MoboReader > Literature > The Submarine Boys' Trial Trip / Making Good" as Young Experts"

   Chapter 5 DON MELVILLE TAKES A HAND

The Submarine Boys' Trial Trip / Making Good" as Young Experts" By Victor G. Durham Characters: 10256

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


"Are we at liberty to go up into the village, sir?" asked Jack Benson, pausing at the door.

"Fun?" demanded the boatbuilder, regard them with a dry smile.

"Yes, sir," Jack nodded. "That is, the kind of fun we find in our work. We want to get some metal, a few tools and other things, to rig up something that we think may serve well aboard the 'Pollard.'"

"Run right along then," rejoined Mr. Farnum. "Get a bill for whatever you spend at the toolshop and turn the bill in as expense account."

"Thank you. Good morning, sir."

"Say, did you ever see that beat?" demanded Eph, all aglow with enthusiasm, as the boys stepped across the yard. "My, but didn't Mr. Farnum call the trick with those fellows?"

"We've been doing a heap of useless worrying over what Don Melville let drop the other day, haven't we?" asked Hal, quietly.

"Fellows," stated Captain Jack, earnestly, "as long as we work for this pair of men I'm never going to be uneasy again over anything but displeasing them. They're bricks! They can count on us, every time!"

Up the street, a little way past the gate of the boatyard, the Melville party had halted to light cigars.

"I'm afraid, Melville," said one of the capitalist's associates, "you didn't go at the matter with quite your usual tact. You showed your hand too soon. You came out a little to hard, just a little, too early in the proceedings.

"Pooh!" retorted the capitalist. "We'll go to the hotel. Farnum will cool down soon enough, and realize what we represent to him. Inside of two hours he'll have people out to find out whether we've left town. Gentlemen, I don't know but it might be a good idea for us actually to leave Dunhaven."

"An excellent idea," replied Lawyer Demarest, dryly, "for we shall only waste our time by remaining here."

"What do you mean?" questioned the capitalist, quickly.

"Farnum won't send for us."

"He surely will, when he cools down."

"I'm positive that he won't," asserted the lawyer. "If I know anything about men Farnum will get along without us from now on."

"But he needs the money."

"He can get it, Melville, I am inclined to think," returned the man of the law.

"And we need the investment," continued George Melville. "Why, with my influential connections at Washington, and some other connections that I have, I can see a return of millions on our investment."

"You will never make the investment, as long as Jacob Farnum has the deciding word," insisted Mr. Demarest.

"I'm sure of that, too," added Mr. Faulkner.

"And all on account of those rascally boys!" uttered Don Melville, in a tone of disgust. "Isn't it funny how some folks will cling to muckers? Why, anyone would think that the fellow Benson and his chums are so necessary that the business couldn't go on without them. They're the-"

"Hush!" murmured the lawyer. "Here come the boys."

Jack and his mates were at this moment coming out of the yard. They had turned on the sidewalk, and started along ere they caught sight of the group ahead.

"There's that infernal gang!" uttered Eph, wrathfully.

"Keep your eyes away from them, and don't say anything, then," whispered Jack. "Don't say or do anything that can possibly spoil the morning by putting us in the wrong."

But Don Melville, wrathful over the morning's happenings, and keenly disappointed over the knowledge that he could not hope to command the "Pollard," was not disposed to let the submarine boys go unchallenged.

On came Jack, Hal and Eph, walking abreast, yet ready to break and pass in silence.

"Dewey, Sampson & Schley!" jeered Don Melville, in a low tone, yet loud enough to be heard by Jack's party.

Yet the boys paid no heed, but would have passed in silence, had not Don added, insultingly:

"The three little muckers!"

That was too much for Eph. He couldn't help turning, the flush mounting to his cheeks, to retort:

"Speak for yourself!"

Don took a step forward. Eph, unable to ignore the implied challenge, wheeled about.

"Don't bother with the fellow, Eph," muttered Jack, gripping his bellicose chum by the arm.

"'Fellow'?" cried Don, hotly. "Do you mean that for me?"

"Well," demanded Jack, dryly, "you're not a girl, are you?"

At that Don Melville lost his temper hopelessly. Burning at a white heat, he hissed:

"I'll show you whether I am, or not, you cur!"

That word "cur" went far toward shattering Jack Benson's good resolutions.

Letting go of Eph's arm he turned to glare at his tormentor.

"You need a lesson, mucker," added Don, hotly.

"Don't soil your hands on the fellow, Don," cried his father, sharply.

"I must, sir, after he has insulted me," cried Don, in a rage. "I must kick him, anyway."

"Nonsense, Don! No brawling with people of this class," commanded his father, sternly.

The elder Melville reached out to restrain his son, but that seemed only to render the young man more furious. He rushed at Jack, aiming a kick.

"Don't you dare try that!" warned young Benson, his eyes flashing.

But Don, despite both warnings, did swing his foot. Jack dodged the impact, the

n darted in at the side, landing a blow on young Melville's chest that sent him staggering back.

"Strike me, will you?" flashed Don, throwing himself on guard.

George Melville, aghast at Jack's presumption in attacking his son, now stepped back, satisfied that Don must avenge the insult.

A dozen boys, talking over baseball nearly a block away, saw the start of this encounter.

"Fight! fight!" they yelled, gleefully, and raced down the street.

The cries readied the private office in the boatyard. Suspecting, partly, what might be up, Jacob Farnum snatched his hat, running out. David Pollard followed.

"You young puppy!" almost screamed. "I'll teach you a lesson that you need."

"I'm usually particular about where I get my training," retorted Jack

Benson, insulted and stung past his power to endure.

Yet Captain Jack did not attempt to follow up that first blow. Throwing himself into the attitude of defense, he waited.

Don Melville did not keep him long waiting, but rushed at the shorter youth, intent on sending him to earth.

"Hit him like a gentleman, Don!" called his father.

Whatever way that might be, Don Melville struck out, his blood at the white heat of rage. With such force did he aim the blow that, when nimble Captain Jack failed to be in the way to stop it, Don pitched forward, falling to his knees.

"Hooray!" yelled some of the on looking boys, derisively.

Jack halted before his foe, smiling at him quietly.

"Know any more stunning tricks like that one?" Benson inquired.

"I'll show you!" panted Don, leaping up. As he did so, he caught sight of the smiling faces of Messrs. Farnum and Pollard, strolling up from the boatyard gateway.

As he faced the smiling submarine boy, young Melville was quick to realize that he must cool down if he did not want to become a laughing stock for the street crowd that was swiftly forming. Half a dozen workmen employed in the yard had climbed up onto the fence.

"Mind you," said Jack, coolly, "I don't want to hurt you. You started this, Melville."

The sheer coolness of this speech once more carried Don Melville out of the bounds of reason. On the "gym" floor Don had studied the art of boxing well, but he had not learned all he needed to know about coolness.

"You young hound!" he snapped.

"You said something like that before," Jack laughed. "Is that all you can do? I feel as though I were wasting my time."

"Do you?" mocked Don. "Take that, then!"

This time he leaped forward, feinting with his left hand. But Jack was not to be caught like that. Instead, he parried against the real blow delivered with Don's right fist. The force of the parry threw Don to his left. Just at that instant Benson passed behind his opponent, landing a stinging blow on the other's neck. Down flat to the ground went the Melville heir, hitting his nose roughly and starting the blood.

"Hooray!" yelled a gleeful boy in the throng. "Say, ain't he fine at jiu-jitsu, though?"

A yell of great joy went up from some of the boys, who are always delighted at seeing the larger fellow thrashed, especially when he is the one who has started the trouble.

"Don't you think you'd better wait and cool down?" inquired Jack, dryly.

"You're only making a show of yourself."

That taunt stung Don into rising and squaring off, while his father looked unutterably disgusted and angry over the ridiculous turn affairs had taken.

"Benson's advice is good-sound," approved Lawyer Demarest, stepping in. "Don, you're no match for your opponent, at least not in your present temper. Don't try to carry this any further."

"Do you think I'm going to let this young mucker make a fool of me?" demanded the Melville youth, huskily. "I've just got to settle with him."

"Yes, yes, Don; stop this. It's unseemly," insisted his father, red-faced through his humiliation. "Come on!"

Mr. Melville's other friends also interposed. Don, surrounded, yet not very anxious to carry the fight on any further, chafed hopelessly. Jack Benson, seeing the new turn of affairs, and realizing how ridiculous his foe must feel, turned to Hal to say:

"I guess we're not needed here any longer. Come on."

"As for you, Benson," choked the elder Melville, "we shall see what can be done about this. You ought to be arrested."

Jack's only answer was a tantalizing grin, after which he turned, his back, as he and his mates started off up the street, followed by a little cheer from some of the boys gathered there.

"What can the law do about this?" demanded the elder Melville of the lawyer, in a low tone.

"A warrant could be issued against your son for disturbing the peace," came the disgusted reply of Lawyer Demarest. "As for Benson, all he did was to protect himself when insulted and assaulted unjustly. It was a disgraceful affair, my dear sir. Now, let us get away from here before we're exposed to more ridicule."

Neither Mr. Farnum nor Mr. Pollard had said a word. Now, smiling quietly, they returned to the yard. The crowd broke up. The Melville party kept on to the hotel of Jabez Holt not far away.

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