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saint, to break three hundred lances with Milan points, in the following manner: Three lances with every knight who shall pass this way on the road to the shrine of the saint. Armor and weapons will be provided in ample store for such cavaliers as shall travel in palmers' weeds. All noble ladies, who shall be on their pilgrimage unattended by a chivalric escort, must be contented to lose their right hand glove, till a knight shall recover it by the valor of his arm.” When the herald concluded, the king and his council conferred together, and they soon agreed that the laws of chivalry obliged them to consent to the accomplishing of this emprise of arms. When the royal permission was proclaimed by the heralds, Sueno got a noble knight to take off his helmet, and thus bareheaded approached the throne and humbly thanked the king. He afterwards retired with his nine friends, and having exchanged their heavy armor for silken dresses of festivity, they returned to the hall and joined the dance.
Six months were to elapse before the valiant and amorous Sueno de Quiñones could be delivered from his shackle, and all that time was spent by him and his friends in exercising themselves to the use of the lance, and in providing stores of harness and lances for such knights as would joust with them. The place that was arranged for the contest was the bridge of Orbigo, six hours' ride from Leon, and three from Astorga. The marble effigy of a herald was set ир
in the road, and by the label in its right hand travellers were acquainted that they had reached the passage of
The lists were erected in a beautiful plain formed by nature in a neighbouring wood. Tents for
banqueting and repose were raised and amply furnish-
The fair penitents to the shrine of the saint were
Sueno de Quiñones, and in seven hundred and twentyseven encounters only sixty-six lances had been broken, - a chivalric phrase, expressive either of the actual shivering of lances, or of men being thrown out of their saddles. The judges of the tournament, however, declared that although the number of the lances broken was not equal to the undertaking, yet as such a partial performance of the conditions of the passage of arms had not been the fault of Sueno de Quiñones, they commanded the king-at-arms to take the chain from his neck, and to declare that the emprise had been achieved. Accordingly the chain was removed, and the delivered knight entered Leon in triumph.
In the history of mankind every thing is gradual. Society does not receive a new form in a day. The ideas cast abroad in one century become the leading principles of the next; and a revolution, however sudden it may appear, is but the explosion of a train that has been long and curiously laid. We shall endeay. our, in a brief sketch, to exhibit the progressive steps by which the political and social institutions of the Middle Ages in Europe were developed and established.
When the fierce and barbarous nations of the North poured down upon the Roman empire, and began to form permanent settlements, they made a partition of the lands in the conquered provinces between them, selves and the original possessors. The Burgundians and Visigoths took two thirds of their respective conquests, leaving the remainder to the Roman proprietors. The Vandals in Africa, a more furious race of plunderers, took all the best lands. The Lombards of Italy took a third part of the produce. The Franks in Gaul took the greater portion of the territory, and imposed their name upon the kingdom. It is here that we trace most distinctly the rise and extension of the feudal system. Clovis, the Frankish conqueror, was a leader of barbarians, who respected his valor and the rank which they had given him, but were incapable of servile feelings, and jealous of their common, as well as individual rights. In order to appreciate the extent of his power, we liave only to refer to the story of the Vase of Soissons. When the plunder taken in the invasion of Gaul was collected in that city for distribution, he begged for himself a precious vessel belonging to the church of Rheims. The army expressed a willingness to consent. “ You shall have nothing here,” exclaimed a soldier, striking the vase with his battle-axe, “ but what falls to your share by lot.” The king dared not express his resentment at the time, but took his
revenge a year afterward. The kingdom of Clovis was divided into a number of districts, each under the government of a Count. The authority of this officer extended over all the inhabitants, as well Franks as natives. It was his duty