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Title: Mary of Plymouth - A Story of the Pilgrim Settlement
Author: Otis, James, 1848-1912
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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     COPYRIGHT, 1910, BY



The purpose of this series of stories is to show the children, and
even those who have already taken up the study of history, the _home
life_ of the colonists with whom they meet in their books. To this end
every effort has been made to avoid anything savoring of romance, and
to deal only with facts, so far as that is possible, while describing
the daily life of those people who conquered the wilderness whether for
conscience sake or for gain.

That the stories may appeal more directly to the children, they are
told from the viewpoint of a child, and purport to have been related
by a child. Should any criticism be made regarding the seeming neglect
to mention important historical facts, the answer would be that these
books are not sent out as histories,--although it is believed that they
will awaken a desire to learn more of the building of the nation,--and
only such incidents as would be particularly noted by a child are used.

Surely it is entertaining as well as instructive for young people to
read of the toil and privations in the homes of those who came into a
new world to build up a country for themselves, and such homely facts
are not to be found in the real histories of our land.

                                                             JAMES OTIS.


  Why This Story Was Written                            9
  The Leaking "Speedwell"                              10
  Searching for a Home                                 13
  After the Storm                                      15
  Wash Day                                             16
  Finding the Corn                                     17
  Attacked by the Savages                              20
  Building Houses                                      22
  Miles Standish                                       24
  The Sick People                                      26
  The New Home                                         27
  Master White and the Wolf                            29
  The Inside of the House                              30
  A Chimney Without Bricks                             32
  Building the Fire                                    33
  Master Bradford's Chimney                            34
  Scarcity of Food                                     36
  A Timely Gift                                        38
  The First Savage Visitor                             39
  Squanto's Story                                      41
  Living in the Wilderness                             42
  The Friendly Indians                                 44
  Grinding the Corn                                    46
  A Visit From Massasoit                               47
  Massasoit's Promise                                  50
  Massasoit's Visit Returned                           52
  The Big House Burned                                 53
  The "Mayflower" Leaves Port                          54
  Setting the Table                                    56
  What and How We Eat                                  58
  Table Rules                                          60
  When the Pilgrim Goes Abroad                         62
  Making a Dugout                                      63
  Governor Carver's Death                              65
  William Bradford Chosen Governor                     67
  Farming in Plymouth                                  68
  Ways of Cooking Indian Corn                          70
  The Wedding                                          72
  Making Maple Sugar                                   73
  Decorating the Inside of the House                   74
  Trapping Wolves and Bagging Pigeons                  76
  Elder Brewster                                       77
  The Visit to Massasoit                               79
  Keeping the Sabbath Holy                             80
  Making Clapboards                                    81
  Cooking Pumpkins                                     82
  A New Oven                                           83
  Making Spoons and Dishes                             84
  The Fort and Meeting-House                           86
  The Harvest Festival                                 89
  How to Play Stoolball                                91
  On Christmas Day                                     93
  When the "Fortune" Arrived                           94
  Possibility of Another Famine                        96
  On Short Allowance                                   98
  A Threatening Message                                99
  Pine Knots and Candles                              101
  Tallow from Bushes                                  102
  Wicks for the Candles                               103
  Dipping the Candles                                 105
  When James Runs Away                                106
  Evil-Minded Indians                                 109
  Long Hours of Preaching                             110
  John Alden's Tubs                                   112
  English Visitors                                    113
  Visiting the Neighbors                              115
  Why More Fish Are Not Taken                         116
  How Wampum is Made                                  118
  Ministering to Massasoit                            119
  The Plot Thwarted                                   121
  The Captain's Indian                                122
  Ballots of Corn                                     123
  Arrival of the "Ann"                                123
  The "Little James" Comes to Port                    125
  The New Meeting-House                               125
  The Church Service                                  127
  The Tithingmen                                      129
  Master Winslow Brings Home Cows                     130
  A Real Oven                                         131
  Butter and Cheese                                   132
  The Settlement at Wessagussett                      133
  The Village of Merrymount                           135
  The First School                                    136
  Too Much Smoke                                      138
  School Comforts                                     139
  How the Children Were Punished                      140
  New Villages                                        142
  Clothing for the Salem Company                      146
  Preparing Food For the Journey                      147
  Before Sailing for Salem                            148
  Beginning the Journey                               150
  The Arrival at Salem                                153
  Sight-Seeing in Salem                               154
  Back to Plymouth                                    155



My name is Mary, and I am setting down all these things about our
people here in this new world, hoping some day to send to my dear
friend, Hannah, who lives in Scrooby, England, what may really come to
be a story, even though the writer of it is only sixteen years old,
having lived in Plymouth since the day our company landed from the
_Mayflower_ in 1620, more than eleven years ago.


If Hannah ever really sees this as I have written it, she will, I know,
be amused; for it is set down on pieces of birch bark and some leaves
cut from the book of accounts which Edward Winslow brought with him
from the old home.

Hannah will ask why I did not use fair, white paper, and, if I am
standing by when she does so, I shall tell her that fair, white paper
is far too precious in this new world of ours to be used for the
pleasure of children.

In the last ship which came from England were large packages of white
paper for the settlers at Salem, who came over to this wild land eight
years after we landed, and when I asked my father to buy for me three
sheets that I might make a little book, he told me the price would
be more for the three sheets than he paid for the two deer skins with
which to make me a winter coat.


Of course I put from my mind all hope of having paper to write on; but
these sheets of bark take very well the ink made from elderberries
which mother and I brewed the second winter after our new home was
built. The pen is a quill taken from the wing of a wild goose shot by
Captain Standish.


Hannah's father must have told her how much of trouble we had in
getting here, for when the first vessel in which we set sail, named
the _Speedwell_, put back to Plymouth in England because of leaking so
badly, her master could not have failed to tell the people of Scrooby
how all the hundred and two of us, men, women and children, were
crowded into the _Mayflower_.


From the sixth day of September until the eleventh day of November,
which is over sixty long dreary days, we were on the ocean, and then
our vessel was come into what Captain John Smith had named Cape Cod

Mother believed, as did the other women, and even we children, that we
would go on shore as soon as the _Mayflower_ had come near to the land;
but before many hours were passed, after the anchor had been dropped
into the sea, even the youngest of us knew that it could not be.

We were weary with having been on board the vessel so long, and had
made ourselves believe that as soon as we were arrived in the new
world, food in plenty, with good, comfortable homes, would be ours.


Master Brewster, as well as the other men, said that houses must be
built before we could leave the ship, and it was only needed we should
go on deck and look about us, to know why this was so. Everywhere,
except on the water, were snow and trees. It was a real forest as far
as I could see in either direction, and everywhere the cold, white snow
was piled in drifts, or blowing like feathers when the wind was high.

So deeply was the land covered that we, who watched the men when they
went ashore for the first time to seek out some place whereon to make
a village, thought that they had fallen into a hole while stepping off
the rocks, because we lost sight of them so soon. Instead of its being
an accident, however, we could see that they were floundering in the
snow, Master Bradford, whose legs are the shortest, being nearly lost
to view.

We waited as patiently as possible for them to come back, though I
must confess that Sarah, a girl of about my own age who came aboard the
_Mayflower_ at Plymouth when we put back because of the _Speedwell's_
leaking so badly, and I could not keep in check our eagerness to hear
from those people in Virginia, who it was said were living in comfort.

Not for many days did we come to realize that the settlers in Virginia
were far, very far away from where we were to land, and to see them we
should be forced to take another long voyage in a ship. We had come
amidst the snow and the savage Indians, instead of among people from
England, as had been planned when we set out on the journey.


Father was wet, cold, weary, and almost discouraged when he came on
board the vessel after that first day on shore. The men had found no
place which looked as if it might be a good spot for our village.
Father said that he was not the only member of the company who had
begun to believe it would have been better had we stayed in Leyden, or
in any other place where we would have been allowed to worship God in
our own way, rather than thus have ventured into a wild forest where
were fierce animals, and, perhaps, yet more cruel savages.

On that very night, soon after our fathers were on board again, a
great storm came up. The vessel tumbled about as if she had been on the
broad ocean, and when we heard the men throwing out more anchors, we
children were afraid and cried, for Sarah's father said he believed the
_Mayflower_ would be cast ashore and wrecked on the cruel rocks over
which the waves were dashing themselves into foam.


Some of the women were frightened, although my mother was not of the
number, and it was only when Master Brewster came among us, praying
most fervently, and saying that God would watch over us even as He had
on the mighty ocean, that the cries and sobs of fear were checked.
Truly did I think, while Sarah and I hugged each other very hard so
that we might not be heard to cry, that this was a most wretched place
in which to make a new home, and how I wished we had never left Leyden,
or that we had gone back to Scrooby instead of coming here!


It was Saturday when our vessel first came to anchor, and the storm
held furious until Monday morning, when the snow was piled up higher
than before, and many of the smaller trees were hidden from sight; but
yet our fathers went on shore when the sun shone once more, while the
sailors made ready to launch the big boat which they call the shallop.
It had been tied down on the deck of the _Mayflower_, taking up so
much space that, because of her, we children could not move around
comfortably on deck even when the weather permitted.

Some of the upper timbers had been broken by the waves during the
storms which came upon us while we were on the ocean, and it was said
that much in the way of mending must be done before she could be made
seaworthy. Therefore, owing to the need of room in which to work,
the sailors took her ashore where it could be done with somewhat of

You must know that a shallop is a large boat, much larger than the one
belonging to our ship, which is called a longboat. To my mind a shallop
is like unto a vessel such as the _Speedwell_, except that it is much
smaller, capable of holding no more than twenty-five or thirty people.
It has one mast, a sail, and oars, and, as father has told me, any one
might safely make a long voyage in such a craft.


Captain Standish led the company of men, among which was my father,
into the forest to search for a place in which to make our new home,
and when we lost sight of them among the trees, it seemed as if we were
more alone than before.


Sarah and I could not stay on deck to watch the men while they worked,
because the cold was too severe, therefore we went into the cabin
where were other children huddled around the stove, and there tried to
imagine what our homes would be like in such a desolate place.

While the sailors worked on the shallop, many of the women went on
shore to wash clothes near the fire which had been built by the men,
and a most dismal time they had, as we children heard when they came
back at night. They were forced to melt snow in Master Brewster's
big iron pot, and when the hot water had been poured into the tub, it
speedily began to freeze. Mother said that the clothes were but little
improved by having been washed in such a manner.

Next morning the cold was so bitter that the women and children did not
venture much out on the deck of the vessel, save when one or another
ran up to see if those who had set off to find a place for our new
home were returning. The sailors continued work on the shallop during
two days, and each time on coming back to the _Mayflower_ for food or
shelter, brought a load of wood in their boat so that we might have
fuel in plenty for our fires on the ship.


Not until Friday evening did our fathers come back; no one of all the
party of seventeen was missing, although it seemed to me they had been
in great danger.

Before they had gone on their journey more than a mile from the
_Mayflower_, they saw five savages and a dog coming toward them, and
hastened forward to learn what they might about this new world. The
Indians ran among the trees as soon as they saw our people, and they
ran so swiftly it was impossible to overtake them.


After making chase without coming upon the savages, Captain Standish
led the way along the shore until next day they came upon what looked
as if an Indian village had once been in that place, for the land
had been dug over much as though to raise crops, and there were what
appeared to be many graves. On opening one of these piles of sand,
there were found two baskets full of what one of the sailors said was
Indian corn; but another declared it was Turkish wheat, while Captain
Standish believed it should be called Guinny wheat. It had been left
near the graves, for these savages believe that even after people are
dead, they need food.

Later, when we had become acquainted with Samoset and Squanto, we came
to know that on the spot which had been chosen for our home, there had
been a large Indian village. Four years before we of the _Mayflower_
came, a terrible sickness had attacked the settlement of savages, and
more than two hundred died. Those who were alive and able to walk,
deserted the place to go many miles into the forest away from the sea,
and, except for the graves which our people found, every trace of the
town was wiped out, the savages believing that only by the destruction
of everything connected with the settlement, could the evil spirit of
the mysterious sickness be cast out.

Our men were very glad to find this wheat, and as soon as they had
brought it aboard the vessel, the women set about boiling some, for
that seemed to be the only way in which it could be eaten, since it is
hard, almost like flint. Neither Sarah nor I, hungry though we were,
felt like eating what had been left for dead people; but we did taste
of it, and found it very good, even though it had not been cooked quite

It was not long, however, before we found out how to prepare it, and
many a time since then has it saved us from starving, but of that I
will tell you later.


On the sixth of December, the shallop having been made ready for sea,
the men started away to search once more for a place in which to build
homes, and on the very next day, while they were sleeping in the forest
in a hut that had been built of dead tree trunks and bushes, they were
set upon by savages, who shot arrows among them.

There were thirty or forty of these savages, but as soon as our men
fired upon them, they speedily disappeared. Our men then picked up the
arrows, some of which were fashioned with heads of brass or eagles'

No one was hurt by these weapons, although one of them passed through
father's coat, and many were found sticking in the logs. Then our
people gave solemn thanks to God because of having been saved from the
savage foe, and afterward gathered up many of the arrows to be sent
back to England, that our friends there might see what were the dangers
to be met with in the woods of this new world.


Five long, dreary days went by before the company came back once more,
and then we were made happy by being told that a place for our village
had been found. It was a long distance from where the _Mayflower_ lay
at anchor; and on the next morning another great storm came up, which
forced us to stay on board the vessel until the fifteenth of December,
when we set sail, and Sarah and I hugged each other fervently, for at
last did it appear as if we could begin to make our homes.

Even then we were forced to stay in the _Mayflower_ yet longer, for
after we were come into the bay where it had been said we should live,
the men spent a long while choosing a place in which to build the


It was agreed to build first one large house of logs, where we could
all live until each man had chosen a place for himself, and both Sarah
and I were on shore, standing almost knee-deep in the snow on that
twenty-fifth of December, as we watched the men hew down trees, trim
off the branches, and dig in the frozen ground to set up the first
dwelling in this strange land.


The first thing done was to build a high platform, where the cannon
that had been brought from England could be placed, so that the savages
might be beaten off if they came to do us harm, and then the big house
was begun.

Of course we women and children were forced to go back on board the
vessel while the work was being done, and very slowly was it carried
on, because of the cold's being so great, and the storms so many, that
our people could not work out of doors long at a time.

Our village was begun in the midst of the forest not very far from the
seashore, where had been huts built by the savages; and because of the
Indians having chosen that place in which to live, our people believed
it would be well for them to make there the town which was to be called
Plymouth, since it was from Plymouth in England that we had started on
the voyage which ended in this wild place.

When mother asked father why the men did not search longer, instead of
fixing upon a spot to which the savages might come back at any moment,
he told her that much time must be spent in building houses, and not an
hour should be wasted. They ought to get on shore as soon as possible
in order to begin hunting, for the food we had on the _Mayflower_
was by this time so poor that neither Sarah nor I could swallow the
smallest mouthful with any pleasure.

Sarah and I were eager to be living on dry land once more, where we
could move about as we pleased; for, large though the _Mayflower_ had
seemed to us when we first went on board, there was little room for all
our company, and very many were grown so sick that they could not get
out on deck even when the sun shone warm and bright.

There were nineteen plots for houses laid out in all, because of the
company's being divided into nineteen families. The plots were on two
sides of a way running along by a little brook, where, so I heard my
father say, one could get sweet fresh water to drink. It was decided
that each man should build his own house.

The plot of land where father was to build our house was quite near the
bay, but yet so far in among the trees as to be shaded from the sun in
the summer, while Master Carver, who was chosen to be our governor, was
to build his only a short distance away.


You must know that Captain Standish is not of the same faith as are
we. He calls himself a "soldier of fortune," which means that he is
ready to do battle wherever it seems as if he could strike a blow for
the right. He, and his wife Rose, became friendly with us while we were
at Leyden, for he was, although an Englishman, a captain in one of the
Holland regiments, having enlisted in order to help the Dutch in their

Because of liking a life of adventure, and also owing to the fact
that he and his wife had become warm friends with Elder Brewster and
my parents, Captain Standish declared that he would be our soldier,
standing ever ready to guard us against the wild beasts, or the
savages, if any should come to do us harm. Right gallantly has he kept
his promise, and unless he had been with us this village of ours might
have been destroyed more than once, and, perhaps, those of our people
whose lives God had spared would have gone back to Holland or England,
ceasing to strive for a foothold in this new world which is so desolate
when covered with snow and ice.

A most kindly-hearted man is Captain Standish, and yet there are times
when he has but slight control over his temper. Like a flash of powder
when a spark falls upon it, he flares up with many a harsh word, and
woe betide those against whom he has just cause for anger.

  [Illustration: Swords of Captain Standish]


After coming to know him for one who strove not to control his tongue
in moments of wrath, the Indians gave him the name of "Little pot that
soon boils over," which means that his anger can be aroused quickly. He
is not small, neither is he as tall as my father or Elder Brewster; but
the savages spoke of him as "little," measuring him, I suppose, with
many others of our people.

We had not been long in Plymouth, however, before the Indians
understood what a valiant soldier he is, and then they began to call
him "Strong Sword."


It was yet very cold while our fathers were putting up the houses,
and the sickness increased, so that at one time before the women and
children could go on shore, nearly one half of our company were unable
to sit up. All the while the food was very bad, save when more baskets
of Indian corn were found.

One evening, when father had come on board the vessel after working
very hard on our house, I heard him say to mother that we must try
to be cheerful, praying to God that the sickness which was upon our
people so sorely would pass us by until we could build the home, plant
a garden, and raise food from the earth.

Sarah and I often asked each other when we were alone, whether the good
Lord, whom we strove to serve diligently, would allow us to starve to
death in this strange land where we had hoped to be so very near Him;
for, indeed, as the days passed and the food we had brought with us
from England became more nearly unfit to eat, it was as if death stood
close at hand.



It seemed like a very long while before the houses were ready so that
we who were well could go on shore to live. I must tell you what our
home is like. In Scrooby, when one builds a house, he has the trees
sawed into timbers and boards at a mill; but in this new land we had no
mills. When a man in England wants to make a chimney, he buys bricks
and mortar; but here, as father said, we had plenty of clay and lime,
yet could not put them to proper use until tools were brought across
the sea with which to work such material into needed form.

There was plenty of granite and other rock out of which to make cellars
and walls; but no one could cut it, and even though it was already
shaped, we had no horses with which to haul it. Think for a moment what
it must mean not to have cows, sheep, oxen, horses or chickens, and we
had none of these for three or four years.

My father built the house we are now living in, almost alone, having
but little help from the other men when he had to raise the heavy
timbers. First, after clearing away the snow, he dug a hole in the
frozen ground, two or three feet deep, making it of the same shape as
he had planned the house. Then, having cut down trees for timbers, he
stood them upright all around the inside of this hole, leaving here a
place for a door, and there another for a window, until the sides and
ends of the building were made.

On the inside he filled the hole again with the earth he had taken out
at the beginning, pounding it down solid to form a floor, and at the
same time to help make the logs more secure in an upright position.
Where the floor of earth does not hold the timbers firmly enough, what
are called puncheons are fastened to the outside just beneath the roof.

Puncheons are logs that have been split and trimmed with axes until
they are something like planks, and you will see very many in our
village of Plymouth. Hard work it is indeed to make these puncheon
planks; but they were needed to fasten crosswise on the sides and ends
of our house, in order to hold the logs more firmly in place.

Across the top of the house, slanting them so much that the water would
run off, father placed a layer of logs to make the roof.


Three puncheons were put across the inside of the roof, being fastened
with pegs of wood, for the few nails we have among us are of too much
value to be used in house building.

That the roof might prevent the water from running into the house,
father stripped bark from hemlock trees, and placed it over the logs
two or three layers deep, fastening the whole down with poles cut from
young trees.


Of course, when this home was first built, there were many cracks
between the logs on the sides and ends; but these mother and I stuffed
full of moss and clay, while father was cutting wood for the fire,
until the wind no longer finds free entrance, and we are not like to be
in the same plight as was Master White, less than two months after we
came ashore to live.


He would not spend the time to fill up the cracks, as we had done, and
one night while he lay in bed, a hungry wolf thrust his paw through and
scratched the poor man's head so severely that the blood ran freely.
Sarah thinks he must have awakened very quickly just then.


We have a partition inside our house, thus dividing the lower part
into two rooms. It is made of clay, with which has been mixed beach
grass. Mother and I made a white liquid of powdered clam shells and
water, with which we painted it until one would think it the same kind
of wall you have in Scrooby. With pieces of logs we children helped to
pound the earth inside until the floor was smooth and firm; but father
promised that at some later time we should have a floor of puncheons,
as indeed we have now, and very nice and comfortable it is.


I wish you might see it after mother and I have covered it well with
clean white sand from the seashore, and marked it in pretty patterns of
vines and leaves: but this last we do only when making the house ready
for meeting, or for some great feast.

At the windows are shutters made of puncheons, as is also the door, and
both are hung with straps of leather in the stead of real hinges.

Perhaps you may think that with only a puncheon shutter at the window,
we must perforce sit in darkness when it storms, or in cold weather
admit too much frost in order to have light. But let me tell you that
our windows are closed quite as well as yours, though not so nicely.
We brought from home some stout paper, and this, plentifully oiled,
we nailed across the window space. Of course we cannot look out to see
anything; but the light finds its way through readily.


I had almost forgotten to tell you how father built a chimney without
either bricks or mortar, for of course we had none of those things when
we first made our village.


Our chimney is of logs plastered plentifully with clay, and fastened
to the outside of the building, with a hole cut through the side of the
house that the fireplace may be joined to it.

The fireplace itself is built of clay, made into walls as one would
lay up bricks, and held firmly together by being mixed with dried beach

It looks somewhat like a large, square box, open in front, and with
sides and ends at least two feet thick. It is so large that Sarah and I
might stand inside, if so be the heat from the fire was not too great,
and look straight out through it at the sky.

Father drags in, as if he were a horse, logs which are much larger
around than is my body, and mother, or one of the neighbors, helps him
roll them into the big fireplace where, once aflame, they burn from one
morning until another.


The greatest trouble we have, or did have during our first winter
here, was in holding the fire, for the wood, having just been cut in
the forest, is green, and the fire very like to desert it unless we
keep close watch. Neither mother nor I can strike a spark with flint
and steel as ably as can many women in the village; therefore, when,
as happened four or five times, we lost our fire, one of us took a
strip of green bark, or a shovel, and borrowed from whosoever of our
neighbors had the brightest blaze, enough of coals to set our own
hearth warm again.


Some of the housewives who are more skilled in the use of firearms than
my mother or myself, kindle a blaze by flashing a little powder in the
pan of a gun, allowing the flame to strike upon the tinder, and thus be
carried to shavings of dry wood. It is a speedy way of getting fire;
but one needs to be well used to the method, else the fingers or the
face will get more of heat than does the tinder. Father cautions us
against such practice, declaring that he will not allow his weapons to
remain unloaded simply for kitchen use, when at any moment the need may
arise for a ready bullet.

But we have in Plymouth one chimney of which even you in Scrooby might
be proud.


Master Bradford built what is a perfect luxury of a chimney, which
shows what a man can do who has genius, and my mother says he showed
great skill in thus building. If you please, his chimney is of stone,
even though we have no means of cutting rock, such as is known at
Scrooby. He sought here and there for flat stones, laying them one
upon another with a plentiful mixture of clay, until he built a chimney
which cannot be injured by fire, and yet is even larger than ours.

Its heart is so big that I am told Master Bradford himself can climb
up through it without difficulty, and at the bottom, or, rather, where
the fireplace ends and the chimney begins, is a shelf on either side,
across which is laid a bar of green wood lest it burn too quickly; on
this the pot-hooks and pot-claws may be hung by chains.


It would seem as if all this had made Master Bradford over vain, for
because the wooden bar, which he calls a backbar, has been burned
through twice, thereby spoiling the dinner, he has sent to England for
an iron one, and when it comes his family may be proud indeed, for only
think how easily one can cook when there are so many conveniences!

We are forced to put our pots and pans directly on the coals, and
it burns one's hands terribly at times, if the fire is too bright.
Besides, the cinders fall on the bread of meal, which causes much delay
in the eating, because so much time is necessary in scraping them off,
and even at the best, I often get more of ashes than is pleasant to the

  [Illustration: Skillets from the "Mayflower"]

Bread of any kind is such a rarity with us that we can ill afford to
have it spoiled by ashes. During the first two years we had only the
meal from Indian corn with which to make it; but when we were able to
raise rye, it was mixed with the other, and we had a most wholesome
bread, even though it was exceeding dark in color.


In Scrooby one thinks that he must have bread of some kind for
breakfast; but we here in Plymouth have instead of wheaten loaves,
pudding made of ground Indian corn, sometimes sweetened, but more often
only salted, and with it alone we satisfy our hunger during at least
two out of the three meals. I can remember of two seasons when all the
food we had for more than three months, was this same hasty pudding, as
we soon learned to call it.

That first winter we spent here was so dreadful and so long that I do
not like even to think of it. Nearly all the food we had brought from
England was spoiled before we came ashore.

There were many times when Sarah and I were so hungry that we cried,
with our arms around each other's neck, as if being so close together
would still the terrible feeling in our stomachs.


All the men who were able to walk went hunting; but at one time, before
the warm weather came again, only five men were well enough to tramp
through the forest, and these five had, in addition, to chop wood for
the whole village.

Mother and the other women who were not on beds of sickness, went from
house to house, doing what they might for those who were ill, while we
children were sent to pick up dead branches for the fires, because at
times the men were not able to cut wood enough for the needs of all.

Then so many died! Each day we were told that this neighbor or that had
been called to Heaven. I have heard father often say since then, that
the hardest of the work during those dreadful days, was to dig graves
while the earth was frozen so solidly.

Think! Fifty out of our little company of one hundred and two, Captain
Standish's wife among the others, were called by God, and as each went
out into the other world, we who were left on earth felt more and more
keenly our helplessness and desolation.


It was fortunate indeed for us that Captain Standish was among those
able to labor for others, else had we come much nearer dying by
starvation. A famous hunter is the captain, and one day, when I was
searching for leaves of the checkerberry plant under the snow, mother
having said the chewing of them might save me from feeling so hungry,
Captain Standish dropped a huge wild turkey in front of me.

It seemed like a gift from God, and although it was very heavy, I
dragged it home, forgetting everything except that at last we should
have something to eat.

Many days afterward I heard that the captain went supperless to bed
that day, and when I charged him with having given to me what he needed
for himself, he laughed heartily, as if it were a rare joke, saying
that old soldiers like himself had long since learned how to buckle
their belts more tightly, thus causing it to seem as if their stomachs
were full.


A firm friend is Captain Standish, and God was good in that he was sent
with us on the _Mayflower_.

It was when our troubles were heaviest, that Sarah came to my home
because her mother was taken sick, and Mistress Bradford, who went
there to do what she might as nurse, told Sarah to stay in some other
house for a time.


We two were standing just outside the door of my home, breaking twigs
to be used for brightening the fire in the morning, when suddenly a
real savage, the first I had ever seen, dressed in skins, with many
feathers on his head, came into the village crying:

"Welcome English!"

Women and children, all who were able to do so, ran out to see him,
the first visitor we had had in Plymouth. His skin was very much darker
than ours, being almost brown, and, save for the color, one might have
believed him to be a native of Scrooby dressed in outlandish fashion to
take part in some revel.


Father was the more surprised because of hearing him speak in our
language, than because of his odd dress; but we afterward learned that
he had met, two or three years before, some English fishermen, and they
had taught him a few words.

Very friendly he was, so much so that when he put his hand on my head
I was not afraid, and I myself heard him talking with Master Brewster,
during which conversation he spoke a great many Indian words, and some
in English that I could understand.

His name was Samoset, and after he had looked around the village,
seeming to be surprised at the manner in which our houses of logs
were built, he went away, much to my disappointment, for I had hoped,
without any reason for so doing, that he might give me a feather from
the splendid headdress he wore.

As I heard afterward, he promised to come back again, and when, six
days later, he did so, there was with him another Indian, one who could
talk almost the same as do our people. His was a strange story, or so
it seemed to me, so strange and cruel that I wondered how he could be
friendly with us, as he appeared to be, because of having suffered so
much at the hands of people whose skins were white.

Squanto had been a member of the same tribe that owned the land where
our village of Plymouth was built, and his real name, so Governor
Bradford says, is Squantum.


Seven years before the _Mayflower_ came, he had been stolen by one
Captain Hunt, who had visited these shores on a fishing voyage, and
by him was sent to Spain and sold as a slave. There a good Englishman
saw him and bought him of his master. He was taken to London, where
he worked as a servant until an exploring party, sent out by Sir
Ferdinando Gorges, was about to set sail for this country, when he was
given passage.

While he had been in slavery, the dreadful sickness broke out, which
killed or drove away all his people; therefore, when the poor fellow
came back, he found none to welcome him.

How it was I cannot say, but in some way he wandered about until coming
among the tribe of Indians called the Wampanoags, where he lived until
Samoset happened to come across him.

As soon as he knew that we of Plymouth were English people, he had a
desire to be friendly, because of what the good Englishman had done for

I have heard father say many times that but for Squanto, perhaps all
of us might have died during that terrible winter when the good Lord
took fifty of our company, which numbered, when we left England, but an
hundred and two.


You must know that in this land everything is different from what you
see in England. Of course the trees are the same; but oh, so many of
them! We are living now, even after our homes have been made, in the
very midst of the wilderness, and in that winter time when Squanto and
Samoset came to us, bringing the corn we needed so sorely, we were much
like prisoners, for the snow was piled everywhere in great drifts.


The trees, growing thickly over the ground, save where they had been
cut down to build our homes and to provide us with wood for the fires,
prevented all, except such of the men as were well enough to go out
with their guns in the hope of shooting animals that could be eaten as
food, from going abroad, save from one house to the other.

And little heart had we for leaving the shelter of our homes. In nearly
every house throughout the village was there sickness or death; the
cold was piercing, and, however industriously we had worked filling
the cracks between the logs with clay, the wind came through in many
places, so that for the greater part of the time we needed to hug
closely to the fire lest we freeze to death.

There were days when it seemed indeed as if the Lord had forgotten us;
when, with the hunger, and the cold, and the sickness on every hand, it
was as if we had been abandoned by our Maker.


With the coming of Samoset and Squanto, however, although the illness
was not abated, and one after another of our company died, it seemed,
perhaps only to us children, as if things were changed. These Indians
were the only two persons in all the great land who were willing to
take us by the hand and do whatsoever they might to cheer, and because
of this show of kindness did we feel the happier.

Squanto, as father has said again and again, did very much to aid.
First he showed our people how to fish, and this may seem strange to
you, for the English had used hooks and lines many years before the New
World was dreamed of; yet, it is true that the savages could succeed,
even without proper tackle, better than did our people.

Squanto showed father how, by treading on the banks of the brooks, to
force out the eels which had buried themselves in the mud during the
cold weather, and then taught him how to catch them with his hands, so
that many a day, when there was nothing whatsoever in our home to eat,
we hunted for eels, boiling rather than frying them, because the little
store of pork was no longer fit to cook with.


Another thing which Squanto did that was wondrously helpful, was to
teach us how to grind this Indian corn, Guinny wheat, or Turkie wheat,
which ever it should be called, for none of us seemed to know which was
the right name for it. The wheat that we found among the Indian graves
could be made ready for the table, as we believed, only by boiling it a
full day, and then it was not pleasing to the taste. But when Squanto
came, he explained that it should be pounded until it was like unto
a coarse flour, when it might be made into a pudding that, eaten with
salt, is almost delicious.


When I heard him telling father that it must be ground, I said to
myself that we were not like to know how it might taste, for there
is not a single mill in this land; but Squanto first cut a large tree
down, leaving the stump a full yard in height. Then, by building a fire
on the stump, scraping away with a sharp rock the wood as fast as it
was charred, he made a hollow like unto a hole, and so deep that one
might put in half a bushel of this Turkie wheat.


From another portion of the tree he shaped a block of wood to fit
exactly the hole in the stump, and this he fastened to the top of a
young, slender tree, when even we children knew that he had made a
mortar and pestle, although an exceeding rude one.

We had only to pull down the heavy block with all our strength upon
the corn, thus bruising and crushing it, when the natural spring of the
young tree would pull it up again. In this way did we grind our Guinny
wheat until it was powdered so fine that it might be cooked in a few


One day Samoset, Squanto, and three other savages came into our
new village of Plymouth, walking very straight and putting on such
appearance of importance that I followed them as they went to the very
center of the settlement, for it seemed to me that something strange
was about to happen, as indeed proved to be the case.


The Indians had come to tell our governor that their king, or chief,
was in the forest close by, having in mind to visit the Englishmen, and
asked if he should enter the village.

I was so busy looking at the feathers and skins which these messengers
wore that I did not hear what reply Captain Standish made, for he it
was who had been called upon by Governor Carver to make answer; but
presently a great throng of savages, near sixty I was told, could be
seen through the trees as they marched straight toward us.

Then my heart really stood still, as I saw Master Winslow walking
out to meet them, with a pot of strong water in his hand; but Captain
Standish said I need not be afraid, as he was only going to greet the
chief of the Indians, carrying the strong water, three knives, a copper
chain, an earring, and somewhat in the way of food.

It seemed like woeful waste to give that which was of so much value to
a savage, but Captain Standish said it would be well if we could gain
the favor of this powerful Indian even at the expense of all the most
precious of our belongings.

A brave show did the savages make as they came into the village,
marching one after the other! The feathers were of every color, and
in such quantity it seemed as if all the birds in the world could not
yield so many, even though every one was plucked naked. And the furs!
The chief, whose name is Massasoit, wore over his shoulders a mantle
so long that it dragged on the snow behind him, and he had belts and
chains of what looked to be beads; but Captain Standish told me it was
what the Indians called wampum, and served them in the place of money.


Governor Carver stood at the door of Elder Brewster's house, which as
yet had no roof, and beckoned for the chief and those who followed him,
to enter. Inside were Mistress Carver's rug and mother's two cushions,
which had been laid on the ground for the savage to sit on, and greatly
did I fear that all those precious things would be spoiled before the
visit was come to an end.

I cannot tell you what was said or done, for neither Sarah nor I could
get inside Master Brewster's house, so crowded was it with the men of
our village and with savages. More than half of those who had come with
the chief were forced to remain outside, because of there not being
space for all within the walls. Sarah and I had our fill of looking at
them; but never one gave the slightest attention to us. It seemed much
as if they believed their station was so high that it would be beneath
their dignity to speak with children.


The savages and our people were long in the half-built house, and both
Sarah and I wondered what could be going on to take up so much time,
more especially since we knew that, of the Indians, only Samoset and
Squanto could speak in English. Later we came to understand that this
chief, Massasoit, was making a bargain with the men of Plymouth.

My father called it a treaty, which, so mother explained to me, is the
same as an agreement between two nations.

Massasoit, being the ruler over all the Indians nearby our village,
promised that neither he nor any of his tribe should do any manner of
harm to us of Plymouth; but if any wicked ones did work mischief, they
should be sent to our governor to be punished.

He promised also that if anything was stolen by his people from us, he
would make sure it was sent back, and if, which is by no means likely,
any of us living in Plymouth took from the Indians aught of their
property, our governor should send it straightway to the savages.


Massasoit said that if any Indians came to fight or kill our people,
he would send some of his men to help us, and if any tried to hurt his
people, our fathers must take sides with him. Both Sarah and I think
this is wrong, for why should Englishmen fight for the savages?

It seems to me much as if the white men should not agree to go to war
with any except those who try to kill us; but father said it was no
more than a fair trade.

All this was agreed to while Elder Brewster's house was so full of
visitors and our people, that they must have been packed together like
herring in a box, and when the bargain, or treaty, had been made, all
the savages, except Samoset and Squanto, marched away.

Soon after Massasoit had gone, his brother, Quadequina, and several
more Indians appeared, and we entertained them also.

It was much like a feast day, to have so many people in this new
village of ours that all the space beneath the trees seemed to be
crowded, and we felt quite lonely when our fathers took up once more
the work of building houses.


Next day Captain Standish and Master Allerton went to call upon
Massasoit, and I was so frightened that I trembled when they marched
away, for it seemed to me as if some harm would be done them in the
savage village.


They came back at nightfall, none the worse for having been so
venturesome, and what do you think they brought as a present from the
chief? A few handfuls of nuts such as grow in the ground, and many
leaves of a plant called tobacco, which these savages burn in a queer
little stone vessel at the end of a long, hollow reed, by putting the
reed in their mouths, and sucking the smoke through to keep the herb

This ended our round of pleasure, the first we had had for many a long
day, and once more we trembled before the sickness which was destroying
so many of our people.


It was yet winter when we met with a sad loss, for the Common House,
as we called it, when speaking of that first building which was put up
that all of us might have a shelter on shore while the dwellings were
being built, took fire, and much of it was burned. Father believes
that the logs in the fireplace had been piled too high, because of the
weather's being so very cold, and thus the flames came directly upon
the chimney and the backbar, kindling all into a blaze.

It was most mournful to see next morning, the blackened, smoldering
logs of our first house which had served as a shelter less than one
month, and mother says it was a warning to us that even our own homes
are in danger of being speedily destroyed, unless the chimneys can be
so built as to resist fire.


All was excitement in this little village when our people began to make
ready for sending the _Mayflower_ home. She had been lying at anchor
close by the shore, giving shelter to them as were yet without homes,
and affording a timely place of refuge when the Common House was partly
burned; but our fathers had decided that she could no longer be kept
idle. It was much like breaking the last ties which bound us to the old
homes in England, when the time had been set for her to go back.


Sarah and I could have no part in making the _Mayflower_ ready for
sailing, since we were only two girls who were of no service or aid;
but we watched the sailors as they came and went from the shore,
wishing, oh so fervently! that we and those we loved might remain in
the vessel which had brought us so safely across the wide ocean.

During such time as we were forced to remain on board of her because
of having no other place of shelter, she seemed all too small for our
comfort, and we rejoiced at being able to leave her; but when it was
known that she was going back to our old homes, where were all our
friends, save those who had come to this new world with us, it was much
like starting anew.

Sarah and I stood with our arms around each other as she sailed out of
the harbor, while all the people were gathered on the shore to wish her
a safe voyage, and I know that my cheeks were wet with tears as I saw
her disappearing in the east, leaving us behind.

That night father prayed most fervently for all on board, that they
might have a safe and speedy passage, and it was to me as if I had
parted at the mouth of the grave with some one who was very dear to me.

Then were we indeed alone amid the huge trees, surrounded by wild
beasts and savage Indians, and the sickness was yet so great among us,
that I wondered if God had really forgotten that we had come to this
new world in order to worship him as we had been commanded?


I often ask myself what you of Scrooby would say could you see us at
dinner. We have no table, and boards are very scarce and high in price
here in this new village of ours, therefore father saved carefully the
top of one of our packing boxes, while nearly all in the settlement did
much the same, and these we call table boards.

  [Illustration: A Wooden Trencher Bowl]

When it is time to serve the meal, mother and I lay this board across
two short logs; but we cover it with the linen brought from the old
home, and none in the plantation, not even the governor himself, has
better, as you well know.

I would we had more dishes; but they are costly, as even you at home
know. Yet our table looks very inviting when it is spread for a feast,
say at such times as Elder Brewster comes.

  [Illustration: Vessels of Gourds]

We have three trencher bowls, and another larger one in which all the
food is placed. Then, in addition to the wooden cups we brought from
home, are many vessels of gourds that we have raised in the garden, and
father has fashioned a mold for making spoons, so that now our pewter
ware, when grown old with service, can be melted down into spoons until
we have a goodly abundance of them.


It is said, although I have not myself seen it, that a table implement
called a fork, is in the possession of Master Brewster, having been
brought over from England. It is of iron, having two sharp points made
to hold the food.

I cannot understand why any should need such a tool while they have
their own cleanly fingers, and napkins of linen on which to wipe them.
Perhaps Master Brewster was right when he said that we who are come
into this new world for the single reason of worshiping God as we
please, are too much bound up in the vanities of life, and father says
he knows of no more vain thing than an iron tool with which to hold
one's food.

I have seen at Master Bradford's home two bottles made of glass, and
they are exceedingly beautiful; but so frail that I should scarce dare
wash them, for it would be a great disaster to break so valuable a


And now, perhaps, you ask what we have to eat when the table is spread?
Well, first, there is a pudding of Indian corn, or Turkie wheat, and
this we have in the morning, at noon, and at night, save when there may
be a scarcity of corn. For meats, now that our people are acquainted
with the paths through the woods, we have in season plenty of deer
meat, or the flesh of bears and of wild fowl, such as turkeys, ducks,
and pigeons. Of course there are lobsters in abundance, and only those
less thrifty people who do not put by store sufficient for the morrow,
live on such food as that.

Every Saturday we have a feast of codfish, whether alone or if there
be company, and Elder Brewster has already spoken to us in meeting
upon the vanity of believing it is necessary that we garnish our table
with no less a fish than cod on Saturdays, saying it is a sign that our
hearts are not yet sufficiently humble.


My father is over careful of me, Mistress White claims, because he
allows that I be seated at the table with himself and my mother when
they eat, instead of being obliged to stand, as do other children in
the village when their elders are at meals. Poor Mistress White fears
that I am pampered because of being an only child; but for my own part
I cannot see how I do less reverence to my parents by sitting when
eating, than by standing throughout a long feast when one's legs grow
weary, as did mine the last time we were invited to dine with Elder

Of course we have no chairs; but the short lengths of tree trunks which
father has cut to serve as stools are most comfortable, even though it
be impossible to do other than sit upright on them, and very often,
if one grows forgetful, as did Captain Standish at Master Brewster's
home a short time ago, there is danger of losing the stool. Our mighty
soldier being thus careless, tumbled backward, so surprised that he
forgot to let go his trencher bowl, thereby plentifully besmearing
himself with hot hasty pudding that he had been served with in great



Mother has written down some rules for me at table, so that I may do
credit to my bringing up when at the house of a friend, and these I am
copying for you, to the end that it shall be seen I am not so pampered
by being allowed to sit while eating, as to forget what belongs to good

"Never sit down at the table till asked, and after the blessing.

"Ask for nothing; tarry till it be offered thee. Speak not.

"Bite not thy bread, but break it.

"Take salt only with a clean knife. Dip not the meat in the same.

"Hold not thy knife upright, but sloping, and lay it down at the right
hand of the plate with blade on plate.

"Look not earnestly at any other that is eating.

"When moderately satisfied, leave the table.

"Sing not, hum not, wriggle not."

You may see that if I follow these rules carefully, I shall not bring
shame upon my mother. It is only when the large wooden bowl, which is
called the voider, is placed on the table that I am most awkward, and
mother insisted on my learning this poem, which contains many wholesome
rules for behavior:

     "When the meat is taken quite away,
     And voiders in your presence laid,
     Put you your trencher in the same
     And all the crumbs which you have made.
     Take you with your napkin and knife,
     The crumbs that are before thee;
     In the voider a napkin leave,
     For it is a courtesy."


If there be a desire to travel, we must either walk, or sail in boats,
and one may not go far on foot in either direction along the coast,
without coming upon streams or brooks over which has been felled a tree
to serve as bridge. Now father thinks a bridge of that kind is all
that may be necessary, because of his footing being so sure; but you
know that women are more timid, and it is difficult to walk above the
rushing streams on so slight a support as a round log.


Because of having made our plantation near to a deserted Indian
village, there were paths through the woods in every direction, and
these we used whenever making an excursion in search of bayberry plums,
or herbs of any kind.

The Indians, after Squanto had made us friendly with the great chief
Massasoit, were ready to sell us boats, and queer sorts of ships would
they seem in your eyes. One kind is made of the bark taken from the
birch tree in great sheets, sewn together with sinews of deer, and
besmeared with fat from the pitch pine.


I have seen one that would carry with safety four people, so light that
I myself could lift it, but no man may use one of these bark vessels
without first having been taught how to sail it, for they are so like
a feather on the water that the slightest movement oversets them.

For my part, I feel more secure in what our people call a dugout, which
is made with much labor by the Indians, and is, as Captain Standish
says in truth, "a most unwieldy ship."


The Indians hew down a huge pine tree, and when I say it is done
without the use of axes, then you will wonder how the timber can be
felled. Well, when one of the savages desires to build him a boat, he
selects the tree from which it is to be made, and builds a little fire
around the trunk close to the ground. As fast as the flames char the
wood, he scrapes it away with a sharp rock, or a thick seashell, and
thus keeps scraping the burning wood until the tree falls.


Then he cuts off ten or twelve feet in length by burning and scraping
exactly as before, and this is the length of the boat he would build;
but it is simply a solid log. Now he sets about building a fire along
the top, charring the wood and scraping it away until, after what
must surely be a wonderful amount of labor, he has hollowed out that
huge log into a shell. The bark is then stripped from the outside, and
the ends fashioned by burning until they are smooth, and the ship is


It was in April, when, because the weather had grown so warm it seemed
much as if we had been restored to the favor of God, that a great
calamity came upon us of Plymouth, and my father says it is impossible
for us to understand how sore a stroke it was to our people who count
on making a home in this new world.

Governor Carver had hoped to make such a garden as should be a model
for all in the village, and to that end he worked exceedingly hard,
so father says. He was planting and hoeing from early light until it
was no longer possible to see what he was about because of the coming
of night. Already many of the plants, concerning which Samoset and
Squanto had told us, were showing through the ground, until, as Captain
Standish said, "all the others should take pattern by him that we might
not taste again of the bitterness of famine."

The day had been very warm, and the governor was working exceeding
hard, when suddenly he complained of a pain in his head. He strove in
vain to continue the labor; but Mistress Carver insisted that he come
into the house and lie down on a bear skin, which Captain Standish had
made into a bed-cover, and this he did.

Master Bradford and my father were summoned in the hope that it might
be possible to give him some relief; but they could do no more than
pray for his recovery, and even while they were pleading most fervently
with God, the poor man lost all knowledge of himself, nor did he speak

During three days every one prayed; no trees were hewn lest the noise
disturb him, and all the women in the village gathered in or around the
house that they might be ready in case their services were needed. It
was as if we were having three Sabbaths at once. Then he died, without
having come to know that he was ill, and we were more heartsick and
lonely even than when the _Mayflower_ sailed away.

It seemed to me as if then was the time, when our hearts were so sore,
that our people ought to have poured out their souls in prayer over the
lifeless body of him who had been so good a friend to us all; but that
was forbidden. Therefore Governor Carver was laid in the grave without
a word or sound, other than the sobs of the women and children, who
mourned so sorely.

Those who had muskets discharged them as a parting salute to him who
had been our governor, and we walked sorrowfully and in silence away,
little dreaming that within three short weeks Mistress Carver would be
buried near her husband's last resting place in this world.


Two days after we had said farewell to Master Carver, Master William
Bradford was chosen governor; but because he was yet stricken with the
sickness, Master Isaac Allerton was named as his assistant.

I have no doubt that Hannah will be surprised at knowing that "little
Willie Bradford," as I have heard the old women call him, has become
our governor. When a boy, he lived in Scrooby, and came, rather from
curiosity than a desire for the truth, among our people, who were
called Separatists, or Non-Conformists, because they would not conform,
or agree, to King James' orders regarding their religion.

William Bradford came to believe, after attending the meetings in Elder
Brewster's house, that ours was the true religion, and when our people
made up their minds to go into Holland where they might be allowed
to worship God as they chose, Master Bradford went with them. There
he learned the trade of a weaver of cloth; but later he apprenticed
himself to a printer.

Now he is become the foremost man of all our company, because of being
the governor, and of a truth has he been a very present help to us in
our time of trouble.


I wish you might have seen how different to that which is the custom in
Scrooby, was our farming done on the first season after we came ashore
from the _Mayflower_. Because of having no working cattle with which to
plough, the men were forced to dig up the ground with spades, and weary
labor it was. Those of our people who were well enough to remain in
the field, planted nearly twenty-six acres, six of which were sown with
barley and peas, while the remainder was given over to Indian corn.

Squanto showed us how this last should be done, and, strange as it may
seem to you in England, he used fish with which to enrich the land,
putting three small ones in each hill.

You must know that all of us children, and the women, work at the
planting of this corn, for it is the only kind of food to be had which
can be kept throughout the year without danger of being spoiled, and
when one grows weary with the task, it is only needed to bring to mind
our hunger when we first came ashore.


Perhaps you may wonder where we got so much of the corn for seed. It
has all come from the Indians in one way or another. Some of it Squanto
brought from Massasoit's people; but a goodly portion has been found on
the graves, of which there are very many near our village.

As to planting barley and peas, Squanto knew nothing; therefore the
work was done somewhat as it would have been done at home, except
that the land was encumbered with rocks and trees, and we were much
perplexed by lack of tools.

The seed was finally put into the ground, but even when the task
had been performed to the best of our ability, it was an odd looking
farm to those who had seen the fair fields of England. Large rocks
stood here and there, while many stumps of trees yet remained, for
our fathers had not been able to clear the land entirely. We shall
have much work at harvest, in gathering the crops from amid all these
unsightly things.


I must tell you of a way to cook this Indian corn which Squanto showed
to Captain Standish, and now we have it in all the houses, when we are
so fortunate as to have a supply of the wheat in our possession.

It is poured into the hot ashes of the fireplace, and allowed to remain
there until every single wheat kernel has been roasted brown. Then it
is sifted out of the ashes, beaten into a powder like meal, and mixed
with snow in the winter, or water in the summer. Three spoonfuls a
day is enough for a man who is on the march, or at work, so Captain
Standish says, and we children are given only two thirds as much.

Mother says it is especially of value because little labor is needed to
prepare it; but neither Sarah nor I take kindly to the powder.

The Indians also steep the corn in hot water twelve hours before
pounding it into a kind of coarse meal, when they make it into a
pudding much as you would in Scrooby; but mother likes not the taste
after it has been thus cooked before being pounded, thinking much of
the fine flavor has been taken from it.

Sometimes we make a sweet pudding by mixing it with molasses and
boiling it in a bag. It will keep thus for many days, and I once heard
Captain Standish say that there were as many sweet puddings made in
Plymouth every day as there were housewives.

Next fall we shall have bread made of barley and Indian corn meal,
so father says, and I am hoping most fervently that he may not be
mistaken, for both Sarah and I are heartily tired of nookick, and of
sweet pudding, which is not very sweet because we have need to guard
carefully our small store of molasses.

We girls often promise ourselves a great feast when a vessel comes out
from England bringing butter, for we have had none that could be eaten
since the first two weeks of the voyage in the _Mayflower_.


Squanto often tells us of a kind of vegetable, or fruit, I am not
certain which, that grows in this country, and is called a pumpkin.
It must be very fine, if one may judge by his praise of it, and we
are looking forward to the time when it shall be possible to know for


And now I am to tell you of a marriage in Plymouth which deeply
concerned Sarah and me. You may be certain that we made great account
of it, although Master Bradford warned us against setting our hearts on
the wicked customs of England.

I had hoped Elder Brewster would marry the couple, for Sarah and I were
deeply interested in them, having seen much of the love-making while we
were on board the _Mayflower_.


If the bride and groom had been in England, it would have been a time
of feasting; but our people here shun such show, therefore did we lose
much of merrymaking.

Although the bride and groom went to Elder Brewster's house, which has
served us as a place for religious meetings, it was Governor Bradford
who listened to their vows and declared them to be man and wife, and in
less than half an hour the newly-made husband was working in the field,
while the wife was making sugar.


Yes, we have sugar in plenty now, and, strange as it may seem, it comes
from the trees. It was Squanto, that true friend of ours, who showed
us how to take it from the maples, of which there are scores and scores
growing everywhere around us.


To get it one has only to make a hole in a maple tree, and put therein
a small wooden spigot shaped like a spout, and straight-way, when the
first warm weather comes in the spring, the sap of the tree, mounting
from the roots to the branches, will run out of the hole through the
spout into whatsoever vessels we place beneath.

After that we boil it in kettles until it becomes thick like molasses,
or yet more, until it is real sugar, after having been poured in pans
of birch-bark to cool. It has a certain flavor such as is not to be
found in the sugar of England; but answers our purpose so well that
it can be used to sweeten the meal made from the corn, or eaten as a


You must know that our house is not now as rough on the inside as it
would appear from what I first wrote. Father has saved the skins of all
the animals he has caught, and prepared them in the same way as do the
Indians, which makes the fleshy side look like fine leather. These we
have hung on the walls, and they not only serve to keep out the wind,
but are really beautiful. With the rough logs and the chinking of clay
hidden from view, it is easy to fancy that ours is a real house, such
as would be found in England.

We have many fox skins, for father has shot large numbers of foxes, and
in what seems to me a curious fashion. He saves all the fishes' heads
that can be come at, and on moonlight nights throws them among the
trees, where the foxes, getting the scent, give him a fair opportunity
for shooting.

Once he killed four in less than two hours, and we have hung them in
that corner of the kitchen which we call mother's. Thus it is that she
can sit leaning her shoulders against the warm fur, through which the
wind cannot come.

There is no need for me to tell you that we have more wolf skins than
any other kind, for our people find it necessary to kill such animals
in order to save their own lives. One night before all the snow had
melted from the ground, Degory Priest was coming through the forest
after attending to his traps, and was followed by five hungry wolves,
who kept close at his heels, and would have eaten the poor man but for
his industry in swinging a long pole that he carried to help himself
across the streams.


Fortunately for Degory Priest, Captain Standish heard his outcries
while he was yet a long distance from the village, and went out with
three armed men to give him aid.


Our fathers dig deep pits, which are covered with light brushwood, in
such portions of the forest as the wolves are most plenty, and many a
one has fallen therein, being held prisoner until some of the people
can kill him by means of axes fastened to long poles. Father has built
many traps of logs; but I cannot describe how because of never having
seen one.

  [Illustration: Wolf Head Decoration on the Meeting-House]

Thomas Williams killed seven wolves in four days by tying four or
five mackerel hooks together, covering them with fat, and leaving them
exposed where the ravening creatures could get at them.

Twice before the snow was melted, the men of the village had what they
called a "wolf-drive," when all made a ring around a certain portion
of the forest where the animals lurked, and, by walking toward a given
center, drove the creatures together where they could be shot or killed
with axes.

Sarah and I do not dare venture very far from the village because
of the ferocious animals, and if the time ever comes when we are no
longer in deadly fear of being carried away and eaten by the dreadful
creatures, this new world of ours will seem more like a real home.

I wish it might be possible for you to see the flocks and flocks of
pigeons which come here when the weather grows warm. It is as if they
shut out the light of the sun, so great are the numbers, and father
says that again and again do they break down the branches of the trees,
when so many try to roost in one place. Any person who so chooses may
go out in the night after the pigeons have gone to sleep, and gather as
many bags full as he can carry, so stupid are the birds in the dark,
and even when they are not the most plentiful, we can buy them at the
rate of one penny for twelve.


I must tell you that there is being made a stout fort where we can all
go in case any wicked savages should come against us, and when that has
been finished, we shall have a real meeting-house, for one is to be put
up inside the walls.

Mother says she is certain Mistress Brewster will be relieved, for now
we meet each Sabbath Day at her home. It must be a real hardship for
her when Elder Brewster preaches an unusually long sermon, for many
a time have the pine knots been lighted before he had come to an end,
and, of course, the evening meal could not be cooked until we who had
come to meeting had gone to our homes.

Father has told me that Elder Brewster was a postmaster of Scrooby when
he first knew him; that his belief in our faith was so strong as to
make him one of the Non-Conformists, and so earnestly did he strive to
perform whatsoever he believed the Lord had for him to do, that his was
the house in Scrooby where our people listened to the expounding of the
word of God.

When he, with the others of our friends, went to Leyden, Master
Brewster was chosen as assistant to our preacher Robinson, and was made
an elder.

It is not seemly that a child so young as I should speak even in praise
of what my elders have done; but surely a girl can realize when a man
is watchful for the comfort of others, heeding not his own troubles or
pains, so that those around him may be soothed, and, next to Captain
Standish, Elder Brewster was the one to whom we children could go for
advice or assistance.

When the sickness was upon us, he, hardly able to be out of his bed,
ministered in turn to those who were dying, and to us who were nigh to
starvation, in as kindly, fatherly a manner as when he had sufficient
of the goods of this world to make himself comfortable both in body and


That which gave mother and me a great fright was Governor Bradford's
command that Edward Winslow and Master Hopkins visit the village of
the Indian chief, Massasoit, in order to carry as presents from our
settlement of Plymouth a suit of English clothing, a horseman's coat of
red cotton, and three pewter dishes.


It seemed to my mother and me as though it was much like going to
certain death; but Squanto, who was to act as guide, claimed that no
harm could come to them. I trust not these savages, who look so cruel,
and cried heartily when our people set out; but God allowed them to
return in safety, although they were not overly well pleased with the

Massasoit treated them in the most friendly manner, and seemed to
be well pleased with the gifts; but he set before them only the very
smallest quantity of parched corn, no more than two spoonfuls to each
one, and failed to offer anything else when that had been eaten.

Except that they were hungry during all the five days of the stay, the
savages treated them kindly, and my father believes that we need have
no fear this tribe will do us any harm; but there are other Indians in
the land who may be tempted to work mischief.



As soon as the fields had been planted, it was decided that six men of
the company should spend all their time at fishing, to the end that we
might lay up a store of sea food for the coming winter; therefore they
go out in the shallop every day, except the Sabbath, which begins at
three o'clock on Saturday afternoon. At that time we children gather
in one house or another, but mostly at Elder Brewster's, where we study
the Bible, or listen to lectures by Governor Bradford.

We are not allowed to walk around the village after the Bible lessons
are finished, but must run directly home, and remain there until we go
to meeting in Elder Brewster's house next morning.

Captain Standish says he does not favor such long Sabbaths, while we
have so much work on hand; but he is not listened to on such matters,
for his duty in the village is only that of a military leader.


It is true indeed that there is very much work to be done. First comes
the planting and tending of the crops. Then there is the fishing and
the hunting that we may have meat. Lastly is the making of clapboards,
which task was begun soon after the seed had been put in the ground,
for Governor Bradford believed we should make enough with which to load
the first vessel that came to us from England.

It was all we could do, just then, in the way of getting together that
which might be sold to the people in the old country, and father said
the men of Plymouth must be earning money in some other way than by
trying to gather furs, for already were the animals growing more timid
and scarce.

It is not easy work, this clapboard-making, and I cannot wonder that
the men complain at being forced to continue it day after day. First
an oak tree is cut by saws into the length necessary for clapboards,
which, so father tells me, should be about four feet long. Then a tool
called a "frow" is used to split the trunk of the tree into slabs, or
clapboards, making them thin at one edge and half an inch or more thick
at the other.


This "frow" is shaped something like a butcher's cleaver, and a wooden
mallet is used to drive it into the log until the splint is forced off.

Our people made many clapboards during the time between planting and
harvest, so that we had enormous stacks under the trees ready to put on
board the first vessel that should sail for England.


When the first pumpkins were ripe, Squanto showed us how to cook them,
and most of us find the fruit an agreeable change from sweet puddings,
parched corn, and fish.

This is the way that Squanto cooked pumpkins. First he was careful to
find one that was wholly ripe. In the top of the yellow globe he cut a
small hole through which it was possible for him to take out the seeds,
of which there are many. Then the whole pumpkin was put into the iron
oven and baked until the pulp on the inside was soft, after which the
shell could be broken open, and the meat of the fruit eaten with the
sugar which we get from the trees.

Mistress Bradford invented the plan of mixing the baked pumpkin pulp
with meal of the Indian corn, and made of the whole a queer looking
bread, which some like exceeding well, but father says he is forced to
shut his eyes while eating it.


Perhaps I have not told you how we happen to have an oven, when there
is only the big fireplace in which to cook our food. Mistress White and
Mistress Tilley each brought from Leyden, in Holland, what some people
call "roasting kitchens," and you can think of nothing more convenient.
The oven or kitchen is made of thin iron like unto a box, the front of
which is open, and the back rounded as is a log. It is near to a yard
long, and stands so high as to take all the heat from the fire which
would otherwise be thrown out into the room.


In this oven we put our bread, pumpkins, or meat and set it in front of,
and close against, a roaring fire. The back, or rounded part is then
heaped high with hot ashes or live embers, and that which is inside
must of a necessity be cooked. At the very top of the oven is a small
door, which can be opened for the cook to look inside, and one may see
just how the food is getting on, without disturbing the embers that
have been heaped against the outer portion.

We often borrow of Mistress Tilley her oven, and father has promised to
send by the first ship that comes to this harbor, for one that shall be
our very own. When it arrives, I am certain mother will be very glad,
for there is no kitchen article which can save so much labor for the


I wish you might see how greatly I added to our store of spoons during
the first summer we were here in Plymouth. Sarah and I gathered from
the shore clam shells that had been washed clean and white by the sea,
and Squanto cut many smooth sticks, with a cleft in one end so that
they might be pushed firmly on the shell, thus making a most beautiful


Sarah says that they are most to her liking, because it is not
necessary to spend very much time each week polishing them, as we are
forced to do with the pewter spoons.

Some day, after we own cows, we can use the large, flat clam shells
with which to skim milk, and when we make our own butter and cheese, we
shall be rich indeed.


After the pumpkins ripened, and when the gourds in the Indian village
were hardened, we added to our store of bowls and cups until the
kitchen was much the same as littered with them, and all formed of the
pumpkin and gourd shells.

Out of the gourd shells we made what were really most serviceable
dippers, and even bottles, while in the pumpkin shell dishes we kept
much of our supply of Indian corn.


Captain Standish gave me two of the most beautiful turkey wings, to
be used as brushes; but they are so fine that mother has them hung on
the wall as ornaments, and we sweep the hearth with smaller and less
perfect wings from the birds or turkeys father has brought home.

This no doubt seems to you of Scrooby a queer way of keeping house.


That which Captain Standish calls a fort is very much like our homes,
or the Common House, except that it is larger, and has small, square
openings high up on the walls to serve both as windows and places
through which our people can shoot at an enemy, if any come against us.

Surely there are none in this new world who should wish us harm, and
yet my father says that we have need to guard ourselves carefully,
because Squanto and Samoset have both insisted that a tribe of savages
who call themselves Narragansetts, and who live quite a long distance
away, may seek to drive us from the land.

This fort, the logs of which are sunken so deeply into the earth that
they cannot easily be overthrown, has been built on the highest land
within the settlement, and extending from it in such a manner as to
make it a corner of the enclosure, is a fence of logs, which Captain
Standish calls a palisade, built to form a square. The fence is made
like the sides of our houses; but the logs rise higher above the
surface than the head of the tallest man.

There are two gates in the palisade, one on the side nearest the fort,
with the other directly opposite, and these can be fastened with heavy
logs on the inside. All the people have been told that at the first
signal of danger, they must flee without loss of time inside the fence
of logs, after which the gates will be barred, and no person may go on
the outside without permission from Captain Standish.

The six cannon, which I told you had been mounted on a platform when
we first began to build the houses, have been taken to the top of the
fort, and from there, so Captain Standish says, we can hold in check
a regular army of Indians; but God forbid that anything of the kind
should be necessary after we have come to this new world desiring
peace, and with honest intentions toward all men.


Because it is not reasonable to suppose that any human being could wish
to work us harm, Sarah and I look upon that which is called a fort,
rather as a meeting-house than a place of defence, and such it really
looks to be, for the floor is covered with seats made of puncheon
planks placed on short lengths of logs, while at one end is a desk for
the preacher built in much the same fashion as are the seats.

Here, also, so Governor Bradford has promised, we children shall have a
school as soon as a teacher can be persuaded to come over from England.
As it is now, our parents teach us at home, and father believes I can
even now write as well as if I had been all this while at school in
Scrooby. With both a meeting-house and a school, it will seem as if we
had indeed built a town in this vast wilderness.


You shall now hear about our harvest festival, which Governor Bradford
declared should be called a day of thanksgiving because the Lord had
been good to us in permitting of our getting from the earth, the sea,
and the forest, such a supply of food as gave us to believe that never
more would famine visit Plymouth.

True it is the crop of peas had failed, but the barley, so father said,
was fairly good, while the Indian corn grew in abundance. Our people
had taken a great many fish, and the hunters found in the forest a
goodly supply of birds and animals. Already were there seven houses
built, without counting the Common House that had been repaired soon
after it was injured by fire, and the fort with its palisade.

As soon as the harvest was over, the Governor sent four men out after
such fowls and animals as might be taken, and in two days they killed
as many as would serve to provide all the people of Plymouth with meat
for at least a full week.


There were wild ducks in greatest number, together with turkeys,
and small birds like unto pheasants. No less than twenty deer were
killed, and it was well we provided such a bountiful supply for the
thanksgiving festival, because on the day before the one appointed,
Massasoit, with ninety of his men, came to Plymouth, bringing as gifts
five deer, and it seemed as if the Indians did nothing more than eat

Instead of giving thanks on one particular day, as Governor Bradford
had ordered, three days were spent in such festivities as we had not
seen since leaving our homes in England.

The deer and the big turkeys were roasted over fires built in the open
air, and we had corn and barley bread, baked pumpkins, clams, lobsters,
and fish until one was wearied by the sight of so much food.

Nor was eating the only amusement during this thanksgiving time, for we
played at games much as we would have done in Scrooby.

There was running, jumping, and leaping by the men, stoolball for the
boys, and a wolf hunt for those soldiers under Captain Standish who
were not content with small sports.


I know not if my friend Hannah has seen the game of stoolball as it
is played in our village of Plymouth, because those among us who take
part in it use no sticks nor bats, but strike the ball only with their
hands. Of course we have no real stools here as yet, because of the
labor necessary to make them, when a block of wood serves equally well
on which to sit; but the lads who play the game take a short piece of
puncheon board, and, boring three holes in it, put therein sticks to
serve as legs.

These they place upon the ground behind them, and he who throws the
ball strives to hit the stool rather than the player, who is allowed
only to use his hands in warding it off. Whosesoever stool has been hit
must himself take the ball, throwing it, and continuing at such service
until he succeeds in striking another's stool.


Sarah and I had believed that at this festival time, we would gather
in the new meeting-house to praise the Lord for his wondrous goodness;
but Master Bradford believed it would not be seemly to mix religious
services with worldly sports, therefore it was not until the next
Sabbath Day that we heard lessons of the Bible explained from that
reading desk built of puncheons and short lengths of tree trunks.

Perhaps it was because Governor Bradford allowed the men and boys
to play at games during the time of thanksgiving, that they came to
believe such sports would be permitted on Christmas, even though the
elders of our colony had decided no attention should be paid to the day
because of its being a Pagan festivity.


On the morning of the first Christmas after our houses had been built,
many of the men and boys, when called upon to go out to work for the
common good, as had been the custom every week day during the year,
declared that they did not believe it right to labor at the time
when it was said Christ had been born. Whereupon Governor Bradford,
after telling them plainly that he believed laziness rather than any
religious promptings of the spirit inclined them to remain idle on
that day, said he would leave them alone until they were come to have
a better understanding of the matter.

Then he, with those who were ready to obey the rules, went to their
work; but on coming back at noon, he found those who did not believe it
seemly to labor on Christmas day, at play in the street, some throwing
bars, and others at stoolball. Without delay the governor seized the
balls and the bars, carrying them into the fort, at the same time
declaring that it was against his conscience for some to play while
others worked. This, as you may suppose, brought the merrymaking to an

For my part I enjoyed the Christmas festivities as we held them at
Scrooby, and cannot understand why, simply because certain heathen
people turned the day into a time for play and rejoicing, we should not
make merry after the custom of those in England.


I hardly know how to set about telling you of that time when the
first ship came into our harbor. It was not long after the day of
thanksgiving when, early one morning, even before any of our people had
begun work, some person cried out that a vessel was in sight.


It had been nearly a year since we landed on the shores of the new
world, and in all that time we had seen no white people outside of
our own company. Therefore you can fancy how excited we all were. Even
Governor Bradford himself found it difficult to walk slowly down to the
shore, while Sarah and I ran with frantic haste, as if fearing we might
not be able to traverse the short distance before the vessel was come
to anchor and her crew landed.

If I should try to tell you how we felt on seeing this first vessel
that had visited Plymouth, believing she had on board some of our
friends who had been left behind when the _Mayflower_ sailed, it would
hardly be possible for me to write of anything else, so long would
be the story. Therefore it is that I shall not try to describe how
we stood at the water's edge, every man, woman and child in Plymouth,
wrapped in furs until we must have looked like so many wild animals,
for the day was exceeding cold and windy, watching every movement made
by those on board the vessel until a boat, well laden with men and
women, put off from her side.

Then we shouted boisterously, for it was well nigh impossible to remain
silent, and those who recognized familiar faces among the occupants
of the shallop screamed a welcome to the new world, and to our town of
Plymouth, until they were hoarse from shouting.

The ship which had come was the _Fortune_, and she brought to us
thirty-six of those who had been left behind at Leyden. During fully
two days we of Plymouth did little more than give our entire attention
to these welcome visitors, hearing from them news of those of our
friends who were yet in Holland, and telling again and again the story
of the sickness and the famine with which we had become acquainted soon
after landing from the _Mayflower_.


When we were settled down, as one might say, and our visitors were at
work building homes for themselves, I heard father and Master Brewster
talking one evening about the addition to our number, and was surprised
at learning, that while they rejoiced equally with us children at the
coming of our friends, what might be in store for us in the future
troubled them greatly.

The _Fortune_ had brought from England no more in the way of food
than would suffice to feed the passengers during the voyage across the
ocean, and the crew on her return. Therefore had we thirty-six mouths
to feed during the long winter, more than had been reckoned on when we
held our festival of thanksgiving.

Until overhearing this conversation, I had not given a thought to
anything save the pleasure which would be ours in having so many more
friends around us; but now, because Master Brewster and my father
talked in so serious a strain, did I begin to understand that we might,
before another summer had come, suffer for food even as we had during
the winter just passed.

And it was because of our people being so disturbed regarding the store
of provisions, that the ship did not remain in the harbor as long as
would have pleased us. Governor Bradford told the captain that he must
set sail while there was yet food enough in the ship to feed his crew
during the voyage home, since we of Plymouth could not give him any.


The _Fortune_, however, did not go back empty. She was loaded full with
the clapboards which our people had made during the summer, and, in
addition, were two hogsheads filled with beaver and otter skins, the
whole of the freight amounting in value, so I heard Captain Standish
say, to not less than five hundred pounds sterling.

We were saddened when the ship left the harbor; but not so much as
on the day the _Mayflower_ sailed away, for, having sent back in the
_Fortune_ goods of value, there was fair promise she would speedily
return for more.


When the _Fortune_ had gone, the men of our settlement took an exact
account of all the provisions in the common store, as well as of those
belonging to the different families, and the whole was divided in just
proportion among us every one.

Then it was learned that we had no more in Plymouth to eat than would
provide for our wants during six months, and since in that time there
would not be another harvest, it was decided by the governor and the
chief men of the village, that each person should be given a certain
amount less than the appetite craved; short allowance, Captain Standish
called it.

Sarah and I were faint at heart on learning of this decision, for it
seemed as if during this winter we were to live again in the misery
such as we had known the past season of cold and frost, when we hunted
the leaves of the checkerberry plant, and chewed the gum which gathers
in little bunches on the spruce trees, to satisfy our hunger.

Those who had come over in the _Fortune_ to join us were, as can well
be understood, grieved because of their putting us to such straits;
it was a matter which could not be helped, and we of the _Mayflower_
strove earnestly not to speak of the possible distress which might be
ours, lest our friends so lately come might think we were reproaching


It was not many days after we had learned that we might be hungry
before another harvest should come, when a savage, whom we had never
before seen, came to Plymouth, asking for our chief. On being conducted
to Governor Bradford, he delivered unto him a bundle of arrows which
were tied together with a great snake skin.


It so happened that Squanto was in the village, and, on being sent
for, he explained to our people that the sending of the arrows tied
in the snake skin was a threat, which meant that speedily those from
whom it had come would make an attack upon us. He also declared that
the messenger was from the nation of the Narragansetts, of whom I have
already told you.

The governor consulted with the chief men of Plymouth as to what
should be done, with the result that Squanto was instructed to tell
the Narragansett messenger that if his people had rather have war than
peace, they might begin as soon as pleased them, for we of Plymouth
had done the Narragansetts no wrong, neither did we fear any tribe of
savages. Then the snake skin was filled with bullets, as token that
the Indians would not find us unprepared when they made an attack, and
given to the messenger that he might carry it back to those who had
sent him.

That night, when mother mourned because it seemed certain war would
soon be made upon us, father spoke lightly of the matter, as if it were
something of no great importance. However, both Sarah and I took notice
that from the hour the Narragansett messenger left Plymouth carrying
the snake skin filled with bullets, there were two men stationed on
top of the fort night and day, and a certain store of provisions taken
inside, as if the food might be used there rather than in our homes.

We knew nothing whatsoever about warfare, girls as we were, but yet
had common sense enough to understand from such preparations, that our
fathers were holding themselves ready, and expecting that an attack
would be made by the savages within a very short time.


Perhaps you would like to know how we light our homes in the evening,
since we have no tallow, for of course people who own neither hogs,
sheep, cows nor oxen, do not have that which is needed for candles.


Well, first, we find our candles among the trees, and of a truth the
forest is of such extent that it would seem as if all the world might
get an ample store of material to make light. We use knots from the
pitch pine trees, or wood from the same tree split into thin sheets
or slices; but the greatest trouble is that the wood is filled with
a substance, which we at first thought was pitch, that boils out by
reason of the heat of the flame, and drops on whatever may be beneath.

Captain Standish has lately discovered, and truly he is a wonderful
man for finding out hidden things, that the substance from the candle
wood, as we call the pitch pine, is turpentine or tar, and now, if
you please, our people are preparing these things to be sent back to
England for sale, with the hope that we shall thereby get sufficient
money with which to purchase the animals we need so sorely.

I would not have you understand that there are no real candles here in
Plymouth, for when the _Fortune_ came, her captain had a certain number
of tallow candles which he sold; but they are such luxuries as can be
afforded only on great occasions. Mother has even at this day, wrapped
carefully in moss, two of them, for which father paid eight pence
apiece, and she blamed him greatly for having spent so much money, at
the same time declaring that they should not be used except upon some
great event, such as when the evening meeting is held at our house.


Squanto has shown us how we may get, at only the price of so much
labor, that which looks very like tallow, and of which mother has made
many well-shaped candles.

You must know that in this country there grows a bush which some call
the tallow shrub; others claim it should be named the candleberry tree,
while Captain Standish insists it is the bayberry bush.

This plant bears berries somewhat red, and speckled with white, as if
you had thrown powdered clam shells on them.


I gathered near to twelve quarts last week, and mother put them in a
large pot filled with water, which she stands over the fire, for as yet
we cannot boast of an iron backbar to the fire-place, on which heavy
kettles may be hung with safety.

After these berries have been cooked a certain time, that which looks
like fat is stewed out of them, and floats on the top of the water.

Mother skims it off into one of the four earthen vessels we brought
with us from Scrooby, and when cold, it looks very much like tallow,
save that it is of a greenish color. After being made into candles and
burned, it gives off an odor which to some is unpleasant; but I think
it very sweet to the nostrils.


I suppose you are wondering how it is we get the wicks for the candles,
save at the expense and trouble of bringing them from England. Well,
you must know that there is a plant which grows here plentifully,
called milkweed. It has a silken down like unto silver in color, and we
children gather it in the late summer.


It is spun coarsely into wicks, and some of the more careful housewives
dip them into saltpetre to insure better burning. Do you remember that
poem of Master Tusser's which we learned at Scrooby?

     Wife, make thine own candle,
     Spare penny to handle.
     Provide for thy tallow ere the frost cometh in,
     And make thine own candle ere winter begin.

When candle-making time comes, I wish there were other children in this
household besides me, for the work is hard and disagreeable, to say
nothing of being very greasy, and I would gladly share it with sisters
or brothers.

Mother's candle-rods are small willow shoots, and because of not having
kitchen furniture in plenty, she hangs the half-dipped wicks across
that famous wooden tub which we brought with us in the _Mayflower_.


It is my task to hang six or eight of the milkweed wicks on the rod,
taking good care that they shall be straight, which is not easy
to accomplish, for silvery and soft though the down is when first
gathered, it twists harshly, and of course, as everyone knows, there
can be no bends or kinks in a properly made candle.

Mother dips perhaps eight of these wicks at a time into a pot of
bayberry wax, and after they have been so treated six or eight times,
they are of sufficient size, for our vegetable tallow sticks in greater
mass than does that which comes from an animal.

A famous candle-maker is my mother, and I have known her to make as
many as one hundred and fifty in a single day.


The candle box which your uncle gave us is of great convenience, for
since it has on the inside a hollow for each candle, there is little
danger that any will be broken, and, besides, we may put therein the
half-burned candles, for we cannot afford to waste even the tiniest
scraps of tallow.

Captain Standish has in his home candles made from bear's grease, and
as wicks, dry marsh grass braided.

When the second winter had begun, and the snow lay deep all around,
save where our people had dug streets and paths, Sarah and I were
forced, as a matter of course, to remain a goodly portion of the time
within our homes. Those of the men who were not needed to hew huge
trees into lengths convenient for burning, were hunting and setting
traps, in the hope of adding to the store of provisions which was so
scanty after it had been divided among those who came in the _Fortune_,
and Sarah and I had little else to do than recall to mind that which
had happened during the summer, when all the country was good to look
upon instead of being imprisoned by the frost.


We went back to the time when James Billington, son of John, caused us
all such a fright by his wayward behavior.

Because James was not a favorite with any of us girls, being prone
to tease us at every opportunity, and spending more of his time in
mischief than in work, I must be careful how I speak of the lad, lest
I fall into that sin which Elder Brewster warns us to guard against:
allowing one's feelings to control the tongue, thereby speaking more
harshly against another than is warranted by the facts.


I must, however, set it down that James was not a favorite with any
save his parents; but seemed ever watching for an opportunity to make
trouble for others, and just before the harvest time did he succeed in
throwing the entire village into a state of confusion and anxiety.

On a certain afternoon, I cannot rightly recall the exact time, it was
noted by Sarah and myself, that, contrary to his usual custom, James
had not prowled around where we children were at work in the fields
with the intent to perplex or annoy us, and we spoke of the fact as if
it was an unusually pleasant incident, little dreaming of the trouble
which was to follow.

That night, while father was reading from the Book, and explaining to
us the more difficult passages, the mother of James came to our home,
asking if we had seen her son.

Even then but little heed was given to the fact that the boy had not
returned for his share of the scanty supper; but mayhap an hour later
every one in the settlement was summoned by the beating of the drum,
and then did we learn that James Billington had disappeared.

The first thought was that some of the evil-disposed savages had
carried him away, and, acting upon the governor's orders, Captain
Standish set off with eight men to hunt for the missing lad.

I have never heard all the story of the search; but know that they
visited more than one of the Indian villages, and perhaps would not
have succeeded in their purpose but that Squanto was found at Nauset,
and, aided by some of his savage friends, he speedily got on the track
of the missing boy.

Captain Standish and his men were absent three days before they came
back, bringing James Billington, and when his mother took him in
her arms, rejoicing over his return as if he had really escaped some
dreadful danger, Governor Bradford commanded that she and her husband
give to James such a whipping as would prevent anything of the kind
from happening again, for, as it appeared, the boy had willfully run
away, counting, as he said, to turn Indian because of savages' not
being obliged to work in the fields.


It was during this summer that we had good cause for alarm. Word was
brought by Samoset that a large party of Massasoit's people, being
angry because of his having showed us white folks favor, were bent on
attacking him and us, with the intent to destroy entirely our town of


Captain Standish marched forth once more, this time with twelve men
at his heels, and I heard John Alden tell my father that the brave
soldier went directly to the village of those who would have murdered
us, where, without the shedding of blood, they took from all the
evil-minded Indians their weapons.

It seems more like some wild fancy than the sober truth, to say that
twelve men could, without striking a blow in anger, overcome no less
than sixty wild savages, and yet such was the case, for John Alden is
known to be a truthful man, and Captain Standish one who is not given
to boasting.

The long dreary winter passed slowly, and during a goodly number of
days we of Plymouth were hungry, although having sufficient of food to
keep us from actual starvation. Yet never once did I hear any repining
because of our having been brought to such straits through the neglect
of those who came in the _Fortune_, and who should have provided
themselves with food sufficient for their wants until another harvest
time had come.


We went more often to the meeting-house in the fort than would have
been the case, perhaps, had our bodily comfort been greater, and Elder
Brewster preached to us more fervently than mayhap he might have done
but for the gnawing of hunger in his stomach.

Every Sabbath Day from nine o'clock in the morning until noon, and
after that, from noon to dark, did we sing, or pray, or listen to
the elder's words of truth, all the while being hungry, and a goodly
portion of the time cold unto the verge of freezing.

My mother claimed that there was no reason why we should not have a
fireplace in the meeting-house, even though none but the children might
be allowed to approach it; but Elder Brewster insisted that to think
of bodily suffering while engaged in the worship of God, was much the
same as a sin, and it seemed to Sarah and me as if his preaching was
prolonged when the cold was most intense.

Again and again have I sat on the puncheon benches, my feet numbed
with the frost, my teeth chattering until it was necessary to thrust
the corner of mother's mantle into my mouth to prevent unseemly noise,
almost envying Master Hopkins when he walked from his bench to the
pulpit in order to turn the hourglass for the second or third time,
because of his thus having a chance for exercising his limbs.

You must know that, having no clocks, the time in the meeting-house is
marked by an hourglass, and it is the duty of one of the leading men
of the settlement to turn it when the sand runs out. Therefore, when
Master Hopkins has turned it the second time, thus showing that the
third hour of the sermon has begun, I am so worldly-minded and so cold
as to rejoice, because of knowing that Elder Brewster, save on especial
days, seldom preaches more than the three hours.


It was during this winter that John Alden, who is a cooper as well as
Captain Standish's clerk, spent three days in our home, making for
mother two tubs which are fair to look upon, and of such size that
we are no longer troubled on washdays by being forced to throw away
the soapy water in order to rinse the clothes which have already been
cleansed. You may think it strange to hear me speak thus of the waste
of soapy water, because you in Scrooby have of soap an abundance, while
here in this new land we are put to great stress through lack of it.


It would not be so ill if all the housewives would make a generous
quantity, but there are some among us who are not so industrious as
others, and dislike the labor of making soap. They fail to provide
sufficient for themselves, but depend upon borrowing; thus spending the
stores of those who have looked ahead for the needs of the future.

Well, as I have said, the winter passed, and we were come to the second
summer after making this settlement of Plymouth.

Once more was famine staring us in the face, therefore every man, woman
and child, save those chosen to go fishing, was sent into the fields
for the planting.


It was while our people were out fishing that they were met by a great
surprise, which was nothing less than a shallop steering as if to come
into the harbor, and in her were many men.

At first our fishermen feared the visitors might be Frenchmen who had
come bent on some evil intent; but nevertheless our people approached
boldly, and soon learned that the shallop came from a ship nearby,
which Master Weston had sent out fishing from a place on the coast
called Damarins Cove.

This Master Weston, so I learned later, was one of those merchants
who had aided in fitting out our company in England; but after our
departure had decided to send a colony on his own account, and the
people afterward settled at Wessagussett.


The reason why the shallop, of which I have just spoken, came toward
our village of Plymouth, was that Master Weston's ship had brought over
seven men who wished to join us, and, what was yet better, they had
with them letters from our friends at home.

It was unfortunate that they had no food other than enough to serve
until they should have come to our settlement, and thus it was that
there were more mouths yet for us to feed from our scanty store.

A few weeks later we heard that a company of men from England had
begun to build a village within five and twenty miles of our Plymouth
town. There is little need for me to say that we rejoiced to learn of
neighbors in this wilderness of a country; but were more than surprised
because the ship which brought them over the seas had not come into our


That another village was to be built, and so near at hand that in case
the savages came against us in anger we might call upon the people for
aid, was of so much importance in the eyes of Governor Bradford, that
he at once sent Captain Standish and six men to visit our neighbors.
This he did not only in order to appear friendly, but with the hope
that from the new-comers we might be able to add to our store of food.

It was a great disappointment to all, and particularly to Sarah and me,
when the captain came back with the report that the new settlers were
glad to leave London streets. They were of Master Weston's company;
among them were those who had come in the shallop from Damarins Cove,
bringing to us letters from England, and the people who were eager to
cast in their lot with us.

"They are a quarrelsome, worthless company, and have already fought
with the Indians after having received favors from them," Captain
Standish said to my father, when he had made his report to the
governor. "One Thomas Weston is the leader, and if he continues as he
has begun, there will soon be an end of the entire party."

Instead of getting food from them for our needs, it is more than
likely, so the captain declares, that we may be called upon to save
them from starvation. From the first they stole corn from the Indians,
or took it by force, and it seemed certain they could not continue such
a lawless course until harvest time.


I can well fancy you are asking how it is we complain thus about the
scarcity of food, when you know that the sea is filled with fish.

Captain Standish declares that there are no less than two hundred
different kinds to be found off this coast, and lobsters are at some
seasons so plentiful that the smallest boy may go out and get as many
as he can carry. I myself have seen one so large that I could, hardly
lift it, and father says its weight was upwards of twenty pounds.

You will say that if we could send out a certain number of our people
in boats to get food thus from the sea, what should prevent us from
taking as many as would be necessary for our wants during one year?
I myself put that same question to father one night last winter while
we were hungry, and mother and I sat chewing the dried leaves of the
checkerberry plant which ground to powder between our teeth, and he
answered me bitterly:

"It is owing to our own shortsightedness, my daughter; to our neglect
to understand what might be met with in this new world. Those who made
ready for the voyage believed we should find here food in abundance;
but yet had no reason for such belief. It was known that we were to
go into the wilderness, and yet, perhaps, for we will not say aught of
harm against another, it was thought that we should find in the forest
so much of fowls and of animals as would serve for all our needs."


"But why do we not take more fish, father?" I asked, speaking because
such conversation served to keep my mind from the hunger which was
heavy upon me.

"Because of not having the lines, the hooks, or the nets with
which to catch a larger store. When the _Fortune_ sailed for home,
Governor Bradford sent to the people in London who had made ready the
_Mayflower_, urging that they send in the next ship which may come to
this land such fishing gear as is needed. When that reaches us, then
shall we be able not only to guard against another time of famine; but
have of cured fish enough to bring us in money sufficient to buy other
things we now need."

And thus speaking of money reminds me to set down what the savages use
in the stead of gold and silver coins.


You must know that the Indians hereabout have no tools of iron or of
steel, as do you in Scrooby; but perform all their work by means of
fire and sharp pieces of flint stone. In order to have something that
can be called money, although they of course do not use that word in
speaking of it, they get from the dark spots which are found in clam
shells, beads about one-eighth of an inch in thickness and an inch


These they call wampum, and string them on threads cut from the skin
of a deer. Because of a great deal of labor's being necessary in the
making of them, these bits of wampum, or beads, are valued as highly by
the Indians as we value gold or silver, and the savage who would hoard
up his wealth that it may be seen of others, makes of these strings of
wampum a belt many inches broad.


It is convenient to wear these belts, for when the owner wishes to
buy something from another Indian or even from us white people, he has
merely to take off one or two strings from the belt, thereby decreasing
the width ever so slightly.

When Massasoit came to Plymouth, he wore three of these wampum belts,
and among those who followed him, I saw five or six who had an equal


It was early in this second springtime that had come to us in Plymouth,
when Samoset brought word into the village that Massasoit, the savage
chief that had been so kind to us, was ill unto death, and that those
jealous Indians whom Captain Standish had disarmed so valiantly, were
only waiting until their king should die before they made an attack
upon our town.

This news was believed to be of such importance that straightway
Governor Bradford commanded Captain Standish to gather as many of his
men as could be spared from Plymouth, and go at once to Massasoit's

This of itself would have received but scant attention from my parents
or me, for it seemed as if the captain was ever going out in search of
some adventure or another; but on this occasion, it was urged by the
governor that Master Winslow, who had shown himself during our first
winter on these shores to have some considerable knowledge regarding
sickness, go and try if he might not lend the savage king some aid.


It was a fearsome time for everyone. We knew, because of what Samoset
had said, that many of Massasoit's people were awaiting an opportunity
to murder us, and, when Master Winslow should go into the village among
so many enemies, it was to be feared the savages might fall upon him,
knowing the chief was so ill he could not give the white man any help.

During eight long, weary days we waited for the return of Master
Winslow, fearing each hour lest we should hear that he was no longer
in this world, and then, to our great relief, he came into the
village late one evening, while my mother and I were praying for his

Master Winslow had been most fortunate in the visit, for the good Lord
allowed that the savage chief should be restored to health, and by way
of showing his gratitude for what had been done, Massasoit told Master
Winslow that the white people of Wessagussett had so ill-treated the
Indians along the coast, that a plot was on foot to kill not only them,
but us at Plymouth.


It was the same news which Samoset had brought us, and there could no
longer be any doubt as to its truth.

Captain Standish had come back only to set out again, for when Master
Winslow told Governor Bradford that which Massasoit had said, several
of our men were sent in hot haste to this place where Master Weston's
men were making so much mischief. Again we of Plymouth waited in
anxious suspense until that day when Captain Standish, and all whom he
had taken with him, returned once more to the village.

They had met one Indian who, they believed, was planning to murder
Captain Standish himself. This Indian and six of his savage companions
they had killed, driving the others away into the forest.

It was believed by father that the Indians, knowing we had ever treated
them fairly and justly, and also that our men had punished those who
did wrong, would no longer hold enmity against us of Plymouth simply
because of our skins' being white.


I must tell you that our captain has adopted a follower who hugs him
as closely as ever shadow could. It is a savage by the name of Hobomok,
whom Samoset brought to Plymouth. He must suddenly have fallen in love
with our valiant warrior, for he keeps close at his heels during all
the waking hours, and, as John Alden says, sleeps as near, during the
night, as Captain Standish will permit.

He is called by our people "the captain's Indian," and surely he
appears to be as faithful and unselfish as any dog.


We have come to put this Indian corn, or Turkey wheat, to another use
than that of eating, for it has been agreed to let the kernels serve as
ballots in public voting.


Each man may put into Standish's iron cap, which is what our people
use when they cast their ballots, a single kernel of the corn to show
that it is his intent to elect whomsoever had been spoken of for this
or that office; but if a bean be cast, it is used as counting against
him who desires to be elected, and a law has already been made which
says that "if any man shall put more than one Indian corn or bean into
Captain Standish's helmet in time of public election, he shall forfeit
no less than ten pounds in lawful money."


And now, because there is so much of excitement, owing to the frequent
coming and going of strangers, which neither Sarah nor I can well
understand, I will set down, in as few words as may be possible, only
such news as seems of importance, beginning with the time before our
second harvesting.

Then the ship _Ann_ came, bringing yet more people, although,
fortunately, a considerable store of food, and in her were the
wives and children of some of our company who had come over in the
_Mayflower_. How joyous was the meeting between those who had long
been separated. Sarah and I could see, however, that more than one of
these women were disappointed, having most likely allowed themselves to
believe their husbands were gathering riches in the new world. I heard
one, who found her husband much the same as clad in rags, wish that she
and her children were in England again.

When the ship _Ann_ went back to England, my mother and I were left
alone, for it had been decided by the head men of the town that Master
Edward Winslow should take passage in her to look after certain
business affairs of the colony, and, what seemed to me the more
important, to buy some cows. The sorrow of it was that my father was
chosen to journey with Master Winslow.

We were exceedingly lonely, and should have felt yet more desolate but
for Captain Standish and John Alden both of whom did whatsoever they
might to cheer.


It was while we were alone that the ship _Little James_ came, laden
with fifty men, women and children to be joined to our colony, and when
they were settled, did it seem as if Plymouth was much the same as a
city, with so many people coming and going.

What with the food which had been brought in the _Ann_ and the _Little
James_, and with the bountiful harvest we reaped in the fall, there
seemed no longer to be any fear of famine; and with so many hands to
make light work, as Elder Brewster said, there was no good reason why
we should not have a meeting-house to be used for no other purpose than
as a place in which to worship God.


It was after the harvest time that the people set about building it,
and that it might be seen by those who looked at it from the outside,
to be a building other than for living purposes, the logs, instead of
being set upright in the earth, were laid lengthwise, and notched at
the ends in a most secure fashion, with a roof that rises to a peak
like unto those on the houses in Scrooby.

The very best of oiled paper is set in the windows. There is a real
floor of puncheon boards, which we keep well covered with the white
sand from the shore, and Priscilla Mullens spends much time drawing
with a stick fanciful figures in the glistening covering, causing it to
look like a real carpet.

There are benches sufficient for all, and at that end opposite the
door is the preacher's desk, over which hangs a sounding board, not
delicately fashioned like the one at Scrooby, but made of puncheons,
yet serving well the purpose of allowing the preacher's voice to seem

Elder Brewster still believes that it would be wrong for us to have
a fireplace in the meeting-house, because one who truly worships his
Maker should be willing to sacrifice his comfort. One Sabbath Day, when
the elder's sermon was so long that the hourglass had been turned three
times by the tithingman, and the sand was already running well for the
fourth time, I believed of a truth that my feet were really frozen.

But I did not even shuffle them on the floor, because once when I
did so, a most serious lesson did my mother read me when we were at
home again, and that very evening Elder Brewster spoke in meeting of
the wickedness of children who had no more fear of God before their
eyes than to disturb by unseemly noise those who had gathered for his

John Alden, who is ever ready to do what he can for the comfort of
others, has now nailed bags made of wolf skins on the benches, into
which we may thrust our feet and thus keep them warm.


Captain Standish has taught Master Bean's eldest son, Nathan, how to
drum, and he it is who summons our people before nine of the clock in
the morning, and one of the clock in the afternoon.


Then we go from our homes in seemly fashion; but all the men carry
their firearms and wear swords, for there are wicked Indians about,
and many wild beasts which come even into the village, when there is
much snow on the ground. Therefore do the fathers and the brothers of
Plymouth guard the mothers and sisters.

It is that part of the meeting-house on the right side as you go in,
that has been set apart for the women and girls. The men have their
benches on the opposite side, while the boys, except the very, very
little ones, sit directly under the preacher's desk, where all may know
if they behave themselves in seemly fashion. Sarah says it would be
much to the comfort of us girls if even the baby boys could be thus set
apart by themselves.

Deacon Chadwick leads the congregation in the songs of praise, by
reading a line, for we have but four psalm books here, and then we sing
such words as he has spoken; so it goes on throughout all the psalm,
causing the music to sound halting and unequal. Besides which, it is
seldom that the verses can be sung in such a manner within less than
half an hour, and meanwhile we must all be kept standing.

When the meeting is over, and the morning service is nearly always
finished within four hours, we remain in our seats until the preacher
and his wife have gone out, after which the men march around to the
deacon's bench, and there leave furs or corn, money or wampum, if
perchance they have any, as gifts toward the support of the preaching.
Sometimes, when I have a feeling of faintness from the cold and long
hours of sitting, I cannot help envying the preacher and his wife being
able to leave thus early.


The tithingmen are elected as town officers, and each has ten families
to visit during the week, when they hear the children recite their
lessons for the next Sabbath Day. It is their duty to see that every
person goes to the meeting-house on Sabbath Day, with no loitering on
the way, and even after the preaching is over, and we have returned
to our homes, do they march up and down the street to prevent us from
straying out of doors until the Sabbath is at a close.


My mother believes, and so do I, that it would be better if the
tithingmen refrained from walking to and fro in the church while
the elder is preaching; but so they do, each carrying a stick which
has a knob on one end and a fox or wolf tail on the other, striking
the unruly children on the head with the knob end of the stick, and
tickling with the fox tail the faces of those who are so ungodly as to
sleep during the preaching.


I despair of trying to make you understand how thankful we were to God,
when the ship in which Master Winslow and father returned, sailed into
the harbor.

It seemed to me as if I should never have enough of looking at him,
or feeling the pressure of his hand upon my head, after he had thus
been gone for eight weary months; but, strange to say, the others in
the town thought it more pleasing to look at the cattle which Master
Winslow brought, than at our people who had come back to us.

Yes, in the ship _Charity_, on which Master Winslow and father came,
were three cows and a bull, and you who have never known the lack of
butter, cheese, and milk, cannot understand how grateful our people
were for such things.


The animals were no sooner on shore and eating greedily, than
straightway we pictured to ourselves a large herd of cows, such as
are seen in England, and when for the first time we saw the milk, a
spoonful was given to each person in order that he or she might once
more know the taste of it.

In the same vessel came a preacher, by name of John Lyford, a ship
carpenter, and a man who is skilled in making salt; therefore does
it seem now as if our town of Plymouth could boast of nearly as many
comforts and conveniences as you enjoy at Scrooby.

Nor were the return of father and Master Winslow, the coming of the
animals, the arrival of the salt man, or the joining to our company of
the preacher, the only things for which we had to give thanks.


Father brought in the vessel as many bricks as would serve to make an
oven by the side of our fireplace, and thus it was that we were the
first family in Plymouth who could bake bread or roast meats, as do
people in England.

This oven is built on one side of the fireplace, with a hole near the
top, for the smoke to go through. It has a door of real iron, with an
ash pit below, so that we may save the ashes for soap-making without
storing them in another place.

At first the oven was kept busily at work for the benefit of our
neighbors, being heated each day, but for our own needs it is used once
a week. Inside, a great fire of dried wood is kindled and kept burning
from morning until noon, when it has thoroughly heated the bricks. Then
the coals and ashes are swept out; the chimney draught is closed, and
the oven filled with whatsoever we have to cook. A portion of our bread
is baked in the two pans which mother owns; but the rest of it we lay
on green leaves, and it is cooked quite as well, although one is forced
to scrape a few cinders from the bottom of the loaf.



Can you imagine how Sarah and I feasted when, for the first time in
four years, we had milk to drink, and butter and cheese to eat?

You must not believe that we drank milk freely, as do you at Scrooby,
for there are many people in Plymouth, all of whom had been hungering
for it even as had Sarah and I. Father claimed that each must have a
certain share, therefore it is a great feast day with us when we have
a large spoonful on our pudding, or to drink.

John Alden made a most beautiful churn for mother; but many a long
month passed before we could get cream enough to make butter, so eager
were our people for the milk. Now, however, when there are seventeen
cows in this town of ours, we not only have butter on extra occasions;
but twice each year mother makes a cheese.



Because of having spent so much time, and set down so many words in
trying to describe how we lived when we first came to this new world, I
must hasten over that which occurred from day to day, in order to tell
you what seems to me of the most importance, without giving heed to the
time when the events took place.

I have already told you of the village at Wessagussett, which was built
by men who had been sent to this land by Master Weston, and also that
they were driven away by Captain Standish because of working so much
mischief among the Indians that our own lives were in danger.

Well, it was not long after Captain Standish had punished them,
before one and then another came back to the huts, which had been left
unharmed, and we at Plymouth learned of their doings through Samoset or

Had they been God-fearing people, willing to obey our laws, Governor
Bradford would have welcomed them right gladly; but because of their
refusing to do that which was right, and their giving themselves up
to riotous living, our fathers could do no less than hold them at a

Then it was that one Master Thomas Morton, calling himself a gentlemen,
who came over in the _Charity_ and had lived among us in Plymouth a
short time, much to the shame and discomfort of those who strove to
profit by the teachings of the Bible, claimed that the evil-doers
at Wessagussett were being wronged by us. He even went so far as
to tell Governor Bradford to his face that he was stiff-necked and
straight-laced, preaching what decent men could not practice.


After such a shameful outburst, it did not surprise any one that he
joined those at Wessagussett, and perhaps it was as well that he did
so, for he would not have been permitted to remain longer in Plymouth.

  [Illustration: Flint-Lock Gun]

Master Morton changed the name of the village to Merry Mount, and it
has been said that everyone there gave himself over to riotous living.
They do not even have a meeting house, and John Alden declares that
they never pray, except by reading prayers out of a book, which is an
evil practice, so Elder Brewster insists.

  [Illustration: Match-Lock Gun]

Captain Standish sorely offended mother by saying he cared not whether
they read or sang their prayers, so that they stopped selling firearms
and strong drink to the Indians. But this last they did, until the
captain could no longer hold his temper in check, and he laid the
matter before Governor Bradford and the chief men of the town.

Then did the governor send to Master Morton by Squanto a letter,
telling him that for the safety of all the white people he ought to
stop his evil work of teaching the savages how to use firearms, which
might one day be turned against us.

To this Master Morton made reply that he had sold firearms to the
savages, and would do so as long as he liked. He said his doings did
not concern us of Plymouth, and that no man could make him do other
than as he pleased.

After reading the letter from Master Morton, the governor sent Captain
Standish with fourteen men to Merry Mount, and Sarah's father told her
that there was a disagreeable battle before the captain could bring
Master Morton away. He was kept in Plymouth until a vessel sailed for
England, and then sent back in her, much against his will, but those
who were so venturesome as to talk with him before he left, claim
that he threatened to come back at some later day, when he would have
revenge upon the governor and the captain.


I must not forget to tell you that last year there was opened a school,
in that part of the old fort which was first used as a meeting-house.
Our friends in England sent to us a preacher by name of John Lyford, as
I have already said, and he it was who began the school, teaching all
children whose parents could pay him a certain amount either in wampum,
beaver skins, corn, wheat, peas, or money.

Sarah and I went during seven weeks, and would have remained while
school was open, but that Master Lyford had hot words with Governor
Bradford because of letters which he wrote to his friends in England,
wherein were many false things set down concerning us of Plymouth. Then
it was father declared that I should go on with my studies at home,
rather than be taught by a man who was doing whatsoever he might to
bring reproach upon our village.

It caused me much sorrow thus to give over learning, for Master Lyford
taught us many new things, and neither Sarah nor I could understand how
it would work harm to us, even though we did study under the direction
of one who was not a friend to Plymouth.

I felt sorry because of Master Lyford's having done that which gave
rise to ill feelings among our people, since it resulted in his being
sent away from Plymouth. It would not have given me sorrow to see him
go, for to my mind he was not a friendly man; but it seemed much like
a great loss to the village, when the school was closed.

It would surprise you to know how comfortable everything was in the
school; it seemed almost as if we children were being allowed to give
undue heed to the pleasures of this world, though I must confess that
during the first hour of the morning session we were distressed by the


When the room had been used as a Sabbath Day meeting-house, there was
neither chimney nor fireplace, because Elder Brewster believed that too
much bodily comfort would distract our thoughts from the duty we owed
the Lord. But when the place had been turned into a schoolroom, it was
necessary to have warmth, if for no other reason than that the smaller
children might not be frost-bitten.

John Billington was hired to build a fireplace and chimney, and, as
all in Plymouth know, he dislikes to work even as does his son James.
Therefore it was that he failed to make the chimney of such height
above the top of the fort as would admit of a fair draught, so Master
Lyford declared, and we were sorely troubled with smoke until the fire
had gained good headway.

It was the duty of the boys to provide wood and keep the fire burning;
while we girls kept the room swept and cleanly, all of which tended to
give us a greater interest in the school.


For our convenience when learning to write, puncheon planks were
fastened to the four sides of the room, with stakes on the front edges
to serve as legs in order to hold them in a sloping position, and at
such desk-like contrivances we stood while using a pen, or working at
arithmetic with strips of birch-bark in the stead of paper. The same
benches which had been built when the room was our meeting-house,
served as seats when we had need to rest our legs.


Master Lyford built for himself a desk in the center of the room, where
he could overlook us all, and so great was his desire for comfort,
which was one of the complaints made against him by Governor Bradford,
that he had fastened a short piece of puncheon plank to one side of the
log which served as chair, so that he might lean his back against it
when he was weary.


It must be set down that he was not indolent when it seemed to him
that one of us should be punished. As Captain Standish said, after he
had looked into the room to see James Billington whipped for having
been idle, the teacher "had a rare brain for inventing instruments for


It was the flapper which the captain had seen in use upon James, and
surely it must have caused great pain when laid on with all Master
Lyford's strength. A piece of tanned buckskin, six inches square,
with a round hole in the middle large enough for me to thrust my thumb
through, fastened to a wooden handle,--this was the flapper, and when
it was brought down heavily upon one's bare flesh, a blister was raised
the full size of the hole in the leather.

He had also a tattling stick, which was made of half a dozen thick
strips of deer hide fastened to a short handle, and when he flogged the
children with it, they were forced to lie down over a log hewn with a
sharp edge at the top. This sharp edge of wood, together with the blows
from the stout thongs, caused great pain.

Master Lyford was not always so severe in his punishment. He had
whispering-sticks, which were thick pieces of wood to be placed in a
child's mouth until it was forced wide open, and then each end of the
stick was tied securely at the back of the scholar's neck in such a way
that he could make no manner of noise. Sarah wore one of these nearly
two hours because of whispering to me, and when it was taken out, the
poor child could not close her jaws until I had rubbed them gently
during a long while.


Then there was the single-legged stool, upon which it was most tiring
to sit, and this was given to the child who would not keep still upon
his bench. I was forced to use it during one whole hour, because of
drumming my feet upon the floor when the cold was most bitter, and the
fire would not burn owing to the wood being so wet. It truly seemed to
me, before the punishment was come to an end, as if my back had been

Master Lyford was also provided with five or six dunce's caps, made
of birch bark, on which were painted in fair letters such names as
"Tell-Tale," "Bite-Finger-Baby," "Lying Ananias," "Idle Boy," and other
ugly words.


However, I dare say this was for good, and went far toward aiding us in
our studies. Master Allerton declares that there are no truer words in
the Book, than those which teach us that to spare the rod is to spoil
the child, and surely we of Plymouth were not spoiled in such manner by
Master Lyford, nor by the other teachers who came to us later.


While I have been setting down all these things that you might know how
we lived here in the wilderness, other villages have been built around
us until we can no longer say we are alone, or that our only neighbors
are those Englishmen in Virginia, which place is so far away that we
should need make a voyage in a ship in order to come at it.

First I will speak of that village of Merry Mount, wherein dwell those
people who, led by Thomas Morton, are a reproach to those who walk in
the straight path.

Then, so we have heard, there are white men living on the river called
Saco; at the mouth of the river Piscataqua and higher up the stream is,
so Squanto declares, a village called Cochecho.

At Pemaquid, and on the nearby island of Monhegan, are settlements
whose dwellers are nearly all fishermen, and who send their catch to

One Captain Wollaston, with between thirty and forty men, began to make
a village on the seashore not above fifty miles from here; but he soon
tired of battling with the wilderness, and set sail with all his people
for Virginia.

Master John Oldham, who came to Plymouth with Master Lyford, having had
hot words with Governor Bradford, set off for a place called Nantasket,
where, in company with four other discontented ones of our village, he
aims to make a town.

Near by Plymouth, if one makes the journey by boat, is a town called
Salem, lately set up with Master Endicott as the governor, wherein live
more than two hundred people, and within a few weeks it has been said
that another company are making homes on Massachusetts Bay, calling the
place Charlestown.

Therefore you can see how fast this new world is being covered with
villages and towns, and we who were the first to gain a foothold in the
wilderness, are surrounded by neighbors until it seems as if the land
were really thronged with people.



Not two months ago my father got word that among those who had come
to build homes at the place already named Salem, were many of our
old friends whom we left behind at Leyden, and I was nearly wild with
delight when he said to my mother:

"Verily we two have earned a time of rest, and if it be to your mind we
will go even so far as Salem, to greet those friends of ours who have
so lately come from Leyden."

"And Mary?" my mother asked.

"She shall go with us. If you and I are to give ourselves over to
pleasure, it is well she should have a share."

Since the day on which we landed from the _Mayflower_, I had not been
allowed to stray above half a mile from the village, and now I was to
journey like a princess, with nothing to do save seek that which might
serve for my pleasure or amusement.

Then, remembering how sad at heart Sarah would be if we were parted
after having been so much together these ten years, I made bold to ask
my mother if she might journey with us, and after having speech with my
father, she gave her consent.

There is no need for me to tell you that we two girls were wondrously
happy and woefully excited at the idea of visiting strange people,
concerning whom we had heard not a little, for, as Captain Standish has
said, never were homeseekers outfitted in such plenty.

When he heard of what father counted on doing, Captain Standish offered
to make one of the party, saying that it would gladden him to see
a friendly face from Leyden, and it was his idea that we go in the
shallop, taking with us John Alden to aid in working the vessel.

You can well fancy that Sarah and I were pleased to have the captain
with our party, for he has ever been a good friend of ours, and as for
John Alden, if Mistress Priscilla was willing to spare him from home,
we were content, knowing he was at all times ready, as well as eager,
to do his full share of whatsoever labor might be at hand.


Just fancy! The Massachusetts Bay Company gave to each man and boy who
came over from England to Salem four pairs of shoes, and four pairs of
stockings to wear with them, a stout pair of Norwich garters, together
with four shirts, and two suits of doublet and hose of leather lined
with oiled skin. As if that were not enough, to the list were added a
woolen suit lined with leather, two handkerchiefs, and a green cotton
waistcoat. Then came a leather belt, a woolen cap, a black hat, two red
knit caps, two pairs of gloves, a cloak lined with cotton, and an extra
pair of breeches.

Is it any wonder that Sarah and I were eager to see these gentlemen
who must have needed a baggage ship in order to bring over their
finery. Think of people coming into the wilderness outfitted in such
extravagant fashion as that!

Surely they should be able to live comfortably, and without anxiety
for the future, because the company that sent them to build the town of
Salem, took good care that they were provided with provisions in plenty
until they had sown and reaped.

If we of Plymouth had come so burdened with clothes and food, we should
have been spared many a sad day, when an empty stomach, scantily
covered with thin clothing, knew at the same time the biting of the
frost and the gnawing of hunger. It is little wonder that Sarah and I
were eager to see these fortunate people, if for no other reason than
to learn how they carried themselves before us of Plymouth, who failed
of being fine birds through absence of fine feathers.


During one full week before the time set for us to leave home, mother
and I worked from daylight until dark making ready the food, for it
was no slight task to prepare enough to fill the stomachs of all our

It is true we would be housed and fed in Salem; but no one could
say how the voyage might be prolonged, if the wind proved contrary,
therefore did it behoove us to prepare for a long passage lest we
suffer from hunger by the way.


We made nookick enough, as father said, for the Plymouth army, and of
Indian corn meal and pumpkin bread, no less than twenty large loaves.
We had a sweet pudding in a bag for each person, counting Sarah and me;
Captain Standish had shot two wild ducks as his portion of the stores,
and these had been roasted until they were of a most delicious brown
shade, causing one's mouth to water when looking at them.

Father had cut up the salt and pickled fish until it could be stored in
gourds, and John Alden caught lobsters enough to prevent our suffering
from hunger during at least two days.

We had two pumpkins freshly roasted, which would remain sweet a long
while; the full half of a small cheese, a pat of butter as a luxury,
and much else which I cannot well call to mind.


The hinder part of the shallop was partly filled with dried beach
grass, that we might have a soft bed if so be we were, as it seemed
likely, still on the voyage when night came. In the forward portion of
the vessel was a keg of John Alden's making, filled with sweet spring
water, and thus, as you may see, everything had been done to minister
to our comfort.

I was half afraid Elder Brewster might force us to wait beyond the day
appointed for leaving, in order to read us more than one lesson on the
sin of over-indulgence; but, fortunately, he could not spend the time
to overlook the preparations, because of building a new chimney to his
house, the old one having burned on Saturday night.

On the evening before we sailed, many of our neighbors came in to pray
with us that God would have us in His holy keeping while we wandered
so far from home, and my eyes were filled to overflowing when Elder
Brewster made special mention of Sarah and me, asking that we might
not be led from straight paths by the sight of so much worldly vanity
as was likely waiting for us in that town of Salem, which had grown so
suddenly and so rapidly.

Sarah slept with me on that night, and after we were gone to bed in the
kitchen, we could hardly close our eyes, so great was our excitement,
as we thought of all the strange sights we were likely to see. I am of
the belief that we had not been asleep above an hour, when mother came
to make ready the morning meal.

It was yet dark; but father had it in mind to make the start as soon
as day broke, and there was much to be done before that time. We ate
hurriedly of the Indian corn meal pudding, and then Captain Standish
and John Alden came to join us in the service of praise, when I am
afraid my sin was great, for I could hardly keep my mind on the words
of his prayer, so eager did I feel to begin the journey.

Elder Brewster has told us children again and again that we are
offending God when we allow our thoughts to stray while He is being
worshiped, and even with his warning in mind, I could not but wonder
why father's prayer was so much longer on that morning than I ever had
known before. Twice I heard Captain Standish cough while we were on our
knees, and I was so wicked as to feel pleased because he, like me, had
grown impatient.


The day had not fully dawned when we marched down to the shore where
the shallop lay at anchor; but early though the hour was, we found
there assembled nearly all the townspeople, come to bid us Godspeed
on the dangerous journey. One would have thought we were counting to
travel as far as England, to judge from the looks of sorrow on the
faces of our friends, and we did not go aboard the small vessel until
Elder Brewster had prayed once more for our safe return from the place
where temptation in so many forms awaited us.

However much time I might spend over the task, it would be impossible
for me to describe, in such a manner that you could understand it, the
pleasure which Sarah and I had during the journey. It was our first
voyaging in so small a vessel, but we could not well have been alarmed,
for the sea was as smooth as velvet, save where it was ruffled here and
there by the gentle breeze which filled the sail of the shallop.


Both my father and Captain Standish fretted because there was not
wind enough to send us along at a smarter pace; but we girls were well
content with the slow progress, since it would be but prolonging our

As the day grew older, we partook of food, and each one, save him who
was at the helm, chose such position as was best suited to comfort.
Father pointed out to us certain landmarks on the coast, which he said
had been set down by Captain John Smith of Virginia when he journeyed
in this region, and John Alden told of settlers who had begun to make
plantations on the shores of Massachusetts Bay.

At noon father read from the Book, while John Alden steered, and
after a season of prayer mother spoke with Captain Standish concerning
friends in Holland.

It was as if this carried the captain's mind back to the time when he
had been an officer in the Dutch army, for straightway he began telling
stories of adventure and of thrilling escapes from death, until Sarah
and I were at the same time entranced and alarmed. Even though I burned
to have him continue, it was a relief when he changed the subject to
speculate upon what the future might hold for us of Plymouth.

When night came, we were yet at sea, and mother, Sarah, and I lay down
on the dry beach grass in the bottom of the boat, after father had
once more prayed that the Lord would hold us, as He does the sea, in
the hollow of His hand. We slept as sweetly as if in our own beds at
Plymouth, never once awakening until Captain Standish cried out that we
should open our eyes to the glory of the sunrise.


We were then near unto the village of Salem, and there was no more than
time in which to break our fast, and join with father in thanks to God
because of His having saved us through the night, when the shallop was
run in as close to land as the depth of water would permit.

Captain Standish carried each of us ashore, wading in the sea knee-deep
to do so, and after we were standing dry-shod on the sand, the vessel
was pushed off at anchor, lest she should take ground when the tide
went down.


Then we went into the village, where already more than thirty houses
had been built, father and Captain Standish walking in the lead, while
John Alden remained by the side of mother, and we girls followed on
behind, soberly and slowly, even though our hearts were beating fast
with excitement.

Not for long were we left to our own devices. As soon as we were seen
by one of the women, all our party were made welcome to Salem, and when
it was learned that we had come from Plymouth, in the hope of meeting
those whom we had known at Leyden, it was as if every person in the
village made effort to entertain us.


It is not for me to say ought against those who treated us so kindly;
but yet I must set it down that Sarah and I were somewhat disappointed.
There was no such show of luxury and vanity as we had been led to
expect, after learning how wondrously these people had been supplied
with clothes. The houses were no better than could be found in our own
village of Plymouth, and, save that there was pickled beef and pork in
great abundance, the food was no more tempting.

The elders of our little company speedily found old friends whom they
had parted with in Leyden; but Sarah and I, having been so young when
we left Holland, could not be expected to remember any of the children.
We wandered here and there however, being greeted by strangers as if we
were old friends, comparing all we saw with that which could be found
in Plymouth, and coming to believe that ours was the most goodly home.



I believe we looked forward to going back quite as eagerly as we had
to coming. Right glad were all of us, including even Captain Standish,
when we said good-by to the people of Salem, and our shallop, with a
strong wind astern, sailed with her bow toward Plymouth.

"It is well that we go abroad at times, if for no other reason than to
learn how dear is our own hearthstone," the captain said in a tone of
content, as he sat in the bottom of the boat with his back against the
mast, burning the Indian weed in a little stone vessel which Hobomok
had brought to him from Massasoit's village.

Then he fell to telling Sarah and me stories, tiring not until we were
once more at home, for the return voyage was exceeding speedy.

And now, because I am just returned to the place where we landed ten
years ago, concerning which I have been trying to tell you, it is well
I should come to the end, trusting that the Lord may be as good to you,
as he has been to us children of Plymouth during all these years of
hardships and sorrows.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mary of Plymouth - A Story of the Pilgrim Settlement" ***

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