234 At the Back of the North Wind
"I hope it may, my man. I shouldn't wonder if you're as good as you look, after all."
As Diamond returned, he drew up at a stand he had never been on before: it was time to give Diamond his bag of chopped beans and oats. The men got about him, and began to chaff him. He took it all good-humouredly, until one of them, who was an ill-conditioned fellow, began to tease old Diamond by poking him roughly in the ribs, and making general game of him. That he could not bear, and the tears came in his eyes. He undid the nose-bag, put it in the boot, and was just going to mount and drive away, when the fellow interfered, and would not let him get up. Diamond endeavoured to persuade him, and was very civil, but he would have his fun out of him, as he said. In a few minutes a group of idle boys had assembled, and Diamond found himself in a very uncomfortable position. Another cab drew up at the stand, and the driver got off and approached the assemblage.
" What's up here?" he asked, and Diamond knew the voice. It was that of the drunken cabman.
"Do you see this young oyster? He pretends to drive a cab," said his enemy.
" Yes, I do see him. And I sees you too. You'd better leave him alone. He ain't no oyster. He's a angel come down on his own business. You be off, or I'll be nearer you than quite agreeable."
The drunken cabman was a tall, stout man, who did not look one to take liberties with.
" Oh! if he's a friend of yours," said the other, drawing back.