"No, I didn't."
"Yes, you did, and you are a coward."
"No, I'm not a coward."
"Yes, you are. If I hit you, I know what you'd do--go and tell your father, and get me sent away."
"There, then! Does that feel like a coward's blow?--or that?--or that?"
Three sharp cuffs in the chest illustrated Sydney's words, two of which the boy bore, flinching at each; but rising beyond endurance by the third, he retaliated with one so well planted that Sydney went down in a sitting position, but in so elastic a fashion that he was up again on the instant, and flew at the giver of the blow.
Then for five minutes there was a sharp encounter, with its accompaniments of hard breathing, muttering, dull sounds of blows and scuffling feet, till a broad-shouldered, red-faced man in a serge apron came down upon them at a trot, and securing each by the shoulder held them apart.
"Now then," he growled, "what's this here?"
"Pan hit me, and I'