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Newspaper Page Text
"But the moment you try you know
you lose your nerve, Joe, dear. Every
newspaper said Franks really won on
points in that last match with you.
And yet you could have knocked
Franks out in one round if "
"If I could get my nerve!" sighed
But he would not give up his hopes.
,a The sight of the baby spurred him on.
Bent was coming to town in three
months' time. Could he fight Bent
and win' the thousand. Could he
stand up six rounds with the sight of
that jeering face above him as he
leaned, battered, against the ropes?"
And Joe prayed, and in his heart he
registered a determination, which he
did not confide to Molly.
"Joe, you're never, going to grow
a mustache!" she exclaimed, as her
husband's face became more and
'"You watch me, Molly!" he told
her. And a few days later, unable to
contain himself any longer, Joe told
Molly wrinkled her brows thought
fully. "You know, it wouldn't Be
splendid," she said. "But they'll
know you, even with ' your mus
tache." "No," answered Joe. "Five years
means all new faces in the ring. Alf
Johnson, the manager, is a new man;
I never saw him."
"And you think you can really
stand up against Bent for six rounds
and win that thousand ?'"
The dream of the five thousand
stirred secretly in Joe's heart, but,
like a- practical man, he had put it
away. "If Bent doesn't recognize
me," he replied.
He put the thought of Bent's face
out of his mind too, and set to work
training. Joe had never get much
out of condition, but he lost a lot of
fat and put on a lot of muscle during
the next months. Everybody remark
ed that Joe was easier in the rinR,
handier, too. His mustache was the
subject of some banter. Perhaps Joe
bad been premature, but he knew
that the cheap club which he coached
was not likely to be represented at
the Bent show except as individual
It was a breathless time for Mol
ly, and she clenched her hands in
fury as Bent stepped into the ring.
"One thousand dollars for any gent
that can stand up for six rounds," an
nounced Alf Jackson. "Five thou
sand for a win on points."
The local champion came into the
ring. He squared up to Bent, who
grinned and mocked him. The cham
pion's biows fell like thistledown
upon Bent's body. With a few sec
onds to spare Bent put all his force
into a right-hander. The local
champion dropped like a log. The
manager and his friends carried out
the limp body.
"Mr. Joseph Sonally!" announced
And Molly saw Joe step into the
ring. She watched Bent's face, hold
ing her breath with apprehension.
Tint. Rflnt Hid not know Joe. He
.played with him, not knowing Joe
was playing, in nis turn. resenuy
the champion's fist shot forward. Joe
turned his head and the force fell
upon air. And as Bent lurched and
swayed Joe's fist went hard into his
mouth. Bent went to the ground.
A roar went up from the spectators
as Bent at his seconds' knees, grim
ly wiped away the blood frim his cut
lip. Everybody was looting at Joe,
who was cool as a cucumber. Molly
was prouder of him than she had ever
been. This was moral, not physical,
strength, the kind any woman might
be proud of. The second round be
gan. Bent came forward like a tiger
and rained blow upon blow against
Joe's face and body. Some of the
blows told, some failed. The end of
the second round had certainly been
In the third round Bent seemed to
T-oaiiro that he was ud against some
thing tough. He looked uncertainly
into Joe's face, joe piayea wiui mm
as Bent had played played until he