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THE VOYAGE OF THE "MAYFLOWER"
HEN the provisions and the boxes of other goods had been
moved from the "Speedwell" to the larger boat, the
"Mayflower" started once more. Now she carried a hundred
passengers besides her sailors.
We should think the "Mayflower" a very small boat in which
to cross the ocean. The cabin was badly crowded, and there
was only one small deck.
At that time no one had thought of making a boat go by
steam. The "Mayflower" had large white sails, and when the
wind was good she sped over the water like a great sea bird.
But sometimes there was no wind, and the little vessel lay
still upon the quiet water. Sometimes the sky grew black
with storm clouds and the fierce winds swept down upon the
ship. Then the sailors quickly bound the sails close to the
masts, but still the vessel was often driven far out of her
course. No wonder it took so long to cross the ocean in
In one of these great storms a young man almost lost his
life. For many days the passengers had been kept in the
cabin by the weather. The deck was wet and slippery. The
rough winds swept across it; the waves washed over it. It
was not safe for any of the passengers there.
 But John Howland did not like to stay quietly in the
crowded cabin. So he climbed the narrow stairs and stepped
out upon the slippery deck.
How wild and terrible the storm was! The waves were almost
as high as the masts! Sometimes the "Mayflower" rode high
upon the tops of the waves. At other times it was quite
hidden between them.
John saw a great wave about to break over the ship. He tried
to reach the cabin door, but he was too late. With a crash
like thunder, the wave struck the ship and swept away one of
the masts. John seized the railing with both hands, but the
wave was stronger than he. It flung him into the sea.
"Help! Oh, help!" he cried. "Help!"
But his voice could not be heard above the storm. He fought
with the waves and tried to swim, but it was of no use. The
water closed over his head. Who could help him now?
Over the side of the ship hung some ropes dragged down by
the falling mast. John saw one of these long ropes trailing
through the water. The rope was close at hand, and he
reached out and grasped it.
Hand over hand, he pulled himself toward the ship. His
strength was fast going. Would no one come to his rescue?
Some sailors on the "Mayflower" saw John
 struggling for his life. "Hold on, John!" they shouted, as
they pulled in the rope.
John did hold on, though his hands were stiff
with cold, and the waves beat him back from the ship.
Slowly he was lifted from the water, and strong arms
reached down to help him. At last he lay upon the deck,
faint but safe.