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Millionaire Mike’s Thanksgiving
by [?]

He was not Mike at first; he was only the Millionaire–a young
millionaire who sat in a wheel chair on the pier waiting for the boat.
He had turned his coat-collar up to shut out the wind, and his hatbrim
down to shut out the sun. For the time being he was alone. He had
sent his attendant back for a forgotten book.

It was Thanksgiving, but the Millionaire was not thankful. He was not
thinking of what he had, but of what he wanted. He wanted his old
strength of limb, and his old freedom from pain. True, the doctors had
said that he might have them again in time, but he wanted them now. He
wanted the Girl, also. He would have her, to be sure, that very
evening; but he wanted her now.

The girl had been very sweet and gentle about it, but she had been
firm. As he could recollect it, their conversation had run something
like this:

“But I want you myself, all day.”

“But, Billy, don’t you see? I promised; besides, I ought to do it. I
am the president of the club. If I shirk responsibility, what can I
expect the others to do?”

“But I need you just as much–yes, more–than those poor families.”

“Oh, Billy, how can you say that, when they are so very poor, and when
every one of them is the proud kind that would simply rather starve
than go after their turkey and things! That’s why we girls take them
to them. Don’t you see?”

“Oh, yes, I see. I see I don’t count. It could n’t be expected that
I’d count–now!” And he patted the crutches at his side.

It was despicable in him, and he knew it. But he said it. He could
see her eyes now, all hurt and sorrowful as she went away. . . . And
so this morning he sat waiting for the boat, a long, lonely day in
prospect in his bungalow on the island, while behind him he had left
the dearest girl in the world, who, with other petted darlings of
wealth and luxury, was to distribute Thanksgiving baskets to the poor.

Not that his day needed to be lonely. He knew that. A dozen friends
stood ready and anxious to supply him with a good dinner and plenty of
companionship. But he would have none of them. As if he wanted a
Thanksgiving dinner!

And thus alone he waited in the wheel chair; and how he abhorred
it–that chair–which was not strange, perhaps, considering the
automobile that he loved. Since the accident, however, his injured
back had forbidden the speed and jar of motor cars, allowing only the
slow but exasperating safety of crutches and a wheel chair. To-day
even that seemed denied him, for the man who wheeled his chair did not
come.

With a frown the Millionaire twisted himself about and looked behind
him. It was near the time for the boat to start, and there would not
be another for three hours. From the street hurried a jostling throng
of men, women, and children. Longingly the Millionaire watched them.
He had no mind to spend the next three hours where he was. If he could
be pushed on to the boat, he would trust to luck for the other side.
With his still weak left arm he could not propel himself, but if he
could find some one–

Twice, with one of the newspapers that lay in his lap, he made a feeble
attempt to attract attention; but the Millionaire was used to
commanding, not begging, and his action passed unnoticed. He saw then
in the crowd the face of a friend, and with a despairing gesture he
waved the paper again. But the friend passed by unheeding. What
happened then was so entirely unexpected that the Millionaire fell back
in his chair dumb with amazement.