Synopses for Out-Of-Print Volumes
The Stories Polly Pepper Told (Polly Pepper's Book)
Five Little Peppers in the Little Brown House
Our Davie Pepper
The Stories Polly Pepper Told (Polly Pepper's Book)
Tale 1: The Little White Chicken--A bear gets into a henhouse and threatens the title character, but Tommy shoots it and saves her. Told to Phronsie after her toe was "pounded" and Grandma Bascom is fixing the wormwood infusion for the bruise.
Tale 2: The Princess Esmerelda's Ball--Once Joel helps Ben get home with Indian meal, Polly tells them about Princess Esmerelda. Her father the king is so rich he eventually throws all his gold in the harbor. She is thrown a wonderful ball and is told she must tell one of the hundred princes attending that she likes him best. But she does not want to hurt anyone's feelings so she tells all the princes she loves them all best and dances with all of them.
Tale 3: The Story of the Circus--It has rained for three days and Mrs Pepper has no work, so Polly feels it's time to tell her special circus story about the giant who collects all sorts of animals, including a "hippo-moppi-poppicus" and a big green and gold snake as well as a "rhododendron" (rhinoceros), in bags and gives them to a circus man. When the giant returns some time later the circus man refuses to acknowledge him, so the giant takes the animals away.
Tale 4: The Little Tin Soldiers--While Ben fixes Mamsie's washboard, Polly tells a story about a little boy named Johnny who sets his tin soldiers to fighting with friend Jack Mullen's wooden soldiers. He encourages the soldiers with promises of cupcakes, which the cook brings out to the porch. Unfortunately the circus interrupts the boys and the cupcake refreshments are eaten by the cat.
Tale 5: "Christmas at the Big House"--This story involves all the children in a large family asking for a Christmas Tree, having put their wishes for Christmas on slips of paper stored into Grandpapa's tall hat. The children, even mischievous Teddy and the children's cousins, receive gifts from Santa Claus and the Tree had 200 candles on it.
Tale 6: Mr. Father Kangaroo and the Fat Little Bird--Mr. Kangaroo goes out looking for food but instead rescues in a fat little bird with no family. The little bird sings to all the baby "kangarooses" and makes them happy. Polly tells this to Phronsie when she is feverish and itching from the measles.
Tale 7: The Mince-Pie Boy and the Beasts--A rich man has a huge menagerie he keeps in a cave, but the animals are discontent because the boy of the household gets to eat mince-pie every day. They determine to "strike" for mince-pie to when a messenger tells them they can all come up to the house for a mince-pie each! Polly tells this story when the boys go to bed promptly so she, Ben, and Mamsie can work on Christmas gifts.
Tale 8: The Cunning Little Duck--Polly dresses up in a paper cap to pretend to be a grandma to tell the story of a cunning little duck who runs away. Mrs. Beebe interrupts the story with doughnuts and candy, and Polly is glad, because now she won't have to explain why the duck had an injured leg, a fact that troubled Phronsie.
Tale 9: The Old Tea-Kettle--One rainy day Polly tells the story of a discontent tea-kettle belonging to an old woman and her cat who rebels and hops off the stove and rolls out the door.
Tale 10: The Pink and White Sticks--Shoemaker Periwinkle keeps missing candy sticks he keeps in his shop. Finally the whole Periwinkle family keeps watch overnight. A little family of mice are stealing the candy. The family lets them get away because they are so cute (and because Phronsie begs!).
Tale 11: The Old Stage-Coach--A four-horse stagecoach drives a variety of passengers, including fat old woman with a parrot, some boys carrying a chicken pie, and a big black dog and his master, a thin man. The driver has all the passengers get off the stagecoach enroute because he feels something cracking in the stagecoach. While they are stopped the dog eats the pie but the thin man who owns the dog gives the boys gold to replace the pie.
Tale 12: Mr. Nutcracker; A Story That Wasn't--Polly starts to tell this story, but a poor, starving old man comes begging at the door. Polly is about to bake biscuits so he will have something to eat when Mamsie comes home. They feed the man tea and biscuits and then fetch Parson Henderson to help him.
Tale 13: Mr. Nutcracker--An dark, sinister intruder invades the home of Mr. and Mrs. Nutcracker and their family. They hurry to fetch their cousins to evict the intruder and frighten a herd of cows. The intruder is a snake; the Nutcrackers are squirrels.
Tale 14: The Runaway Pumpkin--The largest pumpkin from a huge patch owned by Farmer Stebbins doesn't want to be eaten, so he runs away. Unfortunately he is picked up by a giant and taken home as a tidbit for dinner! Little Johnny Stebbins rescues "Tip Top Pumpkin" and his dad is so grateful he lets Johnny keep the pumpkin. This is the first story in this volume told to the Whitney boys after the Peppers' adoption by the Kings.
Tale 15: The Robbers and Their Bags--This is a complicated fairy story about a band of 100 robbers who sends out 12 of their number to capture 12 rich men and stuff them into bags (except for their heads) while they rob their homes. But one of the rich men owns a wise white cat and she helps the rich men escape, capture the robbers, and bring them and their band to justice.
Tale 16: Polly Pepper's Chicken Pie--Polly tells the story of their chicken pie Thanksgiving dinner that became goose pie when the chicken ran away just before Thanksgiving. (See synopsis in Five Little Peppers in the Little Brown House.)
Tale 17: Phronsie Pepper's New Shoes--Polly tells the story of Phronsie's injury with the bread knife and how it earned her a new pair of red-topped shoes. (See synopsis in Five Little Peppers in the Little Brown House.)
Tale 18: The Old Gray Goose--The Whitney boys argue and wish they'd been able to visit the Little Brown House before Polly tells them how their old grey goose bit Sally Brown. The Pepper boys also explain the joys of running "cross lots."
Tale 19: The Green Umbrella--A girl named Araminta Sophia, who has a peculiar little man for a father, must carry a green umbrella when she goes outside to keep birds from nesting in her hair. A scheming elderly woman steals the green umbrella and Araminta Sophia is inundiated with birds until a big man with a gun shoots them all dead. The umbrella thief cries so much watching this event that the umbrella slips from her grasp and Araminta Sophia has it again. The big man with the gun threatens the woman never to come from the sky again.
Tale 20: The Green Umbrella and the Queer Little Man--Araminta Sophia's peculiar father takes the green umbrella and goes for a walk, which he's never done before. The umbrella doesn't like him and begins to drag him away. The man tries to get away, but eventually the umbrella crook is around his neck and he is dragged around the world. A group of giants in seven-league boots chase him and eventually figure out how he can stop: close the umbrella!
Tale 21: The Little Snow-House--On a hot sunny day when the children have stopped playing, Polly tells a true story of the Little Brown House: it has been a cold hungry winter without snow. Then when it finally does snow, the Peppers wake up next morning to find snow up to the loft window. They are snowed in! Luckily Mamsie made Joel and David fetch Indian meal and potatoes from the store the day before. They do their chores then Mamsie allows them to play to distract them. Ben hangs a red blanket from the loft window and eventually Deacon Brown and some others dig them out.
Tale 22: Lucy Ann's Garden--This is one of the stories Polly told while they were snowbound: a man is about to chop down some trees when his little daughter Lucy Ann cries that he shouldn't. Instead she has the servants trim the tops off the trees, has them erect a platform on the tops of the trunks and place dirt on the platform so she may grow a garden on top of the trees. She decides to throw a party and has her servant Betsarilda invite all the forest creatures. They have a jolly time but Lucy Ann grows sad that her "prince" has not shown up. He appears at the end: a little monkey in a red coat and cap!
Tale 23: The China Mug--This is a story Polly makes up an actual object, a china mug that belonged to her father, Samuel Pepper (and his father Samuel before him, and his father Samuel before him, etc.). It has a high-born lady with a basket of roses and a gentleman in knee breeches and a periwig on it who bow and "courtesy" to each other. One day they get tired of doing so and quarrel. The lady climbs over the handle of the cup and falls inside. The little crockery dog that Phronsie used for teething tells the lady to throw her spray of roses over the edge of the cup and pulls her out. The lady and gentleman apologize to each other and continue to bow and "courtesy" to each other. Polly tells this story to Dick when he has to have brown paper placed upon him after his fall on the stairs.
Tale 24: Brown Betty--Brown Betty a "cunning" brown bug hurrying home with food for her babies. She falls into an ant hole and is captured, but her questions impress the ants so much that they keep her alive. She tricks them into taking her to the Hall of Justice, and then again tricks them to get access to the "Captain Ant's" sword, which all the ants obey. She is able to get away, free another bug who was captured, and with the other bug's help, they both escape from the ants' nest. This is a story Polly tells to placate Dick when he is sick, although she wants to read a book Jasper just gave her.
Tale 25: The Silly Little Brook--While Polly embroiders, she tells Phronsie the story of the silly little brook, who decides one day not to listen to the chivvying of the sun and sits in a pool instead of running downhill as always. At first the birds come to keep her company, but then when she turns green and scummy from not running they desert her. When she tries to run again she finds the way blocked by dead leaves, silt and branches. But a faithful robin and his friends clear the debris from around the silly little brook so she can run again.
Tale 26: Down in the Orchard--Polly tells the Whitneys and Jasper about the time they went "down to the orchard" (their lone apple tree outside the back door) and put on a play: Phronsie is a white rabbit inveigled by Mr. Fox (Ben) to her den to visit his babies (Joel and David), but really Mr. Fox wants to eat her. Polly as the hunter rescues them. While they are performing, Dr. Fisher sneaks by and leaves them an orange and a bag of peanuts! (Dr. Fisher is their stepfather when this tale is told.)
Chapter 1: The Christmas Shopping Expedition
When Marian Whitney must accompany her father to an art exhibition, Mamsie allows Ben and Polly to take the three younger children Christmas shopping, since there is only a week until Christmas. Polly tries to avoid Ben while getting ready because she got upset thinking they were not to go if "Aunty Whitney" couldn't take them and her eyes and face are all swollen from crying. Phronsie shows off her "money purse" to Mamsie multiple times and Joel pins his money in his pocket to guard against being robbed. After many good-byes to Mamsie, they are off.
Chapter 2: Ben's Plan
Ben and Polly think it would be a good idea to pool their money to buy "Grandpapa" King a gift together; Joel as always makes a big fuss at first, then agrees. Davie of course agrees, then they have to explain the situation to Phronsie. But Phronsie is set on buying a "really truly cat" (with fur, not china or crockery) for her Grandpapa, so they decide she can buy the cat and then put the rest of her share in with theirs. In front of the store they are shoved by Christmas shoppers and a rude expressman, who feisty Joel wants to hit until Ben drags him away. In the store, a large imposing looking woman almost knocks Phronsie over. Joel says something rude to her and Polly, upset, follows the woman and attempts to apologize, but the woman is rude in return and walks off.
Chapter 3: Haps and Mishaps
Phronsie by now has notice Polly's absence and begins to cry. A little girl picking out a gift notices and, finding out what she needs, leads Polly, who is making her way back already, back to her siblings. A few minutes later, in thanks, Ben gives the little girl fifty cents so she can buy both toys she was looking at for her brother. A few minutes later, a lively Joel swings his arm out and catches the armload of things being carried by a little cash girl, and a doll in her load of gifts breaks in the spill. The floorwalker blames the little cash girl and plans to dock her pay, and she bursts into tears; now she won't be able to buy a gift for her mother. Joel cannot convince the floorwalker it was his fault, so he finds out who is in charge at the store and explains it to him. The head man charges him a dollar for the doll and agrees not to dock the pay of the little cash girl.
Chapter 4: "It's Joel's Old Lady"
The children buy Mr. King a handsome gold pen (and handle) and arrange to have it monogrammed. As they go out to the street there is a commotion; a woman has been knocked over by a wagon. It turns out it is the formidable woman Joel insulted. The children help the woman, who is very obviously rich, find her carriage and coachman, and help her into the vehicle. As it leaves, she asks their names. They tell her it's Pepper and that they live at the Kings. Later, at dinner, Dr. Fisher appears late, beaming. He tells the children he is proud of them; he has treated the woman, who is society dame Henrietta Van Ruypen, and she spoke highly of how the children helped him. She wants them to visit her house the next day.
Chapter 5: "The Presents All Go From Santa Claus"
Joel is reluctant to go to Mrs. Van Ruypen's next day because of his rudeness, but Mamsie insists they must all go and Ben enforces the edict. They arrive at Madam's beautiful home and are escorted into a large room full of toys. Mrs. Van Ruypen intends to send some toys to poor children and wants the Peppers to help pick out the best ones. The children are delighted, but as they start making choices Ben notices that there are no pieces of clothing that a poor boy or girl might want. Madam notices his mood and asks him to be honest, so he tells her. She is surprised to think a poor child might want clothing rather than toys. After the children pick out all the presents, which she will send in the name of Santa Claus, she asks Ben to go shopping with her for the clothing.
Chapter 6: Ben Goes Shopping with Madam Van Ruypen
Next day Madam takes Ben to a very exclusive department store. The clerks all know her by reputation and fall all over themselves in helping her, but are a little rude to Ben when they find out he doesn't want expensive suits, but good serviceable clothing. Ben realizes he does not know the size of anything he should buy, but he chooses a good coat knowing "it will fit some boy." Madam then instructs him to buy more than one of everything of whatever might be needed. When Ben asks for homely things like red woolen tippets and mittens, the clerks practically turn up their noses, but continue helping him because it is for Mrs. Van Ruypen. Finally young Mr. Perkins helps them finish, but they must go to another shop to get tippets and mittens. In the carriage Madam admits she has no idea who the clothes are for; she is just buying to give an anonymous charitable gift at Christmas. Ben asks if the clothing couldn't go for "a country boy" and she remembers that, while on vacation in the mountains during the summer, she had paid a poor widow to do her laundry and this widow had several children, including three boys. She is sure they can use the largess.
Chapter 7: "Where's Pip?" And Jasper Turned Back
Before Jasper can come home from Dr. Presbrey's school on Friday, a telegram arrives. There has been a dormitory fire and Jasper is hurt. Polly stays with Marian Whitney and comforts Joel and David while Mr. King has Ben accompany him by train to Jasper's school. After the all-day train ride, Mr. King is taken immediately to Jasper, while Jasper's classmates collar Ben and tell him all: a fire broke out in the middle of the night, possibly started by a drunken night watchman. The boys were hurried out of the dorm, then someone noticed one of the smaller boys, called "Pip" and not generally liked by the others, is missing. Jasper went back for him, found him in a room, carried him out a different way due to the fire, and then was just about to escape with the smaller boy when the chimney collapsed on him.
Chapter 8: To Please Jasper
Jasper is not as bad off as is feared! Ben is able to see him that day for a few minutes, and next day for a half hour, in which he tells Jasper about shopping with Mrs. Van Ruypen. When he leaves the room, a small, upset boy tries to give him candy for Jasper. Ben won't take the candy to him, but talks with the boy, who turns out to be Pip, and tells him to stop "sniveling" and be good for Jasper's sake. To make the boy feel better, he takes him to an open area and plays ball with him, after both are snubbed by another classmate, a boy nicknamed "Bonaparte" for his regal airs. "Boney" complains to the other boys about "the country lout" who addressed him, and is chagrined to find out it was Ben, who he was wanting to meet because of his relation to Jasper and Mr. King! Then the boys go outside and join in the ball game, and Ben tells them if they want to please Jasper, they'd better be nice to Pip.
Chapter 9: What a Home-coming!
Van and Percy arrive home for the holidays, both complaining because Christmas celebrations will be delayed until Jasper is well enough to come home. They quarrel and Van also speaks sharply to Pickering Dodge, who has come to meet them. Alexia has also come, and because of Van's attitude, Alexia ends up in a carriage going to the Kings with Pickering, David, and Van instead of with Polly and complains bitterly. They are out of their bad humor by the time they arrive, but Alexia feels guilty and does not want to attend luncheon, but Mamsie makes her sit down with the rest. Afterwards, Van and Percy are confessing to their mother how they whined when Dick arrives and wants to push into his mother's room. When Alexia grabs at him to stop him, she tears his blouse.
Chapter 10: "I'll Love Her Just Forever"
Alexia flees and in searching for her mother or Mrs. Whitney to help her placate her friend, Polly is greeted by Joel with the joyous news that Jasper will be home next week and he is bringing Pip with him. Polly then has the opportunity to tell Marian Whitney about Alexia and they get in the carriage to go to the boardinghouse where Alexia and her aunt Elvira live to invite Alexia to dinner and to stay overnight. Elvira Rhys has taken Alexia to visit Miss Hetty Barnard, a place Alexia hates, so Mrs. Whitney and Polly hurry there, secure permission and Alexia, and take her home. Alexia apologizes about the lace and Mrs. Whitney's kiss of forgiveness leaves her starry-eyed.
Chapter 11: An Afternoon Call
While the family waits to celebrate "their Christmas" rather than the actual date, gifts are rapidly accumulating in a little drawing room by Hobson, the butler. Joel sees him putting gifts inside and teasing, gets ahold of the key. He feels guilty almost immediately and is planning to return it when he is waylaid by Mrs. Van Ruypen, who wants to speak to him. But he doesn't pay attention to her and in frustration she tries to take the key from him. Instead he runs off and she angrily leaves. Joel tries to find Mamsie, to confess what he's done, but is waylaid in her room and teased by Van, who gets the key away from him in a scuffle. The key is loosed again, and Joel, to keep Van away from it, locks him in the closet. Once again with the key, Joel cannot find either Mamsie or Hobson to return it, so runs outside and into his friend Larry Keep. It's only then Joel remembers he's left Van locked in the closet.
Chapter 12: Van
Joel and Larry return to Mamsie's room to find Van gone--at least they think he is, at first. It turns out he has passed out. They revive him by pouring everything liquid they can find, including water and castor oil, on him just as Polly enters the room. Polly tells the boys they must sit on Mamsie's sofa until she comes home and can sort out what happened, when Alexia comes upstairs. She is waiting for Polly to shopping with her for Christmas things for Jasper's homecoming. Polly says now she cannot go and Alexia berates the boys. When she mentions how Jasper was hurt, Joel gets upset and rushes out, followed by Polly. Alexia tries to bully Larry into telling her what happened. When Mrs. Fisher appears, Alexia flees.
Chapter 13: The Big Box
Mrs. Hansell, the poor widow who had done Mrs. Van Ruypen's laundry, is scrambling poorly clad in an inadequate shawl over a frozen, rutted road on her way to ask someone to take her family to the poorhouse because she can no longer afford to feed them. She is picked up by Mr. Bramble, the expressman, who tells her she has a big box. She is so exhausted by hunger and stress and worn out from walking that he cannot impress upon her the fact that the box is hers until they reach her little cabin and the children come tumbling out. He has the boys, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, help him take the box inside and then leaves. The family stares at the box, unable to believe it is theirs, then the children roar to get it open. Mrs. Hansell finally opens it.
Chapter 14: The Children in the Mountain Cabin
Mrs. Hansell's children excitedly begin to unpack the box while she sits, stunned, still unable to believe that the box belongs to them, muttering that it must go back. Elvira, the feistiest of the girls, latches on to a big bundle while her sisters Jane and Matilda tease her to let go and baby Susan chews on some of the paper wrapping. Finally Matthew is tired of Elvira's antics and when she runs outside, he locks the door behind her. Luke follows her with his mother's shawl, only to find her clad in a warm coat and tippet. Meanwhile, Matthew has found Mrs. Van Ruypen's letter and painfully spells through it. He realizes that there is a coat and tippet for "the biggest boy" (which is him) just as mischievous Elvira appears at the window and he gives chase.
Chapter 15: The Minister Looks After His Parishoners
The children finally get poor Mrs. Hansell to understand that there is a letter for her in the box. First Mark and then Matilda try to read it (unfortunately they are so poor that most of the children have minimal education), but the larger words stymie them. Mrs. Hansell cannot read, so she sends Mark and Matilta to the minister to get him to read it. They return with the Reverend Mr. St. John, who finally gets Mrs. Hansell to understand that the box is for her family, and also that there is a check enclosed so that the two oldest boys and one of the girls can come to visit Mrs. Van Ruypen for Christmas. There is some flurry in finding the check, then the three girls draw straws. Lively Elvira draws the long straw.
Chapter 16: Who Will Help?
Mamsie has sent Joel to apologize to Mrs. Van Ruypen on the very day she is about to send a note to Polly. She tells him she had come to visit and talk to him because Ben was gone, and tells him how she has invited two of the Hansell boys and one of the girls to stay with her. She has no idea how to keep them amused--she assumes the girl will play with dolls and she can handle that--and asks Joel if he will help. Joel only stubbornly replies that he has promised to help with Pip. Mrs. Van Ruypen also holds Pip responsible for Jasper's injury and is annoyed. She finally tells Joel she will wire Mr. St. John and tell the children not to come, and only then does Joel relent. A good thing, too, because a telegram arrives saying they are enroute. In the meantime, Pip is happily coming home with Ben, Jasper and Mr. King. Ben draws him a picture to amuse him and then Pip draws one in return. Ben is astonished at how good an artist the little boy is.
Chapter 17: "Now We Can Have Our Christmas!"
Joel is barely home from welcoming the Hansell trio to Mrs. Van Ruypen's house when he is whisked to the train station along with the family, Alexia, and Pickering to welcome Mr. King, Ben, Jasper, and Pip. Ben introduces Pip, who is loathe to be with anyone but him, to Joel, and the family heads home to gather around the fire and plan their Christmas celebration. Then the butler delivers a note from Madam: she wants Joel to come to help entertain the mountain boys. Joel doesn't want to leave their planning, but Mr. King says if he promised, he must. When Ben realizes these are the children they picked out gifts for, he says they must all go.
Chapter 18: Telling All the News
The next day Dr. Fisher allows Polly and Ben to talk to Jasper. He is almost well, but the doctor doesn't want him overtired. Polly and Ben tell him all about their Christmas shopping, and Ben is embarrassed when Jasper hears about the fuss Mrs. Van Ruypen made of him. Then they tell Jasper about visiting the Hansell children staying with her. Jasper can't believe standoffish Mrs. Van Ruypen has allowed such a thing. Finally they tell him about a surprise Mr. Cabot has brought them from India: Jocko, a pet monkey!
Chapter 19: Jocko
Jasper persuades Ben and Polly to bring the monkey up to see him, as he is dying for some amusement. They bring him in from the barn and play with him for a while, then tie him to the table leg while they talk with Jasper about Christmas. Suddenly they notice some odd noises and notice Jocko is gone! They find him in the bathroom, where he has turned on all the faucets, flooded the floor, dunked a book of Jasper's in the water and ruined it as well as several other things, and chewed on and torn the pretty little pincushion Polly made for Jasper the previous Christmas.
Chapter 20: Repairing Damages
In the afternoon Polly and Ben go shopping to replace Jasper's damaged things. They go first to Candace's little store, where Polly buys three little white pincushions to sew together bound by pink ribbon, Ben helps Candace find her dropped thimble, and they tell Candace all about Jocko and she treats them to candy. They then replace the tie Jocko ruined, and the book, and come home to discover that Matthew, Mark and Elvira are to have dinner with them.
Chapter 21: The Postponed Christmas Morning
Next morning the boys and girls of Jasper's and the Peppers' "set" get together at the Kings to finish preparations for the belated Christmas celebration. They are taken into the back room where the Christmas tree is shrouded from view while they make festoons of laurel leaves. A discontent Alexia helps Clare when she wanted to help Polly. Then news comes that Matthew, Mark, and Elvira have arrived. At first Polly rebells at having them interrupt their preparations, but she soon calms and the children come in. Matthew and Mark immediately help Jasper making festoons, but Elvira begins to tease Pip and Polly must threaten to send her back to Mrs. Van Ruypen's. Mrs. Van Ruypen then arrives with more gifts for the tree and news that she's invited Mr. St. John to her home help her with the children.
Chapter 22: Around the Christmas Tree
Dinner is held that night. Instead of a big long table there are small ones, and at one sits Polly, Ben, Mrs. Van Ruypen, Mr. St. John, Alexia, Pickering and Jasper. At the last minute Pip comes over, wanting to be with Ben, and reluctantly Madam makes room for him. Mr. St. John tells Madam and the others what dire straits the Hansell family was in--she is appalled--and they decide that they will send the mountain children to school. Then it is time for the Christmas tree! The choirboys of St. Stephen's Church sing for them, then wonder of wonders, Santa Claus appears. Phronsie is disappointed that Mr. Dyce is not there when he appears, but he swears to Phronsie that he did see him [wink]. Matthew later tells Ben the red tippet was the best gift of all and Mrs. Van Ruypen vows to ask Mr. King about Pip, since he reminds her of someone.
Chapter 23: The Sleighing Party
Pip does not want to go when the children are invited to a sleighing party by Madam Van Ruypen, since Ben is going to stay with Jasper. He tells Ben he does not like the way she looks at him. But Ben tells him he must go. Joel then roars in, ready to drag Pip with him. Polly also feels guilty about going, but Dr. Fisher talks her into it. After everyone leaves Ben and Jasper christen Jasper's new chess set. Jasper wins three games, then Ben wins. Then they begin talking about going to camp up in the mountains where the Hansells live during the coming summer and chess is forgotten.
Chapter 24: Jasper and Ben
The boys talk of "tramps" through the woods and fishing at camp, then Ben goes out to get some peanuts, and when he returns, brings Jocko up to visit Jasper. The monkey amuses them as he searches for peanuts, then begins to screech when the nuts are eaten. They give him candy to keep him quiet. Their supper arrives at 5:30 and the boys eat it quietly, then the butler takes Jocko back to the stable. Soon the boys play chess again, and when it is nine o'clock Dr. Fisher comes in to tell Jasper it is bedtime. Ben, however, dons coat and hat and goes walking in the snow, and meets the sleighing party just coming in, so they give him a sleigh ride in the moonlight.
Chapter 25: It Was Polly Who Heard It First
Mrs. Van Ruypen and Mr. St. John, whom she now calls Richard, discuss the Hansell childrens' future. She is going to have them all sent to school and wants him to help find a good one; she will ask Mr. King as well. She has also engaged the hotel in the mountains for the summer and wants Richard to hire the camp for her guests and a guide to work there. In the meantime, everyone is asleep in the King household when Polly awakes from a nightmare and hears a strange noise. She tells Ben, who takes a stout stick and goes downstairs looking for it. It sounds not like burglars, but someone continually dropping something. He summons the men in the stable to help him search. Suddenly the sound is close to him and he strikes at it. Jocko lets out a shriek.
Chapter 26: "Could You Take Him, Ben?"
It is decided next day that Jocko must go and they decide to send him to the zoo where he can be with other monkeys. But Candace hears about their plans to get rid of Jocko and hurries to the house. The boys don't understand what she wants at first, but then they are all overjoyed that Candace wants to take him in, for they can visit him often. Mr. King allows Ben and Polly to escort Candace and Jocko home in the express wagon, and for a moment or two they believe the animal has escaped (Thomas the coachman has taken him for a walk), and then all the children say goodbye to the mischievous monkey.
Chapter 27: "Mr. King, Who is That Pip You Have Here?"
Dr. Fisher decrees that Jasper shall not go back to school until mid-term, but both Jasper and Ben are then concerned that Pip will have to go back on his own and the boys will chaff him. They know if Mr. King asks Dr. Presbrey, the headmaster will allow his ward to stay with them and study with David and Joel. When the boys first broach this idea with Mr. King, he angrily orders them away, as he has had bad news, but then he calms down and says he will talk to Dr. Presbrey on behalf of Pip. He is no sooner done speaking with the boys than Mrs. Van Ruypen arrives. She is quite agitated and needs to ask him something. First she asks if he remembers her daughter Emily. Mr. King does. They had taken her to study abroad and she objected to the man her parents had chosen as her prospective husband. Instead she married a man they did not like and was never seen again. Then, she abruptly asks Mr. King what Pip's real name is. Mr. King has to think. "Leffingwell," he remembers. Mrs. Van Ruypen starts. The man who married her daughter was Cornelius Leffingwell. Mr. King says "That is Pip's name, too."
Chapter 28: Ben Decides the Matter for Himself
Ben disappoints everyone when he decides he does not want to continue with his schooling and go on to college, although Mr. King has offered to pay for it and allow him to pay him back afterwards. Ben says he does not have the mind for college and wishes to go into business right away, working himself up from the bottom. Polly is especially stricken, since she and Ben are so close. Mr. King does not speak to Ben for days, then Dr. Fisher takes him aside and says that Ben's personality makes him who he is; should education be forced on him, it would take away from him. So Mr. King, determined to make the best of the situation, goes to his old friend Mr. Cabot and asks that he take Ben in--starting from the bottom, as he wishes--at Cabot and Van Meter.
Five Little Peppers in the Little Brown House
Polly Pepper's Chicken Pie--The very first appearance of "the five little Peppers," in a short story written for Wide Awake magazine in 1887. One July afternoon Ben finds a black Shanghai rooster in the swamp where he's digging for sweet flag to sell to buy new boots. He brings the chicken home and when no one claims it, the Peppers put it in the shed with their cranky gray goose and fatten it up to be Thanksgiving dinner. (Ben once ate chicken pie while on an errand with his father and tells stories of how good it was!) The old goose is jealous of the children's attention to the rooster and starts telling him stories of what will happen on Thanksgiving. The stories finally "get" to the rooster and he runs away the night before Ben is to kill him. The children are upset, since Mrs. Pepper also bought raisins and promised them a plum pudding! So instead Ben kills the goose and Polly boils it up, then bakes it into her pie, and the children have goose pie (better than expected) and their plum pudding.
Phronsie's New Shoes--The second short story about the Peppers, again written for Wide Awake. Polly is having trouble baking in the old stove, so she allows a hungry Phronsie to get some bread to eat by herself. Phronsie takes the bread knife with her and cuts her thumb badly. The thumb is bound up with court plaster from Grandma Bascom, but to assauge Phronsie's trauma, Mamsie allows the children to go to Mr. and Mrs. Beebe's shoe store to get new shoes for her: she has only had hand-me-downs before. She instructs Ben and Polly that they must get "evens," not left/right shoes so they will last longer, and Mr. Beebe has trouble fitting Phronsie until he remembers a pair of shoes he made for a little girl that did not fit. These fit Phronsie perfectly and also have red tops, which she wanted! Phronsie goes to bed that night clutching her little red-topped shoes.
The remainder of the stories were all written new for the volume.
The Little Tin Plate--Mr. Beggs, the rag man, offers to take Joel and David on his rounds (Polly wants to go badly, but obediently turns him down to do her chores). While Mr. Beggs beats off Joel's efforts to drive, they stop to buy rags from the Hinmans, the Mrs. and her daughter Emmaline, the latter who is going to be married. Mrs. Hinman argues with Mr. Beggs about the weights of the bags and his products for trade (tin goods and brooms). She wants a broom but finally takes a skimmer. Emmaline sells her rags for cash instead since she is saving up for her wedding to Israel Sawyer. When Mr. Beggs returns with the boys, Emmaline's bag falls off his cart and spills. Polly and Phronsie help Joel and David pick up the scraps. In return, Mr. Beggs gives Phronsie "a little tin plate with big letters all around it."
In Deacon Blodgett's Barn--Joel and David go with Ben for the day to sort nails. At noon they are all invited to take dinner with the Blodgetts. Ben, whom Mamsie has told never to accept anything in charity, tells Deacon Blodgett that Polly has packed him a lunch and that Joel and David must go home for theirs since they are finished. Joel was looking forward to having beef for lunch and bursts into tears, but he and David go home to eat the usual potatoes. Deacon Blodgett comes by the house and offers to take Joel and David on an errand with him. He also gives them both a beef sandwich and a little apple turnover.
Baking Day--Jasper is visiting the children and they have a baking day. Ben is home, which makes it more special. The first batch of biscuits are spilled to the floor and Ben cuts the tops off with a knife. But a second batch is made and come out perfectly. Polly also gets to drum on the table pretending it is a piano and the children all take turns having a favorite song "played" and singing along with it. Jasper is quite amazed at the songs that Polly creates and tells her she has real talent.
The Little White Cat--Joel forgets to bring in wood, so Phronsie is alone in the kitchen while Polly fetches kindling for the fire when Dr. Fisher arrives. When Polly comes in with some wood she had to borrow from Grandma Bascom, Dr. Fisher goes outside and cuts more wood for her, pretending it was all fun when she is horrified that he has had to chop wood. Then he brings out a little white kitten he found while on his rounds; it is a gift for Phronsie, who adores cats. Joel, ashamed that he forgot about the wood, and David arrive home. After Dr. Fisher leaves, the children make such a clamour about the cat that it gets scared and climbs to the top of the cupboards, stubbornly remaining up away from them. So Polly distracts them with games, and finally the kitten calms enough to come down and have a little milk borrowed from Grandma Bascom.
You never hear of the Peppers owning a cat except in this story. Apparently it disappeared soon after.
Spending the Day at the Beebes--The three younger Pepper children can stay all day with the kindly shoestore keeper and his wife. Mr. Beebe sets Joel to do "makework" shifting shoe boxes and David to untangling shoe laces to keep them busy, while Phronsie "helps" him fit shoes on a little girl named Matilda who comes in the shop with her parsimonious mother. Then Phronsie has her nap. When Polly's and Ben's chores are done, they are allowed to come over as well and have dinner with the Beebes. Polly and Ben get to use Mrs. Beebe's best china cups, but Phronsie is delighted to use a little cup that says "From a Friend," Joel drinks from a mustache cup, and David is transported by joy using a mug that has his name on it (it belonged to Mrs. Beebe's grandfather).
At the Peters Farm--Mr. and Mrs. Atkins notice that Mrs. Pepper is looking quite tired and know that Ben is already overburdened, so they look for errands and chores that the younger boys may be able to do to earn money. When skinflint Eli Peters, who Mr. Atkins dislikes, shows up saying he needs a boy to do chores, Mr. Atkins reluctantly recommends Joel. Mr. Peters is skeptical because Joel was "sassy" to him once, and Joel is reluctant to go, but he does because he wants to earn money "for Mamsie." Mr. Peters gets his revenge by asking Joel to clean out the filthy pigpen. A boy and his dog come along while Joel works and the dog eats Joel's lunch. Mrs. Peters and her daughter see the boys fighting, Miranda breaks it up, and discovers what her father was having him do. She is horrified, cleans Joel off and then gives him some old clothes to sit in while they wash his own, feed him lunch, and then have to pay him out of the egg money, because they know parsimonious "Pa" will not pay him.
Over at Grandma Bascom's--The children (except Ben, who is working) are invited for a ride in Miss Parrott's carriage, but Mamsie reminds them they cannot go because they promised Grandma Bascom they would go to her house to help her while she is feeling ill. The children are disappointed, but know they must honor their promise. Phronsie sits with Grandma to keep her company while Polly cleans the kitchen--after the boys have chased all the chickens out!--and does the baking, while the boys chop wood and fill the woodbox and woodshed. Mrs. Pepper finishes what she is doing early, praises the work they have done, and give them the rest of the afternoon to play while she takes care of Grandma Bascom.
The Stage Ride--Mr. Tisbett asks Mr. Atkins to tell Joel and David he can take them for a stage ride the next day because no one was at home when he drove by the Little Brown House.Mr. Atkins forgets and is about to go to the Peppers himself when Sally Brown comes by the store after closing time for some sugar because they have company. In exchange for re-opening the store, Mr. Atkins asks Sally to stop by the Peppers to deliver the message. Sally brings the sugar home and promptly forgets the message in seeing a beautiful doll her cousin has. Sally delivers the message finally next morning, but no one is home to receive it (they are at Grandma Bascom's, but Sally doesn't know that). Mr. Tisbett, who was expecting a fare the next day, finds that it is no longer needed, so he takes Joel and David with him the following day, with a stage full of complaining passengers, including a woman with a cat that escapes from its basket. Joel catches the cat, but loses Ben's cap, which he had to borrow, and he and David cannot enjoy their dinners. The rich man whose actions caused the cat's escape gives Joel a new cap, and a boy finds Ben's cap nearby to where Joel caught the cat.
A Little Yellow Chicken--Polly is doing the dishes and Phronsie talking about the Hendersons chickens when Joel and David arrive. The boys immediately start pretending they are chickens--Joel the rooster, of course!--along with Phronsie. As Joel is "pecking" the floor he spies a little bit of cake that Polly had intended for Phronsie, but that had fallen to the floor. He eats it. When he mentions it a bit later Phronsie asks for the cake and he realizes it was to be hers. Remorseful, he begins to cry and Polly must take him outside where he confesses. She says to make up she can make Phronsie a little pie to go in the little tin plate Mr. Beggs gave her, but Joel must pick the berries for it. Joel has agreed to do so when the Beebes show up with doughnuts and an offer to take the children for a ride. Polly can't go because she must do her chores, but the rest go.
At the Parsonage--Polly is returning Mrs. Henderson's blue plate that the minister's wife had brought the Peppers some butter on. Miss Jerusha, the parson's sister, treats Polly meanly and refers to the dish as a "begging bowl." A horrified Polly flees, but is chased down by Mrs. Henderson. She apologizes, and later sends over her rather slow-witted son Peletiah to invite Polly and Phronsie to help her clean out the garret. Peletiah delivers his message, but Mamsie is not home yet so the Peppers invite him to play. Peletiah doesn't "get it," and waits for Mamsie to get home while the children play around him. Mrs. Pepper accepts and the next day Polly and Phronsie visit the parsonage (Miss Jerusha is gone for the day, to Polly's relief). Polly helps clean out an old chest and Mrs. Henderson puts aside a moth-eaten red woolen cloak for Mrs. Pepper to make over for a coat for Phronsie. When the girls go downstairs for dinner, another surprise awaits: Ben has been invited. Then Peletiah says he wants to play the games he saw the Peppers playing the day before, so even his parents join into the game.
Company at the Little Brown House--The children are devastated; the circus is coming to town and they have seen the posters for weeks. But Mamsie sadly counts their money and tells them they cannot afford to go. Even Polly, who usually understands, is upset and crying. So Mamsie tells them they may play they have "company." The children make hats out of paper and stick feathers collected from various chickens in them to "dress up," and each child will "call" while the others receive, each taking their turn being "company." Mamsie sacrifices a jar of blackberry jelly for them to have on the biscuits Polly bakes as a treat, and half of the jelly is melted and watered so they may have a fruit drink. Polly is the first caller and she makes the children close their eyes, because Mamsie has told her she may take out and use a beautiful green parasol that she owns. When Polly comes out, she gives a cry and all the childrent turn to look--a monkey has escaped from the circus and has eaten all their biscuts, jelly and juice! He capers for a while, then, seeing no further food is forthcoming, runs away. Later the Browns come by the Little Brown House on their way home from the circus and say the star performer, a monkey, had run away and did not perform. So the Peppers had a little of the circus after all.
In Doctor Fisher's Gig--Dr. Fisher comes by the house with word from Mamsie that he can take Polly and Phronsie out driving. The girls are enjoying the ride when someone runs to tell Dr. Fisher that Mrs. Granniss has fallen over her stove and is badly burnt. They rush there immediately and the girls play in the dirty yard while they wait. A grimy little boy asks them what they are doing there and then shows them the baby sister he is supposed to be caring for. He then runs off to go fishing while Polly and Phronsie coo over the baby. Since Mrs. Granniss' hands are so burned she cannot take care of the baby and the neighbor who is helping out cannot manage children, Dr. Fisher takes the baby to see if he can't get someone to care for her until Mrs. Granniss' sister arrives. Polly volunteers to take care of the baby even though Mamsie warns her what hard work it will be. They bathe the dirty child and its clothes and are about to have dinner when the grimy little boy shows up demanding his sister. Mrs. Pepper tells him the baby is visiting with them for a few days and invites the boy, Ira, to dinner.
Our Davie Pepper
Chapter 1: Davie and Old Man Peters
Mrs. Peters gives David a coat for Mamsie to mend, knowing that the measles have made things tight at the Little Brown House. Daughter Matilda hides a jar of quince sass for the children in the basket, although her skinflint father Eli Peters has counted every jar of their preserves. They tell Davie to hide the basket if he sees Mr. Peters. Unfortunately Peters sneaks up on David, and when the boy won't show him what's in the basket, he begins to belabor Davie with a stick. Jim Thompson threatens him, breaks the stick, and carries David home. He tells Mamsie he will "take care" of Mr. Peters, but Mamsie says she will handle it herself. She has just doctored Davie's welts when Dr. Fisher comes in. He also says he will do something about Mr. Peters, but Mamsie asks him not to.
Chapter 2: Mrs. Pepper Attends to the Matter
Mrs. Henderson sends the parson (she calls him "Adoniram") to the Peppers with some fresh baked goods, asking him to ask Mamsie to let him speak to Mrs. Peters. When his sister Jerusha wonders why they want to bother with "those shiftless people," Mrs. Henderson tells her off. Meanwhile, Joel wants to see David's welts again and accidentally tears his blouse. He confesses to Mamsie, who then takes two coats she's finished to Mr. Atkins. Then she goes to speak with Mr. Peters. Mrs. Peters and Matilda are quaking in their boots, but Mrs. Pepper quite quells Mr. Peters by telling him if she ever hears of him abusing any Badgertown children again, she will report him to the authorities. She also tells him he must treat his wife and daughter better or she will do the same. Mrs. Peters is in fear that this will bring reparations on them, but Mamsie tells her that if he abuses them again, to come to her.
Chapter 3: The Dark Cloud Over the Little Brown House
Mrs. Brown, buying gaiters at Mr. Beebe's shoe store, breaks the news to the Beebes that Polly now has the measles. Mrs. Beebe takes some doughnuts to the family and Mr. Beebe follows with peppermint sticks for Joel. They find the situation grave because Polly's eyes, overstrained with helping her mother sew, have given out. Polly is terribly upset that she cannot help her mother, but Mrs. Pepper assures her the best thing she can do is keep still so she can get well. A few days later Timothy Bliss breaks the news to Mr. and Mrs. Atkins at the general store that Joel "is took bad" with the measles. Meanwhile David is left to help Mamsie. He is always busy and the one day he stops working because his mother has told him to do so, he is berated by Miss Jerusha Henderson, who calls him shiftless. She is angrier when David bars her from going into the house. Dr. Fisher shows up and says David is correct; the Peppers do not need visitors. (Dr. Fisher gets the best line ever in any Pepper book when Miss Jerusha demands of him, "Do you know who I be? I'm Parson Henderson's sister?" and he retorts, "Yes, I know, and I'm dreadfully sorry for the parson.")
Chapter 4: Sunlight Through the Cloud
Deacon Blodgett and his wife are so worried about Joel, who has been lying near death, that Mrs. Blodgett finally abandons her housework to go chat with Grandma Bascom, although she knows Grandma will be talking about the Peppers, too. She finds David crying in the bushes and determines to go to the Little Brown House to find out how Joel is. She meets Dr. Fisher, who has the good news that Joel's fever has broken and he's going to live. They pick up David and take him home. As Joel recovers, Davie runs his legs off to do errands for him. Mrs. Pepper says Joel must stay quiet and under the covers, so to distract him, Davie starts telling a story, although he doesn't know what to say. Joel doesn't want the boy in the story, Peter, to go to school; instead he takes over the story so Peter is going into the woods and must shoot a bear. David protests when Joel wants a second bear to attack Peter and finally "wrests" his character back and gets him to school. Mrs. Pepper tells them it's nice they could tell the story together.
Chapter 5: On the Maybury Road
Phronsie, who goes out to investigate what Davie is doing at the woodpile, knocks the wood over and is cut on her arm. Davie runs inside for Mamsie, but has forgotten she is with Mrs. Blodgett. He and Polly go back outside and cannot find Phronsie anywhere, because the little girl has remembered where Mamsie is and has started walking to the Blodgett house. But she tires and stumbles and is picked up by John and Nancy Brown, a childless farm couple from nearby Maybury. They can't understand what she is saying about "Mamsie," but they tell her they have pigs and chickens, which she wants to see. When she says she wants to go to the little brown house, they tell her they are going to the Brown house, so Phronsie rides happily with them, thinking she is going home. Meanwhile Davie runs toward the Blodgetts and is overtaken by a young man in a wagon. Davie makes him understand that his little sister, blond with a pink dress, is missing. The young man has just seen a little girl like that in Mr. Brown's farm wagon and takes Davie to give chase.
Chapter 6: Back to Mamsie
Mr. and Mrs. Brown eat their dinner of corned beef and cabbage while Phronsie naps in another room. Mrs. Brown has always wanted a little girl and is upset that they will have to find out who Phronsie belongs to. Just then David and Jed Hubbard, who gave him the ride, arrive. The Browns make Phronsie and David have dinner, although Davie cannot eat until he knows they are going back to Mamsie, and also Mr. Hubbard, who then loans them his buggy and horse to take the children back. David eats his food in the buggy and they are soon back at the Little Brown House, where Mrs. Pepper has arrived home. She thanks the Browns for their kindness and when Mrs. Brown sniffles out that she has always wanted a little girl, Mamsie gives her a kiss and agrees that Phronsie and David can come to visit them someday. When David asks her if they were worried, Polly tells him no, that they were waiting for them to come home because Mr. Atkins knew Davie was going after Phronsie, who was in good hands with the Browns.
Chapter 7: "Good-by, Children"
Next day, Davie is kept home to rest after his adventure. Joel comes home from Deacon Blodgett's with the news that Ben is not coming home to lunch. Mrs. Pepper is disappointed because she is having fried potatoes rather than the usual baked and Ben loves fried potatoes. But she knows the other children will enjoy them. Joel helps Polly carry the molasses in as she and Phronsie return from the store, and the children have lunch and then Phronsie distributes the peppermints that Mr. Atkins gave her as a treat. Mrs. Pepper has no sooner started to work on the coats that Mr. Atkins sent with Polly than Mr. Tisbett appears. Old Miss Babbitt has fallen, broken her hip, and will not allow anyone to help her but Mrs. Pepper. So Mamsie, despite tears and reluctance, packs her bag and goes to stay overnight.
Chapter 8: "Old Father Dubbin"
The children are all so upset about Mamsie leaving that Polly allows them to play "Old Father Dubbin," a rollicking game that is only played when the children need to be distracted from troubles. It keeps them from thinking about Mamsie until it starts getting dark. Polly does a few chores and starts dinner for Ben, then settles the children around an imaginary fireplace and tells them about a circus with bears (of course, for Joel) and a rhododendron (her word for rhinoceros). Ben comes home from Deacon Blodgett's to hear the rest of the story, then the children have dinner. Polly allows them to play puss-in-the-corner before they go to bed.
Chapter 9: The Old Book Box
Mrs. Henderson hurries to the Pepper home without washing her breakfast dishes to see how the children are. She finds Polly washing clothes in the "orchard" and Phronsie washing her doll clothing. She asks if she may take Davie back with her to help her clean the attic. Davie goes happily and helps her with the dishes just in time before the town busybody comes by to borrow a colander for jelly making. Later, in the attic, Davie is busily moving some books when Mrs. Henderson bumps her head and goes downstairs to bathe it. She is delayed by a lady from the sewing society. Meanwhile, a book falls, and Davie, who wants desperately to go to school, is fascinated by the pictures and text in the book about a boy going to school. So when Peletiah fetches him for dinner, he is guilty because he has been reading and hasn't done any work, so he runs from the house.
Chapter 10: Mary Pote Helps
Polly finds Davie sobbing bitterly in Mamsie's chair. She finds out that he shirked his work, but is even more upset to find out that he ran out on the Hendersons when they had asked him to dinner. She has told him that he must go back and apologize when Mrs. Henderson walks in. She accepts his apology and invites him over the next day to help her finish in the attic, but on the way home wracks her brain for a way to get Mrs. Pepper home. She meets Dr. Fisher and tells him her problem, but Miss Babbitt is crotchety and not many people will care for her. Then Mrs. Henderson thinks of Mary Pote, who is a seamstress/servant at the estate of aristocratic Miss Parrott. Dr. Fisher drives her to Miss Parrott's, and although she is afraid of offending their only rich parishoner, Mrs. Henderson states her case. Miss Parrott orders Mary Pote, who is actually glad to help, to pack up and go to Miss Babbitt's until her sister can arrive, and so Mamsie can come home.
Chapter 11: "I'd Try to Learn"
David is at the store buying Indian meal and trying not to think about what he overheard Ben and Polly discussing earlier: they are running low on food and they have but ten cents left! So he is astounded and delighted when Mr. Atkins, reading signs of trouble at home on the boy's sober face, offers him a job tending the store while he's at dinner, handing him string and paper, and other makework. Davie runs home with the joyous news and the children celebrate, although Joel at first is jealous of Davie's job. But Mrs. Pepper reminds him that no one can help Ben like he can.
Chapter 12: Hop O' My Thumb
Mr. Atkins leaves Davie in the store when he goes to look at some potatoes he wants to buy. Davie, dusting the store, is interrupted when farmer Simeon Jones comes by, saying he has apples he would like to sell Mr. Atkins. It takes David a long time to write the message to Jones' satisfaction, and then the farmer apologizes to him for teasing him earlier by calling him "Hop O' My Thumb" after the miniscule fairy tale character and tries to give him a dime. Davie refuses, knowing Mamsie won't like it, and the farmer approves. A few minutes later a shifty-looking young man comes in. The next thing David knows, the man is trying to rob the till. He throws himself on the man, who drops the money and fights him off, then ties him to a bag of oats, intending to go back for the money. But then Mrs. Atkins comes in. Davie screams, fearing she'll be hurt, and the thief runs away. She frees David, relieved he isn't hurt.
Chapter 13: "Don't Hurt Him"
Mrs. Atkins flags down Simeon Jones, who gathers the other townspeople and asks if they have seen the young man. The farmers get together and go in the woods hunting him, and take David with them to identify him. The young robber is caught and they are jostling him roughly when softhearted Davie begs them not to hurt him. The young man is touched by Davie's concern and the men leave him alone. Simeon Jones takes Davie home to tell the story to Mrs. Pepper; Joel, of course is upset because he's never around when there's burglars. In the next few days Davie huddles inside because everyone waylays him to tell the story of the robbery and makes a fuss over him, and finally Polly persuades him to go with her to the Beebes. They are waylaid by rich Miss Parrott, who takes them for a ride in her coach so she can hear the true story from Davie.
Chapter 14: In the Parrott Playroom
David must be persuaded by Polly to tell Miss Parrott what happened at the store; to his relief she does not fuss over him. Miss Parrott wants to invite them to luncheon, so they go by the Little Brown House and get Mamsie's permission. When Polly and David are all fresh and neat, they go to the Parrott mansion. Miss Parrott allows them to play in the grand garden, with trees, stone benches, "old-fashioned flowers," and other delights, while the snobby servants watch, aghast. Luncheon is held in a big dining room and Polly and David are on their best manners. Afterwards Miss Parrott takes them to the playroom that used to be hers and her sister Sarah's and tells them to pick out an item and she will tell a story about it. Polly picks a rag doll, which Miss Parrott's mother had made for the sisters. But when they finally received it, they spurned it because it was not elegant. Not until their dog "Towsle" got ahold of it and started to hurt it did the sisters care for the doll, which they then named "Priscilla."
Chapter 15: "And See My Slate"
Miss Parrott then tells David and Polly about the time she and her sister sat for a daguerrotype and insisted Towsle sit with them. The dog must be bribed with candy. She then tells Davie about his choice, a primary reader. She says that she was very slow at learning, but one day was deliberately naughty and had to sit all by herself until she learned her lesson. When she says she and her sister each had a slate, David wants to see them. When she sees how covetously he touches the red slate, she says he may have it; it was her own. She then takes the children back out into the garden--again the snooty servants are aghast--and lets Polly pick out a yellow potted primrose to take home. As she is escorting them out, Polly peeks into the big drawing room. There is a piano! Miss Parrott sees how Polly runs to the instrument and plays it for them. The servants are now astounded; she hasn't played in years. And then after the lovely day, the children are taken home.
Chapter 16: At Grandma Bascom's
Grandma Bascom is sick and Davie is sent to help her instead of going to Mr. Atkins' store. He leaves his beloved slate at home reluctantly. When he gets to the house Peletiah Henderson is there and Grandma can't seem to get him to leave. Then Grandma's hens get in the house and there is a wild chase to eject them. Two get in the bedroom. In the course of trying to remove them, David is pecked badly. Grandma goes wild trying to remember where she's left the bottle of opedeldoc; David gets all dirty looking for it. He finally finds it right in her bedroom and she doctors his hand. He and Peletiah finally get the last two hens out from under the bed.
Chapter 17: The Fishing Party
David wants to go fishing with Joel, but he has promised Mr. Atkins to help out at the store. When Joel comes into the store saying David can go fishing, Mr. Atkins sees which way the wind blows and tells Davie he doesn't need him that day after all, but will need him tomorrow instead. He also gives both of the boys fishing poles and some fish-hooks. They join Peletiah and Ezekiel Henderson at the brook, where soft-hearted David won't bait his hook. He thinks he has a fish, but the hook has only gotten caught on an old root. While Joel helps David, Ezekiel slips into the place that Joel had saved for his brother and catches a trout.
Chapter 18: Danger
Joel gets David's hook baited and soon Davie has caught a big trout. Then Joel and Peletiah quarrel over who should stand on a big stone overlooking the water. Peletiah finally says he is going home to tell his parents about the names Joel has called him and cuts cross lots, directly into a field where a bull charges him. Joel, who has followed Peletiah to apologize, distracts the bull, and David, following after him, does the same. Then a man shouts to them. He leads the bull away from the boys and picks up David when the boy faints and helps bring him to. It is the young man who tried to rob Mr. Atkins' store, just released from jail! He thanks David for helping him. Both boys run home with the story and later Peletiah comes over to apologize to Joel and both boys almost start quarreling once more when Mrs. Pepper comes out with some fish for Peletiah to take home. The boys make peace again.
Chapter 19: "Polly Kissed It!" Said David
One rainy day, when the weather makes customers linger, Mr. Atkins starts telling them the story of how Dr. Fisher bought Polly a new stove. Mr. Atkins offered to pay half of it, roundly insulting Dr. Fisher. Then David arrives at the store and is esconsed on a sugar barrel, and, reluctantly at first, starts telling them about the day the stove arrived. Mamsie said the children could play in the bedroom and they were noisily playing "Old Father Dubbin" (which is apparently played with a stick) until she said it was time to come out. The children did so, all together, then Mamsie removed Polly's eye-bandage. Polly was so overjoyed she kissed the stove.
Chapter 20: Joel's Company
David prepares for a visit to the Brown farm by picking over the potatoes and cleaning the Provision Room, so not to leave work for Polly, who is feeling rather sorry for herself that she cannot visit the farm. Joel bursts in, also angry that they cannot go, so Polly hustles him outside and must dissuade him from planning to sneak on the Browns' wagon. She suggests he invite Peletiah and Ezekiel over to be his company when the others go to the farm, and after he warms to the idea, rushes inside to ask Mamsie. But he runs headlong into Phronsie, who is using the scissors, and badly cuts his face, although luckily it misses his eye. Dr. Fisher is called to check it out and he recommends that Joel not have company until the cut heals.
Chapter 21: At Farmer Brown's
After Joel's cut face is healed, the Browns pick up Mrs. Pepper, David, and Phronsie and leave behind a nice custard pie for Polly, Ben, and Joel. Even Mrs. Pepper is happy when they get to the lovely farm. Mrs. Pepper sees the hungry look in Mrs. Brown's eyes and tells Phronsie to let Mrs. Brown pretend to be her mother. Meanwhile, David helps Mr. Brown unharness the horse. At one point Mr. Brown asks Davie if he would like to be his boy. David is terrified. He says he's Mamsie's boy and he's going home with her, and no persuasion--even a calf of his own--will sway him. Mr. Brown finally sighs and asks him if he will at least pretend to be his boy for the day, and the two of them go to watch the haying.
Chapter 22: The Beautiful Day
David is buried in the hay when he slides off the hay wagon and Mr. Brown and the hired hands must dig him out. But he wants to go back up on the hay and while riding there has a talk with a hired man named Bill, who asks him if he isn't going to stay there. When David looks horrified by the thought, Bill wonders aloud what a wonderful place he must live in. He tells David he won't be kept on the farm against his will, and the boy is happy again. Meanwhile Mamsie stays in the kitchen cooking the dinner while Mrs. Brown takes Phronsie out to feed the chickens. She lets the birds crawl all over her and must be taken back to the house to have her dress washed and pressed. Mrs. Brown does all happily, feeling as if she has her own little child. Then they have lunch and are supposed to go see the cows, but Phronsie falls fast asleep until it is time to go home.
Chapter 23: The Uninvited Guest
Joel's coveted "company" arrives at last, but when Peletiah comes first and is sulky, he almost regrets the idea. Finally Polly talks them all into marching around the kitchen, but Joel calls Peletiah slow and he goes off in a corner to sulk. Ezekiel arrives just as Polly tells Peletiah he can't leave the party and that there will be refreshments; next thing Joel has opened the cupboard door and the custard pie is revealed. The boys tease her for the food until she runs into Mamsie's room to get the costume and supplies to play "Old Father Dubbin." In the process, she leaves out a string of gold beads that belonged to Mr. Pepper's grandmother; the beads are for Polly when she is older. The children are making such a racket that none of them hear a sneak thief enter the bedroom. But when Joel goes in the bedroom to get Mamsie's fan he discovers the soft paper wrapped around the necklace--empty!
Chapter 24: Great-Grandmother Pepper's Beads
Mr. and Mrs. Brown have brought Mamsie, David, and Phronsie home just as Polly tells Joel to stay behind while she runs for Ben. Neither of them were able to catch the thief they saw disappearing out of Mamsie's bedroom. Mrs. Pepper is devastated by the news, but stays cheerful, saying that at least the children aren't hurt. Mr. and Mrs. Brown stay and talk with them for a while, then return to the farm, and Mamsie and the children, with a heavy heart, eat the custard pie and have the surprise lemonade that Polly made as a treat with lemons that were a gift from Mr. Atkins. Polly is especially grieved because her father especially left her those beads to her with almost his final words. Then the children go to bed, but Mrs. Pepper sits sewing when she hears someone at the door. It is Jimmy Skinner, a teenage boy whose mother Mrs. Pepper has nursed. He shamefacedly returns the string of beads; he stole them because he wanted to go to the circus, but couldn't keep them because Mamsie had been so good to his mother. Mrs. Pepper thanks him and sends him home.
Chapter 25: Jimmy
Mrs. Pepper is bringing home more coats to sew when Mary Pote rushes up to her on the road with the news that Miss Parrott has instructed her to invite all of them, Mrs. Pepper as well as the five children, to go to the circus in Cherryville, and there will be a luncheon basket in the coach for them, too. Mrs. Pepper doesn't know what to say and Mary Pote advises her not to say no, since Miss Parrott is very particular. So Mamsie says yes, thinking of the other circus the children had to miss. Then she thinks of Jimmy. She asks Mary Pote if she may bring him along. Mary says the invitation was just for the Peppers, and that she didn't think much of shiftless Jimmy. So Mrs. Pepper drops the coats at home and goes to see Miss Parrott to plead his case. Miss Parrott is of the same opinion as her servant: Mrs. Skinner is hard working but her boy is shiftless. Mrs. Pepper says perhaps if he gets to go to the circus, if people in town see him as someone who can be trusted, that perhaps he will break out of his languor and become a real man. Miss Parrott is still skeptical but agrees to finance Jimmy as well; Mrs. Pepper then hurries to the Skinners to tell them the news. They are both delighted.
Chapter 26: The Circus
Next morning the supercilious Simmons drives the Peppers and Jimmy to the circus grounds, buys their tickets, and arranges to care for the luncheon basket until they want it. Joel begins to act up as they enter the tent and runs afoul of an old lady who thinks he is sick and tries to give him some medicine. He backs away and spills it; she makes such a fuss that a man comes over and tries to eject her from the tent. A repentant Joel speaks up for her and the man leaves. Joel helps the woman find her ticket; it turns out her seat is next to Mamsie. In thanks, the woman buys them all peanuts and then exclaims to Mrs. Pepper about the trouble of taking care of all those children. Mrs. Pepper is astonished; she never thinks of the children as trouble.
Chapter 27: More About the Circus
It is also the old woman's first circus and they all enjoy it, although David sets off a flurry when he screams, for he has seen the bears and knows Joel will want to see them. When the show is over, Mrs. Pepper asks Joel and David to help the old woman and invites her to lunch with them. It is a filling lunch, with cold chicken and many delicious goodies, and a cake for dessert. Mrs. Pepper sees Jimmy hiding his piece of cake and asks him why. It turns out that he sees a boy that who hungry hanging about near the tents. Mrs. Pepper, seeing that Jimmy does have good instincts, tells him to bring the boy the cake. Then the Peppers, Jimmy, and the elderly woman, Miss Susannah Jones, visit the menagerie. Joel gets so close to the bears that he almost gets his face swiped by Father Bear's claws and Ben must ride herd on him. Then the crowd reaches the monkeys. One boy jostles David so that he is pushed up against the bars and one of the monkeys steals his cap.
Chapter 28: David's Cap
Mrs. Pepper does not show how upset she is, since she doesn't know how she will replace the cap. The monkey throws what is left of the cap at Joel, but it cannot be repaired. Soon Miss Parrott's coachman takes the family home, and when he returns to the mansion, he tells Miss Parrott what happened. She gives him money and sends him to Atkins' store to get Davie a new cap. Meanwhile, Jimmy goes home feeling sorry about Davie's cap. He is already feeling bad about the boy whom he gave the cake to; the boy had talked about being beaten and starved. So Jimmy, not knowing what Miss Parrott has done, resolves to earn money to buy Davie a new cap, and takes a job hauling rocks from a farmer's field, a difficult job that he had laughed off earlier. Meanwhile, Davie's shoe needs repair, so he goes to Mr. Beebe's to have it fixed. While Mr. Beebe works, Davie tells him about the circus--until an organ grinder with a monkey comes by and then he is in a fever to get home. Mr. Beebe returns the shoe, but asks him to return the next day to have the repair finished.
Chapter 29: The Story in the Shoe-Shop
While David was telling Mr. Beebe about the circus, a Mrs. Goodsell from Four Corners had come in. Puzzled at Davie's actions, she asks Mr. Beebe about it, so he begins telling her about the Peppers. Mrs. Goodsell can't get over how much store the Beebes take in people who are not family. Finally Mrs. Beebe comes in and tells Mrs. Goodsell why David was so upset--he thought it was the same organ grinder who had taken Phronsie away with him. She also tells Mrs. Goodsell about how Jasper King and his dog found Phronsie and how the boy visited them almost every day during the summer and baked bread and biscuits with them (on Polly's old stove), and how Phronsie baked Mr. King a gingerbread boy.
Chapter 30: The Letter
The organ grinder's monkey then invades the shop, followed by his master, raising chaos in the store. Davie returns to the shop, secure in Mamsie's promise that Phronsie will be looked after, to finish the repair on his shoe, and helps to catch the monkey, pleading with the organ grinder not to hurt it. Mr. Beebe shows Mrs. Goodsell the door after she makes a disparaging remark against David when he mentions that Mamsie has had a letter from Mr. King and he won't tell the imperious woman what is in it. But he is preoccupied as he eats the doughnut Mrs. Beebe gives him. Jasper is not well and Mr. King wants Polly to come stay with him. Mrs. Pepper wants Polly to go since Jasper and Mr. King have been so nice to them, and because Jasper saved Phronsie, but she wants Polly to decide to go for herself. So she tells the children that they can all spend the entire day in the woods the next day, and can take bread with precious butter on it. Polly knows why Mamsie is allowing them this beautiful day and reluctantly decides to go to visit the Kings.
Chapter 31: Working Hard to Keep Cheery
The Hendersons discuss how hard Polly's departure will be for the rest of the Peppers, especially sensitive David, but Parson Henderson is sure the decision will benefit Polly, who will get an education and her beloved music lessons. Miss Jerusha just laughs at them; she is certain Polly will be snubbed. But the town rallies for Polly: Mr. Atkins gives them material for two dresses, Mr. Beebe a pair of shoes, and finally Polly is on her way. David retreats to the woods to cry and is joined by Joel, who claims he will go fetch Polly, but after they have talked awhile they decide they will say nothing of what happened. With Polly gone, David must now stay home and take care of Phronsie, but he isn't doing very well at first until Grandma Bascom helps him out. Then a letter comes from Polly, with a postscript from Jasper asking them to write every day. Now Davie knows what he can do to amuse Phronsie--help her write to Polly every day.
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