“Truly, my Kate,” said Bonnet, “that was a great sight; there were no cattle finer on the island than were mine.”
“And so shall they be again, my father,” said Kate, her arms around his neck.
It was then that Ben Greenway knocked upon the door.
Stede Bonnet’s mind had been so much excited by what he had been talking about that he saluted his brother-in-law and Dame Charter without once thinking of his clothes. They looked upon him as if he were some unknown foreigner, a person entirely removed from their customary sphere.
“Was this the once respectable Stede Bonnet?” asked Dame Charter to herself. “Did such a man marry my sister!” thought Mr. Delaplaine. They might have been surprised had they met him as a pirate, but his appearance as a pirate’s clerk amazed them.
Towards the end of the day Mr. Delaplaine and his party returned to the Belinda, for there was no fit place for them to lodge in the town. Although urged by all, Stede Bonnet would not accompany them. When persuasion had been exhausted, Ben Greenway promised Kate that he would be responsible for her father’s appearance the next day, feeling safe in so doing; for, even should Bonnet’s shame return, there was no likely way in which he could avoid his friends.
WISE MR. DELAPLAINE
Early in the next forenoon Kate and her companions prepared to make another visit to the town. Naturally she wanted to be with her father as much as possible and to exert upon him such influences as might make him forget, in a degree, the so-called glories of his pirate life and return with her and her uncle to Spanish Town, where, she believed, this misguided man might yet surrender himself to the rural joys of other days. Nay, more, he and she might hope for still further happiness in a Jamaica home, for Madam Bonnet would not be there.
As she came up from below, impatient to depart, Kate noticed, getting over the side, a gentleman who had just arrived in a small boat. He was tall and good-looking, and very handsomely attired in a rich suit such as was worn at that day by French and Spanish noblemen. A sword with an elaborate hilt was by his side, and on his head a high cocked hat. There was fine lace at his wrists and bosom, and he wore silk stockings, and silver buckles on his shoes.
Kate started at meeting here a stranger, and in such an elaborate attire. She had read of the rich dress of men of rank in Europe, but her eyes had never fallen upon such a costume. The gentleman advanced quickly towards her, holding out his hand. She shrank back. “What did it mean?”
Then in a second she saw her father’s face. This fine gentleman, this dignified and graceful man, was indeed Stede Bonnet.
He had been so thoroughly ashamed of his mean attire on the preceding day that he had determined not again to meet his daughter and Mr. Delaplaine in such vulgar guise. So, from the resources of the storehouses he had drawn forth a superb suit of clothes sent westward for the governor of one of the French colonies. He excused himself for taking it from Blackbeard’s treasure-house, not only on account of the demands of the emergency, but because he himself had taken it before from a merchantman.