He was speaking almost at the instant that the shaft left the bowstring, yet it alighted in the target two inches nearer to the white spot which marked the centre than that of Hubert.
Thus exhorted, Hubert resumed his place, and not neglecting the caution which he had received from his adversary, he made the necessary allowance for a very light air of wind, which had just arisen, and shot so successfully that his arrow alighted in the very centre of the target.
He began to peel this with great composure, observing at the same time, that to ask a good woodsman to shoot at a target so broad as had hitherto been used, was to put shame upon his skill.
They missed one after another and dropped moodily back, while the trumpet sounded for the third round, and the target was set up fifty ells distant.
The target seemed hardly larger than the inner ring had looked, at the first trial.
He drew his bow firmly and, taking advantage of a momentary lull in the breeze, launched the arrow straight and true-singing across the range to the center of the target.
And he stooped again over the target, putting something with his finger over each of the shot-holes, so far as March could see merely a dull-gray smear.
The last light seemed to fade from the lawn, and the poplars against the sunset were like great plumes upon a purple hearse, when the futile procession finally curved round,and came out in front of the target.
The target stood up in the dim grass like a dark goblin grinning at them, and it was literally grinning.
Shoot each man from yon mark, which is sevenscore yards and ten from the target.
Six arrows were within the clout, four within the black, and only two smote the outer ring; so that when the last arrow sped and struck the target, all the people shouted aloud, for it was noble shooting.
It recalled to my mind tales that I had read of the good old days when naval vessels were built to fight, when ships of peace had been man-of-war, and guns had flashed in other than futile target
practice, and decks had run red with blood.