In the night, Mary was awakened by heavy rain and the "wutherin" of the wind. She couldn't sleep, and as she lay tossing in bed, she heard the crying again. That's never the wind,' she whispered. 'I don't care what Mrs Medlock says, I'm going to find out what that noise is.'
Candlestick in hand, she walked softly along the corridors. She saw a light shining under a door. She pushed the door open and there, lying on a four-poster bed, she saw a boy crying pitifully.

He turned suddenly and stopped crying. Are you a ghost?' he asked, frightened.
'No, I'm Mary Lennox,' she answered. 'Who are you?'
'I'm Mr Craven's son, Colin,' said the boy.
'So I must be your cousin,' said Mary. 'Did no one tell you I'd come to live here?'
'No. No one would dare,' replied Colin. 'I should have been afraid you'd see me. My father won't let people see me. He's afraid I'll grow up to be a hunchback. I'm always ill, so I stay here in bed. My father hates me because my mother died when I was born.'
'Have you always been here?' asked Mary.

'Nearly always,' replied Colin. 'If I go out, people stare at me and I can't stand it.'
'If you don't like people to see you,' Mary said, 'shall I go away?'
'Oh, no!' Colin answered quickly. 'Stay and talk to me.'
Mary sat on a cushioned stool next to the bed, and they talked for a long time. Colin wanted to know all about Mary, and she answered all his questions. He told her how miserable and lonely he felt, even though he was given whatever he asked for.
'All the servants have to please me,' Colin said. 'It makes me ill to be angry, so everyone has to do as I say.'

'Do you think you will get well?' Mary asked.
'I don't suppose I shall,' Colin replied. 'I think I am going to die. But let's talk about something else. How old are you?'
'I'm ten, same as you,' Mary said.
'How do you know I'm ten?' he asked.
'Because the garden was locked ten years ago, when you were born,' Mary answered.
'What garden?' Colin asked, surprised.
'Just a garden Mr Craven hates,' Mary replied. 'He locked the door and buried the key.'
'What's the garden like?' Colin persisted.
'No one has been allowed to see it for ten years,' Mary answered. She was careful not to let him know that she had already found it.

Colin wanted to know all he could about the garden, and they talked about the exciting things they might find there.
'I shall make them open the door,' Colin said.
'Oh, no!' cried Mary. 'Let's keep it a secret. If they open the door, it will never be a secret again. Perhaps one day we may find the door. We could go inside, and no one would know about it but us.'
'I should like that,' said Colin. 'I never had a secret before.' Tired from talking, he fell asleep, and Mary crept away.

home next back