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- The Blind Spot - 60/71 -


When a man fights for his life he becomes superhuman. Watson was put to something more than his skill; the sheer spirit of the Bar broke hold after hold; he was like lightning, panther-like, subtle, vicious. Time after time he spun Chick out of his defense and bore him down into a hold of death. And each time Chick somehow wriggled out, and saved himself by a new hold. The struggle became a blur--muscle, legs, the lust for killing--and hatred. Twice Watson essayed the offensive; first he got a hammer lock, and then a half-Nelson. The Bar broke both holds immediately.

Whatever Chick knew of wrestling, the Senestro knew just a bit more. It was a whirling mass of legs and bodies in continuous convulsion, silent except for the terrible panting of the men, and the low, stifled exclamations of the onlookers.

And then--

Watson grew weak. He tried once more. They spun to their feet. But before he could act the Senestro had caught him in the same flying rush as in the beginning, and had whirled him off his feet. And when he came down the Bar had an unbreakable hold.

Chick struggled in vain. The Bar tightened his grip. A spasm of pain shot through Chick's torso; he could feel his bones giving way. His strength was gone; he could see death. Another moment would have been the end.

But something happened. The Senestro miraculously let go his hold. Chick felt something soft brush against his cheek. He heard a queer snapping, and shouts of wonder, and a dreadful choking sound from the Bar. He raised dizzily on one arm. His eyes cleared a bit.

The great Bar was on his back; and at his throat was a snarling thing--the creature that Chick had seen in the clover leaf of the Jarados.

It was a living dog.

PAT MACPHERSON'S STORY

To Watson it was all a blur. He was too weak and too broken to remember distinctly. He was conscious only of an uproar, of a torrent of multitudinous sound. And then--the deep, enveloping tone of a bell.

Some time, somewhere, Chick had heard that bell before. In his present condition his memory refused to serve him. He was covered with blood; he tried to rise, to crawl to this snarling animal that was throttling the Senestro. But something seemed to snap within him, and all went black.

When he opened his eyes again all had changed. He was lying on a couch with a number of people about. It was a minute before he recognized the Jan Lucar, then the Geos, and lastly the nurse whom he had first seen when he awoke in the Blind Spot. Evidently he was in the hands of his friends, although there was a new one, a red-headed man, clad in the blue uniform of a high Bar.

He sat up. The nurse held a goblet of the green liquid to his lips. The Bar in blue turned.

"Aye," he said. "Give him some of the liquor; it will do him good. It will put the old energy back in his bones."

The voice rang oddly familiar in Watson's ears. The words were Thomahlian; not until Chick had drained his glass did he comprehend their significance.

"Who are you?" he asked.

The Bar with the red hair grinned.

"Whist, me lad," using Chick's own tongue. "Get rid of these Thomahlians. 'Tis a square game we're playin', but we're takin' no chances. Get 'em out of the way so we kin talk."

Watson turned to the others. He made the request in his adopted tongue. They bowed, reverently, and withdrew.

"Who are you?" Chick asked again.

"Oi'm Pat MacPherson."

"How did you get here?"

The other sat on the edge of the bed. "Faith, how kin Oi tell ye? 'Twas a drink, sor; a new kind av a high-ball, th' trickery av a friend an' th' ould Witch av Endor put togither."

Obviously Watson did not understand. The stranger continued: "Faith, sor, an' no more do Oi. There's no one as does, 'cept th' ould doc hisself."

"The old doc! You mean Dr. Holcomb?"

Watson sat up in his bed. "Where is he?"

"In a safe place, me lad. Dinna fear for th' doctor. 'Twas him as saved ye--him an' your humble sarvant, Pat MacPherson, bedad."

"He--and you--saved me?"

"Aye--there on th' Spot of Life. A bit of a thrick as th' ould doc dug oot o' his wisdom. Sure, she dinna work jist loike he said it, but 'twas a plenty t' oopset th' pretty Senestro!"

Watson asked, "What became of the Senestro?"

"Sure, they pulled him oot. Th' wee doggie jist aboot had him done for. Bedad, she's a good pup!"

"What kind of a dog?"

"A foine wan, sor, wit a bit stub av a tail. An' she's that intelligent, she kin jist about talk Frinch. Th' Thomahlians all called her th' Four-footed, an' if they kape on, they'll jist aboot make her th' Pope."

Watson was still thick headed. "I don't understand!"

"Nor I laddie. But th' ould doc does. He's got a foine head for figgers; and' he's that scientific, he kin make iron oot o' rainbows."

"Iron out of--what?"

"Rainbows, sor. Faith, 'tis meself thot's seen it. And he's been watchin' over ye ever since ye came. 'Twas hisself, lad, that put it into your head t' call him th' Jarados."

"You don't mean to say that the professor put those impulses into my head!"

"Aye, laddie; you said it. He kin build up a man's thoughts just like you or me kin pile oop lumber. 'Tis that deep he is wit' th' calculations!"

Watson tried to think. There was just one superlative question now. He put it.

"I dinna know if he's th' Jarados," was the reply. "But if so be not, then he's his twin brother, sure enough."

"Is he a prisoner?"

"I wouldna say that, though there's them as think so. But if it be anybody as is holdin' him, 'tis the Senestro an' his gang o' guards."

Watson looked at the other's uniform, at the purple shako on his head, the jewelled weapon at his side, and the Jaradic leaf on his shoulder--insignia of a Bar of the highest rank.

"How does it come that you're a Bar, and a high one at that?"

The other grinned again. He took off his shako and ran his hand through his mop of red hair.

"'Tis aither th' luck of th' Irish, me lad, or of th' Scotch. Oi don't ken which--Oi'm haff each--but mostly 'tis th' virtoo av me bonny red hair."

"Why?"

"Because, leastways, in th' Thomahlia, there's always a dhrop av royalty in th' red-headed. Me bonnie top-knot has made me a fortune. Ye see, 'tis th' mark av th' royal Bars themselves; no ithers have it."

Watson said: "If you have come from Dr. Holcomb, then you must have a message from him to me."

"Ye've said it; you an' me, an' a few Rhamdas, an' mebbe th' wee queen is goin' t' take a flight in th' June Bug. We're goin' afther th' ould doc; an' ye kin bet there'll be as pretty a scrap as ever ye looked on. An' afther thot's all over, we're goin' t' take anither kind of a flight--into good old Frisco."

Chick instantly asked Pat if he knew where San Francisco might be.

"Faith, 'tis only th' ould doc knows, laddie. But when we git there, 'tis Pat MacPherson that's a goin' for Toddy Maloney."

"I don't know that name."

"Bedad, I do. Him it was thot give me th' dhrink."

"What drink?"

Th' dhrink thot done it. Twas a new kind av cocktail. Ye see, I'd jist got back from Melbourne, an' I was takin' in th' lights that noight, aisy like, whin I come t' Toddy's place. I orders a dhrink av whuskey.

"'Whist, Pat,' says he, 'ye don't want whuskey; 'twill make ye dhrunk. Why don't ye take somethin' green, like th' Irish?'

"'Green," says I. ''Tis a foine colour. I dinna fear anything thot


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