Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak. — John Adams

Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

Table Rules

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 breeding:

"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.

"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."


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