A pirate who carries with him an intended son-in-law is not likely, if he be of Blackbeard’s turn of mind, to suffer all his family plans to be ruined for the want of a few drugs.
When Dickory heard what the captain had to say on this subject his heart shrank within him. He had never taken medicine and he had never seen Blackbeard’s daughter, but the one seemed to him almost as bad as the other, and the thought of the cool waves beneath him became more attractive than ever before. But that thought was quickly banished, for he had a duty before him, and not until that was performed could he take leave of this world, once so bright to him.
An island with palm-trees slowly rose on the horizon, and off this island it was that, after a good deal of tacking and close-hauling, the Revenge lay to to take in water. Far better water than that which had been brought from Belize.
“Do you want to go ashore in the boat, boy?” said Blackbeard, really mindful of the health of this projected member of his family. “It may help your appetite to use your legs.”
Dickory did not care to go anywhere, but he had hardly said so when a revulsion of feeling came upon him, and turning away so that his face might not be noticed, he said he thought the land air might do him good. While the men were at work carrying their pails from the well-known spring to the water-barrels in the boat, Dickory strolled about to view the scenery, for it could never have been expected that a first lieutenant in uniform should help to carry water. At first the scenery did not appear to be very interesting, and Dickory wandered slowly from here to there, then sat down under a tree. Presently he rose and went to another tree, a little farther away from the boat and the men at the spring. Here he quietly took off his shoes and his stockings, and, having nothing else to do, made a little bundle of them, listlessly tying them to his belt; then he rose and walked away somewhat brisker, but not in the direction of the boat. He did not hurry, but even stopped sometimes to look at things, but he still walked a little briskly, and always away from the boat. He had been so used, this child of outdoor life, to going about the world barefooted, that it was no wonder that he walked briskly, being relieved of his encumbering shoes and stockings.
After a time he heard a shout behind him, and turning saw three men of the boat’s crew upon a little eminence, calling to him. Then he moved more quickly, always away from the boat, and with his head turned he saw the men running towards him, and their shouts became louder and wilder. Then he set off on a good run, and presently heard a pistol shot. This he knew was to frighten him and make him stop, but he ran the faster and soon turned the corner of a bit of woods. Then he was away at the top of his speed, making for a jungle of foliage not a quarter of a mile before him. Shouts he heard, and more shots, but he caught sight of no pursuers. Urged on even as they were by the fear of returning to the ship without Dickory, they could not expect to match, in their heavy boots, the stag-like speed of this barefooted bounder.