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A Boy Knight by Martin J.

And then there was Father Boone


Meanwhile,

Frank saw Mrs. Daly home, and in a little while he was dismissing the chauffeur at his own door. Quickly he ran up the steps of his apartment house and in a moment had climbed the three flights of stairs. Everybody was in bed but his mother. Her first words were, "O my boy, what has happened to you? I was alarmed at your staying out so late."

Frank felt he should at least give some account of himself at once. In the most matter of fact way, he narrated the evening's events. But his mother discerned his generous heart beneath his words, and she was proud of him--so brave and so tender. And especially was she glad that Father Boone had found Frank at the hospital with Mrs. Daly. She knew how that would affect the misunderstanding, and she was more than satisfied with the turn of affairs when Frank finished his recital by saying, "I tell you, mother, Father Boone is a brick." Then, as he feared that this did not convey a great deal of meaning to her, he added, "He is 'some' man."

"And somebody is 'some' boy," echoed his mother, kissing him good-night.

Frank went to his room, said his prayers and jumped into bed. "I'll sleep until noon," he muttered, as he got under the covers. He closed his eyes, but although he was dead tired, he could not sleep. Indeed, it seemed he was more wide awake than at midday. The clock struck twelve, and still his mind was all activity.

justify;">He saw himself chatting with Daly--heard the fire-clang--saw Bill run up the ladder--beheld him waver, totter and fall--saw his limp body in the net--heard the afflicted mother speak of her Willie--her good boy Willie, whom the boys called "Bull". And then there was Father Boone, always in the right place, and doing the proper thing, cool, firm, kind, commanding. And this was the man he was on the outs with. Was it more likely that a boy like himself would be wrong or Father Boone?

"I'm a boob," he accused himself. "I should have gone to him at the start. Even if he were cross--most likely he'd heard there was a row, and I was in it. Then, of course, he'd feel hurt that I hadn't shown him more confidence. But great guns! I did go up to make a clean breast of it, and got 'cold feet'. But that's not his fault. That's how the whole blame thing began. Gosh, I wish I had some of Bill Daly's sand!"

He had begun to feel a little drowsy. The clock struck one and he was murmuring "a little . . . of . . . Bill . . . Daly's . . . 'sand' . . . Bill . . . Daly's . . . sand . . . sand . . . . sand . . . . . . . sand!" And off he fell into the land of nod.

Chapter III

Comrades

It was full daylight when Bill Daly opened his eyes the next morning. On all sides of him were beds. Nurses and doctors were walking noiselessly up and down the ward. He did not know what to make of it. He had never been in a hospital before, even as a visitor. He had to make an effort to collect his thoughts.

O yes! the fire. That shaky ladder. The woman and the child at the window crying for help. His quick ascent up the ladder. The adjustment--a sudden sensation of dizziness--and then! Yes, he must have fallen.


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