other thought than the one which possessed him—that he, Hugh Russell, was actually handling Circus horses! That they were a sleepy pair of gigantic build did not matter. He knew what they were: they belonged to the noble army that cantered round the ring with tossing manes and tails while beautiful ladies and intrepid men performed, on their broad backs, feats of incredible agility and daring. He saw it in his mind's eye as he led the piebalds up the track; thrilled to think that these mighty public performers were obeying the lightest touch of his small hand. Little Mrs. Dan, looking from her caravan, saw the intent, grave face, and recognized all he was feeling. "Poor kid!" she murmured, over her saucepans.
The piebalds were turned loose in the orchard, and Hugh raced back for another pair, taking the shortest cut. Big Dan grinned, watching his methods: the slow progress in front of the horses, a hand gripping each halter; the careful passage through the gateway, lest a shining si de should jostle a post; the march along the road to the second gateway with equal care; the lingering over slipping off the halters, caressing each great head. Then a rush—dodging between apple-trees, slipping eel-wise through the wires of the fence, taking the shortest possible track to the next pair of horses, arriving panting, red-faced, eager. Big Dan did not know how many horses his new helper managed to lead. But Hugh could have told him each one.
The creams were the last: he was permitted to lead