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A Boy Knight by Martin J.

Daly came in again about four o'clock in the afternoon


(II)

The doctors made their usual round of the ward, and when they came to Daly, the physician who had dressed his bruises the night before remarked, "Here's the hero kid." The head doctor looked at him kindly. "Well, little man," he said, "the next time you go to a fire, send us word so we can see you perform." They all laughed at this, and Bill smiled. After the examination, the doctor assured him, "Nothing the matter, my boy. You're sound as a dollar, just a little shaken up and bruised; and you'll be out in a few days."

When Mrs. Daly came in again about four o'clock in the afternoon, she was over-joyed to hear the good report of her son's condition. She saw now, however, that he was very serious. Indeed, it had been the most serious day of his life.

All day long Bill had been reflecting on what his mother had told him of Father Boone and of Frank. He had begun to realize that he had something to do besides being grateful to them both. There was a duty to perform. It had been hard to go to the Club when he intended to tell them about the breakage. And now it seemed ten times harder. How could he do it? After all the goodness shown him, to be obliged to admit that he was a thug. The thought had tortured him all the day. It was still racking his mind when his mother came in.

If only Father Boone would come around, he reflected. It would

be easier to make a clean breast of it to him. He would understand. Father Boone seemed to understand everything. He'd see, too, that the Bill who had done the rough stuff was changed. He'd know without a lot of explaining, how some things hurt more than pain. The thing to do was to tell Father Boone and let it all rest with him.

That was Bill's conclusion and his resolve. He did not dare tell his mother. He wondered how much the boys knew. His mother, sitting admiringly at his side, told him one piece of news which pleased him greatly. Father Boone had got his father a good job and he had started in right away. That was why he was not down with her to see him. But he would be around in the evening. While she was telling this, Bill interrupted her.

"O mother, see," he whispered, indicating two nuns who were coming toward them, "and one of them is Sister Mary Thomas."

They were Sisters from the school which Daly had attended before he went to work, and they greeted the mother and her boy sympathetically. After a bit, Mrs. Daly recalled that her husband returning from work would be waiting for his dinner, and she hurried away. The Sisters stayed for some time, giving Bill that comfort which they alone can impart. Before going Sister Mary Thomas placed a crucifix and a pair of beads in his hands. "He suffered for you, William," she said, "and you must also suffer for Him--now especially."

He watched them going out, as he might gaze on departing angels. Then his eyes were turned toward the crucifix. "He suffered in mind as well as body for me," he mused. For Bill was remembering many things now, which he had not recalled since the Sisters had taught them to him in his school days. Calvary had a meaning for him now--an atonement for sin and a restoration to goodness. "Some job--to tell on myself," he sighed, "but I'll show the Lord that I mean business."

About seven o'clock in came Frank. Bill was both glad, and not glad, to see him. Everything Frank did for him only made matters harder for Bill. And yet he wanted that boy near him. Bill recognized the combination of strength and goodness in Frank. Indeed, one reason for the fight, had been his envy of Mulvy. But Bill's disposition had undergone a change. After what his mother had told him Frank appeared as a boy of nobler mould than the rest.


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