters ’ad any feelings.
They clinched and fell that round, and the land-lord patted Ginger on the back and said that if he ever ’ad a son he ’oped he’d grow up like ’im.
Ginger was surprised at the way ’e was getting on, and so was old Sam and Peter Russet, and when Ginger knocked Bill down in the sixth round Sam went as pale as death. Ginger was getting marked all over, but he stuck, to ’is man, and the two dock policemen, wot ’ad put their money on Bill Lumm, began to talk of their dooty, and say as ’ow the fight ought to be stopped.
At the tenth round Bill couldn’t see out of ’is eyes, and kept wasting ’is strength on the empty air, and once on the referee. Ginger watched ‘is opportunity, and at last, with a terrific smash on the point o’ Bill’s jaw, knocked ’im down and then looked round for the landlord’s knee.
Bill made a game try to get up when “Time!” was called, but couldn’t; and the referee, who was ’olding a ’andkerchief to ’is nose, gave the fight to Ginger.
It was the proudest moment o’ Ginger Dick’s life. He sat there like a king, smiling ’orribly, and Sam’s voice as he paid ’is losings sounded to ‘im like music, in spite o’ the words the old man see fit to use. It was so ’ard to get Peter Russet’s money that it a’most looked as though there was going to be another prize-fight, but ’e paid up at last and went off, arter fust telling Ginger part of wot he thought of ’im.
There was a lot o’ quarrelling, but the bets was all settled at last, and the landlord o’ the Jolly Pilots, who was in ’igh feather with the money he’d won, gave Ginger the five pounds he’d promised and took him ’ome in a cab.
“You done well, my lad,” he ses. “No, don’t smile. It looks as though your ’ead’s coming off.”
“I ’ope you’ll tell Miss Tucker ’ow I fought,” ses Ginger.
“I will, my lad,” ses the landlord; “but you’d better not see ’er for some time, for both your sakes.”
“I was thinking of ’aving a day or two in bed,” ses Ginger.
“Best thing you can do,” ses the landlord; “and mind, don’t you ever fight Bill Lumm agin. Keep out of ’is way.”
“Why? I beat ‘im once, an’ I can beat ’im agin,” ses Ginger, offended.
“Beat ’im?” ses the landlord. He took ’is cigar out of ’is mouth as though ’e was going to speak, and then put it back agin and looked out of the window.
“Yes, beat ‘im,” ses Ginger’. “You was there and saw it.”
“He lost the fight a-purpose,” ses the landlord, whispering. “Miss Tucker found out that you wasn’t a prize-fighter—leastways, I did for ’er—and she told Bill that, if ’e loved ’er so much that he’d ’ave ’is sinful pride took down by letting you beat ’im, she’d think diff’rent of ’im. Why, ’e could ’ave settled you in a minute if he’d liked. He was on’y playing with you.”