Quimby’s two seconds rushed to his side. Midshipman Ferris and the time-keeper also gathered around.
“Quimby,” spoke the referee, “you’re in no shape to go on.”
“I can stand up and be hit,” muttered the youngster gamely.
“Mr. Dalzell, do you care to go further?” asked Mr. Ferris.
“I shan’t attempt to hit Mr. Quimby, sir, unless he develops a good deal more steam.”
Ferris looked at Quimby’s seconds. They shook their head.
“I award the fight to Mister Dalzell,” declared Midshipman Ferris.
“Oh, give it to Mr. Quimby, if you don’t mind, sir,” begged Dan. “He got the game, and might as well have the name along with it.”
“Mister, don’t be touge all the time,” cried Mr. Ferris sharply.
“I don’t mean to be, sir,” replied Dan quite meekly. “What I meant to convey, sir, is that I don’t care anything about winning fights. The decision, sir, is of very little importance to me. I don’t fight because I like it, but merely because I need the exercise. A fight about once a week will be very much to my liking, sir.”
“You’ll get it, undoubtedly,” replied Midshipman Ferris dryly.
“Whee, won’t it be great!” chuckled Dan, in an undertone, as he stepped over to his seconds. “Give me that towel, Dave. I can rub myself off.”
While Dan was dressing, and Quimby was doing the same, one of the seconds of the youngster class came over, accompanied by the timekeeper.
“Mister, you really do fight as though you enjoyed it,” remarked the latter.
“But I don’t,” denied Dan. “I’m willing to do it, though, to keep myself in condition. Say once a week, except in really hot weather. A little game like this tones up the liver so that I can almost feel it dancing inside of me.”
As he spoke, Dalzell clapped both hands to his lower left side and jumped up and down.
“You heathen, your liver isn’t there,” laughed the time-keeper.
“Isn’t it?” demanded Dan. “Now, I’m ready to maintain, at all times, that I know more about my liver and its hanging-out place than anyone else possibly can.”
There was a note of half challenge in this, but the time-keeper merely laughed and turned away. Members of the second class usually feel too grave and dignified to “take it out of” plebes. That work is left to the “youngsters” of the third class.
A little later Mr. Quimby presented himself for medical attendance. His face certainly showed signs of the need of tender ministration. “Dan, why in the world are you so fresh?” remonstrated Dave, when the two chums were back in their room. “You talk as though you wanted to fight every man in the upper classes. You’ll get your wish, if you don’t look out.”
“Old fellow,” replied Dalzell quizzically, “I expect to get into two or three more fights. I don’t mean to be touge, but I do intend to let it be seen that I look upon it as a lark to be called out. Then, if I win the next two or three fights also, I won’t be bothered any after that. This is my own scheme for joining the peace society before long.”