148 THE SECRET GARDEN
erby said I ought to see you. Her daughter had talked about you. She thought you needed fresh air and freedom and running about."
" She knows all about children," Mary said again in spite of herself.
" She ought to," said Mr. Craven. " I thought her rather bold to stop me on the moor, but she said — Mrs. Craven had been kind to her." It seemed hard for him to speak his dead wife's name. " She is a respectable woman. Now I have seen you I think she said sensible things. Play out of doors as much as you like. It's a big place and you may go where you like and amuse yourself as you like. Is there anything you want? " as if a sudden thought had struck him. " Do you want toys, books, dolls? "
" Might I," quavered Mary, " might I have a bit of earth? "
In her eagerness she did not realize how queer the words would sound and that they were not the ones she had meant to say. Mr. Craven looked quite startled.
"Earth!" he repeated. "What do you mean? "
" To plant seeds in — to make things grow — to see them come alive," Mary faltered.
He gazed at her a moment and then passed his hand quickly over his eyes.