Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

The Inside of the House

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 sea shore, 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.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

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.


Front Matter

Why This Story was Written
The Leaking Speedwell
Searching for a Home
After the Storm
Wash Day
Finding the Corn
Attacked by the Savages
Building Houses
Miles Standish
The Sick People
The New Home
Master White and the Wolf
Inside of the House
A Chimney Without Bricks
Building the Fire
Master Bradford's Chimney
Scarcity of Food
A Timely Gift
The First Savage Visitor
Squanto's Story
Living in the Wilderness
The Friendly Indians
Grinding the Corn
A Visit From Massasoit
Massasoit's Promise
Massasoit's Visit Returned
The Big House Burned
The Mayflower Leaves Port
Setting the Table
What and How we Eat
Table Rules
A Pilgrim Goes Abroad
Making a Dugout
Governor Carver's Death
Bradford Chosen Governor
Farming in Plymouth
Cooking Indian Corn
The Wedding
Making Maple Syrup
Decorating the House
Trapping Wolves and Pigeons
Elder Brewster
The Visit to Massasoit
Keeping the Sabbath Holy
Making Clapboards
Cooking Pumpkins
A New Oven
Making Spoons and Dishes
The Fort and Meeting-House
The Harvest Festival
How to Play Stoolball
On Christmas Day
When the Fortune Arrived
Possibility of Another Famine
On Short Allowance
A Threatening Message
Pine Knots and Candles
Tallow From Bushes
Wicks for the Candle
Dipping the Candles
When James Runs Away
Evil-Minded Indians
Long Hours of Preaching
John Alden's Tubs
English Visitors
Visiting the Neighbors
Why More Fish are not Taken
How Wampum is Made
Ministering to Massasoit
The Plot Thwarted
The Captain's Indian
Ballots of Corn
Arrival of the Ann
Little James Comes to Port
The New Meeting-House
The Church Service
The Tithingmen
Master Winslow Brings Cows
A Real Oven
Butter and Cheese
Settlement at Wessagussett
The Village at Merrymount
The First School
Too Much Smoke
Schools Comforts
How Children Were Punished
New Villages
Making Ready for a Journey
Clothing for Salem
Food for the Journey
Before Sailing for Salem
Beginning the Journey
The Arrival at Salem
Sight-Seeking in Salem
Back to Plymouth