English85 Chapter2

English85 Chapter2 - Christine Schott Nor Height Nor Depth A Novel Chapter Two(Revised If pressed to choose between the two Brother Eudo would

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Christine Schott Nor Height, Nor Depth: A Novel Chapter Two (Revised) If pressed to choose between the two, Brother Eudo would probably say he preferred the sword to the mace. Not because swordplay required more skill than bashing one’s opponent with a heavy object—though it certainly did—but because he liked the way a sword felt in his hands: balanced, reliable, perfectly simple but no less beautiful. At least, he reflected, sorting through the used habits in the storeroom looking for ones to fit the abbey’s two new novices, that is how he remembered a sword feeling. It had been quite some time since he had last held one. Having found several suitable robes, he hung them over his arm and headed back toward the base of the stairs, making certain the cellarer noted in the log how many robes he took. These stairs were hazardous—more so lately, it seemed—and Eudo planted his free hand on the rough-hewn wall to steady himself as he placed each foot deliberately on the sloping step before heaving himself up and catching his balance again. His right knee made a cracking sound whenever he straightened it. Perhaps it was the tip of that arrowhead? No, no, that was the other knee. He would have to see the infirmarer about it again; perhaps there was some salve he could give him. By the time he reached the west cloister walk where the novices awaited him, though, the exercise had eased the stiffness out of his limbs and his knee only cracked when he straightened it too quickly. He was not out even of breath. It was all the hours of standing still in choir during services that made him creak; all he needed was action and he felt his old self again. Like armor, he reflected: leave it idle and it rusts, but let it
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Schott 2 serve its purpose and it will last. He congratulated himself on his astuteness, rather pleased with the analogy. The novices rose from their seat on a bench when he came around the corner. Which one was which, now? To give himself time to consider, he handed them their robes. “My name is Brother Eudo,” he said. “I’m to look after you two until the novice master returns from London tonight; after that you’ll be taking your instruction from him.” “Instruction in what?” asked the redhead, too loudly. Ah, yes. The loud one was Walter. The abbot had been loath to take him on, but the Goodman family was wealthy, and an abbey as small as St. Oswin’s could not afford to be overly scrupulous when a novice came attached with a sizable dowry. He would be a handful, no doubt, but Brother Thomas had dealt with worse in his career as a novice master. Even Eudo had dealt with worse, in his lay life—that awful squire in ’88, for instance. Never had he seen a more inept and un-teachable horseman; he had nearly cost Eudo his chance to join the Crusade, but in the end he took on another squire for the real duties and kept this first one to lead the pack mule. He smiled at the memory. “Instruction in what?” Walter repeated, this time with less volume.
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This note was uploaded on 04/25/2008 for the course ENG 085 taught by Professor Rotating during the Winter '07 term at Dartmouth.

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English85 Chapter2 - Christine Schott Nor Height Nor Depth A Novel Chapter Two(Revised If pressed to choose between the two Brother Eudo would

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