Hoyle's Games, Improved And Enlarged - online book

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effect, moisture weakening the elasticity of the bow, and relaxing the string. Secondly, by the direction and intensity of the wind. Except in a very moderate wind, the best archer cannot shoot straight; and in boisterous weather especially, with a slant of wind, the weapon is next to useless. But even in the most favourable state of the air, it is difficult to calculate the projectile force of arrows ; in passing through the air they lose much more of their velocity than a ball pro­jected from a musket, because they have less den­sity, and present a greater surface; and, for the same reason, their deflection from the parabolic curve must also be greater, independently of the force and direction of the wind. Again, the range of a firelock is four times greater than that of a bow, and the impetus is also much more uniform. But even in modern warfare there are instances when the bow might be used with great effect. Many French officers, after the Russian cam­paign, bore testimony to the great utility of this weapon in cases of ambush, and desultory sur­prises of small bodies of men, particularly at night. Again, in the defence of narrow streets, and in all cases where a multiplied fire, rather than extent of range, is required, the bow might be still used with advantage; and the importance of this consideration will be felt when the rapidity of its fire is recollected; and, moreover, that it might be used by women and children, who are generally terrified by the detonation and the re­coil of fire-arms. The extraordinary feats of archery which we read of in the works of the military writers of antiquity and of the middle ages, are but too often considered as romantic fictions ; and to this opinion we also were converts, until we witnessed the almost superhuman skill
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