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“I believe I was.”

“And who was the other?”

“Antonio.”

“And where is he now?”

“He has gone below,” said Bill, in a significant tone.

“What was the fight about?” inquired Randall, who, in ordinary cases, would not have cared to pursue the subject farther, but had an undefined idea that it was in some way connected with our hero, for whom he felt no peculiar affection.

“The fact is,” said Bill Sturdy, “Antonio undertook to abuse

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that lad there,” pointing to Charlie; “and I ain’t one to stand by and see a boy abused. Besides,” he added, with a latent humor which all understood, though[158] he did not allow it to alter the gravity of his countenance, “I knew he was your nephew, and that made me the more 长沙桑拿洗浴会所排名 anxious to defend him.”

Randall was placed in an awkward predicament. He could not deny that Charlie was his nephew after his express declaration to that effect, while at the same time the relationship which he claimed was far from exciting, in his own mind, any attachment for the boy. Still it closed his mouth for the time. He only muttered, in an undertone, that the boy must fight his own battles, and disappeared from the deck.

“Fight his own battles!” repeated Sturdy, indignantly. “A pretty sort of an uncle he is, to match a boy of fourteen against a grown man, and a strong one at that. However,” added Sturdy, complacently, “the lad’s got a friend that is a match for Antonio at any time.”

“That he has,” answered a comrade; “but I say, Bill; I couldn’t help laughing to see how you made that old shark shut up his mouth by telling 长沙桑拿场子推荐 him it was his nephew you[159] were fighting for. It made him mad, but he didn’t know what to say against it.”

“His nephew! No, Jack, it’s well the lad isn’t any kith or kin of his. A drop of his blood would be enough to spile a decent lad.”

“Ay, that it would.”

Presently Antonio came on deck with a sullen air, half of defiance, half of humiliation, at his recent defeat. He smarted under the conviction, that henceforth his authority among the crew would be small. Hitherto he had been the champion and bully of the quarter-deck, and although the crew had no liking for him, but rather a decided feeling of an opposite nature, yet strength and prowess always command a certain rude respect among sailors, and that respect he enjoyed. But now all was changed. He had been beaten, and that in a fair fight, where all could see that 长沙桑拿洗浴休闲会所 no underhand means had been employed. Strength had been matched against strength, and he had come off second best. That had been a Waterloo day to him, and he knew that he returned to the deck no longer the same man so far as consideration went.

[160]

Bill Sturdy was a generous antagonist. He had no idea of indulging in exultation over his vanquished foe, but treated him as if nothing had happened.

But Antonio’s resentment was deep and implacable. He thirsted for revenge, and determined to lull to sleep the suspicions of his late opponent, until some opportunity should present itself for an effectual and safe revenge.

Accordingly he suddenly recovered from his sullenness, and made some half advances towards Sturdy, which the latter met, but not without reserve.

“I can’t kind o’ feel as if the feller was to be trusted,” said 长沙桑拿夕阳休闲会所 Bill to Charlie, one evening, as they were alone together. “There’s something in his eye that I don’t like; a sort of deceitful gleam, as if there was something covered up that he didn’t like to show. For my part, I like to be fair and above board, and show just what I am.”

“I’m sorry you have made an enemy of this man on my account,” said Charlie.

“Avast, my lad, do you think I was going[161] to stand still and let him abuse you? Thank heaven, old Bill Sturdy isn’t such a lubber as that.”

“But he may do you a mischief yet, Bill.”

“Let him come within the reach of my arm,” said Bill, swinging his brawny right arm as he would a flail, “I guess he wouldn’t want to try it again.”

“But he may take you at advantage.”

“He will have to get up early in the morning, then,” said Sturdy, 长沙桑拿最好最高端 in a tone of confidence. “No lubberly foreigner is likely to get ahead of Bill Sturdy, I can tell you that, my lad.”

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