Throw your soldiers into positions whence there is no escape and they will prefer death to flight. — Sun Tzu

Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

On Short Allowance

When the Fortune  had gone, the men of our settlement took an exact account of all the provisions in the common store, as well as of those belonging to the different families, and the whole was divided in just proportion among us every one.

Then it was learned that we had no more in Plymouth to eat than would provide for our wants during six months, and since in that time there would not be another harvest, it was decided by the governor and the chief men of the village, that each person should be given a certain amount less than the appetite craved; short allowance, Captain Standish called it.

Sarah and I were faint at heart on learning of this decision, for it seemed as if during this winter we were to live again in the misery such as we had known the past season of cold and frost, when we hunted the leaves of the checkerberry plant, and chewed the gum which gathers in little bunches on the spruce trees, to satisfy our hunger.

Those who had come over in the Fortune  to join us were, as can well be understood, grieved because of their putting us to such straits; it was a matter which could not be helped, and we of the Mayflower  strove earnestly not to speak of the possible distress which might be ours, lest our friends so lately come might think we were reproaching them.


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