'I'm Colin, Mr Craven's son,' said the boy.
'Then I must be your cousin,' Mary said. 'Don't you know that I came to
'No,' he answered. 'No one told me.'
'Why?' asked Mary.
'Because I am afraid that people will see me. I won't let people see me and
talk about me.'
'Why?' asked Mary. She felt more puzzled with each moment that
passed. 'Because I'm always ill, and I must stay in bed. The servants are not
allowed to speak about me. My father won't let anyone mention me. He's
afraid I'll grow up to have a crooked back. My father hates me because my
mother died when I was born.'
'Have you always been here?' asked Mary.
'Nearly always,' said Colin. 'If I go out, people stare at me, and I hate it.'
'If you don't like people to see you,' Mary said, 'shall I go away?'
'Oh, no!' Colin replied quickly. 'You must stay and talk to me.'
Mary put her candle down on a table near the bed and sat on a chair. They
talked for a long time. Colin wanted to know all about Mary and about her
life at Misselthwaite. He told her how unhappy and lonely he was, even
though he was given anything that he wanted.
'Everyone must do as I say,' Colin said. 'I will be ill if they don't.'
'Do you think you will get well?' Mary asked.
'I don't suppose I will,' Colin answered. 'No one believes I will live until I
grow up. Let's talk about something else. How old are you?'
'I'm ten, like you,' Mary said.
'How do you know I'm ten?' he asked.
'Because when you were born, your father locked the garden door and
buried the key. It's been locked for ten years,' Mary answered.
'What garden?' Colin asked.
'It was the garden Mr Craven hates,' said Mary, nervously. 'He locked the
door. No one knew where he buried the key.'
'What's the garden like?' Colin persisted.
'It's been locked for ten years,' Mary said, carefully. She did not want him
to know that she had found it. But it was too late to be careful. Colin was
very excited at the idea of a hidden garden.
'I will make them open the door,' he said.
'Oh, no!' cried Mary. 'Let's keep it a secret. If they open the door, it will
never be a secret again. If we find the door one day, we can go inside and no
one will know about it except us.'
'I would like that,' said Colin. 'I've never had a secret before.'
He was tired from talking, and as he fell asleep, Mary went quietly away.