Nelson's servant arrived at this school, at North Walsham, with the expected summons for Horatio to join his ship. The parting from his brother William, who had been for so many years his playmate and bed-fellow, was a painful effort, and was the beginning of those privations which are the sailor's lot through life. He accompanied his father to London. The RAISONNABLE was lying in the Medway.
This castle, the original defensive work of Chatham, was bombarded by Van Tromp when he came up the Medway in Charles II.'s reign an audacity for which he was afterwards punished. The suburb of Brompton is completely enveloped by the forts and buildings of the post, contains barracks and hospitals for five thousand men, and is also the head-quarters of the Royal Engineers.
It was in the days when France's power was already broken upon the seas, and when more of her three-deckers lay rotting in the Medway than were to be found in Brest harbour. But her frigates and corvettes still scoured the ocean, closely followed ever by those of her rival.
And after Sir W. Coventry's telling them what orders His Royal Highness had made for the safety of the Medway, I told them to their full content what we had done, and showed them our letters. Then was Peter Pett called in, with the Lieutenant of the Tower. He is in his old clothes, and looked most sillily.
"I beg your pardon, ma'am," he said apologetically; "I was not sure if Major Graham had gone. Will he be here to dinner, if you please?" "Not to-night, Ambrose. I shall be quite alone. But Major Graham will dine here to-morrow; he does not leave till Thursday morning." "Very well, ma'am," said Ambrose, as he discreetly retired. He had been many years in the Medway household.
Amongst the different craft that caught my eye old hulks, placidly resting their weary timbers on the muddy bosom of the Medway, dismantled, dismasted, and having pent-houses like the roofs of barns over their upper decks in lieu of awnings; armour-plated cruisers, in the First Class Steam Reserve, ready to be commissioned at a moment's notice; and ships in various degrees of construction, on the building slips and in dry dock was a vessel which seemed to be undergoing the operation of "padding her hull," if the phrase be admissible as explaining what I noticed about her, the planking, from which the copper sheathing had been previously stripped, being doubled, apparently, and protected in weak places by additional beams and braces being fixed to the sides.
It is part of the old residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury, near the Perpendicular church of All Saints, on the banks of the Medway, whose house at Maidstone added dignity to the town and helped to make it the important place it was. The Palace was originally the residence of the Rector of Maidstone, but was given up in the thirteenth century to the Archbishop.
On February 8, 1668, we find him writing to Evelyn, his mind bitterly occupied with the late Dutch war, and some thoughts of the different story of the repulse of the Great Armada: "Sir, you will not wonder at the backwardness of my thanks for the present you made me, so many days since, of the Prospect of the Medway, while the Hollander rode master in it, when I have told you that the sight of it hath led me to such reflections on my particular interest, by my employment, in the reproach due to that miscarriage, as have given me little less disquiet than he is fancied to have who found his face in Michael Angelo's hell.
A Russo-German-French fleet of battleships, cruisers and destroyers, assisted by four airships and an unknown number of submarines, has defeated the Southern portion of the North Sea Squadron, and is now proceeding in two divisions, one up the Medway towards Chatham, and the other up the Thames towards Tilbury.
Numerous seamen from the merchant service joined the navy, and there was no lack of volunteers eager to be employed. A squadron lay in the Medway, fitting out as quickly as stores could be brought on board them and the men could be collected. Among them was the "Weymouth," a ship of forty guns, commanded by the well-known Captain Jumper.