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

Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

The Leaking Speedwell

Hannah's father must have told her how much of trouble we had in getting here, for when the first vessel in which we set sail, named the Speedwell, put back to Plymouth in England because of leaking so badly, her master could not have failed to tell the people of Scrooby how all the hundred and two of us, men, women and children, were crowded into the Mayflower.

From the sixth day of September until the eleventh day of November, which is over sixty long dreary days, we were on the ocean, and then our vessel was come into what Captain John Smith had named Cape Cod Bay.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

Mother believed, as did the other women, and even we children, that we would go on shore as soon as the Mayflower  had come near to the land; but before many hours were passed, after the anchor had been dropped into the sea, even the youngest of us knew that it could not be.

We were weary with having been on board the vessel so long, and had made ourselves believe that as soon as we were arrived in the new world, food in plenty, with good, comfortable homes, would be ours.

Master Brewster, as well as the other men, said that houses must be built before we could leave the ship, and it was only needed we should go on deck and look about us, to know why this was so. Everywhere, except on the water, were snow and trees. It was a real forest as far as I could see in either direction, and everywhere the cold, white snow was piled in drifts, or blowing like feathers when the wind was high.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

So deeply was the land covered that we, who watched the men when they went ashore for the first time to seek out some place whereon to make a village, thought that they had fallen into a hole while stepping off the rocks, because we lost sight of them so soon. Instead of its being an accident, however, we could see that they were floundering in the snow, Master Bradford, whose legs are the shortest, being nearly lost to view.

We waited as patiently as possible for them to come back, though I must confess that Sarah, a girl of about my own age who came aboard the Mayflower  at Plymouth when we put back because of the Speedwell's  leaking so badly, and I could not keep in check our eagerness to hear from those people in Virginia, who it was said were living in comfort.

Not for many days did we come to realize that the settlers in Virginia were far, very far away from where we were to land, and to see them we should be forced to take another long voyage in a ship. We had come amidst the snow and the savage Indians, instead of among people from England, as had been planned when we set out on the journey.