Mary of Plymouth - James Otis
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.