A day or two after this, Mr. Moyese entertained all his nephews and nieces at dinner, and each was gratified with some appropriate gift. The old man sat happily regarding the group that crowded round him, their faces beaming with delight. The claim for the seat of honour on Uncle Moyese’s knee was clamorously disputed, and the old gentleman was endeavouring to settle it to the satisfaction of all parties, when a servant entered, and delivered a portentous-looking document, tied with red tape. “Oh, the papers—now, my dears, let uncle go. Gustave, let go your hold of my leg, or I can’t get up. Amy, ring the bell, dear.” This operation Mr. Moyese was obliged to lift her into the chair to effect, where she remained tugging at the bell-rope until she was lifted out again by the servant, who came running in great haste to answer a summons of such unusual vigour.
“Tell George I want him,” said Mr. Moyese.
“He’s gone down to the office; I hearn him say suffin bout de nordern mail as he went out—but I duno what it was”—and as he finished he vanished from the apartment, and might soon after have been seen with his mouth in close contact with the drumstick of a turkey.
Mr. Moyese being now released from the children, took his way to the office, with the portentous red-tape document that was to so greatly change the condition of George Winston in his coat pocket. The old man sat down at his desk, smiling, as he balanced the papers in his hand, at the thought of the happiness he was about to confer on his favourite. He was thus engaged when the door opened, and George entered, bearing some newly-arrived orders from European correspondents, in reference to which he sought Mr. Moyese’s instructions.
“I think, sir,” said he, modestly, “that we had better reply at once to Ditson, and send him the advance he requires, as he will not otherwise be able to fill these;” and as he concluded he laid the papers on the table, and stood waiting orders respecting them.
Mr. Moyese laid down the packet, and after looking over the papers George had brought in, replied: “I think we had. Write to him to draw upon us for the amount he requires.—And, George,” he continued, looking at him benevolently, “what would you like for a New-year’s present?”
“Anything you please, sir,” was the respectful reply.
“Well, George,” resumed Mr. Moyese, “I have made up my mind to make you a present of——” here he paused and looked steadily at him for a few seconds; and then gravely handing him the papers, concluded, “of yourself, George! Now mind and don’t throw my present away, my boy.” George stood for some moments looking in a bewildered manner, first at his master, then at the papers. At last the reality of his good fortune broke fully upon him, and he sank into a chair, and unable to say more than: “God bless you, Mr. Moyese!” burst into tears.