“I see, Uncle James. Beautiful!” popping back instantly with, “Go on, Babie, dear. How did Sir Gilbert get them out of that horrid defile full of Turks? It is true, you said.”
“True that Louis VII. and Queen Eleanor got into that dreadful mess. Armine found it in Sismondi, but nobody knew who Sir Gilbert was except ourselves; and we are quite sure he was Sir Gilbert of the Ermine, the son of the brother who thought it his duty to stay at home.”
“Sir Philibert? Oh, yes! I know.”
“There are some verses about the Iconium Pass, written out in our spotted book, but I can say some of them.”
“’The rock is
steep, the gorge is deep,
Mount Joye St. Denys;
But King Louis bold his way doth hold,
Mount Joye St. Denys.
Ho ho, the ravine is ’narrow
Lah billah el billah, hurrah.
The hills near and far the Frank’s way do bar,
Lah billah el billah, hurrah.’
“It ought to be ‘Allah el Allah,’ but you know that really does mean a holy name, and Armine thought we ought not to have it. It was delightful making the ballad, for all the Christian verses have ‘Mount Joye St. Denys’ in the different lines, and all the Turkish ones ‘Lah billah,’ till Sir Gilbert comes in, and then his war-cry goes instead-
“’On, on, ye
Franks, hew down their ranks,
Up, merry men, for the Ermine!
For Christian right ’gainst Pagan might,
Up, merry men, for the Ermine!’
but one day Jock got hold of it, and wrote a parody on it.”
“Oh what a shame! Weren’t you very angry?”
“It was so funny, one could not help laughing.
“’Come on, old
Turk, you’ll find hot work-
Pop goes the weasel!
They cut and run; my eyes, what fun!—
Pop goes the weasel!’”
“How could you bear it? I won’t hear a bit more. It is dreadful.”
“Miss Ogilvie says if one likes a thing very much, parodies don’t hurt one’s love,” said Babie.
“But what did Sir Gilbert do?”
“He rode up to where Louis was standing with his back against a rock, and dismounted saying ‘My liege-’”
“I thought he was an Englishman?”
“Oh, but you always called a king ‘my liege,’ whoever you were. ’My liege,’ he said-”
“Look at that charming little church tower.”
“I see, thank you.”
“I see, Uncle James. No, thank you, I don’t want to look out any more. I saw it. Well, Babie, ‘My liege-’”
“Never mind, James,” said Mrs. Evelyn, “one can’t be more than in Elysium.”
There were fewer conveniences for the siege on the last day of the journey, when railroads were no more; but something could be done on board the steamer in spite of importunities from those who thought it a duty to look at the shores of the Lake of Lucerne, and when arrival became imminent, happy anticipation inclined Barbara to a blissful silence. Mrs. Evelyn saw her great hazel eyes shining like stars, and began to prefer the transparent mask of that ardent little soul to the external beauty which made Elvira a continual study for an artist.