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"I did. I've seen four Circuses," said Hugh, as if the fact explained much.

"H'm. What color was he, and how old?"

Hugh feit himself the center of interest. He did not realize that to Circus folks a clever pony means a chance not to be lost.

Black—all over. He didn't have one white hair on hhn. And he was three."

"Wants looking into," said Big Dan. "Who bought him, sonny?"

"Joe Clarke's father. He lives over the hill there." He pointed vaguely northwards. " 'Bout three miles away." Suddenly light flashed upon him. He pushed his plate back excitedly.

"Oh, do you think you could buy him? Oh, I wish you could? He'd make a ripping Circus pony—Father of ten said so. And I just can't stand Joe Clarke having him!"

"What—you an' Joe bad friends?"

"Oh, it isn't that. But he rides all over the saddle, and he always gives a pony a sore back—and he hangs on by the bridle. And Tinker's got a mouth like silk—I could ride him with a bit of string—didn't need a bridle at all. You don't let a pony's mouth get hurt in the Circus, do you?"

"Not if I'm handy in the neighborhood of the chap that's doing it," Big Dan made grim answer. "Toe had him long enough to spoil him?"

"Three months—but they turned him out at first 'cause