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

Our Own New Home

It must not be supposed that because of our dwellings being unsightly on the outside, they are rough within, for such is not the case. Many of the settlers, as did father, brought over glass for the windows, therefore we are not forced to put up with oiled paper, as are a great many people living in this New World.

It was partly the dampness inside our homes, so Governor Winthrop believed, which caused the sickness in Charlestown, and therefore it was that my father insisted we should have a floor of wood, instead of striving to get along with bare ground which had been beaten hard. Our floor is made of planks, roughly hewn, it is true, but nevertheless it serves to keep our feet from the ground. We have on the door real iron hinges, instead of leather, or the skins of animals, as we saw in Salem.

Save for the roughness of the floor and the walls, the inside of my father's house is much the same as we had in England, for he, like all of Governor Winthrop's company who were able to do so, brought over the furnishings of the old home, and while some of the things look sadly out of place here, they provide us with a certain comfort which would have passed unheeded in the other country, because there we were not much better off in this world's goods than were our neighbors.

Here, when I see a table made only of rough boards spread upon trestles, I can get much pleasure out of the knowledge that we brought with us those tables which we had been using in England, and, when our dinner is spread, save for the difference in the food, I can well fancy myself in the old home. We have our ware of pewter and of copper, and our trencher bowls are of the best that can be hewn from maple knots.


In order that the walls and crevices, filled with moss and plastered over with clay, may not offend the eye, mother has put up all the hangings which she brought with her, and these, with some skins my father bought at Salem, hide entirely that which is so unsightly in other dwellings.

Contrasting our home with many which we saw in Salem, or in Charlestown, I am come to believe my lines are truly cast in pleasant places, and I strive to be thankful to God for having given me the father which I have.

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