"Whew-w!" a groom whistled. Toby was unpopular, but a dwarf clown was an important performer. "What'11 the Boss say?"
"He doesn't know yet. Then he'11 say plenty. Here come the horses!"
The six "liberties" dashed into the tent, and the grooms sprang to their heads. Beyond, the "Big Top" was rocking with applause, the Owner bowing again and again. A trapeze act began, and he came striding towards the little group. Hugh edged nearer Joey. The fierce black eyes feil on him.
Big Dan was still seething with the memory of the hissing and the suspense that had followed it. The fact that Hugh had been useful did not soften him.
"Here, you!" he growled. "You've no business in the horse-tent. Off you go!"
"Don't you want him on again, sir?" asked Joey.
"When I want suggestions I'll ask for them!" snapped the Owner, angrily. "Be off, do you hear, boy?"
Hugh escaped by the side flaps. He was hot with anger. They knew—all of them—that he had helped: Big Dan knew more clearly than any one. He might have been decent to him—given him a kind word. Tears of rage came into his eyes.
Then a hand feil on his shoulder. He looked up and saw Jeff; and in his friend's face there was a gladness that made him forget everything else for a moment.
"Good lad!" said Jeff. "You played up for the Circus all right, Hugh."