It was just when he approached Lamh Laudher, chuckling hideously, his black visage reddened with blood, that a voice from the crowd shouted—
“He’s laughing—the blow’s coming—O’Rorke, remember your instructions.”
The Boxer advanced, and began a series of feints, with the intention of giving that murderous blow which he was never known to miss. But before he could put his favorite stratagem in practice, the activity of O’Rorke anticipated his ruse, for in the dreadful energy of his resentment he not only forgot the counter-secret which had been, confided to him, but every other consideration for the moment. With the spring of a tiger he leaped towards the black, who by the act was completely thrown off his guard. This was more than O’Rorke expected. The opportunity, however, he did not suffer to pass; with the rapidity of lightning he struck the savage on the neck, immediately under the ear. The Dead Boxer fell, and from his ears, nostrils, and mouth the clear blood sprung out, streaking, in a fearful manner, his dusky neck and chest. His second ran to raise him, but his huge woolly head fell from side to side with an appearance of utter lifelessness. In a few minutes, however, he rallied, and began to snort violently, throwing his arms and limbs about him with a quivering energy, such as, in strong men who die unwasted by disease, frequently marks the struggle of death. At length he opened his eyes, and after fastening them upon his triumphant opponent with one last glare of hatred and despair, he ground his teeth, clenched his gigantic hands, and stammering out, “Fury of hell! I—I—damnation!” This was his last exclamation, for he suddenly plunged again, extended his shut fist towards Lamh Laudher, as if he would have crushed him even in death, then becoming suddenly relaxed, his head fell upon his shoulder, and after one groan, he expired on the very spot where he had brought together the apparatus of death for another.
When the spectators saw and heard what had occurred, their acclamations rose to the sky; cheer after cheer pealed from the graveyard over a wide circuit of the country. With a wild luxury of triumph they seized O’Rorke, placed him on their shoulders, and bore him in triumph through every street in the town. All kinds of mad but good-humored excesses were committed. The public houses were filled with those who had witnessed the fight, songs were sung, healths were drank, and blows given. The streets, during the remainder of the day, were paraded by groups of his townsmen belonging to both factions, who on that occasion buried their mutual animosity in exultation for his victory.
The worthy burghers of the corporation, who had been both frightened and disgusted at the dark display made by the Dead Boxer previous to the tight, put his body in the coffin that had been intended for Lamh Laudher, and without any scruple, took it up, and went in procession with the black flag before them, the death bell again tolling, and the musicians playing the dead march, until they deposited his body in the inn.