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lady was proud and haughty, treated her father-in-law with disdain, tyrannized over her husband, and after a short time forced him to turn his father out of the house.
This incident, under different forms, is rather a popular story in the Middle Ages.*
It was, however, more frequently with the agriculturist, the villain, who sometimes became possessed of landed property, that the impoverished knight sought these unequal marriages for his daughters. In such cases the match was never a happy one; it was always contrary to the inclinations of the lady, and often forced upon her, and she was justified in disliking her husband, and proving unfaithful to him. On the other hand, the husband, who had been led into the marriage by vanity and ambition, and was jealous and suspicious, was unkind to his wife, and even beat her. In the fabliau of the Vilain Mire, there was a rich “ vilain," who was so miserly that, in spite of his riches, he still continued to follow his plough. He was unmarried. In the same country there
an aged knight, a widower, with a beautiful and courteous daughter, but, as he was poor, nobody offered to marry her. So the friends of the vilain addressed themselves to the knight, and he consented, and the damoiselle yielded to her father's will, and was married to him. The vilain soon repented of what he had done, became jealous of his wife, and ill-treated her. The manner in which she revenged herself is identical with the story of Molière's “ Médecin malgré lui.” The elegant little poem of “ La Chatelaine de Saint Gille," printed in Barbazan (Fabliaux, vol. ii., p. 369), tells of a young damsel, daughter of a châtelain, whose lover is the son of a count, but who is forced by her father into a marriage with a rich vilain. In this case the damsel's grief is told with much force, and she does not conceal her feelings from the priest.
In one of the versions told in Latin in my “Selection of Latin Stories,” p. 28, the deserted father makes his reappearance with a chest, and is reinstated in his place in the household, in the belief that it is filled with treasure, and cherished till his death, when, on opening the chest, it is found to contain nothing but a mallet, or beetle, with the following inscription in English rhyme, which became proverbial :
Wyht suylc a betel be he smyten,
With such a beetle be he smitten,
We might be led to suppose that such treatment of parents by their children was not uncommon in the Middle Ages. VOL. III. —NO. IV.
Maugré moi voir je l'averai ;
“ Against my will truly I shall have Mès jà foi ne li porterai,
But I will not engage my faith to him, Sire prestres, bien le sachiez."
Sir priest, be well assured of it.” “Il ne me chaut que vous faciez," “I care not what you do,"
Dist li prestres, " je vous espouse." Said the priest, “I espouse you." But the marriage was hardly concluded when the lover made his appearance, seized upon the bride in the vilain's hall, and carried her away on his palfrey. I might easily multiply examples of these
unsuitable marriages between members of the aristocratic and of the unaristocratic classes.
In fact, the separation between them, however it might be broken into in practice from time to time, became wider than ever in theory. The lady of the castle could not bear to think that the fair bourgeoise wore a dress like her own, or of the same materials, or adorned with similar jewellery. For a long time, in accordance with these prejudices, the dress of the burgher women, however high their family might stand in riches or in municipal rank, continued to be plain and simple, and perhaps nearly uniform. Such was the case with Aelis, the wife of Jean Sarrazin, of Paris, mentioned above, the simplicity of whose costume, no doubt that of the bourgeoise of her time, was seen in her monumental effigy in the abbey of St. Victor. She died in 1293. In spite of the high political position of her father, and the high municipal functions of her husband, she wears the costume of her class; no fur, no gold or silver tissue, appear on the
materials of her garments, and the only ornament on her costume is the clasp of her mantle, which is formed of a small gold chain, at the two ends of which are two precious stones mounted in gold. We have—or rather hadanother example of a lady of municipal rank in the effigy of
Hermessende de Ballegny, the wife of René de la Porte, a bourgeoise of Senlis, who died in 1284. This effigy was once to be seen in the cloister of the abbey of Chaalis. She was clad in a long robe, the train of which she held up under her 'left arm. A mantle lined with fur descended to her feet. Her head was en. veloped with a flat veil, from which issued two fillets. She had long-rounded shoes.
The earlier illuminated manuscripts furnish us with few figures which can be identified as representing individuals of the burgher class. Those here given of a lady and her child are taken from a French manuscript of the closing years of the thirteenth century, preserved in Paris, and evidently represent persons of the better class of municipal society. The lady wears a plain tunic, or robe, descending to the feet, and a head dress of an equally simple character. The second of our cuts is taken from an English source, the manuscript now so well known as Queen Mary's Psalter (MS. Reg. 2 B. VII.) which belongs to the beginning of the fourteenth century. In the original it forms part of a group representing the relatives of Thomas Becket, when driven into exile by King Henry II., making their way on foot to. wards the sea. Becket's family, as it is well known, were citizens of London, and the English costume of the class as shown here, is identical, or very nearly identical, with that of the bourgeoisie of France, as represented in the last cut. However, at this period, it had for some time been found more and more difficult to restrain the increasing desire of the women of the towns to imitate the extravagance in dress of the lady of the castle. This is sufficiently strongly indicated in the literature of France, but we have not the materials to trace it with equal distinctness in England. The young wife of the carpenter, in Chaucer's “Milleres Tale,” is described as one of the more coquettish of her class, and the poet's description of her costume is well known.
Fair was the yonge wyf, and thirwithal,
Upon hir lendes (loins), ful of many a gore (pleat)
And by hir gurdil hyng a purs of lethir.
Chaucer, Cant. T., 1. 3233. No doubt the popular literature of the feudal period would furnish materials for a much more elaborate description of the costume of the bourgeoise at different dates, but the figures here given will be sufficient for the present. Our third cut is taken
from a manuscript of the fourteenth century in the British Museum (MS. Reg. 20, C. VII., fol. 32), and forms part of a group of burghers walking in the street.
In the next cut we sink a little lower in the scale, and introduce an example or two of what may be taken to be the populace of the mediæval town, given by Louandre from an illuminated manuscript of the “Moralité du Jeu des Echecs,” in the Royal Library at Brussels. The colours of the costumes are here rather bright and varied. The woman to the left, who carries her infant in swaddlingclothes, as was then the custom, wears a red robe, or gown, and has, like the carpenter's wife in Chaucer, a white apron. Her headdress is white; and the envelope of the baby is white with blue
swathes. The female on the right has a grey dress, and a green head-covering, and her stockings are yellow, and her boots grey.
Of the social life and character of the women of the higher and more educated class of the bourgeoisie, the details we possess are not abundant, but a general idea may be formed from a perusal of the “Ménagier de Paris,” which I have so often quoted. For our knowledge of Womankind among the mass of the population of the town we must look to the fabliaux and popular tales, to the farces, and to the popular literature generally, and there we shall find it pictured pretty fully, and it must be confessed in not very amiable colours. The generality of the burgher women are represented as ill educated, coarse in language and manners, and violent in temper. They tyrannize over their husbands, and beat them, and are often beater in their turn. They loved gadding about. This is perhaps easily understood, when we consider that town life, as far as the