THE MISSEL THRUSH 131
so. There's green in that wood yet. Look at it."
Mary was down on her knees before he spoke, gazing with all her might.
" When it looks a bit greenish an' juicy like that, it's wick," he explained. " When th' inside is dry an' breaks easy, like this here piece I've cut off, it's done for. There's a big root here as all this live wood sprung out of, an' if th' old wood's cut off an' it's dug round, an' took care of there'll be —" he stopped and lifted his face to look up at the climbing and hanging sprays above him — " there'll be a fountain o' roses here this summer."
They went from bush to bush and from tree to tree. He was very strong and clever with his knife and knew how to cut the dry and dead wood away, and could tell when an unpromising bough or twig had still green life in it. In the course of half an hour Mary thought she could tell too, and when he cut through a lifeless-looking branch she would cry out joyfully under her breath when she caught sight of the least shade of moist green. The spade, and hoe, and fork were very useful. He showed her how to use the fork while he dug about roots with the spade and stirred the earth and let the air in.
They were working industriously round one