Chapter III Come Away, Come Away

For a moment after Mr. and Mrs. Darling left the house the
night-lights by the beds of the three children continued to burn
clearly. They were awfully nice little night-lights, and one cannot
help wishing that they could have kept awake to see Peter; but Wendy’s
light blinked and gave such a yawn that the other two yawned also, and
before they could close their mouths all the three went out.
There was another light in the room now, a thousand times brighter
than the night-lights, and in the time we have taken to say this, it
has been in all the drawers in the nursery, looking for Peter’s
shadow, rummaged the wardrobe and turned every pocket inside out. It
was not really a light; it made this light by flashing about so
quickly, but when it came to rest for a second you saw it was a fairy,
no longer than your hand, but still growing. It was a girl called
Tinker Bell exquisitely gowned in a skeleton leaf, cut low and square,
through which her figure could be seen to the best advantage. She
was slightly inclined to embonpoint.
A moment after the fairy’s entrance the window was blown open by the
breathing of the little stars, and Peter dropped in. He had carried
Tinker Bell part of the way, and his hand was still messy with the
fairy dust.
“Tinker Bell,” he called softly, after making sure that the children
were asleep. “Tink, where are you?” She was in a jug for the moment,
and liking it extremely; she had never been in a jug before.
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 5}
“Oh, do come out of that jug, and tell me, do you know where they
put my shadow?”
The loveliest tinkle as of golden bells answered him. It is the
fairy language. You ordinary children can never hear it, but if you
were to hear it you would know that you had heard it once before.
Tink said that the shadow was in the big box. She meant the chest of
drawers, and Peter jumped at the drawers, scattering their contents to
the floor with both hands, as kings toss ha’pence to the crowd. In a
moment he had recovered his shadow, and in his delight he forgot
that he had shut Tinker Bell up in the drawer.
If he thought at all, but I don’t believe he ever thought, it was
that he and his shadow, when brought near each other, would join
like drops of water, and when they did not he was appalled. He tried
to stick it on with soap from the bathroom, but that also failed. A
shudder passed through Peter, and he sat on the floor and cried.
His sobs woke Wendy, and she sat up in bed. She was not alarmed to
see a stranger crying on the nursery floor; she was only pleasantly
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 10}
“Boy,” she said courteously, “why are you crying?”
Peter could be exceedingly polite also, having learned the grand
manner at fairy ceremonies, and he rose and bowed to her
beautifully. She was much pleased, and bowed beautifully to him from
the bed.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“Wendy Moira Angela Darling,” she replied with some satisfaction.
“What’s your name?”
“Peter Pan.”
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 15}
She was already sure that he must be Peter, but it did seem a
comparatively short name.
“Is that all?”
“Yes,” he said rather sharply. He felt for the first time that it
was a shortish name.
“I’m so sorry,” said Wendy Moira Angela.
“It doesn’t matter,” Peter gulped.
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 20}
She asked where he lived.
“Second to the right,” said Peter, “and then straight on till
“What a funny address!”
Peter had a sinking. For the first time he felt that perhaps it
was a funny address.
“No, it isn’t,” he said.
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 25}
“I mean,” Wendy said nicely, remembering that she was hostess, “is
that what they put on the letters?”
He wished she had not mentioned letters.
“Don’t get any letters,” he said contemptuously.
“But your mother gets letters?”
“Don’t have a mother,” he said. Not only had he no mother, but he
had not the slightest desire to have one. He thought them very
over-rated persons. Wendy, however, felt at once that she was in the
presence of a tragedy.
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 30}
“O Peter, no wonder you were crying,” she said, and got out of bed
and ran to him.
“I wasn’t crying about mothers,” he said rather indignantly. “I
was crying because I can’t get my shadow to stick on. Besides, I
wasn’t crying.”
“It has come off?”
Then Wendy saw the shadow on the floor, looking so draggled, and she
was frightfully sorry for Peter. “How awful!” she said, but she
could not help smiling when she saw that he had been trying to stick
it on with soap. How exactly like a boy!
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 35}
Fortunately she knew at once what to do. “It must be sewn on,” she
said, just a little patronisingly.
“What’s sewn?” he asked.
“You’re dreadfully ignorant.”
“No, I’m not.”
But she was exulting in his ignorance. “I shall sew it on for you,
my little man,” she said, though he was as tall as herself, and she
got out her house-wife, and sewed the shadow on to Peter’s foot.
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 40}
“I daresay it will hurt a little,” she warned him.
“Oh, I shan’t cry,” said Peter, who was already of opinion that he
had never cried in his life. And he clenched his teeth and did not
cry, and soon his shadow was behaving properly, though still a
little creased.
“Perhaps I should have ironed it,” Wendy said thoughtfully, but
Peter, boylike, was indifferent to appearances, and he was now jumping
about in the wildest glee. Alas, he had already forgotten that he owed
his bliss to Wendy. He thought he had attached the shadow himself.
“How clever I am!” he crowed rapturously, “oh, the cleverness of me!”
It is humiliating to have to confess that this conceit of Peter
was one of his most fascinating qualities. To put it with brutal
frankness, there never was a cockier boy.
But for the moment Wendy was shocked. “You conceit,” she
exclaimed, with frightful sarcasm; “of course I did nothing!”
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 45}
“You did a little,” Peter said carelessly, and continued to dance.
“A little!” she replied with hauteur. “If I am no use I can at least
withdraw,” and she sprang in the most dignified way into bed and
covered her face with the blankets.
To induce her to look up he pretended to be going away, and when
this failed he sat on the end of the bed and tapped her gently with
his foot. “Wendy,” he said, “don’t withdraw. I can’t help crowing,
Wendy, when I’m pleased with myself.” Still she would not look up,
though she was listening eagerly. “Wendy,” he continued, in a voice
that no woman has ever yet been able to resist, “Wendy, one girl is
more use than twenty boys.”
Now Wendy was every inch a woman, though there were not very many
inches, and she peeped out of the bed-clothes.
“Do you really think so, Peter?”
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 50}
“Yes, I do.”
“I think it’s perfectly sweet of you,” she declared, “and I’ll get
up again,” and she sat with him on the side of the bed. She also
said she would give him a kiss if he liked, but Peter did not know
what she meant, and he held out his hand expectantly.
“Surely you know what a kiss is?” she asked, aghast.
“I shall know when you give it to me,” he replied stiffly, and not
to hurt his feelings she gave him a thimble.
“Now,” said he, “shall I give you a kiss?” and she replied with a
slight primness, “If you please.” She made herself rather cheap by
inclining her face toward him, but he merely dropped an acorn button
into her hand, so she slowly returned her face to where it had been
before, and said nicely that she would wear his kiss on the chain
round her neck. It was lucky that she did put it on that chain, for it
was afterwards to save her life.
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 55}
When people in our set are introduced, it is customary for them to
ask each other’s age, and so Wendy, who always liked to do the correct
thing, asked Peter how old he was. It was not really a happy
question to ask him; it was like an examination paper that asks
grammar, when what you want to be asked is Kings of England.
“I don’t know,” he replied uneasily, “but I am quite young.” He
really knew nothing about it, he had merely suspicions, but he said at
a venture, “Wendy, I ran away the day I was born.”
Wendy was quite surprised, but interested; and she indicated in
the charming drawing-room manner, by a touch on her night-gown, that
he could sit nearer her.
“It was because I heard father and mother,” he explained in a low
voice, “talking about what I was to be when I became a man.” He was
extraordinarily agitated now. “I don’t want ever to be a man,” he said
with passion. “I want always to be a little boy and to have fun. So
I ran away to Kensington Gardens and lived a long long time among
the fairies.”
She gave him a look of the most intense admiration, and he thought
it was because he had run away, but it was really because he knew
fairies. Wendy had lived such a home life that to know fairies
struck her as quite delightful. She poured out questions about them,
to his surprise, for they were rather a nuisance to him, getting in
his way and so on, and indeed he sometimes had to give them a
hiding. Still, he liked them on the whole, and he told her about the
beginning of fairies.
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 60}
“You see, Wendy, when the first baby laughed for the first time, its
laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping
about, and that was the beginning of fairies.”
Tedious talk this, but being a stay-at-home she liked it.
“And so,” he went on good-naturedly, “there ought to be one fairy
for every boy and girl.”
“Ought to be? Isn’t there?”
“No. You see children know such a lot now, they soon don’t believe
in fairies, and every time a child says, ‘I don’t believe in fairies,’
there is a fairy somewhere that falls down dead.”
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 65}
Really, he thought they had now talked enough about fairies, and
it struck him that Tinker Bell was keeping very quiet. “I can’t
think where she has gone to,” he said, rising, and he called Tink by
name. Wendy’s heart went flutter with a sudden thrill.
“Peter,” she cried, clutching him, “you don’t mean to tell me that
there is a fairy in this room!”
“She was here just now,” he said a little impatiently. “You don’t
hear her, do you?” and they both listened.
“The only sound I hear,” said Wendy, “is like a tinkle of bells.”
“Well, that’s Tink, that’s the fairy language. I think I hear her
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 70}
The sound came from the chest of drawers, and Peter made a merry
face. No one could ever look quite so merry as Peter, and the
loveliest of gurgles was his laugh. He had his first laugh still.
“Wendy,” he whispered gleefully, “I do believe I shut her up in
the drawer!”
He let poor Tink out of the drawer, and she flew about the nursery
screaming with fury. “You shouldn’t say such things,” Peter
retorted. “Of course I’m very sorry, but how could I know you were
in the drawer?”
Wendy was not listening to him. “O Peter,” she cried, “if she
would only stand still and let me see her!”
“They hardly ever stand still,” he said, but for one moment Wendy
saw the romantic figure come to rest on the cuckoo clock. “O the
lovely!” she cried, though Tink’s face was still distorted with
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 75}
“Tink,” said Peter amiably, “this lady says she wishes you were
her fairy.”
Tinker Bell answered insolently.
“What does she say, Peter?”
He had to translate. “She is not very polite. She says you are a
great ugly girl, and that she is my fairy.”
He tried to argue with Tink. “You know you can’t be my fairy,
Tink, because I am a gentleman and you are a lady.”
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 80}
To this Tink replied in these words, “You silly ass,” and
disappeared into the bathroom. “She is quite a common fairy,” Peter
explained apologetically, “she is called Tinker Bell because she mends
the pots and kettles.”
They were together in the armchair by this time, and Wendy plied him
with more questions.
“If you don’t live in Kensington Gardens now-”
“Sometimes I do still.”
“But where do you live mostly now?”
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 85}
“With the lost boys.”
“Who are they?”
“They are the children who fall out of their perambulators when
the nurse is looking the other way. If they are not claimed in seven
days they are sent far away to the Neverland to defray expenses. I’m
“What fun it must be!”
“Yes,” said cunning Peter, “but we are rather lonely. You see we
have no female companionship.”
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 90}
“Are none of the others girls?”
“Oh no; girls, you know, are much too clever to fall out of their
This flattered Wendy immensely. “I think,” she said, “it is
perfectly lovely the way you talk about girls; John there just
despises us.”
For reply Peter rose and kicked John out of bed, blankets and all;
one kick. This seemed to Wendy rather forward for a first meeting, and
she told him with spirit that he was not captain in her house.
However, John continued to sleep so placidly on the floor that she
allowed him to remain there. “And I know you meant to be kind,” she
said, relenting, “so you may give me a kiss.”
For the moment she had forgotten his ignorance about kisses. “I
thought you would want it back,” he said a little bitterly, and
offered to return her thimble.
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 95}
“Oh dear,” said the nice Wendy, “I don’t mean a kiss, I mean a
“What’s that?”
“It’s like this.” She kissed him.
“Funny!” said Peter gravely. “Now shall I give you a thimble?”
“If you wish to,” said Wendy, keeping her head erect this time.
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 100}
Peter thimbled her, and almost immediately she screeched. “What is
it, Wendy?”
“It was exactly as if some one were pulling my hair.”
“That must have been Tink. I never knew her so naughty before.”
And indeed Tink was darting about again, using offensive language.
“She says she will do that to you, Wendy, every time I give you a
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 105}
“But why?”
“Why, Tink?”
Again Tink replied, “You silly ass.” Peter could not understand why,
but Wendy understood, and she was just slightly disappointed when he
admitted that he came to the nursery window not to see her but to
listen to stories.
“You see I don’t know any stories. None of the lost boys know any
“How perfectly awful,” Wendy said.
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 110}
“Do you know,” Peter asked, “why swallows build in the eaves of
houses? It is to listen to the stories. O Wendy, your mother was
telling you such a lovely story.”
“Which story was it?”
“About the prince who couldn’t find the lady who wore the glass
“Peter,” said Wendy excitedly, “that was Cinderella, and he found
her, and they lived happy ever after.”
Peter was so glad that he rose from the floor, where they had been
sitting, and hurried to the window. “Where are you going?” she cried
with misgiving.
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 115}
“To tell the other boys.”
“Don’t go Peter,” she entreated, “I know such lots of stories.”
Those were her precise words, so there can be no denying that it was
she who first tempted him.
He came back, and there was a greedy look in his eyes now which
ought to have alarmed her, but did not.
“Oh, the stories I could tell to the boys!” she cried, and then
Peter gripped her and began to draw her toward the window.
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 120}
“Let me go!” she ordered him.
“Wendy, do come with me and tell the other boys.”
Of course she was very pleased to be asked, but she said, “Oh
dear, I can’t. Think of mummy! Besides, I can’t fly.”
“I’ll teach you.”
“Oh, how lovely to fly.”
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 125}
“I’ll teach you how to jump on the wind’s back, and then away we
“Oo!” she exclaimed rapturously.
“Wendy, Wendy, when you are sleeping in your silly bed you might
be flying about with me saying funny things to the stars.”
“And, Wendy, there are mermaids.”
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 130}
“Mermaids! With tails?”
“Such long tails.”
“Oh,” cried Wendy, “to see a mermaid!”
He had become frightfully cunning. “Wendy,” he said, “how we
should all respect you.”
She was wriggling her body in distress. It was quite as if she
were trying to remain on the nursery floor.
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 135}
But he had no pity for her.
“Wendy,” he said, the sly one, “you could tuck us in at night.”
“None of us has ever been tucked in at night.”
“Oo,” and her arms went out to him.
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 140}
“And you could darn our clothes, and make pockets for us. None of us
has any pockets.”
How could she resist. “Of course it’s awfully fascinating!” she
cried. “Peter, would you teach John and Michael to fly too?”
“If you like,” he said indifferently, and she ran to John and
Michael and shook them. “Wake up,” she cried, “Peter Pan has come
and he is to teach us to fly.”
John rubbed his eyes. “Then I shall get up,” he said. Of course he
was on the floor already. “Hallo,” he said, “I am up!”
Michael was up by this time also, looking as sharp as a knife with
six blades and a saw, but Peter suddenly signed silence. Their faces
assumed the awful craftiness of children listening for sounds from the
grown-up world. All was as still as salt. Then everything was right.
No, stop! Everything was wrong. Nana, who had been barking
distressfully all the evening, was quiet now. It was her silence
they had heard!
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 145}
“Out with the light! Hide! Quick!” cried John, taking command for
the only time throughout the whole adventure. And thus when Liza
entered, holding Nana, the nursery seemed quite its old self, very
dark, and you could have sworn you heard its three wicked inmates
breathing angelically as they slept. They were really doing it
artfully from behind the window curtains.
Liza was in a bad temper, for she was mixing the Christmas
puddings in the kitchen, and had been drawn away from them, with a
raisin still on her cheek, by Nana’s absurd suspicions. She thought
the best way of getting a little quiet was to take Nana to the nursery
for a moment, but in custody of course.
“There, you suspicious brute,” she said, not sorry that Nana was
in disgrace. “They are perfectly safe, aren’t they? Every one of the
little angels sound asleep in bed. Listen to their gentle breathing.”
Here Michael, encouraged by his success, breathed so loudly that
they were nearly detected. Nana knew that kind of breathing, and she
tried to drag herself out of Liza’s clutches.
But Liza was dense. “No more of it, Nana,” she said sternly, pulling
her out of the room. “I warn you if you bark again I shall go straight
for master and missus and bring them home from the party, and then,
oh, won’t master whip you, just.”
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 150}
She tied the unhappy dog up again, but do you think Nana ceased to
bark? Bring master and missus home from the party? Why, that was
just what she wanted. Do you think she cared whether she was whipped
so long as her charges were safe? Unfortunately Liza returned to her
puddings, and Nana, seeing that no help would come from her,
strained and strained at the chain until at last she broke it. In
another moment she had burst into the dining-room of 27 and flung up
her paws to heaven, her most expressive way of making a communication.
Mr. and Mrs. Darling knew at once that something terrible was
happening in their nursery, and without a good-bye to their hostess
they rushed into the street.
But it was now ten minutes since three scoundrels had been breathing
behind the curtains, and Peter Pan can do a great deal in ten minutes.
We now return to the nursery.
“It’s all right,” John announced, emerging from his hiding-place. “I
say, Peter, can you really fly?”
Instead of troubling to answer him Peter flew round the room, taking
the mantelpiece on the way.
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 155}
“How topping!” said John and Michael.
“How sweet!” cried Wendy.
“Yes, I’m sweet, oh, I am sweet!” said Peter, forgetting his manners
It looked delightfully easy, and they tried it first from the
floor and then from the beds, but they always went down instead of up.
“I say, how do you do it?” asked John, rubbing his knee. He was
quite a practical boy.
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 160}
“You just think lovely wonderful thoughts,” Peter explained, “and
they lift you up in the air.”
He showed them again.
“You’re so nippy at it,” John said, “couldn’t you do it very
slowly once?”
Peter did it both slowly and quickly. “I’ve got it now, Wendy!”
cried John, but soon he found he had not. Not one of them could fly an
inch, though even Michael was in words of two syllables, and Peter did
not know A from Z.
Of course Peter had been trifling with them, for no one can fly
unless the fairy dust has been blown on him. Fortunately, as we have
mentioned, one of his hands was messy with it, and he blew some on
each of them, with the most superb results.
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 165}
“Now just wriggle your shoulders this way,” he said, “and let go.”
They were all on their beds, and gallant Michael let go first. He
did not quite mean to let go, but he did it, and immediately he was
borne across the room.
“I flewed!” he screamed while still in mid-air. John let go and
met Wendy near the bathroom.
“Oh, lovely!”
“Oh, ripping!”
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 170}
“Look at me!”
“Look at me!”
“Look at me!”
They were not nearly so elegant as Peter, they could not help
kicking a little, but their heads were bobbing against the ceiling,
and there is almost nothing so delicious as that. Peter gave Wendy a
hand at first, but had to desist, Tink was so indignant.
Up and down they went, and round and round. Heavenly was Wendy’s
“I say,” cried John, “why shouldn’t we all go out!”
Of course it was to this that Peter had been luring them.
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 175}
Michael was ready: he wanted to see how long it took him to do a
billion miles. But Wendy hesitated.
“Mermaids!” said Peter again.
“And there are pirates.”
“Pirates,” cried John, seizing his Sunday hat, “let us go at once!”
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 180}
It was just at this moment that Mr. and Mrs. Darling hurried with
Nana out of 27. They ran into the middle of the street to look up at
the nursery window; and, yes, it was still shut, but the room was
ablaze with light, and most heart-gripping sight of all, they could
see in shadow on the curtain three little figures in night attire
circling round and round, not on the floor but in the air.
Not three figures, four!
In a tremble they opened the street door. Mr. Darling would have
rushed upstairs, but Mrs. Darling signed to him to go softly. She even
tried to make her heart go softly.
Will they reach the nursery in time? If so, how delightful for them,
and we shall all breathe a sigh of relief, but there will be no story.
On the other hand, if they are not in time, I solemnly promise that it
will all come right in the end.
They would have reached the nursery in time had it not been that the
little stars were watching them. Once again the stars blew the
window open, and that smallest star of all called out:
{CHAPTER_III ^paragraph 185}
“Cave, Peter!”
Peter knew that there was not a moment to lose. “Come,” he cried
imperiously, and soared out at once into the night, followed by John
and Michael and Wendy.
Mr. and Mrs. Darling and Nana rushed into the nursery too late.
The birds were flown.