As soon as the anchor was dropped, Kate wished to go on shore, but her uncle would not hear of that. He must know something definite before he trusted Kate or himself in such a lawless town as Belize. The captain, who was going ashore, could make inquiries, and Kate must wait.
In a little room at the back of a large, low storehouse, not far from the pier, sat Stede Bonnet and his faithful friend and servitor, Ben Greenway. The storehouse was crowded with goods of almost every imaginable description, and even the room back of it contained an overflow of bales, boxes, and barrels. At a small table near a window sat the Scotchman and Bonnet, the latter reading from some roughly written lists descriptions and quantities of goods, the value of each item being estimated by the canny Scotchman, who set down the figures upon another list. Presently Bonnet put down his papers and heaved a heavy sigh, which sigh seemed to harmonize very well with his general appearance. He carried no longer upon him the countenance of the bold officer who, in uniform and flowing feather, trod the quarter-deck of the Revenge, but bore the expression of a man who knew adversity, yet was not able to humble himself under it. He was bent and borne down, although not yet broken. Had he been broken he could better have accommodated himself to his present case. His clothes were those of the common class of civilian, and there was that about him which indicated that he cared no more for neatness or good looks.
“Ben Greenway,” he said, “this is too much! Now have I reached the depth in my sorrow at which all my strength leaves me. I cannot read these lists.”
The Scotchman looked up. “Is there no’ light enow!” he asked.
“Light!” said Bonnet; “there is no light anywhere; all is murkiness and gloom. The goods which you have been lately estimating are all my own, taken from my own ship by that arch traitor and chief devil, Blackbeard. I have read the names of them to you and I have remembered many of them and I have not weakened, but now comes a task which is too great for me. These things which follow were all intended for my daughter Kate. Silks and satins and cloth of gold, ribbons and fine linen, laces and ornaments, all these I selected for my dear daughter, and by day and by night I have thought of her apparelled in fine raiment, more richly dressed than any lady in Barbadoes. My daughter, my beautiful, my proud Kate! And now what has it all come to? All these are gone, basely stolen from me by that Blackbeard.”
Ben Greenway looked up. “Wha stole from ye,” he said, “what ye had already stolen from its rightful owners. An’ think ye,” he continued, “that your honest daughter Kate would deign to array hersel’ in stolen goods, no matter how rich they might happen to be! An’ think ye she could hold up her head if the good people o’ Bridgetown could point at her an’ say, ‘Look at the thief’s daughter; how fine she is!’ An’ think ye that Mr. Martin Newcombe would tak’ into his house an’ hame a wife wha hadna come honestly by her clothes! I tell ye, Master Bonnet, that ye should exalt your soul in thankfulness that ye are no longer a dishonest mon, an’ that whatever raiment your daughter may now wear, no’ a sleeve or button o’ it was purloined an’ stolen by her father.”