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"You finish yourself, ducky," she told Nita. 'Til give Daddy his breakfast."

It was ready; she piled his plate, and filled his mug with coffee, taking her own place, since he did not like to eat alone. Dan kept silence for a few moments, frowning as he ate.

"Nice little game that feller Russell's tried to play on me!" he burst out. "He's a proper waster! Coolest cheek I ever struck, all the years I've been on the road."

"Why, what's he done, dear?"

Cleared out—that's what he's done. Gone off on his own—says he's got a job, not that I believe it. An' he calmly presents me with his kid!"

Mrs. Dan's jaw dropped.

"What—little Hugh?"

"Only one he's got, I hope. Gives him to me, like a pound of tea. Says he's a useful boy that could earn his keep in a Circus. I'd like to have five minutes with me fine gentleman! I'd teach him a thing or two! Got any more bacon, Polly?"

Mrs. Dan produced it quickly.

"You didn't see him?"

He knew too much for that. No—the night-watchman saw him riding off on his old screw before dawn. Left me a letter, telling me his mild requests. Kid came over with it, quite excited. Reckon I rather squashed his excitement."

"What did you teil him, Dan?"

"Teil him? I don't know exactly what I said, but I