930 THE PORTER'S SON
Emily's room was fragrant with flowers from friends of both sexes, on the table lay lovely presents of greeting and remembrance, but not a single one from George ; that could not come, but it was not needed either, the whole house was a remembrance of him. Even from the sand-hole under the stair a memorial flower peeped ; there Emily had hidden when the curtain was burnt, and George came as first fire-engine. A glance out of the window, and the acacia tree reminded her of childhood's days. Flowers and leaves had fallen off, but the tree stood in the hoar-frost, as if it were a monster branch of coral, and the moon shone big and clear amongst the branches, unchanged in all its changing, as when George shared his bread and butter with little Emily. From a drawer she took out the drawings of the Czar's castle, with her own castle,—keepsakes from George. They were looked at and mused upon, and many thoughts arose; she remembered the day, when, unobserved by her father and mother, she went down to the Porter's wife, who was lying at the point of death. She sat beside her and held her hand, and heard her last words,— ' Blessing—George ! ' The mother thought of her son. Now Emily put her own meaning into the words. Yes, George was with her on her birthday, really with her !
The next day, it so happened, there was again a birthday in the house—the General's birthday ; he was born the day after his daughter, but of course at an earlier date, many years earlier. Again there came presents, and amongst them a saddle, of distinguished appearance, comfortable and costly ; there was only one of the princes who had its equal. Who could it be from ? The General was delighted. A little card came with it. If it had said,' Thanks for yesterday,' we could have guessed from whom it came ; but on it was written, 'From one whom the General does not know!'
' Who in the world do I not know % ' said the General. 11 know everybody ! ' and his thoughts went into society; he knew every one there. ' It is from my wife/ he said at last, ' she is making fun of me ! Charming !'
But she was not making fun of him ; that time had gone past.
And now there was a festival again, but not at the