There was a great deal from which they could not save him. From the first day he was odd-job boy to the Circus at every camp, liable to be used by any one. There was rarely time to explain anything to him: he had to use his own wits, which, luckily for him, were not slow. But it was only to be expected that he should make frequent mistakes; doing his best, but only to earn rough words and an occasional blow. From most of the latter he soon learned to save himself by being ready to dodge, having found out that if a man could not reach him at the moment he had no time to follow him. It was hard schooling: a boy who had been brought up more softly could scarcely have stood it. In that, John Russell's determination to make Hugh independent had done him a good turn.
Of Nita he saw little. She was literally a "star," who dwelt apart. When he crossed her path she had always a friendly smile for him, but that was all; and he dared not speak to her. It was the same with Mrs. Dan. When the Circus was at rest they kept to the neighborhood of the blue caravan, always placed as far as possible from the men's quarters. As for Big Dan, he seemed to ignore Hugh's very existence, and the boy was thankful that it should be so, since the dread of being handed over to the police never left him.
But instinctively he knew that he had in the Owner's wife a friend. The rare smiles he had from her cheered and helped him; and he kept in his mind her brief words of advice, condensing them to "Do your best and never