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|The Secret Garden||Frances Hodgson Burnett|
"I AM COLIN"
|Page 4 of 8||
"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 are real, 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 the cushioned stool. She did not want to go away at all. She wanted to stay in the mysterious 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 know which corridor her room was on; he wanted to know what she had been doing; if she disliked the moor as he disliked it; where she had lived before she came to Yorkshire. She answered all these questions and many more and he lay back on his pillow and listened. He made her tell him a great deal about India and about her voyage across the ocean. She found out that because he had been an invalid he had not learned things as other children had. One of his nurses had taught him to read when he was quite little and he was always reading and looking at pictures in splendid books.
Though his father rarely saw him when he was awake, he was given all sorts of wonderful 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 anything he did not like to do. "Everyone is obliged to do what pleases me," he said indifferently. "It makes me ill to be angry. No one believes I shall live to grow up."
He said it as if he was so accustomed to the idea that it had ceased to matter to him at all. He seemed to like the sound of Mary's voice. As she went on talking he listened in a drowsy, interested way. Once or twice she wondered if he were not gradually falling into a doze. But at last he asked a question which opened up a new subject.
"How old are you?" he asked.
"I am ten," answered Mary, forgetting herself for the moment, "and so are you."
"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?" he exclaimed as if he were suddenly very much interested.
"It--it was the garden Mr. Craven hates," said Mary nervously. "He locked the door. No one--no one knew where he buried the key." "What sort of a garden is it?" Colin persisted eagerly.
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|The Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson Burnett
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