Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

Wash Day

Captain Standish led the company of men, among which was my father, into the forest to search for a place in which to make our new home, and when we lost sight of them among the trees, it seemed as if we were more alone than before.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

Sarah and I could not stay on deck to watch the men while they worked, because the cold was too severe, therefore we went into the cabin where were other children huddled around the stove, and there tried to imagine what our homes would be like in such a desolate place.

While the sailors worked on the shallop, many of the women went on shore to wash clothes near the fire which had been built by the men, and a most dismal time they had, as we children heard when they came back at night. They were forced to melt snow in Master Brewster's big iron pot, and when the hot water had been poured into the tub, it speedily began to freeze. Mother said that the clothes were but little improved by having been washed in such a manner.

Next morning the cold was so bitter that the women and children did not venture much out on the deck of the vessel, save when one or another ran up to see if those who had set off to find a place for our new home were returning. The sailors continued work on the shallop during two days, and each time on coming back to the Mayflower  for food or shelter, brought a load of wood in their boat so that we might have fuel in plenty for our fires on the ship.


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