"I can't wait for you to meet Pearl, Sukey! You'll simply adore her, I know."
"I'm sure I will, Kay," Susan said, smiling at her old friend's gushing. They hadn't seen each other in years, but Kay hadn't changed a bit.
Hearing the doorbell ring, she prepared to meet the first of Kay's schoolmates. As it turned out, however, she was completely unprepared – for the new arrival was none other than Peggy Blackett.
"Pearl, this is Sukey, I mean Susan Walker..."
"We know each other," Peggy interrupted, grinning.
"Why, that's fantastic – oh, bother, Mother's calling! Do excuse me!" She exclaimed, hurrying out.
"Pearl?" Susan asked, looking at her friend quizzically.
"It is short for Margaret… and a common item in pirate stories," Peggy admitted. "Why are you Sukey?"
"We were neighbours when we were small, and used to play together. I always wanted to play at cooking and tea parties, so she used to sing 'Polly put the kettle on' at me," Susan replied. "Now you've explained, I'm surprised Nancy doesn't call you Pearl too."
"Oh, we both thought it was rather silly for an Amazon Pirate. Most people call me Peggy, but Kay always has her own nicknames for people... it annoys Nancy no end."
"Yes, I can see how it would... How is Nancy, anyway?"
"Very well, judging from her letters… well, apart from her complaints about my style of writing".
Susan eyed her friend sharply. Peggy looked every bit as mischievous as when she used to sneak out as a child.
"What's so worrying about your writing style? I always thought it was fine."
"I may have been imitating Kay slightly," Peggy answered, smirking, "and signing as 'Pearl', of course."
"No wonder Nancy's worried, then! That's dreadful, Peggy." Susan tried to sound strict, but couldn't help laughing.
"Nonsense, it'll do her good to be the one being wound up for a change," Peggy retorted. "Besides, I'm sure she loves my raptures about films, parties, and city life." Taking a sandwich from a nearby side table, she continued "I think I'll wax lyrical about 'dear little sandwiches' this time… what do you think?"
"I shouldn't encourage you, but I'd love to see Nancy's face when she receives your ode to cucumber sandwiches," Susan said, taking a sandwich herself.
Peggy laughed at that. "An ode to cucumber sandwiches? Tempting, but I think Nancy would realise I'm pulling her leg if I actually write in verse. In any case, I think our camp cooking would deserve it more."
"An ode to camp cooking? Now that sounds interesting."
"How's this for a first line? 'Pemmican and potatoes, a perfect pairing'?"
"Very alliterative, I'm impressed."
"Don't you dare tell Nancy, but truly, I rather miss tents and camping rations," Peggy confessed.
Susan nodded, understanding completely. "Remember the hot-pot in the igloo? And potatoes baked in the camp fire?"
"Oh, yes. I can't wait to go camping again!"
Susan agreed wholeheartedly. London parties were nice, but there was nothing like Wild Cat Island.