Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

Long Hours of Preaching

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.


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