Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
OUR days of good wind and fair weather brought the
"Speedwell" to England.
There the Pilgrims found about forty friends who wished to
go with them to America. They had hired a little ship called
the "Mayflower," which now lay in the harbor ready to sail.
It, too, was loaded with provisions for the long journey and
the cold winter.
The "Speedwell" was a smaller vessel than the "Mayflower,"
so some of the Pilgrims from Holland joined their friends on
the larger boat. Then the two ships sailed out of the harbor
into the blue sea.
The Pilgrims watched the shores of their native land grow
faint and fainter. Would they ever see dear old England
again? Surely none expected to see it so soon as they did.
They were hardly out of sight of land when the "Speedwell"
began to leak. They could see no hole, but slowly the water
rose in the bottom of the boat. It crept around the boxes
and barrels stored there. "The hole must be behind this pile
of boxes," said the captain.
While some of the men pumped the water out of the ship,
others quickly moved the great boxes away.
Yes, there was a little stream of water running
 down from a hole in the side of the ship. This was soon
mended, but still the water slowly rose in the boat. The men
at the pumps worked harder than ever, but the water came in
as fast as they could pump it out.
More holes were found and mended, but still the ship leaked.
There was nothing to do but go back to land as soon as
possible. Those on the "Mayflower" did not wish to go on
without their friends, so both ships returned to England.
When the "Speedwell" reached shore, the ship builders came
to look at it.
"It carries too heavy a mast for so small a ship," said one.
"The hull is worn out," said another. "See, it needs new
boards, and fresh tar, and fresh paint. It will take weeks
to repair this ship and make it safe for so long a voyage."
What could the Pilgrims do? The fine weather was passing.
They would hardly reach America now before the heavy storms
of winter came. It was quite plain they could not wait until
the "Speedwell" was repaired.
The "Mayflower" could not hold all who wished to go to
America, yet the Pilgrims could not hire another ship. The
passengers on the "Speedwell" were a long way from home. It
seemed hard for them to return to Holland.
So some of those who lived in England offered
 to give up their places in the "Mayflower" and return to
"Next summer there will be other ships sailing to America
from England, and it may be a long time before another will
go from Holland," they said.