In a moment the sticks were clattering merrily together, the lad hesitating not a whit, for he felt sure that he was at least a match for the other. George Fairburn had ever been an adept at all school games, and had spent many a leisure hour at singlestick. In vain did Bill endeavour to bring down his stick with furious whack upon the youngster's scalp; his blow was unfailingly parried. It was soon evident to the man that the boy was playing with him, and when twice or thrice he received a rap on his shoulder, his arm, his knuckles even, his fury got quite beyond his control, and he struck out blindly and viciously, forcing the lad backwards towards the edge of the wharf.
But Fairburn was not to be taken in that style. Slipping agilely out of the way, he planted another blow, this time on his opponent's head. In a trice Bill threw down his cudgel and, raising his heavy boot, endeavoured to administer a vicious kick. It was time to take to more effective tactics, and while the man's leg was poi