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WHO MET DIAMOND AT SANDWICH
S they flew, so fast they went that the sea slid away from under
them like a great web of shot silk, blue shot with grey, and green
shot with purple. They went so fast that the stars themselves
appeared to sail away past them overhead, "like golden boats,"
on a blue sea turned upside down. And they went so fast that Diamond
himself went the other way as fast—I mean he went fast asleep
in North Wind's arms.
When he woke, a face was bending over him; but it was not North Wind's;
it was his mother's. He put out his arms to her, and she clasped him
to her bosom and burst out crying. Diamond kissed her again and again
to make her stop. Perhaps kissing is the best thing for crying,
but it will not always stop it.
"What is the matter, mother?" he said.
 "Oh, Diamond, my darling! you have been so ill!" she sobbed.
"No, mother dear. I've only been at the back of the north wind,"
"I thought you were dead," said his mother.
But that moment the doctor came in.
"Oh! there!" said the doctor with gentle cheerfulness; "we're better
to-day, I see."
Then he drew the mother aside, and told her not to talk to Diamond,
or to mind what he might say; for he must be kept as quiet as possible.
And indeed Diamond was not much inclined to talk, for he felt
very strange and weak, which was little wonder, seeing that all
the time he had been away he had only sucked a few lumps of ice,
and there could not be much nourishment in them.
Now while he is lying there, getting strong again with chicken
broth and other nice things, I will tell my readers what had been
taking place at his home, for they ought to be told it.
They may have forgotten that Miss Coleman was in a very poor
state of health. Now there were three reasons for this.
In the first place, her lungs were not strong. In the second place,
there was a gentleman somewhere who had not behaved very well to her.
In the third place, she had not anything particular to do.
These three nots together are enough to make a lady very ill indeed.
Of course she could not help the first cause; but if the other two
causes had not existed, that would have been of little consequence;
she would only have to be a little careful. The second she could not
help quite; but if she had
 had anything to do, and had done it well,
it would have been very difficult for any man to behave badly to her.
And for this third cause of her illness, if she had had anything
to do that was worth doing, she might have borne his bad behaviour
so that even that would not have made her ill. It is not always easy,
I confess, to find something to do that is worth doing, but the
most difficult things are constantly being done, and she might
have found something if she had tried. Her fault lay in this,
that she had not tried. But, to be sure, her father and mother
were to blame that they had never set her going. Only then again,
nobody had told her father and mother that they ought to set her going
in that direction. So as none of them would find it out of themselves,
North Wind had to teach them.
We know that North Wind was very busy that night on which she
left Diamond in the cathedral. She had in a sense been blowing
through and through the Colemans' house the whole of the night.
First, Miss Coleman's maid had left a chink of her mistress's
window open, thinking she had shut it, and North Wind had wound
a few of her hairs round the lady's throat. She was considerably
worse the next morning. Again, the ship which North Wind had sunk
that very night belonged to Mr. Coleman. Nor will my readers
understand what a heavy loss this was to him until I have informed
them that he had been getting poorer and poorer for some time.
He was not so successful in his speculations as he had been, for he
speculated a great deal more than was right, and it was time he
should be pulled up. It is a hard thing for a rich man to grow poor;
but it is an awful
 thing for him to grow dishonest, and some kinds
of speculation lead a man deep into dishonesty before he thinks
what he is about. Poverty will not make a man worthless—he may be
worth a great deal more when he is poor than he was when he was rich;
but dishonesty goes very far indeed to make a man of no value—a thing to be thrown out in the dust-hole of the creation,
like a bit of a broken basin, or a dirty rag. So North Wind had
to look after Mr. Coleman, and try to make an honest man of him.
So she sank the ship which was his last venture, and he was what
himself and his wife and the world called ruined.
Nor was this all yet. For on board that vessel Miss Coleman's
lover was a passenger; and when the news came that the vessel had
gone down, and that all on board had perished, we may be sure she
did not think the loss of their fine house and garden and furniture
the greatest misfortune in the world.
Of course, the trouble did not end with Mr. Coleman and his family.
Nobody can suffer alone. When the cause of suffering is most deeply
hidden in the heart, and nobody knows anything about it but the
man himself, he must be a great and a good man indeed, such as few
of us have known, if the pain inside him does not make him behave
so as to cause all about him to be more or less uncomfortable.
But when a man brings money-troubles on himself by making haste
to be rich, then most of the people he has to do with must suffer
in the same way with himself. The elm-tree which North Wind blew
down that very night, as if small and great trials were to be
gathered in one heap, crushed Miss Coleman's pretty summer-house:
just so the fall of Mr. Coleman
 crushed the little family that
lived over his coach-house and stable. Before Diamond was well
enough to be taken home, there was no home for him to go to.
Mr. Coleman—or his creditors, for I do not know the particulars—had sold house, carriage, horses, furniture, and everything.
He and his wife and daughter and Mrs. Crump had gone to live
in a small house in Hoxton, where he would be unknown,
and whence he could walk to his place of business in the City.
For he was not an old man, and hoped yet to retrieve his fortunes.
Let us hope that he lived to retrieve his honesty, the tail
of which had slipped through his fingers to the very last joint,
if not beyond it.
Of course, Diamond's father had nothing to do for a time, but it was
not so hard for him to have nothing to do as it was for Miss Coleman.
He wrote to his wife that, if her sister would keep her there till
he got a place, it would be better for them, and he would be greatly
obliged to her. Meantime, the gentleman who had bought the house
had allowed his furniture to remain where it was for a little while.
Diamond's aunt was quite willing to keep them as long as she could.
And indeed Diamond was not yet well enough to be moved with safety.
When he had recovered so far as to be able to go out, one day his
mother got her sister's husband, who had a little pony-cart, to carry
them down to the sea-shore, and leave them there for a few hours.
He had some business to do further on at Ramsgate, and would pick them
up as he returned. A whiff of the sea-air would do them both good,
she said, and she thought besides she could best tell Diamond
what had happened if she had him quite to herself.