224 THE SECRET GARDEN
months and years. And now that an angry unsympathetic little girl insisted obstinately that he was not as ill as he thought he was he actually felt as if she might be speaking the truth.
" I didn't know," ventured the nurse, " that he thought he had a lump on his spine. His back is weak because he wo^t try to sit up. I could have told him there was no lump there."
Colin gulped and turned his face a little to look at her.
" C-could you? " he said pathetically.
" Yes, sir."
"There! " said Mary, and she gulped too.
Colin turned on his face again and but for his long-drawn broken breaths, which were the dying down of his storm of sobbing, he lay still for a minute, though great tears streamed down his face and wet the pillow. Actually the tears meant that a curious great relief had come to him. Presently he turned and looked at the nurse again and strangely enough he was not like a Rajah at all as he spoke to her.
" Do you think — I could — live to grow up ? " he said.
The nurse was neither clever nor soft-hearted but she could repeat some of the London doctor's words.
' You probably will if you will do what you are