302 THE SECRET GARDEN
" I once heard an officer in India tell my mother that there were fakirs who said words over and over thousands of times," said Mary.
" I've heard Jem Fettleworth's wife say th' same thing over thousands o' times — callin' Jem a drunken brute," said Ben Weatherstaff dryly. " Summat alius come o' that, sure enough. He gave her a good hidin' an' went to th' Blue Lion an' sot as drunk as a lord."
Colin drew his brows together and thought a few minutes. Then he cheered up.
" Well," he said, " you see something did come of it. She used the wrong Magic until she made him beat her. If she'd used the right Magic and had said something nice perhaps he wouldn't have got as drunk as a lord and perhaps — perhaps he might have bought her a new bonnet."
Ben Weatherstaff chuckled and there was shrewd admiration in his little old eyes.
" Tha'rt a clever lad as well as a straight-legged one, Mester Colin," he said. " Next time I see Bess Fettleworth I'll give her a bit of a hint o' what Magic will do for her. She'd be rare an' pleased if th' sinetifik 'speriment worked — an' so 'ud Jem."
Dickon had stood listening to the lecture, his round eyes shining with curious delight. Nut and