Stede Bonnet superintended everything. He was a good man of business, and knew how to direct people who might be under him. There was a great stir at the storehouse, and, almost blithely, Ben Greenway worked day and night to make out invoices and to prepare goods for shipment.
Bonnet wore no more the clothes in which his daughter had first seen him after so long and drear a parting. On deck or on shore, in storehouse or on the streets of Belize, he was the fine gentleman with the silk stockings and the tall cocked hat.
One day, a fellow, fresh from his bottle, forgetting the respect which was due to fine clothes and to Blackbeard’s factor, called out to Bonnet: “What now, Sir Nightcap, how call you that thing you have on your head?”
In an instant a sword was whipped from its scabbard and a practised hand sent its blade through the arm of the jester, who presently fell backward. Bonnet wiped his sword upon the fellow’s sleeve and, advising him to get up and try to learn some manners, coolly walked away.
After that fine clothes were not much laughed at in Belize, for even the most disrespectful ruffians desired not the thrust of a quick blade nor the ill-will of that most irascible pirate, Blackbeard.
A few days before it was expected that the Belinda would be ready to sail Bonnet came on board, his mind full of an important matter. Calling Mr. Delaplaine and Kate aside, he said: “I have been thinking a great deal lately about my Scotchman, Ben Greenway. In the first place, he is greatly needed here, for many of Blackbeard’s goods will remain in the storehouse, and there should be some competent person to take care of them and to sell them should opportunity offer. Besides that, he is a great annoyance to me, and I have long been trying to get rid of him. When I left Bridgetown I had not intended to take him with me, and his presence on board my ship was a mere accident. Since then he has made himself very disagreeable.”
“What!” cried Kate, “would you be willing that we should all sail away and leave poor Ben Greenway in this place by himself among these cruel pirates?”
“He’ll represent Blackbeard,” said Bonnet, “and no one will harm him. And, moreover, this enforced stay may be of the greatest benefit to him. He has a good head for business, and he may establish himself here in a very profitable fashion and go back to Barbadoes, if he so desires, in comfortable circumstances. All we have to do is to slip our anchor and sail away at some moment when he is busy in the town. I will leave ample instructions for him and he shall have money.”
“Father, it would be shameful!” said Kate.
Mr. Delaplaine said nothing; he was too angry to speak, but he made up his mind that Ben Greenway should be apprised of Bonnet’s intentions of running away from him and that such a wicked design should be thwarted. This brother-in-law of his was a worse man than he had thought him; he was capable of being false even to his best friend. He might be mad as a March hare, but, truly, he was also as sly and crafty as a fox in any month in the year.