MAGIC Dr. Craven had been waiting some time at the housewhen they returned to it. He had indeed begun to wonderif it might not be wise to send some one out to explorethe garden paths. When Colin was brought back to hisroom the poor man looked him over seriously. "You should not have stayed so long," he said. "You mustnot overexert yourself." "I am not tired at all," said Colin. "It has made me well.Tomorrow I am going out in the morning as well as inthe afternoon." "I am not sure that I can allow it," answered Dr. Craven."I am afraid it would not be wise." "It would not be wise to try to stop me," said Colinquite seriously. "I am going." Even Mary had found out that one of Colin's chief peculiaritieswas that he did not know in the least what a rude littlebrute he was with his way of ordering people about.He had lived on a sort of desert island all his lifeand as he had been the king of it he had made his ownmanners and had had no one to compare himself with.Mary had indeed been rather like him herself and since shehad been at Misselthwaite had gradually discovered thather own manners had not been of the kind which is usualor popular. Having made this discovery she naturallythought it of enough interest to communicate to Colin.So she sat and looked at him curiously for a few minutesafter Dr. Craven had gone. She wanted to make him askher why she was doing it and of course she did. "What are you looking at me for?" he said. "I'm thinking that I am rather sorry for Dr. Craven." "So am I," said Colin calmly, but not without an airof some satisfaction. "He won't get Misselthwaiteat all now I'm not going to die." "I'm sorry for him because of that, of course," said Mary,"but I was thinking just then that it must have been veryhorrid to have had to be polite for ten years to a boywho was always rude. I would never have done it." "Am I rude?" Colin inquired undisturbedly. "If you had been his own boy and he had been a slappingsort of man," said Mary, "he would have slapped you." "But he daren't," said Colin. "No, he daren't," answered Mistress Mary, thinking thething out quite without prejudice. "Nobody ever daredto do anything you didn't like--because you were goingto die and things like that. You were such a poor thing." "But," announced Colin stubbornly, "I am not goingto be a poor thing. I won't let people think I'm one.I stood on my feet this afternoon." "It is always having your own way that has made youso queer," Mary went on, thinking aloud. Colin turned his head, frowning. "Am I queer?" he demanded. "Yes," answered Mary, "very. But you needn't be cross,"she added impartially, "because so am I queer--and so isBen Weatherstaff. But I am not as queer as I was before Ibegan to like people and before I found the garden." "I don't want to be queer," said Colin. "I am not goingto be," and he frowned again with determination. He was a very proud boy. He lay thinking for a while andthen Mary saw his beautiful smile begin and graduallychange his whole face. "I shall stop being queer," he said, "if I go every dayto the garden. There is Magic in there--good Magic,you know, Mary. I am sure there is." "So am I,"said Mary. "Even if it isn't real Magic," Colin said, "we can pretendit is. Something is there--something!" "It's Magic," said Mary, "but not black. It's as whiteas snow." They always called it Magic and indeed it seemed like itin the months that followed--the wonderful months--theradiant months--the amazing ones. Oh! the thingswhich happened in that garden! If you have never hada garden you cannot understand, and if you have hada garden you will know that it would take a whole bookto describe all that came to pass there. At first itseemed that green things would never cease pushingtheir way through the earth, in the grass, in the beds,even in the crevices of the walls. Then the green thingsbegan to show buds and the buds began to unfurl andshow color, every shade of blue, every shade of purple,every tint and hue of crimson. In its happy days flowershad been tucked away into every inch and hole and corner.Ben Weatherstaff had seen it done and had himself scrapedout mortar from between the bricks of the wall and madepockets of earth for lovely clinging things to grow on.Iris and white lilies rose out of the grass in sheaves,and the green alcoves filled themselves with amazing armiesof the blue and white flower lances of tall delphiniumsor columbines or campanulas. "She was main fond o' them--she was," Ben Weatherstaff said."She liked them things as was allus pointin' up to th'blue sky, she used to tell. Not as she was one o'them as looked down on th' earth--not her. She just lovedit but she said as th' blue sky allus looked so joyful." The seeds Dickon and Mary had planted grew as if fairieshad tended them. Satiny poppies of all tints danced in thebreeze by the score, gaily defying flowers which had livedin the garden for years and which it might be confessedseemed rather to wonder how such new people had got there.And the roses--the roses! Rising out of the grass,tangled round the sun-dial, wreathing the tree trunksand hanging from their branches, climbing up the wallsand spreading over them with long garlands fallingin cascades --they came alive day by day, hour by hour.Fair fresh leaves, and buds--and buds--tiny at first butswelling and working Magic until they burst and uncurledinto cups of scent delicately spilling themselves overtheir brims and filling the garden air. Colin saw it all, watching each change as it took place.Every morning he was brought out and every hour of each daywhen it didn't rain he spent in the garden. Even graydays pleased him. He would lie on the grass "watchingthings growing," he said. If you watched long enough,he declared, you could see buds unsheath themselves.Also you could make the acquaintance of strange busy insectthings running about on various unknown but evidentlyserious errands, sometimes carrying tiny scraps of strawor feather or food, or climbing blades of grass as if theywere trees from whose tops one could look out to explorethe country. A mole throwing up its mound at the end of itsburrow and making its way out at last with the long-nailedpaws which looked so like elfish hands, had absorbed himone whole morning. Ants' ways, beetles' ways, bees'ways, frogs' ways, birds' ways, plants' ways, gave hima new world to explore and when Dickon revealed themall and added foxes' ways, otters' ways, ferrets' ways,squirrels' ways, and trout' and water-rats' and badgers'ways, there was no end to the things to talk about and thinkover. And this was not the half of the Magic. The fact that hehad really once stood on his feet had set Colin thinkingtremendously and when Mary told him of the spell shehad worked he was excited and approved of it greatly.He talked of it constantly. "Of course there must be lots of Magic in the world,"he said wisely one day, "but people don't know what it islike or how to make it. Perhaps the beginning is just to saynice things are going to happen until you make them happen.I am going to try and experiment" The next morning when they went to the secret garden he sentat once for Ben Weatherstaff. Ben came as quickly as hecould and found the Rajah standing on his feet under a treeand looking very grand but also very beautifully smiling. "Good morning, Ben Weatherstaff," he said. "I want youand Dickon and Miss Mary to stand in a row and listen to mebecause I am going to tell you something very important." "Aye, aye, sir!" answered Ben Weatherstaff, touchinghis forehead. (One of the long concealed charms of BenWeatherstaff was that in his boyhood he had once run awayto sea and had made voyages. So he could reply like a sailor.) "I am going to try a scientific experiment," explained the Rajah."When I grow up I am going to make great scientificdiscoveries and I am going to begin now with this experiment" "Aye, aye, sir!" said Ben Weatherstaff promptly,though this was the first time he had heard of greatscientific discoveries. It was the first time Mary had heard of them, either,but even at this stage she had begun to realize that,queer as he was, Colin had read about a great many singularthings and was somehow a very convincing sort of boy.When he held up his head and fixed his strange eyes on youit seemed as if you believed him almost in spite of yourselfthough he was only ten years old--going on eleven.At this moment he was especially convincing because hesuddenly felt the fascination of actually making a sortof speech like a grown-up person. "The great scientific discoveries I am going to make,"he went on, "will be about Magic. Magic is a great thingand scarcely any one knows anything about it except a fewpeople in old books--and Mary a little, because she wasborn in India where there are fakirs. I believe Dickonknows some Magic, but perhaps he doesn't know he knows it.He charms animals and people. I would never have let himcome to see me if he had not been an animal charmer--whichis a boy charmer, too, because a boy is an animal.I am sure there is Magic in everything, only we have notsense enough to get hold of it and make it do things forus--like electricity and horses and steam." This sounded so imposing that Ben Weatherstaff becamequite excited and really could not keep still. "Aye, aye,sir," he said and he began to stand up quite straight. "When Mary found this garden it looked quite dead,"the orator proceeded. "Then something began pushing thingsup out of the soil and making things out of nothing.One day things weren't there and another they were.I had never watched things before and it made me feelvery curious. Scientific people are always curious and Iam going to be scientific. I keep saying to myself,`What is it? What is it?' It's something. It can'tbe nothing! I don't know its name so I call it Magic.I have never seen the sun rise but Mary and Dickon haveand from what they tell me I am sure that is Magic too.Something pushes it up and draws it. Sometimes since I'vebeen in the garden I've looked up through the trees atthe sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happyas if something were pushing and drawing in my chestand making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing anddrawing and making things out of nothing. Everything ismade out of Magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds,badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it mustbe all around us. In this garden--in all the places.The Magic in this garden has made me stand up and knowI am going to live to be a man. I am going to make thescientific experiment of trying to get some and put itin myself and make it push and draw me and make me strong.I don't know how to do it but I think that if you keepthinking about it and calling it perhaps it will come.Perhaps that is the first baby way to get it.When I was going to try to stand that first time Marykept saying to herself as fast as she could, `You cando it! You can do it!' and I did. I had to try myselfat the same time, of course, but her Magic helped me--andso did Dickon's. Every morning and evening and as oftenin the daytime as I can remember I am going to say,'Magic is in me! Magic is making me well! I am goingto be as strong as Dickon, as strong as Dickon!' And youmust all do it, too. That is my experiment Will you help,Ben Weatherstaff?" "Aye, aye, sir!" said Ben Weatherstaff. "Aye, aye!" "If you keep doing it every day as regularly as soldiersgo through drill we shall see what will happen and findout if the experiment succeeds. You learn thingsby saying them over and over and thinking about themuntil they stay in your mind forever and I think itwill be the same with Magic. If you keep calling itto come to you and help you it will get to be partof you and it will stay and do things." "I once heardan officer in India tell my mother that there were fakirswho said words over and over thousands of times," said Mary. "I've heard Jem Fettleworth's wife say th' same thing overthousands o' times--callin' Jem a drunken brute," said BenWeatherstaff dryly. "Summat allus come o' that, sure enough.He gave her a good hidin' an' went to th' Blue Lion an'got as drunk as a lord." Colin drew his brows together and thought a few minutes.Then he cheered up. "Well," he said, "you see something did come of it.She used the wrong Magic until she made him beat her.If she'd used the right Magic and had said somethingnice perhaps he wouldn't have got as drunk as a lord andperhaps--perhaps he might have bought her a new bonnet." Ben Weatherstaff chuckled and there was shrewd admirationin his little old eyes. "Tha'rt a clever lad as well as a straight-legged one,Mester Colin," he said. "Next time I see Bess FettleworthI'll give her a bit of a hint o' what Magic will do for her.She'd be rare an' pleased if th' sinetifik 'sperimentworked --an' so 'ud Jem." Dickon had stood listening to the lecture, his roundeyes shining with curious delight. Nut and Shell wereon his shoulders and he held a long-eared white rabbitin his arm and stroked and stroked it softly while itlaid its ears along its back and enjoyed itself. "Do you think the experiment will work?" Colin asked him,wondering what he was thinking. He so often wonderedwhat Dickon was thinking when he saw him looking at himor at one of his "creatures" with his happy wide smile. He smiled now and his smile was wider than usual. "Aye," he answered, "that I do. It'll work same as th'seeds do when th' sun shines on 'em. It'll work for sure.Shall us begin it now?" Colin was delighted and so was Mary. Fired by recollectionsof fakirs and devotees in illustrations Colin suggestedthat they should all sit cross-legged under the treewhich made a canopy. "It will be like sitting in a sort of temple," said Colin."I'm rather tired and I want to sit down." "Eh!" said Dickon, "tha' mustn't begin by sayin'tha'rt tired. Tha' might spoil th' Magic." Colin turned and looked at him--into his innocent round eyes. "That's true," he said slowly. "I must only think ofthe Magic." It all seemed most majestic and mysteriouswhen they sat down in their circle. Ben Weatherstafffelt as if he had somehow been led into appearingat a prayer-meeting. Ordinarily he was very fixed inbeing what he called "agen' prayer-meetin's" but thisbeing the Rajah's affair he did not resent it and wasindeed inclined to be gratified at being called uponto assist. Mistress Mary felt solemnly enraptured.Dickon held his rabbit in his arm, and perhaps he madesome charmer's signal no one heard, for when he sat down,cross-legged like the rest, the crow, the fox, the squirrelsand the lamb slowly drew near and made part of the circle,settling each into a place of rest as if of their own desire. "The `creatures' have come," said Colin gravely."They want to help us." Colin really looked quite beautiful, Mary thought.He held his head high as if he felt like a sort of priestand his strange eyes had a wonderful look in them.The light shone on him through the tree canopy. "Now we will begin," he said. "Shall we sway backwardand forward, Mary, as if we were dervishes?" "I canna' do no swayin' back'ard and for'ard,"said Ben Weatherstaff. "I've got th' rheumatics." "The Magic will take them away," said Colin in a HighPriest tone, "but we won't sway until it has done it.We will only chant." "I canna' do no chantin'" said Ben Weatherstaff atrifle testily. "They turned me out o' th' church choir th'only time I ever tried it." No one smiled. They were all too much in earnest.Colin's face was not even crossed by a shadow. He wasthinking only of the Magic. "Then I will chant," he said. And he began, looking likea strange boy spirit. "The sun is shining--the sunis shining. That is the Magic. The flowers are growing--theroots are stirring. That is the Magic. Being aliveis the Magic--being strong is the Magic. The Magic isin me--the Magic is in me. It is in me--it is in me.It's in every one of us. It's in Ben Weatherstaff's back.Magic! Magic! Come and help!" He said it a great many times--not a thousand timesbut quite a goodly number. Mary listened entranced.She felt as if it were at once queer and beautiful and shewanted him to go on and on. Ben Weatherstaff began to feelsoothed into a sort of dream which was quite agreeable.The humming of the bees in the blossoms mingled withthe chanting voice and drowsily melted into a doze.Dickon sat cross-legged with his rabbit asleepon his arm and a hand resting on the lamb's back.Soot had pushed away a squirrel and huddled close to himon his shoulder, the gray film dropped over his eyes.At last Colin stopped. "Now I am going to walk round the garden," he announced. Ben Weatherstaff's head had just dropped forward and helifted it with a jerk. "You have been asleep," said Colin. "Nowt o' th' sort," mumbled Ben. "Th' sermon was goodenow--but I'm bound to get out afore th' collection." He was not quite awake yet. "You're not in church," said Colin. "Not me," said Ben, straightening himself. "Who said Iwere? I heard every bit of it. You said th' Magic wasin my back. Th' doctor calls it rheumatics." The Rajah waved his hand. "That was the wrong Magic," he said. "You will get better.You have my permission to go to your work. But comeback tomorrow." "I'd like to see thee walk round the garden," grunted Ben. It was not an unfriendly grunt, but it was a grunt.In fact, being a stubborn old party and not having entirefaith in Magic he had made up his mind that if he were sentaway he would climb his ladder and look over the wallso that he might be ready to hobble back if there wereany stumbling. The Rajah did not object to his staying and so the processionwas formed. It really did look like a procession.Colin was at its head with Dickon on one side andMary on the other. Ben Weatherstaff walked behind,and the "creatures" trailed after them, the lamb andthe fox cub keeping close to Dickon, the white rabbithopping along or stopping to nibble and Soot followingwith the solemnity of a person who felt himself in charge. It was a procession which moved slowly but with dignity.Every few yards it stopped to rest. Colin leaned on Dickon'sarm and privately Ben Weatherstaff kept a sharp lookout,but now and then Colin took his hand from its supportand walked a few steps alone. His head was held up allthe time and he looked very grand. "The Magic is in me!" he kept saying. "The Magicis making me strong! I can feel it! I can feel it!" It seemed very certain that something was upholdingand uplifting him. He sat on the seats in the alcoves,and once or twice he sat down on the grass and severaltimes he paused in the path and leaned on Dickon, but hewould not give up until he had gone all round the garden.When he returned to the canopy tree his cheeks were flushedand he looked triumphant. "I did it! The Magic worked!" he cried. "That is myfirst scientific discovery.". "What will Dr. Craven say?" broke out Mary. "He won't say anything," Colin answered, "because he willnot be told. This is to be the biggest secret of all.No one is to know anything about it until I have grownso strong that I can walk and run like any other boy.I shall come here every day in my chair and I shall betaken back in it. I won't have people whispering andasking questions and I won't let my father hear about ituntil the experiment has quite succeeded. Then sometimewhen he comes back to Misselthwaite I shall just walk intohis study and say `Here I am; I am like any other boy.I am quite well and I shall live to be a man. It has beendone by a scientific experiment.'" "He will think he is in a dream," cried Mary. "He won'tbelieve his eyes." Colin flushed triumphantly. He had made himself believethat he was going to get well, which was really morethan half the battle, if he had been aware of it.And the thought which stimulated him more than any otherwas this imagining what his father would look like when hesaw that he had a son who was as straight and strong asother fathers' sons. One of his darkest miseries in theunhealthy morbid past days had been his hatred of beinga sickly weak-backed boy whose father was afraid to look at him. "He'll be obliged to believe them," he said. "One of the things I am going to do, after the Magicworks and before I begin to make scientific discoveries,is to be an athlete." "We shall have thee takin' to boxin' in a week or so,"said Ben Weatherstaff. "Tha'lt end wi' winnin' th'Belt an' bein' champion prize-fighter of all England." Colin fixed his eyes on him sternly. "Weatherstaff," he said, "that is disrespectful.You must not take liberties because you are in the secret.However much the Magic works I shall not be a prize-fighter.I shall be a Scientific Discoverer." "Ax pardon--ax pardon, sir" answered Ben, touching hisforehead in salute. "I ought to have seed it wasn'ta jokin' matter," but his eyes twinkled and secretly hewas immensely pleased. He really did not mind beingsnubbed since the snubbing meant that the lad was gainingstrength and spirit.