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