The following information comes from The Elusive Ten by William Reichenbach. The Elusive Ten is also available to purchase in print.
Webster will concur that I imply no slur.
My assertion that I choose the above title for our Old-Timers in the game with a feeling of regretful futility should not be significant. Confidentially though, I am reminded of the gentleman who politely suggested to a dear (?) pest to take the elevator (adding, under his breath, not to trouble to wait for the car).
Maestro, dear Old-Timer, where, oh where, is the crop of successful shooters which your ability should have developed?
I wish to say here that I admire nothing more than an expert revolver shot, and, naturally, my deep admiration includes you Old-Timers. However, I must ask now how much of your experience have you divulged, you rascals? Were not most of you satisfied to play cock of the walk, soaking up the dumb admiration of your colleagues? — Facile princeps.
It is true that some of you have written books, but because of their high prices, they were inaccessible to the army of revolver enthusiasts. Some of you have approached the matter in a scientific way, which is so much Greek to us dubs.
Were we beginners not left more or less to our own devices?
What we wanted and needed were precise instructions available to every one—directions guiding us step by step, not the agony of having to find out things by our lone selves, by the trial and error method. How else were it possible that we still have so many thousands of enthusiasts who have never achieved even the mediocre?
Take the vast number of army men, police officers, guards, etc., the majority of whom handle their guns in such a desultory fashion, that, to break their necks, they cannot even hit the proverbial barndoor.
Will my little book be a good mentor?
I aim to address only men and women of intelligence, thereby reducing the number of possible failures by a great percentage. I believe that the group which proves to be intelligent enough to digest my treatise will get somewhere. They may not all turn out to be champions, but they will give good accounts of themselves.
I plan to use a suggestive method, cloaked in conversational language, hoping it will prove to be helpful. It has been, where I have instructed personally. The written word, naturally, cannot fully replace actual demonstration. We all know that. But, for intelligent people, great elaborations or endless repetitions will not be necessary.
Although I trust that I am offering a concise system of my own, there is no issue at stake between you Old-Timers and me. I ask no indulgence from you. Things such as preponderance of grip over squeeze, or vice versa, are only matters of opinion and should not be subjects of dispute.
I could point out the fact that systems, any systems, are debatable, but their only criterion must be their success or their failure.
And, my dear Old-Timers, we do really have too many, entirely too many dubs—shall I say—in spite of you?