When the two champions stood opposed to each other at the two extremities of the lists, the public expectation was strained to the highest pitch.
The trumpets had no sooner given the signal, than the champions vanished from their posts with the speed of lightning, and closed in the centre of the lists with the shock of a thunderbolt.
The godlike hero Ereuthalion stood forward as their champion
, with the armour of King Areithous upon his shoulders-- Areithous whom men and women had surnamed 'the Mace-man,' because he fought neither with bow nor spear, but broke the battalions of the foe with his iron mace.
A great hush fell over the huge multitude as the two last champions faced each other.
Already the ten champions had assembled in front of the prince to receive his award, when a harsh bugle call from the further end of the lists drew all eyes to a new and unexpected arrival.
"Sir Claude Champion's place--haven't you come down for that, too?" asked the other pressman, looking up.
Sir Claude Champion was known to the readers of the Western Sun as well as Mr Boulnois.
The people had been drawing nearer and nearer, and drinking in the words of their champion, who spoke in accents long disused, like one unaccustomed to converse, except with the dead of many years ago.
But where was the Gray Champion? Some reported that, when the troops had gone from King Street, and the people were thronging tumultuously in their rear, Bradstreet, the aged Governor, was seen to embrace a form more aged than his own.
"But tell me," said Dorothy, "how did such a brave Champion happen to let the bears eat him?
"The Champion had killed eleven bears in his time," returned the unseen man; "and we know this is true because when any creature is dead the invisible charm of the dama-fruit ceases to be active, and the slain one can be plainly seen by all eyes.
Yes, when the hour of battle came, he was almost ashamed to say, "Go it, Figs"; and not a single other boy in the place uttered that cry for the first two or three rounds of this famous combat; at the commencement of which the scientific Cuff, with a contemptuous smile on his face, and as light and as gay as if he was at a ball, planted his blows upon his adversary, and floored that unlucky champion
three times running.