Another postcard arrived this morning. The picture on the front is James Ensor's ‘The Intrigue’ (I can see why Leonard chose it because I am obsessed with his Commedia masks at the moment) and the quotation on the reverse is taken from the poem Endymion by John Keats:
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.
I have an extremely busy week ahead; tomorrow is my birthday and my graduation ceremony takes place on Wednesday afternoon. Leonard has repeatedly reminded me about my impending birthday with an enthusiasm that has far outweighed my own and he insisted that we had an extra session on Friday so that he could present me with my birthday present. His eagerness came as no surprise since occasions such as birthdays seem to hold a special significance for him and he is utterly obsessed with time - there are, for example, three antique and beautifully crafted clocks in the workroom, a large grandfather clock chimes out the quarter hours in the hallway, Leonard keeps a pocket watch about his person at all times and I keep stumbling across the most ornate pocket watches all around the house.
The birthday-cum-graduation present that awaited me at Elmfield house was truly amazing. I intended to take the present home and open it on my birthday but Leonard could not contain his excitement and he demanded that I opened it in his presence. It was a small box containing an antique French crucifix that he had stumbled across in an antique shop in London and it is by far the most beautiful present that I have ever received. It is quite weighty for such a small piece, the cross itself is made from mother of pearl, the Jesus figure is made from silver and it has the date '21 Juin 1885' inscribed on the reverse. I’m impressed that he has managed to keep it a secret from me for all this time because the temptation to tell me must have been killing him! He also insisted that I opened my birthday card and his choice of card was quite unusual too; a romanticized picture of a beautiful woman with angel wings looking modestly down to her left side and inside the card Leonard has written:
“I saw this beauty and I could not resist her…anyway these qualities are yours too. Much, much…love L.”
Luke was also waiting at the house when I arrived. He presented me with a bouquet of red and white roses 'for his coniunctio queen' and a small gift wrapped in tissue paper. He presented the roses proudly to me but he passed the small gift to me rather shyly, whispering that I had once mentioned that I love carnivals and funfairs and so he thought that the gift was entirely appropriate. The tissue paper contained a Mardi Gras doubloon bearing the inscription 'Blood Will Keep Us Together'. I thanked Luke and politely suggested that it would be advisable to keep the roses in the workroom as my boyfriend Alex might wonder why I am accepting flowers from other men. Luke graciously agreed and he set about searching for a suitable vase in Leonard's kitchen, but I could tell that he was a little offended.