Imagens das páginas

young folks ought most to enjoy life. And he did all he could to get as much gladness out of it as possible. He was devoted to the ladies, as all young men should be; and was ever anxious to do his utmost to please them, by making himself as presentable to their eyes as possible, and by rendering himself serviceable to them on all occasions. There was one in particular, however, whom he was specially desirous to please; and, to win her favour, he had sought renown on the battle-field in Flanders, Artois, and Picardy; and, so far, had acted worthily," though the fear of losing her favour was never out of his mind night or day.” He had been well trained in all knightly accomplishments, was a good horseman, an adept in all the feats of the tilting-ring, a fair musician, a graceful dancer, and well skilled in the use of both pen and pencil. He had put on specially gay attire for this occasion; but, with all his gifts, he was modest and debonair, and zealous in the performance of all the service which a good son owes to his father. It pleased the Knight to have only one attendant with him on this occasion, a sturdy YEOMAN, with a sunburnt face and a closely cropped head.” He was thoroughly well skilled in archery, and in every- . thing pertaining to woodcraft. He was clad in the green garb of a forester, with hunting-horn hanging from a silk sash, and was armed with sword and shield on his left side; while, on his right, he had a sharp-pointed dagger with handsome sheath. His favourite saint was St Christopher; and he showed his devotion to him, and his belief in his power, by wearing a silver medal on his breast bearing an effigy of him. In his hand he carried the usual long bow, he had the archer's guard on his left arm, and every arrow in the sheaf attached to his girdle was a perfect one, with each of its feathers placed at the proper angle, so that it might fly true to the mark. I thought him the very beau-ideal of what a true forester ought to be.

* In hope to stonden in his lady grace.

* So hote he lovéde, that by nightertale He sleep nomore than doth a nightyngale.

* A not-heed hadde he with a broun visage.

Our company was graced with the presence amongst us of a lady, the PRIORESSE of a convent, who bore the name of Madame Eglentyne. She was very attractive in appearance, speech, and manner; and she well knew how best to turn her charms to account. She had a very comely face, with broad brow, sensible grey eyes, wellformed nose,” and pleasant mouth. Her dress was the perfection of neatness, and showed her dainty

* Of hire smylyng she was ful symple and coy. * Hire nose tretys.

figure off to the best advantage. Her wymple was neatly plaited round her graceful neck, her cloak hung elegantly around her, on her arm she carried her rosary of pretty beads with large green ones occurring at regular intervals, and attached to it was a handsome brooch on which was engraved the device of an “A,” surmounted by a crown, with the motto Amor vincit omnia. Her speech accorded well with her general appearance. Its great charm was its gentleness. She did, indeed, sometimes give point to what she said by invoking St Loy to aid her, but it was a very mild oath at the strongest. The manner in which she uttered her words, whether in ordinary conversation or when she was singing the church service in the usual sacerdotal fashion, was charming in the highest degree. She spoke in French,-the French used by the refugees of the better class who lived at Stratford-le-Bow in the east of London, which differed in many respects from the French of Paris, which she had no desire to learn. She was very anxious to be thought well skilled in all the habits peculiar to the better classes of her day,” and she conducted herself with much stateliness in order to command the reverence due to her position. Every act was studied for effect, and this was most strikingly seen in the way in which she conducted herself at table, down even to the manner in which she stretched out her hand to help herself to the dainties provided for us by our host, to the way in which she conveyed her food to her lips, and to the evident care she took that everything, while she was eating and drinking, should be done in the most elegant and seemly manner. She was of a somewhat sentimental nature. I cannot say that this showed itself in any very enthusiastic desire on her part to improve the condition of her fellow-creatures; but it was seen in the way in which she pampered some pet dogs which she had with her, and by her ready weeping when anything was the matter with them; and I was told that she had even been known to shed tears when she saw a poor little mouse caught in a trap, and injured in the process. She, no doubt, exhibited many little feminine affectations, but she was courteous to all of us, was most anxious to contribute to our pleasure,” and, consequently, we

* Ful fetys was hire cloke. * It peynede hire to countrefeté cheere Of court, and ben estatlich of manère.

* Ful semély after hire mete sche raughte.
* And sikerly sche was of gret disport,
And ful plesaunt, and amyable of port.


felt greatly delighted and highly honoured by having her amongst us. She was accompanied by three Priests, and a Nun who usually acted as her assistant when she was performing her religious duties. We had a MONK with us, a man who was sure to assert himself and to command obedience wherever he went." He rode a high-bred, well-kept brown horse, and he had many such in his stables at home. For he dearly loved hunting; and, in fact, made it the chief business of his life. He was always the foremost in the chase;” and, as he had bells on his horse's bridle, you could hear them jingling loud and clear in the whistling wind. Every horse he had was of the best, and his greyhounds were the fleetest of their kind; for he grudged no expense in the prosecution of his favourite pastime. Of course it is the case that many people think that hunting is not exactly a pursuit in which clergymen should engage, and they are fond of saying that a monk out of his cloister ought to be like a fish out of the water; but this monk despised all such remarks, and thought them utterly beneath his notice. In the religious house over which he presided, he encouraged the other monks to take as much

* A fair for the maistrie. * An out-rydere.

« AnteriorContinuar »