"IT HAS COME!" Of course Dr. Craven had been sent for the morning afterColin had had his tantrum. He was always sent for atonce when such a thing occurred and he always found,when he arrived, a white shaken boy lying on his bed,sulky and still so hysterical that he was ready to breakinto fresh sobbing at the least word. In fact, Dr. Cravendreaded and detested the difficulties of these visits.On this occasion he was away from Misselthwaite Manoruntil afternoon. "How is he?" he asked Mrs. Medlock rather irritably when hearrived.
"He will break a blood-vessel in one of those fits some day.The boy is half insane with hysteria and self-indulgence."
"Well, sir," answered Mrs. Medlock, "you'll scarcely believeyour eyes when you see him. That plain sour-faced childthat's almost as bad as himself has just bewitched him.How she's done it there's no telling. The Lord knowsshe's nothing to look at and you scarcely ever hearher speak, but she did what none of us dare do.She just flew at him like a little cat last night,and stamped her feet and ordered him to stop screaming,and somehow she startled him so that he actually did stop,and this afternoon--well just come up and see, sir.It's past crediting." The scene which Dr. Craven beheld when he entered hispatient's room was indeed rather astonishing to him.As Mrs. Medlock opened the door he heard laughingand chattering. Colin was on his sofa in his dressing-gownand he was sitting up quite straight looking at a picturein one of the garden books and talking to the plainchild who at that moment could scarcely be called plainat all because her face was so glowing with enjoyment. "Those long spires of blue ones--we'll have a lot of those,"Colin was announcing. "They're called Del-phin-iums." "Dickon says they're larkspurs made big and grand,"cried Mistress Mary. "There are clumps there already." Then they saw Dr. Craven and stopped. Mary became quitestill and Colin looked fretful. "I am sorry to hear you were ill last night, my boy,"Dr. Craven said a trifle nervously. He was rather anervous man. "I'm better now--much better," Colin answered,rather like a Rajah. "I'm going out in my chairin a day or two if it is fine. I want some fresh air." Dr. Craven sat down by him and felt his pulse and lookedat him curiously. "It must be a very fine day," he said, "and you mustbe very careful not to tire yourself." "Fresh air won't tire me," said the young Rajah. As there had been occasions when this same young gentlemanhad shrieked aloud with rage and had insisted that freshair would give him cold and kill him, it is not to bewondered at that his doctor felt somewhat startled. "I thought you did not like fresh air," he said. "I don't when I am by myself," replied the Rajah;"but my cousin is going out with me." "And the nurse, of course?" suggested Dr. Craven. "No, I will not have the nurse," so magnificently that Marycould not help remembering how the young native Princehad looked with his diamonds and emeralds and pearlsstuck all over him and the great rubies on the small darkhand he had waved to command his servants to approachwith salaams and receive his orders. "My cousin knows how to take care of me. I am always betterwhen she is with me. She made me better last night.A very strong boy I know will push my carriage." Dr. Craven felt rather alarmed. If this tiresomehysterical boy should chance to get well he himself wouldlose all chance of inheriting Misselthwaite; but hewas not an unscrupulous man, though he was a weak one,and he did not intend to let him run into actual danger. "He must be a strong boy and a steady boy," he said."And I must know something about him. Who is he? What ishis name?" "It's Dickon," Mary spoke up suddenly. She felt somehowthat everybody who knew the moor must know Dickon.And she was right, too. She saw that in a momentDr. Craven's serious face relaxed into a relieved smile. "Oh, Dickon," he said. "If it is Dickon you will besafe enough. He's as strong as a moor pony, is Dickon." "And he's trusty," said Mary. "He's th' trustiest lad i'Yorkshire." She had been talking Yorkshire to Colinand she forgot herself. "Did Dickon teach you that?" asked Dr. Craven,laughing outright. "I'm learning it as if it was French," said Mary rather coldly."It's like a native dialect in India. Very cleverpeople try to learn them. I like it and so does Colin.""Well, well," he said. "If it amuses you perhaps it won'tdo you any harm. Did you take your bromide last night, Colin?" "No," Colin answered. "I wouldn't take it at firstand after Mary made me quiet she talked me to sleep--ina low voice--about the spring creeping into a garden." "That sounds soothing," said Dr. Craven, more perplexedthan ever and glancing sideways at Mistress Mary sittingon her stool and looking down silently at the carpet."You are evidently better, but you must remember--" "I don't want to remember," interrupted the Rajah,appearing again. "When I lie by myself and remember Ibegin to have pains everywhere and I think of thingsthat make me begin to scream because I hate them so.If there was a doctor anywhere who could make you forgetyou were ill instead of remembering it I would have himbrought here." And he waved a thin hand which ought reallyto have been covered with royal signet rings made of rubies."It is because my cousin makes me forget that she makesme better." Dr. Craven had never made such a short stay after a"tantrum"; usually he was obliged to remain a very longtime and do a great many things. This afternoon he didnot give any medicine or leave any new orders and he wasspared any disagreeable scenes. When he went downstairs helooked very thoughtful and when he talked to Mrs. Medlockin the library she felt that he was a much puzzled man. "Well, sir," she ventured, "could you have believed it?" "It is certainly a new state of affairs," said the doctor."And there's no denying it is better than the old one." "I believe Susan Sowerby's right--I do that," said Mrs. Medlock."I stopped in her cottage on my way to Thwaite yesterdayand had a bit of talk with her. And she says to me,'Well, Sarah Ann, she mayn't be a good child, an' she mayn'tbe a pretty one, but she's a child, an' children needschildren.' We went to school together, Susan Sowerby and me." "She's the best sick nurse I know," said Dr. Craven."When I find her in a cottage I know the chances are that Ishall save my patient." Mrs. Medlock smiled. She was fond of Susan Sowerby. "She's got a way with her, has Susan," she went onquite volubly. "I've been thinking all morning of onething she said yesterday. She says, `Once when Iwas givin' th' children a bit of a preach after they'dbeen fightin' I ses to 'em all, "When I was at school myjography told as th' world was shaped like a orange an'I found out before I was ten that th' whole orangedoesn't belong to nobody. No one owns more than his bitof a quarter an' there's times it seems like there'snot enow quarters to go round. But don't you--none o'you--think as you own th' whole orange or you'll findout you're mistaken, an' you won't find it out withouthard knocks." `What children learns from children,'she says, 'is that there's no sense in grabbin' at th'whole orange--peel an' all. If you do you'll likelynot get even th' pips, an' them's too bitter to eat.'" "She's a shrewd woman," said Dr. Craven, putting on his coat. "Well, she's got a way of saying things," ended Mrs. Medlock,much pleased. "Sometimes I've said to her, 'Eh! Susan,if you was a different woman an' didn't talk such broadYorkshire I've seen the times when I should have said youwas clever.'" That night Colin slept without once awakening andwhen he opened his eyes in the morning he lay stilland smiled without knowing it--smiled because he felt socuriously comfortable. It was actually nice to be awake,and he turned over and stretched his limbs luxuriously.He felt as if tight strings which had held him hadloosened themselves and let him go. He did not know thatDr. Craven would have said that his nerves had relaxedand rested themselves. Instead of lying and staring atthe wall and wishing he had not awakened, his mind was fullof the plans he and Mary had made yesterday, of picturesof the garden and of Dickon and his wild creatures.It was so nice to have things to think about. And hehad not been awake more than ten minutes when he heardfeet running along the corridor and Mary was at the door.The next minute she was in the room and had run acrossto his bed, bringing with her a waft of fresh air fullof the scent of the morning. "You've been out! You've been out! There's that nicesmell of leaves!" he cried. She had been running and her hair was loose and blownand she was bright with the air and pink-cheeked, thoughhe could not see it. "It's so beautiful!" she said, a little breathlesswith her speed. "You never saw anything so beautiful!It has come! I thought it had come that other morning,but it was only coming. It is here now! It has come,the Spring! Dickon says so!" "Has it?" cried Colin, and though he really knew nothingabout it he felt his heart beat. He actually sat upin bed. "Open the window!" he added, laughing half with joyfulexcitement and half at his own fancy. "Perhaps we mayhear golden trumpets!" And though he laughed, Mary was at the window in a momentand in a moment more it was opened wide and freshness andsoftness and scents and birds' songs were pouring through. "That's fresh air," she said. "Lie on your back and drawin long breaths of it. That's what Dickon does when he'slying on the moor. He says he feels it in his veinsand it makes him strong and he feels as if he couldlive forever and ever. Breathe it and breathe it." She was only repeating what Dickon had told her, but shecaught Colin's fancy. "`Forever and ever'! Does it make him feel like that?"he said, and he did as she told him, drawing in long deepbreaths over and over again until he felt that somethingquite new and delightful was happening to him. Mary was at his bedside again. "Things are crowding up out of the earth," she ran onin a hurry. "And there are flowers uncurling and budson everything and the green veil has covered nearly allthe gray and the birds are in such a hurry about theirnests for fear they may be too late that some of themare even fighting for places in the secret garden.And the rose-bushes look as wick as wick can be,and there are primroses in the lanes and woods,and the seeds we planted are up, and Dickon has broughtthe fox and the crow and the squirrels and a new-born lamb." And then she paused for breath. The new-born lamb Dickonhad found three days before lying by its dead motheramong the gorse bushes on the moor. It was not the firstmotherless lamb he had found and he knew what to do with it.He had taken it to the cottage wrapped in his jacket and hehad let it lie near the fire and had fed it with warm milk.It was a soft thing with a darling silly baby faceand legs rather long for its body. Dickon had carriedit over the moor in his arms and its feeding bottlewas in his pocket with a squirrel, and when Mary had satunder a tree with its limp warmness huddled on her lap shehad felt as if she were too full of strange joy to speak.A lamb--a lamb! A living lamb who lay on your lap like a baby! She was describing it with great joy and Colin was listeningand drawing in long breaths of air when the nurse entered.She started a little at the sight of the open window.She had sat stifling in the room many a warm day because herpatient was sure that open windows gave people cold. "Are you sure you are not chilly, Master Colin?"she inquired. "No," was the answer. "I am breathing long breathsof fresh air. It makes you strong. I am going to get upto the sofa for breakfast. My cousin will have breakfastwith me." The nurse went away, concealing a smile, to givethe order for two breakfasts. She found the servants'hall a more amusing place than the invalid's chamber andjust now everybody wanted to hear the news from upstairs.There was a great deal of joking about the unpopular youngrecluse who, as the cook said, "had found his master,and good for him." The servants' hall had been very tiredof the tantrums, and the butler, who was a man with a family,had more than once expressed his opinion that the invalidwould be all the better "for a good hiding." When Colin was on his sofa and the breakfast for two wasput upon the table he made an announcement to the nursein his most Rajah-like manner. "A boy, and a fox, and a crow, and two squirrels,and a new-born lamb, are coming to see me this morning.I want them brought upstairs as soon as they come,"he said. "You are not to begin playing with the animalsin the servants' hall and keep them there. I want them here."The nurse gave a slight gasp and tried to conceal it witha cough. "Yes, sir," she answered. "I'll tell you what you can do," added Colin, wavinghis hand. "You can tell Martha to bring them here.The boy is Martha's brother. His name is Dickon and heis an animal charmer." "I hope the animals won't bite, Master Colin," said the nurse. "I told you he was a charmer," said Colin austerely."Charmers' animals never bite." "There are snake-charmers in India," said Mary."and they can put their snakes' heads in their mouths." "Goodness!" shuddered the nurse. They ate their breakfast with the morning air pouringin upon them. Colin's breakfast was a very good oneand Mary watched him with serious interest. "You will begin to get fatter just as I did," she said."I never wanted my breakfast when I was in India and now Ialways want it." "I wanted mine this morning," said Colin. "Perhaps itwas the fresh air. When do you think Dickon will come?" He was not long in coming. In about ten minutes Maryheld up her hand. "Listen!" she said. "Did you hear a caw?" Colin listened and heard it, the oddest sound in the worldto hear inside a house, a hoarse "caw-caw." "Yes," he answered. "That's Soot," said Mary. "Listen again. Do you heara bleat--a tiny one?" "Oh, yes!" cried Colin, quite flushing. "That's the new-born lamb," said Mary. "He's coming." Dickon's moorland boots were thick and clumsy and thoughhe tried to walk quietly they made a clumping sound as hewalked through the long corridors. Mary and Colin heard himmarching--marching, until he passed through the tapestrydoor on to the soft carpet of Colin's own passage. "If you please, sir," announced Martha, opening the door,"if you please, sir, here's Dickon an' his creatures." Dickon came in smiling his nicest wide smile.The new- born lamb was in his arms and the little redfox trotted by his side. Nut sat on his left shoulderand Soot on his right and Shell's head and paws peepedout of his coat pocket. Colin slowly sat up and stared and stared--as he had staredwhen he first saw Mary; but this was a stare of wonderand delight. The truth was that in spite of all he hadheard he had not in the least understood what this boy wouldbe like and that his fox and his crow and his squirrelsand his lamb were so near to him and his friendlinessthat they seemed almost to be part of himself. Colin hadnever talked to a boy in his life and he was so overwhelmedby his own pleasure and curiosity that he did not even think ofspeaking. But Dickon did not feel the least shy or awkward.He had not felt embarrassed because the crow had notknown his language and had only stared and had notspoken to him the first time they met. Creatures werealways like that until they found out about you.He walked over to Colin's sofa and put the new-bornlamb quietly on his lap, and immediately the littlecreature turned to the warm velvet dressing-gown andbegan to nuzzle and nuzzle into its folds and butt itstight-curled head with soft impatience against his side.Of course no boy could have helped speaking then. "What is it doing?" cried Colin. "What does it want?" "It wants its mother," said Dickon, smiling more and more."I brought it to thee a bit hungry because I knowed tha'dlike to see it feed." He knelt down by the sofa and took a feeding-bottlefrom his pocket. "Come on, little 'un," he said, turning the smallwoolly white head with a gentle brown hand. "This iswhat tha's after. Tha'll get more out o' this than tha'will out o' silk velvet coats. There now," and he pushedthe rubber tip of the bottle into the nuzzling mouthand the lamb began to suck it with ravenous ecstasy. After that there was no wondering what to say.By the time the lamb fell asleep questions poured forthand Dickon answered them all. He told them how he had foundthe lamb just as the sun was rising three mornings ago.He had been standing on the moor listening to a skylarkand watching him swing higher and higher into the skyuntil he was only a speck in the heights of blue. "I'd almost lost him but for his song an' I was wonderin'how a chap could hear it when it seemed as if he'dget out o' th' world in a minute--an' just then Iheard somethin' else far off among th' gorse bushes.It was a weak bleatin' an' I knowed it was a new lambas was hungry an' I knowed it wouldn't be hungry if ithadn't lost its mother somehow, so I set off searchin'.Eh! I did have a look for it. I went in an' out among th'gorse bushes an' round an' round an' I always seemedto take th' wrong turnin'. But at last I seed a bit o'white by a rock on top o' th' moor an' I climbed up an'found th' little 'un half dead wi' cold an' clemmin'."While he talked, Soot flew solemnly in and out of the openwindow and cawed remarks about the scenery while Nutand Shell made excursions into the big trees outsideand ran up and down trunks and explored branches.Captain curled up near Dickon, who sat on the hearth-rugfrom preference. They looked at the pictures in the gardening books andDickon knew all the flowers by their country names and knewexactly which ones were already growing in the secret garden. "I couldna' say that there name," he said, pointing to oneunder which was written "Aquilegia," "but us calls thata columbine, an' that there one it's a snapdragon and theyboth grow wild in hedges, but these is garden ones an'they're bigger an' grander. There's some big clumps o'columbine in th' garden. They'll look like a bed o' blue an'white butterflies flutterin' when they're out." "I'm going to see them," cried Colin. "I am goingto see them!" "Aye, that tha' mun," said Mary quite seriously. "An' tha'munnot lose no time about it."