Lucy Looks into a Wardrobe
Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and
Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were
sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids. They were
sent to the house of an old Professor who lived in the heart of the
country, ten miles from the nearest railway station and two miles from
the nearest post office. He had no wife and he lived in a very large
house with a housekeeper called Mrs Macready and three servants. (Their
names were Ivy, Margaret and Betty, but they do not come into the story
much.) He himself was a very old man with shaggy white hair which grew
over most of his face as well as on his head, and they liked him almost
at once; but on the first evening when he came out to meet them at the
front door he was so odd-looking that Lucy (who was the youngest) was a
little afraid of him, and Edmund (who was the next youngest) wanted to
laugh and had to keep on pretending he was blowing his nose to hide it.
As soon as they had said goodnight to the Professor and gone upstairs on
the first night, the boys came into the girls' room and they all talked
"We've fallen on our feet and no mistake," said Peter. "This is going to
be perfectly splendid. That old chap will let us do anything we like."
"I think he's an old dear," said Susan.
"Oh, come off it!" said Edmund, who was tired and pretending not to be
tired, which always made him bad-tempered. "Don't go on talking like
"Like what?" said Susan; "and anyway, it's time you were in bed."
"Trying to talk like Mother," said Edmund. "And who are you to say when
I'm to go to bed? Go to bed yourself."
"Hadn't we all better go to bed?" said Lucy. "There's sure to be a row
if we're heard talking here."
"No there won't," said Peter. "I tell you this is the sort of house
where no one's going to mind what we do. Anyway, they won't hear us.
It's about ten minutes' walk from here down to that dining-room, and any
amount of stairs and passages in between."
"What's that noise?" said Lucy suddenly. It was a far larger house than
she had ever been in before and the thought of all those long passages
and rows of doors leading into empty rooms was beginning to make her
feel a little creepy.
"It's only a bird, silly," said Edmund.
"It's an owl," said Peter. "This is going to be a wonderful place for
birds. I shall go to bed now. I say, let's go and explore tomorrow. You
might find anything in a place like this. Did you see those mountains as
we came along? And the woods? There might be eagles. There might be
stags. There'll be hawks."
"Badgers!" said Lucy.
"Foxes!" said Edmund.
"Rabbits!" said Susan.
But when the next morning came there was a steady rain falling, so thick
that when you looked out of the window you could see neither the
mountains nor the woods nor even the stream in the garden.
"Of course it would be raining!" said Edmund. They had just finished
their breakfast with the Professor and were upstairs in the room he had
set apart for them -- a long, low room with two windows looking out in
one direction and two in another.
"Do stop grumbling, Ed," said Susan. "Ten to one it'll clear up in an
hour or so. And in the meantime we're pretty well off. There's a
wireless and lots of books."
"Not for me," said Peter; "I'm going to explore in the house."
Everyone agreed to this and that was how the adventures began. It was
the sort of house that you never seem to come to the end of, and it was
full of unexpected places. The first few doors they tried led only into
spare bedrooms, as everyone had expected that they would; but soon they
came to a very long room full of pictures, and there they found a suit
of armour; and after that was a room all hung with green, with a harp in
one corner; and then came three steps down and five steps up, and then a
kind of little upstairs hall and a door that led out on to a balcony,
and then a whole series of rooms that led into each other and were lined
with books -- most of them very old books and some bigger than a Bible
in a church. And shortly after that they looked into a room that was
quite empty except for one big wardrobe; the sort that has a
looking-glass in the door. There was nothing else in the room at all
except a dead bluebottle on the window-sill.
"Nothing there!" said Peter, and they all trooped out again -- all
except Lucy. She stayed behind because she thought it would be
worthwhile trying the door of the wardrobe, even though she felt almost
sure that it would be locked. To her surprise it opened quite easily,
and two mothballs dropped out.
Looking into the inside, she saw several coats hanging up -- mostly long
fur coats. There was nothing Lucy liked so much as the smell and feel of
fur. She immediately stepped into the wardrobe and got in among the
coats and rubbed her face against them, leaving the door open, of
course, because she knew that it is very foolish to shut oneself into
any wardrobe. Soon she went further in and found that there was a second
row of coats hanging up behind the first one. It was almost quite dark
in there and she kept her arms stretched out in front of her so as not
to bump her face into the back of the wardrobe. She took a step further
in -- then two or three steps -- always expecting to feel woodwork
against the tips of her fingers. But she could not feel it.
Excerpted from "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia)" by C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 1994 by C. S. Lewis. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.