332 At the Back of the North Wind
and bulls, in more important situations. The horses the angels ride, must be angel-horses, else the angels couldn't ride upon them. Well, I'm one of them."
" You ain't."
" Did you ever know a horse tell a lie?"
" Never before. But you've confessed to shamming lame."
" Nothing of the sort. It was necessary I should grow fat, and necessary that good Joseph, your master, should grow lean. I could have pretended to be lame, but that no horse, least of all an angel-horse, would do. So I must be lame, and so I sprained my ankle—for the angel-horses have ankles—they don't talk horse-slang up there—and it hurt me very much, I assure you, Diamond, though you mayn't be good enough to be able to believe it."
Old Diamond made no reply. He had lain down again, and a sleepy snort, very like a snore, revealed that, if he was not already asleep, he was past understanding a word that Ruby was saying. When young Diamond found this, he thought he might venture to take up the dropt shuttlecock of the conversation.
" I'm good enough to believe it, Ruby," he said.
But Ruby never turned his head, or took any notice of him. I suppose he did not understand more of English than just what the coachmen and stablemen were in the habit of addressing him with. Finding, however, that his companion made no reply, he shot his head over the partition and looking down at him said—
" You just wait till to-morrow, and you'll see whether