Young Jasper leaped first, and the Stetson, wary of closing with

him, shrank back. There were a few quick, heavy blows, and the

Lewallen was beaten away with blood at his lips. Then each knew

the advantage of the other. The Stetson's reach was longer; the

Lewallen was shorter and heavier, and again he closed in. Again

Rome sent out his long arm. A turn of Jasper's head let the heavy

fist pass over his shoulder. The force of the blow drove Rome

forward; the two clinched, and Jasper's arms tightened about the

Stetson's waist. With a quick gasp for breath Rome loosed his

hold, and, bending his enemy's head back with one hand, rained

blow after blow in his face with the other. One terrible stroke on

the jaw, and Jasper's arms were loosed; the two fell apart, the one

stunned, the other breathless. One dazed moment only, and for a

third time the Lewallen came on. Rome had been fighting a man;

now he faced a demon. Jasper's brows stood out like bristles, and

the eyes under them were red and fierce like a mad bull's. Again

Rome's blows fell, but again the Lewallen reached him, and this

time he got his face under the Stetson's chin, -'id the heavy fist fell

upon the back of his head, and upon his neck, as upon wood and

leather. Again Rome had to gasp for breath, and again the two

were fiercely locked-their corded arms as tense as serpents.

Around and around they whirled, straining, tripping, breaking the

silence only with deep, quick breaths and the stamping of feet,

Jasper firm on the rock, and Rome's agility saving him from being

lifted in the air and tossed from the cliff. There was no pause for

rest. It was a struggle to the end, and a quick one; and under stress

of excitement the figure at the pine-tree had risen to his knees-

jumping even to his feet in plain view, when the short, strong arms

of the Lewallen began at last to draw Rome closer still, and to

bend him backward. The Stetson was giving way at last. The

Lewallen's vindictive face grew blacker, and his white teeth

showed between his snarling lips as he fastened one leg behind his

enemy's, and, with chin against his shoulder, bent him slowly,

slowly back. The two breathed in short, painful gasps; their

swollen muscles trembled under the strain as with ague. Back -

back - the Stetson was falling; he seemed almost down, when-the

trick is an old one-whirling with the quickness of light, he fell

heavily on his opponent, and caught him by the throat with both

hands.

"'Nough? " he asked, hoarsely. It was the first word uttered.

The only answer was a fierce struggle. Rome felt the Lewallen's

teeth sinking in his arm, and his fingers tightened like twisting

steel, till Jasper caught his breath as though strangling to death.

"'Nough?" asked the hoarse voice again.

No answer; tighter clinched the fingers. The Lewallen shook his

head feebly; his purple face paled suddenly as Rome loosed his

hold, and his lips moved in a whisper.

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