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Full text of "Peter Pan in Kensington gardens"



PETER PAN 

IN KENSINGTON GARDENS 



BOOKS BY J. M. BARBIE 

BY CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 



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Peter Pan in Kensington Qardens. 
With 16 Illustrations in Color by 
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,a 



PETER PAN 

IN KENSINGTON GARDENS 



BY 



J. M. BARRIE 

(From 'The Little White Bird') 



aUt 

3 





NEW YORK 
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 

1918 



' 



r 



Copyright, 1902, 1906, 
BY CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 




CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I 

PAGE 

THE GRAND TOUR OF THE GARDENS, . 1 

CHAPTER II 
PETER PAN, ,19 

CHAPTER III 
THE THRUSH'S NEST, s . 37 

CHAPTER IV 
LOCK-OUT TIME, 66 

CHAPTER V 
THE LITTLE HOUSE, ..... 77 

CHAPTER VI 
PETER'S GOAT, . 109 




Thf Kensington Gardens are in London, where the King lives. 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

1. 'The Kensington Gardens are in London, where the King 

lives,' ....... Frontispiece 

FAOE 

2. 'The lady with the balloons, who sits just outside,' . . 2 

3. 'Old Mr. Salford was a crab-apple of an old gentleman 

who wandered all day in the Gardens,' ... 16 

4. 'When he heard Peter's voice he popped in alarm behind 

a tulip,' 24 

5. 'Put his strange case before old Solomon Caw,' . . 28 

6. 'After this the birds said that they would help him no more 

in his mad enterprise,' ...... 36 

7. 'For years he had been quietly filling his stocking,' . . 40 

8. ' Fairies are all more or less in hiding until dusk,' . . 50 

9. 'These tricky fairies sometimes slyly change the board on 

a ball night,' ........ 60 

10. 'When her Majesty wants to know the time,' ... 64 

11. 'Peter Pan is the fairies' orchestra,' .... 66 

12. 'A chrysanthemum heard her, and said pointedly, "Hoity- 

toity, what is this?" ' 88 

13. 'Shook his bald head and murmured, "Cold, quite cold," ' 90 

14. 'Fairies never say, "We feel happy"; what they say is, 

"Wefeeldancey,"' 94 

15. 'Looking very undancey indeed,' ..... 98 

16. 'Building the house for Maimie,' ..... 104 



PETER PAN 

IN KENSINGTON GARDENS 



THE GRAND TOUR OF THE GARDENS 



You must see for yourselves that it will be 
difficult to follow Peter Pan's adventures 
unless you are familiar with the Kensing- 
ton Gardens. They are in 
London, where the King 
lives, and I used to take 
David there nearly every 
day unless he was look- 
ing decidedly flushed. No 
child has ever been in 
the whole of the Gardens, 
because it is so soon time 
to turn back. The reason 
it is soon time to turn 
back is that, if you are 
as small as David, you sleep from twelve to 
one. If your mother was not so sure that 




THE GRAND TOUR 

you sleep from twelve to one, you could 
most likely see the whole of them. 

The Gardens are bounded on one side by 
a never-ending line of omnibuses, over which 
your nurse has such authority 
that if she holds up her finger to 
any one of them it stops immedi- 
ately. She then crosses with 
you in safety to the other side. 
There are more gates to the 
Gardens than one gate, but that 
is the one you go in at, and be- 
fore you go in you speak to the 
lady with the balloons, who sits 
just outside. This is as near to 
being inside as she may venture, 
because, if she were to let go her hold of 
the railings for one moment, the balloons 
would lift her up, and she would be flown 
away. She sits very squat, for the balloons 
are always tugging at her, and the strain 
has given her quite a red face. Once she 
was a new one, because the old one had let 
go, and David was very sorry for the old 
2 




OF THE GARDENS 

one, but as she did let go, lie wished he had 
been there to see. 

The Gardens are a tremendous big place, 
with millions and hundreds of trees; and 
first you come to the Figs, but you scorn to 
loiter there, for the Figs is the resort of 
superior little persons, who are forbidden to 
mix with the commonalty, and is so named, 
according to legend, because they dress in 
full fig. These dainty ones are themselves 
contemptuously called Figs by David and 
other heroes, and you have a key to the 
manners and customs of this dandiacal 
section of the Gardens when I tell you that 
cricket is called crickets here. Occasionally 
a rebel Fig climbs over the fence into the 
world, and such a one was Miss Mabel Grey, 
of whom I shall tell you when we come to 
Miss Mabel Grey's gate. She was the only 
really celebrated Fig. 

We are now in the Broad Walk, and it 
is as much bigger than the other walks as 
your father is bigger than you. David won- 
dered if it began little, and grew and grew, 

3 



THE GKAND TOUR 

until it was quite grown up, and whether the 
other walks are its babies, and he drew a 
picture, which diverted him very much, of 
the Broad Walk giving a tiny walk an airing 
in a perambulator. In the Broad Walk you 
meet all the people who are worth knowing, 
and there is usually a grown-up with them 
to prevent them going on the damp grass, 
and to make them stand disgraced at the 
corner of a seat if they have been mad-dog 
or Mary-Annish. To be Mary-Annish is to 
behave like a girl, whimpering because nurse 
won't carry you, or simpering with your 
thumb in your mouth, and it is a hateful 
quality ; but to be mad-dog is to kick out at 
everything, and there is some satisfaction in 
that. 

If I were to point out all the notable 
places as we pass up the Broad Walk, it 
would be time to turn back before we reach 
them, and I simply wave my stick at Cecco 
Hewlett's Tree, that memorable spot where 
a boy called Cecco lost his penny, and, look- 
ing for it, found twopence. There has been 



OF THE GARDENS 

a good deal of excavation going on there 
ever since. Farther up the walk is the little 
wooden house in which Marmaduke Perry 
hid. There is no more awful story of the 
Gardens than this of Marmaduke Perry, who 
had been Mary-Annish three days in succes- 
sion, and was sentenced to appear in the 
Broad Walk dressed in his sister's clothes. 
He hid in the little wooden house, and 
refused to emerge until they brought him 
knickerbockers with pockets. 

You now try to go to the Round Pond, 
but nurses hate it, because they are not 
really manly, and they make you look the 
other way, at the Big Penny and the Baby's 
Palace. She was the most celebrated baby 
of the Gardens, and lived in the palace all 
alone, with ever so many dolls, so people 
rang the bell, and up she got out of her bed, 
though it was past six o'clock, and she lighted 
a candle and opened the door in her nighty, 
and then they all cried with great rejoicings, 
'Hail, Queen of England!' What puzzled 
David most was how she knew where the 

5 



THE GRAND TOUR 

matches were kept. The Big Penny is a 
statue about her. 

Next we come to the Hump, which is the 
part of the Broad Walk where all the big races 
are run ; and even though you had no inten- 
tion of running you do run when you come 
to the Hump, it is such a fascinating, slide- 
down kind of place. Often you stop when 
you have run about half-way down it, and 
then you are lost ; but there is another little 
wooden house near here, called the Lost 
House, and so you tell the man that you are 
lost and then he finds you. It is glorious 
fun racing down the Hump, but you can't 
do it on windy days because then you are 
not there, but the fallen leaves do it 
instead of you. There is almost nothing 
that has such a keen sense of fun as a fallen 
leaf. 

From the Hump we can see the gate that 
is called after Miss Mabel Grey, the Fig I 
promised to tell you about. There were 
always two nurses with her, or else one 
mother and one nurse, and for a long time 
6 



OF THE GAKDENS 

she was a pattern-child who always coughed 
off the table and said, ' How do you do I ' to 
the other Figs, and the only game she played 
at was flinging a ball gracefully and letting 
the nurse bring it back to her. Then one 
day she tired of it all and went mad-dog, 
and, first, to show that she really was mad- 
dog, she unloosened both her boot-laces and 
put out her tongue east, west, north, and 
south. She then flung her sash into a puddle 
and danced on it till dirty water was squirted 
over her frock, after which she climbed the 
fence and had a series of incredible adven- 
tures, one of the least of which was that she 
kicked off both her boots. At last she came 
to the gate that is now called after her, out 
of which she ran into streets David and I 
have never been in though we have heard 
them roaring, and still she ran on and would 
never again have been heard of had not her 
mother jumped into a 'bus and thus over- 
taken her. It all happened, I should say, 
long ago, and this is not the Mabel Grey 
whom David knows. 

7 



THE GRAND TOUR 

Returning up the Broad Walk we have on 
our right the Baby Walk, which is so full 
of perambulators that you could cross from 
side to side stepping on babies, but the 
nurses won't let you do it. From this walk 
a passage called Bunting's Thumb, because 
it is that length, leads into Picnic Street, 
where there are real kettles, and chestnut- 
blossom falls into your mug as you are 
drinking. Quite common children picnic 
here also, and the blossom falls into their 
mugs just the same. 

Next comes St. Govor's Well, which was 
full of water when Malcolm the Bold fell 
into it. He was his mother's favourite, and 
he let her put her arm round his neck in 
public because she was a widow; but he 
was also partial to adventures, and liked 
to play with a chimney-sweep who had 
killed a good many bears. The sweep's 
name was Sooty, and one day, when they 
were playing near the well, Malcolm fell 
in and would have been drowned had not 
Sooty dived in and rescued him; and the 
8 



OF THE GARDENS 

water had washed Sooty clean, and he now 
stood revealed as Malcolm's long-lost father. 
So Malcolm would not let his mother put 
her arm round his neck any more. 

Between the well and the Round Pond 
are the cricket pitches, and frequently the 
choosing of sides exhausts so much time 
that there is scarcely any cricket. Every- 
body wants to bat first, and as soon as he 
is out he bowls unless you are the better 
wrestler, and while you are wrestling with 
him the fielders have scattered to play at 
something else. The Gardens are noted for 
two kinds of cricket: boy cricket, which is 
real cricket with a bat, and girl cricket, 
which is with a racquet and the governess. 
Girls can't really play cricket, and when you 
are watching their futile efforts you make 
funny sounds at them. Nevertheless, there 
was a very disagreeable incident one day 
when some forward girls challenged David's 
team, and a disturbing creature called 
Angela Clare sent down so many yorkers 
that However, instead of telling you the 

9 



THE GRAND TOUR 

result of that regrettable match I shall pass 
on hurriedly to the Round Pond, which is 
the wheel that keeps all the Gardens going. 
It is round because it is in the very middle 
of the Gardens, and when you are come to 
it you never want to go any farther. You 
can't be good all the time at the Round 
Pond, however much you try. You can be 
good in the Broad Walk all the time, but 
not at the Round Pond, and the reason is 
that you forget, and, when you remember, 
you are so wet that you may as well be 
wetter. There are men who sail boats on 
the Round Pond, such big boats that they 
bring them in barrows, and sometimes in 
perambulators, and then the baby has to 
walk. The bow-legged children in the Gar- 
dens are those who had to walk too soon 
because their father needed the perambu- 
lator. 

You always want to have a yacht to sail 

on the Round Pond, and in the end your 

uncle gives you one; and to carry it to the 

pond the first day is splendid, also to talk 

10 



OF THE GARDENS 

about it to boys who have no uncle is splen- 
did, but soon you like to leave it at home. 
For the sweetest craft that slips her moor- 
ings in the Round Pond is what is called a 
stick-boat, because she is rather like a stick 
until she is in the water and you are holding 
the string. Then as you walk round, pulling 
her, you see little men running about her 
deck, and sails rise magically and catch the 
breeze, and you put in on dirty nights at 
snug harbours which are unknown to the 
lordly yachts. Night passes in a twink, and 
again your rakish craft noses for the wind, 
whales spout, you glide over buried cities, 
and have brushes with pirates, and cast 
anchor on coral isles. You are a solitary 
boy while all this is taking place, for two 
boys together cannot adventure far upon 
the Round Pond, and though you may talk 
to yourself throughout the voyage, giving 
orders and executing them with despatch, 
you know not, when it is time to go home, 
where you have been or what swelled your 
sails; your treasure-trove is all locked away 

11 



THE GEAND TOUE 

in your hold, so to speak, which will be 
opened, perhaps, by another little boy many 
years afterwards. 

But those yachts have nothing in their 
hold. Does any one return to this haunt of 
his youth because of the yachts that used to 
sail it? Oh no. It is the stick-boat that is 
freighted with memories. The yachts are 
toys, their owner a fresh-water mariner; 
they can cross and recross a pond only 
while the stick-boat goes to sea. You 
yachtsmen with your wands, who think we 
are all there to gaze on you, your ships are 
only accidents of this place, and were they 
all to be boarded and sunk by the ducks, 
the real business of the Eound Pond would 
be carried on as usual. 

Paths from everywhere crowd like children 
to the pond. Some of them are ordinary 
paths, which have a rail on each side, and 
are made by men with their coats off, but 
others are vagrants, wide at one spot, and at 
another so narrow that you can stand astride 
them. They are called Paths that have 
12 



OF THE GABDEtfS 

Made Themselves, and David did wish he 
could see them doing it. But, like all the 
most wonderful things that happen in the 
Gardens, it is done, we concluded, at night 
after the gates are closed. We have also 
decided that the paths make themselves 
because it is their only chance of getting to 
the Eound Pond. 

One of these gypsy paths comes from the 
place where the sheep get their hair cut. 
When David shed his curls at the hair- 
dresser's, I am told, he said good-bye to 
them without a tremor, though his mother 
has never been quite the same bright 
creature since; so he despises the sheep 
as they run from their shearer, and calls 
out tauntingly, < Cowardy, cowardy custard!' 
But when the man grips them between his 
legs David shakes a fist at him for using 
such big scissors. Another startling moment 
is when the man turns back the grimy wool 
from the sheeps' shoulders and they look 
suddenly like ladies in the stalls of a theatre. 
The sheep are so frightened by the shear- 

13 



THE GRAND TOTJE 

ing that it makes them quite white and 
thin, and as soon as they are set free they 
begin to nibble the grass at once, quite 
anxiously, as if they feared that they would 
never be worth eating. David wonders 
whether they know each other, now that 
they are so different, and if it makes them 
fight with the wrong ones. They are great 
fighters, and thus so unlike country sheep 
that every year they give my St. Bernard 
dog, Porthos, a shock. He can make a field of 
country sheep fly by merely announcing 

his approach, but 
these town sheep 
come toward him 
with no promise 
of gentle enter- 
tainment, and 
then a light from 
last year breaks 
upon Porthos. 

He cannot with dignity retreat, but he stops 
and looks about him as if lost in admiration 
of the scenery, and presently he strolls away 
14 




OF THE GARDENS 

with a fine indifference and a glint at me 
from the corner of his eye. 

The Serpentine begins near here. It is 
a lovely lake, and there is a drowned forest 
at the bottom of it. If you peer over the 
edge you can see the trees all growing up- 
side down, and they say that at night there 
are also drowned stars in it. If so, Peter 
Pan sees them when he is sailing across the 
lake in the Thrush's Nest. A small part 
only of the Serpentine is in the Gardens, for 
soon it passes beneath a bridge to far away 
where the island is on which all the birds 
are born that become baby boys and girls. 
No one who is human, except Peter Pan 
(and he is only half human), can land on 
the island, but you may write what you want 
(boy or girl, dark or fair) on a piece of 
paper, and then twist it into the shape of 
a boat and slip it into the water, and it 
reaches Peter Pan's island after dark. 

We are on the way home now, though of 
course, it is all pretence that we can go to 
so many of the places in one day. I should 

15 



THE GRAND TOUK 

have had to be carrying David long ago, and 
resting on every seat like old Mr. Salford. 
That was what we called him, because he 
always talked to us of a lovely place called 
Salford where he had been born. He was 
a crab-apple of an old gentleman who 
wandered all day in the Gardens from seat 
to seat trying to fall in with somebody who 
was acquainted with the town of Salford, 
and when we had known him for a year or 
more we actually did meet another aged 
solitary who had once spent Saturday to 
Monday in Salford. He was meek and 
timid, and carried his address inside his 
hat, and whatever part of London he was in 
search of he always went to Westminster 
Abbey first as a starting-point. Him we car- 
ried in triumph to our other friend, with the 
story of that Saturday to Monday, and never 
shall I forget the gloating joy with which 
Mr. Salford leapt at him. They have been 
cronies ever since, and I noticed that Mr. Sal- 
ford, who naturally does most of the talking, 
keeps tight grip of the other old man's coat. 
16 




Old Mr. Salford was a crab-apple of an old gentleman who 
wandered all da\ in the Gardens. 



OF THE GARDENS 

The two last places before you come to 
our gate are the Dog's Cemetery and the 
chaffinch's nest, but we pretend not to know 
what the Dog's Cemetery is, as Porthos is 
always with us. The nest is very sad. It 
is quite white, and the way we found it was 
wonderful. We were having another look 
among the bushes for David's lost worsted 
ball, and instead of the ball we found a 
lovely nest made of the worsted, and con- 
taining four eggs, with scratches on them 
very like David's handwriting, so we think 
they must have been the mother's love- 
letters to the little ones inside. Every day 
we were in the Gardens we paid a call at 
the nest, taking care that no cruel boy 
should see us, and we dropped crumbs, and 
soon the bird knew us as Mends, and sat 
in the nest looking at us kindly with her 
shoulders hunched up. But one day when 
we went there were only two eggs in the 
nest, and the next time there were none. 
The saddest part of it was that the poor 
little chaffinch fluttered about the bushes, 

17 



TOUE OF THE GAEDENS 

looking so reproachfully at us that we knew 
she thought we had done it; and though 
David tried to explain to her, it was so long 
since he had spoken the bird language that 
I fear she did not understand. He and I 
left the Gardens that day with our knuckles 
in our eyes. 



18 



n 

PETER PAN 

IF you ask your mother whether she knew 
about Peter Pan when she was a little girl, 
she will say, 'Why, of course I did, child'; 
and if you ask her whether he rode on a 
goat in those days, she will say, 'What a 
foolish question to ask; certainly he did.' 
Then if you ask your grandmother whether 
she knew about Peter Pan when she was a 
girl, she also says, 'Why, of course I did, 
child,' but if you ask her whether he rode 
on a goat in those days, she says she never 
heard of his having a goat. Perhaps she 
has forgotten, just as she sometimes forgets 
your name and calls you Mildred, which is 
your mother's name. Still, she could hardly 
forget such an important thing as the goat. 
Therefore there was no goat when your 

19 



PETER PAN 

grandmother was a little girl. This shows 
that, in telling the story of Peter Pan, to 
begin with the goat (as most people do) is 
as silly as to put on your jacket before your 
vest 

Of course, it also shows that Peter is ever 
so old, but he is really always the same age, 
so that does not matter in the least. His 
age is one week, and though he was born 
so long ago he has never had a birthday, 
nor is there the slightest chance of his ever 
having one. The reason is that he escaped 
from being a human when he was seven 
days old; he escaped by the window and 
flew back to the Kensington Gardens. 

If you think he was the only baby who 
ever wanted to escape, it shows how com- 
pletely you have forgotten your own young 
days. When David heard this story first 
he was quite certain that he had never tried 
to escape, but I told him to think back 
hard, pressing his hands to his temples, and 
when he had done this hard, and even 

harder, he distinctly remembered a youth* 
20 



PETER PAN 

ful desire to return to the tree-tops, and 
with that memory came others, as that he 
had lain in bed planning to escape as soon 
as his mother was asleep, and how she had 
once caught him half-way up the chimney. 
All children could have such recollections 
if they would press their hands hard to their 
temples, for, having been birds before they 
were human, they are naturally a little wild 
during the first few weeks, and very itchy 
at the shoulders, where their wings used to 
be. So David tells me. 

I ought to mention here that the follow- 
ing is our way with a story: First I tell it 
to him, and then he tells it to me, the 
understanding being that it is quite a dif- 
ferent story; and then I retell it with his 
additions, and so we go on until no one 
could say whether it is more his story or 
mine. In this story of Peter Pan, for in- 
stance, the bald narrative and most of the 
moral reflections are mine, though not all, 
for this boy can be a stern moralist; but 
the interesting bits about the ways and 

21 



PETEE PAN 

customs of babies in the bird-stage are 
mostly reminiscences of David's, recalled 
by pressing his hands to his temples and 
thinking hard. 

Well, Peter Pan got out by the window, 
which had no bars. Standing on the ledge 
he could see trees far away, which were 
doubtless the Kensington Gardens, and the 
moment he saw them he entirely forgot that 
he was now a little boy in a nightgown, and 
away he flew, right over the houses to the 
Gardens. It is wonderful that he could 
fly without wings, but the place itched tre- 
mendously, and and perhaps we could 
all fly if we were as dead-confident-sure of 
our capacity to do it as was bold Peter Pan 
that evening. 

He alighted gaily on the open sward, 
between the Baby's Palace and the Serpen- 
tine, and the first thing he did was to lie 
on his back and kick. He was quite un- 
aware already that he had ever been human, 
and thought he was a bird, even in appear- 
ance, just the same as in his early days, 
22 



PETEE PAN 

and when he tried to catch a fly he did not 
understand that the reason he missed it 
was because he had attempted to seize it 
with his hand, which, of course, a bird never 
does. He saw, however, that it must be 
past Lock-out Time, for there were a good 
many fairies about, all too busy to notice 
him; they were getting breakfast ready, 
milking their cows, drawing water, and so 
on, and the sight of the water-pails made 
him thirsty, so he flew over to the Round 
Pond to have a drink. He stooped and 
dipped his beak in the pond; he thought 
it was his beak, but, of course, it was only 
his nose, and therefore, very little water 
came up, and that not so refreshing as usual, 
so next he tried a puddle, and he fell flop 
into it. When a real bird falls in flop, he 
spreads out his feathers and pecks them 
dry, but Peter could not remember what 
was the thing to do, and he decided rather 
sulkily to go to sleep on the weeping-beech 
in the Baby Walk. 

At first he found some difficulty in balan- 

23 



PETER PAN 

cing himself on a branch, but presently he 
remembered the way, and fell asleep. He 
awoke long before morning, shivering, and 
saying to himself, c I never was out on such 
a cold night'; he had really been out on 
colder nights when he was a bird, but, of 
course, as everybody knows, what seems a 
warm night to a bird is a cold night to a 
boy in a nightgown. Peter also felt strangely 
uncomfortable, as if his head was stuffy; 
he heard loud noises that made him look 
round sharply, though they were really him- 
self sneezing. There was something he 
wanted very much, but, though he knew 
he wanted it, he could not think what it 
was. What he wanted so much was his 
mother to blow his nose, but that never 
struck him, so he decided to appeal to the 
fairies for enlightenment. They are reputed 
to know a good deal. 

There were two of them strolling along 

the Baby Walk, with their arms round each 

other's waists, and he hopped down to 

address them. The fairies have their tiffs 

24 





When he heard Peter's voice he popped in alarm behind a tulip. 



PETER PAN 

with the birds, but they usually give a civil 
answer to a civil question, and he was quite 
angry when these two ran away the moment 
they saw him. Another was lolling on a 
garden chair, reading a postage-stamp which 
some human had let fall, and when he 
heard Peter's voice he popped in alarm 
behind a tulip. 

To Peter's bewilderment he discovered 
that every fairy he met fled from him. A 
band of workmen, who were sawing down a 
toadstool, rushed away, leaving their tools 
behind them. A milkmaid turned her 
pail upside down and hid in it. Soon the 
Gardens were in an uproar. Crowds of 
fairies were running this way and that, 
asking each other stoutly who was afraid; 
lights were extinguished, doors barricaded, 
and from the grounds of Queen Mab's palace 
came the rub-a-dub of drums, showing that 
the royal guard had been called out. A 
regiment of Lancers came charging down 
the Broad Walk, armed with holly-leaves, 
with which they jag the enemy horribly in 

25 



PETEE PAN 

passing. Peter heard the little people cry- 
ing everywhere that there was a human in 
the Gardens after Lock-out Time, but he 
never thought for a moment that he was 
the human. He was feeling stuffier and 
stumer, and more and more wistful to learn 
what he wanted done to his nose, but he 
pursued them with the vital question in 
vain; the timid creatures ran from him, 
and even the Lancers, when he approached 
them up the Hump, turned swiftly into a 
side-walk, on the pretence that they saw 
him there. 

Despairing of the fairies, he resolved to 
consult the birds, but now he remembered, 
as an odd thing, that all the birds on the 
weeping-beech had flown away when he 
alighted on it, and though this had not 
troubled him at the time, he saw its mean- 
ing now. Every living thing was shunning 
him. Poor little Peter Pan ! he sat down 
and cried, and even then he did not know 
that, for a bird, he was sitting on his wrong 
part. It is a blessing that he did not know, 
26 



PETER PAN 

for otherwise he would have lost faith in 
his power to fly, and the moment you doubt 
whether you can fly, you cease for ever to 
be able to do it. The reason birds can fly 
and we can't is simply that they have perfect 
faith, for to have faith is to have wings. 

Now, except by flying, no one can reach 
the island in the Serpentine, for the boats 
of humans are forbidden to land there, and 
there are stakes round it, standing up in 
the water, on each of which a bird-sentinel 
sits by day and night. It was to the island 
that Peter now flew to put his strange case 
before old Solomon Caw, and he alighted 
on it with relief, much heartened to find 
himself at last at home, as the birds call 
the island. All of them were asleep, in- 
cluding the sentinels, except Solomon, who 
was wide awake on one side, and he listened 
quietly to Peter's adventures, and then told 
him their true meaning. 

1 Look at your nightgown, if you don't 
believe me,' Solomon said ; and with staring 
eyes Peter looked at his nightgown, and 

27 



PETER PAN 

then at the sleeping birds. Not one 'of 
them wore anything. 

<How many of your toes are thumbs'?' 
said Solomon a little cruelly, and Peter saw 
to his consternation, that all his toes were 
fingers. The shock was so great that it 
drove away his cold. 

' Euffle your feathers,' said that grim old 
Solomon, and Peter tried most desperately 
hard to ruffle his feathers, but he had none. 
Then he rose up, quaking, and for the first 
time since he stood on the window ledge, 
he remembered a lady who had been very 
fond of him. 

'I think I shall go back to mother,' he 
said timidly. 

< Good-bye,' replied Solomon Caw with a 
queer look. 

But Peter hesitated. 'Why don't you 
go ? ' the old one asked politely. 

4 1 suppose,' said Peter huskily, I suppose 
I can still fly f ' 

You see he had lost faith. 

'Poor little half-and-half!' said Solomon, 
28 




Put his strange case before old Solomon Caw. 



PETER PAN 

who was not really hard-hearted, 'you will 
never be able to fly again, not even on windy 
days. You must live here on the island 
always.' 

'And never even go to the Kensington 
Gardens f ' Peter asked tragically. 

' How could you get across 1 ' said Solomon. 
He promised very kindly, however, to teach 
Peter as many of the bird ways as could be 
learned by one of such an awkward shape. 

'Then I shan't be exactly a human?' 
Peter asked. 

<JSTo.' 

* Nor exactly a bird ? ' 

Ha' 

'What shall I be f 

'You will be a Betwixt-and-Between,' 
Solomon said, and certainly he was a wise 
old fellow, for that is exactly how it turned 
out. 

The birds on the island never got used 
to him. His oddities tickled them every 
day, as if they were quite new, though it 
was really the birds that were new. They 

29 



PETER PAN 

came out of the eggs daily, and laughed at 
him at once ; then off they soon flew to be 
humans, and other birds came out of other 
eggs; and so it went on for ever. The 
crafty mother-birds, when they tired of sit- 
ting on their eggs, used to get the young 
ones to break their shells a day before the 
right time by whispering to them that now 
was their chance to see Peter washing or 
drinking or eating. Thousands gathered 
round him daily to watch him do these 
things, just as you watch the peacocks, and 
they screamed with delight when he lifted 
the crusts they flung him with his hands 
instead of in the usual way with the mouth. 
All his food was brought to him from the 
Gardens at Solomon's orders by the birds. 
He would not eat worms or insects (which 
they thought very silly of him), so they 
brought him bread in their beaks. Thus, 
when you cry out, < Greedy ! Greedy ! ' to the 
bird that flies away with the big crust, you 
know now that you ought not to do this, for 
he is very likely taking it to Peter Pan. 
30 



PETEK PAN 

Peter wore no nightgown now. You see, 
the birds were always begging him for bits 
of it to line their nests with, and, being very 
good-natured, he could not refuse, so by 
Solomon's advice he had hidden what was 
left of it. But, though he was now quite 
naked, you must not think that he was cold 
or unhappy. He was usually very happy 
and gay, and the reason was that Solomon 
had kept his promise and taught him many 
of the bird ways. To be easily pleased, for 
instance, and always to be really doing 
something, and to think that whatever he 
was doing was a thing of vast importance. 
Peter became very clever at helping the 
birds to build their nests; soon he could 
build better than a wood-pigeon, and nearly 
as well as a blackbird, though never did he 
satisfy the finches, and he made nice little 
water-troughs near the nests and dug up 
worms for the young ones with his fingers. 
He also became very learned in bird-lore, 
and knew an east wind from a west wind 
by its smell, and he could see the grass 

31 



PETER PAN 

growing and hear the insects walking about 
inside the tree-trunks. But the best thing 
Solomon had done was to teach him to have 
a glad heart. All birds have glad hearts 
unless you rob their nests, and so as they 
were the only kind of heart Solomon knew 
about, it was easy to him to teach Peter 
how to have one. 

Peter's heart was so glad that he felt he 
must sing all day long, just as the birds 
sing for joy, but, being partly human, he 
needed an instrument, so he made a pipe 
of reeds, and he used to sit by the shore 
of the island of an evening, practising the 
sough of the wind and the ripple of the 
water, and catching handfuls of the shine 
of the moon, and he put them all in his 
pipe and played them so beautifully that 
even the birds were deceived, and they 
would say to each other, 'Was that a fish 
leaping in the water or was it Peter playing 
leaping fish on his pipe?' And sometimes 
he played the birth of birds, and then the 
mothers would turn round in their nests to 
32 



PETER PAN 

see whether they had laid an egg. If you 
are a child of the Gardens you must know 
the chestnut-tree near the bridge, which 
comes out in flower first of all the chestnuts, 
but perhaps you have not heard why this 
tree leads the way. It is because Peter 
wearies for summer and plays that it has 
come, and the chestnut being so near, hears 
him and is cheated. 

But as Peter sat by the shore tootling 
divinely on his pipe he sometimes fell into 
sad thoughts, and then the music became 
sad also, and the reason of all this sadness 
was that he could not reach the Gardens, 
though he could see them through the arch 
of the bridge. He knew he could never 
be a real human again, and scarcely wanted 
to be one, but oh! how he longed to play 
as other children play, and of course there 
is no such lovely place to play in as the 
Gardens. The birds brought him news of 
how boys and girls play, and wistful tears 
started in Peter's eyes. 

Perhaps you wonder why he did not swim 

33 



PETER PAN 

across. The reason was that he could not 
swim. He wanted to know how to swim, 
but no one on the island knew the way 
except the ducks, and they are so stupid. 
They were quite willing to teach him, but 
all they could say about it was, 'You sit 
down on the top of the water in this way, 
and then you kick out like that.' Peter 
tried it often, but always before he could 
kick out he sank. What he really needed 
to know was how you sit on the water with- 
out sinking, and they said it was quite 
impossible to explain such an easy thing 
as that. Occasionally swans touched on the 
island, and he would give them all his day's 
food and then ask them how they sat on 
the water, but as soon as he had no more 
to give them the hateful things hissed at 
him and sailed away. 

Once he really thought he had discovered 
a way of reaching the Gardens. A wonder- 
ful white thing, like a runaway newspaper, 
floated high over the island and then 
tumbled, rolling over and over after the 
34 



PETER PAST 

manner of a bird that has broken its wing. 
Peter was so frightened that he hid, but 
the birds told him it was only a kite, and 
what a kite is, and that it must have tugged 
its string out of a boy's hand, and soared 
away. After that they laughed at Peter for 
being so fond of the kite; he loved it so 
much that he even slept with one hand on 
it, and I think this was pathetic and pretty, 
for the reason he loved it was because it 
had belonged to a real boy. 

To the birds this was a very poor reason, 
but the older ones felt grateful to him at 
this time because he had nursed a number 
of fledglings through the German measles, 
and they offered to show him how birds fly 
a kite. So six of them took the end of the 
string in their beaks and flew away with 
it ; and to his amazement it flew after them 
and went even higher than they. 

Peter screamed out, 'Do it again!' and 
with great good-nature they did it several 
times, and always instead of thanking them 
he cried, 4 Do it again ! ' which shows that 

35 



PETER PAN 

even now he had not quite forgotten what 
it was to be a boy. 

At last, with a grand design burning 
within his brave heart, he begged them to 
do it once more with him clinging to the 
tail, and now a hundred flew off with the 
string, and Peter clung to the tail, meaning 
to drop off when he was over the Gardens. 
But the kite broke to pieces in the air, and 
he would have been drowned in the Ser- 
pentine had he not caught hold of two 
indignant swans and made them carry him 
to the island. After this the birds said 
that they would help him no more in his 
mad enterprise. 

Nevertheless, Peter did reach the Gardens 
at last by the help of Shelley's boat, as I am 
now to tell you. 



36 



Ill 

THE THRUSH'S NEST 

SHELLEY was a young gentleman and as 
grown-up as lie need ever expect to be. 
He was a poet ; and they are never exactly 
grown-up. They are people who despise 
money except what you need for to-day, 
and he had all that and five pounds over. 
So, when he was walking in the Kensington 
Gardens, he made a paper boat of his bank- 
note, and sent it sailing on the Serpentine. 

It reached the island at night; and the 
look-out brought it to Solomon Caw, who 
thought at first that it was the usual thing, 
a message from a lady, saying she would 
be obliged if he could let her have a good 
one. They always ask for the best one he 
has, and if he likes the letter he sends one 
from Class A, but if it ruffles him he sends 

37 



THE THRUSH'S NEST 

very funny ones indeed. Sometimes he 
sends none at all, and at another time he 
sends a nestful ; it all depends on the mood 
you catch him in. He likes you to leave 
it all to him, and if you mention particularly 
that you hope he will see his way to making 
it a boy this time, he is almost sure to send 
another girL And whether you are a lady 
or only a little boy who wants a baby-sister, 
always take pains to write your address 
clearly. You can't think what a lot of babies 
Solomon has sent to the wrong house. 

Shelley's boat, when opened, completely 
puzzled Solomon, and he took counsel of 
his assistants, who having walked over it 
twice, first with their toes pointed out, and 
then with their toes pointed in, decided 
that it came from some greedy person who 
wanted five. They thought this because 
there was a large five printed on it. * Pre- 
posterous I' cried Solomon in a rage, and 
he presented it to Peter; anything useless 
which drifted upon the island was usually 
given to Peter as a plaything. 
38 



But he did not play with his precious 
bank-note, for he knew what it was at once, 
having been very observant during the 
week when he was an ordinary boy. With 
so much money, he reflected, he could 
surely at last contrive to reach the Gardens, 
and he considered all the possible ways, 
and decided (wisely, I think) to choose the 
best way. But, first, he had to tell the 
birds of the value of Shelley's boat; and 
though they were too honest to demand it 
back, he saw that they were galled, and 
they cast such black looks at Solomon, who 
was rather vain of his cleverness, that he 
flew away to the end of the island, and sat 
there very depressed with his head buried 
in his wings. Now Peter knew that unless 
Solomon was on your side, you never got 
anything done for you in the island, so he 
followed him and tried to hearten him. 

ISTor was this all that Peter did to gain the 
powerful old fellow's good- will. You must 
know that Solomon had no intention of 
remaining in office all his life. He looked 

39 



THE THRUSH'S NEST 

forward to retiring by and by, and devoting 
his green old age to a life of pleasure on a 
certain yew-stump in the Figs which had 
taken his fancy, and for years he had been 
quietly filling his stocking. It was a stocking 
belonging to some bathing person which had 
been cast upon the island, and at the time I 
speak of it contained a hundred and eighty 
crumbs, thirty-four nuts, sixteen crusts, a 
pen- wiper, and a boot-lace. When his stock- 
ing was full, Solomon calculated that he 
would be able to retire on a competency. 
Peter now gave him a pound. He cut it off 
his bank-note with a sharp stick. 

This made Solomon his friend for ever, 
and after the two had consulted together 
they called a meeting of the thrushes. You 
will see presently why thrushes only were 
invited. 

The scheme to be put before them was 
really Peter's, but Solomon did most of the 
talking, because he soon became irritable if 
other people talked. He began by saying 
that he had been much impressed by the 
40 




For years he had been quietly filling his stocking. 



THE THRUSH'S NEST 

superior ingenuity shown by the thrushes in 
nest-building, and this put them into good- 
humour at once, as it was meant to do ; for 
all the quarrels between birds are about the 
best way of building nests. Other birds, said 
Solomon, omitted to line their nests with 
mud, and as a result they did not hold 
water. Here he cocked his head as if he 
had used an unanswerable argument; but, 
unfortunately, a Mrs. Finch had come to the 
meeting uninvited, and she squeaked out, 
'We don't build nests to hold water, but to 
hold eggs,' and then the thrushes stopped 
cheering, and Solomon was so perplexed that 
he took several sips of water. 

'Consider,' he said at last, 'how warm the 
mud makes the nest.' 

'Consider,' cried Mrs. Finch, 'that when 
water gets into the nest it remains there 
and your little ones are drowned.' 

The thrushes begged Solomon with a look 
to say something crushing in reply to this, 
but again he was perplexed. 

'Try another drink,' suggested Mrs. Finch 

41 



THE THKUSH'S NEST 

pertly. Kate was her name, and all Kates 
are saucy. 

Solomon did try another drink, and it in- 
spired him. 'If,' said he, 'a finch's nest is 
placed on the Serpentine it fills and breaks 
to pieces, but a thrush's nest is still as dry 
as the cup of a swan's back.' 

How the thrushes applauded ! Now they 
knew why they lined their nests with mud, 
and when Mrs. Finch called out, 4 We don't 
place our nests on the Serpentine,' they did 
what they should have done at first chased 
her from the meeting. After this it was 
most orderly. What they had been brought 
together to hear, said Solomon, was this: 
their young friend, Peter Pan, as they well 
knew, wanted very much to be able to cross 
to the Gardens, and he now proposed, with 
their help, to build a boat. 

At this the thrushes began to fidget, which 
made Peter tremble for his scheme. 

Solomon explained hastily that what he 
meant was not one of the cumbrous boats 
that humans use; the proposed boat was to 
42 



THE THRUSH'S NEST 

be simply a thrush's nest large enough to 
hold Peter. 

But still, to Peter's agony, the thrushes 
were sulky. ' We are very busy people,' they 
grumbled, i and this would be a big job.' 

4 Quite so,' said Solomon, ' and, of course, 
Peter would not allow you to work for 
nothing. You must remember that he is 
now in comfortable circumstances, and he 
will pay you such wages as you have never 
been paid before. Peter Pan authorises me 
to say that you shall all be paid sixpence 
a day.' 

Then all the thrushes hopped for joy, and 
that very day was begun the celebrated 
Building of the Boat. All their ordinary 
business fell into arrears. It was the time 
of the year when they should have been pair- 
ing, but not a thrush's nest was built except 
this big one, and so Solomon soon ran short 
of thrushes with which to supply the demand 
from the mainland. The stout, rather greedy 
children, who look so well in perambulators 
but get puffed easily when they walk, were 

43 



THE THEUSH'S NEST 

i 

all young thrushes once, and ladies often 
ask specially for them. What do you think 
Solomon did I He sent over to the house- 
tops fora lot of sparrows and ordered them to 
lay their eggs in old thrushes' nests, and sent 
their young to the ladies and swore they 
were all thrushes ! It was known afterwards 
on the island as the Sparrow's Year; and 
so, when you meet grown-up people in the 
Gardens who puff and blow as if they 
thought themselves bigger than they are, 
very likely they belong to that year. You 
ask them. 

Peter was a just master, and paid his 
workpeople every evening. They stood in 
rows on the branches, waiting politely while 
he cut the paper sixpences out of his bank- 
note, and presently he called the roll, and 
then each bird, as the names were men- 
tioned, flew down and got sixpence. It must 
have been a fine sight. 

And at last, after months of labour, 
the boat was finished. O the glory of 
Peter as he saw it growing more and more 
44 



THE THRUSH'S NEST 

like a great thrush's nest ! From the very 
beginning of the building of it he slept by 
its side, and often woke up to say sweet 
things to it, and after it was lined with mud 
and the mud had dried he always slept in it. 
He sleeps in his nest still, and has a fascinat- 
ing way of curling round in it, for it is just 
large enough to hold him comfortably when 
he curls round like a kitten. It is brown in- 
side, of course, but outside it is mostly green, 
being woven of grass and twigs, and when 
these wither or snap the walls are thatched 
afresh. There are also a few feathers here 
and there, which came off the thrushes while 
they were building. 

The other birds were extremely jealous, 
and said that the boat would not balance 
on the water, but it lay most beautifully 
steady ; they said the water would come 
into it, but no water came into it. Next 
they said that Peter had no oars, and this 
caused the thrushes to look at each other 
in dismay; but Peter replied that he had 
no need of oars, for he had a sail, and 

45 



THE THRUSH'S NEST 

f 

with such a proud, happy face he produced 
a sail which he had fashioned out of his 
nightgown, and though it was still rather 
like a nightgown it made a lovely sail. 
And that night, the moon being full, and 
all the birds asleep, he did enter his coracle 
(as Master Francis Pretty would have said) 
and depart out of the island. And first, 
he knew not why, he looked upward, with 
his hands clasped, and from that moment 
his eyes were pinned to the west. 

He had promised the thrushes to begin by 
making short voyages, with them as his 
guides, but far away he saw the Kensing- 
ton Gardens beckoning to him beneath the 
bridge, and he could not wait. His face 
was flushed, but he never looked back; 
there was an exultation in his little breast 
that drove out fear. Was Peter the least 
gallant of the English mariners who have 
sailed westward to meet the Unknown ? 

At first, his boat turned round and 
round, and he was driven back to the 
place of his starting, whereupon he short- 
46 



THE THRUSH'S NEST 

ened sail, by removing one of the sleeves, 
and was forthwith carried backwards by a 
contrary breeze, to his no small peril. He 
now let go the sail, with the result that he 
was drifted towards the far shore, where 
are black shadows he knew not the dangers 
of, but suspected them, and so once more 
hoisted his nightgown and went roomer of 
the shadows until he caught a favouring 
wind, which bore him westward, but at so 
great a speed that he was like to be 
broke against the bridge. Which, having 
avoided, he passed under the bridge and 
came, to his great rejoicing, within full 
sight of the delectable Gardens. But hav- 
ing tried to cast anchor, which was a stone 
at the end of a piece of the kite-string, 
he found no bottom, and was fain to hold 
off, seeking for moorage; and, feeling his 
way, he buffeted against a sunken reef that 
cast him overboard by the greatness of the 
shock, and he was near to being drowned, 
but clambered back into the vessel. There 
now arose a mighty storm, accompanied by 

47 



THE THRUSH'S NEST 

roaring of waters, such as he had never 
heard the like, and he was tossed this way 
and that, and his hands so numbed with 
the cold that he could not close them. 
Having escaped the danger of which, he 
was mercifully carried into a small bay, 
where his boat rode at peace. 

Neverthless, he was not yet in safety; 
for, on pretending to disembark, he found 
a multitude of small people drawn up on 
the shore to contest his landing, and shout- 
ing shrilly to him to be off, for it was long 
past Lock-out Time. This, with much 
brandishing of their holly-leaves, and also 
a company of them carried an arrow which 
some boy had left in the Gardens, and 
this they were prepared to use as a batter- 
ing-ram. 

Then Peter, who knew them for the 
fairies, called out that he was not an 
ordinary human and had no desire to do 
them displeasure, but to be their friend; 
nevertheless, having found a jolly harbour, 
he was in no temper to draw off there- 
48 



THE THRUSH'S NEST 

from, and he warned them if they sought 
to mischief him to stand to their harms. 

So saying, he boldly leapt ashore, and 
they gathered around him with intent to 
slay him, but there then arose a great cry 
among the women, and it was because 
they had now observed that his sail was 
a baby's nightgown. Whereupon, they 
straightway loved him, and grieved that 
their laps were too small, the which I 
cannot explain, except by saying that 
such is the way of women. The men- 
fairies now sheathed their weapons on 
observing the behaviour of their women, 
on whose intelligence they set great store, 
and they led him civilly to their queen, 
who conferred upon him the courtesy of 
the Gardens after Lock-out Time, and 
henceforth Peter could go whither he 
chose, and the fairies had orders to put 
him in comfort. 

Such was his first voyage to the Gardens, 
and you may gather from the antiquity 
of the language that it took place a long 

49 



THE THRUSH'S NEST 

time ago. But Peter never grows any 
older, and if we could be watching for 
him under the bridge to-night (but, of 
course, we can't), I dare say we should 
see him hoisting his nightgown and sail- 
ing or paddling towards us in the Thrush's 
Nest. When he sails, he sits down, but 
he stands up to paddle. I shall tell you 
presently how he got his paddle. 

Long before the time for the opening 
of the gates comes he steals back to the 
island, for people must not see him (he is 
not so human as all that), but this gives 
him hours for play, and he plays exactly as 
real children play. At least he thinks so, 
and it is one of the pathetic things about 
him that he often plays quite wrongly. 

You see, he had no one to tell him 
how children really play, for the fairies 
are all more or less in hiding until dusk, 
and so know nothing, and though the 
birds pretended that they could tell him 
a great deal, when the time for telling 
came, it was wonderful how little they 
50 




Fairies are all more or less in hiding until dusk. 



THE THEUSH'S NEST 

really knew. They told him the truth 
about hide-and-seek, and he often plays 
it by himself, but even the ducks on the 
Eound Pond could not explain to him 
what it is that makes the pond so fascin- 
ating to boys. Every night the ducks 
have forgotten all the events of the day, 
except the number of pieces of cake 
thrown to them. They are gloomy crea- 
tures, and say that cake is not what it 
was in their young days. 

So Peter had to find out many things 
for himself. He often played ships at 
the Eound Pond, but his ship was only a 
hoop which he had found on the grass. 
Of course, he had never seen a hoop, and 
he wondered what you play at with them, 
and decided that you play at pretending 
they are boats. This hoop always sank at 
once, but he waded in for it, and some- 
times he dragged it gleefully round the 
rim of the pond, and he was quite proud 
to think that he had discovered what boys 
do with hoops. 

51 



THE THKUSH'SNEST 

Another time, when he found a child's 
pail, he thought it was for sitting in, and 
he sat so hard in it that he could scarcely 
get out of it. Also he found a balloon. 
It was bobbing about on the Hump, quite 
as if it was having a game by itself, and 
he caught it after an exciting chase. But 
he thought it was a ball, and Jenny Wren 
had told him that boys kick balls, so he 
kicked it; and after that he could not 
find it anywhere. 

Perhaps the most surprising thing he 
found was a perambulator. It was under 
a lime-tree, near the entrance to the Fairy 
Queen's Winter Palace (which is within 
the circle of the seven Spanish chestnuts), 
and Peter approached it warily, for the 
birds had never mentioned such things to 
him. Lest it was alive, he addressed it 
politely; and then, as it gave no answer, 
he went nearer and felt it cautiously. He 
gave it a little push, and it ran from him, 
which made him think it must be alive 
after all; but, as it had run from him, he 
52 



THE THRUSH'S NEST 

was not afraid. So he stretched out his 
hand to pull it to him, but this time it 
ran at him, and he was so alarmed that 
he leapt the railing and scudded away to 
his boat. You must not think, however, 
that he was a coward, for he came back 
next night with a crust in one hand and 
a stick in the other, but the perambulator 
had gone, and he never saw any other one. 
I have promised to tell you also about 
his paddle. It was a child's spade which 
he had found near St. Govor's Well, and 
he thought it was a paddle. 

Do you pity Peter Pan for making these 
mistakes? If so, I think it rather silly of 
you. What I mean is that, of course, one 
must pity him now and then, but to pity 
him all the time would be impertinence. 
He thought he had the most splendid 
time in the Gardens, and to think you 
have it is almost quite as good as really 
to have it. He played without ceasing, 
while you often waste time by being mad- 
dog or Mary-Annish. He could be neither 

53 



THE THRUSH'S NEST 

of these things, for he had never heard of 
them, but do you think he is to be pitied 
for that f 

Oh, he was merry! He was as much 
merrier than you, for instance, as you are 
merrier than your father. Sometimes he 
fell, like a spinning-top, and from sheer merri- 
ment. Have you seen a greyhound leap- 
ing the fences of the Gardens? That is 
how Peter leaps them. 

And think of the music of his pipe. 
Gentlemen who walk home at night write 
to the papers to say they heard a night- 
ingale in the Gardens, but it is really 
Peter's pipe they hear. Of course, he 
had no mother at least, what use was 
she to him? You can be sorry for him 
for that, but don't be too sorry, for the 
next thing I mean to tell you is how he 
revisited her. It was the fairies who gave 
him the chance. 



54 



IV 

LOCK-OUT TIME 

IT is frightfully difficult to know much 
about the fairies, and almost the only thing 
known for certain is that there are fairies 
wherever there are children. Long ago 
children were forbidden the Gardens, and 
at that time there was not a fairy in the 
place; then the children were admitted, 
and the fairies came trooping in that very 
evening. They can't resist following the 
children, but you seldom see them, partly 
because they live in the daytime behind 
the railings, where you are not allowed to 
go, and also partly because they are so 
cunning. They are not a bit cunning after 
Lock-out, but until Lock-out, my word ! 

When you were a bird you knew the 
fairies pretty well, and you remember a 

55 



LOCK-OUT TIME 

good deal about them in your babyhood, 
which it is a great pity you can't write 
down, for gradually you forget, and I have 
heard of children who declared that they 
had never once seen a fairy. Very likely 
if they said this in the Kensington Gardens, 
they were standing looking at a fairy all 
the time. The reason they were cheated 
was that she pretended to be something 
else. This is one of their best tricks. They 
usually pretend to be flowers, because the 
court sits in the Fairies' Basin, and there 
are so many flowers there, and all along 
the Baby Walk, that a flower is the thing 
least likely to attract attention. They dress 
exactly like flowers, and change with the 
seasons, putting on white when lilies are 
in and blue for bluebells, and so on. They 
like crocus and hyacinth time best of all, 
as they are partial to a bit of colour, but 
tulips (except white ones, which are the 
fairy cradles) they consider garish, and they 
sometimes put off dressing like tulips for 
days, so that the beginning of the tulip 
56 



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weeks is almost the best time to catch 
them. 

When they think you are not looking 
they skip along pretty lively, but if you 
look, and they fear there is no time to hide, 
they stand quite still pretending to be 
flowers. Then, after you have passed with- 
out knowing that they were fairies, they 
rush home and tell their mothers they have 
had such an adventure. The Fairy Basin, 
you remember, is all covered with ground- 
ivy (from which they make their castor oil), 
with flowers growing in it here and there. 
Most of them really are flowers, but some 
of them are fairies. You never can be sure 
of them, but a good plan is to walk by 
looking the other way, and then turn round 
sharply. Another good plan, which David 
and I sometimes follow, is to stare them 
down. After a long time they can't help 
winking, and then you know for certain 
that they are fairies. 

There are also numbers of them along 
the Baby Walk, which is a famous gentle 

57 



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place, as spots frequented by fairies are 
called. Once twenty-four of them had an 
extraordinary adventure. They were a girls' 
school out for a walk with the governess, 
and all wearing hyacinth gowns, when she 
suddenly put her finger to her mouth, and 
then they all stood still on an empty bed and 
pretended to be hyacinths. Unfortunately 
what the governess had heard was two 
gardeners coming to plant new flowers in 
that very bed. They were wheeling a hand- 
cart with the flowers in it, and were quite 
surprised to find the bed occupied. ' Pity 
to lift them hyacinths,' said the one man. 
'Duke's orders,' replied the other, and, 
having emptied the cart, they dug up the 
boarding school and put the poor, terrified 
things in it in five rows. Of course, neither 
the governess nor the girls dare let on that 
they were fairies, so they were carted far 
away to a potting-shed, out of which they 
escaped in the night without their shoes, 
but there was a great row about it among 
the parents, and the school was ruined. 
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As for their houses, it is no use looking 
for them, because they are the exact op- 
posite of our houses. You can see our 
houses by day but you can't see them by 
dark. Well, you can see their houses by 
dark, but you can't see them by day, for 
they are the colour of night, and I never 
heard of any one yet who could see night 
in the daytime. This does not mean that 
they are black, for night has its colours 
just as day has, but ever so much brighter. 
Their blues and reds and greens are like 
ours with a light behind them. The palace 
is entirely built of many-coloured glasses, 
and it is quite the loveliest of all royal 
residences, but the queen sometimes com- 
plains because the common people will peep 
in to see what she is doing. They are very 
inquisitive folk, and press quite hard against 
the glass, and that is why their noses are 
mostly snubby. The streets are miles long 
and very twisty, and have paths on each 
side made of bright worsted. The birds 
used to steal the worsted for their nests, 

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but a policeman has been appointed to hold 
on at the other end. 

One of the great differences between the 
fairies and us is that they never do any- 
thing useful. When the first baby laughed 
for the first time, his laugh broke into a 
million pieces, and they all went skipping 
about. That was the beginning of fairies. 
They look tremendously busy, you know, 
as if they had not a moment to spare, but 
if you were to ask them what they are 
doing, they could not tell you in the least. 
They are frightfully ignorant, and everything 
they do is make-believe. They have a post- 
man, but he never calls except at Christmas 
with his little box, and though they have 
beautiful schools, nothing is taught in them ; 
the youngest child being chief person is 
always elected mistress, and when she has 
called the roll, they all go out for a walk 
and never come back. It is a very notice- 
able thing that, in fairy families, the 
youngest is always chief person, and usually 
becomes a prince or princess and children 
60 




These tricky fairies sometimes change the board on a ball night. 



LOCK-OUT TIME 

remember this, and think it must be so 
among humans also, and that is why they 
are often made uneasy when they come 
upon their mother furtively putting new 
frills on the basinette. 

You have probably observed that your 
baby-sister wants to do all sorts of things 
that your mother and her nurse want her 
not to do to stand up at sitting-down time, 
and to sit down at stand-up time, for in- 
stance, or to wake up when she should fall 
asleep, or to crawl on the floor when she 
is wearing her best frock, and so on, and 
perhaps you put this down to naughtiness. 
But it is not; it simply means that she is 
doing as she has seen the fairies do; she 
begins by following their ways, and it takes 
about two years to get her into the human 
ways. Her fits of passion, which are awful 
to behold, and are usually called teething, 
are no such thing; they are her natural 
exasperation, because we don't understand 
her, though she is talking an intelligible 
language. She is talking fairy. The reason 

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mothers and nurses know what her remarks 
mean, before other people know, as that 
4 Guch ' means ' Give it to me at once,' while 
<Wa' is 'Why do you wear such a fanny 
hat?' is because, mixing so much with 
babies, they have picked up a little of the 
fairy language. 

Of late David has been thinking back hard 
about the fairy tongue, with his hands clutch- 
ing his temples, and he has remembered a 
number of their phrases which I shall tell 
you some day if I don't forget. He had 
heard them in the days when he was a 
thrush, and though I suggested to him that 
perhaps it is really bird language he is re- 
membering, he says not, for these phrases 
are about fun and adventures, and the birds 
talked of nothing but nest-building. He dis- 
tinctly remembers that the birds used to go 
from spot to spot like ladies at shop windows, 
looking at the different nests and saying, 'Not 
my colour, my dear,' and ' How would that 
do with a soft lining I ' and < But will it wear ? ' 
and * What hideous trimming ! ' and so on. 
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The fairies are exquisite dancers, and that 
is why one of the first things the baby does 
is to sign to you to dance to him and then to 
cry when you do it. They hold their great 
balls in the open air, in what is called a fairy 
ring. For weeks afterwards you can see the 
ring on the grass. It is not there when they 
begin, but they make it by waltzing round 
and round. Sometimes you will find mush- 
rooms inside the ring, and these are fairy 
chairs that the servants have forgotten to 
clear away. The chairs and the rings are 
the only tell-tale marks these little people 
leave behind them, and they would remove 
even these were they not so fond of dancing 
that they toe it till the very moment of the 
opening of the gates. David and I once 
found a fairy ring quite warm. 

But there is also a way of finding out 
about the ball before it takes place. You 
know the boards which tell at what time the 
Gardens are to close to-day. Well, these 
tricky fairies sometimes slyly change the 
board on a ball night, so that it says the 

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Gardens are to close at six-thirty, for in- 
stance, instead of at seven. This enables 
them to get begun half an hour earlier. 

If on such a night we could remain behind 
in the Gardens, as the famous Maimie Man- 
nering did, we might see delicious sights; 
hundreds of lovely fairies hastening to the 

ball, the married ones wearing their wedding 

i 

ringa round their waists ; the gentlemen, all 
in uniform, holding up the ladies' trains, and 
linkmen running in front carrying winter 
cherries, which are the fairy-lanterns; the 
cloakroom where they put on their silver 
slippers and get a ticket for their wraps; 
the flowers streaming up from the Baby 
"Walk to look on, and always welcome be- 
cause they can lend a pin; the supper-table, 
with Queen Mab at the head of it, and 
behind her chair the Lord Chamberlain, 
who carries a dandelion on which he blows 
when her Majesty wants to know the time. 
The table-cloth varies according to the 
seasons, and in May it is made of chestnut 
blossom. The way the fairy servants do is 
64 







When her Majesty wants to know the time. 




After this the birds said that they would help him no more in 
his mad enterprise. 



LOCK-OUT TIME 

this : The men, scores of them, climb up 
the trees and shake the branches, and the 
blossom falls like snow. Then the lady 
servants sweep it together by whisking their 
skirts until it is exactly like a tablecloth, 
and that is how they get their tablecloth. 

They have real glasses and real wine of 
three kinds, namely, blackthorn wine, ber- 
berris wine, and cowslip wine, and the 
Queen pours out, but the bottles are so 
heavy that she just pretends to pour out. 
There is bread-and-butter to begin with, 
of the size of a threepenny bit ; and cakes 
to end with, and they are so small that 
they have no crumbs. The fairies sit round 
on mushrooms, and at first they are well- 
behaved and always cough off the table, 
and so on, but after a bit they are not so 
well-behaved and stick their fingers into 
the butter, which is got from the roots of 
old trees, and the really horrid ones crawl 
over the tablecloth chasing sugar or other 
delicacies with their tongues. When the 
Queen sees them doing this she signs to 

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the servants to wash up and put away, and 
then everybody adjourns to the dance, the 
Queen walking in front while the Lord 
Chamberlain walks behind her, carrying 
two little pots, one of which contains the 
juice of wallflower and the other the juice 
of Solomon's seals. Wallflower juice is good 
for reviving dancers who fall to the ground 
in a fit, and Solomon's seals juice is for 
bruises. They bruise very easily, and when 
Peter plays faster and faster they foot it 
till they fall down in fits. For, as you 
know without my telling you, Peter Pan 
is the fairies' orchestra. He sits in the 
middle of the ring, and they would never 
dream of having a smart dance nowadays 
without him. 'P. P.' is written on the 
corner of the invitation-cards sent out by 
all really good families. They are grateful 
little people, too, and at the princess's 
coming-of-age ball (they come of age on 
their second birthday and have a birthday 
every month) they gave him the wish of 
his heart. 
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The way it was done was this. The 
Queen ordered him to kneel, and then said 
that for playing so beautifully she would 
give him the wish of his heart. Then they 
all gathered round Peter to hear what was 
the wish of his heart, but for a long time 
he hesitated, not being certain what it was 
himself. 

' If I chose to go back to mother,' he asked 
at last, < could you give me that wish I ' 

Now this question vexed them, for were 
he to return to his mother they should 
lose his music, so the Queen tilted her 
nose contemptuously and said, 4 Pooh ! ask 
for a much bigger wish than that.' 

* Is that quite a little wish I ' he inquired. 

<As little as this,' the Queen answered, 
putting her hands near each other. 

4 What size is a big wish f ' he asked. 

She measured it off on her skirt and it 
was a very handsome length. 

Then Peter reflected and said, 'Well, 
then, I think I shall have two little wishes 
instead of one big one.' 

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Of course, the fairies had to agree, though 
his cleverness rather shocked them, and 
he said that his first wish was to go to 
his mother, but with the right to return 
to the Gardens if he found her disappoint- 
ing. His second wish he would hold in 
reserve. 

They tried to dissuade him, and even put 
obstacles in the way. 

4 1 can give you the power to fly to her 
house,' the Queen said, < but I can't open 
the door for you.' 

'The window I flew out at will be open,' 
Peter said confidently. 'Mother always 
keeps it open in the hope that I may fly 
back.' 

'How do you know? 'they asked, quite 
surprised, and, really, Peter could not 
explain how he knew. 

'I just do know,' he said. 

So as he persisted in his wish, they had 

to grant it. The way they gave him power 

to fly was this : They all tickled him on 

the shoulder, and soon he felt a funny 

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itching in that part, and then up he rose 
higher and higher, and flew away out of 
the Gardens and over the housetops. 

It was so delicious that instead of flying 
straight to his own home he skimmed away 
over St. Paul's to the Crystal Palace and 
back by the river and Regent's Park, and 
by the time he reached his mother's window 
he had quite made up his mind that his 
second wish should be to become a bird. 

The window was wide open, just as he 
knew it would be, and in he fluttered, and 
there was his mother lying asleep. Peter 
alighted softly on the wooden rail at the 
foot of the bed and had a good look at 
her. She lay with her head on her hand, 
and the hollow in the pillow was like a 
nest lined with her brown wavy hair. He 
remembered, though he had long forgotten 
it, that she always gave her hair a holiday 
at night. How sweet the frills of her night- 
gown were! He was very glad she was 
such a pretty mother. 

But she looked sad, and he knew why 

69 



" 



i: 



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she looked sad. One of her arms moved 
as if it wanted to go round something, and 
he knew what it wanted to go round. 

4 O mother!' said Peter to himself, c if 
you just knew who is sitting on the rail 
at the foot of the bed.' 

Very gently he patted the little mound 
that her feet made, and he could see by 
her face that she liked it. He knew he 
had but to say 'Mother' ever so softly, 
and she would wake up. They always 
wake up at once if it is you that says 
their name. Then she would give such a 
joyous cry and squeeze him tight. How 
nice that would be to him, but oh ! how 
exquisitely delicious it would be to her. 
That, I am afraid, is how Peter regarded 
it. In returning to his mother he never 
doubted that he was giving her the greatest 
treat a woman can have. Nothing can be 
more splendid, he thought, than to have 
a little boy of your own. How proud of 
him they are ! and very right and proper, 
too. 
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But why does Peter sit so long on the 
rail; why does he not tell his mother that 
he has come back I 

I quite shrink from the truth, which is 
that he sat there in two minds. Some- 
times he looked longingly at his mother, 
and sometimes he looked longingly at the 
window. Certainly it would be pleasant to 
be her boy again, but on the other hand, 
what times those had been in the Gardens ! 
Was he so sure that he should enjoy wear- 
ing clothes again? He popped off the bed 
and opened some drawers to have a look 
at his old garments. They were still there, 
but he could not remember how you put 
them on. The socks, for instance, were 
they worn on the hands or on the feet? 
He was about to try one of them on his 
hand, when he had a great adventure. 
Perhaps the drawer had creaked ; at any 
rate, his mother woke up, for he heard her 
say < Peter,' as if it was the most lovely 
word in the language. He remained sitting 
on the floor and held his breath, wonder- 

71 



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ing how she knew that he had come back. 
If she said 'Peter' again, he meant to cry 
* Mother' and run to her. But she spoke 
no more, she made little moans only, and 
when he next peeped at her she was once 
more asleep, with tears on her face. 

It made Peter very miserable, and what 
do you think was the first thing he did? 
Sitting on the rail at the foot of the bed, 
he played a beautiful lullaby to his mother 
on his pipe. He had made it up himself 
out of the way she said 'Peter,' and he 
never stopped playing until she looked 
happy. 

He thought this so clever of him that 
he could scarcely resist wakening her to 
hear her say, l O Peter, how exquisitely you 
play!' However, as she now seemed com- 
fortable, he again cast looks at the window. 
You must not think that he meditated fly- 
ing away and never coming back. He had 
quite decided to be his mother's boy, but 
hesitated about beginning to-night. It was 
the second wish which troubled him. He 
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LOCK-OUT TIME 

no longer meant to make it a wish to be 
a bird, but not to ask for a second wish 
seemed wasteful, and, of course, he could 
not ask for it without returning to the 
fairies. Also, if he put off asking for his 
wish too long it might go bad. He asked 
himself if he had not been hard-hearted 
to fly away without saying good-bye to 
Solomon. ' I should like awfully to sail in 
my boat just once more,' he said wistfully 
to his sleeping mother. He quite argued 
with her as if she could hear him. 'It 
would be so splendid to tell the birds of 
this adventure,' he said coaxingly. <I pro- 
mise to come back,' he said solemnly, and 
meant it, too. 

And in the end, you know, he flew away. 
Twice he came back from the window, 
wanting to kiss his mother, but he feared 
the delight of it might waken her, so at 
last he played her a lovely kiss on his 
pipe, and then he flew back to the 
Gardens. 

Many nights, and even months, passed 

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before he asked the fairies for his second 
wish; and I am not sure that I quite 
know why he delayed so long. One reason 
was that he had so many good-byes to say, 
not only to his particular friends, but to a 
hundred favourite spots. Then he had his 
last sail, and his very last sail, and his last 
sail of all, and so on. Again, a number of 
farewell feasts were given in his honour; 
and another comfortable reason was that, 
after all, there was no hurry, for his mother 
would never weary of waiting for him. This 
last reason displeased old Solomon, for it 
was an encouragement to the birds to pro- 
crastinate. Solomon had several excellent 
mottoes for keeping them at their work, 
such as i Never put off laying to-day 
because you can lay to-morrow,' and <In 
this world there are no second chances,' 
and yet here was Peter gaily putting off 
and none the worse for it. The birds 
pointed this out to each other, and fell 
into lazy habits. 

But, mind you, though Peter was so slow 
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in going back to his mother, he was quite 
decided to go back. The best proof of 
this was his caution with the fairies. They 
were most anxious that he should remain 
in the Gardens to play to them, and to 
bring this to pass they tried to trick him 
into making such a remark as 'I wish the 
grass was not so wet,' and some of them 
danced out of time in the hope that he 
might cry, <I do wish you would keep 
time!' Then they would have said that 
this was his second wish. But he smoked 
their design, and though on occasions he 

began, <I wish ' he always stopped in 

time. So when at last he said to them 
bravely, < I wish now to go back to mother 
for ever and always,' they had to tickle his 
shoulders and let him go. 

He went in a hurry in the end, because 
he had dreamt that his mother was crying, 
and he knew what was the great thing she 
cried for, and that a hug from her splendid 
Peter would quickly make her to smile. 
Oh ! he felt sure of it, and so eager was he 

75 



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to be nestling in her arms that this time 
he flew straight to the window, which was 
always to be open for him. 

But the window was closed, and there 
were iron bars on it, and peering inside 
he saw his mother sleeping peacefully with 
her arm around another little boy. 

Peter called, 'Mother! mother!' but she 
heard him not; in vain he beat his little 
limbs against the iron bars. He had to fly 
back, sobbing, to the Gardens, and he never 
saw his dear again. What a glorious boy 
he had meant to be to her! Ah, Peter 1 
we who have made the great mistake, how 
differently we should all act at the second 
chance. But Solomon was right there is 
no second chance, not for most of us. 
When we reach the window it is Lock-out 
Time. The iron bars are up for life. 



76 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

EVERYBODY lias heard of the Little House 
in the Kensington Gardens, which is the 
only house in the whole world that the 
fairies have built for humans. But no one 
has really seen it, except just three or four, 
and they have not only seen it but slept in 
it, and unless you sleep in it you never 
see it. This is because it is not there when 
you lie down, but it is there when you 
wake up and step outside. 

In a kind of way every one may see it, 
but what you see is not really it, but only 
the light in the windows. You see the 
light after Lock-out Time. David, for in- 
stance, saw it quite distinctly far away 
among the trees as we were going home 
from the pantomime, and Oliver Bailey 

77 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

saw it the night he stayed so late at the 
Temple, which is the name of his father's 
office. Angela Clare, who loves to have a 
tooth extracted because then she is treated 
to tea in a shop, saw more than one light, 
she saw hundreds of them all together ; and 
this must have been the fairies building 
the house, for they build it every night, 
and always in a different part of the Gar- 
dens. She thought one of the lights was 
bigger than the others, though she was not 
quite sure, for they jumped about so, and 
it might have been another one that was 
bigger. But if it was the same one, it was 
Peter Pan's light. Heaps of children have 
seen the light, so that is nothing. But 
Maimie Mannering was the famous one for 
whom the house was first built. 

Maimie was always rather a strange girl, 
and it was at night that she was strange. 
She was four years of age, and in the day- 
time she was the ordinary kind. She was 
pleased when her brother Tony, who was a 
magnificent fellow of six, took notice of her, 
78 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

and she looked up to him in the right way, 
and tried in vain to imitate him, and was 
flattered rather than annoyed when he 
shoved her about. Also, when she was 
batting, she would pause though the ball 
was in the air to point out to you that she 
was wearing new shoes. She was quite 
the ordinary kind in the daytime. 

But as the shades of night fell, Tony, 
the swaggerer, lost his contempt for Maimie 
and eyed her fearfully ; and no wonder, for 
with dark there came into her face a look 
that I can describe only as a leary look. 
It was also a serene look that contrasted 
grandly with Tony's uneasy glances. Then 
he would make her presents of his favourite 
toys (which he always took away from her 
next morning), and she accepted them with 
a disturbing smile. The reason he was now 
become so wheedling and she so mysterious 
was (in brief) that they knew they were 
about to be sent to bed. It was then that 
Maimie was terrible. Tony entreated her 
not to do it to-night, and the mother and 

79 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

their coloured nurse threatened her, but 
Maimie merely smiled her agitating smile. 
And by and by when they were alone with 
their night-light she would start up in bed 
crying <Hsh! what was that?' Tony be- 
seeches her, < It was nothing don't, Maimie, 
don't!' and pulls the sheet over his head. 
<It is coming nearer ! ' she cries. ' Oh, look 
at it, Tony! It is feeling your bed with 
its horns it is boring for you, O Tony, oh ! ' 
and she desists not until he rushes down- 
stairs in his combinations, screeching. When 
they came up to whip Maimie they usually 
found her sleeping tranquilly not sham- 
ming, you know, but really sleeping, and 
looking like the sweetest little angel, which 
seems to me to make it almost worse. 

But of course it was daytime when they 
were in the Gardens, and then Tony did 
most of the talking. You could gather 
from his talk that he was a very brave 
boy, and no one was so proud of it as 
Maimie. She would have loved to have 
a ticket on her saying that she was his 
80 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

sister. And at no time did she admire 
him more than when he told her, as he 
often did with splendid firmness, that one 
day he meant to remain behind in the 
Gardens after the gates were closed. 

<O Tony,' she would say with awful re- 
spect, ' but the fairies will be so angry ! ' 

' I dare say,' replied Tony carelessly. 

1 Perhaps,' she said, thrilling, ' Peter Pan 
will give you a sail in his boat! ' 

4 1 shall make him,' replied Tony; no 
wonder she was proud of him. 

But they should not have talked so loudly, 
for one day they were overheard by a fairy 
who had been gathering skeleton leaves, 
from which the little people weave their 
summer curtains, and after that Tony was 
a marked boy. They loosened the rails 
before he sat on them, so that down he 
came on the back of his head ; they tripped 
him up by catching his bootlace, and bribed 
the ducks to sink his boat. Nearly all 
the nasty accidents you meet with in the 
Gardens occur because the fairies have 

81 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

taken an ill-will to you, and so it behoves 
you to be careful what you say about 
them. 

Maimie was one of the kind who like to 
fix a day for doing things, but Tony was 
not that kind, and when she asked him 
which day he was to remain behind in the 
Gardens after Lock-out he merely replied, 
4 Just some day ' ; he was quite vague about 
which day except when she asked, 'Will 
it be to-day f ' and then he could always 
say for certain that it would not be to-day. 
So she saw that he was waiting for a real 
good chance. 

This brings us to an afternoon when the 
Gardens were white with snow, and there 
was ice on the Round Pond ; not thick 
enough to skate on, but at least you could 
spoil it for to-morrow by flinging stones, 
and many bright little boys and girls were 
doing that. 

When Tony and his sister arrived they 
wanted to go straight to the pond, but 
their ayah said they must take a sharp 
82 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

walk first, and as she said this she glanced 
at the time-board to see when the Gardens 
closed that night. It read half-past five. 
Poor ayah! she is the one who laughs 
continuously because there are so many 
white children in the world, but she was 
not to laugh much more that day. 

Well, they went up the Baby Walk and 
back, and when they returned to the time- 
board she was surprised to see that it now 
read five o'clock for closing-time. But she 
was unacquainted with the tricky ways of 
the fairies, and so did not see (as Maimie 
and Tony saw at once) that they had 
changed the hour because there was to be 
a ball to-night. She said there was only 
time now to walk to the top of the Hump 
and back, and as they trotted along with 
her she little guessed what was thrilling 
their little breasts. You see the chance 
had come of seeing a fairy ball. Never, 
Tony felt, could he hope for a better 
chance. 

He had to feel this for Maimie so plainly 

83 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

felt it for him. Her eager eyes asked the 
question, 'Is it to-day?' and he gasped 
and then nodded. Maimie slipped her 
hand into Tony's, and hers was hot, but 
his was cold. She did a very kind thing; 
she took off her scarf and gave it to him. 
'In case you should feel cold,' she whis- 
pered. Her face was aglow, but Tony's 
was very gloomy. 

As they turned on the top of the Hump 
he whispered to her, 'I'm afraid nurse 
would see me, so I shan't be able to do 
it' 

Maimie admired him more than ever for 
being afraid of nothing but their ayah, when 
there were so many unknown terrors to 
fear, and she said aloud, 'Tony, I shall 
race you to the gate,' and in a whisper, 
' Then you can hide,' and off they ran. 

Tony could always outdistance her easily, 
but never had she known him speed away 
so quickly as now, and she was sure he 
hurried that he might have more time to 
hide. ' Brave, brave I ' her doting eyes were 
84 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

crying when she got a dreadful shock; 
instead of hiding, her hero had run out at 
the gate! At this bitter sight Maimie 
stopped blankly, as if all her lapful of 
darling treasures were suddenly spilled, 
and then for very disdain she could not 
sob; in a swell of protest against all pul- 
ing cowards she ran to St. Govor's Well 
and hid in Tony's stead. 

When the ayah reached the gate and 
saw Tony far in front she thought her 
other charge was with him and passed 
out. Twilight crept over the Gardens, 
and hundreds of people passed out, includ- 
ing the last one, who always has to run for 
it, but Maimie saw them not. She had 
shut her eyes tight and glued them with 
passionate tears. When she opened them 
something very cold ran up her legs and 
up her arms and dropped into her heart. 
It was the stillness of the Gardens. Then 
she heard clang, then from another part 
clang, then clang, clang far away. It was 
the Closing of the Gates. 

85 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

Immediately the last clang had died away 
Maimie distinctly heard a voice say, 'So 
that's all right.' It had a wooden sound 
and seemed to come from above, and she 
looked up in time to see an elm-tree 
stretching out its arms and yawning. 

She was about to say, 1 1 never knew you 
could speak!' when a metallic voice that 
seemed to come from the ladle at the well 
remarked to the elm, 'I suppose it is a 
bit coldish up there ? ' and the elm replied, 
4 Not particularly, but you do get numb 
standing so long on one leg,' and he 
flapped his arms vigorously just as the cab- 
men do before they drive off. Maimie was 
quite surprised to see that a number of 
other tall trees were doing the same sort 
of thing, and she stole away to the Baby 
Walk and crouched observantly under a 
Minorca holly which shrugged its shoulders 
but did not seem to mind her. 

She was not in the least cold. She was 
wearing a russet-coloured pelisse and had 
the hood over her head, so that nothing 
86 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

of her showed except her dear little face 
and her curls. The rest of her real self was 
hidden far away inside so many warm gar- 
ments that in shape she seemed rather 
like a ball. She was about forty round the 
waist. 

There was a good deal going on in the 
Baby Walk, where Maimie arrived in time 
to see a magnolia and a Persian lilac step 
over the railing and set off for a smart 
walk. They moved in a jerky sort of way 
certainly, but that was because they used 
crutches. An elderberry hobbled across 
the walk, and stood chatting with some 
young quinces, and they all had crutches. 
The crutches were the sticks that are tied 
to young trees and shrubs. They were 
quite familiar objects to Mamie, but she 
had never known what they were for until 
to-night. 

She peeped up the walk and saw her 
first fairy. He was a street boy fairy who 
was running up the walk closing the weep- 
ing trees. The way he did it was this : he 

87 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

pressed a spring in the trunks and they 
shut like umbrellas, deluging the little 
plants beneath with snow. 'O you naughty, 
naughty child!' Mamie cried indignantly, 
for she knew what it was to have a drip- 
ping umbrella about your ears. 

Fortunately the mischievous fellow was 
out of earshot, but a chrysanthemum heard 
her, and said so pointedly, 'Hoity-toity, 

what is this?' that she had to come out 

f- 

and show herself. Then the whole vege- 
table kingdom was rather puzzled what 
to do. 

4 Of course it is no affair of ours,' a 
spindle-tree said after they had whispered 
together, 'but you know quite well you 
ought not to be here, and perhaps our 
duty is to report you to the fairies; what 
do you think yourself!' 

'I think you should not,' Maimie replied, 
which so perplexed them that they said 
petulantly there was no arguing with her. 
1 1 wouldn't ask it of you,' she assured them, 
'if I thought it was wrong,' and of course 
88 







The lady with the balloons, who sits just outside. 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

after this they could not well carry tales. 
They then said, ' Well-a-day,' and 'Such is 
life,' for they can be frightfully sarcastic; 
but she felt sorry for those of them who had 
no crutches, and she said good-naturedly, 
'Before I go to the fairies' ball, I should 
like to take you for a walk one at a time; 
you can lean on me, you know.' 

At this they clapped their hands, and 
she escorted them up the Baby Walk and 
back again, one at a time, putting an arm 
or a finger round the very frail, setting 
their leg right when it got too ridiculous, 
and treating the foreign ones quite as 
courteously as the English, though she 
could not understand a word they said. 

They behaved well on the whole, though 
some whimpered that she had not taken 
them as far as she took Nancy or Grace 
or Dorothy, and others jagged her, but it 
was quite unintentional, and she was too 
much of a lady to cry out. So much walk- 
ing tired her, and she was anxious to be 
off to the ball, but she no longer felt afraid. 

89 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

The reason she felt no more fear was that 
it was now night-time, and in the dark, 
you remember, Maimie was always rather 
strange. 

They were now loth to let her go, for, 
4 If the fairies see you,' they warned her, 
1 they will mischief you stab you to death, 
or compel you to nurse their children, or 
turn you into something tedious, like an 
evergreen oak.' As they said this they 
looked with affected pity at an evergreen 
oak, for in winter they are very envious 
of the evergreens. 

4 Oh, la!' replied the oak bitingly, 'how 
deliciously cosy it is to stand here buttoned 
to the neck and watch you poor naked 
creatures shivering.' 

This made them sulky, though they had 
really brought it on themselves, and they 
drew for Maimie a very gloomy picture of 
the perils that would face her if she in- 
sisted on going to the ball. 

She learned from a purple filbert that 
the court was not in its usual good temper 
90 




Shook his bald head and murmured, " Cold, quite cold.' 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

at present, the cause being the tantalising 
heart of the Duke of Christmas Daisies. 
He was an Oriental fairy, very poorly of 
a dreadful complaint, namely, inability to 
love, and though he had tried many ladies 
in many lands he could not fall in love 
with one of them. Queen Mab, who rules 
in the Gardens, had been confident that 
her girls would bewitch him, but alas ! his 
heart, the doctor said, remained cold. This 
rather irritating doctor, who was his private 
physician, felt the Duke's heart immedi- 
ately after any lady was presented, and then 
always shook his bald head and murmured, 
4 Cold, quite cold.' Naturally Queen Mab 
felt disgraced, and first she tried the effect 
of ordering the court into tears for nine 
minutes, and then she blamed the Cupids 
and decreed that they should wear fools' 
caps until they thawed the Duke's frozen 
heart. 

* How I should love to see the Cupids 
in their dear little fools' caps!' Maimie 
cried, and away she ran to look for them 

91 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

very recklessly, for the Cupids hate to be 
laughed at. 

It is always easy to discover where a 
fairies' ball is being held, as ribbons are 
stretched between it and all the populous 
parts of the Gardens, on which those in- 
vited may walk to the dance without wet- 
ting their pumps. This night the ribbons 
were red, and looked very pretty on the 
snow. 

Maimie walked alongside one of them for 
some distance without meeting anybody, 
but at last she saw a fairy cavalcade 
approaching. To her surprise they seemed 
to be returning from the ball, and she had 
just time to hide from them by bending 
her knees and holding out her arms and 
pretending to be a garden chair. There 
were six horsemen in front and six behind ; 
in the middle walked a prim lady wearing 
a long train held up by two pages, and on 
the train, as if it were a couch, reclined a 
lovely girl, for in this way do aristocratic 
fairies travel about. She was dressed in 
92 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

golden rain, but the most enviable part of 
her was her neck, which was blue in colour 
and of a velvet texture, and of course 
showed off her diamond necklace as no 
white throat could have glorified it. The 
high-born fairies obtain this admired effect 
by pricking their skin, which lets the blue 
blood come through and dye them, and you 
cannot imagine anything so dazzling unless 
you have seen the ladies' busts in the 
jewellers' windows. 

Maimie also noticed that the whole caval- 
cade seemed to be in a passion, tilting 
their noses higher than it can be safe for 
even fairies to tilt them, and she concluded 
that this must be another case in which 
the doctor had said < Cold, quite cold.' 

Well, she followed the ribbon to a place 
where it became a bridge over a dry 
puddle into which another fairy had fallen 
and been unable to climb out. At first 
this little damsel was afraid of Maimie, 
who most kindly went to her aid, but soon 
she sat in her hand chatting gaily and 

93 



explaining that her name was Brownie, and 
that though only a poor street singer she 
was on her way to the ball to see if the 
Duke would have her. 

4 Of course,' she said, ' I am rather plain,' 
and this made Maimie uncomfortable, for 
indeed the simple little creature was almost 
quite plain for a fairy. 

It was difficult to know what to reply. 

<I see you think I have no chance,' 
Brownie said falteringly. 

1 1 don't say that,' Maimie answered 
politely ; ' of course your face is just a tiny 

bit homely, but ' Really it was quite 

awkward for her. 

Fortunately she remembered about her 
father and the bazaar. He had gone to 
a fashionable bazaar where all the most 
beautiful ladies in London were on view 
for half a crown the second day, but on 
his return home, instead of being dissatis- 
fied with Maimie's mother, he had said, 
' You can' t think, my dear, what a relief 
it is to see a homely face again.' 
94 




Peter Pan is the fairies 9 orchestra. 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

Maimie repeated this story, and it fortified 
Brownie tremendously, indeed she had no 
longer the slightest doubt that the Duke 
would choose her. So she scudded away 
up the ribbon, calling out to Maimie not 
to follow lest the Queen should mischief 
her. 

But Maimie's curiosity tugged her for- 
ward, and presently at the seven Spanish 
chestnuts she saw a wonderful light. She 
crept forward until she was quite near it, 
and then she peeped from behind a tree. 

The light, which was as high as your 
head above the ground, was composed of 
myriads of glow-worms all holding on to 
each other, and so forming a dazzling 
canopy over the fairy ring. There were 
thousands of little people looking on, but 
they were in shadow and drab in colour 
compared to the glorious creatures within 
that luminous circle, who were so bewilder- 
ingly bright that Maimie had to wink hard 
all the time she looked at them. 

It was amazing and even irritating to 

95 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

her that the Duke of Christmas Daisies 
should be able to keep out of love for a 
moment: yet out of love his dusky grace 
still was: you could see it by the shamed 
looks of the Queen and court (though 
they pretended not to care), by the way 
darling ladies brought forward for his 
approval burst into tears as they were 
told to pass on, and by his own most 
dreary face. 

Maimie could also see the pompous doctor 
feeling the Duke's heart and hear him give 
utterance to his parrot cry, and she was 
particularly sorry for the Cupids, who stood 
in their fools' caps in obscure places and, 
every time they heard that 'Cold, quite 
cold,' bowed their disgraced little heads. 

She was disappointed not to see Peter 
Pan, and I may as well tell you now why 
he was so late that night. It was because 
his boat had got wedged on the Serpentine 
between fields of floating ice, through which 
he had to break a perilous passage with 
his trusty paddle. 
96 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

The fairies had as yet scarcely missed 
him, for they could not dance, so heavy 
were their hearts. They forget all the steps 
when they are sad, and remember them 
again when they are merry. David tells 
me that fairies never say, ' We feel happy ' : 
what they say is, < We feel dancey? 

Well, they were looking very undancey 
indeed, when sudden laughter broke out 
among the onlookers, caused by Brownie, 
who had just arrived and was insisting on 
her right to be presented to the Duke. 

Maimie craned forward eagerly to see 
how her friend fared, though she had really 
no hope; no one seemed to have the least 
hope except Brownie herself, who, however, 
was absolutely confident. She was led 
before his grace, and the doctor putting a 
finger carelessly on the ducal heart, which 
for convenience' sake was reached by a 
little trap-door in his diamond shirt, had 
begun to say mechanically, 'Cold, qui ,' 
when he stopped abruptly. 

'What's this'?' he cried, and first he 

97 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

shook the heart like a watch, and then 
he put his ear to it. 

i Bless my soul!' cried the doctor, and 
by this time of course the excitement among 
the spectators was tremendous, fairies faint- 
ing right and left. 

Everybody stared breathlessly at the 
Duke, who was very much startled, and 
looked as if he would like to run away. 
'Good gracious me!' the doctor was heard 
muttering, and now the heart was evidently 
on fire, for he had to jerk his fingers away 
from it and put them in his mouth. 

The suspense was awful. 

Then in a loud voice, and bowing low, 
1 My Lord Duke,' said the physician elatedly, 
'I have the honour to inform your excel- 
lency that your grace is in love.' 

You can't conceive the effect of it. 
Brownie held out her arms to the Duke 
and he flung himself into them, the Queen 
leapt into the arms of the Lord Chamber- 
lain, and the ladies of the court leapt into 
the arms of her gentlemen, for it is etiquette 
98 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

to follow her example in everything. Thus 
in a single moment about fifty marriages 
took place, for if you leap into each other's 
arms it is a fairy wedding. Of course a 
clergyman has to be present. 

How the crowd cheered and leapt! 
Trumpets brayed, the moon came out, and 
immediately a thousand couples seized hold 
of its rays as if they were ribbons in a May 
dance and waltzed in wild abandon round 
the fairy ring. Most gladsome sight of all, 
the Cupids plucked the hated fools' caps 
from their heads and cast them high in the 
air. And then Maimie went and spoiled 
everything. 

She could n't help it. She was crazy with 
delight over her little friend's good fortune, 
so she took several steps forward and cried 
in an ecstasy, 4 O Brownie, how splendid!' 

Everybody stood still, the music ceased, 
the lights went out, and all in the time you 
may take to say, 'Oh dear!' An awful 
sense of her peril came upon Maimie; too 
late she remembered that she was a lost 

99 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

child in a place where no human must be 
between the locking and the opening of 
the gates; she heard the murmur of an 
angry multitude; she saw a thousand swords 
flashing for her blood, and she uttered a 
cry of terror and fled. 

How she ran! and all the time her eyes 
were starting out of her head. Many times 
she lay down, and then quickly jumped up 
and ran on again. Her little mind was so 
entangled in terrors that she no longer 
knew she was in the Gardens. The one 
thing she was sure of was that she must 
never cease to run, and she thought she 
was still running long after she had dropped 
in the Figs and gone to sleep. She thought 
the snowflakes falling on her face were her 
mother kissing her good-night. She thought 
her coverlet of snow was a warm blanket, 
and tried to pull it over her head. And 
when she heard talking through her dreams 
she thought it was mother bringing father 
to the nursery door to look at her as she 
slept. But it was the fairies. 
100 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

I am very glad to be able to say that they 
no longer desired to mischief her. When 
she rushed away they had rent the air with 
such cries as 'Slay her!' 'Turn her into 
something extremely unpleasant!' and so 
on, but the pursuit was delayed while they 
discussed who should march in front, and 
this gave Duchess Brownie time to cast 
herself before the Queen and demand a 
boon. 

Every bride has a right to a boon, and 
what she asked for was Maimie's life. 'Any- 
thing except that,' replied Queen Mab 
sternly, and all the fairies echoed, 'Any- 
thing except that.' But when they learned 
how Maimie had befriended Brownie and 
so enabled her to attend the ball to their 
great glory and renown, they gave three 
huzzas for the little human, and set off, 
like an army, to thank her, the court ad- 
vancing in front and the canopy keeping 
step with it. They traced Maimie easily 
by her footprints in the snow. 

But though they found her deep in snow 

101 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

in the Figs, it seemed impossible to thank 
Maimie, for they could not waken her. 
They went through the form of thanking 
her that is to say, the new King stood 
on her body and read her a long address 
of welcome, but she heard not a word of 
it. They also cleared the snow off her, 
but soon she was covered again, and they 
saw she was in danger of perishing of 
cold. 

4 Turn her into something that does not 
mind the cold,' seemed a good suggestion 
of the doctor's, but the only thing they 
could think of that does not mind cold 
was a snowflake. 'And it might melt,' 
the Queen pointed out, so that idea had 
to be given up. 

A magnificent attempt was made to carry 
her to a sheltered spot, but though there 
were so many of them she was too heavy. 
By this time all the ladies were crying in 
their handkerchiefs, but presently the 
Cupids had a lovely idea. < Build a house 
round her,' they cried, and at once every- 
102 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

body perceived that this was the thing to 
do; in a moment a hundred fairy sawyers 
were among the branches, architects were 
running round Maimie, measuring her; a 
bricklayer's yard sprang up at her feet, 
seventy-five masons rushed up with the 
foundation-stone, and the Queen laid it, 
overseers were appointed to keep the boys 
off, scaffoldings were run up, the whole 
place rang with hammers and chisels and 
turning-laths, and by this time the roof 
was on and the glaziers were putting in 
the windows. 

The house was exactly the size of Maimie, 
and perfectly lovely. One of her arms was 
extended, and this had bothered them for 
a second, but they built a verandah round 
it leading to the front door. The windows 
were the size of a coloured picture-book 
and the door rather smaller, but it would 
be easy for her to get out by taking off the 
roof. The fairies, as is their custom, clapped 
their hands with delight over their clever- 
ness, and they were so madly in love with 

103 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

the little house that they could not bear 
to think they had finished it. So they 
gave it ever so many little extra touches, 
and even then they added more extra 
touches. 

For instance, two of them ran up a ladder 
and put on a chimney. 

'Now we fear it is quite finished,' they 
sighed. 

But no, for another two ran up the ladder, 
and tied some smoke to the chimney. 

6 That certainly finishes it,' they said 
reluctantly. 

1 Not at all,' cried a glow-worm ; 4 if she 
were to wake without seeing a night-light 
she might be frightened, so I shall be her 
night-light.' 

4 Wait one moment,' said a china mer- 
chant, 4 and I shall make you a saucer.' 

Now, alas ! it was absolutely finished. 

Oh, dear no ! 

4 Gracious me ! ' cried a brass manu- 
facturer, 4 there 's no handle on the door,' 
and he put one on. 
104 



An ironmonger added a scraper, and an 
old lady ran up with a door-mat. Car- 
penters arrived with a water-butt, and the 
painters insisted on painting it. 

Finished at last ! 

' Finished ! How can it be finished,' the 
plumber demanded scornfully, * before hot 
and cold are put in f ' and he put in hot 
and cold. Then an army of gardeners 
arrived with fairy carts and spades and seeds 
and bulbs and forcing-houses, and soon 
they had a flower-garden to the right of the 
verandah, and a vegetable garden to the 
left, and roses and clematis on the walls of 
the house, and in less time than five minutes 
all these dear things were in full bloom. 

Oh, how beautiful the little house was 
now! But it was at last finished true as 
true, and they had to leave it and return 
to the dance. They all kissed their hands 
to it as they went away, and the last to go 
was Brownie. She stayed a moment behind 
the others to drop a pleasant dream down 
the chimney. 

105 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

All through the night the exquisite little 
house stood there in the Figs taking care 
of Maimie, and she never knew. She slept 
until the dream was quite finished, and 
woke feeling deliciously cosy just as morn- 
ing was breaking from its egg, and then she 
almost fell asleep again, and then she called 
out, * Tony,' for she thought she was at home 
in the nursery. As Tony made no answer 
she sat up, whereupon her head hit the 
roof, and it opened like the lid of a box, 
and to her bewilderment she saw all around 
her the Kensington Gardens lying deep in 
snow. As she was not in the nursery she 
wondered whether this was really herself, 
so she pinched her cheeks, and then she 
knew it was herself, and this reminded her 
that she was in the middle of a great ad- 
venture. She remembered now everything 
that had happened to her from the closing 
of the gates up to her running away from 
the fairies, but however, she asked herself, 
had she got into this funny place f She 
stepped out by the roof, right over the 
106 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

garden, and then she saw the dear house 
in which she had passed the night. It so 
entranced her that she could think of 
nothing else. 

4 O you darling! O you sweet! O you 
love!' she cried. 

Perhaps a human voice frightened the 
little house, or maybe it now knew that its 
work was done, for no sooner had Maimie 
spoken than it began to grow smaller; it 
shrank so slowly that she could scarce 
believe it was shrinking, yet she soon knew 
that it could not contain her now. It 
always remained as complete as ever, but 
it became smaller and smaller, and the 
garden dwindled at the same time, and 
the snow crept closer, lapping house and 
garden up. Now the house was the size 
of a little dog's kennel, and now of a 
Noah's Ark, but still you could see the 
smoke and the door-handle and the roses 
on the wall, every one complete. The glow- 
worm light was waning too, but it was still 
there. i Darling, loveliest, don't go ! ' Maimie 

107 



THE LITTLE HOUSE 

cried, falling on her knees, for the little 
house was now the size of a reel of 
thread, but still quite complete. But as 
she stretched out her arms imploringly the 
snow crept up on all sides until it met 
itself, and where the little house had been 
was now one unbroken expanse of snow. 

Maimie stamped her foot naughtily, and 
was putting her fingers to her eyes, when 
she heard a kind voice say, 'Don't cry, 
pretty human, don't cry,' and then she 
turned round and saw a beautiful little 
naked boy regarding her wistfully. She 
knew at once that he must be Peter Pan. 



108 



VI 

PETER'S GOAT 

MAIMIE felt quite shy, but Peter knew not 
what shy was. 

4 1 hope you have had a good night,' he 
said earnestly. 

* Thank you,' she replied, <I was so cosy 
and warm. But you' and she looked at 
his nakedness awkwardly < don't you feel 
the least bit cold I' 

Now cold was another word Peter had 
forgotten, so he answered, 4 I think not, 
but I may be wrong: you see I am rather 
ignorant. I am not exactly a boy ; Solomon 
says I am a Betwixt-and-Between.' 

* So that is what it is called,' said Maimie 
thoughtfully. 

4 That 's not my name,' he explained, 'my 
name is Peter Pan.' 

109 



PETER'S GOAT 

1 Yes, of course,' she said, <I know, every- 
body knows.' 

You can't think how pleased Peter 
was to learn that all the people out- 
side the gates knew about him. He 
begged Maimie to tell him what they 
knew and what they said, and she did 
so. They were sitting by this time on a 
fallen tree; Peter had cleared off the 
snow for Maimie, but he sat on a snowy 
bit himself. 

< Squeeze closer/ Maimie said. 

'What is that! ' he asked, and she showed 
him, and then he did it. They talked 
together and he found that people knew a 
great deal about him, but not everything, 
not that he had gone back to his mother 
and been barred out, for instance, and he 
said nothing of this to Maimie, for it still 
humiliated him. 

'Do they know that I play games exactly 

like real boys?' he asked very proudly. 

'O Maimie, please tell them!' But when 

he revealed how he played, by sailing his 

110 



PETER'S GOAT 

hoop on the Round Pond, and so on, she 
was simply horrified. 

( All your ways of playing, ' she said with 
her big eyes on him, ' are quite, quite 
wrong, and not in the least like how boys 
play.' 

Poor Peter uttered a little moan at this, 
and he cried for the first time for I know 
not how long. Maimie was extremely sorry 
for him, and lent him her handkerchief, 
but he didn't know in the least what to 
do with it, so she showed him, that is to 
say, she wiped her eyes, and then gave it 
back to him, saying, < Now you do it,' but 
instead of wiping his own eyes he wiped 
hers, and she thought it best to pretend 
that this was what she had meant. 

She said out of pity for him, *I shall 
give you a kiss if you like,' but though he 
once knew, he had long forgotten what 
kisses are, and he replied, < Thank you,' 
and held out his hand, thinking she had 
offered to put something into it. This was 
a great shock to her, but she felt she 

111 



PETER'S GOAT 

could not explain without shaming him, so 
with charming delicacy she gave Peter a 
thimble which happened to be in her pocket, 
and pretended that it was a kiss. Poor 
little boy! he quite believed her, and to 
this day he wears it on his finger, though 
there can be scarcely any one who needs 
a thimble so little. You see, though still 
a tiny child, it was really years and years 
since he had seen his mother, and I dare 
say the baby who had supplanted him was 
now a man with whiskers. 

But you must not think that Peter Pan 
was a boy to pity rather than to admire ; 
if Maimie began by thinking this, she soon 
found she was very much mistaken. Her 
eyes glistened with admiration when he told 
her of his adventures, especially of how he 
went to and fro between the island and 
the Gardens in the Thrush's Nest: 

1 How romantic ! ' Maimie exclaimed, but 
this was another unknown word, and he 
hung his head thinking she was despising 
him. 
112 



PETEK'S GOAT 

4 1 suppose Tony would not have done 
that I ' he said very humbly. 

4 Xever, never ! ' she answered with con- 
viction, * he would have been afraid.' 

4 What is afraid ? ' asked Peter longingly. 
He thought it must be some splendid thing. 
*I do wish you would teach me how to be 
afraid, Maimie,' he said. 

*I believe no one could teach that to 
/ou,' she answered adoringly, but Peter 
thought she meant that he was stupid. She 
had told him about Tony and of the wicked 
thing she did in the dark to frighten him 
(she knew quite well that it was wicked), 
but Peter misunderstood her meaning and 
said, <Oh, how I wish I was as brave as 
Tony ! ' 

It quite irritated her. c You are twenty 
thousand times braver than Tony.' she 
said; 'you are ever so much the bravest 
boy I ever knew.' 

He could scarcely believe she meant it, 
but when he did believe he screamed with 

joy- 
US 



< And if you want very much to give me 
a kiss,' Maimie said, you can do it.' 

Very reluctantly Peter began to take the 
thimble off his finger. He thought she 
wanted it back. 

< I don't mean a kiss,' sh said hurriedly, 
' 1 mean a thimble.' 

1 What's that I "Peter asked. 

* It 's like this,' she said, and kissed him. 

<I should love to give you a thimble,' 
Peter said gravely, so he gave her one. He 
gave her quite a number of thimbles, and 
then a delightful idea came into his head. 
* Maimie,' he said, ' will you marry me f ' 

Now, strange to tell, the same idea had 
come at exactly the same time into Maimie's 
head. <I should like to,' she answered, 
'but will there be room in your boat for 
two!' 

4 If you squeeze close,' he said eagerly. 

4 Perhaps the birds would be angry ? ' 

He assured her that the birds would 
love to have her, though I am not so certain 
of it myself. Also that there were very 
114 



PETER'S GOAT 

few birds in winter. ' Of course they might 
want your clothes,' he had to admit rather 
falteringly. 

She was somewhat indignant at this. 

' They are always thinking of their nests,' 
he said apologetically, 'and there are some 
bits of you' he stroked the fur on her 
pelisse 'that would excite them very 
much.' 

1 They shan't have my fur,' she said 
sharply. 

4 No,' he said, still fondling it, however, 
6 no. O Maimie,' he said rapturously, 'do 
you know why I love you? It is because 
you are like a beautiful nest.' 

Somehow this made her uneasy. 'I think 
you are speaking more like a bird than a 
boy now,' she said, holding back, and indeed 
he was even looking rather like a bird. 
' After all,' she said, 'you are only a Betwixt- 
and-Between.' But it hurt him so much 
that she immediately added, 'It must be a 
delicious thing to be.' 

'Come and be one, then, dear Maimie,' 

115 



PETER'S GOAT 

he implored her, and they set off for the 
boat, for it was now very near Open-Gate 
time. 'And you are not a bit like a nest,' 
he whispered to please her. 

' But I think it is rather nice to be like 
one,' she said in a woman's contradictory 
way. 'And, Peter, dear, though I can't 
give them my fur, I wouldn't mind their 
building in it. Fancy a nest in my neck 
with little spotty eggs in it ! O Peter, how 
perfectly lovely ! ' 

But as they drew near the Serpentine, 
she shivered a little, and said, 'Of course 
I shall go and see mother often, quite often. 
It is not as if I was saying good-bye for 
ever to mother, it is not in the least like 
that.' 

'Oh no,' answered Peter, but in his heart 
he knew it was very like that, and he would 
have told her so had he not been in a 
quaking fear of losing her. He was so fond 
of her, he felt he could not live without 
her. ' She will forget her mother in time, 
and be happy with me,' he kept saying to 
116 



PETER'S GOAT 

himself, and he hurried her on, giving her 
thimbles by the way. 

But even when she had seen the boat 
and exclaimed ecstatically over its loveli- 
ness, she still talked tremblingly about her 
mother. 'You know quite well, Peter, 
don't you,' she said, 'that I wouldn't come 
unless I knew for certain I could go back 
to mother whenever I want to I Peter, 
say it.' 

He said it, but he could no longer look 
her in the face. 

'If you are sure your mother will always 
want you,' he added rather sourly. 

'The idea of mother's not always wanting 
me ! ' Maimie cried, and her face glistened. 

'If she doesn't bar you out,' said Peter 
huskily. 

' The door,' replied Maimie, ' will always, 
always be open, and mother will always be 
waiting at it for me.' 

'Then,' said Peter, not without grimness, 
'step in, if you feel so sure of her,' and 
he helped Mamie into the Thrush's Nest. 

117 



PETER'S GOAT 

1 But why don't you look at me?' she asked, 
taking him by the arm. 

Peter tried hard not to look, he tried 
to push off, then he gave a great gulp and 
jumped ashore and sat down miserably in 
the snow. 

She went to him. * What is it, dear, dear 
Peter? ' she said, wondering. 

<O Maimie,' he cried, 'it isn't fair to 
take you with me if you think you can go 
back! Your mother' he gulped again 
4 you don't know them as well as I do.' 

And then he told her the woeful story 
of how he had been barred out, and she 
gasped all the time. 'But my mother,' she 
said, t my mother ' 

' Yes, she would,' said Peter, * they are all 
the same. I dare say she is looking for 
another one already.' 

Maimie said aghast, l l can't believe it. 
You see, when you went away your mother 
had none, but my mother has Tony, and 
surely they are satisfied when they have 



one.' 



118 



PETER'S GOAT 

Peter replied bitterly, <You should see 
the letters Solomon gets from ladies who 
have six.' 

Just then they heard a grating creak, 
followed by creak, creak, all round the 
Gardens. It was the Opening of the Gates, 
and Peter jumped nervously into his boat. 
He knew Maimie would not come with him 
now, and he was trying bravely not to cry. 
But Maimie was sobbing painfully. 

4 If I should be too late,' she said in 
agony, <O Peter, if she has got another 
one already ! ' 

Again he sprang ashore as if she had 
called him back. ' I shall come and look 
for you to-night,' he said, squeezing close, 
' but if you hurry away I think you will be 
in time.' 

Then he pressed a last thimble on her 
sweet little mouth, and covered his face 
with his hands so that he might not see 
her go. 

'Dear Peter !' she cried. 

* Dear Maimie ! ' cried the tragic boy. 

119 



PETER'S GOAT 

She leapt into his arms, so that it was 
a sort of fairy wedding, and then she 
hurried away. Oh, how she hastened to 
the gates! Peter, you may be sure, was 
back in the Gardens that night as soon as 
Lock-out sounded, but he found no Maimie, 
and so he knew she had been in time. 
For long he hoped that some night she 
would come back to him ; often he thought 
he saw her waiting for him by the shore 
of the Serpentine as his bark drew to land, 
but Maimie never went back. She wanted 
to, but she was afraid that if she saw her 
dear Betwixt-and-Between again she would 
linger with him too long, and besides the 
ayah now kept a sharp eye on her. But she 
often talked lovingly of Peter, and she knitted 
a kettle-holder for him, and one day when 
she was wondering what Easter present he 
would like, her mother made a suggestion. 

* Nothing,' she said thoughtfully, < would 
be so useful to him as a goat.' 

* He could ride on it,' cried Maimie, < and 
play on his pipe at the same time.' 

120 



PETER'S GOAT 

* Then,' her mother asked, ' won't you give 
him your goat, the one you frighten Tony 
with at night?' 

4 But it isn't a real goat,' M aimie said. 

' It seems very real to Tony,' replied her 
mother. 

4 It seems frightfully real to me too,' 
Maimie admitted, 'but how could I give 
it to Peter V 

Her mother knew a way, and next day, 
accompanied by Tony (who was really quite 
a nice boy, though of course he could not 
compare), they went to the Gardens, and 
Maimie stood alone within a fairy ring, and 
then her mother, who was a rather gifted 
lady, said 

' My daughter, tell me, if you can, 
What have you got for Peter Pan?* 

To which Maimie replied 

e I have a goat for him to ride, 
Observe me cast it far and wide! 

She then flung her arms about as if she 

121 



PETER'S GOAT 

were sowing seed, and turned round three 
times. 

Next Tony said 

c If P. doth find it waiting here, 
Wilt ne'er again make me to fear?' 

And Maimie answered 

c By dark or light I fondly swear 
Never to see goats anywhere.' 

She also left a letter to Peter in a likely 
place, explaining what she had done, and 
begging him to ask the fairies to turn the 
goat into one convenient for riding on. 
Well, it all happened just as she hoped, 
for Peter found the letter r and of course 
nothing could be easier for the fairies than 
to turn the goat into a real one, and so 
that is how Peter got the goat on which 
he now rides round the Gardens every 
night playing sublimely on his pipe. And 
Maimie kept her promise, and never fright- 
ened Tony with a goat again, though I have 
heard that she created another animal. 
122 



PETER'S GOAT 

Until she was quite a big girl she continued 
to leave presents for Peter in the Gardens 
(with letters explaining how humans play 
with them), and she is not the only one 
who has done this. David does it, for 
instance, and he and I know the likeliest 
place for leaving them in, and we shall 
tell you if you like, but for mercy's sake 
don't ask us before Porthos, for he is so 
fond of toys that, were he to find out the 
place, he would take every one of them. 

Though Peter still remembers Maimie 
he is become as gay as ever, and often in 
sheer happiness he jumps off his goat and 
lies kicking merrily on the grass. Oh, he 
has a joyful time ! But he has still a vague 
memory that he was a human once, and it 
makes him especially kind to the house- 
swallows when they visit the island, for 
house-swallows are the spirits of little chil- 
dren who have died. They always build in 
the eaves of the houses where they lived 
when they were humans, and sometimes 
they try to fly in at a nursery window, 

123 



PETER'S GOAT 

and perhaps that is why Peter loves them 
best of all the birds. 

And the little house? Every lawful 
night (that is to say, every night except 
ball nights) the fairies now build the little 
house lest there should be a human child 
lost in the Gardens, and Peter rides the 
marches looking for lost ones, and if he 
finds them he carries them on his goat to 
the little house, and when they wake up 
they are in it, and when they step out 
they see it. The fairies build the house 
merely because it is so pretty, but Peter 
rides round in memory of Maimie, and 
because he still loves to do just as he 
believes real boys would do. 

But you must not think that, because 
somewhere among the trees the little house 
is twinkling, it is a safe thing to remain in 
the Gardens after Lock-out time. If the 
bad ones among the fairies happen to be 
out that night they will certainly mischief 
you, and even though they are not, you 
may perish of cold and dark before Peter 
124 



PETER'S GOAT 

Pan comes round. He has been too late 
several times, and when he sees he is too 
late he runs back to the Thrush's Nest 
for his paddle, of which Maimie had told 
him the true use, and he digs a grave for 
the child and erects a little tombstone, 
and carves the poor thing's initials on it. 
He does this at once because he thinks 
it is what real boys would do, and you 
must have noticed the little stones, and 
that there are always two together. He 
puts them in twos because they seem less 
lonely. I think that quite the most touch- 
ing sight in the Gardens is the two tomb- 
stones of Walter Stephen Matthews and 
Phoebe Phelps. They stand together at 
the spot where the parish of Westminster 
St. Mary's is said to meet the Parish of 
Paddington. Here Peter found the two 
babes, who had fallen unnoticed from 
their perambulators, Phoebe aged thirteen 
months and Walter probably still younger, 
for Peter seems to have felt a delicacy 
about putting any age on his stone. They 

125 



PETEK'S GOAT 

lie side by side, and the simple inscrip- 
tions read 



w. 




13a 




and 


P.P. 


St. M. 




1841. 



David sometimes places white flowers on 
these two innocent graves. 

But how strange for parents, when they 
hurry into the Gardens at the opening of 
the gates looking for their lost one, to 
find the sweetest little tombstone instead. 
I do hope that Peter is not too ready with 
his spade. It is all rather sad. 



120 



SECT. JUL29 



PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE 
CARDS OR SLIPS FROM THIS POCKET 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY 



PR Barrie, J.M. (James Matthew) 

Peter Pan in Kensington 
gardens 
1918