Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

The Church Service

Captain Standish has taught Master Bean's eldest son, Nathan, how to drum, and he it is who summons our people before nine of the clock in the morning, and one of the clock in the afternoon.

Then we go from our homes in seemly fashion; but all the men carry their firearms and wear swords, for there are wicked Indians about, and many wild beasts which come even into the village, when there is much snow on the ground. Therefore do the fathers and the brothers of Plymouth guard the mothers and sisters.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

It is that part of the meeting house on the right side as you go in, that has been set apart for the women and girls. The men have their benches on the opposite side, while the boys, except the very, very little ones, sit directly under the preacher's desk, where all may know if they behave themselves in seemly fashion. Sarah says it would be much to the comfort of us girls if even the baby boys could be thus set apart by themselves.

Deacon Chadwick leads the congregation in the songs of praise, by reading a line, for we have but four psalm books here, and then we sing such words as he has spoken; so it goes on throughout all the psalm, causing the music to sound halting and unequal. Besides which, it is seldom that the verses can be sung in such a manner within less than half an hour, and meanwhile we must all be kept standing.

When the meeting, is over, and the morning service is nearly always finished within four hours, we remain in our seats until the preacher and his wife have gone out, after which the men march around to the deacon's bench, and there leave furs or corn, money or wampum, if perchance they have any, as gifts toward the support of the preaching. Sometimes, when I have a feeling of faintness from the cold and long hours of sitting, I cannot help envying the preacher and his wife being able to leave thus early.


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