THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMP 17
Stumpy, in other climes had been the putative head
of two families ; in fact, it was owing to some legal
informality in these proceedings that Roaring Camp
—a city of refuge—was indebted for his company.
The crowd approved the choice, and Stumpy was
wise enough to bow to the majority. The door
closed on the extempore surgeon and midwife, and
Roaring Camp sat down outside, smoked its pipe,
and awaited the issue.
The assemblage numbered about a hundred men.
One or two of these were actual fugitives from
justice, some were criminal, and all were reckless.
Physically, they exhibited no indication of their
past lives and characters. The greatest scamp had
a Raphael face, with a profusion of blonde hair ;
Oakhurst, a gambler, had the melancholy air and
intellectual abstraction of a Hamlet; the coolest and
most courageous man was scarcely over five feet in
height, with a soft voice and an embarrassed, timid
manner. The term " roughs" applied to them
was a distinction rather than a definition. Perhaps
in the minor details of fingers, toes, ears, &c., the
camp may have been deficient, but these slight
omissions did not detract from their aggregate force.
The strongest man had but three fingers on his
right hand ; the best shot had but one eye.
Such was the physical aspect of the men that
were dispersed about the cabin. The camp lay in