looked uncertainly after her, and turned towards the house with lagging feet. It had suddenly become a very drab little place to him.
Big Dan met him, however, and his voice was kind.
"Here, sonny, you're havin' dinner with us. I asked your Dad, and he say it's all right. Not often Nita has a mate." And simultaneously Nita came racing back with, "Hugh, Mummy says you're to come to dinner!" And the world turned rainbow-colored again to Hugh.
It was a wonderful dinner—almost a waste, since any food would have been delicious, eaten in a caravan. But there was pork, with crackling done to an unbelievable crispness, and baked potatoes as crisp: followed by such a pudding, smothered in custard, as fairies might eat. Only there were no fairy-appetites round the Petersons' table.
The afternoon went by on wings. John Russell saddled Nugget and rode off, with Big Dan on a black horse. Mrs. Dan settled herself on the veranda of the house with a book, declaring that she feit a perfect lady. But as soon as the men had gone she broke all rules of etiquette by inspecting the four rooms of the house, her face growing more and more unhappy as its miserable poverty was revealed to her. She poked into the meatsafe, where the gray slab of corned-beef lay in solitary state: she made herself acquainted with the contents of the storeroom—and it did not take her long.
"Well!" she uttered, under her breath. "And he's a