A Millennium Fulcrum Edition (c)1991 by Duncan Research
Chapter 1 PETER BREAKS THROUGH
Chapter 2 THE SHADOW
Chapter 3 COME AWAY, COME AWAY!
Chapter 4 THE FLIGHT
Chapter 5 THE ISLAND COME TRUE
Chapter 6 THE LITTLE HOUSE
Chapter 7 THE HOME UNDER THE GROUND
Chapter 8 THE MERMAID'S LAGOON
Chapter 9 THE NEVER BIRD
Chapter 10 THE HAPPY HOME
Chapter 11 WENDY'S STORY
Chapter 12 THE CHILDREN ARE CARRIED OFF
Chapter 13 DO YOU BELIEVE IN FAIRIES?
Chapter 14 THE PIRATE SHIP
Chapter 15 "HOOK OR ME THIS TIME"
Chapter 16 THE RETURN HOME
Chapter 17 WHEN WENDY GREW UP
Chapter 1 PETER BREAKS THROUGH
All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow
up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old
she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with
it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for
Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, "Oh, why can't you
remain like this for ever!" This was all that passed between them on
the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always
know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.
Of course they lived at 14 [their house number on their street], and
until Wendy came her mother was the chief one. She was a lovely lady,
with a romantic mind and such a sweet mocking mouth. Her romantic
mind was like the tiny boxes, one within the other, that come from the
puzzling East, however many you discover there is always one more; and
her sweet mocking mouth had one kiss on it that Wendy could never get,
though there it was, perfectly conspicuous in the right-hand corner.
The way Mr. Darling won her was this: the many gentlemen who had been
boys when she was a girl discovered simultaneously that they loved her,
and they all ran to her house to propose to her except Mr. Darling, who
took a cab and nipped in first, and so he got her. He got all of her,
except the innermost box and the kiss. He never knew about the box, and
in time he gave up trying for the kiss. Wendy thought Napoleon could
have got it, but I can picture him trying, and then going off in a
passion, slamming the door.
Mr. Darling used to boast to Wendy that her mother not only loved him
but respected him. He was one of those deep ones who know about stocks
and shares. Of course no one really knows, but he quite seemed to know,
and he often said stocks were up and shares were down in a way that
would have made any woman respect him.
Mrs. Darling was married in white, and at first she kept the books
perfectly, almost gleefully, as if it were a game, not so much as a
Brussels sprout was missing; but by and by whole cauliflowers dropped
out, and instead of them there were pictures of babies without faces.
She drew them when she should have been totting up. They were Mrs.
Wendy came first, then John, then Michael.
For a week or two after Wendy came it was doubtful whether they would
be able to keep her, as she was another mouth to feed. Mr. Darling was
frightfully proud of her, but he was very honourable, and he sat on the
edge of Mrs. Darling's bed, holding her hand and calculating expenses,
while she looked at him imploringly. She wanted to risk it, come what
might, but that was not his way; his way was with a pencil and a piece
of paper, and if she confused him with suggestions he had to begin at
the beginning again.
"Now don't interrupt," he would beg of her.
"I have one pound seventeen here, and two and six at the office; I can
cut off my coffee at the office, say ten shillings, making two nine
and six, with your eighteen and three makes three nine seven, with five
naught naught in my cheque-book makes eight nine seven--who is that
moving?--eight nine seven, dot and carry seven--don't speak, my own--and
the pound you lent to that man who came to the door--quiet, child--dot
and carry child--there, you've done it!--did I say nine nine seven? yes,
I said nine nine seven; the question is, can we try it for a year on
nine nine seven?"
"Of course we can, George," she cried. But she was prejudiced in Wendy's
favour, and he was really the grander character of the two.
"Remember mumps," he warned her almost threateningly, and off he went
again. "Mumps one pound, that is what I have put down, but I daresay
it will be more like thirty shillings--don't speak--measles one five,
German measles half a guinea, makes two fifteen six--don't waggle your
finger--whooping-cough, say fifteen shillings"--and so on it went, and
it added up differently each time; but at last Wendy just got through,
with mumps reduced to twelve six, and the two kinds of measles treated
There was the same excitement over John, and Michael had even a narrower
squeak; but both were kept, and soon, you might have seen the three of
them going in a row to Miss Fulsom's Kindergarten school, accompanied by
Mrs. Darling loved to have everything just so, and Mr. Darling had a
passion for being exactly like his neighbours; so, of course, they had
a nurse. As they were poor, owing to the amount of milk the children
drank, this nurse was a prim Newfoundland dog, called Nana, who had
belonged to no one in particular until the Darlings engaged her. She had
always thought children important, however, and the Darlings had become
acquainted with her in Kensington Gardens, where she spent most of her
spare time peeping into perambulators, and was much hated by careless
nursemaids, whom she followed to their homes and complained of to their
mistresses. She proved to be quite a treasure of a nurse. How thorough
she was at bath-time, and up at any moment of the night if one of her
charges made the slightest cry. Of course her kennel was in the nursery.
She had a genius for knowing when a cough is a thing to have no patience
with and when it needs stocking around your throat. She believed to her
last day in old-fashioned remedies like rhubarb leaf, and made sounds of
contempt over all this new-fangled talk about germs, and so on. It was a
lesson in propriety to see her escorting the children to school, walking
sedately by their side when they were well behaved, and butting them
back into line if they strayed. On John's footer [in England soccer
was called football, "footer" for short] days she never once forgot his
sweater, and she usually carried an umbrella in her mouth in case of
rain. There is a room in the basement of Miss Fulsom's school where the
nurses wait. They sat on forms, while Nana lay on the floor, but that
was the only difference. They affected to ignore her as of an inferior
social status to themselves, and she despised their light talk. She
resented visits to the nursery from Mrs. Darling's friends, but if they
did come she first whipped off Michael's pinafore and put him into the
one with blue braiding, and smoothed out Wendy and made a dash at John's
No nursery could possibly have been conducted more correctly, and
Mr. Darling knew it, yet he sometimes wondered uneasily whether the
He had his position in the city to consider.
Nana also troubled him in another way. He had sometimes a feeling that
she did not admire him. "I know she admires you tremendously, George,"
Mrs. Darling would assure him, and then she would sign to the children
to be specially nice to father. Lovely dances followed, in which the
only other servant, Liza, was sometimes allowed to join. Such a midget
she looked in her long skirt and maid's cap, though she had sworn, when
engaged, that she would never see ten again. The gaiety of those romps!
And gayest of all was Mrs. Darling, who would pirouette so wildly that
all you could see of her was the kiss, and then if you had dashed at her
you might have got it. There never was a simpler happier family until
the coming of Peter Pan.
Mrs. Darling first heard of Peter when she was tidying up her children's
minds. It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children
are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next
morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have
wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you