Maimie felt quite shy, but Peter knew not what shy was.
“I hope you have had a good night,” he said earnestly.
“Thank you,” she replied, “I was so cosy and warm. But you”--and she looked at his nakedness awkwardly--“don’t you feel the least bit cold?”
Now cold was another word Peter had forgotten, so he answered, “I think not, but I may be wrong; you see I am rather ignorant. I am not exactly a boy, Solomon says I am a Betwixt-and-Between.”
“So that is what it is called,” said Maimie thoughtfully.
“That’s not my name,” he explained; “my name is Peter Pan.”
“Yes, of course,” she said, “I know, everybody knows.”
You can’t think how pleased Peter was to learn that all the people outside the gates knew about him. He begged Maimie to tell him what they knew and what they said, and she did so. They were sitting by this time on a fallen tree; Peter had cleared off the snow for Maimie, but he sat on a snowy bit himself.
“Squeeze closer,” Maimie said.
“What is that?” he asked, and she showed him, and then he did it. They talked together and he found that people knew a great deal about him, but not everything, not that he had gone back to his mother and been barred out, for instance, and he said nothing of this to Maimie, for it still humiliated him.
“Do they know that I play games exactly like real boys?” he asked very proudly. “Oh, Maimie, please tell them!” But when he revealed how he played, by sailing his hoop on the Round Pond, and so on, she was simply horrified.
“All your ways of playing,” she said with her big eyes on him, “are quite, quite wrong, and not in the least like how boys play!”
Poor Peter uttered a little moan at this, and he cried for the first time for I know not how long. Maimie was extremely sorry for him, and lent him her handkerchief, but he didn’t know in the least what to do with it, so she showed him, that is to say, she wiped her eyes, and then gave it back to him, saying “Now you do it,” but instead of wiping his own eyes he wiped hers, and she thought it best to pretend that this was what she had meant.
She said, out of pity for him, “I shall give you a kiss if you like,” but though he once knew he had long forgotten what kisses are, and he replied, “Thank you,” and held out his hand, thinking she had offered to put something into it. This was a great shock to her, but she felt she could not explain without shaming him, so with charming delicacy she gave Peter a thimble which happened to be in her pocket, and pretended that it was a kiss. Poor little boy! he quite believed her, and to this day he wears it on his finger, though there can be scarcely any one who needs a thimble so little. You see, though still a tiny child, it was really years and years since he had seen his mother, and I daresay the baby who had supplanted him was now a man with whiskers.