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|The Secret Garden||Frances Hodgson Burnett|
A YOUNG RAJAH
|Page 5 of 7||
"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."
"I don't believe he does," said Mary quite obstinately.
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. "I like the grand doctor from London, because he made them take the iron thing off," said Mary at last "Did he say you were going to die?"
"What did he say?"
"He didn't whisper," Colin answered. "Perhaps 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."
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|The Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson Burnett
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