by J.M. Barrie
Excerpt from Chapter 1 “Peter Breaks Through”
Read by John Graves
For a week or two after Wendy came it was doubtful whether they would be able to
keep her, as she was another mouth to feed. Mr. Darling was frightfully proud of her, but
he was very honourable, and he sat on the edge of Mrs. Darling’s bed, holding her hand
and calculating expenses, while she looked at him imploringly. She wanted to risk it,
come what might, but that was not his way;his way was with a pencil and a piece of
paper, and if she confused him with suggestions he had to begin at the beginning again. “Now don’t interrupt,” he would beg of her.
“I have one pound seventeen here, and two and six at the office; I can cut off my coffee
at the office, say ten shillings, making two nine and six, with your eighteen and three
makes three nine seven, with five naught naught in my cheque-book makes eight nine
seven — who is that moving? — eight nine seven, dot and carry seven — don’t speak, my
own — and the pound you lent to that man who came to the door — quiet, child — dot and
carry child — there, you’ve done it! — did I say nine nine seven? yes, I said nine nine
seven; the question is, can we try it for a year on nine nine seven?”
“Of course we can, George,” she cried. But she was prejudiced in Wendy’s favour, and
he was really the grander character of the two.
“Remember mumps,” he warned her almost threateningly, and off he went again.
“Mumps one pound, that is what I have put down, but I daresay it will be more like thirty
shillings — don’t speak — measles one five, German measles half a guinea, makes two
fifteen six — don’t waggle your finger — whooping-cough, say fifteen shillings” — and so
on it went, and it added up differently each time;but at last Wendy just got through, with
mumps reduced to twelve six, and the two kinds of measles treated as one.
There was the same excitement over John, and Michael had even a narrower squeak; but
both were kept, and soon, you might have seen the three of them going in a row to Miss
Fulsom’s Kindergarten school, accompanied by their nurse.