Read CHAPTER X - THE “BEAST” WHO SCORED of Dick Prescott First Year at West Point, free online book, by H. Irving Hancock, on ReadCentral.com.

SMASH!

But the plebe wasn’t there.  Dick Prescott had counted on this, and had wriggled out by a duck and a plunge forward that carried him beyond momentary risk of Mr. Spurlock’s following right.

The yearling’s left fist landed with such force as to cause a half square yard of plaster to fall with a thud.

With a yell of disgust Spurlock wheeled about, but the plebe was waiting for him.

At just the right instant, Dick let fly with all his might with his own left.

It caught the yearling over the right eye, closing it.

Just three or four feet back danced Prescott, then came forward again.  A blow set the yearling’s nose to bleeding afresh.

Then bang! went the other eye closed.  The upper class men gasped with astonishment, for Spurlock was now getting into bad shape.

He was all but dazed, in fact; and had twenty-five seconds yet to go in the round.

Then, as much in mercy as for anything else, Dick Prescott dropped his left against the yearling’s jawbone.

There was a crash as the dazed man went to the floor.

Instantly Mr. Jennison’s voice rose, counting: 

“One, two, three, four ­”

“Take the full count, Spurdy,” advised Kramer, bending forward over his principal.

“ ­eight, nine, ten!” gasped out the timekeeper.

Mr. Spurlock had shown no sign of rising.  In fact, he was still unconscious.

“I award the fight to Mr. Prescott,” called the cool, exact tones of Mr. Edward.

Greg could have let out a whoop and danced a war-dance, but in the presence of upper class men this plebe had to restrain himself.  Anstey’s eyes flashed, but otherwise the Virginian bore himself modestly.

“Carry Mr. Spurlock down to the door.  Then summon stretcher-bearers from the hospital,” directed Mr. Edwards.

It was Yearling Devine who sprang to obey this direction.

Now Dick spoke, ever so quietly.

“Mr. Kramer, I understood that you did me the honor to call me out.”

“Eh?” muttered that other yearling.  “Oh, yes; so I did.  Whenever you’re ready, mister!”

“If Mr. Edwards and Mr. Jennison are willing,” returned the plebe coolly, “I’m ready as soon as Mr. Spurlock has been carried away.”

“Oho, mister!  B.j. to the end, are you?”

“No, sir; only anxious to atone for my b.j.-ety,” replied Cadet Prescott, with a little flash of his eyes.

Anstey had gone below with Devine, to render any help that could be given.

“This is rather unusual, mister,” suggested Mr. Edwards, glancing at his watch.  “However, if you really feel fit, and if it suits Mr. Kramer ­”

“Oh, anything will suit me,” returned the yearling.  Truth to tell, Kramer wasn’t by any means sure that he could whip this crafty plebe.  But the issue had been thrown fairly in his teeth.  Moreover, the honor of the yearling class was now at stake, and Kramer wasn’t the man to go back on his class.

“Listen, gentlemen,” broke in Mr. Edwards.  “This affair started a little ahead of the time set.  It is now nine-fifteen.  In ten minutes or less, we can have Mr. Spurlock on his way to cadet hospital.  Then, if you two mix it up spicily, we can have the affair over by nine-forty.  In any case I shall have to call the fight by that time, and decide it a draw, if necessary.  What say you?”

“Quite satisfactory, sir,” nodded Kramer.

“Satisfactory, sir,” added Prescott, waiting, as a plebe should, until the yearling had spoken.

Devine was back almost at once.  The seconds carried the still unconscious Mr. Spurlock below to the waiting stretcher.  Immediately after Kramer dropped in on a classmate, who gladly came upstairs to aid Mr. Devine in seconding Mr. Kramer.

Not an unnecessary moment did Mr. Kramer lose with his stripping.  He was ready in almost record time, presenting, bared, a man of about Mr. Spurlock’s proportions, weight and general muscular fitness.

Mr. Edwards quickly recited the conditions, then called for the start of the affair.

Figuring that Prescott must now be a good deal sore and at least a bit winded, Mr. Kramer started in at a lively gait, trying to bear the plebe down with swift, overpowering rushes and showers of blows.

Some of these landed on the plebe’s sturdy body, the whacks resounding.  But the blows merely stirred Prescott’s fighting blood within him.  Standing up fairly, with little footwork, but displaying much more speed, Dick Prescott drove in blow after blow in such bewildering succession as to all but daze the yearling.

Bang!  Kramer’s right eye was half closed just as Cadet Jennison called the end of the first round.

“Great Scott, but that little fellow is a canned hurricane!” muttered Devine, as he wrung out cloths in cold water and applied then to Kramer’s swelling eye.  “Old man, you want to swing one blow down on the top of his head, and crush him, if you want to save your personal appearance.”

“Won’t I?” grunted Kramer.  “Just watch me.  I won’t murder the plebe, but I’ve stood all the fooling I’m going to.”

As the combatants rushed at each other again Kramer struck out two or three times; then clinched to save himself.

“Break away, there!” admonished Edwards sternly.  “Get off!”

Again in that round Kramer clinched, despite the referee’s sternest orders.

“That’s no way to meet a plebe, Mr. Kramer,” cried Edwards disgustedly.

After the second get-away Dick fairly danced around his man.  A blow on the nose brought Kramer’s blood.  Then his left eye went all but shut.  At that the yearling spun dizzily.  Dick drove a light blow in behind his man’s ear.  Down went Spurlock’s “avenger” sprawling on the floor.

Mr. Jennison began to count while Kramer lay on the floor, stirring uneasily, yet not seeming to comprehend his seconds’ warnings.

“ ­eight, nine, ten!” finished Mr. Jennison, then put the watch in his pocket.

“The fight is awarded to Mr. Prescott, and it isn’t nine thirty yet,” announced Mr. Edwards.

Dick’s jubilant seconds sponged him, rubbed him down, kneaded his muscles and joyously assisted him in dressing.

Kramer, coming to presently, but with a face that Anstey said “made him think of the Dismal Swamp,” was assisted downstairs by his seconds, and taken to the cadet hospital.

With the exception of the two yearlings whom Cadet Prescott had thrashed to a finish, all who had taken any part in the fights were in their beds, and lights out, when the subdivision inspectors flashed their bull’s-eye lanterns into the room a moment after taps had sounded.

For the honor of the class another yearling, Garston, forced a dispute within a few days, and Prescott had his third fight on his hands.  He won it, though, about as easily as he had the other two.

Three such victories left this plebe free from further fight annoyance.  Also, according to a tacitly understood rule, none of these three yearlings could engage in hazing Mr. Prescott after that.