Mary in Yorkshire
They arrived at a very large old house. It looked dark and unfriendly
From the outside. Inside, Mary looked around the big shadowy hall
And felt very small and lost. They went straight upstairs. Mary was
Shown to a room where there was a warm fire and food on the table.
‘This is your room,’ said Mrs Medlock. ‘Go to bed when you’ve
Had some supper. And remember, you must stay in your room! Mr
Craven doesn’t want you to wander all over the house!’
When Mary woke up the next morning, she saw a young servant
Girl cleaning the fireplace. The room seemed dark and rather strange
With pictures of dogs and horses and ladies on the walls. It was not
A child’s room at all. From the window she could not see any trees or
Houses, only wild land, which looked like a kind of purple sea.
‘Who are you?’ she asked the servant coldly.
‘Martha, miss,’ answered the girl with a smile.
‘And what’s that outside?’ Mary continued.
‘That’s the moor,’ smiled Martha. ‘Do you like it?’
‘No,’ replied Mary immediately. ‘I hate it.’
‘That’s because you don’t know it. You will like it. I love it. It’s
Lovely in spring and summer when there are flowers. It always
Smells so sweet. The air’s so fresh and the birds sing so beautifully. I
Never want to leave the moor.’
Mary was feeling very bad-tempered. ‘You’re a strange servant,’
She said. ‘In India we don’t have conversations with servants. We
Give orders and they obey, and that’s that.’
Martha did not seem to mind Mary’s crossness.
‘I know I talk too much!’ she laughed.
‘Are you going to be my servant?’ asked Mary.
not really. I work for Mrs Medlock. I am going to clean
Your room and bring you your food but you won’t need a servant except
For those things.’
‘But who’s going to dress me?’
Martha stopped cleaning and stared at Mary.
‘Tha’ canna’ dress thysen?’ she asked, shocked.
‘What do you mean? I don’t understand your language!’
‘Oh, I forgot. We all speak the Yorkshire dialect here but of
Course you don’t understand that. I meant to say, can’t you put on
Your own clothes?’
‘Of course not! My servant always used to dress me.’
‘Well! I think you should learn to dress yourself. My mother always
Says people should be able to take care of themselves, even if
They’re rich and important.’
Little Miss Mary was furious with Martha. ‘It’s different in India
Where I come from! You don’t know anything about India or about
Servants, or about anything! You… you…’ She could not explain
What she meant. Suddenly she felt very confused and lonely. She
Threw herself down on the bed and stared crying wildly.
‘Now, now, don’t cry like that,’ Martha said gently. ‘I am very
Sorry. You’re right, I don’t know anything about anything. Please
Stop crying, miss.’
She sounded kind and friendly and Mary began to feel better and
Soon stopped crying. Martha went on talking as she finished her
Cleaning but Mary looked out of the window in a bored way and
Pretended not to listen.
‘I’ve got eleven brothers and sisters, you know, miss. There’s not
Much money in our house. And they all eat so much food! Mother
Says it’s the good fresh air on the moor that makes them so hungry.
My brother Dickon, he’s always out on the moor. He’s twelve and
He’s got a horse which he riches sometimes.’
‘Where did he get it?’ asked Mary. She had always wanted an