“I think he earned it,” laughed Jack.
Jerry sat up on the edge of the bed and stared around, one eye only visible. The other was concealed behind a piece of raw meat that Flynn was holding over it.
“You lost something, Flynn?” he asked.
“A trifle, sor.”
“And the Kid and Tim?”
“And Rozy and Dan—all of us a bit, sor. But it don’t matther.”
“Well,” he said with a laugh. “I’ll make it up to you, all of you, d’ you hear? And I’m very much obliged for your confidence.”
It didn’t need this munificence on Jerry’s part to win the affection of these bruisers, but they were none the less cheerful on account of it. As Jim Robinson he had won their esteem, and all the evening they had stood a little in awe of Jerry Benham, but before they left him that night he gave them a good handshake all around and invited them to his house on the morrow. Between the crowd of us we got him into street clothes and a closed automobile in which Jack and I went with him to his house uptown.
Thanks to the formidable size of Jerry’s training partners, we had managed to avoid the reporters at the Garden, and when we reached Jerry’s house we gave instructions to the butler to admit no one and answer no questions. Christopher, now Jerry’s valet, we took upstairs with us and got the boy ready for bed. As the telephone bell began ringing with queries from the morning newspapers, I disconnected the wire and we were left in peace. A warm bath and a drink of brandy did wonders both for Jerry’s appearance and his spirits, and at last we got him to bed. But he could not sleep, and so we sat at his bedside and talked to him until far into the night, Jerry propped up on his pillows, his bad eye comically decorated with a part of his morning’s steak.
By dint of persuasion and a promise to stay all night at last we got the boy to sleep and went to bed. I think Jack was rather glad to be beyond the reach of the parental ire, and my own wish was to be near Jerry now, to help him on the morrow to readjust his mind to his disappointment, and do what other service I could to save him from the results of his folly.
The morning papers brought the evidences of it in vivid scare heads upon their first pages and detailed accounts of the whole affair, written by their best men, who gave Jerry, I am glad to say, the credit that was his due, calling him “the new star in pugilistic circles,” “the coming heavyweight champion,” and the yellowest of them, the one that had unmasked Jim Robinson the afternoon before, came out with an offer to back Jerry Benham for five thousand dollars against Jack Clancy or any other heavyweight except the Champion. Jerry read the articles in silence, a queer smile upon his face and at last shoved the papers aside.
“Nice of those chaps, very, considering the way I’ve treated ’em, but it’s no go. I’ve finished.”