panion's remarks that Crowe, well aware of how the land lay, ceased to offer any, and they rode in heavy silence.
Some one else had watched the Circus go. John Russell had staked a good deal on a last throw, but it had never been his intention to leave his son without making sure of the result. He had ridden away before sunrise, but only as far as a lonely bush pasture where it was easy to take down a rail and leave Nugget well hidden in the scrub. Then he returned on foot across country, keeping well away from the road until he was opposite his house. He climbed a tree standing in the middle of a clump, and worked round it until he had a view of the cottage and part of the field. There he waited, well screened from any casual glance.
He saw the Circus wake up, roused by the sleepy night-watchman, who had seen him ride away. Then his eyes never left the house, looking intently for Hugh's first appearance. At length the little figure darted out; Russell heard the shrill voice; saw him run eagerly to Peterson, waving his letter. He gripped the branch he held savagely, in anxiety that changed to blind fury as he saw Big Dan's fierce reception of his plea. Then Hugh dodged from the man's upraised arm and fled to the cottage, away from the angry voice.
Whatever were his failings, John Russell paid for them in that hour. His first impulse was to swing himself down from the tree, hurrying to his boy's rescue. Only the bitter knowledge of his own helplessness held him back. He clenched his teeth on the words that sprang to his lips.