The scene opens upon a Knight and his squire, battle tired and lightly drunk, taking their ease by the campfire. The squire, bemused by the other man's far off stare decides to prod his Master back to the present with a question.
Squire - "Sir, I have heard it said that making a man a knight makes him a better fighter. Is this true? Can it be that I should simply don a quality sword and belt and chain and so become better? I posit that where I would not be your equal, but still, nearly certainly the equal of many younger knights as we saw upon the battlefield this day."Knight - "'Tis not so. Consider, would you know me for a knight even had I not the badges of the office? Am I lessened when I dress for sleep? Or do you believe I wear my regalia even when alone in the bedchamber, to maintain my office? Lucio, in Measure for Measure, had the right of it when he said 'Cucullus non facit monachum.' The hood does not make the monk."
Squire - " No Sir, I would know you for a knight even were you wearing sackcloth and were up to your arse in mud. In the military orders at least, even the least trained eye knows a dangerous man from a jester, no matter the coverings. But what of nobility? Fourth son or fifth cousin to some Lord, we are all 'nobly borne,' whatever that means, but I still sit below the salt at feast while the Baron's are held apart from us 'mere mortals.' They eat better, and whereas I must go and get my food, and yours, theirs is brought to them. But were they to doff the coronet and pearls and wealthy clothing, I am uncertain I would know them to be my better."
Knight - (laughing)"I am ill equiped to answer that, as you have already acknowledged that we two soldiers are made sit with the rabble at feast."
The knight's eyes drift to the fire and his face loses it's wry grin, becoming nearly unreadable. His squire, concerned he may have erred, offers over the flask, and, his eyes wandering to the fire and back to the man, asks -
Squire - "Sir...?"
Knight - "A moment ... a moment ... " and then "I cannot answer you, for I am uncertain myself sometimes. Still and all, I do not have a coronet, nor the burdens associated with one, and so I must consider that I am ill equipped to answer such a question."
An easy silence overtakes them both as the knight turns the question over and over in his mind, while the squire, for his part, silently recounts to himself the days success. The flask is passed between them often and is soon empty. Then, without warning, the Knight rouses himself, hands the flask to his squire, and says
Knight - " Go and refill this. I have an idea. Tis certain that neither of us are qualified to answer your question."
Squire - "It was a jest, Sir, a distraction. It would not be appropriate for one of your station to ask such a thing, would it?"
Knight - " Ah yes, it would not. If, however, I gave them a venue in which to ask each other..."
Taking a deep draught from the refilled flask, the good knight hands it to his squire and with a satisfied smile, closes his eyes and is soon asleep.