The Poor Mores
By Gina Stevensen
It was Aug. 4, 1620, the day before the Separatists sailed to the New World. They were having their last church service before leaving. It was a bright and sunny day, and the grass crunched joyfully under their feet as they walked to the house where they worshipped. Then all the people sat inside, reading their Bibles.
Suddenly Mrs. More, one of the Separatist women, stood up. William Brewster raised his hand and the people looked at him and stopped reading.
"What is it, Mrs. More?" he asked in his booming voice that sounded like thunder.
"W-well, do you kn-know of any p-people here who need s-s-servants ? -- sob!--," she sniffled.
"Yes, of course I do," he replied. "There are several families like that."
"W-well, I h-have four ch-children." Katherine and her husband Samuel More had recently been divorced, which was a terrible thing to happen if you were a Separatist. They had four children: Jasper, who was seven; Ellen, who was eight; Mary, who was four; and Richard, who was a teenager. Samuel More didn't want to have anything to do with his wife and children any more, and Mary could not afford to keep them.
"Yes, I know that," said Mr. Brewster.
"W-well, th-they l-like to w-work," sniffed Mrs. More.
"Yes?" questioned Mr. Brewster.
"Th-they're old e-enough t-to b-be s-s-servants." She broke into a flood of sobs that covered the floor with tiny clear puddles.
"There, there," coaxed Mary Brewster. "If you must give up your children, then Richard and Mary can come to the New World with us." But Mrs. More kept sniffling until there weren't any tears left to cry.
"Mama?" Jasper More said uncertainly.
"Oh darling!" She picked him up and held him tight like she wouldn't let him go.
William Brewster motioned for Mrs. More to come up. Slowly, she walked up, still carrying Jasper, and the other children walked beside her.
"Ahem. Would Mr. John Carver and Mr. Winslow please come up?" said William Brewster.
John Carver's bushy black beard bounced as he walked. Deep worry lines were slowly forming in between his dark eyebrows. Behind him, Edward Winslow nervously walked, his pointy chocolate-colored beard bouncing softly. His reassuring eyes looked from the crowd of stiff Separatists to the front and back again.
"Mr. Carver, would you like a boy or a girl?" William inquired. John's nose twitched nervously.
"A boy, sir," he replied. He smiled gently at Jasper.
"Then I suppose that leaves Ellen to you, Mr. Winslow," he boomed.
"Thank you, sir. I'll take care of her. I promise!" Mr. Winslow promised.
"Goodbye, dears! Remember, I love you!" Mrs. More encouraged. Then they went back to preaching.
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