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|The Benefit Of The Doubt||Jack London|
|Page 4 of 4||
His opponent, locked by his masterly clinch, was striving to throw him. Again Watson put him on the floor, broke away, and was thrust back by the pasty-faced circle to duck Patsy's swinging right and effect another clinch. This happened many times. And Watson grew even cooler, while the baffled Patsy, unable to inflict punishment, raged wildly and more wildly. He took to batting with his head in the clinches. The first time, he landed his forehead flush on Watson's nose. After that, the latter, in the clinches, buried his face in Patsy's breast. But the enraged Patsy batted on, striking his own eye and nose and cheek on the top of the other's head. The more he was thus injured, the more and the harder did Patsy bat.
This one-sided contest continued for twelve or fifteen minutes. Watson never struck a blow, and strove only to escape. Sometimes, in the free moments, circling about among the tables as he tried to win the door, the pasty-faced men gripped his coat-tails and flung him back at the swinging right of the on-rushing Patsy. Time upon time, and times without end, he clinched and put Patsy on his back, each time first whirling him around and putting him down in the direction of the door and gaining toward that goal by the length of the fall.
In the end, hatless, disheveled, with streaming nose and one eye closed, Watson won to the sidewalk and into the arms of a policeman.
"Arrest that man," Watson panted.
"Hello, Patsy," said the policeman. "What's the mix-up?"
"Hello, Charley," was the answer. "This guy comes in--"
"Arrest that man, officer," Watson repeated.
"G'wan! Beat it!" said Patsy.
"Beat it!" added the policeman. "If you don't, I'll pull you in."
"Not unless you arrest that man. He has committed a violent and unprovoked assault on me."
"Is it so, Patsy?" was the officer's query.
"Nah. Lemme tell you, Charley, an' I got the witnesses to prove it, so help me God. I was settin' in me kitchen eatin' a bowl of soup, when this guy comes in an' gets gay wid me. I never seen him in me born days before. He was drunk--"
"Look at me, officer," protested the indignant sociologist. "Am I drunk?"
The officer looked at him with sullen, menacing eyes and nodded to Patsy to continue.
"This guy gets gay wid me. 'I'm Tim McGrath,' says he, 'an' I can do the like to you,' says he. 'Put up yer hands.' I smiles, an' wid that, biff biff, he lands me twice an' spills me soup. Look at me eye. I'm fair murdered."
"What are you going to do, officer?" Watson demanded.
"Go on, beat it," was the answer, "or I'll pull you sure."
The civic righteousness of Carter Watson flamed up.
"Mr. Officer, I protest--"
But at that moment the policeman grabbed his arm with a savage jerk that nearly overthrew him.
"Come on, you're pulled."
"Arrest him, too," Watson demanded.
"Nix on that play," was the reply.
"What did you assault him for, him a peacefully eatin' his soup?"
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