Why does Mary tell Martha, "If I had a raven or a fox cub I could play with it" in The Secret Garden?

In The Secret Garden, Mary tells Martha that she could play with a raven or fox cub if she had one because Mary has just been listening to Martha talk about Dickon and his animals. Further, Mary is very lonely little girl who longs for friends.

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It is a rainy day at Misselthwaite Manor in Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, and Mary Lennox has nothing to do. She has been spending much of her time outdoors, and now, she asks Martha the maid what Martha's family does when it rains. Martha replies good-naturedly, "Try to keep from under each other's feet mostly." She then tells Mary about her brother Dickon, who goes out even in the rain and once rescued a little fox cub from drowning and a crow he has named Soot.

Mary is intrigued by Dickon and his animals and by Martha's stories of her large, happy family. Mary has been alone and lonely most of her life. That is why she tells Martha, "If I had a raven or a fox cub I could play with it ... But I have nothing." Mary has never had the chance to develop connections in her short life. Her parents mostly ignored her, for her father was busy with his position and her mother was embarrassed by Mary's plain looks. Mary has been raised by servants, but her bad behavior certainly never endeared her to them. Yet she longs for a friend, even an animal friend, to play with, especially but not only on a rainy day. Mary is all too aware that she has nothing and no one in her life who can fit that description of friendship, but she soon will.

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