A PILGRIM MAID
A Story of Plymouth Colony in 1620
[Illustration: "Constance opened the door, stepping back to let the
A PILGRIM MAID
_A Story of Plymouth Colony in 1620_
MARION AMES TAGGART
"CAPTAIN SYLVIA," "THE DAUGHTERS OF THE
LITTLE GREY HOUSE," "THE LITTLE GREY
HOUSE," "HOLLYHOCK HOUSE," ETC.
DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY
GARDEN CITY NEW YORK LONDON
COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY
DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, INCLUDING THAT OF
TRANSLATION INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES,
INCLUDING THE SCANDINAVIAN
YOU, MY DEAR
WHO SO WELL KNOW WHY
This story is like those we hear of our neighbours to-day: it is a
mixture of fact and fancy.
The aim in telling it has been to present Plymouth Colony as it was in
its first three years of existence; to keep to possibilities, even while
Actual events have been transferred from a later to an earlier year when
they could be made useful, to bring them within the story's compass, and
to develop it.
For instance, John Billington was lost for five days and died early, but
not as early as in the story. Stephen Hopkins was fined for allowing
his servants to play shovelboard, but this did not happen till some time
later than 1622. Stephen Hopkins was twice married; records show that
there was dissension; that the second wife tried to get an inheritance
for her own children, to the injury
of the son and daughter of the first
wife. Facts of this sort are used, enlarged upon, construed to cause, or
altered to suit, certain results.
But there is fidelity
to the general trend of events, above all to the
spirit of Plymouth in its beginnings. As far as may be, the people who
have been transferred into the story act in accordance
with what is
known of the actual
bearers of these names.
There was a Maid of Plymouth, Constance Hopkins, who came in the
_Mayflower_, with her father Stephen; her stepmother, Eliza; her
brother, Giles, and her little half-sister and brother, Damaris and
Oceanus, and to whom the _Anne_, in 1623, brought her husband,
Honourable Nicholas Snowe, afterward one of the founders of Eastham,
Undoubtedly the real Constance Hopkins was sweeter than the story can
make her, as a living girl must be sweeter than one created of paper and
ink. Yet it is hoped that this Plymouth Maid, Constance, of the story,
may also find friends.
I. With England's Shores Left Far Astern 3
II. To Buffet Waves and Ride on Storms 15
III. Weary Waiting at the Gates 31
IV. The First Yuletide 45
V. The New Year in the New Land 61
VI. Stout Hearts and Sad Ones 76
VII. The Persuasive Power of Justice
and Violence 90
VIII. Deep Love, Deep Wound 104
IX. Seedtime of the First Spring 119
X. Treaties 133
XI. A Home Begun and a Home Undone 150
XII. The Lost Lads 166
XIII. Sundry Herbs and Simples 183
XIV. Light-Minded Man, Heavy-Hearted Master 199
XV. The "Fortune" That Sailed, First West,
then East 216
XVI. A Gallant Lad Withal 234
XVII. The Well-Conned Lesson 251
XVIII. Christmas Wins, Though Outlawed 267
XIX. A Fault Confessed, Thereby Redressed 284
XX. The Third Summer's Garnered Yield 302
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
"Constance opened the door, stepping back to let
the bride precede
(_See page 157_)
"'Constantia; confess, confess--and do not try
"'Look there,' said John Alden" 116
"'You look splendid, my Knight of the Wilderness'" 244
A PILGRIM MAID
A Story of Plymouth Colony in 1620
_A PILGRIM MAID_
With England's Shores Left Far Astern
A young girl, brown-haired, blue-eyed, with a sweet seriousness
neither joy nor sorrow upon her fair pale face, leaned against the mast
on the _Mayflower's_ deck watching the bustle
of the final preparations
A boy somewhat older than she stood beside her whittling an arrow from a
bit of beechwood, whistling through his teeth, his tongue pressed
against them, a livelier air than a pilgrim
boy from Leyden was supposed
to know, and sullenly
scorning to betray
interest in the excitement
ashore and aboard.
A little girl clung to the pretty young girl's skirt; the unlikeness
between them, though they were sisters, was explained by their being but
half sisters. Little Damaris was like her mother, Constance's
stepmother, while Constance herself reflected the delicateloveliness
her own and her brother Giles's mother, dead in early youth and lying
now at rest in a green English churchyard
while her children were
setting forth into the unknown.
Two boys--one older than Constance, Giles's age, the other younger than
the girl--came rushing down the deck with such impetuosity, plus the
younger lad's head used as a battering ram, that the men at work stowing
away hampers and barrels, trying
to clear a way for the start, gave
place to the rough onslaught.
Several looked after the pair in a way that suggested something more
vigorous than a look had it not been that fear of the pilgrim
restrained swearing. Not a whit did the charging lads care for the wrath
they aroused. The elder stopped himself by clutching the rope which
Constance Hopkins idly swung, while the younger caught Giles around the
waist and nearly pulled him over.
"I'll teach you manners, you young savage, Francis Billington!" growled
Giles, but he did not mean it, as Francis well knew.
"If I'm a savage
I'll be the only one of us at home in America,"
chuckled the boy.
"Getting ready an arrow for the savage?" he added.
"It's all decided. There's been the greatest to-do ashore. Why didn't
you come off the ship to see the last of 'em, Constance?" interrupted
the older boy. Constance Hopkins shook her head, sadly.
"Nay, then, John, I've had my fill of partings," she said. "Are they
gone back, those we had to leave behind?"
"That have they!" cried John Billington. "Some of them were sorry to
miss the adventure, but if truth were told some were glad to be well out
of it, and with no more disgrace
back than that the
_Mayflower_ could not hold us all. Well, they've missed danger and maybe
death, but I'd not be out of it for a king's ransom. Giles, what do you
think is whispered? That the _Speedwell_ could make the voyage
as the _Mayflower_, though she be smaller, if only she carried less
sail, and that her leaking is--a greater leak in her master Reynolds's
truth, and that she'd be seaworthy if he'd let her!"
"Cur!" growled Giles Hopkins. "He knows he'd have to stay with his ship
in the wilderness
a year it might be and there's better comfort in
England and Holland! We're well rid of him if he's that kind of a
coward. I wondered myself if he was up to a trick when we put in the
first time, at Dartmouth. This time when we made Plymouth I smelled a
rat certain. Are we almost loaded?"
"Yes. They've packed all the provisions from the _Speedwell_ into the
_Mayflower_ that she will hold. We'll be off soon. Not too soon! The
sixth day of September, and we a month dallying along the shore because
of the _Speedwell's_ leaking! Constantia, you'll be cold before we make
a fire in the New World I'm thinking!"
John Billington chuckled as if the cold of winter in the wilderness
a merry jest.
"Cold, and maybe hungry, and maybe ill of body and sick of heart, but
never quite losing courage, I hope, John, comrade!" Constance said,
looking up with a smile and a flush that warmed her white cheeks from
which heavy thoughts had driven
their usual soft colour.
"No fear! You're the kind that says little and does much," said John
Billington with surprising
sharpness in a lad that never seemed to have
a thought to spare for anything but madcap pranks.
"Here come Father, and the captain, and dear John," said little Damaris.
Stephen Hopkins was a strong-built man, with a fire in his eye, and an
air of the world about him, in spite of his severe
Puritan garb, that
declared him different from most of his comrades of the Leyden community
of English exiles.
With all her likeness
to her dead English girl-mother, who was gentle
born and well bred, there was something in Constance as she stood now,
head up and eyes bright, that was also like her father.
Beside Mr. Hopkins walked a thick-set man, a soldier in every motion
look, with little of the Puritan in his air, and just behind them came a
young man, far younger than either of the others, with an open, pleasant
English face, and an expression at once shy and friendly.
"Oh, dear John Alden!" cried little Damaris, and forsook
skirt for John Alden's ready arms which raised her to his shoulder.
Giles Hopkins's gloom lifted as he returned Captain Myles Standish's
"Yes, Captain; I'm ready enough to sail," he said, answering the
"Mistress Constantia?" suggested Myles Standish.
"Is there doubt of it when we've twice put in from sea, and were ready
to sail when we left Southampton a month ago?" asked Constance. "Sure we
are ready, Captain Standish, as you well know. Where is Mistress Rose?"
"In the women's cabin with Mistress Hopkins putting to rights their
belongings as fast as they can before we weigh anchor, and get perhaps
stood on our heads by winds and waves," Captain Standish smiled. "Though
the wind is fine for us now." His face clouded. "Mistress Rose is a
frail rose, Con! They will be coming on deck to see the start."
may give sweet Rose new strength, Captain Standish,"
murmured Constance coming close to the captain and slipping her hand
into his, for she was his prime favourite and his lovely, frail young
wife's chosen friend, in spite of the ten years difference in their
"Ah, Con, my lass, God grant it, but I'm sore afraid for her! How can
of a wilderness
winter, and--hush! Here they
are!" whispered Myles Standish.
Mistress Eliza Hopkins was tall, bony, sinewy of build, with a dark,
strong face, determination
in her eye. Rose Standish was her
opposite--a slight, pale, drooping creature not more than five years
above twenty; patience, suffering
in her every motion, and clinging
affection in every line of her gentle face.
Constance ran to wind her arm around her as Rose came up and slipped one
little hand into her husband's arm.
Mrs. Hopkins frowned.
"It likes me not to see you so forward with caresses, Constantia," she
said, and her voice rasped like the ship's tackles as the sailors got up
"It is not becoming in the elect whose hearts are set upon heavenly
things to fawn upon creatures, nor make unmaidenly displays."
Giles kicked viciously at the rope which Constance had held. It was not
hard to guess that the unnatural
gloom, the sullenness that marked a boy
meant by Nature to be pleasant, was due to bad blood between him and
stepmother, who plainly
did not like him.
"Oh, Mistress Hopkins," cried Constance, flushing, "why do you think it
is wrong to be loving? Never can I believe God who made us with warm
hearts, and gave us such darlings as Rose Standish, didn't want us to
love and show our love."
"You are much too free with your irreverence, Mistress Constantia; it
becomes you not to proclaim
your Maker's opinions and desires for his
saints," said Mrs. Hopkins, frowning heavily.
"'Sdeath, Eliza, will you never let the girl alone?" cried Stephen
"As though we had nothing to think of in weighing anchor
England for ever--and for what else besides, who knows--without carping
at a little girl's loving
natural ways to an older girl whom she loves?
I agree with Connie; it's good to sweeten
life with affection."
"Connie, forsooth!" echoed Mrs. Hopkins, bitterly. "Are we to use
meaningless titles for young women setting
forth to found a kingdom? And
do you still use the oaths of worldlings, as you did just now? Oh,
Stephen Hopkins, may you not be found unworthy
of your high calling
invoke the wrath of Heaven upon your family!"
Stephen Hopkins looked ready to burst out into hot wrath, but Myles
Standish gave him a humorous
glance, and shrugged his shoulders.
"What would you?" he seemed to say. "Old friend, bad temper
opportunity to wreak itself, and we who have seen the world can afford
to let the women fume. Jealousy is a worse vice than an oath of the
Stephen Hopkins harkened to this unspoken philosophy; Myles Standish had
great influence over him. This, with the rapid gathering
on deck of the
rest of the pilgrims, served to avert what threatened to be an explosion
of pardonable wrath. They came crowding up from the cabins, this
courageous band of determined men and women, and gathered silently
look their last on home, and not merely on home, but on the comforts of
the established life which to many among them were necessary to their
There were many children, sober little men and women, in unchildlike
caricatures of their elders' garb and with solemn
round faces looking
scared by the gravity