Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

J.M. Barrie, fully Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet

Scottish Dramatist, Author, Novelist, best known as creator of Peter Pan

"The gladness of living was in your step, your voice was melody, and he was wondering what love might be. You were the daughter of a summer night, born where all the birds are free, and the moon christened you with her soft light to dazzle the eyes of man. Not our little minister alone was stricken by you into his second childhood. To look upon you was to rejoice that so fair a thing could be; to think of you is still to be young."

"The God to whom little boys say their prayers has a face very like their mother's"

"The last thing he ever said to me was, 'Just always be waiting for me, and then some night you will hear me crowing."

"The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it."

"The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it."

"The most gladsome thing in the world is that few of us fall very low; the saddest that, with such capabilities, we seldom rise high"

"The most useless are those who never change through the years."

"The printing press is either the greatest blessing or the greatest curse of modern times, sometimes one forgets which it is."

"The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings."

"The same kind, beaming smile that children could warm their hands at."

"The stars are beautiful, but they are not allowed to interfere in human affairs, they have only ever watch what happens. This is the penalty imposed on them for anything done so long ago that no star no longer remember what it was. So the older stars look glassy and rarely speak (speak their stars, as you wink did), but smaller ones are more interesting."

"The tragedy of a man who has found himself out."

"Them that has china plates themsel's is the maist careful not to break the china plates of others."

"There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make."

"There are, I dare say, many lovers who would never have been drawn to each other had they met for the first time, as, say, they met the second time."

"There could not have been a lovelier sight; but there was none to see it except a little boy who was staring in at the window. He had ecstasies innumerable that other children can never know; but he was looking through the window at the one joy from which he must be forever barred."

"There is a saying in the Neverland that,every time you breathe, a grown-up dies."

"There ought to be one fairy for every boy and girl. Ought to be? Isn't there?"

"They didna speak, but they just gave one another a look, and I saw the love-light in their een. No more is remembered of these two, no being now living ever saw them, but the poetry that was in the soul of a battered weaver makes them human to us forever."

"They have long lost count of the days, but always if they want to do anything special they say this is Saturday night, and then they do it."

"They knew in what they called their hearts that one can get on quite well without a mother, and that it is only the mothers who think you can't."

"They took it for granted that if they went he would go also, but really they scarcely cared. Thus children are ever so ready, when novelty knocks, to desert their dearest ones."

"They were going round and round the island, but they did not meet because all were going at the same rate."

"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 postiviely deafening."

"Thus did the terrified three learn the difference between an island of make-believe and the same island come true."

"Times have changed since a certain author was executed for murdering his publisher. They say that when the author was on the scaffold he said good-bye to the minister and to the reporters, and then he saw some publishers sitting in the front row below, and to them he did not say good-bye. He said instead, I'll see you again."

"Tink was not all bad: or, rather, she was all bad just now, but, on the other hand, sometimes she was all good. Fairies have to be one thing or the other, because being so small they unfortunately have room for one feeling only at a time. They are, however, allowed to change, only it must be a complete change."

"To die will be an awfully big adventure."

"Twin, I think you should not have dreamt that, for I didn't, and Peter may say we oughtn't to dream differently, being twins, you know."

"Two is the beginning of the end."

"Two small figures were beating against the rock; the girl had fainted and lay on the the boy's arm. With a last effort Peter pulled her up the rock and then lay down beside her. Even as he also fainted he saw that the water was raising, He knew that they would soon be drowned, but he could do no more. As they lay side by side a mermaid caught Wendy by the feet, and began pulling her softly into the water. Peter feeling her slip from him, woke with a start, and was just in time to draw her back. But he had to tell her the truth. We are on the rock, Wendy, he said, but it is growing smaller. Soon the water will be over it. She did not understand even now. We must go, she said, almost brightly. Yes, he answered faintly. Shall we swim or fly, Peter? He had to tell her. Do you think you could swim or fly as far as the island, Wendy, without my help? She had to admit she was too tired. He moaned. What is it? she asked, anxious about him at once. I can't help you, Wendy. Hook wounded me. I can neither fly nor swim. Do you mean we shall both be downed? Look how the water is raising. They put their hands over their eyes to shut out the sight. They thought they would soon be no more. As they sat thus something brushed against Peter as light as a kiss, and stayed there, as if to say timidly, Can I be of any us? It was the tail of a kite, which Michael had made some days before. It had torn itself out of his hand and floated away. Michael's kite, Peter said without interest, but the next moment he had seized the tail, and was pulling the kite towards him. It lifted Michael off the ground, he cried; why should it not carry you? Both of us! It can't left two; Michael and Curly tried. Let us draw lots, Wendy said bravely. And you a lady; never. Already he had tied the tail round her. She clung to him; she refused to go without him; but with a Good-bye, Wendy. He pushed her from the rock; and in a few minutes she was borne out of his sight. Peter was alone on the lagoon. The rock was very small now; soon it would be submerged. Pale rays of light tiptoed across the waters; and by and by there was to be heard a sound at once the most musical and the most melancholy in the world: the mermaids calling to the moon."

"Wendy, Peter Pan continued in a voice that no woman has ever yet been able to resist, Wendy, one girl is more use than twenty boys."

"Wendy, Wendy, when you are sleeping in your silly bed you might be flying about with me saying funny things to the stars."

"Wendy: Sir, you are both ungallant and deficient! Peter: How am I deficient? Wendy: You're just a boy."

"What is afraid?' asked Peter longingly. He thought it must be some splendid thing. 'I do wish you would teach me how to be afraid, Maimie,' he said."

"What is algebra exactly; is it those three-cornered things?"

"When a new baby laughs for the first time a new fairy is born, and as there are always new babies there are always new fairies. They live in nests on the tops of trees; and the mauve ones are boys and the white ones are girls, and the blue ones are just little sillies who are not sure what they are."

"When she expressed a doubtful hope that Tinker Bell would be glad to see her, he said, ‘Who is Tinker Bell?’ ‘O Peter,’ she said, shocked; but even when she explained he could not remember. ‘There are such a lot of them,’ he said. ‘I expect she is no more.’ I expect he was right, for fairies don’t live long, but they are so little that a short time seems a good while to them."

"When the first baby laughed for the first time, his laugh crumbled into thousands of fragments that were scattered."

"When you are older you will know that life is a long lesson in humility."

"When you were a bird you knew the fairies pretty well, and you remember a good deal about them in your babyhood, which it is a great pity you can't write down, for gradually you forget, and I have heard of children who declared that they had never once seen a fairy. Very likely if they said this in the Kensington Gardens, they were standing looking at a fairy all the time. The reason they were cheated was that she pretended to be something else. This is one of their best tricks."

"Why can't you fly now, mother? Because I am grown up, dearest. When people grow up they forget the way. Why do they forget the way? Because they are no longer gay and innocent and heartless. It is only the gay and innocent and heartless who can fly."

"Will they reach the nursery in time? If so, how delightful for them, and we shall all breathe a sigh of relief, but there will be no story. On the other hand, if they are not in time, I solemnly promise that it will all come right in the end."

"Wise children always choose a mother who was a shocking flirt in her maiden days, and so had several offers before she accepted their fortunate papa."

"Years rolled on again, and Wendy had a daughter. This ought not to be written in ink but in a golden splash."

"Yes, he is rather cocky, Wendy admitted with regret. Her mother had been questioning her."

"Yet if he upbraided her in his hurry, it was to repent bitterly his temper the next, and to feel its effects more than she, temper being a weapon that we hold by the blade."

"You are so queer,' he said, frankly puzzled, 'and Tiger Lily is just the same. There is something she wants to be to me, but she says it is not my mother.' No, indeed, it is not,' Wendy replied with frightful emphasis."

"You are too late, he cried proudly, I have shot the Wendy. Peter will be so pleased with me. Overhead Tinker Bell shouted Silly ass! and darted into hiding."

"You canna expect to be both grand and comfortable."