The Secret Garden HTML version
5. The Cry In The Corridor
At first each day which passed by for Mary Lennox was exactly like the others. Every
morning she awoke in her tapestried room and found Martha kneeling upon the hearth
building her fire; every morning she ate her breakfast in the nursery which had nothing
amusing in it; and after each breakfast she gazed out of the window across to the huge
moor which seemed to spread out on all sides and climb up to the sky, and after she had
stared for a while she realized that if she did not go out she would have to stay in and do
nothing--and so she went out. She did not know that this was the best thing she could
have done, and she did not know that, when she began to walk quickly or even run along
the paths and down the avenue, she was stirring her slow blood and making herself
stronger by fighting with the wind which swept down from the moor. She ran only to
make herself warm, and she hated the wind which rushed at her face and roared and held
her back as if it were some giant she could not see. But the big breaths of rough fresh air
blown over the heather filled her lungs with something which was good for her whole
thin body and whipped some red color into her cheeks and brightened her dull eyes when
she did not know anything about it.
But after a few days spent almost entirely out of doors she wakened one morning
knowing what it was to be hungry, and when she sat down to her breakfast she did not
glance disdainfully at her porridge and push it away, but took up her spoon and began to
eat it and went on eating it until her bowl was empty.
"Tha' got on well enough with that this mornin', didn't tha'?" said Martha.
"It tastes nice today," said Mary, feeling a little surprised her self.
"It's th' air of th' moor that's givin' thee stomach for tha' victuals," answered Martha. "It's
lucky for thee that tha's got victuals as well as appetite. There's been twelve in our cottage
as had th' stomach an' nothin' to put in it. You go on playin' you out o' doors every day an'
you'll get some flesh on your bones an' you won't be so yeller."
"I don't play," said Mary. "I have nothing to play with."
"Nothin' to play with!" exclaimed Martha. "Our children plays with sticks and stones.
They just runs about an' shouts an' looks at things." Mary did not shout, but she looked at
things. There was nothing else to do. She walked round and round the gardens and
wandered about the paths in the park. Sometimes she looked for Ben Weatherstaff, but
though several times she saw him at work he was too busy to look at her or was too surly.
Once when she was walking toward him he picked up his spade and turned away as if he
did it on purpose.
One place she went to oftener than to any other. It was the long walk outside the gardens
with the walls round them. There were bare flower-beds on either side of it and against
the walls ivy grew thickly. There was one part of the wall where the creeping dark green
leaves were more bushy than elsewhere. It seemed as if for a long time that part had been