iU4 THE SECRET GARDEN
did not even answer Mary's questions except by a grunt, but this morning he said more than usual. He stood up and rested one hobnailed boot on the top of his spade while he looked her over.
"How long has tha' been here?" he jerked out.
" I think it's about a month," she answered.
" Tha's beginnin' to do Misselthwaite credit," he said. " Tha's a bit fatter than tha' was an' tha's not quite so yeller. Tha' looked like a young plucked crow when tha' first came into this garden. Thinks I to myself I never set eyes on an uglier, sourer faced young 'un."
Mary was not vain and as she had never thought much of her looks she was not greatly disturbed.
" I know I'm fatter," she said. " My stockings are getting tighter. They used to make wrinkles. There's the robin, Ben Weatherstaff."
There, indeed, was the robin, and she thought he looked nicer than ever. His red waistcoat was as glossy as satin and he flirted his wings and tail and 'tilted his head and hopped about with all sorts of lively graces. He seemed determined to make Ben Weatherstaff admire him. But Ben was sarcastic.
" Aye, there tha' art! " he said. " Tha' can