The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 127

come back
an' scrap."

"You're on," said Billy, commencing to divest himself of his outer
clothing.

Stripped to the waist he displayed as wondrous a set of muscles as even
Professor Cassidy had ever seen. The man waxed enthusiastic over them.

"You sure ought to have some wallop up your sleeve," he said,
admiringly. He then introduced Billy to the Harlem Hurricane, and
Battling Dago Pete. "Pete's de guy I was tellin' you about," explained
Professor Cassidy. "He's got such a wallop dat I can't keep no sparrin'
partners for him. The Hurricane here's de only bloke wit de guts to stay
wit him--he's a fiend for punishment, Hurricane is; he jest natchrly
eats it.

"If you're broke I'll give you your keep as long as you stay wit Pete
an' don't get cold feet, an' I'll fix up a mill for you now an' then
so's you kin pull down a little coin fer yourself. Are you game?"

"You know it," said Billy.

"All to the good then," said the professor gaily; "now you put on the
mitts an' spell Hurricane for a couple o' rounds."

Billy slipped his huge hands into the tight-fitting gloves.

"It's been more'n a year since I had these on," he said, "an' I may be
a little slow an' stale at first; but after I get warmed up I'll do
better."

Cassidy grinned and winked at Hurricane. "He won't never get warmed up,"
Hurricane confided; "Pete'll knock his block off in about two minutes,"
and the men settled back to watch the fun with ill-concealed amusement
written upon their faces.

What happened within the next few minutes in the stuffy little room
of Professor Cassidy's third-floor "gymnasium" marks an epoch in the
professor's life--he still talks of it, and doubtless shall until the
Great Referee counts him out in the Last Round.

The two men sparred for a moment, gaging one another. Then Battling Dago
Pete swung a vicious left that landed square on Billy's face. It was
a blow that might have felled an ox; but Billy only shook his head--it
scarce seemed to jar him. Pete had half lowered his hands as he
recovered from the blow, so sure he was that it would finish his new
sparring partner, and now before he could regain his guard the mucker
tore into him like a whirlwind. That single blow to the face seemed to
have brought back to Billy Byrne all that he ever had known of the manly
art of self-defense.

Battling Dago Pete landed a few more before the fight was over, but as
any old fighter will tell you there

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