THE KEY OF THE GARDEN 81
and hopped about so close to her feet, and put his head on one side and looked at her so slyly that she asked Ben WeatherstafT a question.
" Do you think he remembers me? " she said.
" Remembers thee! " said Weatherstaff indignantly. " He knows every cabbage stump in th' gardens, let alone th' people. He's never seen a little wench here before, an' he's bent on findtn' out all about thee. Tha's no need to try to hide anything from him."
" Are things stirring down below in the dark in that garden where he lives?" Mary inquired.
"What garden?" grunted Weatherstaff, becoming surly again.
" The one where the old rose-trees are." She could not help asking, because she wanted so much to know. " Are all the flowers dead, or do some of them come again in the summer? Are there ever any roses? "
" Ask him," said Ben Weatherstaff, hunching his shoulders toward the robin. " He's the only one as knows. No one else has seen inside it for ten year'."
Ten years was a long time, Mary thought. She had been born ten years ago.
She walked away, slowly thinking. She had begun to like the garden just as she had begun to like the robin and Dickon and Martha's mother.