Stories of the Pilgrims - M. B. Pumphrey

In Leiden

Before bringing their families to Leiden, the Pilgrim men had all found work in that city. A few of them worked in the printing shops, but most of them went to the great woolen mills.

Here some washed the wool, or combed it ready for the spinning wheels. Some dyed it, some wove it into cloth. Others packed the finished cloth in boxes, or loaded it on ships on the canal.

This work was very different from anything they had done in England. There they had been farmers, working in the fresh air and sunshine on their own fields. At first the work in the mills seemed very hard to them, but they worked early and late, hoping to earn enough to buy little farms sometime.

The Pilgrims had no church of their own when they went to Leiden, but John Robinson, their pastor, had a large house, and they all went there to worship.

There was no reason for secret meetings in Holland. As long as they were honest and well behaved, no one cared how the newcomers worshiped. So every Sunday morning, when the bells in the great church towers rang, the Pilgrims walked to Master Robinson's house.

Near their pastor's home was the largest and finest church in Leiden. As they walked to meeting, they met hundreds of good Hollanders in their finest suits and silver buckles, or fullest skirts and prettiest lace caps, going to church.

[Illustration] from Stories of the Pilgrims by M. B. Pumphrey

"In their finest suits . . . or
fullest skirts"

Across her forehead nearly every woman wore a beautifully carved band of gold, which ended in large, round buttons above her ears. From these great gold buttons hung long earrings, which almost touched her shoulders.

The little girls dressed much like their mothers except that their headdress was more simple. Sometimes their little wooden shoes were prettily carved with leaves and blossoms.

At first, as they passed, these people looked with wonder at the Pilgrims. Their plain brown or gray dress, their high hats, or simple little caps looked very odd to the Hollanders who were so fond of bright colors and pretty clothes. But soon they felt acquainted with their new neighbors and nodded to them pleasantly when they met.

A number of strangers came to John Robinson's meeting one morning. Some of these strangers were English people who had not come from Scrooby. Some were from France, where their king had treated them as cruelly as King James had treated the Pilgrims.

Among them were Master and Mistress Mullens, and their two children, Joseph and Priscilla. Joseph was a frail little fellow and very timid. Priscilla was a rosy-cheeked, merry little girl with sunny hair and laughing eyes.

Master Robinson and the other Pilgrims were glad to have these people join them. They made them very welcome. How happy they all were as they sang their songs of praise and listened to their pastor's voice. No more hiding from the soldiers; no more dark, damp prisons. Those sad days were gone forever.