prowling onlooker could come near the horses: his only way out led through the Big Top. It was ready for the show. Men had fixed naphtha flares to the poles, dimly lighting the great expanse so that people could find their way to their seats; others would be lit later on, throwing the ring into full light. A pile of hurdles was behind the musicians' box: near them were the gayly-painted wooden tubs that were used in some of the acts for horses and elephants, and under the tiers of seats lay the sections of iron fencing for the lions' cage. Hugh saw a faint glow near them, coming from a zinc bucket: he investigated it, finding a brazier inside it, with glowing coke. He thought it was merely for warmth, and was rather puzzled, since the evening was not cold; ignorant then that since Big Dan had once seen a lion strike down a tamer there were hot irons ready at every performance in his Circus.
There was a curious pleasure in being alone in the Big Top, as if he were already an Owner, making sure that everything was just as it ought to be. Hugh's DreamCircus, to be shared with Jeff, seemed very real to him as he stood there, a little hesitating figure in the gloom.
Outside the tent came a sudden crash of music: the band, high up in the open wagon, was beginning to call to the people of the town. Hugh realized that he had better be off, and scuttled to the entrance, near which the menagerie tent was ready for inspection. Already a few first-comers, boys and young men, were there, passing from cage to cage. It was not a large collection: wild ani-