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|The Secret Garden||Frances Hodgson Burnett|
THE NEST OF THE MISSEL THRUSH
|Page 3 of 5||
"Do you never catch cold?" inquired Mary, gazing at him wonderingly. She had never seen such a funny boy, or such a nice one.
"Not me," he said, grinning. "I never ketched cold since I was born. I wasn't brought up nesh enough. I've chased about th' moor in all weathers same as th' rabbits does. Mother says I've sniffed up too much fresh air for twelve year' to ever get to sniffin' with cold. I'm as tough as a white-thorn knobstick."
He was working all the time he was talking and Mary was following him and helping him with her fork or the trowel.
"There's a lot of work to do here!" he said once, looking about quite exultantly.
"Will you come again and help me to do it?" Mary begged. "I'm sure I can help, too. I can dig and pull up weeds, and do whatever you tell me. Oh! do come, Dickon!"
"I'll come every day if tha' wants me, rain or shine," he answered stoutly. "It's the best fun I ever had in my life-- shut in here an' wakenin' up a garden."
"If you will come," said Mary, "if you will help me to make it alive I'll--I don't know what I'll do," she ended helplessly. What could you do for a boy like that?
"I'll tell thee what tha'll do," said Dickon, with his happy grin. "Tha'll get fat an' tha'll get as hungry as a young fox an' tha'll learn how to talk to th' robin same as I do. Eh! we'll have a lot o' fun."
He began to walk about, looking up in the trees and at the walls and bushes with a thoughtful expression.
"I wouldn't want to make it look like a gardener's garden, all clipped an' spick an' span, would you?" he said. "It's nicer like this with things runnin' wild, an' swingin' an' catchin' hold of each other."
"Don't let us make it tidy," said Mary anxiously. "It wouldn't seem like a secret garden if it was tidy."
Dickon stood rubbing his rusty-red head with a rather puzzled look. "It's a secret garden sure enough," he said, "but seems like some one besides th' robin must have been in it since it was shut up ten year' ago."
"But the door was locked and the key was buried," said Mary. "No one could get in."
"That's true," he answered. "It's a queer place. Seems to me as if there'd been a bit o' prunin' done here an' there, later than ten year' ago."
"But how could it have been done?" said Mary.
He was examining a branch of a standard rose and he shook his head.
"Aye! how could it!" he murmured. "With th' door locked an' th' key buried."
Mistress Mary always felt that however many years she lived she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow. Of course, it did seem to begin to grow for her that morning. When Dickon began to clear places to plant seeds, she remembered what Basil had sung at her when he wanted to tease her.
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|The Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson Burnett
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