The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them. — Mark Twain

Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

Living in the Wilderness

You must know that in this land everything is different from what you see in England. Of course the trees are the same; but oh, so many of them! We are living now, even after our homes have been made, in the very midst of the wilderness, and in that winter time when Squanto and Samoset came to us, bringing the corn we needed so sorely, we were much like prisoners, for the snow was piled everywhere in great drifts.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

The trees, growing thickly over the ground, save where they had been cut down to build our homes and to provide us with wood for the fires, prevented all, except such of the men as were well enough to go out with their guns in the hope of shooting animals that could be eaten as food, from going abroad, save from one house to the other.

And little heart had we for leaving the shelter of our homes. In nearly every house throughout the village was there sickness or death; the cold was piercing, and, however industriously we had worked filling the cracks between the logs with clay, the wind came through in many places, so that for the greater part of the time we needed to hug closely to the fire lest we freeze to death.

There were days when it seemed indeed as if the Lord had forgotten us; when, with the hunger, and the cold, and the sickness on every hand, it was as if we had been abandoned by our Maker.


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