Nick of the Woods eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 393 pages of information about Nick of the Woods.
in the settlement replied to the note of battle; he snorted and neighed like a horse; he bellowed like a bull; he barked like a dog; he yelled like an Indian; he whined like a panther; he howled like a wolf; until one would have thought he was a living managerie, comprising within his single body the spirit of every animal noted for its love of conflict.  Then, not content with such a display of readiness to fight the field, he darted from the centre of the area allowed him for his exercise, and invited the lookers-on individually to battle.  “Whar’s your buffalo-bull,” he cried, “to cross horns with the roarer of Salt River?  Whar’s your full-blood colt that can shake a saddle off? h’yar’s an old nag can kick off the top of a buck-eye!  Whar’s your cat of the Knobs? your wolf of the Rolling Prairies? h’yar’s the old brown b’ar can claw the bark off a gum tree!  H’yar’s a man for you, Tom Bruce!  Same to you, Sim Roberts! to you, Jimmy Big-nose! to you, and to you, and to you!  Ar’n’t I a ring-tailed squealer?  Can go down Salt on my back, and swim up the Ohio!  Whar’s the man to fight Roaring Ralph Stackpole?”

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.[3] 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.]

CHAPTER IV.

“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.

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Nick of the Woods from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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