216 At the Back of the North Wind
man," he said, looking down in Diamond's face, which was flushed with his resistance.
" You came just in the right time, thank you,'* returned Diamond. " They've done me no harm."
"They would have if I hadn't been at hand, though."
"Yes; but you were at hand, you know, so they couldn't."
Perhaps the answer was deeper in purport than either Diamond or the policeman knew. They walked away together, Diamond telling his new friend how ill poor Nanny was, and that he was going to let the tall gentleman know. The policeman put him in the nearest way for Bloomsbury, and stepping out in good earnest, Diamond reached Mr. Raymond's door in less than an hour. When he asked if he was at home, the servant, in return, asked what he wanted.
"I want to tell him something."
" But I can't go and trouble him with such a message as that."
" He told me to come to him—that is, when I could read—and I can."
"How am I to know that?"
Diamond stared with astonishment for one moment, then answered:
" Why, I've just told you. That's how you know it."
But this man was made of coarser grain than the policeman, and, instead of seeing that Diamond could not tell a lie, he put his answer down as impudence, and saying, " Do you think I'm going to take your word for it?" shut the door in his face.
Diamond turned and sat down on the doorstep, think-