Lo, Michael (Chapter 5, page 1 of 12)


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Chapter 5

Michael met Mr. Endicott unembarrassed. His early life in New York had given him a self-poise that nothing seemed to disturb; but when the father turned to introduce his young daughter, the boy caught his breath and gazed at her with deepening color, and intense delight.

She was here then, his Starr! She had come to see him, and she looked just as he would have her look. He had not realized before that she would be grown up, but of course she would, and the change in her was not so great as to shock his memory. The clear white of her skin with its fresh coloring was the same. New York life had not made it sallow. The roses were in her cheeks as much as when she was a little child. Her eyes were the same, dark and merry and looked at him straightly, unabashed, with the ease of a girl trained by a society mother. The dark curls were there, only longer, hanging to the slender waist and crowned with a fine wide Panama hat. She gave him a little gloved hand and said: "I'm afraid I don't remember you very well, but daddy has been telling me about you and I'm very glad to see you."

She was only a little over twelve, but she spoke with ease and simplicity, and for the first time in his life Michael felt conscious of himself. She was so perfect, so lovely, so finished in every expression and movement. She looked at him intelligently, politely curious, and no longer with the baby eyes that wondered at nothing. He himself could not help wondering what she must think of him, and for a few minutes he grew shy before her.

Mr. Endicott was surprised and pleased at the appearance of the boy. The passing of the years had easily erased the tender feelings that Mikky the little street urchin had stirred in his heart. This visit to the school and college was not so much on account of the boy, to whom he had come to feel he had discharged his full duty, but because of the repeated invitations on the part of Professor Harkness and the president. It went not against him to see the institution to which he had from time to time contributed, in addition to his liberal allowance for the education of the boy. It was perfectly convenient for him to stop, being on the regular route he had laid out for his southern trip. His wife he had left at Palm Beach with her fashionable friends; and with Starr as his companion, the father was going through the orange belt on a tour of investigation with a view to investments. It suited him perfectly to stop off and receive the thanks of the college, therefore he stopped. Not that he was a heartless man, but there were so many things in his world to make him forget, and a little pleasant adulation is grateful to the most of us.

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