"What do you do with yourself when you haven't got any one to play with?"
«Oh—I just fooi round. Climb trees, sometimes."
"O-oh! Let's go an' climb one."
Hugh's best climbing tree grew on the track, a hundred yards from the house. He led the way to it; and for the first time found something at which he could beat his companion. Nita's opportunities of tree-climbing had been limited. She had natural agility and a trained sense of balance, so that she could scramble round in a fairly creditable way for a small girl. But Hugh in a tree was like a monkey. Nita sat on a wide limb, open-mouthed, as he went up the tall tree swiftly, not pausing until he was almost lost to sight among the leafy top-branches. Then he came down far more rapidly, swinging from bough to bough, with never a slip or a bungled foot-hold, until he was beside her, laughing.
"My word, you can climb!" uttered Nita. Do it again!"
Hugh was quite willing. He took a different route this time; there was no branch on that tree that he had not made his own. He ended his descent on the low horizontal limb, smooth and slender, where he always practiced the gymnastics John Russell had taught him: and there went through all he knew. This was something that Nita understood: she eyed him keenly as he "showed off" in not unnatural delight at being able to impress her for the first time. He finished with a neat somersault to the ground, and she clapped him enthusiastically.