The Secret Garden
The Nest Of The Missel Thrush
For two or three minutes he stood looking round him, while Mary watched him, and then
he began to walk about softly, even more lightly than Mary had walked the first time she
had found herself inside the four walls. His eyes seemed to be taking in everything--the
gray trees with the gray creepers climbing over them and hanging from their branches,
the tangle on the walls and among the grass, the evergreen alcoves with the stone seats
and tall flower urns standing in them.
"I never thought I'd see this place," he said at last, in a whisper.
"Did you know about it?" asked Mary.
She had spoken aloud and he made a sign to her.
"We must talk low," he said, "or some one'll hear us an' wonder what's to do in here."
"Oh! I forgot!" said Mary, feeling frightened and putting her hand quickly against her
mouth. "Did you know about the garden?" she asked again when she had recovered
herself. Dickon nodded.
"Martha told me there was one as no one ever went inside," he answered. "Us used to
wonder what it was like."
He stopped and looked round at the lovely gray tangle about him, and his round eyes
looked queerly happy.
"Eh! the nests as'll be here come springtime," he said. "It'd be th' safest nestin' place in
England. No one never comin' near an' tangles o' trees an' roses to build in. I wonder all
th' birds on th' moor don't build here."
Mistress Mary put her hand on his arm again without knowing it.
"Will there be roses?" she whispered. "Can you tell? I thought perhaps they were all
"Eh! No! Not them--not all of 'em!" he answered. "Look here!"
He stepped over to the nearest tree--an old, old one with gray lichen all over its bark, but
upholding a curtain of tangled sprays and branches. He took a thick knife out of his
Pocket and opened one of its blades.
"There's lots o' dead wood as ought to be cut out," he said. "An' there's a lot o' old wood,
but it made some new last year. This here's a new bit," and he touched a shoot which
looked brownish green instead of hard, dry gray. Mary touched it herself in an eager,