to the police they would certainly not have taken anything Russell owned. That was another load off his mind: Hugh would not be a ward of the State; an inmate of a Home for Destitute Children, or any such grim institution.
The Circus life might be rough, but at least it was a free, open-air life, where he would grow strong and manly. It would be to the Petersons' own advantage to look after him. And—please God, the luck had turned with this new job. It might not be long bef ore he was able to claim him again.
The Circus was almost ready to start. Russell became nervously anxious lest he should be seen by any of the quick-eyed people as they turned towards his tree in coming out to the road. He slipped to the ground and made his way through the trees, keeping a hundred yards from the fence, well shielded by the undergrowth.
A sudden longing came to him to see Hugh again. He knew a place where a dense belt of low-growing tea-tree in a hollow came up to the fence of the road, and he broke into a run, making for it. It was perfect shelter; he wormed his way through it until he was only a yard from the fence, and there stood still, holding the bushy twigs apart so that they gave him a peep-hole.
The riders came by first, talking and laughing. They led the spare horses and ponies: he saw Tinker jogging contentedly beside a gray mare, and blessed the thought that had made Peterson buy Hugh's friend. Then, after an interval, came the slow beat of hoofs again, and the