Lo, Michael (Chapter 8, page 1 of 13)


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Chapter 8

Thirteen years in New York had brought many changes. Some of the well-remembered landmarks were gone and new buildings in their places. A prosperous looking saloon quite palatial in its entrance marked the corner where he used to sell papers. It used to be a corner grocery store. Saloons! Always and everywhere there were saloons! Michael looked at them wonderingly. He had quite forgotten them in his exile, for the college influence had barred them out from its vicinity.

The boy Mikky had been familiar enough with saloons, looking upon them as a necessary evil, where drinking fathers spent the money that ought to have bought their children food. He had been in and out of them commonly enough selling his papers, warming his feet, and getting a crust now and then from an uneaten bit on the lunch counter. Sometimes there had been glasses to drain, but Mikky with his observing eyes had early decided that he would have none of the stuff that sent men home to curse their little children.

College influence, while there had been little said on the subject, had filled the boy with horror for saloons and drunkards. He stood appalled now as he turned at last into an alley where familiar objects, doorsteps, turnings, cellars, met his gaze, with grog shops all along the way and sentinelling every corner.

A strange feeling came over him as memory stirred by long-forgotten sights awoke. Was this really the place, and was that opening beyond the third steps the very blind alley where Janie used to live? Things were so much dirtier, so much, worse in every way than he remembered them.

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