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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/329

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hippopotamus, and a mild expression of face. A blow from his fist would shatter the deck of a vessel; but he did not know how to use his strength. He was all surface, and seemed to have entered the ring to receive, rather than to give, blows. Only it was felt that he could bear a deal of punishment,—like underdone beef, tough to chew, and impossible to swallow. He was what was termed, in local slang, "raw meat." He squinted. He seemed resigned.

The two men had passed the preceding night in the same bed, and had slept together. They had each drunk port wine from the same glass, to the three-inch mark. Each had his party of seconds,—men of savage expression, threatening the umpires when it suited their side. Among Helmsgail's supporters was to be seen John Gromane, celebrated for having carried an ox on his back; and also one called John Bray, who had once carried on his back ten bushels of flour, at fifteen pecks to the bushel, besides the miller himself, and had walked over two hundred yards under the weight. On the side of Phelem-ghe-Madone, Lord Hyde had brought from Launceston a certain Kilter, who lived at Green Castle, and could throw a stone weighing twenty pounds to a greater height than the highest tower of the castle. These three men, Kilter, Bray, and Gromane, were Cornishmen by birth, and did honour to their county. The other seconds were brutal fellows, with broad backs, bowed legs, knotted fists, dull faces; ragged, fearing nothing, nearly all jail-birds. Many of them understood admirably how to get the police drunk; each profession requires its special talents.

The field chosen was farther off than the bear-garden, where they formerly baited bears, bulls, and dogs; it was beyond the line of the farthest houses, by the side of the ruins of the Priory of Saint Mary Overy, dis-