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James Otis

A Question of Duty

It was in my mind that we should depart at once, because of not knowing how to conduct ourselves properly. There was no thought that we, being Friends, should hold ourselves the equals in rank of any whom we met; but rather I asked myself how we could make excuse to our hostess, to the end that we might make shift for ourselves among the common people.

When I gave words to the thought Jethro would hear none of it; but declared that since, without any scheming on our part we had come into such luxury, we were bound to enjoy it, although he did admit that two nail-makers, or turkey-trappers, like ourselves, were out of place in such a dwelling.

It was well we were thus left alone during a certain short time, since it gave us opportunity to remember that we had been bred to gentle ways, even though our homes were so far different from this one, and when we had combed our hair to a nicety, pulling out our wrist-falls till the lace came somewhere near to hiding our grimy hands, we went down the stairs that had on them a soft, beautiful covering, far too rich, as it seemed to me, for one's shoes.

The lad who had brought us hither had departed while yet we were in the chamber trying to become acquainted with so much of splendor, and when we went to the room below, the girl Amy took upon herself the duty of hostess, as if we were her own particular guests.