« AnteriorContinuar »
the highest officers to the low- the greatest seaman in the est cabin - boy serving under world. Captain Hardy took his flag. Lord Nelson's sense their request to Lord Nelson, of religion was sincere and and urged him to comply with strong. He brought it with it. Notwithstanding the Adhim into his profession, and it miral's peevish reply of — never left him. My father, “What in the world is there who knew him intimately, said, to see in an old withered fel
Though it ” (his religious low like myself ?” he ordered feeling) "did not keep him that they should be admitted. from the great error of his Lord Nelson always wore life, it ought to be remem- short breeches and silk stockbered that few were so ings, and at that moment his strongly tempted; and I be- legs were bound up at the lieve that had Nelson's home knees and ankles with pieces of been made to him what a wife brown paper soaked in vinegar, of good temper and judgment and tied on with red tape. This would have made it, never had been done to allay the would he have forsaken it.” irritation arising from A great cause of quarrel and quito-bites. Quite forgetting dissension between Lord and his attire and the extraordinary Lady Nelson was the latter's appearance which it presented, son by a former marriage, who Lord Nelson went deck was not a satisfactory person and conducted the interview from Lord Nelson's point of with the Spanish captains with view.
such perfect courtesy that his
singular appearance was quite My father never forgave obliterated by the charm of Captain Hardy for turning his manner, and the Spaniards up all hands, and ordering left the ship with their high the ship’s tailor to sew up his opinion of him thoroughly conpockets on the quarter-deck, firmed. My father had had the early He was very peevish about morning midshipman's watch; trifles, and would sometimes it was in the North Sea, the say to Captain Hardy, “Hardy, weather was bitterly cold, and it is very hard that I cannot Hardy had found him with his have my breakfast punctually hands in his pockets.
when I order it!”
Nelson subsequently got my When Lord Nelson was com- father his lieutenancy, and he manding the Mediterranean was appointed to the Diadem, Fleet, and was lying off the whose boats he commanded at Spanish coast, the captains of the capture of the Cape of Good two Spanish frigates, just ar- Hope. In 1810 he was given, rived from America, sent to appropriately enough, the comentreat an audience of him, mand of H.M.S. Hotspur. merely to give themselves the I recollect hearing from him gratification of seeing a person that on one occasion, when the whom they considered to be Hotspur was ordered to destroy
some French gunboats which fight abated, and the din and threatened the island of Guern- smoke diminished, that my sey, the French pilot purposely father's repeated demands as to took her under the enemy's who the informant was could forts. An officer of the vessel, be answered, and it was diswhose name I cannot remember, covered that the voice proceeded told me that
father was in from the drunken man in the such a rage when he discovered galley. When he was ordered the treachery, that had his arms down, it was found that he had not been held he would have been completely sobered when shot the pilot there and then the action commenced, but that, with his pistol. The story of true to discipline, he had not this engagement may be worth ventured to move from his posirelating as typical of the many tion, whence he had been able encounters at sea between the to see much that was invisible English and the French in those to those on the deck below him. stirring days.
The galley in which he had been The Hotspur engaged, single- placed was riddled with shot, handed, three French gunboats but he himself had escaped unand several forts. Owing to touched. At the beginning of the pilot's treachery she had the action my father selected been almost run aground within the two youngest boys on board easy range of the land fortifica- to be his aides-de-camp, hoping tions, and was thus exposed to thereby to keep them by his a cross-fire. The action was a side on the poop. He chaffed hard - fought one, and lasted them when they ducked their from six o'clock on a September heads at the sound of the shot evening until midnight. whizzing over them, and they
Before going into action the soon became calm and steady. ship's company was mustered At one moment he was obin order to ascertain that the liged to send one of these lads men were ready and fit for the to take charge of a gun on the work before them. Only one quarter-deck, the firing of which man was missing, and he was was flagging, and the poor boy subsequently brought up by his had barely reached the post mess - mates in an intoxicated which he was so proud to fill condition. My father ordered when a 24-pounder ball killed the man to be placed inside the him instantly. The remaining captain's galley, which had been little A.D.C., a young Hay, one hoisted up amidships, and there of the Kinnoul Hays, my father he was laid, nothing more being was reluctantly compelled to thought about him. During send from his side on some errand, the heat of the action a voice and, as he turned away to give
frequently heard an order to his first lieutenant, nouncing in what direction the he heard a groan, and poor Hay French were firing, and where fell, shot through the lungs. the Hotspur's shots fell short He was carried down below by or wide of their mark.
the first lieutenant, and placed only when the violence of the next to a marine whose leg had
to be amputated. This man, to Portsmouth, for she had lost regardless of his own sufferings, many men, and others were supported the boy's head on his seriously wounded. The frigate shoulder, and gave him all the herself was badly damaged. Her water which had been brought bulwarks were shot away, and to him. Hay lived an hour after she presented almost the appearhe was struck, and just at the ance of a raft. During the end he heard the cheering from anxious voyage home the men the decks above which greeted who had to undergo amputathe sinking of the French gun- tions at the surgeon's hands boats. With struggling breath would not allow the latter to he joined in it, giving a last operate unless they were prefaint hurrah for the honour of viously assured that the captain England, and so died. The would be present. They debodies of the two boys were laid clared that if he were there they together, covered with a Union- would undergo anything, and Jack, at the door of the fore- so, of course, my father made a cabin. On leaving the cabin point of acceding to their wishes, next morning, my father found though to do so was a great the flag partially removed, and trial to him. the faces of the young heroes When the Hotspur made her exposed. By their side were number at Spithead she had to kneeling some old Frenchmen be taken into harbour for repraying over their bodies. These pairs. Crowds lined the shores men had been taken prisoners and cheered her all the way to from some coasting vessel the her moorings, and the ships day before the action, and it saluted her as she was towed seemed that the boys had been slowly by in her damaged and very kind to them. They said battered condition. My father to my father, “Not all the in- subsequently received the thanks jury you can do our countrymen of the Admiralty on his quarterwill compensate you for the loss deck, but he always said that of such lives as these!”
not all the honours accorded to My father told me that after the Hotspur could compensate the three gunboats had been him for the sorrow he felt at sunk and the forts destroyed, the death of young Hay. the surgeon insisted on his going The sword that Nelson gave down to have some food, which my father, and a beautiful model he did. On sitting down at the of the Hotspur-which the cartable, however, he kicked some- penter on board carved with a thing underneath it, and, stoop- penknife, losing his eyesight in ing down to see what it might the process—are now preserved be, he saw a sight which effectu- at my son's place, Levens. With ally prevented him from having these are the Duke of Wellingany desire to eat, for he had ton's gloves which he wore at kicked a mass of amputated Waterloo, and which his sisterarms and legs.
in-law, Lady Mornington, my After this engagement the husband's grandmother, took off Hotspur had to proceed at once his hands when he returned to
Brussels after the battle. Lady the pen (a very bad and wornMornington was at Brussels out quill) with which he signed with her daughter, Lady Fitz- the capitulation of Paris, and roy Somerset, who was daily this pen she gave to my husexpecting her confinement. Her band. It was afterwards stolen old maid -a woman called Find- from our house in Staffordshire. lay, whom I recollect—could not Lady Mornington lived to a be awakened when the sound of great age.
She and Lady the firing at Waterloo was first Clarendon were twin - sisters, heard early in the morning of daughters of Admiral Forbes. that eventful day. Lady Mor- Admiral Forbes refused to sign nington went herself to her the verdict of the court-martial maid's room, and, when she sentencing Admiral Byng to had succeeded in rousing her, death. He always believed that the maid said, “Is the Duke a fog prevented Admiral Byng between us and the French, from seeing the French fleet, my lady?” On being told that his neglect to pursue which he was, she replied quietly, caused him to be tried by court“Oh, then, my lady, I shall martial and shot. On each go to sleep again !” Lady anniversary of his execution Mornington told me that she Admiral Byng's family used to took her daughter into the pay Lady Mornington a formal park at Brussels, hoping that visit, all dressed in the deepest she would not notice the sound mourning, in grateful recollecof the cannon, as her husband, tion of her father's testimony Lord Fitzroy Somerset-after- to their father's innocence of wards Lord Raglan - was at the charge which had been Waterloo, where he lost an brought against him. arm. A French lady, however, rushed
My uncle, Henry Percy, was claimed to Lady Fitzroy, "Mon aide-de-camp to the Duke of Dieu, madame, n'entendez vous Wellington at the battle of pas
les canons ? Shortly Waterloo, and had the glorious afterwards the carts contain- task assigned to him of taking ing the wounded began to home the despatches announcenter the city.
ing the victory and the downLady Mornington was the fall of the Emperor Napoleon. Duke of Wellington's favourite He found Napoleon's cloak, left sister-in-law.1 She accompanied with his carriage on a mound him to Paris after the battle of near the battle-field. The cloak Waterloo. The Duke
too cumbersome to be
1 She was Lady Maryborough at that time (1815), wife of the Duke's eldest brother. Her eldest daughter, Lady Mary Wellesley, married the Hon. Charles Bagot, afterwards Sir Charles Bagot, G.C.B., Ambassador at Paris, St Petersburg, &c., and Governor-General of Canada. Sir Charles and Lady Mary Bagot's eldest son—the late Colonel Charles Bagot, for many years Assistant Master of the Ceremonies to her Majesty the Queen—married, in 1847, Sophy Louisa Percy, the authoress of these reminiscences.
taken away, so my uncle cut to the Horse Guards, where off the clasps, consisting of two he learnt that the Commanderlarge brass bees linked together in-Chief, at that time the Duke by a serpent. This clasp and of York, was dining out. He a book found in the carriage next proceeded to Lord Castlewere left to me, and are also reagh's, and was told that he at Levens.
and the Duke of York were He left the Duchess of Rich- both dining with a lady in St mond's ball the night before James's Square. To this house the battle, and had no time he drove, and there learned to change his dress, or even that the Prince Regent was his shoes, before going into also of the dinner-paity. action. When he received or- Requesting to be shown imders to go to England with mediately into the dining-room, the despatches he posted to he entered that apartment bearAntwerp, and there took the ing the despatches and the Imfirst sailing-boat he could find perial eagles with him. He to convey him to Dover, where covered with dust and he landed in the afternoon. He mud, and, though unwounded found that a report of the himself, bore the marks of victory had preceded him there. battle upon his coat. . The The Rothschilds had chartered dessert was being placed upon a fast sloop to lie off Antwerp the table when he entered, and and bring the first news of the as soon as the Prince Regent battle to the English shore- saw him he commanded the news which was to be used for ladies to leave the room. The Stock Exchange purposes. Prince Regent then held out
My uncle's confirmation of his hand, saying, “Welcome, the rumour of a great victory Colonel Percy.” “Go down on
“ was received with the greatest one knee,” said the Duke of relief and enthusiasm. At that York to my uncle, “and kiss time the hotel-keeper at Dover, lands for the step which you a certain Mr Wright, had the have obtained.” Before the demonopoly of the posting ar- spatch could be read my uncle rangements between that port was besieged with inquiries and London. He immediately after various prominent officers placed his best horses at my engaged, and had to answer uncle's disposal, and despatched "dead" or "severely wounded”
“ an express to order fresh relays so often that the Prince Regent all along the road. Besides burst into tears. The Duke of the despatches my uncle took York, though greatly moved, the two captured eagles of the was more composed. Imperial Guard with him.
By this time my uncle was These, being too large to go exhausted from fatigue, and into the carriage, were placed begged the Prince's permission so as to stick out of the win- to go to his father's house in dows, one on each side.
In Portman Square. The crowd this manner he drove straight was so great in St James'