THE PORTER'S SON
grow as they would, and were therefore so big and so beautiful. The grass was green, and good for walking on; it was rolled, mowed, and well kept; that was the English part of the garden.
1 Olden times and modern times,' said the Count, 'here they glide well into each other ! In about two years the house itself will get its proper appearance. It will undergo a complete change to something better and more beautiful. I shall show you the plans, and I shall show you the architect. He is here to-day for dinner ! '
* Charming ! ' said the General.
1 It is like Paradise here ! said her ladyship, ' and there you have a baronial castle ! '
1 That is my hen-house,' said the Count. ' The pigeons live in the tower, the turkeys on the first floor, but on the ground floor old Dame Elsie rules. She has guest-chambers on all sides : the sitting-hens by themselves, the hen with chickens by herself, and the ducks have their own outlet to the water ! '
1 Charming ! ' repeated the General, and they all went to see this fine show.
Old Elsie stood in the middle of the room, and by the side of her was George, the architect; he and little Emily . met after many years, met in the hen-house. Yes, there he stood, and he was nice enough to look at; his face open and decided, with black glossy hair, and on his lips a smile which said, ' There sits a rogue behind my ear who knows you outside and in/ Old Elsie had taken her wooden shoes off, and stood on her stocking soles, in honour of the distinguished guests. And the hens cackled, and the cock crew, and the ducks waddled away with ' quack, quack ! ' But the pale, slender girl, the friend of his childhood, the General's daughter, stood there with a rosy tinge on the otherwise pale cheeks ; her eyes became so big, and her mouth spoke without saying a single word, and the greeting he got was the prettiest any young man could wish for from a young lady, if they were not related or had never danced much together ; she and the architect had never danced with each other.
The Count shook hands with him, and presented him: * Our young friend, Mr. George, is not quite a stranger.'