Another Early Bird 233
"Oh! that's easy enough," he returned. "It's a tree."
''Well, it ain't got no mouth, sure enough; but how then does it eat all day long?"
" It sucks in its food through the tiniest holes in its leaves," he answered. " Its breath is its food. And it can't do it except in the daylight."
"Thank you, sir, thank you," returned Diamond. " I'm sorry I couldn't find it out myself; Mr. Raymond would have been better pleased with me."
" But you needn't tell him any one told you."
Diamond gave him a stare which came from the back of the north wind, where that kind of thing is unknown.
" That would be cheating," he said at last.
" Ain't you a cabby, then?"
" Cabbies don't cheat."
" Don't they? I am of a different opinion."
" I'm sure my father don't."
"What's your fare, young innocent?"
" Well, I think the distance is a good deal over three miles—that's two shillings. Only father says sixpence a mile is too little, though we can't ask for more."
" You're a deep one. But I think you're wrong. It's over four miles—not much, but it is."
"Then that's half-a-crown," said Diamond.
" Well, here's three shillings. Will that do?"
" Thank you kindly, sir. I'll tell my father how good you were to me—first to tell me my riddle, then to put me right about the distance, and then to give me sixpence over. It'll help father to get well again, it will."