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

The Rest of the Voyage

From that time until St. George's Day, which you all know is the twenty-third of April, nothing happened deserving of being set down here. Then it was, however, that during the forenoon the captain moved our sails so that the ship would remain idle upon the waters, which is what sailors call "heaving to," and the captains of the other vessels, together with Master Pynchon and many more gentlemen, came on board for a feast.

Lady Arabella and the gentlewomen of our company had dinner in the great cabin, while the gentlemen partook of their good cheer in the roundhouse, as the sailors call it, which is a sort of cabin on the hindermost part of the quarter-deck.

By four o'clock in the afternoon the feast was at an end; the gentlemen who had come to visit us went on board their own ships, and again were the vessels headed for that country of America in which we counted to spend the remainder of our lives.

Susan and I were much together during this voyage, for neither of us made very friendly with the other children, and I do not remember that anything of import happened until we were come, so the captain said, near to the New World.

It is not needed I should set down that again and again were there furious storms, when it seemed certain our ship would be sunk, for there was so much of such disagreeable weather during the nine weeks of voyaging, that if I were to make a record of each unpleasant day, this diary would be filled with little else.

I have set down, however, that on the seventh day of June, which was Monday, we had come, so Master Winthrop said, off "the Banks," where was good fishing to be found; but why this particular spot on the ocean should be called the Banks, neither Susan nor I could understand. The waves were much like those we had seen from day to day; but yet, in some way, the captain knew that we had come to the place where it would be possible to take fish in great numbers, and so we did.


It is not seemly a young girl should set down the fact, with much of satisfaction, that she enjoyed unduly the food before her, and yet I must confess that those fish tasted most delicious after we had been feeding upon pickled pork, or pickled beef, with never anything fresh to take from one's mouth the flavor of salt.

It was a feast, as Susan and I looked at the matter, far exceeding that which we had on St. George's Day, and surely more enjoyable to us, for what can be better pleasing to the mouth than a slice of fresh codfish, fried until it is so brown as to be almost beautiful, after one has had nothing save that which is pickled?

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