278 THE SECRET GARDEN
top step of his ladder shaking his fist down at her.
" I never thowt much o' thee! " he harangued. " I couldna' abide thee th' first time I set eyes on thee. A scrawny buttermilk-faced young besom, alius askin' questions an' pokin' tha' nose where it wasna' wanted. I never knowed how tha' got so thick wi' me. If it hadna' been for th' robin — Drat him —"
" Ben WeatherstafT," called out Mary, finding her breath. She stood below him and called up to him with a sort of gasp. " Ben Weatherstaff, it was the robin who showed me the way! "
Then it did seem as if Ben really would scramble down on her side of the wall, he was so outraged.
" Tha' young bad 'un! " he called down at her. " Layin' tha' badness on a robin,— not but what he's impidint enow for anythin'. Him showin' thee th' way! Him! Eh! tha' young nowt," — she could see his next words burst out because he was overpowered by curiosity—"however i' this world did tha' get in? "
" It was the robin who showed me the way," she protested obstinately. " He didn't know he was doing it but he did. And I can't tell you from here while you're shaking your fist at me."
He stopped shaking his fist very suddenly at