Sometimes We Do
Have To Grow Up...
And then one night came the tragedy. It was the spring of the
year, and the story had been told for the night, and Jane was
now asleep in her bed. Wendy was sitting on the floor, very
close to the fire, so as to see to darn, for there was no other
light in the nursery; and while she sat darning she heard a
crow. Then the window blew open as of old, and Peter dropped
in on the
He was exactly the same as ever, and Wendy saw at once that
he still had all his first teeth. He was a little boy, and she
was grown up. She huddled by the fire not daring to move, helpless
and guilty, a big woman.
“Hullo, Wendy,” he said, not noticing any difference,
for he was thinking chiefly of himself; and in the dim light
her white dress might have been the nightgown in which he had
seen her first.
“Hullo, Peter,” she replied faintly, squeezing herself
as small as possible. Something inside her was crying “Woman,
Woman, let go of me.”
“Hullo, where is John?” he asked, suddenly missing
the third bed.
“John is not here now,” she gasped.
“Is Michael asleep?” he asked, with a careless glance
“Yes,” she answered; and now she felt that she was
untrue to Jane as well as to Peter.
“That is not Michael,” she said quickly, lest a
judgment should fall on her.
Peter looked. “Hullo, is it a new one?”
“Boy or girl?”
Now surely he would understand; but not a bit of it.
“Peter,” she said, faltering, “are you expecting
me to fly away with you?”
“Of course; that is why I have come.” He added a
little sternly, “Have you forgotten that this is spring
She knew it was useless to say that he had let many spring cleaning
“I can’t come,” she said apologetically, “I
have forgotten how to fly.”
“I’ll soon teach you again.”
“O Peter, don’t waste the fairy dust on me.”
She had risen; and now at last a fear assailed him. “What
is it?” he cried, shrinking.
“I will turn up the light,” she said, “and
then you can see for yourself.”
For almost the only time in his life that I know of, Peter was
afraid. “Don’t turn up the light,” he cried.
She let her hands play in the hair of the tragic boy. She was
not a little girl heart-broken about him; she was a grown woman
smiling at it all, but they were wet eyed smiles. Then she turned
up the light, and Peter saw. He gave a cry of pain; and when
the tall beautiful creature stooped to lift him in her arms
he drew back sharply.
“What is it?” he cried again.
She had to tell him.
“I am old, Peter. I am ever so much more than twenty.
I grew up long ago.”
“You promised not to!”
“I couldn’t help it. I am a married woman, Peter.”
“No, you’re not.”
“Yes, and the little girl in the bed is my baby.”
“No, she’s not.”
But he supposed she was; and he took a step towards the sleeping
child with his dagger upraised. Of course he did not strike.
He sat down on the floor instead and sobbed; and Wendy
did not know how to comfort him, though she could have done
it so easily once. She was only a woman now, and she ran out
of the room to try to think.
Peter continued to cry, and soon his sobs woke Jane. She sat
up in bed, and was interested at once.
“Boy,” she said, “why are you crying?”
Peter rose and bowed to her, and she bowed to him from the bed.
“Hullo,” he said.
“Hullo,” said Jane.
“My name is Peter Pan,” he told her.
“Yes, I know.”
“I came back for my mother,” he explained, “to
take her to the Neverland.”
“Yes, I know,” Jane said, “I have been waiting
When Wendy returned diffidently she found Peter sitting on the
bed-post crowing gloriously, while Jane in her nighty was flying
round the room in solemn ecstasy.
“She is my mother,” Peter explained; and Jane descended
and stood by his side, with the look in her face that he liked
to see on ladies when they gazed at him.
“He does so need a mother,” Jane said.
“Yes, I know.” Wendy admitted rather forlornly;
“no one knows it so well as I.”
from the ending of Peter & Wendy,
J.M. Barrie’s 1910 novelization
of his own 1904 play, Peter Pan: Or The Boy Who Would Not Grow