When Guy was about to depart for the army, the Squire again took him aside, and gave him a long exhortation. He warned him against that affectation of cool-blooded indifference, which he was told was cultivated by the young British officers, among whom it was a study to “sink the soldier” in the mere man of fashion. “A soldier,” said he, “without pride and enthusiasm in his profession, is a mere sanguinary hireling. Nothing distinguishes him from the mercenary bravo, but a spirit of patriotism, or a thirst for glory. It is the fashion now-a-days, my son,” said he, “to laugh at the spirit of chivalry; when that spirit is really extinct, the profession of the soldier becomes a mere trade of blood.” He then set before him the conduct of Edward the Black Prince, who is his mirror of chivalry; valiant, generous, affable, humane; gallant in the field. But when he came to dwell on his courtesy toward his prisoner, the king of France; how he received him in his tent, rather as a conqueror than as a captive; attended on him at table like one of his retinue; rode uncovered beside him on his entry into London, mounted on a common palfrey, while his prisoner was mounted in state on a white steed of stately beauty; the tears of enthusiasm stood in the old gentleman’s eyes.
Finally, on taking leave, the good Squire put in his son’s hands, as a manual, one of his favourite old volumes, the life of the Chevalier Bayard, by Godefroy; on a blank page of which he had written an extract from the Morte d’Arthur, containing the eulogy of Sir Ector over the body of Sir Launcelot of the Lake, which the Squire considers as comprising the excellencies of a true soldier. “Ah, Sir Launcelot! thou wert head of all Christian knights; now there thou liest: thou wert never matched of none earthly knights-hands. And thou wert the curtiest knight that ever bare shield. And thou wert the truest friend to thy lover that ever bestrood horse; and thou wert the truest lover of a sinfull man that ever loved woman. And thou wert the kindest man that ever strook with sword; and thou wert the goodliest person that ever came among the presse of knights. And thou wert the meekest man and the gentlest that ever eate in hall among ladies. And thou wert the sternest knight to thy mortal foe that ever put speare in the rest.”
Each city, each town, and every village,
Affords us either an alms or pillage.
And if the weather be cold and raw.
Then in a barn we tumble on straw.
If warm and fair, by yea-cock and nay-cock,
The fields will afford us a hedge or a hay-cock.
As I was walking one evening with the Oxonian, Master Simon, and the general, in a meadow not far from the village, we heard the sound of a fiddle, rudely played, and looking in the direction from whence it came, we saw a thread of smoke curling up from among the trees. The sound of music is always attractive; for, wherever there is music, there is good-humour, or good-will. We passed along a footpath, and had a peep through a break in the hedge, at the musician and his party, when the Oxonian gave us a wink, and told us that if we would follow him we should have some sport.