You go to hell

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.

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.