rles in war if trouble falleth upon us. Now I know not how to choose by mine own wit which of you shall ride and which abide. For so it is that ye are diverse of your conditions; but the evil conditions which one of you lacks the other hath, and the valiancy which one hath, the other lacks. Blaise is wise and prudent, but no great man of his hands. Hugh is a stout rider and lifter, but headstrong and foolhardy, and over bounteous a skinker; and Gregory is courteous and many worded, but sluggish in deed; though I will not call him a dastard. As for Ralph, he is fair to look on, and peradventure he may be as wise as Blaise, as valiant as Hugh, and as smooth-tongued as Gregory; but of all this we know little or nothing, whereas he is but young and untried. Yet may he do better than you others, and I deem that he will do so. All things considered, then, I say, I know not how to choose between you, my sons; so let luck choose for me, and ye shall draw cuts for your roads; and he that draweth longest shall go north
Very charming but slow paced, like all the other books of this author seem to be (I only read this and bits and pieces of some others).
The story could use a better ending... but what's really interesting about this book is the atmosphere it creates, especially through the use of old English. I never encountered words like 'sundering' or 'cheaping-town' before reading Morris :)
There are also vivid and quite original scenes, [mild spoiler ahead] like the one with a certain bear chasing a certain naked lady... in the forest (Morris had a thing about naked ladies in the forest, check out The Water of the Wondrous Isles ;) hehe).
Finally, I'd say It's a book that really feels like coming from another time more than most books I've ever read, probably because the author intended it this way (the old English he's using was ancient for Morris as well, so he used it to create atmosphere), but also because of the slow pacing of the story.
A wonderful read with beautiful prose.
Very hard work with the 'olde worlde' language used though. Still worth the effort. I read this in the early 80s and am going to re-read now.