"...A stain that shall never bleach out in the sun! ..."
John Greenleaf Whittier
The Marais Des Cygnes Massacre
published September 1858
Geisha come out of the "floating world" the era of the pleasure quarters, giving rise to today's "flower and willow world" the world of the Geisha.
After the lord on the social ladder came the knight. The path to knighthood began at the age of seven, when a vassal sent his son to the lord's house to become a page. For seven years a page was cared for by the women of the house, who instructed him in comportment, courtesy, cleanliness, and religion. At 14 the page became a squire, a personal attendant to a knight. From the knight he learned riding and all the skills of war, as well as hunting, hawking, and other sports.
The Knightly Code. When he was judged ready (generally between the ages of 18 and 21) the squire was knighted in a religious ceremony after spending the night guarding his armour before a church altar. He had to swear to the knightly code which asked him to "protect the weak, defenseless, and helpless, and fight for the general welfare of all." This code was rarely lived up to, but it remained the standard for chivalry and proper behaviour amongst the nobility for centuries. In theory the squire could be knighted on the battlefield for exceptional valour, but this event was much rarer than Hollywood would have us believe.