The Secret Garden
One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is
quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever. One knows it sometimes when
one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands alone and throws
one's head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and
flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry
out and one's heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun--
which has been happening every morning for thousands and thousands and thousands of
years. One knows it then for a moment or so. And one knows it sometimes when one
stands by oneself in a wood at sunset and the mysterious deep gold stillness slanting
through and under the branches seems to be saying slowly again and again something one
cannot quite hear, however much one tries. Then sometimes the immense quiet of the
dark blue at night with millions of stars waiting and watching makes one sure; and
sometimes a sound of far-off music makes it true; and sometimes a look in some one's
And it was like that with Colin when he first saw and heard and felt the Springtime inside
the four high walls of a hidden garden. That afternoon the whole world seemed to devote
itself to being perfect and radiantly beautiful and kind to one boy. Perhaps out of pure
heavenly goodness the spring came and crowned everything it possibly could into that
one place. More than once Dickon paused in what he was doing and stood still with a sort
of growing wonder in his eyes, shaking his head softly.
"Eh! it is graidely," he said. "I'm twelve goin' on thirteen an' there's a lot o' afternoons in
thirteen years, but seems to me like I never seed one as graidely as this 'ere."
"Aye, it is a graidely one," said Mary, and she sighed for mere joy. "I'll warrant it's the
graidelest one as ever was in this world."
"Does tha' think," said Colin with dreamy carefulness, "as happen it was made loike this
'ere all o' purpose for me?"
"My word!" cried Mary admiringly, "that there is a bit o' good Yorkshire. Tha'rt shapin'
first-rate--that tha' art."
And delight reigned. They drew the chair under the plum-tree, which was snow-white
with blossoms and musical with bees. It was like a king's canopy, a fairy king's. There
were flowering cherry-trees near and apple-trees whose buds were pink and white, and
here and there one had burst open wide. Between the blossoming branches of the canopy
bits of blue sky looked down like wonderful eyes.
Mary and Dickon worked a litle here and there and Colin watched them. They brought
him things to look at--buds which were opening, buds which were tight closed, bits of
twig whose leaves were just showing green, the feather of a woodpecker which had
dropped on the grass, the empty shell of some bird early hatched. Dickon pushed the
chair slowly round and round the garden, stopping every other moment to let him look at