Front Matter A Proper Beginning On the Broad Ocean Making Ready for Battle The Rest of the Voyage First View of America The Town of Salem Other Villages Visiting Salem Making Comparisons An Indian Guest A Christening and a Dinner Deciding upon a Home A Sad Loss Rejoicing to Mourning Thanksgiving Day in July Leaving for Charlestown Our Neighbors Getting Settled The Great Sickness Moving the Town Master Prohibits Swimming Anna Foster's Party The Town of Boston Guarding Against Fires Our Own New Home The Fashion of the Day My Own Wardrobe Master Johnson's Death Many New Kinds of Food The Supply of Food The Sailing of the Lyon The Famine The Search for Food The Starvation Time A Day to be Remembered The Coming of the Lyon Another Thanksgiving Day A Defense for the Town A Problem of Servants Chickatabut Building a Ship Household Conveniences How the Work is Divided Launching the Ship Master Winthrop's Mishap New Arrivals Another Famine Fine Clothing Forbidden Our First Church A Troublesome Person The Village of Merry Mount Punishing Thomas Morton Philip Ratcliff's Crime In the Pillory Stealing from the Indians The Passing of New Laws Master Pormont's School School Discipline Other Tools of Torture Difficult Lessons Other Schools Raising Flax Preparing Flax Spinning, Bleaching, Weaving What We Girls Do at Home Making Soap Soap from Bayberries Goose-picking A Change of Governors Flight of Roger Williams Sir Harry Vane Making Sugar Sugaring Dinner Training Day Shooting for a Prize Lecture Day Punishment for Evildoers Murder of John Oldham Savages on the Warpath Pequot Indians

Ruth of Boston - James Otis

Making Ready for Battle

When Susan and I saw the men taking down the hammocks from that portion of the vessel which was called the gun deck, loading the cannon, and bringing out the powder-chests, truly were we alarmed.

[Illustration] from Ruth of Boston by James Otis

Standing clasped in each other's arms, unheeded by our eld ers, all of whom were in a painful state of anxiety or fear, we watched intently all that forenoon the ships which we believed belonged to the enemy.

Then I heard one of the sailors say that the Spaniards were surely gaining on us, and the captain of the vessel, as well as Master Winthrop and my father, must have be lieved it true, for all preparations were made for a battle.

The small cabins, leading from the great one, were torn down that cannon might be used without hindrance, and the bedding, and all things that were likely to take fire, were thrown overboard. The boats were launched into the sea and towed alongside the ship so that when the worst came we might fly in them, and then that which was most fearsome of all, the women and children were sent down into the very middle of the vessel, where they might not be in danger when the Spaniards began to send iron balls among us, as it seemed certain they soon would.

While we were huddled together in the darkness, many weeping, some moaning, and a few women, among whom was my mother, silent in the agony of grief, Master Winthrop came down to pray with us, greatly to our comforting, after which, so I have been told since, he went up among the men where he performed the same office.

It was not until an hour after noon that our people discovered that those ships which we believed to be Spanish, were English vessels, from which we had nothing to fear.

Then word was sent down to us in that dark place that we might come up above, and once in the sunlight again, we found all the passengers rejoicing and mak- ing merry over the fears which had so lately beset them. How bright the sun looked to Susan and me as we stood near the rail of our ship, gazing at the vessels which only a few hours before were a fearsome sight, but now seemed so friendly! It was as if we had been very near to death, and were suddenly come into a place of safety.