Mary spent most of her days outside in the grounds. The cold wind made
her cheeks pink, and each evening she ate all of her food. After dinner she
liked to sit near the fire and talk to Martha.
'Why does Mr Craven hate the locked garden?' Mary asked once.
'It was Mrs Craven's garden. She loved it. She and Mr Craven looked after
the flowers together. No gardeners were allowed in.'
'But what happened?' Mary asked impatiently.
'Mrs Craven was sitting on a branch of a tree when it broke and she fell.
She was injured so badly she died. That's why Mr Craven hates the garden.
He won't let anyone ever talk about it.'
Mary had never felt sorry for anyone before, but now she realised how
unhappy her uncle must be.
The wind moaned around the house, banging at the doors and windows.
Martha said it was 'wutherin'. Mary listened and through the noise she
thought that she heard a child crying.
'Do you hear someone crying?' she asked Martha.
Martha suddenly looked confused.
'No,' she answered. 'It's only the wind or the scullery maid. She's cried all
day with toothache.'
Then Martha quickly left the room.
Next day, it rained. Mary was bored and complained to Martha that she
had nothing to do.
'On a day like this at home, we all try to keep busy indoors,' Martha said.
'Except Dickson. He goes out on the moor in all types of weather. He
brought home a fox cub that he found. He's got a crow, too, called Soot.'
When Martha left her alone, Mary decided to explore the house. She went
along corridors and up and down stairs. In the silence of the house she heard
again the sound of a child crying. She stopped to listen at a door, but then
another door opened and out came Mrs Medlock.
'What are you doing here?' she said, and she took Mary by the arm and
pulled her away. 'Get back to your room at once!'
'I didn't know which way to go, and then I heard someone crying,' said
'You didn't hear anything,' said Mrs Medlock. 'Go back to your room, or
I'll tell the master that you disobeyed him.'
Mary was angry. She wanted to know what the cry was.
Soon the storm passed.
'Wait until the sun shines and lights up the moor,' said Martha.
'I'd love to see your cottage on the moor and meet your mother,' said Mary.
'You would like my mother,' Martha said. 'She's kind and good tempered
and works hard. When it's my day off and I can go home and see her, I
jump for joy.'
'I'd like to see Dickson, too,' said Mary.
'Yes, you'd like him,' Martha said. 'Everyone likes Dickson.'
'No one likes me,' said Mary sadly.
'Maybe that's because you don't like yourself,' laughed Martha. 'I never
thought of that,' said Mary.
Mary found Ben Weatherstaff working in the garden.
'Spring's coming,' he said. 'The plants are growing under the soil. Soon
you'll see crocuses and daffodils.'
Mary saw that the robin was on a wall covered with ivy. He hopped down
to the soil at her feet. The robin tried to find a worm in the garden. Suddenly,
Mary saw an old, rusty key.
'Perhaps it's been buried for ten years,' she said to herself.
'Perhaps it's the key to the garden,' she thought, putting it into her pocket.
After supper, Martha told Mary all about her day at home.
'Mother has sent you a present,' she said. She brought out a skipping rope
with striped handles, and showed Mary how to skip.
'Your mother is very kind,' Mary said. She wondered how Mary's
mother could find the money to buy her the rope with all those hungry
mouths to feed.
Mary skipped all the time, and the more she skipped, the stronger she grew.
Her cheeks became red, and her plain face started to look almost pretty.
One day as Mary watched the robin in the garden, a wonderful thing
happened. To Mary it was almost like magic. A small gust of wind blew
aside some of the ivy on the wall, and beneath the leaves, she saw a door.
She remembered that she had the key in her pocket. She tried it in the lock,
and although it was very stiff, she turned it. The next moment, she stood
inside the secret garden.
It was the loveliest and most mysterious looking place that Mary had seen.
It was overgrown and untidy, but she could see plants starting to push their
way up through the soil. She pulled weeds away to make space for the
spring flowers to grow.
'Now they look as if they can breathe,' she thought. Then she whispered
to herself, 'I am the first person who has spoken in here for ten years.'
Time passed quickly as Mary cleared the weeds and dead grass. Soon it
was time to go back to the house for her supper.
Mary wanted to tell Martha her secret, but she knew that this was not a
good idea. She might be forbidden to go into the secret garden again, so
instead she said, 'I would like a little garden to grow things in.'
'Why, that's just what you need to keep you busy,' said Martha. 'I'll get
Dickson to bring some garden tools and some seeds to plant.'
Mary worked with her hands each day in the secret garden. She was
careful not to let Ben Weatherstaff see where she went.
But Ben noticed a change in her. One day he said, 'The fresh air is good
for you. You're less thin, and your skin is less yellow.'