Page 1248

1248 UNIVERSAL HISTORY.----THE MODERN WORLD

candidate was first carefully bathed, in order

that he might be presented pure before the

ministrants. After the washing he was

clothed in a white tunic, over which in a

later part of the ceremony was placed a

crimson vest. Finally he was encased in a

coat-of-mail. His waist was bound with a

belt. Spurs were affixed to his boots and a

sword girt at his side. The various parts

of his dress and armor had a speculative

significance as well as an actual use. The

white tunic was symbolical of the new life

which the knight had vowed to lead. The

red vest, symbol of blood, indicated that

his business was war. His armor, which

was of a sable hue, was to remind him of the

blackness of death. His belt signified that

he was girt with chastity, and his spurs that

he should fly to the rescue of the innocent.

When the ceremony of clothing the initiate

was completed, he knelt before the officiating

knight, who thereupon struck him a blow on

the shoulder with the side of his sword, and

exclaimed: "In the name of God, St. Michael,

and St. George, I dub thee knight. Be brave,

bold, and loyal. Rise, Sir!" For Sir was the

knightly title.

Great was the popularity immediately

attained by the chivalrous orders. The one

overmastering ambition of the noble youth

of Europe was to be admitted to knighthood.

To this end the sons of the feudal lords were

carefully bred and trained. The scions of

the noble Houses were put for preparatory

discipline into the halls of the most eminent knights. There they did service and

took lessons of the master, imbibing his

courtly manners and emulating his chivalrous deeds. The sentiment of heroic adventure became the one absorbing passion of

Feudal Europe, and the armor of the returning knight, coming home victorious over the

enemies of truth and chastity, was regarded

as the most honorable emblem of the age.

Nor should failure here be made to mention the part which woman naturally assumed under the chivalric regime which prevailed instead of the barbaric rule of

the past. She was the radiant and adored

goddess of the chivalrous age. To her,

in some sort, the whole system was directed.

Weaker than man, her protection, from

being an instinctive sentiment, became the

open and avowed duty of the knight. Religion said that the knight should be true

to God; humanity, that he should be true

to woman. The times were still full of violence. Lawless passions still sought to be

gratified at the expense of virtue, unable

to defend itself against the strong. The

feudal situation was such as to encourage

the sentiment of ennobling love. Woman

was secluded from base familiarity. She

grew up in the castle halls. The baron's

daughter was rarely seen abroad. From her

father's castle to the castle of her possible