THE PORTER'S SON 919
was re-told by the General, with just the same memorable words which he had used when he returned the Prince's sabre to him, ' Only my subaltern could have taken your Highness prisoner, I never ! ' and the Prince answered, 1 You are incomparable !' The General had never been in a real war ; when that went through .t)he land, he went on the diplomatic path, through three foreign courts. He spoke the French language, so that he almost forgot his own ; he danced well, he rode well, orders grew on his coat in profusion ; sentinels presented arms to him, and one of the most beautiful young girls presented herself to him and became his wife, and they had a charming baby, which seemed to have fallen down from Heaven, it was so lovely, and the Porter's son danced in the yard for her, as soon as she could take notice, and gave her all his coloured pictures, and she looked at them, and was delighted with them, and tore them to pieces. She was so fine and so charming !
' My rose-leaf,' said the General's lady, ' you are born for a Prince ! '
The Prince already stood outside the door ; but they did not know it. People cannot see very far beyond the door-step.
' The other day, our boy shared his bread and butter with her,' said the Porter's wife ; ' there was neither cheese nor meat on it, but she enjoyed it as if it had been roast-beef.' The General's people would have brought the house down if they had seen that feast, but they didn't see it.
George had shared his bread and butter with little Emily; he would willingly have shared his heart with her, if it would have pleased her. He was a good boy, he was clever and sprightly, he now went to the evening class at the Academy, to learn to draw properly. Little Emily also made progress in learning ; she talked French with her nurse, and had a dancing-master.
1 George will be confirmed at Easter,' said the Porter's wife. George was now so far advanced.
1 It would be sensible to put him to a trade,' said the fatheró' a nice trade it should be, of course, and so we should have him out of the house.'