Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
EACH day saw
the store of provisions in the town
Every family husbanded that which
could be eaten,
with greatest care,
putting no more on
the table than was
absolutely necessary for a single
meal, and those
things which we
had considered dainties, were no longer prepared.
 Then came the Angel of Death, and man after man,
woman after woman, laid themselves down to die, not
from being starved, but, so Governor Winthrop
declared, from having sickened through scurvy, which had
come upon them during the voyage, after which, falling
into discontent and giving way to home-sickness, they
no longer struggled to live.
Before October had come to an end, food was so
scarce in Boston that the poorer people had nothing
save acorns, clams, and mussels to eat. During the
summer it had seemed as if the sea were actually filled
with fish, and yet now, when every boat that could be
found in the town and nearby had been sent out, it was
difficult for our men to take even fifty pounds weight
in a day.
As Susan said, even the fish forsook us, as the clams
and mussels would have done had they legs or fins.
The fowls of the forest also appeared to have
departed, and by November the most any family could boast
of was meal boiled in salt and water. In more happy
days I would have turned up my nose at such food, and
yet now it was like unto some sweet morsel, for so
scanty had our store become that my mother would
cook for each meal no more than half as much as we
could have eaten.
I have heard father say that for a bushel of flour
which had been brought from England, he paid in
 those dark days fourteen shillings, and there was so little
of it even at such price, that mother saved what store we
had that it might be made into gruel, or something
dainty, which the sick could keep upon their stomachs.