"I WON'T!" SAID MARY They found a great deal to do that morning and Marywas late in returning to the house and was also in sucha hurry to get back to her work that she quite forgotColin until the last moment. "Tell Colin that I can't come and see him yet," she saidto Martha. "I'm very busy in the garden." Martha looked rather frightened. "Eh! Miss Mary," she said, "it may put him all outof humor when I tell him that." But Mary was not as afraid of him as other people wereand she was not a self-sacrificing person. "I can't stay," she answered. "Dickon's waiting for me;"and she ran away. The afternoon was even lovelier and busier than the morninghad been. Already nearly all the weeds were clearedout of the garden and most of the roses and trees hadbeen pruned or dug about. Dickon had brought a spadeof his own and he had taught Mary to use all her tools,so that by this time it was plain that though the lovelywild place was not likely to become a "gardener's garden"it would be a wilderness of growing things before thespringtime was over. "There'll be apple blossoms an' cherry blossoms overhead,"Dickon said, working away with all his might."An' there'll be peach an' plum trees in bloom against th'walls, an' th' grass'll be a carpet o' flowers." The little fox and the rook were as happy and busyas they were, and the robin and his mate flewbackward and forward like tiny streaks of lightning.Sometimes the rook flapped his black wings and soared awayover the tree-tops in the park. Each time he came backand perched near Dickon and cawed several times as if hewere relating his adventures, and Dickon talked to himjust as he had talked to the robin. Once when Dickonwas so busy that he did not answer him at first, Soot flewon to his shoulders and gently tweaked his ear with hislarge beak. When Mary wanted to rest a little Dickonsat down with her under a tree and once he took his pipeout of his pocket and played the soft strange little notesand two squirrels appeared on the wall and looked and listened. "Tha's a good bit stronger than tha' was," Dickon said,looking at her as she was digging. "Tha's beginningto look different, for sure." Mary was glowing with exercise and good spirits. "I'm getting fatter and fatter every day," she saidquite exultantly. "Mrs. Medlock will have to get me somebigger dresses. Martha says my hair is growing thicker.It isn't so flat and stringy." The sun was beginning to set and sending deep gold-coloredrays slanting under the trees when they parted. "It'll be fine tomorrow," said Dickon. "I'll be at workby sunrise." "So will I," said Mary. She ran back to the house as quickly as her feet wouldcarry her. She wanted to tell Colin about Dickon's fox cuband the rook and about what the springtime had been doing.She felt sure he would like to hear. So it was not verypleasant when she opened the door of her room, to seeMartha standing waiting for her with a doleful face. "What is the matter?" she asked. "What did Colin saywhen you told him I couldn't come?" "Eh!" said Martha, "I wish tha'd gone. He was nigh goin'into one o' his tantrums. There's been a nice to do allafternoon to keep him quiet. He would watch the clockall th' time." Mary's lips pinched themselves together. She was no moreused to considering other people than Colin was and shesaw no reason why an ill-tempered boy should interferewith the thing she liked best. She knew nothing aboutthe pitifulness of people who had been ill and nervousand who did not know that they could control their tempersand need not make other people ill and nervous, too.When she had had a headache in India she had done herbest to see that everybody else also had a headache orsomething quite as bad. And she felt she was quite right;but of course now she felt that Colin was quite wrong. He was not on his sofa when she went into his room.He was lying flat on his back in bed and he did not turnhis head toward her as she came in. This was a bad beginningand Mary marched up to him with her stiff manner. "Why didn't you get up?" she said. "I did get up this morning when I thought you were coming,"he answered, without looking at her. "I made them putme back in bed this afternoon. My back ached and myhead ached and I was tired. Why didn't you come?""I was working in the garden with Dickon," said Mary. Colin frowned and condescended to look at her. "I won't let that boy come here if you go and staywith him instead of coming to talk to me," he said. Mary flew into a fine passion. She could fly intoa passion without making a noise. She just grew sourand obstinate and did not care what happened. "If you send Dickon away, I'll never come into thisroom again!" she retorted. "You'll have to if I want you," said Colin. "I won't!" said Mary. "I'll make you," said Colin. "They shall drag you in." "Shall they, Mr. Rajah!" said Mary fiercely. "They may dragme in but they can't make me talk when they get me here.I'll sit and clench my teeth and never tell you one thing.I won't even look at you. I'll stare at the floor!" They were a nice agreeable pair as they glared at each other.If they had been two little street boys they would havesprung at each other and had a rough-and-tumble fight.As it was, they did the next thing to it. "You are a selfish thing!" cried Colin. "What are you?" said Mary. "Selfish people always say that.Any one is selfish who doesn't do what they want.You're more selfish than I am. You're the most selfish boyI ever saw." "I'm not!" snapped Colin. "I'm not as selfish as yourfine Dickon is! He keeps you playing in the dirt when heknows I am all by myself. He's selfish, if you like!" Mary's eyes flashed fire. "He's nicer than any other boy that ever lived!" she said."He's--he's like an angel!" It might sound rather sillyto say that but she did not care. "A nice angel!" Colin sneered ferociously. "He's a commoncottage boy off the moor!" "He's better than a common Rajah!" retorted Mary."He's a thousand times better!" Because she was the stronger of the two she was beginningto get the better of him. The truth was that he hadnever had a fight with any one like himself in hislife and, upon the whole, it was rather good for him,though neither he nor Mary knew anything about that.He turned his head on his pillow and shut his eyesand a big tear was squeezed out and ran down his cheek.He was beginning to feel pathetic and sorry for himself--notfor any one else. "I'm not as selfish as you, because I'm always ill,and I'm sure there is a lump coming on my back," he said."And I am going to die besides." "You're not!" contradicted Mary unsympathetically. He opened his eyes quite wide with indignation.He had never heard such a thing said before. He was atonce furious and slightly pleased, if a person couldbe both at one time. "I'm not?" he cried. "I am! You know I am! Everybodysays so." "I don't believe it!" said Mary sourly. "You just saythat to make people sorry. I believe you're proud of it.I don't believe it! If you were a nice boy it might betrue--but you're too nasty!" In spite of his invalid back Colin sat up in bed in quitea healthy rage. "Get out of the room!" he shouted and he caught holdof his pillow and threw it at her. He was not strongenough to throw it far and it only fell at her feet,but Mary's face looked as pinched as a nutcracker. "I'm going," she said. "And I won't come back!"She walked to the door and when she reached it she turnedround and spoke again. "I was going to tell you all sorts of nice things,"she said. "Dickon brought his fox and his rook and I wasgoing to tell you all about them. Now I won't tell youa single thing!" She marched out of the door and closed it behind her,and there to her great astonishment she found the trainednurse standing as if she had been listening and, more amazingstill--she was laughing. She was a big handsome youngwoman who ought not to have been a trained nurse at all,as she could not bear invalids and she was alwaysmaking excuses to leave Colin to Martha or any one elsewho would take her place. Mary had never liked her,and she simply stood and gazed up at her as she stoodgiggling into her handkerchief.. "What are you laughing at?" she asked her. "At you two young ones," said the nurse. "It's the bestthing that could happen to the sickly pampered thingto have some one to stand up to him that's as spoiledas himself;" and she laughed into her handkerchief again."If he'd had a young vixen of a sister to fight with itwould have been the saving of him." "Is he going to die?" "I don't know and I don't care," said the nurse."Hysterics and temper are half what ails him." "What are hysterics?" asked Mary. "You'll find out if you work him into a tantrum afterthis--but at any rate you've given him something to havehysterics about, and I'm glad of it." Mary went back to her room not feeling at all as shehad felt when she had come in from the garden. She wascross and disappointed but not at all sorry for Colin.She had looked forward to telling him a great many thingsand she had meant to try to make up her mind whetherit would be safe to trust him with the great secret.She had been beginning to think it would be, but now shehad changed her mind entirely. She would never tell himand he could stay in his room and never get any freshair and die if he liked! It would serve him right! Shefelt so sour and unrelenting that for a few minutes shealmost forgot about Dickon and the green veil creepingover the world and the soft wind blowing down fromthe moor. Martha was waiting for her and the trouble in her facehad been temporarily replaced by interest and curiosity.There was a wooden box on the table and its cover had beenremoved and revealed that it was full of neat packages. "Mr. Craven sent it to you," said Martha. "It looksas if it had picture-books in it." Mary remembered what he had asked her the day she had goneto his room. "Do you want anything--dolls--toys --books?"She opened the package wondering if he had sent a doll,and also wondering what she should do with it if he had.But he had not sent one. There were several beautifulbooks such as Colin had, and two of them were about gardensand were full of pictures. There were two or three gamesand there was a beautiful little writing-case with a goldmonogram on it and a gold pen and inkstand. Everything was so nice that her pleasure began to crowdher anger out of her mind. She had not expected himto remember her at all and her hard little heart grewquite warm. "I can write better than I can print," she said,"and the first thing I shall write with that pen willbe a letter to tell him I am much obliged." If she had been friends with Colin she would have run to showhim her presents at once, and they would have looked at thepictures and read some of the gardening books and perhapstried playing the games, and he would have enjoyed himselfso much he would never once have thought he was goingto die or have put his hand on his spine to see if therewas a lump coming. He had a way of doing that which shecould not bear. It gave her an uncomfortable frightenedfeeling because he always looked so frightened himself.He said that if he felt even quite a little lumpsome day he should know his hunch had begun to grow.Something he had heard Mrs. Medlock whispering to thenurse had given him the idea and he had thought over itin secret until it was quite firmly fixed in his mind.Mrs. Medlock had said his father's back had begun to showits crookedness in that way when he was a child. He hadnever told any one but Mary that most of his "tantrums"as they called them grew out of his hysterical hidden fear.Mary had been sorry for him when he had told her. "He always began to think about it when he was cross or tired,"she said to herself. "And he has been cross today.Perhaps--perhaps he has been thinking about it all afternoon." She stood still, looking down at the carpet and thinking. "I said I would never go back again--" she hesitated,knitting her brows--"but perhaps, just perhaps,I will go and see--if he wants me--in the morning.Perhaps he'll try to throw his pillow at me again,but--I think--I'll go."