Dusty Diamonds Cut and Polished by R M Ballantyne Page 1 of 270

R.M. Ballantyne

"Dusty Diamonds Cut and Polished"

Chapter One.

An Accident and some of its Curious Results.

Every one has heard of those ponies-those shaggy, chubby, innocent-looking little creatures-for which the world is indebted, we suppose, to Shetland.

Well, once on a time, one of the most innocent-looking, chubbiest, and shaggiest of Shetland ponies-a dark brown one-stood at the door of a mansion in the west-end of London.

It was attached to a wickerwork vehicle which resembled a large clothes-basket on small wheels. We do not mean, of course, that the pony was affectionately attached to it.

No; the attachment was involuntary and unavoidable, by reason of a brand-new yellow leather harness with brass buckles. It objected to the attachment, obviously, for it sidled this way, and straddled that way, and whisked its enormous little tail, and tossed its rotund little head, and stamped its ridiculously small feet; and champed its miniature bit, as if it had been a war-horse of the largest size, fit to carry a Wallace, a Bruce, or a Richard of the Lion-heart, into the midst of raging battle.

And no wonder; for many months had not elapsed since that brown creature had kicked up its little heels, and twirled its tail, and shaken its shaggy mane in all the wild exuberance of early youth and unfettered freedom on the heather hills of its native island.

In the four-wheeled basket sat a little girl whom it is useless to describe as beautiful. She was far beyond that! Her delicate colour, her little straight nose, her sparkling teeth, her rosebud of a mouth, her enormous blue eyes, and floods of yellow hair-pooh! these are not worth mentioning in the same sentence with her expression. It was that which carried all before it, and swept up the adoration of man-and-woman-kind as with the besom of fascination.

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