“Do you want toys, books, dolls?”
“Might I,” quavered Mary, “might I have a bit of earth?”
In her eagerness, she did not realize how queer the words would sound and that were not the ones she had meant to say. Mr Craven looked quite startled.
“Earth!” he repeated. “What do you mean?”
Mary faltered. He gazed at her a moment and then passed his hand quickly over his eyes.
“Do you–care about gardens so much?” he said slowly.
“I didn’t know about them in India,” said Mary. “I was always ill and tired, and it was so hot. I sometimes made little beds in the sand and stuck flowers in them. But here it is different.”
Mr Craven got up and began to walk slowly across the room.
“A bit of earth,” he said to himself and Mary thought that somehow she must have reminded him of something. When he stopped and spoke to her his dark eyes looked almost soft and kind.
“You can have as much earth as you want,” he said. “You remind me of someone else who loved the earth and things that grow. When you see a bit of earth you want, take it, child, and make it come alive,”
Frances Hodgson Burnett ~ The Secret Garden