Mary took the picture back to the house when she went to her supper and sh_howed it to Martha.
"Eh!" said Martha with great pride. "I never knew our Dickon was as clever a_hat. That there's a picture of a missel thrush on her nest, as large as lif_n' twice as natural."
Then Mary knew Dickon had meant the picture to be a message. He had meant tha_he might be sure he would keep her secret. Her garden was her nest and sh_as 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 lookin_orward to the morning.
But you never know what the weather will do in Yorkshire, particularly in th_pringtime. She was awakened in the night by the sound of rain beating wit_eavy drops against her window. It was pouring down in torrents and the win_as "wuthering" round the corners and in the chimneys 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 _id not want it."
She threw herself back on her pillow and buried her face. She did not cry, bu_he lay and hated the sound of the heavily beating rain, she hated the win_nd its "wuthering." She could not go to sleep again. The mournful sound kep_er awake because she felt mournful herself. If she had felt happy it woul_robably have lulled her to sleep. How it "wuthered" and how the big raindrop_oured down and beat against the pane!
"It sounds just like a person lost on the moor and wandering on and o_rying," she said.
She had been lying awake turning from side to side for about an hour, whe_uddenly something made her sit up in bed and turn her head toward the doo_istening. She listened and she listened.
"It isn't the wind now," she said in a loud whisper. "That isn't the wind. I_s different. It is that crying I heard before."
The door of her room was ajar and the sound came down the corridor, a far-of_aint sound of fretful crying. She listened for a few minutes and each minut_he became more and more sure. She felt as if she must find out what it was.
It seemed even stranger than the secret garden and the buried key. Perhaps th_act that she was in a rebellious mood made her bold. She put her foot out o_ed and stood on the floor.
"I am going to find out what it is," she said. "Everybody is in bed and _on'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 o_he room. The corridor looked very long and dark, but she was too excited t_ind that. She thought she remembered the corners she must turn to find th_hort corridor with the door covered with tapestry—the one Mrs. Medlock ha_ome through the day she lost herself. The sound had come up that passage. S_he went on with her dim light, almost feeling her way, her heart beating s_oud that she fancied she could hear it. The far-off faint crying went on an_ed her. Sometimes it stopped for a moment or so and then began again. Wa_his the right corner to turn? She stopped and thought. Yes it was. Down thi_assage and then to the left, and then up two broad steps, and then to th_ight again. Yes, there was the tapestry door.
She pushed it open very gently and closed it behind her, and she stood in th_orridor and could hear the crying quite plainly, though it was not loud. I_as on the other side of the wall at her left and a few yards farther on ther_as a door. She could see a glimmer of light coming from beneath it. Th_omeone 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 i_he room!
It was a big room with ancient, handsome furniture in it. There was a low fir_lowing faintly on the hearth and a night light burning by the side of _arved four-posted bed hung with brocade, and on the bed was lying a boy, crying fretfully.
Mary wondered if she was in a real place or if she had fallen asleep again an_as dreaming without knowing it.
The boy had a sharp, delicate face the color of ivory and he seemed to hav_yes too big for it. He had also a lot of hair which tumbled over his forehea_n heavy locks and made his thin face seem smaller. He looked like a boy wh_ad been ill, but he was crying more as if he were tired and cross than as i_e were in pain.
Mary stood near the door with her candle in her hand, holding her breath. The_he crept across the room, and, as she drew nearer, the light attracted th_oy's attention and he turned his head on his pillow and stared at her, hi_ray eyes opening so wide that they seemed immense.
"Who are you?" he said at last in a half-frightened whisper. "Are you _host?"
"No, I am not," Mary answered, her own whisper sounding half frightened. "Ar_ou one?"
He stared and stared and stared. Mary could not help noticing what strang_yes he had. They were agate gray and they looked too big for his face becaus_hey 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'_hey?"
"Come here," he said, still keeping his strange eyes fixed on her with a_nxious 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. Yo_ight be one of them."
Mary had slipped on a woolen wrapper before she left her room and she put _iece of it between his fingers.
"Rub that and see how thick and warm it is," she said. "I will pinch you _ittle if you like, to show you how real I am. For a minute I thought yo_ight 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 hear_ome 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 nam_gain."
"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 littl_ore as if he believed 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 m_nd talk me over."
"Why?" Mary asked again, feeling more mystified every moment.
"Because I am like this always, ill and having to lie down. My father won'_et people talk me over either. The servants are not allowed to speak abou_e. If I live I may be a hunchback, but I shan't live. My father hates t_hink I may be like him."
"Oh, what a queer house this is!" Mary said. "What a queer house! Everythin_s a kind of secret. Rooms are locked up and gardens are locked up—and you!
Have you been locked up?"
"No. I stay in this room because I don't want to be moved out of it. It tire_e 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 was born and it makes him wretched to look at me. H_hinks 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 her_lways?" "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 t_eep my back straight, but a grand doctor came from London to see me and sai_t was stupid. He told them to take it off and keep me out in the fresh air. _ate fresh air and I don't want to go out."
"I didn't when first I came here," said Mary. "Why do you keep looking at m_ike 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 hig_eiling and shadowy corners and dim fire-light. "It looks quite like a dream, and it's the middle of the night, and everybody in the house i_sleep—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 began, "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 ar_eal, sit down on 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 th_ushioned stool. She did not want to go away at all. She wanted to stay in th_ysterious 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 kno_hich corridor her room was on; he wanted to know what she had been doing; i_he disliked the moor as he disliked it; where she had lived before she cam_o Yorkshire. She answered all these questions and many more and he lay bac_n his pillow and listened. He made her tell him a great deal about India an_bout her voyage across the ocean. She found out that because he had been a_nvalid he had not learned things as other children had. One of his nurses ha_aught him to read when he was quite little and he was always reading an_ooking at pictures in splendid books.
Though his father rarely saw him when he was awake, he was given all sorts o_onderful 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 anythin_e did not like to do. "Everyone is obliged to do what pleases me," he sai_ndifferently. "It makes me ill to be angry. No one believes I shall live t_row up."
He said it as if he was so accustomed to the idea that it had ceased to matte_o him at all. He seemed to like the sound of Mary's voice. As she went o_alking he listened in a drowsy, interested way. Once or twice she wondered i_e were not gradually falling into a doze. But at last he asked a questio_hich opened up a new subject.
"How old are you?" he asked.
"I am ten," answered Mary, forgetting herself for the moment, "and so ar_ou."
"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?" h_xclaimed as if he were suddenly very much interested.
"It—it was the garden Mr. Craven hates," said Mary nervously. "He locked th_oor. No one—no one knew where he buried the key." "What sort of a garden i_t?" Colin persisted eagerly.
"No one has been allowed to go into it for ten years," was Mary's carefu_nswer.
But it was too late to be careful. He was too much like herself. He too ha_ad nothing to think about and the idea of a hidden garden attracted him as i_ad attracted her. He asked question after question. Where was it? Had sh_ever 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 t_nswer questions."
"I would make them," said Colin.
"Could you?" Mary faltered, beginning to feel frightened. If he could mak_eople answer questions, who knew what might happen!
"Everyone is obliged to please me. I told you that," he said. "If I were t_ive, this place would sometime belong to me. They all know that. I would mak_hem tell me."
Mary had not known that she herself had been spoiled, but she could see quit_lainly that this mysterious boy had been. He thought that the whole worl_elonged to him. How peculiar he was and how coolly he spoke of not living.
"Do you think you won't live?" she asked, partly because she was curious an_artly in hope of making him forget the garden.
"I don't suppose I shall," he answered as indifferently as he had spoke_efore. "Ever since I remember anything I have heard people say I shan't. A_irst they thought I was too little to understand and now they think I don'_ear. But I do. My doctor is my father's cousin. He is quite poor and if I di_e will have all Misselthwaite when my father is dead. I should think h_ouldn'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 _eel 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 i_as. 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 tha_arden. 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 se_nything before, but I want to see that garden. I want the key dug up. I wan_he door unlocked. I would let them take me there in my chair. That would b_etting 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 an_ooked more immense than ever.
"They have to please me," he said. "I will make them take me there and I wil_et 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 thrus_ith 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 the_pen 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 _oor, hidden somewhere under the ivy—if there was—and we could find it; and i_e could slip through it together and shut it behind us, and no one knew an_ne was inside and we called it our garden and pretended that—that we wer_issel thrushes and it was our nest, and if we played there almost every da_nd 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 liv_ut the roses—"
He stopped her again as excited as she was herself.
"What are bulbs?" he put in quickly.
"They are daffodils and lilies and snowdrops. They are working in the eart_ow—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 room_f you are ill."
"It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine, an_hings pushing up and working under the earth," said Mary. "If the garden wa_ secret and we could get into it we could watch the things grow bigger ever_ay, and see how many roses are alive. Don't you see? Oh, don't you see ho_uch nicer it would be if it was a secret?"
He dropped back on his pillow and lay there with an odd expression on hi_ace.
"I never had a secret," he said, "except that 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 kin_etter."
"If you won't make them take you to the garden," pleaded Mary, "perhaps—I fee_lmost sure I can find out how to get in sometime. And then—if the docto_ants you to go out in your chair, and if you can always do what you want t_o, perhaps—perhaps we might find some boy who would push you, and we could g_lone and it would always be a secret garden."
"I should—like—that," he said very slowly, his eyes looking dreamy. "I shoul_ike that. I should not mind fresh air in a secret garden."
Mary began to recover her breath and feel safer because the idea of keepin_he secret seemed to please him. She felt almost sure that if she kept o_alking and could make him see the garden in his mind as she had seen it h_ould like it so much that he could not bear to think that everybody migh_ramp in to it when they chose.
"I'll tell you what I think it would be like, if we could go into it," sh_aid. "It has been shut up so long things have grown into a tangle perhaps."
He lay quite still and listened while she went on talking about the rose_hich might have clambered from tree to tree and hung down—about the man_irds which might have built their nests there because it was so safe. An_hen she told him about the robin and Ben Weatherstaff, and there was so muc_o tell about the robin and it was so easy and safe to talk about it that sh_eased to be afraid. The robin pleased him so much that he smiled until h_ooked almost beautiful, and at first Mary had thought that he was eve_lainer 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 roo_ou never see things. What a lot of things you know. I feel as if you had bee_nside that garden."
She did not know what to say, so she did not say anything. He evidently di_ot expect an answer 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 curtain hanging on the wall over the mantel-piece?"
Mary had not noticed it before, but she looked up and saw it. It was a curtai_f soft silk hanging 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 sil_urtain ran back on rings and when it ran back it uncovered a picture. It wa_he picture of a girl with a laughing face. She had bright hair tied up with _lue ribbon 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 blac_ashes 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 t_ook at me. I dare say I should have had a strong back. Draw the curtai_gain."
Mary did as she was told and returned to her footstool.
"She is much prettier than you," she said, "but her eyes are just lik_ours—at least they are the same shape and color. Why is the curtain draw_ver her?"
He moved uncomfortably.
"I made them do it," he said. "Sometimes I don't like to see her looking a_e. She smiles too much when I am ill and miserable. Besides, she is mine an_ don't want everyone to see her." There were a few moments of silence an_hen Mary spoke.
"What would Mrs. Medlock do if she found out that I had been here?" sh_nquired.
"She would do as I told her to do," he answered. "And I should tell her that _anted you to come here and talk to me every day. I am glad you came."
"So am I," said Mary. "I will come as often as I can, but"—she hesitated—"_hall 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 unti_hey find out. I can always send the nurse out of the room and say that I wan_o 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 yesterda_o stay all night with her sister and she always makes Martha attend to m_hen she wants to go out. Martha shall tell you when to come here."
Then Mary understood Martha's troubled look when she had asked questions abou_he 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 the_artha comes."
"I have been here a long time," said Mary. "Shall I go away now? Your eye_ook 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 wha_y Ayah used to do in India. I will pat your hand and stroke it and sin_omething 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 leane_gainst the bed and began to stroke and pat his hand and sing a very lo_ittle chanting song in Hindustani.
"That is nice," he said more drowsily still, and she went on chanting an_troking, but when she looked at him again his black lashes were lying clos_gainst his cheeks, for his eyes were shut and he was fast asleep. So she go_p softly, took her candle and crept away without making a sound.