The Secret Garden/Boy Version

Author's Note: I decided to have a little fun and twist a story around that I have read a lot when I was little. I've kept some stuff the same but change other stuff around. Hope you enjoy it.


3. Across The Moor

He slept a long time, and when he awakened Mr. Medlock had bought a lunchbasket at one of the stations and they had some chicken and cold beef and bread and butter and some hot tea. The rain seemed to be streaming down more heavily than ever and everybody in the station wore wet and glistening waterproofs. The guard lighted the lamps in the carriage, and Mr. Medlock cheered up very much over his tea and chicken and beef. He ate a great deal and afterward fell asleep himself, and Toby sat and stared at him and watched his fine top hat slip on one side until he himself fell asleep once more in the corner of the carriage, lulled by the splashing of the rain against the windows. It was quite dark when he awakened again. The train had stopped at a station and Mr. Medlock was shaking him.

"You have had a sleep!" he said. "It's time to open your eyes! We're at Thwaite Station and we've got a long drive before us."

Toby stood up and tried to keep his eyes open while Mr. Medlock collected his parcels. The little boy did not offer to help him, because the servants always picked up or carried things and it seemed quite proper that other people should wait on one.

The station was a small one and nobody but themselves seemed to be getting out of the train. The station-mistress spoke to Mr. Medlock in a rough, good-natured way, pronouncing her words in a queer broad fashion which Toby found out afterward was Yorkshire.

"I see tha's got back," she said. "An' tha's browt th' young 'un with thee."

"Aye, that's him," answered Mr. Medlock, speaking with a Yorkshire accent himself and jerking his head over his shoulder toward Toby.

 "Th' carriage is waitin' outside for thee." said the station-mistress.

A brougham stood on the road before the little outside platform. Toby saw that it was a smart carriage and that it was a smart footwoman who helped him in. Her long waterproof coat and the waterproof covering of her hat were shining and dripping with rain as everything was, the burly station-mistress included.

When she shut the door, mounted the box with the coachwoman, and they drove off, the little boy found himself seated in a comfortably cushioned corner, but he was not inclined to go to sleep again. He sat and looked out of the window, curious to see something of the road over which he was being driven to the queer place Mr. Medlock had spoken of. He was not at all a timid child and he was not exactly frightened, but he felt that there was no knowing what might happen in a house with a hundred rooms nearly all shut up--a house standing on the edge of a moor.

"What is a moor?" he said suddenly to Mr. Medlock.

"Look out of the window in about ten minutes and you'll see," the man answered. "We've got to drive five miles across Missel Moor before we get to the Manor. You won't see much because it's a dark night, but you can see something."

 Toby asked no more questions but waited in the darkness of his corner, keeping his eyes on the window. The carriage lamps cast rays of light a little distance ahead of them and he caught glimpses of the things they passed. After they had left the station they had driven through a tiny village and he had seen whitewashed cottages and the lights of a public house. Then they had passed a church and a vicarage and a little shop-window or so in a cottage with toys and sweets and odd things set our for sale. Then they were on the highroad and he saw hedges and trees. After that there seemed nothing different for a long time--or at least it seemed a long time to him.

At last the horses began to go more slowly, as if they were climbing up-hill, and presently there seemed to be no more hedges and no more trees. He could see nothing, in fact, but a dense darkness on either side. He leaned forward and pressed his face against the window just as the carriage gave a big jolt.

"Eh! We're on the moor now sure enough," said Mr. Medlock.

The carriage lamps shed a yellow light on a rough-looking road which seemed to be cut through bushes and low-growing things which ended in the great expanse of dark apparently spread out before and around them. A wind was rising and making a singular, wild, low, rushing sound.

"It's--it's not the sea, is it?" said Toby, looking round at his companion.

"No, not it," answered Mr. Medlock. "Nor it isn't fields nor mountains, it's just miles and miles and miles of wild land that nothing grows on but heather and gorse and broom, and nothing lives on but wild ponies and sheep."

"I feel as if it might be the sea, if there were water on it," said Toby. "It sounds like the sea just now."

 "That's the wind blowing through the bushes," Mr. Medlock said. "It's a wild, dreary enough place to my mind, though there's plenty that likes it--particularly when the heather's in bloom."

On and on they drove through the darkness, and though the rain stopped, the wind rushed by and whistled and made strange sounds. The road went up and down, and several times the carriage passed over a little bridge beneath which water rushed very fast with a great deal of noise. Toby felt as if the drive would never come to an end and that the wide, bleak moor was a wide expanse of black ocean through which he was passing on a strip of dry land.

"I don't like it," he said to himself. "I don't like it," and he pinched his thin lips more tightly together.

The horses were climbing up a hilly piece of road when he first caught sight of a light. Mr. Medlock saw it as soon as he did and drew a long sigh of relief.

"Eh, I am glad to see that bit o' light twinkling," he exclaimed. "It's the light in the lodge window. We shall get a good cup of tea after a bit, at all events."

 It was "after a bit," as he said, for when the carriage passed through the park gates there was still two miles of avenue to drive through and the trees (which nearly met overhead) made it seem as if they were driving through a long dark vault.

They drove out of the vault into a clear space and stopped before an immensely long but low-built house which seemed to ramble round a stone court. At first Toby thought that there were no lights at all in the windows, but as he got out of the carriage he saw that one room in a corner upstairs showed a dull glow.

The entrance door was a huge one made of massive, curiously shaped panels of oak studded with big iron nails and bound with great iron bars. It opened into an enormous hall, which was so dimly lighted that the faces in the portraits on the walls and the figures in the suits of armor made Toby feel that he did not want to look at them. As he stood on the stone floor he looked a very small, odd little black figure, and he felt as small and lost and odd as he looked.

A neat, thin old woman stood near the womanservant who opened the door for them.

"You are to take him to his room," she said in a husky voice. "She doesn't want to see him. She is going to London in the morning."

"Very well, Mis. Pitcher," Mr. Medlock answered. "So long as I know what's expected of me, I can manage."

"What's expected of you, Mr. Medlock," Miss. Pitcher said, "is that you make sure that she's not disturbed and that she doesn't see what she doesn't want to see."

 And then Toby Drake was led up a broad staircase and down a long corridor and up a short flight of steps and through another corridor and another, until a door opened in a wall and he found himself in a room with a fire in it and a supper on a table.

Mr. Medlock said unceremoniously:

"Well, here you are! This room and the next are where you'll live--and you must keep to them. Don't you forget that!"

It was in this way Master Toby arrived at Misselthwaite Manor and he had perhaps never felt quite so contrary in all his life. 

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