126 THE SECRET GARDEN
" I'm keepin' secrets all th' time," he said. " If I couldn't keep secrets from th' other lads, secrets about foxes' cubs, an' birds' nests, an' wild things' holes, there'd be naught safe on th' moor. Aye, I can keep secrets."
Mistress Mary did not mean to put out her hand and clutch his sleeve but she did it.
" I've stolen a garden," she said very fast. " It isn't mine. It isn't anybody's. Nobody wants it, nobody cares for it, nobody ever goes into it. Perhaps everything is dead in it already; I don't know."
She began to feel hot and as contrary as she had ever felt in her life.
" I don't care, I don't care! Nobody has any right to take it from me when I care about it and they don't. They're letting it die, all shut in by itself," she ended passionately, and she threw her arms over her face and burst out crying — poor little Mistress Mary.
Dickon's curious blue eyes grew rounder and rounder.
"Eh-h-h!" he said, drawing his exclamation out slowly, and the way he did it meant both wonder and sympathy.
" I've nothing to do," said Mary. " Nothing belongs to me. I found it myself and I got into it myself. I was only just like the robin, and they wouldn't take it from the robin."