52 At the Back of the North Wind
little girl, and when he turned again the lady had vanished, and the wind was roaring along the street as if it had been the bed of an invisible torrent. The little girl was scudding before the blast, her hair flying too, and behind her she dragged her broom. Her little legs were going as fast as ever they could to keep her from falling. Diamond crept into the shelter of a doorway, thinking to stop her; but she passed him like a bird, crying gently and pitifully.
"Stop! stop! little girl," shouted Diamond, starting in pursuit.
"I can't," wailed the girl; "the wind won't leave go of me."
Diamond could run faster than she, and he had no broom. In a few moments he had caught her by the frock. But it tore in his hand, and away went the little girl. So he had to run again, and this time he ran so fast that he got before her, and turning round caught her in his arms, when down they went both together, which made the little girl laugh in the midst of her crying.
"Where are you going?" asked Diamond, rubbing the elbow that had stuck farthest out. The arm it belonged to was twined round a lamp-post as he stood between the little girl and the wind.
" Home," she said, gasping for breath.
"Then I will go with you," said Diamond.
And then they were silent for a while, for the wind blew worse than ever, and they had both to hold on to the lamp-post.
" Where is your crossing?" asked the girl at length.