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Title: The Abysmal Brute
Author: London, Jack
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                                  THE
                             ABYSMAL BRUTE

                                   BY
                              JACK LONDON
                   Author of "The Call of the Wild,"
                    "The Sea Wolf," "Smoke Bellew,"
                         "The Night Born," etc.


                                NEW YORK
                            THE CENTURY CO.
                                  1913



THE ABYSMAL BRUTE

I


Sam Stubener ran through his mail carelessly and rapidly. As became a
manager of prize-fighters, he was accustomed to a various and bizarre
correspondence. Every crank, sport, near sport, and reformer seemed
to have ideas to impart to him. From dire threats against his life
to milder threats, such as pushing in the front of his face, from
rabbit-foot fetishes to lucky horse-shoes, from dinky jerkwater bids
to the quarter-of-a-million-dollar offers of irresponsible nobodies,
he knew the whole run of the surprise portion of his mail. In his time
having received a razor-strop made from the skin of a lynched negro,
and a finger, withered and sun-dried, cut from the body of a white
man found in Death Valley, he was of the opinion that never again
would the postman bring him anything that could startle him. But this
morning he opened a letter that he read a second time, put away in
his pocket, and took out for a third reading. It was postmarked from
some unheard-of post-office in Siskiyou County, and it ran:


    Dear Sam:

    You don't know me, except my reputation. You come after my time,
    and I've been out of the game a long time. But take it from
    me I ain't been asleep. I've followed the whole game, and I've
    followed you, from the time Kal Aufman knocked you out to your
    last handling of Nat Belson, and I take it you're the niftiest
    thing in the line of managers that ever came down the pike.

    I got a proposition for you. I got the greatest unknown that ever
    happened. This ain't con. It's the straight goods. What do you
    think of a husky that tips the scales at two hundred and twenty
    pounds fighting weight, is twenty-two years old, and can hit a
    kick twice as hard as my best ever? That's him, my boy, Young
    Pat Glendon, that's the name he'll fight under. I've planned it
    all out. Now the best thing you can do is hit the first train
    and come up here.

    I bred him and I trained him. All that I ever had in my head I've
    hammered into his. And maybe you won't believe it, but he's added
    to it. He's a born fighter. He's a wonder at time and distance. He
    just knows to the second and the inch, and he don't have to think
    about it at all. His six-inch jolt is more the real sleep medicine
    than the full-arm swing of most geezers.

    Talk about the hope of the white race. This is him. Come and
    take a peep. When you was managing Jeffries you was crazy about
    hunting. Come along and I'll give you some real hunting and
    fishing that will make your moving picture winnings look like
    thirty cents. I'll send Young Pat out with you. I ain't able to
    get around. That's why I'm sending for you. I was going to manage
    him myself. But it ain't no use. I'm all in and likely to pass out
    any time. So get a move on. I want you to manage him. There's a
    fortune in it for both of you, but I want to draw up the contract.


    Yours truly,

    PAT GLENDON.


Stubener was puzzled. It seemed, on the face of it, a joke--the men
in the fighting game were notorious jokers--and he tried to discern
the fine hand of Corbett or the big friendly paw of Fitzsimmons in
the screed before him. But if it were genuine, he knew it was worth
looking into. Pat Glendon was before his time, though, as a cub, he
had once seen Old Pat spar at the benefit for Jack Dempsey. Even then
he was called "Old" Pat, and had been out of the ring for years. He
had antedated Sullivan, in the old London Prize Ring Rules, though
his last fading battles had been put up under the incoming Marquis
of Queensbury Rules.

What ring-follower did not know of Pat Glendon?--though few were
alive who had seen him in his prime, and there were not many more
who had seen him at all. Yet his name had come down in the history
of the ring, and no sporting writer's lexicon was complete without
it. His fame was paradoxical. No man was honored higher, and yet
he had never attained championship honors. He had been unfortunate,
and had been known as the unlucky fighter.

Four times he all but won the heavyweight championship, and each
time he had deserved to win it. There was the time on the barge, in
San Francisco Bay, when, at the moment he had the champion going,
he snapped his own forearm; and on the island in the Thames,
sloshing about in six inches of rising tide, he broke a leg at
a similar stage in a winning fight; in Texas, too, there was the
never-to-be-forgotten day when the police broke in just as he had
his man going in all certainty. And finally, there was the fight in
the Mechanics' Pavilion in San Francisco, when he was secretly jobbed
from the first by a gun-fighting bad man of a referee backed by a small
syndicate of bettors. Pat Glendon had had no accidents in that fight,
but when he had knocked his man cold with a right to the jaw and a
left to the solar plexus, the referee calmly disqualified him for
fouling. Every ringside witness, every sporting expert, and the whole
sporting world, knew there had been no foul. Yet, like all fighters,
Pat Glendon had agreed to abide by the decision of the referee. Pat
abided, and accepted it as in keeping with the rest of his bad luck.

This was Pat Glendon. What bothered Stubener was whether or not Pat
had written the letter. He carried it down town with him. What's
become of Pat Glendon? Such was his greeting to all sports that
morning. Nobody seemed to know. Some thought he must be dead, but none
knew positively. The fight editor of a morning daily looked up the
records and was able to state that his death had not been noted. It
was from Tim Donovan, that he got a clue.

"Sure an' he ain't dead," said Donovan. "How could that be?--a man of
his make that never boozed or blew himself? He made money, and what's
more, he saved it and invested it. Didn't he have three saloons at the
one time? An' wasn't he makin' slathers of money with them when he
sold out? Now that I'm thinkin', that was the last time I laid eyes
on him--when he sold them out. 'Twas all of twenty years and more
ago. His wife had just died. I met him headin' for the Ferry. 'Where
away, old sport?' says I. 'It's me for the woods,' says he. 'I've
quit. Good-by, Tim, me boy.' And I've never seen him from that day
to this. Of course he ain't dead."

"You say when his wife died--did he have any children?" Stubener
queried.

"One, a little baby. He was luggin' it in his arms that very day."

"Was it a boy?"

"How should I be knowin'?"

It was then that Sam Stubener reached a decision, and that night found
him in a Pullman speeding toward the wilds of Northern California.



II


Stubener was dropped off the overland at Deer Lick in the early
morning, and he kicked his heels for an hour before the one saloon
opened its doors. No, the saloonkeeper didn't know anything about Pat
Glendon, had never heard of him, and if he was in that part of the
country he must be out beyond somewhere. Neither had the one hanger-on
ever heard of Pat Glendon. At the hotel the same ignorance obtained,
and it was not until the storekeeper and postmaster opened up that
Stubener struck the trail. Oh, yes, Pat Glendon lived out beyond. You
took the stage at Alpine, which was forty miles and which was a
logging camp. From Alpine, on horseback, you rode up Antelope Valley
and crossed the divide to Bear Creek. Pat Glendon lived somewhere
beyond that. The people of Alpine would know. Yes, there was a young
Pat. The storekeeper had seen him. He had been in to Deer Lick two
years back. Old Pat had not put in an appearance for five years. He
bought his supplies at the store, and always paid by check, and he was
a white-haired, strange old man. That was all the storekeeper knew,
but the folks at Alpine could give him final directions.

It looked good to Stubener. Beyond doubt there was a young Pat Glendon,
as well as an old one, living out beyond. That night the manager spent
at the logging camp of Alpine, and early the following morning he rode
a mountain cayuse up Antelope Valley. He rode over the divide and down
Bear Creek. He rode all day, through the wildest, roughest country
he had ever seen, and at sunset turned up Pinto Valley on a trail so
stiff and narrow that more than once he elected to get off and walk.

It was eleven o'clock when he dismounted before a log cabin and was
greeted by the baying of two huge deer-hounds. Then Pat Glendon opened
the door, fell on his neck, and took him in.

"I knew ye'd come, Sam, me boy," said Pat, the while he limped about,
building a fire, boiling coffee, and frying a big bear-steak. "The
young un ain't home the night. We was gettin' short of meat, and he
went out about sundown to pick up a deer. But I'll say no more. Wait
till ye see him. He'll be home in the morn, and then you can try him
out. There's the gloves. But wait till ye see him.

"As for me, I'm finished. Eighty-one come next January, an' pretty good
for an ex-bruiser. But I never wasted meself, Sam, nor kept late hours
an' burned the candle at all ends. I had a damned good candle, an' made
the most of it, as you'll grant at lookin' at me. And I've taught the
same to the young un. What do you think of a lad of twenty-two that's
never had a drink in his life nor tasted tobacco? That's him. He's
a giant, and he's lived natural all his days. Wait till he takes you
out after deer. He'll break your heart travelin' light, him a carryin'
the outfit and a big buck deer belike. He's a child of the open air,
an' winter nor summer has he slept under a roof. The open for him,
as I taught him. The one thing that worries me is how he'll take
to sleepin' in houses, an' how he'll stand the tobacco smoke in the
ring. 'Tis a terrible thing, that smoke, when you're fighting hard an'
gaspin' for air. But no more, Sam, me boy. You're tired an' sure should
be sleepin'. Wait till you see him, that's all. Wait till you see him."

But the garrulousness of age was on old Pat, and it was long before
he permitted Stubener's eyes to close.

"He can run a deer down with his own legs, that young un," he broke out
again. "'Tis the dandy trainin' for the lungs, the hunter's life. He
don't know much of else, though, he's read a few books at times an'
poetry stuff. He's just plain pure natural, as you'll see when you
clap eyes on him. He's got the old Irish strong in him. Sometimes, the
way he moons about, it's thinkin' strong I am that he believes in the
fairies and such-like. He's a nature lover if ever there was one, an'
he's afeard of cities. He's read about them, but the biggest he was
ever in was Deer Lick. He misliked the many people, and his report
was that they'd stand weedin' out. That was two years agone--the
first and the last time he's seen a locomotive and a train of cars.

"Sometimes it's wrong I'm thinkin' I am, bringin' him up a
natural. It's given him wind and stamina and the strength o' wild
bulls. No city-grown man can have a look-in against him. I'm willin' to
grant that Jeffries at his best could 'a' worried the young un a bit,
but only a bit. The young un could 'a' broke him like a straw. An'
he don't look it. That's the everlasting wonder of it. He's only a
fine-seeming young husky; but it's the quality of his muscle that's
different. But wait till ye see him, that's all.

"A strange liking the boy has for posies, an' little meadows, a bit of
pine with the moon beyond, windy sunsets, or the sun o' morns from the
top of old Baldy. An' he has a hankerin' for the drawin' o' pitchers
of things, an' of spouting about 'Lucifer or night' from the poetry
books he got from the red-headed school teacher. But 'tis only his
youngness. He'll settle down to the game once we get him started, but
watch out for grouches when it first comes to livin' in a city for him.

"A good thing; he's woman-shy. They'll not bother him for years. He
can't bring himself to understand the creatures, an' damn few of
them has he seen at that. 'Twas the school teacher over at Samson's
Flat that put the poetry stuff in his head. She was clean daffy
over the young un, an' he never a-knowin'. A warm-haired girl she
was--not a mountain girl, but from down in the flat-lands--an' as
time went by she was fair desperate, an' the way she went after him
was shameless. An' what d'ye think the boy did when he tumbled to
it? He was scared as a jackrabbit. He took blankets an' ammunition
an' hiked for tall timber. Not for a month did I lay eyes on him, an'
then he sneaked in after dark and was gone in the morn. Nor would he
as much as peep at her letters. 'Burn 'em,' he said. An' burn 'em I
did. Twice she rode over on a cayuse all the way from Samson's Flat,
an' I was sorry for the young creature. She was fair hungry for the
boy, and she looked it in her face. An' at the end of three months
she gave up school an' went back to her own country, an' then it was
that the boy came home to the shack to live again.

"Women ha' ben the ruination of many a good fighter, but they won't
be of him. He blushes like a girl if anything young in skirts looks
at him a second time or too long the first one. An' they all look at
him. But when he fights, when he fights!--God! it's the old savage
Irish that flares in him, an' drives the fists of him. Not that he
goes off his base. Don't walk away with that. At my best I was never
as cool as he. I misdoubt 'twas the wrath of me that brought the
accidents. But he's an iceberg. He's hot an' cold at the one time,
a live wire in an ice-chest."

Stubener was dozing, when the old man's mumble aroused him. He
listened drowsily.

"I made a man o' him, by God! I made a man o' him, with the two fists
of him, an' the upstanding legs of him, an' the straight-seein'
eyes. And I know the game in my head, an' I've kept up with the
times and the modern changes. The crouch? Sure, he knows all the
styles an' economies. He never moves two inches when an inch and a
half will do the turn. And when he wants he can spring like a buck
kangaroo. In-fightin'? Wait till you see. Better than his out-fightin',
and he could sure 'a' sparred with Peter Jackson an' outfooted Corbett
in his best. I tell you, I've taught'm it all, to the last trick, and
he's improved on the teachin'. He's a fair genius at the game. An'
he's had plenty of husky mountain men to try out on. I gave him the
fancy work and they gave him the sloggin'. Nothing shy or delicate
about them. Roarin' bulls an' big grizzly bears, that's what they are,
when it comes to huggin' in a clinch or swingin' rough-like in the
rushes. An' he plays with 'em. Man, d'ye hear me?--he plays with them,
like you an' me would play with little puppy-dogs."

Another time Stubener awoke, to hear the old man mumbling:

"'Tis the funny think he don't take fightin' seriously. It's that
easy to him he thinks it play. But wait till he's tapped a swift
one. That's all, wait. An' you'll see'm throw on the juice in that
cold storage plant of his an' turn loose the prettiest scientific
wallopin' that ever you laid eyes on."

In the shivery gray of mountain dawn, Stubener was routed from his
blankets by old Pat.

"He's comin' up the trail now," was the hoarse whisper. "Out with
ye an' take your first peep at the biggest fightin' man the ring has
ever seen, or will ever see in a thousand years again."

The manager peered through the open door, rubbing the sleep from his
heavy eyes, and saw a young giant walk into the clearing. In one hand
was a rifle, across his shoulders a heavy deer under which he moved
as if it were weightless. He was dressed roughly in blue overalls
and woolen shirt open at the throat. Coat he had none, and on his
feet, instead of brogans, were moccasins. Stubener noted that his
walk was smooth and catlike, without suggestion of his two hundred
and twenty pounds of weight to which that of the deer was added. The
fight manager was impressed from the first glimpse. Formidable the
young fellow certainly was, but the manager sensed the strangeness
and unusualness of him. He was a new type, something different
from the run of fighters. He seemed a creature of the wild, more a
night-roaming figure from some old fairy story or folk tale than a
twentieth-century youth.

A thing Stubener quickly discovered was that young Pat was not much
of a talker. He acknowledged old Pat's introduction with a grip of
the hand but without speech, and silently set to work at building
the fire and getting breakfast. To his father's direct questions he
answered in monosyllables, as, for instance, when asked where he had
picked up the deer.

"South Fork," was all he vouchsafed.

"Eleven miles across the mountains," the old man exposited pridefully
to Stubener, "an' a trail that'd break your heart."

Breakfast consisted of black coffee, sourdough bread, and an immense
quantity of bear-meat broiled over the coals. Of this the young
fellow ate ravenously, and Stubener divined that both the Glendons
were accustomed to an almost straight meat diet. Old Pat did all the
talking, though it was not till the meal was ended that he broached
the subject he had at heart.

"Pat, boy," he began, "you know who the gentleman is?"

Young Pat nodded, and cast a quick, comprehensive glance at the
manager.

"Well, he'll be takin' you away with him and down to San Francisco."

"I'd sooner stay here, dad," was the answer.

Stubener felt a prick of disappointment. It was a wild goose chase
after all. This was no fighter, eager and fretting to be at it. His
huge brawn counted for nothing. It was nothing new. It was the big
fellows that usually had the streak of fat.

But old Pat's Celtic wrath flared up, and his voice was harsh with
command.

"You'll go down to the cities an' fight, me boy. That's what I've
trained you for, an' you'll do it."

"All right," was the unexpected response, rumbled apathetically from
the deep chest.

"And fight like hell," the old man added.

Again Stubener felt disappointment at the absence of flash and fire
in the young man's eyes as he answered:

"All right. When do we start?"

"Oh, Sam, here, he'll be wantin' a little huntin' and to fish a bit,
as well as to try you out with the gloves." He looked at Sam, who
nodded. "Suppose you strip and give'm a taste of your quality."

An hour later, Sam Stubener had his eyes opened. An ex-fighter himself,
a heavyweight at that, he was even a better judge of fighters, and
never had he seen one strip to like advantage.

"See the softness of him," old Pat chanted. "'Tis the true stuff. Look
at the slope of the shoulders, an' the lungs of him. Clean, all clean,
to the last drop an' ounce of him. You're lookin' at a man, Sam, the
like of which was never seen before. Not a muscle of him bound. No
weight-lifter or Sandow exercise artist there. See the fat snakes
of muscles a-crawlin' soft an' lazy-like. Wait till you see them
flashin' like a strikin' rattler. He's good for forty rounds this
blessed instant, or a hundred. Go to it! Time!"

They went to it, for three-minute rounds with a minute rests, and
Sam Stubener was immediately undeceived. Here was no streak of fat,
no apathy, only a lazy, good-natured play of gloves and tricks, with
a brusk stiffness and harsh sharpness in the contacts that he knew
belonged only to the trained and instinctive fighting man.

"Easy, now, easy," old Pat warned. "Sam's not the man he used to be."

This nettled Sam, as it was intended to do, and he played his most
famous trick and favorite punch--a feint for a clinch and a right
rip to the stomach. But, quickly as it was delivered, young Pat saw
it, and, though it landed, his body was going away. The next time,
his body did not go away. As the rip started, he moved forward and
twisted his left hip to meet it. It was only a matter of several
inches, yet it blocked the blow. And thereafter, try as he would,
Stubener's glove got no farther than that hip.

Stubener had roughed it with big men in his time, and, in exhibition
bouts, had creditably held his own. But there was no holding his own
here. Young Pat played with him, and in the clinches made him feel
as powerful as a baby, landing on him seemingly at will, locking
and blocking with masterful accuracy, and scarcely noticing or
acknowledging his existence. Half the time young Pat seemed to spend
in gazing off and out at the landscape in a dreamy sort of way. And
right here Stubener made another mistake. He took it for a trick of
old Pat's training, tried to sneak in a short-arm jolt, found his
arm in a lightning lock, and had both his ears cuffed for his pains.

"The instinct for a blow," the old man chortled. "'Tis not put on,
I'm tellin' you. He is a wiz. He knows a blow without the lookin',
when it starts an' where, the speed, an' space, an' niceness of it. An'
'tis nothing I ever showed him. 'Tis inspiration. He was so born."

Once, in a clinch, the fight manager heeled his glove on young Pat's
mouth, and there was just a hint of viciousness in the manner of doing
it. A moment later, in the next clinch, Sam received the heel of the
other's glove on his own mouth. There was nothing snappy about it,
but the pressure, stolidly lazy as it was, put his head back till the
joints cracked and for the moment he thought his neck was broken. He
slacked his body and dropped his arms in token that the bout was over,
felt the instant release, and staggered clear.

"He'll--he'll do," he gasped, looking the admiration he lacked the
breath to utter.

Old Pat's eyes were brightly moist with pride and triumph.

"An' what will you be thinkin' to happen when some of the gay an'
ugly ones tries to rough it on him?" he asked.

"He'll kill them, sure," was Stubener's verdict.

"No; he's too cool for that. But he'll just hurt them some for their
dirtiness."

"Let's draw up the contract," said the manager.

"Wait till you know the whole worth of him!" Old Pat answered. "'Tis
strong terms I'll be makin' you come to. Go for a deer-hunt with
the boy over the hills an' learn the lungs and the legs of him. Then
we'll sign up iron-clad and regular."

Stubener was gone two days on that hunt, and he learned all and
more than old Pat had promised, and came back a very weary and
very humble man. The young fellow's innocence of the world had
been startling to the case-hardened manager, but he had found him
nobody's fool. Virgin though his mind was, untouched by all save a
narrow mountain experience, nevertheless he had proved possession
of a natural keenness and shrewdness far beyond the average. In a
way he was a mystery to Sam, who could not understand his terrible
equanimity of temper. Nothing ruffled him or worried him, and his
patience was of an enduring primitiveness. He never swore, not even
the futile and emasculated cuss-words of sissy-boys.

"I'd swear all right if I wanted to," he had explained, when challenged
by his companion. "But I guess I've never come to needing it. When
I do, I'll swear, I suppose."

Old Pat, resolutely adhering to his decision, said good-by at the
cabin.

"It won't be long, Pat, boy, when I'll be readin' about you in the
papers. I'd like to go along, but I'm afeard it's me for the mountains
till the end."

And then, drawing the manager aside, the old man turned loose on him
almost savagely.

"Remember what I've ben tellin' ye over an' over. The boy's clean an'
he's honest. He knows nothing of the rottenness of the game. I kept it
all away from him, I tell you. He don't know the meanin' of fake. He
knows only the bravery, an' romance an' glory of fightin', and I've
filled him up with tales of the old ring heroes, though little enough,
God knows, it's set him afire. Man, man, I'm tellin' you that I clipped
the fight columns from the newspapers to keep it 'way from him--him
a-thinkin' I was wantin' them for me scrap book. He don't know a man
ever lay down or threw a fight. So don't you get him in anything that
ain't straight. Don't turn the boy's stomach. That's why I put in the
null and void clause. The first rottenness and the contract's broke of
itself. No snide division of stake-money; no secret arrangements with
the movin' pitcher men for guaranteed distance. There's slathers o'
money for the both of you. But play it square or you lose. Understand?

"And whatever you'll be doin' watch out for the women," was old Pat's
parting admonishment, young Pat astride his horse and reining in
dutifully to hear. "Women is death an' damnation, remember that. But
when you do find the one, the only one, hang on to her. She'll be
worth more than glory an' money. But first be sure, an' when you're
sure, don't let her slip through your fingers. Grab her with the two
hands of you and hang on. Hang on if all the world goes to smash an'
smithereens. Pat, boy, a good woman is ... a good woman. 'Tis the
first word and the last."



III


Once in San Francisco, Sam Stubener's troubles began. Not that young
Pat had a nasty temper, or was grouchy as his father had feared. On
the contrary, he was phenomenally sweet and mild. But he was homesick
for his beloved mountains. Also, he was secretly appalled by the city,
though he trod its roaring streets imperturbable as a red Indian.

"I came down here to fight," he announced, at the end of the first
week.

"Where's Jim Hanford?"

Stubener whistled.

"A big champion like him wouldn't look at you," was his answer. "'Go
and get a reputation,' is what he'd say."

"I can lick him."

"But the public doesn't know that. If you licked him you'd be champion
of the world, and no champion ever became so with his first fight."

"I can."

"But the public doesn't know it, Pat. It wouldn't come to see
you fight. And it's the crowd that brings the money and the
big purses. That's why Jim Hanford wouldn't consider you for a
second. There'd be nothing in it for him. Besides, he's getting
three thousand a week right now in vaudeville, with a contract for
twenty-five weeks. Do you think he'd chuck that for a go with a
man no one ever heard of? You've got to do something first, make a
record. You've got to begin on the little local dubs that nobody ever
heard of--guys like Chub Collins, Rough-House Kelly, and the Flying
Dutchman. When you've put them away, you're only started on the first
round of the ladder. But after that you'll go up like a balloon."

"I'll meet those three named in the same ring one after the other,"
was Pat's decision. "Make the arrangements accordingly."

Stubener laughed.

"What's wrong? Don't you think I can put them away?"

"I know you can," Stubener assured him. "But it can't be arranged that
way. You've got to take them one at a time. Besides, remember, I know
the game and I'm managing you. This proposition has to be worked up,
and I'm the boy that knows how. If we're lucky, you may get to the
top in a couple of years and be the champion with a mint of money."

Pat sighed at the prospect, then brightened up.

"And after that I can retire and go back home to the old man," he said.

Stubener was about to reply, but checked himself. Strange as was
this championship material, he felt confident that when the top was
reached it would prove very similar to that of all the others who
had gone before. Besides, two years was a long way off, and there
was much to be done in the meantime.

When Pat fell to moping around his quarters, reading endless poetry
books and novels drawn from the public library, Stubener sent him off
to live on a Contra Costa ranch across the Bay, under the watchful eye
of Spider Walsh. At the end of a week Spider whispered that the job
was a cinch. His charge was away and over the hills from dawn till
dark, whipping the streams for trout, shooting quail and rabbits,
and pursuing the one lone and crafty buck famous for having survived
a decade of hunters. It was the Spider who waxed lazy and fat, while
his charge kept himself in condition.

As Stubener expected, his unknown was laughed at by the fight club
managers. Were not the woods full of unknowns who were always breaking
out with championship rashes? A preliminary, say of four rounds--yes,
they would grant him that. But the main event--never. Stubener was
resolved that young Pat should make his debut in nothing less than a
main event, and, by the prestige of his own name he at last managed
it. With much misgiving, the Mission Club agreed that Pat Glendon
could go fifteen rounds with Rough-House Kelly for a purse of one
hundred dollars. It was the custom of young fighters to assume the
names of old ring heroes, so no one suspected that he was the son of
the great Pat Glendon, while Stubener held his peace. It was a good
press surprise package to spring later.

Came the night of the fight, after a month of waiting. Stubener's
anxiety was keen. His professional reputation was staked that his man
would make a showing, and he was astounded to see Pat, seated in his
corner a bare five minutes, lose the healthy color from his cheeks,
which turned a sickly yellow.

"Cheer up, boy," Stubener said, slapping him on the shoulder. "The
first time in the ring is always strange, and Kelly has a way
of letting his opponent wait for him on the chance of getting
stage-fright."

"It isn't that," Pat answered. "It's the tobacco smoke. I'm not used
to it, and it's making me fair sick."

His manager experienced the quick shock of relief. A man who turned
sick from mental causes, even if he were a Samson, could never win
to place in the prize ring. As for tobacco smoke, the youngster would
have to get used to it, that was all.

Young Pat's entrance into the ring had been met with silence, but
when Rough-House Kelly crawled through the ropes his greeting was
uproarious. He did not belie his name. He was a ferocious-looking
man, black and hairy, with huge, knotty muscles, weighing a full two
hundred pounds. Pat looked across at him curiously, and received a
savage scowl. After both had been introduced to the audience, they
shook hands. And even as their gloves gripped, Kelly ground his teeth,
convulsed his face with an expression of rage, and muttered:

"You've got yer nerve wid yeh." He flung Pat's hand roughly from his,
and hissed, "I'll eat yeh up, ye pup!"

The audience laughed at the action, and it guessed hilariously at
what Kelly must have said.

Back in his corner, and waiting the gong, Pat turned to Stubener.

"Why is he angry with me?" he asked.

"He ain't," Stubener answered. "That's his way, trying to scare
you. It's just mouth-fighting."

"It isn't boxing," was Pat's comment; and Stubener, with a quick
glance, noted that his eyes were as mildly blue as ever.

"Be careful," the manager warned, as the gong for the first round
sounded and Pat stood up. "He's liable to come at you like a
man-eater."

And like a man-eater Kelly did come at him, rushing across the ring
in wild fury. Pat, who in his easy way had advanced only a couple of
paces, gauged the other's momentum, side-stepped, and brought his
stiff-arched right across to the jaw. Then he stood and looked on
with a great curiosity. The fight was over. Kelly had fallen like
a stricken bullock to the floor, and there he lay without movement
while the referee, bending over him, shouted the ten seconds in
his unheeding ear. When Kelly's seconds came to lift him, Pat was
before them. Gathering the huge, inert bulk of the man in his arms,
he carried him to his corner and deposited him on the stool and in
the arms of his seconds.

Half a minute later, Kelly's head lifted and his eyes wavered open. He
looked about him stupidly and then to one of his seconds.

"What happened?" he queried hoarsely. "Did the roof fall on me?"



IV


As a result of his fight with Kelly, though the general opinion was
that he had won by a fluke, Pat was matched with Rufe Mason. This took
place three weeks later, and the Sierra Club audience at Dreamland
Rink failed to see what happened. Rufe Mason was a heavyweight,
noted locally for his cleverness. When the gong for the first round
sounded, both men met in the center of the ring. Neither rushed. Nor
did they strike a blow. They felt around each other, their arms bent,
their gloves so close together that they almost touched. This lasted
for perhaps five seconds. Then it happened, and so quickly that
not one in a hundred of the audience saw. Rufe Mason made a feint
with his right. It was obviously not a real feint, but a feeler,
a mere tentative threatening of a possible blow. It was at this
instant that Pat loosed his punch. So close together were they that
the distance the blow traveled was a scant eight inches. It was a
short-arm left jolt, and it was accomplished by a twist of the left
forearm and a thrust of the shoulder. It landed flush on the point
of the chin and the astounded audience saw Rufe Mason's legs crumple
under him as his body sank to the floor. But the referee had seen,
and he promptly proceeded to count him out. Again Pat carried his
opponent to his corner, and it was ten minutes before Rufe Mason,
supported by his seconds, with sagging knees and rolling, glassy eyes,
was able to move down the aisle through the stupefied and incredulous
audience on the way to his dressing room.

"No wonder," he told a reporter, "that Rough-House Kelly thought the
roof hit him."

After Chub Collins had been put out in the twelfth second of the
first round of a fifteen-round contest, Stubener felt compelled to
speak to Pat.

"Do you know what they're calling you now?" he asked.

Pat shook his head.

"One Punch Glendon."

Pat smiled politely. He was little interested in what he was called. He
had certain work cut out which he must do ere he could win back to
his mountains, and he was phlegmatically doing it, that was all.

"It won't do," his manager continued, with an ominous shake of the
head. "You can't go on putting your men out so quickly. You must give
them more time."

"I'm here to fight, ain't I?" Pat demanded in surprise.

Again Stubener shook his head.

"It's this way, Pat. You've got to be big and generous in the fighting
game. Don't get all the other fighters sore. And it's not fair to
the audience. They want a run for their money. Besides, no one will
fight you. They'll all be scared out. And you can't draw crowds with
ten-second fights. I leave it to you. Would you pay a dollar, or five,
to see a ten-second fight?"

Pat was convinced, and he promised to give future audiences the
requisite run for their money, though he stated that, personally,
he preferred going fishing to witnessing a hundred rounds of fighting.

And still, Pat had got practically nowhere in the game. The local
sports laughed when his name was mentioned. It called to mind funny
fights and Rough-House Kelly's remark about the roof. Nobody knew
how Pat could fight. They had never seen him. Where was his wind,
his stamina, his ability to mix it with rough customers through long
grueling contests? He had demonstrated nothing but the possession of
a lucky punch and a depressing proclivity for flukes.

So it was that his fourth match was arranged with Pete Sosso,
a Portuguese fighter from Butchertown, known only for the amazing
tricks he played in the ring. Pat did not train for the fight. Instead
he made a flying and sorrowful trip to the mountains to bury his
father. Old Pat had known well the condition of his heart, and it
had stopped suddenly on him.

Young Pat arrived back in San Francisco with so close a margin of time
that he changed into his fighting togs directly from his traveling
suit, and even then the audience was kept waiting ten minutes.

"Remember, give him a chance," Stubener cautioned him as he climbed
through the ropes. "Play with him, but do it seriously. Let him go
ten or twelve rounds, then get him."

Pat obeyed instructions, and, though it would have been easy enough
to put Sosso out, so tricky was he that to stand up to him and not
put him out kept his hands full. It was a pretty exhibition, and
the audience was delighted. Sosso's whirlwind attacks, wild feints,
retreats, and rushes, required all Pat's science to protect himself,
and even then he did not escape unscathed.

Stubener praised him in the minute-rests, and all would have been well,
had not Sosso, in the fourth round, played one of his most spectacular
tricks. Pat, in a mix-up, had landed a hook to Sosso's jaw, when to
his amazement, the latter dropped his hands and reeled backward, eyes
rolling, legs bending and giving, in a high state of grogginess. Pat
could not understand. It had not been a knock-out blow, and yet there
was his man all ready to fall to the mat. Pat dropped his own hands and
wonderingly watched his reeling opponent. Sosso staggered away, almost
fell, recovered, and staggered obliquely and blindly forward again.

For the first and the last time in his fighting career, Pat was caught
off his guard. He actually stepped aside to let the reeling man go
by. Still reeling, Sosso suddenly loosed his right. Pat received it
full on his jaw with an impact that rattled all his teeth. A great
roar of delight went up from the audience. But Pat did not hear. He
saw only Sosso before him, grinning and defiant, and not the least
bit groggy. Pat was hurt by the blow, but vastly more outraged by the
trick. All the wrath that his father ever had surged up in him. He
shook his head as if to get rid of the shock of the blow and steadied
himself before his man. It all occurred in the next second. With
a feint that drew his opponent, Pat fetched his left to the solar
plexus, almost at the same instant whipping his right across to the
jaw. The latter blow landed on Sosso's mouth ere his falling body
struck the floor. The club doctors worked half an hour to bring him
to. After that they put eleven stitches in his mouth and packed him
off in an ambulance.

"I'm sorry," Pat told his manager, "I'm afraid I lost my temper. I'll
never do it again in the ring. Dad always cautioned me about it. He
said it had made him lose more than one battle. I didn't know I could
lose my temper that way, but now that I know I'll keep it in control."

And Stubener believed him. He was coming to the stage where he could
believe anything about his young charge.

"You don't need to get angry," he said, "you're so thoroughly the
master of your man at any stage."

"At any inch or second of the fight," Pat affirmed.

"And you can put them out any time you want."

"Sure I can. I don't want to boast. But I just seem to possess the
ability. My eyes show me the opening that my skill knows how to make,
and time and distance are second nature to me. Dad called it a gift,
but I thought he was blarneying me. Now that I've been up against
these men, I guess he was right. He said I had the mind and muscle
correlation."

"At any inch or second of the fight," Stubener repeated musingly.

Pat nodded, and Stubener, absolutely believing him, caught a vision
of a golden future that should have fetched old Pat out of his grave.

"Well, don't forget, we've got to give the crowd a run for its money,"
he said. "We'll fix it up between us how many rounds a fight should
go. Now your next bout will be with the Flying Dutchman. Suppose you
let it run the full fifteen and put him out in the last round. That
will give you a chance to make a showing as well."

"All right, Sam," was the answer.

"It will be a test for you," Stubener warned. "You may fail to put
him out in that last round."

"Watch me." Pat paused to put weight to his promise, and picked up
a volume of Longfellow. "If I don't I'll never read poetry again,
and that's going some."

"You bet it is," his manager proclaimed jubilantly, "though what you
see in such stuff is beyond me."

Pat sighed, but did not reply. In all his life he had found but one
person who cared for poetry, and that had been the red-haired school
teacher who scared him off into the woods.



V


"Where are you going?" Stubener demanded in surprise, looking at
his watch.

Pat, with his hand on the door-knob, paused and turned around.

"To the Academy of Sciences," he said. "There's a professor who's
going to give a lecture there on Browning to-night, and Browning
is the sort of writer you need assistance with. Sometimes I think I
ought to go to night school."

"But great Scott, man!" exclaimed the horrified manager. "You're on
with the Flying Dutchman to-night."

"I know it. But I won't enter the ring a moment before half past nine
or quarter to ten. The lecture will be over at nine fifteen. If you
want to make sure, come around and pick me up in your machine."

Stubener shrugged his shoulders helplessly.

"You've got no kick coming," Pat assured him. "Dad used to tell me a
man's worst time was in the hours just before a fight, and that many a
fight was lost by a man's breaking down right there, with nothing to
do but think and be anxious. Well, you'll never need to worry about
me that way. You ought to be glad I can go off to a lecture."

And later that night, in the course of watching fifteen splendid
rounds, Stubener chuckled to himself more than once at the idea
of what that audience of sports would think, did it know that this
magnificent young prize-fighter had come to the ring directly from
a Browning lecture.

The Flying Dutchman was a young Swede who possessed an unwonted
willingness to fight and who was blessed with phenomenal endurance. He
never rested, was always on the offensive, and rushed and fought from
gong to gong. In the out-fighting his arms whirled about like flails,
in the in-fighting he was forever shouldering or half-wrestling and
starting blows whenever he could get a hand free. From start to finish
he was a whirlwind, hence his name. His failing was lack of judgment
in time and distance. Nevertheless he had won many fights by virtue of
landing one in each dozen or so of the unending fusillades of punches
he delivered. Pat, with strong upon him the caution that he must not
put his opponent out, was kept busy. Nor, though he escaped vital
damage, could he avoid entirely those eternal flying gloves. But it
was good training, and in a mild way he enjoyed the contest.

"Could you get him now?" Stubener whispered in his ear during the
minute rest at the end of the fifth round.

"Sure," was Pat's answer.

"You know he's never yet been knocked out by any one," Stubener warned
a couple of rounds later.

"Then I'm afraid I'll have to break my knuckles," Pat smiled. "I know
the punch I've got in me, and when I land it something's got to go. If
he won't, my knuckles will."

"Do you think you could get him now?" Stubener asked at the end of
the thirteenth round.

"Anytime, I tell you."

"Well, then, Pat, let him run to the fifteenth."

In the fourteenth round the Flying Dutchman exceeded himself. At the
stroke of the gong he rushed clear across the ring to the opposite
corner where Pat was leisurely getting to his feet. The house cheered,
for it knew the Flying Dutchman had cut loose. Pat, catching the
fun of it, whimsically decided to meet the terrific onslaught with
a wholly passive defense and not to strike a blow. Nor did he strike
a blow, nor feint a blow, during the three minutes of whirlwind that
followed. He gave a rare exhibition of stalling, sometimes hugging his
bowed face with his left arm, his abdomen with his right; at other
times, changing as the point of attack changed, so that both gloves
were held on either side his face, or both elbows and forearms guarded
his mid-section; and all the time moving about, clumsily shouldering,
or half-falling forward against his opponent and clogging his efforts;
himself never striking nor threatening to strike, the while rocking
with the impacts of the storming blows that beat upon his various
guards the devil's own tattoo.

Those close at the ringside saw and appreciated, but the rest of
the audience, fooled, arose to its feet and roared its applause in
the mistaken notion that Pat, helpless, was receiving a terrible
beating. With the end of the round, the audience, dumbfounded, sank
back into its seats as Pat walked steadily to his corner. It was not
understandable. He should have been beaten to a pulp, and yet nothing
had happened to him.

"Now are you going to get him?" Stubener queried anxiously.

"Inside ten seconds," was Pat's confident assertion. "Watch me."

There was no trick about it. When the gong struck and Pat bounded
to his feet, he advertised it unmistakably that for the first
time in the fight he was starting after his man. Not one onlooker
misunderstood. The Flying Dutchman read the advertisement, too, and for
the first time in his career, as they met in the center of the ring,
visibly hesitated. For the fraction of a second they faced each other
in position. Then the Flying Dutchman leaped forward upon his man,
and Pat, with a timed right-cross, dropped him cold as he leaped.

It was after this battle that Pat Glendon started on his upward rush
to fame. The sports and the sporting writers took him up. For the first
time the Flying Dutchman had been knocked out. His conqueror had proved
a wizard of defense. His previous victories had not been flukes. He had
a kick in both his hands. Giant that he was, he would go far. The time
was already past, the writers asserted, for him to waste himself on the
third-raters and chopping blocks. Where were Ben Menzies, Rege Rede,
Bill Tarwater, and Ernest Lawson? It was time for them to meet this
young cub that had suddenly shown himself a fighter of quality. Where
was his manager anyway, that he was not issuing the challenges?

And then fame came in a day; for Stubener divulged the secret that
his man was none other than the son of Pat Glendon, Old Pat, the
old-time ring hero. "Young" Pat Glendon, he was promptly christened,
and sports and writers flocked about him to admire him, and back him,
and write him up.

Beginning with Ben Menzies and finishing with Bill Tarwater, he
challenged, fought, and knocked out the four second-raters. To do this,
he was compelled to travel, the battles taking place in Goldfield,
Denver, Texas, and New York. To accomplish it required months, for
the bigger fights were not easily arranged, and the men themselves
demanded more time for training.

The second year saw him running to cover and disposing of the
half-dozen big fighters that clustered just beneath the top of
the heavyweight ladder. On this top, firmly planted, stood "Big"
Jim Hanford, the undefeated world champion. Here, on the top rungs,
progress was slower, though Stubener was indefatigable in issuing
challenges and in promoting sporting opinion to force the man to
fight. Will King was disposed of in England, and Glendon pursued
Tom Harrison half way around the world to defeat him on Boxing Day
in Australia.

But the purses grew larger and larger. In place of a hundred dollars,
such as his first battles had earned him, he was now receiving
from twenty to thirty thousand dollars a fight, as well as equally
large sums from the moving picture men. Stubener took his manager's
percentage of all this, according to the terms of the contract old Pat
had drawn up, and both he and Glendon, despite their heavy expenses,
were waxing rich. This was due, more than anything else, to the clean
lives they lived. They were not wasters.

Stubener was attracted to real estate, and his holdings in San
Francisco, consisting of building flats and apartment houses, were
bigger than Glendon ever dreamed. There was a secret syndicate of
bettors, however, which could have made an accurate guess at the
size of Stubener's holdings, while heavy bonus after heavy bonus,
of which Glendon never heard, was paid over to his manager by the
moving picture men.

Stubener's most serious task was in maintaining the innocence of
his young gladiator. Nor did he find it difficult. Glendon, who had
nothing to do with the business end, was little interested. Besides,
wherever his travels took him, he spent his spare time in hunting
and fishing. He rarely mingled with those of the sporting world,
was notoriously shy and secluded, and preferred art galleries and
books of verse to sporting gossip. Also, his trainers and sparring
partners were rigorously instructed by the manager to keep their
tongues away from the slightest hints of ring rottenness. In every
way Stubener intervened between Glendon and the world. He was never
even interviewed save in Stubener's presence.

Only once was Glendon approached. It was just prior to his battle
with Henderson, and an offer of a hundred thousand was made to him
to throw the fight. It was made hurriedly, in swift whispers, in a
hotel corridor, and it was fortunate for the man that Pat controlled
his temper and shouldered past him without reply. He brought the tale
of it to Stubener, who said:

"It's only con, Pat. They were trying to josh you." He noted the blue
eyes blaze. "And maybe worse than that. If they could have got you
to fall for it, there might have been a big sensation in the papers
that would have finished you. But I doubt it. Such things don't happen
any more. It's a myth, that's what it is, that has come down from the
middle history of the ring. There has been rottenness in the past,
but no fighter or manager of reputation would dare anything of the
sort to-day. Why, Pat, the men in the game are as clean and straight
as those in professional baseball, than which there is nothing cleaner
or straighter."

And all the while he talked, Stubener knew in his heart that the
forthcoming fight with Henderson was not to be shorter than twelve
rounds--this for the moving pictures--and not longer than the
fourteenth round. And he knew, furthermore, so big were the stakes
involved, that Henderson himself was pledged not to last beyond
the fourteenth.

And Glendon, never approached again, dismissed the matter from his mind
and went out to spend the afternoon in taking color photographs. The
camera had become his latest hobby. Loving pictures, yet unable to
paint, he had compromised by taking up photography. In his hand baggage
was one grip packed with books on the subject, and he spent long hours
in the dark room, realizing for himself the various processes. Never
had there been a great fighter who was as aloof from the fighting world
as he. Because he had little to say with those he encountered, he was
called sullen and unsocial, and out of this a newspaper reputation
took form that was not an exaggeration so much as it was an entire
misconception. Boiled down, his character in print was that of an
ox-muscled and dumbly stupid brute, and one callow sporting writer
dubbed him the "abysmal brute." The name stuck. The rest of the
fraternity hailed it with delight, and thereafter Glendon's name never
appeared in print unconnected with it. Often, in a headline or under
a photograph, "The Abysmal Brute," capitalized and without quotation
marks, appeared alone. All the world knew who was this brute. This
made him draw into himself closer than ever, while it developed a
bitter prejudice against newspaper folk.

Regarding fighting itself, his earlier mild interest grew stronger. The
men he now fought were anything but dubs, and victory did not come
so easily. They were picked men, experienced ring generals, and each
battle was a problem. There were occasions when he found it impossible
to put them out in any designated later round of a fight. Thus, with
Sulzberger, the gigantic German, try as he would in the eighteenth
round, he failed to get him, in the nineteenth it was the same story,
and not till the twentieth did he manage to break through the baffling
guard and drop him. Glendon's increasing enjoyment of the game was
accompanied by severer and prolonged training. Never dissipating,
spending much of his time on hunting trips in the hills, he was
practically always in the pink of condition, and, unlike his father,
no unfortunate accidents marred his career. He never broke a bone,
nor injured so much as a knuckle. One thing that Stubener noted with
secret glee was that his young fighter no longer talked of going
permanently back to his mountains when he had won the championship
away from Jim Hanford.



VI


The consummation of his career was rapidly approaching. The great
champion had even publicly intimated his readiness to take on Glendon
as soon as the latter had disposed of the three or four aspirants for
the championship who intervened. In six months Pat managed to put away
Kid McGrath and Philadelphia Jack McBride, and there remained only Nat
Powers and Tom Cannam. And all would have been well had not a certain
society girl gone adventuring into journalism, and had not Stubener
agreed to an interview with the woman reporter of the San Francisco
"Courier-Journal."

Her work was always published over the name of Maud Sangster, which,
by the way, was her own name. The Sangsters were a notoriously
wealthy family. The founder, old Jacob Sangster, had packed his
blankets and worked as a farm-hand in the West. He had discovered an
inexhaustible borax deposit in Nevada, and, from hauling it out by
mule-teams, had built a railroad to do the freighting. Following that,
he had poured the profits of borax into the purchase of hundreds and
thousands of square miles of timber lands in California, Oregon, and
Washington. Still later, he had combined politics with business, bought
statesmen, judges, and machines, and become a captain of complicated
industry. And after that he had died, full of honor and pessimism,
leaving his name a muddy blot for future historians to smudge,
and also leaving a matter of a couple of hundreds of millions for
his four sons to squabble over. The legal, industrial, and political
battles that followed, vexed and amused California for a generation,
and culminated in deadly hatred and unspeaking terms between the four
sons. The youngest, Theodore, in middle life experienced a change of
heart, sold out his stock farms and racing stables, and plunged into
a fight with all the corrupt powers of his native state, including
most of its millionaires, in a quixotic attempt to purge it of the
infamy which had been implanted by old Jacob Sangster.

Maud Sangster was Theodore's oldest daughter. The Sangster stock
uniformly bred fighters among the men and beauties among the women. Nor
was Maud an exception. Also, she must have inherited some of the virus
of adventure from the Sangster breed, for she had come to womanhood
and done a multitude of things of which no woman in her position should
have been guilty. A match in ten thousand, she remained unmarried. She
had sojourned in Europe without bringing home a nobleman for spouse,
and had declined a goodly portion of her own set at home. She had
gone in for outdoor sports, won the tennis championship of the state,
kept the society weeklies agog with her unconventionalities, walked
from San Mateo to Santa Cruz against time on a wager, and once caused
a sensation by playing polo in a men's team at a private Burlingame
practice game. Incidentally, she had gone in for art, and maintained
a studio in San Francisco's Latin Quarter.

All this had been of little moment until her father's reform attack
became acute. Passionately independent, never yet having met the man
to whom she could gladly submit, and bored by those who had aspired,
she resented her father's interference with her way of life and put the
climax on all her social misdeeds by leaving home and going to work on
the "Courier-Journal." Beginning at twenty dollars a week, her salary
had swiftly risen to fifty. Her work was principally musical, dramatic,
and art criticism, though she was not above mere journalistic stunts if
they promised to be sufficiently interesting. Thus she scooped the big
interview with Morgan at a time when he was being futilely trailed by a
dozen New York star journalists, went down to the bottom of the Golden
Gate in a diver's suit, and flew with Rood, the bird man, when he
broke all records of continuous flight by reaching as far as Riverside.

Now it must not be imagined that Maud Sangster was a hard-bitten
Amazon. On the contrary, she was a gray-eyed, slender young woman,
of three or four and twenty, of medium stature, and possessing
uncommonly small hands and feet for an outdoor woman or any other
kind of a woman. Also, far in excess of most outdoor women, she knew
how to be daintily feminine.

It was on her own suggestion that she received the editor's commission
to interview Pat Glendon. With the exception of having caught a
glimpse, once, of Bob Fitzsimmons in evening dress at the Palace
Grill, she had never seen a prizefighter in her life. Nor was she
curious to see one--at least she had not been curious until Young
Pat Glendon came to San Francisco to train for his fight with Nat
Powers. Then his newspaper reputation had aroused her. The Abysmal
Brute!--it certainly must be worth seeing. From what she read of him
she gleaned that he was a man-monster, profoundly stupid and with
the sullenness and ferocity of a jungle beast. True, his published
photographs did not show all that, but they did show the hugeness of
brawn that might be expected to go with it. And so, accompanied by
a staff photographer, she went out to the training quarters at the
Cliff House at the hour appointed by Stubener.

That real estate owner was having trouble. Pat was rebellious. He sat,
one big leg dangling over the side of the arm chair and Shakespeare's
Sonnets face downward on his knee, orating against the new woman.

"What do they want to come butting into the game for?" he
demanded. "It's not their place. What do they know about it anyway? The
men are bad enough as it is. I'm not a holy show. This woman's coming
here to make me one. I never have stood for women around the training
quarters, and I don't care if she is a reporter."

"But she's not an ordinary reporter," Stubener interposed. "You've
heard of the Sangsters?--the millionaires?"

Pat nodded.

"Well, she's one of them. She's high society and all that stuff. She
could be running with the Blingum crowd now if she wanted to instead
of working for wages. Her old man's worth fifty millions if he's
worth a cent."

"Then what's she working on a paper for?--keeping some poor devil
out of a job."

"She and the old man fell out, had a tiff or something, about
the time he started to clean up San Francisco. She quit. That's
all--left home and got a job. And let me tell you one thing, Pat:
she can everlastingly sling English. There isn't a pen-pusher on the
Coast can touch her when she gets going."

Pat began to show interest, and Stubener hurried on.

"She writes poetry, too--the regular la-de-dah stuff, just like
you. Only I guess hers is better, because she published a whole book
of it once. And she writes up the shows. She interviews every big
actor that hits this burg."

"I've seen her name in the papers," Pat commented.

"Sure you have. And you're honored, Pat, by her coming to interview
you. It won't bother you any. I'll stick right by and give her most
of the dope myself. You know I've always done that."

Pat looked his gratitude.

"And another thing, Pat: don't forget you've got to put up with this
interviewing. It's part of your business. It's big advertising, and it
comes free. We can't buy it. It interests people, draws the crowds, and
it's crowds that pile up the gate receipts." He stopped and listened,
then looked at his watch. "I think that's her now. I'll go and get her
and bring her in. I'll tip it off to her to cut it short, you know,
and it won't take long." He turned in the doorway. "And be decent,
Pat. Don't shut up like a clam. Talk a bit to her when she asks
you questions."

Pat put the Sonnets on the table, took up a newspaper, and was
apparently deep in its contents when the two entered the room and he
stood up. The meeting was a mutual shock. When blue eyes met gray,
it was almost as if the man and the woman shouted triumphantly to
each other, as if each had found something sought and unexpected. But
this was for the instant only. Each had anticipated in the other
something so totally different that the next moment the clear cry of
recognition gave way to confusion. As is the way of women, she was
the first to achieve control, and she did it without having given
any outward sign that she had ever lost it. She advanced most of the
distance across the floor to meet Glendon. As for him, he scarcely
knew how he stumbled through the introduction. Here was a woman,
a WOMAN. He had not known that such a creature could exist. The few
women he had noticed had never prefigured this. He wondered what Old
Pat's judgment would have been of her, if she was the sort he had
recommended to hang on to with both his hands. He discovered that
in some way he was holding her hand. He looked at it, curious and
fascinated, marveling at its fragility.

She, on the other hand, had proceeded to obliterate the echoes of that
first clear call. It had been a peculiar experience, that was all,
this sudden out-rush of her toward this strange man. For was not he
the abysmal brute of the prize-ring, the great, fighting, stupid bulk
of a male animal who hammered up his fellow males of the same stupid
order? She smiled at the way he continued to hold her hand.

"I'll have it back, please, Mr. Glendon," she said. "I ... I really
need it, you know."

He looked at her blankly, followed her gaze to her imprisoned hand,
and dropped it in a rush of awkwardness that sent the blood in a
manifest blush to his face.

She noted the blush, and the thought came to her that he did not seem
quite the uncouth brute she had pictured. She could not conceive of a
brute blushing at anything. And also, she found herself pleased with
the fact that he lacked the easy glibness to murmur an apology. But
the way he devoured her with his eyes was disconcerting. He stared
at her as if in a trance, while his cheeks flushed even more redly.

Stubener by this time had fetched a chair for her, and Glendon
automatically sank down into his.

"He's in fine shape, Miss Sangster, in fine shape," the manager was
saying. "That's right, isn't it, Pat? Never felt better in your life?"

Glendon was bothered by this. His brows contracted in a troubled way,
and he made no reply.

"I've wanted to meet you for a long time, Mr. Glendon," Miss Sangster
said. "I never interviewed a pugilist before, so if I don't go about
it expertly you'll forgive me, I am sure."

"Maybe you'd better start in by seeing him in action," was the
manager's suggestion. "While he's getting into his fighting togs I
can tell you a lot about him--fresh stuff, too. We'll call in Walsh,
Pat, and go a couple of rounds."

"We'll do nothing of the sort," Glendon growled roughly, in just the
way an abysmal brute should. "Go ahead with the interview."

The business went ahead unsatisfactorily. Stubener did most of the
talking and suggesting, which was sufficient to irritate Maud Sangster,
while Pat volunteered nothing. She studied his fine countenance, the
eyes clear blue and wide apart, the well-modeled, almost aquiline,
nose, the firm, chaste lips that were sweet in a masculine way in
their curl at the corners and that gave no hint of any sullenness. It
was a baffling personality, she concluded, if what the papers said
of him was so. In vain she sought for earmarks of the brute. And in
vain she attempted to establish contacts. For one thing, she knew too
little about prize-fighters and the ring, and whenever she opened up a
lead it was promptly snatched away by the information-oozing Stubener.

"It must be most interesting, this life of a pugilist," she said
once, adding with a sigh, "I wish I knew more about it. Tell me:
why do you fight?--Oh, aside from money reasons." (This latter to
forestall Stubener). "Do you enjoy fighting? Are you stirred by it,
by pitting yourself against other men? I hardly know how to express
what I mean, so you must be patient with me."

Pat and Stubener began speaking together, but for once Pat bore his
manager down.

"I didn't care for it at first--"

"You see, it was too dead easy for him," Stubener interrupted.

"But later," Pat went on, "when I encountered the better fighters,
the real big clever ones, where I was more--"

"On your mettle?" she suggested.

"Yes; that's it, more on my mettle, I found I did care for it ... a
great deal, in fact. But still, it's not so absorbing to me as it might
be. You see, while each battle is a sort of problem which I must work
out with my wits and muscle, yet to me the issue is never in doubt--"

"He's never had a fight go to a decision," Stubener proclaimed. "He's
won every battle by the knock-out route."

"And it's this certainty of the outcome that robs it of what I imagine
must be its finest thrills," Pat concluded.

"Maybe you'll get some of them thrills when you go up against Jim
Hanford," said the manager.

Pat smiled, but did not speak.

"Tell me some more," she urged, "more about the way you feel when
you are fighting."

And then Pat amazed his manager, Miss Sangster, and himself, by
blurting out:

"It seems to me I don't want to talk with you on such things. It's as
if there are things more important for you and me to talk about. I--"

He stopped abruptly, aware of what he was saying but unaware of why
he was saying it.

"Yes," she cried eagerly. "That's it. That is what makes a good
interview--the real personality, you know."

But Pat remained tongue-tied, and Stubener wandered away on a
statistical comparison of his champion's weights, measurements, and
expansions with those of Sandow, the Terrible Turk, Jeffries, and the
other modern strong men. This was of little interest to Maud Sangster,
and she showed that she was bored. Her eyes chanced to rest on the
Sonnets. She picked the book up and glanced inquiringly at Stubener.

"That's Pat's," he said. "He goes in for that kind of stuff, and color
photography, and art exhibits, and such things. But for heaven's sake
don't publish anything about it. It would ruin his reputation."

She looked accusingly at Glendon, who immediately became awkward. To
her it was delicious. A shy young man, with the body of a giant,
who was one of the kings of bruisers, and who read poetry, and went
to art exhibits, and experimented with color photography! Of a surety
there was no abysmal brute here. His very shyness she divined now was
due to sensitiveness and not stupidity. Shakespeare's Sonnets! This
was a phase that would bear investigation. But Stubener stole the
opportunity away and was back chanting his everlasting statistics.

A few minutes later, and most unwittingly, she opened up the biggest
lead of all. That first sharp attraction toward him had begun to stir
again after the discovery of the Sonnets. The magnificent frame of his,
the handsome face, the chaste lips, the clear-looking eyes, the fine
forehead which the short crop of blond hair did not hide, the aura
of physical well-being and cleanness which he seemed to emanate--all
this, and more that she sensed, drew her as she had never been drawn
by any man, and yet through her mind kept running the nasty rumors
that she had heard only the day before at the "Courier-Journal" office.

"You were right," she said. "There is something more important to
talk about. There is something in my mind I want you to reconcile
for me. Do you mind?"

Pat shook his head.

"If I am frank?--abominably frank? I've heard the men, sometimes,
talking of particular fights and of the betting odds, and, while I
gave no heed to it at the time, it seemed to me it was firmly agreed
that there was a great deal of trickery and cheating connected with
the sport. Now, when I look at you, for instance, I find it hard to
understand how you can be a party to such cheating. I can understand
your liking the sport for a sport, as well as for the money it brings
you, but I can't understand--"

"There's nothing to understand," Stubener broke in, while Pat's lips
were wreathed in a gentle, tolerant smile. "It's all fairy tales,
this talk about faking, about fixed fights, and all that rot. There's
nothing to it, Miss Sangster, I assure you. And now let me tell
you about how I discovered Mr. Glendon. It was a letter I got from
his father--"

But Maud Sangster refused to be side-tracked, and addressed herself
to Pat.

"Listen. I remember one case particularly. It was some fight that
took place several months ago--I forget the contestants. One of
the editors of the "Courier-Journal" told me he intended to make a
good winning. He didn't hope; he said he intended. He said he was on
the inside and was betting on the number of rounds. He told me the
fight would end in the nineteenth. This was the night before. And
the next day he triumphantly called my attention to the fact that it
had ended in that very round. I didn't think anything of it one way
or the other. I was not interested in prize-fighting then. But I am
now. At the time it seemed quite in accord with the vague conception
I had about fighting. So you see, it isn't all fairy tales, is it?"

"I know that fight," Glendon said. "It was Owen and Murgweather. And
it did end in the nineteenth round, Sam. And she said she heard that
round named the day before. How do you account for it, Sam?"

"How do you account for a man picking a lucky lottery ticket?" the
manager evaded, while getting his wits together to answer. "That's
the very point. Men who study form and condition and seconds and
rules and such things often pick the number of rounds, just as
men have been known to pick hundred-to-one shots in the races. And
don't forget one thing: for every man that wins, there's another
that loses, there's another that didn't pick right. Miss Sangster,
I assure you, on my honor, that faking and fixing in the fight game
is ... is non-existent."

"What is your opinion, Mr. Glendon?" she asked.

"The same as mine," Stubener snatched the answer. "He knows what I say
is true, every word of it. He's never fought anything but a straight
fight in his life. Isn't that right, Pat?"

"Yes; it's right," Pat affirmed, and the peculiar thing to Maud
Sangster was that she was convinced he spoke the truth.

She brushed her forehead with her hand, as if to rid herself of the
bepuzzlement that clouded her brain.

"Listen," she said. "Last night the same editor told me that your
forthcoming fight was arranged to the very round in which it would
end."

Stubener was verging on a panic, but Pat's speech saved him from
replying.

"Then the editor lies," Pat's voice boomed now for the first time.

"He did not lie before, about that other fight," she challenged.

"What round did he say my fight with Nat Powers would end in?"

Before she could answer, the manager was into the thick of it.

"Oh, rats, Pat!" he cried. "Shut up. It's only the regular run of
ring rumors. Let's get on with this interview."

He was ignored by Glendon, whose eyes, bent on hers, were no longer
mildly blue, but harsh and imperative. She was sure now that she had
stumbled on something tremendous, something that would explain all
that had baffled her. At the same time she thrilled to the mastery
of his voice and gaze. Here was a male man who would take hold of
life and shake out of it what he wanted.

"What round did the editor say?" Glendon reiterated his demand.

"For the love of Mike, Pat, stop this foolishness," Stubener broke in.

"I wish you would give me a chance to answer," Maud Sangster said.

"I guess I'm able to talk with Miss Sangster," Glendon added. "You
get out, Sam. Go off and take care of that photographer."

They looked at each other for a tense, silent moment, then the manager
moved slowly to the door, opened it, and turned his head to listen.

"And now what round did he say?"

"I hope I haven't made a mistake," she said tremulously, "but I am
very sure that he said the sixteenth round."

She saw surprise and anger leap into Glendon's face, and the anger
and accusation in the glance he cast at his manager, and she knew
the blow had driven home.

And there was reason for his anger. He knew he had talked it over
with Stubener, and they had reached a decision to give the audience
a good run for its money without unnecessarily prolonging the fight,
and to end it in the sixteenth. And here was a woman, from a newspaper
office, naming the very round.

Stubener, in the doorway, looked limp and pale, and it was evident
he was holding himself together by an effort.

"I'll see you later," Pat told him. "Shut the door behind you."

The door closed, and the two were left alone. Glendon did not
speak. The expression on his face was frankly one of trouble and
perplexity.

"Well?" she asked.

He got up and towered above her, then sat down again, moistening his
lips with his tongue.

"I'll tell you one thing," he finally said "The fight won't end in
the sixteenth round."

She did not speak, but her unconvinced and quizzical smile hurt him.

"You wait and see, Miss Sangster, and you'll see that editor man
is mistaken."

"You mean the program is to be changed?" she queried audaciously.

He quivered to the cut of her words.

"I am not accustomed to lying," he said stiffly, "even to women."

"Neither have you to me, nor have you denied the program is to be
changed. Perhaps, Mr. Glendon, I am stupid, but I fail to see the
difference in what number the final round occurs so long as it is
predetermined and known."

"I'll tell you that round, and not another soul shall know."

She shrugged her shoulders and smiled.

"It sounds to me very much like a racing tip. They are always given
that way, you know. Furthermore, I am not quite stupid, and I know
there is something wrong here. Why were you made angry by my naming
the round? Why were you angry with your manager? Why did you send
him from the room?"

For reply, Glendon walked over to the window, as if to look out,
where he changed his mind and partly turned, and she knew, without
seeing, that he was studying her face. He came back and sat down.

"You've said I haven't lied to you, Miss Sangster, and you were
right. I haven't." He paused, groping painfully for a correct statement
of the situation. "Now do you think you can believe what I am going
to tell you? Will you take the word of a ... prize-fighter?"

She nodded gravely, looking him straight in the eyes and certain that
what he was about to tell was the truth.

"I've always fought straight and square. I've never touched a piece
of dirty money in my life, nor attempted a dirty trick. Now I can
go on from that. You've shaken me up pretty badly by what you told
me. I don't know what to make of it. I can't pass a snap judgment
on it. I don't know. But it looks bad. That's what troubles me. For
see you, Stubener and I have talked this fight over, and it was
understood between us that I would end the fight in the sixteenth
round. Now you bring the same word. How did that editor know? Not from
me. Stubener must have let it out ... unless...." He stopped to debate
the problem. "Unless that editor is a lucky guesser. I can't make up my
mind about it. I'll have to keep my eyes open and wait and learn. Every
word I've given you is straight, and there's my hand on it."

Again he towered out of his chair and over to her. Her small hand was
gripped in his big one as she arose to meet him, and after a fair,
straight look into the eyes between them, both glanced unconsciously
at the clasped hands. She felt that she had never been more aware
that she was a woman. The sex emphasis of those two hands--the
soft and fragile feminine and the heavy, muscular masculine--was
startling. Glendon was the first to speak.

"You could be hurt so easily," he said; and at the same time she felt
the firmness of his grip almost caressingly relax.

She remembered the old Prussian king's love for giants, and laughed
at the incongruity of the thought-association as she withdrew her hand.

"I am glad you came here to-day," he said, then hurried on awkwardly
to make an explanation which the warm light of admiration in his eyes
belied. "I mean because maybe you have opened my eyes to the crooked
dealing that has been going on."

"You have surprised me," she urged. "It seemed to me that it is so
generally understood that prize-fighting is full of crookedness, that
I cannot understand how you, one of its chief exponents, could be
ignorant of it. I thought as a matter of course that you would know
all about it, and now you have convinced me that you never dreamed
of it. You must be different from other fighters."

He nodded his head.

"That explains it, I guess. And that's what comes of keeping away from
it--from the other fighters, and promoters, and sports. It was easy
to pull the wool over my eyes. Yet it remains to be seen whether it
has really been pulled over or not. You see, I am going to find out
for myself."

"And change it?" she queried, rather breathlessly, convinced somehow
that he could do anything he set out to accomplish.

"No; quit it," was his answer. "If it isn't straight I won't have
anything more to do with it. And one thing is certain: this coming
fight with Nat Powers won't end in the sixteenth round. If there is
any truth in that editor's tip, they'll all be fooled. Instead of
putting him out in the sixteenth, I'll let the fight run on into the
twenties. You wait and see."

"And I'm not to tell the editor?"

She was on her feet now, preparing to go.

"Certainly not. If he is only guessing, let him take his chances. And
if there's anything rotten about it he deserves to lose all he
bets. This is to be a little secret between you and me. I'll tell
you what I'll do. I'll name the round to you. I won't run it into
the twenties. I'll stop Nat Powers in the eighteenth."

"And I'll not whisper it," she assured him.

"I'd like to ask you a favor," he said tentatively. "Maybe it's a
big favor."

She showed her acquiescence in her face, as if it were already granted,
and he went on:

"Of course, I know you won't use this faking in the interview. But
I want more than that. I don't want you to publish anything at all."

She gave him a quick look with her searching gray eyes, then surprised
herself by her answer.

"Certainly," she said. "It will not be published. I won't write a
line of it."

"I knew it," he said simply.

For the moment she was disappointed by the lack of thanks, and the
next moment she was glad that he had not thanked her. She sensed the
different foundation he was building under this meeting of an hour
with her, and she became daringly explorative.

"How did you know it?" she asked.

"I don't know." He shook his head. "I can't explain it. I knew it
as a matter of course. Somehow it seems to me I know a lot about you
and me."

"But why not publish the interview? As your manager says, it is
good advertising."

"I know it," he answered slowly. "But I don't want to know you that
way. I think it would hurt if you should publish it. I don't want to
think that I knew you professionally. I'd like to remember our talk
here as a talk between a man and a woman. I don't know whether you
understand what I'm driving at. But it's the way I feel. I want to
remember this just as a man and a woman."

As he spoke, in his eyes was all the expression with which a man
looks at a woman. She felt the force and beat of him, and she felt
strangely tongue-tied and awkward before this man who had been reputed
tongue-tied and awkward. He could certainly talk straighter to the
point and more convincingly than most men, and what struck her most
forcibly was her own inborn certainty that it was mere naïve and
simple frankness on his part and not a practised artfulness.

He saw her into her machine, and gave her another thrill when he said
good-by. Once again their hands were clasped as he said:

"Some day I'll see you again. I want to see you again. Somehow I have
a feeling that the last word has not been said between us."

And as the machine rolled away she was aware of a similar feeling. She
had not seen the last of this very disquieting Pat Glendon, king of
the bruisers and abysmal brute.

Back in the training quarters, Glendon encountered his perturbed
manager.

"What did you fire me out for?" Stubener demanded. "We're finished. A
hell of a mess you've made. You've never stood for meeting a reporter
alone before, and now you'll see when that interview comes out."

Glendon, who had been regarding him with cool amusement, made as if
to turn and pass on, and then changed his mind.

"It won't come out," he said.

Stubener looked up sharply.

"I asked her not to," Glendon explained.

Then Stubener exploded.

"As if she'd kill a juicy thing like that."

Glendon became very cold and his voice was harsh and grating.

"It won't be published. She told me so. And to doubt it is to call
her a liar."

The Irish flame was in his eyes, and by that, and by the unconscious
clenching of his passion-wrought hands, Stubener, who knew the strength
of them, and of the man he faced, no longer dared to doubt.



VII


It did not take Stubener long to find out that Glendon intended
extending the distance of the fight, though try as he would he could
get no hint of the number of the round. He wasted no time, however,
and privily clinched certain arrangements with Nat Powers and Nat
Powers' manager. Powers had a faithful following of bettors, and the
betting syndicate was not to be denied its harvest.

On the night of the fight, Maud Sangster was guilty of a more daring
unconventionality than any she had yet committed, though no whisper of
it leaked out to shock society. Under the protection of the editor,
she occupied a ring-side seat. Her hair and most of her face were
hidden under a slouch hat, while she wore a man's long overcoat that
fell to her heels. Entering in the thick of the crowd, she was not
noticed; nor did the newspaper men, in the press seats against the
ring directly in front of her, recognize her.

As was the growing custom, there were no preliminary bouts, and she had
barely gained her seat when roars of applause announced the arrival
of Nat Powers. He came down the aisle in the midst of his seconds,
and she was almost frightened by the formidable bulk of him. Yet he
leaped the ropes as lightly as a man half his weight, and grinned
acknowledgment to the tumultuous greeting that arose from all the
house. He was not pretty. Two cauliflower ears attested his profession
and its attendant brutality, while his broken nose had been so often
spread over his face as to defy the surgeon's art to reconstruct it.

Another uproar heralded the arrival of Glendon, and she watched him
eagerly as he went through the ropes to his corner. But it was not
until the tedious time of announcements, introductions, and challenges
was over, that the two men threw off their wraps and faced each other
in ring costume. Concentrated upon them from overhead was the white
glare of many electric lights--this for the benefit of the moving
picture cameras; and she felt, as she looked at the two sharply
contrasted men, that it was in Glendon that she saw the thoroughbred
and in Powers the abysmal brute. Both looked their parts--Glendon,
clean cut in face and form, softly and massively beautiful, Powers
almost asymmetrically rugged and heavily matted with hair.

As they made their preliminary pose for the cameras, confronting
each other in fighting attitudes, it chanced that Glendon's gaze
dropped down through the ropes and rested on her face. Though he
gave no sign, she knew, with a swift leap of the heart, that he had
recognized her. The next moment the gong sounded, the announcer cried
"Let her go!" and the battle was on.

It was a good fight. There was no blood, no marring, and both were
clever. Half of the first round was spent in feeling each other out,
but Maud Sangster found the play and feint and tap of the gloves
sufficiently exciting. During some of the fiercer rallies in later
stages of the fight, the editor was compelled to touch her arm to
remind her who she was and where she was.

Powers fought easily and cleanly, as became the hero of half a
hundred ring battles, and an admiring claque applauded his every
cleverness. Yet he did not unduly exert himself save in occasional
strenuous rallies that brought the audience yelling to its feet in
the mistaken notion that he was getting his man.

It was at such a moment, when her unpractised eye could not inform
her that Glendon was escaping serious damage, that the editor leaned
to her and said:

"Young Pat will win all right. He's a comer, and they can't stop
him. But he'll win in the sixteenth and not before."

"Or after?" she asked.

She almost laughed at the certitude of her companion's negative. She
knew better.

Powers was noted for hunting his man from moment to moment and round to
round, and Glendon was content to accede to this program. His defense
was admirable, and he threw in just enough of offense to whet the edge
of the audience's interest. Though he knew he was scheduled to lose,
Powers had had too long a ring experience to hesitate from knocking his
man out if the opportunity offered. He had had the double cross worked
too often on him to be chary in working it on others. If he got his
chance he was prepared to knock his man out and let the syndicate go
hang. Thanks to clever press publicity, the idea was prevalent that at
last Young Glendon had met his master. In his heart, Powers, however,
knew that it was himself who had encountered the better man. More than
once, in the faster in-fighting, he received the weight of punches
that he knew had been deliberately made no heavier.

On Glendon's part, there were times and times when a slip or error
of judgment could have exposed him to one of his antagonist's
sledge-hammer blows and lost him the fight. Yet his was that almost
miraculous power of accurate timing and distancing, and his confidence
was not shaken by the several close shaves he experienced. He had
never lost a fight, never been knocked down, and he had always been
so thoroughly the master of the man he faced, that such a possibility
was unthinkable.

At the end of the fifteenth round, both men were in good condition,
though Powers was breathing a trifle heavily and there were men in
the ringside seats offering odds that he would "blow up."

It was just before the gong for the sixteenth round struck that
Stubener, leaning over Glendon from behind in his corner, whispered:

"Are you going to get him now?"

Glendon, with a back toss of his head, shook it and laughed mockingly
up into his manager's anxious face.

With the stroke of the gong for the sixteenth round, Glendon was
surprised to see Powers cut loose. From the first second it was
a tornado of fighting, and Glendon was hard put to escape serious
damage. He blocked, clinched, ducked, sidestepped, was rushed backward
against the ropes and was met by fresh rushes when he surged out to
center. Several times Powers left inviting openings, but Glendon
refused to loose the lightning-bolt of a blow that would drop his
man. He was reserving that blow for two rounds later. Not in the
whole fight had he ever exerted his full strength, nor struck with
the force that was in him.

For two minutes, without the slightest let-up, Powers went at him
hammer and tongs. In another minute the round would be over and the
betting syndicate hard hit. But that minute was not to be. They had
just come together in the center of the ring. It was as ordinary
a clinch as any in the fight, save that Powers was struggling and
roughing it every instant. Glendon whipped his left over in a crisp
but easy jolt to the side of the face. It was like any of a score of
similar jolts he had already delivered in the course of the fight. To
his amazement he felt Powers go limp in his arms and begin sinking
to the floor on sagging, spraddling legs that refused to bear his
weight. He struck the floor with a thump, rolled half over on his
side, and lay with closed eyes and motionless. The referee, bending
above him, was shouting the count.

At the cry of "Nine!" Powers quivered as if making a vain effort
to rise.

"Ten!--and out!" cried the referee.

He caught Glendon's hand and raised it aloft to the roaring audience
in token that he was the winner.

For the first time in the ring, Glendon was dazed. It had not been a
knockout blow. He could stake his life on that. It had not been to
the jaw but to the side of the face, and he knew it had gone there
and nowhere else. Yet the man was out, had been counted out, and he
had faked it beautifully. That final thump on the floor had been a
convincing masterpiece. To the audience it was indubitably a knockout,
and the moving picture machines would perpetuate the lie. The editor
had called the turn after all, and a crooked turn it was.

Glendon shot a swift glance through the ropes to the face of Maud
Sangster. She was looking straight at him, but her eyes were bleak and
hard, and there was neither recognition nor expression in them. Even
as he looked, she turned away unconcernedly and said something to
the man beside her.

Powers' seconds were carrying him to his corner, a seeming limp wreck
of a man. Glendon's seconds were advancing upon him to congratulate him
and to remove his gloves. But Stubener was ahead of them. His face was
beaming as he caught Glendon's right glove in both his hands and cried:

"Good boy, Pat. I knew you'd do it."

Glendon pulled his glove away. And for the first time in the years
they had been together, his manager heard him swear.

"You go to hell," he said, and turned to hold out his hands for his
seconds to pull off the gloves.



VIII


That night, after receiving the editor's final dictum that there was
not a square fighter in the game, Maud Sangster cried quietly for a
moment on the edge of her bed, grew angry, and went to sleep hugely
disgusted with herself, prize-fighters, and the world in general.

The next afternoon she began work on an interview with Henry Addison
that was destined never to be finished. It was in the private room
that was accorded her at the "Courier-Journal" office that the thing
happened. She had paused in her writing to glance at a headline in the
afternoon paper announcing that Glendon was matched with Tom Cannam,
when one of the door-boys brought in a card. It was Glendon's.

"Tell him I can't be seen," she told the boy.

In a minute he was back.

"He says he's coming in anyway, but he'd rather have your permission."

"Did you tell him I was busy?" she asked.

"Yes'm, but he said he was coming just the same."

She made no answer, and the boy, his eyes shining with admiration
for the importunate visitor, rattled on.

"I know'm. He's a awful big guy. If he started roughhousing he could
clean the whole office out. He's young Glendon, who won the fight
last night."

"Very well, then. Bring him in. We don't want the office cleaned out,
you know."

No greetings were exchanged when Glendon entered. She was as cold and
inhospitable as a gray day, and neither invited him to a chair nor
recognized him with her eyes, sitting half turned away from him at
her desk and waiting for him to state his business. He gave no sign
of how this cavalier treatment affected him, but plunged directly
into his subject.

"I want to talk to you," he said shortly. "That fight. It did end in
that round."

She shrugged her shoulders.

"I knew it would."

"You didn't," he retorted. "You didn't. I didn't."

She turned and looked at him with quiet affectation of boredom.

"What is the use?" she asked. "Prize-fighting is prize-fighting,
and we all know what it means. The fight did end in the round I told
you it would."

"It did," he agreed. "But you didn't know it would. In all the world
you and I were at least two that knew Powers wouldn't be knocked out
in the sixteenth."

She remained silent.

"I say you knew he wouldn't." He spoke peremptorily, and, when
she still declined to speak, stepped nearer to her. "Answer me,"
he commanded.

She nodded her head.

"But he was," she insisted.

"He wasn't. He wasn't knocked out at all. Do you get that? I am
going to tell you about it, and you are going to listen. I didn't
lie to you. Do you get that? I didn't lie to you. I was a fool,
and they fooled me, and you along with me. You thought you saw him
knocked out. Yet the blow I struck was not heavy enough. It didn't
hit him in the right place either. He made believe it did. He faked
that knockout."

He paused and looked at her expectantly. And somehow, with a leap
and thrill, she knew that she believed him, and she felt pervaded by
a warm happiness at the reinstatement of this man who meant nothing
to her and whom she had seen but twice in her life.

"Well?" he demanded, and she thrilled anew at the compellingness
of him.

She stood up, and her hand went out to his.

"I believe you," she said. "And I am glad, most glad."

It was a longer grip than she had anticipated. He looked at her
with eyes that burned and to which her own unconsciously answered
back. Never was there such a man, was her thought. Her eyes dropped
first, and his followed, so that, as before, both gazed at the clasped
hands. He made a movement of his whole body toward her, impulsive
and involuntary, as if to gather her to him, then checked himself
abruptly, with an unmistakable effort. She saw it, and felt the pull
of his hand as it started to draw her to him. And to her amazement
she felt the desire to yield, the desire almost overwhelmingly to be
drawn into the strong circle of those arms. And had he compelled,
she knew that she would not have refrained. She was almost dizzy,
when he checked himself and with a closing of his fingers that half
crushed hers, dropped her hand, almost flung it from him.

"God!" he breathed. "You were made for me."

He turned partly away from her, sweeping his hand to his forehead. She
knew she would hate him forever if he dared one stammered word of
apology or explanation. But he seemed to have the way always of doing
the right thing where she was concerned. She sank into her chair,
and he into another, first drawing it around so as to face her across
the corner of the desk.

"I spent last night in a Turkish bath," he said. "I sent for an old
broken-down bruiser. He was a friend of my father in the old days. I
knew there couldn't be a thing about the ring he didn't know, and
I made him talk. The funny thing was that it was all I could do to
convince him that I didn't know the things I asked him about. He
called me the babe in the woods. I guess he was right. I was raised
in the woods, and woods is about all I know.

"Well, I received an education from that old man last night. The ring
is rottener than you told me. It seems everybody connected with it is
crooked. The very supervisors that grant the fight permits graft off
of the promoters; and the promoters, managers, and fighters graft off
of each other and off the public. It's down to a system, in one way,
and on the other hand they're always--do you know what the double
cross is?" (She nodded.) "Well, they don't seem to miss a chance to
give each other the double cross.

"The stuff that old man told me took my breath away. And here I've been
in the thick of it for several years and knew nothing of it. I was a
real babe in the woods. And yet I can see how I've been fooled. I was
so made that nobody could stop me. I was bound to win, and, thanks
to Stubener, everything crooked was kept away from me. This morning
I cornered Spider Walsh and made him talk. He was my first trainer,
you know, and he followed Stubener's instructions. They kept me in
ignorance. Besides, I didn't herd with the sporting crowd. I spent my
time hunting and fishing and monkeying with cameras and such things. Do
you know what Walsh and Stubener called me between themselves?--the
Virgin. I only learned it this morning from Walsh, and it was like
pulling teeth. And they were right. I was a little innocent lamb.

"And Stubener was using me for crookedness, too, only I didn't know
it. I can look back now and see how it was worked. But you see,
I wasn't interested enough in the game to be suspicious. I was born
with a good body and a cool head, I was raised in the open, and I was
taught by my father, who knew more about fighting than any man living
or dead. It was too easy. The ring didn't absorb me. There was never
any doubt of the outcome. But I'm done with it now."

She pointed to the headline announcing his match with Tom Cannam.

"That's Stubener's work," he explained. "It was programmed months
ago. But I don't care. I'm heading for the mountains. I've quit."

She glanced at the unfinished interview on the desk and sighed.

"How lordly men are," she said. "Masters of destiny. They do as
they please--"

"From what I've heard," he interrupted, "you've done pretty much as you
please. It's one of the things I like about you. And what has struck
me hard from the first was the way you and I understand each other."

He broke off and looked at her with burning eyes.

"Well, the ring did one thing for me," he went on. "It made me
acquainted with you. And when you find the one woman, there's just
one thing to do. Take her in your two hands and don't let go. Come on,
let us start for the mountains."

It had come with the suddenness of a thunder-clap, and yet she
felt that she had been expecting it. Her heart was beating up and
almost choking her in a strangely delicious way. Here at least was
the primitive and the simple with a vengeance. Then, too, it seemed a
dream. Such things did not take place in modern newspaper offices. Love
could not be made in such fashion; it only so occurred on the stage
and in novels.

He had arisen, and was holding out both hands to her.

"I don't dare," she said in a whisper, half to herself. "I don't dare."

And thereat she was stung by the quick contempt that flashed in his
eyes but that swiftly changed to open incredulity.

"You'd dare anything you wanted," he was saying. "I know that. It's
not a case of dare, but of want. Do you want?"

She had arisen, and was now swaying as if in a dream. It flashed into
her mind to wonder if it were hypnotism. She wanted to glance about her
at the familiar objects of the room in order to identify herself with
reality, but she could not take her eyes from his. Nor did she speak.

He had stepped beside her. His hand was on her arm, and she leaned
toward him involuntarily. It was all part of the dream, and it
was no longer hers to question anything. It was the great dare. He
was right. She could dare what she wanted, and she did want. He was
helping her into her jacket. She was thrusting the hat-pins through her
hair. And even as she realized it, she found herself walking beside him
through the opened door. The "Flight of the Duchess" and "The Statue
and the Bust," darted through her mind. Then she remembered "Waring."

"'What's become of Waring?'" she murmured.

"'Land travel or sea-faring?'" he murmured back.

And to her this kindred sufficient note was a vindication of her
madness.

At the entrance of the building he raised his hand to call a taxi,
but was stopped by her touch on his arm.

"Where are we going?" she breathed.

"To the Ferry. We've just time to catch that Sacramento train."

"But I can't go this way," she protested. "I ... I haven't even a
change of handkerchiefs."

He held up his hand again before replying.

"You can shop in Sacramento. We'll get married there and catch the
night overland north. I'll arrange everything by telegraph from
the train."

As the cab drew to the curb, she looked quickly about her at the
familiar street and the familiar throng, then, with almost a flurry
of alarm, into Glendon's face.

"I don't know a thing about you," she said.

"We know everything about each other," was his answer.

She felt the support and urge of his arms, and lifted her foot to
the step. The next moment the door had closed, he was beside her, and
the cab was heading down Market Street. He passed his arm around her,
drew her close, and kissed her. When next she glimpsed his face she
was certain that it was dyed with a faint blush.

"I ... I've heard there was an art in kissing," he stammered. "I
don't know anything about it myself, but I'll learn. You see, you're
the first woman I ever kissed."



IX


Where a jagged peak of rock thrust above the vast virgin forest,
reclined a man and a woman. Beneath them, on the edge of the trees,
were tethered two horses. Behind each saddle were a pair of small
saddle-bags. The trees were monotonously huge. Towering hundreds
of feet into the air, they ran from eight to ten and twelve feet in
diameter. Many were much larger. All morning they had toiled up the
divide through this unbroken forest, and this peak of rock had been
the first spot where they could get out of the forest in order to
see the forest.

Beneath them and away, far as they could see, lay range upon range
of haze-empurpled mountains. There was no end to these ranges. They
rose one behind another to the dim, distant skyline, where they faded
away with a vague promise of unending extension beyond. There were
no clearings in the forest; north, south, east, and west, untouched,
unbroken, it covered the land with its mighty growth.

They lay, feasting their eyes on the sight, her hand clasped in one
of his; for this was their honeymoon, and these were the redwoods
of Mendocino. Across from Shasta they had come, with horses and
saddle-bags, and down through the wilds of the coast counties, and they
had no plan except to continue until some other plan entered their
heads. They were roughly dressed, she in travel-stained khaki, he in
overalls and woolen shirt. The latter was open at the sunburned neck,
and in his hugeness he seemed a fit dweller among the forest giants,
while for her, as a dweller with him, there were no signs of aught
else but happiness.

"Well, Big Man," she said, propping herself up on an elbow to gaze
at him, "it is more wonderful than you promised. And we are going
through it together."

"And there's a lot of the rest of the world we'll go through together,"
he answered, shifting his position so as to get her hand in both
of his.

"But not till we've finished with this," she urged. "I seem never to
grow tired of the big woods ... and of you."

He slid effortlessly into a sitting posture and gathered her into
his arms.

"Oh, you lover," she whispered. "And I had given up hope of finding
such a one."

"And I never hoped at all. I must just have known all the time that
I was going to find you. Glad?"

Her answer was a soft pressure where her hand rested on his neck,
and for long minutes they looked out over the great woods and dreamed.

"You remember I told you how I ran away from the red-haired school
teacher? That was the first time I saw this country. I was on foot, but
forty or fifty miles a day was play for me. I was a regular Indian. I
wasn't thinking about you then. Game was pretty scarce in the redwoods,
but there was plenty of fine trout. That was when I camped on these
rocks. I didn't dream that some day I'd be back with you, YOU."

"And be a champion of the ring, too," she suggested.

"No; I didn't think about that at all. Dad had always told me I was
going to be, and I took it for granted. You see, he was very wise. He
was a great man."

"But he didn't see you leaving the ring."

"I don't know. He was so careful in hiding its crookedness from me,
that I think he feared it. I've told you about the contract with
Stubener. Dad put in that clause about crookedness. The first crooked
thing my manager did was to break the contract."

"And yet you are going to fight this Tom Cannam. Is it worth while?"

He looked at her quickly.

"Don't you want me to?"

"Dear lover, I want you to do whatever you want."

So she said, and to herself, her words still ringing in her ears,
she marveled that she, not least among the stubbornly independent of
the breed of Sangster, should utter them. Yet she knew they were true,
and she was glad.

"It will be fun," he said.

"But I don't understand all the gleeful details."

"I haven't worked them out yet. You might help me. In the first place
I'm going to double-cross Stubener and the betting syndicate. It
will be part of the joke. I am going to put Cannam out in the
first round. For the first time I shall be really angry when I
fight. Poor Tom Cannam, who's as crooked as the rest, will be the
chief sacrifice. You see, I intend to make a speech in the ring. It's
unusual, but it will be a success, for I am going to tell the
audience all the inside workings of the game. It's a good game, too,
but they're running it on business principles, and that's what spoils
it. But there, I'm giving the speech to you instead of at the ring."

"I wish I could be there to hear," she said.

He looked at her and debated.

"I'd like to have you. But it's sure to be a rough time. There is no
telling what may happen when I start my program. But I'll come straight
to you as soon as it's over. And it will be the last appearance of
Young Glendon in the ring, in any ring."

"But, dear, you've never made a speech in your life," she
objected. "You might fail."

He shook his head positively.

"I'm Irish," he announced, "and what Irishman was there who couldn't
speak?" He paused to laugh merrily. "Stubener thinks I'm crazy. Says a
man can't train on matrimony. A lot he knows about matrimony, or me,
or you, or anything except real estate and fixed fights. But I'll
show him that night, and poor Tom, too. I really feel sorry for Tom."

"My dear abysmal brute is going to behave most abysmally and brutally,
I fear," she murmured.

He laughed.

"I'm going to make a noble attempt at it. Positively my last
appearance, you know. And then it will be you, YOU. But if you don't
want that last appearance, say the word."

"Of course I want it, Big Man. I want my Big Man for himself, and to
be himself he must be himself. If you want this, I want it for you,
and for myself, too. Suppose I said I wanted to go on the stage,
or to the South Seas or the North Pole?"

He answered slowly, almost solemnly.

"Then I'd say go ahead. Because you are you and must be yourself and
do whatever you want. I love you because you are you."

"And we're both a silly pair of lovers," she said, when his embrace
had relaxed.

"Isn't it great!" he cried.

He stood up, measured the sun with his eye, and extended his hand
out over the big woods that covered the serried, purple ranges.

"We've got to sleep out there somewhere. It's thirty miles to the
nearest camp."



X


Who, of all the sports present, will ever forget the memorable night
at the Golden Gate Arena, when Young Glendon put Tom Cannam to sleep
and an even greater one than Tom Cannam, kept the great audience
on the ragged edge of riot for an hour, caused the subsequent graft
investigation of the supervisors and the indictments of the contractors
and the building commissioners, and pretty generally disrupted the
whole fight game. It was a complete surprise. Not even Stubener had
the slightest apprehension of what was coming. It was true that his
man had been insubordinate after the Nat Powers affair, and had run
off and got married; but all that was over. Young Pat had done the
expected, swallowed the inevitable crookedness of the ring, and come
back into it again.

The Golden Gate Arena was new. This was its first fight, and it was
the biggest building of the kind San Francisco had ever erected. It
seated twenty-five thousand, and every seat was occupied. Sports had
traveled from all the world to be present, and they had paid fifty
dollars for their ring-side seats. The cheapest seat in the house
had sold for five dollars.

The old familiar roar of applause went up when Billy Morgan, the
veteran announcer, climbed through the ropes and bared his gray
head. As he opened his mouth to speak, a heavy crash came from a near
section where several tiers of low seats had collapsed. The crowd
broke into loud laughter and shouted jocular regrets and advice to
the victims, none of whom had been hurt. The crash of the seats and
the hilarious uproar caused the captain of police in charge to look
at one of his lieutenants and lift his brows in token that they would
have their hands full and a lively night.

One by one, welcomed by uproarious applause, seven doughty old ring
heroes climbed through the ropes to be introduced. They were all
ex-heavy-weight champions of the world. Billy Morgan accompanied
each presentation to the audience with an appropriate phrase. One was
hailed as "Honest John" and "Old Reliable," another was "the squarest
two-fisted fighter the ring ever saw." And of others: "the hero of a
hundred battles and never threw one and never lay down"; "the gamest
of the old guard"; "the only one who ever came back"; "the greatest
warrior of them all"; and "the hardest nut in the ring to crack."

All this took time. A speech was insisted on from each of them, and
they mumbled and muttered in reply with proud blushes and awkward
shamblings. The longest speech was from "Old Reliable" and lasted
nearly a minute. Then they had to be photographed. The ring filled up
with celebrities, with champion wrestlers, famous conditioners, and
veteran time-keepers and referees. Light-weights and middle-weights
swarmed. Everybody seemed to be challenging everybody. Nat Powers
was there, demanding a return match from Young Glendon, and so were
all the other shining lights whom Glendon had snuffed out. Also,
they all challenged Jim Hanford, who, in turn, had to make his
statement, which was to the effect that he would accord the next
fight to the winner of the one that was about to take place. The
audience immediately proceeded to name the winner, half of it wildly
crying "Glendon," and the other half "Powers." In the midst of the
pandemonium another tier of seats went down, and half a dozen rows
were on between cheated ticket holders and the stewards who had been
reaping a fat harvest. The captain despatched a message to headquarters
for additional police details.

The crowd was feeling good. When Cannam and Glendon made their ring
entrances the Arena resembled a national political convention. Each was
cheered for a solid five minutes. The ring was now cleared. Glendon sat
in his corner surrounded by his seconds. As usual, Stubener was at his
back. Cannam was introduced first, and after he had scraped and ducked
his head, he was compelled to respond to the cries for a speech. He
stammered and halted, but managed to grind out several ideas.

"I'm proud to be here to-night," he said, and found space to capture
another thought while the applause was thundering. "I've fought
square. I've fought square all my life. Nobody can deny that. And
I'm going to do my best to-night."

There were loud cries of: "That's right, Tom!" "We know that!" "Good
boy, Tom!" "You're the boy to fetch the bacon home!"

Then came Glendon's turn. From him, likewise, a speech was demanded,
though for principals to give speeches was an unprecedented thing in
the prize-ring. Billy Morgan held up his hand for silence, and in a
clear, powerful voice Glendon began.

"Everybody has told you they were proud to be here to-night,"
he said. "I am not" The audience was startled, and he paused long
enough to let it sink home, "I am not proud of my company. You wanted
a speech. I'll give you a real one. This is my last fight. After
to-night I leave the ring for good. Why? I have already told you. I
don't like my company. The prize-ring is so crooked that no man
engaged in it can hide behind a corkscrew. It is rotten to the core,
from the little professional clubs right up to this affair to-night."

The low rumble of astonishment that had been rising at this point
burst into a roar. There were loud boos and hisses, and many began
crying: "Go on with the fight!" "We want the fight!" "Why don't you
fight?" Glendon, waiting, noted that the principal disturbers near the
ring were promoters and managers and fighters. In vain did he strive
to make himself heard. The audience was divided, half crying out,
"Fight!" and the other half, "Speech! Speech!"

Ten minutes of hopeless madness prevailed. Stubener, the referee, the
owner of the Arena, and the promoter of the fight, pleaded with Glendon
to go on with the fight. When he refused, the referee declared that
he would award the fight in forfeit to Cannam if Glendon did not fight.

"You can't do it," the latter retorted. "I'll sue you in all the
courts if you try that on, and I'll not promise you that you'll
survive this crowd if you cheat it out of the fight. Besides, I'm
going to fight. But before I do I'm going to finish my speech."

"But it's against the rules," protested the referee.

"It's nothing of the sort. There's not a word in the rules against
ring-side speeches. Every big fighter here to-night has made a speech."

"Only a few words," shouted the promoter in Glendon's ear. "But you're
giving a lecture."

"There's nothing in the rules against lectures," Glendon answered. "And
now you fellows get out of the ring or I'll throw you out."

The promoter, apoplectic and struggling, was dropped over the ropes by
his coat-collar. He was a large man, but so easily had Glendon done
it with one hand that the audience went wild with delight. The cries
for a speech increased in volume. Stubener and the owner beat a wise
retreat. Glendon held up his hands to be heard, whereupon those that
shouted for the fight redoubled their efforts. Two or three tiers
of seats crashed down, and numbers who had thus lost their places,
added to the turmoil by making a concerted rush to squeeze in on the
still intact seats, while those behind, blocked from sight of the ring,
yelled and raved for them to sit down.

Glendon walked to the ropes and spoke to the police captain. He was
compelled to bend over and shout in his ear.

"If I don't give this speech," he said, "this crowd will wreck
the place. If they break loose you can never hold them, you know
that. Now you've got to help. You keep the ring clear and I'll silence
the crowd."

He went back to the center of the ring and again held up his hands.

"You want that speech?" he shouted in a tremendous voice.

Hundreds near the ring heard him and cried "Yes!"

"Then let every man who wants to hear shut up the noise-maker next
to him!"

The advice was taken, so that when he repeated it, his voice penetrated
farther. Again and again he shouted it, and slowly, zone by zone,
the silence pressed outward from the ring, accompanied by a muffled
undertone of smacks and thuds and scuffles as the obstreperous
were subdued by their neighbors. Almost had all confusion been
smothered, when a tier of seats near the ring went down. This was
greeted with fresh roars of laughter, which of itself died away,
so that a lone voice, far back, was heard distinctly as it piped:
"Go on, Glendon! We're with you!"

Glendon had the Celt's intuitive knowledge of the psychology of the
crowd. He knew that what had been a vast disorderly mob five minutes
before was now tightly in hand, and for added effect he deliberately
delayed. Yet the delay was just long enough and not a second too
long. For thirty seconds the silence was complete, and the effect
produced was one of awe. Then, just as the first faint hints of
restlessness came to his ears, he began to speak:

"When I finish this speech," he said, "I am going to fight. I promise
you it will be a real fight, one of the few real fights you have ever
seen. I am going to get my man in the shortest possible time. Billy
Morgan, in making his final announcement, will tell you that it is
to be a forty-five-round contest. Let me tell you that it will be
nearer forty-five seconds.

"When I was interrupted I was telling you that the ring was rotten. It
is--from top to bottom. It is run on business principles, and you all
know what business principles are. Enough said. You are the suckers,
every last one of you that is not making anything out of it. Why
are the seats falling down to-night? Graft. Like the fight game,
they were built on business principles."

He now held the audience stronger than ever, and knew it.

"There are three men squeezed on two seats. I can see that
everywhere. What does it mean? Graft. The stewards don't get any
wages. They are supposed to graft. Business principles again. You
pay. Of course you pay. How are the fight permits obtained? Graft. And
now let me ask you: if the men who build the seats graft, if the
stewards graft, if the authorities graft, why shouldn't those higher
up in the fight game graft? They do. And you pay.

"And let me tell you it is not the fault of the fighters. They don't
run the game. The promoters and managers run it; they're the business
men. The fighters are only fighters. They begin honestly enough, but
the managers and promoters make them give in or kick them out. There
have been straight fighters. And there are now a few, but they don't
earn much as a rule. I guess there have been straight managers. Mine
is about the best of the boiling. But just ask him how much he's got
salted down in real estate and apartment houses."

Here the uproar began to drown his voice.

"Let every man who wants to hear shut up the man alongside of
him!" Glendon instructed.

Again, like the murmur of a surf, there was a rustling of smacks,
and thuds, and scuffles, and the house quieted down.

"Why does every fighter work overtime insisting that he's always
fought square? Why are they called Honest Johns, and Honest Bills,
and Honest Blacksmiths, and all the rest? Doesn't it ever strike you
that they seem to be afraid of something? When a man comes to you
shouting he is honest, you get suspicious. But when a prize-fighter
passes the same dope out to you, you swallow it down.

"May the best man win! How often have you heard Billy Morgan say
that! Let me tell you that the best man doesn't win so often, and
when he does it's usually arranged for him. Most of the grudge fights
you've heard or seen were arranged, too. It's a program. The whole
thing is programmed. Do you think the promoters and managers are in
it for their health? They're not. They're business men.

"Tom, Dick, and Harry are three fighters. Dick is the best man. In
two fights he could prove it. But what happens? Tom licks Harry. Dick
licks Tom. Harry licks Dick. Nothing proved. Then come the return
matches. Harry licks Tom. Tom licks Dick. Dick licks Harry. Nothing
proved. Then they try again. Dick is kicking. Says he wants to get
along in the game. So Dick licks Tom, and Dick licks Harry. Eight
fights to prove Dick the best man, when two could have done it. All
arranged. A regular program. And you pay for it, and when your seats
don't break down you get robbed of them by the stewards.

"It's a good game, too, if it were only square. The fighters would
be square if they had a chance. But the graft is too big. When a
handful of men can divide up three-quarters of a million dollars on
three fights--"

A wild outburst compelled him to stop. Out of the medley of cries
from all over the house, he could distinguish such as "What million
dollars?" "What three fights?" "Tell us!" "Go on!" Likewise there
were boos and hisses, and cries of "Muckraker! Muckraker!"

"Do you want to hear?" Glendon shouted. "Then keep order!"

Once more he compelled the impressive half minute of silence.

"What is Jim Hanford planning? What is the program his crowd and mine
are framing up? They know I've got him. He knows I've got him. I
can whip him in one fight. But he's the champion of the world. If
I don't give in to the program, they'll never give me a chance to
fight him. The program calls for three fights. I am to win the first
fight. It will be pulled off in Nevada if San Francisco won't stand
for it. We are to make it a good fight. To make it good, each of us
will put up a side bet of twenty thousand. It will be real money, but
it won't be a real bet. Each gets his own slipped back to him. The
same way with the purse. We'll divide it evenly, though the public
division will be thirty-five and sixty-five. The purse, the moving
picture royalties, the advertisements, and all the rest of the drags
won't be a cent less than two hundred and fifty thousand. We'll divide
it, and go to work on the return match. Hanford will win that, and
we divide again. Then comes the third fight; I win as I have every
right to; and we have taken three-quarters of a million out of the
pockets of the fighting public. That's the program, but the money is
dirty. And that's why I am quitting the ring to-night--"

It was at this moment that Jim Hanford, kicking a clinging policeman
back among the seat-holders, heaved his huge frame through the ropes,
bellowing:

"It's a lie!"

He rushed like an infuriated bull at Glendon, who sprang back,
and then, instead of meeting the rush, ducked cleanly away. Unable
to check himself, the big man fetched up against the ropes. Flung
back by the spring of them, he was turning to make another rush,
when Glendon landed him. Glendon, cool, clear-seeing, distanced his
man perfectly to the jaw and struck the first full-strength blow of
his career. All his strength, and his reserve of strength, went into
that one smashing muscular explosion.

Hanford was dead in the air--in so far as unconsciousness may resemble
death. So far as he was concerned, he ceased at the moment of contact
with Glendon's fist. His feet left the floor and he was in the air
until he struck the topmost rope. His inert body sprawled across it,
sagged at the middle, and fell through the ropes and down out of the
ring upon the heads of the men in the press seats.

The audience broke loose. It had already seen more than it had paid to
see, for the great Jim Hanford, the world champion, had been knocked
out. It was unofficial, but it had been with a single punch. Never had
there been such a night in fistiana. Glendon looked ruefully at his
damaged knuckles, cast a glance through the ropes to where Hanford
was groggily coming to, and held up his hands. He had clinched his
right to be heard, and the audience grew still.

"When I began to fight," he said, "they called me 'One-Punch
Glendon.' You saw that punch a moment ago. I always had that punch. I
went after my men and got them on the jump, though I was careful not
to hit with all my might. Then I was educated. My manager told me it
wasn't fair to the crowd. He advised me to make long fights so that
the crowd could get a run for its money. I was a fool, a mutt. I was
a green lad from the mountains. So help me God, I swallowed it as
the truth. My manager used to talk over with me what round I would
put my man out in. Then he tipped it off to the betting syndicate,
and the betting syndicate went to it. Of course you paid. But I am
glad for one thing. I never touched a cent of the money. They didn't
dare offer it to me, because they knew it would give the game away.

"You remember my fight with Nat Powers. I never knocked him out. I had
got suspicious. So the gang framed it up with him. I didn't know. I
intended to let him go a couple of rounds over the sixteenth. That last
punch in the sixteenth didn't shake him. But he faked the knock-out
just the same and fooled all of you."

"How about to-night?" a voice called out. "Is it a frame-up?"

"It is," was Glendon's answer. "How's the syndicate betting? That
Cannam will last to the fourteenth."

Howls and hoots went up. For the last time Glendon held up his hand
for silence.

"I'm almost done now. But I want to tell you one thing. The syndicate
gets landed to-night. This is to be a square fight. Tom Cannam won't
last till the fourteenth round. He won't last the first round."

Cannam sprang to his feet in his corner and cried out in a fury:

"You can't do it. The man don't live who can get me in one round!"

Glendon ignored him and went on.

"Once now in my life I have struck with all my strength. You saw that
a moment ago when I caught Hanford. To-night, for the second time,
I am going to hit with all my strength--that is, if Cannam doesn't
jump through the ropes right now and get away. And now I'm ready."

He went to his corner and held out his hands for his gloves. In the
opposite corner Cannam raged while his seconds tried vainly to calm
him. At last Billy Morgan managed to make the final announcement.

"This will be a forty-five round contest," he shouted. "Marquis of
Queensbury Rules! And may the best man win! Let her go!"

The gong struck. The two men advanced. Glendon's right hand was
extended for the customary shake, but Cannam, with an angry toss of
the head, refused to take it. To the general surprise, he did not
rush. Angry though he was, he fought carefully, his touched pride
impelling him to bend every effort to last out the round. Several
times he struck, but he struck cautiously, never relaxing his
defense. Glendon hunted him about the ring, ever advancing with the
remorseless tap-tap of his left foot. Yet he struck no blows, nor
attempted to strike. He even dropped his hands to his sides and hunted
the other defenselessly in an effort to draw him out. Cannam grinned
defiantly, but declined to take advantage of the proffered opening.

Two minutes passed, and then a change came over Glendon. By every
muscle, by every line of his face, he advertised that the moment
had come for him to get his man. Acting it was, and it was well
acted. He seemed to have become a thing of steel, as hard and
pitiless as steel. The effect was apparent on Cannam, who redoubled
his caution. Glendon quickly worked him into a corner and herded and
held him there. Still he struck no blow, nor attempted to strike,
and the suspense on Cannam's part grew painful. In vain he tried to
work out of the corner, while he could not summon resolution to rush
upon his opponent in an attempt to gain the respite of a clinch.

Then it came--a swift series of simple feints that were muscle
flashes. Cannam was dazzled. So was the audience. No two of the
onlookers could agree afterward as to what took place. Cannam ducked
one feint and at the same time threw up his face guard to meet another
feint for his jaw. He also attempted to change position with his
legs. Ring-side witnesses swore that they saw Glendon start the blow
from his right hip and leap forward like a tiger to add the weight
of his body to it. Be that as it may, the blow caught Cannam on the
point of the chin at the moment of his shift of position. And like
Hanford, he was unconscious in the air before he struck the ropes
and fell through on the heads of the reporters.

Of what happened afterward that night in the Golden Gate Arena,
columns in the newspapers were unable adequately to describe. The
police kept the ring clear, but they could not save the Arena. It was
not a riot. It was an orgy. Not a seat was left standing. All over the
great hall, by main strength, crowding and jostling to lay hands on
beams and boards, the crowd uprooted and over-turned. Prize-fighters
sought protection of the police, but there were not enough police to
escort them out, and fighters, managers, and promoters were beaten
and battered. Jim Hanford alone was spared. His jaw, prodigiously
swollen, earned him this mercy. Outside, when finally driven from the
building, the crowd fell upon a new seven-thousand-dollar motor car
belonging to a well-known fight promoter and reduced it to scrapiron
and kindling wood.

Glendon, unable to dress amid the wreckage of dressing rooms, gained
his automobile, still in his ring costume and wrapped in a bath robe,
but failed to escape. By weight of numbers the crowd caught and held
his machine. The police were too busy to rescue him, and in the end
a compromise was effected, whereby the car was permitted to proceed
at a walk escorted by five thousand cheering madmen.

It was midnight when this storm swept past Union Square and down upon
the St. Francis. Cries for a speech went up, and though at the hotel
entrance, Glendon was good-naturedly restrained from escaping. He
even tried leaping out upon the heads of the enthusiasts, but his
feet never touched the pavement. On heads and shoulders, clutched at
and uplifted by every hand that could touch his body, he went back
through the air to the machine. Then he gave his speech, and Maud
Glendon, looking down from an upper window at her young Hercules
towering on the seat of the automobile, knew, as she always knew,
that he meant it when he repeated that he had fought his last fight
and retired from the ring forever.


                                THE END





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