31 MAY 1930, Page 28

Deportment for Girls

The Book of the Knight of La Tour Landry. Introduction by D. B. Wyndham Lewis. (John _Hamilton. 10s. 6d.) The Book of the Chevalier de la Tour Landry was the manual of deportment for girls of birth in France and such parts of Germany as were relatively civilized well into the Renais- sance. Its author was a landowner in Anjou. It was early translated into English. Caxton printed an edition in 1484. There was an earlier one, and both, we are told, have been used for the purposes of this translation. The English has been modernized but the text is unabridged. There are readers who will object to this latter fact. Mr. Wyndham Lewis expects " squeals " from " the puritan and the prig." Well ! Some stomachs are stronger than others. We would warn those whose literary digestion is unaccustomed to mediaeval fare. For the most part, however, the Knight's fatherly didacticism and the anecdotes which illustrate his moral points are charming and amusing. He brings before us the young women of his period and teaches us to dis- tinguish between the sheep and the goats. This type of bad deportment held up so many eentAiries ago as a warning, strikes one as still familiar. " She held not her estate and port sure for she looked small and winked oft, and spake Afore she understood what was said of her and ever looked Over the shoulder, and ever beating her eyelids together."

Now let us consider a perfect lady. She is " easy in speech and not light in looking." She is good tempered, " a gentle- woman should have no wrath in her, for they ought to have a gentle heart and fair and soft in answer and to be humble, as God saith in the Gospel." Her politeness must not stop short at the circle of her intimates or equals As it Napped as I was not long since in-the,company of Knights and Ladies a great lady did off her hood and bowed her against a tailor and one of the Knights said Madam, you have done off your hood to a tailor' and she said that she was gladder that she had done it off to him than to a lord. And they all saw her mnekness and wisdom, and held her wise, and the knight lewd that told her of the

tailor." -

Our Knight is a Conservative ; he objects to " new novelties of array." He thinks " all good women ought to be afeared to take any such array till it were taken in all the country and that they may no longer flee it for 'worldly shame." We are sometimes tempted to think that Mediaeval people were more like ourselves than the Elizabethans with whom we are so ceaselessly compared.