The Happy Home

One important result of the brush on the lagoon was that it made the redskins their friends. Peter had saved Tiger Lily from a dreadful fate, and now there was nothing she and her braves would not do for him. All night they sat above, keeping watch over the home under the ground and awaiting the big attack by the pirates which obviously could not be much longer delayed. Even by day they hung about, smoking the pipe of peace, and looking almost as if they wanted tit-bits to eat.

They called Peter the Great White Father, prostrating themselves before him; and he liked this tremendously, so that it was not really good for him.

‘The Great White Father,’ he would say to them in a very lordly manner, as they grovelled at his feet, ‘is glad to see the Piccaninny warriors protecting his wigwam from the pirates.’

‘Me Tiger Lily,’ that lovely creature would reply. ‘Peter Pan save me, me his velly nice friend. Me no let pirates hurt him.’

She was far too pretty to cringe in this way, but Peter thought it his due, and he would answer condescendingly, ‘It is good. Peter Pan has spoken.’

Always when he said ‘Peter Pan has spoken’, it meant that they must now shut up, and they accepted it humbly in that spirit; but they were by no means so respectful to the other boys, whom they looked upon as just ordinary braves. They said ‘How-do?’ to them, and things like that; and what annoyed the boys was that Peter seemed to think this all right.

Secretly Wendy sympathized with them a little, but she was far too loyal a housewife to listen to any complaints against father. ‘Father knows best,’ she always said, whatever her private opinion must be. Her private opinion was that the redskins should not call her a squaw.

We have now reached the evening that was to be known among them as the Night of Nights, because of its adventures and their upshot. The day, as if quietly gathering its forces, had been almost uneventful, and now the redskins in their blankets were at their posts above, while, below, the children were having their evening meal; all except Peter, who had gone out to get the time. The way you got the time on the island was to find the crocodile, and then stay near him till the clock struck.

This meal happened to be a make-believe tea, and they sat round the board, guzzling in their greed; and really, what with their chatter and recriminations, the noise, as Wendy said, was positively deafening. To be sure, she did not mind noise, but she simply would not have them grabbing things, and then excusing themselves by saying that Tootles had pushed their elbow. There was a fixed rule that they must never hit back at meals, but should refer the matter of dispute to Wendy by raising the right arm politely and saying, ‘I complain of So-and-so’; but what usually happened was that they forgot to do this or did it too much.

‘Silence,’ cried Wendy when for the twentieth time she had told them that they were not all to speak at once. ‘Is your calabash empty, Slightly, darling?’

‘Not quite empty, Mummy,’ Slightly said, after looking into an imaginary mug.

‘He hasn’t even begun to drink his milk,’ Nibs interposed.

This was telling, and Slightly seized his chance.

‘I complain of Nibs,’ he cried promptly.

John, however, had held up his hand first.

‘Well, John?’

  By PanEris using Melati.

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