Barrie: The Story of J. M. B

Barrie: The Story of J. M. B

Barrie: The Story of J. M. B

Barrie: The Story of J. M. B

Excerpt

Of course there was a little strangeness at first, and though his brother had guaranteed that the school had a lodge, it was disappointing to find a female lodge-keeper, apparently in full possession of her limbs. Never mind. The bell was ringing, the boys were assembling--the girls, too, but that was quite simple in those days, because only the older boys ever noticed them--and still there was plenty from the school-stories which of course must begin to come true.

"You would have thought," he wrote, some time after distributing the prizes at the same Academy in 1893, and prompted perhaps by this odd experience to let his pen play with old memories; "you would have thought from the way they gathered round me that, though they had seen most things in their day, a boy was a complete novelty. Yet I cannot remember that they had more than three questions, which each asked separately, as if to catch me prevaricating.

"The first was, 'What is your name?' and my answer was invariably received with laughter. It struck them as a most gamesome name indeed.

"The second was, 'What school were you at before?' and nothing so ridiculous as the name of that school seemed hitherto to have come within their ken.

"The third was, 'How old are you?' and I told them I was twelve. Apparently it was a very odd sort of age."

Actually, of course, he was thirteen, though this isn't the first or last time that he makes the same mistake. Indeed, he and others seem frequently to have thought that he was a year younger than he really was, all the time he was growing up. Perhaps because he looked it, or even younger still. But investigation shows that this was only a confusing illusion.

And if the next extract from the same unpublished source is possibly another one, it is well worth quoting, and every reader can provide his own grain of salt. It is the story of how he thinks he has spotted one of those penny-serial characters at last. He invites us to believe that he edged up to him, "not without admiration," and whispered: "Are you the sneak? . . ."

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