Chapter XVIII

Mary wakes late the next morning, and Martha tells her that Colin wants very much to see her-he does not, however, command her to visit him, which is a great step for him. Mary goes to him briefly, to tell him that she may have found the secret garden; she then rushes out to find Dickon.

Dickon is already in the secret garden when she arrives, surrounded by his wild pets: the fox, the crow, a moor pony named Jump, and two squirrels named Nut and Shell. Mary tells him the story of Colin's tantrum, and Dickon becomes even more determined to bring Colin to the garden. Mary replies, in Yorkshire dialect, that he and his pets ought first come to visit Colin in the manor house. Dickon agrees.

Back at the manor, Mary tells Colin of this plan. The two speak of their mutual friendlessness, for they have always disliked people, and been disliked by them. They also speak of how this dislike is changing, for they are growing fond of each other, and of Dickon, and of the robin. Mary then finally trusts Colin enough to tell him that she and Dickon have been inside the secret garden, and that he may soon go there.

Chapter XIX

Dr. Craven arrives at the manor to examine Colin after his tantrum. Mrs. Medlock meets him in the hall, and informs him of the wondrous effect Mary has had upon him. The two adults go up to Colin's chamber to find him sitting up, laughing and talking freely with Mary. Dr. Craven warns Colin that his planned trip out of doors may exhaust him, to which Colin imperiously replies that it will do nothing of the sort. Colin tells the doctor that he will permit no one but Mary and Dickon to accompany him. Dr. Craven, although he is displeased by Colin's improved health (since he wishes to inherit the manor house upon the boy's death), is relieved at the mention of Dickon's name. Dickon is famed upon the moor for his strength and trustworthiness. Colin again tells the doctor that Mary helps him to forget his illness, and it is this forgetting which makes him well. Downstairs, Mrs. Medlock tells Dr. Craven that she has spoken to Susan Sowerby of the new developments at Misselthwaite. Mrs. Sowerby was pleased to hear of them, and remarked that children need the company of other children to teach them that the world is not theirs alone. Mary returns to Colin's room, throws open the windows, and instructs him to breathe deeply of the fresh air of Spring. She tells him that the air of the moor makes Dickon feel as though "he could live forever and ever"; Colin is much taken with the idea of immortality, which, naturally, had never before occurred to him. Mary describes the new-growing spring plants for him, and mentions that Dickon has been caring for a newborn motherless lamb that he found upon the moor. The two children have breakfast brought to them in Colin's chamber, and Colin notifies the servants, in his most Rajah-like fashion, that Dickon and his menagerie are coming to visit him that afternoon. Dickon does indeed come, looking very much the animal charmer with his squirrels upon his shoulders, the fox and crow at his heels, and a newborn lamb in his arms. Colin is dumbfounded and made shy by how wondrous Dickon is. Dickon, for his part, is completely at ease, despite how out of place his moorland boots and rough clothes seem in the manor house. The three children speak again of the garden, and begin preparations to bring Colin there.


Colin's transformation is well underway by the outset of this chapter, as is indicated by his requesting, rather than commanding, Mary to come visit him. Like her, he is beginning to find things in the world worth his affection. He has become fond of her, and is astounded upon his first meeting with Dickon. Both Mary's and Dickon's effects upon Colin are described as magical: Mrs. Medlock remarks that it seems that Mary has "bewitched" Colin, while Dickon's powers as an animal charmer are shown to work on boys just as well. Dickon treats the manor house as merely another animal habitat: he is not discomfited by Colin's silence because "Creatures are always like that until they found out about you."

The idea of Dickon as a "Yorkshire angel" is reinforced in this chapter in a number of ways. He is instantly at home in the manor (despite the fact that he seems to be radically out of place, as evidenced by the "strange sound" of his moorland boots upon the rich carpets) because he is, as a result of his connection to divine nature, above such class distinctions. His uncanny way with animals takes on certain Christian overtones with the acquisition of the baby lamb: lambs are, in Christian mythology, associated with the figure of Christ. The lamb, like Colin and Mary, is a motherless creature; the reader is led to understand that the adoption of motherless things is a habit of Dickon's. In the secret garden, his entourage of wild things recalls the animals of Eden. Christian overtones can also be found in the scene in which Mary throws open the window so that Colin may breathe in the springtime air. Colin's half-joking suggestion that they may "hear golden trumpets" recalls the golden trumpets that are believed by Christians to herald the entrance into paradise. Furthermore, Mary says that the spring air makes Dickon feel as though "he could live forever and ever and ever"; this clearly echoes the Christian belief that Paradise contains the promise of eternal life. Unlike conventional Christian myth, Paradise can be found on earth, in nature, as well as in heaven. This shift mirrors that made by Hodgson Burnett's system of New Thought, which held that divinity could be found in the landscape, in all natural living things. The coming of the spring is also associated with "Magic": "Every night it seemed as if Magicians were passing through [the garden] drawing loveliness out of the earth and boughs with wands." This image foreshadows the Christian significance that the notion of magic will acquire in later chapters. Mary begins to speak Yorkshire to Dickon in this chapter, which evidences her love for him, his speech, and the moor. Mary is, increasingly, of the moor, just as Dickon is a creature of it. Her adoption of Yorkshire also indicates that she and Dickon have now truly bound themselves in friendship: as Dickon says, "Anything will understand [your language] if you're friends with it for sure."