A YOUNG RAJAH 185
dying; I don't like it. Let us talk about living. Let us talk and talk about Dickon. And then we will look at your pictures."
It was the best thing she could have said. To talk about Dickon meant to talk about the moor and about the cottage and the fourteen people who lived in it on sixteen shillings a week — and the children who got fat on the moor grass like the wild ponies. And about Dickon's mother — and the skipping-rope — and the moor with the sun on it — and about pale green points sticking up out of the black sod. And it was all so alive that Mary talked more than she had ever talked before — and Colin both talked and listened as he had never done either before. And they both began to laugh over nothings as children will when they are happy together. And they laughed so that in the end they were making as much noise as if they had been two ordinary healthy natural ten-year-old creatures — instead of a hard, little, unloving girl and a sickly boy who believed that he was going to die.
They enjoyed themselves so much that they forgot the pictures and they forgot about the time. They had been laughing quite loudly over Ben Weatherstaff and his robin and Colin was actually sitting up as if he had forgotten about his weak back when he suddenly remembered something.