“If I had, I might have gotten more of him than I wanted,” muttered Dalzell.
“Why don’t you mix it up faster?” queried Rollins.
“Because,” proclaimed Midshipman Dan, “I don’t want to fight or get hurt. I’m doing this sort of thing just for exercise, you understand.”
Then they were called into the second round. Quimby, in the meantime, had been counseled to crowd the plebe hard, and to hammer him when he got close.
So, now, Quimby started in to do broadside work. At last he scored fairly, hitting Dalzell on the nose and starting the flow.
But, within ten seconds, Dalzell had return the blow with interest. After that things went slowly for a few more seconds, when time was again called.
“That plebe isn’t exactly easy,” Quimby confided to his seconds. “I’ve got to watch him, and be cautious. I haven’t seen a plebe as cool and ready in many a day.”
In the third round Quimby was perhaps too cautious. He did not rush enough. Dan, on the other hand, bore down a bit. Just before the call of time he closed Quimby’s right eye.
Both Quimby and his seconds were now dubious, though the youngster’s fighting pluck and determination ran as high as ever.
“I’ve got to wipe him off the field in this fourth round, or go to the grass myself,” murmured Quimby, while his seconds did the best they could with him.
“I’m warming up finely,” confided Dan to Dave and Rollins.
“You’re coming through all right,” nodded Dave confidently. “At present you have twice as much vision as the other fellow, and only a fraction as much of soreness. But keep on the watch to the end.”
For the first twenty seconds of the new round it was Quimby who was on the defensive. Dan followed him up just warmly enough to be annoying.
At last, however, Dan straightened, stiffened, and there was a quick flash in his eyes.
He saw his chance, and now he jumped in at it. His feint reached for Quimby’s solar plexus, but the real blow, from Dalzell’s right hand, hammered in, all but closing Quimby’s other eye.
Smack! Right on top of that staggerer came a hook that landed on the youngster’s forehead with such force that Quimby fell over backward. He tried to catch himself, but failed, and lurched to the ground.
“—six, seven, eight—” counted the timekeeper.
Quimby staggered bravely to his feet, but stood there, his knees wobbling, his arms all but hanging at his side.
Dan did not try to hit. He backed off slightly keeping only at half-guard and watching his opponent.
“What’s the matter, Quimby” called Mr. Ferris. “Can’t you go on?”
“Yes; I’m going on, to the knock-out!” replied the youngster doggedly.
He tried to close in, but was none too steady on his feet. Dan, watching him, readily footed it, merely watching for the youngster to lead out.