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one of whom was deaf, the other dumb, and the third deprived of the use of her hands and feet, went together to the shrine of the saint to be cured ; and, as the only way of conducting thither the last of these, they put her upon a horse. She is not, properly speaking, riding, but is placed upon a strong horse, in a knight's saddle, in an awkward position, and has evidently no command over the horse. And also the duchess of Burgundy and her lady in the preceding cut are introduced riding in this manner. There can, I think, be no doubt that, down to the end of the fifteenth century, or, I may say, to the reign of Henry VIII., ladies riding sideways always sat with their legs on the right side of the horse, and with their left hand to its head. I have not yet been able to ascertain the exact time at which the change took place, or how it arose, but I suppose the cause to have been that, about this time, the ladies abandoned the slow and easygoing animals they had formerly employed, to ride more spirited horses. It seems evident that, to possess a full command over the horse, the rider must have her right hand to his head.
During the ages of which we have been speaking, the ladies rode either the mule or the palfrey. Previous to the feudal period the mule appears to have been little known in Western Europe, for the only name the Anglo-Saxons had for it was mul, which, of course, is merely the Latin mulus, and we only find it used in translating the Latin word in ecclesiastical writings. The animal, itself, was apparently of an inferior breed, and used only for menial purposes. The more honourable use of the mule was, probably, derived from the Saracens in Spain. I am informed by a friend, Dr. Hyde Clarke, who has lived long in the East, that the mule of the East is a much finer animal than the mule of our northern climates, and that it is especially calculated for a lady's riding. “A fine mule,” he tells me, “is showy, will go at a good rate, with a steady pace, and an easy seat, and work his way over mountain-paths, and rocky defiles, and among muddy and stony ways.” In the Carlovingian romances, which represent especially the tradition of the Saracenic period, ladies of the highest rank are introduced riding upon the mule. Thus, in the romance of Huon de Bordeaux, the Duke Huon, after marrying a Saracen princess, when starting on his way home, mounts his fair Duchess on a mule,
Il fait la dame sor i. mulet monter ;and in the romance of Gaufrey, as just quoted, the Princess Flordespine is mounted on a mule. So, in Parise la Duchesse, the duchess is mounted on an “ambling mule,”
Sor i. mulet anblant font la dame monter,
and again, further on,
Sor i. mulet anblant ont la dame monté. Twice in the romance of Garin le Loherain, a lady of high rank is introduced mounted on an “ Arabian mule.” I might bring forward other examples of this use of the mule from the romances, and from the medieval poetry of rather a later date. In the little poem of Hualine and Aiglantine, printed in Méon's collection, we are told that:Dame Eglantine ot une mule,
The lady Eglantine had a mule, Miaudre de li ne fu ainz nule,
Better than it there was never none, Tote blanche con un cristax;
All white as a crystal ; Qui sor li siet ne sant nul max.
Whoever sits upon it feels no evil. Soef la porte l'anbléure,
It carries her gently at an amble, Qu'il ne set nule autre aléure,
For it knows no other pace, Mais tant par vet sinplemant
But goes so very easily Que rosée ne sant noiant.
That she does not even feel the dew. Frain a où chief de grant paraje,
It has a rein at the head of great quality, Qui moult fu fait de grant barnaje ;
Which was made with very great richness ; La chevece fu tote d'or,
The bridle was all of gold, En Esgipte la firent Mor;
The Moors made it in Egypt; Les regnes sont à or batues
The reins are of beaten gold, De fil de soie bien tissue.
With silk-thread well woven. Sele ot bele, et bien ovrée,
She had a fair saddle, and well worked, De tote part bien atornée,
Well adorned in every part, Et moult i ot assises pierres
And very many gems were set there ; Esmeraudes qui furent chieres.
Emeralds, which were of great worth. De paile fu la coverture,
The housing was of silk, Qui cele a, d'autre n'a cure;
She who has it, cares for no other ; Car tant par est de grant bealté,
For it is of so very great beauty, Que jà sa per ne troverez.
That you will never find its equal. Li enel sont de blanc argent,
The rings are of white silver, Sororé sont et avenant.
They are doubly gilt and handsome. Li estrier sont d'or noielé,
The stirrups are of gold nielloed, Bien forbi et bien atorné.
Well polished and well arranged. Uns esperons ot la pucele
The maiden had a spur, Dont ne vos os dire novele,
Of which, I dare not give you a description, Car plus sont chier si esperon
For her spurs are of more worth Que li roiaumes Salemon.
Than Salomon's kingdom. Méon, Nouveau Recueil, tom. i., p. 359. It will be seen that, when ladies rode abroad, they prided themselves on the beauty of their trappings.
As the age of feudalism advanced, the mule appears gradually to have gone out of use for riding, and the ladies took to the palfrey. The palfrey always held a high place in the stable, and the great ladies often rode it; but the mule seems to have been considered as having a steadier and more certain pace. In that branch of the great romance cycle of the family of Lorraine, which tells of the
death of Begon of Belin, the fair duchess Beatris, grieved at seeing her husband Begon in sorrowful mood, says, to console him, “Why are you thoughtful, sire Begon; you, so high, so noble, so bold a knight? Are you not a rich man in the world? Gold and silver fill your coffers ; vair and gris (the richest clothes) your wardrobes; on your perches, you have hawks and falcons ; in your stables, abundance of steeds, palfreys, mules, and horses of value.” Begon's reply reveals one of the finer features of the spirit of feudalism. “Lady, you say true ; but you have mistaken in one thing. Wealth does not consist in rich clothes, in money treasured ap, in horses of value, or great palfreys. It consists in friends, in kindred; the heart of a single man is worth the gold of a whole country.” We see here the palfrey and the mule reckoned among the most valuable animals of the baronial stud, and the former placed first. In this same cycle of romance, as already stated, we have the Princess Blanchefleur entering Paris mounted on a palfrey. In the later poetry, ladies are continually introduced riding upon palfreys, and the mule was soon abandoned. Women rode more generally, and more spiritedly; and while, on one hand, the practice of riding astride was no longer considered becoming, on the other, as I suppose, as the fair riders felt the want of greater command over the horse, the seat was changed from the right side of the horse to the left. So far, as I have yet been able to trace it, the change appears to have taken place about the beginning of the sixteenth century.
In primeval times, women were, probably, carried in carts or waggons, when the family moved from one place to another, if the latter were rich or powerful enough to command "such means of locomotion, which, were, no doubt, very clumsy and inconvenient. In later times, when ladies rode, this mode of carriage still continued in use; but, apparently, only on special occasions. The carriage, itself, was called, in Latin, carra ; und in French, and later English, a car or char. Ducange quotes an early Latin treatise on the miracles of St. Liudegar, the writer of which, speaking of a lady and her daughter, “ The mother and daughter placed together in a char (in una carra mater simul et filia positc), were brought to our church.” In the feudal period, these chars became objects of pride and ostentation, and were used on great ceremonial occasions. A curious poem, entitled, “ Le Tournoiement aus Dames,” which M. Paulin Paris thinks may be ascribed to so early a period as the year 1185, tells us how knighthood, having so far fallen into neglect that tournaments had ceased, the ladies consulted together, and
decided on holding a tournament of their own. Among those who attended this tournament are introduced the names of nearly all the great ladies of France. Among others, was the Countess of Britany, who summoned all her ladies to come in chars, for the purpose, as she said, of making greater pompLa contesse... si a mandée
The countess has summoned Toutes ses dames sanz eschars
All her ladies, without sparing, Qu'elles vienent dedenz les chars,
That they come in chars, Qu'ainsi, ce dist, le voudra fere,
For thus, she said, she would do, Por plus le beuban contrefere.
To better represent the pomp. In the thirteenth century, these chars were evidently looked upon as marks of pride, and as belonging only to people of rank and
gentility; for Philip le Bel, King of France, by an ordonnance given in 1294, forbade the use of chars to the wives of citizens. In the Roman de la Rose, the lady Venus is described as riding in a char drawn by six doves. On the reconciliation of Richard II. with the citizens of London, when the king and his queen entered the
city in pompous procession, she had, in her train, two chars filled with her court ladies. One of them was overturned, and Richard of Maidstone tells us, exultingly, how, in their fall, the ladies exposed their persons unbecomingly to the gaze and jeers of the multitude, as he looked at it as a judgment of heaven upon the extravagance of the time, of which, he considered the use of chars as one of the signs
Namque sequuntur eam currus duo cum dominabus ;
Rexerat hos Phaeton, unus enim cecidit.
Vix poterat risum plebs retinere suum.
Corruat ut luxus et malus omnis amor. In the fifteenth century, the use of the char appears to have become common, and we meet, more frequently, with pictorial representations of it in the illuminated manuscripts. The one given in our cut, is taken from a manuscript in the British Museum (MS. Reg. 14, E. V. fol. 408), of the fifteenth century. It is the usual form of the char, as we see it in manuscripts, and had probably remained unaltered from a very early period. It is an open carriage, or van, with a body like that of a waggon, and an arched roof supported upon wooden posts. Inside were seats and cushions for the ladies, and other conveniences and luxuries. The whole carriage was sometimes adorned with rich ornaments, and covered with curtains. The seat for the driver was outside, in front, or often, he sat, like a postillion, on one of the horses. Our next cut furnishes a good example of the ladies' char. It is taken from a finely illuminated manuscript of the French translation of Vale
TULLIA DRIVING OVER HER FATHER'S BODY. rius Maximus, of the latter part of the fifteenth century, preserved in the Imperial Library in Paris (No. 6984), and represents the story of Tullia, the Queen of Tarquin the Proud, ordering her charioteer to drive over the body of her slaughtered father, Servius Tullus.