THE MISSEL THRUSH 129
" Martha told me there was one as no one ever went inside," he answered. " Us used to wonder what it was like."
He stopped and looked round at the lovely gray tangle about him, and his round eyes looked queerly happy.
11 Eh! the nests as'll be here come springtime," he said. " It'd be th' safest nestin' place in England. No one never comin' near an' tangles o' trees an' roses to build in. I wonder all th' birds on th' moor don't build here."
Mistress Mary put her hand on his arm again without knowing it.
" Will there be roses? " she whispered. " Can you tell? I thought perhaps they were all dead."
"Eh! No! Not them —not all of 'em!" he answered. " Look here ! "
He stepped over to the nearest tree — an old, old one with gray lichen all over its bark, but upholding a curtain of tangled sprays and branches. He took a thick knife out of his pocket and opened one of its blades.
" There's lots 0' dead wood as ought to be cut out," he said. " An' there's a lot o' old wood, but it made some new last year. This here's a new bit," and he touched a shoot which looked brownish green instead of hard, dry gray.