Pilgrims Before Plymouth

Pilgrims Before Plymouth


  • Pilgrims Before Plymouth

Published Date

  • published 1940


[page 7]
As time passed and the promised reinforcements failed to appear,
the Frenchmen grew increasingly fretful of their exile. The land that at
first had seemed so fair grew hateful, a dreary prison. The desire to
return to France overwhelmed them. They knew nothing of shipbuilding,
but set about the construction of a boat. A makeshift seagoing
monstrosity, its seams were stuffed with moss and pine pitch, its sails
made from bedding and shirts. Taking no heed of fickle winds and
without an able navigator aboard, they embarked.

Fortune favored them until they were nearly a third of the way
across the Atlantic when they were suddenly becalmed. Then for three
weeks they barely progressed twenty-five leagues. Provisions failed until
rations were cut down to twelve grains of corn a day; and at length even
that was gone. The starving men ate their shoes and leather jackets. The
water casks were empty. Crazed with thirst, a number tried to drink the
brine which they constantly bailed form the leaking boat. A number of
them died, and adding terror to the utter misery of these left, a storm
roared down upon them threatening to send their craft to the bottom.

Finally the storm ceased, a fair wind sprung up, and they again
made way toward France. Half-mad already with the suffering they had
undergone, they became utterly crazed with delight when land was at
last sighted. Gibbering and pointing, they let their ship drift, making no
attempt to beach it, until an English bark appeared and seeing their plight
rescued them.