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Chapter 15

The Commodore detects the Machinations of the Conspirators, and hires a tutor for Peregrine, whom he settles in Winchester School.

This was not the least affliction he had suffered from the unwearied endeavours and unexhausted invention of his tormentors, who harassed him with such a variety of mischievous pranks, that he began to think all the devils in hell had conspired against his peace; and accordingly became very serious and contemplative on the subject.

In the course of his meditations, when he recollected and compared the circumstances of every mortification to which he had been lately exposed, he could not help suspecting that some of them must have been contrived to vex him; and, as he was not ignorant of his lieutenant’s disposition, nor unacquainted with the talents of Peregrine, he resolved to observe them both for the future with the utmost care and circumspection. This resolution, aided by the incautious conduct of the conspirators, whom, by this time, success had rendered heedless and indiscreet, was attended with the desired effect. He in a little time, detected Perry in a new plot; and by dint of a little chastisement, and a great many threats, extorted from him a confession of all the contrivances in which he had been concerned. The commodore was thunderstruck at the discovery, and so much incensed against Hatchway for the part he had acted in the whole, that he deliberated with himself, whether he should demand satisfaction with sword and pistol, or dismiss him from the garrison, and renounce all friendship with him at once. But he bad been so long accustomed to Jack’s company, that he could not live without him; and upon more cool reflection, perceiving that what he had done was rather the effect of wantonness than malice, which he himself would have laughed to see take place upon any other person, he determined to devour his chagrin, and extended his forgiveness even to Pipes, whom, in the first sally of his passion, he had looked upon in a more criminal light than that of a simple mutineer. This determination was seconded by another, which he thought absolutely necessary for his own repose, and in which his own interest, and that of his nephew, concurred.

Peregrine, who was now turned of twelve, had made such advances under the instruction of Jennings, that he often disputed upon grammar, and was sometimes thought to have the better in his contests, with the parish-priest, who, notwithstanding this acknowledged superiority of his antagonist, did great justice to his genius which he assured Mr. Trunnion would be lost for want of cultivation, if the boy was not immediately sent to prosecute his studies at some proper seminary of learning.

This maxim had been more than once inculcated upon the commodore by Mrs. Trunnion, who, over and above the deference she paid to the parson’s opinion, had a reason of her own for wishing to see the house clear of Peregrine, at whose prying disposition she began to be very uneasy. Induced by these motives, which were joined by the solicitation of the youth himself, who ardently longed to see a little more of the world, his uncle determined to send him forthwith to Winchester, under the immediate care and inspection of a governor, to whom he allowed a very handsome appointment for that purpose. This gentleman, whose name was Mr. Jacob Jolter, had been school-fellow with the parson of the parish, who recommended him to Mrs. Trunnion as a person of great worth and learning, in every respect qualified for the office of a tutor. He likewise added, by way of eulogium, that he was a man of exemplary piety. and particularly zealous for the honour of the church, of which he was a member, having been many years in holy orders, though he did not then exercise any function of the priesthood. Indeed, Mr. Jolter’s zeal was so exceedingly fervent, as, on some occasions, to get the better of his discretion; for, being a high churchman and of consequence a malcontent, his resentment was habituated into an insurmountable prejudice against the present disposition of affairs, which, by confounding the nation with the ministry, sometimes led him into erroneous, not to say absurd calculations; otherwise, a man of good morals, well versed in mathematics and school divinity, studies which had not at all contributed to sweeten and unbend the natural sourness and severity of his complexion.

This gentleman being destined to the charge of superintending Perry’s education, everything was prepared for their departure; and Tom Pipes, in consequence of his own petition, put into livery, and appointed footman to the young squire. But, before they set out, the commodore paid the compliment of communicating his design to Mr. Pickle, who approved of the plan, though he durst not venture to see the boy; so much was he intimidated by the remonstrances of his wife, whose aversion to her first-born became every day more in............

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