344 At the Back of the North Wind
" You silly darling!" said his mother; "how could I but laugh at the notion of that great fat Ruby going side by side with our poor old Diamond?"
"But why not, mother? With a month's oats, and nothing to do, Diamond'll be nearer Ruby's size than you will father's. I think it's very good for different sorts to go together. Now Ruby will have a chance of teaching Diamond better manners."
" How dare you say such a thing, Diamond?" said his father, angrily. " To compare the two for manners, there's no comparison possible. Our Diamond's a gentleman."
"I don't mean to say he isn't, father; for I daresay some gentlemen judge their neighbours unjustly. That's all I mean. Diamond shouldn't have thought such bad things of Ruby. He didn't try to make the best of him."
" How do you know that, pray?"
" I heard them talking about it one night."
" Why, Diamond and Ruby. Ruby's an angel."
Joseph stared and said no more. For all his new gladness, he was very gloomy as he re-harnessed the angel, for he thought his darling Diamond was going out of his mind.
He could not help thinking rather differently, however, when he found the change that had come over Ruby. Considering his fat, he exerted himself amazingly, and got over the ground with incredible speed. So willing, even anxious, was he to go now, that Joseph had to hold him quite tight.