At that instant Holmes sprang like a tiger on to the marksman's back and hurled him flat upon his face. He was up again in a moment, and with convulsive strength he seized Holmes by the throat; but I struck him on the head with the butt of my revolver and he dropped again upon the floor. I fell upon him, and as I held him my comrade blew a shrill call upon a whistle.

The next morning we got talking a little on the same subject, very good-naturedly, as people return to a matter they have talked out. You must look to yourself, said the divinity-student, if your democratic notions get into print. You will be fired into from all quarters. If it were only a bullet, with the marksman's name on it! I said.

In the mean time, however, Grayrock had made a close but unavailing search for the mortal part of the intruder at whom he had fired, and whom he had a marksman's intuitive sense of having hit; for he was one of those born experts who shoot without aim by an instinctive sense of direction, and are nearly as dangerous by night as by day.

At that instant all below were watching the guide, who in turn was looking at his toes and placing the new arrow in position. Unseen, the other missile hurtled down and ripped across the back of the marksman's left hand. For an instant the tall cannibal stood as if petrified, staring at his cut hand and the shaft now sticking upright in the ground beside him.

This terrible earnestness makes good the ancient superstition of the hunter, that the bullet will hit its mark, which is first dipped in the marksman's blood. Eloquence must be grounded on the plainest narrative.

A man might possess the instrument of a Marsyas or an Olympus, and still he would not be able to play it if he had never learnt. Take another case: a man gets hold of Heracles's bow and arrows: but he is no Philoctetes; he has neither that marksman's strength nor his eye. What do you say? will he acquit himself creditably? Again you shake your head.

In the former case a spot is selected at the descent or ascent of a hill, so that the carriage of the victim cannot be going at a sufficient pace to defeat the marksman's aim, and a conveniently protected angle, with facilities for escape, is occupied by the ambuscade. In the latter, either a natural amphitheatre or a conspicuous hill is pitched upon for the gathering.

The next morning we got talking a little on the same subject, very good-naturedly, as people return to a matter they have talked out. You must look to yourself, said the divinity-student, if your democratic notions get into print. You will be fired into from all quarters. If it were only a bullet, with the marksman's name on it! I said.

At that instant Holmes sprang like a tiger on to the marksman's back, and hurled him flat upon his face. He was up again in a moment, and with convulsive strength he seized Holmes by the throat, but I struck him on the head with the butt of my revolver, and he dropped again upon the floor. I fell upon him, and as I held him my comrade blew a shrill call upon a whistle.

The feat proves the marksman's skill; first, if successful, by showing the strength and steadiness of his nerves; secondly, by the confidence which the other reposes in it, thus declared by stronger testimony than any oath. In any case the feat of holding the mark is at least equal to that of hitting it. There are many hunters willing to risk taking the shot, but few who care to hold the shell.