AWAY TO HOLLAND
HEN spring came, the Pilgrims again planned to leave England.
knew a Hollander who had a ship of his own. So he arranged
with this Dutch captain to carry the Pilgrims to Holland.
They now went to a lonely place on the shore, far from any
town where they thought they would be safer. All day they
waited for the ship, fearing every minute to be taken by the
At last, late in the afternoon, a sail appeared. When the
ship had come as close to the shore as it could, it anchored
and waited for the people to row out to it. The Pilgrims had
a large boat of their own in which they had brought their
goods down the river to the sea.
It was agreed that most of the men should go first and load
the heavy boxes upon the ship, then to
come back for those
left on shore. The boat had started toward the shore for its
second load when the ship's captain saw something which
filled his heart with terror. A long black line was curving
down the hill. He raised his glass to his eyes. "Soldiers
and horsemen! Look, men!" he cried.
One glance told them that the soldiers were marching
straight toward the place where the Pilgrims were waiting.
 "Quick! Lower another boat!" cried William Bradford. "We can
row to the shore and get the others before the soldiers
But already the sailors were lifting the anchor. The wind
filled the sails and the ship began to move.
"Let us off," cried the men. "If you are afraid to wait for
the others, at least let us go back to our families."
"The soldiers will capture my ship," answered the captain.
"My ship is all I have in the world. They shall not have
"They do not want your ship, and they could not reach it if
they did. They only want us. Let us go!"
But the frightened man would not listen to them. He had
heard of many captains who had lost their ships through
helping people escape from England, and he would not stop a
moment. The ship sailed out into the sea, and the darkness
soon hid the shore from the sight of those on deck.
That night a great storm arose. The little ship was tossed
about like a chip upon the waves. Not a star was to be seen
in the black sky to guide the pilot. No friendly lighthouse
sent out its rays to show them where to go.
For more than a week the ship was driven before the wind,
they knew not where. When the storm was over, the sailors
found they had been going
 away from Holland instead of toward it. They were hundreds
of miles out of their course.
"If we have a good wind and fair weather we shall reach port
in a few days," said the captain, when the ship had been
turned and headed for Holland.
But they did not have a good wind and fair weather. That
very night a heavy fog settled down upon the sea. They could
not see ten feet from the ship. Two days later another storm
came up, much worse than the first one.
Surely the little vessel could not brave this storm. One of
the masts was gone, and the water poured in through a hole
in the side of the boat. Worst of all, the food and fresh
water were almost gone. None on board expected ever to see
The captain thought God was punishing him for his cowardly
act in leaving the helpless women to the soldiers. The
sailors all joined the Pilgrims in their prayers for help
At last the clouds broke, and bits of blue sky peeped forth.
Soon the wind went down, and the waves, too, slowly grew
quiet. With the sun to guide them by day, and the stars by
night, the ship finally reached the city of Amsterdam in
But what had become of the Pilgrims who had been left on the
 When the soldiers came up they found only a group of very
miserable women, frightened children, and two or three men.
They saw the ship
sailing out to sea and knew they were too late to take those
they most wanted.
What should they do? It seemed a shame to imprison women and
children who had done no one any harm. But they had their
orders, and there was nothing to do but obey.
So the Pilgrims were placed in their boat and rowed to the
city. It was a long tiresome ride, and before they reached
the landing the night
had grown quite dark, and most of the children were fast
When the lights of the city were seen, one big
soldier thought of his wife and babies there, safe at home.
Then he looked at his prisoners, a few tearful women and
some tired, sleeping children. He did not feel very brave.
Risking his life in battle were more pleasant than this.
The other soldiers seemed to feel much as he did, for when
the shore was reached, they gently helped their prisoners
from the boat. Then each took a sleeping child in his arms
and soon all disappeared down the dark street.
The Pilgrims were not kept in prison long this time. A few
days later they returned to the homes of their friends. The
judges were tired of them. The king, too, was tired of the
 "Since their husbands have gone, let the women go to them.
I am tired of hearing about it," said King James.
But few of them had money to go then, and it was many months
before the men in Holland could earn money enough to send
for their families.