Gateway to the Classics: Ruth of Boston by James Otis
Ruth of Boston by  James Otis

Making Comparisons

Master Winthrop said, when we were going on board the ship again, that although it was nothing but peas, pudding, and fish, quite coarse as compared with what we would have had at home in England, save as to the venison pie, it all seemed sweet and wholesome to him.

When the day was come to an end, we went into the ship once more, for there were not spare beds enough in all the town to serve for half our party, and you may be very certain that once we were gathered again in the great cabin, all talked eagerly concerning what had been done; at least our parents did, for it would have been unseemly in us children to interrupt while our elders were talking.

Mother was not well satisfied with the houses, believing it would be possible to make dwellings more like those we left behind; but father bade her have patience, saying that a shelter from the weather was the first matter to be thought of, and that the pleasing of the eye could well come later, after we had more with which to work.

She, thinking as was I at the moment, of the floor in the house where we ate the venison pie, declared stoutly that there would be no more of labor in laying down planks, at least in the living-room; than in beating the earth hard, as it seemingly had been where we visited.


Then, laughingly, he bade her rest content, nor set her mind so strongly upon the vanities of this world, saying that if God permitted him to raise a roof, so that his wife and child might be sheltered from the sun and from the rain, he would be satisfied, even though the legs of his table stood upon the bare earth.

It was this conversation between my parents that caused the other women to talk of how they would have a home built, until Lady Arabella put an end to what was almost wrangling,—for each insisted that her plan for a dwelling in this New World was the best,—by saying that whatsoever God willed we should have, and that it would be more than we deserved.

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