The Secret Garden
8. The Robin Who Showed The Way
She looked at the key quite a long time. She turned it over and over, and thought about it.
As I have said before, she was not a child who had been trained to ask permission or
consult her elders about things. All she thought about the key was that if it was the key to
the closed garden, and she could find out where the door was, she could perhaps open it
and see what was inside the walls, and what had happened to the old rose-trees. It was
because it had been shut up so long that she wanted to see it. It seemed as if it must be
different from other places and that something strange must have happened to it during
ten years. Besides that, if she liked it she could go into it every day and shut the door
behind her, and she could make up some play of her own and play it quite alone, because
nobody would ever know where she was, but would think the door was still locked and
the key buried in the earth. The thought of that pleased her very much.
Living as it were, all by herself in a house with a hundred mysteriously closed rooms and
having nothing whatever to do to amuse herself, had set her inactive brain to working and
was actually awakening her imagination. There is no doubt that the fresh, strong, pure air
from the moor had a great deal to do with it. Just as it had given her an appetite, and
fighting with the wind had stirred her blood, so the same things had stirred her mind. In
India she had always been too hot and languid and weak to care much about anything, but
in this place she was beginning to care and to want to do new things. Already she felt less
"contrary," though she did not know why.
She put the key in her pocket and walked up and down her walk. No one but herself ever
seemed to come there, so she could walk slowly and look at the wall, or, rather, at the ivy
growing on it. The ivy was the baffling thing. Howsoever carefully she looked she could
see nothing but thickly growing, glossy, dark green leaves. She was very much
disappointed. Something of her contrariness came back to her as she paced the walk and
looked over it at the tree-tops inside. It seemed so silly, she said to herself, to be near it
and not be able to get in. She took the key in her pocket when she went back to the house,
and she made up her mind that she would always carry it with her when she went out, so
that if she ever should find the hidden door she would be ready.
Mrs. Medlock had allowed Martha to sleep all night at the cottage, but she was back at
her work in the morning with cheeks redder than ever and in the best of spirits.
"I got up at four o'clock," she said. "Eh! it was pretty on th' moor with th' birds gettin' up
an' th' rabbits scamperin' about an' th' sun risin'. I didn't walk all th' way. A man gave me
a ride in his cart an' I did enjoy myself."
She was full of stories of the delights of her day out. Her mother had been glad to see her
and they had got the baking and washing all out of the way. She had even made each of
the children a doughcake with a bit of brown sugar in it.
"I had 'em all pipin' hot when they came in from playin' on th' moor. An' th' cottage all
smelt o' nice, clean hot bakin' an' there was a good fire, an' they just shouted for joy. Our
Dickon he said our cottage was good enough for a king."