66 THE SECRET GARDEN
half-drowned young crow another time an' he brought it home, too, an' tamed it. It's named Soot because it's so black, an' it hops an' flies about with him everywhere."
The time had come when Mary had forgotten to resent Martha's familiar talk. She had even begun to find it interesting and to be sorry when she stopped or went away. The stories she had been told by her Ayah when she lived in India had been quite unlike those Martha had to tell about the moorland cottage which held fourteen people who lived in four little rooms and never had quite enough to eat. The children seemed to tumble about and amuse themselves like a litter of rough, good-natured collie puppies. Mary was most attracted by the mother and Dickon. When Martha told stories of what " mother " said or did they always sounded comfortable.
" If I had a raven or a fox cub I could play with it," said Mary. " But I have nothing."
Martha looked perplexed.
" Can tha' knit? " she asked.
" No," answered Mary.
"Can tha' sew?"
"Can tha' read?"
1 Then why doesn't tha' read somethin', or