Now, whether it happened that there were none present inclined to a contest with such a champion, or whether it was that the young men looked upon the exhibition as a mere bravado meant rather to amuse them than irritate, it so occurred that not one of them accepted the challenge; though each, when personally called on, did his best to add to the roarer’s fury, if fury it really were, by letting off sundry jests in relation to borrowed horses and Regulators. That the fellow’s rage was in great part assumed, Roland, who was, at first, somewhat amused at his extravagance, became soon convinced; and growing at last weary of it, he was about to signify to his host his inclination to return into the fort, when the appearance of another individual on the ground suddenly gave promise of new entertainment.
[Footnote 3: It is scarce necessary to inform the reader that by this term must be understood those public-spirited citizens, amateur jack-ketches, who administer Lynch-law in districts where regular law is but inefficiently, or not at all, established.]
“If you’re ralely ripe for a fight, Roaring Ralph,” cried Tom Bruce the younger, who had shown, like the others, a greater disposition to jest than to do battle with the champion, “here comes the very man for you. Look, boys, thar comes Bloody Nathan!” At which formidable name there was a loud shout set up, with an infinite deal of laughing and clapping of hands.
“Whar’s the fellow?” cried Captain Stackpole, springing six feet into the air, and uttering a whoop of anticipated triumph. “I’ve heerd of the brute, and, ’tarnal death to me, but I’m his super-superior! Show me tho critter, and let me fly! Cock-a-doodle-doo!”
“Hurrah for Roaring Ralph Stackpole!” cried the young men, some of whom proceeded to pat him on the back in compliment to his courage, while others ran forward to hasten the approach of the expected antagonist.