|"The Secret Garden" 1983. Annie Enneking as Mary Lennox.|
The opening production of The Children's Theatre Company and School's 1983-84 season (performing in repertory with "The Adventures of Babar") was a world premiere adaptation of the 1909 classic children's novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, "The Secret Garden." Produced by special permission of the author's estate (the Broadway musical adaptation by Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman would be presented eight years later), the adaptation was created by resident playwright Thomas W. Olson, directed by John Clark Donahue, with music by Hiram Titus and musical direction by Alan Shorter. Designs were by Jack Barkla (sets), Christopher Beesley (costumes), Jon Baker (lights), and John Lupori (sound). The following winter, "The Secret Garden" was honored with a number of Twin Cities Drama Critics Circle "Kudos" awards, including outstanding production, direction, and playwright.
Key to the play's success was the central performance of Annie Enneking as the young orphan Mary Lennox (already a seasoned veteran with CTC, Annie had created memorable performances in title roles for Alice in Wonderland and Pippi Longstocking). Alongside Annie were fellow student actors Christopher Passi as Colin Craven (who had played lead roles as Tip in The Marvelous Land of OZ, Corin in Kidnapped in London, and Bartholomew in Dr. Seuss' The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins - 1982) and newcomer "guest" student from California, Jay Underwood as Dickon Sowerby.
The remainder of the cast -- company actors and interns -- was all a director and playwright could ever hope for, including Wendy Lehr as Mrs. Medlock, Oliver S. Osterberg as Ben Weatherstaff, Ann Fink as Martha Sowerby, Jason McLean as Archibald Craven, Leslye Orr as Betty the nurse, Tom Dunn as Mr. Pitcher, Carl Beck as Dr. Craven and Matthew Dudley as John the butler. The remainder of the cast (gardeners, residents of India, orphanage children, etc.): Jon Allen, Gary Costello, Justin Kirk, James McNee, Juliana Pertuz, Nancy Seward, Adam Shankman and Jerome Wallin.
An instant box office sell-out and proven success with audiences and critics alike, "The Secret Garden" was presented again in 1989 (directed by playwright Olson) and -- beyond CTC -- achieved distinction as the first "children's play" to be produced and presented (in two different seasons) in the mainstage repertoire of the National Arts Centre of Canada under the direction of CTC alumna Marti Maraden ("The Lower Depths," 1970).
Music clip: "Old Ben"
Music clip: "Get thee gone"
Music clip: "A bit of earth"
Music clip: "The door unlocked"
Music clip: "Crocus"
Music clip: "Ayah lullaby"
Music clip: "Colin's secret"
Music clip: "Magic"
Music clip: "Let it live"
Music clip: "Sunset"
|"The Secret Garden" 1983.|
Annie Enneking as Mary Lennox, Jay Underwood as Dickon Sowerby,
and Christopher Passi as Colin Craven.
Video Clip 1:
Video Clip 2:
Video Clip 3:
Video Clip 4:
Video Clip 5:
Video Clip 6:
THE SECRET GARDEN
Cast of Characters
Mary Lennox Annie Enneking
Dickon Sowerby Jay Underwood
Colin Craven Christopher Passi
Martha Sowerby Ann Fink
Ben Weatherstaff Oliver Osterberg
Mrs. Medlock Wendy Lehr
Archibald Craven Jason McLean
Mr. Pitcher Tom Dunn
Doctor Craven Carl Beck
Betty Leslye Orr
John Matthew Dudley
Gardeners Gary Costello, James McNee, Adam Shankman,
Children Jon Allen, Justin Kirk, Juliana Pertuz, Nancy Seward
Most of the action occurs in the rooms, corridors and exterior grounds of Misselthwaite Manor -- a country estate in Yorkshire, England -- from early spring to mid-autumn of a single year in the late 1890's.
Scenic Design Note
In the original Children's Theatre Company production the scenery, as designed by Jack Barkla, consisted of two turntables and two large tracking wall sections which met center stage. The turntables were designed with three locales per table, as follows:
Stage Left: a.) Entryhall with stairway of 3 steps
b.) Corner of garden with broken tree (Spring and Final garden.)
c.) Colin's room
Stage Right: a.) Mary's room
b.) Corner of garden (Act II)
c.) Final garden with entryway.
A neutral screen "plug" would rest between the turntables for all scenes except the Final Garden, when it was replaced by a large floor sectional "tray" of flowers and foliage. These trays were used throughout, to change the flowers in the gardens to reflect the progress of the spring into summer into early autumn. In addition, a partial screen would rest along the edge of one section of both turntables, to play when the opposite turntable segment is in use to provide neutral transition to either wall, which would play, in conjunction, midway into view. The fountain bench with lattice and shrine were small pieces shifted on and played as far downstage as possible. A black velour void curtain was also used for isolated scenes, i.e. Mary's discovery of the crocus and Alpine shrine.
THE SECRET GARDEN
Act I, Scene i
(A rumble of thunder. Lightning reveals the entryhall of Misselthwaite Manor. It is dark and heavily-draped, as if in mourning. A rushing wind beats against the window panes, causing them to groan and tremble. The sound of a large door creaking open, then slamming shut against the wind. A middle-aged woman, MRS. MEDLOCK, and an eleven-year-old girl, MARY LENNOX, enter into a dim pool of light. They are soaking wet in their overcoats. MRS. MEDLOCK shakes out her umbrella. MARY stands perfectly still and without emotion, her suitcase on the floor beside her, waiting to be told where next she is to be taken.)
MEDLOCK. (Removing her bonnet.) I told you this was a queer old place, now didn't I? Still, it's grand enough for a homeless little orphan the likes of you, I shouldn't wonder.
(MARY utters a tiny gasp as a manservant, JOHN, steps forward from around a corner of the hall. He holds a lighted candle.)
JOHN. (In Yorkshire dialect.) Foul an' nasty for an evenin', eh, Mrs. Medlock? But I see tha's got back safe enough, an tha's browt the young 'un wi' thee, too.
MEDLOCK. (Stepping away from MARY.) Aye, John -- that's her. (Also in dialect; a whisper which MARY overhears.) An' a plainer, more ill-tempered little parcel o' goods I never did see.
JOHN. P'raps she'll improve. Children alter as they grow.
MEDLOCK. She'll have to alter a great deal then, John; and there's nothin' likely to improve a child here at Misselthwaite, is there?
JOHN. No, there ain't, an' that's a fact.
(An elderly butler, MR. PITCHER, enters briskly. Music.)
PITCHER. (A curt command.) Take the girl's things up to her room, John.
JOHN. Aye, Mr. Pitcher, sir.
(JOHN quickly departs up stairway with MARY's suitcase. PITCHER holds his candle near MARY's face to get a look at her, then swiftly turns to MEDLOCK.)
PITCHER. Her uncle does not want to see her.
MEDLOCK. (Not surprised.) Doesn't he.
PITCHER. Mr. Craven and I will depart for London in the early morning. You may take his niece straight to her room. The Master expects you will be responsible for her, Mrs. Medlock.
MEDLOCK. Thank you, Mr. Pitcher. As long as I know what is expected of me, I can manage.
PITCHER. What's expected of you, Mrs. Medlock, is that you make certain Mr. Craven remains undisturbed and that he does not see what he does not wish to see.
MEDLOCK. (After a slight, icy pause.) Of course, Mr. Pitcher. Mr. Craven shan't be disturbed -- not by the girl, at any rate. (MEDLOCK starts toward stairway.) This way, Mary. (MARY hasn't heard, staring emptily at PITCHER.) Mary Lennox?! (MEDLOCK snaps her fingers.) Come along! (A crash of thunder startles MARY. She turns to follow MEDLOCK.) And don't touch anything, either!
(Exit MEDLOCK and MARY. Music. PITCHER watches them as wind rises and lights fade. PITCHER blows out candle; exits with scene shift.)
Act I, Scene ii
(Voice-over of MEDLOCK during shift. Sound of great clock ticking; wind howling.)
MEDLOCK. Six hundred years old is Misselthwaite and there's near a hundred rooms to it -- though most of them are shut up and locked...
(Light rises through window of MARY's bedroom. A canopied bed, small table at its foot, a curtained window with windowseat, a small stove, a dressing screen. MEDLOCK, carrying a candle and carrying large ring of keys enters through door.)
MEDLOCK. (Continuous with preceding voice-over.) ...this room is yours. (MARY stands in doorway. MEDLOCK turns to her.) Come in. (MARY obeys.) Well? What do you think?
MARY. Nothing. This is nothing like my room was in India.
MEDLOCK. (A snort of disdain.) No doubt. Do you like it?
MARY. It hardly matters what I might like, does it?
MEDLOCK. Right enough; it doesn't matter. (Moves to stove and stirs the coals.) Why you're here in the first place, Mary Lennox, I'm sure I don't know. Now I can understand your Uncle Craven responding to the news of your parents dying from the cholera epidemic, but why in heaven's name did he have to summon you to Misselthwaite? There are any number of suitable boarding schools in London for an orphan like you to live at, and Lord knows the Master's plenty rich enough. Aye, all in all, you in a boarding school would mean a great deal less trouble for me. (MARY has stepped beside MEDLOCK to warm herself at the stove. MEDLOCK notices the child staring blankly up at her face and it makes the woman uneasy. MEDLOCK quickly goes to unpack the pitifully few items from MARY's suitcase, which rests at the foot of the bed.) Well, your uncle's not about to be troubled over you, that's sure and certain. Mr. Craven won’t trouble himself over anyone, not even his own...
(MEDLOCK cuts herself off, looking over to see if MARY has been listening. MARY appears uninterested; she has moved to the window and looks passively out into the darkness.)
MEDLOCK. (Continued.) Never mind. Just don't you expect to be seeing Mr. Craven. And you needn't think there will be any others to spend time with you either. We're a small staff for such a big place and we're far too busy. You'll just have to look after yourself. Now, come here and get out of those wet rags. (MARY doesn't move.) I said, "Come here," Mary Lennox! I haven't got all night. (MARY steps toward MEDLOCK and stands like an inanimate doll as the woman efficiently undresses her. A rush of wind makes the windows tremble and groan.)
MARY. What's outside? Is it the sea?
MEDLOCK. Good Lord, no! Nor is it fields nor mountains. Tis only the moor: miles and miles of wild land where nothing much grows and nothing much lives.
MARY. It sounds like the sea.
MEDLOCK. Well, it's naught but the wind a-wutherin' through the bushes. Oh, the moor's a gloomy and dreary place to my mind. Still, there's some who like it. Your Uncle Craven likes it...in his way...and that's gloomy enough too I daresay.
MARY. I won't.
MEDLOCK. Like it or not, you're here. (MARY is dressed in her nightgown; she steps back to the stove and stares angrily at the glowing coals. MEDLOCK shoves suitcase under bed.) Only don't you ever let me catch you wandering and poking about the house. Mr. Craven won't have it.
MARY. (With disdain.) Oh, why should I want to go "poking about?"
MEDLOCK. Only see that you don't. There's space enough out-of-doors where you can play. But while you're inside, you'll keep to this room. Is that quite understood? (MARY makes no reply. MEDLOCK turns to exit, spying covered tray on table at the foot of the bed.) Take some supper then, if you've a mind to.
MARY. (Growl.) No.
MEDLOCK. (A shrug.) As you wish. (She takes tray and exits, closing and locking door behind her. MARY stands a moment, then whirls at the door and beats her fists against it in rage. In time, she collapses onto the bed and sobs bitterly into her pillow. A gust of wind blows open the window, which extinguishes the light of the gas lamp by the door and causes the gauze canopy curtain of the bed to billow and surround the crying girl. Joining the wind, the distant wailing of a young boy can be heard, growing louder. Distant clock chimes three. Music. Cries crescendo. An eerie buzzing sound like mosquitoes and sitar joins the wind and cries as a mist begins to fill the room.)
MEDLOCK. (Voice-over.) Tis only the moor...tis only the wind....
MARY. (Voice-over.) It sounds like the sea....
MEDLOCK. (Voice-over.) Oh, the moor is a gloomy and a dreary place....
MARY. (Voice-over.) It's nothing like my room was in India...in India.... (Buzzing of insects overtakes the sound of wind. The single boy's cry is joined by the anguished wailing of many voices, child and adult, suffering the anguish of cholera. An Indian AYAH appears at MARY's bedside as an odd assortment of Indian NATIVES enter and slowly move about the room.)
MARY. (Continued.) ...Crying. I hear crying. Ayah? Who is crying?
AYAH. (Voice-over.) Never mind, Missy. Go to sleep.
MARY. (Peering through canopy gauze. Voice-over.) Who are these people? Why is there crying?
AYAH. (Voice-over.) There is a sickness, Missy Mary. Very great sickness. You sleep now. Sleep, my Missy Sahib.
MARY. (Voice-over.) How am I to sleep when they are crying?
AYAH. (Voice-over.) I will sing to you then, so that you will not hear.
MARY. (Voice-over.) Yes, Ayah, sing. And then I'll sleep...sleep... sleep....(AYAH chants an Hindustani lullaby which fades as cries crescendo. A gentlewoman, MRS. LENNOX, appears in the room, runs to peer out the window, then goes to a SERVANT, all the while fanning herself.)
MRS. LENNOX.(Voice-over.) What is it? What's the matter?
SERVANT. (Voice-over.) It is the cholera, Mrs. Lennox! The cholera!
MRS. LENNOX. (Voice-over.) The cholera?! Oh, dear, is it so very bad?
SERVANT. (Voice-over.) Already five servants are dead.
MRS. LENNOX. (Voice-over.) "Dead?!" No....
SERVANT. (Voice-over.) Many sick. Others leaving. It is very bad, Mrs. Lennox. Very bad.... (MRS. LENNOX suddenly puts her hand to her forehead and swoons into SERVANT's arms. Stage fills with cholera SUFFERERS as wailing crescendos and lights fade to Blackout. Absolute silence.)
(Intense, tropical light pours through window. A distant dog's bark and rattling of tin cans in the street. MARY DOUBLE is lying across the foot of the bed as MARY, on knees and pressing her hands against the gauze of the canopy, observes herself in her dream/memory. A chicken pokes and clucks about the dusty room. A British OFFICER enters through door.)
OFFICER. (Voice-over.) Colonel McGrew! In here! Look!
COLONEL. (Voice-over, entering.) What is it, Barney?
OFFICER. (Voice-over.) It's a child! She's alive!
COLONEL. (Voice-over.) A child? Alive -- in a place like this?
(MARY DOUBLE awakens and addresses MEN.)
MARY. (Speaking for DOUBLE.) Who are you? I want my breakfast! Where is my ayah?
OFFICER. (Voice-over, sotto voce to COLONEL.) Her nanny’s dead, sir.
MARY. I am Mary Lennox! Where is my mother?! Fetch me my ayah!
COLONEL. (Voice-over.) There's no one left here, child. No one save you. Come away, now.
MARY. "Come away" where? No!
COLONEL. (Voice-over.) To the missionary's. There will be other children at the missionary's....
MARY. No! No! No! No! No...!
(Lights fade as MARY DOUBLE is led away by COLONEL and OFFICER. Lights immediately rise to reveal MARY DOUBLE surrounded by two BOYS and one GIRL, taunting her. MARY, in the bed, still observes, continuing to shout "No!" under CHILDREN'S chanting.)
CHILD TRIO. (In unison.) Mistress Mary, quite contrary! Mistress Mary, quite contrary!
MARY. Go away! Leave me alone! I hate you!
BASIL. You're to be sent away to England, and we're glad of it!
MARY. I'm glad of it too! (Beat.) Where's England?
REGINALD. Stupid girl; it's where your uncle lives.
SUSAN. Your uncle's got a big old haunted castle and no one goes near him.
BASIL. Our mother said that he's got a hunchback too.
REGINALD. That's right -- your uncle's a hunchback.
SUSAN. And he's wicked!
MARY. I don't believe you!
CHILD TRIO. (Dancing about MARY DOUBLE.) Hunchback, hunchback, hunchback!
MARY. I hate you! Go away! I want my ayah! My father! I want my mama! (Cries of "Mama" continue under following.)
CHILD TRIO. All dead! Ayah's dead! Papa's dead! Mama's dead! Mama's dead! Mama's dead...! (Taunting reverberates and repeats in voice-over as MARY DOUBLE crumples. Blackout. Lightning flash. Moonlight through open window, billowing curtains, sound of wind and rain, boy's wailing quite distinct and loud. MARY asleep, thrashing, crying for "Mama." Clap of thunder. MARY awakens; sits bolt upright.)
MARY. Mama! (She gets her bearings, hears the boy's crying.) Crying? (She listens intently as she rises from the bed and closes the window. Crying fades. Rain hammers against the windowpanes.) No. "Tis naught but the wind." (MARY returns to the bed and pulls the comforter up around her. Moonlight fades to Blackout. Music.)
Act I, Scene iii
(The sound of dull rain. Grey light of morning through the window, open again. MARTHA, a chambermaid about eighteen years old, is raking up the cinders at the stove. MARY awakens with a moan. MARTHA hears the child stir, rises and pulls back the canopy curtain with a bold sweep and a cheerful country smile. MARTHA speaks in a Yorkshire dialect.)
MARTHA. Mornin', Miss!
(MARY makes no reply. MARTHA returns to her chores. MARY rises to her knees and peers out the window from her bed.)
MARY. I hate it.
MARTHA. Hates what -- the mornin' or the moor?
MARY. That is the moor?
MARY. It's ugly. I hate it.
MARTHA. Ah, that's because tha'rt not used to it. P'raps tha thinks the moor 'tis too big an' bare now, but I'll tell thee, Miss, in time -- tha will like it.
MARY. No. I will not.
MARTHA. But in the spring an' summer, why, it's none bare, Miss. Aye -- wi' the gorse an' broom an' heather all in flower, the moor smells sweet as honey. An' there's such a lot o' fresh air! An' the sky looks so high an' the bees an' skylarks makes such a lovely noise with all their hummin' an' singin'! Eh, I wouldn't care to live away from this our Yorkshire moor, not for anythin'!
MARY. You're a peculiar servant.
MARY. Very strange.
MARTHA. (A chuckle.) "Strange." Eh, I s'pose p'raps I am. But then, this is a strange house.
MARY. What do you mean?
MARTHA. (A moment's consideration.) Well...I mean, we ain't got a Missus. Some thinks that's strange enough.
MARY. Wasn't there ever?
MARTHA. Ever a Missus? (Mary nods.) Aye. Once there was a Mrs. Craven. But I was just a bit of a girl then -- 'bout your age, I reckon.
MARY. Where is Mrs. Craven now?
MARTHA. Oh, long dead and buried, she is. Poor Mrs. Craven.
(A slight pause. MARY takes a breath to ask another question, but MARTHA continues, wanting to forget the sorrow, and returns to her work as she chatters on.)
MARTHA. (Continued.) Anyways, since the good lady died, seems like there's neither Master nor Mistress 'ere, 'ceptin' old Mr. Pitcher an' Mrs. Medlock. Mister Craven, seems near-always gone away on business, an' even when he is to home he won't never let no one but Pitcher see him, an' that's only because Pitcher's took care o' Mr. Craven ever since he was a boy.
MARY. And who is to be my servant -- you?
MARTHA. I'm Mrs. Medlock's servant. An' she's Mr. Craven's. When I'm up here I reckon I can wait on thee a bit. Tha' won't need too much o' that, though.
MARY. (Appalled.) Do you mean to say that I am not going to have any ayah?!
MARTHA. A what?
MARY. An ayah! (MARTHA shrugs, still not recognizing the term.) Don't you know anything? An ayah is a servant. In India! Who is going to dress me if I haven't got an ayah?
MARTHA. (Amazed.) Canna tha dress thysen?
MARY. (Losing her temper.) What?! Speak English!
MARTHA. Sorry, Miss -- it's me Yorkshire. (With extreme English accent.) I meant: cahn't you put ahn your ow-en clothes?
MARY. Of course not! My ayah always dressed me.
MARTHA. Well, then, I'd say t'were high time tha should learn to wait on thysen a bit. 'Twill do thee good. (Takes a new, pretty dress from behind screen and hangs it up at the window for airing.) Me mother always said how she wondered why grand folks' children didn' turn out to be fair fools, what with servants forever washin' an' dressin' an' feedin' 'em as like they was puppies.
MARY. (Enraged.) "A fool?! A puppy?" How dare you call me names?! I am Mary Lennox! I am the daughter of a British Captain! Mr. Craven is my uncle and you're just a...just a servant! You're not even people. You're nothing but a...a daughter of a pig! (MARY slaps MARTHA's face. She pauses, waiting for MARTHA to react, then winds up to slap her again. MARTHA grabs MARY's wrist and stops her.)
MARTHA. Servants are too people; just as much as thee. I knows that much. (MARTHA releases MARY's wrist; the child drops down onto the bed and growls and kicks with fury and frustration. MARTHA stares at MARY for a moment in wonder and uneasiness.) Now, now...I'm sorry, Miss; how was I to know tha'd be so vexed? Oh, do please stop thy wailin'.
MARY. I won't! You pig, you pig, you pig! (She throws herself to the floor, kicking her heels and pounding her fists as in a toddler's tantrum.)
MARTHA. Oh, very well; I'll help thee put on thy clothes if tha'lt only get up off the floor. (MARTHA holds forth the dress to tempt MARY.)
MARY. Go away! (Looking up at the dress, then rolling over away again.) That dress isn't mine anyway.
MARTHA. But it is. Master Craven had Mrs. Medlock buy it for thee.
MARY. He did? When?
MARTHA. Weeks ago, just after receivin' the sad news about...well, you know.... (She decides not to risk recalling the tragedy in India. MARY looks at MARTHA, then at the dress again.)
MARY. Well...it is nicer than my missionary rags. (Turning away again.) But I still hate it!
MARTHA. (With disgust.) An' is there nothin' tha' likes?! (MARY doesn't answer. MARTHA rehangs the dress in the window and prepares to leave.) Well, tha's got a breakfast here: tea an' toast an' jam an' porridge...
MARY. I don't want it.
MARTHA. (At the end of her tether.) Then you...you just dress warm an' run out an' play then, you! Might give thee a stomach for some good bread an' meat.
MARY. Why should I want to go out on a day like this?
MARTHA. (In the same snide tone as MARY's.) 'Cause if tha doesna' go out, tha'lt have to stay in an' what has tha got to do with thysen in here?
MARY. Who'll go with me?
MARTHA. Tha'lt go alone! (A breath, tries to be gentle again.) If tha goes 'round through the gate tha'lt come to the gardens. There's a great lot o' flowers in summer, but there's none bloomin' now. (A teasing tone, hoping to spark MARY's curiosity.) One o' the gardens is all locked up. Mr. Craven, he buried the key an' won't let no one go in.
MARY. Why not? (A handbell sounds from a distant part of the house. MARTHA gasps in alarm and rushes to the door.)
MARTHA. Oh, there's Mrs. Medlock's bell a-ringin'; I must run!
MARY. (As MARTHA rushes out the door.) Wait! You!
MARTHA. (Poking her head back in.) I canna! Oh, an' up here in England, us servants got names. Mine's Martha.
(MARTHA exits again, closing the door. MARY growls, grabs a piece of toast from the breakfast tray, crams it in her mouth, then goes to the window and touches her new dress. Music. Lights fade.)
Act I, Scene iv
(A garden area along a high stone wall covered with ivy. An old man, BEN WEATHERSTAFF, digs with a spade. The morning is cold and still drizzling. MARY appears, a misbuttoned overcoat over her nightgown, untied boots, and a scarf tied round her wild hair. Unnoticed, she observes BEN for a moment.)
MARY. What is this place?
BEN. (Slightly surprised.) Eh? (He takes a good look at her, then resumes digging.) A garden.
MARY. I knew that.
BEN. Then tha needn't ha' asked.
MARY. (After a moment's pout.) What I meant was: what kind of a garden is this?
BEN. If that's what tha meant, then tha shouldst ha' said so in the first place.
MARY. Well? (No response from BEN.) This is a flower garden, isn't it?
BEN. No. This here's a kitchen garden. Herbs and vegetables. But now I'm supposin' tha does’na' know what vegetables is.
MARY. I most certainly do too know what vegetables is. Are!
BEN. Has tha ever eaten 'em, though? I'll wager no, for all tha'rt the skinniest, yellerest, sick-lookin'est child as ever I did see.
(MARY turns to leave at the insult, then stops herself.)
MARY. (Haughtily.) I've already been in the other gardens. And the orchard too.
BEN. 'T'weren't nothin' to stop thee.
MARY. (Regarding wall.) But I haven't found the door into this garden.
BEN. (Stopping his work suddenly; roughly.) Which garden?
MARY. The one behind this wall. Where is the door?
BEN. (A pause, then resumes digging.) Ain't one.
MARY. Oh, but there must be a door. (Beat.) Mustn't there?
BEN. There were ten year ago; ain't one now.
MARY. There are trees in the garden; that much I could see. And I saw a bird too. He was sitting up high in one of the trees and he had a red breast and he sang.
BEN. (To himself.) Sing to thee, did he? Cheeky little beggar.
MARY. What sort of bird is he?
BEN. Doesn' tha know nothin'? He's a robin redbreast, an' they's the friendliest birds alive. All the time he's comin' round to see what I'm about plantin'. Why, it's Robin who's head gard'ner o' Misselthwaite,
MARY. You know him, then.
BEN. Aye. Robin come out o' the egg in that one garden, but when he first flew over the wall, he were too weak a little chap to fly back again...for a while. So him an' me, we got friendly we did, an' by the time he were strong enough to go back home, his fam'ly was all flown away. Guess Robin were lonely, poor thing, so he come back to me.
MARY. (Softly.) I'm lonely.
(BEN looks a long while at MARY as she pokes the dirt with the toe of her boot.)
BEN. Art tha the little wench just come from India? (MARY nods.)
Thy mother an' father, they died all sudden from the cholera? (Another nod.) No wonder tha'rt lonely.
MARY. It doesn't matter. I hardly ever saw my parents anyway.
BEN. Hmmph. (Resuming his work.) Tha'll be lonelier still afore tha's done.
MARY. What is your name?
BEN. Ben Weatherstaff.
MARY. (Holding forth her hand.) I am Mary Lennox. (BEN grunts, not seeing her gesture to shake. MARY lets her hand drop with a sigh. A gust of wind and she pulls her coat up snug around her. To herself.)
There must be a door!
BEN. I'll tell thee somethin', Mary Lennox. I'm lonely mysen most times -- 'ceptin' when Robin's with me. Robin's the only friend I got.
MARY. I haven't any friends at all. I've never had.
BEN. P'raps someday robin'll take a fancy to thee.
MARY. (Pessimistic growl.) Oh, why should he want to?
BEN. No reason I know. Still -- Robin's my friend, an' tha an' me are a good bit alike, I think. (Pause.) Now get thee gone an' play. I've no more time. (MARY doesn't move.) Didn't tha hear me? I've work to do.
MARY. All right. Goodbye. (MARY exits. After BEN is sure she has gone, he rises up from the garden plot and looks after her.)
BEN. Meddlesome little wench. But one day to Misselthwaite an' already after findin' a way into the garden! Well, tha best take care, Miss Mary Lennox -- old Ben's got his eye on thee.
(Lights fade. Scene shift.)
Act I, Scene v
(Morning. MARY dresses herself while gazing out her open bedroom window at a deep blue spring morning sky. MARTHA enters carrying breakfast tray.)
MARTHA. Well, now! Tha'rt up an' about a bit early today, aren't tha, Mary?
MARY. (With great wonder.) Oh, Martha, just look at the moor! It's so...blue! (MARTHA sets down the tray and stands at MARY's side.)
MARTHA. Aye, the stormin's over, for a little while. Weather's always like this come mid-April: clouds all scuddin' off in the dead o' the night, pretendin' as they was never 'ere an' never meanin' to come back again.
MARY. I had begun to think it rained all the time in England.
MARTHA. No, nowt o' the soart! Mind you, the rains'll be back, an' plenty too, but Yorkshire's the sunniest place on earth...when it's sunny.
MARY. I never saw such a sky in India.
MARTHA. Eh! An' didn' I say tha'd like it?! Not two week ago, that very first mornin', didn' I say tha'd like the moor come springtime? (She moves away to do some chores.) Just wait till she's all a-bloom.
MARY. (Excited.) Bloom? When? Soon, Martha?
MARTHA. (A warm chuckle.) Before tha knows it. (MARY starts to devour her breakfast as if in a hurry to go outside before springtime passes.) Why, then I expect tha'll be wantin' to get up afore sunrise an' live out on the moor the day long, like Dickon.
MARTHA. Eh? Surely I've told thee about our Dickon by now, 'aven't I? (MARY, mouth full, shakes her head.) Why, Dickon's one o' me little brothers. An' each an' ev'ry day, be it rain or shine, tha'll find Dickon out on the moor, a-playin' for hours on end. That's how he made friends wi' the pony. An' there's wild sheep what knows him too, an' birds as come an' eat right out of his hand! Eh -- no matter how meager the table's laid at home, Dickon always saves a bit of his bread for to coax
his pets. (MARY ceases chewing and regards the toasted bread in her hand. An idea.)
MARY. Martha? Do you suppose a robin might like some bread?
MARTHA. (Shoveling coal cinders from stove.) Aye, bread, fruit, berries; reckon a robin'd eat most anythin'. (MARY quickly dumps bread and jam into her linen napkin. When she lifts the cover off one of her plates she is startled to see a strange coiled shape and drops the cover with a clatter and a shriek.) Mary, what's the matter?!
MARY. (Standing on head of bed, quaking.) A...a snake!
MARTHA. (Brandishing coal shovel.) A snake? Where?
MARY. Under the cover!
MARTHA. (Pounding on the bed.) Here?
MARY. (Pointing to tray.) No, no -- under the plate cover! There! (MARTHA stops pounding and laughs. MARY is indignant.) Why are you laughing? Stop it, Martha! In India there are all sorts of poisonous snakes; snakes that can kill a person. It isn't the least bit funny!
MARTHA. (Wiping away tears of laughter.) Oh, yes, Mary, 'tis frightfully funny indeed. Oh, I do beg your pardon -- truly, Miss -- but this little snake ain't about to harm no-one. (MARTHA slowly lifts the platecover as MARY peeks cautiously from behind her bedcovers.) There! (Reaching onto plate and lifting one end of coil; a jumprope unravels.) See? 'Tis nowt but a rope, Mary.
MARY. A rope?!
MARTHA. I meant it for a surprise.
MARY. And a very mean surprise it is too, I think.
MARTHA. Oh, no, Mary -- not a prank sort o' surprise but as a gift surprise: a present.
MARY. You're giving me a present of a rope? Why? Whatever use could I have for such a thing?
MARTHA. Why, for skippin', my girl! (No response from MARY.) Does tha mean to say they's got no skippin' ropes in India -- for all their elephants an' tigers an' snakes? Right -- just watch. (MARTHA begins skipping, counting as she goes.) Some people just count; others recite little rhymes as they go. I've skipped as high as five hundred, back when I was twelve. If tha'll practice, I warrant tha'll mount up to a hundred within a week! (Music. MARTHA resumes counting as MARY gleefully joins in. Suddenly the door bursts open and a shocked MEDLOCK enters the room.)
MEDLOCK. Good Lord! (The mirth immediately ceases.) Martha Sowerby, what is the meaning of this?!
MARTHA. I was only showin' Miss Mary...
MEDLOCK. I know perfectly well what you were doing. I dare say, Martha, that there are number of young women in Yorkshire who envy your situation here and would take care to keep themselves occupied only in the activities for which they were employed. Do you take my meaning?
MARTHA. (A curtsy.) Yes, ma'am.
MEDLOCK. Good. Now hand over that vulgar toy.
MARY. Don't, Martha!
MEDLOCK. (Stunned.) I beg your pardon?
MARY. It's mine. (Taking jumprope from MARTHA.) You've no right to take it; I haven't any other toys.
MEDLOCK. I see. (Keeping her eyes fixed in an icy glare at MARY.) Martha? Go at once to the west wing and see if you can be of any use to Mr. Pitcher.
MARTHA. Mr. Pitcher? But ain't he an' Master Craven in London?
MEDLOCK. No, they are not. Had you not been so occupied with your childish games, you might have heard the carriage arrive. So be quick; they'll be off again this very afternoon and there's much to be done.
MARTHA. (Heading for door.) Yes, ma'am.
MARY. Martha, wait! (MARTHA pauses.) Thank you, Martha.
MARTHA. (A smile and curtsey.) Tha'rt most welcome, Miss.
(MARTHA exits. A moment of tense silence. MEDLOCK sighs and gestures toward the bed.)
MEDLOCK. Sit down, Mary Lennox. (MARY obeys.) How many times must I tell you that my staff has better things to do than waste time in entertaining little girls? What's more, I cannot imagine what the niece to a respectable gentleman of your Uncle Craven's stature would have to gain in consorting with a girl as common as Martha Sowerby.
MARY. You oughtn't to say that! Martha is my frie... (She stops herself, unable to fully say "friend.")
MEDLOCK. Your what? (MARY doesn't answer.) Martha is your servant, Mary -- and should be treated as such. Now, based upon my observations this morning and over the past two weeks, it is my intention to request of your uncle that he engage for you a governess.
MARY. A governess?!
MEDLOCK. Some well-bred, elderly woman who might provide, I should hope, not only a measure of education which you appear to lack in a regrettably profound degree, but also the supervision and discipline that I require for the proper maintenance of this house. I shall speak with your uncle about it this afternoon before his departure. As for now, young lady -- I am certain that Mr. Craven, not to mention myself, would be ever-so-much-obliged if you could make an effort to refrain from any shouting, rope-skipping or any other disruptive behaviour while in your room today.
MARY. You needn't worry; I'll be in the gardens.
MEDLOCK. That will be fine. (She turns to exit.)
MARY. Mrs. Medlock?
MEDLOCK. (Pausing near the door.) Yes, Mary Lennox?
MARY. How long will he be gone this time?
MEDLOCK. Your Uncle Craven? Quite a long while, I’m afraid.
MEDLOCK. (Continued.) We shan’t expect him to return until October. So you see, Mary, I will be in charge here throughout the entire spring and summer.
MARY. You don't suppose he'll want to see me, do you? Before he leaves?
MEDLOCK. See you? (A smirk and a snort.) Oh, no, dear; I rather doubt it. (She exits, closing door behind her.)
MARY. Well, I don't care. He's nothing but an old hunchback anyway. I don't care if he hates me -- not him nor you nor anyone. I'm glad Uncle Craven's going away! Do you hear? I'm glad!
Act I, Scene vi
(Same day; early afternoon. Outside the secret garden. BEN and TWO GARDENERS at work with manure. MARY enters, stumbling and getting tangled in her skipping rope. BEN chuckles and shakes his head at the sight.)
BEN. Well, well! I see tha's got a toy...or art tha just punishin' thysen?
MARY. It's a skipping rope, Ben. Martha Sowerby gave it to me only this morning, so I'm not very good at it yet.
BEN. Aye, an' that's a fact. Mind now, don't tha go a-trippin' an' a-fallin' into any o' my garden beds.
MARY. I won't. (BEN returns to his work. MARY looks about. Pause.) Spring has come, hasn't it, Ben?
BEN. Aye, canna' tha smell it? (MARY takes a deep sniff; a sour look crosses her face as manure is poured into garden bed.)
MARY. I smell something.
BEN. 'Tis the good earth, Mary Lennox. Now, wi' the sun comin' out, the soil's makin' ready to grow things. Already there's flowers stickin' up 'ere an' there; you just keep an eye out for 'em.
MARY. (Excited.) I will! (Another pause.) Ben? If you wanted to make a flower garden, what would you plant?
BEN. Danged if tha'rn't the worstest little wench for askin' questions! I'd plant bulbs, is what. An' does tha know why, Mary? Because they're not a bother.
MARY. (Starting off.) I'm sorry.
BEN. (A tone of apology.) An' I'd plant some sweet-smellin' things too. Roses, I should think.
MARY. (Rushing back to him, enthused.) Oh, do you like roses, Ben?
BEN. I do. Taught to by a very beautiful young lady I were once gard'ner for. She had an awful lot of' em in a special place she was fond o' goin' to. Aye -- my mistress loved those roses like they was her own children. Times, there was, I'd even seen her kissin' 'em, she loved 'em that much.
MARY. And where is she now, Ben? The beautiful young lady?
BEN. (Returning to work, gruffly.) In heaven --'ccordin' to what the parson says.
MARY. Heaven? And the roses -- what happened to them?
BEN. They was left to themselves.
MARY. Then are they dead too?
BEN. (An outburst.) Oh, ask the robin! No one's been in there but him! (BEN is surprised at himself for divulging the secret; MARY gasps.)
MARY. What? Do you mean... (Pointing at the wall.) ...in there? Ben, is that the "young lady's" garden?
BEN. (Flustered.) Now look here, Miss Mary -- don't tha ask so many questions! I've done talkin' for today. (He quickly picks up his tools and exits, gruffly summoning the other GARDENERS to follow. MARY watches them exit, then stands alone, frustrated.)
MARY. It is. It must be her garden. And the young lady, she was...
(A realization.) ...she was Mrs. Craven! Yes! She was very beautiful, but she was forced to marry rich Uncle Craven: a hunchback. And Uncle Craven, he kept her locked away in her room like me, but...but sometimes she would escape...yes, she'd escape and come to the garden...here...because it was pretty like her and the house was ugly and mean like her husband. But then Uncle Craven, he found out, and he was furious! He hated the garden because she loved it and didn't love him. So he had it shut up and locked and...and he buried the key...and then -- poor, lovely Lady Craven -- she perished because she could not bear to live without her pretty roses! (A brief pause, then her eyes bulge at a dreadful new thought.) Or maybe...maybe Uncle Craven had her murdered! (A gasp and she starts to run away, but remembers the jump-rope she had set down beside the wall. As she kneels to retrieve it, she notices ROBIN in the garden bed beside it.) The robin! (She freezes, trying not to startle it away.) Hello. Hello, Robin. I've been hoping to meet you. I'm Mary. (ROBIN whistles.) Are you hungry, Robin? I've brought some food. (She slowly pulls her breakfast napkin from her pocket.) See? I've got toasted bread with raspberry jam. Wouldn't you like some mmm-tasty bread and jam? (ROBIN whistles and hops about, scratching at the mound of newly-turned soil BEN had been working at.) What are you saying? How funny you are, hopping and scratching like that. Are you trying to tell me something? What, Robin? (MARY steps toward it and ROBIN immediately retreats through a chink in the wall. MARY drops to her hands and knees in the garden bed, trying to peer after it.)
Wait! Don't you want some bread? Robin, please don't go!
(A growl of frustration as she turns away, still sitting in the garden bed. She looks at her hand and notices that she has smeared it with bright red jam in her excitement. As she licks her fingers, she notices something gleam metallic in the mound of soil.) Now, what's this? (Unearthing the object.) A ring of some sort...a rusty, old, brass...key! (Overjoyed, she brushes the dirt off.) It's a key! Perhaps...perhaps it is the key to...to the garden!
BEN. (Offstage, angry, approaching.) Here now, Mary -- what art tha doin' in me garden bed?!
(MARY quickly stuffs the key in her pocket and stands as BEN enters.)
MARY. I...I fell, Ben...skipping rope...I'm sorry.
BEN. (Standing over her.) Fell, did thee? Well, I'll...(Notices MARY's red, jam-covered hand. Gasp.) Oh, my Lord! Tha's bleedin'! Tha's bleedin' bad!
MARY. I am?
BEN. (Calling offstage.) Emmet! Quick fetch Mrs. Medlock! The girl's hurt!
MARY. No! Don't! It's only just...
BEN. Sam! Come lend a hand here! (GARDENER rushes in.)
MARY. Please, no, I'm all right, Ben...
BEN. (Stuffing his neckerchief into MARY's "wounded" hand.) Take my kerchief! Go on, take it!
MARY. But it's only... (BEN and GARDENER start rushing MARY offstage.)
BEN. No "buts!" Sam, let's get her to the fountain!
MARY. (As lights quickly fade.) Ben...please...!
Act I, Scene vii
(Almost immediately, lights rise again on an isolated area of garden: a bench and vine-covered lattice. Sound of fountain nearby. MARY sits as DR. CRAVEN finishes washing her hand. MEDLOCK, BEN, MARTHA and THREE GARDENERS hover nearby.)
MEDLOCK. (As lights rise.) What?! " Jam?!"
DOCTOR. That's what I said, Mrs. Medlock... (A finger to his lips.) ...raspberry jam.
BEN. (Angry to have been played the fool.) Hmmph! I'll thank thee to give me back my kerchief, Mary Lennox!
MARY. (As BEN grabs kerchief.) I tried to tell you, Ben; you wouldn't listen.
BEN. (Exiting, to GARDENERS.) Come, fellows! Day's a-wastin'! (GARDENERS follow.)
MEDLOCK. My apologies, Dr. Craven.
DOCTOR. (Closing leather bag.) Quite all right; I was here anyway, now wasn't I?
MEDLOCK. (Whirling on MARTHA.) It's all your fault, Martha Sowerby! Whether hurt or no, a frail, awkward girl such as Mary oughtn't to be playing with such a dangerous thing as a skipping-rope! Ought she, Dr. Craven?!
DOCTOR. Well, I wouldn't necessarily say...
MEDLOCK. Of course she oughtn't! (MR. PITCHER appears, followed by ARCHIBALD, who remains distant in the shadows. MEDLOCK gasps.) Oh, good Lord, only now see what trouble you've caused?! (Nervously, quickly stepping forward to greet her superiors.) Oh, Mr. Craven, sir, I am so dreadfully sorry...
ARCHIBALD. (As DOCTOR approaches him.) Is my niece badly injured, cousin?
DOCTOR. No, no, Archibald; not a scratch on her. (He and ARCHIBALD converse silently as PITCHER pulls MEDLOCK aside.)
PITCHER. (A growl to MEDLOCK.) Then Mr. Craven's departure has been delayed for nothing?!
MEDLOCK. It was all that Martha's doing, Mr. Pitcher. She gave the girl a skipping-rope and...
PITCHER. You may make your excuses while we resume loading our luggage into the carriage, Mrs. Medlock.
PITCHER. At once, please, Mrs. Medlock!
MEDLOCK. Yes, Mr. Pitcher. (As she starts out.) Martha?! Come! (MARTHA hesitates, looking at MARY.) At once, Martha! (MARTHA swiftly exits after MEDLOCK.)
PITCHER. (To ARCHIBALD.) Mr. Craven, sir -- I'm afraid we've barely enough time to meet our train.
ARCHIBALD. (Gazing at MARY who is sitting alone.) I will join you presently, Mr. Pitcher.
PITCHER. But, sir...
ARCHIBALD. Presently, Pitcher, at the carriage.
PITCHER. Yes, sir.
DOCTOR. (To PITCHER, sotto voce.) Remarkable how very much the child resembles the late Mrs., is it not?
PITCHER. (Sourly.) I couldn’t say that I’ve noticed. (He exits.)
MARY. (A timid call; holding up the medical bag.) Doctor Craven?
DOCTOR. Yes? Oh, thank you, Mary. (He retrieves his bag.)
MARY. I am sorry for any trouble.
DOCTOR. Not at all. Good afternoon. (A nod to ARCHIBALD as he exits after PITCHER.) I’ll see you off at your carriage, Cousin.
(ARCHIBALD nods, keeping his focus on MARY. A few moments of awkward silence, neither daring to let their eyes meet.)
ARCHIBALD. (A breath.) Hello, Mary. I am your uncle, Archibald Craven.
MARY. How do you do.
ARCHIBALD. My cousin, Dr. Craven, he says you aren't hurt.
ARCHIBALD. You are well, then? Mrs. Medlock takes good care of you, does she?
MARY. Yes. I suppose so. Yes.
ARCHIBALD. That's fine. Good. (Another pause. He is about to exit, but something within forces him to speak more.) You must forgive me, Mary. I know I make a very poor guardian for a child. You see, I am not...well. Furthermore, I'm away on business a great deal of the time.
ARCHIBALD. (Continued.) I find it difficult to tolerate this place... my...this Misselthwaite. And although I may not personally provide you with the attention that I ought, still I do wish you to feel comfortable and... happy...here. (To himself.) If such a thing as happiness is possible...here. (A breath.) I know nothing of children. Mrs. Medlock is to see that you have all that you need or desire. She suggested today a governess...or nanny...
MARY. (Blurts.) Oh, Uncle, I.... (Stops, afraid.)
ARCHIBALD. What is it, Mary? Don't be afraid. What do you wish to say?
MARY. Only that I...I am too old for a nanny. And please, please don't make me to have a governess. Not yet.
ARCHIBALD. Very well. Not yet. But is there anything you do want? Toys, books, dolls...?
MARY. Might I...please...be allowed to keep playing out-of-doors? For I do like it out here. And I'll improve at my skipping-rope; Martha says I only need time. And I won't cause any more harm, truly I won't!
ARCHIBALD. (To himself.) What possible harm could you do here that hasn't been done already?
ARCHIBALD. (Clears his throat, regards pocketwatch.) Mary...you play out-of-doors as much as you like. I must go now. Goodbye. (He starts off.)
MARY. (Leaps suddenly to her feet; calls.) Uncle Craven! (ARCHIBALD halts, not turning.) Please, might I also...might I also have a bit of earth?
ARCHIBALD. (Slowly turning; a whisper.) What?
MARY. A garden. To plant seeds in. To make things grow. To help them come alive.
(ARCHIBALD and MARY now look at one another fully for the first time. In awe, ARCHIBALD's voice quakes and his eyes fill with tears. Music.)
ARCHIBALD. "A bit of earth." I am reminded of... of someone else...who loved the earth. One who loved.... (He draws in a deep breath and starts offstage again.) Take whatever you wish, Mary. When you find a bit of earth you want, take it, child, and let it come alive!
MARY. (Calling.) Might I take it from anywhere? If it's not wanted?
ARCHIBALD. (Offstage.) Yes, Mary! Anywhere!
(MARY smiles as music crescendos; lights fade. She remains in pool of light as scenery shifts.)
Act I, Scene viii A.
(Late afternoon, outside secret garden. Dappled light. MARY turns to face wall, gently calling.)
MARY. Robin? Robin, where are you? Remember me? I want to be your friend. Wouldn't you like that, Robin? But...if we are truly to be friends...you really ought to invite me into your home. It's only proper. I've still got some food. Robin? Are you there? Please, Robin, you've showed me the key, now you really ought to help me find the door. (She turns away, frustrated.) Oh, I don't believe it even knows! (An irritated yell toward the wall again.) You don't even know where the door is, do you, you silly old...! (She stops with a gasp. ROBIN appears through a chink amidst the heavy ivy in the center of the wall. ROBIN trills.) Robin! You... (ROBIN disappears again, but his trill continues as a call. MARY rushes up to the wall and feels the gap in a weathered, wooden door.) ...you do know! Yes! The door to the secret garden is...is right here! It was right here all along! (Music. MARY looks to see if anyone is near, then pulls the key from her pocket. She gropes in the ivy, finds the lock of the door, inserts the key and slowly, slowly pulls the door open. MARY slips inside as lights swiftly fade to Blackout and music swells, accompanied by the songs of hundreds of birds.)
Act I, Scene viii B.
(Almost immediately, music fades and birdsongs give way to solo ROBIN and gentle breeze. There is an echo in the space. Heavily dappled single pool of light rises on MARY, looking about the void with great wonder.)
MARY. How still it is. How still. (Beat.) No wonder it's still. I am the first person who has spoken in this place for ten years. (She looks up.) Robin? Robin, are you here? Thank you, Robin. Thank you for showing me the way. (Taking the napkin of food from her pocket, MARY kneels to set it upon the ground as an offering. She breathes deeply as her eyes continue to gaze about the garden.) Roses. Yes, I can imagine there once were roses. So many branches...(Her eyes widen at a happy sight.) ...and leaves! No, even left to themselves, they're not all dead! (A second pool of dappled light rises not far from MARY to reveal a small plot of tiny green blades and pale flower petals pushing up through a blanket of matted autumn tree leaves and brown grass. MARY quickly crawls to the plot and hunches over it as if peering through a microscope.) Some things are growing! Oh, but covered so with leaves, how can you breathe? (She tenderly removes the debris and gasps at the simple beauty of crocuses in bloom. Music.)
Flowers! I wonder what you are; what to call you? It doesn't matter. You're lovely. And you're alive. Yes...quite alive!
(MARY's spine straightens as she remains kneeling but lets a beam of golden sunlight warm her tearful face. A smile and deep breath as music crescendos, tempo accelerating, and lights fade to Blackout.)
Act I, Scene ix
(MARY's bedroom. Evening. MARY is on the floor, her head beneath the bed. MARTHA enters through the door. MARY gasps in surprise and quickly sits up, bumping her head on the bedframe.)
MARTHA. Only me, come to fetch thy supper tray. (Noticing MARY rubbing her sore head.) Somethin' the matter with thee, Mary? (MARY drops her arm and shakes her head rapidly.) Well, then -- shouldn't tha be makin' ready for bed?
MARY. I will. (A pause; overly casual tone.) Martha?
MARTHA. (Turning down the bedclothes.) Aye?
MARY. What are those brown and white roots that look like onions?
MARTHA. (At supper tray, lifting a platecover.) Cook put somethin' queer in the stew tonight, did she?
MARY. No. I mean, out-of-doors. Roots in the ground.
MARTHA. (Not listening; a puzzled look at tray.) Mary, did I forget to bring thee a teacup with your supper?
MARY. Teacup? Oh, never mind, I...I didn't want tea tonight anyway. Now, please, Martha, tell me: what are those onion things, do you know? Some are big and have long leaves growing out like green blades, and others are small and have chubby little flowers in the middle.
MARTHA. Ahhh, that's bulbs th'art talkin' about.
MARTHA. Aye. The little ones, they'd be crocusses; the big ones'd be tulips and narcissusses an' daffydowndillies...
MARY. And could they live for years and years if no one helped them?
MARTHA. Bulbs are things as helps themselves. That's why poor folk can afford to have 'em. We've got a whole lot planted in our bit o' garden to home.
MARY. (A sigh.) How I do wish I had some gardening tools.
MARTHA. (A laugh.) What? Art tha goin' to take to diggin', Mary?
MARY. I believe I'd like to try. You see, in India I had my ayah with me all the time. But Missel-thwaite's different; I've no one to be with here. You've got your work and Ben Weatherstaff says I'm a bother. So I thought that...well...if I had a garden, perhaps I wouldn't notice...
MARTHA. Wouldna notice tha were so alone? Poor, dear Mary. It almost makes me wish I weren't a-leavin' tomorrow.
MARY. (Alarmed.) What? You're not going away?! You can't, Martha! You can't leave me here with no one but...but Mrs. Medlock! No, Martha, no!
MARTHA. (Pulling MARY beside her to sit on the bed.) Now, now -- tis only for a few days, Mary. I'm goin' home 'cross the moor, that's all. Once a month I'm allowed to visit my family: Mother an' Dickon an'... wait! Wait a minute! I just now thought o' somethin'! Has tha got any money, Mary?
MARY. Yes. I think I've got eight shillings.
MARTHA. Eight shillin's; why, tha's rich! Does tha think tha could part with three? There's a shop in Thwaite village with stout little gard'nin' sets at two shillin's an' packets o' flower seeds at a penny apiece. I could ask Dickon to go in an' buy them for thee!
MARY. (Digging under her bed for the money.) Would he, Martha? Does Dickon know all about animals and gardens too?
MARTHA. Why, Dickon could charm a flower to sprout up from out of a brick -- like magic. Oh, he's blessed, the boy is; be it man, woman, beast or green thing, Dickon understands how to make it come alive.
(In the distance, a child's wailing. MARTHA turns suddenly nervous and pale.)
MARY. (Rising from the floor with money.) Here, Martha: three shillings... (Notices MARTHA's strange expression.) Martha? What is it?
MARTHA. (Quickly rising to leave.) Nothin'! Tis just...I better go; Mrs. Medlock'll be wonderin'... (Again, the distant cry. MARY hears it this time.)
MARY. Wait. Listen, Martha. What is that sound?
MARY. Like crying. You heard it too.
MARTHA. Tis...tis the wind.
MARY. But there isn't a wind tonight. (She heads for the door.) It's in this house; down one of those long corridors. Someone is crying, Martha.
MARTHA. (Blocking exit.) Tis...tis Betty, that's all.
MARY. (Skeptical.) "Betty?"
MARTHA. Aye, Betty...Butterworth. The...the scullery maid. Oh, the day long, such a fierce toothache Betty's had! (The distant handbell. Cries suddenly cease.) Oh, there's Mrs. Medlock. I've really got to go. (Grabs tray.) Now, please, Mary -- do try an' be a good girl while I'm away? (MARTHA blows a kiss and exits. MARY stands a moment.)
MARY. I've heard that crying sound before; I know I have. In the storm...that first night....(She shakes her head.) No. That night there was a wind. Anyway, why should Martha lie to me?
(She reaches under the bed again and pulls out a teacup with a clump of crocus planted in it.)
"Crocus." Hello, crocus. Do you know what? This is the strangest house anyone ever lived in.
(Music. Lights fade to Blackout.)
Act I, Scene x
(MARY's bedroom. A series of brief vignettes depicting the passage of the two days without MARTHA:
A. (Morning light. A knock at the door. BETTY enters with breakfast tray; MARY is dressed as before, attempting to make her bed.)
BETTY. Mornin', Miss. I'm Betty. Here's breakfast.
MARY. You don't look like a maid.
BETTY. Martha's gone. Mrs. Medlock told me to help out.
MARY. How is your toothache?
BETTY. What toothache?
MARY. Never mind. (As BETTY turns to exit, MARY steals teacup from tray.) One moment, Betty.
MARY. Aren't I to have a teacup?
MARY. (Gesturing to tray.) Teacup.
BETTY. (Puzzled.) Yes, Miss. Sorry, Miss. (BETTY exits. MARY hides teacup under pillow and quickly dumps food into napkin, then exits. Lights fade.)
B. (MARY enters through door, removes coat, places it and jump-rope onto bed. She reaches under pillow and pulls out teacup and porridge bowl. From coatpocket she gently removes napkin bundle of crocus clumps and pots them into cup and bowl. Lights fade.)
C. (Evening. MARY is seated, looking out window. BETTY enters with dinner tray and quickly takes inventory of dinnerware, counting silently, before leaving tray and exiting. Lights fade.)
D. (Thunder. Moonlight. Wind blows curtains. Sound of crying. MARY DOUBLE rises from bed, closes windows, listens at door. She rushes back into bed and pretends to sleep as MRS. MEDLOCK enters and checks to see if she's sleeping. Satisfied, MEDLOCK exits. Sounds fade with lights.)
E. (Dull, gray light of rainy afternoon. MARY half-heartedly skips rope. She trips. She throws rope down with frustrated growl. Lights fade.)
F. (MARY kneels on windowseat at the open window, holding her cup and bowl of crocuses out into the steady rain. Lights fade.)
G. (A flash of lightning illumines empty room and open door. Peal of thunder. Distant cry.)
MARY. (Offstage; approaching.) Owww! Let go my arm! You're hurting me! (MARY is thrust into room by MRS. MEDLOCK.)
MEDLOCK. Just what do you think you were doing up there? I've told you before, you're not to...
MARY. I heard someone crying.
MEDLOCK. You heard nothing of the sort! Now get to bed and keep to this room or I'll give you something to cry about! (MEDLOCK exits, slamming door shut behind her and locking it. Lights begin to fade.)
MARY. There was someone crying. There was. There was.... (Blackout.)
H. (Morning light rises on MARY, sitting at her breakfast. MARTHA, apologetic, stands beside her.)
MARTHA. Tha'rt right, Mary. T'wasn't Betty who cried. I didna want to lie, Mary. Truly.
MARY. (Taking a sip of tea.) Who was it, then?
MARTHA. I canna say. Please try an' understand. Tis a secret. Tha's got secrets, hasn' tha?
MARY. (Setting down her teacup.) Yes.
MARTHA. An' so does Mr. Craven. Now -- just try an' forget about all that an' finish up thy breakfast. Tha's goin' to be havin' a visitor this mornin'.
MARY. (Eyes wide.) Dickon? (MARTHA smiles and nods. MARY wolfs down her food as she finishes dressing.) Oh! Oh! Oh!
MARTHA. (Laughing heartily.) Slow down there, girl! Does tha want to see him so bad?
MARY. Yes, yes, I do! I already like him.
MARTHA. And I wonder what Dickon'll think of thee.
MARY. (Very matter-of-factly.) Oh, he won't like me. No one does.
MARTHA. (Astonished.) What?! Why, Mary Lennox -- how does tha like thysen?
MARY. (At the door.) Not much at all, really. But I've never really given it any thought until now. (MARY exits. MARTHA shakes her head as lights fade. Scene shift.)
Act I, Scene xi
(Outside the secret garden. DICKON sits with a fox [or rabbit] in his arms. MARY rushes in; at a gesture from DICKON, she freezes.)
DICKON. Easy, Mistress Mary, easy now. A body mun' move gentle an' speak low when the wild things is about. Does tha care to pet him? Come, Mary; he'll not bite thee. Tis but a little fox cub (rabbit) I found on the moor. There was a great storm 'bout three week ago, an' their hole was all swum out. His mother an' the rest o' the litter was all drowned. All dead, save him -- so I took him home. Named him "Captain."
MARY. (Crouching to pet it.) "Captain." And you're Dickon.
DICKON. (Offering his hand to shake.) Aye, and th'art Mistress Mary. We come to give thee thy garden things.
MARY. Oh, do show them to me, won't you, please?
DICKON. Aye, but th'alt have to hold the little Captain for me. (He transfers animal into MARY's arms, then reaches into his leather shoulderbag and removes a parcel wrapped in brown paper and string. He opens it and shows her the contents, one by one.) There's a little spade, an' a rake, an' a trowel. An' as for seeds, I got thee columbine an' snapdragon an' carnation an' -- aye, here's a lot o' mignonette.
DICKON. (Continued.) Now, mignonette's 'bout the sweetest-smellin' things as grows, an' it'll spring up wherever tha cares to cast it, same as poppies will. Aye, them flowers as'll come up an' bloom if you just whistle to 'em -- them's the nicest of all. (ROBIN's trill pierces the air. DICKON cocks an ear.)
MARY. Oh, they're wonderful! Thank you, Dickon. (She notices DICKON's curious expression.) Dickon?
DICKON. Canna tha hear the robin as is callin' thee?
MARY. Calling me?
DICKON. Aye. Don't he know thee? An' like thee too?
MARY. Well...he knows me...a little. But can you understand what a bird is saying? Really and truly?
DICKON. I thinksI can. An' they thinks I can. I've lived on the moor with 'em for so long, Mary, sometimes I thinks I'm a bird mysen'. An' then other times I thinks p'raps that I'm a fox, or a rabbit, or a squirrel, or even a beetle bug -- an' I don’t even knows it! (MARY laughs at the idea and DICKON chuckles with her.) Now see here, Mistress Mary. Why don't I show thee how to plant thy seeds? Where is thy garden?
(He leaps to his feet. MARY's smile fades; she bows her head, avoiding his eyes.) Tha has got a bit o' garden, hasn't tha? (No response.) Would nobody give thee a bit?
MARY. (Hesitant, fearful.) Dickon...I don't...I don't know about boys. Could a boy...could a boy keep a secret?
DICKON. A boy such as me, Mary? Does that mean me? (MARY looks up into his face and nods.) Well, now -- me, I'm keeping secrets all the time. If I couldna keep secrets about foxes' cubs an' birdses nests an' wild things' special places...why, they'd nowt be safe on the moor, now would they? Oh, Mistress Mary, I'm fair full o' secrets, I am!
MARY. (A pause. Courageously.) I do have a garden, Dickon. I took it. Nobody wants it; no one cares for it. No one but me. I don't know why, but my Uncle Craven has been letting it die -- shut away all by itself. But I do know that it must be kept a secret, Dickon. It must be a secret garden. Because if anyone were to find out, I'm sure they'd take it
away from me and lock it up again and then I...well, then I believe that
I should die too. (Tears appear in her eyes.)
DICKON. Shh, Mistress Mary. Tha shouldna talk so o' dyin'. Not when the whole world about thee is now after comin' back to life. (He lightly touches MARY's shoulder.) Where is it, Mary? Art tha goin' to take me in?
MARY. (A sniff, a smile.) Yes. (She rises to her feet.) Yes, Dickon, I will. (DICKON picks up the parcel of tools and seeds. MARY, still carrying the orphaned animal, nods at DICKON to follow her to the door of the garden as lights fade.)
Act I, Scene xii
(An isolated corner of the secret garden. A gnarled tree with a half-rotted, broken lattice bench around its trunk. Plots of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and late crocus in full bloom. DICKON looks about as MARY waits for him to speak.)
DICKON. Oh, Mistress Mary -- jus' look at what tha's done!
MARY. (Assuming she's done something wrong.) What?!
DICKON. Why, this 'ere's the fairest spread o' bulbs as ever I did see! An' tha sayin' tha didna know nothin' 'bout gard'nin'!
MARY. But I don't. I only just cleared away the dead things so they'd have enough room to grow.
DICKON. An' that's all what was needed. Ol' Ben Weatherstaff couldha'na' done no better. Tis a rare an' lovely place tha has here, Mary -- as like a body was in a dream. Such a fine tangle o' trees an' rose branches!
MARY. Yes. Poor Mrs. Craven's roses. Is there any hope at all they'll bloom again, Dickon? It's ten years now they've not been cared for.
DICKON. Well...left to run wild, the delicatest ones has died out; but see how the stronger has growed an' spread till they's a wonder!
DICKON. (Continued.) If we looks after 'em-- tha an' me -- why, there'll be a fountain o' roses round this old tree by late summer.
MARY. Do you mean to say you'll come back and help me?
DICKON. Ev'ry day, if tha'lt have me.
MARY. Do you...does tha like me?
DICKON. (A smile at her Yorkshire.) That I does, Mary; I likes thee graidely. (He cocks his ear at the trill of the ROBIN.) An' so does the Robin. Don't he sound fair pleased, though! Jus' listen to him sing!
MARY. Yes. He lives in this old tree. Ben said Robin had no family. Do you suppose he's quite lonely?
DICKON. No. Doesn' tha hear? (They listen. ROBIN's song is joined by the trill of a second robin.) Two voices, Mary. Thy friend Robin has found hisself a mate.
(MARY and DICKON sit beneath the tree, side-by- side and listen to the robins' duet. Music rises as lights fade.)
Act I, Scene xiii
(MARY's bedroom. Evening light rises on MARY in her nightgown with MARTHA behind her, brushing MARY's hair. Outside, the wind whistles with an approaching storm.)
MARY. (As lights rise.) ...and he let me hold it and feed it and...oh, Martha, I've never held a wild creature in my arms before!
MARTHA. Did he bring the crow, too?
MARY. (A gasp of delight.) Dickon has a crow?!
MARTHA. Aye. But tell me, Mary -- what does tha think of him?
MARY. I think...I think Dickon's beautiful!
MARTHA. "Beautiful?" Well, he is the best lad as ever was born, but none of us never thought that much of his looks. Still, Dickon's eyes are a nice color, ain't they?
MARY. Like the sky over the moor.
MARTHA. Might be they got that color 'cause o' him always gazin' up at the clouds, eh?
MARY. I wish my eyes were like his.
MARTHA. (Gently takes MARY's chin; nose to nose..) Mary. Tha needs must learn that thine own eyes are every bit as lovely.
MARY. Are they?
MARTHA. Mmm-hmm. (Releasing her.) But now let's us see what they looks like all shut tight an' sleepin'.
MARY. All right. (MARY hops into bed.) Goodnight, Martha.
MARTHA. Goodnight, my Mary. Sweet dreams. (She blows a kiss and exits.)
MARY. Robin...Martha...Dickon. That makes three. I never, ever thought that I should have three friends. I wonder...might there ever be more? (She sighs, then turns down the gaslamp beside her bed and pulls up the covers to go to sleep. Wind of storm rises as distant clock chimes. A great gust of wind blows open the window and MARY leaps out of bed to close it. The wailing cry from down the corridor can be heard. MARY goes to door and listens. Rain begins to pelt the window; rumble of approaching thunder.) It's a child! Somewhere in this house a child is crying! (Music. MARY lights a candle, goes to the door, cautiously opens it, then exits. Thunder rises. Blackout.)
Act I, Scene xiv
(A dark corridor. The crying is louder. MARY, carrying the candle, steps cautiously along the tapestry-covered corridor. MRS. MEDLOCK's bell can be heard ringing. Music, bell and cries grow louder still, along with the rumble of thunder. Indistinguishable, urgent words of MEDLOCK and BETTY grow louder as they approach.)
MARY. (Looking offstage.) Oh, no! Mrs. Medlock! (MARY hugs the wall, attempting to hide behind the tapestry.)
MEDLOCK. (Offstage; very near.) Quick! The child!
(To MARY's surprise, the wooden wall panel swings open and, losing her balance, she topples backward into the blackness, dropping her candle with a scream. A huge clap of thunder as wall swings back to seal MARY. Music and mysterious child's cries crescendo. Blackout.)
END OF ACT I
THE SECRET GARDEN
Act II, Scene i
(Music. Wind and thunder. A blood-curdling cry as a flash of lightning reveals MARY tumbling backward through a panel in the wall of a dark, heavily-draped bedchamber. MARY turns and sees a boy, COLIN, lying on his stomach in bed. He is writhing and wailing, his nightshirt open enough to reveal his bare back. MARY stands frozen for a moment, then quickly ducks behind a dressing screen at the sound of keys. Door opens. MEDLOCK and BETTY enter hurriedly.)
MEDLOCK. (Angry.) There's to be no sleep again tonight, I suppose!
BETTY. I'm sorry, mum, but I don't know what to do. I can't bear it, mum!
MEDLOCK. Close the door or he'll awaken that wretched girl! (To COLIN.) Now what is it this time, boy? Is it the storm? (COLIN wails.) A nightmare?
COLIN. My back! My back!
MEDLOCK. Again?! It's nothing, boy. Nothing, do you hear?
BETTY. What'll we do, mum? It's the hysterics! Hysterics!
MEDLOCK. (Clutching one of COLIN’s arms.) Grab his other arm, Betty. Hold him, I say!
COLIN. (As they turn him onto his back.) I'm dying! I'm dying!
MEDLOCK. (Clamping her hand over his mouth.) Quiet! Quiet, boy! You're not about to die -- not tonight, at any rate. Now are you going to be still or do we have to tie you up? (She slowly removes her hand. COLIN does not answer.) Young man?
COLIN. (Furious.) Go away!
MEDLOCK. Mind you, I don't want to hear another...
COLIN. I said, leave me alone!
MEDLOCK. With the greatest pleasure! (Turns to exit with a disgusted grunt.) "Hysterics!"
BETTY. (Timidly, to COLIN.) Would you...would you be wanting...?
COLIN. Go! (BETTY swiftly exits, locking door behind her. COLIN, satisfied with a job well done, sighs, plumps his pillow, then takes a book from the bedstand. MARY steps out of hiding. COLIN eventually sees her from over his book and gasps, eyes wide.) Are you...are you a ghost?
MARY. No. I'm a girl.
COLIN. A girl? But what are you doing here?
MARY. I live in this house. Archibald Craven is my uncle. I'm Mary Lennox. But who are you?
COLIN. I am Colin. Colin Craven. Archibald Craven is my father.
MARY. Your father?! No one ever told me...oh, what a queer house this is: rooms and gardens all locked up, and now you? Has my Uncle Craven locked you up too?
COLIN. I keep to this room because I don't wish to leave it. I don't like people and I don't want them seeing or talking about me either.
MARY. I don't understand.
COLIN. (Over-acting, faint.) I am very, very ill. When people see me they look at me as though they're waiting for me to die.
MARY. Do they? You haven't got the cholera, have you?
MARY. My parents died of it.
COLIN. Oh? (A pause to consider.) Well, yes...I suppose I might have the cholera; I don't really know. But one thing is for certain: I shan't live very long. And even if I did; I'd only become a hunchback like Father.
MARY. No, you wouldn't.
COLIN. (Taken aback.) What do you mean I wouldn't?! Why not?
MARY. Because your father isn't a hunchback.
COLIN. He isn't?
MARY. No. His back is just bent over a little. And that's only from...well, from being so very sad, I suppose. But if he'd only just be happy and look up now and again, why, then I'll wager his back would be straight as an arrow.
COLIN. I...I don't believe you.
MARY. But it's true. Surely you've seen it for yourself. (A pause. A thought.) Colin...you have seen your father?
COLIN. He...he is a hunchback! And so shall I be too! Already I've got lumps...lumps on my back! I can feel them!
MARY. Oh, that's a lot of nonsense!
COLIN. It isn't!
MARY. It is. I've seen your back, Colin, and there's not the slightest hunch on it -- not a hunch as big as a pin.
COLIN. (Becoming quite upset.) You're lying! You can't have seen my back!
MARY. But I did! I was hiding right behind that screen and I saw your back when that old Mrs. Medlock and Betty came in. All you've got is backbone lumps: plain, ordinary backbone lumps, just like everyone else!
MARY. Yes! There's nothing the matter with your back, Colin, so you may as well stop crying. I believe you only fuss to get attention anyway.
COLIN. (Turning crimson with rage.) How dare you?!
MARY. The only thing you're about to die of is screaming. Well, go right ahead. Perhaps I'll scream too, and I'm sure that I can scream ever so much louder than you can!
(COLIN screams. MARY screams louder. COLIN hides under the covers and writhes about in another tantrum.) MARY. (Continued.) Stop it, Colin! Stop it, do you hear? All that ails you is temper and... (Remembering what Betty said.) ...and hysterics! Hysterics, hysterics, hysterics! You'll not become a hunchback and if you ever say so again, I shall laugh!
COLIN. (Poking his head out.) No! I'll not have people laughing at me!
MARY. Then stop being such a baby!
COLIN. I can't! I can't stop! I can't!
MARY. Very well, then, don't. I'm going, Colin, and I shan't ever come back. Not ever. (She starts for the door.)
COLIN. No! Wait!
COLIN. (Doesn't have a reason; suddenly the sound of keys.) I hear someone! Hide, Mary, quick, or they'll find you! (MARY considers for a second, then hides behind the screen again. COLIN feigns another fit.)
BETTY. (Entering.) Colin? What are you shouting about now? Shall I fetch Mrs. Medlock?
COLIN. No, Betty, don't do that! I only thought... I thought I saw a ghost.
BETTY. (A yawn.) Is that all? Please, lad, please do try and sleep, won't you? There's a good boy. (BETTY exits. MARY comes out of hiding. Children look at each other without speaking. MARY finally decides she'll give COLIN a second chance. Her questions are delivered rapidly and all business, like an interrogator.)
MARY. Betty is your nurse.
MARY. There was a doctor here the other day.
COLIN. My father's cousin. If I die, he'll be heir to Misselthwaite after my father. It's because of that I expect the doctor doesn't want me to live.
MARY. Colin...do you want to live?
COLIN. I...I don't want to die. Mary, do you think I could live to grow up?
MARY. Yes. I think you're very much like the garden.
MARY. One your father had all shut away.
COLIN. Did he? Why? What sort of a garden is it?
MARY. (Awkward about lying.) I...I'm not sure. No one's been allowed inside it for ten years.
COLIN. Poor garden. It must be terribly alone.
MARY. Yes, it...must be.
COLIN. (An edict.) Then I shall have it opened up!
MARY. (Gasps.) What?!
COLIN. I should like to see this garden that you think is so like me. I'll have it opened up and a servant take me out in my wheelchair and you, Mary, you may come along too.
MARY. Oh, no, you mustn’t, Colin; you mustn't do that!
COLIN. But wouldn't you like to see it?
MARY. Well...yes, yes of course I would but...but it ought to be kept a secret.
MARY. (Mind racing.) Well, you see, if no one knew about the garden but ourselves and if we could find the key and the door, if we could find those things, and then, if we could slip through the door and shut it behind us so that no one knew we were inside and if we played inside there every day and planted seeds and made it all come alive and then, perhaps, perhaps if we could find some strong boy who could push you all about it in your wheelchair, oh, don't you see, Colin, don't you see how much nicer it could be if it were a secret garden?
COLIN. (Unsure he understood it all.) Yes.
MARY. (A sigh of relief.) Oh, good!
COLIN. And Mary? I think that you ought to be a kind of secret too.
MARY. Me? (COLIN nods.) Does that mean you'd like me to come visit again?
COLIN. Would you?
MARY. Yes, Colin. As often as I can. But now I think I had best go back to my room. You look quite sleepy and so am I. (She steps toward the secret wall panel.) Only...could you please tell me how I'm to get out of here?
COLIN. There's an ivory button in the floor. But couldn't you please stay a little longer, Mary? Just until I fall asleep? Please?
MARY. All right. (Music. She steps to bedside and turns down lamp.)
I know -- close your eyes and I'll do what my ayah used to do for me.
MARY. My nanny in India.
COLIN. (Interested.) India?!
MARY. Shhh. I'll tell you about that another day. Just close your eyes now, Colin, and give me your hand. (COLIN lies back as MARY takes his hand, gently stroking it as she quietly sings an Hindustani lullaby. Lights fade to Blackout.)
Act II, Scene ii
(Mary's bedroom. Dawn. MARTHA is asleep across the foot of bed when MARY slips into the room. MARTHA stirs; MARY freezes, then slowly climbs into bed. Thinking she's home-free, MARY lets her head drop back with a sigh, but instead of hitting the pillow, her head bumps loudly against the wall. MARTHA awakens.)
MARTHA. Well? Hasn't tha anythin' to say?
MARY. (A weak smile while rubbing her head.) Morning, Martha.
MARTHA. Hmmph. Nothin' else?
MARY. Yes. (Beat.) I've found out what the crying was.
MARTHA. (A gasp.) Tha hasn't! Never!
MARY. It was Colin Craven. I found him.
MARTHA. (Wringing her hands.) Oh, tha shouldn' ha' done it, Mary -- tha shouldn' ha’.
MARY. But he was glad I did.
MARTHA. He was? Art tha sure? Tha do na' know what that boy's like when anythin' vexes him.
MARY. Yes, I do, because he was vexed -- but only at first. Later on, he didn't want me to leave.
MARTHA. (Amazed.) Nooo...why, tis as if tha was Daniel walked straight into the lion's den.
MARY. Tell me, Martha, is there anything really the matter with Colin? With his body, I mean?
MARTHA. Nobody knows for sure an' certain. But me mother said there was such trouble an' ragin' in this house when Colin was born that it were more than enough to set any child wrong -- in body an' mind.
MARY. What "trouble?"
MARTHA. Trouble was that Mrs. Craven died when Colin was born.
MARY. She died because of him?
MARTHA. No...because o' that one garden.
MARTHA. Now, mind, Mary, 'tis not s'posed to be talked over, at Mr. Craven's own orders. But tha knows so much as it is, tha might just as well know it all. Does tha remember that garden I spoke of once -- the garden what's all locked up? Well, it were Mrs. Craven's own garden what she had made when she and the Master were first married. Him an' her would go in and shut the door an' stay there hours an' hours a-readin' an' talkin' an' tendin' to the flowers. Mother says that Mrs. Craven even made roses to climb up about an old tree that was there, an' she had a little bench build round its trunk so's they could sit 'neath the blossoms. Oh, she loved those roses in that garden; an' Mr. Craven, how he did love his wife so! But one day, while she was sittin' 'neath the tree, a storm come up sudden 'cross the moor with a wutherin' somethin' fearful. A wind so great it made a big branch to fall a-crashin' down to harm the poor sweet lady. Well, Mary -- Mrs. Craven was in a bad way, she was -- an' she had only enough strength left in her to give birth to her baby boy Colin. She died the very next day.
MARY. And that's why Uncle Craven hates the garden. (MARTHA nods.) But why does he hate Colin?
MARTHA. I don't think he hates Colin, Mary. See, the child's always been such a frail lad, an' looks so like his mother...well, I think p'raps Mr. Craven's just afraid -- afraid of lovin' and then losin' Colin too. The boy's death would be more than Mr. Craven could bear.
MARY. But Martha -- if Uncle Craven never sees him and keeps Colin shut away like that, then he might as well be dead. He certainly isn't living. Not really.
MARTHA. But Colin's never wanted to. He's as afraid o' life as his father is o' death.
MARY. I don't believe that. I think Colin's just never been given the chance. (Beat.) Will you help me, Martha? Help me to make Colin come alive?
MARTHA. Only tell me how.
MARY. (Changing clothes.) You could begin my telling me whenever it's safe to visit Colin. Mrs. Medlock and Betty mustn't know about it.
MARTHA. I'll do me best. But where art tha goin' to now, young lady? Aren't tha tired?
MARY. I've got to go out-of-doors. I've got to see if Dickon can help Colin too.
MARTHA. O' course, Dickon! Me little brother's got a special way with creatures, don't he?
MARY. (Yorkshire.) Aye, that he does! Oh, an' there's another thing, Martha. (She pulls forth the potted crocuses from hiding.) I took these cups and crocks and didna' tell no one of it. Sorry, I am, but I'm givin' 'em back to thee now. I mean, a body canna' be 'spectin' crocusses to grow proper in teacups! No, I warrant they'd be rare pleased, put back where they come from! (She expertly unpots them into a napkin, hands MARTHA the empty cups and bowls, and exits. Lights begin fade.)
MARTHA. (A laugh of surprise and pride.) Bless me soul, that girl's changin' by the hour! Now she's speakin' Yorkshire! (Music. Scene shift.)
Act II, Scene ii
(As walls shift on, MARY's voice is heard, followed by an isolated pool of light revealing DICKON, a crow on his shoulder, standing against the proscenium wall with MARY DOUBLE kneeling at his feet. Note: Actual MARY should be rapidly changing into a different dress to suggest passage of time, and getting into place in COLIN's room.)
MARY. (Offstage or sourced voice-over, just as lights begin rise.) Oh, Dickon, how could you have gotten here so early? The sun itself has only just now risen.
DICKON. Eh! I was up long before the sun, Mary. The world's all fair begun again this mornin', it has. An' with all it's workin' an' hummin' an' scratchin' an' pipin' an nest-buildin' an' breathin' out smells... why, a soul's jus' got to be out on it, 'stead o' lyin' on one's back.
(Half of wall shifts off to reveal COLIN's bedchamber in demi-light. COLIN lies on his stomach at the edge of his bed, MARY sits in his wheelchair. They are frozen in tableau.)
When the sun did jump up, the moor went mad for joy -- an' I was in the midst of it with the heather all about me. An I couldna' help but run like mad mesen': all shoutin' an' singin'! An' I come straight here to the garden, for it were waitin'. Why, Mary -- I had to get up early; how could anybody stay in bed?
(DICKON and MARY DOUBLE exit hand in hand; lights rise full on COLIN and MARY, who adroitly wheels herself around the room in her cousin's chair.)
MARY. Dickon says that anything will understand you if you're friends with it for sure. But you've got to be friends for sure.
COLIN. (Holding a flower.) I've never had anything to be a friend with. I can't tolerate people.
MARY. Oh, but you've been able to tolerate me, haven't you, Colin? It's been a month -- no, longer now -- we've been visiting together. Can't you tolerate me...even a little?
COLIN. Yes. I suppose I even like you, Mary.
MARY. You know, Colin, when Ben Weatherstaff and I first met, he said that I was like him. But I think you are too. We've all three of us got the same tempers, none of us are much to look at, and we're every bit as sour as we look. Except...except I don't feel quite so sour anymore, Colin; not since I met the robin.
COLIN. And Dickon.
MARY. (A smile.) Yes. And Dickon.
COLIN. He's your friend, isn't he, Mary?
MARY. I believe...Colin, I believe that if an angel came to Yorkshire and lived on the moor...if there were such a thing: a Yorkshire angel...well, I believe he'd understand the green things and help them to grow. And this angel would talk with the wild creatures and help them too. And they'd know, from the very start, that this angel was a friend.
COLIN. (A sigh.) How I should like to meet Dickon one day.
MARY. (Excited.) Would you, Colin? You wouldn't positively hate it if he saw you?
COLIN. (A definite shake of his head.) No -- I wouldn't.
MARY. Oh, I'm so glad you said that, because... because...
COLIN. (Becoming excited too.) "Because" what?!
MARY. (Leaping from the chair, taking his hands.) Can I trust you, Colin? Please tell me that I can.
COLIN. Yes, Mary, yes!
MARY. You may see him, Colin. You may see Dickon.
COLIN. (Thrilled.) What? When? Will he come here, Mary? Here to my room?
MARY. Better than that. (Lifting COLIN to transfer him into his wheelchair.) You shall go to him. You and I. Together.
COLIN. Go? Where?
MARY. To the garden, Colin. The secret garden. There is a way inside. I've been there. Robin showed me the door weeks ago, before I'd even met you. I'm sorry that I didn't tell you before -- truly, I am -- but I didn't dare. I was afraid....afraid I couldn't trust you. But I do now, Colin. So Dickon and I... well...summer's already begun! We think you ought to be out-of-doors and in the garden with us.
COLIN. In the garden. Mother's garden.
COLIN. (A whoop, spinning his chair in circles.) Oh, hurrah, hurrah, hurrah! I'm to meet Dickon and the robin and Robin's mate and...and there's be flowers, too...
MARY. Larkspur and columbine...
COLIN. ...and foxglove...
MARY. ...and snapdragon...
COLIN. ...and delphiminum...delphiminum...
COLIN. (A victory cry.) Delphinium!!! (Door swings open to reveal MEDLOCK and DR. CRAVEN, astonished, as COLIN's chair flies right up to their feet. ALL gasp. A moment of silence.)
MEDLOCK. Good Lord!
DOCTOR. (Eyebrow raised to MEDLOCK.) Mrs. Medlock?!
MEDLOCK. Mary Lennox, you wretched little creature! Just what do you think you're doing in here? Get out! Go to your room this instant!
COLIN. No, Mary -- stay.
MEDLOCK. I said go! You've no business...
COLIN. And I said Mary is to stay. She is my cousin. She and I are friends. We've been visiting for many weeks now and you're not about to stop us. What's more, Mary has made me feel better -- far better than you or Doctor ever have. And what's more...what's more... (Racking his brains for an appropriate ultimate statement; a decree.) ... what's more, tomorrow, Mary is going to take me out of here! Out-of-doors! (ADULTS gasp.)
MEDLOCK. Oh, Doctor Craven, he's got the hysterics again!
COLIN. No, I haven't.
DOCTOR. But "out-of-doors," Colin? You'll tire yourself. No, I'm afraid I couldn't allow...
COLIN. Fresh air is not about to tire me. It is you who tire me.
DOCTOR. But I thought you didn't like fresh air.
COLIN. Well, I do now. Mary, draw back the curtains! And the window -- open it. Open it wide! (MARY obeys -- sunlight floods the room as a gentle summer breeze buffets the curtains.) My cousin knows what's good for me, better than you. And tomorrow she is going to take me out from this old house. Out in my chair. Out into the...into the gardens! And I'll not have you, nor Mrs. Medlock, nor Betty the nurse, nor anyone else go with me. Only Mary. And the gardeners will all have to come indoors while we are out, and they'll keep inside until I give word. Is that quite understood?
MEDLOCK. Now you listen to me, young man; just who do you think you are, giving orders?
COLIN. I am Master Colin Craven, son of Archibald Craven, and heir to Misselthwaite Manor! And you, Mrs. Medlock -- you are my servant!
MEDLOCK. (A gasp, to DOCTOR.) Well, I never...the gall...!
DOCTOR. Now, now, do calm yourself, Mrs. Medlock. I don't know that it could do any great harm to allow Mary to take the lad out-of-doors...as an experiment. (To MARY.) But only if the weather is fine. And not for too long a time.
MARY. Yes, Dr. Craven.
DOCTOR. (To COLIN.) It appears evident to me that your health has...altered...somewhat. But remember, Colin, you are very, very ill...
COLIN. I don't want to remember. I wish you were a kind of doctor who would try and make me forget I was ill instead of having me remember it all the time. (Pivoting his chair away.) Mary? What do those rajah fellows in India say when they're finished with someone?
MARY. (A salaam; Indian accent.) They say: you have my permission to go.
COLIN. (With a wildly embellished salaam.) Dr.Craven, Mrs. Medlock -- you have my permission to GO!
DOCTOR. (With an amused smile and bow.) Very good, Master Colin, sir. Thank you, sir. (MEDLOCK is frozen, utterly dumbfounded.) Come along, Mrs. Medlock; we've been dismissed. (He takes her arm and gently guides her out the door.)
MEDLOCK. I never! You'd think the boy was the blessed Royal Family itself -- Prince Consort and all!
(Door closes. MARY and COLIN burst into laughter. MARY picks COLIN up from his chair and tosses him into his bed, salaaming repeatedly to him, as COLIN uses a pillow for a turban.)
COLIN. Well, how does that suit you, Mary? It's all arranged!
MARY. Yes, oh mighty master Mister Rajah -- all arranged! (Their laughter subsides.)
COLIN. Oh, I'm so happy, Mary...so happy that...that now I should like you to know something...something I've been keeping a secret from you.
COLIN. (Pointing to the wall by the door, opposite the window.) See that cord -- there on the wall? Pull it. (MARY obeys. A satin curtain is drawn away from a formal portrait of a young woman seated in a garden bower, holding a bouquet of roses; her features are a synthesis of both MARY's and COLIN's. Golden sunbeam from open window illuminates the painting. Music.) That's Mother.
MARY. She's very pretty.
COLIN. There were times...when I felt ill and miserable...I thought she smiled too much. But after tomorrow, I expect I'll understand why. For I'll have seen her garden. (Tears well up in his eyes as he looks out the window.) How I do wish she could be there still.
MARY. (Kneeling beside COLIN on the bed.) But, Colin, in a way, she is. Because her roses are still there. So, in a way, she is too. And so your mother's been there -- waiting for you there -- for all your life. (Another gust of wind blows the curtains toward them, beckoning, as the cousins gaze out the window, to the portrait, and the window again. Music swells as lights slowly fade and walls come together to end the scene.)
Act II, Scene iv
(A series of vignettes, as in Act I, depicting passage of summer.)
A. (Outside the secret garden. Lights rise on Ben and butler JOHN. GARDENERS stand silently by.)
BEN. (A roar of angry incredulity.) What?!
JOHN. Mrs. Medlock's orders: no one's allowed on the grounds for all afternoon, says she.
BEN. "No one's allowed," eh? Well, I've allus been "no one" around 'ere, so I'm stayin'! An' you can just scoot y'rsen back up to the 'ouse an' tell Mrs. Medlock that Ben Weatherstaff's got his work to do, if Cook'll be wantin' any vegetables come winter... less'n, o' course, she'd rather eat weeds.
JOHN. Mr. Weatherstaff, please; might be you'd rather tell that to Mrs. Medlocks yourself.
BEN. Right! (Tossing down his gloves in anger.) Sam! Emmett! Toby! John 'ere says for us to come up to the 'ouse. Let's go, lads! (He starts marching off in the wrong direction.)
JOHN. (A polite cough; gesturing in the other direction.) Mr. Weatherstaff? After you....
BEN. (A glare; changing direction.) Right. (ALL exit. After a moment, MARY appears, wheeling COLIN in his wheelchair. COLIN's hands cover his eyes. They stop outside the door to the secret garden.)
COLIN. The sun feels so warm! Are we there yet, Mary?
MARY. Yes. Now remember, Colin -- you must promise to speak very quietly.
COLIN. I promise.
MARY. (Rapping lightly at the door.) Dickon? Dickon -- it's us! Quickly, open the door! (Door opens and DICKON steps out and goes to COLIN, who uncovers his eyes.)
DICKON. (Handing COLIN a bouquet of flowers.) Welcome, Colin. Come in. (MARY quickly pulls wheelchair through the door as COLIN looks over his shoulder at the splendor inside. He shouts, completely forgetting his promise of quiet.)
COLIN. Mary! Dickon! I shall get well! I shall get well and I shall live forever and ever and ever!
MARY & DICKON. (Closing the door.) Shhhhh!
B. (Inside the secret garden. MARY, DICKON and COLIN quietly enjoy the simple wonders of a corner of the garden. DICKON plays a tune on his recorder while introducing COLIN to his pet crow; MARY hands COLIN the fox cub to hold and shows him various flowers. Lights slowly fade as wall closes in front of them.)
C. (Entryhall of manor. GARDENERS sit on the floor with mugs of ale, playing a game of cards with JOHN. BETTY sits knitting. BEN stands impatiently, angrily looking out the window through the heavy curtains.)
BEN. Dang it! Ain't it time the wench an' the cripple were about comin' back yet?
JOHN. Another hour I'd reckon, at the least.(MEDLOCK enters; JOHN drops his cards and snaps to attention. BEN whirls on MEDLOCK.)
BEN. An' thee!
MEDLOCK. Mr. Weatherstaff?
BEN. How cans't tha abide 'em to trample all over thee so?
MEDLOCK. I've told you. Doctor Craven believes that fresh air might be of some benefit to the boy's health.
BEN. But why canna me an' the lads 'ave a bit o' fresh air too?
MEDLOCK. It is their wish to play alone. You know how children are.
BEN. I do na', nor do I care to! That's why I'm a bachelder.
MEDLOCK. (A raised eyebrow.) Oh, is that the reason?
BETTY. I'm not complaining. I consider it a sort of holiday each afternoon the boy goes out. It isn't a pleasure being nurse to Master Colin. Don't think that it is.
BEN. (Itching for a fight.) I'll tell you what I think, Miss Betty...
MARTHA. (Entering with tray of tea; all sunshine.) Tea time!
BEN. Dang it!
MEDLOCK. Patience, Mr. Weatherstaff. It's only been a week. The children are bound to tire of their little games, and soon. (To herself, as lights fade.) I hope.
D. (Lights rise on secret garden. MARY is skipping rope expertly as DICKON coaches COLIN in leg-lifting exercises.)
DICKON. One an' two, one an' two...Eh, Colin -- if thal't only jus' keep wokin' at these exercises, us'll have thee strong enow to be up an' walkin' afore long.
COLIN. Walk?! Oh, shall I walk? Truly, Dickon?
DICKON. Tha's got legs, hasn't tha?
COLIN. But they're so weak.
DICKON. Already they's grown stronger.
COLIN. I'm afraid to even try and stand.
DICKON. Aye. And as for you not bein' afraid -- that'll come too,
MARY. Then only think what Dr. Craven will say!
COLIN. He'll not say anything.
COLIN. No. Because not he nor anyone else will know about it. No matter what happens, I'm going to keep on with my hysterics so that my getting well -- if I get well -- shall be the greatest secret of all. That is, until Father returns.
MARY. Oh, what a splendid surprise that will be!
DICKON. Aye, but we mun make it happen first. Come now, Colin: one an' two, one an' two... (Lights fade with scene shift.)
E. (Lights rise on entryhall. BEN, GARDENERS, BETTY, MARTHA still loitering. MEDLOCK, DOCTOR and JOHN enter.)
MEDLOCK. I simply don't know what to make of it, Doctor. I'm at my wits' end.
DOCTOR. And all I can tell you is that Colin appears to be much improved -- much improved indeed.
MEDLOCK. And therein lies the mystery. For three weeks now, the child's refused to eat barely a morsel, and he grunts and frets more than ever -- as if he were about to die at any moment; isn't that right, John? Tell the doctor how Colin shrieks when you carry him down the stairs.
JOHN. That he does, sir -- screams like the very Devil.
MEDLOCK. And he's so upset Betty that now she's threatening to leave and the gardening staff has lately taken to drinking...in the afternoons... (In unison, GARDENERS remember to hide their mugs.) ...and I can hardly blame them for it, now can I? (GARDENERS look at one another, take a good pull of ale in plain view and sigh with satisfaction. MEDLOCK observes none of this.) No, Doctor, I'm afraid
I have no choice in the matter but to notify Mr. Craven.
DOCTOR. I understand, Mrs. Medlock. Still, there must be an explanation as to why young Colin has come to be looking so very well.
MEDLOCK. If I weren't a sensible woman, I'd say he's getting fat and rosy on witchcraft. Yes, Doctor -- witchcraft, pure and simple!
(MEDLOCK and DOCTOR exit as lights fade on entryhall.)
F. (Dusk. The secret garden. MARY, DICKON and COLIN are seating before a glowing fire which sparks and flickers as MARY pokes the embers with a stick. They sit, contented, wearing wreaths of flowers on on their heads.)
MARY. Could either one o' thee bear to eat another roasted potato with clotted cream? (BOYS groan.) Neither can I. (She sits back.) Dickon, I did give thee the money for the food, did I na'?
DICKON. More than enow. I'll be bringin' me Mother's own fresh doughcakes for dinner on the morrow.
COLIN. (After a moment's pause.) Mary? When you first came to Misselthwaite, everything seemed quite empty, didn't it?
MARY. Aye, that it did.
COLIN. But then something happened -- to draw things up and make things out of nothing. These many days now, ever since I first saw Mother's garden, I've been wondering to myself, "What is it? What makes these things happen?" It must be something.
DICKON. (Looking upward and nodding.) Aye.
COLIN. But since I don't know this something's name, I have decided to just call it "Magic." And I believe that everything in the world is made out of this Magic. Yes -- everything, everywhere around us; not only here but in all places. So from now on, every morning and evening and just as often during the daytime as I can remember to, I shall call upon this Magic to come to me and help make me strong. Then, perhaps, it might grow to become a part of me...and it would stay forever.
MARY. Colin, I believe your mother must have been a sort of "Magic person."
COLIN. Do you? Well then, if I come to possess a bit of the Magic, do you think my Father might possibly grow fond of me? Oh, Mary, if only he could ... why, then I'd share the Magic with him -- to make him more cheerful.... (Lights slowly fade as wall closes on the garden.)
G. (The sound of a rushing brook. Isolated pool of light rises
on ARCHIBALD, kneeling in prayer at a rustic shrine in a grotto. PITCHER's voice, calling from offstage, grows louder.)
PITCHER. Mr. Craven? Mr. Craven, sir!
ARCHIBALD. (Rising.) Yes, Pitcher! Over here! What is it? (PITCHER enters, out of breath, holding a letter.)
PITCHER. A telegram, sir -- just arrived. Were it only business, I'd have let it wait back at the inn, but as you'll notice, sir, it's come from Misselthwaite.
ARCHIBALD. Oh, dear God.
PITCHER. I thought it might perhaps be urgent... something to do with the boy.
ARCHIBALD. The boy...my son.... (Hand trembling, he reaches to take the letter but loses his courage and turns away.) Pitcher, I cannot. You... please... would you read it?
PITCHER. Certainly, sir. (PITCHER opens telegram and reads.)
ARCHIBALD. Tell me -- is he dead?
PITCHER. No, sir. Mrs. Medlock says only that the boy's condition is "radically changed." Both she and Doctor Craven request that you consider returning to Yorkshire. (Annoyed, he tears telegram in half.) My apologies, sir. I'll inform Mrs. Medlock immediately that until she has news of a more definite nature, you are not to be troubled.
ARCHIBALD. Oh? And pray tell me, Pitcher -- how am I "not to be troubled?" Look...only look at me! A man so crippled with fear that I cannot even bear to read a telegram -- a telegram I've been expecting for nearly ten years! For pity's sake, what am I doing? What have I done?
PITCHER. Now, sir, you mustn't blame yourself. Had Mrs. Craven only lived...
ARCHIBALD. Had she lived, my wife would have loved her son! I say that I loved my wife, yet in my grief -- no, in my self-pity -- I have abandoned and shut away all that my beloved ever cherished. Ten years -- ten years I have let her boy...our son, my Colin... languish alone. By God, I cannot let him die alone. (ARCHIBALD starts off.) We must return to Misselthwaite tonight. I only pray I shall not be too late. (PITCHER follows as lights quickly fade.)
H. (Lights rise on wall outside the secret garden. DICKON and MARY are pushing COLIN toward the door, giggling merrily. Just as they reach the door, BEN steps out of hiding.)
BEN. Get away!
BEN. What does tha think tha'rt doin' at that door? Oh, I should ha' knowed tha'd be up to no good all this long summer, Mary Lennox.
MARY. But, Ben...it was Robin who showed me the way. He wanted me to find the garden...
BEN. I do na' care! You young'uns have no business in there. Them's the master's orders!
COLIN. But it was my mother's own garden. I have a right to it. And you'll tell no one about this, do you hear? We wanted it to be a secret, but since you have disobeyed my orders and hid yourself here, you will have to be part of the secret now too.
BEN. Well, well -- don't tha speak right high an' mighty for a dyin' cripple boy!
COLIN. "Cripple?!" I am no such thing, am I, Dickon!
DICKON. No sir.
MARY. And he's not about to die, either.
BEN. Then why have I allus heard he was -- an' a half-wit to boot?
COLIN. (Anger rising.) "A half-wit?!" Who -- who called me that?
BEN. All soarts o' folk.
COLIN. (Enraged, throwing off his laprug.) Well, I'm not! Tell me who dared to say I was! Tell me their names! (COLIN stands and angrily marches up to BEN, staring in his face.) Tell me! (OTHERS gasp, astonished, at the sight of COLIN on his feet.)
BEN. (Dropping to one knee; a whisper.) Look, lad -- look at thysen!
MARY. Colin, tha's got the Magic!
DICKON. Tha stood up an' walked as straight as any lad in Yorkshire.
COLIN. (Looking at himself in wonder.) Yes. Yes, I did, didn't I?
BEN. God bless thee, boy!
MARY. And now we've got another secret, Colin. The very best secret in all the world!
COLIN. Oh, please...may we go into the garden now? I should like us to walk all about it.
DICKON. (Opening the door.) Aye, Colin, an' tha shall lead the way.
(COLIN exits through door, followed by MARY, BEN and DICKON. Lights fade to Blackout.)
Act II, Scene v
(Entryhall; curtains drawn back and windows open, allowing sunlight and breeze to fill the room which is decked in numerous large urns and vases of extravagant arrangements of cut fresh flowers. MEDLOCK, DOCTOR, MARTHA, JOHN, BETTY and GARDENERS stand in nervous formation before PITCHER.)
PITCHER. What in heaven's name has happened here?! Mrs. Medlock, I demand an explanation.
MEDLOCK. Well, Mr. Pitcher, sir, I hardly know where to begin...
PITCHER. You may begin with this room: windows open, flowers strewn about -- it looks like a hothouse! Who is responsible for this?
MARTHA. Me, sir. I done it.
MARTHA. Master's orders, sir.
PITCHER. Impossible. The Master and I have just now returned from Switzerland.
BEN. (Entering, sipping a mug of ale.) Switzerland, eh? Heard that's a right fine place for growin' things.
PITCHER. Mr. Weatherstaff, why aren't you and these other men at work? Are you ill?
BEN. Never better. Been exercisin', I have. (He demonstrates a few leg lifts a la Dickon and Colin.) One an' two, one an' two....
PITCHER. Then I'll ask you again: why aren't you out in the gardens?
BEN. T'ain't allowed. Master's orders.
PITCHER. "Master's orders?!" I haven't the vaguest idea what you could possibly mean by that.
BEN. Didna' 'spect tha would.
MEDLOCK. What he and Martha mean by "Master," Mr. Pitcher," is "young Master Colin." It is by the boy's orders that we...
PITCHER. Master Colin? And what has a dying child to do with the gardening staff and...
BEN. Whoa there, Mr. Pitcher! Master Colin ain't about to die. No sir
-- not that lad.
PITCHER. Dr. Craven, perhaps you could shed some light on the situation? Your cousin and I have rushed back to Misselthwaite under the impression that his son's condition was very grave indeed. Is that or is that not the case?
DOCTOR. I really couldn't say.
PITCHER. (Sputtering; flustered.) Very well. Then we shall just have to see for ourselves. Betty? Would you be so kind as to go to the child's room and prepare him for his father's visit?
BETTY. (Near tears.) I can't, sir.
PITCHER. (A beller.) Why not?!
BETTY. Because he isn't there!
PITCHER. He isn't...what?! Then where? Mrs. Medlock...!
MEDLOCK. Well...Colin's...well, I'm sure he's about the premises... somewhere...I suppose.
PITCHER. You suppose?!
MEDLOCK. It's all that girl's fault! It's Mary Lennox who takes him out-of-doors. Young Master Colin's with her.
PITCHER. No, he is not. The girl met us outside the carriage and took Mr. Craven away.
MEDLOCK. What an audacious child! Where did she take him?
PITCHER. Well, how should I know? The question is: who's looking after the boy?
BEN. Dickon, I 'spect.
PITCHER. "Dickon?" Who's Dickon?
MARTHA. (With great pride.) Me own little brother.
PITCHER. Mrs. Medlock?!
BEN. Oh, don't bother with her; Medlock don't know nothin' bout nothin'. Tell me, Mr. Pitcher -- does tha believe in Magic?
PITCHER. Magic? Certainly not!
BEN. No, didna think so. But I'm tellin' thee, tha will. (A wave of his arm.) Come along, then -- the lot o' thee!
PITCHER. Come? Where?
BEN. To the garden. Jus' follow me, Mr. Pitcher. Master's orders. (Lights fade as all exit and wall closes on scene.)
Act II, Scene vi
(Lights rise outside the secret garden. MARY enters, gently pulling ARCHIBALD by the hand.)
ARCHIBALD. Mary, please -- I'll see your bit of earth another time, I promise. But just now, I've the most urgent business up at the house. Please do try and understand.
MARY. But, Uncle, I do understand.
ARCHIBALD. Then you'll forgive me if I go. (He turns to exit.)
MARY. To see Colin? (ARCHIBALD freezes; turns back.)
ARCHIBALD. How...how do you know of Colin?
MARY. I heard his cries. Uncle Craven, you have come back to be with Colin, haven't you?
ARCHIBALD. I have.
MARY. Then stay.
ARCHIBALD. I cannot.
MARY. Uncle, do you remember when you said I could have a garden?
MARY. And like someone you once knew, you told me I, too, should try and make things come alive in it?
MARY. Well, I found such a place. And I kept it a secret. But I don’t believe it ought to be a secret any longer. (From her pocket she pulls out the key and offers it to ARCHIBALD. He stares at it, trembling, for a moment, then quickly snatches it away and shoves it in his jacket pocket. MARY clasps her hands to her face in horror -- her greatest fear confronted. She pleads.) Oh, no, please! Don't hide it away! Not again! (Tearfully.) Oh, please, Uncle Craven...for the sake of your lady...won't you please let it live? (MARY turns and clutches the ivy at the door. The sound of laughter -- DICKON and COLIN -- can be heard from behind the wall. ARCHIBALD looks at the garden wall in awe.)
ARCHIBALD. What? Who...? I thought it all was dead.
MARY. (Sobbing.) So did I. But I was wrong. (She turns back to look at ARCHIBALD; tears streaming down her face.) It needed only someone to help it grow again. And now...oh, Uncle...now it seems so simple... (She stands, waiting, and gently lifts a beckoning hand toward ARCHIBALD. ROBIN appears on the wall above the door and his song joins the BOYS' laughter. ARCHIBALD slowly draws the key from his pocket, looks at it, then takes a step toward the door. MARY steps aside to let him put the key in the lock, open the door, and peer inside. He looks back in wonder at MARY, beaming, then steps through.
(Walls part to reveal the entire stage filled with the late summer garden in riotous bloom. DICKON and COLIN are racing about in a game of tag. COLIN slips and falls to the ground as DICKON notices ARCHIBALD's presence. DICKON freezes and slowly slips aside, but COLIN has not yet noticed his father.)
COLIN. (Laughing.) Come, Dickon! What's the matter wi' thee? Th'art not weary already, art tha? (ARCHIBALD releases a gasp of wonder. COLIN sees him.) Father?!
ARCHIBALD. Colin? (COLIN stands. Father and son, after a moment, rush into one another's arms. ARCHIBALD, tearful, drops to one knee and hugs COLIN.) Oh, Colin, you're alive! Oh, my poor, dear boy, I am so very sorry....
COLIN. Don't be sorry, Father. You ought to be glad. Look -- see how lovely it all is? Please do try and be glad.
ARCHIBALD. Forgive me? Tell me, Colin -- tell me what can I do to have you forgive me?
COLIN. Only stay with us, Father. Stay here and be happy. In Mother's garden.
ARCHIBALD. (Rising to his feet.) Yes. (His back straightens fully as he looks about the garden.) Yes, Colin, I shall stay. And I shall be happy again. We will be happy. Now and forevermore.
(COLIN takes ARCHIBALD by the hand and guides him to sit on the repaired lattice bench beneath the tree which boasts a canopy of blooming roses. MARY and DICKON hold hands as well and sit in the midst of the garden, petting the fox and crow. ROBIN and ROBIN's MATE trill merrily on the trellis by the entryway as BEN and MARTHA enter to observe. BEN removes his hat in reverence. Lights fade to misty shafts and patterns of undulating golden light before Blackout.)