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The Secret Garden

10.
Dickon
The sun shone down for nearly a week on the secret garden. The Secret Garden was what
Mary called it when she was thinking of it. She liked the name, and she liked still more
the feeling that when its beautiful old walls shut her in no one knew where she was. It
seemed almost like being shut out of the world in some fairy place. The few books she
had read and liked had been fairy-story books, and she had read of secret gardens in some
of the stories. Sometimes people went to sleep in them for a hundred years, which she
had thought must be rather stupid. She had no intention of going to sleep, and, in fact, she
was becoming wider awake every day which passed at Misselthwaite. She was beginning
to like to be out of doors; she no longer hated the wind, but enjoyed it. She could run
faster, and longer, and she could skip up to a hundred. The bulbs in the secret garden
must have been much astonished. Such nice clear places were made round them that they
had all the breathing space they wanted, and really, if Mistress Mary had known it, they
began to cheer up under the dark earth and work tremendously. The sun could get at them
and warm them, and when the rain came down it could reach them at once, so they began
to feel very much alive.
Mary was an odd, determined little person, and now she had something interesting to be
determined about, she was very much absorbed, indeed. She worked and dug and pulled
up weeds steadily, only becoming more pleased with her work every hour instead of
tiring of it. It seemed to her like a fascinating sort of play. She found many more of the
sprouting pale green points than she had ever hoped to find. They seemed to be starting
up everywhere and each day she was sure she found tiny new ones, some so tiny that they
barely peeped above the earth. There were so many that she remembered what Martha
had said about the "snowdrops by the thousands," and about bulbs spreading and making
new ones. These had been left to themselves for ten years and perhaps they had spread,
like the snowdrops, into thousands. She wondered how long it would be before they
showed that they were flowers. Sometimes she stopped digging to look at the garden and
try to imagine what it would be like when it was covered with thousands of lovely things
in bloom. During that week of sunshine, she became more intimate with Ben
Weatherstaff. She surprised him several times by seeming to start up beside him as if she
sprang out of the earth. The truth was that she was afraid that he would pick up his tools
and go away if he saw her coming, so she always walked toward him as silently as
possible. But, in fact, he did not object to her as strongly as he had at first. Perhaps he
was secretly rather flattered by her evident desire for his elderly company. Then, also, she
was more civil than she had been. He did not know that when she first saw him she spoke
to him as she would have spoken to a native, and had not known that a cross, sturdy old
Yorkshire man was not accustomed to salaam to his masters, and be merely commanded
by them to do things.
"Tha'rt like th' robin," he said to her one morning when he lifted his head and saw her
standing by him. "I never knows when I shall see thee or which side tha'll come from."
"He's friends with me now," said Mary.
 
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