"That's true, sir. An' he has."
"Well " Big Dan thought over it: perhaps a mem-
ory of little Mrs. Dan softening him. He looked up suddenly. "Fetch him here."
Jeff was off like a flash. He returned in a moment with a bewildered Hugh at his heels. The great man's eyes held his.
"Ever handled that pony of yours since you came along with us?"
Hugh bit his lip.
"No, sir. I'm not allowed near the led horses."
"Well, you played up well last night, so I owe you one. Your work's changed. From this out you're Tinker's groom. He's your responsibility, an' see you keep him looking well. Think you can do it?"
"Think !" His eyes danced.
"You're under Jeff's orders: no jobs for the other men. Jeff'11 keep you hard-worked enough. Next time we've a morning on a pitch he can try you an' Tinker in the ring. I'm not making any promises, but we'11 see what you can do."
Hugh could only look at him, dumbly. The lifting of his burden of work meant nothing to him at the moment. That was to come later. But Tinker—his little Tinker! To handle him again—not any longer to dodge the eyes that he always believed followed him in puzzled reproach. He found his tongue; words came in a rush.
"Can I—can I go and speak to him now?"
"You can. Careful near the other horses."