The Adventures of Peter Pan HTML version

Chapter 2. The Shadow
Mrs. Darling screamed, and, as if in answer to a bell, the door opened, and Nana entered,
returned from her evening out. She growled and sprang at the boy, who leapt lightly
through the window. Again Mrs. Darling screamed, this time in distress for him, for she
thought he was killed, and she ran down into the street to look for his little body, but it
was not there; and she looked up, and in the black night she could see nothing but what
she thought was a shooting star.
She returned to the nursery, and found Nana with something in her mouth, which proved
to be the boy's shadow. As he leapt at the window Nana had closed it quickly, too late to
catch him, but his shadow had not had time to get out; slam went the window and
snapped it off.
You may be sure Mrs. Darling examined the shadow carefully, but it was quite the
ordinary kind.
Nana had no doubt of what was the best thing to do with this shadow. She hung it out at
the window, meaning "He is sure to come back for it; let us put it where he can get it
easily without disturbing the children."
But unfortunately Mrs. Darling could not leave it hanging out at the window, it looked
so like the washing and lowered the whole tone of the house. She thought of showing it to
Mr. Darling, but he was totting up winter great-coats for John and Michael, with a wet
towel around his head to keep his brain clear, and it seemed a shame to trouble him;
besides, she knew exactly what he would say: "It all comes of having a dog for a nurse."
She decided to roll the shadow up and put it away carefully in a drawer, until a fitting
opportunity came for telling her husband. Ah me!
The opportunity came a week later, on that never-to-be- forgotten Friday. Of course it
was a Friday.
"I ought to have been specially careful on a Friday," she used to say afterwards to her
husband, while perhaps Nana was on the other side of her, holding her hand.
"No, no," Mr. Darling always said, "I am responsible for it all. I, George Darling, did it.
MEA CULPA, MEA CULPA." He had had a classical education.
They sat thus night after night recalling that fatal Friday, till every detail of it was
stamped on their brains and came through on the other side like the faces on a bad
"If only I had not accepted that invitation to dine at 27," Mrs. Darling said.