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If one guest came he sometimes partook of my frugal meal, and it
was no interruption to conversation to be stirring a hasty-pudding, or
watching the rising and maturing of a loaf of bread in the ashes, in
the meanwhile. But if twenty came and sat in my house there was
nothing said about dinner, though there might be bread enough for
two, more than if eating were a forsaken habit; but we naturally
practised abstinence; and this was never felt to be an offence against
hospitality, but the most proper and considerate course. The waste
and decay of physical life, which so often needs repair, seemed
miraculously retarded in such a case, and the vital vigor stood its
ground. I could entertain thus a thousand as well as twenty; and if
any ever went away disappointed or hungry from my house when
they found me at home, they may depend upon it that I sympathized
with them at least. So easy is it, though many housekeepers doubt it,
to establish new and better customs in the place of the old. You need
not rest your reputation on the dinners you give. For my own part, I
was never so effectually deterred from frequenting a man’s house,
by any kind of Cerberus whatever, as by the parade one made about
dining me, which I took to be a very polite and roundabout hint
never to trouble him so again. I think I shall never revisit those
scenes. I should be proud to have for the motto of my cabin those
lines of Spenser which one of my visitors inscribed on a yellow
walnut leaf for a card:

"Arrived there, the little house they fill, Ne looke for entertainment
where none was; Rest is their feast, and all things at their will: The
noblest mind the best contentment has."

When Winslow, afterward governor of the Plymouth Colony, went
with a companion on a visit of ceremony to Massasoit on foot
through the woods, and arrived tired and hungry at his lodge, they
were well received by the king, but nothing was said about eating
that day. When the night arrived, to quote their own words-"He laid
us on the bed with himself and his wife, they at the one end and we
at the other, it being only planks laid a foot from the ground and a
thin mat upon them. Two more of his chief men, for want of room,
pressed by and upon us; so that we were worse weary of our lodging
than of our journey." At one o’clock the next day Massasoit "brought
two fishes that he had shot," about thrice as big as a bream. "These
being boiled, there were at least forty looked for a share in them; the
most eat of them. This meal only we had in two nights and a day;
and had not one of us bought a partridge, we had taken our journey
fasting." Fearing that they would be light-headed for want of food
and also sleep, owing to "the savages’ barbarous singing, (for they
use to sing themselves asleep,)" and that they might get home while
they had strength to travel, they departed. As for lodging, it is true
they were but poorly entertained, though what they found an
inconvenience was no doubt intended for an honor; but as far as
eating was concerned, I do not see how the Indians could have done
better. They had nothing to eat themselves, and they were wiser than
to think that apologies could supply the place of food to their guests;
so they drew their belts tighter and said nothing about it. Another
time when Winslow visited them, it being a season of plenty with
them, there was no deficiency in this respect.

As for men, they will hardly fail one anywhere. I had more visitors
while I lived in the woods than at any other period in my life; I mean
that I had some. I met several there under more favorable
circumstances than I could anywhere else. But fewer came to see me
on trivial business. In this respect, my company was winnowed by
my mere distance from town. I had withdrawn so far within the great
ocean of solitude, into which the rivers of society empty, that for the
most part, so far as my needs were concerned, only the finest
sediment was deposited around me. Beside, there were wafted to me
evidences of unexplored and uncultivated continents on the other
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