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dressed to the lady of his affections. The troubadours burned tapers, and caused masses to be said for the success of their love; and one of them assures us that he devoutly crossed himself with joy and gratitude, every time he beheld his mistress. Peyre de Ruer devoted himself to a noble Italian lady, who was extremely fond of magnificent entertaininents; and in order to find favor in her eyes he exhausted all his resources in banquets and joustes in her honor. The lady, however, could not be persuaded to exercise her sovereign attribute of mercy; and Ruer wandered about the country in the disguise of a pilgrim. He arrived at a certain church during the holy week, and asked permission to preach to the audience. This being granted, he gracefully and earnestly recited one of his own love-songs; for, says the chronicle,“ he knew nothing better.” The congregation, supposing it to be a pious invocation to the virgin Mary, or the saints, were much affected; and when he held out his hat for the customary alms, it was heaped with silver. The minstrel cast aside his pilgrim weeds and in a splendid dress presented himself before his lady-love, with a new song in her praise ; and she, overcome with such a proof of constancy, bestowed many caresses on the wandering troubadour.
In Spain, a certain company, called Disciplinarians, went through the streets every Good Friday, with sugar-loaf caps, white gloves and shoes, and sleeves tied with ribbons of such a color as their ladies particularly admired. They carried whips of
small cords, with bits of glass fastened on the ends, and when they met a handsome woman, they began to whip themselves with all violence, insomuch that the blood spirted on her robes; for which honor she courteously thanked them. When a lover arrived opposite the balcony of his mistress, he scourged himself with redoubled fury, while she looked on with proud complacency, and perhaps rewarded his sufferings with a gracious smile.
Ladies of rank entered the lists of poetry in competition with troubadours of the other sex. Among these were the countess of Champagne, countess of Provence, dame Castelossa, the comtesse de Die, &c. The last-mentioned was beloved by the chevalier d'Adhémar, whose courage and magnanimity she celebrated in verses, which the favored knight always carried in his bosom; and not unfrequently he entertained a company by singing his lady's songs in praise of himself. He died of grief, in consequence of a false report of her inconstancy. The young comtesse took the veil immediately, and died the same year in the convent of St. Honoré. Her mother buried her with her lover, and erected a superb monument to the memory of both. The countess of Champagne was much celebrated for the manner in which she presided at one of the Courts of Love.
These courts were composed of ladies summoned to meet together, for the purpose of discussing, in the most formal and serious manner, “ beautiful and subtle questions of love.” They decided the precise amount of inconstancy which a lady might forgive, without lowering her own dignity, provided her lover made certain supplications, and performed certain penances; they took it into solemn consideration whether a lover was justified, under any circumstances, in expressing the slightest doubt of his lady's fidelity; they laid down definite rules, and ceremonials of behavior, to be observed by those who wished to be beloved ; and gravely discussed the question whether sentiment, or sight, the heart, or the eyes, contributed most powerfully to inspire affection.
A young maiden in those days was educated, like her brother, in the castle of some knight or baron, hei father's friend ; and her duties, like his, were mostly those of personal attendance. She assisted in dress ing her lady, and sought by music and conversation to beguile her lonely hours. Their learning, in genera), was confined to recipes for cooking, simple medicines, needle-work, the ceremonials of chivalry, and the prayers of the church. Reading and writing were rare attainments, both with men and women.
The rules for behavior were exceedingly precise and ceremonious. Maidens were taught that it was ur. seemly to turn their heads round after the manner os a crane, and were exhorted rather to imitate the beautiful and timid hare, which looks straight forward. If necessary to look aside, they were told to move the head and body together, that their deportment might appear dignified. Simplicity of dress was likewise inculcated, except on festival occasions ; and that respect might be shown to religion as well as chivalry, they were commanded to wear their
richest apparel to church. Modesty was strongly urged. Every bard had a story of the daughter of some knight, who displayed her person so freely that her intended husband preferred her more modest, though less beautiful, sister. The ferocious pride of feudal power was softened by maxims of courtesy toward those of inferior rank. A noble lady once took off her hood and made respectful obeisance to a mechanic. One of her friends exclaimed, “ Why, noble dame, you have taken off your hood to a tailor !" “Yes," she replied ; "and I would rather have doffed it to him, than a gentleman;" and those who heard her answer, thought she had done right well.
All the domestic economy of the castle was arranged by the maiden attendants, and they were early instructed in the mysteries of the healing art. The wounds of husbands and lovers were in those days cured by the fair hand of woman. Spenser says:
" Into the woods thenceforth in haste she went,
To seck for herbs that mote him remedy;
Her nourced had in true nobility.” A knowledge of surgery was likewise a necessary feminine accomplishment.
“So prospered the sweet lass, her strength alone
Thrust deftly back the dislocated bone.” Even as late as the days of queen Elizabeth, some of the ladies of her court are praised for their skill in surgery.
When men rode forth to hunt or hawk, they were generally accompanied by ladies, for whom a gentler species of falcons, called sparrow-hawks, were trained. The birds were gallantly bedight with silver bells, and it was the duty of every gallant knight to attend on his lady, to let the falcon loose at the proper moment, to animate it by his cries, to take from its talons the prey it seized, and then replace it respectfully on her hand. John of Salisbury, who wrote in the thirteenth century, says that women even excelled men in the knowledge and practice of falconry. Julian Berners, prioress of a nunnery in Sopewell, published, in 1481, a curious book full of directions concerning heraldry and hawking; for which reason she was called by cotemporaries "a Minerva in her studies, and a Diana in her diver. sions.” Some old English engravings represent ladies followed by dogs, running on foot, with hawks on their fists; and upon old monuments it is common to see the image of a woman, with a hawk perched near her, and a greyhound at her feet. Queen Elizabeth was fond both of hunting and falconry, and had no objection to the unfeminine amusement of bear-baiting. Even when she was sixty years old, Sir Walter Raleigh, in allusion to her sylvan sports, compares her and her maids of honor, in their stiff ruffs and fardingales, to the goddess Diana and her graceful nymphs. Tournaments and masks continued to be favorite amusements during the reign of the maiden queen, though the last rays of chivalry's declining sun were then sinking to rise no more. Elizabeth, who had all the petitessé of a vain woman