Directly one of them lay with his back to the ground and the other was locked in my embrace. I had not spent four years on the college campus for intellectual benefits only. And indignation lent me additional strength. My opponent was a powerful man, but I held him in a grip of rage. Truthfully, I began to enjoy the situation. There is something exhilarating in the fighting blood which rises in us now and then. This exhilaration, however, brought about my fall. In the struggle I forgot the other, who meantime had recovered his star-gemmed senses. A crack from the butt of his pistol rendered me remarkably quiet and docile. In fact, all became a vacancy till the next morning, and then I was conscious of a terrible headache, and of a room with a window through which a cat might have climbed without endangering its spine—a very dexterous cat.
“Well,” I mused, softly nursing the lump on my head, “here’s the devil to pay, and not a cent to pay him with.”
It was evident that, without knowing it, I had become a very important personage.
I saw some rye bread, cold meat and a pitcher of water on the table, and I made a sandwich and washed it down with a few swallows of the cool liquid. I had a fever and the water chilled it. There was a lump on the back of my head as large as an egg. With what water remained I dampened my handkerchief and wound it around the injury. Then I made a systematic search through my clothes. Not a single article of my belongings was missing. I was rather sorry, for it lent a deeper significance to my incarceration. After this, I proceeded to take an inventory of my surroundings. Below and beyond the little window I saw a wide expanse of beautiful gardens, fine oaks and firs, velvet lawns and white pebbled roads. Marble fountains made them merry in the roseate hue of early morning. A gardener was busy among some hedges, but beyond the sound of my voice. I was a prisoner in no common jail, then, but in the garret of a private residence. Having satisfied myself that there was no possible escape, I returned to my pallet and lay down. Why I was here a prisoner I knew not. I thought over all I had written the past twelvemonth, but nothing recurred to me which would make me liable to arrest. But, then, I had not been arrested. I had been kidnapped, nothing less. Nothing had been asked of me; I had made no statement. It had been all too sudden. Presently I heard footsteps in the corridor, and the door opened. It was mine enemy. He locked the door and thrust the key into his pocket. One of his eyes was decidedly mouse-colored. The knuckles of my hand were yet sore. I smiled; he saw the smile, his jaws hardening and his eyes threatening.
“I am sorry,” I said. “I should have hit you on the point of your chin; but I was in a great hurry. Did you ever try raw meat as a poultice?”