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Chapter 4
With sheep and shaggy goats the porkers bled,
And the proud steer was on the marble spread;
With fire prepared, they deal the morsels round,
Wine rosy bright the brimming goblets crown'd.
* * * * *
Disposed apart, Ulysses shares the treat;
A trivet table and ignobler seat,
The Prince assigns---
Odyssey, Book XXI
The Prior Aymer had taken the opportunity afforded him, of changing his riding robe for
one of yet more costly materials, over which he wore a cope curiously embroidered.
Besides the massive golden signet ring, which marked his ecclesiastical dignity, his
fingers, though contrary to the canon, were loaded with precious gems; his sandals
were of the finest leather which was imported from Spain; his beard trimmed to as small
dimensions as his order would possibly permit, and his shaven crown concealed by a
scarlet cap richly embroidered.
The appearance of the Knight Templar was also changed; and, though less studiously
bedecked with ornament, his dress was as rich, and his appearance far more
commanding, than that of his companion. He had exchanged his shirt of mail for an
under tunic of dark purple silk, garnished with furs, over which flowed his long robe of
spotless white, in ample folds. The eight-pointed cross of his order was cut on the
shoulder of his mantle in black velvet. The high cap no longer invested his brows, which
were only shaded by short and thick curled hair of a raven blackness, corresponding to
his unusually swart complexion. Nothing could be more gracefully majestic than his step
and manner, had they not been marked by a predominant air of haughtiness, easily
acquired by the exercise of unresisted authority.
These two dignified persons were followed by their respective attendants, and at a more
humble distance by their guide, whose figure had nothing more remarkable than it
derived from the usual weeds of a pilgrim. A cloak or mantle of coarse black serge,
enveloped his whole body. It was in shape something like the cloak of a modern hussar,
having similar flaps for covering the arms, and was called a "Sclaveyn", or "Sclavonian".
Coarse sandals, bound with thongs, on his bare feet; a broad and shadowy hat, with
cockle-shells stitched on its brim, and a long staff shod with iron, to the upper end of
which was attached a branch of palm, completed the palmer's attire. He followed
modestly the last of the train which entered the hall, and, observing that the lower table
scarce afforded room sufficient for the domestics of Cedric and the retinue of his guests,
he withdrew to a settle placed beside and almost under one of the large chimneys, and
seemed to employ himself in drying his garments, until the retreat of some one should
make room at the board, or the hospitality of the steward should supply him with
refreshments in the place he had chosen apart.