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he had been excited; but the morning had brought a more sober mood, in which it seemed to him quite impossible that any change could come in his life. Too evident was it that the Owner regarded him as a rather annoying species of worm. The scowl with which he had greeted him that morning, passing by as Hugh was grooming the goats, had spoken more loudly than words.

But if his hopes had faded, he had something certain and comforting. He had not failed his friends, and they were more his friends than ever. Big Carl, who rarely spoke, had given him a few words of encouragement in broken English. Joey had grinned at him from afar with an air of comradeship. And Jeff and Micky had waked him early and put him through such a course of musclekneading and physical jerks that he glowed long af ter. They had not given up their dreams of turning out a ring performer.

Big Dan and his lieutenant went for a walk after breakfast and thrashed out the matter. Crowe's views were definite; the result of an interview with Joey an hour before, to say nothing of pressure brought to bear upon him by his wife.

"Seems to me," he said, "that the boy's just what you want."

"I run a Circus, not a baby-show!" growled the Owner.

"He's older than Nita."

"Nita's born to it. It's in her blood; and she's trained. And here's a raw youngster, picked up out of nowhere "

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