‘What one is bound to do, one usually does with little acknowledged feeling; a vague desperation, no more,’ he said, taking up his stance. Yet as he did so his face assumed a cold, dangerous aspect and his body moved with the easy precision of a machine. The sand spat up from the edge of the handkerchief; the smoke lay hardly stirring; the horse was little affected by the noise, but it watched idly for the first dozen shots or so.
‘I have never known such consistently accurate weapons,’ he said aloud. ‘I wonder, can I still do Dillon’s old trick?’ He took a coin from his pocket, tossed it high, and shot it fair and square on the top of its rise, between climbing and falling.
Post Captain – Patrick O’Brian