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carry their provisions with them on mules or horses of burden. A picture by an Italian artist of the fourteenth century, in a manuscript preserved in the Imperial Library in Paris, represents the miracle of the multiplication of bread described in the Gospel. The accompanying cut gives the portion of it in which the females are seated on the ground receiving their bread, and furnishes a good illustration of the mediæval manner of squatting on the grass. But with the feudal travellers it was performed with somewhat more ceremony, and, in fact, it became sometimes a veritable pic-nic, at least in form. In the romance of Garin de Montglane, Garin and his love, the fair Mabile, on their way to the court of the Count of Limoges, are obliged not only to feed, but to sleep, on the grass. The preparations for the first are thus described in the romance :The valet drew from the coffer, or chest, a table-cloth (nape), and spread it on the grass. Then he took out bread, and wine, and fish, and pigeon-pies (pastés de colombiax), of which latter “there was plenty.” He next sought water, to wash. When the repast was finished, as night began to approach, the valet proceeded to make the beds," as he had been well taught,” of fine hay newly made; he made a thick layer of it, and spread over it white sheets, and its fair coverlet of scarlet and grise.* To gratify any of my fair readers who may be curious to know the exact manner of this process of bedmaking in the fields, in the earlier part of the thirteenth centuryfor to that period the romance belongs—here are the very words of the original
Li vallez fist les lis, qui bien en fu apris,
Et son bel covertoir d'escarlate et de gris. It was not only in the fields, and in the open air, that the ladies sat upon the ground. The readers of good old François Villon, who wrote in the middle of the fifteenth century, will remember the lines of the “Grand Testament,” in which, speaking of the ladies of Paris, he says,
Regarde-m'en deux, trois, assises
En ces monstiers, en ces eglises. In the Middle Ages, pews were little known, except as belonging to favoured individuals, but open seats were still less known, and the ladies, and some of the men also, when listening to the sermon of the preacher, squatted on the ground as they did in the fields. This
* Escarlate was a cloth of that colour, and gris was a rich fur.
manner of sitting, or squatting, in church, is well represented in our cut, taken from a manuscript in the British Museum (MS. Harl. No. 2897, fol. 157, v°), which is ascribed to the reign of Henry IV., that is, the earlier part of the fifteenth century. It was, literally, open churches and free sittings. The same volume contains several other similar groups; and another manuscript in our great national
collection (MS. Reg. 20 C. VII., fol. 77, r°), which appears to belong to the latter years of the century previous, gives us a similar group of persons sitting on the ground to listen to the preacher.
Before the feudal period, women in general were probably not much accustomed to riding, or, when they rode, they were rather carried by the horse, as a beast of burden, than as an animal which they had at command. We have already given examples of ladies riding, both sideways and astride, taken from Anglo-Saxon
VOL. III. —NO. I.
manuscripts, but it is probable that in Western Europe this was not a very common practice before the feudal period, when Womankind rose to a higher and more independent position in society. And even then it was probably not till a rather late period that the practice became general. It is introduced not unfrequently in the great romances compiled in the latter part of the twelfth and in the thirteenth centuries, but the conducting of the lady on horseback appears in them almost as a ceremony. The ladies appear riding in some of the illuminations to these romances, which, however, are chiefly of the fifteenth century. This is the date of the manuscript of the Roman de la Violette, or of Girard de Nevers, which has furnished the accompanying cut, representing Girard and his party on their way to the tournament of Montargis. It is a very good picture of a party of knights and ladies of this date riding on a journey. In one of the poems printed by Jubinal in his “Nouveau
Recueil,” the Dit des Anelés, the story turns on the pilgrimage to St. James in Galicia, by a knight and his lady. The knight takes his wife with him reluctantly, on account of the hardships and dangers of such a journey; they were well mounted, and were accompanied by an esquire, and by a valet who led the sumpter horse.
Moult bien furent montez, s'orent i. escuier,
A lady riding prided herself on her dress, and on the richness of her trappings. In the Romances of the Round Table, the damoiselle whom Gauvain encountered in the forest was mounted on a rich palfrey of Niort (a place which appears to have been celebrated for its breed of horses), and she had an ivory saddle, with stirrups of gold, and housing of scarlet. The bridle was of gold, with gold fringe. She wore a surcoat (bliauts) of white satin, and a wimple of linen and silk, and her head was inclosed in a fine tissue, which formed a protection against the sun. In the Romance of Gaufrey (one of the Romans de Geste), the Princess Flordespine is mounted on a valuable mule, the saddle of which was of ivory, inset with gold; on the bridle was set a gem of such power, that it gave light in the darkness of night, and whoever bore it was safe from all disease. The housing was of marvellous workmanship ; and attached to it were thirty small bells, which, when the mule went on a gentle amble, produced a wonderful melody. At a later period than this, Chaucer says of his wife of Bath
Uppon an amblere esely sche sat,
And on hire feet a paire of spores scharpe. Among the pictures in an illuminated manuscript in the British Museum (MS. Reg. 20 C. VII., fol. 185, v°), of the latter end of the fourteenth century, there is one which is here copied (see next page), representing the ceremonious entry of the Duchess of Burgundy into Paris in 1369. The duchess, in her rich costume, is seated upon her palfrey. Her lady of honour, who rides behind her, is similarly mounted. This picture might almost be taken to represent a scene of older romance. In the great romance cycle of Garin de Loherain, we are told how the noble Princess of Maurienne, the fair Blanchefleur, afterwards the queen of Pepin, made her entry into Paris. “She had her head bare, and a robe of red samit, or satin, covered gracefully her limbs. The palfrey which carried her had the whiteness of the fleur-de-lis; its housing was of the utmost richness; and the bridle alone was worth the weight of a thousand pounds sterling.” I will not follow the poet in his description of the personal beauty of the lady, or of the richness of her dress.
The ladies of the feudal period, as appears by the pictures in the manuscripts, rode in two manners, either sideways or astride. Usually-probably riding steady animals--they rode sideways; but when dames of what we may perhaps term a “faster” character
mounted spirited horses, and especially when they joined in hunting, they rode astride. In my next chapter I shall give some pictures of mediæval ladies riding in this manner. But there is one circumstance especially deserving of remark. In all the illuminations of manuscripts with which I am acquainted, whether Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman, French, or English, older than the beginning of the
sixteenth century, the lady, when riding sideways, always sits with her legs on the right side of the horse, with her left hand towards its head. I know of one example to the contrary. A manuscript in the British Museum (MS. Harl., No. 2278), of the latter half of the fifteenth century, contains a copy of the poet Lydgate's Life of St. Edmund, rather copiously illuminated. In one of these illuminations (fol. 92, r°), illustrating one of the posthumous miracles of the saint, we see a lady riding on a horse, on the same side as ladies ride at present. But the story of the miracle is, that three ladies,