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

A Splendid Home

He conducted us but a short distance from Lord Baltimore's house, to a building the like of which I had never until that moment believed could be found in this new land of America, and halted before the door to summon a servant, by raising and letting fall a heavy brass knocker that shone like newly minted gold.

A black man, dressed in what seemed to me a most fanciful fashion, gave us entrance as if we were lads of quality, and while I was yet in a daze because of the beautiful furnishings everywhere around, we stood before a lady who was like unto a queen, having beside her a young girl of about my own age, and exceedingly lovely.


What our conductor said I hardly knew; but I gathered my senses so far as to understand the lady's name and that the girl was her daughter Amy.

Jethro's fingers fastened on my arm with a grip that at any other time would have been painful, when we were told that this wonderful house was to be our home while we remained in Lord Baltimore's city, and then a black man, in the same fanciful costume as he who waited at the door, conducted us to a room on the floor above, where he asked what we would have for our comfort.

I was still in too much of a daze to make sensible reply; but understood dimly that my comrade answered him properly, and then we were left alone, whereupon Jethro, again seizing me by the arm with a heavy grip, as if he had in his hands the sledge and was about to make more nails, said in a voice that was choking with mirth:

"Verily, Stephen, for two Quaker lads we are come upon strange quarters. I am thinking my father would warn us to flee from the halls of the ungodly, if he could see us attended by black men as if we were of the king's house!"

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