Gateway to the Classics: Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis
Stephen of Philadelphia by  James Otis

In Lord Baltimore's City

Finally, as we were come near to Lord Baltimore's city we saw a file of soldiers on the river's bank, and I was not a little alarmed, fearing lest some mischief might be intended; but we soon came to know that the squad had been sent to escort Governor Penn with all ceremony to his lordship's palace.

We marched through the streets in soldierly array, Jethro and I holding our heads so high, lest we should show ourselves louts, that we failed to see very much of the town until arriving at Lord Baltimore's house, and verily it was more beautiful than I had believed possible.

Here we halted, and William Penn, with the elders of his party, entered the wonderful building, but without leaving any commands for us who represented the guard of honor, and during a certain time we stood there on the street looking this way or that, not knowing what it was our duty to do.


Had not Governor Penn been a Friend, and therefore forbidden by his faith to take any part in warlike proceedings, we two lads would have been called members of his body guard. Since, however, a Quaker could not well surround himself with soldiers, we were, in a certain sense "hangers on," as Jethro put it, and had good reason to believe we should be forced to shift for ourselves in the matter of food and lodgings.

Because of such belief we were filled with astonishment when, as we were turning away from his lordship's palace with its guard of armored soldiers, we were accosted by a young fellow of sprightly appearance, whose gorgeous costume told that he must be of Baltimore's following.


Speaking to us in a friendly tone, with no evidence of wanting to turn up his nose because of our grimy hands, which he must already have noticed, for the tokens of the forge were all the more plainly to be seen because of our wrist-falls of lace, he asked where it was our pleasure to go.

I was not so puffed up as to believe that my Lord Baltimore felt any care concerning us, therefore I replied lightly, making it appear as if we gave no thought concerning the future; but he soon made it plain that he had been charged with our welfare.

If we had been young lords, he could not have been more kindly as he explained that Baltimore could not give all of Penn's following quarters at the palace, because of lacking the necessary apartments, therefore we two were to be lodged with one of the citizens. It was his advice that we go with him to be made acquainted with the family, after which, if it was our desire, he would conduct us around the town.

It seemed far too much honor for two lads like Jethro and me to be thus served by such a foppish young sprig, who was gay in costume of pink and silver, with a jewel-hilted sword hanging by his side, yet we were not so churlish as to say "nay" when he evidently expected "yea."

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