Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

Wicks for the Candles

I suppose you are wondering how it is we get the wicks for the candles, save at the expense and trouble of bringing them from England. Well, you must know that there is a plant which grows here plentifully, called milkweed. It has a silken down like unto silver in color, and we children gather it in the late summer.

It is spun coarsely into wicks, and some of the more careful housewives dip them into saltpetre to insure better burning. Do you remember that poem of Master Tusser's which we learned at Scrooby?

Wife, make thine own candle,

Spare penny to handle.

Provide for thy tallow ere the frost cometh in,

And make thine own candle ere winter begin.

When candle-making time comes, I wish there were other children in this household besides me, for the work is hard and disagreeable, to say nothing of being very greasy, and I would gladly share it with sisters or brothers.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

Mother's candle-rods are small willow shoots, and because of not having kitchen furniture in plenty, she hangs the half-dipped wicks across that famous wooden tub which we brought with us in the Mayflower.


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