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

Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

Wicks for the Candles

I suppose you are wondering how it is we get the wicks for the candles, save at the expense and trouble of bringing them from England. Well, you must know that there is a plant which grows here plentifully, called milkweed. It has a silken down like unto silver in color, and we children gather it in the late summer.

It is spun coarsely into wicks, and some of the more careful housewives dip them into saltpetre to insure better burning. Do you remember that poem of Master Tusser's which we learned at Scrooby?

Wife, make thine own candle,

Spare penny to handle.

Provide for thy tallow ere the frost cometh in,

And make thine own candle ere winter begin.

When candle-making time comes, I wish there were other children in this household besides me, for the work is hard and disagreeable, to say nothing of being very greasy, and I would gladly share it with sisters or brothers.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

Mother's candle-rods are small willow shoots, and because of not having kitchen furniture in plenty, she hangs the half-dipped wicks across that famous wooden tub which we brought with us in the Mayflower.