920 THE PORTER'S SON
' 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 said,
' 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 !'