Lo, Michael (Chapter 6, page 1 of 7)

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Chapter 6

The joy of loving kindness in his life, and a sense that somebody cared, seemed to have the effect of stimulating Michael's mind to greater energies. He studied with all his powers. Whatever he did he did with his might, even his play.

The last year of his stay in Florida, a Department of Scientific Farming was opened on a small scale. Michael presented himself as a student.

"What do you want of farming, Endicott?" asked the president, happening to pass through the room on the first day of the teacher's meeting with his students. "You can't use farming in New York."

There was perhaps in the kindly old president's mind a hope that the boy would linger with them, for he had become attached to him in a silent, undemonstrative sort of way.

"I might need it sometime," answered Michael, "and anyway I'd like to understand it. You said the other day that no knowledge was ever wasted. I'd like to know enough at least to tell somebody else."

The president smiled, wondered, and passed on. Michael continued in the class, supplementing the study by a careful reading of all the Agricultural magazines, and Government literature on the subject that came in his way. Agriculture had had a strange fascination for him ever since a noted speaker from the North had come that way and in an address to the students told them that the new field for growth to-day lay in getting hack to nature and cultivating the earth. It was characteristic of Michael that he desired to know if that statement was true, and if so, why. Therefore he studied.

The three years flew by as if by magic. Michael won honors not a few, and the day came when he had completed his course, and as valedictorian of his class, went up to the old chapel for his last commencement in the college.

He sat on the platform looking down on the kindly, uncritical audience that had assembled for the exercises, and saw not a single face that had come for his sake alone. Many were there who were interested in him because they had known him through the years, and because he bore the reputation of being the honor man of his class and the finest athlete in school. But that was not like having some one of his very own who cared whether he did well or not. He found himself wishing that even Buck might have been there; Buck, the nearest to a brother he had ever had. Would Buck have cared that he had won highest rank? Yes, he felt that Buck would have been proud of him.

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