Lo, Michael (Chapter 3, page 2 of 10)

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Chapter 3

There were other times when Mr. Endicott would come and talk briefly with the boy, just to see his eyes light and his face glow with that wonderful smile, and to think what it would be if the boy were his own. Always Mikky enjoyed these little talks, and when his visitor was gone he would think with satisfaction that this was just the right kind of a father for his little lovely Starr. He was glad the Baby Starr had a father. He had often wondered what it would be like to have a father, and now he thought he saw what the height of desire in a father might be. Not that he felt a great need for himself in the way of fathers. He had taken care of himself since he could remember and felt quite grown up and fathers usually drank; but a baby like that needed a father, and he liked Starr's father.

But the dearest thing now in life for him was little Starr's kisses.

To the father, drawn first by gratitude to the boy who had saved his child's life, and afterwards by the boy's own irresistible smile, these frequent visits had become a pleasure. There had been a little boy before Starr came to their home, but he had only lived a few weeks. The memory of that golden, fuzzy head, the little appealing fingers, the great blue eyes of his son still lingered bitterly in the father's heart. When he first looked upon this waif the fancy seized him that, perhaps his own boy would have been like this had he lived, and a strange and unexpected tenderness entered his heart for Mikky. He kept going to the little invalid's room night after night, pleasing himself with the thought that the boy was his own.

So strong a hold did this fancy take upon the man's heart that he actually began to consider the feasibility of adopting the child and bringing him up as his own--this, after he had by the aid of detectives, thoroughly searched out all that was known of him and found that no one owned Mikky nor seemed to care what became of him except Buck and his small following. And all the time the child, well fed, well cared for, happier than he had ever dreamed of being in all his little hard life, rapidly convalesced.

Endicott came home one afternoon to find Mikky down in the reception room dressed in black velvet and rare old lace, with his glorious sheaf of golden hair which had grown during his illness tortured into ringlets, and an adoring group of ladies gathered about him, as he stood with troubled, almost haughty mien, and gravely regarded their maudlin sentimentalities.

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