Margaret Sidney.

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Illustrated by FANNY Y. CORY


When the friends of the Pepper family found that the author was firm in
her decision to continue their history no further, they brought their
appeals for the details of some of those good times that made the
"little brown house" an object-lesson.

In these appeals, the parents were as vigorous as the young people for
a volume of the stories that Polly told, to keep the children happy in
those hard days when her story-telling had to be a large factor in
their home-life; and also for a book of their plays and exploits,
impossible to be embodied in the continued series of their history, so
that all who loved the "Five Little Peppers" might the better study the
influences that shaped their lives.

Those requests were complied with; the author realising that the
detailed account held values, by which stronger light might be thrown
on the family life in the "little brown house."

And now the pressure is brought to bear for a book showing the Little
Peppers over the ocean, recorded in "Five Little Peppers Midway." And
the author is very glad to comply again; for foreign travel throws a
wholly different side-light upon the Pepper family. So here is the book.

It is in no sense to be taken as a story written for a
guide-book, - although the author lives in it again her repeated
enjoyment of the sights and scenes which are accurately depicted. A
"Baedeker," if carefully studied, is really all that is needed as a
constant companion to the traveller; while for supplementary helps and
suggestions, there are many valuable books along the same line. This
volume is given up to the Peppers; and they must live their own lives
and tell their own story while abroad just as they choose.

As the author has stated many times, her part is "simply to set down
what the Peppers did and said, without trying to make them say or do
anything in particular." And so over the ocean they are just as much
the makers of their own history as when they first opened the door of
the "little brown house" to






"Now don't you want to get off?"

He clung to his pear with both hands and ate away with great

"Fan-ny! - the Earl of Cavendish!" She could go no further

Phronsie sat opposite him

"Mamsie's got her two bothers," said Polly

"Look at that girl!"

She picked up the skirt of her gown

Phronsie ducked and scuttled in as she could

_Five Little Peppers Abroad_



"Dear me," said Polly, "I don't see wherever she can be, Jasper. I've
searched just everywhere for her." And she gave a little sigh, and
pushed up the brown rings of hair under her sailor cap.

"Don't worry, Polly," said Jasper, with a reassuring smile. "She's with
Matilda, of course. Come, Polly, let's you and I have a try at the
shuffle-board by ourselves, down on the lower deck."

"No, we can't," said Polly, with a dreadful longing at her heart for
the charms of a game; "that is, until we've found Phronsie." And she
ran down the deck. "Perhaps she is in one of the library corners,
though I thought I looked over them all."

"How do you know she isn't with Matilda, Polly?" cried Jasper, racing
after, to see Polly's little blue jacket whisking ahead of him up the

"Because" - Polly stopped at the top and looked over her shoulder at
him - "Matilda's in her berth. She's awfully seasick. I was to stay with
Phronsie, and now I've lost her!" And the brown head drooped, and Polly
clasped her hands tightly together.

"Oh, no, she can't be lost, Polly," said Jasper, cheerfully, as he
bounded up the stairs and gained her side; "why, she couldn't be!"

"Well, anyway, we can't find her, Jasper," said Polly, running on. "And
it's all my fault, for I forgot, and left her in the library, and went
with Fanny Vanderburgh down to her state-room. O dear me!" as she sped

"Well, she's in the library now, most likely," said Jasper, cheerfully,
hurrying after, "curled up asleep in a corner." And they both ran in,
expecting to see Phronsie's yellow head snuggled into one of the

But there was no one there except a little old gentleman on one of the
sofas back of a table, who held his paper upside down, his big
spectacles on the end of his nose, almost tumbling off as he nodded
drowsily with the motion of the steamer.

"O dear me!" exclaimed Polly; "now we shall wake him up," as they
tiptoed around, peering in every cosey corner and behind all the tables
for a glimpse of Phronsie's little brown gown.

"No danger," said Jasper, with a glance over at the old gentleman;
"he's just as fast asleep as can be. Here, Polly, I think she's
probably tucked up in here." And he hurried over to the farther side,
where the sofa made a generous angle.

Just then in stalked a tall boy, who rushed up to the little old
gentleman. "Here, Granddad, wake up." And he shook his arm smartly.
"You're losing your glasses, and then there'll be a beastly row to pay."

"O dear me!" cried Polly aghast, as she and Jasper whirled around.

"Hey - what - what!" exclaimed the old gentleman, clutching his paper as
he started forward. "Oh, - why, I haven't been asleep, Tom."

"Ha! Ha! tell that to the marines," cried Tom, loudly, dancing in
derision, "You've been sleeping like a log. You'd much better go down
and get into your state-room. But give me a sovereign first." He held
out his hand as he spoke. "Hurry up, Granddad!" he added impatiently.

The old gentleman put his hand to his head, and then rubbed his eyes.

"Bustle up," cried the boy, with a laugh, "or else I'll run my fist in
your pocket and help myself."

"Indeed, you won't," declared the old gentleman, now thoroughly awake.

"Ha! Ha!" laughed the boy. "You see if I won't, Granddad." Yet he
dropped his imperious tone, and waited, though impatiently, while the
big pocket-book was drawn out.

"What do you want with money on board the boat?" demanded the old

"Give me a sovereign, Granddad," cried Tom, controlling his impatience
as best he might, with many a cross look at the wrinkled old face under
the white hair.

His Grandfather slowly drew out the coin, and Tom twitched it eagerly
from the long, thin fingers.

"I don't see how you can need money on board the boat," repeated the
old gentleman.

"Never you mind what I want it for, Grand-daddy," said Tom, laughing
loudly and shaking the sovereign at him as he ran off; "that's my
business, and not yours."

Polly had not taken her eyes off their faces. Now she turned toward
Jasper. "Oh, how very dreadful!" she gasped - then would have given
everything if she had kept still, for the old gentleman whirled around
and saw them for the first time.

"Hey - who are you - and what are you listening there for - hey?" he
demanded sharply. He had little black eyes, and they now snapped in a
truly dreadful way at them.

"We came to find her little sister," said Jasper, politely, for Polly
was quite beyond speaking.

"Sister? I don't know anything about your sister," said the old
gentleman, irascibly. "And this room isn't a place for children, I can
tell you," he added, as if he owned the library and the whole ship.

Jasper made no reply.

"Phronsie isn't here." Polly clasped her hands again tighter than ever.
"And, oh, Jasper!" and she looked at the angry old face before them
with pitying eyes.

"What I say to my grandson, Tom, and what he says to me, is our own
business!" exclaimed the old gentleman in a passion, thumping the table
with his clenched hand. "And no one else has a right to hear it."

"I am so very sorry we heard it," said Polly, the colour which had
quite gone from her cheek now rushing back. "And we are going right
away, sir."

"You would much better," said the old man, nodding angrily. "And you,
boy, too; I suppose you think yourself better than my Tom. But you are
not - not a bit of it!" And suddenly he tried to start to his feet, but
lurched heavily against the table instead.

Polly and Jasper rushed over to him. "Lean on me, sir," said Jasper,
putting both arms around him, while Polly ran to his other side, he was
shaking so dreadfully.

The old gentleman essayed to wave them off. "Let me alone," he said
feebly; "I'm going after my grandson, Tom." His voice sank to a
whisper, and his head dropped to his breast. "He's got money - he's
always getting it, and I'm going to see what he's doing with it."

"Polly," said Jasper, "you help me put him back on the sofa; there,
that's it," as the old man sank feebly down against the cushions; "and
then I'll run and find his grandson."

It was just the time when everybody seemed to be in the state-rooms, or
out on deck in steamer chairs, so Polly sat there at the old man's
head, feeling as if every minute were an hour, and he kept gurgling,
"Tom's a bad boy - he gets money all the time, and I'm going to see what
he's doing with it," with feeble waves of his legs, that put Polly in a
fright lest he should roll off the sofa at every lurch of the steamer.

"Tom is coming," at last she said, putting her hand on the hot
forehead. "Please stay still, sir; you will be sick."

"But I don't want Tom to come," cried the old gentleman, irritably.
"Who said I wanted him to come? Hey?" He turned up his head and looked
at her, and Polly's hand shook worse than ever when the little snapping
eyes were full on her face, and she had all she could do to keep from
running out of the room and up on deck where she could breathe freely.

"I am so sorry," she managed to gasp, feeling if she didn't say
something, she should surely run. "Does your head feel better?" And she
smoothed his hot forehead gently just as Phronsie always did
Grandpapa's when it ached. And when she thought of Phronsie, then it
was all she could do to keep the tears back. Where could she be? And
would Jasper never come back?

And just then in ran Tom with a great clatter, complaining noisily
every step of the way. "I told you you'd much better get off to your
stateroom, Granddad!" he exclaimed. "Here, I'll help you down there."
And he laid a hasty hand on the feeble old arm.

"I think he is sick," said Polly, gently. Jasper came hurrying in.
"Phronsie is all right," he had time to whisper to Polly.

"Oh, Jasper!" the colour rushed into her cheek that had turned quite
white. "I am so glad."

"Nonsense!" exclaimed Tom, abruptly. "It's only one of his crotchets.
You don't know; he gets up plenty of 'em on occasion."

"What did you want a sovereign for?" asked the old gentleman,
querulously, taking his sharp little eyes off Polly to fasten them on
his grandson's face. "Say, I _will_ know."

"And I say no matter," retorted Tom, roughly. "And you ought to come
down to your state-room where you belong. Come, Granddad!" And he tried
again to lay hold of his arm. But the little old gentleman sank back,
and looked up at Polly again. "I think I'll stay here," he said.

"I say," began the boy, in an embarrassed way, "this is dreadfully
rough on you," and then he looked away from Polly to Jasper. "And if
you knew him as well as I do," nodding his head at his Grandfather,
"you wouldn't get in such a funk."

Polly was busy smoothing the hot forehead under the white hair, and
appeared not to notice a word he said.

"Your Grandfather really appears ill," said Jasper. "And the doctor
might give him something to help him."

Tom burst into a short laugh and kicked his heel against the table.
"Hoh! hoh! I say, you don't know him; oh, what muffs you are! He's well
enough, only he's determined not to go to his state-room where he
belongs, but to kick up a row here."

"Very well," said Jasper, coolly, "since you are determined to do
nothing for his relief, I shall take it upon myself to summon the
doctor." He stepped to a table a bit further off, and touched the
electric button back of it.

"Here, don't do that," remonstrated Tom, springing forward. But it was
too late, and the steward who attended to calls on the library stepped

"It isn't the hour for giving out books," he began.

Tom was stamping his foot impatiently, and scowling at Jasper,
alternately casting longing glances out the nearest port-hole.

"It isn't books we want," said Jasper, quickly, "but this old
gentleman" - whose head was now heavily sunken on his breast, and whose
cheek was quite white - "appears to be very ill, and to need the doctor."

"Is that so?" The steward leaned over and peered into the old face.
"Well, he doesn't look just right, and that's a fact. Is he your

"Oh, no," said Jasper, quickly, "I don't know who he is. But, do hurry,
for he's sick, and needs the doctor at once."

"I'll get Dr. Jones." Off ran the steward toward the surgeon's cabin.

"See what you've done," cried Tom, in a towering passion. "Kicked up a
pretty mess - when I tell you I've seen my Grandfather just as bad a
hundred times."

Jasper made no reply, and Polly continued to stroke gently the poor

"Well - well - well!" exclaimed Mr. King, coming in, "to be sure, it's
very stupid in me not to think of looking in the library for both of
you before. O dear me - bless me!" And he came to a dead stop of

"Father," cried Jasper, "this poor man seems very ill."

"Oh, yes," breathed Polly, pitifully, "he really is, Grandpapa." And
she put out her hand to seize one of Mr. King's. "And Jasper has sent
for the doctor."

"And none too soon, I should say," remarked Mr. King, grimly, with a
keen glance into the old man's face. "Raise his feet a little higher,
Jasper; put a pillow under them; there, that's it. Well, the doctor
should be hurried up." He glanced quickly around. "Here, you boy,"
seeing Tom, "run as you never have run before, and tell the doctor to
come quickly."

"There isn't any need," began Tom.

"Do you _go_!" commanded Mr. King, pointing to the door. And Tom went.

"Father, that boy is his grandson," said Jasper, pointing to the sick

Mr. King stared into Jasper's face, unable to make a reply.

"He is," declared Polly. "Oh, Grandpapa, he really is!" Then she buried
her flushed face up against Mr. King's arm.

"There is no need to waste words," said Mr. King, finding his tongue.
"There, there, Polly, child," fondling her brown head, "don't feel
badly. I'm sure you've done all you could."

"'Twas Jasper; he did it all - I couldn't do anything," said Polly.

"Oh, Polly, you did everything," protested Jasper.

"Yes, yes, I know, you both did," said Mr. King. "Well, here's the
doctor, thank the Lord!"

And then when nobody wanted them, the library seemed to be full of
people, and the news spreading out to the decks, many of the passengers
got out of their steamer chairs, and tried to swarm into the two

Tom, who never knew how he summoned Dr. Jones, being chiefly occupied
in astonishment at finding that he obeyed a command from a perfect
stranger, did not come back to the library, but kept himself with the
same amazed expression on his face, idly kicking his heels in a quiet
corner of the deck near by. He never thought of such a thing as being
worried over his Grandfather, for he couldn't remember when the old
gentleman hadn't been subject to nervous attacks; but somehow since "a
row," as he expressed it, "had been kicked up," it was just as well to
stay in the vicinity and see the end of it. But he wasn't going
inside - no, not he!

After awhile, Tom was just beginning to yawn, and to feel that no one
could expect him to waste time like that, and probably his Grandfather
was going to sleep it out on the sofa, and the stupid doctor would find
that there was nothing the matter, only the old man was nervous. "And
I'm going back to the fellows," decided Tom, shaking his long legs.

"Oh, here you are!" cried Jasper, running up to him. "Come quickly,"
seizing his arm.

"Hey, here, what are you about?" roared Tom at him, shaking off the

"You must excuse me for wasting no ceremony," said Jasper, sternly. It
struck Tom that he looked very much like the old gentleman who had told
him to _go!_ "Your Grandfather is very ill; something is the matter
with his heart, and the doctor has sent me for you. He says he may not
live an hour." It was necessary to tell the whole of the dreadful
truth, for Tom was still staring at him in defiance.



"I don't want you," muttered the old gentleman, feebly, turning his
head away from Tom, and then he set his lips tightly together. But he
held to Polly's hand.

"You would better go out," Dr. Jones nodded to Tom. "It excites him."

The second time Tom was told to go. He stood quite still. "He's my
Grandfather!" he blurted out.

"Can't help it," said Dr. Jones, curtly; "he's my patient. So I tell
you again it is imperative that you leave this room." Then he turned
back to his work of making the sick man comfortable without taking any
more notice of the boy.

Tom gave a good long look at as much of his Grandfather's face as he
could see, then slunk out, in a dazed condition, trying to make himself
as small as possible. Jasper found him a half hour afterward, hanging
over the rail away from curious eyes, his head buried on his arms.

"I thought you'd like to know that your Grandfather is better," said
Jasper, touching the bent shoulder.

"Get away, will you?" growled Tom, kicking out his leg, unmindful where
it struck.

"And the doctor has gotten him into his state-room, and he is as
comfortable as he could be made." Jasper didn't add that Dr. Jones had
asked him to come back, and that the old man was still insisting that
Polly should hold his hand.

"In that case," declared Tom, suddenly twitching up his head, "I will
go down there." His face was so drawn that Jasper started, and then
looked away over the sea, and did not appear to notice the clenched
hand down by the boy's side.

"I - I - didn't know he was sick." Tom brought it out in gusts, and his
face worked worse than ever in his efforts not to show his distress.
The only thing he could do was to double up his hand tighter than ever,
as he tried to keep it back of him.

"I understand," nodded Jasper, still looking off over the blue water.

"And now I'll go down," said Tom, drawing a long breath and starting
off. Oh! and Dr. Jones had said the last thing to Jasper as he rushed
off with the good news to Tom, "On no account let that boy see his
Grandfather. I won't answer for the consequences if you do."

"See here," Jasper tore his gaze off from the shimmering water. "The
doctor doesn't - doesn't think you ought to see your Grandfather now."

"Hey!" cried Tom, his drawn lips flying open, and his big blue eyes
distending in anger. "He's my Grandfather. I rather think I shall do as
I've a mind to," and he plunged off.

"Tom!" Jasper took long steps after him. "Beg your pardon, this is no
time for thinking of anything but your Grandfather's life. Dr. Jones
said you were not to see him at present." The truth must be told, for
in another moment the boy would have been off on the wings of the wind.

"And do you think that I will mind in the least what that beastly
doctor says?" cried Tom, getting redder and redder in the face, his
rage was so great. "Hoh! no, sir."

"Then your Grandfather's life will be paid as a sacrifice," said Jasper
calmly. And he stood quite still; and surveyed the boy before him.

Neither spoke. It seemed to Jasper an age that they stood there in
silence. At last Tom wavered, put out his hand unsteadily, leaned
against a steamer chair, and turned his face away.

"Let us do a bit of a turn on the deck," said Jasper, suddenly,
overcoming by a mighty effort his repugnance to the idea.

Tom shook his head, and swallowed hard.

"Oh, yes," said Jasper, summoning all the cheerfulness he could muster
to his aid. "Come, it's the very thing to do, if you really want to
help your Grandfather."

Tom raised his head and looked at him. "I never supposed the old man
was sick," he said brokenly, and down went his head again, this time
upon his hands, which were grasping the top of the chair.

"I don't believe you did," answered Jasper. "But come, Tom, let's walk
around the deck; we can talk just as well meanwhile."

Two or three young men, with cigarettes in their mouths, came
sauntering up. "Tom Selwyn, you're a pretty fellow - "

Tom raised his head and looked at them defiantly.

"To give us the slip like this," cried one, with a sneer, in which the
others joined, with a curious look at Jasper.

"Well, come on now," said one. "Yes - yes - come along," said another;
"we've waited long enough for you to get back."

"I'm not coming," declared Tom, shortly.

"Not coming back? Well - " One of the young men said something under his
breath, and the first speaker turned on his heel, tossing his cigarette
over the railing.

"No," said Tom, "I'm not coming. Did you hear me?"

"I believe I had that pleasure," said the last named, "as I am not
deaf. Come on, fellows; our little boy has got to wait on his
Grandpappy. Good-by, kid!" He snapped his fingers; the other two
laughed derisively, and sauntered off down the deck as they came.

Tom shook with passion. "I'd like to walk," he said, drawing a long
breath, and setting off unsteadily.

"All right," said Jasper, falling into step beside him.

Meantime the old gentleman, in his large handsome state-room, showed no
sign of returning to the consciousness that had come back for a brief
moment. And he held to Polly's hand so tightly, as she sat at the head
of the berth, that there was no chance of withdrawing her fingers had
she so desired. And Father Fisher with whom Dr. Jones had of course
made acquaintance, before the steamer fairly sailed, sat there keeping
watch too, in a professional way, the ship's doctor having called him
in consultation over the case. And Phronsie, who had been in deep
penitence because she had wandered off from the library with another
little girl, to gaze over the railing upon the steerage children below,
thereby missing Polly, was in such woe over it all that she was allowed
to cuddle up against Polly's side and hold her other hand. And there
she sat as still as a mouse, hardly daring to breathe. And Mr. King,
feeling as if, after all, the case was pretty much under his
supervision, came softly in at intervals to see that all was well, and
that the dreadful boy was kept out.

And the passengers all drifted back to their steamer chairs, glad of
some new topic to discuss, for the gossip they had brought on board was
threadbare now, as they were two days at sea. And the steamer sailed
over the blue water that softly lapped the stout vessel's side,
careless of the battle that had been waged for a life, even then
holding by slender threads. And Fanny Vanderburgh, whose grandfather
was a contemporary in the old business days in New York with Mr. King,
and who sat with her mother at the next table to the King party, spent
most of her time running to Mrs. Pepper's state-room, or interviewing
any one who would be able to give her the slightest encouragement as to
when she could claim Polly Pepper.

"O dear me!" Fanny cried, on one such occasion, when she happened to
run across Jasper. "I've been down to No. 45 four times this morning,
and there's nobody there but that stupid Matilda, and she doesn't know
or won't tell when Polly will get through reading to that tiresome old

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Online LibraryMargaret SidneyFive Little Peppers Abroad → online text (page 1 of 19)