"Well--it's queer to have brought Miss Welland, anyhow," some one said in a low tone, with a side- glance at Archer.
Suddenly Newland Archer felt himself impelled to decisive action.
Archer bowed without extending his hand, as was the custom on being introduced to a lady; and Ellen Olenska bent her head slightly, keeping her own pale-gloved hands clasped on her huge fan of eagle feathers.
She made way for him by pushing back her chair, and promptly, and a little ostentatiously, with the desire that the whole house should see what he was doing, Archer seated himself at the Countess Olenska's side.
Four days hence, in Finsbury Fields, our good King Henry, of great renown, holdeth a grand shooting match, and all the most famous archers of merry England will be thereat.
Along the end of the meadow stood the booths for the different bands of archers, for the King's yeomen were divided into companies of fourscore men, and each company had a captain over it; so on the bright greensward stood ten booths of striped canvas, a booth for each band of the royal archers, and at the peak of each fluttered a flag in the mellow air, and the flag was the color that belonged to the captain of each band.
When all was quiet a bugle sounded, and straightway the archers came marching in order from their tents.
So Sir Hugh spoke, and when he had done all the archers waved their bows aloft and shouted.
Lords and ladies of the realm followed; and finally, the ten companies of archers, whose progress round the field was greeted with hardly less applause than that given the King himself.
The tenscore archers ranged themselves in two long rows on each side of the lists--a gallant array--while their captains, as a special mark of favor, stood near the royal box.
Each man, also, of the King's archers should shoot three arrows at the target bearing the colors of his band, until the best bowman in each band should be chosen.
Then all the people shouted again, in token that the terms of the contest pleased them; and the archers waved their bows aloft, and wheeled into position facing their respective targets.