Stories of the Pilgrims - M. B. Pumphrey

Farewell to Holland

When all was ready, they bade their Dutch friends good-bye. How kind these people had been to them during the years they had lived in Holland. They had done all they could to make the Pilgrims happy and comfortable in their city. And when they were preparing to go away, many yellow balls of cheese, little tubs of butter, and webs of white linen came from these good Hollanders.

John Robinson and all the members of his church went to Delfshaven with those who were to sail on the "Speedwell."

As the canal boats moved slowly away, the Pilgrims looked for the last time upon their little cottages. They had lived twelve long years in Holland, and it seemed like a dear home to them. Most of the children had never known any other home.

Groups of Hollanders stood at their doors to wave farewell to the Pilgrims as they passed. Five or six little boys with bare legs and clumsy wooden shoes, ran along beside the canal boats, calling in Dutch to their friends.

But now the boys had shouted a last "good-bye;" the city with its great mills and shops, its quaint houses and pretty gardens lay behind them. They were coming to the beautiful city gate with its round towers and pointed spires.

Mary Chilton and Faith and Patience Brewster stood together looking at the great gate. "Do you remember the first time we passed through this gate, Mary?" asked Patience. "That was eleven years ago and you were a very little girl then."

"Yes, indeed, I remember it," answered Mary. "I was six years old. I can remember our home in England and the ship in which we came to Holland. Can you, Fear?"

"I do not remember much about England," answered Fear, who was the youngest of the three, "but I remember our home in Amsterdam. I wonder where Jan and Katrina are this summer. Their boat was in Leiden all winter."

And so the girls talked of anything except their long parting. They could not speak of that. The tears were so close to Fear's eyes she was afraid to wink lest they run over.

This was a beautiful summer day. Holland meadows had never looked brighter. There were gay little summerhouses perched on stilts by the side of the lake. Some stood in the water and a little boat tied to the steps of one showed how its owner had reached it. There he sat smoking his long pipe and watching his little son, who sat on the doorstep and fished.

Everywhere were the windmills, the dikes, and the canals that had seemed so strange to them at first. Now all these things seemed like old friends to the Pilgrims and made them sad to say good-bye to Holland.

Late in the evening they reached Delfshaven, where the "Speedwell" was waiting for them. All night the sailors worked, loading the goods from the canal boats into the ship, and making ready for an early start in the morning.

Then came the hardest parting. The tears would start. Even strong men wept as they looked into each other's faces and thought that perhaps they might never see these friends again.

There on the ocean shore these brave men and women knelt down and prayed to the God they loved. They prayed that He would be with those who stayed as well as with those who sailed away. Their pastor's voice broke many times as he spoke to God of his friends.

After this prayer, the Pilgrims went silently and sadly on board the "Speedwell" and sailed away to England. They waved to the dear ones on the shore and stood watching them as long as they could be seen.