Lo, Michael (Chapter 5, page 2 of 12)


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Chapter 5

But when Michael in all his striking beauty stood before him with the deference of a more than son, his heart suddenly gave a great leap back to the day when he had first looked down upon the little white face on the pillow; when the blue eyes had opened and Mikky had smiled. Michael smiled now, and Endicott became aware at once of the subtle fascination of that smile. And now the thought presented itself. "What if this were my son! how proud I should be of him!"

Michael was indeed good to look upon even to the eyes of the city critic. Endicott had taken care to leave orders with his tailor for a full outfit to be sent to the boy, Spring and Fall, of suitable plain clothing for a school boy, little realizing how unnecessary it would have been to have dressed him so well. The tailor, nothing loth, had taken the measurements which were sent to him from year to year in answer to the letter of the firm, and had kept Michael looking as well as any rich man's son need desire to look. Not that the boy knew nor realized. The clothes came to him, like his board and tuition, and he took them well pleased and wrote his best letter of thanks each year as Professor Harkness suggested; but he had no idea that a part at least of his power of leadership with all the boys of the school was due to his plain though stylishly cut garments. This fact would not have counted for anything with boys who had been living in Florida for years, for any plain decent clothes were thought fit, no matter how they were cut; but the patronage of the school was at least one-half made up of rich men's sons who were sent South for a few years to a milder climate for their health. These as a rule, when they came, had exaggerated ideas of the importance of clothes and prevailing modes.

And so it was that Michael did not look like a dowdy country boy to his benefactor, but on the contrary presented a remarkable contrast with many of the boys with whom Endicott was acquainted at home. There was something about Michael even when he was a small lad that commanded marked attention from all who saw him. This attention Endicott and his daughter gave now as they walked beside him in the glow of the sunset, and listened as he pointed out the various spots of interest in the little college town.

The institution boasted of no carriage, and the single horse-car that travelled to the station belonged to the hotel and its guests. However, the walk was not long, and gave the travellers an opportunity to breathe the clear air and feel the stillness of the evening which was only emphasized by each separate sound now and again.

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