All day Dickory sat silent, his misery pinned into the breast of his coat. “Miss Kate Bonnet, Kingston, Ja.”—and this on a letter written in the dying moments of an English captain, a high and mighty captain who must have loved as few men love, to write that letter, his life’s blood running over the paper as he wrote. And could a man love thus if he were not loved? That was the terrible question.
Sometimes his mind became quiet enough for him to think coherently, then it was easy enough for him to understand everything. Kate had been a long time in Jamaica; she had met many people; she had met this man, this noble, handsome man. Dickory had watched him with glowing admiration as he stood up before Blackbeard, fighting like the champion of all good against the hairy monster who struck his blows for all that was base and wicked.
How Dickory’s young heart had gone out in sympathy and fellowship towards the brave English captain! How he had hoped that the next of his quick, sharp lunges might slit the black heart of the pirate! How he had almost wept when the noble Englishman went down! And now it made him shudder to think his heart had stood side by side with the heart of Kate’s lover! He had sworn to deliver the letter of that lover, and he would do it. More cruel than the bloodiest pirate was the fate that forced him thus to bear the death-warrant of his own young life.
There were not many captains of merchantmen in the early part of the eighteenth century who cared to sail into the Gulf of Honduras, that body of water being such a favourite resort of pirates.
But no such fears troubled the mind of the skipper of the brig Belinda, which was now making the best of her way towards the port of Belize. She was a sturdy vessel and carried no prejudices. Sometimes she was laden with goods bought from the pirates and destined to be sold to honest people; and, again, she carried commodities purchased from those who were their legal owners and intended for the use of the bold rascals who sailed under the Jolly Roger. Then, as now, it was impossible for thieves to steal all the commodities they desired; some things must be bought. Thus, serving the pirates as well as honest traders, the sloop Belinda feared not to sail the Gulf of Honduras or to cast anchor by the town of Belize.
As the good ship approached her port Kate Bonnet kept steadfastly on deck during most of the daylight, her eyes searching the surface of the water for something which looked like her father’s ship, the Revenge. True, Mr. Newcombe had written her that Major Bonnet had given up piracy and was now engaged in commercial business in the town, but still, if she should see the Revenge, the sight would be of absorbing interest to her. She was a girl of quick observation and good memory, but the town came in view and she had seen no vessel which reminded her of the Revenge.