Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
T last the ship bearing the rest of the Pilgrims reached
Holland. The captain had told them that soon they would land
in Amsterdam. All were upon the deck eager to catch the
first glimpse of the city which was to be their home.
"If it were not for this fog, I think you could see the city
now," said one of the sailors to the group of children at
They peered into the mist, but not a sign of the city could
they see. Above, a ball of soft, yellow light showed where
the sun was trying to shine through the haze. Sometimes a
great, shadowy sail floated toward them out of the mist.
Many little fishing boats passed quite close to the ship.
In one of these a little boy sat on the big brown net piled
up in one end of the boat. He looked up and saw the children
on the ship high above him, and waved his hand. Of course,
the children waved to him, and, of course, when their ship
had passed the little fishing boat, they ran to the other
end of the deck and waved again. They waved until boy, net,
and boat were all lost in the fog.
Then the children turned again to watch for the city.
"Oh! Oh!" cried Jonathan Brewster.
"O-o-o-o-oh!" echoed a dozen others.
 What was it they saw? Out of the mist rose high, shining
towers, golden church spires, and tall pointed roofs with
wonderful chimneys. For a minute all were speechless.
"The city looks as though it were floating right on the
water," said Mary Chilton, when she had found her voice.
"It is, almost," answered her mother. "I am told there is
water all around it, and through it. In many of the streets
are waterways where boats pass to and fro between the
"How beautiful it is!" said Mistress Brewster, who had just
come upon the deck with baby Love in her arms. "I am sure we
shall be very happy here. See, the sun is coming out and the
mist is almost gone."
It took the ship a long time to make its way past the other
boats in the harbor, and up to the landing. On the shore
stood a number of Englishmen who had waited hours for this
ship to arrive. Some had lived in Holland several years, but
most of them were Pilgrims who had been carried away from
England in the Dutch ship.
Mary Chilton's eyes moved quickly from one to another of the
men on the shore. She was looking for a beloved face. "There
he is, there!" she cried. "Mother, mother, there is father!
He does not see us. Wave your handkerchief!"
The Brewster children had soon picked out their
 young friend William Bradford, and were waving and calling
to him, though the deep shouts of the sailors drowned their
voices. Nearly every one had seen some dear friend in the
group on the shore.
Would the ship never make the landing? How very slow the
Most of the men had prepared little homes for their
families. They had rented small houses near together, that
they might not be lonely in this strange city.
"I have taken a cottage for you near Master Robinson's,"
said Bradford to Elder Brewster, when greetings were over.
"It is not such a fine large house as your home in Scrooby,
but it is comfortable."
"You are very kind," answered the older man. "We do not need
a large house. If it will shelter you and us, it is large
"Yes," said Mistress Brewster, "we want you to make our
house your home until you have one of your own."
Bradford thanked his friends, then, taking little Fear in
his strong arms, he led the way.
Before them was what looked to be a long hill, very flat on
top. There were stairs up the side, and when these had been
climbed, the Pilgrims found themselves on a wide, smooth
road. They were as high as the tree tops and could look down
upon the shining red roofs of the houses.
 On many of the chimneys were great nests of sticks and
straw. In some of them the Pilgrims saw young storks with
their hungry mouths wide open for the frogs or little fishes
their mothers brought them. On one chimney the mother-bird
sat on the nest and the father stood on one leg beside her,
guarding his home. He must have known there was no danger,
for he seemed to be fast asleep.
From this high road the Pilgrims looked over the cottages
into the pretty gardens behind them. They could see
beautiful churches, large shops, and narrow streets.
In every direction they saw great windmills with four long
arms stretched out to catch the breeze. They were taller
than the highest houses, and one might fancy them to be
giant watchmen guarding the city.
"In every direction they saw great windmills"
Beyond the town were a river and a large lake, and in the
city itself were scores of little streams running in every
direction. How strange it looked to see hundreds of masts
and sails scattered about among the trees and houses!
On the other side of the road was the sea with the shining
sails of many ships. How broad and smooth the water looked!
"Is this a hill, or did the people build this high street?"
asked one of the boys.
"This is a dike," answered Bradford. "Holland is a very low
country. In many places it is lower than the sea, so the
people have built these strong walls of earth and stone to
keep the water from overflowing the land."
"When the hard storms come, will they not push the dike
over?" asked Patience.
"No, they cannot do that, because the wall is so much wider
at the bottom than at the top; but the waves often dash high
against the dike. They seem to try to get through the wall.
The wind helps them, but the dike is too strong.
"Yet sometimes the water does make its way through the wall.
At first only a tiny stream of water is seen trickling down
the side of the dike. If this leak were not mended at once,
the stream would soon grow larger and larger until nothing
could stop it. The land would be flooded and many people
"Every day and every night watchmen go up and down looking
for a leak in the wall. When they find one, they ring a
large bell, and all who hear it run to the dike to help
stop the leak. They know there is not a moment to be lost if
they would save their homes. Their swift fingers weave mats
of straw which they crowd into the hole. Then, with earth
and stone, the wall is made as strong as before. Even the
little children are taught to watch for a leak in the dike."
Then he told them how a whole city was once
saved by one brave little Hollander who held back the water
by filling a tiny leak with his small hand.