The Adventures of Peter Pan HTML version
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 is 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.