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Title: Michael O'Halloran
Author: Gene Stratton-Porter
Release Date: December, 2005 [EBook #9489]
[This file was first posted on October 5, 2003]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MICHAEL O'HALLORAN ***
Copyright 1915, 1916
Peaches' Preference in Blessings
VIII. Big Brother
Feminine Reasoning XIII. A Safe Proposition XIV.
The Fingers in the Pie
XVII. Initiations in an Ancient and Honourable Brotherhood
XVIII. Malcolm and the Hermit Thrush
"_Aw_ KID, _come on! Be square!_"
"_You look out what you say to me._"
"_But ain't you going to keep your word?_"
"_Mickey, do you want your head busted?_"
"_Naw! But I did your work so you could loaf; now I want the pay you
"_Let's see you get it! Better take it from me, hadn't you?_"
"_You're twice my size; you know I can't, Jimmy!_"
"_Then you know it too, don't you?_"
"_Now look here kid, it's 'cause you're getting so big that folks will be
buying quicker of a little fellow like me; so you've laid in the sun all
afternoon while I been running my legs about off to sell your papers; and
when the last one is gone, I come and pay you what they sold for; now it's
up to you to do what you promised._"
Jimmy turned to step from the gutter to the sidewalk. Two things happened
to him simultaneously: Mickey became a projectile. He smashed with the
force of a wiry fist on the larger boy's head, while above both, an
athletic arm gripped him by the collar.
Douglas Bruce was hurrying to see a client before he should leave his
office; but in passing a florist's window his eye was attracted by a sight
so beautiful he paused an instant, considering. It was spring; the Indians
were coming down to Multiopolis to teach people what the wood Gods had put
into their hearts about flower magic.
The watcher scarcely had realized the exquisite loveliness of a milk-white
birch basket filled with bog moss of silvery green, in which were set
maidenhair and three yellow lady slippers, until beside it was placed
another woven of osiers blood red, moss carpeted and bearing five pink
moccasin flowers, faintly fined with red lavender; between them rosemary
and white ladies' tresses. A flush crept over the lean face of the
Scotsman. He saw a vision. Over those baskets bent a girl, beautiful as
the flowers. Plainly as he visualized the glory of the swamp, Douglas
Bruce pictured the woman he loved above the orchids. While he lingered,
his heart warmed, glowing, his wonderful spring day made more wonderful by
a vision not adequately describable, on his ear fell Mickey's admonition:
He sent one hasty glance toward the gutter. He saw a sullen-faced newsboy
of a size that precluded longer success at paper selling, because public
sympathy goes to the little fellows. Before him stood one of these same
little fellows, lean, tow-haired, and blue-eyed, clean of face, neat in
dress; with a peculiar modulation in his voice that caught Douglas
squarely in the heart. He turned again to the flowers, but as his eyes
revelled in beauty, his ears, despite the shuffle of passing feet, and the
clamour of cars, lost not one word of what was passing in the gutter,
while with each, slow anger surged higher. Mickey, well aware that his
first blow would be all the satisfaction coming to him, put the force of
his being into his punch. At the same instant Douglas thrust forth a hand
that had pulled for Oxford and was yet in condition.
"Aw, you big stiff!" gasped Jimmy, twisting an astonished neck to see what
was happening above and in his rear so surprisingly. Had that little
Mickey O'Halloran gone mad to hit _him?_ Mickey standing back, his face
upturned, was quite as surprised as Jimmy.
"Twen--ty-_five_," answered Mickey, with all the force of inflection in
his power. "And if you heard us, Mister, you heard him own up he was owing
Jimmy glared upward, but what he saw and the tightening of the hand on his
collar were convincing. He drew from his pocket five nickels, dropping
them into the outstretched hand of Douglas, who passed them to Mickey, the
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