Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/79

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51
SCHOOL DAYS IN ENGLAND.

on the chin. I could feel the astonishment of the school in the dead silence:

"Good, good!" cried Stackpole behind me: "that's the way." And indeed it was the "way" of the fight in every round except one. We had been hard at it for some eight or ten minutes when I felt Jones getting weaker or losing his breath: at once I went in attacking with all my might; when suddenly, as luck would have it, I caught a right swing just under the left ear and was knocked clean off my feet: he could hit hard enough, that was clear. As I went into the middle of the ring for the next round Jones jeered at me:

"You got that, didn't ye, Pat!"

"Yes", I replied, "but I'll beat you black and blue for it" and the fight went on. I had made up my mind, lying on the ground, to strike only at his face. He was short and strong and my body-blows didn't seem to make any impression on him; but if I could blacken all his face, the masters and especially the Doctor would understand what had happened.

Again and again Jones swung, first with right hand and then with his left, hoping to knock me down again; but my training had been too varied and complete and the knock-down blow had taught me the necessary caution: I ducked his swings, or side-stepped them and hit him right and left in the face till suddenly his nose began to bleed and Stackpole cried out behind me in huge excitement: "that's the way, that's the way; keep on peppering him!"

As I turned to smile at him, I found that a lot of the fags, former chums of mine, had come round to my corner and now were all smiling encouragement at me and bold exhortations to "give it him hard". I then realized for the first time that I had only to keep on and be careful and the victory would be mine.