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

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.