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

An Uncomfortable Night and Morning

Because of its being so near to the setting of the sun, when we arrived off New Castle, the governor decided he would not take his following ashore until morning; but he, with two others, went into the fort to sleep, while the rest of us lay in the ship, as best we might, for there were not bunks enough in all the vessel to give each of us and the seamen a bed.

Jethro and I lay on the floor of the cabin, near the stairs which led to the deck, with our doublets rolled up to serve as pillows; and each time anyone of the company went out or came in, which was often, we were forced to rise to our feet, otherwise we might have been trampled on.


Right glad were we when morning came, and then all was bustle and confusion, for the governor had sent word on board that there must be no delay in making ready for the march.

When we were come to the shore, Governor Penn and his friends were already in the saddle awaiting us with no little of impatience. The carts, in which was the baggage, had been sent on ahead some time before, and we were no more than out of the small boats when the line of march was taken up.

When the governor's orders were sent to us to make ready to come on shore, the cook of the ship had not yet prepared anything for the morning meal, therefore we were forced to break our fast with cold pickled beef and such fragments of bread as could be gathered in a hurry.

I am not one who thinks of his stomach before anything else, yet I am free to confess that I was not well content in mind to begin the day without other to eat than what had been dealt out on board the ship, nor did I find much comfort in the knowledge that there was little likelihood we would have more food until night had come again.

However, neither Jethro nor I grumbled overly much, perhaps because of our companions' being so loud and so persistent in their complaints. Since we had been allowed to follow the governor, we surely could put up with so slight a trouble as lack of food, and we marched steadily on, saying again and again to ourselves that hunger, even though we suffered from it two full days, was none too great a price to pay for the privilege of visiting Maryland in the company of William Penn.


Fortunately we arrived at the river a good hour before sunset, where we found awaiting us two fine barges which had been sent by Lord Baltimore, and, what was even more to our liking, food in abundance ready for eating.

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