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The Battle of Ludlow Street

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"You insolent pup," panted Roger, "do you want any more?" Then he saw that Aubrey was really hurt. With horror he observed a trickle of blood run down the side of the young man's face.

"Good Lord," he said. "Maybe I've killed him!"

In a panic he ran round the corner to get Leary's outside man, who stands in a little sentry box at the front angle of the store and sells the outdoor books.

"Quick," he said. "There's a fellow back here badly hurt."

They ran back around the corner, and found Aubrey walking rather shakily toward them. Immense relief swam through Roger's brain.

"Look here," he said, "I'm awfully sorry--are you hurt?"

Aubrey glared whitely at him, but was too stunned to speak. He grunted, and the others took him one on each side and supported him. Leary's man ran inside the store and opened the little door of the freight elevator at the back of the shop. In this way, avoiding notice save by a few book-prowlers, Aubrey was carted into the shop as though he had been a parcel of second-hand books.

Mr. Warner greeted them at the back of the shop, a little surprised, but gentle as ever.

"What's wrong?" he said.

"Oh, we've been fighting over a copy of Tooke's Pantheon," said Roger.

They led Aubrey into the little private office at the rear. Here they made him sit down in a chair and bathed his bleeding head with cold water. Philip Warner, always resourceful, produced some surgical plaster. Roger wanted to telephone for a doctor.

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"Not on your life," said Aubrey, pulling himself together. "See here, Mr. Mifflin, don't flatter yourself you gave me this cut on the skull. I got that the other evening on Brooklyn Bridge, going home from your damned bookshop. Now if you and I can be alone for a few minutes, we've got to have a talk."

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