By Hans Christian Andersen
The General's family lived on the first
floor ; the Porter's lived in the cellar ;
there was a great distance between the two
families the whole of the ground-floor, and
the difference in rank ; but they lived
under the same roof, and had the same
outlook to the street and the yard. In the
yard there was a grass-plot with a flowering
acacia tree when it did flower ; and under
it sat sometimes the smartly-dressed nurse,
with the still more smartly-dressed child,
the General's, ' Little Emily.' Before them
the Porter's little boy, with the brown eyes
and dark hair, used to dance on his bare
feet, and the child laughed, and stretched
out her little hands to him, and when the
General saw it from his window, he nodded
down to them, and said, ' Charming ! ' The
General's lady, who was so young that she
could almost have been his daughter by an
marriage, never looked out to the yard, but
had given orders that the cellar-folks'
little boy might play for the child, but
must not touch it. The nurse kept strictly
to the lady's orders.
And the sun shone in upon the people in the
first floor, and upon those in the cellar ;
the acacia tree put forth its blossoms, they
fell off, and new ones came again next year
; the tree bloomed, and the Porter's little
boy bloomed, he looked like a fresh tulip.
The General's daughter grew
delicate and pale, like the pink leaf of the
acacia flower. She seldom came down now
under the tree ; she took her fresh air in
the carriage. She drove out with Mamma, and
she always nodded to the Porter's little
George, even kissed her fingers to him,
until her mother told her that she was
now too big for that.
One forenoon he went up to the General's
with the letters and papers which had been
left in the Porter's lodge in the morning.
As he went upstairs, past the door of the
sand-hole, he heard something whimpering
inside ; he thought it was a chicken
chirping there, but instead it was the
General's little daughter hi muslin and lace.
' Don't tell Papa and Mamma, for they will
be angry I '
' What is the matter, little miss ? ' asked
' It is all burning ! ' said she. ' It is
burning and 'blazing ! '
George opened the door to the little nursery
: the window curtain was almost all burned,
the curtain rod was glowing and in flames.
George sprang up, pulled it down, and called
to the people. But for him there would have
been a house on fire. The General and his
lady questioned little Emily. ' I only took
one single match,' said she, ' that burned
at once, and the curtain burned
at once. I spat to put it out, I spat as
hard as I could, but I could not spit enough,
and so I ran out and hid myself, for Papa
and Mamma would be so angry.' ' Spit ! '
said the General, ' what kind of a word is
that ? When did you hear Papa or Mamma say "
spit " ? You have got
that from downstairs.'
But little George got a penny. This did not
go to the baker, it went into the savings
box ; and soon there were so many shillings,
that he could buy himself a paint-box to
paint his drawings ; and of these he had
many. They seemed to come out of his pencil
and his finger-ends. He presented his first
paintings to little Emily.
V Charming !' said the General; the lady
herself admitted that one could distinctly
see what the little one had meant. ' He has
Genius ! ' These were the words that the
Porter's wife brought down into the cellar.
The General and his wife were people of rank
: they had two coats of arms on their
carriage ; one for each of them. The lady
had hers on every piece of clothing, outside
and inside, on her night-cap, and
night-dress bag. Hers was an expensive one,
bought by her father for shining dollars ;
for he had not been born with it, nor she
either ; she had come too early, seven years
before the coat of arms. Most people could
remember that, but not the family. The
General's coat of arms was old and big : it
might well make one's bones crack to carry
it, to say nothing of two such coats, and
her ladyship's bones cracked when, stiff and
stately, she drove to a court-ball.
The General was old and grey, but looked
well on horseback. He knew that, and he rode
out every day with a groom at a respectful
distance behind him. When he came to a
party, it was as if he came riding on his
high horse, and he had so many orders that
it was inconceivable ; but that was not his
fault at all. When quite a young man he had
served in the army, had been at the great
autumn manoeuvres, which then were held by
the troops in the days of peace. About that
time he had an anecdote, the only one he had
to tell. His under-officer cut off and took
prisoner one of the princes ; and the Prince
with his little troop of captured soldiers,
himself a prisoner, had to
ride into the town behind the General. It
was an event not to be forgotten, which
always, through all the years, 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, ' You are incomparable ! '
The General had never been in a real war ;
when that went through .the 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
roastbeef.' 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.
' George will be confirmed at Easter,' said
the Porter's wife. George was now so far
1 It would be sensible to put him to a trade,'
said the father ' a nice trade it should be,
of course, and so we should have him out of
' He will have to sleep at home at night,'
said the mother ; ' it is not easy to find a
master who has room for him to sleep ;
clothes, too, we must give him ; the little
bit of food he eats is easily got, he is
quite happy with one or two boiled potatoes
; he has free education too. Just let him go
his own way, you will see that he will be a
pleasure to us ; the Professor said so.'
The confirmation clothes were ready. The
mother herself had sewed them, but they were
cut out by the jobbing tailor, and he cut
well. If he had only been in a better
position, and had been able to have a
workshop and workmen, said the Porter's wife,
he might very well have been court-tailor.
The confirmation clothes were ready, and the
confirmant was ready. On the confirmation
day George got a large pinchbeck watch from
his godfather, the flax-dealer's old workman,
the richest of George's godfathers. The
watch was old and tried ; it always went
fast, but that is better than going slow. It
was a costly present ; and from the
General's came a Psalm-book, bound in
morocco, sent from the little lady to whom
George had presented his pictures. In the
front of the book stood his name and her
name and ' earnest well-wishes '. It was
written from the dictation of the General's
lady, and the General had read it through
and said, ' Charming ! '
' It was really a great attention from such
grand gentlefolk,' said the Porter's wife ;
and George had to go up in his confirmation
clothes and with the Psalm-book, to show
himself and return thanks.
The General's lady was much wrapped up, and
had one of her bad headaches, which she
always had when she was tired of things. She
looked kindly at George, and wished him
everything good and never to have her
headaches. The General was in his
dressing-gown, and wore a tasselled
cap and red-topped Russian boots. He went up
and down the floor three times in thoughts
and memories of his own, stood still, and
' So little George is now a Christian man ?
Let him be also an honest man, and honour
his superiors. Some day, as an old man, you
can say that the General taught you that
sentence ! '
This was a longer speech than he usually
made, and he returned again to his
meditation and looked dignified. But of all
that George heard or saw up there, he kept
most clearly in his thoughts the little Miss
Emily ; how charming she was, how gentle,
how light, and how fragile !
If she was to be painted, it must be .in a
soap-bubble. There was a fragrance about her
clothes, about her curly, golden hair, as if
she was a fresh-blossomed rose-tree ; and
with her he had once shared his bread and
butter ! She had eaten it with a hearty
appetite, and nodded to him
at every other mouthful. Could she remember
it still ? Yes, certainly; she had given him
the beautiful Psalmbook ' in memory ' of it
; and then the first time the New Year's new
moon was seen, he went outside with bread
and a farthing, and opened the book to see
what Psalm he
would light upon. It was a psalm of praise
and thanksgiving ; and he opened it again to
see what would be granted to little Emily.
He took care not to dip into the book where
the funeral hymns were, and yet he opened it
between Death and the Grave. This was
nothing to put faith in, and yet he was
frightened when the dainty little girl was
soon laid up in bed, and the doctor's
stopped outside the gate every noon.
' They won't keep her ! ' said the Porter's
wife ; ' our Lord knows well whom He will
have ! '
But they did keep her ; and George drew
pictures and sent them to her ; he drew the
Castle of the Czar, the old Kremlin in
Moscow, exactly as it stood, with towers and
cupolas ; they looked like gigantic green
and golden cucumbers, at least in George's
drawings. They pleased little Emily so much,
and therefore, in the course of a week,
George sent a few more pictures, all of them
buildings, because with them she could
imagine so much inside the doors and windows.
He drew a Chinese house, with bells
throughout all the sixteen stories ; he drew
two Greek temples, with slender marble
pillars, and steps round about ; he drew a
Norwegian church ; one could see that it was
made entirely of timber, carved and
wonderfully set up, every story looked as if
it were on cradle -rockers. Most beautiful
of all, however, was one drawing, a castle,
which he called ' Little Emily's '. In such
a one should she live ; George had
completely thought it out, and had taken for
that castle everything that he thought most
beautiful in the other buildings. It had
carved beams like the Norwegian church,
marble pillars like the Greek temple, bells
in every story, and at the top of all,
cupolas, green and gilded, like those on the
Czar's Kremlin. It was a real child's castle,
and under each window was written what the
room or hall was to be used for : ' Here
Emily sleeps.' ' Here Emily dances,' and '
Here Emily plays at receiving visitors.' It
was amusing to see, and it was looked at too.
' Charming ! ' said the General.
But the old Count, for there was an old
Count, who was still more dignified than the
General, and himself had a castle and an
estate, said nothing ; he heard that it was
designed and drawn by the Porter's little
son. He was not so little, however, seeing
that he was confirmed. The old Count looked
at the pictures, and had his own quiet
thoughts about them.
One day, when the weather was downright grey,
wet, and horrid, was one of the brightest
and best for little George. The Professor of
the Academy of Art called him in.
' Listen, my friend,' said he, ' let us have
some talk together ! God has been very good
to you with abilities ; He is also good to
you with good people. The old Count at the
corner has spoken to me about you ; I have
also seen your pictures ; we will draw the
pencil over them ; in them there is much to
correct ! Now you can come twice a week to
the drawing, school, and you will be able to
do better afterwards. I believe there is
more in you to make an architect than a
painter ; you can have time to consider that
yourself ; but to-day you must go up to the
old Count at the corner, and thank our Lord
for such a man ! '
It was a great house at the corner ; round
the windows were carved elephants and
dromedaries, all from olden times ; but the
old Count thought most of the new times with
what good they brought, whether it came from
the first floor, the cellar, or the garret.
' I believe,' said the Porter's wife, ' that
the more folks are really grand, the less
stuck-up they are ! How charming and
straightforward the old Count is ! And he
speaks just like you and me 1 the General's
people can't do that. Was George not quite
wild with delight yesterday, over the
delightful treatment he got from the Count ;
and to-day I am the same after having spoken
with the great man. Is it not a good thing
now, that we did not apprentice George to a
trade 1 He has abilities.'
' But they must have help from outside,'
said the father.
' He has got that now,' said the mother, '
the Count said it clearly and distinctly.'
' It is from the General's, though, that it
was all set going ! ' said the father. ' We
must also thank them.'
' That we can well do,' said the mother, '
but I don't believe there is much to thank
them for ; I will thank our Lord, and I will
also thank Him because the little Emily is
coming to herself again ! ' Emily kept
getting on, and George kept getting on ; in
the course of the year he got the little
silver medal, and afterwards the bigger one.
' It would have been better if he had been
put to a trade,' said the mother, and wept ;
' then we should have kept him ! What shall
he do in Rome ? I shall never see him again,
even if he comes home, but he won't do that,
the sweet child ! '
' But it is his good fortune and his glory !
' said the father.
' Yes, thank you, my friend,' said the
mother, ' but you don't mean what you say !
You are as much distressed as I am '
And it was true, both about the grief and
the going away. Everybody said it was great
good fortune for the young fellow !
And parting visits were paid, including one
to the General's ; but the lady did not show
herself, she had one of her headaches. By
way of farewell the General told his only
anecdote, about what he had said to the
Prince, and what the Prince said to him, You
are incomparable ! '
Then he gave George his hand his flabby hand
; Emily also gave George her hand and looked
almost distressed, but George was the most
distressed of all.
Time goes when one is doing something ; it
goes also when one is doing nothing. The
time is equally long, but not equally
profitable. For George it was profitable,
and not at all long, except when he thought
about those at home. How were they getting
on upstairs and downstairs ?
Well, he got news of them ; and one can put
so much in a letter, both the bright
sunshine, and the dark, heavy days. They lay
in the letter, which told that the father
was dead, and only the mother was left
behind. Emily had been like an angel of
comfort ; she had come down to her, the
mother wrote, and added that she herself had
got leave to keep the employment at the
The General's lady kept a diary ; in it was
recorded every party, every ball, she had
gone to, and all the visitors she had
received. The diary was illustrated with the
visiting cards of diplomats and the highest
nobility. She was proud of her diary ; it
grew for many a day, during many big
headaches, and also during many brilliant
nights, that is to say, courtballs.
Emily had been at a court-ball for the first
time. The mother was dressed in pink with
black lace ; Spanish ! The daughter in white,
so clear, so fine ! green ribbons fluttered
like leaves of sedge amongst her curly,
golden hair, which bore a crown of
water-lilies. Her eyes were so blue and so
clear, her mouth so small and red, she
looked like a little mermaid, as lovely as
can be imagined. Three princes danced with
her, that is to say, first one and then
another ; the General's lady did not have a
headache for a week.
But the first ball was not the last one ; it
was all too much for Emily, and it was a
good thing that the summer came with its
rest and fresh air. The family was invited
to the old Count's castle. It was a castle
with a garden worth seeing. One part of it
was quite as in olden days, with stiff,
green hedges, where one seemed to go between
green screens, in which there were
peep-holes. Box-trees and yew-trees were
clipped into stars and pyramids ; water
sprang from great grottoes, set with
cockle-shells : round about stood stone
figures of the very heaviest stone, one
could see that by the clothes and the faces
; every flowerbed had its shape of a fish,
shield, or monogram ; that was the French
part of the garden. From there one came, as
it were, into the fresh open wood, where the
trees dared to 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.
' 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.
' It is like Paradise here ! said her
ladyship, ' and there you have a baronial
castle ! '
' 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 ! '
' 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.'
Her ladyship curtsied, the daughter was
about to give him her hand, but she did not
give it. ' Our little Mr. George ! ' said
the General, ' old house-friends ; charming
You have become quite an Italian, said her
ladyship, and you talk the language like a
native, I suppose.'
Her ladyship sang Italian, but did not speak
it, the General said.
At the dinner-table George sat at Emily's
right hand. The General had taken her in,
the Count had taken in her ladyship.
Mr. George talked and told anecdotes, and he
told them well ; he was the life and soul of
the party, although the old Count could have
been that too. Emily sat silent ; her ears
heard, and her eyes shone, but she said
nothing. Afterwards she and George stood in
the verandah amongst
the flowers ; a hedge of roses hid them.
George was again the first to speak.
' Thank you for your kindness to my old
mother ! ' said he ; ' I know that the night
my father died, you came down to her, and
stayed with her till his eyes were closed.
Thanks ! ' He caught Emily's hand and kissed
it ; he might do that on this occasion. She
blushed rosy-red, but
pressed his hand again and looked at him
with her tender blue eyes.
' Your mother was a loving soul ! how fond
she was of you ! And she let me read all
your letters ; I believe I almost know you !
how kind you were to me when I was little ;
you gave me pictures '
' Which you tore in pieces ! ' said George.
' No ! I have still my castle, the drawing
' And now I must build it in reality ! '
said George, and grew quite hot with what he
The General and her ladyship talked in their
own room about the Porter's son ; he knew
how to comport himself, and could express
himself with knowledge and intelligence. He
could be a tutor ' said the General.
' Genius ! ' said her ladyship, and she said
Often in the lovely summer-time Mr. George
came to the castle of the Count. He was
missed when he did not come.
How much more God has given to you than to
us other poor creatures ! ' said Emily to
him. ' Do you realize that properly ? '
It flattered George that the lovely young
girl looked up to him, and he thought her
uncommonly gifted. And the General felt
himself more and more convinced that Mr.
George could not possibly be a child, of the
' The mother was, however, a very honest
woman,' said he ; ' I owe that to her memory.'
The summer went and the winter came, and
there was more talk about Mr. George ; he
had been received with favour in the highest
places. The General had met him at a
court-ball. And now there was to be a ball
in the house for little Emily. Could Mr.
George be invited ?
' Whom the King invites, the General can
invite,' said the General, and lifted
himself a whole inch from the floor.
Mr. George was invited, and he came ; and
princes and counts came, and the one danced
better than the other ; but Emily could only
dance the first dance. In it she sprained
her foot, not badly, but enough to feel it ;
so she had to be careful, stop dancing, and
look at the others ; and she sat and looked,
and the architect stood by her side :
' You are surely giving her the whole of St.
Peter's ! ' said the General, as he went
past, and smiled like benevolence itself.
With the same benevolent smile he received
Mr. George some days after. The young man
certainly came to call after the ball, what
else ? Yes, the most astounding, the most
astonishing thing ; he came with insane
words ; the General could not believe his
own ears ; a perfectly
incredible proposal, Mr. George asked for
little Emily as his wife !
' Man ! ' said the General, and began to
boil. ' I don't understand you in the least
! What do you say ? What do you want ? I
don't know you ! Sir ! Fellow ! it comes
into your head to come like this into my
house ! am I to be here, or am I not to be
here ? ' and he went backwards into his
bedroom and locked the door, leaving George
standing alone. He stood for some minutes,
and then turned about to go. In the corridor
' My father answered ? ' she asked, and her
George pressed her hand. ' He ran from me !
there is a better time coming I '
There were tears in Emily's eyes ; in those
of the young man were courage and confidence
; and the sun shone in upon the two and gave
them his blessing. In his room sat the
General, perfectly boiling ; in fact he
boiled over and sputtered out, ' Madness !
Porter's madness ! '
Before an hour had passed, the General's
lady got it from the General's own mouth,
and she called for Emily and sat alone with
' You poor child ! to insult you so ! to
insult us ! You have tears in your eyes, but
it suits you ! You are charming in tears !
You resemble me on my wedding-day. Cry away,
little Emily ! '
1 Yes, that I must,' said Emily, ' if you
and father don't say " Yes I " '
' Child ! ' cried her ladyship, ' you are
ill ! you talk in delirium, and I am getting
my frightful headache ! to think of all the
unhappiness which comes to our house ! Do
not be your mother's death, Emily. Then you
will have no mother ! '
And her ladyship's eyes grew wet ; she could
not bear to think of her own death.
In the newspaper one read amongst the
appointments : ' Mr. George, appointed
' It is a pity his parents are in their
grave and cannot read it ! ' said the new
porter-folk, who now lived in the cellar,
under the General's ; they knew that the
Professor had been born and brought up
within their four walls.
' Now he will come in for paying the tax on
titles,' said the man.
' Yes, is it not a great deal for a poor
child,' said the wife.
' Forty shillings in the year ! ' said the
man, ' yes, that is a lot of money ! '
' No, I mean the position ! ' said the wife.
' Do you suppose he will trouble himself
about the money ; he can earn that many
times over ; and he will, no doubt, get a
rich wife besides. If we had children, they
should also be architects and professors.'
George was well spoken of in the cellar, he
was well spoken of on the first floor ; even
the old Count condescended to do so.
It was the pictures from his childhood days
which gave occasion for it. But why were
they mentioned ? They were talking about
Russia, and about Moscow, and so of course
they came to the Kremlin, which little
George had once drawn for little Emily ; he
had drawn so many pictures ! but one in
particular, the Count remembered : ' little
Emily's castle,' where she slept, where she
danced, and played at ' receiving visitors '
. The Professor had much ability; he would
certainly die an old Privy-Councillor, it
was not impossible, and before that he might
have built a castle for the young lady ; why
' That was a curious flight of fancy ! '
observed her ladyship, when the Count had
departed. The General shook his head
thoughtfully, rode out with his groom at a
respectful distance, and sat more proudly
than ever on his high horse.
It was little Emily's birthday ; flowers and
books, letters and cards, were brought ; her
ladyship kissed her on the mouth, the
General on the forehead ; they were
affectionate parents, and both she and they
had distinguished visitors two of the
Princes. There was talk about balls and
theatres, about diplomatic embassies, the
government of kingdoms and countries. There
was talk of talent, native talent, and with
that, the young Professor was brought into
the conversation Mr. George, the architect.
' He builds for immortality ! ' it was said,
' he will certainly build himself into one
of the first families, too ! '
' One of the first families ? ' repeated the
General to his lady afterwards ; ' which one
of our first families ? '
' I know which was meant,' said her ladyship,
' but I will say nothing about it ! I will
not even think it 1 God ordains ! but I will
be astonished ! '
' Let me also be astonished ! ' said the
General, ' I have not an idea in my head,'
and he sank into a reverie.
There is a power, an unspeakable power, in
the fountain of favour from above, the
favour of the court, or the favour of God ;
and all that gracious favour little George
had. But we forget the birthday.
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. ' I 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 General's ; a costume ball at the
house of one of the princes. Masks were also
The General went as Rubens, in a Spanish
costume with a little ruff, a sword and
stately bearing ; her ladyship as Madame
Rubens, in black velvet, high-necked,
frightfully warm, with a mill-stone round
her neckr that is to say, a huge ruff, quite
in accordance with a Dutch painting which
the General possessed, and in which the
hands in particular were much admired they
were quite like her ladyship's. Emily was
Psyche in muslin and lace. She was like a
floating tuft of swan's-down : she had no
need of wings, she only wore them as a sign
of Psyche. There was splendour, magnificence,
lights, and flowers, richness, and taste ;
there was so much to see, that no one
noticed Madame Rubens's beautiful hands.
A black domino, with acacia-blossoms in the
hat, danced with Psyche.
' Who is he ? ' asked her ladyship.
' His Royal Highness ! ' said the General ;
' I am quite sure of it, I knew him at once
by his hand-shake.'
Her ladyship doubted.
General Rubens had no doubts ; he approached
the black domino, and wrote royal initials
on his hand ; they were denied, but a hint
was given ; ' The motto of the saddle ! One
whom the General does not know ! '
' But I do know you, then ! ' said the
General. ' You have sent me the saddle.'
The domino lifted his hand, and disappeared
amongst the others.
' Who is the black domino you were dancing
with, Emily ? ' asked the General's wife.
' I have not asked his name,' she answered.
' Because you knew it ! It is the Professor
! Your Professor is here, Count,' she
continued, turning to the Count, who stood
close by. ' Black domino, with acaciablossom
' Very possibly, my dear madam,' answered he
; ' but one of the princes is also wearing
the same costume.'
' I know the hand-shake ! ' said the
General. ' The Prince sent me the saddle. I
am so certain of it, that I shall invite him
' Do so ! if it is the Prince, he will be
sure to come,' said the Count.
' And if it is the other, he will not come !
' said the General, and approached the black
domino, who was just then talking with the
King. The General delivered a very
respectful invitation, ' so that they might
get to know each other.' The General smiled
in full confidence and certainty of whom he
was inviting ; he spoke loudly and
The Domino raised his mask : it was George.
' Does the General repeat the invitation ? '
asked he. The General drew himself an inch
higher, assumed a stiffer bearing, took two
steps backwards, and one step forwards, as
if in a minuet ; and there was gravity and
expression, as much of the General as could
be expressed in his aristocratic face.
' I never take back my word ; the Professor
is invited,' and he bo wed with a glance at
the King, who could certainly have heard the
And so there was a dinner at the General's,
only the Count and his protege were invited.
' The foot under the table,' thought George,
' then the foundation-stone is laid ! ' and
the foundation-stone was really laid with
great solemnity, by the General and her
The person had come, and as the General knew
and recognized, had talked quite like a man
of good society, had been most interesting ;
the General had been obliged many times to
say his ' Charming I ' Her ladyship talked
of her dinner-party, talked of it even to
one of the court ladies ; and she, who was
one of the most gifted, begged for an
invitation the next time the Professor came.
So he had to be invited again, and he was
invited and came, and was again charming ;
he could even play chess.
' He is not from the cellar ! ' said the
General, ' he is quite certainly of a good
family ! there are many of good family, and
the young man is not to blame for that.'
The Professor, who was admitted to the house
of the King, might well be allowed to enter
the General's ; but to take root in it,
there was no talk of that, except in the
He grew. The dew of grace fell from above !
It was therefore no surprise, that when the
Professor became a Privy Councillor, Emily
became a Privy Councillor's wife.
' Life is either a tragedy or a comedy/ said
the General. ' In tragedy they die, in
comedy they marry each other.'
Here they had each other. And they also had
three strong boys, but not all at once.
The sweet children rode hobby-horses through
the rooms and halls, when they were at
Grandfather's and Grandmother's, and the
General also rode on a hobby-horse behind
them ' as groom for the little
Privy-Councillors ! '
Her ladyship sat on the sofa and smiled,
even if she had her bad headache.
So far had George got on, and much farther
too, else it would not have been worth while
telling about the Porter's son.