220 At the Back of the North Wind
aloud, and Diamond thought he understood it much better already.
" I'll tell you what I think it means," he then said. " It means that people may have their way for a while, if they like, but it will get them into such troubles they'll wish they hadn't had it."
"I know, I know!" said Diamond. " Like the poor cabman next door. He drinks too much."
"Just so," returned Mr. Raymond. "But when people want to do right, things about them will try to help them. Only they must kill the snake, you know."
" I was sure the snake had something to do with it," cried Diamond triumphantly.
A good deal more talk followed, and Mr. Raymond gave Diamond his sixpence.
" What will you do with it?" he asked.
"Take it home to my mother," he answered. "She has a teapot—such a black one!—with a broken spout, and she keeps all her money in it. It ain't much; but she saves it up to buy shoes for me. And there's baby coming on famously, and he'll want shoes soon. And every sixpence is something—ain't it, sir?"
"To be sure, my man. I hope you'll always make as good a use of your money."
" I hope so, sir," said Diamond.
"And here's a book for you, full of pictures and stories and poems. I wrote it myself, chiefly for the children of the hospital where I hope Nanny is going. I don't mean I printed it, you know. I made it," added Mr. Raymond, wishing Diamond to understand that he was the author of the book.