52 THE SECRET GARDEN
had flown on to one of its branches and had burst out into a scrap of a song. Ben Weatherstaff laughed outright.
" What did he do that for? " asked Mary. " He's made up his mind to make friends with thee," replied Ben. " Dang me if he hasn't took a fancy to thee."
" To me? " said Mary, and she moved toward the little tree softly and looked up.
" Would you make friends with me? " she said to the robin just as if she was speaking to a person. " Would you? " And she did not say it either in her hard little voice or in her imperious Indian voice, but in a tone so soft and eager and coaxing that Ben Weatherstaff was as surprised as she had been when she heard him whistle.
" Why," he cried out, " tha' said that as nice an' human as if tha' was a real child instead of a sharp old woman. Tha' said it almost like Dickon talks to his wild things on th' moor."
"Do you know Dickon?" Mary asked, turning round rather in a hurry.
" Everybody knows him. Dickon's wanderin' about everywhere. Th' very blackberries an' heather-bells knows him. I warrant th' foxes shows him where their cubs lies an' th' skylarks doesn't hide their nests from him."
Mary would have liked to ask some more ques-