"Well, it beats me." Jeff pushed back his cap and scratched his head reflectively. "I say, Hugh—go and get Joey now, and we'11 trot over to the Big Top an' have a rehearsal. It'11 be empty at this hour. Look sharp while I go an' clean myself up."
Joey came willingly. The tent was a dim, untenanted space, blue poles and iron pillars against the tiers of seats. In the ring Hugh looked up at his two friends. His slender figure, in gray shirt and shorts, contrasted oddly with the gigantic clown.
"Go through your drill, just to get your muscles free," Jeff ordered. "After me, now!" He set the pace through a round of exercises; arms, body and foot-work. Th en followed more advanced tricks: flip-flaps, several kinds of somersaults, and a very fair attempt at the "splits"— sitting down with legs right-angled at either side. Hugh was eager and excited; but his eyes never left his teacher's, and he was patiënt in repeating any performance that Jeff declared "muffed." It was elementary work, but it was cleanly and smartly done.
No point of this was missed by an onlooker—Big Dan, who had come into the horse-tent and immediately stiffened to attention. He stood in the shadow, almost concealed by the curtains, his keen eyes taking in every detail: seeing possibilities of development more than of present achievement. He nodded approval involuntarily when Hugh made the round of the ring walking on his hands. Then Jeff stood aside, and Joey took possession of the boy, throwing him about like a ball, practicing a