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"You can't do anything in this," Jeff told him. "Just you stand and watch the whole outfit: every man's got his job, an' most of us have six. If you've got sense enough to get into your head the idea of how we work you'11 be able to give a hand in lots of little ways. But if you do it without watching you'11 only make mistakes an' get under people's feet, an' then you're liable to get kicked. One ounce of sensible work's worth a ton of useless scurrying round. So you keep your eyes skinned."

It was interesting enough to watch. Small as he was, Hugh began to realize the system and discipline that governed the whole organization of the Circus. The grooms were busy with the horses at first, picketing, rubbing down, stowing away saddles and harness, while the main unloading was done. Then, at a whistle, every man ran to his place to help in the erection of the great centerpole and the Big Top, which needed the whole strength of the little army. It was thrilling to see the mighty pole go up: thrilling to watch the enormous canvas rise slowly, each man sweating at his rope, until it took shape and became the tent that was to hold so many people, so many wonderful things.

When he had visited a circus as a part of the audience Hugh had never wasted a thought on the tent. He was to learn to regard it as the heart of everything—something that was almost alive, because it had to be humored and coaxed in fine weather, cherished like a baby at all times, and fought as a desperate enemy when wind and rain gave it the strength of a thousand fiends. Then it