Lo, Michael (Chapter 3, page 1 of 10)


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Chapter 3

Heaven opened for Mikky on the day when Morton, with the doctor's permission, brought Baby Starr to see him.

The baby, in her nurse's arms, gazed down upon her rescuer with the unprejudiced eyes of childhood. Mikky's smile flashed upon her and forthwith she answered with a joyous laugh of glee. The beautiful boy pleased her ladyship. She reached out her roseleaf hands to greet him.

The nurse held her down to the bed: "Kiss the wee b'y, that's a good baby. Kiss the wee b'y. He took care of baby and saved her life when the bad man tried to hurt her. Kiss the wee b'y and say 'I thank you,'" commanded Morton.

The saving of her life meant nothing to little Starr, but she obediently murmured 'I'ee tank oo!' as the nurse had drilled her to do before she brought her, and then laid her moist pink lips on cheeks, forehead, eyes and mouth in turn, and Mikky, in ecstasy, lay trembling with the pleasure of it. No one had ever kissed him before. Kissing was not in vogue in the street where he existed.

Thereafter, every day until he was convalescent, Starr came to visit him.

By degrees he grew accustomed to her gay presence enough to talk with her freely as child with child. Her words were few and her tongue as yet quite unacquainted with the language of this world; but perhaps that was all the better, for their conversations were more of the spirit than of the tongue, Mikky's language, of circumstance, being quite unlike that of Madison Avenue.

Starr brought her wonderful electric toys and dolls, and Mikky looked at them with wonder, yet always with a kind of rare indifference, because the child herself was to him the wonder of all wonders, an angel spirit stooped to earth. And every day, when the nurse carried her small charge away after her frolic with the boy, she would always lift her up to the bed and say: "Now kiss the wee b'y, Baby Starr, and thank him again fer savin' yer life."

And Starr would lay her soft sweet mouth on hie as tenderly and gravely as if she understood the full import of her obligation. At such times Mikky would watch her bright face as it came close to his, and when her lips touched his he would close his eyes as if to shut out all things else from this sacred ceremony. After Starr and Morton were gone the nurse was wont to look furtively toward the bed and note the still, lovely face of the boy whose eyes were closed as if to hold the vision and memory the longer. At such times her heart would draw her strangely from her wonted formality and she would touch the boy with a tenderness that was not natural to her.

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