The Wizard of the Sea/Chapter 7


CHAPTER VIII.

A LIVELY ENCOUNTER.


The two sailors were astonished beyond measure at Mont's quick action.

"Good for you, Mont!" cried Carl Barnaby, while Stump grinned with intense delight.

"I'll go and tell the captain," growled Jerry, as he got up slowly.

Sam Holly, who was a thick-set, heavy-looking fellow, turned to Mont. "I have had enough of this nonsense. Do you mean to do your work or not?"

"Certainly not; do it yourself."

"Do you want a good hiding?"

"You can't give it to me."

"I can try, can't I?" said Holly.

"So can any other fool; but it doesn't follow he will do it."

"Look here, I've been two voyages before this. You're a green hand compared to me, and I'm boss here. We are short-handed. Do the work, and I'll make things easy for you; if not, it will be worse for you."

"I'll chance that," said Mont.

"Do you mean to risk a sound thrashing?"

"Oh, yes, I'm game for a rough-and-tumble. It's sure to come sooner or later, and we may as well get it over at once."

"Mind your eye, then," yelled Holly.

His ugly face glowed with passion, and his great, stupid-looking ears seemed to stick out like cabbage leaves.

"Come on," he said.

"I'm ready," returned Mont.

The fight commenced in the little cabin, and it was evident that the combatants were in earnest.

Our hero found his opponent as strong as a young bull, but he had not very much skill.

Parrying his blows and hitting hard when he had a good chance, Mont punished him severely.

But he was knocked down first.

"Will that do for you," said Holly, "or do you want any more?"

"More, please," exclaimed Mont, getting up. And then he clipped Holly two heavy ones that knocked him nearly down a ladder.

Holly foamed with rage. "Come on!" he exclaimed, in a husky voice.

The fight continued for ten minutes, with varying success. At last Mont saw a good chance, and, pretending to strike Holly's face, he dropped his hand and hit him in the stomach.

As the bully fell back, gasping for breath, Mont exclaimed:

"How do you like it now, you bully? Do you want any more?"

"Not this voyage," rejoined Holly dismally; "you're best man."

"It's a pity you didn't find that out before," remarked Mont. "However, it's never too late to learn. Perhaps you will get our breakfast ready. I'm master now. Do you understand that, Mr. Bully?"

"Don't crow. I'm licked this time, but my turn may come. Sit down and have your grub."

Mont was quite satisfied with his victory.

He shook hands with Holly, and they all sat down together, making a comfortable breakfast, though the fare was not luxurious.

Carl and our hero went on deck afterward, and, hearing an altercation forward, ran in that direction.

Captain Savage was beating a sailor with a marlinspike for some breach of discipline.

The crew looked on without interfering.

The sailor was a fine, handsome fellow, and in vain begged the tyrant to desist. The poor fellow's face was streaming with blood, and Mont's anger arose instantly.

Rushing forward, he seized the captain's arm, and exclaimed:

"Stop that—I won't have it!"

The next moment he was alarmed at his rashness.

Turning upon him with incredible fury, the captain exclaimed:

"How dare you speak to me, youngster! I'll break every bone in your body!"

At a sign from the first mate, on whose face sat a smile of malicious satisfaction, four men fell upon Mont, whose arms were pinioned, and he was thrown on his back, where he lay perfectly helpless.

"Take him away," continued Captain Savage. "I will deal with him presently. It's a pity I took the young whelp on board; he should have drowned if I'd have known what he was made of."

Strong arms lifted Mont up, and he was forced into a dark hole, near the cook's galley, where he was half stifled with the heat and smell of tar.

Mont felt he was now in for it, and no mistake.