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FRANKLIN AT BOSTON
Franklin makes the acquaintance of Governor William Keith, who promises to bring Benjamin types from London. Keith also promises, along with Colonel French, to help him establish a business. They write a letter for Benjamin that explains their intentions. Later, Franklin comes to realize that Keith seldom keeps his promises.
Encouraged by Keith, Franklin returns to his hometown of Boston. He is received happily by his family, with the exception of his brother James, who thinks he has been insulted by his younger brother. When Benjamin goes to his brother's printing house wearing his new suit, James feels further offended, believing his brother is trying to show him up. The practical Josiah rejects Governor Keith's proposal about Franklin starting his own business, for his father still considers him to young for ownership and management. His father, however, is very happy with the progress of Franklin's work and the good reputation he has earned for himself in Philadelphia. He agrees to allow Franklin to return to New York, where his friend Collins is waiting for him. The stay in New York is unpleasant. Collins proves to be a dreamer, who is unsuccessful at finding work. Franklin is forced to bear Collins' expenses, which is too much of a burden on Franklin.
Governor Keith proposes to set up a printing business for Franklin. Still believing in Keith's promises, Benjamin makes a list of things needed to start up the business. The Governor advises him he must travel to London to select his printing types and to make acquaintances with booksellers and stationers there. Keith advises Franklin that he will travel on a ship called 'Annis' and that he is to keep the entire matter a secret. Franklin agrees and looks forward to the future journey.
As he waits to start his own business, Franklin continues to work for Keimer. Keimer loves to argue, and Franklin teases him with the Socratic method of argumentation. Franklin, a vegetarian himself, also plans to cure Keimer of his love for meat. Keimer pretends to go along with Franklin, but he has a hard time refraining from eating meat. One day at a restaurant, Keimer orders a roasted pig and cannot wait to show it off to Franklin and the two ladies whom he has invited to eat with him. Obviously, Franklin does not always meet with success.
Franklin's life outside of work is also very busy. He begins to court Miss Read and grows fond of her. However, since he is planning his long business journey to London, Miss Read's mother suggests that their courtship not continue until after Benjamin returns from his trip. She also believes that the couple is presently too young for marriage.
Franklin also forms some close friendships during this period of his life. Charles Osborne, Joseph Watson, James Ralph, and he form a group to share their common interests of reading and writing. They take long walks together in the green woods and discuss poetry and criticism. Osborne specializes in writing literary criticism and Ralph in writing poetry, which tends to be bad. The group decides to write some verse about the descent of God and then they will meet to read their poetry to the group. Franklin is too busy to compose anything, but Ralph requests him to read his verse and pretend that it is his own composition. Then, perhaps, Osborne will not criticize Ralph's poetry as he usually does. Franklin agrees to the plan, and reads Ralph's poetry as if it were his own. Osborne, without any difficulty, judges that the piece was written by Ralph and teases him about it. The group is obviously close and enjoys one another's company.