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SCENE
5






The
Scene is the night nursery again, and everything is as before. It is again early
evening. the window is open. In arm chair by the fire Mrs Darling sits dozing.
Nana lies asleep at foot of Wendy's bed — on the bed. The children's pyjamas
are airing on fender. The light is on. Mrs D is dreaming of her children.




  MRS
D.
(starting up in transport of delight): Wendy, John, Alexander
— my children! (Nana jumps off bed — Mrs D. realises it is only
a dream.)
Oh, Nana, it is only a dream! (Sits again.) I dreamt my
children had come back! (Nana sits beside her and puts a paw on her lap —
Mrs D. sees night-clothes on fender.)
You have put their night-things out
again! Oh, Nana, it has touched my heart to see you do that night after night,
as if you expected my children to come back — but they will never come
back! (They weep together, using the same handkerchief — enter Helen
R.)


  HELEN:
Nana's dinner is served. (Exit Nana sedately R.)


  MRS
D.
: Is the master's own dinner ready yet, Helen?


  HELEN
(pointing to a bowl on table): It's there.


  MRS
D.
(with gentle reproof): On the table! Why not put it in the
only place where you know he will take it? (Helen indignantly puts the bowl
on floor.)
And his water dish? (Helen pushes dog's water dish near the
bowl & puts a bottle of stout beside it.)


  HELEN
(bursting forth): I want to give notice!


  MRS
D.
(pained): Oh, Helen — is it the stairs?


  HELEN:
No. Ma'am, it's the master. A master as lives in a dog-kennel!


  MRS
D.
: Out of remorse, Helen.


  HELEN:
And goes to his office in a kennel — on top of a cab — with all
the street-boys running along side cheering! (Cheers outside.) There!
That's him come back!




(Enter
a cabby and a street-hoist carrying kennel in which is Mr Darling in his office
clothes. They are exhausted, but he is in imperturbable good humour.




  DARLING:
Thank you, my men. (They exeunt — he addresses wife gaily from kennel.)
Ah, old lady, got any little trifle for me? (She stoops and gives him a kiss.)
That's right, Helen, if you will be so good. (Taking off coat and
silk hat and giving them to her while she gives him a house jacket — more
cheering.)
Listen to them! It's very gratifying!


  HELEN:
Lot of little boys!


  DARLING:
There are several adults today.


  HELEN:
Poof! (Exits scornfully.)


  DARLING:
Jealous cat! (He falls to with relish on his meal, supping from bowl with
spoon — in basin is a saucer from which he drinks.)


  MRS
D.
(sitting on a low stool beside him): What sort of day have
you had, George?


  DARLING:
Superb! There was never less than a hundred running along side the cab and when
we were passing the Stock Exchange the whole of the members came out and cheered
me. They simply would have a speech.


  MRS
D.
: I am so proud, dear.


  DARLING:
The papers are finding me out — seven interviewers! And a deputation of
ladies, so affected by my receiving them in the kennel that they wept. Twelve
autograph books and six invitations to dinner from leaders of society, all saying
"Do come in the kennel." I think you've married pretty well, Mary, pretty
well — ah? — ha? ah?


  MRS
D.
: I do hope your head won't be turned, George.


  DARLING:
If I had been a weak man, my dear — good heavens, if I had been a weak
man! Where's my pipe — where's my backy? I never knew such a kennel! (Finds
them in it — lights pipe.)
Ah! Mary, we should never have been such
celebrities if the children hadn't flown away. How strangely things turn out
for the best.


  MRS
D.
: Oh, George, you are sorry the children have gone, aren't you?


  DARLING:
Sorry! Isn't all this dreadful punishment for them!


  MRS
D.
: You are sure it is punishment, George? You are sure you are
not enjoying it, dear?


  DARLING:
Mary, how can you?


  MRS
D.
: Forgive me, dear one.


  DARLING:
There, there! And now I feel like a snooze. Won't you play me to sleep on the
nursery piano?


  MRS
D.
(rising): Very well.


  DARLING:
And shut that window. I feel a draught.


  MRS
D.
: Oh, George, never ask me to do that. The window must always be left
open for them. (Hesitating.) George, those ladies who wept over you —
you didn't kiss them, did you?


  DARLING:
My love, they kept asking for something to remember me by — and I am a
poor man.




(Mrs
D. exits into day nursery, from which unseen she is heard playing
Home Sweet
Home — Darling retires into kennel and sleeps. The music goes on while
Wendy, John and Alexander enter by window — Wendy and John in suppressed
excitement — Alex dazed.)




  ALEX
(speaking in a low voice, as the others do also): John, I think I have
been here before.


  JOHN:
It's your home, you silly.


  WENDY:
There is your old bed, Alexander.


  ALEX:
I had nearly forgotten.


  JOHN:
I say! The kennel!


  WENDY:
How odd! Perhaps Nana's in it.


  JOHN
(peeping): There's a man asleep in it.


  WENDY:
It's Father.


  JOHN:
So it is!


  ALEX:
Let me see Father. He's not so big as the pirate I killed.


  JOHN:
Wendy, surely Father didn't use to sleep in a kennel?


  WENDY:
Oh, John, I'm so afraid that perhaps we don't remember the old life as well
as we thought we did!


  JOHN
(chilled): It's very careless of Mother not to be here when we come back.


  WENDY:
H'sh! (Pointing through door L.) That's her playing.


  ALEX
(looking): Who is that lady?


  JOHN:
It's Mother.


  ALEX:
Then are you not really our mother, Wendy?


  WENDY:
Oh dear! It was quite time we came back.


  JOHN:
Let's creep in and put our hands over her eyes.


  WENDY:
No, she mustn't know we are back all at once. Let us break it to her gently.



(She whispers a plan to them — then all get
into their own beds and cover selves with the clothes except their heads. They
lie with eyes open exulting till music stops — then at sign from Wendy
they shut eyes and pretend to sleep — Enter Mrs D. R.)




  MRS
D.
(softly): Are you asleep, George? (She sees Wendy in bed
and puts her hand to her heart, for she does not believe that is is really Wendy
— she repeats same action on seeing John and Alex — she looks away
from them.)
I see them in their beds — so often — in my dreams
— that I seem still to see them when I am awake, and all the time I know
they are not there. (Sits C.) I'll not look again. So often in my dreams
their silver voices call me.


  WENDY
(softly): Mother!


  MRS
D.
(without looking — mournfully): That's Wendy!


  JOHN
(softly): Mother!


  MRS
D.
: Now it's John!


  ALEX
(softly): Mother!


  MRS
D.
: Now little Alexander! (As they speak they sit up with outstretched
arms, but she is not looking at them.)
And when they call I stretch out
my arms to them (does so — brings arms together, drops them), but
they never come. They never come!




(Again
her arms are outstretched — the children have risen & stolen towards
her. Wendy slips into the space between her arms, then John then Alex, so that
her arms close on the three of them — Rapture, or possibly there may be
a dramatic song here.)




  CHILDREN:
Mother, Mother, Mother!


  MRS
D.
: It can't be true!


  ALEX:
Mummy, pinch me and I'll pinch you — and so you see it's true. (Repeated
endearments — Darling peeps out of kennel.)


  MRS
D.
: George, they have come back!


  WENDY:
Father, why are you in the kennel?


  DARLING:
It's a long story Wendy, but —


  WENDY:
If it's very long, Father, we'll excuse your telling it, but do come out! (He
is reluctant.)


  MRS
D.
: George! (She makes the sounds with which one wheedles a dog —
so do the others. John whistles — Darling slowly emerges with some straw
sticking on him.)


  DARLING
(feeling awkward): I feel as if I were standing on my hind legs.


  MRS
D.
: Dear, the children are waiting.


  DARLING:
One moment, while I say goodbye to an old friend. (Looking at kennel.)
In those days of hard competition, it was rather jolly in there. (Putting
hand on kennel.)
Old friend — old home — never again! (Stretching
out arms.)
My children! (Embraces them — Nana enters R.)


  CHILDREN:
Nana, it's yours again. (Nana joyfully goes into kennel — looks out
with French novel in mouth.)


 *DARLING
(taking it): Thank you.


  JOHN:
Father, we've had such adventures!


  ALEX:
I killed a pirate, father!


  DARLING
(a little bitterly): Alexander will sign the autograph books now!


  TOOTLES
(appearing at Wendy): Wendy — we can't hold on to the spout any
longer.


  MRS
D.
(startled): Why — who — what —


  WENDY:
It's all right, Mummy, they are just a few motherless boys we have brought back
with us.


  MRS
D.
: But, my love —


  WENDY:
Come in, boys. (All come in hat in hand and carrying their bundles —
they stand timidly in a respectful row.)
Boys, this is my mother.


  SLIGHTLY:
She's a beauty!


  TOOTLES:
I choose that one — which one do you choose, Nibs?


  NIBS:
That one. Which one do you choose, Curly?


  CURLY:
That one. Twin, which —


  WENDY:
Boys, I'm very disappointed in you after all I've told you. You don't choose
a real mother — you — you just get her. Isn't that the way, Father?


  DARLING:
That's the usual way, boys, and if you will — ah — sit down —


  TOOTLES:
Please, sir, we think Peter wouldn't like us to sit down till he tells us?


  DARLING:
Peter? Is there another one?


  WENDY:
Oh yes, Father, and he's frightfully important. (The noise of a great
crowd is heard without — Darling runs to window & looks out.)


  DARLING:
The street is crowded with ladies — all trying to get in at our door!


  WENDY:
That's the beautiful mothers. We advertised that if the twenty most beautiful
mothers would come to this house they would hear something to their advantage.


  DARLING:
Twenty! There are thousands of them. Helen and the cook are charging them with
brooms, and some of them are not so beautiful as they were. There's a little
boy, what's he doing?


  WENDY:
That's Peter, and he's picking out the twenty prettiest ones. Of course you'll
be careful what you say to Peter — he doesn't lilke to be contradicted.


  DARLING:
I shall be very careful.


  WENDY:
And Mummy, Peter thinks he knows all about mothers but he — he doesn't.
I shall really find their mothers for them, but I must pretend
to think it's he who finds.


  MRS
D.
: Very well, Wendy — I know the kind of man. Wendy, shall I give
Peter a kiss?


  WENDY:
He calls kisses thimbles. But I think, Mother, it would be better — perhaps
— to let him take the first step. (Helen enters R.)


  HELEN:
Captain Pan. (Enter Peter importantly.)


  DARLING:
Proud to see you here, Captain.


  PETER:
Thank you. Is this your mother, Wendy?


  WENDY
(anxiously): Yes.


  PETER
(after examining her): I like her.


  WENDY
(relieved): You can do it now, Mummy. (Mrs D kisses him.)


  PETER:
Thank you, Granny.


  MRS
D.
: Granny?


  PETER:
You are my granny, aren't you? Wendy's my mother, you know.


  DARLING:
No, we didn't know. Then I


  PETER:
You're Grandpa.


  DARLING:
Oh!


  PETER:
We're all ready, Wendy — stand back everybody — I'm captain, you
see — servant, show them in.


  HELEN
(announcing): The Countess of Copley. (Enters countess — Peter
and Wendy shake hands with her like host and hostess.)


  NIBS:
Oh, what a lovely one — that's my one. Is that your one, Twin?


  FIRST
TWIN
: Yes, she is loveley, is that —


  PETER:
Silence — over there, lady. (Points to back L. children being back
R.)


  HELEN:
Mrs Fitz Reynolds. (Business repeated as this lady enters.) Madame Villion.
(Third enters.) Lady Eliza Verral. (Fourth enters.)


  SLIGHTLY:
That's mine — Tootles you mustn't speak to me when I'm a lord.


  PETER:
Silence.


  HELEN:
Mrs William P. Danks. (Fifth enters.) Prefers to remain anonymous. (Sixth
enters.)


  PETER:
You needn't say their names, servant. (The remainder of the twenty are ushered
in and go up L. so that Wendy and Peter have down stage and especially L. down
stage to themselves.)
Now ladies you are not to say a woard — I'm
captain. (To Wendy.) What next?


  WENDY
(whispers): Those who are not affected by the sight of baby clothes can't
be fine mothers.


  PETER:
Oh, yes. (To boys.) Baby clothes! (Boys display contents of their
bundles — Peter and Wendy watch affect on mothers — most are affected,
cry "oh" &c.)
That green one's not affected.


  WENDY:
Nor the little one.


  TOOTLES:
Peter, the yellow one is just yawninig!


  PETER:
You green one, you yellow one, and you little one, come here. (They step
forward.)
You are not true mothers — the door! Servant! (The three
indignant are shown out.)
Curly, come. (Curly steps forward.) What
next?


  WENDY:
A true mother always thinks her own boy the prettiest, so the one who thinks
Curly the prettiest, that one will be his mother.


  PETER:
The lady who thinks this boy the prettiest, forward. (Four ladies come.)
Four of them!


  WENDY
(aside to Peter): A true mother has shiny eyes when she looks at her
offspring.


  PETER:
Oho! All you four look hard at Curly. (They do so.) Harder — harder!
(Their eyes nearly stand out of their heads. Peter and Wendy examine them.)
You one — and you one who don't have shiny eyes — go away! Servant!
(Two exeunt.) There's two yet!


  WENDY
(after thinking hard) Curly, lie down on that bed — and sleep.
(He does so — to ladies.) Now we want to see you give that sleeping
boy a — a thimble.


  ONE
LADY
: A thimble?


  PETER:
It's like this. (Kisses her.)


  LADY:
Oh! (She gives Curly such a smack of a kiss that he sits up.)


  PETER:
That's her, that's Curly's one.


  TOOTLES:
Curly's got his!


  WENDY:
Wait! This other one must get her chance. Sleep again, Curly. (He does so.)
Now! (Second lady kisses Curly so softly that he doesn't open his eyes.)
There! (Peter is puzzled. Wendy whispers to him.)


  PETER:
Oh! (Publicly.) You see this lady gave him a smack that wakened him —
but a true mother does it without wakening him. (To first lady.) Go away,
lady. (She goes — to Curly.) Curly, this is you mother —
lady, this is your long lost son. Go and hug him in the day nursery. (Lady
exits L. with brave Curly and other boys cheer.)
Nibs next. (Nibs comes
down.)
Come here those who think Nibs the prettiest. (Three come.)
The others turn your backs. (They do so — to Wendy.) Shall we have
animal instincts this time?


  WENDY:
Yes


  PETER
(to ladies): Do animal instincts! (They are puzzled.) They're
not doing them.


  WENDY:
You forgot — the fire!


  PETER:
Oh! Nibs stand here. (Indicating inside fender — Nibs does so.)
Nibs is being burned! (All three rush forward and save him.) They all
did it, Wendy!


  WENDY
(whispering): You see any kind lady would do it if she wasn't
in danger herself, but — (Whispers.)


  PETER:
Yes! All stand here — you too, Nibs. (All get into fender.) You
are all being burned! Save yourselves! (Two rush out of danger, but the third
helps Nibs before herself.)
Nibs, this is your mother! (Waves them to
day nursery.)
You two, go home. (They exeunt — cheer from boys.)
Slightly next. (Slightly comes down hopefully.)


  WENDY:
Oh, you naughty Slightly, you have been biting your knuckles again — see
how they are bleeding!


  PETER:
Those who think Slightly is the prettiest, come. (Slightly is expectant,
but nobody comes.)
Oh!


  WENDY:
Oh dear! (Slightly nearly cries.)


  PETER:
Those who write their names on their children's clothes, come. (Lady Elizabeth
and another come.)


  SLIGHTLY
(proud of Lady El): I knew that was my one, Peter, shall she take me
into the day nursery and hug me?


  PETER:
Silence! wendy, what next?


  WENDY
(whispering): His knuckles are bleeding. Now a true mother would know
at once if her boy's knuckles were bleeding.


  PETER
(to the two): Do you notice anything about Slightly? (They notice
nothing.)
Go away. (They exeunt.) It's not going to do this time,
Wendy.


  WENDY:
Oh dear! Slightly, walk past those other ladies — just in case it should
be one of them. (Slightly does so — in vain — he is a forlorn
figure.)
It's very disappointing, Peter.


  PETER:
Servant, put this boy out.


  HELEN
(about to do so): Oh, Miss Wendy, his poor little knuckles are bleeding!


  PETER
(quickly): When did you see they were bleeding?


  HELEN:
I didn't see it — I just feel it in my bones.


  PETER:
Servant, you are his mother! Day nursery! (They go.) First Twin next.
(First Twin comes.)


  WENDY:
Both twins!


  PETER:
We can't do more than one at a time.


  WENDY
(not knowing how to explain): Oh dear!


  PETER:
Come here those who think this boy the prettiest. (One comes.) There's
just one, so she's your mother. Lady, take him into the day nursery. (She
is going.)
Second Twin. (Second Twin comes.)


  WENDY:
But, Peter, we — they are twins, you know.


  PETER:
Of course they are twins.


  WENDY:
Yes, but you see — twins — it's so awkward to me to have to explain.
You know waht twins are, don't you, Peter?


  PETER:
Nobody really knows what twins are.


  WENDY:
Oh! Father!


  DARLING
(coming to her assistance): With regard to this suject, Captain, you
see, life is like this, sometimes it's one at a time, and sometimes it's two
at a time. Oh, if that doesn't make it clear to you I give up.


  WENDY:
Mummy!


  MRS
D.
: Peter, when a lady — Wendy, I can't, his innocence is so touching.


  WENDY:
Isn't it dear of him, Mummy, not to know? It's quite a woman's subject, isn't
it?


  PETER
(to stand no more nonsense): Those who think this boy the prettiest,
come.


  DARLING:
There will be a grave miscarriage of justice here. (The same lady comes with
First Twin.)


  PETER:
You've had one already. All turn backs. (They do so.) Wendy, she has
had the other twin but she's the only one who stepped forward, so what do you
say to pretending she's the second twin's mother too!


  WENDY:
Yes, Peter, yes!


  PETER:
Lady, you are the mother of both the twins. (She takes both L. to Peter's
entertainment.)
Oh, what a joke! Tootles is the last. (Tootles comes.)
Now all you ladies lie down on the beds and sleep. (The seven ladies left
do so.)
Now Tootles stand here and say in a whiper so low that nobody can
hear it, "Mother, I feel flushed!" But how can that help, Wendy?


  WENDY:
You see though a mother is sleeping ever so soundly if her boy says "I feel
flushed" it wakes her up at once.


  PETER:
Say it Tootles. (Tootles lips are seen saying it — three ladies start
up — Peter addresses the four who remain sleeping.)
Ladies, wake up
and go home. (The four exeunt.)


  WENDY:
Shoe now, Peter.


  PETER:
Oh, yes. Tootles — (Whispers to him — Tootles sits down and kicks
off one shoe — Peter addresses a lady.)
You, lady, put on Tootles'
shoe. (She does so — he again kicks it off — she puts it on —
this is repeated.)


  LADY
(angrily): Oh, I've lost patience with you.


  PETER:
Then you are not his mother — go.


  TOOTLES:
I'm very sorry for you, lady. (She goes.)


  PETER:
There's two yet. You can't have two mothers, can you?


  WENDY:
No, not in England.


  PETER:
Now, then, Tootles, go to these ladies, and box their ears hard.


  TOOTLES:
Oh Peter!


  PETER:
This is your last chance. (Tootles apparently cuffs a lady hard.)


  LADY
(taken aback indignantly): How dare you, boy!


  PETER:
Lady — (Signs the door — she goes.) I don't believe you are
to get one, Tootles — but try this lady.


  TOOTLES:
Peter, I don't know how it is, but I feel I can't hit tht one.


  PETER:
That shows she can't be your mother. (Tootles cuffs her — she is the
countess.)


  COUNTESS:
Oh, Tootles dear, I hope you haven't hurt you hand!


  WENDY:
She's his mother, Peter!


  PETER:
Tootles, you're a lord. That's them all, Wendy.


  DARLING:
Captain, I congratulate you heartily.


  PETER:
Thank you, Grandpa. (Darling winces.) Wendy, you didn't have to help
me a bit! I did it all myself!


  WENDY:
Yes, peter.




(Peter
crows — the happy mothers and their children return from R. — the
boys wrapped in cravats &c of John's — possibly song and dance here.)