Our Archery Club by Frank Stockton
When an archery club was formed in our village, I was among the first
to join it. But I should not, on this account, claim any extraordinary
enthusiasm on the subject of archery, for nearly all the ladies and
gentlemen of the place were also among the first to join.
Few of us, I think, had a correct idea of the popularity of archery in
our midst until the subject of a club was broached. Then we all
perceived what a strong interest we felt in the study and use of the
bow and arrow. The club was formed immediately, and our thirty members
began to discuss the relative merits of lancewood, yew, and greenheart
bows, and to survey yards and lawns for suitable spots for setting up
targets for home practice.
Our weekly meetings, at which we came together to show in friendly
contest how much our home practice had taught us, were held upon the
village green, or rather upon what had been intended to be the village
green. This pretty piece of ground, partly in smooth lawn and partly
shaded by fine trees, was the property of a gentleman of the place, who
had presented it, under certain conditions, to the township. But as
the township had never fulfilled any of the conditions, and had done
nothing toward the improvement of the spot, further than to make it a
grazing-place for local cows and goats, the owner had withdrawn his
gift, shut out the cows and goats by a picket fence, and, having locked
the gate, had hung up the key in his barn. When our club was formed,
the green, as it was still called, was offered to us for our meetings,
and, with proper gratitude, we elected its owner to be our president.
This gentleman was eminently qualified for the presidency of an archery
club. In the first place, he did not shoot: this gave him time and
opportunity to attend to the shooting of others. He was a tall and
pleasant man, a little elderly. This "elderliness," if I may so put
it, seemed, in his case, to resemble some mild disorder, like a gentle
rheumatism, which, while it prevented him from indulging in all the
wild hilarities of youth, gave him, in compensation, a position, as one
entitled to a certain consideration, which was very agreeable to him.
His little disease was chronic, it is true, and it was growing upon
him; but it was, so far, a pleasant ailment.
And so, with as much interest in bows and arrows and targets and
successful shots as any of us, he never fitted an arrow to a string,
nor drew a bow. But he attended every meeting, settling disputed
points (for he studied all the books on archery), encouraging the
disheartened, holding back the eager ones who would run to the targets
as soon as they had shot, regardless of the fact that others were still
shooting and that the human body is not arrow-proof, and shedding about
him that general aid and comfort which emanates from a good fellow, no
matter what he may say or do.
There were persons—outsiders—who said that archery clubs always
selected ladies for their presiding officers, but we did not care to be
too much bound down and trammelled by customs and traditions. Another
club might not have among its members such a genial elderly gentleman
who owned a village green.
I soon found myself greatly interested in archery, especially when I
succeeded in planting an arrow somewhere within the periphery of the
target, but I never became such an enthusiast in bow-shooting as my
If Pepton could have arranged matters to suit himself, he would have
been born an archer. But as this did not happen to have been the case,
he employed every means in his power to rectify what he considered this
serious error in his construction. He gave his whole soul, and the
greater part of his spare time, to archery, and as he was a young man
of energy, this helped him along wonderfully.
His equipments were perfect. No one could excel him in, this respect.
His bow was snakewood, backed with hickory. He carefully rubbed it
down every evening with oil and beeswax, and it took its repose in a
green baize bag. His arrows were Philip Highfield's best, his strings
the finest Flanders hemp. He had shooting-gloves, and little leather
tips that could be screwed fast on the ends of what he called his
string-fingers. He had a quiver and a belt, and when equipped for the
weekly meetings, he carried a fancy-colored wiping-tassel, and a little
ebony grease-pot hanging from his belt. He wore, when shooting, a
polished arm-guard or bracer, and if he had heard of anything else that
an archer should have, he straightway would have procured it.
Pepton was a single man, and he lived with two good old maiden ladies,
who took as much care of him as if they had been his mothers. And he
was such a good, kind fellow that he deserved all the attention they
gave him. They felt a great interest in his archery pursuits, and
shared his anxious solicitude in the selection of a suitable place to
hang his bow.
"You see," said he, "a fine bow like this, when not in use, should
always be in a perfectly dry place."
"And when in use, too," said Miss Martha, "for I am sure that you
oughtn't to be standing and shooting in any damp spot. There's no
surer way of gettin' chilled."
To which sentiment Miss Maria agreed, and suggested wearing rubber
shoes, or having a board to stand on, when the club met after a rain.
Pepton first hung his bow in the hall, but after he had arranged it
symmetrically upon two long nails (bound with green worsted, lest they
should scratch the bow through its woollen cover), he reflected that
the front door would frequently be open, and that damp drafts must
often go through the hall. He was sorry to give up this place for his
bow, for it was convenient and appropriate, and for an instant he
thought that it might remain, if the front door could be kept shut, and
visitors admitted through a little side door which the family generally
used, and which was almost as convenient as the other—except, indeed,
on wash-days, when a wet sheet or some article of wearing apparel was
apt to be hung in front of it. But although wash-day occurred but once
a week, and although it was comparatively easy, after a little
practice, to bob under a high-propped sheet, Pepton's heart was too
kind to allow his mind to dwell upon this plan. So he drew the nails
from the wall of the hall, and put them up in various places about the
house. His own room had to be aired a great deal in all weathers, and
so that would not do at all. The wall above the kitchen fireplace
would be a good location, for the chimney was nearly always warm. But
Pepton could not bring himself to keep his bow in the kitchen. There
would be nothing esthetic about such a disposition of it, and, besides,
the girl might be tempted to string and bend it. The old ladies really
did not want it in the parlor, for its length and its green baize cover
would make it an encroaching and unbecoming neighbor to the little
engravings and the big samplers, the picture-frames of acorns and
pine-cones, the fancifully patterned ornaments of clean wheat straw,
and all the quaint adornments which had hung upon those walls for so
many years. But they did not say so. If it had been necessary, to
make room for the bow, they would have taken down the pencilled
profiles of their grandfather, their grandmother, and their father when
a little boy, which hung in a row over the mantelpiece.
However, Pepton did not ask this sacrifice. In the summer evenings the
parlor windows must be open. The dining-room was really very little
used in the evening, except when Miss Maria had stockings to darn, and
then she always sat in that apartment, and of course she had the
windows open. But Miss Maria was very willing to bring her work into
the parlor,—it was foolish, anyway, to have a feeling about darning
stockings before chance company,—and then the dining-room could be
kept shut up after tea. So into the wall of that neat little room
Pepton drove his worsted-covered nails, and on them carefully laid his
bow. All the next day Miss Martha and Miss Maria went about the house,
covering the nail-holes he had made with bits of wallpaper, carefully
snipped out to fit the patterns, and pasted on so neatly that no one
would have suspected they were there.
One afternoon, as I was passing the old ladies' house, saw, or thought
I saw, two men carrying in a coffin. I was struck with alarm.
"What!" I thought. "Can either of those good women— Or can Pepton—"
Without a moment's hesitation, I rushed in behind the men. There, at
the foot of the stairs, directing them, stood Pepton. Then it was not
he! I seized him sympathetically by the hand.
"Which?" I faltered. "Which? Who is that coffin for?"
"Coffin!" cried Pepton. "Why, my dear fellow, that is not a coffin.
That is my ascham."
"Ascham?" I exclaimed. "What is that?"
"Come and look at it," he said, when the men had set it on end against
the wall. "It is an upright closet or receptacle for an archer's
armament. Here is a place to stand the bow, here are supports for the
arrows and quivers, here are shelves and hooks, on which to lay or hang
everything the merry man can need. You see, moreover, that it is lined
with green plush, that the door fits tightly, so that it can stand
anywhere, and there need be no fear of drafts or dampness affecting my
bow. Isn't it a perfect thing? You ought to get one."
I admitted the perfection, but agreed no further. I had not the income
of my good Pepton.
Pepton was, indeed, most wonderfully well equipped; and yet, little did
those dear old ladies think, when they carefully dusted and
reverentially gazed at the bunches of arrows, the arm-bracers, the
gloves, the grease-pots, and all the rest of the paraphernalia of
archery, as it hung around Pepton's room, or when they afterwards
allowed a particular friend to peep at it, all arranged so orderly
within the ascham, or when they looked with sympathetic, loving
admiration on the beautiful polished bow, when it was taken out of its
bag—little did they think, I say, that Pepton was the very poorest
shot in the club. In all the surface of the much-perforated targets of
the club, there was scarcely a hole that he could put his hand upon his
heart and say he made.
Indeed, I think it was the truth that Pepton was born not to be an
archer. There were young fellows in the club who shot with bows that
cost no more than Pepton's tassels, but who could stand up and whang
arrows into the targets all the afternoon, if they could get a chance;
and there were ladies who made hits five times out of six; and there
were also all the grades of archers common to any club. But there was
no one but himself in Pepton's grade. He stood alone, and it was never
any trouble to add up his score.
Yet he was not discouraged. He practised every day except Sundays, and
indeed he was the only person in the club who practised at night. When
he told me about this, I was a little surprised.
"Why, it's easy enough," said he. "You see, I hung a lantern, with a
reflector, before the target, just a little to one side. It lighted up
the target beautifully, and I believe there was a better chance of
hitting it than by daylight, for the only thing you could see was the
target, and so your attention was not distracted. To be sure," he
said, in answer to a question, "it was a good deal of trouble to find
the arrows, but that I always have. When I get so expert that I can
put all the arrows into the target, there will be no trouble of the
kind, night or day. However," he continued, "I don't practise any more
by night. The other evening I sent an arrow slam-bang into the
lantern, and broke it all to flinders. Borrowed lantern, too.
Besides, I found it made Miss Martha very nervous to have me shooting
about the house after dark. She had a friend who had a little boy who
was hit in the leg by an arrow from a bow, which, she says,
accidentally went off in the night, of its own accord. She is
certainly a little mixed in her mind in regard to this matter, but I
wish to respect her feelings, and so shall not use another lantern."
As I have said, there were many good archers among the ladies of our
club. Some of them, after we had been organized for a month or two,
made scores that few of the gentlemen could excel. But the lady who
attracted the greatest attention when she shot was Miss Rosa.
When this very pretty young lady stood up before the ladies'
target—her left side well advanced, her bow firmly held out in her
strong left arm, which never quivered, her head a little bent to the
right, her arrow drawn back by three well-gloved fingers to the tip of
her little ear, her dark eyes steadily fixed upon the gold, and her
dress, well fitted over her fine and vigorous figure, falling in
graceful folds about her feet, we all stopped shooting to look at her.
"There is something statuesque about her," said Pepton, who ardently
admired her, "and yet there isn't. A statue could never equal her
unless we knew there was a probability of movement in it. And the only
statues which have that are the Jarley wax-works, which she does not
resemble in the least. There is only one thing that that girl needs to
make her a perfect archer, and that is to be able to aim better."
This was true. Miss Rosa did need to aim better. Her arrows had a
curious habit of going on all sides of the target, and it was very
seldom that one chanced to stick into it. For if she did make a hit,
we all knew it was chance and that there was no probability of her
doing it again. Once she put an arrow right into the centre of the
gold,—one of the finest shots ever made on the ground,—but she didn't
hit the target again for two weeks. She was almost as bad a shot as
Pepton, and that is saying a good deal.
One evening I was sitting with Pepton on the little front porch of the
old ladies' house, where we were taking our after-dinner smoke while
Miss Martha and Miss Maria were washing, with their own white hands,
the china and glass in which they took so much pride. I often used to
go over and spend an hour with Pepton. He liked to have some one to
whom he could talk on the subjects which filled his soul, and I liked
to hear him talk.
"I tell you," said he, as he leaned back in his chair, with his feet
carefully disposed on the railing so that they would not injure Miss
Maria's Madeira-vine, "I tell you, sir, that there are two things I
crave with all my power of craving—two goals I fain would reach, two
diadems I would wear upon my brow. One of these is to kill an
eagle—or some large bird—with a shaft from my good bow. I would then
have it stuffed and mounted, with the very arrow that killed it still
sticking in its breast. This trophy of my skill I would have fastened
against the wall of my room or my hall, and I would feel proud to think
that my grandchildren could point to that bird—which I would carefully
bequeath to my descendants—and say, `My grand'ther shot that bird, and
with that very arrow.' Would it not stir your pulses if you could do a
thing like that?"
"I should have to stir them up a good deal before I could do it," I
replied. "It would be a hard thing to shoot an eagle with an arrow.
If you want a stuffed bird to bequeath, you'd better use a rifle."
"A rifle!" exclaimed Pepton. "There would be no glory in that. There
are lots of birds shot with rifles—eagles, hawks, wild geese,
"Oh, no!" I interrupted, "not tomtits."
"Well, perhaps they are too little for a rifle," said he. "But what I
mean to say is that I wouldn't care at all for an eagle I had shot with
a rifle. You couldn't show the ball that killed him. If it were put
in properly, it would be inside, where it couldn't be seen. No, sir.
It is ever so much more honorable, and far more difficult, too, to hit
an eagle than to hit a target."
"That is very true," I answered, "especially in these days, when there
are so few eagles and so many targets. But what is your other diadem?"
"That," said Pepton, "is to see Miss Rosa wear the badge."
"Indeed!" said I. And from that moment I began to understand Pepton's
hopes in regard to the grandmother of those children who should point
to the eagle.
"Yes, sir," he continued, "I should be truly happy to see her win the
badge. And she ought to win it. No one shoots more correctly, and
with a better understanding of all the rules, than she does. There
must truly be something the matter with her aiming. I've half a mind
to coach her a little."
I turned aside to see who was coming down the road. I would not have
had him know I smiled.
The most objectionable person in our club was O. J. Hollingsworth. He
was a good enough fellow in himself, but it was as an archer that we
objected to him.
There was, so far as I know, scarcely a rule of archery that he did not
habitually violate. Our president and nearly all of us remonstrated
with him, and Pepton even went to see him on the subject, but it was
all to no purpose. With a quiet disregard of other people's ideas
about bow-shooting and other people's opinions about himself, he
persevered in a style of shooting which appeared absolutely absurd to
any one who knew anything of the rules and methods of archery.
I used to like to look at him when his turn came around to shoot. He
was not such a pleasing object of vision as Miss Rosa, but his style
was so entirely novel to me that it was interesting. He held the bow
horizontally, instead of perpendicularly, like other archers, and he
held it well down—about opposite his waistband. He did not draw his
arrow back to his ear, but he drew it back to the lower button of his
vest. Instead of standing upright, with his left side to the target,
he faced it full, and leaned forward over his arrow, in an attitude
which reminded me of a Roman soldier about to fall upon his sword.
When he had seized the nock of his arrow between his finger and thumb,
he languidly glanced at the target, raised his bow a little, and let
fly. The provoking thing about it was that he nearly always hit. If
he had only known how to stand, and hold his bow, and draw back his
arrow, he would have been a very good archer. But, as it was, we could
not help laughing at him, although our president always discountenanced
anything of the kind.
Our champion was a tall man, very cool and steady, who went to work at
archery exactly as if he were paid a salary, and intended to earn his
money honestly. He did the best he could in every way. He generally
shot with one of the bows owned by the club, but if any one on the
ground had a better one, he would borrow it. He used to shoot
sometimes with Pepton's bow, which he declared to be a most capital
one. But as Pepton was always very nervous when he saw his bow in the
hands of another than himself, the champion soon ceased to borrow it.
There were two badges, one of green silk and gold for the ladies, and
one of green and red for the gentlemen, and these were shot for at each
weekly meeting. With the exception of a few times when the club was
first formed, the champion had always worn the gentlemen's badge. Many
of us tried hard to win it from him, but we never could succeed; he
shot too well.
On the morning of one of our meeting days, the champion told me, as I
was going to the city with him, that he would not be able to return at
his usual hour that afternoon. He would be very busy, and would have
to wait for the six-fifteen train, which would bring him home too late
for the archery meeting. So he gave me the badge, asking me to hand it
to the president, that he might bestow it on the successful competitor
We were all rather glad that the champion was obliged to be absent.
Here was a chance for some one of us to win the badge. It was not,
indeed, an opportunity for us to win a great deal of honor, for if the
champion were to be there we should have no chance at all. But we were
satisfied with this much, having no reason—in the present, at
least—to expect anything more.
So we went to the targets with a new zeal, and most of us shot better
than we had ever shot before. In this number was O. J. Hollingsworth.
He excelled himself, and, what was worse, he excelled all the rest of
us. He actually made a score of eighty-five in twenty-four shots,
which at that time was remarkably good shooting, for our club. This
was dreadful! To have a fellow who didn't know how to shoot beat us
all was too bad. If any visitor who knew anything at all of archery
should see that the member who wore the champion's badge was a man who
held his bow as if he had the stomach-ache, it would ruin our character
as a club. It was not to be borne.
Pepton in particular felt greatly outraged. We had met very promptly
that afternoon, and had finished our regular shooting much earlier than
usual; and now a knot of us were gathered together, talking over this
"I don't intend to stand it," Pepton suddenly exclaimed. "I feel it as
a personal disgrace. I'm going to have the champion here before dark.
By the rules, he has a right to shoot until the president declares it
is too late. Some of you fellows stay here, and I'll bring him."
And away he ran, first giving me charge of his precious bow. There was
no need of his asking us to stay. We were bound to see the fun out,
and to fill up the time our president offered a special prize of a
handsome bouquet from his gardens, to be shot for by the ladies.
Pepton ran to the railroad station, and telegraphed to the champion.
This was his message:
"You are absolutely needed here. If possible, take the five-thirty
train for Ackford. I will drive over for you. Answer."
There was no train before the six-fifteen by which the champion could
come directly to our village; but Ackford, a small town about three
miles distant, was on another railroad, on which there were frequent
The champion answered:
"All right. Meet me."
Then Pepton rushed to our livery stable, hired a horse and buggy, and
drove to Ackford.
A little after half-past six, when several of us were beginning to
think that Pepton had failed in his plans, he drove rapidly into the
grounds, making a very short turn at the gate, and pulled up his
panting horse just in time to avoid running over three ladies, who were
seated on the grass. The champion was by his side!
The latter lost no time in talking or salutations. He knew what he had
been brought there to do, and he immediately set about trying to do it.
He took Pepton's bow, which the latter urged upon him. He stood up,
straight and firm on the line, at thirty-five yards from the
gentlemen's target; he carefully selected his arrows, examining the
feathers and wiping away any bit of soil that might be adhering to the
points after some one had shot them into the turf; with vigorous arm he
drew each arrow to its head; he fixed his eyes and his whole mind on
the centre of the target; he shot his twenty-four arrows, handed to
him, one by one, by Pepton, and he made a score of ninety-one.
The whole club had been scoring the shots, as they were made, and when
the last arrow plumped into the red ring, a cheer arose from every
member excepting three: the champion, the president, and O. J.
Hollingsworth. But Pepton cheered loudly enough to make up these
"What in the mischief did they cheer him for?" asked Hollingsworth of
me. "They didn't cheer me when I beat everybody on the grounds an hour
ago. And it's no new thing for him to win the badge; he does it every
"Well," said I, frankly, "I think the club, AS a club, objects to your
wearing the badge, because you don't know how to shoot."
"Don't know how to shoot!" he cried. "Why, I can hit the target better
than any of you. Isn't that what you try to do when you shoot?"
"Yes," said I, "of course that is what we try to do. But we try to do
it in the proper way."
"Proper grandmother!" he exclaimed. "It doesn't seem to help you much.
The best thing you fellows can do is to learn to shoot my way, and then
perhaps you may be able to hit oftener."
When the champion had finished shooting he went home to his dinner, but
many of us stood about, talking over our great escape.
"I feel as if I had done that myself," said Pepton. "I am almost as
proud as if I had shot—well, not an eagle, but a soaring lark."
"Why, that ought to make you prouder than the other," said I, "for a
lark, especially when it's soaring, must be a good deal harder to hit
than an eagle."
"That's so," said Pepton, reflectively. "But I'll stick to the lark.
During the next month our style of archery improved very much, so much,
indeed, that we increased our distance, for gentlemen, to forty yards,
and that for ladies to thirty, and also had serious thoughts of
challenging the Ackford club to a match. But as this was generally
understood to be a crack club, we finally determined to defer our
challenge until the next season.
When I say we improved, I do not mean all of us. I do not mean Miss
Rosa. Although her attitudes were as fine as ever, and every motion as
true to rule as ever, she seldom made a hit. Pepton actually did try
to teach her how to aim, but the various methods of pointing the arrow
which he suggested resulted in such wild shooting that the boys who
picked up the arrows never dared to stick the points of their noses
beyond their boarded barricade during Miss Rosa's turns at the target.
But she was not discouraged, and Pepton often assured her that if she
would keep up a good heart, and practise regularly, she would get the
badge yet. As a rule, Pepton was so honest and truthful that a little
statement of this kind, especially under the circumstances, might be
One day Pepton came to me and announced that he had made a discovery.
"It's about archery," he said, "and I don't mind telling you, because I
know you will not go about telling everybody else, and also because I
want to see you succeed as an archer."
I am very much obliged," I said, "and what is the discovery?"
"It's this," he answered. "When you draw your bow, bring the nock of
your arrow"—he was always very particular about technical terms—"well
up to your ear. Having done that, don't bother any more about your
right hand. It has nothing to do with the correct pointing of your
arrow, for it must be kept close to your right ear, just as if it were
screwed there. Then with your left hand bring around the bow so that
your fist—with the arrow-head, which is resting on top of it—shall
point, as nearly as you can make it, directly at the centre of the
target. Then let fly, and ten to one you'll make a hit. Now, what do
you think of that for a discovery? I've thoroughly tested the plan,
and it works splendidly."
"I think," said I, "that you have discovered the way in which good
archers shoot. You have stated the correct method of managing a bow
"Then you don't think it's an original method with me?"
"Certainly not," I answered.
"But it's the correct way?"
"There's no doubt of that," said I.
"Well," said Pepton, "then I shall make it my way."
He did so, and the consequence was that one day, when the champion
happened to be away, Pepton won the badge. When the result was
announced, we were all surprised, but none so much so as Pepton
himself. He had been steadily improving since he had adopted a good
style of shooting, but he had had no idea that he would that day be
able to win the badge.
When our president pinned the emblem of success upon the lapel of his
coat, Pepton turned pale, and then he flushed. He thanked the
president, and was about to thank the ladies and gentlemen; but
probably recollecting that we had had nothing to do with it,—unless,
indeed, we had shot badly on his behalf,—he refrained. He said
little, but I could see that he was very proud and very happy. There
was but one drawback to his triumph:
Miss Rosa was not there. She was a very regular attendant, but for
some reason she was absent on this momentous afternoon. I did not say
anything to him on the subject, but I knew he felt this absence deeply.
But this cloud could not wholly overshadow his happiness. He walked
home alone, his face beaming, his eyes sparkling, and his good bow
under his arm.
That evening I called on him, for I thought that when he had cooled
down a little he would like to talk over the affair. But he was not
in. Miss Maria said that he had gone out as soon as he had finished
his dinner, which he had hurried through in a way which would certainly
injure his digestion if he kept up the practice; and dinner was late,
too, for they waited for him, and the archery meeting lasted a long
time today; and it really was not right for him to stay out after the
dew began to fall with only ordinary shoes on, for what's the good of
knowing how to shoot a bow and arrow, if you're laid up in your bed
with rheumatism or disease of the lungs? Good old lady! She would
have kept Pepton in a green baize bag, had such a thing been possible.
The next morning, full two hours before church-time, Pepton called on
me. His face was still beaming. I could not help smiling.
"Your happiness lasts well," I said.
"Lasts!" he exclaimed. "Why shouldn't it last!"
"There's no reason why it should not—at least, for a week," I said,
"and even longer, if you repeat your success."
I did not feel so much like congratulating Pepton as I had on the
previous evening. I thought he was making too much of his
"Look here!" said Pepton, seating himself, and drawing his chair close
to me, "you are shooting wild—very wild indeed. You don't even see
the target. Let me tell you something. Last evening I went to see
Miss Rosa. She was delighted at my success. I had not expected this.
I thought she would be pleased, but not to such a degree. Her
congratulations were so warm that they set me on fire."
"They must have been very warm indeed," I remarked.
"`Miss Rosa,' said I," continued Pepton, without regarding my
interruption, "`it has been my fondest hope to see you wear the badge.'
`But I never could get it, you know,' she said. `You have got it,' I
exclaimed. `Take this. I won it for you. Make me happy by wearing
it.' `I can't do that,' she said. `That is a gentleman's badge.'
`Take it,' I cried, `gentleman and all!'
I can't tell you all that happened after that," continued
Pepton. "You know, it wouldn't do. It is enough to say that she wears
the badge. And we are both her own—the badge and I!"
Now I congratulated him in good earnest. There was a reason for it.
"I don't owe a snap now for shooting an eagle," said Pepton, springing
to his feet and striding up and down the floor. "Let 'em all fly free
for me. I have made the most glorious shot that man could make. I
have hit the gold—hit it fair in the very centre! And what's more,
I've knocked it clean out of the target! Nobody else can ever make
such a shot. The rest of you fellows will have to be content to hit
the red, the blue, the black, or the white. The gold is mine!"
I called on the old ladies, some time after this, and found them alone.
They were generally alone in the evenings now. We talked about
Pepton's engagement, and I found them resigned. They were sorry to
lose him, but they wanted him to be happy.
"We have always known," said Miss Martha, with a little sigh, "that we
must die, and that he must get married. But we don't intend to repine.
These things will come to people." And her little sigh was followed by
a smile, still smaller.