MAKING READY FOR BATTLE
WHEN Susan and I saw the men taking down the
hammocks from that portion of the vessel which was
called the gun deck,
loading the cannon,
and bringing out the
were we alarmed.
in each other's arms,
unheeded by our eld
ers, all of whom were
in a painful state of
anxiety or fear, we
watched intently all
that forenoon the ships
which we believed belonged to the enemy.
Then I heard one of the sailors say that the Spaniards
were surely gaining on us, and the captain of the vessel,
as well as Master Winthrop and my father, must have be
lieved it true, for all preparations were made for a battle.
 The small cabins, leading from the great one, were
torn down that cannon might be used without
hindrance, and the bedding, and all things that were likely
to take fire, were thrown overboard. The boats were
launched into the sea and towed alongside the ship so
that when the worst came we might fly in them, and
then that which was most fearsome of all, the women
and children were sent down into the very middle of
the vessel, where they might not be in danger when
the Spaniards began to send iron balls among us,
as it seemed certain they soon would.
While we were huddled together in the darkness,
many weeping, some moaning, and a few women,
among whom was my mother, silent in the agony of
grief, Master Winthrop came down to pray with us,
greatly to our comforting, after which, so I have been
told since, he went up among the men where he
performed the same office.
It was not until an hour after noon that our people
discovered that those ships which we believed to be
Spanish, were English vessels, from which we had nothing to fear.
Then word was sent down to us in that dark place
that we might come up above, and once in the sunlight
again, we found all the passengers rejoicing and mak-
ing merry over the fears which had so lately beset them.
How bright the sun looked to Susan and me as we
 stood near the rail of our ship, gazing at the vessels
which only a few hours before were a fearsome sight,
but now seemed so friendly! It was as if we had been
very near to death, and were suddenly come into a place
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics