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Richard of Jamestown by  James Otis

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IT seemed to me as if no more than half an hour had passed before Nicholas Skot was making another proclamation, and this time to the effect that whosoever, after that moment, was heard uttering profane words, should have a can full of cold water poured down his sleeve.

On hearing this, the unruly ones laughed in derision and straightway began to shout forth such a volley of oaths as I had never heard during a drunken brawl in the streets of London.

It was not long, however, that they were thus allowed to shame decent people. Down from the fort came Captain Smith, with six stout men behind him, and in a twinkling there was as hot a fight within twenty paces of Master Ratcliffe's tent, as could be well imagined.

And the result of it all was, much to the satisfaction of Nathaniel and myself, that every one of these men who had amused themselves by uttering the vilest of oaths, had a full can of the coldest water that could be procured, poured down the sleeve of his doublet.


The method of doing it was comical, if one could [90] forget how serious was the situation. Two of my master's followers would pounce upon the fellow who was making the air blue with oaths, and, throwing him to the ground, hold him there firmly while the third raised his arm and carefully poured the water down the sleeve.

Now you may fancy that this was not very harsh treatment; but I afterward heard those who had been thus punished, say that they would choose five or six stout lashes on their backs, rather than take again such a dose as was dealt out on that day after John Smith was made captain and commander, or whatsoever you choose to call his office, in the village of Jamestown.

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