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Chapter 13 "I am Colin"

  • 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.