Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

yet firm. Like Milton, he wore his hair long and parted in the centre of the forehead, from which it fell over his neck and shoulders in massive ringlets. In mien and manner he was formed by nature, stamped by art—a gentleman.

The Admiral took care to drop all reference to the past. To lessen what was still the risk of a return to old companions, he kept the young man constantly engaged. He carried him to the gallery at Whitehall,—presented him to great persons,— made him pay court visits. The Navy Gardens rang with feast and jollity, for Peg was now growing up, and Lady Penn was more inclined for merriment than ever. Sir William placed his son as a student at Lincoln's Inn, that he might acquire some scraps of law. Allowing him no leisure to indulge in idle fancies, he employed him on the King's business and in his own private affairs. There seemed no fear that he would now go wrong.

Then came the crisis of the war. On the 24th of March, 1665, the Duke of York, accompanied by Penn as Great Captain Commander, and many great persons, went on board the Royal Charles. The younger Penn was on his father's staff, and saw during the few days he remained at sea some service between the Dutch and English fleets. Meanwhile his mother and the ladies left behind in the Navy Gardens kept high jinks. 'Going to my Lady Batten,' says Pepys, 'there found a great many women with her, in her chamber, merry; my Lady Penn and her daughter among others, when my Lady Penn flung me down on the bed, and herself

[ocr errors]

and others., one after another, upon me, and very merry we were.' Admiral Batten was on board the fleet with Admiral Penn. The little Clerk of the Acts was the only man left in the Navy Gardens to make pastime for these merry wives. Dick Broome himself could hardly have imagined a more 'jovial crew.'

On Sunday, twenty-third day of April, 1665, Penn the Younger landed at Harwich with despatches from the Duke of York to Charles, and from Sir William Coventry to Lord Arlington, Secretary of State. He pressed for horses, as the Duke of York's instructions to him were—that he should get on shore, should ride as hard as horse could carry him, should go at once to the King's apartments, and should make a full report of what was being done at sea. By tearing on all night Penn reached Whitehall before the sun was up, and finding that the King was still in bed, he sent a message to Lord Arlington, who rose at once and passed into his master's bedroom. Charles leaped up on hearing that despatches from the Duke were come, and running into the anteroom, met William Penn. 'Oh, it's you] How is Sir William?' Having read the Duke's letter, chatted with the messenger, and asked about Sir William several times, Charles bade the youth go home and get to bed.

In June the fight came off; a striking victory for the English flag; a glory reaped by James, as first in rank, but which his royal highness was too frank in spirit not to share with Admiral Penn. In the same month the plague broke out in London, and the havoc wrought by this disease was chiefly in the districts lying round the Tower. It was a thing to make the merriest romp in the Navy Gardens pause.

When Admiral Penn came home, he was annoyed to see how great a change this plague had wrought in his eldest son. The youth was grave and silent; he had left off speaking French; had ceased to carry his hat in hand; and all but ceased to show himself at court. His days were spent in reading, and the friends who came to him were men of sober life. Again the Admiral's hopes, now nearer fruit than ever, were in check. What could he do with such a moody youth? Suppose the lad turned ranter? He had tried the 'Jovial Crew' before. A good idea struck him. William might be sent to Ireland; first to Dublin, where the Duke of Ormonde would be glad to see him; afterwards to Shangarry Castle, where there was much for him to do, not only on his family estate, but in his office at Kinsale.

To Ireland he was sent. In order to provide him with abundant work, he was appointed Clerk of the Cheque at Kinsale harbour, and encouraged to believe that if he felt inclined to enter His Majesty's service he might get his father's company of foot.

40

CHAPTER V.

FATHEr AND SON (1666-1667).

The Penns were fond of county Cork, in which they had already spent some years, and as their new estate—when it was free to them—would be larger than any one they could hope to buy in either Somerset or Essex, Admiral Penn was scheming for a settlement of his family in that picturesque and fertile shire. His kinsmen wished him to recover Penn's Lodge near Minety; but the place was small, and he had grown too great for the ambition of a country squire. His house at Chigwell was too paltry for the dignity of a peer. Shangarry Castle, with the lands which had been set apart for him at Ptostillon and Inchy, gave him what he could not find in England,—an address, a residence, and a rental of a thousand pounds a-year. His eyes were therefore turned towards county Cork, as likely to become his future home.

Penn sailed for Dublin; where he waited on the Duke of Ormonde. Before going down to Cork, he was to see Sir George Lane, the Irish secretary, and make as many friends as he could win at court. Lord Ossory, the Duke's eldest son, was absent from Dublin, but Lord Arran was at home, and he and William Penn became fast friends. The Duke was pleased with Penn, and in a week or two accounts were sent to the Admiral assuring him that in separating his son from his London associates he had turned the current of his thoughts. Instead of moping in his room, the youth was always in the circle, gay and bright, with pretty foreign manners, and a spirit to attempt the boldest things. The Butlers were a family of soldiers, and the pomp and circumstance of war were topmost in the thoughts of Arran and his comrades. Penn was not behind these youngsters. While he was in Dublin, waiting on the court, a mutiny took place at Carrickfergus (May, 1666), where the insurgents seized the castle and alarmed the country-side from Antrim to Belfast. To Arran was assigned the duty of suppressing this revolt, and Penn took service with his friend. The mutineers fought well, but bit by bit were driven into the fort, and then the fort itself was stormed. Young Penn was talked of as the coolest of the cool, the bravest of the brave. Lord Arran was delighted with him; for the young swordsman of Paris had become the proud soldier of Carrickfergus; and the Duke at once wrote off to tell the Admiral he was ready to confer on his son William that command of the company at Kinsale, which they had talked about for him before the lad returned from France.

Though Penn could not be made into a boon companion, a friend of comedians, and a partner in

« AnteriorContinuar »