Interview with Sarah Pemberton from First Night by Tom Weston
Tom Weston: Hello, Sarah, it’s good to see you again.
Sarah Pemberton: Good day, Master Weston.
Tom: So, Sarah, we probably have a few people here who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you, or know about your story, so why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself.
Sarah: My name is Sarah Pemberton. I live on Milk Street, in Boston, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. My father is Thomas Pemberton. My mother is Hannah. I have seven brothers. I was born and baptised in 1677 and I died in 1688.
Tom: On New Years Eve?
Sarah: Yes. I died of the smallpox.
Tom: So you died quite young?
Sarah: Yes, but some have commented that I seem to be much older than I appear.
Tom: Indeed, a case could be made that you were more than three hundred years old when you ran into Alex and Jackie, how do you explain that?
Sarah: I am told that I am a ghost. But I do not know if I believe that. To me, I am in a dream from which I cannot awake.
Tom: You said that you were baptised. Are you a religious person?
Sarah: My family are what you call Puritans. We belong to the Third Church of Boston, today called the Old South Meeting House.
Tom: Now, when I did the research about the period which you lived in, for the book. I was surprised to find that the image that I had of the Puritans, the stereotype, did not jive with the reality. The Puritans were very astute at business; and they liked a drop of rum. In fact, even you, at your tender age, would enjoy a glass of beer.
Sarah: It was not wise to drink the water. I tried to tell Alex and Jackie, but as you say, people have their ideas about us, and sometimes it is hard to put aside our prejudice.
Tom: I know what you mean. Take for example, your funeral. The sending of gloves to serve as invitations, the gifts of food as you lay in church. The funeral rings and the poetry. People think that I made that up, but it really happened that way.
Sarah: Well, Pastor Mather did not approve of ceremony.
Tom: That would be Cotton Mather?
Sarah: Yes. Pastor Mather believed that ornamentation was Popish. And we did not approve of the Pope and the Catholics.
Tom: Well, I don’t want to start a religious war here, so why don’t we move on. You told Alex and Jackie about some of your life, the role of the female in Puritan Society. In fact, you said that your grandfather taught you how to make beer.
Sarah: Yes. But it was proud to speak of it. Pride is a sin, and I am sorry for it. Alex and Jackie did not seem to worry about the wickedness of their souls. I did not understand it.
Tom: What did they worry about?
Sarah: Something called Louis Vuitton? I do not know what that is. Oh, and someone called Elijah Hobbit; I think that was his name. They were most concerned that he would not come and rescue them. Or was it a Praying Indian, who they called Jones? I cannot remember, but they said that I should chose wisely like the Indian. That did not make sense, for we were always at battle with the Indians.
Tom: Well they were from a different time period. And also from California; I’m sure that you made allowances for that? Tell me a little bit about the book.
Sarah: You mean First Night, as you call it?
Tom: Yes, First Night.
Sarah: That was where I met Jackie and Alex. I was very worried, for I had been charged with witchcraft; but they agreed to help me.
Tom: And of course, First Night in Boston is also New Years Eve. Did you enjoy the festivities?
Sarah: Yes, very much, especially the dragon in the Parade. But the city had changed so much from my time. The people had hidden the mountains, and they had big shiny boxes of metal, instead of horse and cart, much bigger than the ones in the shops at Town Cove.
Tom: (Town Cove, for our guests, being the area of Boston now found between Quincy Market and Union Street.)
Sarah: And they had something made of sugar called a doughnut. That I enjoyed so much that I feared I would fall to the sin of gluttony. But, again, it was all Popish extravagance.
Tom: Now, Sarah, we agreed to stay off that subject. If people want to know what the Puritans thought about the Pope, they’ll have to read the book.
Sarah: Oh, Master Weston, shall we tell what happened in the book, and of the Examination, and of the other adventures that I had with Alex and Jackie?
Tom: I’d love to, Sarah, but we appear to be out of time. Best save that for another day. But thank you for taking the time to visit with us today. If Alex and Jackie are following this, is there anything that you would like to say to them?
Sarah: Hello Alex, hello Jackie. Remember, we are not so alone as we suppose. And I am glad for you. Be guided by the beacon bright.
Tom: Thank you, Sarah.