Excerpt: ...this subject is without doubt one of the best of the kind extant, and even in the present age of the gold-cure is suggestive of a night-errant of to-day. A tournament was a sort of refined equestrian prize-fight with one-hundred-ounce jabbers. Each knight, clad in tin-foil and armed cap-a-pie, riding in each other's direction just as ...Read MoreExcerpt: ...this subject is without doubt one of the best of the kind extant, and even in the present age of the gold-cure is suggestive of a night-errant of to-day. A tournament was a sort of refined equestrian prize-fight with one-hundred-ounce jabbers. Each knight, clad in tin-foil and armed cap-a-pie, riding in each other's direction just as fast as possible with an uncontrollable desire to push one's adversary off his horse, which meant defeat, because no man could ever climb a horse in full armor without a feudal derrick to assist him. Illustration: A JUDICIAL COMBAT. The victor was entitled to the horse and armor of the vanquished, which made the castle paddock of a successful knight resemble the convalescent ward of the Old Horses' Home. This tourney also constituted the prevailing court of those times, and the plaintiff, calling upon God to defend the right, charged upon the defendant with a charge which took away the breath of his adversary. This, of course, was only applicable to certain cases, and could not be used in trials for divorce, breach of promise, etc. The tournament was practically the forerunner of the duel. In each case the parties in effect turned the matter over to Omnipotence; but still the man who had his back to the sun, and knew how to handle firearms and cutlery, generally felt most comfortable. Gentlemen who were not engaged in combat, but who attended to the grocery business during the Norman period, wore a short velvet cloak trimmed with fur over a doublet and hose. The shoes were pointed, -as were the remarks made by the irate parent, -and generally the shoes and remarks accompanied each other when a young tradesman sought the hand of the daughter, whilst she had looked forward to a two-hundred-mile ride on the crupper of a knight-errant without stopping for feed or water. In those days also, the fool made no effort to disguise his folly by going to Congress or fussing with the currency, but wore a uniform which designated...Read Less
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