(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The secret garden"

THE SECRET GARDEN 

















FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT 






NYPUBL C L BRARY THE BRANCH L.BRAR.ES 

3 3333 08107 8459 
REFERENCE 



T 



THE SECRET GARDEN 











A *" 




'IT SEEMED SCARCELY BEARABLE TO LEAVE SUCH DEHGHTKUI.NESS' 1 Page 23! 



THE 

SECRET GARDEN 



BY 

FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT 

A uthor of 

"The Shuttle? " The Making of a Marchioness? "The Methods of Lady 
Walderhurst? "That Lass o' Loiuries? "Through One Adminis- 
tration? "Little Lord Fauntleroy? "A Lady of Quality? etc. 




NEW YORK 
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY 

PUBLISHERS 



Copyright, 1911, by 
FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT 

Copyright, igio t ign, by 
THE PHILLIPS PUBLISHING Co. 



rights reserved, including that of translation into foreign 
languages, including the Scandinavian. 



Printed in the United States of America, 




PROPERTY OF THE ^ ^ 

CITY OF NEW YORK 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I THERE is No ONE LEFT . I 

II MISTRESS MARY QUITE CONTRARY . 10 

III ACROSS THE MOOR 23 

IV MARTHA 30 

V THE CRY IN THE CORRIDOR .... 55 

VI " THERE WAS SOME ONE CRYING 

THERE WAS ' 65 

VII THE KEY OF THE GARDEN ... 75 

VIII THE ROBIN WHO SHOWED THE WAY . 85 

IX THE STRANGEST HOUSE ANY ONE EVER 

LIVED IN ........ 97 

X DICKON in 

XI THE NEST OF THE MISSEL THRUSH . 128 

XII " MIGHT I HAVE A BIT OF EARTH? " . 140 

XIII "I AM COLIN" 153 

XIV A YOUNG RAJAH 172 

XV NEST BUILDING 189 

XVI "I WON'T!" SAID MARY . . . . 207 

XVII A TANTRUM 218 

XVIII " THA' MUNNOT WASTE No TIME " . 229 

XIX "!T HAS COME!" . . .239 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

XX " I SHALL LIVE FOREVER AND EVER 

AND EVER!' 255 

XXI BEN WEATHERSTAFF . 268 

XXII WHEN THE SUN WENT DOWN . . 284 

XXIII MAGIC 292 

XXIV " LET THEM LAUGH " ..... 310 
XXV THE CURTAIN ........ 328 

XXVI "IT'S MOTHER!" ....... 339 

XXVII IN THE GARDEN . . . ., ., . . 353 



THE SECRET GARDEN 



THE SECRET GARDEN 



CHAPTER I 

THERE IS NO ONE LEFT 

A X 7HEN Mary Lennox was sent to Missel- 
* * thwaite Manor to live with her uncle every- 
body said she was the most disagreeable-looking 
child ever seen. It was true, too. She had a 
little thin face and a little thin body, thin 
light hair and a sour expression. Her hair 
was yellow, and her face was yellow because 
she had been born in India and had always 
been ill in one way or another. Her father 
had held a position under the English Government 
and had always been busy and ill himself, and her 
mother had been a great beauty who cared only 
to go to parties and amuse herself with gay people. 
She had not wanted a little girl at all, and when 
Mary was born she handed her over to the care of 
an Ayah, who was made to understand that if she 
wished to please the Mem Sahib she must keep the 
hild out of sight as much as possible. So when 

she was a sickly, fretful, ugly little baby she was 

i 



t 



2 THE SECRET GARDEN 

kept out of the way, and when she became a sickly, 
fretful, toddling thing she was kept out of the way 
also. She never remembered seeing familiarly 
anything but the dark faces of her Ayah and the 
other native servants, and as they always obeyed 
her and gave her her own way in everything, be- 
cause the Mem Sahib would be angry if she was 
disturbed by her crying, by the time she was six 
years old she was as tyrannical and selfish a little 
pig as ever lived. The young English governess 
who came to teach her to read and write disliked 
her so much that she gave up her place in three 
months, and when other governesses came to try 
to fill it they always went away in a shorter time 
than the first one. So if Mary had not chosen 
to really want to know how to read books she 
would never have learned her letters at all. 

One frightfully hot morning, when she was 
about nine years old, she awakened feeling very 
cross, and she became crosser still when she saw 
that the servant who stood by her bedside was not 
her Ayah. 

Why did you come? " she said to the strange 
woman. " I will not let you stay. Send my Ayah 



to me.' 



The woman looked frightened, but she only 
stammered that the Ayah could not come and 
when Mary threw herself into a passion and beat 



THERE IS NO ONE LEFT 3 

and kicked her, she looked only more frightened 
and repeated that it was not possible for the Ayah 
to come to Missie Sahib. 

There was something mysterious in the air that 
morning. Nothing was done in its regular order 
and several of the native servants seemed missing, 
while those whom Mary saw slunk or hurried about 
with ashy and scared faces. But no one would 
tell her anything and her Ayah did not come. She 
was actually left alone as the morning went on, 
and at last she wandered out into the garden and 
began to play by herself under a tree near the 
veranda. She pretended that she was making 
a flower-bed, and she stuck big scarlet hibiscus 
blossoms into little heaps of earth, all the time 
growing more and more angry and muttering to 
herself the things she would say and the names 
she would call Saidie when she returned. 

"Pig! Pig! Daughter of Pigs!" she said, 
because to call a native a pig is the worst insult 
of all. 

She was grinding her teeth and saying this over 
and over again when she heard her mother come 
out on the veranda with some one. She was with 
a fair young man and they stood talking together 
in low strange voices. Mary knew the fair young 
man who looked like a boy. She had heard that 
he was a very young officer who had just come 



4 THE SECRET GARDEN 

from England. The child stared at him, but she 
stared most at her mother. She always did this 
when she had a chance to see her, because the 
Mem Sahib Mary used to call her that oftener 
than anything else was such a tall, slim, pretty 
person and wore such lovely clothes. Her hair 
was like curly silk and she had a delicate little 
nose which seemed to be disdaining things, and 
she had large laughing eyes. All her clothes 
were thin and floating, and Mary said they were 
" full of lace." They looked fuller of lace than 
ever this morning, but her eyes were not laughing 
at all. They were large and scared and lifted im- 
ploringly to the fair boy officer's face. 

" Is it so very bad? Oh, is it? ' Mary heard 
her say. 

' Awfully/' the young man answered in a trem- 
bling voice. * Awfully, Mrs. Lennox. You 
ought to have gone to the hills two weeks ago." 

The Mem Sahib wrung her hands. 

" Oh, I know I ought! " she cried. " I only 
stayed to go to that silly dinner party. What a 
fool I was ! ' 

At that very moment such a loud sound of wail- 
ing broke out from the servants' quarters that she 
clutched the young man's arm, and Mary stood 
shivering from head to foot. The wailing grew 
wilder and wilder. 



u 
u 



THERE IS NO ONE LEFT 5 

"What is it? What is it?" Mrs. Lennox 
gasped. 

" Some one has died," answered the boy offi- 
cer. " You did not say it had broken out among 
your servants." 

I did not know!' the Mem Sahib cried. 

Come with me ! Come with me 1 ' and she 
turned and ran into the house. 

After that appalling things happened, and the 
mysteriousness of the morning was explained to 
Mary. The cholera had "broken out in its most 
fatal form and people were dying like flies. The 
Ayah had been taken ill in the night, and it was 
because she had just died that the servants had 
wailed in the huts. Before the next day three 
other servants were dead and others had run away 
in terror. There was panic on every side, and dy- 
ing people in all the bungalows. 

During the confusion and bewilderment of the 
second day Mary hid herself in the nursery and 
was forgotten by every one. Nobody thought of 
her, nobody wanted her, and strange things hap- 
pened of which she knew nothing. Mary alter- 
nately cried and slept through the hours. She 
only knew that people were ill and that she heard 
mysterious and frightening sounds. Once she 
crept into the dining-room and found it empty, 
though a partly finished meal was on the table and 



6 THE SECRET GARDEN 

chairs and plates looked as if they had been hastily 
pushed back when the diners rose suddenly for 
some reason. The child ate some fruit and bis- 
cuits, and being thirsty she drank a glass of wine 
which stood nearly filled. It was sweet, and she 
did not know how strong it was. Very soon it 
made her intensely drowsy, and she went back to 
her nursery and shut herself in again, frightened by 
cries she heard in the huts and by the hurrying 
sound of feet. The wine made her so sleepy that 
she could scarcely keep her eyes open and she lay 
down on her bed and knew nothing more for a 
long time. 

Many things happened during the hours in 
which she slept so heavily, but she was not dis- 
turbed by the wails and the sound of things be- 
ing carried in and out of the bungalow. 

When she awakened she lay and stared at the 
wall. The house was perfectly still. She had 
never known it to be so silent before. She heard 
neither voices nor footsteps, and wondered if 
everybody had got well of the cholera and all 
the trouble was over. She wondered also who< 
would take care of her now her Ayah was dead. 
There would be a new Ayah, and perhaps she 
would know some new stories. Mary had been 
rather tired of the old ones. She did not cry 
because her nurse had died. She was not an affec- 



THERE IS NO ONE LEFT 7 

donate child and had never cared much for any 
one. The noise and hurrying about and wailing 
over the cholera had frightened her, and she had 
been angry because no one seemed to remember 
that she was alive. Every one was too panic- 
stricken to think of a little girl no one was fond of. 
When people had the cholera it seemed that they 
remembered nothing but themselves. But if ev- 
ery one had got well again, surely some one would 
remember and come to look for her. 

But no one came, and as she lay waiting the 
house seemed to grow more and more silent. She 
heard something rustling on the matting and when 
she looked down she saw a little snake gliding 
along and watching her with eyes like jewels. She 
was not frightened, because he was a harmless 
little thing who would not hurt her and he seemed 
in a hurry to get out of the room. He slipped 
under the door as she watched him. 

" How queer and quiet it is," she said. ' It 
sounds as if there was no one in the bungalow but 
me and the snake." 

Almost the next minute she heard footsteps in 
the compound, and then on the veranda. They 
were men's footsteps, and the men entered the 
bungalow and talked in low voices. No one went 
to meet or speak to them and they seemed to 
open doors and look into rooms. 



8 THE SECRET GARDEN 

What desolation! ' she heard one voice say. 
That pretty, pretty woman! I suppose the 
child, too. I heard there was a child, though no 
one ever saw her." 

Mary was standing in the middle of the nursery 
when they opened the door a few minutes later. 
She looked an ugly, cross little thing and was 
frowning because she was beginning to be hungry 
and feel disgracefully neglected. The first man 
who came in was a large officer she had once seen 
talking to her father. He looked tired and 
troubled, but when he saw her he was so startled 
that he almost jumped back. 

'Barney! 1 he cried out. "There is a child 
here! A child alone! In a place like thisl 
Mercy on us, who is she ! ' 

" I am Mary Lennox," the little girl said, draw- 
ing herself up stiffly. She thought the man was 
very rude to call her father's bungalow " A place 
like this ! ' "I fell asleep when every one had 
the cholera and I have only just wakened up. 
Why does nobody come ? ' 

1 It is the child no one ever saw ! 1 exclaimed 
the man, turning to his companions. " She has 
actually been forgotten ! ' 

" Why was I forgotten? ' Mary said, stamp- 
ing her foot. " Why does nobody come? " 

The young man whose name was Barney looked 



THERE IS NO ONE LEFT 9 

at her very sadly. Mary even thought she saw 
him wink his eyes as if to wink tears away. 

" Poor little kid ! ' ' he said. " There is nobody 
left to come." 

It was in that strange and sudden way that 
Mary found out that she had neither father nor 
mother left; that they had died and been carried 
away in the night, and that the few native servants 
who had not died also had left the house as quickly 
as they could get out of it, none of them even re- 
membering that there was a Missie Sahib. That 
was why the place was so quiet. It was true that 
there was no one in the bungalow but herself and 
the little rustling snake. 



CHAPTER II 

MISTRESS MARY QUITE CONTRARY 

MARY had liked to look at her mother from a 
distance and she had thought her very pretty, 
but as she knew very little of her she could scarcely 
have been expected to love her or to miss her very 
much when she was gone. She did not miss her 
at all, in fact, and as she was a self-absorbed child 
she gave her entire thought to herself, as she had 
always done. If she had been older she would 
no doubt have been very anxious at being left 
alone in the world, but she was very young, and as 
she had always been taken care of, she supposed 
she always would be. What she thought was that 
she would like to know if she was going to nice 
people, who would be polite to her and give her 
her own way as her Ayah and the other native 
servants had done. 

She knew that she was not going to stay at the 
English clergyman's house where she was taken at 
first. She did not want to stay. The English 
clergyman was poor and he had five children nearly 
the same age and they wore shabby clothes 



MISTRESS MARY n 

and were always quarreling and snatching toys 
from each other. Mary hated their untidy bun- 
galow and was so disagreeable to them that after 
the first day or two nobody would play with her. 
By the second day they had given her a nickname 
which made her furious. 

It was Basil who thought of it first. Basil 
was a little boy with impudent blue eyes and a 
turned-up nose and Mary hated him. She was 
playing by herself under a tree, just as she had been 
playing the day the cholera broke out. She was 
making heaps of earth and paths for a garden and 
Basil came and stood near to watch her. Pres- 
ently he got rather interested and suddenly made 
a suggestion. 

Why don't you put a heap of stones there and 
pretend it is a rockery? ' he said. " There in 
the middle," and he leaned over her to point. 

1 Go away ! " cried Mary. " I don't want boys. 
Go away! ' 

For a moment Basil looked angry, and then he 
began to tease. He was always teasing his sis- 
ters. He danced round and round her and made 
faces and sang and laughed. 

'* Mistress Mary, quite contrary, 
How does your garden grow? 
With silver bells, and cockle shells. 
And marigolds all in a row ' 9 



12 THE SECRET GARDEN 

He sang it until the other children heard and 
laughed, too; and the Grosser Mary got, the more 
they sang " Mistress Mary, quite contrary "; and 
after that as long as she stayed with them they 
called her ' Mistress Mary Quite Contrary ' 
when they spoke of her to each other, and often 
when they spoke to her. 

You are going to be sent home," Basil said 
to her, " at the end of the week. And we're glad 
of it." 

I am glad of it, too," answered Mary. 
" Where is home?" 

4 She doesn't know where home is! " said Basil, 
with seven-year-old scorn. : It's England, of 
course. Our grandmama lives there and our sis- 
ter Mabel was sent to her last year. You are not 
going to your grandmama. You have none. 
You are going to your uncle. His name is Mr. 
Archibald Craven." 

' I don't know anything about him," snapped 
Mary. 

' I know you don't," Basil answered. " You 
don't know anything. Girls 'never do. I heard 
father and mother talking about him. He lives 
in a great, big, desolate old house in the country 
and no one goes near him. He's so cross he 
won't let them, and they wouldn't come if he would 
let them. He's a hunchback, and he's horrid." 



MISTRESS MARY 13 

" I don't believe you," said Mary; and she 
turned her back and stuck her fingers in her ears, 
because she would not listen any more. 

But she thought over it a great deal afterward; 
and when Mrs. Crawford told her that night that 
she was going to sail away to England in a few 
days and go to her uncle, Mr. Archibald Craven, 
who lived at Misselthwaite Manor, she looked so 
stony and stubbornly uninterested that they did 
not know what to think about her. They tried to 
be kind to her, but she only turned her face away 
when Mrs. Crawford attempted to kiss her, and 
held herself stiffly when Mr. Crawford patted her 
shoulder. 

" She is such a plain child," Mrs. Crawford said 
pityingly, afterward. " And her mother was such 
a pretty creature. She had a very pretty manner, 
too, and Mary has the most unattractive ways I 
ever saw in a child. The children call her ' Mis- 
tress Mary Quite Contrary/ and though it's 
naughty of them, one can't help understanding it." 

" Perhaps if her mother had carried her pretty 
face and her pretty manners oftener into the nur- 
sery Mary might have learned some pretty ways 
too. It is very sad, now the poor beautiful thing 
is gone, to remember that many people never even 
knew that she had a child at all." 

" I believe she scarcely ever looked at her," 



14 THE SECRET GARDEN 

sighed Mrs. Crawford. " When her Ayah was 
dead there was no one to give a thought to the 
little thing. Think of the servants running away 
and leaving her all alone in that deserted bunga- 
low. Colonel McGrew said he nearly jumped out 
of his skin when he opened the door and found 
her standing by herself in the middle of the room.' 1 

Mary made the long voyage to England under 
the care of an officer's wife, who was taking her 
children to leave them in a boarding-school. She 
was very much absorbed in her own little boy and 
girl, and was rather glad to hand the child over 
to the woman Mr. Archibald Craven sent to meet 
her, in London. The woman was his housekeeper 
at Misselthwaite Manor, and her name was Mrs. 
Medlock. She was a stout woman, with very red 
cheeks and sharp black eyes. She wore a very 
purple dress, a black silk mantle with jet fringe on 
it and a black bonnet with purple velvet flowers 
which stuck up and trembled when she moved her 
head. Mary did not like her at all, but as she 
very seldom liked people there was nothing re- 
markable in that; besides which it was very evident 
1 Mrs. Medlock did not think much of her. 

" My word ! she's a plain little piece of goods ! ' 
she said. " And we'd heard that her mother was 
a beauty. She hasn't handed much of it down ? 
has she, ma'am? ' 



MISTRESS MARY 15 

' Perhaps she will improve as she grows older/' 
the officer's wife said good-naturedly. " If she 
were not so sallow and had a nicer expression, her 
features are rather good. Children alter so 
much." 

1 She'll have to alter a good deal," answered 
Mrs. Medlock. " And there's nothing likely to 
improve children at Misselthwaite if you ask 
me!" 

They thought Mary was not listening because 
she was standing a little apart from them at the 
window of the private hotel they had gone to. 
She was watching the passing buses and cabs, and 
people, but she heard quite well and was made very 
curious about her uncle and the place he lived in. 
What sort of a place was it, and what would he be 
like? What was a hunchback? She had never 
seen one. Perhaps there were none in India. 

Since she had been living in other people's 
houses and had had no Ayah, she had begun to 
feel lonely and to think queer thoughts which were 
new to her. She had begun to wonder why she 
had never seemed to belong to any one even when 
her father and mother had been alive. Other 
children seemed to belong to their fathers and 
mothers, but she had never seemed to really be 
any one's little girl. She had had servants, and 
food and clothes, but no one had taken any notice 



1 6 THE SECRET GARDEN 

of her. She did not know that this was because 
she was a disagreeable child; but then, of course, 
she did not know she was disagreeable. She 
often thought that other people were, but she did 
not know that she was so herself. 

She thought Mrs. Medlock the most disagree- 
able person she had ever seen, with her common, 
highly colored face and her common fine bonnet. 
When the next day they set out on their journey 
to Yorkshire, she walked through the station to the 
railway carriage with her head up and trying to 
keep as far away from her as she could, because 
she did not want to seem to belong to her. It 
would have made her very angry to think people 
imagined she was her little girl. 

But Mrs. Medlock was not in the least disturbed 
by her and her thoughts. She was the kind of 
woman who would " stand no nonsense from young 
ones." At least, that is what she would have said 
if she had been asked. She had not wanted to 
go to London just when her sister Maria's daugh- 
ter was going to be married, but she had a comfort- 
able, well paid place as housekeeper at Missel- 
thwaite Manor and the only way in which she could 
keep it was to do at once what Mr. Archibald 
Craven told her to do. She never dared even 
*o ask a question. 

* Captain Lennox and his wife died of the chol- 



MISTRESS MARY 17 

era," Mr. Craven had said in his short, cold way. 
" Captain Lennox was my wife's brother and I 
am their daughter's guardian. The child is to 
be brought here. You must go to London and 
bring her yourself." 

So she packed her small trunk and made the 
journey. 

Mary sat in her corner of the railway carriage 
and looked plain and fretful. She had nothing to 
read or to look at, and she had folded her thin little 
black-gloved hands in her lap. Her black dress 
made her look yellower than ever, and her limp 
light hair straggled from under her black crepe 
hat. 

" A more marred-looking young one I never 
saw in my life," Mrs. Medlock thought. 
(Marred is a Yorkshire word and means spoiled 
and pettish.) She had never seen a child who sat 
so still without doing anything; and at last she got 
tired of watching her and began to talk in a brisk, 
hard voice. 

" I suppose I may as well tell you something 
about where you are going to," she said. ' Do 
you know anything about your uncle ? ' 

" No," said Mary. 

" Never heard your father and mother talk 
about him? ' 

" No," said Mary frowning. She frowned be- 



IB THE SECRET GARDEN 

cause she remembered that her father and mother 
had never talked to her about anything in partic- 
ular. Certainly they had never told her things. 

" Humph," muttered Mrs. Medlock, staring at, 
her queer, unresponsive little face. She did not 
say any more for a few moments and then she be- 
gan again. 

" I suppose you might as well be told something 
to prepare you. You are going to a queer 
place." 

Mary said nothing at all, and Mrs. Medlock 
looked rather discomfited by her apparent indiffer- 
ence, but, after taking a breath, she went on. 

" Not but that it's a grand big place in a gloomy 
way, and Mr. Craven's proud of it in his way 
and that's gloomy enough, too. The house is six 
hundred years old and it's on the edge of the moor, 
and there's near a hundred rooms in it, though 
most of them's shut up and locked. And there's 
pictures and fine old furniture and things that's 
been there for ages, and there's a big park round 
it and gardens and trees with branches trailing to 
the ground some of them." She paused and 
took another breath. ' But there's nothing else," 
she ended suddenly. 

Mary had begun to listen in spite of herself. 
It all sounded so unlike India, and anything new 
rather attracted her. But she did not intend to 



MISTRESS MARY 19 

look as if she were interested. That was one of 
her unhappy, disagreeable ways. So she sat still. 

" Well," said Mrs. Medlock. " What do you 
think of it?" 

" Nothing," she answered. " I know nothing 
about such places." 

That made Mrs. Medlock laugh a short sort of 
laugh. 

" Eh ! ' she said, " but you are like an old 
woman. Don't you care? ' 

" It doesn't matter," said Mary, " whether I 
care or not." 

" You are right enough there," said Mrs. Med- 
lock. " It doesn't. What you're to be kept at 
Misselthwaite Manor for I don't know, unless be- 
cause it's the easiest way. He's not going to 
trouble himself about you, that's sure and certain. 
He never troubles himself about no one." 

She stopped herself as if she had just remem- 
bered something in time. 

" He's got a crooked back," she said. " That 
set him wrong. He was a sour young man and got 
no good of all his money and big place till he was 
married." 

Mary's eyes turned toward her in spite of her 
intention not to seem to care. She had never 
thought of the hunchback's being married and she 
was a trifle surprised. Mrs. Medlock saw this, 



20 THE SECRET GARDEN 

and as she was a talkative woman she continued 
with more interest. This was one way of passing 
some of the time, at any rate. 

u She was a sweet, pretty thing and he'd have 
walked the world over to get her a blade o' grass 
she wanted. Nobody thought she'd marry him, 
but she did, and people said she married him for 
his money. But she didn't she didn't," posi- 
tively. "When she died " 

Mary gave a little involuntary jump. 

" Oh! did she die! " she exclaimed, quite with- 
out meaning to. She had just remembered a 
French fairy story she had once read called ' ' Ri- 
quet a la Houppe." It had been about a poor 
hunchback and a beautiful princess and it had made 
her suddenly sorry for Mr. Archibald Craven. 

" Yes, she died," Mrs. Medlock answered. 
" And it made him queerer than ever. He cares 
about nobody. He won't see people. Most of 
the time he goes away, and when he is at Missel- 
thwaite he shuts himself up in the West Wing and 
won't let any one but Pitcher see him. Pitcher's 
an old fellow, but he took care of him when he 
was a child and he knows his ways." 

It sounded like something in a book and it did 
not make Mary feel cheerful. A house with 
a hundred rooms, nearly all shut up and with 
their doors locked a house on the edge of a 



MISTRESS MARY 21 

moor whatsoever a moor was sounded 
dreary. A man with a crooked back who shut 
himself up also! She stared out of the window 
with her lips pinched together, and it seemed 
quite natural that the rain should have begun to 
pour down in gray slanting lines and splash and 
stream down the window-panes. If the pretty 
wife had been alive she might have made things 
cheerful by being something like her own mother 
and by running in and out and going to parties 
as she had done in frocks " full of lace." But 
she was not there any more. 

'" You needn't expect to see him, because ten 
to one vou won't," said Mrs. Medlock. " And 

^ 7 

you mustn't expect that there will be people to 
talk to you. You'll have to play about and look 
after yourself. You'll be told what rooms you 
can go into and what rooms you're to keep out of. 
There's gardens enough. But when you're in the 
house don't go wandering and poking about. Mr. 
Craven won't have it." 

" I shall not want to go poking about," said 
sour little Mary; and just as suddenly as she had 
begun to be rather sorry for Mr. Archibald Cra- 
ven she began to cease to be sorry and to think 
he was unpleasant enough to deserve all that had 
happened to him. 

And she turned her face toward the streaming 



22 THE SECRET GARDEN 

panes of the window of the railway carriage and 
gazed out at the gray rain-storm which looked as 
if it would go on forever and ever. She watched 
it so long and steadily that the grayness grew heav- 
ier and heavier before her eyes and she fell asleep* 



CHAPTER III 

ACROSS THE MOOR 

SHE slept a long time, and when she awakened 
Mrs. Medlock had bought a lunchbasket at 
one of the stations and they had some chicken and 
cold beef and bread and butter and some hot tea. 
The rain seemed to be streaming down more 
heavily than ever and everybody in the station 
wore wet and glistening waterproofs. The guard 
lighted the lamps in the carriage, and Mrs. Med- 
lock cheered up very much over her tea and chicken 
and beef. She ate a great deal and afterward 
fell asleep herself, and Mary sat and stared at her 
and watched her fine bonnet slip on one side until 
she herself fell asleep once more in the corner 
of the carnage, lulled by the splashing of the 
rain against the windows. It was quite dark when 
she awakened again. The train had stopped at a 
i station and Mrs. Medlock was shaking her. 

" You have had a sleep ! " she said. " It's time 
to open your eyes! We're at Thwaite Station 
and we've got a long drive before us." 

Mary stood up and tried to keep her eyes open 

23 



24 THE SECRET GARDEN 

while Mrs. Medlock collected her parcels. The 
little girl did not offer to help her, because in India 
native servants always picked up or carried things 
and it seemed quite proper that other people should 
wait on one. 

The station was a small one and nobody but 
themselves seemed to be getting out of the train. 
The station-master spoke to Mrs. Medlock in a 
rough, good-natured way, pronouncing his words 
in a queer broad fashion which Mary found out 
afterward was Yorkshire. 

" I see tha's got back," he said. " An' tha's 
browt th' young 'un with thee." 

" Aye, that's her," answered Mrs. Medlock, 
speaking with a Yorkshire accent herself and jerk- 
ing her head over her shoulder toward Mary. 
"How's thy Missus?" 

" Well enow. Th' carriage is waitin' outside 
for thee." 

A brougham stood on the road before the little 
outside platform. Mary saw that it was a smart 
carriage and that it was a smart footman who 
helped her in. His long waterproof coat and the 
waterproof covering of his hat were shining and 
dripping with rain as everything was, the burly 
station-master included. 

When he shut the door, mounted the box with 
the coachman, and they drove off, the little girl 



ACROSS THE MOOR 25 

found herself seated in a comfortably cushioned 
corner, but she was not inclined to go to sleep 
again. She sat and looked out of the window, 
curious to see something of the road over which she 
was being driven to the queer place Mrs. Med- 
lock had spoken of. She was not at all a timid 
child and she was not exactly frightened, but she 
felt that there was no knowing what might happen 
in a house with a hundred rooms nearly all shut 
up a house standing on the edge of a moor. 

" What is a moor? " she said suddenly to Mrs. 
Medlock. 

" Look out of the window in about ten min- 
utes and you'll see," the woman answered. 
" We've got to drive five miles across Missel Moor 
before we get to the Manor. You won't see much 
because it's a dark night, but you can see some- 
thing." 

Mary asked no more questions but waited in 
the darkness of her corner, keeping her eyes on 
the window. The carriage lamps cast rays of 
light a little distance ahead of them and she caught 
glimpses of the things they passed. After they 
had left the station they had driven through a 
tiny village and she had seen whitewashed cot- 
tages and the lights of a public house. Then they 
had passed a church and a vicarage and a little 
shop-window or so in a cottage with toys and 



26 THE SECRET GARDEN 

sweets and odd things set out for sale. Then 
they were on the highroad and she saw hedges 
and trees. After that there seemed nothing dif- 
ferent for a long time or at least it seemed a 
long time to her. 

At last the horses began to go more slowly, as 
if they were climbing up-hill, and presently there 
seemed to be no more hedges and no more trees. 
She could see nothing, in fact, but a dense dark- 
ness on either side. She leaned forward and 
pressed her face against the window just as the 
carriage gave a big jolt. 

" Eh ! We're on the moor now sure enough,' 1 
said Mrs. Medlock. 

The carriage lamps shed a yellow light on a 
rough-looking road which seemed to be cut through 
bushes and low growing things which ended in the 
great expanse of dark apparently spread out be- 
fore and around them. A wind was rising and 
making a singular, wild, low, rushing sound. 

" It's it's not the sea, is it? " said Mary, look* 
ing round at her companion. 

" No, not it," answered Mrs. Medlock. " Nor 
it isn't fields nor mountains, it's just miles and miles 
and miles of wild land that nothing grows on but 
heather and gorse and broom, and nothing lives on 
but wild ponies and sheep." 

" I feel as if it might be the sea, if there were 



ACROSS THE MOOR 27 

water on it," said Mary. " It sounds like the 
sea just now/' 

That's the wind blowing through the bushes," 
Mrs. Medlock said. u It's a wild, dreary enough 
place to my mind, though there's plenty that likes 
it particularly when the heather's in bloom." 

On and on they drove through the darkness, 
and though the rain stopped, the wind rushed by 
and whistled and made strange sounds. The 
road went up and down, and several times the 
carriage passed over a little bridge beneath which 
water rushed very fast with a great deal of noise. 
Mary felt as if the drive would never come to 
an end and that the wide, bleak moor was a wide 
expanse of black ocean through which she was 
passing on a strip of dry land. 

" I don't like it," she said to herself. " I 
don't like it," and she pinched her thin lips more 
tightly together. 

The horses were climbing up a hilly piece of 
road when she first caught sight of a light. Mrs. 
Medlock saw it as soon as she did and drew a long 
sigh of relief. 

" Eh, I am glad to see that bit o' light twin- 
kling," she exclaimed. " It's the light in the lodge 
window. We shall get a good cup of tea after a 
bit, at all events." 

It was " after a bit," as she said, for when the 



28 THE SECRET GARDEN 

carriage passed through the park gates there was 
still two miles of avenue to drive through and 
the trees (which nearly met overhead) made it 
seem as if they were driving through a long dark 
vault. 

They drove out of the vault into a clear space 
and stopped before an immensely long but low- 
built house which seemed to ramble round a stone 
court. At first Mary thought that there were no 
lights at all in the windows, but as she got out of 
the carriage she saw that one room in a corner 
up-stairs showed a dull glow. 

The entrance door was a huge one made of mas- 
sive, curiously shaped panels of oak studded with 
big iron nails and bound with great iron bars. It 
opened into an enormous hall, which was so dimly 
lighted that the faces in the portraits on the walls 
and the figures in the suits of armor made Mary 
feel that she did not want to look at them. As 
she stood on the stone floor she looked a very 
small, odd little black figure, and she felt as small 
and lost and odd as she looked. 

A neat, thin old man stood near the manservant 
who opened the door for them. 

You are to take her to her room," he said 
in a husky voice. ' He doesn't want to see her. 
He's going to London in the morning." 

" Very well, Mr. Pitcher," Mrs. Medlock an- 



ACROSS THE MOOR 29 

swered. " So long as I know what's expected of 
me, I can manage." 

" What's expected of you, Mrs. Medlock," Mr. 
Pitcher said, ' is that you make sure that he's not 
disturbed and that he doesn't see what he doesn't 



want to see." 



And then Mary Lennox was led up a broad 
staircase and down a long corridor and up a short 
flight of steps and through another corridor and 
another, until a door opened in a wall and she 
found herself in a room with a fire in it and a 
supper on a table. 

Mrs. Medlock said unceremoniously: 

Well, here you are ! This room and the next 
are where you'll live and you must keep to 
them. Don't you forget that! ' 

It was in this way Mistress Mary arrived at 
Misseithwaite Manor and she had perhaps neve*; 
felt quite so contrary in all her life. 



CHAPTER IV 

MARTHA 

WHEN she opened her eyes in the morning it 
was because a young housemaid had come 
into her room to light the fire and was kneeling 
on the hearth-rug raking out the cinders noisily. 
Mary lay and watched her for a few moments 
and then began to look about the room. She had 
never seen a room at all like it and thought it cu- 
rious and gloomy. The walls were covered with 
tapestry with a forest scene embroidered on it. 
There were fantastically dressed people under 
the trees and in the distance there was a glimpse of 
the turrets of a castle. There were hunters and 
horses and dogs and ladies. Mary felt as if she 
were in the forest with them. Out of a deep win- 
dow she could see a great climbing stretch of land 
which seemed to have no trees on it, and to look 
rather like an endless, dull, purplish sea. 

What is that? " she said, pointing out of the 
window. 

Martha, the young housemaid, who had just 
risen to her feet, looked and pointed also, 

30 



MARTHA 31 

"That there?" she said 
" Yes." 

" That's th' moor," with a good-natured grin. 
"Does tha' like it?" 

" No," answered Mary. " I hate it." 
" That's because tha'rt not used to it," Martha 
said, going back to her hearth. " Tha' thinks 
it's too big an' bare now. But tha' will like 



it.' 



u 
u 



Do you ? ' ' inquired Mary. 
Aye, that I do," answered Martha, cheerfully 
polishing away at the grate. " I just love it. 
It's none bare. It's covered wi' growin' things as 
smells sweet. It's fair lovely in spring an' sum- 
mer when th' gorse an' broom an' heather's in 
flower. It smells o' honey an' there's such a lot 
o' fresh air an' th' sky looks so high an' th' bees 
an' skylarks makes such a nice noise hummin' an' 
singin'. Eh ! I wouldn't live away from th 1 
moor for anythin'." 

Mary listened to her with a grave, puzzled ex- 
pression. The native servants she had been used 
to in India were not in the least like this. They 
Were obsequious and servile and did not presume 
to talk to their masters as if they were their equals. 
They made salaams and called them " protector 
of the poor " and names of that sort. Indian serv- 
ants were commanded to do things, not asked. 



32 THE SECRET GARDEN 

It was not the custom to say " please " and " thank 
you ' and Mary had always slapped her Ayah in 
the face when she was angry. She wondered a 
little what this girl would do if one slapped her 
in the face. She was a round, rosy, good-natured 
looking creature, but she had a sturdy way which 
made Mistress Mary wonder if she might not 
even slap back if the person who slapped her 
was only a little girl. 

You are a strange servant," she said from her 
pillows, rather haughtily. 

Martha sat up on her heels, with her blacking- 
brush in her hand, and laughed, without seeming 
the least out of temper. 

'Eh! I know that," she said. " If there was 
a grand Missus at Misselthwaite I should never 
have been even one of th' under housemaids. I 
might have been let to be scullery-maid but I'd 
never have been let up-stairs. I'm too common 
an' I talk too much Yorkshire. But this is a 
funny house for all it's so grand. Seems like 
there's neither Master nor Mistress except Mr. 
Pitcher an' Mrs. Medlock. Mr. Craven, he 
won't be troubled about anythin' when he's here, 
an' he's nearly always away. Mrs. Medlock gave 
me th' place out o' kindness. She told me she 
could never have done it if Misselthwaite had been 
like other big houses." 



MARTHA 33 

"Are you going to be my servant? 5 Mary 
asked, still in her imperious little Indian 
way. 

Martha began to rub her grate again. 

" I'm Mrs. Medlock's servant," she said stoutly. 
"An' she's Mr. Craven's but I'm to do the 
housemaid's work up here an' wait on you a bit. 
But you won't need much waitin' on." 

"Who is going to dress me?' demanded 
Mary. 

Martha sat up on her heels again and stared. 
She spoke in broad Yorkshire in her amazement. 

" Canna' tha' dress thysenl ' she said. 

" What do you mean? I don't understand your 
language," said Mary. 

"Eh! I forgot," Martha said. "Mrs. Med- 
lock told me I'd have to be careful or you wouldn't 
know what I was sayin'. I mean can't you put on 
your own clothes?' 

" No," answered Mary, quite indignantly. ' I 
never did in my life. My Ayah dressed me, of 
course." 

" Well," said Martha, evidently not in the least 
aware that she was impudent, " it's time tha' 1 
should learn. Tha' cannot begin younger. It'll 
do thee good to wait on thysen a bit. My mother 
always said she couldn't see why grand people's 
children didn't turn out fair fools what witK 



34 THE SECRET GARDEN 

nurses an' bein' washed an' dressed an' took out 
to walk as if they was puppies ! ' 

" It is different in India, said Mistress 
Mary disdainfully. She could scarcely stand this. 

But Martha was not at all crushed. 

'Eh! I can see it's different," she answered 
almost sympathetically. ' I dare say it's because 
there's such a lot o' blacks there instead o' respect- 
able white people. When I heard you was comin' 
from India I thought you was a black too." 

Mary sat up in bed furious. 

" What ! " she said. " What ! You thought I 
was a native. You you daughter of a pig! 1 

Martha stared and looked hot. 

" Who are you callin' names?' she said. 
You needn't be so vexed. That's not th' way 
for a young lady to talk. I've nothin' against th' 
blacks. When you read about 'em in tracts they're 
always very religious. You always read as a 
black's a man an' a brother. I've never seen a 
black an' I was fair pleased to think I was goin' 
to see one close. When I come in to light your 
fire this mornin' I crep' up to your bed an' pulled 
th' cover back careful to look at you. An' there 
you was," disappointedly, u no more black than 
me for all you're so yeller." 

Mary did not even try to control her rage and 
humiliation. 



MARTHA 35 

"You thought I was a native! You dared! 
You don't know anything about natives! They 
are not people they're servants who must sa- 
laam to you. You know nothing about India. 
You know nothing about anything ! ' 

She was in such a rage and felt so helpless be- 
fore the girl's simple stare, and somehow she sud- 
denly felt so horribly lonely and far away from 
everything she understood and which understood 
her, that she threw herself face downward on the 
pillows and burst into passionate sobbing. She 
sobbed so unrestrainedly that good-natured York- 
shire Martha was a little frightened and quite 
sorry for her. She went to the bed and bent over 
her. 

u Eh! you mustn't cry like that there!' she 
begged. " You mustn't for sure. I didn't know 
you'd be vexed. I don't know anythin' about any- 
thin' just like you said. I beg your pardon, 
Miss. Do stop cryinV 

There was something comforting and really 
friendly in her queer Yorkshire speech and sturdy 
way which had a good effect on Mary. She grad- 
ually ceased crying and became quiet. Martha 
looked relieved. 

" It's time for thee to get up now," she said. 
" Mrs. Medlock said I was to carry tha' break- 
fast an' tea an' dinner into th* room next to this. 



36 THE SECRET GARDEN 

It's been made into a nursery for thee. I'll help 
thee on with thy clothes if tha'll get out o' bed. If 
th' buttons are at th' back tha' cannot button them 
up tha'self." 

When Mary at last decided to get up, the clothes 
Martha took from the wardrobe were not the ones 
she had worn when she arrived the night before 
with Mrs. Medlock. 

" Those are not mine," she said. * Mine arc 
black." 

She looked the thick white wool coat and dress 
over, and added with cool approval: 

u Those are nicer than mine." 

" These are th' ones tha' must put on," Martha 
answered. " Mr. Craven ordered Mrs. Medlock 
to get 'em in London. He said ' I won't have a 
child dressed in black wanderin' about like a lost 
soul,' he said. ' It'd make the place sadder than 
it is. Put color on her.' Mother she said she 
knew what he meant. Mother always knows what 
a body means. She doesn't hold with black her- 
sel'." 

" I hate black things," said Mary. 

The dressing process was one which taught them 
bofh something. Martha had " buttoned up " her 
little sisters and brothers but she had never seen 
a child who stood still and waited for another per- 



MARTHA 37 

son to do things for her as if she had neither hands 
nor feet of her own. 

Why doesn't tha' put on tha' own shoes ?" 
she said when Mary quietly held out her foot. 

" My Ayah did it," answered Mary, staring. 
" It was the custom." 

She said that very often " It was the custom." 
The native servants were always saying it. If one 
told them to do a thing their ancestors had not 
done for a thousand years they gazed at one mildly 
and said, ' It is not the custom ' and one knew 
that was the end of the matter. 

It had not been the custom that Mistress Mary 
should do anything but stand and allow herself 
to be dressed like a doll, but before she was ready 
for breakfast she began to suspect that her life at 
Misselthwaite Manor would end by teaching her 
a number of things quite new to her things 
such as putting on her own shoes and stockings, and 
picking up things she let fall. If Martha had 
been a well-trained fine young lady's maid she 
would have been more subservient and respectful 
and would have known that it was her business to 
brush hair, and button boots, and pick things up 
and lay them away. She was, however, only an un- 
trained Yorkshire rustic who had been brought up 
in a moorland cottage with a swarm of little 



38 THE SECRET GARDEN 

brothers and sisters who had never dreamed of 
doing anything but waiting on themselves and on 
the younger ones who were either babies in arms 
or just learning to totter about and tumble over 
things. 

If Mary Lennox had been a child w T ho was ready 
to be amused she would perhaps have laughed at 
Martha's readiness to talk, but Mary only listened 
to her coldly and wondered at her freedom of 
manner. At first she was not at all interested, but 
gradually, as the girl rattled on in her good-tem- 
pered, homely way, Mary began to notice what she 
was saying. 

'Eh! you should see 'em all," she said. 
" There's twelve of us an' my father only gets 
sixteen shilling a week. I can tell you my mother's 
put to it to get porridge for 'em all. They tumble 
about on th' moor an' play there all day an' 
mother says th' air of th' moor fattens 'em. She 
says she believes they eat th' grass same as th' 
wild ponies do. Our Dickon, he's twelve years 
old and he's got a young pony he calls his 



own.' 



Where did he get it? " asked Mary. 

' He found it on th' moor with its mother when 

it was a little one an' he began to make friends 

with it an' give it bits o' bread an' pluck young 

grass for it. And it got to like him so it follows 



MARTHA 39 

him about an' it lets him get on its back. Dickon's 
a kind lad an' animals likes him." 

Mary had never possessed an animal pet of her 
own and had always thought she should like one. 
So she began to feel a slight interest in Dickon, 
and as she had never before been interested 
in any one but herself, it was the dawning of a 
healthy sentiment. When she went into the room 
which had been made into a nursery for her, she 
found that it was rather like the one she had slept 
in. It was not a child's room, but a grown-up 
person's room, with gloomy old pictures on the 
walls and heavy old oak chairs. A table in the 
center was set with a good substantial breakfast. 
But she had always had a very small appetite, and 
she looked with something more than indifference 
at the first plate Martha set before her. 

" I don't want it," she said. 

" Tha' doesn't want thy porridge ! " Martha ex- 
claimed incredulously. 

" No." 

" Tha' doesn't know how good it is. Put a 
bit o' treacle on it or a bit o' sugar." 

" I don't want it," repeated Mary. 

"Eh!" said Martha. "I can't abide to see 
good victuals go to waste. If our children was at 
this table they'd clean it bare in five minutes." 

"Why?" said Mary coldly. 



40 THE SECRET GARDEN 

"Why!" echoed Martha. "Because they 
scarce ever had their stomachs full in their lives. 
They're as hungry as young hawks an' foxes." 

" I don't know what it is to be hungry," said 
Mary, with the indifference of ignorance. 

Martha looked indignant. 

" Well, it would do thee good to try it. I can 
see that plain enough," she said outspokenly. 
' I've no patience with folk as sits an' just stares 
at good bread an' meat. My word! don't I wish 
Dickon and Phil an' Jane an' th' rest of 'em had 
what's here under their pinafores." 

" Why don't you take it to them? ' suggested 
Mary. 

" It's not mine," answered Martha stoutly. 
" An' this isn't my day out. I get my day out 
once a month same as th' rest. Then I go home 
an' clean up for mother an' give her a day's rest." 

Mary drank some tea and ate a little toast and 
some marmalade. 

" You wrap up warm an' run out an' play you," 
said Martha. " It'll do you good and give you 
some stomach for your meat." 

Mary went to the window. There were gar- 
dens and paths and big trees, but everything looked 
dull and wintry, 

"Out? Why should I go out on a day like 
this?" 



MARTHA 41 

" Well, if tha' doesn't go out tha'lt have to stay 
in, an' what has tha' got to do? ' 

Mary glanced about her. There was nothing 
to do. When Mrs. Medlock had prepared the 
nursery she had not thought of amusement. Per- 
haps it would be better to go and see what the 
gardens were like. 

Who will go with me? " she inquired. 

Martha stared. 

" You'll go by yourself," she answered. 

You'll have to learn to play like other children 
does when they haven't got sisters and brothers. 
Our Dickon goes off on th' moor by himself an' 
plays for hours. That's how he made friends 
with th' pony. He's got sheep on th' moor that 
knows him, an' birds as comes an' eats out of his 
hand. However little there is to eat, he always 
saves a bit o' his bread to coax his pets." 

It was really this mention of Dickon which made 
Mary decide to go out, though she was not aware 
of it. There would be birds outside though there 
would not be ponies or sheep. They would be 
different from the birds in India and it might 
amuse her to look at them. 

Martha found her coat and hat for her and a 
pair of stout little boots and she showed her her 
way down-stairs. 

" If tha' goes round that way tha'll come to 



42 THE SECRET GARDEN 

th' gardens," she said, pointing to a gate in a wall 
of shrubbery. There's lots o' flowers in sum- 
mer-time, but there's nothin' bloomin' now." She 
seemed to hesitate a second before she added, 
" One of th' gardens is locked up. No one has 
been in it for ten years." 

" Why? ' asked Mary in spite of herself. 
Here was another locked door added to the hun- 
dred in the strange house. 

' Mr. Craven had it shut when his wife died so 
sudden. He won't let no one go inside. It was 
her garden. He locked th' door an' dug a hole 
and buried th' key. There's Mrs. Medlock's bell 
ringing I must run." 

After she was gone Mary turned down the walk 
which led to the door in the shrubbery. She 
could not help thinking about the garden which 
no one had been into for ten years. She wondered 
what it would look like and whether there were 
any flowers still alive in it. When she had passed 
through the shrubbery gate she found herself in 
great gardens, with wide lawns and winding walks 
with clipped borders. There were trees, and flow- 
er-beds, and evergreens clipped into strange 
shapes, and a large pool with an old gray fountain 
in its midst. But the flower-beds were bare and 
wintry and the fountain was not playing. This 
was not the garden which was shut up. How 



MARTHA 43 

could a garden be shut up? You could always 
walk into a garden. 

She was just thinking this when she saw that, at 
the end of the path she was following, there 
seemed to be a long wall, with ivy growing over 
it. She was not familiar enough with England 
to know that she was coming upon the kitchen-gar- 
dens where the vegetables and fruit were growing. 
She went toward the wall and found that there 
was a green door in the ivy, and that it stood open. 
This was not the closed garden, evidently, and 
she could go into it. 

She went through the door and found that it 
was a garden with walls all round it and that it 
was only one of several walled gardens which 
seemed to open into one another. She saw an- 
other open green door, revealing bushes and path- 
ways between beds containing winter vegetables. 
Fruit-trees were trained flat against the wall, and 
over some of the beds there were glass frames. 
The place was bare and ugly enough, Mary 
thought, as she stood and stared about her. 
It might be nicer in summer when things were 
green, but there was nothing pretty about it 
now. 

Presently an old man with a spade over his 
shoulder walked through the door leading from 
the second garden. He looked startled when he 



44 THE SECRET GARDEN 

saw Mary, and then touched his cap. He had 
a surly old face, and did not seem at all pleased to 
see her- -but then she was displeased with his 
garden and wore her u quite contrary " expression, 
and certainly did not seem at all pleased to see him. 
" What is this place? " she asked. 

* One o' th' kitchen-gardens," he answered. 

What is that? " said Mary, pointing through 
the other green door. 

1 Another of 'em," shortly. " There's another 
on t'other side o' th' wall an' there's th' orchard 
t'other side o' that." 

' Can I go in them? " asked Mary. 

' If tha' likes. But there's nowt to see." 
Mary made no response. She went down the 
path and through the second green door. There 
she found more walls and winter vegetables and 
glass frames, but in the second wall there was an- 
other green door and it was not open. Perhaps 
it led into the garden which no one had seen for 
ten years. As she was not at all a timid child and 
always did what she wanted to do, Mary went to 
the green door and turned the handle. She hoped 
the door would not open because she wanted to 
be sure she had found the mysterious garden 
but it did open quite easily and she walked through 
it and found herself in an orchard. There were 
walls all round it also and trees trained against 



MARTHA 45 

them, and there were bare fruit-trees growing in 
the winter-browned grass but there was no 
green door to be seen anywhere. Mary looked 
for it, and yet when she had entered the upper end 
of the garden she had noticed that the wall did 
not seem to end with the orchard but to extend be- 
yond it as if it enclosed a place at the other side. 
She could see the tops of trees above the wall, and 
when she stood still she saw a bird with a bright 
red breast sitting on the topmost branch of one of 
them, and suddenly he burst into his winter song 
almost as if he had caught sight of her and was 
calling to her. 

She stopped and listened to him and somehow 
his cheerful, friendly little whistle gave her a 
pleased feeling even a disagreeable little girl 
may be lonely, and the big closed house and big 
bare moor and big bare gardens had made this 
one feel as if there was no one left in the world 
but herself. If she had been an affectionate child, 
who had been used to being loved, she would have 
broken her heart, but even though she was " Mis- 
tress Mary Quite Contrary ' she was desolate, 
and the bright-breasted little bird brought a look 
into her sour little face which was almost a smile. 
She listened to him until he flew away. He was 
not like an Indian bird and she liked him and won- 
dered if she should ever see him again. Per- 



46 THE SECRET GARDEN 

haps he lived in the mysterious garden and knew 
all about it. 

Perhaps it was because she had nothing what- 
ever to do that she thought so much of the de- 
serted garden. She was curious about it and 
wanted to see what it was like. Why had Mr. 
Archibald Craven buried the key? If he had liked 
his wife so much why did he hate her garden? 
She wondered if she should ever see him, but she 
knew that if she did she should not like him, and 
he would not like her, and that she should only 
stand and stare at him and say nothing, though 
she should be wanting dreadfully to ask him why 
he had done such a queer thing. 

" People never like me and I never like people," 
she thought. ' And I never can talk as the Craw- 
ford children ^ould. They were always talking 
and laughing ana making noises." 

She thought of the robin and of the way he 
seemed to sing his song at her, and as she remem- 
bered the tree-top he perched on she stopped rather 
suddenly on the path. 

' I believe that tree was in the secret garden 
I feel sure it was," she said. " There was a wall 
round the place and there was no door." 

She walked back into the first kitchen-garden 
she had entered and found the old man digging 
there. She went and stood beside him and 



MARTHA 47 

watched him a few moments in her cold little way. 
He took no notice of her and so at last she spoke 
to him. 

" I have been into the other gardens," she 
said. 

" There was nothin' to prevent thee," he an- 
swered crustily. 

" I went into the orchard." 

" There was no dog at th' door to bite thee," 
he answered. 

" There was no door there into the other gar- 
den," said Mary. 

"What garden?' he said in a rough voice, 
stopping his digging for a moment. 

" The one on the other side of the wall," an- 
swered Mistress Mary. " There are trees there 
I saw the tops of them. A bird with a red 
breast was sitting on one of them and he sang." 

To her surprise the surly old weather-beaten 
face actually changed its expression. A slow smile 
spread over it and the gardener looked quite 
different. It made her think that it was curious 
how much nicer a person looked when he smiled. 
She had not thought of it before. 

He turned about to the orchard side of his 
garden and began to whistle a low soft whistle. 
She could not understand how such a surly man 
could make such a coaxing sound. 



48 THE SECRET GARDEN 

Almost the next moment a wonderful thing hap- 
pened. She heard a soft little rushing flight 
through the air and it was the bird with the red 
breast flying to them, and he actually alighted on 
the big clod of earth quite near to the gardener's 
foot. 

" Here he is," chuckled the old man, and then 
he spoke to the bird as if he were speaking to a 
child. 

" Where has tha' been, tha' cheeky little beg* 
gar? ' he said. ' I've not seen thee before to- 
day. Has tha' begun tha' courtin' this early in 
th' season? Tha'rt too forrad." 

The bird put his tiny head on one side and 
looked up at him with his soft bright eye which 
was like a black dewdrop. He seemed quite famil- 
iar and not the least afraid. He hopped about 
and pecked the earth briskly, looking for seeds and 
insects. It actually gave Mary a queer feeling in 
her heart, because he was so pretty and cheerful 
and seemed so like a person. He had a tiny 
plump body and a delicate beak, and slender deli- 
cate legs. 

" Will he always come when you call him?' 
she asked almost in a whisper. 

" Aye, that he will. I've knowed him ever 
since he was a fledgling. He come out of th' nest 
in th' other garden an' when first he flew over th' 



MARTHA 49 

wall he was too weak to fly back for a few days 
an' we got friendly. When he went over th' wall 
again th' rest of th' brood was gone an' he was 
lonely an' he come back to me." 

" What kind of a bird is he? " Mary asked. 

" Doesn't tha' know? He's a robin redbreast 
an' they're th' friendliest, curiousest birds alive. 
They're almost as friendly as dogs if you know 
how to get on with 'em. Watch him peckin' about 
there an' lookin' round at us now an' again. He 
knows we're talkin' about him.' 3 

It was the queerest thing in the world to see 
the old fellow. He looked at the plump little 
scarlet-waistcoated bird as if he were both proud 
and fond of him. 

" He's a conceited one/ 5 he chuckled. " He 
likes to hear folk talk about him. An' curious 
bless me, there never was his like for curiosity an' 
meddlin'. He's always comin' to see what I'm 
plantin'. He knows all th' things M ester Craven 
never troubles hissel' to find out. He's th' head 
gardener, he is." 

The robin hopped about busily pecking the soil 
and now and then stopped and looked at them a 
little. Mary thought his black dewdrop eyes 
gazed at her with great curiosity. It really 
seemed as if he were finding out all about her. 
The gueer feeling in her heart increased. 



SO THE SECRET GARDEN 

" Where did the rest of the brood fly to? " she 
asked. 

There's no knowin'. The old ones turn 'em 
out o' their nest an' make 'em fly an' they're scat- 
tered before you know it. This one was a knowin' 
one an' he knew he was lonely." 

Mistress Mary went a step nearer to the robin 
and looked at him very hard. 

" I'm lonely," she said. 

She had not known before that this was one of 
the things which made her feel sour and cross. 
She seemed to find it out when the robin looked at 
her and she looked at the robin. 

The old gardener pushed his cap back on his 
bald head and stared at her a minute. 

"Art tha' th' little wench from India?" he 
asked. 

Mary nodded. 

Then no wonder tha'rt lonely. Tha'lt be 
lonelier before tha's done," he said. 

He began to dig again, driving his spade deep 
into the rich black garden soil while the robin 
hopped about very busily employed. 

" What is your name? " Mary inquired. 

He stood up to answer her. 

' Ben Weatherstaff," he answered, and then he 
added with a surly chuckle, " I'm lonely mysel' 



MARTHA 51 

except when he's with me," and he jerked his 
thumb toward the robin. " He's th' only friend 
I've got." 

' I have no friends at all," said Mary. ' I 
never had. My Ayah didn't like me and I never 
played with any one." 

It is a Yorkshire habit to say what you think 
with blunt frankness, and old Ben Weather- 
staff was a Yorkshire moor man. 

" Tha' an' me are a good bit alike," he said. 
" We was wove out of th' same cloth. We're 
neither of us good lookin' an' we're both of us as 
sour as we look. We've got the same nasty tem- 
pers, both of us, I'll warrant." 

This was plain speaking, and Mary Lennox had 
never heard the truth about herself in her life. 
Native servants always salaamed and submitted 
to you, whatever you did. She had never thought 
much about her looks, but she wondered if she was 
as unattractive as Ben Weatherstaff and she also 
wondered if she looked as sour as he had looked 
before the robin came. She actually began to 
wonder also if she was * nasty tempered." She 
felt uncomfortable. 

Suddenly a clear rippling little sound broke out 
near her and she turned round. She was standing 
a few feet from a young apple-tree and the robii> 



52 THE SECRET GARDEN 

had flown on to one of its branches and had burst 
out into a scrap of a song. Ben Weatherstaff 
laughed outright. 

" What did he do that for? " asked Mary. 

" He's made up his mind to make friends with 
thee," replied Ben. ' Dang me if he hasn't took 
a fancy to thee." 

To me? " said Mary, and she moved toward 
the little tree softly and looked up. 

" Would you make friends with me? " she said 
to the robin just as if she was speaking to a person. 
" Would you? ' And she did not say it either in 
her hard little voice or in her imperious Indian 
voice, but in a tone so soft and eager and coaxing 
that Ben Weatherstaff was as surprised as she had 
been when she heard him whistle. 

" Why," he cried out, u tha' said that as nice 
an' human as if tha' was a real child instead of a 
sharp old woman. Tha' said it almost like Dickon 
talks to his wild things on th' moor." 

" Do you know Dickon? ' Mary asked, turn- 
ing round rather in a hurry. 

' Everybody knows him. Dickon's wanderin' 
about everywhere. Th' very blackberries an' 
heather-bells knows him. I warrant th' foxes 
shows him where their cubs lies an' th' skylarks 
doesn't hide their nests from him." 

Mary would have liked to ask some more ques- 



MARTHA 53 

tions. She was almost as curious about Dickon 
as she was about the deserted garden. But just 
that moment the robin, who had ended his song, 
gave a little shake of his wings, spread them and 
flew away. He had made his visit and had other 
things to do. 

" He has flown over the wall ! " Mary cried out, 
watching him. " He has flown into the orchard 
he has flown across the other wall into the 
garden where there is no door! ' 

" He lives there/' said old Ben. " He came 
out o' th' egg there. If he's courtin', he's makin' 
up to some young madam of a robin that lives 
among th' old rose-trees there." 

" Rose-trees," said Mary. " Are there rose- 
trees? " 

Ben Weatherstaff took up his spade again and 
began to dig. 

" There was ten year' ago," he mumbled. 

" I should like to see them," said Mary. 
" Where is the green door? There must be a 
door somewhere." 

Ben drove his spade deep and looked as uncom- 
panionable as he had looked when she first saw 
him. 

" There was ten year' ago, but there isn't now," 
he said. 

" No door! " cried Mary. " There must be." 



54 THE SECRET GARDEN 

' None as any one can find, an' none as is any 
one's business. Don't you be a meddlesome 
.wench an' poke your nose where it's no cause to 
go. Here, I must go on with my work. Get 
you gone an' play you. I've no more time." 

And he actually stopped digging, threw his 
spade over his shoulder and walked off, without 
even glancing at her or saying good-by. 



CHAPTER V 

THE CRY IN THE CORRIDOR 

A T first each day which passed by for Mary Len- 
** nox was exactly like the others. Every 
morning she awoke in her tapestried room and 
found Martha kneeling upon the hearth building 
tier fire; every morning she ate her breakfast in 
the nursery which had nothing amusing in it; and 
after each breakfast she gazed out of the window 
across to the huge moor which seemed to spread 
out on all sides and climb up to the sky, and after 
she had stared for a while she realized that if she 
did not go out she would have to stay in and do 
nothing and so she went out. She did not know 
that this was the best thing she could have done, 
and she did not know that, when she began to 
walk quickly or even run along the paths and down 
the avenue, she was stirring her slow blood and 
making herself stronger by fighting with the wind 
which swept down from the moor. She ran only 
to make herself warm, and she hated the wind 
which rushed at her face and roared and held her 
back as if it were some giant she could not see. 

55 



56 THE SECRET GARDEN 

But the big breaths of rough fresh air blown over 
the heather filled her lungs with something which 
was good for her whole thin body and whipped 
some red color into her cheeks and brightened 
her dull eyes when she did not know anything 
about it. 

But after a few days spent almost entirely out 
of doors she wakened one morning knowing what 
it was to be hungry, and when she sat down to her 
breakfast she did not glance disdainfully at her 
porridge and push it away, but took up her spoon 
and began to eat it and went on eating it until 
her bowl was empty. 

Tha' got on well enough with that this 
mornin', didn't tha'? " said Martha. 

" It tastes nice to-day," said Mary, feeling a 
little surprised herself. 

" It's th' air of th' moor that's givin' thee 
stomach for tha' victuals," answered Martha. 
" It's lucky for thee that tha's got victuals as well 
as appetite. There's been twelve in our cottage 
as had th' stomach an' nothin' to put in it. You 
go on playin' you out o' doors every day an' you'll 
get some flesh on your bones an' you won't be so 
yeller." 

" I don't play," said Mary. " I have nothing 
to play with." 

" Nothin' to play with!" exclaimed Martha. 



THE CRY IN THE CORRIDOR 57 

" Our children plays with sticks and stones. They 
just runs about an' shouts an' looks at things." 

Mary did not shout, but she looked at things. 
There was nothing else to do. She walked round 
and round the gardens and wandered about the 
paths in the park. Sometimes she looked for 
Ben Weatherstaff, but though several times she 
saw him at work he was too busy to look at her 
<jr was too surly. Once when she was walking 
toward him he picked up his spade and turned 
away as if he did it on purpose. 

One place she went to oftener than to any other. 
It was the long walk outside the gardens with 
the walls round them. There were bare flower- 
beds on either side of it and against the walls ivy 
grew thickly. There was one part of the wall 
where the creeping dark green leaves were more 
bushy than elsewhere. It seemed as if for a long 
time that part had been neglected. The rest of 
it had been clipped and made to look neat, but at 
this lower end of the walk it had not been trimmed 
at all. 

A few days after she had talked to Ben Weath- 
erstaff Mary stopped to notice this and wondered 
why it was so. She had just paused and was look- 
ing up at a long spray of ivy swinging in the wind 
when she saw a gleam of scarlet and heard a 
brilliant chirp, and there, on the top of the wall ? 



58 THE SECRET GARDEN 

perched Ben Weatherstaff's robin redbreast, tilt- 
ing forward to look at her with his small head 
on one side. 

" Oh ! ' ' she cried out, " is it you is it you? ' 
And it did not seem at all queer to her that she 
spoke to him as if she was sure that he would un- 
derstand and answer her. 

He did answer. He twittered and chirped and 
hopped along the wall as if he were telling her 
all sorts of things. It seemed to Mistress Mary 
as if she understood him, too, though he was not 
speaking in words. It was as if he said: 

" Good morning! Isn't the wind nice? Isn't 
the sun nice ? Isn't everything nice ? Let us both 
chirp and hop and twitter. Come on! Come 
on!" 

Mary began to laugh, and as he hopped and 
took little flights along the wall she ran after him. 
Poor little thin, sallow, ugly Mary she actually 
looked almost pretty for a moment. 

" I like you ! I like you ! ' she cried out, pat- 
tering down the walk; and she chirped and tried 
to whistle, which last she did not know how to 
do in the least. But the robin seemed to be quite 
satisfied and chirped and whistled back at her. At 
last he spread his wings and made a darting flight 
to the top of a tree, where he perched and sang 
loudly. 



THE CRY IN THE CORRIDOR 59 

That reminded Mary of the first time she had 
seen him. He had been swinging on a tree-top 
then and she had been standing in the orchard. 
Now she was on the other side of the orchard 
and standing in the path outside a wall much 
lower down and there was the same tree in- 
side. 

" It's in the garden no one can go into," she 
said to herself. " It's the garden without a door. 
He lives in there. How I wish I could see what 
it is like!" 

She ran up the walk to the green door she had 
entered the first morning. Then she ran down 
the path through the other door and then into the 
orchard, and when she stood and looked up there 
was the tree on the other side of the wall, 
and there was the robin just finishing his song 
and beginning to preen his feathers with his 
beak. 

" It is the garden/' she said. " I am sure it- 



is." 



She walked round and looked closely at that 
side of the orchard wall, but she only found what 
she had found before that there was no door 
in it. Then she ran through the kitchen-gardens 
again and out into the walk outside the long ivy- 
covered wall, and she walked to the end of it and 
looked at it, but there was no door; and then she 



6o THE SECRET GARDEN 

walked to the other end, looking again, but there 
was no door. 

It's very queer," she said. " Ben Weathen- 
staff said there was no door and there is no door. 
But there must have been one ten years ago, be- 
cause Mr. Craven buried the key." 

This gave her so much to think of that she be- 
gan to be quite interested and feel that she was 
not sorry that she had come to Misselthwaite 
Manor. In India she had always felt hot and 
too languid to care much about anything. The 
fact was that the fresh wind from the moor had 
begun to blow the cobwebs out of her young brain 
and to waken her up a little. 

She stayed out of doors nearly all day, and v/hen 
she sat down to her supper at night she felt hungry 
and drowsy and comfortable. She did not feel 
cross when Martha chattered away. She felt as 
if she rather liked to hear her, and at last she 
thought she would ask her a question. She asked 
it after she had finished her supper and had sat 
down on the hearth-rug before the fire. 

" Why did Mr. Craven hate the garden? " she 
said. 

She had made Martha stay with her and Mar- 
tha had not objected at all. She was very young, 
and used to a crowded cottage full of brothers and 
sisters, and she found it dull in the great servants' 



THE CRY IN THE CORRIDOR 61 

hall down-stairs where the footman and upper- 
housemaids made fun of her Yorkshire speech 
and looked upon her as a common little thing, and 
sat and whispered among themselves. Martha 
liked to talk, and the strange child who had lived 
in India, and been waited upon by " blacks," was 
novelty enough to attract her. 

She sat down on the hearth herself without wait- 
ing to be asked. 

"Art tha' thinkin' about that garden yet? " 
she said. u I knew tha' would. That was just 
the way with me when I first heard about it-' 1 

" Why did he hate it? " Mary persisted. 

Martha tucked her feet under her and made 
herself quite comfortable. 

" Listen to th' wind wutherin' round the house," 
she said. You could bare stand up on the moor 
if you was out on it to-night." 

Mary did not know what " wutherin' meant 
until she listened, and then she understood. It 
must mean that hollow shuddering sort of roar 
which rushed round and round the house as if the 
giant no one could see were buffeting it and beat- 
ing at the walls and windows to try to break in. 
But one knew he could not get in, and somehow it 
made one feel very safe and warm inside a room 
with a red coal fire. 

" But why did he hate it so? '' she asked, after 



62 THE SECRET GARDEN 

she had listened. She intended to know if Martha 
did. 

Then Martha gave up her store of knowledge. 

" Mind," she said, " Mrs. Medlock said it's not 
to be talked about. There's lots o' things in this 
place that's not to be talked over. That's Mr. 
Craven's orders. His troubles are none servants' 
business, he says. But for th' garden he wouldn't 
be like he is. It was Mrs. Craven's garden that 
she had made when first they were married an' 
she just loved it, an ? they used to 'tend the flowers 
themselves. An' none o' th' gardeners was ever 
let to go in. Him an' her used to go in an' shut th' 
door an' stay there hours an' hours, readin' an 
talkin'. An' she was just a bit of a girl an' there 
was an old tree with a branch bent like a seat on 
it. An' she made roses grow over it an' she used 
to sit there. But one day when she was sittin' 
there th' branch broke an' she fell on th' ground 
an' was hurt so bad that next day she died. Th' 
doctors thought he'd go out o' his mind an' die, 
too. That's why he hates it. No one's never 
gone in since, an' he won't let any one talk about 
it." 

Mary did not ask any more questions. She 
looked at the red fire and listened to the wind 
1 wutherin'." It seemed to be " wutherin' 
louder than ever. 



THE CRY IN THE CORRIDOR 63 

At that moment a very good thing was happen- 
ing to her. Four good things had happened to 
her, in fact, since she came to Misselthwaite 
Manor. She had felt as if she had understood a 
robin and that he had understood her; she had 
run in the wind until her blood had grown warm; 
she had been healthily hungry for the first time in 
her life; and she had found out what it was to be 
sorry for some one. She was getting on. 

But as she was listening to the wind she began 
to listen to something else. She did not know 
what it was, because at first she could scarcely dis- 
tinguish it from the wind itself. It was a curious 
sound it seemed almost as if a child were cry- 
ing somewhere. Sometimes the wind sounded 
rather like a child crying, but presently Mistress 
Mary felt quite sure that this sound was inside 
the house, not outside it. It was far away, but 
it was inside. She turned round and looked at 
Martha. 

" Do you hear any one crying? ' she said. 

Martha suddenly looked confused. 

" No," she answered. u It's th' wind. Some- 
times it sounds like as if some one was lost on thV 
moor an' wailin'. It's got all sorts o' sounds." 

" But listen," said Mary. " It's in the house 
down one of those long corridors." 

And at that very moment a door must have been 



64 THE SECRET GARDEN 

opened somewhere down-stairs; for a great rush- 
ing draft blew along the passage and the door of 
the room they sat in was blown open with a crash, 
and as they both jumped to their feet the light was 
blown out and the crying sound was swept down 
the far corridor so that it was to be heard more 
plainly than ever. 

" There ! " said Mary. " I told you so ! It is 
some one crying and it isn't a grown-up per- 



son. 1 



Martha ran and shut the door and turned the 
key, but before she did it they both heard the 
sound of a door in some far passage shutting with 
a bang, and then everything was quiet, for even 
the wind ceased a wutherin' for a few moments. 

" It was th' wind," said Martha stubbornly. 
" An' if it wasn't, it was little Betty Butterworth, 
th' scullery-maid. She's had th' toothache all 
day." 

But something troubled and awkward in her 
manner made Mistress Mary stare very hard at 
her. She did not believe she was speaking fehe 
truth. 



CHAPTER VI 

" THERE WAS SOME ONE CRYING THERE 

WAS I " 

'"THE next day the rain poured down in torrents 
again, and when Mary looked out of her win- 
dow the moor was almost hidden by gray mist and 
cloud. There could be no going out to-day. 

What do you do in your cottage when it rains 
like this? ' she asked Martha. 

Try to keep from under each other's feet 
mostly," Martha answered. u Eh! there does 
seem a lot of us then. Mother's a good-tem- 
pered woman but she gets fair moithered. The 
biggest ones goes out in th' cow-shed and plays 
there. Dickon he doesn't mind th' wet. He 
goes out just th' same as if th' sun was shinin'. 
He says he sees things on rainy days as doesn't 
show when it's fair weather. He once found a 
little fox cub half drowned in its hole and he 
brought it home in th' bosom of his shirt to keep 
it warm. Its mother had been killed nearby an' 
th' hole was swum out an' th' rest o' th' litter was 
dead. He's got it at home now. He found a 

65 



66 THE SECRET GARDEN 

half-drowned young crow another time an' he 
brought it home, too, an' tamed it. It's named 
Soot because it's so black, an' it hops an' flies about 
with him everywhere." 

The time had come when Mary had forgotten 
to resent Martha's familiar talk. She had even 
begun to find it interesting and to be sorry when 
she stopped or went away. The stories she had 
been told by her Ayah when she lived in India 
had been quite unlike those Martha had to tell 
about the moorland cottage which held fourteen 
people who lived in four little rooms and never 
had quite enough to eat. The children seemed to 
tumble about and amuse themselves like a litter 
of rough, good-natured collie puppies. Mary was 
most attracted by the mother and Dickon. When 
Martha told stories of what " mother ' said or 
did they always sounded comfortable. 

" If I had a raven or a fox cub I could play 
with it," said Mary. " But I have nothing." 

Martha looked perplexed. 

" Can tha' knit?" she asked. 

" No," answered Mary. 

"Can tha' sew?" 

" No." 

"Can tha' read?" 

" Yes." 

" Then why doesn't tha' read something or 



SOME ONE CRYING 67 

learn a bit o' spellin' ? Tha'st old enough vo be 
learnin' thy book a good bit now. n 

" I haven't any books," said Mary. " Those 
I had were left in India." 

" That's a pity," said Martha. " If Mrs. Med- 
lock'd let thee go into th' library, there's thousands 
o' books there." 

Mary did not ask where the library was, because 
she was suddenly inspired by a new idea. She 
made up her mind to go and find it herself. She 
was not troubled about Mrs. Medlock. Mrs. 
Medlock seemed always to be in her comfortable 
housekeeper's sitting-room down-stairs. In this 
queer place one scarcely ever saw any one at all. 
In fact, there was no one to see but the servants, 
and when their master was away they lived a lux- 
urious life below stairs, where there was a huge 
kitchen hung about with shining brass and pewter, 
and a large servants' hall where there were four 
or five abundant meals eaten every day, and where 
a great deal of lively romping went on when Mrs. 
Medlock was out of the way. 

Mary's meals were served regularly, and Mar- 
tha waited on her, but no one troubled themselves 
about her in the least. Mrs. Medlock came and 
looked at her every day or two, but no one in- 
quired what she did or told her what to do. She 
supposed that perhaps this was the English way 



68 THE SECRET GARDEN 

of treating children. In India she had always 
been attended by her Ayah, who had followed her 
about and waited on her, hand and foot. She 
had often been tired of her company. Now she 
was followed by nobody and was learning to dress 
herself because Martha looked as though she 
thought she was silly and stupid when she wanted 
to have things handed to her and put on. 

' Hasn't tha' got good sense? ' she said once, 
when Mary had stood waiting for her to put on 
her gloves for her. ' Our Susan Ann is twice a? 
sharp as thee an' she's only four year' old. 
Sometimes tha' looks fair soft in th' head." 

Mary had worn her contrary scowl for an hour 
after that, but it made her think several entirely 
new things. 

She stood at the window for about ten minutes 
this morning after Martha had swept up the hearth 
for the last time and gone down-stairs. She was 
thinking over the new idea which had come to 
her when she heard of the library. She did not 
care very much about the library itself, because she 
had read very few books ; but to hear of it brought 
back to her mind the hundred rooms with closed 
doors. She wondered if they were all really 
locked and what she would find if she could get 
into any of them. Were there a hundred really? 
Why shouldn't she go and see how many doors 



SOME ONE CRYING 69 

she could count? It would be something to do 
on this morning when she could not go out. She 
had never been taught to ask permission to do 
things, and she knew nothing at all about author- 
ity, so she would not have thought it necessary to 
ask Mrs. Medlock if she might walk about the 
house, even if she had seen her. 

She opened the door of the room and went into 
the corridor, and then she began her wanderings. 
It was a long corridor and it branched into other 
corridors and it led her up short flights of steps 
which mounted to others again. There were 
doors and doors, and there were pictures on the 
walls. Sometimes they were pictures of dark, cu- 
rious landscapes, but oftenest they were portraits 
of men and women in queer, grand costumes made 
of satin and velvet. She found herself in one long 
gallery whose walls were covered with these por- 
traits. She had never thought there could be so 
many in any house. She walked slowly down this 
place and stared at the faces which also seemed to 
stare at her. She felt as if they were wonder- 
ing what a little girl from India was doing in 
their house. Some were pictures of children 
little girls in thick satin frocks which reached to 
their feet and stood out about them, and boys with 
puffed sleeves and lace collars and long hair, or 
with big ruffs around their necks. She always 



70 THE SECRET GARDEN 

stopped to look at the children, and wonder what 
their names were, and where they had gone, and 
why they wore such odd clothes. There was a 
stiff, plain little girl rather like herself. She 
wore a green brocade dress and held a green par- 
rot on her finger. Her eyes had a sharp, curious 
look. 

Where do you live now? ' said Mary aloud 
to her. u I wish you were here." 

Surely no other little girl ever spent such a queer 
morning. It seemed as if there was no one in 
all the huge rambling house but her own small 
self, wandering about up-stairs and down, through 
narrow passages and wide ones, where it seemed 
to her that no one but herself had ever walked. 
Since so many rooms had been built, people must 
have lived in them, but it all seemed so empty that 
she could not quite believe it true. 

It was not until she climbed to the second floor 
that she thought of turning the handle of a door. 
fill the doors were shut, as Mrs. Medlock had 
said they were, but at last she put her hand on the 
handle of one of them and turned it. She was 
almost frightened for a moment when she felt that 
it turned without difficulty and that when she 
pushed upon the door itself it slowly and heavily 
opened. It was a massive door and opened into 
a big bedroom. There were embroidered hang- 



SOME ONE CRYING 71 

ings on the wall, and inlaid furniture such as she 
had seen in India stood about the room. A broad 
window with leaded panes looked out upon the 
moor; and over the mantel was another portrait 
of the stiff, plain little girl who seemed to stare 
at her more curiously than ever. 

" Perhaps she slept here once," said Mary. 
" She stares at me so that she makes me feel 
queer." 

After that she opened more doors and more. 
She saw so many rooms that she became quite 
tired and began to think that there must be a 
hundred, though she had not counted them. In 
all of them there were old pictures or old tapes- 
tries with strange scenes worked on them. There 
were curious pieces of furniture and curious or- 
naments in nearly all of them. 

In one room, which looked like a lady's sitting- 
room, the hangings were all embroidered velvet, 
and in a cabinet were about a hundred little ele- 
phants made of ivory. They were of different 
sizes, and some had their mahouts or palanquins 
on their backs. Some were much bigger than the 
others and some were so tiny that they seemed only 
babies. Mary had seen carved ivory in India and 
she knew all about elephants. She opened the 
door of the cabinet and stood on a footstool and 
played with these for quite a long time. When 



72 THE SECRET GARDEN 

she got tired she set the elephants in order and shut 
the door of the cabinet. 

In all her wanderings through the long corri- 
dors and the empty rooms, she had seen nothing 
alive; but in this room she saw something. Just 
after she had closed the cabinet door she heard a 
tiny rustling sound. It made her jump and look 
around at the sofa by the fireplace, from which it 
seemed to come. In the corner of the sofa there 
was a cushion, and in the velvet which covered 
it there was a hole, and out of the hole 
peeped a tiny head with a pair of frightened 
eyes in it. 

Mary crept softly across the room to look. 
The bright eyes belonged to a little gray mouse, 
and the mouse had eaten a hole into the cushion 
and made a comfortable nest there. Six baby mice 
were cuddled up asleep near her. If there was 
no one else alive in the hundred rooms there were 
seven mice who did not look lonely at all. 

' If they wouldn't be so frightened I would 
take them back with me," said Mary. 

She had wandered about long enough to feel 
too tired to wander any farther, and she turned 
back. Two or three times she lost her way by 
turning down the wrong corridor and was obliged 
to ramble up and down until she found the right 
one; but at last she reached her own floor again, 



SOME ONE CRYING 73 

though she was some distance from her own room 
and did not know exactly where she was. 

" I believe I have taken a wrong turning again, " 
she said, standing still at what seemed the end of 
a short passage with tapestry on the wall. ' I 
don't know which way to go. How still every- 
thing is! " 

It was while she was standing here and just 
after she had said this that the stillness was broken 
by a sound. It was another cry, but not quite like 
the one she had heard last night; it was only a 
short one, a fretful, childish whine muffled by pass- 
ing through walls. 

" It's nearer than it was," said Mary, her heart 
beating rather faster. ' And it is crying." 

She put her hand accidentally upon the tapestry 
near her, and then sprang back, feeling quite 
startled. The tapestry was the covering of a door 
which fell open and showed her that there was 
another part of the corridor behind it, and Mrs. 
Medlock was coming up it with her bunch of keys 
in her hand and a very cross look on her face. 

" What are you doing here?' she said, and 
she took Mary by the arm and pulled her away. 
"What did I tell you?" 

" I turned round the wrong corner," explained 
Mary. " I didn't know which way to go and I 
heard some one crying." 



74 THE SECRET GARDEN 

She quite hated Mrs. Medlock at the moment, 
but she hated her more the next. 

u You didn't hear anything of the sort," said the 
housekeeper. You come along back to your own 
nursery or I'll box your ears." 

And she took her by the arm and half pushed, 
half pulled her up one passage and down another 
until she pushed her in at the door of her own 
room. 

* Now," she said, " you stay where you're told 
to stay or you'll find yourself locked up. The 
master had better get you a governess, same as 
he said he would. You're one that needs some 
one to look sharp after you. I've got enough 
to do." 

She went out of the room and slammed the door 
after her, and Mary went and sat on the hearth- 
rug, pale with rage. She did not cry, but ground 
her teeth. 

There was some one crying there was 
there was! " she said to herself. 

She had heard it twice now, and sometime she 
would find out. She had found out a great deal 
this morning. She felt as if she had been on a 
long journey, and at any rate she had had some- 
thing to amuse her all the time, and she had 
played with the ivory elephants and had seen the 
gray mouse and its babies in their nest in the velvet 
cushion. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE KEY OF THE GARDEN 

'TWO days after this, when Mary opened her 
* eyes she sat upright in bed immediately, and 
called to Martha. 

" Look at the moor! Look at the moorl " 
The rain-storm had ended and the gr*y mist and 
clouds had been swept away in the night by the 
wind. The wind itself had ceased and a brilliant, 
deep blue sky arched high over the moorland. 
Never, never had Mary dreamed of a sky so blue. 
In India skies were hot and blazing; this Was of 
a deep cool blue which almost seemed to sparkle 
like the waters of some lovely bottomless lake, 
and here and there, high, high in the arched blue- 
ness floated small clouds of snow-white fleece. 
The far-reaching world of the moor itself looked 
softly blue instead of gloomy purple-black or aw- 
ful dreary gray. 

u Aye," said Martha with a cheerful grin. 

Th' storm's over for a bit. It does like this at 

this time o' th' year. It goes off in a night like 

it was pretendin' it had never been here an' nevel 

7*. 



76 THE SECRET GARDEN 

meant to come again. That's because th' spring- 
time's on its way. It's a long way off yet, but it's 



comin'. 



' I thought perhaps it always rained or looked 
dark in England," Mary said. 

' Eh ! no ! " said Martha, sitting up on her heels 
among her black lead brushes. " Nowt o' th' 
soart! " 

What does that mean?' asked Mary seri- 
ously. In India the natives spoke different dia- 
lects which only a few people understood, so she 
was not surprised when Martha used words she 
did not know. 

Martha laughed as she had done the first morn- 
ing. 

" There now," she said. " I've talked broad 
Yorkshire again like Mrs. Medlock said I mustn't. 
1 Nowt o' th' soart ' means ' nothin'-of-the-sort,' " 
slowly and carefully, ' but it takes so long to say 
it. Yorkshire's th' sunniest place on earth when 
it is sunny. I told thee tha'd like th' moor after 
a bit. Just you wait till you see th' gold-colored 
gorse blossoms an' th' blossoms o' th' broom, an' 
, th' heather flowerin', all purple bells, an' hun- 
dreds o' butterflies flutterin' an' bees hummin' an' 
skylarks soarin' up an' singin'. You'll want to get 
out on it at sunrise an' live out on it all day like 
Dickon does." 



TPIE KEY OF THE GARDEN 77, 

' Could I ever get there? ' asked Mary wist- 
fully, looking through her window at the far-off 
blue. It was so new and big and wonderful and 
such a heavenly color. 

" I don't know," answered Martha. " Tha's 
never used tha 7 legs since tha' was born, it seems 
to me. Tha' couldn't walk five mile. It's five 
mile to our cottage." 

" I should like to see your cottage/ 5 

Martha stared at her a moment curiously before 
she took up her polishing brush and began to rub 
the grate again. She was thinking that the small 
plain face did not look quite as sour at this moment 
as it had done the first morning she saw it. It 
looked just a trifle like little Susan Ann's when she 
wanted something very much. 

" I'll ask my mother about it," she said. 
' She's one o' them that nearly always sees a way 
to do things. It's my day out to-day an' I'm go- 
in' home. Eh! I am glad. Mrs. Medlock 
thinks a lot o' mother. Perhaps she could talk to 
her." 

" I like your mother," said Mary. 

" I should think tha' did," agreed Martha, pol- 
ishing away. 

" I've never seen her," said Mary. 

" No, tha' hasn't," replied Martha. 

She sat up on her heels again and rubbed the 



78 THE SECRET GARDEN 

end of her nose with the back of her hand as if 
puzzled for a moment, but she ended quite posi- 
tively. 

" Well, she's that sensible an' hard workin' an' 
good-natured an' clean that no one could help likin' 
her whether they'd seen her or not. When I'm 
goin' home to her on my day out I just jump for 
joy when I'm crossin' th' moor." 

"I like Dickon," added Mary. " And I've 
never seen him." 

" Well," said Martha stoutly, " I've told thee 
that th' very birds likes him an' th' rabbits an' 
wild sheep an' ponies, an' th' foxes themselves. I 
wonder," staring at her reflectively, " what Dickon 
would think of thee?' 

" He wouldn't like me," said Mary in her stiff, 
cold little way. " No one does." 

Martha looked reflective again. 

" How does tha' like thysel' ? ' she inquired, 
really quite as if she were curious to know. 

Mary hesitated a moment and thought it over. 

" Not at all really," she answered. " But 
I never thought of that before." 

Martha grinned a little as if at some homely rec- 
ollection. 

" Mother said that to me once," she said. 
" She was at her wash-tub an' I was in a bad tem- 
per an' talkin' ill of folk, an' she turns round on me 



THE KEY OF THE GARDEN 79 

an' says : Tha' young vixon, tha' ! There tha' 
stands sayin' tha' doesn't like this one an' tha' 
doesn't like that one. How does tha' like thy- 
sel' ? ' It made me laugh an' it brought me to my 



senses in a minute.' 



She went away in high spirits as soon as she 
had given Mary her breakfast. She was going 
to walk five miles across the moor to the cottage, 
and she was going to help her mother with the 
washing and do the week's baking and enjoy her- 
self thoroughly. 

Mary felt lonelier than ever when she knew 
she was no longer in the house. She went out 
into the garden as quickly as possible, and the first 
thing she did was to run round and round the foun- 
tain flower garden ten times. She counted the 
times carefully and when she had finished she felt 
in better spirits. The sunshine made the whole 
place look different. The high, deep, blue sky 
arched over Misselthwaite as well as over the 
moor, and she kept lifting her face and looking 
up into it, trying to imagine what it would be like 
to lie down on one of the little snow-white clouds,/ 
and float about. She went into the first kitchen- 
garden and found Ben Weatherstaff working there 
with two other gardeners. The change in the 
weather seemed to have done him good. He 
spoke to her of his own accord. 



80 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" Springtime's comin'," he said. ' Cannot 
smell it?" 

Mary sniffed and thought she could. 

" I smell something nice and fresh and damp/ 1 
she said. 

" That's th' good rich earth," he answered, 
digging away. " It's in a good humor makin' 
ready to grow things. It's glad when plantin' 
time comes. It's dull in th' winter when it's got 
nowt to do. In th' flower gardens out there 
things will be stirrin' down below in th' dark. 
Th' sun's warmin' 'em. You'll see bits o' green 
spikes stickin' out o' th' black earth after a bit." 

"What will they be?" asked Mary. 

" Crocuses an' snowdrops an' daffydowndillys. 
Has tha' never seen them? ' 

" No. Everything is hot, and wet, and green 
after the rains in India," said Mary. ' And I 
think things grow up in a night." 

" These won't grow up in a night," said Weath- 
erstaff. " Tha'll have to wait for 'em. They'll 
poke up a bit higher here, an' push out a spike 
more there, an' uncurl a leaf this day an' another 
that. You watch ? em." 

" I am going to," answered Mary. 

Very soon she heard the soft rustling flight of 
wings again and she knew at once that the robin 
had come again. He was very pert and lively, 



THE KEY OF THE GARDEN 81 

and hopped about so close to her feet, and put 
his head on one side and looked at her so slyly 
that she asked Ben Weatherstaff a question. 
' Do you think he remembers me? " she said. 

" Remembers thee! ' said Weatherstaff indig- 
nantly. ' He knows every cabbage stump in th' 
gardens, let alone th' people. He's never seen a 
little wench here before, an' he's bent on findin' 
out all about thee. Tha's no need to try to hide 
anything from him." 

4 Are things stirring down below in the dark 
in that garden where he lives? ' Mary inquired. 

" What garden?' grunted Weatherstaff, be- 
coming surly again. 

" The one where the old rose-trees are." She 
could not help asking, because she wanted so much 
to know. ' Are all the flowers dead, or do some 
of them come again in the summer? Are there 
ever any roses? ' 

u Ask him," said Ben Weatherstaff, hunching 
his shoulders toward the robin. " He's the only 
one as knows. No one else has seen inside it for 
'ten year'." 

Ten years was a long time, Mary thought. 
She had been born ten years ago. 

She walked away, slowly thinking. She had 
begun to like the garden just as she had begun to 
like the robin and Dickon and Martha's mother. 



62 THE SECRET GARDEN 

She was beginning to like Martha, too. That 
seemed a good many people to like when you 
were not used to liking. She thought of the robin 
as one of the people. She went to her walk out- 
side the long, ivy-covered wall over which she could 
see the tree-tops; and the second time she walked 
up and down the most interesting and exciting 
thing happened to her, and it was all through Ben 
Weatherstaff's robin. 

She heard a chirp and a twitter, and when she 
looked at the bare flower-bed at her left side there 
he was hopping about and pretending to peck 
things out of the earth to persuade her that he had 
not followed her. But she knew he had followed 
her and the surprise so filled her with delight that 
she almost trembled a little. 

" You do remember me ! ' she cried out. 
" You do ! You are prettier than anything else 
in the world ! ' 

She chirped, and talked, and coaxed and he 
hopped, and flirted his tail and twittered. It 
was as if he were talking. His red waistcoat was 
like satin and he puffed his tiny breast out and was 
so fine and so grand and so pretty that it was really 
as if he were showing her how important and like 
a human person a robin could be. Mistress Mary 
forgot that she had ever been contrary in her life 
when he allowed her to draw closer and closer to 



THE KEY OF THE GARDEN 83 

him, and bend down and talk and try to make 
something like robin sounds. 

Oh ! to think that he should actually let her come 
as near to him as that! He knew nothing in the 
world would make her put out her hand toward 
him or startle him in the least tiniest way. He 
knew it because he was a real person only nicer 
than any other person in the world. She was so 
happy that she scarcely dared to breathe. 

The flower-bed was not quite bare. It was 
bare of flowers because the perennial plants had 
been cut down for their winter rest, but there were 
tall shrubs and low ones which grew together at 
the back of the bed, and as the robin hopped about 
under them she saw him hop over a small pile of 
freshly turned up earth. He stopped on it to look 
for a worm. The earth had been turned up be- 
cause a dog had been trying to dig up a mole and 
he had scratched quite a deep hole. 

Mary looked at it, not really knowing why the 
hole was there, and as she looked she saw some- 
thing almost buried in the newly-turned soil. It 
was something like a ring of rusty iron or brass 
and when the robin flew up into a tree nearby 
she put out her hand and picked the ring up. It 
was more than a ring, however; it was an old key 
which looked as if it had been buried a long time. 

Mistress Mary stood up and looked at it with 



84 THE SECRET GARDEN 

an almost frightened face as it hung from her 
finger. 

' Perhaps it has been buried for ten years," she 
said in a whisper. " Perhaps it is the key to the 
garden ! " 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE ROBIN WHO SHOWED THE WAY 

SHE looked at the key quite a long time. She 
turned it over and over, and thought about it. 
As I have said before, she was not a child who had 
been trained to ask permission or consult her elders 
about things. All she thought about the key was 
that if it was the key to the closed garden, and 
she could find out where the door was, she could 
perhaps open it and see what was inside the walls, 
and what had happened to the old rose-trees. It 
was because it had been shut up so long that she 
wanted to see it. It seemed as if it must be dif- 
ferent from other places and that something 
strange must have happened to it during ten years. 
Besides that, if she liked it she could go into it 
every day and shut the door behind her, and she 
could make up some play of her own and play it 
quite alone, because nobody would ever know 
where she was, but would think the door was still 
locked and the key buried in the earth. The 
thought of that pleased her very much. 

Living as it were, all by herself in a house with 

85 



86 THE SECRET GARDEN 

a hundred mysteriously closed rooms and having 
nothing whatever to do to amuse herself, had set 
her inactive brain to working and was actually 
awakening her imagination. There is no doubt 
that the fresh, strong, pure air from the moor had a 
great deal to do with it. Just as it had given her 
an appetite, and fighting with the wind had stirred 
her blood, so the same things had stirred her mind. 
In India she had always been too hot and languid 
and weak to care much about anything, but in this 
place she was beginning to care and to want to do 
new things. Already she felt less " contrary," 
though she did not know why. 

She put the key in her pocket and walked up 
and down her walk. No one but herself ever 
seemed to come there, so she could walk slowly and 
look at the wall, or, rather, at the ivy growing on 
it. The ivy was the baffling thing. Howsoever 
carefully she looked she could see nothing but 
thickly-growing, glossy, dark green leaves. She 
was very much disappointed. Something of her 
contrariness came back to her as she paced the 
walk and looked over it at the tree-tops inside. It 
seemed so silly, she said to herself, to be near it 
and not be able to get in. She took the key in her 
pocket when she went back to the house, and she 
made up her mind that she would always carry 
it with her when she went out, so that if she 



THE ROBIN 87 

ever should find the hidden door she would be 
ready. 

Mrs. Medlock had allowed Martha to sleep all 
night at the cottage, but she was back at her work 
in the morning with cheeks redder than ever and 
in the best of spirits. 

"I got up at four o'clock/' she said. "Eh! 
it was pretty on th' moor with th' birds gettin' up 
an' th' rabbits scamperin' about an' th' sun risin'. 
I didn't walk all th' way. A man gave me a ride 
in his cart an' I can tell you I did enjoy myself." 

She was full of stories of the delights of her 
day out. Her mother had been glad to see her 
and they had got the baking and washing all out 
of the way. She had even made each of the chil- 
dren a dough-cake with a bit of brown sugar in 
it. 

" I had 'em all pipin' hot when they came in 
from playin' on th' moor. An' th' cottage all 
smelt o' nice, clean hot bakin' an' there was a good 
fire, an' they just shouted for joy. Our Dickon 
he said our cottage was good enough for a king 
to live in." 

In the evening they had all sat round the fire, 
and Martha and her mother had sewed patches 
on torn clothes and mended stockings and Mar- 
tha had told them about the little girl who had 
come from India and who had been waited on all 



THE SECRET GARDEN 

her life by what Martha called " blacks ' until 
she didn't know how to put on her own stockings. 

"Eh! they did like to hear about you," said 
Martha. They wanted to know all about th' 
blacks an' about th' ship you came in. I couldn't 
tell 'em enough." 

Mary reflected a little. 

" I'll tell you a great deal more before your next 
day out," she said, " so that you will have more 
to talk about. I dare say they would like to hear 
about riding on elephants and camels, and about 
the officers going to hunt tigers." 

"My word!" cried delighted Martha. "It 
Would set 'em clean off their heads. Would tha' 
really do that, Miss? It would be same as a wild 
beast show like we heard they had in York once." 
' India is quite different from Yorkshire," 
Mary said slowly, as she thought the matter over. 
" I never thought of that. Did Dickon and your 
mother like to hear you talk about me? ' 

" Why, our Dickon's eyes nearly started out o 5 
his head, they got that round," answered Martha. 
" But mother, she was put out about your seemin' 
to be all by yourself like. She said, ' Hasn't Mr. 
Craven got no governess for her, nor no nurse? ' 
and I said, ' No, he hasn't, though Mrs. Medlock 
says he will when he thinks of it, but she says he 
mayn't think of it for two or three years.' 



THE ROBIN 89 

" I don't want a governess, " said Mary sharply. 
' But mother says you ought to be learnin' your 
book by this time an' you ought to have a woman 
to look after you, an' she says: 'Now, Martha, 
you just think how you'd feel yourself, in a big 
place like that, wanderin' about all alone, an' no 
mother. You do your best to cheer her up,' she 
says, an' I said I would." 

Mary gave her a long, steady look. 

" You do cheer me up," she said. " I like to 
hear you talk." 

Presently Martha went out of the room and 
came back with something held in her hands under 
her apron. 

" What does tha' think," she said, with a cheer- 
ful grin. " I've brought thee a present." 

" A present ! ' exclaimed Mistress Mary. 
How could a cottage full of fourteen hungry 
people give any one a present! 

" A man was drivin' across the moor peddling" 
Martha explained. " An' he stopped his cart at 
our door. He had pots an' pans an' odds an" v 
ends, but mother had no money to buy anythin'. 
Just as he was goin' away our 'Lizabeth Ellen 
called out, ' Mother, he's got skippin'-ropes with 
red an' blue handles.' An' mother she calls out 
quite sudden, * Here, stop, mister ! How much 
are they? ' j\n' he says ' Tuppence,' an' mother 



90 THE SECRET GARDEN 

she began fumblin' in her pocket an' she says to me, 

' Martha, tha's brought me thy wages like a good 

lass, an' I've got four places to put every penny, 

.but I'm just goin' to take tuppence out of it to buy 

\ that child a skippin'-rope,' an' she bought one an* 

here it is." 

She brought it out from under her apron and 
exhibited it quite proudly. It was a strong, 
slender rope with a striped red and blue handle at 
each end, but Mary Lennox had never seen a skip- 
ping-rope before. She gazed at it with a mysti- 
fied expression. 

What is it for? " she asked curiously. 

" For! " cried out Martha. " Does tha' mean 
that they've not got skippin'-ropes in India, for 
all they've got elephants and tigers and camels ! 
No wonder most of 'em's black. This is what 
it's for; just watch me." 

And she ran into the middle of the room and 7 
taking a handle in each hand, began to skip, and 
skip, and skip, while Mary turned in her chair to 
stare at her, and the queer faces in the old por- 
traits seemed to stare at her, too, and wonder what 
on earth this common little cottager had the impu- 
dence to be doing under their very noses. But 
Martha did not even see them. The interest and 
curiosity in Mistress Mary's face delighted her, 



THE ROBIN 91 

and she went on skipping and counted as she 
skipped until she had reached a hundred. 

" I could skip longer than that," she said when 
she stopped. ' I've skipped as much as five hun- 
dred when I was twelve, but I wasn't as fat 
then as I am now, an' I was in practice." 

Mary got up from her chair beginning to feel 
excited herself. 

. 

' It looks nice," she said. " Your mother is a 
kind woman. Do you think I could ever skip 
like that?" 

" You just try it," urged Martha, handing her 
the skipping-rope. " You can't skip a hundred at 
first, but if you practise you'll mount up. That's 
what mother said. She says, l Nothin' will do her 
more good than skippin' rope. It's th' sensiblest 
toy a child can have. Let her play out in th' fresh 
air skippin' an' it'll stretch her legs an' arms an* 
give her some strength in 'em. 7 

It was plain that there was not a great deal of 
strength in Mistress Mary's arms and legs when 
she first began to skip. She was not very clever at , 
it, but she liked it so much that she did not want to 
stop. 

' Put on tha* things and run an' skip out o' 
doors," said Martha. " Mother said I must tell 
you to keep out o' doors as much as you could, even 



92 THE SECRET GARDEN 

when it rains a bit, so as tha' wrap up warm.' 1 

Mary put on her coat and hat and took her skip- 
ping-rope over her arm. She opened the door to 
go out, and then suddenly thought of something 
and turned back rather slowly. 

' Martha," she said, ' they were your wages. 
It was your twopence really. Thank you." She 
said it stiffly because she w r as not used to thanking 
people or noticing that they did things for her. 
" Thank you," she said, and held out her hand 
because she did not know what else to do. 

Martha gave her hand a clumsy little shake, as 
if she was not accustomed to this sort of thing 
either. Then she laughed. 

" Eh ! tha' art a queer, old-womanish thing," 
she said. " If tha'd been our 'Lizabeth Ellen 
tha'd have give me a kiss." 

Mary looked stiffer than ever. 

" Do you want me to kiss you? ' 

Martha laughed again. 

* Nay, not me," she answered. " If tha' was 
different, p'raps tha'd want to thysel'. But tha' 
isn't. Run off outside an' play with thy rope." 

Mistress Mary felt a little awkward as she 
went out of the room. Yorkshire people seemed 
strange, and Martha was always rather a puzzle 
to her. At first she had disliked her very much, 
but now she did not. 



THE ROBIN 93 

The skipping-rope was a wonderful thing. 
She counted and skipped, and skipped and counted, 
until her cheeks were quite red, and she was more 
interested than she had ever been since she was 
born. The sun was shining and a little wind was 
blowing not a rough wind, but one which came 
in delightful little gusts and brought a fresh scent 
of newly turned earth with it. She skipped round 
the fountain garden, and up one walk and down 
another. She skipped at last into the kitchen-gar- 
den and saw Ben Weatherstaff digging and talking 
to his robin, which was hopping about him. She 
skipped down the walk toward him and he lifted 
his head and looked at her with a curious expres- 
sion. She had wondered if he would notice her. 
She really wanted him to see her skip. 

"Well!' he exclaimed. "Upon my word! 
P'raps tha' art a young 'un, after all, an' p'raps 
tha's got child's blood in thy veins instead of sour 
buttermilk. Tha's skipped red into thy cheeks 
as sure as my name's Ben Weatherstaff. I 
wouldn't have believed tha' could do it." 

" I never skipped before," Mary said. " I'm 
just beginning. I can only go up to twenty." 

" Tha' keep on," said Ben. " Tha' shapes well 
enough at it for a young 'un that's lived with 
heathen. Just see how he's watchin' thee," jerk- 
ing his head toward the robin. " He followed 



94 THE SECRET GARDEN 

after thee yesterday. He'll be at it again to-day 
He'll be bound to find out what th' skippin'-rope 
is. He's never seen one. Eh! " shaking his head 
at the bird, " tha' curosity will be th' death of thee 
sometime if tha' doesn't look sharp." 

Mary skipped round all the gardens and ound 
the orchard, resting every few minutes. At length 
she went to her own special walk and made up 
her mind to try if she could skip the whole length 
of it. It was a good long skip and she began 
slowly, but before she had gone half-way down 
the path she was so hot and breathless that she 
was obliged to stop. She did not mind much, 
because she had already counted up to thirty. She 
stopped with a little laugh of pleasure, and there, 
lo and behold, was the robin swaying on a long 
branch of ivy. He had followed her and he 
greeted her with a chirp. As Mary had skipped 
toward him she felt something heavy in her pocket 
strike against her at each jump, and when she saw 
the robin she laughed again. 

" You showed me where the key was yesterday," 
she said. You ought to show me the door to- 
day; but I don't believe you know ! ' 

The robin flew from his swinging spray of ivy 
on to the top of the wall and he opened hio beak 
and sang a loud, lovely trill, merely to sh<vw off. 
Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely 



THE ROBIN 95 

as a robin when he shows off and they are 
nearly always doing it. 

Mary Lennox had heard a great deal about 
Magic in her Ayah's stones, and she always said 
that what happened almost at that moment was 
Magic. 

One of the nice little gusts of wind rushed down 
the walk, and it was a stronger one than the rest. 
It was strong enough to wave the branches of the 
trees, and it was more than strong enough to sway 
the trailing sprays of untrimmed ivy hanging from 
the wall. Mary had stepped close to the robin, 
and suddenly the gust of wind swung aside 
some loose ivy trails, and more suddenly still she 
jumped toward it and caught it in her hand. 
This she did because she had seen something 
under it a round knob which had been covered 
by the leaves hanging over it. It was the knob of 
a door. 

She put her hands under the leaves and began 
to pull and push them aside. Thick as the ivy 
hung, it nearly all was a loose and swinging cur- 
tain, though some had crept over wood and iron. 
Mary's heart began to thump and her hands to 
shake a little in her delight and excitement. The 
robin kept singing and twittering away and tilting 
his head on one side, as if he were as excited as 
she was. What was this under her hands which 



96 THE SECRET GARDEN 

was square and made of iron and which her fin* 
gers found a hole in? 

It was the lock of the door which had been 
closed ten years and she put her hand in her 
pocket, drew out the key and found it fitted the 
keyhole. She put the key in and turned it. It 
took two hands to do it, but it did turn. 

And then she took a long breath and looked be- 
hind her up the long walk to see if any one was 
coming. No one was coming. No one ever did 
come, it seemed, and she took another long breath, 
because she could not help it, and she held back 
the swinging curtain of ivy and pushed back the 
door which opened slowly slowly. 

Then she slipped through it, and shut it be- 
hind her, and stood with her back against it, look- 
ing about her and breathing quite fast with ex- 
citement, and wonder, and delight. 

was standing inside the secret garden. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE STRANGEST HOUSE ANY ONE EVER LIVED JNi 

IT was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking 
place any one could imagine. The high walls 
which shut it in were covered with the leafless 
stems of climbing roses which were so thick that 
they were matted together. Mary Lennox knew 
they were roses because she had seen a great many 
roses in India. All the ground was covered with 
grass of a wintry brown and out of it grew clumps 
of bushes which were surely rose-bushes if they 
were alive. There were numbers of standard 
roses which had so spread their branches that they 
were like little trees. There were other trees in 
the garden, and one of the things which made the 
place look strangest and loveliest was that climb- 
ing roses had run all over them and swung down 
long tendrils which made light swaying curtains, 
and here and there they had caught at each other 
or at a far-reaching branch and had crept from one 
tree to another and made lovely bridges of them- 
selves. There were neither leaves nor roses on 
them now and Mary did not know whether they 

97 



98 THE SECRET GARDEN 

were dead or alive, but their thin gray or brown 
branches and sprays looked like a sort of hazy 
mantle spreading over everything, walls, and trees, 
and even brown grass, where they had fallen from 
their fastenings and run along the ground. It 
was this hazy tangle from tree to tree which made 
it all look so mysterious. Mary had thought it 
must be different from other gardens which had 
not been left all by themselves so long; and indeed 
it was different from any other place she had ever 
seen in her life. 

" How still it is ! ' she whispered. " How 
still I" 

Then she waited a moment and listened at the 
stillness. The robin, who had flown to his tree- 
top, was still as all the rest. He did not even flut- 
ter his wings; he sat without stirring, and looked 
at Mary. 

" No wonder it is still," she whispered again. 
" I am the first person who has spoken in here 
for ten years." 

She moved away from the door, stepping as 
softly as if she were afraid of awakening some 
one. She was glad that there was grass under her 
feet and that her steps made no sounds. She 
walked under one of the fairy-like gray arches be- 
tween the trees and looked up at the sprays and 
tendrils which formed them. 



THE STRANGE HOUSE 99 

" I wonder if they are all quite dead," she said. 
' Is it all a quite dead garden? I wish it wasn't.' 1 

If she had been Ben Weatherstaff she could 
have told whether the wood was alive by looking 
at it, but she could only see that there were only 
gray or brown sprays and branches and none 
showed any signs of even a tiny leaf-bud any- 
where. 

But she was inside the wonderful garden and she 
could come through the door under the ivy any 
time and she felt as if she had found a world all 
her own. 

The sun was shining inside the four walls and 
the high arch of blue sky over this particular piece 
of Misselthwaite seemed even more brilliant and 
soft than it was over the moor. The robin flew 
down from his tree-top and hopped about or flew 
after her from one bush to another. He chirped 
a good deal and had a very busy air, as if he were 
showing her things. Everything was strange and 
silent and she seemed to be hundreds of miles away 
from any one, but somehow she did not feel lonely 
at all. All that troubled her was her wish that 
she knew whether all the roses were dead, or if 
perhaps some of them had lived and might put 
out leaves and buds as the weather got warmer. 
She did not want it to be a quite dead garden. If 
it were a quite alive garden, how wonderful it 



ioo THE SECRET GARDEN 

would be, and what thousands of roses would grow 
on every side ! 

Her skipping-rope had hung over her arm when 
she came in and after she had walked about for 
a while she thought she would skip round the whole 
garden, stopping when she wanted to look at 
things. There seemed to have been grass paths 
here and there, and in one or two corners there 
were alcoves of evergreen with stone seats or tall 
moss-covered flower urns in them. 

As she came near the second of these alcoves she 
stopped skipping. There had once been a flower- 
bed in it, and she thought she saw something stick- 
ing out of the black earth some sharp little pale 
green points. She remembered what Ben Weath- 
erstaff had said and she knelt down to look at 
them. 

" Yes, they are tiny growing things and they 
might be crocuses or snowdrops or daffodils," she 
whispered. 

She bent very close to them and sniffed the fresh 
stent of the damp earth. She liked it very much. 

" Perhaps there are some other ones coming 
up in other places/' she said. " I will go all over 
the garden and look." 

She did not skip, but walked. She went slowly 
and kept her eyes on the ground. She looked in 
the old border beds and among the grass, and after 



THE STRANGE HOUSE 101 

she had gone round, trying to miss nothing, she 
had found ever so many more sharp, pale green 
points, and she had become quite excited again. 

" It isn't a quite dead garden," she cried out 
softly to herself. " Even if the roses are dead, 
there are other things alive/ 5 

She did not know anything about gardening, 
but the grass seemed so thick in some of the places 
where the green points were pushing their way 
through that she thought they did not seem to have 
room enough to grow. She searched about until 
she found a rather sharp piece of wood and knelt 
down and dug and weeded out the weeds and grass 
until she made nice little clear places around them. 

" Now they look as if they could breathe," she 
said, after she had finished with the first ones. 
" I am going to do ever so many more. I'll do 
all I can see. If I haven't time to-day I can 
come to-morrow. 

She went from place to place, and dug and 
weeded, and enjoyed herself so immensely that she 
was led on from bed to bed and into the grass 
under the trees. The exercise made her so warm 
that she first threw her coat off, and then her hat, 
and without knowing it she was smiling down on 
to the grass and the pale green points all the time. 

The robin was tremendously busy. He was 
very much pleased to see gardening begun on his 



102 THE SECRET GARDEN 

own estate. He had often wondered at Ben 
Weatherstaff. Where gardening is done all sorts 
of delightful things to eat are turned up with the 
soil. Now here was this new kind of creature who 
was not half Ben's size and yet had had the sense 
to come into his garden and begin at once. 

Mistress Mary worked in her garden until it was 
time to go to her midday dinner. In fact, she 
was rather late in remembering, and when she put 
on her coat and hat, and picked up her skipping- 
rope, she could not believe that she had been work- 
ing two or three hours. She had been actually 
happy all the time; and dozens and dozens of the 
tiny, pale green points were to be seen in cleared 
places, looking twice as cheerful as they had looked 
before when the grass and weeds had been smoth- 
ering them. 

" I shall come back this afternoon," she said, 
looking all round at her new kingdom, and speak- 
ing to the trees and the rose-bushes as if they 
heard her. 

Then she ran lightly across the grass, pushed 
open the slow old door and slipped through it 
under the ivy. She had such red cheeks and such 
bright eyes and ate such a dinner that Martha was 
delighted. 

" Two pieces o' meat an' two helps o' rice pud- 
din' I ' she said. " Eh ! mother will be pleased 



THE STRANGE HOUSE 103 

when I tell her what th' skipping-rope's done for 
thee." 

In the course of her digging with her pointed 
stick Mistress Mary had found herself digging 
up a sort of white root rather like an onion. She 
had put it back in its place and patted the earth 
carefully down on it and just now she wondered if 
Martha could tell her what it was. 

' Martha," she said, " what are those white 
roots that look like onions? ' 

" They're bulbs," answered Martha. " Lots 
o' spring flowers grow from 'em. Th' very little 
ones are snowdrops an' crocuses an' th' big ones 
are narcissusis an' jonquils an' daffydowndillys. 
Th' biggest of all is lilies an' purple flags. Eh! 
they are nice. Dickon's got a whole lot of 'em 
planted in our bit o' garden." 

" Does Dickon know all about them?' asked 
Mary, a new idea taking possession of her. 

" Our Dickon can make a flower grow out of a 
brick walk. Mother says he just whispers things 
out o' th' ground." 

" Do bulbs live a long time? Would they live 
years and years if no one helped them? " inquired 
Mary anxiously. 

They're things as helps themselves," said 
Martha. " That's why poor folk can afford to 
have 'em. If you don't trouble 'em, most of 'em 1 !! 



104 THE SECRET GARDEN 

work away underground for a lifetime an' spread 
out an' have little 'uns. There's a place in th' 
park woods here where there's snowdrops by thou- 
sands. They're the prettiest sight in Yorkshire 
when th ? spring comes. No one knows when they 
was first planted." 

" I wish the spring was here now," said Mary. 
" I want to see all the things that grow in En-g- 
land." 

She had finished her dinner and gone to her 
favorite seat on the hearth-rug. 

" I wish I wish I had a little spade," she 
said. 

"Whatever does tha' want a spade for?' 
asked Martha, laughing. " Art tha' goin' to take 
to diggin' ? I must tell mother that, too." 

Mary looked at the fire and pondered a little. 
She must be careful if she meant to keep her secret 
kingdom. She wasn't doing any harm, but if Mr. 
Craven found out about the open door he would be 
fearfully angry and get a new key and lock it up 
forevermore. She really could not bear that. 

This is such a big lonely place," she said 
slowly, as if she were turning matters over in her 
mind. " The house is lonely, and the park is 
lonely, and the gardens are lonely. So many 
places seem shut up. I never did many things in 
India, but there were more people to look at . 
natives and soldiers marching by and sometimes 



THE STRANGE HOUSE 105 

bands playing, and my Ayah told me stories. 
There is no one to talk to here except you and Ben 
Weatherstaff. And you have to do your work 
and Ben Weatherstaff won't speak to me often. I 
thought if I had a little spade I could dig some- 
where as he does, and I might make a little garden 
if he would give me some seeds." 

Martha's face quite lighted up. 

There now! " she exclaimed, " if that wasn't 
one of th' things mother said. She says, ' There's 
such a lot o' room in that big place, why don't 
they give her a bit for herself, even if she doesn't 
plant nothin' but parsley an' radishes? She'd dig 
an' rake away an' be right down happy over it.' 
Them was the very words she said." 

" Were they? ' said Mary. " How many 
things she knows, doesn't she? ' 

"Eh!" said Martha. " It's like she says: 
* A woman as brings up twelve children learns 
something besides her ABC. Children's as good 
as 'rithmetic to set you findin' out things.' 

" How much would a spade cost a little 
one? ' Mary asked. 

" Well," was Martha's reflective answer, " at 
Thwaite village there's a shop or so an' I saw 
little garden sets with a spade an' a rake an' a 
fork all tied together for two shillings. An' they 
was stout enough to work with, too." 

" I've got more than that in my purse," said 



io6 THE SECRET GARDEN 

Mary. ' Mrs. Morrison gave me five shillings 
and Mrs. Medlock gave me some money from Mr. 
Craven." 

" Did he remember thee that much? " exclaimed 
Martha. 

1 Mrs. Medlock said I was to have a shilling a 
week to spend. She gives me one every Saturday. 
I didn't know what to spend it on." 

" My word! that's riches," said Martha. 
" Tha' can buy anything in th' world tha 7 wants. 
Th' rent of our cottage is only one an' threepence 
an' it's like pullin' eye-teeth to get it. Now I've 
just thought of somethin'," putting her hands on 
her hips. 

What? " said Mary eagerly. 
In the shop at Thwaite they sell packages o' 
flower-seeds for a penny each, and our Dickon he 
knows which is th' prettiest ones an' how to make 
'em grow. He walks over to Thwaite many a day 
just for th' fun of it. Does tha' know how to 
print letters?' suddenly. 

' I know how to write," Mary answered. 

Martha shook her head. 

* Our Dickon can only read printin'. If tha' 
could print we could write a letter to him an' ask 
him to go an' buy th' garden tools an' th' seeds 
at th' same time." 

u Oh! you're a good girl!' Mary cried. 



u 
n 



THE STRANGE HOUSE 107 

You are, really! I didn't know you were so 
nice. I know I can print letters if I try. Let's 
ask Mrs. Medlock for a pen and ink and some 
paper." 

" I've got some of my own," said Martha. ' I 
bought 'em so I could print a bit of a letter to 
mother of a Sunday. I'll go and get it." 

She ran out of the room, and Mary stood by the 
fire and twisted her thin little hands together with 
sheer pleasure. 

" If I have a spade," she whispered, " I car> 
make the earth nice and soft and dig up weeds. If 
I have seeds and can make flowers grow the garden 
won't be dead at all it will come alive." 

She did not go out again that afternoon because 
when Martha returned with her pen and ink and 
paper she was obliged to clear the table and carry 
the plates and dishes down-stairs and when she got 
into the kitchen Mrs. Medlock was there and told 
her to do something, so Mary waited for what 
seemed to her a long time before she came back. 
Then it was a serious piece of work to write to 
Dickon. Mary had been taught very little be- 
cause her governesses had disliked her too much to 
stay with her. She could not spell particularly 
well but she found that she could print letters 
when she tried. This was the letter Martha die- 
tated to her: 



THE SECRET GARDEN 



fe My Dear Dickon: 

This comes hoping to find you well as it leaves me 
at present. Miss Mary has plenty of money and will 
you go to Thwaite and buy her some flower seeds and 
a set of garden tools to make a flower-bed. Pick 
the prettiest ones and easy to grow because she has 
never done it before and lived in India which is differ- 
ent. Give my love to mother and every one of you. 
Miss Mary is going to tell me a lot more so that on my 
next day out you can hear about elephants and camels 
and gentlemen going hunting lions and tigers. 

Your loving sister, 

' MARTHA PHCEBE SOWERBY." 

" We'll put the money in th' envelope an' I'll 
get th' butcher's boy to take it in his cart. He's a 
great friend o' Dickon's," said Martha. 

" How shall I get the things when Dickon buys 
them?' asked Mary. 

" He'll bring 'em to you himself. He'll like to 
walk over this way." 

" Oh ! " exclaimed Mary, " then I shall see him ! 
I never thought I should see Dickon." 

" Does tha' want to see him? ' asked Martha 
suddenly, she had looked so pleased. 

Yes, I do. I never saw a boy foxes and crows 
loved. I want to see him very much." 

Martha gave a little start, as if she suddenly 
remembered something. 



u 
u 



fHE STRANGE HOUSE 109 

" Now to think," she broke out, " to think o' me 
f orgettin' that there ; an' I thought I was goin' to 
tell you first thing this mornin'. I asked mother 
and she said she'd ask Mrs. Medlock her own 
self." 

Do you mean " Mary began. 
What I said Tuesday. Ask her if you might 
be driven over to our cottage some day and have 
a bit o' mother's hot oat cake, an' butter, an' a 
glass o' milk," 

It seemed as if all the interesting things were 
happening in one day. To think of going over 
the moor in the daylight and when the sky was 
blue ! To think of going into the cottage which 
held twelve children! 

" Does she think Mrs. Medlock would let me 
go ? ' she asked, quite anxiously. 

* Aye, she thinks she would. She knows what 
a tidy woman mother is and how clean she keeps 
the cottage." 

" If I went I should see your mother as well as 
Dickon," said Mary, thinking it over and liking the 
idea very much. ' She doesn't seem to be like the 
mothers in India." 

Her work in the garden and the excitement of 
the afternoon ended by making her feel quiet and 
thoughtful. Martha stayed with her until tea- 
time, but they sat in comfortable quiet and talked 



no THE SECRET GARDEN 

very little. But just before Martha went 
stairs for the tea-tray, Mary asked a question. 

" Martha," she said, " has the scullery-maid had 
the toothache again to-day? ' 

Martha certainly started slightly. 

" What makes thee ask that? ' she said. 

' Because when I waited so long for you to 
come back I opened the door and walked down the 
corridor to see if you were coming. And I heard 
that far-off crying again, just as we heard it the 
other night. There isn't a wind to-day, so you 
see it couldn't have been the wind." 

" Eh ! " said Martha restlessly. " Tha' mustn't 
go walkin' about in corridors an' listenin'. Mr. 
Craven, would be that there angry there's no 
knowin' what he'd do." 

* I wasn't listening," said Mary. " I was just 
waiting for you and I heard it. That's three 



times.' 



"My word! There's Mrs. Medlock's bell," 
said Martha, and she almost ran out of the room. 
' It's the strangest house any one ever lived in," 
said Mary drowsily, as she dropped her head on 
the cushioned seat of the armchair near her. 
Fresh air, and digging, and skipping-rope had 
made her feel so comfortably tired that she fell 
asleep. 



CHAPTER X 

DICKON 

"^HE sun shone down for nearly a week on the 
* secret garden. The Secret Garden was what 
Mary called it when she was thinking of it. She 
liked the name, and she liked still more the feel- 
ing that when its beautiful old walls shut her in no 
one knew where she was. It seemed almost like 
being shut out of the world in some fairy place. 
The few books she had read and liked had been 
fairy-story books, and she had read of secret gar- 
dens in some of the stories. Sometimes people 
went to sleep in them for a hundred years, which 
she had thought must be rather stupid. She had 
no intention of going to sleep, and, in fact, she 
was becoming wider awake every day which passed 
at Misselthwaite. She was beginning to like to 
be out of doors; she no longer hated the wind, but 
enjoyed it. She could run faster, and longer, and 
she could skip up to a hundred. The bulbs in the'/ 
secret garden must have been much astonished. 
Such nice clear places were made round them that 
they had all the breathing space they wanted, and 
really, if Mistress Mary had known it, they began 

in 



112 THE SECRET GARDEN 

to cheer up under the dark earth and work tre- 
mendously. The sun could get at them and warm 
them, and when the rain came down it could reach 
them at once, so they began to feel very much 
alive. 

Mary was an odd, determined little person, and 
now she had something interesting to be deter- 
mined about, she was very much absorbed, indeed. 
She worked and dug and pulled up weeds steadily, 
only becoming more pleased with her work every 
hour instead of tiring of it. It seemed to her like 
a fascinating sort of play. She found many more 
of the sprouting pale green points than she had 
ever hoped to find. They seemed to be starting 
up everywhere and each day she was sure she 
found tiny new ones, some so tiny that they barely 
peeped above the earth. There were so many 
that she remembered what Martha had said about 
the ' snowdrops by the thousands," and about 
bulbs spreading and making new ones. These had 
been left to themselves for ten years and perhaps 
they had spread, like the snowdrops, into thou- 
sands. She wondered how long it would be be- 
fore they showed that they were flowers. Some- 
times she stopped digging to look at the garden 
and try to imagine what it would be like when it 
was covered with thousands of lovely things in 
bloom. 



DICKON 113 

During that week of sunshine, she became more 
intimate with Ben Weatherstaff. She surprised 
him several times by seeming to start up beside 
him as if she sprang out of the earth. The truth 
was that she was afraid that he would pick up his 
tools and go away if he saw her coming, so she al- 
ways walked toward him as silently as possible. 
But, in fact, he did not object to her as strongly 
as he had at first. Perhaps he was secretly rather 
flattered by her evident desire for his elderly com- 
pany. Then, also, she was more civil than she had 
been. He did not know that when she first saw 
him she spoke to him as she would have spoken to 
a native, and had not known that a cross, sturdy 
old Yorkshire man was not accustomed to salaam 
to his masters, and be merely commanded by them 
to do things. 

u Tha'rt like th' robin, " he said to her one morn- 
ing when he lifted his head and saw her standing 
by him. " I never knows when I shall see thee 
or which side tha'll come from." 

" He's friends with me now," said Mary. 

" That's like him," snapped Ben Weatherstaff. 
" Makin' up to th' women folk just for vanity an* 
flightiness. There's nothin' he wouldn't do for 
th' sake o' showin' off an' flirtin' his tail-feathers. 
He's as full o' pride as an egg's full o' meat." 

He very seldom talked much and sometimes 



THE SECRET GARDEN 

did not even answer Mary's questions except by 
a grunt, but this morning he said more than usual. 
He stood up and rested one hobnailed boot on the 
top of his spade while he looked her over. 

"How long has tha' been here?' he jerked 
out. 

' I think it's about a month," she answered. 

" Tha's beginnin' to do Misselthwaite credit," 
he said. " Tha's a bit fatter than tha' was an' 
tha's not quite so yeller. Tha' looked like a 
young plucked crow when tha' first came into this 
garden. Thinks I to myself I never set eyes on 
an uglier, sourer faced young 'un." 

Mary was not vain and as she had never 
thought much of her looks she was not greatly 
disturbed. 

" I know I'm fatter," she said. " My stock- 
ings are getting tighter. They used to make 
wrinkles. There's the robin, Ben Weatherstaff." 

There, indeed, was the robin, and she thought 
he looked nicer than ever. His red waistcoat 
was as glossy as satin and he flirted his wings and 
tail and tilted his head and hopped about with all 
sorts of lively graces. He seemed determined to,., 
make Ben Weatherstaff admire him. But Ben' 
was sarcastic. 

" Aye, there tha' art ! " he said. " Tha' can 



DICKON 1 1 5 

put up with me for a bit sometimes when tha's 
got no one better. Tha's been reddinin' up thy 
waistcoat an' polishin' thy feathers this two weeks. 
I know what tha's up to. Tha's courtin' some 
bold young madam somewhere, tellin' thy lies to 
her about bein' th' finest cock robin on Missel 
Moor an' ready to fight all th' rest of 'em." 

" Oh ! look at him ! ' exclaimed Mary. 

The robin was evidently in a fascinating, bold 
mood. He hopped closer and closer and looked 
at Ben Weatherstaff more and more engagingly. 
He flew on to the nearest currant bush and tilted 
his head and sang a little song right at him. 

" Tha' thinks tha'll get over me by doin' that," 
said Ben, wrinkling his face up in such a way that 
Mary felt sure he was trying not to look pleased. 
" Tha' thinks no one can stand out against thee 
that's what tha' thinks." 

The robin spread his wings Mary could 
scarcely believe her eyes. He flew right up to the 
handle of Ben Weatherstaff's spade and alighted 
on the top of it. Then the old man's face wrinkled 
itself slowly into a new expression. He stood 
still as if he were afraid to breathe as if he 
would not have stirred for the world, lest his robin 
should start away. He spoke quite in a whisper. 
I'm danged ! ' he said as softly as if 



n6 THE SECRET GARDEN 

he were saying something quite different. 

does know how to get at a chap - -tha' does 1 

Tha's fair unearthly, tha's so knowin'." 

And he stood without stirring almost with- 
out drawing his breath until the robin gave an- 
other flirt to his wings and flew away. Then he 
stood looking at the handle of the spade as if there 
might be Magic in it, and then he began to dig 
again and said nothing for several minutes. 

But because he kept breaking into a slow grin 
now and then, Mary was not afraid to talk to him. 

" Have you a garden of your own? " she asked. 

" No. I'm bachelder an' lodge with Martin 
at th' gate." 

" If you had one," said Mary, " what would you 
plant?" 

' Cabbages an' 'taters an' onions." 

" But if you wanted to make a flower garden," 
persisted Mary, "what would you plant?' 

" Bulbs an' sweet-smellin' things but mostly 



roses.' 



Mary's face lighted up. 

" Do you like roses? " she said. 

Ben Weatherstaff rooted up a weed and threw 
it aside before he answered. 

" Well, yes, I do. I was learned that by a 
young lady I was gardener to. She had a lot in a 
place she was fond of, an' she loved 'em like they 



DICKON 117 

was children or robins. IVe seen her bend 
over an' kiss 'em." He dragged out another weed 
and scowled at it. 'That were as much as ten 
year' ago." 

"Where is she now?" asked Mary, much in- 
terested. 

"Heaven," he answered, and drove his spade 
deep into the soil, "'cording to what parson says." 

"What happened to the roses?" Mary asked 
again, more interested than ever. 

"They was left to themselves." 

Mary was becoming quite excited. 

"Did they quite die? Do roses quite die when 
they are left to themselves?" she ventured. 

"Well, I'd got to like 'em an' I liked her 
an' she liked 'em," Ben Weatherstaff admitted 
reluctantly. "Once or twice a year I'd go an' 
work at 'em a bit prune 'em an' dig about th T 
roots. They run wild, but they was in rich soil r 
so some of 'em lived." 

"When they have no leaves and look gray and 
brown and dry, how can you tell whether they are 
dead or alive?" inquired Mary. 

"Wait till th' spring gets at 'em wait till th' 
sun shines on th' rain and th' rain falls on th' sun 
shine an' then tha'll find out." 

"How how?" cried Mary, forgetting to be 
careful. 



Ii8 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" Look along th' twigs an' branches an' if tha* 
sees a bit of a brown lump swelling here an' there, 
watch it after th' warm rain an' see what happens." 
He stopped suddenly and looked curiously at her 
eager face. Why does tha' care so much 
about roses an' such, all of a sudden?' he de- 
manded. 

Mistress Mary felt her face grow red. She 
was almost afraid to answer. 

"I I want to play that that I have a 
garden of my own," she stammered. "I 
there is nothing for me to do. I have nothing 
and no one." 

" Well," said Ben Weatherstaff slowly, as he 
watched her, " that's true. Tha' hasn't." 

He said it in such an odd way that Mary won- 
dered if he was actually a little sorry for her. 
She had never felt sorry for herself; she had only 
felt tired and cross, because she disliked people 
and things so much. But now the world seemed 
to be changing and getting nicer. If no one found 
out about the secret garden, she should enjoy her- 
self always. 

She stayed with him for ten or fifteen minutes 
longer and asked him as many questions as she 
dared. He answered every one of them in his 
queer grunting way and he did not seem really 
cross and did not pick up his spade and leave her. 



DICKON 119 

He said something about roses just as she was go- 
ing away and it reminded her of the ones he had 
said he had been fond of. 

' Do you go and see those other roses now? ' 
she asked. 

' Not been this year. My rheumatics has 
made me too stiff in th' joints." 

He said it in his grumbling voice, and then 
quite suddenly he seemed to get angry with 
her, though she did not see why he should. 

" Now look here ! ' he said sharply. " Don't 
tha' ask so many questions. Tha'rt th' worst 
wench for askin' questions I've ever come across. 
Get thee gone an' play thee. I've done talkin' 
for to-day. 1 ' 

And he said: it so crossly that she knew there 
was not the least use in staying another minute. 
She went skipping slowly down the outside walk, 
thinking him over and saying to herself that, queer 
as it was, here was another person whom she 
liked in spite of his crossness. She liked old Ben 
Weatherstaff. Yes, she did like him. She al- 
ways wanted to try to make him talk to her. Also 
she began to believe that he knew everything in 
the world about flowers. 

There was a laurel-hedged walk which curved 
round the secret garden and ended at a gate which 
opened into a wood, in the park. She thought 



i20 THE SECRET GARDEN 

she would skip round this walk and look into the 
wood and see if there were any rabbits hopping 
about. She enjoyed the skipping very much and 
when she reached the little gate she opened it and 
went through because she heard a low, peculiar 
whistling sound and wanted to find out what it 
was. 

It was a very strange thing indeed. She quite 
caught her breath as she stopped to look at it. 
A boy was sitting under a tree, with his back 
against it, playing on a rough wooden pipe. He 
was a funny looking boy about twelve. He looked 
very clean and his nose turned up and his cheeks 
were as red as poppies and never had Mistress 
Mary seen such round and such blue eyes in any 
boy's face. And on the trunk of the tree he 
leaned against, a brown squirrel was clinging and 
watching him, and from behind a bush nearby 
a cock pheasant was delicately stretching his neck 
to peep out, and quite near him were two rabbits 
sitting up and sniffing with tremulous noses 
and actually it appeared as if they were all drawing 
near to watch him and listen to the strange low 
little call his pipe seemed to make. 

When he saw Mary he held up his hand and 
spoke to her in a voice almost as low as and rather 
like his piping. 

" Don't tha' move," he said. <- It'd flight 'ern." 



DICKON 121 

Mary remained motionless. He stopped play- 
ing his pipe and began to rise from the ground. 
He moved so slowly that it scarcely seemed as 
though he were moving at all, but at last he stood 
on his feet and then the squirrel scampered back 
up into the branches of his tree, the pheasant with- 
drew his head and the rabbits dropped on all fours 
and began to hop away, though not at all as if they 
were frightened. 

" I'm Dickon," the boy said. " I know tha'rt 
Miss Mary." 

Then Mary realized that somehow she Aad 
known at first that he was Dickon. Who else 
could have been charming rabbits and pheasants 
as the natives charm snakes in India? He had 
a wide, red, curving mouth and his smile spread' 
all over his face. 

" I got up slow," he explained, " because if tha* 
makes a quick move it startles 'em. A body 'as 
to move gentle an' speak low when wild things 
is about." 

He did not speak to her as if they had never 
seen each other before but as if he knew her quite 
well. Mary knew nothing about boys and she 
spoke to him a little stiffly because she felt rather 
shy. 

" Did you get Martha's letter? " she asked. 

He nodded his curly, rust-colored head. 



122 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" That's why I come." 

He stooped to pick up something which had 
been lying on the ground beside him when he 
piped. 

" I've got th' garden tools. There's a little 
spade an 7 rake an' a fork an' hoe. Eh ! they are 
good 'uns. There's a trowel, too. An' th' 
woman in th' shop threw in a packet o' white 
poppy an' one o' blue larkspur when I bought th' 
other seeds." 

" Will you show the seeds to me? " Mary said. 

She wished she could talk as he did. His 
speech was so quick and easy. It sounded as if 
he liked her and was not the least afraid she would 
not like him, though he was only a common moor 
boy, in patched clothes and with a funny face and 
a rough, rusty-red head. As she came closer to 
him she noticed that there was a clean fresh scent 
of heather and grass and leaves about him, almost 
as if he were made of them. She liked it very 
much and when she looked into his funny face 
with the red cheeks and round blue eyes she for- 
got that she had felt shy. 

' Let us sit down on this log and look at them," 
she said. 

They sat down and he took a clumsy little brown 
paper package out of his coat pocket. He untied 
the string and inside there were ever so many 



DICKON 123 

neater and smaller packages with a picture of a 
flower on each one. 

" There's a lot o' mignonette an' poppies," he 
said. " Mignonette's th' sweetest smellin' thing 
as grows, an' it'll grow wherever you cast it, same 
as poppies will. Them as'll come up an' bloom 
if you just whistle to 'em, them's th' nicest of all." 

He stopped and turned his head quickly, his 
poppy-cheeked face lighting up. 

" Where's that robin as is callin' us? '' he said. 

The chirp came from a thick holly bush, bright 
with scarlet berries, and Mary thought she knew 
whose it was. 

Is it really calling us? " she asked. 
Aye," said Dickon, as if it was the most nat- 
ural thing in the world, " he's callin' some one he's 
friends with. That's same as sayin' ' Here I 
am. Look at me. I wants a bit of a chat.' 
There he is in the bush. Whose is he ? ' 

" He's Ben Weatherstaff's, but I think he knows 
me a little," answered Mary. 

" Aye, he knows thee," said Dickon in his low 
voice again. " An' he likes thee. He's took thee 
on. He'll tell me all about thee in a minute." 

He moved quite close to the bush with the slow 
movement Mary had noticed before, and then he 
made a sound almost like the robin's own twitter. 
The robin listened a few seconds, intently, and 



a 
a 



124 1HE SECRET GARDEIN 

then answered quite as if he were replying to ^ 
question. 

" Aye, he's a friend o' yours," chuckled Dickon. 

" Do you think he is? ' cried Mary eagerly. 
She did so want to know. " Do you think he 
really likes me? ' 

" He wouldn't come near thee if he didn't," an- 
swered Dickon. ' Birds is rare choosers an' a 
robin can flout a body worse than a man. See, 
he's making up to thee now. ' Cannot tha' see 
a chap? ' he's sayinV 

And it really seemed as if it must be true. He 
so sidled and twittered and tilted as he hopped on 
his bush. 

" Do you understand everything birds say? ' 
said Mary. 

Dickon's grin spread until he seemed all wide, 
red, curving mouth, and he rubbed his rough head. 

" I think I do, and they think I do," he said. 
f I've lived on th' moor with 'em so long. I've 
watched 'em break shell an' come out an' fledge 
an' learn to fly an' begin to sing, till I think I'm 
one of 'em. Sometimes I think p'raps I'm a bird, 
or a fox, or a rabbit, or a squirrel, or even a beetle, 
an' I don't know it." 

He laughed and came back to the log and began 
to talk about the flower seeds again. He told her 
what they looked like when they were flowers; 



DICKON 125 

he told her how to plant them, and watch them, 
and feed and water them. 

" See here," he said suddenly, turning round to 
look at her. " I'll plant them for thee myself. 
Where is tha' garden? ' 

Mary's thin hands clutched each other as they 
lay on her lap. She did not know what to say, so 
for a whole minute she said nothing. She had 
never thought of this. She felt miserable. And 
she felt as if she went red and then pale. 

"Tha's got a bit o' garden, hasn't tha'?" 
Dickon said. 

It was true that she had turned red and then 
pale. Dickon saw her do it, and as she still said 
nothing, he began to be puzzled. 

" Wouldn't they give thee a bit?' he asked. 
"Hasn't tha' got any yet?" 

She held her hands even tighter and turned her 
eyes toward him. 

" I don't know anything about boys," she said 
slowly. " Could you keep a secret, if I told you 
one? It's a great secret. I don't know what I 
should do if any one found it out. I believe I 
should die!" She said the last sentence quite 
fiercely. 

Dickon looked more puzzled than ever and even 
rubbed his hand over his rough head again, but 
he answered quite good-humoredly. 



126 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" I'm keepin' secrets all th' time," he said. " If 
I couldn't keep secrets from th' other lads, se- 
crets about foxes' cubs, an' birds' nests, an' wild 
things' holes, there'd be naught safe on th' moor. 
Aye, I can keep secrets." 

Mistress Mary did not mean to put out her hand 
and clutch his sleeve but she did it. 

" I've stolen a garden," she said very fast. " It 
isn't mine. It isn't anybody's. Nobody wants 
it, nobody cares for it, nobody ever goes into it. 
Perhaps everything is dead in it already; I don't 
know." 

She began to feel hot and as contrary as she had 
ever felt in her life. 

1 I don't care, I don't care ! Nobody has any- 
right to take it from me when I care about it and 
they don't. They're letting it die, all shut in by 
itself," she ended passionately, and she threw her 
arms over her face and burst out crying poor 
little Mistress Mary. 

Dickon,' s curious blue eyes grew rounder and 
rounder. 

' Eh-h-h ! ' he said, drawing his exclamation 
out slowly, and the way he did it meant both won- 
der and sympathy. 

" I've nothing to do," said Mary. " Nothing 
belongs to me. I found it myself and I got into 
it myself. I was only just like the robin, and 
they wouldn't take it from the robin." 



DICKON 127 

" Where is it?' asked Dickon in a dropped 
voice. 

Mistress Mary got up from the log at once. 
She knew she felt contrary again, and obstinate, 
and she did not care at all. She was imperious 
and Indian, and at the same time hot and sor- 
rowful. 

" Come with me and I'll show you," she said. 

She led him round the laurel path and to the 
walk where the ivy grew so thickly. Dickon fol- 
lowed her with a queer, almost pitying, look on his 
face. He felt as if he were being led to look at 
some strange bird's nest and must move softly. 
When she stepped to the wall and lifted the hang- 
ing ivy he started. There was a door and Mary 
pushed it slowly open and they passed in together, 
and then Mary stood and waved her hand round 
defiantly. 

" It's this," she said. " It's a secret garden, 
and I'm the only one in the world who wants it 
to be alive." 

Dickon looked round and round about it, and 
round and round again. 

" Eh ! ' he almost whispered, " it is a queer, 
pretty place! It's like as if a body was in a 
dream." 



CHAPTER XI 

THE NEST OF THE MISSEL THRUSH 

COR two or three minutes he stood looking 
round him, while Mary watched him, and then 
he began to walk about softly, even more lightly 
than Mary had walked the first time she had found 
herself inside the four walls. His eyes seemed to 
be taking in everything the gray trees with the 
gray creepers climbing over them and hanging 
from their branches, the tangle on the walls and 
among the grass, the evergreen alcoves with the 
stone seats and tall flower urns standing in them. 

" I never thought I'd see this place," he said at 
last, in a whisper. 

u Did you know about it? " asked Mary. 

She had spoken aloud and he made a sign to 
her. 

" We must talk low," he said, " or some one'll 
hear us an' wonder what's to do in here." 

" Oh ! I forgot ! " said Mary, feeling frightened 
and putting her hand quickly against her mouth. 
" Did you know about the garden? ' she asked 

again when she had recovered herself. 

128 



THE MISSEL THRUSH 129 

Dickon nodded. 

" Martha told me there was one as no one ever 
went inside," he answered. " Us used to wonder 
what it was like." 

He stopped and looked round at the lovely gray 
tangle about him, and his round eyes looked 
queerly happy. 

" Eh ! the nests as'll be here come springtime," 
he said. " It'd be th' safest nestin' place in Eng- 
land. No one never comin' near an' tangles o' 
trees an' roses to build in. I wonder all th' birds 
on th' moor don't build here." 

Mistress Mary put her hand on his arm again 
without knowing it. 

" Will there be roses? " she whispered. " Can 
you tell? I thought perhaps they were all dead." 

"Eh! No! Not them not all of 'em!" he 
answered. ' Look here ! ' 

He stepped over to the nearest tree an old, 
old one with gray lichen all over its bark, but up- 
holding a curtain of tangled sprays and branches. 
He took a thick knife out of his pocket and opened 
one of its blades. 

" There's lots o' dead wood as ought to be cut 
out," he said. " An' there's a lot o' old wood, 
but it made some new last year. This here's a 
new bit," and he touched a shoot which looked 
brownish green instead of hard, dry gray. 



1 30 THE SECRET GARDEN 

Mary touched it herself in an eager, reverent 
way. 

"That one?' she said. "Is that one quite 
alive - quite? ' 

Dickon curved his wide smiling mouth. 

" It's as wick as you or me," he said; and Mary 
remembered that Martha had told her that 
" wick " meant " alive " or u lively.'' 

" I'm glad it's wick! ' she cried out in her 
whisper. ' I want them all to be wick. Let us 
go round the garden and count how many wick 
ones there are." 

She quite panted with eagerness, and Dickon 
was as eager as she was. They went from tree 
to tree and from bush to bush. Dickon carried 
his knife in his hand and showed her things which 
she thought wonderful. 

They've run wild,'" he said, " but th' strong- 
est ones has fair thrived on it. The delicatest 
ones has died out, but th' others has growed an' 
growed, an' spread an' spread, till they's a wonder. 
See here ! ' ' and he pulled down a thick gray, dry- 
looking branch. ' A body might think this was 
dead wood, but I don't believe it is down to 
th' root. I'll cut it low down an' see." 

He knelt and with his knife cut the lifeless- 
looking branch through, not far above the earth. 

" There!" he said exultantly. "I told thee 



THE MISSEL THRUSH 131 

so. There's green in that wood yet. Look at 



it' 



Mary was down on her knees before he spoke, 
gazing with all her might. 

" When it looks a bit greenish an' juicy like 
that, it's wick," he explained. When th' inside 
is dry an' breaks easy, like this here piece I've 
cut off, it's done for. There's a big root here 
as all this live wood sprung out of, an' if th' old 
wood's cut off an' it's dug round, an' took care 
of there'll be " he stopped and lifted his face 
to look up at the climbing and hanging sprays 
above him " there'll be a fountain o' roses here 
this summer/' 

They went from bush to bush and from tree to 
tree. He was very strong and clever with his 
knife and knew how to cut the dry and dead wood 
away, and could tell when an unpromising bough 
or twig had still green life in it. In the course of 
half an hour Mary thought she could tell too, and 
when he cut through a lifeless-looking branch she 
would cry out joyfully under her breath when 
she caught sight of the least shade of moist green. 
The spade, and hoe, and fork were very useful. 
He showed her how to use the fork while he 
dug about roots with the spade and stirred the 
earth and let the air in. 

They were working industriously round one 



132 THE SECRET GARDEN 

of the biggest standard roses when he caught 
sight of something which made him utter an ex- 
clamation of surprise. 

"Why! 1 he cried, pointing to the grass a 
few feet away. " Who did that there ? ' 

It was one of Mary's own little clearings round 
the pale green points. 

" I did it," said Mary. 

" Why, I thought tha' didn't know nothin' about 
gardenin','' he exclaimed. 

' I don't," she answered, " but they were so 
little, and the grass was so thick and strong, and 
they looked as if they had no room to breathe. 
So I made a place for them. I don't even know 
what they are." 

Dickon went and knelt down by them, smiling 
his wide smile. 

Tha' was right," he said. " A gardener 
couldn't have told thee better. They'll grow now 
like Jack's bean-stalk. They're crocuses an 7 
snowdrops, an' these here is narcissuses," turning 
to another patch, " an' here's daffydowndillys. 
Eh ! they will be a sight." 

He ran from one clearing to another. 

Tha' has done a lot o' work for such a li-ttle 
wench," he said, looking her over. 

' I'm growing fatter," said Mary, " and I'm 
growing stronger. I used always to be tired. 



THE MISSEL THRUSH 133 

When I dig I'm not tired at all. I like to smell 
the earth when it's turned up." 

" It's rare good for thee," he said, nodding his 
head wisely. " There's naught as nice as th' smell 
o' good clean earth, except th' smell o' fresh 
growin' things when th' rain falls on 'em. I get 
out on th' moor many a day when it's rainin' an' 
I lie under a bush an' listen to th' soft swish o' 
drops on th' heather an' I just sniff an' sniff. 
My nose end fair quivers like a rabbit's, mother 
says." 

" Do you never catch cold?' inquired Mary, 
gazing at him wonderingly. She had never seen 
such a funny boy, or such a nice one. 

" Not me," he said, grinning. ; I never 
ketched cold since I was born. I wasn't brought 
up nesh enough. I've chased about th' moor in 
all weathers same as th' rabbits does. Mother 
says I've sniffed up too much fresh air for twelve 
year' to ever get to sniffin' with cold. I'm as 
tough as a white-thorn knobstick." 

He was working all the time he was talking and 
Mary was following him and helping him with her 
fork or the trowel. 

" There's a lot of work to do here ! ' he said 
once, looking about quite exultantly. 

" Will you come again and help me to do it? ' 
Mary begged. " I'm sure I can help, too. I can 



134 THE SECRET GARDEN 

dig and pull up weeds, and do whatever you tell 
me. Oh! do come, Dickon! ' 

" I'll come every day if tha' wants me, rain or 
shine," he answered stoutly. " It's th' best fun 
I ever had in my life shut in here an' wakenin' 
up a garden." 

* If you will come," said Mary, " if you will 
help me to make it alive I'll I don't know what 
I'll do," she ended helplessly. What could you 
do for a boy like that? 

" I'll tell thee what tha'll do," said Dickon, 
with his happy grin. Tha'll get fat an' tha'll 
get as hungry as a young fox an' tha'll learn how 
to talk to th' robin same as I do. Eh ! we'll have 
a lot o' fun." 

He began to walk about, looking up in the trees 
and at the walls and bushes with a thoughtful 
expression. 

' I wouldn't want to make it look like a garden- 
er's garden, all clipped an' spick an' span, would 
you? ' he said. ' It's nicer like this with things 
runnin' wild, an' swingin' an' catchin' hold of each 
other." 

' Don't let us make it tidy," said Mary anx- 
iously. " It wouldn't seem like a secret garden 
if it was tidy." 

Dickon stood rubbing his rusty-red head with 
a rather puzzled look. 



THE MISSEL THRUSH 135 

' It's a secret garden sure enough," he said, 
" but seems like some one besides th' robin must 
have been in it since it was shut up ten year' ago." 

' But the door was locked and the key was bur- 
ied," said Mary. " No one could get in." 

That's true," he answered. " It's a queer 
place. Seems to me as if there'd been a bit o' 
prunin' done here an' there, later than ten year' 
ago." 

'But how could it have been done?' said 
Mary. 

He was examining a branch of a standard rose 
and he shook his head. 

" Aye ! how could it ! " he murmured. " With 
th' door locked an' th' key buried." 

Mistress Mary always felt that however many 
years she lived she should never forget that first 
morning when her garden began to grow. Of 
course, it did seem to begin to grow for her that 
morning. When Dickon began to clear places to 
plant seeds, she remembered what Basil had sung 
at her when he wanted to tease her. 

" Are there any flowers that look like bells? " 
she inquired. 

' Lilies o' th' valley does," he answered, dig- 
ging away with the trowel, " an' there's Canter- 
bury bells, an' campanulas." 

" Let us plant some," said Mary. 



136 THE SECRET GARDEN 

"There's lilies o' th' valley here already; I 
saw 'em. They'll have growed too close an' we'll 
have to separate 'em, but there's plenty. Th' 
other ones takes two years to bloom from seed, 
but I can bring you some bits o' plants from our 
cottage garden. Why does tha' want 'em?' 

Then Mary told him about Basil and his broth- 
ers and sisters in India and of how she had hated 
them and of their calling her ' Mistress Mary 
Quite Contrary." 

" They used to dance round and sing at me. 
They sang 

* Mistress Mary, quite contrary, 
How does your garden grow? 
With silver bells, and cockle shells, 
And marigolds all in a row.' 

1 just remembered it and it made me wonder if 
there were really flowers like silver bells." 

She frowned a little and gave her trowel a 
rather spiteful dig into the earth. 

' I wasn't as contrary as they were." 

But Dickon laughed. 

" Eh 1 ' he said, and as he crumbled the rich 
black soil she saw he w r as sniffing up the scent of 
it, ' there doesn't seem to be no need for no 
one to be contrary when there's flowers an' such 
like, an' such lots o j friendly wild things runnin' 



THE MISSEL THRUSH 137 

about makin' homes for themselves, or buildin' 
nests an' singin' an' whistlin', does there?' 

Mary, kneeling by him holding the seeds, looked 
at him and stopped frowning. 

" Dickon," she said. You are as nice as 
Martha said you were. I like you, and you make 
the fifth person. I never thought I should like 
five people." 

Dickon sat up on his heels as Martha did 
when she was polishing the grate. He did look 
funny and delightful, Mary thought, with his 
round blue eyes and red cheeks and happy looking 
turned-up nose. 

" Only five folk as tha' likes ? " he said. " Who 
is th' other four? " 

" Your mother and Martha," Mary checked 
them off on her fingers, " and the robin and Ben 
Weatherstaff." 

Dickon laughed so that he was obliged to 
stifle the sound by putting his arm over his 
mouth. 

" I know tha' thinks I'm a queer lad," he said, 
" but I think tha' art th' queerest little lass I ever 



saw.' 



Then Mary did a strange thing. She leaned 
forward and asked him a question she had never 
dreamed of asking any one before. And she tried 
to ask it in Yorkshire because that was his Ian- 



138 THE SECRET GARDEN 

guage, and in India a native was always pleased 
if you knew his speech. 

" Does tha' like me? ' she said. 

" Eh ! ' he answered heartily, " that I does. 
I likes thee wonderful, an' so does th' robin, I do 
believe ! ' 

" That's two, then," said Mary. " That's two 
for me." 

And then they began to work harder than ever 
and more joyfully. Mary was startled and sorry 
when she heard the big clock in the courtyard strike 
the hour of her midday dinner. 

' I shall have to go," she said mournfully. 
' And you will have to go too, won't you ? ' 

Dickon grinned. 

' My dinner's easy to carry about with me," he 
said. ' Mother always lets me put a bit o' some- 
thin' in my pocket." 

He picked up his coat from the grass and 
brought out of a pocket a lumpy little bundle tied 
up in a quiet clean, coarse, blue and white handker- 
chief. It held two thick pieces of bread with 
3 slice of something laid between them. 

' It's oftenest naught but bread," he said, " but 
I've got a fine slice o' fat bacon with it to-day." 

Mary thought it looked a queer dinner, but he 
seemed ready to enjoy it. 

" Run on an' get thy victuals," he said. " I'll 



THE MISSEL THRUSH 139 

be done with mine first. I'll get some more work 
done before I start back home." 

He sat down with his back against a tree. 

" I'll call th' robin up," he said, " and give 
him th' rind o' th' bacon to peck at. They likes 
a bit o' fat wonderful." 

Mary could scarcely bear to leave him. Sud- 
denly it seemed as if he might be a sort of wood 
fairy who might be gone when she came into the 
garden again. He seemed too good to be true. 
She went slowly half-way to the door in the wall 
and then she stopped and went back. 

" Whatever happens, you you never would 
tell? " she said. 

His poppy-colored cheeks were distended with 
his first big bite of bread and bacon, but he man- 
aged to smile encouragingly. 

" If tha' was a missel thrush an' showed me 
where thy nest was, does tha' think I'd tell any 
one? Not me," he said. " Tha' art as safe as 
a missel thrush." 

And she was quite sure she was. 



CHAPTER XII 

" MIGHT I HAVE A BIT OF EARTH? ' 

MARY ran so fast that she was rather out of 
breath when she reached her room. Her hair 
was ruffled on her forehead and her cheeks were 
bright pink. Her dinner was waiting on the table, 
and Martha was waiting near it. 

" Tha's a bit late," she said. " Where has tha' 
been?" 

" I've seen Dickon! " said Mary. " I've seen 
Dickon!" 

" I knew he'd come," said Martha exultantly. 
" How does tha' like him?" 

" I think I think he's beautiful ! " said Mary 
in a determined voice. 

Martha looked rather taken aback but she 
looked pleased, too. 

" Well," she said, " he's th' best lad as ever was 
born, but us never thought he was handsome. His 
nose turns up too much." 

" I like it to turn up," said Mary. 

" An' his eyes is so round," said Martha, a 
trifle doubtful. " Though they're a nice color." 

140 



A BIT OF EARTH 141 

" I like them round," said Mary. " And 
they are exactly the color of the sky over the 



moor.' 



Martha beamed with satisfaction. 

" Mother says he made 'em that color with al- 
ways lookin' up at th 1 birds an' th' clouds. But 
he has got a big mouth, hasn't he, now? ' 

" I love his big mouth," said Mary obstinately. 
" I wish mine were just like it." 

Martha chuckled delightedly. 

" It'd look rare an' funny in thy bit of a face," 
she said. ' But I knowed it would be that way 
when tha' saw him. How did tha' like th' seeds 
an' th' garden tools? ' 

* How did you know he brought them? " asked 
Mary. 

* Eh ! I never thought of him not bringin' 'em. 
He'd be sure to bring 'em if they was in Yorkshire. 
He's such a trusty lad." 

Mary was afraid that she might begin to ask 
difficult questions, but she did not. She was very 
much interested in the seeds and gardening tools, 
and there was only one moment when Mary was 
frightened. This was when she began to ask 
where the flowers were to be planted. 

" Who did tha' ask about it? ' she inquired. 

" I haven't asked anybody yet," said Mary, hes- 
itating. 



142 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" Well, I wouldn't ask th' head gardener. 
He's too grand, Mr. Roach is." 

" I've never seen him/' said Mary. " I've only 
seen under-gardeners and Ben Weatherstaff." 

u If I was you, I'd ask Ben Weatherstaff,' 1 ad- 
vised Martha. ' He's not half as bad as he 
looks, for all he's so crabbed. Mr. Craven lets 
him do what he likes because he was here when 
Mrs. Craven was alive, an' he used to make her 
laugh. She liked him. Perhaps he'd find you a 
corner somewhere out o' the way." 

' If it was out of the way and no one wanted it, 
no one could mind my having it, could they? ' 
Mary said anxiously. 

There wouldn't be no reason," answered 
Martha. " You wouldn't do no harm." 

Mary ate her dinner as quickly as she could 
and when she rose from the table she was going to 
run to her room to put on her hat again, but Mar- 
tha stopped her. 

' I've got somethin' to tell you," she said. " I 
thought I'd let you eat your dinner first. Mr. 
Craven came back this mornin' and I think he 
wants to see you." 

Mary turned quite pale. 

" Oh !" she said. u Why! Why! He didn't 
want to see me when I came. I heard Pitcher say 
he didn't." 



A BIT OF EARTH 143 

"Well," explained Martha, " Mrs. Medlock 
says it's because o' mother. She was walkin' to 
Thwaite village an' she met him. She'd never 
spoke to him before, but Mrs. Craven had been 
to our cottage two or three times. He'd forgot, 
but mother hadn't an' she made bold to stop him. 
I don't know what she said to him about you but 
she said somethin' as put him in th' mind to see 
you before he goes away again, to-morrow." 

* Oh ! " cried Mary, " is he going away to-mor- 
row ? I am so glad ! ' 

" He's goin' for a long time. He mayn't come 
back till autumn or winter. He's goin' to travel 
in foreign places. He's always doin' it." 

"Oh! I'm so glad so glad!" said Mary 
thankfully. 

If he did not come back until winter, or even 
autumn, there would be time to watch the secret 
garden come alive. Even if he found out then 
and took it away from her she would have had 
that much at least. 

" When do you think he will want to see " 

She did not finish the sentence, because the door 
opened, and Mrs. Medlock walked in. She had 
on her best black dress and cap, and her collar 
was fastened with a large brooch with a picture of 
a man's face on it. It was a colored photograph 
of Mr. Medlock who had died years ago, and she 



144 THE SECRET GARDEN 

always wore it when she was dressed up. She 
looked nervous and excited. 

" Your hair's rough," she said quickly. ' Go 
and brush it. Martha, help her to slip on her 
best dress. Mr. Craven sent me to bring her to 
him in his study/ 1 

All the pink left Mary's cheeks. Her heart 
began to thump and she felt herself changing into 
a stiff, plain, silent child again. She did not even 
answer Mrs. Medlock, but turned and walked into 
her bedroom, followed by Martha. She said noth- 
ing while her dress was changed, and her hair 
brushed, and after she was quite tidy she followed 
Mrs. Medlock down the corridors, in silence. 
What was there for her to say? She was obliged 
to go and see Mr. Craven and he would not like 
her, and she would not like him. She knew what 
he would think of her. 

She was taken to a part of the house she had not 
been into before. At last Mrs. Medlock knocked 
at a door, and when some one said, " Come in," 
they entered the room together. A man was sit- 
ting in an armchair before the fire, and Mrs. Med- 
lock spoke to him. 

This is Miss Mary, sir," she said. 
You can go and leave her here. I will ring 
for you when I want you to take her away," said 
Mr. Craven. 



A BIT OF EARTH 145 

When she went out and closed the door, Mary 
could only stand waiting, a plain little thing, twist- 
ing her thin hands together. She could see 
that the man in the chair was not so much a 
hunchback as a man with high, rather crooked 
shoulders, and he had black hair streaked with 
white. He turned his head over his high shoul- 
ders and spoke to her. 
' Come here! " he said. 

Mary went to him. 

He was not ugly. His face would have been 
handsome if it had not been so miserable. He 
looked as if the sight of her worried and fretted 
him and as if he did not know what in the world 
to do with her. 

" Are you well? ' he asked. 

" Yes," answered Mary. 

" Do they take good care of you? ' 

" Yes." 

He rubbed his forehead fretfully as he looked 
her over. 

You are very thin," he said. 
' I am getting fatter/' Mary answered in what 
she knew was her stiffest way. 

What an unhappy face he had! His black eyes 
seemed as if they scarcely saw her, as if they were 
seeing something else, and he could hardly keep 
his thoughts upon her. 



146 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" I forgot you," he said. " How could I re- 
member you? I intended to send you a governess 
or a nurse, or some one of that sort, but I forgot." 

" Please," began Mary. " Please " and 
then the lump in her throat choked her. 

" What do you want to say? ' he inquired. 

" I am I am too big for a nurse," said Mary. 
" And please please don't make me have a gov- 
erness yet." 

He rubbed his forehead again and stared at her. 

" That was what the Sowerby woman said," he 
muttered absent-mindedly. 

Then Mary gathered a scrap of courage. 

" Is she is she Martha's mother? " she stam- 
mered. 

Yes, I think so," he replied. 

' She knows about children," said Mary. 
" She has twelve. She knows." 

He seemed to rouse himself. 
What do you want to do ? ' 

' I want to play out of doors," Mary answered, 
hoping that her voice did not tremble. ' I never 
liked it in India. It makes me hungry here, and 
I am getting fatter." 

He was watching her. 

' Mrs. Sowerby said it would do you good. 
Perhaps it will," he said. " She thought you had 



A BIT OF EARTH 147 

better get stronger before you had a governess. 1 ' 

" It makes me feel strong when I play and the 
wind comes over the moor," argued Mary. 

" Where do you play? " he asked next. 

" Everywhere," gasped Mary. " Martha's 
mother sent me a skipping-rope. I skip and run 
and I look about to see if things are beginning 
to stick up out of the earth. I don't do any 
harm." 

" Don't look so frightened," he said in a wor- 
ried voice. " You could not do any harm, a child 
like you ! You may do what you like." 

Mary put her hand up to her throat because she 
was afraid he might see the excited lump which 
she felt jump into it. She came a step nearer to 
him. 

" May I ? " she said tremulously. 

Her anxious little face seemed to worry him 
more than ever. 

" Don't look so frightened," he exclaimed. 
" Of course you may. I am your guardian, though 
I am a poor one for any child. I cannot give you 
time or attention. I am too ill, and wretched and 
distracted; but I wish you to be happy and com- 
fortable. I don't know anything about children, 
but Mrs. Medlock is to see that you have all you 
need. I sent for you to-day because Mrs. Sow- 



148 THE SECRET GARDEN 

erby said I ought to see you. Her daughter had 
talked about you. She thought you needed fresh 
air and freedom and running about." 

" She knows all about children," Mary said 
again in spite of herself. 

" She ought to," said Mr. Craven. " I thought^ 
her rather bold to stop me on the moor, but she' 
said Mrs. Craven had been kind to her." It 
seemed hard for him to speak his dead wife's 
name. * She is a respectable woman. Now I 
have seen you I think she said sensible things. 
Play out of doors as much as you like. It's a big 
place and you may go where you like and amuse 
yourself as you like. Is there anything you 
want? ' as if a sudden thought had struck him. 
" Do you want toys, books, dolls? ' 

' Might I," quavered Mary, " might I have a 
bit of earth? " 

In her eagerness she did not realize how queer 
the words would sound and that they were not the 
ones she had meant to say. Mr. Craven looked 
quite startled. 

"Earth!" he repeated. "What do you 
mean? ' 

To plant seeds in to make things grow i 
to see them come alive," Mary faltered. 

He gazed at her a moment and then passed his 
hand quickly over his eyes. 



A BIT OF EARTH 149 

" Do you care about gardens so much," he 
said slowly. 

" I didn't know about them in India," said 
Mary. " I was always ill and tired and it was 
too hot. I sometimes made little beds in the sand 
and stuck flowers in them. But here it is differ- 
ent." 

Mr. Craven got up and began to walk slowly 
across the room. 

" A bit of earth," he said to himself, and Mary 
thought that somehow she must have reminded 
him of something. When he stopped and spoke 
to her his dark eyes looked almost soft and kind. 

" You can have as much earth as you want," 
he said. " You remind me of some one else who 
loved the earth and things that grow. When you 
see a bit of earth you want," with something like 
a smile, " take it, child, and make it come alive." 

" May I take it from anywhere if it's not 
wanted? ' , 

"Anywhere," he answered. There! You 1 
must go now, I am tired." He touched the bell 
to call Mrs. Medlock. " Good-by. I shall be 
away all summer." 

Mrs. Medlock came so quickly that Mary 
thought she must have been waiting in the corri- 
dor. 

" Mrs. Medlock," Mr. Craven said to her, 



150 THE SECRET GARDEN 

u now I have seen the child I understand what 
Mrs. Sowerby meant. She must be less delicate 
before she begins lessons. Give her simple, 
healthy food. Let her run wild in the garden. 
Don't look after her too much. She needs liberty 
and fresh air and romping about. Mrs. Sowerby 
is to come and see her now and then and she may 
sometimes go to the cottage." 

Mrs. Medlock looked pleased. She was re- 
lieved to hear that she need not " look after ' 
Mary too much. She had felt her a tiresome 
charge and had indeed seen as little of her as she 
dared. In addition to this she was fond of Mar- 
tha's mother. 

Thank you, sir," she said. " Susan Sowerby 
and me went to school together and she's as sen- 
sible and good-hearted a woman as you'd find in 
a day's walk. I never had any children myself 
and she's had twelve, and there never was health- 
ier or better ones. Miss Mary can get no harm 
from them. I'd always take Susan Sowerby's ad- 
vice about children myself. She's what you might 
call healthy-minded if you understand me." 
' I understand," Mr. Craven answered. 

Take Miss Mary away now and send Pitcher to 



me.' 



When Mrs. Medlock left her at the end of her 
own corridor Mary flew back to her room. She 



A BIT OF EARTH 151 

found Martha waiting there. Martha had, in 
fact, hurried back after she had removed the din- 
ner service. 

"I can have my garden!' cried Mary. "I 
may have it where I like ! I am not going 
to have a governess for a long time ! Your 
mother is coming to see me and I may go to your 
cottage ! He says a little girl like me could not 
do any harm and I may do what I like any- 
where ! ' 

"Eh!" said Martha delightedly, " that was 
nice of him wasn't it? ' 

" Martha," said Mary solemnly, " he is really 
a nice man, only his face is so miserable and his 
forehead is all drawn together." 

She ran as quickly as she could to the garden. 
She had been away so much longer than she had 
thought she should and she knew Dickon would 
have to set out early on his five-mile walk. When 
she slipped through the door under the ivy, she 
saw he was not working where she had left him. 
The gardening tools were laid together under 
a tree. She ran to them, looking all round the 
place, but there was no Dickon to be seen. He 
had gone away and the secret garden was empty 
except for the robin who had just flown across 
the wall and sat on a standard rose-bush watching 
her. 



152 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" He's gone," she said wofully. " Oh ! was he 
-r- was he was he only a wood fairy? ' 

Something white fastened to the standard rose- 
bush caught her eye. It was a piece of paper 
in fact, it was a piece of the letter she had printed 
for Martha to send to Dickon. It was fastened 
on the bush with a long thorn, and in a minute 
she knew Dickon had left it there. There were 
some roughly printed letters on it and a sort of pic- 
ture. At first she could not tell what it was. 
Then she saw it was meant for a nest with a 
bird sitting on it. Underneath were the printed 
letters and they said: 

" I will cum bak." 



CHAPTER XIII 



" I AM COLIN " 



AA ARY took the picture back to the house when 

' * she went to her supper and she showed it to 
Martha. 

"Eh!" said Martha with great pride. "I 
never knew our Dickon was as clever as that. 
That there's a picture of a missel thrush on her 
nest, as large as life an' twice as natural." 

Then Mary knew Dickon had meant the pic- 
ture to be a message. He had meant that she 
might be sure he would keep her secret. Her 
garden was her nest and she was like a missel 
thrush. Oh, how she did like that queer, common 
boy! 

She hoped he would come back the very next 
day and she fell asleep looking forward to the 
morning. 

But you never know what the weather will do 
in Yorkshire, particularly in the springtime. She 
was awakened in the night by the sound of rain 
beating with heavy drops against her window. It 



154 THE SECRET GARDEN 

was pouring down in torrents and the wind was 
u wuthering ' round the corners and in the chim- 
neys of the huge old house. Mary sat up in bed 
and felt miserable and angry. 

" The rain is as contrary as I ever was," she 
said. " It came because it knew I did not want 



it." 



She threw herself back on her pillow and buried 
her face. She did not cry, but she lay and hated 
the sound of the heavily beating rain, she hated 
the wind and its u wuthering." She could not go 
to sleep again. The mournful sound kept her 
awake because she felt mournful herself. If she 
had felt happy it would probably have lulled her 
to sleep. How it ' wuthered ' and how the big 
rain-drops poured down and beat against the pane ! 
' It sounds just like a person lost on the moor 
and wandering on and on crying," she said. 

She had been lying awake turning from side to 
side for about an hour, when suddenly something 
made her sit up in bed and turn her head toward 
the door listening. She listened and she listened. 
' It isn't the wind now," she said in a loud whis- 
per. " That isn't the wind. It is different. It 
is that crying I heard before." 

The door of her room was ajar and the sound 
eame down the corridor, a far-off faint sound of 



'I AM COLIN 155 

fretful crying. She listened for a few minutes and 
each minute she became more and more sure. She 
felt as if she must find out what it was. Ife 
seemed even stranger than the secret garden and., 
the buried key. Perhaps the fact that she was in? 
a rebellious mood made her bold. She put her 
foot out of bed and stood on the floor. 

' I am going to find out what it is," she said. 
" Everybody is in bed and I don't care about Mrs. 
Medlock I don't care ! " 

There was a candle by her bedside and she took 
it up and went softly out of the room. Thfe cor- 
ridor looked very long and dark, but she was too 
excited to mind that. She thought she remem- 
bered the corners she must turn to find the short 
corridor with the door covered with tapestry 
the one Mrs. Medlock had come through the day 
she lost herself. The sound had come up that pas- 
sage. So she went on with her dim light, almost 
feeling her way, her heart beating so loud that she 
fancied she could hear it. The far-off faint cry- 
ing went on and led her. Sometimes it stopped 
for a moment or so and then began again. Wai 
this the right corner to turn? She stopped and 
thought. Yes it was. Down this passage and 
then to the left, and then up two broad steps, and 
then to the right again. Yes, there was the tapes- 
try door. 



156 THE SECRET GARDEN 

She pushed it open very gently and closed it be- 
hind her, and she stood in the corridor and 
could hear the crying quite plainly, though it was 
not loud. It was on the other side of the wall at 
her left and a few yards farther on there was a 
door. She could see a glimmer of light coming 
from beneath it. The Someone was crying in that 
room, and it was quite a young Someone. 

So she walked to the door and pushed it open, 
and there she was standing in the room ! 

It was a big room with ancient, handsome fur- 
niture in it. There was a low fire glowing faintly 
on the hearth and a night light burning by the 
side of a carved four-posted bed hung with bro- 
cade, and on the bed was lying a boy, crying fret- 
fully. 

Mary wondered if she was in a real place or if 
she had fallen asleep again and was dreaming 
without knowing it. 

The boy had a sharp, delicate face the color of 
ivory and he seemed to have eyes too big for it. 
He had also a lot of hair which tumbled over his 
forehead in heavy locks and made his thin face 
seem smaller. He looked like a boy who had been 
ill, but he was crying more as if he were tired and 
cross than as if he were in pain. 

Mary stood near the door with her candle in 
her hand, holding her breath. Then she crept 



. 

I ' 

, . ' , 

Hi m 




"'WHO ARE YOU? ARE YOU A GHOST?' "Page 157 



<I AM COLIN 157 

across the room, and as she drew nearer the light 
attracted the boy's attention and he turned his 
head on his pillow and stared at her, his gray eyes 
opening so wide that they seemed immense. 

"Who are you?' he said at last in a half- 
frightened whisper. "Are you a ghost? 1 

" No, I am not,' 1 Mary answered, her own whis- 
per sounding half frightened. " Are you one? ' 

He stared and stared and stared. Mary could 
not help noticing what strange eyes he had. They 
were agate gray and they looked too big for his 
face because they had black lashes all round them. 

" No," he replied after waiting a moment or so. 
" I am Colin." 

" Who is Colin? " she faltered. 

"I am Colin Craven. Who are you?' 

" I am Mary Lennox. Mr. Craven is my 
uncle." 

" He is my father," said the boy. 

" Your father ! " gasped Mary. " No one ever 
told me he had a boy! Why didn't they?' 

" Come here," he said, still keeping his strange 
eyes fixed on her with an anxious expression. 

She came close to the bed and he put out his 
hand and touched her. 

" You are real, aren't you? " he said. " I have 
such real dreams very often. You might be one 
of them." 



158 THE SECRET GARDEN 

Mary had slipped on a woolen wrapper before 
she left her room and she put a piece of it between 
his fingers. 

" Rub that and see how thick and warm it is," 
she said. " I will pinch you a little if you like, to 
show you how real I am. For a minute I thought 
you might be a dream too." 

" Where did you come from? ' he asked. 

" From my own room. The wind wuthered 
so I couldn't go to sleep and I heard some one 
crying and wanted to find out who it was. What 
were you crying for? ' 

" Because I couldn't go to sleep either and my 
head ached. Tell me your name again." 

" Mary Lennox. Did no one ever tell you I 
had come to live here? ' 

He was still fingering the fold of her wrapper, 
but he began to look a little more as if he be- 
lieved in her reality. 

" No," he answered. " They daren't." 

"Why? "asked Mary. 

" Because I should have been afraid you would 
see me. I won't let people see me and talk me 



over." 



" Why? " Mary asked again, feeling more mys- 
tified every moment. 

' Because I am like this always, ill and having 
to lie down. My father won't let people talk me 



"I AM COLIN" 159 

over either. The servants are not allowed to 
speak about me. If I live I may be a hunchback, 
but I shan't live. My father hates to think I may 
be like him." 

" Oh, what a queer house this is! ' Mary said. 
" What a queer house ! Everything is a kind of 
secret. Rooms are locked up and gardens are 
locked up and you 1 Have you been locked 
up?" 

" No. I atay in this room because I don't want 
to be moved out of it. It tires me too much." 

" Does your father come and see you? ' Mary 
ventured. 

" Sometimes. Generally when I am asleep. 
He doesn't want to see me." 

"Why?" Mary could not help asking again. 

A sort of angry shadow passed over the boy's 
face. 

" My mother died when I w r as born and it makes 
him wretched to look at me. He thinks I don't 
know, but I've heard people talking. He almost 
hates me." 

" He hates the garden, because she died," said 
Mary half speaking to herself. 

" What garden? " the boy asked. 

"Oh! just just a garden she used to like," 
Mary stammered. " Have you been here al- 
ways? ' 



160 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" Nearly always. Sometimes I have been taken 
to places at the seaside, but I won't stay because 
people stare at me. I used to wear an iron thing 
to keep my back straight, but a grand doctor came 
from London to see me and said it was stupid. 
He told them to take it off and keep me out in 
the fresh air. I hate fresh air and I don't want to 
go out." 

" I didn't when first I came here/ 1 said Mary. 
" Why do you keep looking at me like that? ' 

* Because of the dreams that are so real," he 
answered rather fretfully. ' Sometimes when I 
open my eyes I don't believe I'm awake." 

" We're both awake," said Mary. She glanced 
round the room with its high ceiling and shadowy 
corners and dim firelight. " It looks quite like a 
dream, and it's the middle of the night, and every- 
body in the house is asleep >. everybody but us. 
We are wide awake." 

' I don't want it to be a dream," the boy said 
restlessly. 

Mary thought of something all at once. 
' If you don't like people to see you," she be- 
gan, ' do you want me to go away? ' 

He still held the fold of her wrapper and he 
gave it a little pull. 

* No," he said. " I should be sure you were a 
dream if you went. If you are real, sit down on 



' I AM COLIN 161 

that big footstool and talk. I want to hear about 
you." 

Mary put down her candle on the table near 
the bed and sat down on the cushioned stool. She 
did not want to go away at all. She wanted to 
stay in the mysterious hidden-away room and talk 
to the mysterious boy. 

What do you want me to tell you ? ' ' she said. 

He wanted to know how long she had been at 
Misselthwaite; he wanted to know which corridor 
her room was on; he wanted to know what she 
had been doing; if she disliked the moor as he dis- 
liked it; where she had lived before she came to 
Yorkshire. She answered all these questions and 
many more and he lay back on his pillow and lis- 
tened. He made her tell him a great deal about 
India and about her voyage across the ocean. She 
found out that because he had been an invalid he 
had not learned things as other children had. 
One of his nurses had taught him to read when 
he was quite little and he was always reading and 
looking at pictures in splendid books. 

Though his father rarely saw him when he was 
awake, he was given all sorts of wonderful things 
to amuse himself with. He never seemed to have 
been amused, however. He could have anything 
he asked for and was never made to do anything 
he did not like to do. 



162 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" Every one is obliged to do what pleases me," 
he said indifferently. ' It makes me ill to be 
angry. No one believes I shall live to grow up." 
He said it as if he was so accustomed to 
the idea that it had ceased to matter to him at 
all. He seemed to like the sound of Mary's voice. 
As she went on talking he listened in a drowsy, in- 
terested way. Once or twice she wondered if he 
were not gradually falling into a doze. But at 
last he asked a question which opened up a new 
subject. 

' How old are you? " he asked. 

* I am ten," answered Mary, forgetting herself 
for the moment, " and so are you." 

( How do you know that? " he demanded in a 
surprised voice. 

* Because when you were born the garden door 
was locked and the key was buried. And it has 
been locked for ten years." 

Colin half sat up, turning toward her, leaning 
on his elbows. 

What garden door was locked? Who did it? 
Where was the key buried? " he exclaimed as if he 
were suddenly very much interested. 

'It it was the garden Mr. Craven hates," 
said Mary nervously. u He locked the door. 
No one =-= no one knew where he buried the key." 



' I AM COLIN 163 

" What sort of a garden is it? " Colin persisted 
eagerly. 

" No one has been allowed to go into it for ten 
years," was Mary's careful answer. 

But it was too late to be careful. He was too 
much like herself. He too had had nothing to 
think about and the idea of a hidden garden at- 
tracted him as it had attracted her. He asked 
question after question. Where was it? Had 
she never looked for the door? Had she never 
asked the gardeners ? ' 

" They won't talk about it," said Mary. " I 
think they have been told not to answer questions." 

" I would make them," said Colin. 

" Could you? " Mary faltered, beginning to feel 
frightened. If he could make people answer ques- 
tions, who knew what might happen ! 

" Every one is obliged to please me. I told 
you that," he said. " If I were to live, this place 
would sometime belong to me. They all know 
that. I would make them tell me." 

Mary had not known that she herself had been 
spoiled, but she could see quite plainly that this 
mysterious boy had been. He thought that the 
whole world belonged to him. How peculiar he 
Was and how coolly he spoke of not living,. 

" Do you think you won't live? ' she asked, 



1 64 THE SECRET GARDEN 

partly because she was curious and partly in hope 
of making him forget the garden. 

u I don't suppose I shall," he answered as in- 
differently as he had spoken before. " Ever since 
I remember anything I have heard people say I 
shan't. At first they thought I was too little to 
understand and now they think I don't hear. But 
I do. My doctor is my father's cousin. He is 
quite poor and if I die he will have all Missel- 
thwaite when my father is dead. I should think 
he wouldn't want me to live." 

' Do you want to live? ' inquired Mary. 

' No," he answered, in a cross, tired fashion. 
" But I don't want to die. When I feel ill I lie 
here and think about it until I cry and cry." 

" I have heard you crying three times," Mary 
said, ' ' but I did not know who it was. Were you 
crying about that? ' She did so want him to 
forget the garden. 

' I dare say," he answered. " Let us talk 
about something else. Talk about that garden. 
Don't you want to see it? ' 

Yes," answered Mary, in quite a low voice. 

' I do," he went on persistently. ' I don't 
think I ever really wanted to see anything before, 
but I want to see that garden. I want the key dug 
up. I want the door unlocked. I would let them 
take me there in my chair. That would be getting 



"I AM COLIN" 165 

fresh air. I am going to make them open the 
door." 

He had become quite excited and his strange 
eyes began to shine like stars and looked more 
^immense than ever. 

" They have to please me," he said. " I will 
make them take me there and I will let you go, 
too." 

Mary's hands clutched each other. Everything 
would be spoiled everything ! Dickon would 
never come back. She would never again feel like 
a missel thrush with a safe-hidden nest. 

" Oh, don't don't don't don't do that !" 
she cried out. 

He stared as if he thought she had gone crazy! 

"Why?' he exclaimed. "You said you 
wanted to see it." 

" I do," she answered almost with a sob in her 
throat, " but if you make them open the door and 
take you in like that it will never be a secret again." 

He leaned still farther forward. 

"A secret," he said. "What do you mean? 
Tell me." 

Mary's words almost tumbled over one another. 

" You see you see," she panted, " if no one 
knows but ourselves if there was a door, hidden 
somewhere under the ivy if there was and 
we could find it; and if we could slip through it 



1 66 THE SECRET GARDEN 

together and shut it behind us, and no one knew 
any one was inside and we called it our garden and 
pretended that that we were missel thrushes and 
it was our nest, and if we played there almost every 
day and dug and planted seeds and made it all 
come alive " 

" Is it dead? '' he interrupted her. 

" It soon will be if no one cares for it," she 
went on. " The bulbs will live but the roses " 

He stopped her again as excited as she was her- 
self. 

" What are bulbs? " he put in quickly. 

They are daffodils and lilies and snowdrops. 
They are working in the earth now pushing up 
pale green points because the spring is coming." 

' Is the spring coming? " he said. What is it 
like? You don't see it in rooms if you are ill." 

" It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain 
falling on the sunshine, and things pushing up 
and working under the earth," said Mary. ' If 
the garden was a secret and we could get into it 
we could watch the things grow bigger every day, 
and see how many roses are alive. Don't you 
see? Oh, don't you see how much nicer it would 
be if it was a secret? ' 

He dropped back on his pillow and lay there 
with an odd expression on his face. 

" I never had a secret," he said, " except that 



1 1 AM COLIN 1 57 

one about not living to grow up. They don't 
know I know that, so it is a sort of secret. But I 
like this kind better." 

" If you won't make them take you to the gar- 
den," pleaded Mary, " perhaps I feel almost 
sure I can find out how to get in sometime. And 
then^ if the doctor wants you to go out in your 
chair, and if you can always do what you want to 
do, perhaps perhaps we might find some boy 
who would push you, and we could go alone and 
it would always be a secret garden." 

" I should like that," he said very slowly, 
his eyes looking dreamy. " I should like that. 
I should not mind fresh air in a secret garden." 

Mary began to recover her breath and feel 
safer because the idea of keeping the secret seemed 
to please him. She felt almost sure that if she 
kept on talking and could make him see the gar- 
den in his mind as she had seen it he would like 
it so much that he could not bear to think that* 
everybody might tramp into it when they chose. 

" I'll tell you what I think it would be like, 
we could go into it," she said. " It has been shut 
up so long things have grown into a tangle per- 
haps." 

He lay quite still and listened while she went 
on talking about the roses which might have clam- 
bered from tree to tree and hung down about 



1 68 THE SECRET GARDEN 

the many birds which might have built their nests 
there because it was so safe. And then she told 
him about the robin and Ben Weatherstaff, and 
there was so much to tell about the robin and it 
was so easy and safe to talk about it that she 
ceased to feel afraid. The robin pleased him so 
much that he smiled until he looked almost beauti- 
ful, and at first Mary had thought that he was 
even plainer than herself, with his big eyes and 
heavy locks of hair. 

" I did not know birds could be like that," he 
said. " But if you stay in a room you never see 
things. What a lot of things you know. I feel 
as if you had been inside that garden." 

She did not know what to say, so she did not 
say anything. He evidently did not expect an an- 
swer and the next moment he gave her a surprise. 

" I am going to let you look at something," 
he said. ' Do you see that rose-colored silk cur- 
tain hanging on the wall over the mantel-piece? ' 

Mary had not noticed it before, but she looked 
up and saw it. It was a curtain of soft silk hang- 
ing over what seemed to be some picture. 
Yes," she answered. 

There is a cord hanging from it," said Colin. 
" Go and pull it." 

Mary got up, much mystified, and found the 
cord. When she pulled it the silk curtain ran back 



' I AM COLIN 169 

on rings and when it ran back it uncovered a pic- 
ture. It was the picture of a girl with a laughing 
face. She had bright hair tied up with a blue rib- 
bon and her gay, lovely eyes were exactly like 
Colin's unhappy ones, agate gray and looking 
twice as big as they really were because of the black 
lashes all round them. 

" She is my mother," said Colin complainingly. 
" I don't see why she died. Sometimes I hate her 
for doing it." 

" How queer! ' said Mary. 
' If she had lived I believe I should not have 
been ill always," he grumbled. ' I dare say I 
should have lived, too. And my father would not 
have hated to look at me. I dare say I should 
have had a strong back. Draw the curtain 
again." 

Mary did as she was told and returned to her 
footstool. 

" She is much prettier than you," she said, " but 
her eyes are just like yours at least they are the 
same shape and color. Why is the curtain drawn 
over her? ' 

He moved uncomfortably. 

' I made them do it," he said. " Sometimes 
I don't like to see her looking at me. She smiles 
too much when I am ill and miserable. Besides, 
she is mine and I don't want every one to see her." 



1 70 THE SECRET GARDEN 

There were a few moments of silence and then 
Mary spoke. 

" What would Mrs. Medlock do if she found 
out that I had been here? ' she inquired. 

" She would do as I told her to do," he an- 
swered. ' And I should tell her that I wanted you 
to come here and talk to me every day. I am 
glad you came." 

1 So am I," said Mary. " I will come as often 
as I can, but " she hesitated " I shall have to 
look every day for the garden door." 

Yes, you must," said Colin, " and you can 
tell me about it afterward." 

He lay thinking a few minutes, as he had done 
before, and then he spoke again. 

' I think you shall be a secret, too," he said. 
" I will not tell them until they find out. I can 
always send the nurse out of the room and say that 
I want to be by myself. Do you know Martha ? ' 

" Yes, I know her very well," said Mary. 
' She waits on me." 

He nodded his head toward the outer corridor. 
' She is the one who is asleep in the other 
room. The nurse went away yesterday to stay 
all night with her sister and she always makes 
Martha attend to me when she wants to go out. 
Martha shall tell you when to come here." 

Then Mary understood Martha's troubled look 



"I AM COLIN" 171 

m she had asked questions about the crying. 

" Martha knew about you all the time? ' she 
said. 

"Yes; she often attends to me. The nurse 
likes to get away from me and then Martha 



comes.' 



" I have been here a long time," said Mary. 
" Shall I go away now? Your eyes look sleepy." 

" I wish I could go to sleep before you leave 
me,"' he said rather shyly. 

" Shut your eyes," said Mary, drawing her 
footstool closer, " and I will do what my Ayah 
used to do in India. I will pat your hand and 
stroke it and sing something quite low." 

" I should like that perhaps," he said drowsily. 

Somehow she was sorry for him and did not 
want him to lie awake, so she leaned against the 
bed and began to stroke and pat his hand and 
sing a very low little chanting song in Hindustani. 

" That is nice," he said more drowsily still, 
and she went on chanting and stroking, but when 
she looked at him again his black lashes were ly- 
ing close against his cheeks, for his eyes were 
shut and he was fast asleep. So she got up softly, 
took her candle and crept away without making a 
sound. 



CHAPTER XIV 

A YOUNG RAJAH 

moor was hidden in mist when the morn- 
ing came and the rain had not stopped pouring 
down. There could be no going out of doors. 
Martha was so busy that Mary had no oppor- 
tunity of talking to her, but in the afternoon she 
asked her to come and sit with her in the nursery. 
She came bringing the stocking she was always 
knitting when she was doing nothing else. 

" What's the matter with thee? ' she asked as 
soon as they sat down. Tha' looks as if tha'd 
somethin' to say." 

41 I have. I have found out what the crying 
was," said Mary. 

Martha let her knitting drop on her knee and 
gazed at her with startled eyes. 

" Tha' hasn't! " she exclaimed " Never! " 

" I heard it in the night," Mary went on. 
" And I got up and went to see where it came 
from. It was Colin. I found him." 

Martha's face became red with fright. 

"Eh! Miss Mary!" she said half crying. 

172 



A YOUNG RAJAH 173 

" Tha' shouldn't have done it tha' shouldn't! 
Tha'll get me in trouble. I never told thee noth- 
in' about him but tha'll get me in trouble. I 
shall lose my place and what'll mother do ! ' 

" You won't lose your place," said Mary. 
" He was glad I came. We talked and talked 
and he said he was glad I came.' 1 

" Was he? " cried Martha. " Art tha' sure? 
Tha' doesn't know what he's like when anything 
vexes him. He's a big lad to cry like a baby, but 
when he's in a passion he'll fair scream just to 
frighten us. He knows us daren't call our souls 



our own.' 



u 



He wasn't vexed," said Mary. ' I asked 
him if I should go away and he made me stay. 
He asked me questions and I sat on a big footstool 
and talked to him about India and about the robin 
and gardens. He wouldn't let me go. He let 
me see his mother's picture. Before I left him I 
sang him to sleep." 

Martha fairly gasped with amazement. 

" I can scarcely believe thee! ' she protested. 
u It's as if tha'd walked straight into a lion's den. 
If he'd been like he is most times he'd have 
throwed himself into one of his tantrums and 
roused th' house. He won't let strangers look 
at him." 

" He let me look at him. I looked at him all 



174 THE SECRET GARDEN 

the time and he looked at me. We stared! 1 
said Mary. 

" I don't know what to do ! ' cried agitated 
Martha. " If Mrs. Medlock finds out, she'll 
think I broke orders and told thee and I shall be 
packed back to mother." 

" He is not going to tell Mrs. Medlock any- 
thing about it yet. It's to be a sort of secret just 
at first," said Mary firmly. " And he says every- 
body is obliged to do as he pleases." 

"Aye, that's true enough th' bad lad!" 
sighed Martha, wiping her forehead with her 
apron. 

" He says Mrs. Medlock must. And he wants 
me to come and talk to him every day. And you 
are to tell me when he wants me." 

" Me! " said Martha; " I shall lose my place 
I shall for sure ! ' 

" You can't if you are doing what he wants you 
to do and everybody is ordered to obey him," 
. Mary argued. 

" Does tha' mean to say," cried Martha with 
wide open eyes, " that he was nice to thee ! ' 

" I think he almost liked me," Mary answered. 

"Then tha' must have bewitched him!' de- 
cided Martha, drawing a long breath. 

"Do you mean Magic?" inquired Mary. 
" I've heard about Magic in India, but I can't 



A YOUNG RAJAH 175 

make it. I just went into his room and I was 
so surprised to see him I stood and stared. And 
then he turned round and stared at me. And 
he thought I was a ghost or a dream and I thought 
perhaps he was. And it was so queer being there 
alone together in the middle of the night and not 
knowing about each other. And we began to 
ask each other questions. And when I asked him 
if I must go away he said I must not." 

" Th' world's comin' to a end 1 ' gasped Mar- 
tha. 

What is the matter with him? '' asked Mary. 
' Nobody knows for sure and certain/' said 
Martha. " Mr. Craven went off his head like 
when he was born. Th' doctors thought he'd 
have to be put in a 'sylum. It was because Mrs. 
Craven died like I told you. He wouldn't set 
eyes on th' baby. He just raved and said it'd be 
another hunchback like him and it'd better die." 

" Is Colin a hunchback? " Mary asked. " He 
didn't look like one.' 1 

" He isn't yet," said Martha. " But he began 
all wrong. Mother said that there was enough 
trouble and raging in th' house to set any child 
wrong. They was afraid his back was weak an* 
they've always been takin' care of it keepin' 
him lyin' down and not lettin' him walk. Once 
they made him wear a brace but he fretted so he 



176 THE SECRET GARDEN 

was downright ill. Then a big doctor came to see 
him an' made them take it off. He talked to th' 
other doctor quite rough in a polite way. He 
said there'd been too much medicine and too much 
lettin' him have his own way." 

" I think he's a very spoiled boy," said Mary. 

41 He's th' worst young nowt as ever was ! ' 
said Martha. ' I won't say as he hasn't been ill 
a good bit. He's had coughs an' colds that's 
nearly killed him two or three times. Once he 
had rheumatic fever an' once he had typhoid. 
Eh! Mrs. Medlock did get a fright then. He'd 
been out of his head an' she was talkin' to th' 
nurse, thinkin' he didn't know nothin', an' she said, 
1 He'll die this time sure enough, an' best thing 
for him an' for everybody.* An' she looked at 
him an' there he was with his big eyes open, starin' 
at her as sensible as she was herself. She didn't 
know what'd happen but he just stared at her an' 
says, ' You give me some water an' stop talkin'.' 

" Do you think he will die? " asked Mary. 

" Mother says there's no reason why any child 
should live that gets no fresh air an' doesn't do 
nothin' but lie on his back an' read picture-books 
an' take medicine. He's weak and hates th' trou- 
ble o' bein' taken out o' doors, an' he gets cold 
so easy he says it makes him ill." 

Mary sat and looked at the fire. 



A YOUNG RAJAH 177 

" I wonder," she said slowly, " if it would not 
do him good to go out into a garden and watch 
things growing. It did me good." 

" One of th' worst fits he ever had," said Mar- 
tha, ' was one time they took him out where the 
roses is by the fountain. He'd been readin' in a 
paper about people gettin' somethin' he called 
' rose cold ' an' he began to sneeze an' said he'd 
got it an' then a new gardener as didn't know th' 
rules passed by an' looked at him curious. He 
threw himself into a passion an' he said he'd 
looked at him because he was going to be a hunch- 
back. He cried himself into a fever an' was ill 
all night." 

1 If he ever gets angry at me, I'll never go and 
see him again," said Mary. 

' He'll have thee if he wants thee," said Mar- 
tha. " Tha' may as well know that at th' start." 

Very soon afterward a bell rang and she rolled 
up her knitting. 

" I dare 3ay th' nurse wants me to stay with 
him a bit," she said. " I hope he's in a good 
temper." 

She was out of the room about ten minutes and 
then she came back with a puzzled expression. 

" Well, tha' has bewitched him," she said* 
" He's up on his sofa with his picture-books-, 
He's told the nurse to stay away until six o'clock. 



1178 THE SECRET GARDEN 

I'm to wait in the next room. Th' minute she 
was gone he called me to him an' says, ' I want 
Mary Lennox to come and talk to me, and re- 
member you're not to tell any one.' You'd better 
go as quick as you can." 

Mary was quite willing to go quickly. She did 
not want to see Colin as much as she wanted to see 
Dickon, but she wanted to see him very much. 

There was a bright fire on the hearth when she 
entered his room, and in the daylight she saw it 
was a very beautiful room indeed. There were 
rich colors in the rugs and hangings and pictures 
and books on the walls which made it look glowing 
and comfortable even in spite of the gray sky and 
falling rain. Colin looked rather like a picture 
himself. He was wrapped in a velvet dressing- 
gown and sat against a big brocaded cushion. He 
had a red spot on each cheek. 

' Come in," he said, " I've been thinking about 
you all morning." 

' I've been thinking about you, too," answered 
Mary. " You don't know how frightened Mar- 
tha is. She says Mrs. Medlock will think she told 
me about you and then she will be sent away." 

He frowned. 

' Go and tell her to come here," he said. 
' She is in the next room." 

Mary went and brought her back. Poor Mar- 



A YOUNG RAJAH 179 

tha was shaking in her shoes. Colin was still 
frowning. 

' Have you to do what I please or have you 
not? ' he demanded. 

* I have to do what you please, sir," Martha 
faltered, turning quite red. 

" Has Medlock to do what I please? " 

" Everybody has, sir," said Martha. 

" Well, then, if I order you to bring Miss Mary 
to me, how can Medlock send you away if she 
finds it out? " 

" Please don't let her, sir," pleaded Martha. 

" I'll send her away if she dares to say a word 
about such a thing," said Master Craven grandly. 
" She wouldn't like that, I can tell you." 

" Thank you, sir," bobbing a curtsy, " I want to 
do my duty, sir." 

" What I want is your duty," said Colin more 
grandly still. " I'll take care of you. Now go 
away." 

When the door closed behind Martha, Colin 
found Mistress Mary gazing at him as if he had 
set her wondering. 

" Why do you look at me like that? " he asked 
her. " What are you thinking about?' 

" I am thinking about two things." 

" What are they? Sit down and tell me." 

" This is the first one," said Mary, seating her- 



i So THE SECRET GARDEN 

self on the big stool. * Once in India I saw a 
boy who was a Rajah. He had rubies and emer- 
alds and diamonds stuck all over him. He spoke 
to his people just as you spoke to Martha. Every- 
body had to do everything he told them in a 
minute. I think they would have been killed if 
they hadn't." 

" I shall make you tell me about Rajahs pres- 
ently," he said, ' ' but first tell me what the second 
thing was." 

" I was thinking," said Mary, ' how different 
you are from Dickon." 

" Who is Dickon? " he said. " What a queer 
name ! 5 

She might as well tell him, she thought. She 
could talk about Dickon without mentioning 
the secret garden. She had liked to hear 
Martha talk about him. Besides, she longed 
to talk about him. It would seem to bring him 
nearer. 

" He is Martha's brother. He is twelve years 
old," she explained. " He is not like any one else 
in the world. He can charm foxes and squirrels 
and birds just as the natives in India charm snakes. 
He plays a very soft tune on a pipe and they come 
and listen." 

There were some big books on a table at his 
cid and he dragged one suddenly toward him. 



A YOUNG RAJAH 181 

" There is a picture of a snake-charmer in this," 
he exclaimed. " Come and look at it." 

The book was a beautiful one with superb 
colored illustrations and he turned to one of them. 

" Can he do that? " he asked eagerly. 

" He played on his pipe and they listened," 
Mary explained. " But he doesn't call it Magic. 
He says it's because he lives on the moor so much 
and he knows their ways. He says he feels some- 
times as if he was a bird or a rabbit himself, he 
likes them so. I think he asked the robin ques- 
tions. It seemed as if they talked to each other 
in soft chirps." 

Colin lay back on his cushion and his eyes grew 
larger and larger and the spots on his cheeks 
burned. 

4i Tell me some more about him," he said. 
' He knows all about eggs and nests," Mary 
went on. i And he knows where foxes and bad- 
gers and otters live. He keeps them secret so that 
other boys won't find their holes and frighten 
them. He knows about everything that grows or 
lives on the moor." 

" Does he like the moor? " said Colin. " How 
can he when it's such a great, bare, dreary place? ' 

" It's the most beautiful place," protested 
Mary. " Thousands of lovely things grow on it 
and there are thousands of little creatures all busy 



1 82 THE SECRET GARDEN 

building nests and making holes and burrows and 
chippering or singing or squeaking to each other. 
They are so busy and having such fun under the 
earth or in the trees or heather. It's their world/' 

' How do you know all that? ' said Colin, 
turning on his elbow to look at her. 

' I have never been there once, really," said 
Mary suddenly remembering. " I only drove 
over it in the dark. I thought it was hideous. 
Martha told me about it first and then Dickon. 
When Dickon talks about it you feel as if you saw 
things and heard them and as if you were stand- 
ing in the heather with the sun shining and the 
gorse smelling like honey and all full of bees 
and butterflies." 

You never see anything if you are ill," said 
Colin restlessly. He looked like a person listen- 
ing to a new sound in the distance and wondering 
what it was. 

You can't if you stay in a room," said Mary. 

' I couldn't go on the moor," he said in a re- 
sentful tone. 

Mary was silent for a minute and then she said 
something bold. 

You might sometime." 

He moved as if he were startled. 

' Go on the moor! How could I? I am go- 
ing to die." 



A YOUNG RAJAH 183 

" How do you know?' said Mary unsympa- 
thetically. She didn't like the way he had of talk- 
ing about dying. She did not feel very sympa- 
thetic. She felt rather as if he almost boasted 
about it. 

' Oh, IVe heard it ever since I remember," he 
answered crossly. " They are always whispering 
about it and thinking I don't notice. They wish 
I would, too." 

Mistress Mary felt quite contrary. She 
pinched her lips together. 

" If they wished I would," she said, " I 
wouldn't. Who wishes you would? ' 

" The servants and of course Dr. Craven 
because he would get Misselthwaite and be rich 
instead of poor. He daren't say so, but he always 
looks cheerful when I am worse. When I had 
typhoid fever his face got quite fat. I think my 
father wishes it, too." 

" I don't believe he does," said Mary quite ob- 
stinately. 

That made Colin turn and look at her again. 

"Don't you?" he said. 

And then he lay back on his cushion and was 
still, as if he were thinking. And there was quite 
a long silence. Perhaps they were both of them 
thinking strange things children do not usually 
think of. 



1 84 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" I like the grand doctor from London, be- 
cause he made them take the iron thing off," said 
Mary at last. ' Did he say you were going to 
die?" 

" No." 

" What did he say?" 

" He didn't whisper," Colin answered. " Per- 
haps he knew I hated whispering. I heard him 
say one thing quite aloud. He said, The lad 
might live if he would make up his mind to it. 
Put him in the humor.' It sounded as if he was 
in a temper." 

" I'll tell you who would put you in the humor, 
perhaps," said Mary reflecting. She felt as if 
she would like this thing to be settled one way 
or the other. " I believe Dickon would. He's 
always talking about live things. He never talks 
about dead things or things that are ill. He's al- 
ways looking up in the sky to watch birds flying 
or looking down at the earth to see something 
growing. He has such round blue eyes and they 
are so wide open with looking about. And he 
laughs such a big laugh with his wide mouth 
and his cheeks are as red as red as cherries." 

She pulled her stool nearer to the sofa and her 
expression quite changed at the remembrance of 
the wide curving mouth and wide open eyes, 

" See here," she said. " Don't let us talk about 



A YOUNG RAJAH 185 

dying; I don't like it. Let us talk about living. 
Let us talk and talk about Dickon. And then 
we will look at your pictures." 

It was the best thing she could have said. To 
talk about Dickon meant to talk about the moor 
and about the cottage and the fourteen people who 
lived in it on sixteen shillings a week and the 
children who got fat on the moor grass like the 
wild ponies. And about Dickon's mother and 
the skipping-rope and the moor with the sun on 
it and about pale green points sticking up out 
of the black sod. And it was all so alive that 
Mary talked more than she had ever talked before 
and Colin both talked and listened as he had 
never done either before. And they both began 
to laugh over nothings as children will when they 
are happy together. And they laughed so that 
in the end they were making as much noise as if 
they had been two ordinary healthy natural ten- 
year-old creatures instead of a hard, little, un- 
loving girl and a sickly boy who believed that he 
was going to die. 

They enjoyed themselves so much that they for- 
got the pictures and they forgot about the time. 
They had been laughing quite loudly over Ben 
Weatherstaff and his robin and Colin was actually 
sitting up as if he had forgotten about his weak 
back when he suddenly remembered something. 



1 86 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" Do you know there is one thing we have never 
once thought of," he said. " We are cousins." 

It seemed so queer that they had talked so much 
and never remembered this simple thing that they 
laughed more than ever, because they had got into 
the humor to laugh at anything. And in the 
midst of the fun the door opened and in walked 
Dr. Craven and Mrs. Medlock. 

Dr. Craven started in actual alarm and Mrs. 
Medlock almost fell back because he had acci- 
dentally bumped against her. 

"Good Lord!' exclaimed poor Mrs. Med- 
lock, with her eyes almost starting out of her head. 
" Good Lord!" 

" What is this? " said Dr. Craven, coming for- 
ward. " What does it mean? ' 

Then Mary was reminded of the boy Rajah 
again. Colin answered as if neither the doctor's 
alarm nor Mrs. Medlock's terror were of the 
slightest consequence. He was as little disturbed 
or frightened as if an elderly cat and dog had 
walked into the room. 

This is my cousin, Mary Lennox," he said. 
' I asked her to come and talk to me. I like 
her. She must come and talk to me whenever I 
send for her." 

Dr. Craven turned reproachfully to Mrs. Med- 
lock. 



A YOUNG RAJAH 187 

" Oh, sir," she panted. " I don't know how 
it's happened. There's not a servant on the place 
that'd dare to talk they all have their orders." 

" Nobody told her anything," said Colin. 
" She heard me crying and found me herself. I 
am glad she came. Don't be silly, Medlock." 

Mary saw that Dr. Craven did not look pleased, 
but it was quite plain that he dare not oppose his 
patient. He sat down by Colin and felt his pulse. 

" I am afraid there has been too much excite- 
ment. Excitement is not good for you, my boy," 
he said. 

" I should be excited if she kept away," an- 
swered Colin, his eyes beginning to look danger- 
ously sparkling. " I am better. She makes me 
better. The nurse must bring up her tea with 
mine. We will have tea together." 

Mrs. Medlock and Dr. Craven looked at each 
other in a troubled way, but there was evidently 
nothing to be done. 

" He does look rather better, sir," ventured 
Mrs. Medlock. "But" thinking the matter 
over "he looked better this morning before 
she came into the room." 

" She came into the room last night. She 
stayed with me a long time. She sang a Hindu- 
stani song to me and it made me go to sleep," said 
Colin. " I was better when I wakened up. I 



1 88 THE SECRET GARDEN 

wanted my breakfast. I want my tea now. Tell 
nurse, Medlock." 

Dr. Craven did not stay very long. He talked 
to the nurse for a few minutes when she came into 
the room and said a few words of warning to 
Colin. He must not talk too much; he must not 
forget that he was ill; he must not forget that he 
was very easily tired. Mary thought that there 
seemed to be a number of uncomfortable things he 
was not to forget. 

Colin looked fretful and kept his strange black- 
lashed eyes fixed on Dr. Craven's face. 

' I want to forget it," he said at last. " She 
makes me forget it. That is why I want her." 

Dr. Craven did not look happy when he left 
the room. He gave a puzzled glance at the little 
girl sitting on the large stool. She had become a 
stiff, silent child again as soon as he entered and 
he could not see what the attraction was. The 
boy actually did look brighter, however and 
he sighed rather heavily as he went down the cor- 
ridor. 

They are always wanting me to eat things 
when I don't want to," said Colin, as the nurse 
brought in the tea and put it on the table by the 
sofa. u Now, if you'll eat I will. Those muf- 
fins look so nice and hot. Tell me about Rajahs." 



CHAPTER XV 

NEST BUILDING 

A FTER another week of rain the high arch of 
** blue sky appeared again and the sun which 
poured down was quite hot. Though there had 
been no chance to see either the secret garden or 
Dickon, Mistress Mary had enjoyed herself very 
much. The week had not seemed long. She had 
spent hours of every day with Colin in his room, 
talking about Rajahs or gardens or Dickon and the 
cottage on the moor. They had looked at the 
splendid books and pictures and sometimes Mary 
had read things to Colin, and sometimes he had 
read a little to her. When he was amused and 
interested she thought he scarcely looked like an 
invalid at all, except that his face was so colorless 
and he was always on the sofa. 

" You are a sly young one to listen and get out 
of your bed to go following things up like you did 
that night," Mrs. Medlock said once. " But 
there's no saying it's not been a sort of blessing to 
the lot of us. He's not had a tantrum or a whi- 
ning fit since you made friends. The nurse was 

189 



190 THE SECRET GARDEN 

just going to give up the case because she was so 
sick of him, but she says she doesn't mind staying 
now you've gone on duty with her," laughing a 
little. 

In her talks with Colin, Mary had tried to be 
very cautious about the secret garden. There 
were certain things she wanted to find out from 
him, but she felt that she must find them out with- 
out asking him direct questions. In the first place, 
as she began to like to be with him, she wanted 
to discover whether he was the kind of boy you 
could tell a secret to. He was not in the least like 
Dickon, but he was evidently so pleased with the 
idea of a garden no one knew anything about that 
she thought perhaps he could be trusted. But 
she had not known him long enough to be sure. 
The second thing she wanted to find out was this : 
If he could be trusted if he really could 
wouldn't it be possible to take him to the garden 
without having any one find it out? The grand 
doctor had said that he must have fresh air and 
Colin had said that he would not mind fresh air 
in a secret garden. Perhaps if he had a great 
deal of fresh air and knew Dickon and the robin 
and saw things growing he might not think so 
much about dying. Mary had seen herself in the 
glass sometimes lately when she had realized that 
.she looked quite a different creature from the child 



NEST BUILDING 19* 

she had seen when she arrived from India. This 
child looked nicer. Even Martha had seen a 
change in her. 

" Th' air from th' moor has done thee good 
already," she had said. " Tha'rt not nigh so yeller 
and tha'rt not nigh so scrawny. Even tha' hair 
doesn't slamp down on tha' head so flat. It's 
got some life in it so as it sticks out a bit." 

"It's like me," said Mary. "It's grow- 
ing stronger and fatter. I'm sure there's more 
of it." 

" It looks it, for sure," said Martha, ruffling 
it up a little round her face. " Tha'rt not half 
so ugly when it's that way an' there's a bit o' red 
in tha' cheeks." 

If gardens and fresh air had been good for her 
perhaps they would be good for Colin. But then, 
if he hated people to look at him, perhaps he 
would not like to see Dickon. 

u Why does it make you angry when you are 
looked at? " she inquired one day. 

" I always hated it," he answered, " even when 
I was very little. Then when they took me to 
the seaside and I used to lie in my carriage every- 
body used to stare and ladies would stop and talk 
to my nurse and then they would begin to whisper 
and I knew then they were saying I shouldn't live 
to grow up. Then sometimes the ladies would 



1 92 THE SECRET GARDEN 

pat my cheeks and say ' Poor child! ' Once when 
a lady did that I screamed out loud and bit her 
hand. She was so frightened she ran away." 

" She thought you had gone mad like a dog," 
said Mary, not at all admiringly. 

" I don't care what she thought," said Colin, 
frowning. 

" I wonder why you didn't scream and bite me 
when I came into your room? " said Mary. Then 
she began to smile slowly. 

" I thought you were a ghost or a dream," he 
said. " You can't bite a ghost or a dream, and 
if you scream they don't care." 

"Would you hate it if if a boy looked at 
you? ' Mary asked uncertainly. 

He lay back on his cushion and paused thought- 
fully. 

" There's one boy," he said quite slowly, as if 
he were thinking over every word, ' there's one 
boy I believe I shouldn't mind. It's that boy who 
knows where the foxes live Dickon." 

" I'm sure you wouldn't mind him," said Mary. 

" The birds don't and other animals," he said, 
still thinking it over, " perhaps that's why I 
shouldn't. He's a sort of animal charmer and I 
am a boy animal." 

Then he laughed and she laughed too; in fact 
it ended in their both laughing a great deal and 



NEST BUILDING 193 

finding the idea of a boy animal hiding in his hole 
very funny indeed. 

What Mary felt afterward was that she need 
not fear about Dickon. 

On that first morning when the sky was blue 
again Mary wakened very early. The sun was 
pouring in slanting rays through the blinds and 
there was something so joyous in the sight of it 
that she jumped out of bed and ran to the win- 
dow. She drew up the blinds and opened the win- 
dow itself and a great waft of fresh, scented air 
blew in upon her. The moor was blue and the 
whole world looked as if something Magic had 
happened to it. There were tender little fluting 
sounds here and there and everywhere, as if scores 
of birds were beginning to tune up for a concert. 
Mary put her hand out of the window and held it 
in the sun. 

' It's warm warm ! ' she said. ' It will 
make the green points push up and up and up, and 
it will make the bulbs and roots work and struggle 
with all their might under the earth." 

She kneeled down and leaned out of the window 
as far as she could, breathing big breaths and 
sniffing the air until she laughed because she re- 
membered what Dickon's mother had said about 
the end of his nose quivering like a rabbit's. 



194 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" It must be very early," she said. The little 
clouds are all pink and I've never seen the sky 
look like this. No one is up. I don't even hear 
the stable boys." 

A sudden thought made her scramble to her 
feet. 

" I can't wait ! I am going to see the garden ! ' 

She had learned to dress herself by this time 
and she put on her clothes in five minutes. She 
knew a small side door which she could unbolt her- 
self and she flew down-stairs in her stocking feet 
and put on her shoes in the hall. She unchained 
and unbolted and unlocked and when the door was 
open she sprang across the step with one bound, 
and there she was standing on the grass, which 
seemed to have turned green, and with the sun 
pouring down on her and warm sweet wafts about 
her and the fluting and twittering and singing com- 
ing from every bush and tree. She clasped her 
hands for pure joy and looked up in the sky and 
it was so blue and pink and pearly and white and 
flooded with springtime light that she felt as if 
she must flute and sing aloud herself and knew that 
thrushes and robins and skylarks could not pos- 
sibly help it. She ran around the shrubs and paths 
toward the secret garden. 

" It is all different already," she said. The 
grass is greener and things are sticking up every- 



NEST BUILDING 195 

where and things are uncurling and green buds 
of leaves are showing. This afternoon I am sure 
Dickon will come." 

The long warm rain had done strange things 
to the herbaceous beds which bordered the walk 
by the lower wall. There were things sprouting 
and pushing out from the roots of clumps of plants 
and there were actually here and there glimpses of 
royal purple and yellow unfurling among the stems 
of crocuses. Six months before Mistress Mary 
would not have seen how the world was waking 
up, but now she missed nothing. 

When she had reached the place where the door 
hid itself under the ivy, she was startled by a 
curious loud sound. It was the caw caw of a 
crow and it came from the top of the wall, and 
when she looked up, there sat a big glossy-plu- 
maged blue-black bird, looking down at her very 
wisely indeed. She had never seen a crow so close 
before and he made her a little nervous, but the 
next moment he spread his wings and flapped away 
across the garden. She hoped he was not going to 
stay inside and she pushed the door open wonder* 
ing if he would. When she got fairly into the 
garden she saw that he probably did intend to stay 
because he had alighted on a dwarf apple-tree, 
and under the apple-tree was lying a little reddish 
animal with a bushy tail, and both of them were 



196 THE SECRET GARDEN 

watching the stooping body and rust-red head of 
Dickon, who was kneeling on the grass working 
hard. 

Mary flew across the grass to him. 

"Oh, Dickon! Dickon!' she cried out. 1 
" How could you get here so early! How could 
you ! The sun has only just got up ! ' 

He got up himself, laughing and glowing, and 
tousled; his eyes like a bit of the sky. 

" Eh! ' he said. ' I was up long before him. 
How could I have stayed abed! Th' world's all 
fair begun again this mornin', it has. An' it's 
workin' an' hummin' an' scratchin' an' pipin' an* 
nest-buildin' an' breathin' out scents, till you've 
got to be out on it 'stead o' lyin' on your back. 
When th' sun did jump up, th' moor went mad 
for joy, an' I was in the midst of th' heather, 
an' I run like mad myself, shoutin' an' singin'. 
An' I come straight here. I couldn't have 
stayed away. Why, th' garden was lyin' here 
waitin' ! ' 

Mary put her hands on her chest, panting, as 
if she had been running herself. 

" Oh, Dickon ! Dickon ! " she said. " I'm so 
happy I can scarcely breathe ! ' 

Seeing him talking to a stranger, the little bushy- 
tailed animal rose from its place under the tree 
and came to him, and the rook, cawing once, flew 



NEST BUILDING 197 

down from its branch and settled quietly on his 
shoulder. 

This is th' little fox cub," he said, rubbing the 
little reddish animal's head. " It's named Cap- 
tain. An' this here's Soot. Soot he flew across 
th' moor with me an' Captain he run same as if th' 
hounds had been after him. They both felt same 
as I did." 

Neither of the creatures looked as if he were 
the least afraid of Mary. When Dickon began 
to walk about, Soot stayed on his shoulder and 
Captain trotted quietly close to his side. 

' See here ! ' said Dickon. ' See how these 
has pushed up, an' these an' these ! An' Eh ! look 
at these here ! ' 

He threw himself upon his knees and Mary 
went down beside him. They had come upon a 
whole clump of crocuses burst into purple and 
orange and gold. Mary bent her face down and 
kissed and kissed them. 

" You never kiss a person in that way," she said 
when she lifted her head. ' Flowers are so dif- 
ferent." 

He looked puzzled but smiled. 

" Eh! ' he said, " I've kissed mother many a 
time that way when I come in from th' moor after 
a day's roamin' an' she stood there at th' door in 
th' sun, lookin' so glad an' comfortable." 



198 THE SECRET GARDEN 

They ran from one part of the garden to an- 
other and found so many wonders that they were 
obliged to remind themselves that they must whis- 
per or speak low. He showed her swelling leaf- 
buds on rose branches which had seemed dead. 
He showed her ten thousand new green points 
pushing through the mould. They put their eager 
young noses close to the earth and sniffed its 
warmed springtime breathing; they dug and pulled 
and laughed low with rapture until Mistress 
Mary's hair was as tumbled as Dickon's and her 
cheeks were almost as poppy red as his. 

There was every joy on earth in the secret gar- 
den that morning, and in the midst of them came a 
delight more delightful than all, because it was 
more wonderful. Swiftly something flew across 
the wall and darted through the trees to a close 
grown corner, a little flare of red-breasted bird 
with something hanging from its beak. Dickon 
stood quite still and put his hand on Mary almost 
as if they had suddenly found themselves laughing 
in a church. 

We munnot stir," he whispered in broad 
Yorkshire. " We munnot scarce breathe. I 
knowed he was mate-huntin' when I seed him last. 
It's Ben Weatherstaff's robin. He's buildin' his 
nest. He'll stay here if us don't flight him." 



NEST BUILDING 199 

They settled down softly upon the grass and 
sat there without moving. 

" Us mustn't seem as if us was watchin' him too 
close," said Dickon. " He'd be out with us for 
good if he got th' notion us was interferin' now. 
He'll be a good bit different till all this is over. 
He's settin' up housekeeping He'll be shyer an' 
readier to take things ill. He's got no time for 
visitin' an' gossipin'. Us must keep still a bit 
an' try to look as if us was grass an' trees an' 
bushes. Then when he's got used to seein' us I'll 
chirp a bit an' he'll know us'll not be in his way." 

Mistress Mary was not at all sure that she knew, 
as Dickon seemed to, how to try to look like grass 
and trees and bushes. But he had said the queer 
thing as if it were the simplest and most natural 
thing in the world, and she felt it must be quite 
easy to him, and indeed she watched him for a few 
minutes carefully, wondering if it was possible for 
him to quietly turn green and put out branches and 
leaves. But he only sat wonderfully still, and 
when he spoke dropped his voice to such a softness 
that it was curious that she could hear him, but 
she could. 

" It's part o' th' springtime, this nest-buildin' 
is," he said. " I warrant it's been goin' on in th' 
same way every year since th' world was begun. 



200 THE SECRET GARDEN 

They've got their way o' thinkin' and doin' things 
an' a body had better not meddle. You can lose 
a friend in springtime easier than any other season 
if you're too curious." 

" If we talk about him I can't help looking at 
him," Mary said as softly as possible. u We must 
talk of something else. There is something I 
want to tell you." 

" He'll like it better if us talks o' somethin' 
else," said Dickon. " What is it tha's got to tell 
me? ' 

" Well do you know about Colin?' she 
whispered. 

He turned his head to look at her. 

" What does tha' know about him? " he asked. 

" I've seen him. I have been to talk to him 
every day this week. He wants me to come. He 
says I'm making him forget about being ill and 
dying," answered Mary. 

Dickon looked actually relieved as soon as the 
surprise died away from his round face. 

1 I am glad o' that," he exclaimed. ' I'm 
right down glad. It makes me easier. I knowed 
I must say nothin' about him an' I don't like havin' 
to hide things." 

' Don't you like hiding the garden? ' said 
Mary. 

I'll never tell about it," he answered. " But 



" ' 



NEST BUILDING 201 

I says to mother, ' Mother,' I says, ' I got a secret 
to keep. It's not a bad 'un, tha' knows that. It's 
no worse than hidin' where a bird's nest is. Tha' 
doesn't mind it, does tha'? ' 

Mary always wanted to hear about mother. 

"What did she say?' she asked, not at all 
afraid to hear. 

Dickon grinned sweet-temperedly. 

" It was just like her, what she said," he an- 
swered. " She give my head a bit of a rub an' 
laughed an' she says, ' Eh, lad, tha' can have all 
th' secrets tha' likes. I've knowed thee twelve 
year'.' " 

" How did you know about Colin?' asked 
Mary. 

' Everybody as knowed about Mester Craven 
knowed there was a little lad as was like to be a 
cripple, an' they knowed Mester Craven didn't 
like him to be talked about. Folks is sorry for 
Mester Craven because Mrs. Craven was such a 
pretty young lady an' they was so fond of each 
other. Mrs. Medlock stops in our cottage when- 
ever she goes to Thwaite an' she doesn't mind 
talkin' to mother before us children, because she 
knows us has been brought up to be trusty. How 
did tha' find out about him? Martha was in 
fine trouble th' last time she came home. She 
said tha'd heard him frettin' an' tha' was askin* 



202 THE SECRET GARDEN 

questions an' she didn't know what to say." 

Mary told him her story about the midnight 
wuthering of the wind which had wakened her 
and about the faint far-off sounds of the complain- 
ing voice which had led her down the dark cor- 
ridors with her candle and had ended with her 
opening of the door of the dimly lighted room with 
the carven four-posted bed in the corner. When 
she described the small ivory-white face and the 
strange black-rimmed eyes Dickon shook his head. 

" Them's just like his mother's eyes, only hers 
was always laughin', they say," he said. They 
say as Mr. Craven can't bear to see him when he's 
awake an' it's because his eyes is so like his moth- 
er's an' yet looks so different in his miserable bit 
of a face." 

" Do you think he wants him to die? ' whis- 
pered Mary. 

" No, but he wishes he'd never been born. 
Mother she says that's th' worst thing on earth 
for a child. Them as is not wanted scarce ever 
thrives. Mester Craven he'd buy anythin' as 
money could buy for th' poor lad but he'd like to 
forget as he's on earth. For one thing, he's afraid 
he'll look at him some day and find he's growed 
hunchback." 

' Colin's so afraid of it himself that he won't 
sit up," said Mary. " He says he's always think- 



NEST BUILDING 203 

ing that if he should feel a lump coming he should 
go crazy and scream himself to death." 

" Eh ! he oughtn't to lie there thinkin' things 
like that," said Dickon. " No lad could get well 
as thought them sort o' things." 

The fox was lying on the grass close by him 
looking up to ask for a pat now and then, and 
Dickon bent down and rubbed his neck softly and 
thought a few minutes in silence. Presently he 
lifted his head and looked round the garden. 

" When first we got in here," he said, " it 
seemed like everything was gray. Look round 
now and tell me if tha' doesn't see a difference." 

Mary looked and caught her breath a little. 

" Why! n she cried, u the gray wall is changing. 
It is as if a green mist were creeping over it. It's 
almost like a green gauze veil." 

" Aye," said Dickon. " An' it'll be greener 
and greener till th' gray's all gone. Can tha' 
guess what I was thinkin' ? ' 

( I know it was something nice," said Mary 
eagerly. " I believe it was something about 
Colin." 

' I was thinkin' that if he was out here he 
wouldn't be watchin' for lumps to grow on his 
back; he'd be watchin' for buds to break on th' 
rose-bushes, an' he'd likely be healthier," explained 
Dickon. " J was wonderin' if us could ever get 



204 THE SECRET GARDEN 

him in th' humor to come out here an' lie under th* 
trees in his carriage." 

" I've been wondering that myself. I've 
thought of it almost every time I've talked to 
him," said Mary. ' I've wondered if he could 
keep a secret and I've wondered if we could bring 
him here without any one seeing us. I thought 
perhaps you could push his carriage. The doctor 
said he must have fresh air and if he wants us to 
take him out no one dare disobey him. He won't 
go out for other people and perhaps they will be 
glad if he will go out with us. He could order 
the gardeners to keep away so they wouldn't find 
out." 

Dickon was thinking very hard as he scratched 
Captain's back. 

" It'd be good for him, I'll warrant," he said. 
" Us'd not be thinkin' he'd better never been born. 
Us'd be just two children watchin' a garden grow, 
an' he'd be another. Two lads an' a little lass just 
lookin' on at th' springtime. I warrant it'd be 
better than doctor's stuff." 

1 He's been lying in his room so long and he's 
always been so afraid of his back that it has made 
him queer," said Mary. " He knows a good 
many things out of books but he doesn't know any- 
thing else. He says he has been too ill to notice 
things and he hates going out of doors and hates 



NEST BUILDING 205 

gardens and gardeners. But he likes to hear 
about this garden because it is a secret. I 
daren't tell him much but he said he wanted to 
see it" 

" Us'll have him out here sometime for sure,' 1 
said Dickon. ' I could push his carriage well 
enough. Has tha' noticed how th' robin an' his 
mate has been workin' while we've been sittin' 
here ? Look at him perched on that branch won- 
derin' where it'd be best to put that twig he's got 
in his beak." 

He made one of his low whistling calls and the 
robin turned his head and looked at him inquir- 
ingly, still holding his twig. Dickon spoke to 
him as Ben Weatherstaff did, but Dickon's tone 
was one of friendly advice. 

" Wheres'ever tha' puts it," he said, " it'll be all 
right. Tha' knew how to build tha' nest before 
tha' came out o' th' egg. Get on with thee, lad. 
Tha'st got no time to lose." 

" Oh, I do like to hear you talk to him!" 
Mary said, laughing delightedly. " Ben Weath- 
erstaff scolds him and makes fun of him, and he 
hops about and looks as if he understood every 
word, and I know he likes it. Ben Weatherstaff 
says he is so conceited he would rather have stones 
thrown at him than not be noticed." 

Dickon laughed too and went on talking. 



206 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" Tha' knows us won't trouble thee," he said to 
the robin. " Us is near bein' wild things our- 
selves. Us is nest-buildin' too, bless thee. Look 
out tha' doesn't tell on us." 

And though the robin did not answer, because 
his beak was occupied, Mary knew that when he 
flew away with his twig to his own corner of the 
garden the darkness of his dew-bright eye meant 
that he would not tell their secret for the world. 



CHAPTER XVI 

" I WON'T 1 " SAID MARY 

found a great deal to do that morning 
and Mary was late in returning to the house 
and was also in such a hurry to get back to her 
work that she quite forgot Colin until the last 
moment. 

" Tell Colin that I can't come and see him yet," 
she said to Martha. " I'm very busy in the gar- 
den." 

Martha looked rather frightened. 

" Eh! Miss Mary," she said, " it may put him 
all out of humor when I tell him that." 

But Mary was not as afraid of him as other 
people were and she was not a self-sacrificing per- 
son. 

" I can't stay," she answered. " Dickon's wait- 
ing for me;' and she ran away. r 

The afternoon was even lovelier and busier than 
the morning had been. Already nearly all the 
weeds were cleared out of the garden and most of 
the roses and trees had been pruned or dug about. 
Dickon had brought a spade of his own and he 

207 



208 THE SECRET GARDEN 

had taught Mary to use all her tools, so that by 
this time it was plain that though the lovely wild 
place was not likely to become a ' gardener's 
garden ' it would be a wilderness of growing 
things before the springtime was over. 

" There'll be apple blossoms an' cherry blos- 
soms overhead," Dickon said, working away with 
all his might. * An' there'll be peach an' plum 
trees in bloom against th' walls, an' th' grass'll be 
a carpet o' flowers." 

The little fox and the rook were as happy and 
busy as they were, and the robin and his mate 
flew backward and forward like tiny streaks of 
lightning. Sometimes the rook flapped his black 
wings and soared away over the tree-tops in the 
park. Each time he came back and perched near 
Dickon and cawed several times as if he were re- 
lating his adventures, and Dickon talked to him 
just as he had talked to the robin. Once when 
Dickon was so busy that he did not answer him 
at first, Soot flew on to his shoulders and gently 
tweaked his ear with his large beak. When Mary 
wanted to rest a little Dickon sat down with her 
under a tree and once he took his pipe out of his 
pocket and played the soft strange little notes and 
two squirrels appeared on the wall and looked and 
listened. 

" Tha's a good bit stronger than tha' was," 



" I WON'T ! " SAID MARY 209 

Dickon said, looking at her as she was digging. 
" Tha's beginning to look different, for sure." 

Mary was glowing with exercise and good spir- 
its. 

' I'm getting fatter and fatter every day/ 1 she 
said quite exultantly. u Mrs. Medlock will have 
to get me some bigger dresses. Martha says my 
hair is growing thicker. It isn't so flat and 
stringy." 

The sun was beginning to set and sending deep 
gold-colored rays slanting under the trees when 
they parted. 

" It'll be fine to-morrow," said Dickon. " I'll 
be at work by sunrise." 

" So will I," said Mary. 

She ran back to the house as quickly as her feet 
would carry her. She wanted to tell Colin about 
Dickon's fox cub and the rook and about what 
the springtime had been doing. She felt sure he 
would like to hear. So it was not very pleasant 
when she opened the door of her room, to see 
Martha standing waiting for her with a doleful 
face. 

"What is the matter?" she asked. "What 
did Colin say when you told him I couldn't 
come? ' 

"Eh!" said Martha, "I wish tha'd gone. 



210 THE SECRET GARDEN 

He was nigh goin' into one o' his tantrums. 
There's been a nice to do all afternoon to keep 
him quiet. He would watch the clock all th' 



time." 



Mary's lips pinched themselves together. She 
was no more used to considering other people 
than Colin was and she saw no reason why an ill- 
tempered boy should interfere with the thing she 
liked best. She knew nothing about the pitiful- 
ness of people who had been ill and nervous and 
who did not know that they could control their 
tempers and need not make other people ill and 
nervous, too. When she had had a headache in 
India she had done her best to see that everybody 
else also had a headache or something quite as 
bad. And she felt she was quite right; but of 
course now she felt that Colin was quite wrong. 

He was not on his sofa when she went into his 
room. He was lying flat on his back in bed and 
he did not turn his head toward her as she came 
in. This was a bad beginning and Mary marched 
up to him with her stiff manner. 

Why didn't you get up? " she said. 
' I did get up this morning when I thought you 
were coming," he answered, without looking at her. 
' I made them put me back in bed this afternoon, 
My back ached and my head ached and I was 
tired. Why didn't you come? " 



"I WON'T!" SAID MARY 211 

" I was working in the garden with Dickon," 
said Mary. 

Colin frowned and condescended to look at her. 
' I won't let that boy come here if you go and 
stay with him instead of coming to talk to me," 
he said. 

Mary flew into a fine passion. She could fly 
into a passion without making a noise. She just 
grew sour and obstinate and did not care what 
happened. 

' If you send Dickon away, I'll never come into 
this room again ! ' she retorted. 

You'll have to if I want you," said Colin. 

"I won't!" said Mary. 

"I'll make you," said Colin. " They shall 
drag you in." 

" Shall they, Mr. Rajah! " said Mary fiercely. 

They may drag me in but they can't make me 

talk when they get me here. I'll sit and clench 

my teeth and never tell you one thing. I won't 

even look at you. I'll stare at the floor ! " r 

They were a nice agreeable pair as they glared 
at each other. If they had been two little street 
boys they would have sprung at each other and had 
a rough-and-tumble fight. As it was, they did the 
next thing to it. 

You are a selfish thing! " cried Colin. 

" What are you? " said Mary. " Selfish people 



212 THE SECRET GARDEN 

always say that. Any one is selfish who doesn't 
do what they want. You're more selfish than I 
am. You're the most selfish boy I ever saw." 

" I'm not! " snapped Colin. " I'm not as self- 
ish as your fine Dickon is ! He keeps you playing 
in the dirt when he knows I am all by myself. 
He's selfish, if you like ! ' 

Mary's eyes flashed fire. 

' He's nicer than any other boy that ever 
lived 1 ' ' she said. ' He's he's like an angel ! ' 
It might sound rather silly to say that but she did 
not care. 

" A nice angel ! ! Colin sneered ferociously. 
* He's a common cottage boy off the moor ! ' 

; He's better than a common Rajah! " retorted 
Mary. " He's a thousand times better! ' 

Because she was the stronger of the two she was 
beginning to get the better of him. The truth 
was that he had never had a fight with any one 
like himself in his life and, upon the whole, it 
was rather good for him, though neither he nor 
Mary knew anything about that. He turned his 
head on his pillow and shut his eyes and a big tear 
was squeezed out and ran down his cheek. He 
was beginning to feel pathetic and sorry for him- 
self not for any one else. 

' I'm not as selfish as you, because I'm always 
ill, and I'm sure there is a lump coming oa my 



<I WONT! 3 SAID MARY 213 

back," he said. " And I am going to die be- 
sides." 

" You're not ! ' contradicted Mary unsympa- 
thetically. 

He opened his eyes quite wide with indignation. 
He had never heard such a thing said before. He 
was at once furious and slightly pleased, if a per- 
son could be both at the same time. 

" I'm not? " he cried. "I am! You know I 
am ! Everybody says so." 

" I don't believe it ! " said Mary sourly. " You 
just say that to make people sorry. I believe 
you're proud of it. I don't believe it! If you 
were a nice boy it might be true but you're too 
nasty! " 

In spite of his invalid back Colin sat up in bed 
in quite a healthy rage. 

" Get out of the room ! ' he shouted and he 
caught hold of his pillow and threw it at her. He 
was not strong enough to throw it far and it only 
fell at her feet, but Mary's face looked as pinched 
as a nutcracker. 

" I'm going," she said. u And I won't come 
back!" 

She walked to the door and when she reached it 
she turned round and spoke again. 

" I was going to tell you all sorts of nice things," 
she said. " Dickon brought his fox and his rook 



214 THE SECRET GARDEN 

and I was going to tell you all about them. Now 
I won't tell you a single thing! ' 

She marched out of the door and closed it be- 
hind her, and there to her great astonishment she 
found the trained nurse standing as if she had been 
listening and, more amazing still she was laugh- 
ing. She was a big handsome young woman who 
ought not to have been a trained nurse at all, as 
she could not bear invalids and she was always 
making excuses to leave Colin to Martha or any 
one else who would take her place. Mary had 
never liked her, and she simply stood and gazed 
up at her as she stood giggling into her handker- 
chief. 

What are you laughing at? " she asked her. 

I At you two young ones/' said the nurse. 
' It's the best thing that could happen to the 

sickly pampered thing to have some one to stand 
up to him that's as spoiled as himself; ' and she 
laughed into her handkerchief again. ' If he'd 
had a young vixen of a sister to fight with it would 
have been the saving of him." 
' Is he going to die? ' 

I 1 don't know and I don't care," said the nurse. 
( Hysterics and temper are half what ails him." 

What are hysterics? " asked Mary. 
You'll find out if you work him into a tantrum 
after this but at any rate you've given him 



' I WON'T! 3 SAID MARY 215 

something to have hysterics about, and I'm glad 
of it." 

Mary went back to her room not feeling at all 
as she had felt when she had come in from the 
garden. She was cross and disappointed but not 
at all sorry for Colin. She had looked forward 
to telling him a great many things and she had 
meant to try to make up her mind whether it would 
be safe to trust him with the great secret. She 
had been beginning to think it would be, but now 
she had changed her mind entirely. She would 
never tell him and he could stay in his room and 
never get any fresh air and die if he liked! It 
would serve him right ! She felt so sour and unre- 
lenting that for a few minutes she almost forgot 
about Dickon and the green veil creeping over 
the world and the soft wind blowing down from 
the moor. 

Martha was waiting for her and the trouble in 
her face had been temporarily replaced by interest 
and curiosity. There was a wooden box on the 
table and its cover had been removed and revealed 
that it was full of neat packages. 

" Mr. Craven sent it to you," said Martha. 
' It looks as if it had picture-books in it." 

Mary remembered what he had asked her the 
day she had gone to his room. ' Do ycu want 
anything dolls toys books ? ' She opened 



216 THE SECRET GARDEN 

the package wondering if he had sent a doll, and 
also wondering what she should do with it if he 
had. But he had not sent one. There were sev- 
eral beautiful books such as Colin had, and two of 
them were about gardens and were full of pictures. 
There were two or three games and there was a 
beautiful little writing-case with a gold monogram 
on it and a gold pen and inkstand. 

Everything was so nice that her pleasure began 
to crowd her anger out of her mind. She had not 
expected him to remember her at all and her hard 
little heart grew quite warm. 

" I can write better than I can print," she said, 
u and the first thing I shall write with that pen 
will be a letter to tell him I am much obliged." 

If she had been friends with Colin she would 
have run to show him her presents at once, and 
they would have looked at the pictures and read 
some of the gardening books and perhaps tried 
playing the games, and he would have enjoyed 
himself so much he would never once have thought 
he was going to die or have put his hand on his 
spine to see if there was a lump coming. He had 
a way of doing that which she could not bear. It 
gave her an uncomfortable frightened feeling be- 
cause he always looked so frightened himself. He 
said that if he felt even quite a little lump some 
day he should know his hunch had begun to grow. 



1C 



I WONT!" SAID MARY 217 



Something he had heard Mrs. Medlock whisper- 
ing to the nurse had given him the idea and he 
had thought over it in secret until it was quite 
firmly fixed in his mind. Mrs. Medlock had said 
his father's back had begun to show its crooked- 
ness in that way when he was a child. He had 
never told any one but Mary that most of his 
1 tantrums ' as they called them grew out of his 
hysterical hidden fear. Mary had been sorry for 
him when he had told her. 

" He always began to think about it when he 
was cross or tired," she said to herself. " And 
he has been cross to-day. Perhaps perhaps he 
has been thinking about it all afternoon." 

She stood still, looking down at the carpet and 
thinking. 

* I said I would never go back again " she 
hesitated, knitting her brows " but perhaps, just 
perhaps, I will go and see if he wants me 
in the morning. Perhaps he'll try to throw his 
pillow at me again, but I think I'll go." 



CHAPTER XVII 

A TANTRUM 

OHE had got up very early in the morning and 
^ had worked hard in the garden and she was 
tired and sleepy, so as soon as Martha had brought 
her supper and she had eaten it, she was glad to 
go to bed. As she laid her head on the pillow 
she murmured to herself: 

" I'll go out before breakfast and work with 
Dickon and then afterward I believe I'll go 
to see him." 

She thought it was the middle of the night when 
she was wakened by such dreadful sounds that 
she jumped out of bed in an instant. What was 
it what was it? The next minute she felt quite 
sure she knew. Doors were opened and shut and 
there were hurrying feet in the corridors and some 
one was crying and screaming at the same time, 
screaming and crying in a horrible way. 

" It's Colin," she said. " He's having one of 
those tantrums the nurse called hysterics. How 
awful it sounds." 

As she listened to the sobbing screams she did 

218 



A TANTRUM 219 

not wonder that people were so frightened that 
they gave him his own way in everything rather 
than hear them. She put her hands over her ears 
and felt sick and shivering. 

" I don't know what to do. I don't know what 
to do," she kept saying. u I can't bear it." 

Once she wondered if he would stop if she 
dared go to him and then she remembered how he 
had driven her out of the room and thought that 
perhaps the sight of her might make him worse. 
Even when she pressed her hands more tightly 
over her ears she could not keep the awful sounds 
out. She hated them so and was so terrified by 
them that suddenly they began to make her angry 
and she felt as if she should like to fly into a 
tantrum herself and frighten him as he was fright- 
ening her. She was not used to any one's tempers 
but her own. She took her hands from her ears 
and sprang up and stamped her foot. 

' He ought to be stopped ! Somebody ought to 
make him stop ! Somebody ought to beat him ! " 
she cried out. 

Just then she heard feet almost running down 
the corridor and her door opened and the nurse 
came in. She was not laughing now by any means. 
She even looked rather pale. 

' He's worked himself into hysterics, " she said 
in a great hurry. u He'll do himself harm, No 



220 THE SECRET GARDEN 

one can do anything with him. You come and 
try, like a good child. He likes you." 

" He turned me out of the room this morning," 
said Mary, stamping her foot with excitement. 

The stamp rather pleased the nurse. The truth 
was that she had been afraid she might find 
Mary crying and hiding her head under the bed- 
clothes. 

That's right," she said. " You're in the right 
humor. You go and scold him. Give him some- 
thing new to think of. Do go, child, as quick as 
ever you can." 

It was not until afterward that Mary realized 
that the thing had been funny as well as dreadful 
that it was funny that all the grown-up people 
were so frightened that they came to a little 
girl just because they guessed she was almost as 
bad as Colin himself. 

She flew along the corridor and the nearer she 
got to the screams the higher her temper mounted. 
She felt quite wicked by the time she reached the 
door. She slapped it open with her hand and ran 
across the room to the four-posted bed. 

You stop ! " she almost shouted. u You stop ! 
I hate you ! Everybody hates you ! I wish every- 
body would run out of the house and let you 
scream yourself to death ! You will scream your- 
self to death in a minute, and I wish you would 1 ' 



A TANTRUM 221 

A nice sympathetic child could neither have 
thought nor said such things, but it just happened 
that the shock of hearing them was the best pos- 
sible thing for this hysterical boy whom no one 
had ever dared to restrain or contradict. 

He had been lying on his face beating his pil- 
low with his hands and he actually almost jumped 
around, he turned so quickly at the sound of the 
furious little voice. His face looked dreadful, 
white and red and swollen, and he was gasping 
and chokipg; but savage little Mary did not care 
an atom. 

' If you scream another scream," she said, " I'll 
scream too and I can scream louder than you 
can and I'll frighten you, I'll frighten you ! ' 

He actually had stopped screaming because she 
had startled him so. The scream which had been 
coming almost choked him. The tears were 
streaming down his face and he shook all over. 

" I can't stop ! ' he gasped and sobbed. " I 
can't I can't! " 

" You can! " shouted Mary. " Half that ails 
you is hysterics and temper just hysterics - 
hysterics hysterics ! " and she stamped each time 
she said it. 

u I felt the lump I felt it," choked out Colin. 
" I knew I should. I shall have a hunch on my 
back and then I shall die," and he began to writhe 



222 THE SECRET GARDEN 

again and turned on his face and sobbed and wailed 
but he didn't scream. 

" You didn't feel a lump ! ' contradicted Mary 
fiercely. ' If you did it was only a hysterical 
lump. Hysterics makes lumps. There's nothing 
the matter with your horrid back nothing but 
hysterics ! Turn over and let me look at it I ' 

She liked the word u hysterics ' and felt some- 
how as if it had an effect on him. He was prob- 
ably like herself and had never heard it before. 

' Nurse," she commanded, " come here and 
show me his back this minute 1 ' 

The nurse, Mrs. Medlock and Martha had 
been standing huddled together near the door star- 
ing at her, their mouths half open. All three had 
gasped with fright more than once. The nurse 
came forward as if she were half afraid. Colin 
was heaving with great breathless sobs. 

" Perhaps he he won't let me," she hesi- 
tated in a low voice. 

Colin heard her, however, and he gasped out 
between two sobs: 

* Sh-show her! She-she'll see then! ' 

It was a poor thin back to look at when it 
was bared. Every rib could be counted and every 
joint of the spine, though Mistress Mary did not 
count them as she bent over and examined them 
with a solemn savage little face. She looked so 



A TANTRUM 223 

sour and old-fashioned that the nurse turned her 
head aside to hide the twitching of her mouth. 
There was just a minute's silence, for even Colin 
tried to hold his breath while Mary looked up 
and down his spine, and down and up, as intently 
as if she had been the great doctor from Lon- 
don. 

" There's not a single lump there 1 " she said 
at last. There's not a lump as big as a pin 
except backbone lumps, and you can only feel them 
because you're thin. I've got backbone lumps my- 
self, and they used to stick out as much as yours 
do, until I began to get fatter, and I am not fat 
enough yet to hide them. There's not a lump as 
big as a pin! If you ever say there is again, I 
shall laugh!" 

No one but Colin himself knew what effect 
those crossly spoken childish words had on Kim. 
If he had ever had any one to talk to about his 
secret terrors if he had ever dared to let him- 
self ask questions if he had had childish com- 
panions and had not lain on his back in the huge 
closed house, breathing an atmosphere heavy with 
the fears of people who were most of them igno- 
rant and tired of him, he would have found out that 
most of his fright and illness was created by him- 
self. But he had lain and thought of himself and 
his aches and weariness for hours and days and 



224 THE SECRET GARDEN 

months and years. And now that an a igry un- 
sympathetic little girl insisted obstinately that he 
was not as ill as he thought he was he actually felt 
as if she might be speaking the truth. 

' I didn't know," ventured the nurse, l chat he 
thought he had a lump on his spine. His back is 
weak because he won't try to sit up. I could have 
told him there was no lump there." 

Colin gulped and turned his face a little to look 
at her. 

' C-could you? ' he said pathetically. 

" Yes, sir." 
There ! ' said Mary, and she gulped too. 

Colin turned on his face again and but for his 
long-drawn broken breaths, which were the dying 
down of his storm of sobbing, he lay still for a 
minute, though great tears streamed down his face 
and wet the pillow. Actually the tears meant that 
a curious great relief had come to him. Presently 
he turned and looked at the nurse again and 
strangely enough he was not like a Rajah at all as 
he spoke to her. 

i ' Do you think I could live to grow up ? ' 
he said. 

The nurse was neither clever nor soft-hearted 
but she could repeat some of the London doctor's 
words. 

You probably will if you will do what you are 



A TANTRUM 225 

told to do and not give way to your temper, and 
stay out a great deal in the fresh air." 

Colin's tantrum had passed and he was weak 
and worn out with crying and this perhaps made 
him feel gentle. He put out his hand a little to- 
ward Mary, and I am glad to say that, her own 
tantrum having passed, she was softened too and 
met him half-way with her hand, so that it was a 
sort of making up. 

" I'll I'll go out with you, Mary," he said. 
" I shan't hate fresh air if we can find " He 
remembered just in time to stop himself from 
saying a if we can find the secret garden ' and he 
ended, " I shall like to go out with you if Dickon 
will come and push my chair. I do so want to 
see Dickon and the fox and the crow." 

The nurse remade the tumbled bed and shook 
and straightened the pillows. Then she made 
Colin a cup of beef tea and gave a cup to Mary, 
who really was very glad to get it after her ex- 
citement. Mrs. Medlock and Martha gladly 
slipped away, and after everything was neat and 
calm and in order the nurse looked as if she would 
very gladly slip away also. She was a healthy 
young woman who resented being robbed of her 
sleep and she yawned quite openly as she looked at 
Mary, who had pushed her big footstool close to 
the four-posted bed and was holding Colin's hand. 



226 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" You must go back and get your sleep out," 
she said. ' He'll drop off after a while if he's 
not too upset. Then I'll lie down myself in the 
next room." 

Would you like me to sing you that song I 
learned from my Ayah?' Mary whispered to 
Colin. 

His hand pulled hers gently and he turned his 
tired eyes on her appealingly. 

" Oh, yes ! ' he answered. " It's such a soft 
song. I shall go to sleep in a minute." 

" I will put him to sleep," Mary said to the 
yawning nurse. You can go if you like." 

" Well," said the nurse, with an attempt at re- 
luctance. " If he doesn't go to sleep in half an 
hour you must call me." 

" Very well," answered Mary. 

The nurse was out of the room in a minute and 
as soon as she was gone Colin pulled Mary's hand 
again. 

" I almost told," he said; " but I stopped myself 
in time. I won't talk and I'll go to sleep, but you 
said you had a whole lot of nice things to tell me. 
Have you do you think you have found out 
anything at all about the way into the secret gar- 
den? " 

Mary looked at his poor little tired face and 
swollen eyes and her heart relented. 



A TANTRUM 227 

" Ye-es," she answered, " I think I have. And 
if you will go to sleep I will tell you to-morrow." 

His hand quite trembled. 

"Oh, Mary!" he said. " Oh, Mary! If I 
could get into it I think I should live to grow up ! 
Do you suppose that 'nstead of singing the Ayah 
song you could just tell me softly as you did 
that first day what you imagine it looks like inside? 
I am sure it will make me go to sleep." 

" Yes," answered Mary. " Shut your eyes." 

He closed his eyes and lay quite still and she held 
his hand and began to speak very slowly and in 
a very low voice. 

" I think it has been left alone so long that 
it has grown all into a lovely tangle. I think the 
roses have climbed and climbed and climbed until 
they hang from the branches and walls and creep 
over the ground almost like a strange gray mist. 
Some of them have died but many are alive 
and when the summer comes there will be curtains 
and fountains of roses. I think the ground is full 
of daffodils and snowdrops and lilies and iris 
working their way out of the dark. Now the 
spring has begun perhaps perhaps " 

The soft drone of her voice was making him 
stiller and stiller and she saw it and went on. 

" Perhaps they are coming up through the grass 
* perhaps there are clusters of purple crocuses 



228 THE SECRET GARDEN 

and gold ones even now. Perhaps the leaves 
are beginning to break out and uncurl - and per- 
haps the gray is changing and a green gauze 
veil is creeping and creeping over every- 
thing. And the birds are coming to look at it 
because it is so safe and still. And perhaps 
perhaps perhaps " veiy softly and slowly in- 
deed, " the robin has found a mate and is build- 
ing a nest." 

And Colin was asleep. 




CHAPTER XVIII 

" THA' MUNNOT WASTE NO TIME " 

course Mary did not waken early the next 
morning. She slept late because she was 
tired, and when Martha brought her breakfast she 
told her that though Colin was quite quiet he was 
ill and feverish as he always was after he had 
worn himself out with a fit of crying. Mary 
ate her breakfast slowly as she listened. 

" He says he wishes tha' would please go and 
see him as soon as tha' can," Martha said. u It's 
queer what a fancy he's took to thee. Tha' did 
give it him last night for sure didn't tha' ? 
Nobody else would have dared to do it. Eh! 
poor lad! He's been spoiled till salt won't save 
him. Mother says as th' two worst things as can 
happen to a child is never to have his own way 
or always to have it. She doesn't know which is 
th' worst. Tha' was in a fine temper tha'self, 
too. But he says to me when I went into his 
room, * Please ask Miss Mary if she'll please come 
an' talk to me?' Think o' him saying please! 
Will you go, Miss?" 

229 



230 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" I'll run and see Dickon first," said Mary. 
" No, I'll go and see Colin first and tell him 
I know what I'll tell him," with a sudden inspi- 
ration. 

She had her hat on when she appeared in Col- 
in's room and for a second he looked disappointed. 
He was in bed and his face was pitifully white 
and there were dark circles round his eyes. 

u I'm glad you came," he said. ' My head 
aches and I ache all over because I'm so tired. 
Are you going somewhere?' 

Mary went and leaned against his bed. 

" I won't be long," she said. " I'm going to 
Dickon, but I'll come back. Colin, it's it's 
something about the secret garden." 

His whole face brightened and a little color 
came into it. 

" Oh ! is it ! " he cried out " I dreamed about 
it all night. I heard you say something about 
gray changing into green, and I dreamed I was 
standing in a place all filled with trembling little 
green leaves and there were birds on nests 
everywhere and they looked so soft and still. I'll 
lie and think about it until you come back." 

In five minutes Mary was with Dickon in their 
garden. The fox and the crow were with him 
again and this time he had brought two tame 
squirrels. 



"THA' MUNNOT WASTE TIME" 231 

" I came over on the pony this morning" he 
said. " Eh! he is a good little chap Jump is! 
I brought these two in my pockets. This here 
one he's called Nut an' this here other one's called 
Shell." 

When he said " Nut " one squirrel leaped on to 
his right shoulder and when he said u Shell ' the 
other one leaped on to his left shoulder. 

When they sat down on the grass with Captain 
curled at their feet, Soot solemnly listening on a 
tree and Nut and Shell nosing about close to them, 
it seemed to Mary that it would be scarcely bear- 
able to leave such delightfulness, but when she 
began to tell her story somehow the look in Dick- 
on's funny face gradually changed her mind. She 
could see he felt sorrier for Colin than she did. 
He looked up at the sky and all about him. 

Just listen to them birds th' world seems 
full of 'em all whistlin' an' pipin'," he said. 
" Look at 'em dartin' about, an' hearken at 'em 
callin' to each other. Come springtime seems 
like as if all th' world's callin'. The leaves is 
uncurlin' so you can see 'em an', my word, th' 
nice smells there is about ! " sniffing with his happy 
turned-up nose. ' An' that poor lad lyin' shut up 
an' seein' so little that he gets to thinkin' o' things 
as sets him screamin'. Eh! my! we mun get him 
out here we mun get him watchin' an' listenin' 



(C 

u 



232 THE SECRET GARDEN 

an' sniffin' up th' air an' get him just soaked 
through wi' sunshine. An' we munnot lose no 
time about it." 

When he was very much interested he often 
spoke quite broad Yorkshire though at other times 
he tried to modify his dialect so that Mary could 
better understand. But she loved his broad York- 
shire and had in fact been trying to learn to speak 
it herself. So she spoke a little now. 

Aye, that we mun," she said (which meant 
Yes, indeed, we must"). " I'll tell thee what 
us'll do first," she proceeded, and Dickon grinned, 
because when the little wench tried to twist her 
tongue into speaking Yorkshire it amused him very 
much. " He's took a graidely fancy to thee. He 
wants to see thee and he wants to see Soot an' Cap- 
tain. When I go back to the house to talk to him 
I'll ax him if tha' canna' come an' see him to- 
morrow mornin' an' bring tha' creatures wi' 
thee an' then in a bit, when there's more 
leaves out, an' happen a bud or two, we'll get him 
to come out an' tha' shall push him in his chair an' 
we'll bring him here an' show him everything." 
When she stopped she was quite proud of her- 
self. She had never made a long speech in York- 
shire before and she had remembered very well. 
Tha' mun talk a bit o' Yorkshire like that to 
Mester Colin," Dickon chuckled. " Tha'll make 



THA' MUNNOT WASTE TIME" 233 

him laugh an' there's nowt as good for ill folk as 
laughin' is. Mother says she believes as half a 
hour's good laugh every mornin' 'ud cure a chap 
as was makin' ready for typhus fever." 

' I'm going to talk Yorkshire to him this very 
day," said Mary, chuckling herself. 

The garden had reached the time when every 
day and every night it seemed as if Magicians were 
passing through it drawing loveliness out of the 
earth and the boughs with wands. It was hard 
to go away and leave it all, particularly as Nut had 
actually crept on to her dress and Shell had scram- 
bled down the trunk of the apple-tree they sat 
under and stayed there looking at her with inquir- 
ing eyes. But she went back to the house and 
when she sat down close to Colin's bed he began to 
sniff as Dickon did though not in such an expe- 
rienced way. 

You smell like flowers and and fresh 
things," he cried out quite joyously. " What is 
it you smell of? It's cool and warm and sweet 
all at the same time." 

" It's th' wind from th' moor," said Mary. 

' It comes o' sittin' on th' grass under a tree wi' 

Dickon an' wi' Captain an' Soot an' Nut an' Shell. 

It's th' springtime an' out o' doors an' sunshine 

as smells so graidely." 

She said it as broadly as she could, and you do 



234 THE SECRET GARDEN 

not know how broadly Yorkshire sounds until you 
have heard some one speak it. Colin began to 
laugh. 

" What are you doing?' he said. 'I never 
heard you talk like that before. How funny it 
sounds." 

" I'm givin' thee a bit o' Yorkshire," answered 
Mary triumphantly. " I canna' talk as graidely 
as Dickon an' Martha can but tha' sees I can shape 
a bit. Doesn't tha' understand a bit o' Yorkshire 
when tha' hears it? An' tha' a Yorkshire lad thy- 
sel' bred an' born! Eh! I wonder tha'rt not 
ashamed o' thy face." 

And then she began to laugh too and they both 
laughed until they could not stop themselves and 
they laughed until the room echoed and Mrs. 
Medlock opening the door to come in drew back 
into the corridor and stood listening amazed. 

"Well, upon my word!' she said, speaking 
rather broad Yorkshire herself because there was 
no one to hear her and she was so astonished. 
" Whoever heard th' like ! Whoever on earth 
would ha' thought it! " 

There was so much to talk about. It seemed 
as if Colin could never hear enough of Dickon 
and Captain and Soot and Nut and Shell and the 
pony whose name was Jump. Mary had run 
round into the wood with Dickon to see Jump. He 



"THA J MUNNOT WASTE TIME" 235 

was a tiny little shaggy moor pony with thick locks 
hanging over his eyes and with a pretty face and 
a nuzzling velvet nose. He was rather thin with 
living on moor grass but he was as tough and wiry 
as if the muscle in his little legs had been made of 
steel springs. He had lifted his head and whin- 
nied softly the moment he saw Dickon and he had 
trotted up to him and put his head across his 
shoulder and then Dickon had talked into his ear 
and Jump had talked back in odd little whinnies 
and puffs and snorts. Dickon had made him give 
Mary his small front hoof and kiss her on her 
cheek with his velvet muzzle. 

" Does he really understand everything Dickon 
says? " Colin asked. 

It seems as if he does/' answered Mary. 
Dickon says anything will understand if you're 
friends with it for sure, but you have to be friends 
for sure." 

Colin lay quiet a little while and his strange gray 
eyes seemed to be staring at the wall, but Mary 
saw he was thinking. 

" I wish I was friends with things," he said 
at last, " but I'm not. I never had anything to 
be friends with, and I can't bear people." 

" Can't you bear me? ' asked Mary. 

" Yes, I can," he answered. " It's very fumy 
but I even like you." 



u 
u 



236 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" Ben Weatherstaff said I was like him," said 
Mary. * He said he'd warrant we'd both got 
the same nasty tempers. I think you are like 
him too. We are all three alike - you and I 
and Ben Weatherstaff. He said we were neither 
of us much to look at and we were as sour as we 
looked. But I don't feel as sour as I used to be- 
fore I knew the robin and Dickon." 

' Did you feel as if you hated people? ' 
Yes," answered Mary without any affectation. 
' I should have detested you if I had seen you be- 
fore I saw the robin and Dickon." 

Colin put out his thin hand and touched her. 

" Mary," he said, " I wish I hadn't said what I 
did about sending Dickon away. I hated you 
when you said he was like an angel and I laughed 
at you but but perhaps he is." 

Well, it was rather funny to say it," she ad- 
mitted frankly, ' ' because his nose does turn up and 
he has a big mouth and his clothes have patches 
all over them and he talks broad Yorkshire, but 
but if an angel did come to Yorkshire and live on 
the moor if there was a Yorkshire angel I 
believe he'd understand the green things and know 
how to make them grow and he would know how 
to talk to the wild creatures as Dickon does and 
they'd know he was friends for sure." 

' I shouldn't mind Dickon looking at me," said 
Colin; " I want to see him." 



THA' MUNNOT WASTE TIME" 237 

" I'm glad you said that," answered Mary, u be- 
cause because " 

Quite suddenly it came into her mind that this 
was the minute to tell him. Colin knew something 
new was coming. 

" Because what? " he cried eagerly. 

Mary was so anxious that she got up from her 
stool and came to him and caught hold of both 
his hands. 

" Can I trust you? I trusted Dickon because 
birds trusted him. Can I trust you foi sure 
for sure? she implored. 

Her face was so solemn that he almost whis- 
pered his answer. 

"Yes yes!" 

" Well, Dickon will come to see you to-morrow 
morning, and he'll bring his creatures with him." 

" Oh ! Oh ! " Colin cried out in delight. 

" But that's not all," Mary went on, almost pale 
with solemn excitement. " The rest is better. 
There is a door into the garden. I found it. It 
is under the ivy on the wall." 

If he had been a strong healthy boy Colin would 
probably have shouted " Hooray! Hooray! Hoo- 
ray! ' but he was weak and rather hysterical; his 
eyes grew bigger and bigger and he gasped for 
breath. 

"Oh! Mary!" he cried out with a half sob. 
"Shall I see it? Shall I get into it? Shall I 



238 THE SECRET GARDEN 

live to get into it?" and he clutched her hands 
and dragged her toward him. 

u Of course you'll see it ! ' snapped Mary in- 
dignantly. " Of course you'll live to get into itl 
Don't be silly!" 

And she was so un-hysterical and natural and 
childish that she brought him to his senses and 
he began to laugh at himself and a few minutes 
afterward she was sitting on her stool again telling 
him not what she imagined the secret garden to 
be like but what it really was, and Colin's aches 
and tiredness were forgotten and he was listen- 
ing enraptured. 

" It is just what you thought it would be," he 
said at last. " It sounds just as if you had really 
seen it. You know I said that when you told me 
first." 

Mary hesitated about two minutes and then 
boldly spoke the truth. 

" I had seen it and I had been in," she said. 
" I found the key and got in weeks ago. But I 
daren't tell you I daren't because I was so 
afraid I couldn't trust you for sure!" 




CHAPTER XIX 

" IT HAS COME ! " 

course Dr. Craven had been sent for the 
morning after Colin had had his tantrum. 
He was always sent for at once when such a 
thing occurred and he always found, when he ar- 
rived, a white shaken boy lying on his bed, sulky 
and still so hysterical that he was ready to break 
into fresh sobbing at the least word. In fact, Dr. 
Craven dreaded and detested the difficulties of 
these visits. On this occasion he was away from 
Misselthwaite Manor until afternoon. 

" How is he? " he asked Mrs. Medlock rather 
irritably when he arrived. " He will break a 
blood-vessel in one of those fits some day. The 
boy is half insane with hysteria and self-indul- 
gence." 

" Well, sir," answered Mrs. Medlock, " you'll 
scarcely believe your eyes when you see him. 
That plain sour-faced child that's almost as bad as 
himself has just bewitched him. How she's done 
it there's no telling. The Lord knows she's noth- 
ing to look at and you scarcely ever hear her speak, 

239 



240 THE SECRET GARDEN 

but she did what none of us dare do. She just 
flew at him like a little cat last night, and stamped 
her feet and ordered him to stop screaming, and 
somehow she startled him so that he actually did 
stop, and this afternoon well just come up and 
see, sir. It's past crediting." 

The scene which Dr. Craven beheld when he 
entered his patient's room was indeed rather as- 
tonishing to him. As Mrs. Medlock opened the 
door he heard laughing and chattering. Colin 
was on his sofa in his dressing-gown and he was 
sitting up quite straight looking at a picture in one 
of the garden books and talking to the plain child 
who at that moment could scarcely be called plain 
at all because her face was so glowing with en- 
joyment. 

" Those long spires of blue ones we'll have a 
lot of those," Colin was announcing. They're 
called Del-phin-iums." 

" Dickon says they're larkspurs made big and 
grand," cried Mistress Mary. " There are 
clumps there already." 

Then they saw Dr. Craven and stopped. Mary 
became quite still and Colin looked fretful. 

" I am sorry to hear you were ill last night, my 
boy," Dr. Craven said a trifle nervously. He was 
rather a nervous man. 

" I'm better now much better," Colin an- 



IT HAS COME ! ' 241 

swered, rather like a Rajah. " I'm going out in 
my chair in a day or two if it is fine. I want some 
fresh air." 

Dr. Craven sat down by him and felt his puke 
and looked at him curiously. 

' It must be a very fine day," he said, " and you 
must be very careful not to tire yourself." 

' Fresh air won't tire me," said the young Ra- 
jah. 

As there had been occasions when this same 
young gentleman had shrieked aloud with rage 
and had insisted that fresh air would give him cold 
and kill him, it is not to be wondered at that his 
doctor felt somewhat startled. 

" I thought you did not like fresh air," he said. 
' I don't when I am by myself," replied the 
Rajah; " but my cousin is going out with me." 

1 And the nurse, of course?' suggested Dr. 
Craven. 

" No, I will not have the nurse," so magnifi- 
cently that Mary could not help remembering how 
the young native Prince had looked with his dia- 
monds and emeralds and pearls stuck all over him 
and the great rubies on the small dark hand he 
had waved to command his servants to approach 
with salaams and receive his orders. 

" My cousin knows how to take care of me. I 
am always better when she is with me. She made 



242 THE SECRET GARDEN 

me better last night. A very strong boy I know 
will push my carriage." 

Dr. Craven felt rather alarmed. If this tire- 
some hysterical boy should chance to get well he 
himself would lose all chance of inheriting Missel- 
thwaite; but he was not an unscrupulous man, 
though he was a weak one, and he did not intend to 
let him run into actual danger. 

c He must be a strong boy and a steady boy," 
he said. * And I must know something about 
him. Who is he? What is his name? ' 

" It's Dickon," Mary spoke up suddenly. She 
felt somehow that everybody who knew the moor 
must know Dickon. And she was right, too. She 
saw that in a moment Dr. Craven's serious face re- 
laxed into a relieved smile. 

" Oh, Dickon," he said. " If it is Dickon you 
will be safe enough. He's as strong as a moor 
pony, is Dickon." 

"And he's trusty," said Mary. "He's th' 
trustiest lad F Yorkshire." She had been talking 
Yorkshire to Colin and she forgot herself. 

' Did Dickon teach you that? " asked Dr. Cra- 
ven, laughing outright. 

' I'm learning it as if it was French," said Mary 
rather coldly. ' It's like a native dialect in In- 
dia. Very clever people try to learn them. I like 
it and so does Colin." 



IT HAS COME ! ' 243 

Well, well," he said. " If it amuses you per- 
haps it won't do you any harm. Did you take 
your bromide last night, Colin? ' 

" No," Colin answered. " I wouldn't take it 
at first and after Mary made me quiet she talked 
me to sleep in a low voice about the spring 
creeping into a garden." 

That sounds soothing," said Dr. Craven, more 
perplexed than ever and glancing sideways at Mis- 
tress Mary sitting on her stool and looking down 
silently at the carpet. " You are evidently bet- 
ter, but you must remember " 

" I don't want to remember," interrupted the 
Rajah, appearing again. " When I lie by myself 
and remember I begin to have pains everywhere 
and I think of things that make me begin to scream 
because I hate them so. If there was a doctor 
anywhere who could make you forget you were ill 
instead of remembering it I would have him 
brought here." And he waved a thin hand which 
ought really to have been covered with royal sig- 
net rings made of rubies. " It is because my 
cousin makes me forget that she makes me better." 

Dr. Craven had never made such a short stay 
after a "tantrum"; usually he was obliged to 
remain a very long time and do a great many 
things. This afternoon he did not give any medi- 
cine or leave any new orders and he was spared 



244 THE SECRET GARDEN 

any disagreeable scenes. When he went down- 
stairs he looked very thoughtful and when he 
talked to Mrs. Medlock in the library she felt that 
he was a much puzzled man. 

" Well, sir," she ventured, u could you have be- 
lieved it?" 

" It is certainly a new state of affairs," said the 
doctor. " And there's no denying it is better 
than the old one." 

" I believe Susan Sowerby's right I do that," 
said Mrs. Medlock. u I stopped in her cottage 
on my way to Thwaite yesterday and had a bit of 
talk with her. And she says to me, ' Well, Sarah 
Ann, she mayn't be a good child, an' she mayn't be 
a pretty one, but she's a child, an' children needs 
children.' We went to school together, Susan 
Sowerby and me." 

" She's the best sick nurse I know," said Dr. 
Craven. " When I find her in a cottage I know 
the chances are that I shall save my patient." 

Mrs. Medlock smiled. She was fond of Susan 
Sowerby. 

" She's got a way with her, has Susan," she went 
on quite volubly. " I've been thinking all morn- 
ing of one thing she said yesterday. She says, 
1 Once when I was givin' th' children a bit of a 
preach after they'd been fightin' I ses to 'em all, 
" When I was at school my jography told as th' 



" IT HAS COME ! " 245 

world was shaped like a orange an' I found out 
before I was ten that th' whole orange doesn't be- 
long to nobody. No one owns more than his bit 
of a quarter an' there's times it seems like there's 
not enow quarters to go round. But don't you 
none o' you think as you own th' whole orange 
or you'll find out you're mistaken, an' you won't 
find it out without hard knocks." What children 
learns from children,' she says, ' is that there's no 
sense in grabbin' at th' whole orange peel an' 
all. If you do you'll likely not get even th' pips, 
an' them's too bitter to eat.' 

" She's a shrewd woman," said Dr. Craven, put- 
ting on his coat. 

" Well, she's got a way of saying things," 
ended Mrs. Medlock, much pleased. " Some- 
times I've said to her, ' Eh ! Susan, if you was a 
different woman an' didn't talk such broad York- 
shire I've seen the times when I should have said 
you was clever.' 

That night Colin siept without once awakening 
and when he opened his eyes in the morning he 
(ay still and smiled without knowing it smiled 
because he felt so curiously comfortable. It was 
actually nice to be awake, and he turned over and 
stretched his limbs luxuriously. He felt as if tight 
strings which had held him had loosened them' 



246 THE SECRET GARDEN 

selves and let him go. He did not know that Dr. 
Craven would have said that his nerves had re- 
laxed and rested themselves. Instead of lying and 
staring at the wall and wishing he had not awak- 
ened, his mind was full of the plans he and Mary 
had made yesterday, of pictures of the garden and 
of Dickon and his wild creatures. It was so nice 
to have things to think about. And he had not 
been awake more than ten minutes when he heard 
feet running along the corridor and Mary was at 
the door. The next minute she was in the room 
and had run across to his bed, bringing with her 
a waft of fresh air full of the scent of the morn- 
ing. 

YouVe been out! You've been out! 
There's that nice smell of leaves ! ' he cried. 

She had been running and her hair was loose 
and blown and she was bright with the air and 
pink-cheeked, though he could not see it. 

1 It's so beautiful ! ' ' she said, a little breathless 
with her speed. You never saw anything so 
beautiful! It has come! I thought it had come 
that other morning, but it was only coming. It is 
here now! It has come, the Spring! Dickon 
says so ! ' 

1 Has it?' cried Colin, and though he really 
knew nothing about it he felt his heart beat. He 
actually sat up in bed. 



IT HAS COME! 3 247 

" Open the window ! " he added, laughing half 
with joyful excitement and half at his own fancy. 
" Perhaps we may hear golden trumpets ! ' 

And though he laughed, Mary was at the win- 
dow in a moment and in a moment more it was 
opened wide and freshness and softness and 
scents and birds' songs were pouring through. 

That's fresh air," she said. " Lie on your 
back and draw in long breaths of it. That's what 
Dickon does when he's lying on the moor. He 
says he feels it in his veins and it makes him 
strong and he feels as if he could live forever and 
ever. Breathe it and breathe it." 

She was only repeating what Dickon had told 
her, but she caught Colin's fancy. 

" ' Forever and ever ' ! Does it make him feel 
like that?' he said, and he did as she told him, 
drawing in long deep breaths over and over again 
until he felt that something quite new and delight- 
ful was happening to him. 

Mary was at his bedside again. 

" Things are crowding up out of the earth," 
she ran on in a hurry. * And there are flowers 
uncurling and buds on everything and the green 
veil has covered nearly all the gray and the birds 
are in such a hurry about their nests for fear they 
may be too late that some of them are even fight- 
ing for places in the secret garden. And the rose- 



248 THE SECRET GARDEN 

bushes look as wick as wick can be, and there are 
primroses in the lanes and woods, and the seeds 
we planted are up, and Dickon has brought the 
fox and the crow and the squirrels and a new-born 
lamb." 

And then she paused for breath. The new-born 
lamb Dickon had found three days before lying 
by its dead mother among the gorse bushes on the 
moor. It was not the first motherless lamb he 
had found and he knew what to do with it. He 
had taken it to the cottage wrapped in his jacket 
and he had let it lie near the fire and had fed it 
with warm milk. It was a soft thing with a dar- 
ling silly baby face and legs rather long for its 
body. Dickon had carried it over the moor in his 
arms and its feeding bottle was in his pocket with 
a squirrel, and when Mary had sat under a tree 
with its limp warmness huddled on her lap she 
had felt as if she were too full of strange joy to 
speak. A lamb a lamb ! A living lamb who 
lay on your lap like a baby! 

She was describing it with great joy and Colin 
was listening and drawing in long breaths of air 
when the nurse entered. She started a little at 
the sight of the open window. She had sat sti- 
fling in the room many a warm day because her 
patient was sure that open windows gave people 
cold. 



IT HAS COME ! ' 249 

* Are you sure you are not chilly, Master 
Colin? ' she inquired. 

" No," was the answer. " I am breathing long 
breaths of fresh air. It makes you strong. I 
am going to get up to the sofa for breakfast and 
my cousin will have breakfast with me." 

The nurse went away, concealing a smile, to give 
the order for two breakfasts. She found the serv- 
ants' hall a more amusing place than the in- 
valid's chamber and just now everybody wanted 
to hear the news from up-stairs. There was a 
great deal of joking about the unpopular young 
recluse who, as the cook said, " had found his 
master, and good for him." The servants' hall 
had been very tired of the tantrums, and the but- 
ler, who was a man with a family, had more than 
once expressed his opinion that the invalid would 
be all the better " for a good hiding." 

When Colin was on his sofa and the breakfast 
for two was put upon the table he made an an- 
nouncement to the nurse in his most Rajah-like 
manner. 

" A boy, and a fox, and a crow, and two squir- 
rels, and a new-born lamb, are coming to see me 
this morning. I want them brought up-stairs as 
soon as they come," he said. You are not to 
begin playing with the animals in the servants' hall 
and keep them there. I want them here." 



250 THE SECRET GARDEN 

The nurse gave a slight gasp and tried to con- 
ceal it with a cough. 

" Yes, sir/' she answered. 
' I'll tell you what you can do/ 1 added Colin^ 
waving his hand. You can tell Martha to bring 
them here. The boy is Martha's brother. His 
name is Dickon and he is an animal charmer." 

" I hope the animals won't bite, Master Colin/' 
said the nurse. 

" I told you he was a charmer/' said Colin aus- 
feerely. l Charmers' animals never bite." 

" There are snake-charmers in India," said 
Mary; " and they can put their snakes' heads in 
their mouths." 

" Goodness! " shuddered the nurse. 

They ate their breakfast with the morning air 
pouring in upon them. Colin's breakfast was a 
very good one and Mary watched him with seri- 
ous interest. 

" You will begin to get fatter just as I did," she 
said. " I never wanted my breakfast when I was 
in India and now I always want it." 

* I wanted mine this morning," said Colin. 
' Perhaps it was the fresh air. When do you 
think Dickon will come ? ' 

He was not long in coming. In about ten 
minutes Mary held up her hand. 

" Listen ! " she said. " Did you hear a caw? " 




"DICKON CAME IN SMILING HIS NICEST WIDE SMILE" Page 2S1 



IT HAS COME! 3 251 

Colin listened and heard it, the oddest sound in 
the world to hear inside a house, a hoarse " caw- 



caw.' 



Yes," he answered. 

"That's Soot," said Mary. "Listen again! 
Do you hear a bleat a tiny one ? ' 

' Oh, yes ! " cried Colin, quite flushing. 

" That's the new-born lamb," said Mary. 
" He's coming." 

Dickon's moorland boots were thick and clumsy 
and though he tried to walk quietly they made a 
clumping sound as he walked through the long 
corridors. Mary and Colin heard him marching 
marching, until he passed through the tapestry 
door on to the soft carpet of Colin's own passage. 
' If you please, sir," announced Martha, open- 
ing the door, * if you please, sir, here's Dickon 
an' his creatures." 

Dickon came in smiling his nicest wide smile, 
The new-born lamb was in his arms and the little 
red fox trotted by his side. Nut sat on his left 
shoulder and Soot on his right and Shell's head and 
paws peeped out of his coat pocket. 

Colin slowly sat up and stared and stared as 
he had stared when he first saw Mary; but this 
was a stare of wonder and delight. The truth 
was that in spite of all he had heard he had not 
in the least understood what this boy would be like 



252 THE SECRET GARDEN 

and that his fox and his crow and his squirrels and 
his lamb were so near to him and his friendliness 
that they seemed almost to be part of himself. 
Colin had never talked to a boy in his life and he 
was so overwhelmed by his own pleasure and cu- 
riosity that he did not even think of speaking. 

But Dickon did not feel the least shy or awk- 
ward. He had not felt embarrassed because the 
crow had not known his language and had only 
stared and had not spoken to him the first time 
they met. Creatures were always like that until 
they found out about you. He walked over to 
Colin's sofa and put the new-born lamb quietly on 
his lap, and immediately the little creature turned 
to the warm velvet dressing-gown and began to 
nuzzle and nuzzle into its folds and butt its 
tight-curled head with soft impatience against his 
side. Of course no boy could have helped speak- 
ing then. 

"What is it doing?" cried Colin. "What 
does it want? ' 

" It wants its mother," said Dickon, smiling 
more and more. u I brought it to thee a bit hun- 
gry because I knowed tha'd like to see it feed." 

He knelt down by the sofa and took a feeding- 
bottle from his pocket. 

" Come on, little 'un," he said, turning the small 
woollv white head with a gentle brown hand. 



IT HAS COME ! ' 253 

" This is what tha's after. Tha'll get more out o' 
this than tha' will out o' silk velvet coats. There 
now," and he pushed the rubber tip of the bottle 
into the nuzzling mouth and the lamb began to 
suck it with ravenous ecstasy. 

After that there was no wondering what to say. 
By the time the lamb fell asleep questions poured 
forth and Dickon answered them all. He told 
them how he had found the lamb just as the sun 
was rising three mornings ago. He had been 
standing on the moor listening to a skylark and 
watching him swing higher and higher into the 
sky until he was only a speck in the heights of blue. 

" I'd almost lost him but for his song an' I 
was wonderin' how a chap could hear it when it 
seemed as if he'd get out o' th' world in a minute 
an' just then I heard somethin' else far off 
among th' gorse bushes. It was a weak bleatin' 
an' I knowed it was a new lamb as was hungry 
an' I knowed it wouldn't be hungry if it hadn't 
lost its mother somehow, so I set off searchin'. 
Eh! I did have a look for it. I went in 
an' out among th' gorse bushes an' round an' 
round an' I always seemed to take th' wrong 
turnin'. But at last I seed a bit o' white by a rock 
on top o' th' moor an' I climbed up an' found th' 
little 'un half dead wi' cold an' clemmin'." 

While he talked, Soot flew solemnly in and out 



254 THE SECRET GARDEN 

of the open window and cawed remarks about the 
scenery while Nut and Shell made excursions into 
the big trees outside and ran up and down trunks 
and explored branches. Captain curled up near 
Dickon, who sat on the hearth-rug from prefer- 
ence. 

They looked at the pictures in the gardening 
books and Dickon knew all the flowers by their 
country names and knew exactly which ones were 
already growing in the secret garden. 

" I couldna' say that there name," he said, 
pointing to one under which was written " Aqui- 
legia," " but us calls that a columbine, an' that 
there one it's a snapdragon and they both grow 
wild in hedges, but these is garden ones in' they're 
bigger an' grander. There's some big clumps o* 
columbine in th' garden. They'll look like a bed 
o' blue an' white butterflies flutterin' when they're 
out." 

" I'm going to see them," cried Colin. " I am 
going to see them! ' 

" Aye, that tha' mun," said Mary quite seri- 
ously. " An tha' munnot lose no time about it." 



CHAPTER XX 

" I SHALL LIVE FOREVER AND EVER AND 

EVER! " 

OUT they were obliged to wait more than a 
*^ week because first there came some very 
windy days and then Colin was threatened with 
a cold, which two things happening one after the 
other would no doubt have thrown him into a 
rage but that there was so much careful and mys- 
terious planning to do and almost every day 
Dickon came in, if only for a few minutes, to talk 
about what was happening on the moor and in 
the lanes and hedges and on the borders of 
streams. The things he had to tell about otters' 
and badgers' and water-rats' houses, not to men- 
tion birds' nests and fieid-mice and their burrows, 
were enough to make you almost tremble with 
excitement when you heard all the intimate de- 
tails from an animal charmer and realized with 
what thrilling eagerness and anxiety the whole 
busy underworld was working. 

" They're same as us," said Dickon, " only they 
have to build their homes every year. An 5 it 



256 THE SECRET GARDEN 

keeps 'em so busy they fair scuffle to get ^ 
done." 

The most absorbing thing, however, was the 
preparations to be made before Colin could be 
transported with sufficient secrecy to the garden. 
No one must see the chair-carriage and Dickon 
and Mary after they turned a certain corner of 
the shrubbery and entered upon the walk outside 
the ivied walls. As each day passed, Colin had 
become more and more fixed in his feeling that 
the mystery surrounding the garden was one of 
its greatest charms. Nothing must spoil that. 
No one must ever suspect that they had a secret. 
People must think that he was simply going out 
with Mary and Dickon because he liked them and 
did not object to their looking at him. They had 
long and quite delightful talks about their route. 
They would go up this path and down that one 
and cross the other and go round among the foun- 
tain flower-beds as if they were looking at the 
" bedding-out plants ' the head gardener, Mr. 
Roach, had been having arranged. That would 
seem such a rational thing to do that no one would 
think it at all mysterious. They would turn into 
the shrubbery walks and lose themselves until they 
came to the long walls. It was almost as serious 
and elaborately thought out as the plans of march 
made by great generals in time of war. 



"I SHALL LIVE FOREVER!" 257 

Rumors of the new and curious things which 
were occurring in the invalid's apartments had of 
course filtered through the servants' hall into the 
stable yards and out among the gardeners, but 
notwithstanding this, Mr. Roach was startled one 
day when he received orders from Master Colin's 
room to the effect that he must report himself in 
the apartment no outsider had ever seen, as the in- 
valid himself desired to speak to him. 

" Well, well," he said to himself as he hurriedly 
changed his coat, u what's to do now? His Royal 
Highness that wasn't to be looked at calling up a 
man he's never set eyes on." 

Mr. Roach was not without curiosity. He had 
never caught even a glimpse of the boy and had 
heard a dozen exaggerated stories about his un- 
canny looks and ways and his insane tempers. 
The thing he had heard oftenest was that he might 
die at any moment and there had been numerous 
fanciful descriptions of a humped back and help- 
less limbs, given by people who had never seen 
him. 

" Things are changing in this house, Mr. 
Roach," said Mrs. Medlock, as she led him up the 
back staircase to the corridor on to which opened 
the hitherto mysterious chamber. 

" Let's hope they're changing for the better,. 
Mrs. Medlock," he answered. 



258 THE SECRET GARDEN 

11 They couldn't well change for the worse,' 5 she 
continued; " and queer as it all is there's them as 
finds their duties made a lot easier to stand up 
under. Don't you be surprised, Mr. Roach, if you 
find yourself in the middle of a menagerie and 
Martha Sowerby's Dickon more at home than you 
or me could ever be." 

There really was a sort of Magic about Dickon, 
as Mary always privately believed. When Mr. 
Roach heard his name he smiled quite leniently. 

* He'd be at home in Buckingham Palace or at 
the bottom of a coal mine/' he said. " And yet 
It's not impudence, either. He's just fine, is that 
lad." 

It was perhaps well he had been prepared or he 
might have been startled. When the bedroom 
door was opened a large crow, which seemed 
quite at home perched on the high back of a carven 
chair, announced the entrance of a visitor by say- 
ing " Caw Caw ' quite loudly. In spite of 
Mrs. Medlock's warning, Mr. Roach only just 
escaped being sufficiently undignified to jump back- 
ward. 

The young Rajah was neither in bed nor on his 
sofa. He was sitting in an armchair and a young 
lamb was standing by him shaking its tail in feed- 
ing-lamb fashion as Dickon knelt giving it milk 



I SHALL LIVE FOREVER ! ' 259 

from its bottle. A' squirrel was perched on 
Dickon's bent back attentively nibbling a nut. 
The little girl from India was sitting on a big 
footstool looking on. 

" Here is Mr. Roach, Master Colin," said Mrs. 
Medlock. 

The young Rajah turned and looked his servitor 
over at least that was what the head gardener 
felt happened. 

' Oh, you are Roach, are you? ' he said. u I 
sent for you to give you some very important or- 
ders." 

" Very good, sir," answered Roach, wondering 
if he was to receive instructions to fell all the oaks 
in the park or to transform the orchards into 
water-gardens. 

" I am going out in my chair this afternoon," 
said Colin. ' If the fresh air agrees with me I 
may go out every day. When I go, none of the 
gardeners are to be anywhere near the Long Walk 
by the garden walls. No one is to be there. I 
shall go out about two o'clock and every one must 
keep away until I send word that they may go back 
to their work." 

" Very good, sir," replied Mr. Roach, much re- 
lieved to hear that the oaks might remain and 
that the orchards were safe. 



260 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" Mary," said Colin, turning to her, " what is 
that thing you say in India when you have finished 
talking and want people to go? ' 

" You say, ' You have my permission to go,' 
answered Mary. 

The Rajah waved his hand. 

" You have my permission to go, Roach," he 
said. ' But, remember, this is very important." 

" Caw Caw I ' remarked the crow hoarsely 
but not impolitely. 

" Very good, sir. Thank you, sir," said Mr. 
Roach, and Mrs. Medlock took him out of the 
room. 

Outside in the corridor, being a rather good- 
natured man, he smiled until he almost laughed. 

" My word! ' he said, " he's got a fine lordly 
way with him, hasn't he? You'd think he was a 
whole Royal Family rolled into one Prince 
Consort and all." 

"Eh! " protested Mrs. Medlock, "we've had 
to let him trample all over every one of us ever 
since he had feet and he thinks that's what folks 
was born for." 

" Perhaps he'll grow out of it, if he lives," 
suggested Mr. Roach. 

" Well, there's one thing pretty sure," said Mrs. 
Medlock. ' If he does live and that Indian child 
stays here I'll warrant she teaches him that the 



"I SHALL LIVE FOREVER!" 261 

whole orange does not belong to him, as Susan 
Sowerby says. And he'll be likely to find out the 
size of his own quarter." 

Inside the room Colin was leaning back on his 
cushions. 

" It's all safe now," he said. " And this af- 
ternoon I shall see it this afternoon I shall be 
in it! " 

Dickon went back to the garden with his crea- 
tures and Mary stayed with Colin. She did not 
think he looked tired but he was very quiet before 
their lunch came and he was quiet while they were 
eating it. She wondered why and asked him about 
it. 

What big eyes youVe got, Colin," she said. 
When you are thinking they get as big as sau- 
cers. What are you thinking about now? ' 

' I can't help thinking about what it will look 
like," he answered. 

" The garden? ' asked Mary. 

" The springtime," he said. " I was thinking 
that I've really never seen it before. I scarcely 
ever went out and when I did go I never looked 
at it. I didn't even think about it." 

" I never saw it in India because there wasn't 
any," said Mary. 

Shut in and morbid as his life had been, Colin 
had more imagination than she had and at least 



262 THE SECRET GARDEN 

he had spent a good deal of time looking at won- 
derful books and pictures. 

" That morning when you ran in and said ' It's 
come 1 It's come ! ' you made me feel quite queer. 
It sounded as if things were coming with a great 
procession and big bursts and wafts of music. 
I've a picture like it in one of my books crowds 
of lovely people and children with garlands and 
branches with blossoms on them, every one laugh- 
ing and dancing and crowding and playing on 
pipes. That was why I said, ' Perhaps we shall 
hear golden trumpets ' and told you to throw open 
the window." 

"How funny!" said Mary. "That's really 
just what it feels like. And if all the flowers and 
leaves and green things and birds and wild crea- 
tures danced past at once, what a crowd it would 
be I I'm sure they'd dance and sing nd flute and 
that would be the wafts of music." 

They both laughed but it was not because the 
idea was laughable but because they both so liked 
it. 

A little later the nurse made Colin ready. She 
noticed that instead of lying like a log while his 
clothes were put on he sat up and made some 
efforts to help himself, and he talked and laughed 
with Mary all the time. 

" This is one of his good days, sir," she said 



I SHALL LIVE FOREVER ! ' 263 

to Dr. Craven, who dropped in to inspect him. 
' He's in such good spirits that it makes him 
stronger." 

' I'll call in again later in the afternoon, after 
he has come in," said Dr. Craven. " I must see 
how the going out agrees with him. I wish," in 
a very low voice, " that he would let you go with 
him." 

' I'd rather give up the case this moment, sir, 
than even stay here while it's suggested," an- 
swered the nurse with sudden firmness. 

' I hadn't really decided to suggest it," said the 
doctor, with his slight nervousness. " We'll try 
the experiment. Dickon's a lad I'd trust with a 
new-born child." 

The strongest footman in the house carried 
Colin down-stairs and put him in his wheeled chair 
near which Dickon waited outside. After the 
manservant had arranged his rugs and cushions 
the Rajah waved his hand to him and to the nurse. 
You have my permission to go," he said, and 
they both disappeared quickly and it must be con- 
fessed giggled when they were safely inside the 
house. 

Dickon began to push the wheeled chair slowly 
and steadily. Mistress Mary walked beside it 
and Colin leaned back and lifted his face to the 
sky. The arch of it looked very high and the 



264 THE SECRET GARDEN 

small snowy clouds seemed like white birds float- 
ing on outspread wings below its crystal blu&ness. 
The wind swept in soft big breaths down from 
the moor and was strange with a wild clear scented 
sweetness. Colin kept lifting his thin chest to 
draw it in, and his big eyes looked as if it were 
they which were listening listening, instead of 
his ears. 

" There are so many sounds of singing and 
humming and calling out," he said. " What is 
that scent the puffs of wind bring? ' 

" It's gorse on th' moor that's openin' out," an- 
swered Dickon. ' Eh ! th' bees are at it wonder- 
ful to-day." 

Not a human creature was to be caught sight 
of in the paths they took. In fact every gardener 
or gardener's lad had been witched away. But 
they wound in and out among the shrubbery and 
out and round the fountain beds, following their 
carefully planned route for the mere mysterious 
pleasure of it. But when at last they turned into 
the Long Walk by the ivied walls the excited sense 
of an approaching thrill made them, for some curi- 
ous reason they could not have explained, begin to 
speak in whispers. 

" This is it," breathed Mary. This is where 
I used to walk up and down and wonder and 
wonder." 



" I SHALL LIVE FOREVER ! " 265 

" Is it? ' cried Colin, and his eyes began to 
search the ivy with eager curiousness. ' But I 
can see nothing," he whispered. " There is no 
door." 

" That's what I thought," said Mary. 

Then there was a lovely breathless silence and 
the chair wheeled on. 

" That is the garden where Ben Weatherstaff 
works," said Mary. 

"Is it?" said Colin. 

A few yards more and Mary whispered again. 

" This is where the robin flew over the wall," 
she said. 

" Is it? " cried Colin. " OhI I wish he'd com* 
again ! ' 

" And that," said Mary with solemn delight, 
pointing under a big lilac bush, L is where he 
perched on the little heap of earth and showed me 
the key." 

Then Colin sat up. 

"Where? Where? There?' he cried, and his 
eyes were as big as the wolf's in Red Riding-Hood, 
when Red Riding-Hood felt called upon to remark 
on them. Dickon stood still and the wheeled 
chair stopped. 

" And this," said Mary, stepping on to the bed 
close to the ivy, " is where I went to talk to him 
when he chirped at me from the top of the wall... 



266 THE SECRET GARDEN 

And this is the ivy the wind blew back," and she 
took hold of the hanging green curtain. 

" Oh ! is it is it ! " gasped Colin. 

' And here is the handle, and here is the door. 
Dickon push him in push him in quickly ! ' 

And Dickon did it with one strong, steady, splen- 
did push. 

But Colin had actually dropped back against 
his cushions, even though he gasped with delight, 
and he had covered his eyes with his hands and 
held them there shutting out everything until they 
were inside and the chair stopped as if by magic 
and the door was closed. Not till then did he take 
them away and look round and round and round 
as Dickon and Mary had done. And over walls 
and earth and trees and swinging sprays and ten- 
drils the fair green veil of tender little leaves had 
-crept, and in the grass under the trees and the 
gray urns in the alcoves and here and there every- 
where were touches or splashes of gold and purple 
and white and the trees were showing pink and 
snow above his head and there were fluttering of 
wings and faint sweet pipes and humming and 
scents and scents. And the sun fell warm upon 
his face like a hand with a lovely touch. And in 
wonder Mary and Dickon stood and stared at him. 
He looked so strange and different because a pink 



c I SHALL LIVE FOREVER ! ' 267 

glow of color had actually crept all over him 
ivory face and neck and hands and all. 

" I shall get well ! I shall get well ! " he cried 
out. " Mary! Dickon! I shall get well! And I 
shall live forever and ever and ever! " 




CHAPTER XXI 

BEN WEATHERSTAFF 

of the strange things about living in the 
world is that it is only now and then one is 
quite sure one is going to live forever and ever 
and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets 

o 

up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out 
and stands alone and throws one's head far back 
and looks up and up and watches the pale sky 
slowly changing and flushing and marvelous un- 
known things happening until the East almost 
makes one cry out and one's heart stands still at 
the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the 
sun which has been happening every morning 
for thousands and thousands and thousands of 
years. One knows it then for a moment or so. 
And one knows it sometimes when one stands by 
oneself in a wood at sunset and the mysterious 
deep gold stillness slanting through and under 
the branches seems to be saying slowly again and 
again something one cannot quite hear, however 
much one tries. Then sometimes the immense 
quiet of the dark blue at night with millions of 

268 



BEN WEATHERSTAFF 269 

stars waiting and watching makes one sure; and 
sometimes a sound of far-off music makes it true; 
and sometimes a look in some one's eyes. 

And it was like that with Colin when he first 
saw and heard and felt the Springtime inside the 
four high walls of a hidden garden. That after- 
noon the whole world seemed to devote itself to 
being perfect and radiantly beautiful and kind to 
one boy. Perhaps out of pure heavenly goodness 
the spring came and crowded everything it possibly 
could into that one place. More than once 
Dickon paused in what he was doing and stood 
still with a sort of growing wonder in his eyes, 
shaking his head softly. 

4 Eh! it is graidely," he said. "I'm twelve 
goin' on thirteen an' there's a lot o' afternoons in 
thirteen years, but seems to me like I never seed 
one as graidely as this 'ere." 

" Aye, it is a graidely one," said Mary, and she 
sighed for mere joy. " I'll warrant it's th' 
graidelest one as ever was in this world." 

" Does tha' think," said Colin with dreamy care- 
fulness, " as happen it was made loike this 'ere 
all o' purpose for me? ' 

"My word! 5 cried Mary admiringly, 'that 
there is a bit o' good Yorkshire. Tha'rt shapin' 
first-rate that tha' art." 

And delight reigned. 



270 THE SECRET GARDEN 

They drew the chair under the plum-tree, which 
was snow-white with blossoms and musical with 
bees. It was like a king's canopy, a fairy king's. 
There were flowering cherry-trees near, and apple- 
trees whose buds were pink and white, and here 
and there one had burst open wide. Between the 
blossoming branches of the canopy bits of blue 
sky looked down like wonderful eyes. 

Mary and Dickon worked a little here and 
there and Colin watched them. They brought 
him things to look at buds which were opening, 
buds which were tight closed, bits of twig whose 
leaves were just showing green, the feather of a 
woodpecker which had dropped on the grass, the 
empty shell of some bird early hatched. Dickon 
pushed the chair slowly round and round the gar- 
den, stopping every other moment to let him look 
at wonders springing out of the earth or trailing 
down from trees. It was like being taken in state 
round the country of a magic king and queen and 
shown all the mysterious riches it contained. 

'I wonder if we shall see the robin?' said 
Colin. 

Tha'll see him often enow after a bit," an- 
swered Dickon. " When th' eggs hatches out th' 
little chap he'll be kep' so busy it'll make his head 
swim. Tha'll see him flyin' backward an' for'ard 



BEN WEATHERSTAFF 271 

carryin' worms nigh as big as himsel' an' that 
much noise goin' on in th' nest when he gets there 
as fair flusters him so as he scarce knows which 
big mouth to drop th' first piece in. An' gapin' 
beaks an' squawks on every side. Mother says 
as when she sees th' work a robin has to keep them 
gapin' beaks filled, she feels like she was a lady 
with nothin' to do. She says she's seen th' little 
chaps when it seemed like th' sweat must be 
droppin' off 'em, though folk can't see it." 

This made them giggle so delightedly that they 
were obliged to cover their mouths with their 
hands, remembering that they must not be heard. 
Colin had been instructed as to the law of whis- 
pers and low voices several days before. He liked 
the mysteriousness of it and did his best, but in 
the midst of excited enjoyment it is rather diffi- 
cult never to laugh above a whisper. 

Every moment of the afternoon was full of new 
things and every hour the sunshine grew more 
golden. The wheeled chair had been drawn back 
under the canopy and Dickon had sat down on the 
grass and had just drawn out his pipe when Colin 
saw something he had not had time to notice be- 
fore. 

" That's a very old tree over there, isn't it? ' 
he said 



272 THE SECRET GARDEN 

Dickon looked across the grass at the tree and 
Mary looked and there was a brief moment of 
stillness. 

Yes/ 1 answered Dickon, after it, and his low 
voice had a very gentle sound. 

Mary gazed at the tree and thought. 

The branches are quite gray and there's not 
a single leaf anywhere/' Colin went on. " It's 
quite dead, isn't it? ' 

" Aye," admitted Dickon. " But them roses 
as has climbed all over it will near hide every bit 
o' th' dead wood when they're full o' leaves an' 
flowers. It won't look dead then. It'll be th' 
prettiest of all." 

Mary still gazed at the tree and thought. 

" It looks as if a hig branch had been broken 
off," said Colin. " I wonder how it was done." 

' It's been done many a year," answered 
Dickon. "Eh! 3 with a sudden relieved start 
and laying his hand on Colin. ' Look at that 
robin! There he is! He's been foragin' for his 



mate.' 



Colin was almost too late but he just caught 
sight of him, the flash of red-breasted bird with 
something in his beak. He darted through the 
greenness and into the close-grown corner and 
was out of sight. Colin leaned back on his cush- 
ion again, laughing a little. 



BEN WEATHERSTAFF 273 

" He's taking her tea to her. Perhaps it's 
five o'clock. I think I'd like some tea myself." 

And so they were safe. 

" It was Magic which sent the robin," said Mary 
secretly to Dickon afterward. " I know it was 
Magic." For both she and Dickon had been 
afraid Colin might ask something about the tree 
whose branch had broken off ten years ago and 
they had talked it over together and Dickon had 
stood and rubbed his head in a troubled way. 

" We mun look as if it wasn't no different from 
th' other trees," he had said. " We couldn't never 
tell him how it broke, poor lad. If he says any- 
thing about it we mun we mun try to look cheer- 
ful." 

" Aye, that we mun," had answered Mary. 

But she had not felt as if she looked cheer- 
ful when she gazed at the tree. She wondered 
and wondered in those few moments if there was 
any reality in that other thing Dickon had said. 
He had gone on rubbing his rust-red hair in a 
puzzled way, but a nice comforted look had be- 
gun to grow in his blue eyes. 

' Mrs. Craven was a very lovely young lady," 
he had gone on rather hesitatingly. " An' mother 
she thinks maybe she's about Misselthwaite many 
a time lookin' after Mester Colin, same as all 



274 THE SECRET GARDEN 

mothers do when they're took out o' th' world. 
They have to come back, tha' sees. Happen she's 
been in the garden an' happen it was her set us 
to work, an' told us to bring him here." 

Mary had thought he meant something about, 
Magic. She was a great believer in Magic. Se- ( 
cretly she quite believed that Dickon worked 
Magic, of course good Magic, on everything near 
him and that was why people liked him so much 
and wild creatures knew he was their friend. 
She wondered, indeed, if it were not possible that 
his gift had brought the robin just at the right 
moment when Colin asked that dangerous ques- 
tion. She felt that his Magic was working all the 
afternoon and making Colin look like an entirely 
different boy. It did not seem possible that he 
could be the crazy creature who had screamed and 
beaten and bitten his pillow. Even his ivory 
whiteness seemed to change. The faint glow of 
color which had shown on his face and neck and 
hands when he first got inside the garden really 
never quite died away. He looked as if he were 
made of flesh instead of ivory or wax. 

They saw the robin carry food to his mate two 
or three times, and it was so suggestive of af- 
ternoon tea that Colin felt they must have some. 

" Go and make one of the men servants bring 
some in a basket to the rhododendron walk," he 



BEN WEATHERSTAFF 275 

said. u And then you and Dickon can bring it 
here." 

It was an agreeable idea, easily carried out, and 
twhen the white cloth was spread upon the grass, 

I 

with hot tea and buttered toast and crumpets, a 
delightfully hungry meal was eaten, and several 
birds on domestic errands paused to inquire what 
was going on and were led into investigating 
crumbs with great activity. Nut and Shell whisked 
up trees with pieces of cake and Soot took the 
entire half of a buttered crumpet into a corner and 
pecked at and examined and turned it over and 
made hoarse remarks about it until he decided 
to swallow it all joyfully in one gulp. 

The afternoon was dragging toward its mellow 
hour. The sun was deepening the gold of its 
lances, the bees were going home and the birds 
were flying past less often. Dickon and Mary 
were sitting on the grass, the tea-basket was re- 
packed ready to be taken back to the house, and 
Colin was lying against his cushions with his heavy 
locks pushed back from his forehead and his 
face looking quite a natural color. 

" I don't want this afternoon to go," he said; 
" but I shall come back to-morrow, and the day 
after, and the day after, and the day after." 

" You'll get plenty of fresh air, won't you?' 
said Mary. 



276 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" I'm going to get nothing else," he answered 
" I've seen the spring now and I'm going to 
see the summer. I'm going to see everything 
grow here. I'm going to grow here myself." 

" That tha' will," said Dickon. " Us'll have 
thee walkin' about here an' diggin' same as other; 
folk afore long." 

Colin flushed tremendously. 

" Walk !" he said. "Dig! Shall I?" 

Dickon's glance at him was delicately cautious. 
Neither he nor Mary had ever asked if anything 
was the matter with his legs. 

" For sure tha' will," he said stoutly. " Tha' 
tha's got legs o' thine own, same as other 
folks ! " 

Mary was rather frightened until she heard 
Colin's answer. 

" Nothing really ails them," he said, " but they 
are so thin and weak. They shake so that I'm 
afraid to try to stand on them." 

Both Mary and Dickon drew a relieved breath. 
When tha' stops bein' afraid tha'lt stand on 
'em," Dickon said with renewed cheer. " An' 
tha'lt stop bein' afraid in a bit." 

' I shall? ' said Colin, and he lay still as if he 
were wondering about things. 

They were really very quiet for a little while. 
The sun was dropping lower. It was that hour 



BEN WEATHERSTAFF 277 

when everything stills itself, and they really had 
had a busy and exciting afternoon. Colin looked 
as if he were resting luxuriously. Even the crea- 
tures had ceased moving about and had drawn 
together and were resting near them. Soot had 
perched on a low branch and drawn up one leg and 
dropped the gray film drowsily over his eyes. 
Mary privately thought he looked as if he might 
snore in a minute. 

In the midst of this stillness it was rather star- 
tling when Colin half lifted his head and exclaimed 
in a loud suddenly alarmed whisper: 

" Who is that man? " 

Dickon and Mary scrambled to their feet. 

" Man! ' they both cried in low quick voices. 

Colin pointed to the high wall. 

' Look ! ' he whispered excitedly. " Just 
look!" 

Mary and Dickon wheeled about and looked. 
There was Ben Weatherstaff's indignant face 
glaring at them over the wall from the top of a 
ladder! He actually shook his fist at Mary. 

" If I wasn't a bachelder, an' tha' was a wench 
o' mine," he cried, " I'd give thee a hidin' ! " 

He mounted another step threateningly as if it 
were his energetic intention to jump down and 
deal with her; but as she came toward him he 
evidently thought better of it and stood on the 



278 THE SECRET GARDEN 

top step of his ladder shaking his fist down at 
her. 

" I never thowt much o' thee ! ' he harangued. 
" I couldna' abide thee th' first time I set eyes on 
thee. A scrawny buttermilk-faced young besom, / 
allus askin' questions an' pokin' tha' nose where it 
wasna' wanted. I never knowed how tha' got so 
thick wi' me. If it hadna' been for th' robin 
Drat him " 

" Ben Weatherstaff," called out Mary, finding 
her breath. She stood below him and called up 
to him with a sort of gasp. " Ben Weatherstaff, 
it was the robin who showed me the way ! ' 

Then it did seem as if Ben really would scram- 
ble down on her side of the wall, he was so out- 
raged. 

" Tha' young bad 'un! " he called down at her. 
" Layin' tha' badness on a robin, not but what 
he's impidint enow for anythin'. Him showin' 
thee th' way! Him! Eh! tha' young nowt," 
she could see his next words burst out because he 
was overpowered by curiosity " however i' this 
world did tha' get in? ' 

u It was the robin who showed me the way/' 

she protested obstinately. " He didn't know he 

was doing it but he did. And I can't tell you from 

here while you're shaking your fist at me." 

, He stopped shaking his fist very suddenly at 



BEN WEATHERSTAFF 279 

that very moment and his jaw actually dropped as 
he stared over her head at something he saw com- 
ing over the grass toward him. 

At the first sound of his torrent of words Colin 
had been so surprised that he had only sat up 
and listened as if he were spellbound. But in 
the midst of it he had recovered himself and beck- 
oned imperiously to Dickon. 

Wheel me over there ! ' he commanded. 
Wheel me quite close and stop right in front 
of him!" 

And this, if you please, this is what Ben Weath- 
erstaff beheld and which made his jaw drop. A 
wheeled chair with luxurious cushions and robes 
which came toward him looking rather like some 
sort of State Coach because a young Rajah leaned 
back in it with royal command in his great black- 
rimmed eyes and a thin white hand extended 
haughtily toward him. And it stopped right un- 
der Ben Weatherstaff's nose. It was really no 
wonder his mouth dropped open. 

" Do you know who I am?' demanded the 
Rajah. 

How Ben Weatherstaff stared! His red old 
eyes fixed themselves on what was before him as 
if he were seeing a ghost. He gazed and gazed 
and gulped a lump down his throat and did not 
say a word. 



280 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" Do you know who I am? ' demanded Colin 
still more imperiously. ' Answer ! ' 

Ben Weatherstaff put his gnarled hand up and 
passed it over his eyes and over his forehead and 
then he did answer in a queer shaky voice. 

"Who tha' art?" he said. "Aye, that I do 
wi' tha' mother's eyes starin' at me out o' tha' 
face. Lord knows how tha' come here. But 
tha'rt th' poor cripple." 

Colin forgot that he had ever had a back. His 
face flushed scarlet and he sat bolt upright. 

' I'm not a cripple ! ' he cried out furiously. 
"I'm not!" 

' He's not ! ! cried Mary, almost shouting up 
the wall in her fierce indignation. c He's not got 
a lump as big as a pin! I looked and there was 
none there not one ! ' 

Ben Weatherstaff passed his hand over his fore- 
head again and gazed as if he could never gaze 
enough. His hand shook and his mouth shook 
and his voice shook. He was an ignorant old man 
and a tactless old man and he could only re- 
member the things he had heard. 

"Tha' tha' hasn't got a crooked back?' he, 
said hoarsely. 

"No!" shouted Colin. 

Tha' tha' hasn't got crooked legs ? ' quav- 
ered Ben more hoarsely yet. 



BEN WEATHERSTAFF 281 

It was too much. The strength which Colin 
usually threw into his tantrums rushed through 
him now in a new way. Never yet had he been 
accused of crooked legs even in whispers and 
the perfectly simple belief in their existence which 
was revealed by Ben Weatherstaff's voice was 
more than Rajah flesh and blood could endure. 
His anger and insulted pride made him forget 
everything but this one moment and filled him with 
a power he had never known before, an almost un- 
natural strength. 

" Come here! ' he shouted to Dickon, and he 
actually began to tear the coverings off his lower 
limbs and disentangle himself. " Come here! 
Come here ! This minute ! ' 

Dickon was by his side in a second. Mary 
caught her breath in a short gasp and felt herself 
turn pale. 

" He can do it ! He can do it ! He can do it I 
He can! ' she gabbled over to herself under her 
breath as fast as ever she could. 

There was a brief fierce scramble, the rugs 
were tossed on to the ground, Dickon held Colin's 
arm, the thin legs were out, the thin feet were on 
the grass. Colin was standing upright upright 
as straight as an arrow and looking strangely 
tall his head thrown back and his strange eyes 
flashing lightning. 



282 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" Look at me ! ' he flung up at Ben Weather- 
staff. " Just look at me you ! Just look at 
me!" 

" He's as straight as I am ! ' cried Dickon. 
" He's as straight as any lad i' Yorkshire 1 ' 

What Ben Weatherstaff did Mary thought 
queer beyond measure. He choked and gulped 
and suddenly tears ran down his weather-wrinkled 
cheeks as he struck his old hands together. 

"Eh!" he burst forth, " th' lies folk tells! 
Tha'rt as thin as a lath an' as white as a wraith, 
but there's not a knob on thee. Tha'lt make a 
mon yet. God bless thee ! ' 

Dickon held Colin's arm strongly but the boy 
had not begun to falter. He stood straighter and 
straighter and looked Ben Weatherstaff in the 
face. 

" I'm your master," he said, ' when my father 
is away. And you are to obey me. This is my 
garden. Don't dare to say a word about it! 
You get down from that ladder and go out to the 
Long Walk and Miss Mary will meet you and 
bring you here. I want to talk to you. We did 
not want you, but now you will have to be in the 
secret. Be quick! ' 

Ben Weatherstaff's crabbed old face was still 
wet with that one queer rush of tears. It seemed 
as if he could not take his eyes from thin straight 



BEN WEATHERSTAFF 283 

standing on his feet with his head thrown 
back. 

"Eh! lad," he almost whispered. "Eh! my 
lad! : And then remembering himself he sud- 
denly touched his hat gardener fashion and said, 
Yes, sir! Yes, sir! " and obediently disappeared 
as he descended the ladder. 



CHATTER XXII 

WHEN THE SUN WENT DOWN 

WHEN his head was out of sight Colin turned 
to Mary. 

" Go and meet him," he said; and Mary flew 
across the grass to the door under the ivy. 

Dickon was watching him with sharp eyes. 
There were scarlet spots on his cheeks and he 
looked amazing, but he showed no signs of falling. 

' I can stand," he said, and his head was still 
held up and he Said it quite grandly. 

' I told thee tha' could as soon as tha' stopped 
bein' afraid," answered Dickon. " An tha's 
stopped." 

Yes, I've stopped," said Colin. 

Then suddenly he remembered something Mary 
had said. 

" Are you making Magic? ' he asked sharply. 

Dickon's curly mouth spread in a cheerful grin. 

" Tha's doin' Magic thysel'," he said. " It's 
same Magic is made these 'ere work out o' th' 
earth," and he touched with his thick boot a 
clump of accuses in the grass. 

284 



WHEN THE SUN WENT DOWN 285 

Colin looked down at them. 

" Aye," he said slowly, " there couldna' be 
bigger Magic then that there there couldna' 
be." 

He drew himself up straighter than ever. 

* I'm going to walk to that tree/' he said, point- 
ing to one a few feet away from him. ' I'm go- 
ing to be standing when Weatherstaff comes here. 
I can rest against the tree if I like. When I 
want to sit down I will sit down, but not before. 
Bring a rug from the chair." 

He walked to the tree and though Dickon held 
his arm he was wonderfully steady. When he 
stood against the tree trunk it was not too plain 
that he supported himself against it, and he still 
held himself so straight that he looked tall. 

When Ben Weatherstaff came through the door 
in the wall he saw him standing there and he heard 
Mary muttering something under her breath. 

" What art sayin'?' he asked rather testily 
because he did not want his attention distracted 
from the long thin straight boy figure and proud 
face. 

But she did not tell him. What she was say-? 
ing was this: 

" You can do it! You can do it! I told you 
you could ! You can do it ! You can do it ! You 
can!" 



286 THE SECRET GARDEN 

She was saying it to Colin because she wanted 
to make Magic and keep him on his feet looking 
like that. She could not bear that he should 
give in before Ben Weatherstaff. He did not 
give in. She was uplifted by a sudden feeling that 
he looked quite beautiful in spite of his thinness. 
He fixed his eyes on Ben Weatherstaff in his 
funny imperious way. 

' Look at me ! ' he commanded. " Look at 
me all over! Am I a hunchback? Have I got 
crooked legs? ' 

Ben Weatherstaff had not quite got over his 
emotion, but he had recovered a little and an- 
swered almost in his usual way. 

"Not tha'," he said. " Nowt o' th' sort. 
What's tha' been doin' with thysel' hidin' out 
o' sight an' lettin' folk think tha' was cripple an' 
half-witted?" 

" Half-witted!" said Colin angrily. "Who 
thought that?" 

" Lots o' fools," said Ben. " Th' world's full 
o' jackasses brayin' an' they never bray nowt but 
lies. What did tha' shut thysel' up for?" 

u Every one thought I was going to die," said 
Colin shortly. " I'm not ! " 

And he said it with such decision Ben Weather- 
staff looked him over, up and down, down and up. 

" Tha' die ! ' he said with dry exultation. 



WHEN THE SUN WENT DOWN 287 

" Nowt o' th' sort! Tha's got too much pluck 
in thee. When I seed thee put tha' legs on th' 
ground in such a hurry I knowed tha' was all right. 
Sit thee down on th' rug a bit young Mester an' 
give me thy orders." 

There was a queer mixture of crabbed tender- 
ness and shrewd understanding in his manner. 
Mary had poured out speech as rapidly as she 
could as they had come down the Long Walk. 
The chief thing to be remembered, she had told 
him, wafN that Colin was getting well getting 
well. The garden was doing it. No one must 
let him remember about having humps and dying. 

The Rajah condescended to seat himself on a 
rug under the tree. 

" What work do you do in the gardens, Weath- 
erstaff ? " he inquired. 

" Anythin' I'm told to do," answered old Ben. 
" I'm kep' on by favor because she liked me." 

"She?" said Colin. 

*' Tha' mother," answered Ben Weatherstaff. 

"My mother?' said Colin, and he looked 
about him quietly. " This was her garden, wasn't 

it?" 

" Aye, it was that ! " and Ben Weatherstaff 
looked about him too. " She were main fond of 



it.' 



" It is my garden now. I am fond of it. I 



288 THE SECRET GARDEN 

shall come here every day," announced Colin. 
" But it is to be a secret. My orders are that no 
one is tc know that we come here. Dickon and 
my cousin have worked and made it come alive. I 
shall send for you sometimes to help but you 
must come when no one can see you." 

Ben Weatherstaff's face twisted itself in a dry 
old smile. 

" I've come here before when no one saw me," 
he said. 

" What! " exclaimed Colin. " When? " 

Th' last time I was here," rubbing his chin 
and looking round, ' was about two year' ago." 

" But no one has been in it for ten years! ' 
cried Colin. There was no door ! ' 

" I'm no one," said old Ben dryly. " An' I 
didn't come through th' door. I come over th' 
wall. Th' rheumatics held me back th' last two 
year'." 

" Tha' come an' did a bit o' prunin' ! ' cried 
Dickon. " I couldn't make out how it had been 
done." 

' She was so fond of it she was ! ' said Ben 
Weatherstaff slowly. " An' she was such a pretty 
young thing. She says to me once, ' Ben,' says 
she laughin', ' if ever I'm ill or if I go away you 
must take care of my roses.' When she did go 
away th' orders was no one was ever to come nigh. 



WHEN THE SUN WENT DOWN 289 

But I come," with grumpy obstinacy. " Over th' 
wall I come until th' rheumatics stopped me 
an' I did a bit o' work once a year. She'd gave 
her order first/ 1 

" It wouldn't have been as wick as it is if tha' 
hadn't done it," said Dickon. " I did wonder." 

" I'm glad you did it, Weatherstaff," said Colin. 

You'll know how to keep the secret." 

" Aye, I'll know, sir," answered Ben. " An' 
it'll be easier for a man wi' rheumatics to come in 
at th' door." 

On the grass near the tree Mary had dropped 
her trowel. Colin stretched out his hand and took 
it up. An odd expression came into his face and 
he began to scratch at the earth. His thin hand 
was weak enough but presently as they watched 
him Mary with quite breathless interest he 
drove the end of the trowel into the soil and turned 
some over. 

" You can do it ! You can do it ! " said Mary 
to herself. u 1 tell you, you can ! ' 

Dickon's round eyes were full of eager curious- 
ness but he said not a word. Ben Weatherstaff 
looked on with interested face. 

Colin persevered. After he had turned a few 
trowelfuls of soil he spoke exultantly to Dickon 
in his best Yorkshire. 

" Tha' said as tha'd have me walkin' about here 



290 THE SECRET GARDEN 

same as other folk an' tha' said tha'd have me 
diggin'. I thowt tha' was just leein' to please 
me. This is only th' first day an' I've walked 
an' here I am diggin'." 

Ben Weatherstaff's mouth fell open again when 
he heard him, but he ended by chuckling. 

" Eh! " he said, " that sounds as if tha'd got 
wits enow. Tha'rt a Yorkshire lad for sure. 
An' tha'rt diggin', too. How'd tha' like to plant 
a bit o' somethin' ? I can get thee a rose in a pot." 

" Go and get it! " said Colin, digging excitedly. 
" Quick! Quick!" 

It was done quickly enough indeed. Ben 
Weatherstaff went his way forgetting rheumatics. 
Dickon took his spade and dug the hole deeper and 
wider than a new digger with thin white hands 
could make it. Mary slipped out to run and bring 
back a watering-can. When Dickon had deepened 
the hole Colin went on turning the soft earth over 
and over. He looked up at the sky, flushed and 
glowing with the strangely new exercise, slight 
as it was. 

" I want to do it before the sun goes quite 
quite down," he said. 

Mary thought that perhaps the sun held back a 
few minutes just on purpose. Ben Weatherstaff 
brought the rose in its pot from the greenhouse. 
He hobbled over the grass as fast as he could. He 



WHEN THE SUN WENT DOWN 291 

had begun to be excited, too. He knelt down by 
the hole and broke the pot from the mould. 

" Here, lad," he said, handing the plant to 
Colin. " Set it in the earth thysel' same as th' 
king does when he goes to a new place." 

The thin white hands shook a little and Colin's 
flush grew deeper as he set the rose in the mould 
and held it while old Ben made firm the earth. It 
was filled in and pressed down and made steady. 
Mary was leaning forward on her hands and 
knees. Soot had flown down and marched for- 
ward to see what was being done. Nut and Shell 
chattered about it from a cherry-tree. 

" It's planted! " said Colin at last. " And the 
sun is only slipping over the edge. Help me up, 
Dickon. I want to be standing when it goes. 
That's part of the Magic." 

And Dickon helped him, and the Magic or 
whatever it was so gave him strength that when 
the sun did slip over the edge and end the strange 
lovely afternoon for them there he actually stood 
on his two feet laughing. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

MAGIC 

DR. CRAVEN had been waiting some time at 
the house when they returned to it. He had 
indeed begun to wonder if it might not be wise to 
send some one out to explore the garden paths. 
When Colin was brought back to his room the 
poor man looked him over seriously. 

" You should not have stayed so long," he said. 
" ,You must not overexert yourself." 

" I am not tired at all," said Colin. " It has 
made me well. To-morrow I am going out in the 
morning as well as in the afternoon." 

" I am not sure that I can allow it," answered 
Dr. Craven. " I am afraid it would not be wise." 

" It would not be wise to try to stop me/' said 
Colin quite seriously. ' I am going." 

Even Mary had found out that one of Colin's 
chief peculiarities was that he did not know in 
the least what a rude little brute he was with his 
way of ordering people about. He had lived on 
a sort of desert island all his life and as he had 
been the king of it he had made his own manners 

2Q7 



MAGIC 293 

and had had no one to compare himself with. 
Mary had indeed been rather like him herself and 
since she had been at Misselthwaite had gradually 
discovered that her own manners had not been of 
the kind which is usual or popular. Having made 
this discovery she naturally thought it of enough 
interest to communicate to Colin. So she sat and 
looked at him curiously for a few minutes after 
Dr. Craven had gone. She wanted to make him 
ask her why she was doing it and of course she 
did. 

" What are you looking at me for? ' he said. 

" I'm thinking that I am rather sorry for Dr. 
Craven." 

" So am I," said Colin calmly, but not without 
an air of some satisfaction. " He won't get Mis- 
selthwaite at all now I'm not going to die." 

" I'm sorry for him because of that, of course,' 1 
said Mary, " but I was thinking just then that it 
must have been very horrid to have had to be polite 
for ten years to a boy who was always rude. I 
would never have done it." 

" Am I rude? ' Colin inquired undisturbedly. 

" If you had been his own boy and he had been 
a slapping sort of man," said Mary, ' he would 
have slapped you." 

" But he daren't," said Colin, 

" No, he daren't," answered Mistress Mary, 



294 THE SECRET GARDEN 

thinking the thing out quite without prejudice. 
" Nobody ever dared to do anything you didn't 
like because you were going to die and things 
like that. You were such a poor thing." 

" But," announced Colin stubbornly, I am 
not going to be a poor thing. I won't let people 
think I'm one. I stood on my feet this after- 



noon.' 



' It is always having your own way that has 
made you so queer," Mary went on, thinking 
aloud. 

Colin turned his head, frowning. 
' Am I queer? ' he demanded. 
Yes," answered Mary, " very. But you 
needn't be cross," she added impartially, ' be- 
cause so am I queer and so is Ben Weatherstaff. 
But I am not as queer as I was before I began to 
like people and before I found the garden." 

" I don't want to be queer," said Colin. ' I 
am not going to be," and he frowned again with 
determination. 

He was a very proud boy. He lay thinking 
for a while and then Mary saw his beautiful smile 
begin and gradually change his whole face. 

' I shall stop being queer," he said, "if I go 
every day to the garden. There is Magic in there 
good Magic, you know, Mary. I am sure 
there is." 



MAGIC 295 

" So am I," said Mary. 

1 Even if it isn't real Magic,' 1 Colin said, " we 
can pretend it is. Something is there some- 
thing! " 

" It's Magic," said Mary, " but not black. 
It's as white as snow." 

They always called it Magic and indeed it 
seemed like it in the months that followed the 
wonderful months the radiant months the 
amazing ones. Oh ! the things which happened in 
that garden ! If you have never had a garden, you 
cannot understand, and if you have had a garden 
you will know that it would take a whole book to 
describe all that came to pass there. At first it 
seemed that green things would never cease push- 
ing their way through the earth, in the grass, 
in the beds, even in the crevices of the walls. 
Then the green things began to show buds and the 
buds began to unfurl and show color, every shade 
of blue, every shade of purple, every tint and hue 
of crimson. In its happy days flowers had been 
tucked away into every inch and hole and corner. 
Ben Weatherstaff had seen it done and had him- 
self scraped out mortar from between the bricks 
of the wall and made pockets of earth for lovely 
clinging things to grow on. Iris and white lilies 
rose out of the grass in sheaves, and the green 
alcoves filled themselves with amazing armies of 



296 THE SECRET GARDEN 

the blue and white flower lances of tall delphin- 
iums or columbines or campanulas. 

" She was main fond o' them she was," Ben 
Weatherstaff said. ' She liked them things as 
was allus pointin' up to th' blue sky, she used to 
tell. Not as she was one o' them as looked down 
on th' earth not her. She just loved it but she 
said as th' blue sky allus looked so joyful." 

The seeds Dickon and Mary had planted grew 
as if fairies had tended them. Satiny poppies of 
all tints danced in the breeze by the score, gaily 
defying flowers which had lived in the garden for 
years and which it might be confessed seemed 
rather to wonder how such new people had got 
there. And the roses the roses ! Rising out 
of the grass, tangled round the sun-dial, wreath- 
ing the tree trunks and hanging from their 
branches, climbing up the walls and spreading 
over them with long garlands falling in cascades 
they came alive day by day, hour by hour. 
Fair fresh leaves, and buds and buds tiny 
at first but swelling and working Magic until they 
burst and uncurled into cups of scent delicately 
spilling themselves over their brims and filling the 
garden air. 

Colin saw it all, watching each change as it took 
place. Every morning he was brought out and 
every hour of each day when it didn't rain he spenf 



MAGIC 297 

in the garden. Even gray days pleased him. He 
would lie on the grass " watching things growing," 
he said. If you watched long enough, he declared, 
you could see buds unsheath themselves. Also 
you could make the acquaintance of strange busy 
insect things running about on various unknown 
but evidently serious errands, sometimes carry- 
ing tiny scraps of straw or feather or food, or 
climbing blades of grass as if they were trees from 
whose tops one could look out to explore the 
country. A mole throwing up its mound at the 
end of its burrow and making its way out at last 
with the long-nailed paws which looked so like 
elfish hands, had absorbed him one whole morn- 
ing. Ants' ways, beetles' ways, bees' ways, frogs' 
ways, birds' ways, plants' ways, gave him a new 
world to explore and when Dickon revealed them 
all and added foxes' ways, otters' ways, ferrets' 
ways, squirrels' ways, and trout's and water-rats' 
and badgers' ways, there was no end to the things 
to talk about and think over. 

And this was not the half of the Magic. The 
fact that he had really once stood on his feet had 
set Colin thinking tremendously and when Mary 
told him of the spell she had worked he was ex- 
cited and approved of it greatly. He talked of it 
constantly. 

*' Of course there must be lots of Magic in the 



298 THE SECRET GARDEN 

world," he said wisely one day, ' but people 
don't know what it is like or how to make it. 
Perhaps the beginning is just to say nice things are 
going to happen until you make them happen. I 
am going to try and experiment." 

The next morning when they went to the secret 
garden he sent at once for Ben Weatherstaff. 
Ben came as quickly as he could and found the 
Rajah standing on his feet under a tree and look- 
ing very grand but also very beautifully smiling. 

* Good morning, Ben Weatherstaff," he said. 
" I want you and Dickon and Miss Mary to stand 
in a row and listen to me because I am going to 
tell you something very important." 

' Aye, aye, sir ! ' answered Ben Weatherstaff, 
touching his forehead. (One of the long con- 
cealed charms of Ben Weatherstaff was that in 
his boyhood he had once run away to sea and had 
made voyages. So he could reply like a sailor.) 

' I am going to try a scientific experiment," ex- 
plained the Rajah. When I grow up I am 
going to make great scientific discoveries and I 
am going to begin now with this experiment." 

4 Aye, aye, sir!' said Ben Weatherstaff 
promptly, though this was the first time he had 
heard of great scientific discoveries. 

It was the first time Mary had heard of them, 
either, but even at this stage she had begun to 



MAGIC 299 

realize that, queer as he was, Colin had read about 
a great many singular things and was somehow a 
very convincing sort of boy. When he held up 
his head and fixed his strange eyes on you it 
seemed as if you believed him almost in spite of 
yourself though he was only ten years old going 
on eleven. At this moment he was especially 
convincing because he suddenly felt the fascina- 
tion of actually making a sort of speech like a 
grown-up person. 

The great scientific discoveries I am going to 
make," he went on, " will be about Magic. Magic 
is a great thing and scarcely any one knows any- 
thing about it except a few people in old books 
and Mary a little, because she was born in India 
where there are fakirs. I believe Dickon knows 
some Magic, but perhaps he doesn't know he 
knows it. He charms animals and people. I 
would never have let him come to see me if he 
had not been an animal charmer which is a 
boy charmer, too, because a boy is an animal. I 
am sure there is Magic in everything, only we have 
not sense enough to get hold of it and make it 
do things for us like electricity and horses and 



steam.' 



This sounded so imposing that Ben Weather- 
staff became quite excited and really could not keep 
still. 



300 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" Aye, aye, sir," he said and he began to stand 
up quite straight. 

" When Mary found this garden it looked quite 
dead," the orator proceeded. Then something 
began pushing things up out of the soil and making 
things out of nothing. One day things weren't 
there and another they were. I had never 
watched things before and it made me feel very 
curious. Scientific people are always curious and 
I am going to be scientific. I keep saying to my- 
self. 'What is it? What is it?' It's some- 
thing. It can't be nothing! I don't know its 
name so I call it Magic. I have never seen the 
sun rise but Mary and Dickon have and from 
what they tell me I am sure that is Magic too. 
Something pushes it up and draws it. Sometimes 
since I've been in the garden I've looked up 
through the trees at the sky and I have had a 
strange feeling of being happy as if something 
were pushing and drawing in my chest and making 
me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and 
drawing and making things out of nothing. 
Everything is made out of Magic, leaves and trees, 
.flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels 
and people. So it must be all around us. In 
this garden in all the places. The Magic in 
this garden has made me stand up and know I 
am going to live to be a man. I am going to make 



MAGIC 301 

the scientific experiment of trying to get some 
and put it in myself and make it push and draw me 
and make me strong. I don't know how to do it 
but I think that if you keep thinking about it and 
calling it perhaps it will come. Perhaps that is the 
first baby way to get it. When I was going to try 
to stand that first time Mary kept saying to herself 
as fast as she could, * You can do it ! You can 
do it! ' and I did. I had to try myself at the 
same time, of course, but her Magic helped me 
and so did Dickon's. Every morning and eve- 
ning and as often in the daytime as I can remem- 
ber I am going to say, ' Magic is in me! Magic 
is making me well! I am going to be as strong 
as Dickon, as strong as Dickon ! ' And you must 
all do it, too. That is my experiment. Will you 
help, Ben Weatherstaff ? " 

" Aye, aye, sir ! ' said Ben Weatherstaff. 
"Aye, aye!" 

" If you keep doing it every day as regularly 
as soldiers go through drill we shall see what will 
happen and find out if the experiment succeeds. 
You learn things by saying them over and over and 
thinking about them until they stay in your mind 
forever and I think it will be the same with Magic. 
If you keep calling it to come to you and help you 
it will get to be part of you and it will stay and 
do things." 



302 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" I once heard an officer in India tell my mother 
that there were fakirs who said words over and 
over thousands of times," said Mary. 

" I've heard Jem Fettleworth's wife say th' 
same thing over thousands o' times callin' Jem 
a drunken brute," said Ben Weatherstaff dryly. 
" Summat allus come o' that, sure enough. He 
gave her a good hidin' an' went to th' Blue Lion 
an' got as drunk as a lord." 

Colin drew his brows together and thought a 
few minutes. Then he cheered up. 

" Well," he said, " you see something did come 
of it. She used the wrong Magic until she made 
him beat her. If she'd used the right Magic and 
had said something nice perhaps he wouldn't have 
got as drunk as a lord and perhaps perhaps he 
might have bought her a new bonnet." 

Ben Weatherstaff chuckled and there was 
shrewd admiration in his little old eyes. 

" Tha'rt a clever lad as well as a straight-legged 
one, Mester Colin," he said. " Next time I see 
Bess Fettleworth I'll give her a bit of a hint o' 
what Magic will do for her. She'd be rare 
an' pleased if th' sinetifik 'speriment worked an' 
so 'ud Jem." 

Dickon had stood listening to the lecture, his 
round eyes shining with curious delight. Nut and 



MAGIC 303 

Shell were on his shoulders and he held a long- 
eared white rabbit in his arm and stroked and 
stroked it softly while it laid its ears along its 
back and enjoyed itself. 

" Do you think the experiment will work? ' 
Colin asked him, wondering what he was thinking. 
He so often wondered what Dickon was thinking 
when he saw him looking at him or at one of his 
1 creatures " with his happy wide smile. 

He smiled now and his smile was wider than 
usual. 

" Aye," he answered, " that I do. It'll work 
same as th' seeds do when th' sun shines on 'em. 
It'll work for sure. Shall us begin it now? ' 

Colin was delighted and so was Mary. Fired 
by recollections of fakirs and devotees in illustra- 
tions Colin suggested that they should all sit cross- 
legged under the tree which made a canopy. 

' It will be like sitting in a sort of temple," 
said Colin. " I'm rather tired and I want to sit 
down." 

" Eh ! " said Dickon, " tha' musn't begin by 
sayin' tha'rt tired. Tha' might spoil th' Magic." 

Colin turned and looked at him into his in- 
nocent round eyes. 

" That's true," he said slowly. " I must only 
think of the Magic." 



304 THE SECRET GARDEN 

It all seemed most majestic and mysterious when 
they sat down in their circle. Ben Weatherstaff 
felt as if he had somehow been led into appearing 
at a prayer-meeting. Ordinarily he was very 
fixed in being what he called " agen' prayer-meet- 
in's ' but this being the Rajah's affair he did not 
resent it and was indeed inclined to be gratified 
at being called upon to assist. Mistress Mary 
felt solemnly enraptured. Dickon held his rabbit 
in his arm, and perhaps he made some charmer's 
signal no one heard, for when he sat down, cross- 
legged like the rest, the crow, the fox, the squir- 
rels and the lamb slowly drew near and made part 
of the circle, settling each into a place of rest as if 
of their own desire. 

" The * creatures ' have come," said Colin 
gravely. " They want to help us." 

Colin really looked quite beautiful, Mary 
thought. He held his head high as if he felt like 
a sort of priest and his strange eyes had a won- 
derful look in them. The light shone on him 
through the tree canopy. 

" Now we will begin," he said. " Shall we 
sway backward and forward, Mary, as if we were 
dervishes? ' 

" I canna' do no swayin' back'ard and for'ard," 
said Ben Weatherstaff. " I've got th' rheumat- 



ics." 



MAGIC 305 

" The Magic will take them away," said Colin 
in a High Priest tone, " but we won't sway until 
it has done it. We will only chant." 

" I canna' do no chantin'," said Ben Weather- 
staff a trifle testily. They turned me out o' th' 
church choir th' only time I ever tried it." 

No one smiled. They were all too much in 
earnest. Colin's face was not even crossed by a 
shadow. He was thinking only of the Magic. 

" Then I will chant," he said. And he began, 
looking like a strange boy spirit. " The sun is 
shining the sun is shining. That is the Magic. 
The flowers are growing the roots are stirring. 
That is the Magic. Being alive is the Magic 
being strong is the Magic. The Magic is in me 
the Magic is in me. It is in me it is in me. 
It's in every one of us. It's in Ben Weatherstaff's 
back. Magic! Magic! Come and help !' 

He said it a great many times not a thousand 
times but quite a goodly number. Mary listened 
entranced. She felt as if it were at once queer 
and beautiful and she wanted him to go on and on. 
Ben Weatherstaff began to feel soothed into a 
sort of dream which was quite agreeable. The 
humming of the bees in the blossoms mingled with 
the chanting voice and drowsily melted into a 
doze. Dickon sat cross-legged with his rabbit 
asleep on his arm and a hand resting on the 



306 THE SECRET GARDEN 

lamb's back. Soot had pushed away a squirrel 
and huddled close to him on his shoulder, the gray 
film dropped over his eyes. At last Colin 
stopped. 

" Now I am going to walk round the garden/' 
he announced. 

Ben Weatherstaff's head had just dropped for- 
ward and he lifted it with a jerk. 

" You have been asleep," said Colin. 

" Nowt o' th' sort," mumbled Ben. " Th' ser- 
mon was good enow but I'm bound to get out 
afore th' collection." 

He was not quite awake yet. 
You're not in church," said Colin. 
' Not me," said Ben, straightening himself. 
Who said I were? I heard every bit of it. 
You said th' Magic was in my back. Th' doctor 
calls it rheumatics." 

The Rajah waved his hand. 

" That was the wrong Magic," he said. " You 
will get better. You have my permission to go 
to your work. But come back to-morrow." 

' I'd like to see thee walk round the garden," 
grunted Ben. 

It was not an unfriendly grunt, but it was a 
grunt. In fact, being a stubborn old party and 
not having entire faith in Magic he had made up 
his mind that if he were sent away he would climb 



MAGIC 307 

his ladder and look over the wall so that he might 
be ready to hobble back if there were any stum- 
bling. 

The Rajah did not object to his staying and so 
the procession was formed. It really did look 
like a procession. Colin was at its head with 
[Dickon on one side and Mary on the other. Ben 
iWeatherstaff walked behind, and the " creatures ' 
trailed after them, the lamb and the fox cub keep- 
ing close to Dickon, the white rabbit hopping along 
or stopping to nibble and Soot following with the 
solemnity of a person who felt himself in charge. 

It was a procession which moved slowly but 
with dignity. Every few yards it stopped to rest. 
Colin leaned on Dickon's arm and privately Ben 
Weatherstaff kept a sharp lookout, but now and 
then Colin took his hand from its support and 
walked a few steps alone. His head was held 
up all the time and he looked very grand. 

" The Magic is in me ! " he kept saying. " The 
Magic is making me strong! I can feel it! I 
can feel it! ' 

It seemed very certain that something was up- 
1 holding and uplifting him. He sat on the seats 
in the alcoves, and once or twice he sat down on 
the grass and several times he paused in the path 
and leaned on Dickon, but he would not give up 
until he had gone all round the garden. When he 



308 THE SECRET GARDEN 

returned to the canopy tree his cheeks were flushed 
and he looked triumphant. 

"I did it! The Magic worked!' he cried. 
" That is my first scientific discovery." 

What will Dr. Craven say? " broke out Mary. 

' He won't say anything," Colin answered, 
' because he will not be told. This is to be the 
biggest secret of all. No one is to know anything 
about it until I have grown so strong that I can 
walk and run like any other boy. I shall come 
here every day in my chair and I shall be taken 
back in it. I won't have people whispering and 
asking questions and I won't let my father hear 
about it until the experiment has quite succeeded. 
Then sometime when he comes back to Missel- 
thwaite I shall just walk into his study and say 
' Here I am ; I am like any other boy. I am quite 
well and I shall live to be a man. It has been 
done by a scientific experiment.' 

" He will think he is in a dream," cried Mary. 
' He won't believe his eyes." 

Colin flushed triumphantly. He had made 
himself believe that he was going to get well, 
which was really more than half the battle, if he 
kad been aware of it. And the thought which 
stimulated him more than any other was this im- 
agining what his father would look like when he 
saw that he had a son who was as straight and 



MAGIC 309 

strong as other fathers' sons. One of his darkest 
miseries in the unhealthy morbid past days had 
been his hatred of being a sickly weak-backed 
boy whose father was afraid to look at him. 

' He'll be obliged to believe them," he said. 
One of the things I am going to do, after the 
Magic works and before I begin to make scien- 
tific discoveries, is to be an athlete." 

" We shall have thee takin' to boxin' in a week 
or so," said Ben Weatherstaff. " Tha'lt end wi' 
winnin' th' Belt an' bein' champion prize-fighter of 
all England." 

Colin fixed his eyes on him sternly. 

" Weatherstaff," he said, " that is disrespectful. 
You must not take liberties because you are in the 
secret. However much the Magic works I shall 
not be a prize-fighter. I shall be a Scientific Dis- 



coverer.' 



" Ax pardon ax pardon, sir," answered Ben, 
touching his forehead in salute. ' I ought to 
have seed it wasn't a jokin' matter," but his eyes 
twinkled and secretly he was immensely pleased. 
He really did not mind being snubbed since the 
snubbing meant that the lad was gaining strength 
spirit. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

" LET THEM LAUGH " 

HTHE secret garden was not the only one Drckon 
* worked in. Round the cottage on the moor 
there was a piece of ground enclosed by a low wall 
of rough stones. Early in the morning and late 
in the fading twilight and on all the days Colin 
and Mary did not see him, Dickon worked there 
planting or tending potatoes and cabbages, turnips 
and carrots and herbs for his mother. In the 
company of his " creatures " he did wonders there 
and was never tired of doing them, it seemed. 
While he dug or weeded he whistled or sang bits 
of Yorkshire moor songs or talked to Soot or 
Captain or the brothers and sisters he had taught 
to help him. 

We'd never get on as comfortable as we do/' 
Mrs. Sowerby said, " if it wasn't for Dickon's 
garden. Anything '11 grow for him. His 'taters 
and cabbages is twice th' size of any one else's 
an' they've got a flavor with 'em as nobody's has.' 1 
When she found a moment to spare she liked 
to go out and talk to him. After supper there 

310 



" LET THEM LAUGH " 311 

was still a long clear twilight to work in and 
that was her quiet time. She could sit upon the 
low rough wall and look on and hear stories of 
the day. She loved this time. There were not 
only vegetables in this garden. Dickon had 
bought penny packages of flower seeds now and 
then and sown bright sweet-scented things among 
gooseberry bushes and even cabbages and he grew 
borders of mignonette and pinks and pansies and 
things whose seeds he could save year after year or 
whose roots would bloom each spring and spread 
in time into fine clumps. The low wall was one 
of the prettiest things in Yorkshire because he had 
tucked moorland foxglove and ferns and rock- 
cress and hedgerow flowers into every crevice 
until only here and there glimpses of the stones 
were to be seen. 

" All a chap's got to do to make 'em thrive, 
mother," he would say, " is to be friends with 'em 
for sure. They're just like th' ' creatures.' If 
they're thirsty give 'em a drink and if they're 
hungry give 'em a bit o' food. They want to 
live same as we do. If they died I should feel as 
if I'd been a bad lad and somehow treated them 
heartless." 

It was in these twilight hours that Mrs. Sow- 
erby heard of all that happened at Misselthwaite 
Manor. At first she was only told that " Mester 



312 THE SECRET GARDEN 

Colin ' had taken a fancy to going out into the 
grounds with Miss Mary and that it was doing 
him good. But it was not long before it was 
agreed between the two children that Dickon's 
mother might " come into the secret." Somehow 
it was not doubted that she was " safe for sure." 

So one beautiful still evening Dickon told the 
whole story, with all the thrilling details of the 
buried key and the robin and the gray haze which 
had seemed like deadness and the secret Mistress 
Mary had planned never to reveal. The coming 
of Dickon and how it had been told to him, the 
doubt of Mester Colin and the final drama of his 
introduction to the hidden domain, combined with 
the incident of Ben Weatherstaff's angry face peer- 
ing over the wall and Mester Colin's sudden in- 
dignant strength, made Mrs. Sowerby's nice-look- 
ing face quite change color several times. 

" My word! " she said. " It was a good thing 
that little lass came to th' Manor. It's been th' 
makin' o' her an' th' savin' o' him. Standin' on 
his feet! An' us all thinkin' he was a poor half- 
witted lad with not a straight bone in him." 

She asked a great many questions and her blue 
eyes were full of deep thinking. 

" What do they make of it at th' Manor 
him being so well an' cheerful an' never com- 
plainin' ? ' she inquired. 



"LET THEM LAUGH" 313 

" They don't know what to make of it," an- 
swered Dickon. " Every day as comes round his 
face looks different. It's fillin' out and doesn't look 
so sharp an' th' waxy color is goin'. But he has 
to do his bit o' complainm'," with a highly enter- 
tained grin. 

"What for, i.' Mercy's name?" asked Mrs. 
Sowerby. 

Dickon chuckled. 

" He does it to keep them from guessin' what's 
nappened. If the doctor knew he'd found out 
he coi>ld stand on his feet he'd likely write and 
tell Mester Craven. Mester Colin's savin' th' 
secret to tell himself. He's goin' to practise his 
Magic on his legs every day till his father comes 
back an' then he's goin' to march into his room an' 
show him he's as straight as other lads. But 
him an' Miss Mary thinks it's best plan to do a 
bit o' groanin' an' frettin' now an' then to throw 
folk off th' scent." 

Mrs. Sowerby was laughing a low comfortable 
laugh long before he had finished his last sen- 
tence. 

"Eh!" she said, "that pair's enjoyin' their- 
selves, I'll warrant. They'll get a good bit o' play 
actin' out of it an' there's nothin' children likes 
as much as play actin'. Let's hear what they do, 
Dickon lad." 



3 i4 THE SECRET GARDEN 

Dickon stopped weeding and sat up on his heels 
!:o tell her. His eyes were twinkling with fun. 

" Mester Colin is carried down to his chair 
every time he goes out," he explained. * An' he 
flies out at John, th' footman, for not carryin' 
'him careful enough. He makes himself as help- 
less lookin' as he can an' never lifts his head until 
we're out o' sight o' th' house. An' he grunts 
an' frets a good bit when he's bein' settled into 
his chair. Him an' Miss Mary's both got to 
enjoyin' it an' when he groans an' complains she'll 
say, 'Poor Colin! Does it hurt you so much? 
Are you so weak as that, poor Colin? ' but th' 
trouble is that sometimes they can scarce keep 
from burstin' out lamghin'. When we get safe 
into the garden they laugh till they've no breath 
left to laugh with. An' they have to stuff their 
faces into Mester Colin's cushions to keep the 
gardeners from hearin', if any of 'em's about." 

" Th' more they laugh th' better for 'eml' 
said Mrs. Sowerby, still laughing herself. ' Good 
healthy child laughin's better than pills any day 
o' th' year. That pair'll plump up for sure." 

" They are plumpin' up," said Dickon. 
" They're that hungry they don't know how to 
get enough to eat without makin' talk. Mester 
Colin says if he keeps sendin' for more food they 
won't believe he's an invalid at all. Miss Mary 



"LET THEM LAUGH" 315 

says she'll let him eat her share, but he says that 
if she goes hungry she'll get thin an' they mun both 
get fat at once." 

Mrs. Sowerby laughed so heartily at the reve- 
lation of this difficulty, that she quite rocked back- 
ward and forward in her blue cloak, and Dickon 
laughed with her. 

" I'll tell thee what, lad," Mrs. Sowerby said 
when she could speak. " I've thought of a way 
to help 'em. When tha' goes to 'em in th' morn- 
in's tha' shall take a pail o' good new milk an' 
I'll bake 'em a crusty cottage loaf or some buns 
wi' currants in 'em, same as you children like. 
Nothin's so good as fresh milk an' bread. Then 
they could take off th' edge o' their hunger while 
they were in their garden an' th' fine food they get 
indoors 'ud polish off th' corners." 

" Eh ! mother ! " said Dickon admiringly, " what 
a wonder tha' art! Tha' always sees a way out o' 
things. They was quite in a pother yesterday. 
They didn't see how they was to manage without 
orderin' up more food they felt that empty in- 
side." 

" They're two young 'uns growin' fast, an 1 
health's comin' back to both of 'em. Children like 
that feels like young wolves an' food's flesh an' 
blood to 'em," said Mrs. Sowerby. Then she 
smiled Dickon's own curving smile. u Eh! but 



316 THE SECRET GARDEN 

they're enjoyin' theirselves for sure," she said. 

She was quite right, the comfortable wonder- 
ful mother creature and she had never been 
more so than when she said their ' play actin' 
would be their joy. Colin and Mary found it 
one of their most thrilling sources of entertain- 
ment. The idea of protecting themselves from 
suspicion had been unconsciously suggested to 
them first by the puzzled nurse and then by Dr. 
Craven himself. 

Your appetite is improving very much, Mas- 
ter Colin," the nurse had said one day. You 
used to eat nothing, and so many things disagreed 
with you." 

' Nothing disagrees with me now," replied 
Colin, and then seeing the nurse looking at him 
curiously he suddenly remembered that perhaps 
he ought not to appear too well just yet. " At 
least things don't so often disagree with me. It's 
the fresh air." 

' Perhaps it is," said the nurse, still looking at 
him with a mystified expression. " But I must 
talk to Dr. Craven about it." 

' How she stared at you ! " said Mary when she 
went away. ' As if she thought there must be 
something to find out." 

1 1 won't have her finding out things," said 
Colin. ' No one must begin to find out yet." 



'LET THEM LAUGH 317 

When Dr. Craven came that morning he seemed 
puzzled, also. He asked a number of questions, 
to Colin's great annoyance. 

" You stay out in the garden a great deal," he 
suggested. Where do you go? ! 

Colin put on his favorite air of dignified in- 
difference to opinion. 

" I will not let any one know where I go," he 
answered. " I go to a place I like. Every one 
has orders to keep out of the way. I won't be 
watched and stared at. You know that ! ' 

" You seem to be out all day but I do not think 
it has done you harm I do not think so. The 
nurse says that you eat much more than you have 
ever done before." 

" Perhaps," said Colin, prompted by a sudden 
inspiration, u perhaps it is an unnatural appetite." 

' I do not think so, as your food seems to agree 
with you," said Dr. Craven. You are gaining 
flesh rapidly and your color is better." 

u Perhaps perhaps I am bloated and fever- 
ish," said Colin, assuming a discouraging air of 
gloom. ' People who are not going to live are 
often different." 

Dr. Craven shook his head. He was holding^ 
Colin's wrist and he pushed up his sleeve and felt 
his arm. 

v You are not feverish," he said thoughtfully, 



3i8 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" and such flesh as you have gained is healthy. 
If we can keep this up, my boy, we need not talk 
of dying. Your father will be very happy to hear 
of this remarkable improvement. 5 ' 

" I won't have him told ! ! Colin broke forth 
fiercely. " It will only disappoint him if I get 
worse again and I may get worse this very 
night. I might have a raging fever. I feel as if 
I might be beginning to have one now. I won't 
have letters written to my father I won't I 
won't ! You are making me angry and you know 
that is bad for me. I feel hot already. I hate 
being written about and being talked over as much 
as I hate being stared at! ' 

"Hush-h! my boy," Dr. Craven soothed hin\ 
" Nothing shall be written without your permis- 
sion. You are too sensitive about things. You 
must not undo the good which has been done." 

He said no more about writing to Mr. Craven 
and when he saw the nurse he privately warned 
her that such a possibility must not be mentioned 
to the patient. 

" The boy is extraordinarily better," he said. 
; His advance seems almost abnormal. But of 
course he is doing now of his own free will what 
we could not make him do before. Still, he ex- 
cites himself every easily and nothing must be said 
to irritate him.'* 



"LET THEM LAUGH" 3*9 

Mary and Colin were much alarmed and talked 
together anxiously. From this time dated their 
plan of " play actin'." 

" I may be obliged to have a tantrum," said Colin 
regretfully. " I don't want to have one and I'm 
not miserable enough now to work myself into a 
big one. Perhaps I couldn't have one at all. 
That lump doesn't come in my throat now and I 
keep thinking of nice things instead of horrible 
ones. But if they talk about writing to my father 
I shall have to do something." 

He made up his mind to eat less, but unfortu- 
nately it was not possible to carry out this brilliant 
idea when he wakened each morning with an amaz- 
ing appetite and the table near his sofa was set 
with a breakfast of home-made bread and fresh 
butter, snow-white eggs, raspberry jam and clotted 
cream. Mary always breakfasted with him and 
when they found themselves at the table par- 
ticularly if there were delicate slices of sizzling 
ham sending forth tempting odors from under a 
hot silver cover they would look into each oth- 
er's eyes in desperation. 

" I think we shall have to eat it all this morning, 
Mary," Colin always ended by saying. We can 
send away some of the lunch and a great deal of 
the dinner." 

But they never found they could send away any- 



320 THE SECRET GARDEN 

thing and the highly polished condition of the 
empty plates returned to the pantry awakened 
much comment. 

I do wish," Colin would say also, " I do wish 
the slices of ham were thicker, and one muffin each 
is not enough for any one." 

' It's enough for a person who is going to die," 
answered Mary when first she heard this, " but 
it's not enough for a person who is going to live. 
I sometimes feel as if I could eat three when 
those nice fresh heather and gorse smells from the 
moor come pouring in at the open window." 

The morning that Dickon after they had 
been enjoying themselves in the garden for about 
two hours went behind a big rose-bush and 
brought forth two tin pails and revealed that one 
was full of rich new milk with cream on the top of 
it, and that the other held cottage-made currant 
buns folded in a clean blue and white napkin, buns 
so carefully tucked in that they were still hot, there 
was a riot of surprised joyfulness. What a won- 
.derful thing for Mrs. Sowerby to think of I What 
a kind, clever woman she must be ! How good the 
buns were ! And what delicious fresh milk ! 

' Magic is in her just as it is in Dickon," said 
Colin. It makes her think of ways to do things 
nice things. She is a Magic person. Tell her 
we are grateful, Dickon extremely grateful." 



'LET THEM LAUGH 5 321 

He was given to using rather grown-up phrases 
at times. He enjoyed them. He liked this so 
much that he improved upon it. 

" Tell her she has been most bounteous and our 
'gratitude is extreme." 

And then forgetting his grandeur he fell to and 
stuffed himself with buns and drank milk out of 
the pail in copious draughts in the manner of any 
hungry little boy who had been taking unusual 
exercise and breathing in moorland air and whose 
breakfast was more than two hours behind him. 

This was the beginning of many agreeable in- 
cidents of the same kind. They actually awoke 
to the fact that as Mrs. Sowerby had fourteen 
people to provide food for she might not have 
enough to satisfy two extra appetites every day. 
So they asked her to let them send some of their 
shillings to buy things. 

Dickon made the stimulating discovery that in 
the wood in the park outside the garden where 
Mary had first found him piping to the wild crea- 
tures there was a deep little hollow where you 
could build a sort of tiny oven with stones and 
roast potatoes and eggs in it. Roasted eggs were 
a previously unknown luxury and very hot potatoes 
with salt and fresh butter in them were fit for a 
woodland king besides being deliciously satis- 
fying. You could buy both potatoes and eggs and 



322 THE SECRET GARDEN 

eat as many as you liked without feeling as if you 
were taking food out of the mouths of fourteen 
people. 

Every beautiful morning the Magic was worked 
by the mystic circle under the plum-tree which pro- 
vided a canopy of thickening green leaves after 
its brief blossom-time was ended. After the cere- 
mony Colin always took his walking exercise and 
throughout the day he exercised his newly found 
power at intervals. Each day he grew stronger 
and could walk more steadily and cover more 
ground. And each day his belief in the Magic 
grew stronger as well it might. He tried one 
experiment after another as he felt himself gaining 
strength and it was Dickon who showed him the 
best things of all. 

Yesterday," he said one morning after an ab- 
sence, " I went to Thwaite for mother an' near th' 
Blue Cow Inn I seed Bob Haworth. He's the 
strongest chap on th' moor. He's the champion 
wrestler an' he can jump higher than any other 
chap an' throw th' hammer farther. He's gone 
all th' way to Scotland for th' sports some years. 
He's knowed me ever since I was a little 'un an' 
he's a friendly sort an' I axed him some questions. 
Th' gentry calls him a athlete and I thought o* 
thee, Mester Colin, and I says, * How did tha* 
make tha' muscles stick out that way, Bob? Did 



'LET THEM LAUGH 5 323 

tha' do anythin' extra to make thysel' so strong? ' 
An' he says * Well, yes, lad, I did. A strong man 
in a show that came to Thwaite once showed me 
how to exercise my arms an' legs an' every muscle 
in my body.' An' I says, ' Could a delicate chap 
make himself stronger with 'em, Bob?' an' he 
laughed an' says, * Art tha' th' delicate chap? ' an' 
I says, ' No, but I knows a young gentleman that's 
gettin' well of a long illness an' I wish I knowed 
some o' them tricks to tell him about.' I didn't 
say no names an' he didn't ask none. He's 
friendly same as I said an' he stood up an' showed 
me good-natured like, an' I imitated what he did 
till I knowed it by heart." 

Colin had been listening excitedly. 

' Can you show me? " he cried. " Will you? ' 

" Aye, to be sure," Dickon answered, getting 
up. " But he says tha' mun do 'em gentle at first 
an' be careful not to tire thysel'. Rest in between 
times an' take deep breaths an' don't overdo." 

"Til be careful," said Colin. "Show me! 
Show me! Dickon, you are the most Magic boy 
in the world! ' 

Dickon stood up on the grass and slowly went 
through a carefully practical but simple series of 
muscle exercises. Colin watched them with widen- 
ing eyes. He could do a few while he was sit- 
ting down. Presently he did a few gently while 



324 THE SECRET GARDEN 

he stood upon his already steadied feet. Mary 
began to do them also. Soot, who was watching 
the performance, became much disturbed and left 
his branch and hopped about restlessly because he 
could not do them too. 

From that time the exercises were part of the 
day's duties as much as the Magic was. It be- 
came possible for both Colin and Mary to do 
more of them each time they tried, and such ap- 
petites were the results that but for the basket 
Dickon put down behind the bush each morning 
when he arrived they would have been lost. But 
the little oven in the hollow and Mrs. Sowerby's 
bounties were so satisfying that Mrs. Medlock 
and the nurse and Dr. Craven became mystified 
again. You can trifle with your breakfast and 
seem to disdain your dinner if you are full to the 
brim with roasted eggs and potatoes and richly 
frothed new milk and oat-cakes and buns and 
feather honey and clotted cream. 

" They are eating next to nothing," said the 
nurse. " They'll die of starvation if they can't 
be persuaded to take some nourishment* And yet 
see how they look." 

"Look!" exclaimed Mrs. Medlock indig- 
nantly. " Eh ! I'm moithered to death with them. 
They're a pair of young Satans. Bursting their 
jackets one day and the next turning up their nos-es 



'LET THEM LAUGH' 325 

at the best meals Cook can tempt them with. Not 
a mouthful of that lovely young fowl and bread 
sauce did they set a fork into yesterday arid 
the poor woman fair invented a pudding for them 
and back it's sent. She almost cried. She's 
afraid she'll be blamed if they starve themselves 
into their graves." 

Dr. Craven came and looked at Colin long and 
carefully. He wore an extremely worried ex- 
pression when the nurse talked with him and 
showed him the almost untouched tray of break- 
fast she had saved for him to look at but it 
was even more worried when he sat down by 
Colin's sofa and examined him. He had been 
called to London on business and had not seen the 
boy for nearly two weeks. When young things 
begin to gain health they gain it rapidly. The 
waxen tinge had left Colin's skin and a warm rose 
showed through it; his beautiful eyes were clear 
and the hollows under them and in his cheeks and 
temples had filled out. His once dark, heavy locks 
had begun to look as if they sprang healthily from 
his forehead and were soft and warm with life. 
His lips were fuller and of a normal color. In 
fact as an imitation of a boy who was a confirmed 
invalid he was a disgraceful sight. Dr. Craven 
held his chin in his hand and thought him over. 
' I am sorry to hear that you do not eat any- 



326 THE SECRET GARDEN 

thing," he said. " That will not do. You will 
lose all you have gained and you have gained 
amazingly. You ate so well a short time ago." 

" I told you it was an unnatural appetite," an- 
swered Colin. 

Mary was sitting on her stool nearby and she 
suddenly made a very queer sound which she tried 
so violently to repress that she ended by almost 
choking. 

u What is the matter? " said Dr. Craven, turn- 
ing to look at her. 

Mary became quite severe in her manner. 

" It was something between a sneeze and a 
cough," she replied with reproachful dignity, 
" and it got into my throat." 

" But " she said afterward to Colin, " I couldn't 
stop myself. It just burst out because all at once 
I couldn't help remembering that last big potato 
you ate and the way your mouth stretched when 
you bit through that thick lovely crust with jam 
and clotted cream on it." 

" Is there any way in which those children can 
get food secretly? ' Dr. Craven inquired of Mrs. 
Medlock. 

There's no way unless they dig it out of the 
earth or pick it off the trees," Mrs. Medlock an- 
swered. " They stay out in the grounds all day 
and see no one but each other. And if they want 



'LET THEM LAUGH' 327 

anything different to eat from what's sent up to 
them they need only ask for it." 

" Well," said Dr. Craven, " so long as going 
without food agrees with them we need not disturb 
ourselves. The boy is a new creature." 

" So is the girl," said Mrs. Medlock. " She's 
begun to be downright pretty since she's filled out 
and lost her ugly little sour look. Her hair's 
grown thick and healthy looking and she's got a 
bright color. The glummest, ill-natured little 
thing she used to be and now her and Master Colin 
laugh together like a pair of crazy young ones. 
Perhaps they're growing fat on that." 

" Perhaps they are," said Dr. Craven. " Let 
them laugh." 



CHAPTER XXV 

THE CURTAIN 

AND the secret garden bloomed and bloomeei 
and every morning revealed new miracles. 
In the robin's nest there were Eggs and the robin's 
mate sat upon them keeping them warm with her 
feathery little breast and careful wings. At first 
she was very nervous and the robin himself was 
indignantly watchful. Even Dickon did not go 
near the close-grown corner in those days, but 
waited until by the quiet working of some mys- 
terious spell he seemed to have conveyed to the 
soul of the little pair that in the garden there 
was nothing which was not quite like themselves 

nothing which did not understand the wonder- 
fulness of what was happening to them the 
immense, tender, terrible, heart-breaking beauty 
and solemnity of Eggs. If there had been one 
person in that garden who had not known through 
all his or her innermost being that if an Egg were 
taken away or hurt the whole world would whirl 
round and crash through space and come to an end 

if there had been even one who did not feel it 

328 



THE CURTAIN 329 

and act accordingly there could have been no hap- 
piness even in that golden springtime air. But 
they all knew it and felt it and the robin and his 
mate knew they knew it. 

At first the robin watched Mary and Colin with 
sharp anxiety. For some mysterious reason he 
knew he need not watch Dickon. The first mo- 
ment he set his dew-bright black eye on Dickon he 
knew he was not a stranger but a sort of robin 
without beak or feathers. He could speak robin 
(which is a quite distinct language not to be mis- 
taken for any other). To speak robin to a robin 
is like speaking French to a Frenchman. Dickon 
always spoke it to the robin himself, so the queer 
gibberish he used when he spoke to humans did 
not matter in the least. The robin thought he 
spoke this gibberish to them because they were not 
intelligent enough to understand feathered speech. 
His movements also were robin. They never 
startled one by being sudden enough to seem dan- 
gerous or threatening. Any robin could under- 
stand Dickon, so his presence was not even dis- 
turbing. 

But at the outset it seemed necessary to be on 
guard against the other two. In the first place 
the boy creature did not come into the garden on 
his legs. He was pushed in on a thing with wheels 
and the skins of wild animals were thrown over 



330 THE SECRET GARDEN 

him. That in itself was doubtful. Then when 
he began to stand up and move about he did it in 
a queer unaccustomed way and the others seemed 
to have to help him. The robin used to secrete 
himself in a bush and watch this anxiously, his 
head tilted first on one side and then on the other. 
He thought that the slow movements might mean 
that he was preparing to pounce, as cats do. 
When cats are preparing to pounce they creep over 
the ground very slowly. The robin talked this 
over with his mate a great deal for a few days 
but after that he decided not to speak of the 
subject because her terror was so great that he 
was afraid it might be injurious to the eggs. 

When the boy began to walk by himself and 
even to move more quickly it was an immense re- 
lief. But for a long time or it seemed a long 
time to the robin he was a source of some anx- 
iety. He did not act as the other humans did. 
He seemed very fond of walking but he had a way 
of sitting or lying down for a while and then get- 
ting up in a disconcerting manner to begin again. 

One day the robin remembered that when he 
himself had been made to learn to fly by his par- 
ents he had done much the same sort of thing. 
He had taken short flights of a few yards and 
then had been obliged to rest. So - j 't occurred to 
him that this boy was learning to fly or rather 



THE CURTAIN 331 

to walk. He mentioned this to his mate and when 
he told her that the Eggs would probably conduct 
themselves in the same way after they were fledged 
she was quite comforted and even became eagerly 
interested and derived great pleasure from watch- 
ing the boy over the edge of her nest though she 
always thought that the Eggs would be much clev- 
erer and learn more quickly. But then she said 
indulgently that humans were always more clumsy 
and slow than Eggs and most of them never 
seemed really to learn to fly at alL You never 
met them in the air or on tree-tops. 

After a while the boy began to move about as 
the others did, but all three of the children at 
times did unusual things. They would stand 
under the trees and move their arms and legs and 
heads about in a way which was neither walking 
nor running nor sitting down. They went through 
these movements at intervals every day and the 
robin was never able to explain to his mate what 
they were doing or trying to do. He could only 
say that he was sure that the Eggs would never 
flap about in such a manner; but as the boy who 
could speak robin so fluently was doing the thing 
with them, birds could be quite sure that the ac- 
tions were not of a dangerous nature. Of course 
neither the robin nor his mate had ever heard of 
the champion wrestler, Bob Haworth, and his ex- 



332 THE SECRET GARDEN 

ercises for making the muscles stand out like 
lumps. Robins are not like human beings; their 
muscles are always exercised from the first and 
so they develop themselves in a natural manner. 
If you have to fly about to find every meal you eat, 
your muscles do not become atrophied (atrophied 
means wasted away through want of use). 

When the boy was walking and running about 
and digging and weeding like the others, the nest 
in the corner was brooded over by a great peace 
and content. Fears for the Eggs became things 
of the past. Knowing that your Eggs were as safe 
as if they were locked in a bank vault and the 
fact that you could watch so many curious things 
going on made setting a most entertaining occupa- 
tion. On wet days the Eggs' mother sometimes 
felt even a little dull because the children did not 
come into the garden. 

But even on wet days it could not be said that 

Mary and Colin were dull. One morning when 

the rain streamed down unceasingly and Colin was 

beginning to feel a little restive, as he was obliged 

to remain on his sofa because it was not safe to 

get up and walk about, Mary had an inspiration. 

" Now that I am a real boy,' 1 Colin had said, 

4 my legs and arms and all my body are so full 

of Magic that I can't keep them still. They 

want to be doing things all the time. Do you 



THE CURTAIN 333 

know that when I waken in the morning, Mary, 
when it's quite early and the birds are just shouting 
outside and everything seems just shouting for joy 
even the trees and things we can't really hear 
I feel as if I must jump out of bed and shout my- 
self. And if I did it, just think what would hap- 
pen!" 

Mary giggled inordinately. 

" The nurse would come running and Mrs. 
Medlock would come running and they would be 
sure you had gone crazy and they'd send for the 
doctor," she said. 

Colin giggled himself. He could see how they 
would all look how horrified by his outbreak 
and how amazed to see him standing upright. 

I wish my father would come home," he said. 
I want to tell him myself. I'm always think- 
ing about it but we couldn't go on like this 
much longer. I can't stand lying still and pre- 
tending, and besides I look too different. I wish 
it wasn't raining to-day." 

It was then Mistress Mary had her inspiration. 

" Colin," she began mysteriously, " do you know 
how many rooms there are in this house? ' 

1 About a thousand, I suppose," he answered. 

" There's about a hundred no one ever goes 
into," said Mary. i And one rainy day I went 
and looked into ever so many of them. No one 



u 
II 



^334 THE SECRET GARDEN 

ever knew, though Mrs. Medlock nearly found me 
out. I lost my way when I was coming back and 
I stopped at the end of your corridor. That was 
the second time I heard you crying." 

Colin started up on his sofa. 

* A hundred rooms no one goes into," he said. 
" It sounds almost like a secret garden. Sup- 
pose we go and look at them. You could wheel 
me in my chair and nobody would know where we 
went." 

That's what I was thinking," said Mary. 
' No one would dare to follow us. There are 
galleries where you could run. We could do our 
exercises. There is a little Indian room where 
there is a cabinet full of ivory elephants. There 
are all sorts of rooms." 

" Ring the bell," said Colin. 

When the nurse came in he gave his orders. 

" I want my chair," he said. " Miss Mary and 
I are going to look at the part of the house which 
is not used. John can push me as far as the pic- 
ture-gallery because there are some stairs. Then 
he must go away and leave us alone until I send 
for him again." 

Rainy days lost their terrors that morning. 
When the footman had wheeled the chair into the 
picture-gallery and left the two together in obe- 
dience to orders, Colin and Mary looked at each 



THE CURTAIN 335 

other delighted. As soon as Mary had made sure 
that John was really on his way back to his 
own quarters below stairs, Colin got out of his 
chair. 

" I am going to run from one end of the gallery 
to the other," he said, " and then I am going to 
jump and then we will do Bob Haworth's exer- 



cises.' 



And they did all these things and many others. 
They looked at the portraits and found the plain 
little girl dressed in green brocade and holding the 
parrot on her finger. 

" All these," said Colin, " must be my rela- 
tions. They lived a long time ago. That parrot 
one, I believe, is one of my great, great, great, 
great aunts. She looks rather like you, Mary 
not as you look now but as you looked when you 
came here. Now you are a great deal fatter and 
better looking." 

" So are you," said Mary, and they both 
laughed. 

They went to the Indian room and amused 
themselves with the ivory elephants. They found 
the rose-colored brocade boudoir and the hole 
in the cushion the mouse had left but the mice 
had grown up and run away and the hole was 
empty. They saw more rooms and made more 
discoveries than Mary had made on her first pil* 



336 THE SECRET GARDEN 

grimage. They found new corridors and cor- 
ners and flights of steps and new old pictures they 
liked and weird old things they did not know the 
use of. It was a curiously entertaining morning 
and the feeling of wandering about in the same 
house with other people but at the same time feel- 
ing as if one were miles away from them was 3 
fascinating thing. 

" I'm glad we came," Colin said. " I never 
knew I lived in such a big queer old place. I like 
it. We will ramble about every rainy day. We 
shall always be finding new queer corners and 
things." 

That morning they had found among other 
things such good appetites that when they returned 
to Colin's room it was not possible to send the 
luncheon away untouched. 

When the nurse carried the tray down-stairs she 
slapped it down on the kitchen dresser so that Mrs. 
Loomis, the cook, could see the highly polished 
dishes and plates. 

" Look at that ! n she said. This is a house of 
mystery, and those two children are the greatest 
mysteries in it." 

" If they keep that up every day," said the 
strong young footman John, " there'd be small 
wonder that he weighs twice as much to-day as he 
\lid a month ago. I should have to give up my 



THE CURTAIN 337 

place in time, for fear of doing my muscles an 
injury." 

That afternoon Mary noticed that something 
new had happened in Colin's room. She had no- 
ticed it the day before but had said nothing because 
she thought the change might have been made by 
chance. She said nothing to-day but she sat and 
looked fixedly at the picture over the mantel. She 
could look at it because the curtain had been drawn 
aside. That was the change she noticed. 

" I know what you want me to tell you," said 
Colin, after she had stared a few minutes. ' I 
always know when you want me to tell you some- 
thing. You are wondering why the curtain is 
drawn back. I am going to keep it like that." 

"Why?" asked Mary. 

" Because it doesn't make me angry any more 
to see her laughing. I wakened when it was 
bright moonlight two nights ago and felt as if the 
Magic was filling the room and making every- 
thing so splendid that L wouldn't lie still. I got 
up and looked out of the window. The room was 
quite light and there was a patch of moonlight on 
the curtain and somehow that made me go and 
pull the cord. She looked right down at me as 
if she were laughing because she was glad I was 
standing there. It made me like to look at her. 
I want to see her laughing like that all the time. I 



338 THE SECRET GARDEN 

think she must have been a sort of Magic person 
perhaps." 

You are so like her now," said Mary, " that 
sometimes I think perhaps you are her ghost made 
into a boy." 

That idea seemed to impress Colin. He 
thought it over and then answered her slowly. 

' If I were her ghost my father would be 
fond of me," he said. 

' Do you want him to be fond of you? " in- 
quired Mary. 

1 1 used to hate it because he was not fond of 
me. If he grew fond of me I think I should tell 
him about the Magic. It might make him more 
cheerful.'* 



CHAPTER XXVI 

" IT'S MOTHER! ' 

"T^HEIR belief in the Magic was an abiding 
* thing. After the morning's incantations Colin 
sometimes gave them Magic lectures. 

" I like to do it," he explained, ' ' because when 
I grow up and make great scientific discoveries I 
shall be obliged to lecture about them and so this 
is practise. I can only give short lectures now be- 
cause I am very young, and besides Ben Weather- 
staff would feel as if he was in church and he 
would go to sleep." 

" Th' best thing about lecturin'," said Ben, " is 
that a chap can get up an' say aught he pleases an* 
no other chap can answer him back. I wouldn't 
be agen' lecturin' a bit mysel' sometimes." 

But when Colin held forth under his tree old 
Ben fixed devouring eyes on him and kept them 
there. He looked him over with critical affection. 
It was not so much the lecture which interested 
him as the legs which looked straighter and 
stronger each day, the boyish head which held it- 
self up so well, the once sharp chin and hollow 

11Q 

-,---7 



340 THE SECRET GARDEN 

cheeks which had filled and rounded out and the 
eyes which had begun to hold the light he re- 
membered in another pair. Sometimes when 
Colin felt Ben's earnest gaze meant that he 
was much impressed he wondered what he was re- 
flecting on and once when he had seemed quite 
entranced he questioned him. 

What are you thinking about, Ben Weather- 
staff? ' he asked. 

' I was thinking" answered Ben, " as I'd war- 
rant tha's gone up three or four pound this week. 
I was lookin' at tha' calves an' tha' shoulders. 
I'd like to get thee on a pair o' scales." 

'It's the Magic and and Mrs. Sowerby's 
buns and milk and things," said Colin. " You 
see the scientific experiment has succeeded." 

That morning Dickon was too late to hear the 
lecture. When he came he was ruddy with run- 
ning and his funny face looked more twinkling than 
usual. As they had a good deal of weeding to do 
after the rains they fell to work. They always had 
plenty to do after a warm deep sinking rain. The, 
moisture which was good for the flowers was also 
good for the weeds which thrust up tiny blades 
of grass and points of leaves which must be pulled 
up before their roots took too firm hold. Colin 
was as good at weeding as any one in these days 
and he could lecture while he was doing it. 



'IT'S MOTHER! 3 341 

" The Magic works best when you work your- 
self," he said this morning. " You can feel it in 
your bones and muscles. I am going to read 
'books about bones and muscles, but I am going to 
ivrite a book about Magic. I am making it up 
now. I keep finding out things." 

It was not very long after he had said this that 
he laid down his trowel and stood up on his feet. 
He had been silent for several minutes and they 
had seen that he was thinking out lectures, as he 
often did. When he dropped his trowel and stood 
upright it seemed to Mary and Dickon as if a 
sudden strong thought had made him do it. He 
stretched himself out to his tallest height and he 
threw out his arms exultantly. Color glowed in 
his face and his strange eyes widened with joyful- 
ness. All at once he had realized something to 
the full. 

"Mary! Dickon !" he cried. " Just look at 
me I " 

They stopped their weeding and looked at him. 
1 Do you remember that first morning you 
brought me in here? " he demanded. 

Dickon was looking at him very hard. Being 
an animal charmer he could see more things than 
most people could and many of them were things 
he never talked about. He saw some of them 
now in this boy. 



342 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" Aye, that we do," he answered. 

Mary looked hard too, but she said nothing. 

" Just this minute," said Colin, ' all at once I 
remembered it myself when I looked at my 
hand digging with the trowel and I had to 
stand up on my feet to see if it was real. And it 
is real ! I'm well I'm well!'' 

" Aye, that tha' art! " said Dickon. 

"I'm well! I'm well!' said Colin again, and 
his face went quite red all over. 

He had known it before in a way, he had hoped 
it and felt it and thought about it, but just at that 
minute something had rushed all through him 
a sort of rapturous belief and realization and it 
had been so strong that he could not help calling 
out. 

" I shall live forever and ever and ever! ' he 
cried grandly. ' I shall find out thousands and 
thousands of things. I shall find out about people 
and creatures and everything that grows like 
Dickon and I shall never stop making Magic. 
I'm well! I'm well ! I feel I feel as if I want 
to shout out something something thankful, joy- 
ful!" 

Ben Weatherstaff, who had been working near 
a rose-bush, glanced round at him. 

Tha' might sing th' Doxology," he suggested 
in his dryest grunt. He had no opinion of the 



'IT'S MOTHER! 3 343 

Doxology and he did not make the suggestion with 
any particular reverence. 

But Colin was of an exploring mind and he 
knew nothing about the Doxology. 

" What is that? " he inquired. 

" Dickon can sing it for thee, I'll warrant," re- 
plied Ben Weatherstaff. 

Dickon answered with his all-perceiving animal 
charmer's smile. 

" They sing it i' church," he said. " Mother 
says she believes th' skylarks sings it when they 
gets up i' th' mornin'." 

" If she says that, it must be a nice song," Colin 
answered. " I've never been in a church myself. 
I was always too ill. Sing it, Dickon. I want 
to hear it." 

Dickon was quite simple and unaffected about it. 
He understood what Colin felt better than Colin 
did himself. He understood by a sort of instinct 
so natural that he did not know it was understand- 
ing. He pulled off his cap and looked round still 
smiling. 

" Tha' must take off tha' cap," he said to Colin, 
' an' so mun tha', Ben an' tha' mun stand up, 
tha' knows." 

Colin took off his cap and the sun shone on and 
warmed his thick hair as he watched Dickon in- 
tently. Ben Weatherstaff scrambled up from his 



344 THE SECRET GARDEN 

knees and bared his head too with a sort of 
puzzled half-resentful look on his old face as if 
he didn't know exactly why he was doing this re- 
markable thing. 

Dickon stood out among the trees and rose^ 
bushes and began to sing in quite a simple matter- 
of-fact way and in a nice strong boy voice: 

1 Praise God from whom all blessings flow, 
Praise Him all creatures here below, 
Praise Him above ye Heavenly Host, 
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 

Amen." 

When he had finished, Ben Weatherstaff was 
standing quite still with his jaws set obstinately 
but with a disturbed look in his eyes fixed on Colin. 
Colin's face was thoughtful and appreciative. 

' It is a very nice song," he said. ' I like it. 
Perhaps it means just what I mean when I want 
to shout out that I am thankful to the Magic." 
He stopped and thought in a puzzled way. ' Per- 
haps they are both the same thing. How can we 
know the exact names of everything? Sing it 
again, Dickon. Let us try, Mary. I want to 
sing it, too. It's my song. How does it begin? 
1 Praise God from whom all blessings flow ' ? ' 

And they sang it again, and Mary and Colin 
lifted their voices as musically as they could and 




'PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW " Page 344 



IT'S MOTHER!' 345 

Dickon's swelled quite loud and beautiful and 
at the second line Ben Weatherstaff raspingly 
cleared his throat and at the third he joined in with 
such vigor that it seemed almost savage and when 
the " Amen " came to an end Mary observed that 
the very same thing had happened to him which 
had happened when he found out that Colin was 
not a cripple his chin was twitching and he 
was staring and winking and his leathery old 
cheeks were wet. 

1 1 never seed no sense in th' Doxology afore/ 1 
he said hoarsely, ' but I may change my mind i' 
time. I should say tha'd gone up five pound this 
week, Mester Colin five on 'em ! ' 

Colin was looking across the garden at some- 
thing attracting his attention and his expression 
had become a startled one. 

"Who is coming in here?' he said quickly. 
"Who is it?" 

The door in the ivied wall had been pushed 
gently open and a woman had entered. She had 
corne in with the last line of their song and she had 
stood still listening and looking at them. With 
the ivy behind her, the sunlight drifting through 
the trees and dappling her long blue cloak, and 
her nice fresh face smiling across the greenery she 
was rather like a softly colored illustration in 
one of Colin's books. She had wonderful affec- 



346 THE SECRET GARDEN 

donate eyes which seemed to take everything in 
all of them, even Ben Weatherstaff and the u crea- 
tures " and every flower that was in bloom. Un- 
i expectedly as she had appeared, not one of them 
felt that she was an intruder at all. Dickon's eyes 
lighted like lamps. 

" It's Mother that's who it is!" he cried 
and he went across the grass at a run. 

Colin began to move toward her, too, and Mary 
went with him. They both felt their pulses beat 
faster. 

u It's Mother! " Dickon said again when they 
met half-way. " I knowed tha' wanted to see her 
an' I told her where th' door was hid." 

Colin held out his hand with a sort of flushed 
royal shyness but his eyes quite devoured her 
face. 

" Even when I was ill I wanted to see you," he 
said, u you and Dickon and the secret garden. 
I'd never wanted to see any one or anything be- 
fore." 

The sight of his uplifted face brought about a 
sudden change in her own. She flushed and the 
corners of her mouth shook and a mist seemed to 
sweep over her eyes. 

"Eh! dear lad!" she broke out tremulously. 
"Eh! dear lad! " as if she had not known she 
were going to say it. She did not say, " Mester 



IT'S MOTHER! 3 347 

Colin," but just " dear lad " quite suddenly. She 
might have said it to Dickon in the same way if 
she had seen something in his face which touched 
her. Colin liked it. 

" Are you surprised because I am so well? " he 
asked. 

She put her hand on his shoulder and smiled 
the mist out of her eyes. 

"Aye, that I am!" she said; "but tha'rt so 
like thy mother tha' made my heart jump." 

" Do you think," said Colin a little awkwardly, 
" that will make my father like me? ' 

" Aye, for sure, dear lad," she answered and she 
gave his shoulder a soft quick pat. " He mun 
come home he mun come home." 

u Susan Sowerby," said Ben Weatherstaff, get- 
ting close to her. " Look at th' lad's legs, wilt 
tha'? They was like drumsticks i' stockin' two 
month' ago an' I heard folk tell as they was 
bandy an' knock-kneed both at th' same time. 
Look at 'em now ! ' 

Susan Sowerby laughed a comfortable laugh. 

" They're goin' to be fine strong lad's legs in a 
bit," she said. " Let him go on playin' an' workin' 
in th' garden an' eatin' hearty an' drinkin' plenty 
o' good sweet milk an' there'll not be a finer pair 
i' Yorkshire, thank God for it." 

She put both hands on Mistress Mary's shoul- 



348 THE SECRET GARDEN 

clers and looked her little face over in a motherly 
fashion. 

"An' thee, too!" she said. " Tha'rt grown 
near as hearty as our 'Lizabeth Ellen. I'll war- 
rant tha'rt like thy mother too. Our Martha told 
me as Mrs. Medlock heard she was a pretty 
woman. Tha'lt be like a blush rose when tha' 
grows up, my little lass, bless thee." 

She did not mention that when Martha came 
home on her ' day out ' and described the plain 
sallow child she had said that she had no confi- 
dence whatever in what Mrs. Medlock had heard. 
1 It doesn't stand to reason that a pretty woman 
could be th' mother o' such a fou' little lass," she 
had added obstinately. 

Mary had not had time to pay much attention 
to her changing face. She had only known that 
she looked ' different ' and seemed to have a 
great deal more hair and that it was growing very 
fast. But remembering her pleasure in looking 
at the Mem Sahib in the past she was glad to 
hear that she might some day look like her. 

Susan Sowerby went round their garden with 
them and was told the whole story of it and shown 
, every bush and tree which had come alive. Colin 
walked on one side of her and Mary on the other. 
Each of them kept looking up at her comfortable 
rosy face, secretly curious about the delightful 



IT'S MOTHER! 3 349 

feeling she gave them a sort of warm, supported 
feeling. It seemed as if she understood them as 
Dickon understood his " creatures." She stooped 
over the flowers and talked about them as if they 
were children. Soot followed her and once or 
twice cawed at her and flew upon her shoulder as if 
it were Dickon's. When they told her about the 
robin and the first flight of the young ones she 
laughed a motherly little mellow laugh in her 
throat. 

" I suppose learnin' 'em to fly is like learnin' 
children to walk, but I'm feared I should be all in 
a worrit if mine had wings instead o' legs,' 1 she 
said. 

It was because she seemed such a wonderful 
woman in her nice moorland cottage way that at 
last she was told about the Magic. 

' Do you believe in Magic? " asked Colin after 
he had explained about Indian fakirs. " I do 
hope you do." 

" That I do, lad," she answered. " I never 
knowed it by that name but what does th' name 
matter? I warrant they call it a different name 
i' France an' a different one i' Germany. Th' 
same thing as set th' seeds swellin' an' th' sun 
shinin' made thee a well lad an' it's th' Good 
Thing. It isn't like us poor fools as think it 
matters if us is called out of our names. Th' Big 



350 THE SECRET GARDEN 

Good Thing doesn't stop to worrit, bless thee. It 
goes on makin' worlds by th' million worlds 
like us. Never thee stop believin' in th' Big Good 
Thing an' knowin' th' world's full of it an' 
call it what tha likes. Tha' wert singin' to it 
when I come into th' garden." 

' I felt so joyful," said Colin, opening his beau- 
tiful strange eyes at her. " Suddenly I felt how 
different I was how strong my arms and legs 
were, you know and how I could dig and stand 
and I jumped up and wanted to shout out some- 
thing to anything that would listen." 

" Th' Magic listened when tha' sung th' Dox- 
ology. It would ha' listened to anything tha'd 
sung. It was th' joy that mattered. Eh! lad, 
lad what's names to th' Joy Maker," and she 
gave his shoulders a quick soft pat again. 

She had packed a basket which held a regular 

feast this morning, and when the hungry hour 

came and Dickon brought it out from its hiding 

place, she sat down with them under their tree 

, and watched them devour their food, laughing and 

^quite gloating over their appetites. She was full 

of fun and made them laugh at all sorts of odd 

things. She told them stories in broad Yorkshire 

and taught them new words. She laughed as if 

she could not help it when they told her of the in- 



"IT'S MOTHER!" 351 

creasing difficulty there was in pretending that 
Colin was still a fretful invalid. 

" You see we can't help laughing nearly all the 
time when we are together," explained Colin. 
" And it doesn't sound ill at all. We try to choke 
it back but it will burst out and that sounds worse 
than ever." 

" There's one thing that comes into my mind so 
often," said Mary, " and I can scarcely ever hold 
in when I think of it suddenly. I keep thinking 
suppose Colin's face should get to look like a full 
moon. It isn't like one yet but he gets a tiny 
bit fatter every day and suppose some morning 
it should look like one what should we do ! ' 

" Bless us all, I can see tha' has a good bit o' 
play actin' to do," said Susan Sowerby. " But 
tha' won't have to keep it up much longer. 
Mester Craven'll come home." 

" Do you think he will?' asked Colin. 
"Why?" 

Susan Sowerby chuckled softly. 

" I suppose it 'ud nigh break thy heart if he 
found out before tha' told him in tha' own way," 
she said. " Tha's laid awake nights plannin' it." 

" I couldn't bear any one else to tell him," said 
Colin. " I think about different ways every day. 
I think now I just want to run into his room." 



352 THE SECRET GARDEN 

" That'd be a fine start for him," said Susan 
Sowerby. " I'd like to see his face, lad. I would 
that! He mun come back that he mun." 

One of the things they talked of was the visit 
they were to make to her cottage. They planned 
it all. They were to drive over the moor and 
lunch out of doors among the heather. They 
would see all the twelve children and Dickon's 
garden and would not come back until they were 
tired. 

Susan Sowerby got up at last to return to the 
house and Mrs. Medlock. It was time for Colin 
to be wheeled back also. But before he got into 
his chair he stood quite close to Susan and fixed 
his eyes on her with a kind of bewildered adoration 
and he suddenly caught hold of the fold of her 
blue cloak and held it fast. 

" You are just what I what I wanted," he 
said. " I wish you were my mother as well as 
Dickon's!" 

All at once Susan Sowerby bent down and drew 
him with her warm arms close against the bosom 
under the blue cloak as if he had been Dickon's 
brother. The quick mist swept over her eyes. 

" Eh! dear lad! " she said. " Thy own moth- 
er's in this 'ere very garden, I do believe. She 
couldna' keep out of it. Thy father mun come 
back to thee he mun ! ' 



CHAPTER XXVII 

IN THE GARDEN 

i 

IN each century since the beginning of the world 
wonderful things have been discovered. In 
the last century more amazing things were found 
out than in any century before. In this new cen- 
tury hundreds of things still more astounding will 
be brought to light. At first people refuse to be- 
lieve that a strange new thing can be done, then 
they begin to hope it can be done, then they see 
it can be done then it is done and all the world 
wonders why it was not done centuries ago. One 
of the new things people began to find out in 
the last century was that thoughts just mere 
thoughts are as powerful as electric batteries 
as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one 
as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get 
into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet 
fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay 
there after it has got in you may never get over it 
, as long as you live. 

So long as Mistress Mary's mind was full of 
disagreeable thoughts about her dislikes and sour 

353 



354 THE SECRET GARDEN 

opinions of people and her determination not to 
be pleased by or interested in anything, she was a 
yellow-faced, sickly, bored and wretched child. 
Circumstances, however, were very kind to her, 
though she was not at all aware of it. They be- 
gan to push her about for her own good. When 
her mind gradually filled itself with robins, and 
moorland cottages crowded with children, with 
queer crabbed old gardeners and common little 
Yorkshire housemaids, with springtime and with 
secret gardens coming alive day by day, and also 
with a moor boy and his u creatures," there was 
no room left for the disagreeable thoughts which 
affected her liver and her digestion and made her 
yellow and tired. 

So long as Colin shut himself up in his room 
and thought only of his fears and weakness and 
his detestation of people who looked at him and 
reflected hourly on humps and early death, he was 
a hysterical half-crazy little hypochondriac who 
knew nothing of the sunshine and the spring and 
also did not know that he could get well and 
could stand upon his feet if he tried to do it. 
When new beautiful thoughts began to push out 
the old hideous ones, life began to come back to 
him, his blood ran healthily through his veins and 
strength poured into him like a flood. His scien- 
tific experiment was guite practical and simple and 



IN THE GARDEN 355 

there was nothing weird about it at all. Much 
more surprising things can happen to any one who, 
when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes 
into his mind, just has the sense to remember in 
time and push it out by putting in an agreeable 
determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot 
be in one place. 

: Where you tend a rose, my lad, 
A thistle cannot grow." 

While the secret garden was coming alive and 
two children were coming alive with it, there was a 
man wandering about certain far-away beautiful 
places in the Norwegian fiords and the valleys and 
mountains of Switzerland and he was a man who 
for ten years had kept his mind filled with dark 
and heart-broken thinking. He had not been 
courageous; he had never tried to put any other 
thoughts in the place of the dark ones. He had 
wandered by blue lakes and thought them; he 
had lain on mountain-sides with sheets of deep blue 
gentians blooming all about him and flower breaths 
filling all the air and he had thought them. A 
terrible sorrow had fallen upon him when he had 
been happy and he had let his soul fill itself with 
blackness and had refused obstinately to allow any 
rift of light to pierce through. He had forgotten 
and deserted his home and his duties. When he 



356 THE SECRET GARDEN 

traveled about, darkness so brooded over him that 
the sight of him was a wrong done to other people 
because it was as if he poisoned the air about him 
with gloom. Most strangers thought he must be 
either half mad or a man with some hidden crime 
on his soul. He was a tall man. with a drawn face 
and crooked shoulders and the name he always en- 
tered on hotel registers was, " Archibald Craven, 
Misselthwaite Manor, Yorkshire, England." 

He had traveled far and wide since the day he 
saw Mistress Mary in his study and told her she 
might have her " bit of earth." He had been in 
the most beautiful places in Europe, though he had 
remained nowhere more than a few days. He had 
chosen the quietest and remotest spots. He had 
been on the tops of mountains whose heads were 
in the clouds and had looked down on other moun- 
tains when the sun rose and touched them with 
such light as made it seem as if the world were 
just being born. 

But the light had never seemed to touch him- 
self until one day when he realized that for the 
first time in ten years a strange thing had hap- 
pened. He was in a wonderful valley in the Aus- 
trian Tyrol and he had been walking alone through 
such beauty as might have lifted any man's soul 
out of shadow. He had walked a long way and 
it had not lifted his. But at last he had felt tired 



IN THE GARDEN 357 

and had thrown himself down to rest on a carpet 
of moss by a stream. It was a clear little stream 
which ran quite merrily along on its narrow way 
through the luscious damp greenness. Sometimes 
it made a sound rather like very low laughter as 
it bubbled over and round stones. He saw birds 
come and dip their heads to drink in it and then 
flick their wings and fly away. It seemed like a 
thing alive and yet its tiny voice made the stillness 
seem deeper. The valley was very, very still. 

As he sat gazing into the clear running of the 
water, Archibald Craven gradually felt his mind 
and body both grow quiet, as quiet as the valley 
itself. He wondered if he were going to sleep, 
but he was not. He sat and gazed at the sunlit 
water and his eyes began to see things growing at 
its edge. There was one lovely mass of blue 
forget-me-nots growing so close to the stream that 
its leaves were wet and at these he found himself 
looking as he remembered he had looked at such 
things years ago. He was actually thinking ten- 
derly how lovely it was and what wonders of blue 
its hundreds of little blossoms were. He did not 
know that just that simple thought was slowly 
filling his mind filling and filling it until other 
things were softly pushed aside. It was as if a 
sweet clear spring had begun to rise in a stagnant 
pool and had risen and risen until at last it swept 



358 THE SECRET GARDEN 

the dark water away. But of course he did not 
think of this himself. He only knew that the 
valley seemed to grow quieter and quieter as he 
sat and stared at the bright delicate blueness. He 
did not know how long he sat there or what was 
happening to him, but at last he moved as if he 
were awakening and he got up slowly and stood 
on the moss carpet, drawing a long, deep, soft 
breath and wondering at himself. Something 
seemed to have been unbound and released in him, 
very quietly. 

" What is it? " he said, almost in a whisper, and 
he passed his hand over his forehead. " I almost 
feel as if I were alive ! ' 

I do not know enough about the wonderfulness 
of undiscovered things to be able to explain how 
this had happened to him. Neither does any one 
else yet. He did not understand at all himself > 
but he remembered this strange hour months after- 
ward when he was at Misselthwaite again and he 
found out quite by accident that on this very day 
Colin had cried out as he went into the secret gar- 
den: 

' I am going to live forever and ever and 
ever ! ' 

The singular calmness remained with him the 
rest of the evening and he slept a new reposeful 
sleep ; but it was not with him very long. He did 



IN THE GARDEN 359 

not know that it could be kept. By the next night 
he had opened the doors wide to his dark thoughts 
and they had come trooping and rushing back. 
He left the valley and went on his wandering way 
again. But, strange as it seemed to him, there 
were minutes sometimes half-hours when, 
without his knowing why, the black burden seemed 
to lift itself again and he knew he was a living 
man and not a dead one. Slowly slowly 
for no reason that he knew of he was ' com- 
ing alive ' with the garden. 

As the golden summer changed into the deeper 
golden autumn he went to the Lake of Como. 
There he found the loveliness of a dream. He 
spent his days upon the crystal blueness of the lake 
or he walked back into the soft thick verdure of the 
hills and tramped until he was tired so that he 
might sleep. But by this time he had begun to 
sleep better, he knew, and his dreams had ceased 
to be a terror to him. 

" Perhaps," he thought, " my body is growing 
stronger." 

It was growing stronger but because of the 
rare peaceful hours when his thoughts were 
changed his soul was slowly growing stronger, 
too. He began to think of Misselthwaite and 
wonder if he should not go home. Now and then 
he wondered vaguely about his boy and asked 



360 THE SECRET GARDEN 

himself what he should feel when he went and 
stood by the carved four-posted bed again and 
looked down at the sharply chiseled ivory-white 
face while it slept and the black lashes rimmed 
so startlingly the close-shut eyes. He shrank 
from it. 

One marvel of a day he had walked so far that 
when he returned the moon was high and full and 
all the world was purple shadow and silver. The 
stillness of lake and shore and wood was so won- 
derful that he did not go into the villa he lived in. 
He walked down to a little bowered terrace at the 
water's edge and sat upon a seat and breathed in 
all the heavenly scents of the night. He felt the 
strange calmness stealing over him and it grew 
deeper and deeper until he fell asleep. 

He did not know when he fell asleep and when 
he began to dream; his dream was so real that 
he did not feel as if he were dreaming. He re- 
membered afterward how intensely wide awake 
and alert he had thought he was. He thought 
that as he sat and breathed in the scent of the late 
roses and listened to the lapping of the water at 
his feet he heard a voice calling. It was sweet and 
clear and happy and far away. It seemed very 
far, but he heard it as distinctly as if it had been at 
his very side. 

" Archie ! Archie I Archie ! " it said, and then 



IN THE GARDEN 361 

again, sweeter and clearer than before, ' Archie I 
Archie!" 

He thought he sprang to his feet not even 
startled. It was such a real voice and it seemed 
so natural that he should hear it. 

"Lilias! Lilias!' he answered, "Lilias! 
where are you? ' 

; In the garden," it came back like a sound from 
a golden flute. " In the garden ! ' 

And then the dream ended. But he did not 
awaken. He slept soundly and sweetly all 
through the lovely night. When he did awake 
at last it was brilliant morning and a servant 
was standing staring at him. He was an Italian 
servant and was accustomed, as all the servants 
of the villa were, to accepting without question 
any strange thing his foreign master might do. 
No one ever knew when he would go out or come 
in or where he would choose to sleep or if he would 
roam about the garden or lie in the boat on the 
lake all night. The man held a salver with some 
letters on it and he waited quietly until Mr. Craven 
took them. When he had gone away Mr. Craven 
sat a few moments holding them in his hand and 
looking at the lake. His strange calm was still 
upon him and something more a lightness as if 
the cruel thing which had been done had not hap- 
pened as he thought as if something had 



362 THE SECRET GARDEN 

changed. He was remembering the dream 
the real real dream. 

" In the garden! ' he said, wondering at him- 
self. ' In the garden! But the door is locked 
and the key is buried deep." 

When he glanced at the letters a few minutes 
later he saw that the one lying at the top of the rest 
was an English letter and came from Yorkshire. 
It was directed in a plain woman's hand but it 
was not a hand he knew. He opened it, scarcely 
thinking of the writer, but the first words attracted 
his attention at once. 

'Dear Sir: 

1 I am Susan Sowerby that made bold to speak to you 
mce on the moor. It was about Miss Mary I spoke. I 
will make bold to speak again. Please, sir, I would come 
home if I was you. I think you would be glad to come 
and if you will excuse me, sir I think your lady 
would ask you to come if she was here. 

Your obedient servant, 

" SUSAN SOWERBY." 

Mr. Craven read the letter twice before he 
put it back in its envelope. He kept thinking 
about the dream. 

' I will go back to Misselthwaite," he said. 
"Yes, I'll go at once." 

And he went through the garden to the villa 



IN THE GARDEN 363 

and ordered Pitcher to prepare for his return to 
England. 

In a few days he was in Yorkshire again, and 
on his long railroad journey he found himself 
thinking of his boy as he had never thought in all 
the ten years past. During those years he had 
only wished to forget him. Now, though he did 
not intend to think about him, memories of him 
constantly drifted into his mind. He remembered 
the black days when he had raved like a madman 
because the child was alive and the mother was 
dead. He had refused to see it, and when he had 
gone to look at it at last it had been such a weak 
wretched thing that every one had been sure it 
would die in a few days. But to the surprise of 
those who took care of it the days passed and it 
lived and then every one believed it would be a 
deformed and crippled creature. 

He had not meant to be a bad father, but he 
had not felt like a father at all. He had supplied 
doctors and nurses and luxuries, but he had shrunk 
from the mere thought of the boy and had buried^ 
himself in his own misery. The first time after a' 
year's absence he returned to Misselthwaite and 
the small miserable looking thing languidly and 
indifferently lifted to his face the great gray eyes 
with black lashes round them, so like and yet so 



364 THE SECRET GARDEN 

horribly unlike the happy eyes he had adored, he 
could not bear the sight of them and turned away 
pale as death. After that he scarcely ever saw 
him except when he was asleep, and all he knew 
of him was that he was a confirmed invalid, with 
a vicious, hysterical, half-insane temper. He could 
only be kept from furies dangerous to himself by 
being given his own way in every detail. 

All this was not an uplifting thing to recall, but 
as the train whirled him through mountain passes 
and golden plains the man who was ' coming 
alive " began to think in a new way and he thought 
long and steadily and deeply. 

" Perhaps I have been all wrong for ten years/ 1 
he said to himself. Ten years is a long time. 
It may be too late to do anything quite too 
late. What have I been thinking of! ' 

Of course this was the wrong Magic to begin 
by saying ' too late." Even Colin could have 
told him that. But he knew nothing of Magic 
either black or white. This he had yet to learn. 
He wondered if Susan Sowerby had taken courage 
and written to him only because the motherly crea- 
ture had realized that the boy was much worse 
was fatally ill. If he had not been under the 
spell of the curious calmness which had taken pos- 
session of him he would have been more wretched 
than ever. But the calm had brought a sort of 
courage and hope with it. Instead of giving way 



IN THE GARDEN 365 

to thoughts of the worst he actually found he was 
trying to believe in better things. 

! Could it be possible that she sees that I may 
be able to do him good and control him?' he 
thought. I will go and see her on my way to 
Misselthwaite." 

But when on his way across the moor he stopped 
the carriage at the cottage, seven or eight children 
who were playing about gathered in a group and 
bobbing seven or eight friendly and polite curtsies 
told him that their mother had gone to the other 
side of the moor early in the morning to help a 
woman who had a new baby. " Our Dickon," 
they volunteered, was over at the Manor working 
in one of the gardens where he went several days 
each week. 

Mr. Craven looked over the collection of sturdy 
little bodies and round red-cheeked faces, each 
Ox*ie grinning in its own particular way, and he 
awoke to the fact that they were a healthy likable 
lot. He smiled at their friendly grins and took a 
golden sovereign from his pocket and gave it to 
1 our 'Lizabeth Ellen " who was the oldest. 

' If you divide that into eight parts there will 
be half a crown for each of you," he said. 

Then amid grins and chuckles and bobbing of 
curtsies he drove away, leaving ecstasy and nudg- 
ing elbows and little jumps of joy behind. 

The drive across the wonderfulness of the moor 



3 66 THE SECRET GARDEN 

was a soothing thing. Why did it seem to give 
him a sense of home-coming which he had been 
sure he could never feel again that sense of the 
beauty of land and sky and purple bloom of dis- 
tance and a warming of the heart at drawing 
nearer to the great old house which had held those 
of his blood for six hundred years? How he had 
driven away from it the last time, shuddering to 
think of its closed rooms and the boy lying in the 
four-posted bed with the brocaded hangings. 
Was it possibk that perhaps he might find him 
changed a little for the better and that he might 
overcome his shrinking from him? How real 
that dream had been how wonderful and clear 
the voice which called back to him, " In the garden 
In the garden ! ' 

" I will try to find the key," he said. " I will 
try to open the door. I must though I don't 
know why." 

When he arrived at the Manor the servants who 
received him with the usual ceremony noticed that 
he looked better and that he did not go to the 
remote rooms where he usually lived attended by 
Pitcher. He went into the library and sent for 
Mrs. Medlock. She came to him somewhat ex- 
cited and curious and flustered. 

"How is Master Colin, Medlock?" he in- 
quired. 



IN THE GARDEN 367 

" Well, sir," Mrs. Medlock answered, " he's 
he's different, in a manner of speaking." 

" Worse ? ' he suggested. 

Mrs. Medlock really was flushed. 

" Well, you see, sir," she tried to explain, 
" neither Dr. Craven, nor the nurse, nor me can 
exactly make him out." 

"Why is that?" 

" To tell the truth, sir, Master Colin might be 
better and he might be changing for the worse. 
His appetite, sir, is past understanding and his 
ways " 

" Has he become more more peculiar?' 
her master asked, knitting his brows anxiously. 

" That's it, sir. He's growing very peculiar 
- when you compare him with what he used to 
be. He used to eat nothing and then suddenly 
he began to eat something enormous and then 
he stopped again all at once and the meals were 
sent back just as they used to be. You never 
knew, sir, perhaps, that out of doors he never 
would let himself be taken. The things we've 
gone through to get him to go out in his chair 
would leave a body trembling like a leaf. He'd 
throw himself into such a state that Dr. Craven 
said he couldn't be responsible for forcing him. 
Well, sir, just without warning not long after 
one of his worst tantrums he suddenly insisted on 



366 THE SECRET GARDEN 

being taken out every day by Miss Mary and 
Susan Sowerby's boy Dickon that could push his 
chair. He took a fancy to both Miss Mary and 
Dickon, and Dickon brought his tame animals, 
and, if you'll credit it, sir, out of doors he will 
stay from morning until night." 

" How does he look? " was the next question. 

" If he took his food natural, sir, you'd think 
he was putting on flesh but we're afraid it may 
be a sort of bloat. He laughs sometimes in a 
queer way when he's alone with Miss Mary. He 
never used to laugh at all. Dr. Craven is coming 
to see you at once, if you'll allow him. He never 
was as puzzled in his life." 

"Where is Master Colin now?' Mr. Craven 
asked. 

" In the garden, sir. He's always in the gar- 
den though not a human creature is allowed 
to go near for fear they'll look at him." 

Mr. Craven scarcely heard her last words. 

" In the garden," he said, and after he had 
sent Mrs. Medlock away he stood and repeated 
it again and again. ' In the garden ! ' 

He had to make an effort to bring himself back 
to the place he was standing in and when he felt 
he was on earth again he turned and went out of 
the room. He took his way, as Mary had done, 
through the door in the shrubbery and among 



IN THE GARDEN 369 

the laurels and the fountain beds. The fountain 
was playing now and was encircled by beds of 
brilliant autumn flowers. He crossed the lawn 
and turned into the Long Walk by the ivied walls. 
He did not walk quickly, but slowly, and his eyes 
were on the path. He felt as if he were being 
drawn back to the place he had so long forsaken, 
and he did not know why. As he drew near to 
it his step became still more slow. He knew 
where the door was even though the ivy hung thick 
over it but he did not know exactly where it 
lay that buried key. 

So he stopped and stood still, looking about hinij 
and almost the moment after he had paused ha 
started and listened asking himself if he were 
walking in a dream. 

The ivy hung thick over the door, the key was 
buried under the shrubs, no human being had 
passed that portal for ten lonely years and yet 
inside the garden there were sounds. They were 
the sounds of running scuffling feet seeming to 
chase round and round under the trees, they were 
strange sounds of lowered suppressed voices 
exclamations and smothered joyous cries. It 
1 seemed actually like the laughter of young things, 
, the uncontrollable laughter of children who were 
trying not to be heard but who in a moment or so 
* as their excitement mounted would burst 



370 THE SECRET GARDEN 

forth. What in heaven's name was he dreaming 
of- what in heaven's name did he hear? Was 
he losing his reason and thinking he heard things 
which were not for human ears? Was it that the 
far clear voice had meant? 

And then the moment came, the uncontrollable 
moment when the sounds forgot to hush them- 
selves. The feet ran faster and faster they 
were nearing the garden door there was quick 
strong young breathing and a wild outbreak of 
laughing shouts which could not be contained 
and the door in the wall was flung wide open, the 
sheet of ivy swinging back, and a boy burst 
through it at full speed and, without seeing the 
outsider, dashed almost into his arms. 

Mr. Craven had extended them just in time to 
save him from falling as a result of his unseeing 
dash against him, and when he held him away to 
look at him in amazement at his being there he 
truly gasped for breath. 

He was a tall boy and a handsome one. He 
was glowing with life and his running had sent 
splendid color leaping to his face. He threw the 1 
thick hair back from his forehead and lifted a 
pair of strange gray eyes eyes full of boyish 
laughter and rimmed with black lashes like a 
fringe. It was the eyes which made Mr. Craven 
gasp for breath. 



IN THE GARDEN 371 

" Who What? Who ! " he stammered. 

This was not what Colin had expected this 
was not what he had planned. He had never 
thought of such a meeting. And yet to come dash- 
ing out winning a race perhaps it was even 
better. He drew himself up to his very tallest. 
Mary, who had been running with him and had 
dashed through the door too, believed that he 
managed to make himself look taller than he had 
ever looked before inches taller. 

" Father," he said, " I'm Colin. You can't be- 
lieve it. I scarcely can myself. I'm Colin." 

Like Mrs. Medlock, he did not understand 
what his father meant when he said hurriedly: 
' In the garden ! In the garden ! ' 

" Yes," hurried on Colin. " It was the garden 
that did it and Mary and Dickon and the crea- 
tures and the Magic. No one knows. We 
kept it to tell you when you came. I'm well, I 
can beat Mary in a race. I'm going to be an 
athlete." 

He said it all so like a healthy boy his face 
flushed, his words tumbling over each other in his 
eagerness that Mr. Craven's soul shook with 
unbelieving joy. 

Colin put out his hand and laid it on his father's 
arm. 

"Aren't you glad ? Father?' he ended. 



372 THE SECRET GARDEN 

4 Aren't you glad? I'm going to live forever and 
ever and ever! ! 

Mr. Craven put his hands on both the boy's 
shoulders and held him still. He knew he dared 
not even try to speak for a moment. 

Take me into the garden, my boy," he said at 
last. " And tell me all about it." 

And so they led him in. 

The place was a wilderness of autumn gold and 
purple and violet blue and flaming scarlet and 
on every side were sheaves of late lilies standing 
together lilies which were white or white and 
ruby. He remembered well when the first of them 
had been planted that just at this season of the 
year their late glories should reveal themselves. 
Late roses climbed and hung and clustered and the 
sunshine deepening the hue of the yellowing trees 
made one feel that one stood in an embowered 
temple of gold. The newcomer stood silent just 
as the children had done when they came into its 
grayness. He looked round and round. 
' I thought it would be dead," he said. 

" Mary thought so at first," said Colin. " But 
it came alive." 

Then they sat down under their tree all but 
Colin, who wanted to stand while he told the 
story. 

It was the strangest thing he had ever heard, 



IN THE GARDEN 

Archibald Craven thought, as it was poured forth 
in headlong boy fashion. Mystery and Magic 
and wild creatures, the weird midnight meeting 
the coming of the spring the passion of in- 
sulted pride which had dragged the young Rajah 
to his feet to defy old Ben Weatherstaff to his 
face. The odd companionship, the play acting, 
the great secret so carefully kept. The listener 
laughed until tears came into his eyes and some- 
times tears came into his eyes when he was not 
laughing. The Athlete, the Lecturer, the Scien- 
tific Discoverer was a laughable, lovable, healthy 
young human thing. 

" Now," he said at the end of the story, " it 
need not be a secret any more. I dare say it will 
frighten them nearly into fits when they see me 
but I am never going to get into the chair again. 
I shall walk back with you, Father to the 
house." 

Ben Weatherstaff's duties rarely took him away 
from the gardens, but on this occasion he made an 
^excuse to carry some vegetables to the kitchen 
and being invited into the servants' hall by Mrs, 
Medlock to drink a glass of beer he was on the 
spot as he had hoped to be when the most 
dramatic event Misselthwaite Manor had seen 
during the present generation actually took place. 



374 THE SECRET GARDEN 

One of the windows looking upon the courtyard 
gave also a glimpse of the lawn. Mrs. Medlock, 
knowing Ben had come from the gardens, hoped 
that he might have caught sight of his master and 
even by chance of his meeting with Master Colin.:' 

" Did you see either of them, Weatherstaff? 1 
she asked. 

Ben took his beer-mug from his mouth and 
wiped his lips with the back of his hand. 

" Aye, that I did," he answered with a shrewdly 
significant air. 

" Both of them? " suggested Mrs. Medlock. 

" Both of 'em, M returned Ben Weatherstaff. 
" Thank ye kindly, ma'am, I could sup up another 
mug of it." 

" Together? " said Mrs. Medlock, hastily over- 
filling his beer-mug in her excitement. 

" Together, ma'am," and Ben gulped down half 
of his new mug at one gulp. 

"Where was Master Colin? How did he 
look? What did they say to each other? ' 

" I didna' hear that," said Ben, " along o' only 
bein' on th' step-ladder lookin' over th' wall. But 
I'll tell thee this. There's been things goin' on' 
outside as you house people knows nowt about. 
An' what tha'll find out tha'll find out soon." 

And it was not two minutes before he swallowed 
the last of his beer and waved his mug solemnly 



IN THE GARDEN 375 

toward the window which took in through the 
shrubbery a piece of the lawn. 

" Look there," he said, " if tha's curious. 
Look what's comin' across th' grass." 

When Mrs. Medlock looked she threw up her 
hands and gave a little shriek and every man and 
woman servant within hearing bolted across the 
servants' hall and stood looking through the win- 
dow with their eyes almost starting out of their 
heads. 

Across the lawn came the Master of Missel- 
thwaite and he looked as many of them had never 
seen him. And by his side with his head up in 
the air and his eyes full of laughter walked as 
strongly and steadily as any boy in Yorkshire 
Master Colin! 



THE END 



y 









V 




CoLibri 



COVER BOOK SYSTEM 



" Jill 

nil