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

Visiting Salem

The gentlemen and ladies of our company were invited on shore to a feast of deer meat, while the servant women and maids were allowed to land on the other side of the harbor, where they feasted themselves on wild strawberries, which were exceeding large and sweet.


It would be untrue for me to say that deer meat made into a huge pie is not inviting, because of my having enjoyed it greatly, and yet I could not give so much attention to the dainty as I would have done at almost any other time, so intent was I upon seeing this village concerning which Master Endicott had written so many words of praise.

Had Susan and I come upon it within an hour after leaving the city of London, it would have looked exceedingly poor and mean; but now, when we were on the land after a voyage of nine long weeks, verily it seemed like a wondrous pleasant place in which to live.

More than an hundred dwellings, so my father said, had been built. Some were of logs laid one on top of the other in a clumsy fashion, with the places where windows of glass should have been, covered with oiled paper, and doors that were so cumbersome and heavy it was a real task for Susan and me to open and close them, but yet they had a homely look.

Then there were what might be called sheds, made of logs, or the bark of trees, and, in two cases, dwellings of branches laid up loosely as a child would build a toy camp.

It was as if each man had built according to his inclination and willingness to labor, the more thrifty having log dwellings, and the indolent ones rude huts.

Even Susan and I could understand that whosoever had decided upon the places where these homes should be built, had in mind the making of a large town; for paths, like unto streets, led here and there, while all around grew trees, not thickly, to be sure, but yet in such abundance as to show that all this had lately been a wilderness.

Even in these streets had been left the stumps of trees after the trunks were removed, which served to give an untidy look to the whole, making it seem as if one were in a place where had been built shelters only for a little time, and which would shortly be abandoned.


The welcome which was given us, however, was even warmer than we would have received at home in England, and little wonder that these gentlefolk whom we had known there, should be overjoyed to see us here. Both Susan and I came to understand, not many months afterward, how great can be the pleasure one has at seeing old friends whom he had feared never to meet again in this world.

It was a veritable feast which these good people of Salem set before us, and yet so strange was the cookery, that I am minded to describe later some of the dishes at risk of dwelling overly long upon matters of no importance.

 Table of Contents  |  Index  |  Home  | Previous: Other Villages  |  Next: Making Comparisons
Copyright (c) 2005 - 2023   Yesterday's Classics, LLC. All Rights Reserved.