Mary spent most days out of doors. The cold wind brought a pink glow to her cheeks, and each evening she ate a good meal. After supper, she liked to sit by the fire and talk to Martha.
'Why does Mr Craven hate the locked garden?' Mary asked one evening.
'It was Mrs Craven's garden. She loved it,' Martha said. 'She was sitting on the branch of a tree when it broke and she fell. She was hurt so bad, she died. That's why he hates it. He won't let anyone talk about it.'

Mary had never felt sorry for anyone before, but now she understood how very unhappy Mr Craven must be. The wind blew across the moor and moaned and roared around the house. Martha called it 'wutherin''. Mary listened, and through the "wutherin" she thought she heard a child crying.
'No,' Martha said when Mary asked. 'It's only th' wind or th' scullery maid. She's been cryin' all day with toothache.' And she quickly left the room.

Next day the rain poured down. 'On a day like this at home,' said Martha, 'we all try to keep busy indoors. Except Dickon. He goes out in all weathers. He brought home a fox cub that he found half drowned. He's got a crow, too, called Soot.'
Left on her own, Mary decided to explore the house. She went down corridors and up and down stairs. In the stillness, she heard again the faint sound of a child crying. As she stopped to listen at a door, another door opened and out came Mrs Medlock. 'What are you doing here?' she demanded. 'Get back to your room at once!'
Mary was angry. She knew that she had heard the cry, and she meant to find out what it was.The storms passed.

'Wait until th' sun shines on th' golden gorse and th' heather,' said Martha.I'd like to see your cottage on the moor, and meet your mother,' said Mary.
Tha would love my mother,' Martha said. 'She's kind and loving and hard-working. When it's my day out and I can go home to see her, I just jump for joy.'
I'd like to see Dickon, too,' said Mary.
'Yes, you'd like him,' Martha said. 'Everyone likes Dickon.'
'No one likes me,' said Mary sadly.
'Well, maybe that's because you don't like other people,' said Martha, smiling.
'I never thought of that,' said Mary.
Mary found Ben in the garden. 'Spring's coming,' he said. Th' plants are workin' under th' soil. You'll soon see crocuses and daffy-downdillys.'

The robin flew over, and Mary followed him to his perch on the ivy-covered wall. He hopped down onto the soil and, as Mary came nearer, he pecked at the earth for a worm. Suddenly, in the soil, Mary saw a rusty key.
'Perhaps it's the key to the Secret Garden!' she thought, slipping it into her pocket.
After supper, Martha told Mary about her day at home. 'Mother has sent you a present to cheer you up.' She brought out a skipping rope with striped handles and showed Mary how to skip.

'Your mother is very kind,' said Mary, wondering how Martha's mother could have spared the money to buy her a rope. Now, wherever she went, Mary skipped, and the more she skipped, the stronger she grew.

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