Top, that Nita came running towards him. She greeted him as though there had never been a break in their companionship.
"Hugh! You finished?"
"Yes. Just got to tie up Tinker."
"Well, Mummy says you're to come to tea!"
"Go on!" said the unbelieving Hugh.
"True's life! She sent me."
She danced on beside him. It was clearly her intention not to let him out of her sight—she accompanied him to the little tent when he ran off to wash his hands and put on his coat. The tent interested her. Hugh had to repress her firmly from investigating the belongings of Micky and Jeff.
He hung back nervously as they neared the blue caravan. But Mrs. Dan was at the door, smiling in her old way: and there was no sign of the Boss. She talked to him cheerfully through tea, though her keen eyes watched him, wondering if life with the men had roughened him. But Hugh had been well drilled for most of his life. In the rush of a meal at the mess-wagon he could gnaw a chop-bone with no aid but his fingers as readily as any of the men: here, with a spotless tablecloth and gay crockery, his manners came back to him naturally.
Mrs. Dan had a serious subject to discuss: that of clothes. She questioned Hugh as to his wardrobe, discovered that he badly needed boots and shorts, and arranged to supply any deficiencies in the next town: a great relief to the boy, who had been anxiously asking