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from Holland, and were going no farther than to his own town of Mulheim; on hearing which answer, one of the Grafs gentlemen walked up to the strangers with a frown on his face, and asked them if they knew before whom they stood; and if they had not yet learned how to deport themselves before noblemen and in the presence of princes? Penn answered, he was not aware of any disrespect. 'Then why don't you take off your hats?' said one. 'Is it respectful to stand covered in the presence of the sovereign of the country?' The Quakers took no notice of his gesture, but replied that they uncovered to none but God. 'Well, then,' said the Graf, 'get out of my dominions; you shall not go to my town.' Penn tried to reason with the offended Graf von Falkenstein, who called his men, and bade them lead these Englishmen out of his estates.
It was dusk; they were alone in a strange land; for after conducting them to a thick forest, the soldiers returned to the castle and left them to find their own way back. This forest was three miles in length, and the roads being unknown to them, and the night dark, they wandered in and out. At length they came into an open country, and were soon below a city wall. What city? It was ten o'clock; the gates were shut. In vain they hailed; no sentinel replied. The town had no suburbs; not a single house or building stood beyond the ditch. They lay down in an open field, in search of such repose as they might find on the marshy ground of the Lower Rhine. At three in the morning they got up, stiff with cold, and walked about till five, comforting each other with the assurance that a great day for Germany was at hand, 'several places in that country being almost ripe for the harvest.' After the cathedral clock struck five the gates were opened, and the outcasts gained the shelter of their inn.
Mastricht was 'surprised with fear, the common disease of this country,' says Penn, when he heard of the affair with Graf von Falkenstein. He asked minutely what had passed, and was relieved to find they had not named the Countess. For themselves he thought they had escaped pretty well, as the Graf usually amused himself by setting his dogs to worry persons who were found loitering near his castle gates.
Failing to see the young Countess, Penn had the satisfaction to receive from her a message by the hand of her page. In return he wrote to her a long letter of consolation; and so he went his way.
Dropping down the Rhine — proclaming their mission in all towns and preparing men for emigration—the travellers at length arrived at Amsterdam. There they found that Fox had gone to Harlingen, whither Penn followed him; and so they stayed in Holland and in the countries about the Elbe and the Lower Rhine until the winter set in, when they again returned to England, by way of Rotterdam and Harwich. On the passage home they met a violent storm. They were at sea three days and nights; the rain fell in torrents; the wind set dead against them; the vessel sprang a leak; and labour at the pumps, both night and day, could hardly keep the hold from filling. Fear fell on the seamen; but no sooner had the danger passed away, than they resumed their wanton mood.
On landing at Harwich, Fox proposed to hold a meeting in that town, and then going on by Colchester and other places make their way towards London. Penn was anxious to be at Worminghurst; and while his friends were willing to travel luxuriously in a cart bedded with straw, he mounted the best horse he could find and rode away.
THE WORLD (1673).
For two years after his return from Germany, Penn was much in the world and much about the court. His position was a strange one. Standing aloof from all intrigues in that intriguing court; taking no direct and personal part in politics; a candidate for no office; seeking no honour, no emolument that courts can give; accustomed from his youth to mix on equal terms with peers; acquainted with the leading spirits of the day, yet free from their ambition and their lust of pleasure; no man's rival in either love, business, or gallantry; his neutrality in personal and party strife secured to him a larger share of intercourse with leading men than any other individual of the time enjoyed. While graced so highly by the Duke of York, it was easy for him to maintain a high standing with the wits, ministers, and favourites, who daily thronged the galleries of Whitehall; and far beyond that circle he enjoyed the confidence of men whom no such blandishments could win. Not only was he intimate with the Catholic Duke of Ormonde, and his sons, the Earl
of Ossory and Lord Arran, but also with that champion of Protestant doctrine, the pious Tillotson. His virtues were appreciated by the Whig Lord Russell, the Tory Lord Hyde, and the Republican Algernon Sydney. Of other men with whom he lived at this time on terms of intimacy, there were the Duke of Buckingham, the Earl of Shaftsbury, the Marquis of Halifax, the Earl of Sunderland, the Earl of Essex, and Lord Churchill. Some of these friends adopted his views on the great subject of Liberty of Faith. Buckingham was supporting a more liberal policy in parliament; and Penn tried very hard to induce him to devote his splendid talents to this national reform. By Penn's advice the Duke made more than one attempt; but the Church party was too wary to be surprised, too powerful to be overthrown; and then a new face, a fresh whim, a fit of the spleen, would distract his grace. In the Duke of York—and in him alone— Penn found a steadfast friend to Liberty of Conscience. Penn availed himself of the royal favour to obtain a pardon for his brethren when they fell under persecution, and to urge on the great work of securing an Act of Toleration from the House of Commons.
But the family with which he held the most intimate relations was that of Sydney. With the several members of this gifted race he lived on friendly terms. Estranged from each other, they put confidence in Penn—appealed to his wisdom in their difficulties, and sometimes placed their interests in his charge. Towards Henry Sydney, a man