An Unfortunate Lily Maid.
“Of course you must be Elaine, Anne,” said Diana. “I could never have the courage to float down there.”
“Nor I,” said Ruby Gillis with a shiver.
“I don’t mind floating down when there’s two or three of us in the flat (begin subscript)^(end subscript)(begin superscript)and we can sit up.(end superscript) It’s fun then. But to lie down and pretend I was dead—I just couldn’t I’d die really of fright.”
“Of course it would be romantic,” conceded Jane Andrews. “But I know I couldn’t keep still. I’d be popping up every minute or so to see where I was and if I wasn’t drifting too far out. And you know, Anne, that would spoil the effect.”
“But it’s so ridiculous to have a red-
haired headed Elaine,” said mourned Anne. “I’m not afraid to float down and I’d love to be Elaine. But it’s ridiculous just the same. Ruby ought to be Elaine because she
424 498: Another chapter of penciled renumbering.
"Lily Maid": Anne's imaginings in this chapter, and the chapter's title, are inspired by Tennyson's long poem "Lancelot and Elaine." The poem was part of his 1859 Idylls of the King, a cycle of poems about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The work opens with "Elaine the fair, Elaine the loveable, / Elaine, the lily maid of Astolat, / High in her chamber up a tower to the east / Guarded the sacred shield of Lancelot." Elaine dies of unrequited love for Lancelot, and her funeral barge floats to Camelot to deliver him a final message.
Tennyson first became interested in the same Arthurian subject matter in the 1830s, publishing two versions of his poem "The Lady of Shalott," one in 1833 and the other in 1842. Both Elaine and the "Lady" come up in this chapter, and both are used in various adaptations of the novel.