They would sit there in the empty nursery, recalling fondly every smallest detail of that dreadful evening. It had begun so uneventfully, so precisely like a hundred other evenings, with Nana putting on the water for Michaels bath and carrying him to it on her back.
I wont go to bed, he had shouted, like one who still believed that he had the last word on the subject, I wont, I wont. Nana, it isnt six oclock yet. Oh dear, oh dear, I shant love you any more, Nana. I tell you I wont be bathed, I wont, I wont!
Then Mrs Darling had come in, wearing her white evening-gown. She had dressed early because Wendy so loved to see her in her evening-gown, with the necklace George had given her. She was wearing Wendys bracelet on her arm; she had asked for the loan of it. Wendy so loved to lend her bracelet to her mother.
She had found her two older children playing at being herself and father on the occasion of Wendys birth, and John was saying:
I am happy to inform you, Mrs Darling, that you are now a mother, in just such a tone as Mr Darling himself may have used on the real occasion.
Wendy had danced with joy, just as the real Mrs Darling must have done.
Then John was born, with the extra pomp that he conceived due to the birth of a male, and Michael came from his bath to ask to be born also, but John said brutally that they did not want any more.
Michael had nearly cried. Nobody wants me, he said, and of course the lady in evening-dress could not stand that.
I do, she said, I so want a third child.
Boy or girl? asked Michael, not too hopefully.
Then he had leapt into her arms. Such a little thing for Mr and Mrs Darling and Nana to recall now, but not so little if that was to be Michaels last night in the nursery.
They go on with their recollections.
It was then that I rushed in like a tornado, wasnt it? Mr Darling would say, scorning himself; and indeed he had been like a tornado.
Perhaps there was some excuse for him. He, too, had been dressing for the party, and all had gone well with him until he came to his tie. It is an astounding thing to have to tell, but this man, though he knew about stocks and shares, had no real mastery of his tie. Sometimes the thing yielded to him without a contest, but there were occasions when it would have been better for the house if he had swallowed his pride and used a made-up tie.
This was such an occasion. He came rushing into the nursery with the crumpled little brute of a tie in his hand.
Why, what is the matter, father dear?
Matter! he yelled; he really yelled. This tie, it will not tie. He became dangerously sarcastic. Not round my neck! Round the bedpost! Oh yes, twenty times have I made it up round the bedpost, but round my neck, no! Oh dear no! begs to be excused!
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|