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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. 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 remember 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 Martha is. She says Mrs. Medlock will think she told me about you and then she will be sent away."
"Go and tell her to come here," he said. "She is in the next room."
Mary went and brought her back. Poor Martha 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 herself on the big stool. "Once in India I saw a boy who was a Rajah. He had rubies and emeralds and diamonds stuck all over him. He spoke to his people just as you spoke to Martha. Everybody 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 presently," 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!"
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 side and he dragged one suddenly toward him. "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 sometimes as if he was a bird or a rabbit himself, he likes them so. I think he asked the robin questions. 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.
"Tell me some more about him," he said.
"He knows all about eggs and nests," Mary went on. "And he knows where foxes and badgers 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 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 standing 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 listening 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 resentful tone.
Mary was silent for a minute and then she said something bold.
He moved as if he were startled.
"Go on the moor! How could I? I am going to die." "How do you know?" said Mary unsympathetically. She didn't like the way he had of talking about dying. She did not feel very sympathetic. She felt rather as if he almost boasted about it.
"Oh, I've 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."
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The Secret Garden -by- Frances Hodgson BurnettBottom Content goes here. Wikipedia content requires these links..... Wikipedia content is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.