DIAMOND MAKES A BEGINNING
HE wind blew loud, but Diamond slept a deep sleep, and never heard it.
My own impression is that every time when Diamond slept well and
remembered nothing about it in the morning, he had been all that night
at the back of the north wind. I am almost sure that was how he
woke so refreshed, and felt so quiet and hopeful all the day.
Indeed he said this much, though not to me—that always when he
woke from such a sleep there was a something in his mind, he could
not tell what—could not tell whether it was the last far-off sounds
of the river dying away in the distance, or some of the words
of the endless song his mother had read to him on the sea-shore.
Sometimes he thought it must have been the twittering of the swallows—over
the shallows, you, know; but it may have been the chirping
of the dingy sparrows picking up their breakfast in the yard—how
 can I tell? I don't know what I know, I only know what I think;
and to tell the truth, I am more for the swallows than the sparrows.
When he knew he was coming awake, he would sometimes try hard
to keep hold of the words of what seemed a new song, one he had
not heard before—a song in which the words and the music somehow
appeared to be all one; but even when he thought he had got them
well fixed in his mind, ever as he came awaker—as he would say—one line faded away out of it, and then another, and then another,
till at last there was nothing left but some lovely picture of water
or grass or daisies, or something else very common, but with all the
commonness polished off it, and the lovely soul of it, which people
so seldom see, and, alas! yet seldomer believe in, shining out.
But after that he would sing the oddest, loveliest little songs
to the baby—of his own making, his mother said; but Diamond said he
did not make them; they were made somewhere inside him, and he knew
nothing about them till they were coming out.
When he woke that first morning he got up at once, saying to himself,
"I've been ill long enough, and have given a great deal of trouble;
I must try and be of use now, and help my mother." When he went into
her room he found her lighting the fire, and his father just getting
out of bed. They had only the one room, besides the little one,
not much more than a closet, in which Diamond slept. He began at
once to set things to rights, but the baby waking up, he took him,
and nursed him till his mother had got the breakfast ready.
She was looking gloomy, and his
 father was silent; and indeed except
Diamond had done all he possibly could to keep out the misery
that was trying to get in at doors and windows, he too would have
grown miserable, and then they would have been all miserable together.
But to try to make others comfortable is the only way to get right
comfortable ourselves, and that comes partly of not being able
to think so much about ourselves when we are helping other people.
For our Selves will always do pretty well if we don't pay them
too much attention. Our Selves are like some little children who
will be happy enough so long as they are left to their own games,
but when we begin to interfere with them, and make them presents
of too nice playthings, or too many sweet things, they begin at once
to fret and spoil.
"Why, Diamond, child!" said his mother at last, "you're as good to
your mother as if you were a girl—nursing the baby, and toasting
the bread, and sweeping up the hearth! I declare a body would
think you had been among the fairies."
Could Diamond have had greater praise or greater pleasure?
You see when he forgot his Self his mother took care of his Self,
and loved and praised his Self. Our own praises poison our Selves,
and puff and swell them up, till they lose all shape and beauty,
and become like great toadstools. But the praises of father or mother
do our Selves good, and comfort them and make them beautiful.
They never do them any harm. If they do any harm, it comes of our
mixing some of our own praises with them, and that turns them nasty
and slimy and poisonous.
 When his father had finished his breakfast, which he did rather
in a hurry, he got up and went down into the yard to get out his
horse and put him to the cab.
SO DIAMOND SAT DOWN AGAIN, TOOK THE BABY IN HIS LAP.
"Won't you come and see the cab, Diamond?" he said.
"Yes, please, father—if mother can spare me a minute," answered Diamond.
"Bless the child! I don't want him," said his mother cheerfully.
But as he was following his father out of the door, she called
"Diamond, just hold the baby one minute. I have something to say
to your father."
So Diamond sat down again, took the baby in his lap, and began poking
his face into its little body, laughing and singing all the while,
so that the baby crowed like a little bantam. And what he sang was
something like this—such nonsense to those that couldn't understand
it! but not to the baby, who got all the good in the world out of it:—
wake up baby
for all the swallows
are the merriest fellows
and have the yellowest children
who would go sleeping
and snore like a gaby
disturbing his mother
and father and brother
and all a-boring
their ears with his snoring
for himself and no other
for himself in particular
wake up baby
sit up perpendicular
hark to the gushing
hark to the rushing
where the sheep are the woolliest
and the lambs the unruliest
and their tails the whitest
and their eyes the brightest
and baby's the bonniest
and baby's the funniest
and baby's the shiniest
and baby's the tiniest
and baby's the merriest
and baby's the worriest
of all the lambs
that plague their dams
and mother's the whitest
of all the dams
that feed the lambs
that go crop-cropping
and father's the best
of all the swallows
that build their nest
out of the shining shallows
and he has the merriest children
that's baby and Diamond
and Diamond and baby
and baby and Diamond
and Diamond and baby
Here Diamond's knees went off in a wild dance which tossed the baby
about and shook the laughter out of him in immoderate peals.
His mother had been listening at the door to the last few lines
of his song, and came in with the tears in her eyes. She took the
baby from him, gave him a kiss, and told him to run to his father.
 By the time Diamond got into the yard, the horse was between the shafts,
and his father was looping the traces on. Diamond went round
to look at the horse. The sight of him made him feel very queer.
He did not know much about different horses, and all other horses
than their own were very much the same to him. But he could
not make it out. This was Diamond and it wasn't Diamond.
Diamond didn't hang his head like that; yet the head that was
hanging was very like the one that Diamond used to hold so high.
Diamond's bones didn't show through his skin like that; but the
skin they pushed out of shape so was very like Diamond's skin;
and the bones might be Diamond's bones, for he had never seen the
shape of them. But when he came round in front of the old horse,
and he put out his long neck, and began sniffing at him and rubbing
his upper lip and his nose on him, then Diamond saw it could be no
other than old Diamond, and he did just as his father had done before—put his arms round his neck and cried—but not much.
"Ain't it jolly, father?" he said. "Was there ever anybody so lucky
as me? Dear old Diamond!"
And he hugged the horse again, and kissed both his big hairy cheeks.
He could only manage one at a time, however—the other cheek was
so far off on the other side of his big head.
His father mounted the box with just the same air, as Diamond thought,
with which he had used to get upon the coach-box, and Diamond said
to himself, "Father's as grand as ever anyhow." He had kept his
brown livery-coat, only his wife had taken the
 silver buttons off
and put brass ones instead, because they did not think it polite
to Mr. Coleman in his fallen fortunes to let his crest be seen
upon the box of a cab. Old Diamond had kept just his collar;
and that had the silver crest upon it still, for his master thought
nobody would notice that, and so let it remain for a memorial
of the better days of which it reminded him—not unpleasantly,
seeing it had been by no fault either of his or of the old horse's
that they had come down in the world together.
"Oh, father, do let me drive a bit," said Diamond, jumping up
on the box beside him.
His father changed places with him at once, putting the reins
into his hands. Diamond gathered them up eagerly.
"Don't pull at his mouth," said his father. "just feel,
at it gently to let him know you're there and attending to him.
That's what I call talking to him through the reins."
"Yes, father, I understand," said Diamond. Then to the horse he said,
"Go on Diamond." And old Diamond's ponderous bulk began at once
to move to the voice of the little boy.
But before they had reached the entrance of the mews, another voice
called after young Diamond, which, in his turn, he had to obey,
for it was that of his mother. "Diamond! Diamond!" it cried;
and Diamond pulled the reins, and the horse stood still as a stone.
"Husband," said his mother, coming up, "you're never going to trust
him with the reins—a baby like that?"
 "He must learn some day, and he can't begin too soon. I see already
he's a born coachman," said his father proudly. "And I don't see
well how he could escape it, for my father and my grandfather,
that's his great-grandfather, was all coachmen, I'm told; so it
must come natural to him, any one would think. Besides, you see,
old Diamond's as proud of him as we are our own selves, wife. Don't you
see how he's turning round his ears, with the mouths of them open,
for the first word he speaks to tumble in? He's too well bred
to turn his head, you know."
"Well, but, husband, I can't do without him to-day. Everything's
got to be done, you know. It's my first day here. And there's
"Bless you, wife! I never meant to take him away—only to the
bottom of Endell Street. He can watch his way back."
"No thank you, father; not to-day," said Diamond. "Mother wants me.
Perhaps she'll let me go another day."
"Very well, my man," said his father, and took the reins which
Diamond was holding out to him.
Diamond got down, a little disappointed of course, and went with
his mother, who was too pleased to speak. She only took hold
of his hand as tight as if she had been afraid of his running
away instead of glad that he would not leave her.
Now, although they did not know it, the owner of the stables,
the same man who had sold the horse to his father, had been standing
just inside one of the stable-doors, with his hands in his pockets,
and had heard and seen all that passed; and from that day
 John Stonecrop took a great fancy to the little boy. And this was the
beginning of what came of it.
The same evening, just as Diamond was feeling tired of the day's work,
and wishing his father would come home, Mr. Stonecrop knocked
at the door. His mother went and opened it.
"Good evening, ma'am," said he. "Is the little master in?"
"Yes, to be sure he is—at your service, I'm sure, Mr. Stonecrop,"
said his mother.
"No, no, ma'am; it's I'm at his service. I'm just a-going out
with my own cab, and if he likes to come with me, he shall drive
my old horse till he's tired."
"It's getting rather late for him," said his mother thoughtfully.
"You see he's been an invalid."
Diamond thought, what a funny thing! How could he have been an invalid
when he did not even know what the word meant? But, of course,
his mother was right.
"Oh, well," said Mr. Stonecrop, "I can just let him drive through
Bloomsbury Square, and then he shall run home again."
"Very good, sir. And I'm much obliged to you," said his mother.
And Diamond, dancing with delight, got his cap, put his hand in
Mr. Stonecrop's, and went with him to the yard where the cab was waiting.
He did not think the horse looked nearly so nice as Diamond,
nor Mr. Stonecrop nearly so grand as his father; but he was none,
the less pleased. He got up on the box, and his new friend got up
"What's the horse's name?" whispered Diamond, as he took the reins
from the man.
 "It's not a nice name," said Mr. Stonecrop. "You needn't call him
by it. I didn't give it him. He'll go well enough without it.
Give the boy a whip, Jack. I never carries one when I drive old—"
He didn't finish the sentence. Jack handed Diamond a whip,
with which, by holding it half down the stick, he managed just
to flack the haunches of the horse; and away he went.
"Mind the gate," said Mr. Stonecrop; and Diamond did mind the gate,
and guided the nameless horse through it in safety, pulling him this
way and that according as was necessary. Diamond learned to drive
all the sooner that he had been accustomed to do what he was told,
and could obey the smallest hint in a moment. Nothing helps one to get
on like that. Some people don't know how to do what they are told;
they have not been used to it, and they neither understand quickly
nor are able to turn what they do understand into action quickly.
With an obedient mind one learns the rights of things fast enough;
for it is the law of the universe, and to obey is to understand.
"Look out!" cried Mr. Stonecrop, as they were turning the corner
into Bloomsbury Square.
It was getting dusky now. A cab was approaching rather rapidly
from the opposite direction, and Diamond pulling aside, and the
other driver pulling up, they only just escaped a collision.
Then they knew each other.
"Why, Diamond, it's a bad beginning to run into your own father,"
cried the driver.
"But, father, wouldn't it have been a bad ending
 to run into your
own son?" said Diamond in return; and the two men laughed heartily.
"This is very kind of you, I'm sure, Stonecrop," said his father.
"Not a bit. He's a brave fellow, and'll be fit to drive on his own
hook in a week or two. But I think you'd better let him drive you
home now, for his mother don't like his having over much of the
night air, and I promised not to take him farther than the square."
"Come along then, Diamond," said his father, as he brought his cab
up to the other, and moved off the box to the seat beside it.
Diamond jumped across, caught at the reins, said "Good-night, and
thank you, Mr. Stonecrop," and drove away home, feeling more of a
man than he had ever yet had a chance of feeling in all his life.
Nor did his father find it necessary to give him a single hint
as to his driving. Only I suspect the fact that it was old Diamond,
and old Diamond on his way to his stable, may have had something
to do with young Diamond's success.
"Well, child," said his mother, when he entered the room,
"you've not been long gone."
"No, mother; here I am. Give me the baby."
"The baby's asleep," said his mother.
"Then give him to me, and I'll lay him down."
But as Diamond took him, he woke up and began to laugh.
For he was indeed one of the merriest children. And no wonder,
for he was as plump as a plum-pudding, and had never had an
ache or a pain that lasted more than five minutes at a time.
Diamond sat down with him and began to sing to him.
baby baby babbing
your father's gone a-cabbing
to catch a shilling for its pence
to make the baby babbing dance
for old Diamond's a duck
they say he can swim
but the duck of diamonds
is baby that's him
and of all the swallows
the merriest fellows
that bake their cake
with the water they shake
out of the river
flowing for ever
and make dust into clay
on the shiniest day
to build their nest
father's the best
and mother's the whitest
and her eyes are the brightest
of all the dams
that watch their lambs
cropping the grass
where the waters pass
singing for ever
and of all the lambs with
the shakingest tails
and the jumpingest feet
baby's the funniest
baby's the bonniest
and he never wails
and he's always sweet
and Diamond's his nurse
and Diamond's his nurse
and Diamond's his nurse
When Diamond's rhymes grew scarce, he always began dancing the baby.
Some people wondered that such a child could rhyme as he did,
but his rhymes were not very good, for he was only trying to remember
what he had heard the river sing at the back of the north wind.
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