Lo, Michael (Chapter 3, page 3 of 10)


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Chapter 3

Mrs. Endicott had paid no attention to the boy heretofore, and her sudden interest in him came from a chance view of him as he sat up in a big chair for the first time, playing a game with little Starr. His big eyes and beautiful hair attracted her at once, and she lost no time in dressing him up like a doll and making him a show at one of her receptions.

When her husband remonstrated with her, declaring that such treatment would ruin the spirit of any real boy, and spoil him for life, she shrugged her shoulders indifferently, and answered: "Well, what if it does? He's nothing but a foundling. He ought to be glad we are willing to dress him up prettily and play with him for a while."

"And what would you do with him after you were done using him for a toy? Cast him aside?"

"Well, why not?" with another shrug of her handsome shoulders. "Or, perhaps we might teach him to be a butler or footman if you want to be benevolent. He would be charming in a dark blue uniform!"

The woman raised her delicate eyebrows, humming a light tune, and her husband turned from her in despair. Was it nothing at all to her that this child had saved the life of her baby?

That settled the question of adoption. His wife would never be the one to bring up the boy into anything like manhood. It was different with a girl--she must of necessity be frivolous, he supposed.

The next morning an old college friend came into his office, a plain man with a pleasant face, who had not gone from college days to a bank presidency. He was only a plain teacher in a little struggling college in Florida, and he came soliciting aid for the college.

Endicott turned from puzzling over the question of Mikky, to greet his old friend whom he had not seen for twenty years. He was glad to see him. He had always liked him. He looked him over critically, however, with his successful-business-man-of-New-York point of view. He noticed the plain cheap business suit, worn shiny in places, the shoes well polished but beginning to break at the side, the plentiful sprinkling of gray hairs, and then hie eyes travelled to the kind, worn face of his friend. In spite of himself he could not but feel that the man was happier than himself.

He asked many questions, and found a keen pleasure in hearing all about the little family of the other, and their happy united efforts to laugh off poverty and have a good time anyway. Then the visitor told of the college, its struggles, its great needs and small funds, how its orange crop, which was a large part of its regular income, had failed that year on account of the frost, and they were in actual need of funds to carry on the work of the immediate school year. Endicott found his heart touched, though he was not as a rule a large giver to anything.

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