``The foul fiend on thy grandsire and all his generation!'' interrupted John , ``shoot, knave, and shoot thy best, or it shall be the worse for thee!''
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.
If this yeoman can cleave that rod, I give him the bucklers or rather, I yield to the devil that is in his jerkin, and not to any human skill; a man can but do his best, and I will not shoot where I am sure to miss.
``Sirrah Locksley, do thou shoot; but, if thou hittest such a mark, I will say thou art the first man ever did so.
"I see something," answered Johnston, shading his eyes with his hand; "but it is a very long shoot."
"A fair shoot--a fair shoot! Stand aside, Arnaud, lest you find a bolt through your gizzard.
I pray you to draw a flight shaft with all your strength down the valley, that we may see the length of your shoot."
It is in my mind that I can beat this shoot, if my bow will but hold together."
"But I learned how to make the long shoot from old Hob Miller of Milford." He took up a great black bow, as he spoke, and sitting down upon the ground he placed his two feet on either end of the stave.
"Who is this fool's-head who stands in the way of my shoot?" said he, craning up his neck from the ground.
"Mon Dieu!" exclaimed the Brabanter, "who ever saw such a shoot?"
but that is a shoot! And yet it says nothing for your weapon, mon gros camarade, for it was by turning yourself into a crossbow that you did it."
Now the archers prepared to shoot again, each with some little care.
"You are a curious fellow enough," said the Sheriff, biting his lip coldly; "yet you shoot well.
The best fellows are to have places with the King's Foresters, and the one who shoots straightest of all will win for prize a olden arrow--a useless bauble enough, but just the thing for your lady love, eh, Rob my boy?" Here the Squire laughed and whacked the table again with his tankard.