a cap which imperfectly concealed the fact that her hair was still in curling-pins, greeted him as though he were an old friend; and in a moment he was beside Nita at the table, with a plateful of liver and bacon smoking before him, together with a mug of cocoa—a sufficiently exciting vision to a boy whose usual breakfast was porridge.
"Well, this chap has earned his grub, Polly," asserted Big Dan. "He's a great man."
"I seen him," said Mrs. Dan. "Working like an 'ero, he was, riding Ali. How do you like a Circus, sonny?"
"I think it's wonderful," said Hugh solemnly. "I wish Father had one like yours."
"Might wish himself out of it, when things go wrong," said Big Dan, with his deep chuckle. "There's times when I'd rather run a—a fish-shop!"
"Ah, go on, now, Dan," scorned his wife. "I think I see you inside four walls, running anything—even if it was Govinment House!"
"Well, they won't put me there, so I suppose I'll just have to stick to the old show," Big Dan said. "What do you think, Nita? the horses are going to have a real picnic. Mr. Russell says we can turn them all loose in his orchard."
"O-o-oh!" said Nita, round-eyed. "All of them? Can Merrylegs go?"
"Sure he can. All of 'em can go, except the kickers. Can't let them loose among the others: they'11 have to look on and learn what comes from having bad manners, You can take Merrylegs in when he's had his oats."