Stories of the Pilgrims - M. B. Pumphrey

The Home in Amsterdam

The Pilgrims soon found the street where their new homes were. But how different it was from the streets of Scrooby!

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

Down the middle of it was a broad stream of water called a canal. On each side of the canal was a narrow road paved with stones. The roads were not wide enough for a horse and wagon. When the people wished to ride, or had heavy loads to carry, they used a boat on the canal.

The houses looked more odd than the street. They were made of brick of every shade of red, and pink, and yellow. They stood close to the street and quite near together. But strangest of all, many of them did not stand straight.

This is because they were not built upon walls of stone, as ours are. These houses were built upon great posts driven deep into the earth. In Holland the ground is often soft and wet. The weight of the house often makes the posts sink in deeper on one side than the other, and then the house leans to one side.

When William Bradford reached the house he had taken for his friends, he unlocked the front door with a huge brass key. Then the Brewsters stepped into—the hall or the parlor do you suppose? No, they were in the kitchen, for that is the front room in a Dutch house. The sitting room looks out on the pretty garden behind the house.

But the kitchen is often the dining room and sitting room too. At night it is very likely to be a bedroom as well, though you would never think it until you saw the queer box-like bed drawn from its hiding place in the wall.

In this kitchen the floor was made of tiles. There were fresh, white curtains in the little windows, and a row of blossoming plants on one of the window sills. A long shelf held a row of plates, a blue and white water pitcher and two tall candles.

There was the queerest little fireplace in the room. It looked like a great brass pan filled with hot coals. A long chain from the shelf above it held a shining copper kettle. How it boiled, and bubbled making its bright little lid dance merrily!

"That is hodgepodge for our supper," said Bradford, peeping into the kettle.

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

"What is hodgepodge? I hope it tastes as good as it smells."

"Indeed it does, Jonathan. It is the best stew of meat and vegetables you ever tasted. Our neighbor, Mevrow van Zant, taught me how to make it. Here are some little seedcakes she gave me for you children. Our Dutch neighbors are very kind. They have done much to help us make the homes ready for our friends."

When bedtime came, Mistress Brewster took Fear and Patience upstairs to their own little room. In the corner was a large bed quite hidden behind long curtains which reached from ceiling to floor. When Patience pulled back the curtains and saw the high feather bed she thought she would need a little ladder to get into it.

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

Patience thought she would need a little ladder
to get into this bed

As their mother tucked the children in and kissed them good night, Patience whispered, "Isn't this just like a dream! I fear when I waken in the morning this queer little house will be gone, the windmills and canals, the boats, the storks, and the dikes will all be gone, and we shall be in England again."