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|The Secret Garden||Frances Hodgson Burnett|
"I AM COLIN"
|Page 2 of 8||
She pushed it open very gently and closed it behind 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 furniture 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 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 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 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?"
"No, I am not," Mary answered, her own whisper 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."
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."
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|The Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson Burnett
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