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BLOSS C.A. Heroines of the Crusades

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BLOSS C.A.
Heroines of the Crusades
page 132



more familiar intercourse and a greater exercise of personal influence than the ceremonious observances of Eastern so-ciety permitted, or the strictly virtuous deemed quite dis-creet. The zealous queen, however, scorned to be control-led by such fastidious considerations. Her apartments opened upon a terrace which conducted to a garden filled with every variety of odoriferous shrub and fragrant flower, at the foot of which a clump of olive-trees spread abroad their arms to hide a mossy seat from the intrusive rays of the sun. A little wicket concealed by vines led from the garden into the street, and Eleanor kept the key. Through this wicket she admitted her young disciple, and in this re-treat, with missionary zeal, commenced her efforts for the conversion of the Mussulman. It was some time before the European and Asiatic succeeded in coming to a perfect understanding ; for though Saladin was tolerably well versed in the Lingua Franca, his vocabulary comprehended little else than those terms used in common intercourse or war. Whether the philosophers of that day had taught that though some languages may be deficient in expressions of abstract ideas, all are replete in the dialect of love, cer-tain it is, that both teacher and pupil became aware of the fact in their own particular case. But it was no part of Eleanor's religious plan to entangle herself in a mesalli-ance, and when the fascinated Emir began to stammer forth his admiration, she playfully told him she could un-derstand love only in the Provençal tongue. The Saracen took his departure, and though she watched anxiously for the arrow tipped with the eagle feather, by which he was wont to announce his coining, she saw him not again for twenty days. When the long-wished-for token at length appeared, and the handsome youth in his crimson robe and green baldric stood again before her, his face radiant with joy, and his dark eyes sparkling with delight jwhen she heard him pour forth his eloquent passion in the loved Pro-vençal, with all the fluency and ease of ,a native, she al-most fancied a miracle had been wrought, and felt con-vinced that not to lead such talents to the bosom of the ELEANOR. 141


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