Then he stepped forward, like a young war horse, sniffing the battle.
Farley was more leisurely in his preparations, though he did not appear nervous. In fact, Farley wasn’t a bit nervous. But he meant “wind up” the fight in such short order that there would be an abundance of time to spare.
“There’s no use in giving you any advice, old fellow,” murmured Dan. “You’ve been in too many fights, back in the good old High School days of Dick & Co.”
“I can handle myself,” nodded Dave, “unless Farley proves to be a veritable wonder.”
“He certainly thinks he is,” warned Rollins. “And a good many of the fellows believe Farley to be the best man of the class in this line of work.”
“They won’t think so much longer,” returned Dan, as simply as though merely stating a proved fact. “You see, Rollins, you never had the great good luck to get your kid training with Dick & Co. Our old crowd always went in to win just because we were blind to the idea that there was any possible chance of losing.”
“Did you always make good?” asked Rollins curiously.
“Just about always, I reckon,” nodded Dan confidently.
“You must have been a wonder-bunch then,” smiled Rollins.
Farley was ready, now, and coming forward with a second on either side of him.
“Step in Dave old fellow.” directed Dan.
Dave came forward to where Midshipman Tyson awaited them.
“Gentlemen,” announced the referee, “this is to be a fight to the finish, bare hands. As time is short you are urged to mix it up briskly to a conclusion. The usual ring rules will guide the officials of this meeting. Hand-shaking will dispensed with. Are you ready?”
“Ready!” hissed Farley venomously.
“Ready,” nodded Dave coolly.
With a yell Farley leaped in. He didn’t want it to last more than one round, if it could be helped.
The fury of his assault drove the lighter Darrin back. Farley followed up with more sledge-hammers. He was certainly a dangerous man, with a hurricane style. He was fast and heavy, calculated to bear down a lighter opponent.
Before that assortment of blows Dave Darrin was forced to resort to footwork.
“Stand up and fight!” jeered Farley harshly as he wheeled and wheeled, still throwing out his hammer blows. “Don’t play sneak on the field!”
Dave didn’t even flush. Trained with Dick Prescott at Gridley High School, Darrin was too old a hand to be taunted into indiscretion.
In spite of his footwork, however, Farley succeeded in landing upon him twice, though neither blow did much damage.
Then a third blow landed, against the side of Darrin’s head, that jarred him. It was all he could do to stand off Farley until he recovered his wits enough to dodge once more.
Yet, all the while, Darrin was watching his chance.