196 At the Back of the North Wind
" Can you read?"
"No; but mother can and father can, and they're going to teach me some day soon."
" Well, here's a penny for you."
" Thank you, sir."
"And when you have learned to read, come to me, and I'll give you sixpence and a book with fine pictures in it."
"Please, sir, where am I to come?" asked Diamond, who was too much a man of the world not to know that he must have the gentleman's address before he could go and see him.
"You're no such silly!" thought he, as he put his hand in his pocket, and brought out a card. "There," he said, "your father will be able to read that, and tell you where to go."
"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir," said Diamond, and put the card in his pocket.
The gentleman walked away, but turning round a few paces off, saw Diamond give his penny to the girl, and, walking slower, heard him say:
" I've got a father, and mother, and little brother, and you've got nothing but a wicked old grannie. You may have my penny."
The girl put it beside the other in her pocket, the only trustworthy article of dress she wore. Her grandmother always took care that she had a stout pocket.
" Is she as cruel as ever?" asked Diamond.
" Much the same. But I gets more coppers now than I used to, and I can get summats to eat, and take browns