Gateway to the Classics: Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis
Stephen of Philadelphia by  James Otis

Dining in State

At noon Jethro and I were summoned to a dinner in the great cabin, where we sat at the table with the governor and all the other members of the company, and while there was food of dainty kinds and in great abundance, I did not have as much pleasure in the eating as many a time in my own home when we had no more than the ordinary fare.


It was no fault of any person that I failed in getting as much of enjoyment as should have been my portion, but my own fear lest I might fail in behaving as was seemly. Never before had I partaken of a meal with people of such quality as were gathered in the great cabin of the Good Will, and I was on nettles every moment, thinking I might ignorantly do this or that which would bring reproach upon my parents.

I was in good truth heartily glad when the governor rose from the table, thus giving permission to us, and I scrambled on deck as soon as it was possible to leave the cabin without seeming to run away, there to turn over and over in my mind all I had done during the dinner, striving to make out if I had behaved properly.

Jethro, who had had no such misgivings, laughed at me for a simple when I told him what was in my mind, declaring that I had come off with credit to myself; but this assurance did not tend to make me feel more comfortable, because of my being uncertain as to whether or not he was a fit judge.

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