Sal's Nanny 213
" No. It's next door almost. But it's not safe."
" Nobody hurts me," said Diamond.
" I must go with you, I suppose."
"Oh, no! please not," said Diamond. "They might think I was going to meddle with them, and I ain't, you know."
"Well, do as you please," said the man, and gave him full directions.
Diamond set off, never suspecting that the policeman, who was a kind-hearted man, with children of his own, was following him close, and watching him round every corner. As he went on, all at once he thought he remembered the place, and whether it really was so, or only that he had laid up the policeman's instructions well in his mind, he went straight for the cellar of old Sal.
" He's a sharp little kid, anyhow, for as simple as he looks," said the man to himself. "Not a wrong turn does he take! But old Sal's a rum un for such a child to pay a morning visit to. She's worse when she's sober than when she's half drunk. I've seen her when she'd have torn him in pieces."
Happily then for Diamond, old Sal had gone out to get some gin. When he came to her door at the bottom of the area-stair and knocked, he received no answer. He laid his ear to the door, and thought he heard a moaning within. So he tried the door, and found it was not locked. It was a dreary place indeed, —and very dark, for the window was below the level of the street, and covered with mud, while over the grating which kept people from falling into the area, stood a chest of drawers, placed there by a dealer in