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Little Mrs. Dan folded the letter slowly. Nita had come out of the cabin, and was standing beside her, wide-eyed.

"Poor beggar!" said Mrs. Dan, softly.

"Poor beggar? That's just like you, Polly. I know all about that sort of waster—though I never before came across one that 'ud desert his own kid. It's the calm cheek of him that knocks me. I'm real sorry I can't have that few quiet minutes with him."

"Where's Hugh now?"

"How should I know?" asked Big Dan angrily. "He was off like a shot rabbit when I'd done talking to him. Reckon, I scared him into fits. I wasn't feeling too polite, I can teil you, my girl."

"But, Dan—what are you going to do about him?"

"Do? Do nothin'. It's not my business if a man I've never set eyes on chooses to make tracks. The kid can find his own way to the police—or to Timbuctoo, for all I care. I ve got no time to go hunting for police-stations and answering forty thousand questions. This is a Circus, not a lost-dogs' home!" He scowled. "More coffee."

"Dan—you can't leave him alone here!"

"Can't? My girl, you've got a bit to learn yet. You never knew me soft over my business, and I'm not goin' to begin now. Besides, it's the nerve of the feller that's got me properly wild. Let him see to his own kid."

"Oh, I'm not thinking of him. He's gone. It's the child. You can't leave him."

"Can't I?" Big Dan said, grimly. "Where's that coffee, Polly? I got no time to talk."