Before the end of the month, Ruby
had got respectably thin, and Diamond respectably
They really began to look fit for double
Joseph and his wife got their affairs
in order, and everything ready for migrating at the
shortest notice; and they felt so peaceful and happy
that they judged all the trouble they had gone through
well worth enduring.
As for Nanny, she had been
so happy ever since she left the hospital, that she
expected nothing better, and saw nothing attractive
in the notion of the country.
At the same time,
she had not the least idea of what the word country
meant, for she had never seen anything about her but
streets and gas-lamps.
Besides, she was more attached
to Jim than to Diamond:
Jim was a reasonable
being, Diamond in her eyes at best only an amiable,
over-grown baby, whom no amount of expostulation would
ever bring to talk sense, not to say think it.
Now that she could manage the baby as well as he,
she judged herself altogether his superior.
his father and mother, she was all they could wish.
Diamond had taken a great deal of
pains and trouble to find Jim, and had at last succeeded
through the help of the tall policeman, who was glad
to renew his acquaintance with the strange child.
Jim had moved his quarters, and had not heard of Nanny’s
illness till some time after she was taken to the
hospital, where he was too shy to go and inquire about
But when at length she went to live with
Diamond’s family, Jim was willing enough to
go and see her.
It was after one of his visits,
during which they had been talking of her new prospects,
that Nanny expressed to Diamond her opinion of the
“There ain’t nothing in
it but the sun and moon, Diamond.”
“There’s trees and flowers,” said
“Well, they ain’t no count,” returned
They’re so beautiful,
they make you happy to look at them.”
“That’s because you’re such a silly.”
Diamond smiled with a far-away look,
as if he were gazing through clouds of green leaves
and the vision contented him.
But he was thinking
with himself what more he could do for Nanny; and
that same evening he went to find Mr. Raymond, for
he had heard that he had returned to town.
“Ah! how do you do, Diamond?” said Mr.
Raymond; “I am glad to see you.”
And he was indeed, for he had grown
very fond of him.
His opinion of him was very
different from Nanny’s.
“What do you want now, my child?” he asked.
“I’m always wanting something, sir,”
“Well, that’s quite right,
so long as what you want is right.
is always wanting something; only we don’t mention
it in the right place often enough.
What is it
“There’s a friend of Nanny’s, a
lame boy, called Jim.”
“I’ve heard of him,” said Mr. Raymond.
“Nanny doesn’t care much about going to
the country, sir.”
“Well, what has that to do with Jim?”
“You couldn’t find a corner for Jim to
work in could you, sir?”
“I don’t know that I couldn’t.
That is, if you can show good reason for it.”
“He’s a good boy, sir.”
“Well, so much the better for him.”
“I know he can shine boots, sir.”
“So much the better for us.”
“You want your boots shined in the country don’t
“Yes, to be sure.”
“It wouldn’t be nice to
walk over the flowers with dirty boots would
“They wouldn’t like it would
“No, they wouldn’t.”
“Then Nanny would be better pleased to go, sir.”
“If the flowers didn’t
like dirty boots to walk over them, Nanny wouldn’t
mind going to the country?
Is that it?
don’t quite see it.”
“No, sir; I didn’t mean
I meant, if you would take Jim with you
to clean your boots, and do odd jobs, you know, sir,
then Nanny would like it better.
so fond of Jim!”
“Now you come to the point,
I see what you mean, exactly.
will turn it over in my mind.
Could you bring
Jim to see me?”
“I’ll try, sir.
they don’t mind me much.
They think I’m
silly,” added Diamond, with one of his sweetest
What Mr. Raymond thought, I dare hardly
attempt to put down here.
But one part of it
was, that the highest wisdom must ever appear folly
to those who do not possess it.
“I think he would come though after
dark, you know,” Diamond continued.
does well at shining boots.
to lame boys, you know, sir.
But after dark,
there ain’t so much doing.”
Diamond succeeded in bringing Jim
to Mr. Raymond, and the consequence was that he resolved
to give the boy a chance.
He provided new clothes
for both him and Nanny; and upon a certain day, Joseph
took his wife and three children, and Nanny and Jim,
by train to a certain station in the county of Kent,
where they found a cart waiting to carry them and their
luggage to The Mound, which was the name of Mr. Raymond’s
I will not describe the varied
feelings of the party as they went, or when they arrived.
All I will say is, that Diamond, who is my only care,
was full of quiet delight a gladness too
deep to talk about.
Joseph returned to town the same night,
and the next morning drove Ruby and Diamond down,
with the carriage behind them, and Mr. Raymond and
a lady in the carriage.
For Mr. Raymond was an
old bachelor no longer:
he was bringing his wife
with him to live at The Mound.
The moment Nanny
saw her, she recognised her as the lady who had lent
her the ruby-ring.
That ring had been given her
by Mr. Raymond.
The weather was very hot, and the
woods very shadowy.
There were not a great many
wild flowers, for it was getting well towards autumn,
and the most of the wild flowers rise early to be
before the leaves, because if they did not, they would
never get a glimpse of the sun for them.
have their fun over, and are ready to go to bed again
by the time the trees are dressed.
was plenty of the loveliest grass and daisies about
the house, and Diamond’s chief pleasure seemed
to be to lie amongst them, and breathe the pure air.
But all the time, he was dreaming of the country at
the back of the north wind, and trying to recall the
songs the river used to sing.
For this was more
like being at the back of the north wind than anything
he had known since he left it.
Sometimes he would
have his little brother, sometimes his little sister,
and sometimes both of them in the grass with him, and
then he felt just like a cat with her first kittens,
he said, only he couldn’t purr all
he could do was to sing.
These were very different times from
those when he used to drive the cab, but you must
not suppose that Diamond was idle.
He did not
do so much for his mother now, because Nanny occupied
his former place; but he helped his father still,
both in the stable and the harness-room, and generally
went with him on the box that he might learn to drive
a pair, and be ready to open the carriage-door.
Mr. Raymond advised his father to give him plenty
“A boy like that,” he said, “ought
not to be pushed.”
Joseph assented heartily, smiling
to himself at the idea of pushing Diamond.
doing everything that fell to his share, the boy had
a wealth of time at his disposal.
And a happy,
sometimes a merry time it was.
Only for two months
or so, he neither saw nor heard anything of North