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|The Secret Garden||Frances Hodgson Burnett|
|Page 2 of 8||
"It's like me," said Mary. "It's growing stronger and fatter. I'm sure there's more of it."
"It looks it, for sure," said Martha, ruffling it up a little round her face. "Tha'rt not half so ugly when it's that way an' there's a bit o' red in tha' cheeks."
If gardens and fresh air had been good for her perhaps they would be good for Colin. But then, if he hated people to look at him, perhaps he would not like to see Dickon.
"Why does it make you angry when you are looked at?" she inquired one day.
"I always hated it," he answered, "even when I was very little. Then when they took me to the seaside and I used to lie in my carriage everybody used to stare and ladies would stop and talk to my nurse and then they would begin to whisper and I knew then they were saying I shouldn't live to grow up. Then sometimes the ladies would pat my cheeks and say `Poor child!' Once when a lady did that I screamed out loud and bit her hand. She was so frightened she ran away."
"She thought you had gone mad like a dog," said Mary, not at all admiringly.
"I don't care what she thought," said Colin, frowning.
"I wonder why you didn't scream and bite me when I came into your room?" said Mary. Then she began to smile slowly.
"I thought you were a ghost or a dream," he said. "You can't bite a ghost or a dream, and if you scream they don't care."
"Would you hate it if--if a boy looked at you?" Mary asked uncertainly.
He lay back on his cushion and paused thoughtfully.
"There's one boy," he said quite slowly, as if he were thinking over every word, "there's one boy I believe I shouldn't mind. It's that boy who knows where the foxes live--Dickon."
"I'm sure you wouldn't mind him," said Mary.
"The birds don't and other animals," he said, still thinking it over, "perhaps that's why I shouldn't. He's a sort of animal charmer and I am a boy animal."
Then he laughed and she laughed too; in fact it ended in their both laughing a great deal and finding the idea of a boy animal hiding in his hole very funny indeed.
What Mary felt afterward was that she need not fear about Dickon.
On that first morning when the sky was blue again Mary wakened very early. The sun was pouring in slanting rays through the blinds and there was something so joyous in the sight of it that she jumped out of bed and ran to the window. She drew up the blinds and opened the window itself and a great waft of fresh, scented air blew in upon her. The moor was blue and the whole world looked as if something Magic had happened to it. There were tender little fluting sounds here and there and everywhere, as if scores of birds were beginning to tune up for a concert. Mary put her hand out of the window and held it in the sun.
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|The Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson Burnett
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