The Secret Garden, complete online version

First edition illustrated Children's Book By Frances Hodgson Burnett

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280           THE SECRET GARDEN
" Do you know who I am? " demanded Colin still more imperiously. " Answer! "
Ben Weatherstaff put his gnarled hand up and passed it over his eyes and over his forehead and then he did answer in a queer shaky voice.
"Who tha' art?" he said. "Aye, that I do — wi' tha' mother's eyes starin' at me out o' tha' face. Lord knows how tha' come here. But tha'rt th' poor cripple."
Colin forgot that he had ever had a back. His face flushed scarlet and he sat bolt upright.
" I'm not a cripple! " he cried out furiously. " I'm not!"
" He's not! " cried Mary, almost shouting up the wall in her fierce indignation. " He's not got a lump as big as a pin! I looked and there was none there — not one ! "
Ben Weatherstaff passed his hand over his fore­head again and gazed as if he could never gaze enough. His hand shook and his mouth shook and his voice shook. He was an ignorant old man and a tactless old man and he could only re­member the things he had heard.
"Tha'—tha' hasn't got a crooked back?" he said hoarsely.
"No! "shouted Colin.
" Tha'—tha' hasn't got crooked legs? " quav­ered Ben more hoarsely yet.