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up all right,” said Charlie, with extremely bitter emphasis on ‘back.’ “If the gentleman likes to come Toosday week–”
“Rot!” chopped in Hoopdriver. “Now.”
“‘Ear, ‘ear,” said the owner of the chins.
“Never put off till to-morrow, Charlie, what you can do to-day,” said the man in the velveteen coat.
“You got to do it, Charlie,” said the man in gaiters. “It’s no good.”
“It’s like this,” said Charlie, appealing to everyone except Hoopdriver. “Here’s me, got to take in her ladyship’s dinner to-morrow night. How should nike air max classic I look with a black eye? And going round with the carriage with a split lip?”
“If you don’t want your face sp’iled, Charlie, why don’t you keep your mouth shut?” said the person in gaiters.
“Exactly,” said Mr. Hoopdriver, driving it home with great fierceness. “Why don’t you shut your ugly mouth?”
“It’s as much as my situation’s worth,” protested Charlie.
“You should have thought of that before,” said Hoopdrive cheap nike air max r.
“There’s no occasion to be so thunderin’ ‘ot about it. I only meant the thing joking,” said Charlie. “AS one gentleman to another, I’m very sorry if the gentleman’s annoyed–”
Everybody began to speak at once. Mr. Hoopdriver twirled his moustache. He felt that Charlie’s recognition of his gentlemanliness was at any rate a redeeming feature. But it became his pose to ride hard and heavy over the routed fo c. He shouted some insulting phrase over the tumult.
“You’re regular abject,” the man in gaiters was saying to Charlie.
More confusion.
“Only don’t think I’m afraid,–not of a spindle-legged cuss like him shouted Charlie. “Because I ain’t.”
“Change of front,” thought Hoopdriver, a little startled. “Where are we going?”
“Don’t sit there and be abusive,” said the man in velveteen. “He’s offered to hit you, and if I was h Nike TN im, I’d hit you now.”
“All right, then,” said Charlie, with a sudden change of front and springing to his feet. “If I must, I must. Now, then!” At that, Hoopdriver, the child of Fate, rose too, with a horrible sense that his internal monitor was right. Things had taken a turn. He had made a mess of it, and now there was nothing for it, so far as he could see, but to hit the man at once. He and Charlie stood six feet apart, with a table between, both very breathless and fierce. A vulgar fight in a public-house, and with what was only too palpably a footman! Good Heavens! And this was the dignified, scornful remonstrance! How the juice had it all happened? Go round the table at him, I suppose. But before the brawl could achieve itself, the man in gaiters intervened. “Not here,” he said, stepping between the antagonists. Eve nike tns ryone was standing up.
“Charlie’s artful,” said the little man with the beard.
“Buller’s yard,” said the man with the gaiters, taking the control of the entire affair with the easy readiness of an accomplished practitioner. “If the gentleman DON’T mind.” Buller’s yard, it seemed, was the very place. “We’ll do the thing regular and decent, if you please.” And before he completely realized what was happening, Hoopdriver was being marched out throu gh the back premises of the inn, to the first and only fight with fists that was ever to glorify his life.
Outwardly, so far as the intermittent moonlight showed, Mr. Hoopdriver was quietly but eagerly prepared to fight. But inwardly he was a chaos of conflicting purposes. It was extraordinary how things happened. One remark had trod so closely on the heels of another, that he had nike air max sale had the greatest difficulty in following the development of the business. He distinctly remembered himself walking across from one room to the other,–a dignified, even an aristocratic figure, primed with considered eloquence, intent upon a scathing remonstrance to these wretched yokels, regarding their manners. Then incident had flickered into incident until here he was out in a moonlit lane,–a slight, dark figure in a group of larger, indistinct figures,–marching in a quiet, business-like way towards some unknown horror at Buller’s yard. Fists! It was astonishing. It was terrible! In front of him was the pallid figure of Charles, and he saw that the man in gaiters held Charles kindly but firmly by the arm.
“It’s blasted rot,” Charles was saying, “getting up a fight just nike air max for a thing like that; all very well for ‘im. nike air max 90 ‘E’s got ‘is ‘olidays; ‘e ‘asn’t no blessed dinner to take up to-morrow night like I ‘ave.–No need to numb my arm, IS there?”
They went into Buller’s yard through gates. There were sheds in Buller’s yard–sheds of mystery that the moonlight could not solve–a smell of cows, and a pump stood out clear and black, throwing a clear black shadow on the whitewashed wall. And here it was his face was to be battered to a pulp. He knew this was the uttermost folly, to stand up here and be pounded, but the way out of it was beyond his imagining. Yet afterwards–? Cou nike air max 1 ld he ever face her again? He patted his Norfolk jacket and took his ground with his back to the gate. How did one square? So? Suppose one were to turn and run even now, run straight back to the inn and lock himself into his bedroom? They couldn’t make, him come out- nike air max 90 sale -anyhow. He could prosecute them for assault if they did. How did one set about prosecuting for assault? He saw Charles, wi cheap nike air max th his face ghastly white under the moon, squaring in front of him.
He caught a blow on the arm and gave ground. Charles pressed him. Then he hit with his right and with the violence of despair. It was a hit of his own devising,–an impromptu,–but it chanced to coincide with the regulation hook hit at the head. He perceived with a leap of exultation that the thing his fist had met was the jawbone of Charles. It was the sole gleam of pleasure he experienced during the fight, and it was quite momentary. He had hardly got home upon Charles before he was struck in the chest and whirled backward. He had the greatest difficulty in keeping his feet. He felt that his heart was smashed flat. “Gord darm!” sai nike air max 95 d somebody, dancing toe in hand somewhere behind him. As Mr. Hoopdriver s cheap nike air max trainers taggered, Charles gave a loud and fear-compelling cry. He seemed to tower over Hoopdriver in the moonlight. Both his fists were whirling. It was annihilation coming–no less. Mr. Hoopdriver ducked perhaps and certainly gave ground to the right, hit, and missed. Charles swept round to the left, missing generously. A blow glanced over Mr. Hoopdriver’s left ear, and the flanking movement was completed. Another blow behind the ear. Heaven and earth spun furiously round Mr. Hoopdriver, and then he became aware of a figure in a light suit shooting violently through an open gate into the night. The man in gaiters sprang forward past Mr. Hoopdriver, but too late to intercept the fugitive. There were shouts, laughter, and Mr. Hoo Cheap Nike TN pdriver, still solemnly squaring, realized the great and wonderful truth–Charles had fled. He, Hoopdriv

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