The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is
the people versus the banks. — Lord Acton

Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

The New Meeting-House

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 louder.

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 worship.

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.


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