Diamond Makes a Beginning 169
speak. She only took hold of his hand as tight as if she had been afraid of his running away instead of glad that he would not leave her.
Now, although they did not know it, the owner of the stables, the same man who had sold the horse to his father, had been standing just inside one of the stable-doors, with his hands in his pockets, and had heard and seen all that passed; and from that day John Stonecrop took a great fancy to the little boy. And this was the beginning of what came of it.
That same evening, just as Diamond was feeling tired of the day's work, and wishing his father would come home, Mr. Stonecrop knocked at the door. His mother went and opened it.
"Good evening, ma'am," said he. " Is little master inr
"Yes, to be sure he is—at your service, I'm sure, Mr. Stonecrop," said his mother.
"No, no, ma'am; it's I'm at his service. I'm just a-going out with my own cab, and if he likes to come with me, he shall drive my old horse till he's tired."
" It's getting rather late for him," said his mother thoughtfully. "You see he's been an invalid."
Diamond thought, what a funny thing! How could he have been an invalid when he did not even know what the word meant? But, of course, his mother was right.
" Oh, well," said Mr. Stonecrop, " I can just let him drive through Bloomsbury Square, and then he shall run home again."
"Very good, sir. And I'm much obliged to you,"