342 At the Back of the North Wind
for the roads are hilly thereabouts. I don't want to make a show with a pair of high-steppers. I think these will just do. Suppose for a week or two, you set yourself to take Ruby down and bring Diamond up. If we could only lay a pipe from Ruby's sides into Diamond's, it would be the work of a moment. But I fear that wouldn't answer."
A strong inclination to laugh intruded upon Joseph's inclination to cry, and made speech still harder than before.
"I beg your pardon, sir," he said at length. "I've been so miserable, and for so long, that I never thought you was only a-chaffing of me when you said I hadn't used the horses well. I did grumble at you, sir, many's the time in my trouble; but whenever I said anything, my little Diamond would look at me with a smile, as much as to say: 'I know him better than you, father;' and upon my word, I always thought the boy must be right."
" Will you sell me old Diamond then?"
" I will, sir, on one condition—that if ever you want to part with him or me, you give me the option of buying him. I could not part with him, sir. As to who calls him his, that's nothing; for, as Diamond says, it's only loving a thing that can make it yours —and I do love old Diamond, sir, dearly."
"Well, there's a cheque for twenty pounds, which I wrote to offer you for him, in case I should find you had done the handsome thing by Ruby. Will that be enough?"
" It's too much, sir. His body ain't worth it—shoes