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Tinker back! He hugged the dream to him for several days before he ventured to speak to Father about it; in fact, it had been only that morning that he had timidly brought out the words. And then he wished he hadn't. Father had looked at him with a kind of amazed anger, and said, "Buy the pony back?—why, you little ass, we've got to eat her!"

Hugh had shrunk back, puzzled—with visions of Daisy as he had seen cows in the butcher's shop, hung up; of Father and himself eating steadily at great joints of beef. Father had laughed in a sorry way that didn't sound like laughing, and explained that all the money Daisy brought must go into dull things like oatmeal and flour and jam; and Hugh had feit worse than ever, because he saw that Father was dreadfully worried, and that he hadn't meant to be unkind. Father never was unkind: only nowadays he generally seemed to live in a world ever so far away, where Hugh could not go. Not a happy world, judging by Father's eyes.

The early morning talk had stayed with him all day. It had left a nasty cold feeling round his heart. For if Daisy were so necessary to buy things like oatmeal, what would they do when Daisy was eaten up? There was no other cow. He tried to put it from him by believing that she would bring a great deal of money; but that was not convincing, for he knew enough about cows to realize that Daisy was not a valuable specimen. It took such a very little while to milk her, and her bones stuck out.