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- Five Little Peppers and their Friends - 1/56 -


FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS AND THEIR FRIENDS

By MARGARET SIDNEY

AUTHOR OF "FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS ABROAD," "A LITTLE MAID OF CONCORD TOWN," "SALLY, MRS. TUBBS," ETC.

Illustrated by Eugenie M. Wireman

[Illustration: "What are you doing, Phronsie, sitting down in the middle of the stairs?"--(See page 46.)]

To my daughter Margaret, who to her friends embodies "Polly Pepper" in her girlhood, I dedicate most lovingly this book.

PREFACE.

There were so many interesting friends of the Five Little Peppers, whose lives were only the faintest of outlines in the series ending when Phronsie was grown up, that a volume devoted to this outer circle has been written to meet the persistent demand.

Herein the author records many happenings that long ago Ben and Polly, Joel and David told her. And even Phronsie whispered some of it confidentially into the listening ear. "Tell about Rachel, please," she begged; and Margaret Sidney promised to write it all down some day.

And that day seems to have arrived in which it all should be recorded and the promise fulfilled. For the Five Little Peppers loved their friends very dearly, and were loyal and true to them. And hand in hand, the circle widening ever, they lived and loved as this history records.

MARGARET SIDNEY.

CONTENTS

I. A FIVE-O'CLOCK TEA

II. PHRONSIE

III. CLEM FORSYTHE

IV. MISS TAYLOR'S WORKING BEE

V. "SHE'S MY LITTLE GIRL"

VI. GRANDMA BASCOM

VII. THE DISAPPOINTMENT

VIII. THE GARDEN PARTY

IX. THE TEN-DOLLAR BILL

X. TROUBLE FOR JOEL

XI. RACHEL

XII. DOINGS AT THE PARSONAGE

XIII. "SHE'S GOING TO STAY HERE FOREVER"

XIV. "CAN'T GO," SAID JOEL

XV. UP IN ALEXIA'S PRETTY ROOM

XVI. THE ACCIDENT

XVII. JOEL'S ADVENTURE

XVIII. THE COMFORT COMMITTEE

XIX. JOEL'S NEW FRIEND

XX. THE COOKING CLUB

XXI. OF MANY THINGS IN GENERAL

XXII. RACHEL'S VISIT TO MISS PARROTT

XXIII. THE OLD PARROTT HOMESTEAD

XXIV. RACHEL'S FUTURE

XXV. JACK PARISH

XXVI. MR. HAMILTON DYCE A TRUE FRIEND

XXVII. A PIECE OF GOOD NEWS

XXVIII. THE LITTLE STONE CUPBOARD

ILLUSTRATIONS

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING, PHRONSIE, SITTING DOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STAIRS?"

FIVE-O'CLOCK TEA

"BUT THIS IS TEN DOLLARS," SAID JOEL

"ON, LARRY," SAID MISS TAYLOR GENTLY, BENDING OVER HIM

"YES, SIR," CALLED JOEL BACK, FROM THE ALCOVE

THE UNLUCKY OAR WAS SEIZED BY THE TRIUMPHANT CREW

"I USED TO PLAY WITH IT," SHE SAID SOFTLY

HE STOOD IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LITTLE SHOP

I

A FIVE-O'CLOCK TEA

"I wish," said Phronsie slowly, "that you'd come in, little girl."

"Can't." The girl at the gate peered through the iron railings, pressing her nose quite flat, to give the sharp, restless, black eyes the best chance.

"Please do," begged Phronsie, coming up quite close; "I very much wish you would."

"Can't," repeated the girl on the outside. "Cop won't let me."

"Who?" asked Phronsie, much puzzled and beginning to look frightened.

"Perlice." The girl nodded briefly, taking her face away from the iron railings enough to accomplish that ceremony. Then she plastered her nose up against its support again, and stared at Phronsie with all her might.

"Oh," said Phronsie, with a little laugh that chased away her fright," there isn't any big policeman here. This is Grandpapa's garden."

"'Tain't, it's the perliceman's; everything's the perliceman's," contradicted the girl, snapping one set of grimy fingers defiantly.

"Oh, no," said Phronsie, softly but very decidedly, "this is my dear Grandpapa's home, and the big policeman can't get in here, ever."

"Oh, you ninny!" The girl staring at her through the railings stopped a minute to laugh, covering both hands over her mouth to smother the sound. "The perlice can go everywheres they want to. I guess some of 'em's in heaven now, spyin' round."

Phronsie dropped the doll she was carrying close to her bosom, to concentrate all her gaze up toward the sky, in wide-eyed amazement that allowed her no opportunity to carry on the conversation.

"An' I couldn't no more get into this 'ere garden than I could into heaven," the girl on the outside said at last, to bring back the blue eyes to earth, "so don't you think it, you. But, oh, my, don't I wish I could, though!"

There was so much longing in the voice that Phronsie brought her gaze down from the policemen in their heavenly work to the eyes staring at her. And she clasped her hands together tightly, and hurried up to lay her face against the big iron gate and close to that of the girl.

"He won't hurt you, the big policeman won't," she whispered softly. "I'll take hold of your hand, and tell him how it is, if he gets in. Come."

"Can't," the girl was going to say, but her gaze rested upon the doll lying on the grass where it fell from Phronsie's hand. "Lawks! may I just have one good squint at that?" she burst out.

"You may hold it," said Phronsie, bobbing her head till her yellow hair fell over her flushed cheeks.

The gate flew open suddenly, nearly overthrowing her; and the girl, mostly all legs and arms, dashed through, picking up the doll to squeeze it to her neck so tightly that Phronsie rushed up, quite alarmed.

"Oh, don't," she cried, "you'll frighten her. I'll tell her how it is, and


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