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Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret Garden
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Polska wersja językowa w tłumaczeniu Jadwigi Włodarkiewiczowej
Angielska wersja językowa zgodna z wydaniem z roku 1911
FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT
Author of The Shuttle, The Making of a Marchioness, The Methods of Lady Walderhurst,
That Lass o Lowries, Through One Administration, Little Lord Fauntleroy A Lady of
THERE IS NO ONE LEFT
When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she
was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It was true, too. She had a little thin face
and a little thin body, thin light hair and a sour expression. Her hair was yellow, and her face
was yellow because she had been born in India and had always been ill in one way or another.
Her father had held a position under the English Government and had always been busy and ill
himself, and her mother had been a great beauty who cared only to go to parties and amuse
herself with gay people. She had not wanted a little girl at all, and when Mary was born she
handed her over to the care of an Ayah, who was made to understand that if she wished to please
the Mem Sahib she must keep the child out of sight as much as possible. So when she was a
sickly, fretful, ugly little baby she was kept out of the way, and when she became a sickly,
fretful, toddling thing she was kept out of the way also. She never remembered seeing familiarly
anything but the dark faces of her Ayah and the other native servants, and as they always obeyed
her and gave her her own way in everything, because the Mem Sahib would be angry if she was
disturbed by her crying, by the time she was six years old she was as tyrannical and selfish a
little pig as ever lived. The young English governess who came to teach her to read and write
disliked her so much that she gave up her place in three months, and when other governesses
came to try to fill it they always went away in a shorter time than the first one. So if Mary had
not chosen to really want to know how to read books she would never have learned her letters
One frightfully hot morning, when she was about nine years old, she awakened feeling very
cross, and she became crosser still when she saw that the servant who stood by her bedside was
not her Ayah.
Why did you come? she said to the strange woman. I will not let you stay. Send my Ayah to
The woman looked frightened, but she only stammered that the Ayah could not come and when
Mary threw herself into a passion and beat and kicked her, she looked only more frightened and
repeated that it was not possible for the Ayah to come to Missie Sahib.
There was something mysterious in the air that morning. Nothing was done in its regular order
and several of the native servants seemed missing, while those whom Mary saw slunk or hurried
about with ashy and scared faces. But no one would tell her anything and her Ayah did not
come. She was actually left alone as the morning went on, and at last she wandered out into the
garden and began to play by herself under a tree near the veranda. She pretended that she was
making a flower-bed, and she stuck big scarlet hibiscus blossoms into little heaps of earth, all
the time growing more and more angry and muttering to herself the things she would say and
the names she would call Saidie when she returned.
Pig! Pig! Daughter of Pigs! she said, because to call a native a pig is the worst insult of all.
She was grinding her teeth and saying this over and over again when she heard her mother come
out on the veranda with some one. She was with a fair young man and they stood talking
together in low strange voices. Mary knew the fair young man who looked like a boy. She had
heard that he was a very young officer who had just come from England. The child stared at
him, but she stared most at her mother. She always did this when she had a chance to see her,
because the Mem Sahib—Mary used to call her that oftener than anything else—was such a
tall, slim, pretty person and wore such lovely clothes. Her hair was like curly silk and she had
a delicate little nose which seemed to be disdaining things, and she had large laughing eyes. All
her clothes were thin and floating, and Mary said they were full of lace. They looked fuller
of lace than ever this morning, but her eyes were not laughing at all. They were large and scared
and lifted imploringly to the fair boy officer s face.
Is it so very bad? Oh, is it? Mary heard her say.
Awfully, the young man answered in a trembling voice. Awfully, Mrs. Lennox. You ought
to have gone to the hills two weeks ago.
The Mem Sahib wrung her hands.
Oh, I know I ought! she cried. I only stayed to go to that silly dinner party. What a fool I
At that very moment such a loud sound of wailing broke out from the servants quarters that she
clutched the young man s arm, and Mary stood shivering from head to foot. The wailing grew
wilder and wilder. What is it? What is it? Mrs. Lennox gasped.
Some one has died, answered the boy officer. You did not say it had broken out among your
I did not know! the Mem Sahib cried. Come with me! Come with me! and she turned and
ran into the house.
After that, appalling things happened, and the mysteriousness of the morning was explained to
Mary. The cholera had broken out in its most fatal form and people were dying like flies. The
Ayah had been taken ill in the night, and it was because she had just died that the servants had
wailed in the huts. Before the next day three other servants were dead and others had run away
in terror. There was panic on every side, and dying people in all the bungalows.
During the confusion and bewilderment of the second day Mary hid herself in the nursery and
was forgotten by everyone. Nobody thought of her, nobody wanted her, and strange things
happened of which she knew nothing. Mary alternately cried and slept through the hours. She
only knew that people were ill and that she heard mysterious and frightening sounds. Once she
crept into the dining-room and found it empty, though a partly finished meal was on the table
and chairs and plates looked as if they had been hastily pushed back when the diners rose
suddenly for some reason. The child ate some fruit and biscuits, and being thirsty she drank a
glass of wine which stood nearly filled. It was sweet, and she did not know how strong it was.
Very soon it made her intensely drowsy, and she went back to her nursery and shut herself in
again, frightened by cries she heard in the huts and by the hurrying sound of feet. The wine
made her so sleepy that she could scarcely keep her eyes open and she lay down on her bed and
knew nothing more for a long time.
Many things happened during the hours in which she slept so heavily, but she was not disturbed
by the wails and the sound of things being carried in and out of the bungalow.
When she awakened she lay and stared at the wall. The house was perfectly still. She had never
known it to be so silent before. She heard neither voices nor footsteps, and wondered if
everybody had got well of the cholera and all the trouble was over. She wondered also who
would take care of her now her Ayah was dead. There would be a new Ayah, and perhaps she
would know some new stories. Mary had been rather tired of the old ones. She did not cry
because her nurse had died. She was not an affectionate child and had never cared much for any
one. The noise and hurrying about and wailing over the cholera had frightened her, and she had
been angry because no one seemed to remember that she was alive. Everyone was too panic-
stricken to think of a little girl no one was fond of. When people had the cholera it seemed that
they remembered nothing but themselves. But if everyone had got well again, surely some one
would remember and come to look for her.
But no one came, and as she lay waiting the house seemed to grow more and more silent. She
heard something rustling on the matting and when she looked down she saw a little snake
gliding along and watching her with eyes like jewels. She was not frightened, because he was
a harmless little thing who would not hurt her and he seemed in a hurry to get out of the room.
He slipped under the door as she watched him.
How queer and quiet it is, she said. It sounds as if there were no one in the bungalow but me
and the snake.
Almost the next minute she heard footsteps in the compound, and then on the veranda. They
were men s footsteps, and the men entered the bungalow and talked in low voices. No one went
to meet or speak to them and they seemed to open doors and look into rooms.
What desolation! she heard one voice say. That pretty, pretty woman! I suppose the child,
too. I heard there was a child, though no one ever saw her.
Mary was standing in the middle of the nursery when they opened the door a few minutes later.
She looked an ugly, cross little thing and was frowning because she was beginning to be hungry
and feel disgracefully neglected. The first man who came in was a large officer she had once
seen talking to her father. He looked tired and troubled, but when he saw her he was so startled
that he almost jumped back.
Barney! he cried out. There is a child here! A child alone! In a place like this! Mercy on us,
who is she!
I am Mary Lennox, the little girl said, drawing herself up stiffly. She thought the man was
very rude to call her father s bungalow A place like this! I fell asleep when everyone had the
cholera and I have only just wakened up. Why does nobody come?
It is the child no one ever saw! exclaimed the man, turning to his companions. She has
actually been forgotten!
Why was I forgotten? Mary said, stamping her foot. Why does nobody come?
The young man whose name was Barney looked at her very sadly. Mary even thought she saw
him wink his eyes as if to wink tears away.
Poor little kid! he said. There is nobody left to come.
It was in that strange and sudden way that Mary found out that she had neither father nor mother
left; that they had died and been carried away in the night, and that the few native servants who
had not died also had left the house as quickly as they could get out of it, none of them even
remembering that there was a Missie Sahib. That was why the place was so quiet. It was true
that there was no one in the bungalow but herself and the little rustling snake.
MISTRESS MARY QUITE CONTRARY
Mary had liked to look at her mother from a distance and she had thought her very pretty, but
as she knew very little of her she could scarcely have been expected to love her or to miss her
very much when she was gone. She did not miss her at all, in fact, and as she was a self-absorbed
child she gave her entire thought to herself, as she had always done. If she had been older she
would no doubt have been very anxious at being left alone in the world, but she was very young,
and as she had always been taken care of, she supposed she always would be. What she thought
was that she would like to know if she was going to nice people, who would be polite to her
and give her her own way as her Ayah and the other native servants had done.
She knew that she was not going to stay at the English clergyman s house where she was taken
at first. She did not want to stay. The English clergyman was poor and he had five children
nearly all the same age and they wore shabby clothes and were always quarreling and snatching
toys from each other. Mary hated their untidy bungalow and was so disagreeable to them that
after the first day or two nobody would play with her. By the second day they had given her a
nickname which made her furious.
It was Basil who thought of it first. Basil was a little boy with impudent blue eyes and a turned-
up nose, and Mary hated him. She was playing by herself under a tree, just as she had been
playing the day the cholera broke out. She was making heaps of earth and paths for a garden
and Basil came and stood near to watch her. Presently he got rather interested and suddenly
made a suggestion.
Why don t you put a heap of stones there and pretend it is a rockery? he said. There in the
middle, and he leaned over her to point.
Go away! cried Mary. I don t want boys. Go away!
For a moment Basil looked angry, and then he began to tease. He was always teasing his sisters.
He danced round and round her and made faces and sang and laughed.
Mistress Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And marigolds all in a row.
He sang it until the other children heard and laughed, too; and the crosser Mary got, the more
they sang Mistress Mary, quite contrary ; and after that as long as she stayed with them they
called her Mistress Mary Quite Contrary when they spoke of her to each other, and often
when they spoke to her.
You are going to be sent home, Basil said to her, at the end of the week. And we re glad of
I am glad of it, too, answered Mary. Where is home?
She doesn t know where home is! said Basil, with seven-year-old scorn. It s England, of
course. Our grandmama lives there and our sister Mabel was sent to her last year. You are not
going to your grandmama. You have none. You are going to your uncle. His name is Mr.
I don t know anything about him, snapped Mary.
I know you don t, Basil answered. You don t know anything. Girls never do. I heard father
and mother talking about him. He lives in a great, big, desolate old house in the country and no
one goes near him. He s so cross he won t let them, and they wouldn t come if he would let
them. He s a hunchback, and he s horrid.
I don t believe you, said Mary; and she turned her back and stuck her fingers in her ears,
because she would not listen any more.
But she thought over it a great deal afterward; and when Mrs. Crawford told her that night that
she was going to sail away to England in a few days and go to her uncle, Mr. Archibald Craven,
who lived at Misselthwaite Manor, she looked so stony and stubbornly uninterested that they
did not know what to think about her. They tried to be kind to her, but she only turned her face
away when Mrs. Crawford attempted to kiss her, and held herself stiffly when Mr. Crawford
patted her shoulder.
She is such a plain child, Mrs. Crawford said pityingly, afterward. And her mother was such
a pretty creature. She had a very pretty manner, too, and Mary has the most unattractive ways I
ever saw in a child. The children call her `Mistress Mary Quite Contrary, and though it s
naughty of them, one can t help understanding it.
Perhaps if her mother had carried her pretty face and her pretty manners oftener into the
nursery Mary might have learned some pretty ways too. It is very sad, now the poor beautiful
thing is gone, to remember that many people never even knew that she had a child at all.
I believe she scarcely ever looked at her, sighed Mrs. Crawford. When her Ayah was dead
there was no one to give a thought to the little thing. Think of the servants running away and
leaving her all alone in that deserted bungalow. Colonel McGrew said he nearly jumped out of
his skin when he opened the door and found her standing by herself in the middle of the room.
Mary made the long voyage to England under the care of an officer s wife, who was taking her
children to leave them in a boarding-school. She was very much absorbed in her own little boy
and girl, and was rather glad to hand the child over to the woman Mr. Archibald Craven sent to
meet her, in London. The woman was his housekeeper at Misselthwaite Manor, and her name
was Mrs. Medlock. She was a stout woman, with very red cheeks and sharp black eyes. She
wore a very purple dress, a black silk mantle with jet fringe on it and a black bonnet with purple
velvet flowers which stuck up and trembled when she moved her head. Mary did not like her at
all, but as she very seldom liked people there was nothing remarkable in that; besides which it
was very evident Mrs. Medlock did not think much of her.
My word! she s a plain little piece of goods! she said. And we d heard that her mother was a
beauty. She hasn t handed much of it down, has she, ma am?
Perhaps she will improve as she grows older, the officer s wife said good-naturedly. If she
were not so sallow and had a nicer expression, her features are rather good. Children alter so
She ll have to alter a good deal, answered Mrs. Medlock. And, there s nothing likely to
improve children at Misselthwaite—if you ask me!
They thought Mary was not listening because she was standing a little apart from them at the
window of the private hotel they had gone to. She was watching the passing buses and cabs and
people, but she heard quite well and was made very curious about her uncle and the place he
lived in. What sort of a place was it, and what would he be like? What was a hunchback? She
had never seen one. Perhaps there were none in India.
Since she had been living in other people s houses and had had no Ayah, she had begun to feel
lonely and to think queer thoughts which were new to her. She had begun to wonder why she
had never seemed to belong to anyone even when her father and mother had been alive. Other
children seemed to belong to their fathers and mothers, but she had never seemed to really be
anyone s little girl. She had had servants, and food and clothes, but no one had taken any notice
of her. She did not know that this was because she was a disagreeable child; but then, of course,
she did not know she was disagreeable. She often thought that other people were, but she did
not know that she was so herself.
She thought Mrs. Medlock the most disagreeable person she had ever seen, with her common,
highly colored face and her common fine bonnet. When the next day they set out on their
journey to Yorkshire, she walked through the station to the railway carriage with her head up
and trying to keep as far away from her as she could, because she did not want to seem to belong
to her. It would have made her angry to think people imagined she was her little girl.
But Mrs. Medlock was not in the least disturbed by her and her thoughts. She was the kind of
woman who would stand no nonsense from young ones. At least, that is what she would have
said if she had been asked. She had not wanted to go to London just when her sister Maria s
daughter was going to be married, but she had a comfortable, well paid place as housekeeper at
Misselthwaite Manor and the only way in which she could keep it was to do at once what Mr.
Archibald Craven told her to do. She never dared even to ask a question.
Captain Lennox and his wife died of the cholera, Mr. Craven had said in his short, cold way.
Captain Lennox was my wife s brother and I am their daughter s guardian. The child is to be
brought here. You must go to London and bring her yourself.
So she packed her small trunk and made the journey.
Mary sat in her corner of the railway carriage and looked plain and fretful. She had nothing to
read or to look at, and she had folded her thin little black-gloved hands in her lap. Her black
dress made her look yellower than ever, and her limp light hair straggled from under her black
A more marred-looking young one I never saw in my life, Mrs. Medlock thought. (Marred is
a Yorkshire word and means spoiled and pettish.) She had never seen a child who sat so still
without doing anything; and at last she got tired of watching her and began to talk in a brisk,
I suppose I may as well tell you something about where you are going to, she said. Do you
know anything about your uncle?
No, said Mary.
Never heard your father and mother talk about him?
No, said Mary frowning. She frowned because she remembered that her father and mother
had never talked to her about anything in particular. Certainly they had never told her things.
Humph, muttered Mrs. Medlock, staring at her queer, unresponsive little face. She did not
say any more for a few moments and then she began again.
I suppose you might as well be told something—to prepare you. You are going to a queer
Mary said nothing at all, and Mrs. Medlock looked rather discomfited by her apparent
indifference, but, after taking a breath, she went on.
Not but that it s a grand big place in a gloomy way, and Mr. Craven s proud of it in his way—
and that s gloomy enough, too. The house is six hundred years old and it s on the edge of the
moor, and there s near a hundred rooms in it, though most of them s shut up and locked. And
there s pictures and fine old furniture and things that s been there for ages, and there s a big park
round it and gardens and trees with branches trailing to the ground—some of them. She paused
and took another breath. But there s nothing else, she ended suddenly.
Mary had begun to listen in spite of herself. It all sounded so unlike India, and anything new
rather attracted her. But she did not intend to look as if she were interested. That was one of her
unhappy, disagreeable ways. So she sat still.
Well, said Mrs. Medlock. What do you think of it?
Nothing, she answered. I know nothing about such places.
That made Mrs. Medlock laugh a short sort of laugh.
Eh! she said, but you are like an old woman. Don t you care?
It doesn t matter said Mary, whether I care or not.
You are right enough there, said Mrs. Medlock. It doesn t. What you re to be kept at
Misselthwaite Manor for I don t know, unless because it s the easiest way. He s not going to
trouble himself about you, that s sure and certain. He never troubles himself about no one.
She stopped herself as if she had just remembered something in time.
He s got a crooked back, she said. That set him wrong. He was a sour young man and got no
good of all his money and big place till he was married.
Mary s eyes turned toward her in spite of her intention not to seem to care. She had never
thought of the hunchback s being married and she was a trifle surprised. Mrs. Medlock saw this,
and as she was a talkative woman she continued with more interest. This was one way of passing
some of the time, at any rate.
She was a sweet, pretty thing and he d have walked the world over to get her a blade o grass
she wanted. Nobody thought she d marry him, but she did, and people said she married him for
his money. But she didn t—she didn t, positively. When she died—
Mary gave a little involuntary jump.
Oh! did she die! she exclaimed, quite without meaning to. She had just remembered a French
fairy story she had once read called Riquet a la Houppe. It had been about a poor hunchback
and a beautiful princess and it had made her suddenly sorry for Mr. Archibald Craven.
Yes, she died, Mrs. Medlock answered. And it made him queerer than ever. He cares about
nobody. He won t see people. Most of the time he goes away, and when he is at Misselthwaite
he shuts himself up in the West Wing and won t let any one but Pitcher see him. Pitcher s an
old fellow, but he took care of him when he was a child and he knows his ways.
It sounded like something in a book and it did not make Mary feel cheerful. A house with a
hundred rooms, nearly all shut up and with their doors locked—a house on the edge of a moor—
whatsoever a moor was—sounded dreary. A man with a crooked back who shut himself up
also! She stared out of the window with her lips pinched together, and it seemed quite natural
that the rain should have begun to pour down in gray slanting lines and splash and stream down
the window-panes. If the pretty wife had been alive she might have made things cheerful by
being something like her own mother and by running in and out and going to parties as she had
done in frocks full of lace. But she was not there any more.
You needn t expect to see him, because ten to one you won t, said Mrs. Medlock. And you
mustn t expect that there will be people to talk to you. You ll have to play about and look after
yourself. You ll be told what rooms you can go into and what rooms you re to keep out of.
There s gardens enough. But when you re in the house don t go wandering and poking about.
Mr. Craven won t have it.
I shall not want to go poking about, said sour little Mary and just as suddenly as she had
begun to be rather sorry for Mr. Archibald Craven she began to cease to be sorry and to think
he was unpleasant enough to deserve all that had happened to him.
And she turned her face toward the streaming panes of the window of the railway carriage and
gazed out at the gray rain-storm which looked as if it would go on forever and ever. She watched
it so long and steadily that the grayness grew heavier and heavier before her eyes and she fell
ACROSS THE MOOR
She slept a long time, and when she awakened Mrs. Medlock had bought a lunchbasket at one
of the stations and they had some chicken and cold beef and bread and butter and some hot tea.
The rain seemed to be streaming down more heavily than ever and everybody in the station
wore wet and glistening waterproofs. The guard lighted the lamps in the carriage, and Mrs.
Medlock cheered up very much over her tea and chicken and beef. She ate a great deal and
afterward fell asleep herself, and Mary sat and stared at her and watched her fine bonnet slip on
one side until she herself fell asleep once more in the corner of the carriage, lulled by the
splashing of the rain against the windows. It was quite dark when she awakened again. The
train had stopped at a station and Mrs. Medlock was shaking her.
You have had a sleep! she said. It s time to open your eyes! We re at Thwaite Station and
we ve got a long drive before us.
Mary stood up and tried to keep her eyes open while Mrs. Medlock collected her parcels. The
little girl did not offer to help her, because in India native servants always picked up or carried
things and it seemed quite proper that other people should wait on one.
The station was a small one and nobody but themselves seemed to be getting out of the train.
The station-master spoke to Mrs. Medlock in a rough, good-natured way, pronouncing his
words in a queer broad fashion which Mary found out afterward was Yorkshire.
I see tha s got back, he said. An tha s browt th young un with thee.
Aye, that s her, answered Mrs. Medlock, speaking with a Yorkshire accent herself and jerking
her head over her shoulder toward Mary. How s thy Missus?
Well enow. Th carriage is waitin outside for thee.
A brougham stood on the road before the little outside platform. Mary saw that it was a smart
carriage and that it was a smart footman who helped her in. His long waterproof coat and the
waterproof covering of his hat were shining and dripping with rain as everything was, the burly
When he shut the door, mounted the box with the coachman, and they drove off, the little girl
found herself seated in a comfortably cushioned corner, but she was not inclined to go to sleep
again. She sat and looked out of the window, curious to see something of the road over which
she was being driven to the queer place Mrs. Medlock had spoken of. She was not at all a timid
child and she was not exactly frightened, but she felt that there was no knowing what might
happen in a house with a hundred rooms nearly all shut up—a house standing on the edge of a
What is a moor? she said suddenly to Mrs. Medlock.
Look out of the window in about ten minutes and you ll see, the woman answered. We ve
got to drive five miles across Missel Moor before we get to the Manor. You won t see much
because it s a dark night, but you can see something.
Mary asked no more questions but waited in the darkness of her corner, keeping her eyes on
the window. The carriage lamps cast rays of light a little distance ahead of them and she caught
glimpses of the things they passed. After they had left the station they had driven through a tiny
village and she had seen whitewashed cottages and the lights of a public house. Then they had
passed a church and a vicarage and a little shop-window or so in a cottage with toys and sweets
and odd things set out for sale. Then they were on the highroad and she saw hedges and trees.
After that there seemed nothing different for a long time—or at least it seemed a long time to
At last the horses began to go more slowly, as if they were climbing up-hill, and presently there
seemed to be no more hedges and no more trees. She could see nothing, in fact, but a dense
darkness on either side. She leaned forward and pressed her face against the window just as the
carriage gave a big jolt.
Eh! We re on the moor now sure enough, said Mrs. Medlock.
The carriage lamps shed a yellow light on a rough-looking road which seemed to be cut through
bushes and low-growing things which ended in the great expanse of dark apparently spread out
before and around them. A wind was rising and making a singular, wild, low, rushing sound.
It s—it s not the sea, is it? said Mary, looking round at her companion.
No, not it, answered Mrs. Medlock. Nor it isn t fields nor mountains, it s just miles and miles
and miles of wild land that nothing grows on but heather and gorse and broom, and nothing
lives on but wild ponies and sheep.
I feel as if it might be the sea, if there were water on it, said Mary. It sounds like the sea just
That s the wind blowing through the bushes, Mrs. Medlock said. It s a wild, dreary enough
place to my mind, though there s plenty that likes it—particularly when the heather s in bloom.
On and on they drove through the darkness, and though the rain stopped, the wind rushed by
and whistled and made strange sounds. The road went up and down, and several times the
carriage passed over a little bridge beneath which water rushed very fast with a great deal of
noise. Mary felt as if the drive would never come to an end and that the wide, bleak moor was
a wide expanse of black ocean through which she was passing on a strip of dry land.
I don t like it, she said to herself. I don t like it, and she pinched her thin lips more tightly
The horses were climbing up a hilly piece of road when she first caught sight of a light. Mrs.
Medlock saw it as soon as she did and drew a long sigh of relief.
Eh, I am glad to see that bit o light twinkling, she exclaimed. It s the light in the lodge
window. We shall get a good cup of tea after a bit, at all events.
It was after a bit, as she said, for when the carriage passed through the park gates there was
still two miles of avenue to drive through and the trees (which nearly met overhead) made it
seem as if they were driving through a long dark vault.
They drove out of the vault into a clear space and stopped before an immensely long but low-
built house which seemed to ramble round a stone court. At first Mary thought that there were
no lights at all in the windows, but as she got out of the carriage she saw that one room in a
corner upstairs showed a dull glow.
The entrance door was a huge one made of massive, curiously shaped panels of oak studded
with big iron nails and bound with great iron bars. It opened into an enormous hall, which was
so dimly lighted that the faces in the portraits on the walls and the figures in the suits of armor
made Mary feel that she did not want to look at them. As she stood on the stone floor she looked
a very small, odd little black figure, and she felt as small and lost and odd as she looked.
A neat, thin old man stood near the manservant who opened the door for them.
You are to take her to her room, he said in a husky voice. He doesn t want to see her. He s
going to London in the morning.
Very well, Mr. Pitcher, Mrs. Medlock answered. So long as I know what s expected of me,
I can manage.
What s expected of you, Mrs. Medlock, Mr. Pitcher said, is that you make sure that he s not
disturbed and that he doesn t see what he doesn t want to see.
And then Mary Lennox was led up a broad staircase and down a long corridor and up a short
flight of steps and through another corridor and another, until a door opened in a wall and she
found herself in a room with a fire in it and a supper on a table.
Mrs. Medlock said unceremoniously:
Well, here you are! This room and the next are where you ll live—and you must keep to them.
Don t you forget that!
It was in this way Mistress Mary arrived at Misselthwaite Manor and she had perhaps never felt
quite so contrary in all her life.
When she opened her eyes in the morning it was because a young housemaid had come into her
room to light the fire and was kneeling on the hearth-rug raking out the cinders noisily. Mary
lay and watched her for a few moments and then began to look about the room. She had never
seen a room at all like it and thought it curious and gloomy. The walls were covered with
tapestry with a forest scene embroidered on it. There were fantastically dressed people under
the trees and in the distance there was a glimpse of the turrets of a castle. There were hunters
and horses and dogs and ladies. Mary felt as if she were in the forest with them. Out of a deep
window she could see a great climbing stretch of land which seemed to have no trees on it, and
to look rather like an endless, dull, purplish sea.
What is that? she said, pointing out of the window.
Martha, the young housemaid, who had just risen to her feet, looked and pointed also. That
there? she said.
That s th moor, with a good-natured grin. Does tha like it?
No, answered Mary. I hate it.
That s because tha rt not used to it, Martha said, going back to her hearth. Tha thinks it s too
big an bare now. But tha will like it.
Do you? inquired Mary.
Aye, that I do, answered Martha, cheerfully polishing away at the grate. I just love it. It s
none bare. It s covered wi growin things as smells sweet. It s fair lovely in spring an summer
when th gorse an broom an heather s in flower. It smells o honey an there s such a lot o fresh
air—an th sky looks so high an th bees an skylarks makes such a nice noise hummin an
singin . Eh! I wouldn t live away from th moor for anythin .
Mary listened to her with a grave, puzzled expression. The native servants she had been used
to in India were not in the least like this. They were obsequious and servile and did not presume
to talk to their masters as if they were their equals. They made salaams and called them
protector of the poor and names of that sort. Indian servants were commanded to do things,
not asked. It was not the custom to say please and thank you and Mary had always slapped
her Ayah in the face when she was angry. She wondered a little what this girl would do if one
slapped her in the face. She was a round, rosy, good-natured-looking creature, but she had a
sturdy way which made Mistress Mary wonder if she might not even slap back—if the person
who slapped her was only a little girl.
You are a strange servant, she said from her pillows, rather haughtily.
Martha sat up on her heels, with her blacking-brush in her hand, and laughed, without seeming
the least out of temper.
Eh! I know that, she said. If there was a grand Missus at Misselthwaite I should never have
been even one of th under house-maids. I might have been let to be scullerymaid but I d never
have been let upstairs. I m too common an I talk too much Yorkshire. But this is a funny house
for all it s so grand. Seems like there s neither Master nor Mistress except Mr. Pitcher an Mrs.
Medlock. Mr. Craven, he won t be troubled about anythin when he s here, an he s nearly always
away. Mrs. Medlock gave me th place out o kindness. She told me she could never have done
it if Misselthwaite had been like other big houses.
Are you going to be my servant? Mary asked, still in her imperious little Indian way.
Martha began to rub her grate again.
I m Mrs. Medlock s servant, she said stoutly. An she s Mr. Craven s—but I m to do the
housemaid s work up here an wait on you a bit. But you won t need much waitin on.
Who is going to dress me? demanded Mary.
Martha sat up on her heels again and stared. She spoke in broad Yorkshire in her amazement.
Canna tha dress thysen! she said.
What do you mean? I don t understand your language, said Mary.
Eh! I forgot, Martha said. Mrs. Medlock told me I d have to be careful or you wouldn t know
what I was sayin . I mean can t you put on your own clothes?
No, answered Mary, quite indignantly. I never did in my life. My Ayah dressed me, of
Well, said Martha, evidently not in the least aware that she was impudent, it s time tha should
learn. Tha cannot begin younger. It ll do thee good to wait on thysen a bit. My mother always
said she couldn t see why grand people s children didn t turn out fair fools—what with nurses
an bein washed an dressed an took out to walk as if they was puppies!
It is different in India, said Mistress Mary disdainfully. She could scarcely stand this.
But Martha was not at all crushed.
Eh! I can see it s different, she answered almost sympathetically. I dare say it s because
there s such a lot o blacks there instead o respectable white people. When I heard you was
comin from India I thought you was a black too.
Mary sat up in bed furious.
What! she said. What! You thought I was a native. You—you daughter of a pig!
Martha stared and looked hot.
Who are you callin names? she said. You needn t be so vexed. That s not th way for a young
lady to talk. I ve nothin against th blacks. When you read about em in tracts they re always
very religious. You always read as a black s a man an a brother. I ve never seen a black an I
was fair pleased to think I was goin to see one close. When I come in to light your fire this
mornin I crep up to your bed an pulled th cover back careful to look at you. An there you
was, disappointedly, no more black than me—for all you re so yeller.
Mary did not even try to control her rage and humiliation.
You thought I was a native! You dared! You don t know anything about natives! They are not
people—they re servants who must salaam to you. You know nothing about India. You know
nothing about anything!
She was in such a rage and felt so helpless before the girl s simple stare, and somehow she
suddenly felt so horribly lonely and far away from everything she understood and which
understood her, that she threw herself face downward on the pillows and burst into passionate
sobbing. She sobbed so unrestrainedly that good-natured Yorkshire Martha was a little
frightened and quite sorry for her. She went to the bed and bent over her.
Eh! you mustn t cry like that there! she begged. You mustn t for sure. I didn t know you d be
vexed. I don t know anythin about anythin —just like you said. I beg your pardon, Miss. Do
stop cryin .
There was something comforting and really friendly in her queer Yorkshire speech and sturdy
way which had a good effect on Mary. She gradually ceased crying and became quiet. Martha
It s time for thee to get up now, she said. Mrs. Medlock said I was to carry tha breakfast an
tea an dinner into th room next to this. It s been made into a nursery for thee. I ll help thee on
with thy clothes if tha ll get out o bed. If th buttons are at th back tha cannot button them up
When Mary at last decided to get up, the clothes Martha took from the wardrobe were not the
ones she had worn when she arrived the night before with Mrs. Medlock.
Those are not mine, she said. Mine are black.
She looked the thick white wool coat and dress over, and added with cool approval:
Those are nicer than mine.
These are th ones tha must put on, Martha answered. Mr. Craven ordered Mrs. Medlock to
get em in London. He said I won t have a child dressed in black wanderin about like a lost
soul, he said. It d make the place sadder than it is. Put color on her. Mother she said she knew
what he meant. Mother always knows what a body means. She doesn t hold with black hersel .
I hate black things, said Mary.
The dressing process was one which taught them both something. Martha had buttoned up
her little sisters and brothers but she had never seen a child who stood still and waited for
another person to do things for her as if she had neither hands nor feet of her own.
Why doesn t tha put on tha own shoes? she said when Mary quietly held out her foot.
My Ayah did it, answered Mary, staring. It was the custom.
She said that very often— It was the custom. The native servants were always saying it. If one
told them to do a thing their ancestors had not done for a thousand years they gazed at one
mildly and said, It is not the custom and one knew that was the end of the matter.
It had not been the custom that Mistress Mary should do anything but stand and allow herself
to be dressed like a doll, but before she was ready for breakfast she began to suspect that her
life at Misselthwaite Manor would end by teaching her a number of things quite new to her—
things such as putting on her own shoes and stockings, and picking up things she let fall. If
Martha had been a well-trained fine young lady s maid she would have been more subservient
and respectful and would have known that it was her business to brush hair, and button boots,
and pick things up and lay them away. She was, however, only an untrained Yorkshire rustic
who had been brought up in a moorland cottage with a swarm of little brothers and sisters who
had never dreamed of doing anything but waiting on themselves and on the younger ones who
were either babies in arms or just learning to totter about and tumble over things.
If Mary Lennox had been a child who was ready to be amused she would perhaps have laughed
at Martha s readiness to talk, but Mary only listened to her coldly and wondered at her freedom
of manner. At first she was not at all interested, but gradually, as the girl rattled on in her good-
tempered, homely way, Mary began to notice what she was saying.
Eh! you should see em all, she said. There s twelve of us an my father only gets sixteen
shilling a week. I can tell you my mother s put to it to get porridge for em all. They tumble
about on th moor an play there all day an mother says th air of th moor fattens em. She says
she believes they eat th grass same as th wild ponies do. Our Dickon, he s twelve years old and
he s got a young pony he calls his own.
Where did he get it? asked Mary.
He found it on th moor with its mother when it was a little one an he began to make friends
with it an give it bits o bread an pluck young grass for it. And it got to like him so it follows
him about an it lets him get on its back. Dickon s a kind lad an animals likes him.
Mary had never possessed an animal pet of her own and had always thought she should like
one. So she began to feel a slight interest in Dickon, and as she had never before been interested
in any one but herself, it was the dawning of a healthy sentiment. When she went into the room
which had been made into a nursery for her, she found that it was rather like the one she had
slept in. It was not a child s room, but a grown-up person s room, with gloomy old pictures on
the walls and heavy old oak chairs. A table in the center was set with a good substantial
breakfast. But she had always had a very small appetite, and she looked with something more
than indifference at the first plate Martha set before her.
I don t want it, she said.
Tha doesn t want thy porridge! Martha exclaimed incredulously.
Tha doesn t know how good it is. Put a bit o treacle on it or a bit o sugar.
I don t want it, repeated Mary.
Eh! said Martha. I can t abide to see good victuals go to waste. If our children was at this
table they d clean it bare in five minutes.
Why? said Mary coldly.
Why! echoed Martha. Because they scarce ever had their stomachs full in their lives. They re
as hungry as young hawks an foxes.
I don t know what it is to be hungry, said Mary, with the indifference of ignorance.
Martha looked indignant.
Well, it would do thee good to try it. I can see that plain enough, she said outspokenly. I ve
no patience with folk as sits an just stares at good bread an meat. My word! don t I wish Dickon
and Phil an Jane an th rest of em had what s here under their pinafores.
Why don t you take it to them? suggested Mary.
It s not mine, answered Martha stoutly. An this isn t my day out. I get my day out once a
month same as th rest. Then I go home an clean up for mother an give her a day s rest.
Mary drank some tea and ate a little toast and some marmalade.
You wrap up warm an run out an play you, said Martha. It ll do you good and give you
some stomach for your meat.
Mary went to the window. There were gardens and paths and big trees, but everything looked
dull and wintry.
Out? Why should I go out on a day like this?
Well, if tha doesn t go out tha lt have to stay in, an what has tha got to do?
Mary glanced about her. There was nothing to do. When Mrs. Medlock had prepared the nursery
she had not thought of amusement. Perhaps it would be better to go and see what the gardens
Who will go with me? she inquired.
You ll go by yourself, she answered. You ll have to learn to play like other children does
when they haven t got sisters and brothers. Our Dickon goes off on th moor by himself an plays
for hours. That s how he made friends with th pony. He s got sheep on th moor that knows him,
an birds as comes an eats out of his hand. However little there is to eat, he always saves a bit
o his bread to coax his pets.
It was really this mention of Dickon which made Mary decide to go out, though she was not
aware of it. There would be, birds outside though there would not be ponies or sheep. They
would be different from the birds in India and it might amuse her to look at them.
Martha found her coat and hat for her and a pair of stout little boots and she showed her her
If tha goes round that way tha ll come to th gardens, she said, pointing to a gate in a wall of
shrubbery. There s lots o flowers in summer-time, but there s nothin bloomin now. She
seemed to hesitate a second before she added, One of th gardens is locked up. No one has been
in it for ten years.
Why? asked Mary in spite of herself. Here was another locked door added to the hundred in
the strange house.
Mr. Craven had it shut when his wife died so sudden. He won t let no one go inside. It was her
garden. He locked th door an dug a hole and buried th key. There s Mrs. Medlock s bell
ringing—I must run.
After she was gone Mary turned down the walk which led to the door in the shrubbery. She
could not help thinking about the garden which no one had been into for ten years. She
wondered what it would look like and whether there were any flowers still alive in it. When she
had passed through the shrubbery gate she found herself in great gardens, with wide lawns and
winding walks with clipped borders. There were trees, and flower-beds, and evergreens clipped
into strange shapes, and a large pool with an old gray fountain in its midst. But the flower-beds
were bare and wintry and the fountain was not playing. This was not the garden which was shut
up. How could a garden be shut up? You could always walk into a garden.
She was just thinking this when she saw that, at the end of the path she was following, there
seemed to be a long wall, with ivy growing over it. She was not familiar enough with England
to know that she was coming upon the kitchen-gardens where the vegetables and fruit were
growing. She went toward the wall and found that there was a green door in the ivy, and that it
stood open. This was not the closed garden, evidently, and she could go into it.
She went through the door and found that it was a garden with walls all round it and that it was
only one of several walled gardens which seemed to open into one another. She saw another
open green door, revealing bushes and pathways between beds containing winter vegetables.
Fruit-trees were trained flat against the wall, and over some of the beds there were glass frames.
The place was bare and ugly enough, Mary thought, as she stood and stared about her. It might
be nicer in summer when things were green, but there was nothing pretty about it now.
Presently an old man with a spade over his shoulder walked through the door leading from the
second garden. He looked startled when he saw Mary, and then touched his cap. He had a surly
old face, and did not seem at all pleased to see her—but then she was displeased with his garden
and wore her quite contrary expression, and certainly did not seem at all pleased to see him.
What is this place? she asked.
One o th kitchen-gardens, he answered.
What is that? said Mary, pointing through the other green door.
Another of em, shortly. There s another on t other side o th wall an there s th orchard t other
side o that.
Can I go in them? asked Mary.
If tha likes. But there s nowt to see.
Mary made no response. She went down the path and through the second green door. There,
she found more walls and winter vegetables and glass frames, but in the second wall there was
another green door and it was not open. Perhaps it led into the garden which no one had seen
for ten years. As she was not at all a timid child and always did what she wanted to do, Mary
went to the green door and turned the handle. She hoped the door would not open because she
wanted to be sure she had found the mysterious garden—but it did open quite easily and she
walked through it and found herself in an orchard. There were walls all round it also and trees
trained against them, and there were bare fruit-trees growing in the winter-browned grass—but
there was no green door to be seen anywhere. Mary looked for it, and yet when she had entered
the upper end of the garden she had noticed that the wall did not seem to end with the orchard
but to extend beyond it as if it enclosed a place at the other side. She could see the tops of trees
above the wall, and when she stood still she saw a bird with a bright red breast sitting on the
topmost branch of one of them, and suddenly he burst into his winter song—almost as if he had
caught sight of her and was calling to her.
She stopped and listened to him and somehow his cheerful, friendly little whistle gave her a
pleased feeling—even a disagreeable little girl may be lonely, and the big closed house and big
bare moor and big bare gardens had made this one feel as if there was no one left in the world
but herself. If she had been an affectionate child, who had been used to being loved, she would
have broken her heart, but even though she was Mistress Mary Quite Contrary she was
desolate, and the bright-breasted little bird brought a look into her sour little face which was
almost a smile. She listened to him until he flew away. He was not like an Indian bird and she
liked him and wondered if she should ever see him again. Perhaps he lived in the mysterious
garden and knew all about it.
Perhaps it was because she had nothing whatever to do that she thought so much of the deserted
garden. She was curious about it and wanted to see what it was like. Why had Mr. Archibald
Craven buried the key? If he had liked his wife so much why did he hate her garden ? She
wondered if she should ever see him, but she knew that if she did she should not like him, and
he would not like her, and that she should only stand and stare at him and say nothing, though
she should be wanting dreadfully to ask him why he had done such a queer thing.
People never like me and I never like people, she thought. And I never can talk as the
Crawford children could. They were always talking and laughing and making noises.
She thought of the robin and of the way he seemed to sing his song at her, and as she
remembered the tree-top he perched on she stopped rather suddenly on the path.
I believe that tree was in the secret garden—I feel sure it was, she said. There was a wall
round the place and there was no door.
She walked back into the first kitchen-garden she had entered and found the old man digging
there. She went and stood beside him and watched him a few moments in her cold little way.
He took no notice of her and so at last she spoke to him.
I have been into the other gardens, she said.
There was nothin to prevent thee, he answered crustily.
I went into the orchard.
There was no dog at th door to bite thee, he answered.
There was no door there into the other garden, said Mary.
What garden? he said in a rough voice, stopping his digging for a moment.
The one on the other side of the wall, answered Mistress Mary. There are trees there—I saw
the tops of them. A bird with a red breast was sitting on one of them and he sang.
To her surprise the surly old weather-beaten face actually changed its expression. A slow smile
spread over it and the gardener looked quite different. It made her think that it was curious how
much nicer a person looked when he smiled. She had not thought of it before.
He turned about to the orchard side of his garden and began to whistle--a low soft whistle. She
could not understand how such a surly man could make such a coaxing sound. Almost the next
moment a wonderful thing happened. She heard a soft little rushing flight through the air—and
it was the bird with the red breast flying to them, and he actually alighted on the big clod of
earth quite near to the gardener s foot.
Here he is, chuckled the old man, and then he spoke to the bird as if he were speaking to a
Where has tha been, tha cheeky little beggar? he said. I ve not seen thee before today. Has
tha, begun tha courtin this early in th season? Tha rt too forrad.
The bird put his tiny head on one side and looked up at him with his soft bright eye which was
like a black dewdrop. He seemed quite familiar and not the least afraid. He hopped about and
pecked the earth briskly, looking for seeds and insects. It actually gave Mary a queer feeling in
her heart, because he was so pretty and cheerful and seemed so like a person. He had a tiny
plump body and a delicate beak, and slender delicate legs.
Will he always come when you call him? she asked almost in a whisper.
Aye, that he will. I ve knowed him ever since he was a fledgling. He come out of th nest in th
other garden an when first he flew over th wall he was too weak to fly back for a few days an
we got friendly. When he went over th wall again th rest of th brood was gone an he was
lonely an he come back to me.
What kind of a bird is he? Mary asked.
Doesn t tha know? He s a robin redbreast an they re th friendliest, curiousest birds alive.
They re almost as friendly as dogs—if you know how to get on with em. Watch him peckin
about there an lookin round at us now an again. He knows we re talkin about him.
It was the queerest thing in the world to see the old fellow. He looked at the plump little scarlet-
waistcoated bird as if he were both proud and fond of him.
He s a conceited one, he chuckled. He likes to hear folk talk about him. An curious—bless
me, there never was his like for curiosity an meddlin . He s always comin to see what I m
plantin . He knows all th things Mester Craven never troubles hissel to find out. He s th head
gardener, he is.
The robin hopped about busily pecking the soil and now and then stopped and looked at them
a little. Mary thought his black dewdrop eyes gazed at her with great curiosity. It really seemed
as if he were finding out all about her. The queer feeling in her heart increased. Where did the
rest of the brood fly to? she asked.
There s no knowin . The old ones turn em out o their nest an make em fly an they re scattered
before you know it. This one was a knowin one an he knew he was lonely.
Mistress Mary went a step nearer to the robin and looked at him very hard.
I m lonely, she said.
She had not known before that this was one of the things which made her feel sour and cross.
She seemed to find it out when the robin looked at her and she looked at the robin.
The old gardener pushed his cap back on his bald head and stared at her a minute.
Art tha th little wench from India? he asked.
Then no wonder tha rt lonely. Tha lt be lonlier before tha s done, he said.
He began to dig again, driving his spade deep into the rich black garden soil while the robin
hopped about very busily employed.
What is your name? Mary inquired.
He stood up to answer her.
Ben Weatherstaff, he answered, and then he added with a surly chuckle, I m lonely mysel
except when he s with me, and he jerked his thumb toward the robin. He s th only friend I ve
I have no friends at all, said Mary. I never had. My Ayah didn t like me and I never played
with any one.
It is a Yorkshire habit to say what you think with blunt frankness, and old Ben Weatherstaff
was a Yorkshire moor man.
Tha an me are a good bit alike, he said. We was wove out of th same cloth. We re neither
of us good lookin an we re both of us as sour as we look. We ve got the same nasty tempers,
both of us, I ll warrant.
This was plain speaking, and Mary Lennox had never heard the truth about herself in her life.
Native servants always salaamed and submitted to you, whatever you did. She had never
thought much about her looks, but she wondered if she was as unattractive as Ben Weatherstaff
and she also wondered if she looked as sour as he had looked before the robin came. She actually
began to wonder also if she was nasty tempered. She felt uncomfortable.
Suddenly a clear rippling little sound broke out near her and she turned round. She was standing
a few feet from a young apple-tree and the robin had flown on to one of its branches and had
burst out into a scrap of a song. Ben Weatherstaff laughed outright.
What did he do that for? asked Mary.
He s made up his mind to make friends with thee, replied Ben. Dang me if he hasn t took a
fancy to thee.
To me? said Mary, and she moved toward the little tree softly and looked up.
Would you make friends with me? she said to the robin just as if she was speaking to a person.
Would you? And she did not say it either in her hard little voice or in her imperious Indian
voice, but in a tone so soft and eager and coaxing that Ben Weatherstaff was as surprised as she
had been when she heard him whistle.
Why, he cried out, tha said that as nice an human as if tha was a real child instead of a sharp
old woman. Tha said it almost like Dickon talks to his wild things on th moor.
Do you know Dickon? Mary asked, turning round rather in a hurry.
Everybody knows him. Dickon s wanderin about everywhere. Th very blackberries an
heather-bells knows him. I warrant th foxes shows him where their cubs lies an th skylarks
doesn t hide their nests from him.
Mary would have liked to ask some more questions. She was almost as curious about Dickon
as she was about the deserted garden. But just that moment the robin, who had ended his song,
gave a little shake of his wings, spread them and flew away. He had made his visit and had
other things to do.
He has flown over the wall! Mary cried out, watching him. He has flown into the orchard—
he has flown across the other wall—into the garden where there is no door!
He lives there, said old Ben. He came out o th egg there. If he s courtin , he s makin up to
some young madam of a robin that lives among th old rose-trees there.
Rose-trees, said Mary. Are there rose-trees?
Ben Weatherstaff took up his spade again and began to dig.
There was ten year ago, he mumbled.
I should like to see them, said Mary. Where is the green door? There must be a door
Ben drove his spade deep and looked as uncompanionable as he had looked when she first saw
There was ten year ago, but there isn t now, he said.
No door! cried Mary. There must be.
None as any one can find, an none as is any one s business. Don t you be a meddlesome wench
an poke your nose where it s no cause to go. Here, I must go on with my work.Get you gone
an play you. I ve no more time.
And he actually stopped digging, threw his spade over his shoulder and walked off, without
even glancing at her or saying good-by.
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
Pobierz darmowy fragment