272 THE SECRET GARDEN
" Aren't you glad? I'm going to live forever and ever and ever! "
Mr. Craven put his hands on both the boy's shoulders and held him still. He knew he dared not even try to speak for a moment.
" Take me into the garden, my boy," he said at last. "And tell me all about it."
And so they led him in.
The place was a wilderness of autumn gold and purple and violet blue and flaming scarlet and on every side were sheaves of late lilies standing together — lilies which were white or white and ruby. He remembered well when the first of them had been planted that just at this season of the year their late glories should reveal themselves. Late roses climbed and hung and clustered and the sunshine deepening the hue of the yellowing trees made one feel that one stood in an embowered temple of gold. The newcomer stood silent just as the children had done when they came into its grayness. He looked round and round.
" I thought it would be dead," he said.
" Mary thought so at first," said Colin. " But it came alive."
Then they sat down under their tree — all but Colin, who wanted to stand while he told the story.
It was the strangest thing he had ever heard,