“And what matters it, sir, whether I please you or not?”
Kate Bonnet was indeed in a sad case. She had sailed from Kingston with high hopes and a gay heart, and before she left she had written to Master Martin Newcombe to express her joy that her father had given up his unlawful calling and to say how she was going to sail after him, fold him in her forgiving arms, and bring him back to Jamaica, where she and her uncle would see to it that his past sins were forgiven on account of his irresponsible mind, and where, for the rest of his life, he would tread the paths of peace and probity. In this letter she had not yielded to the earnest entreaty which was really the object and soul of Master Newcombe’s epistle. Many kind things she said to so kind a friend, but to his offer to make her the queen of his life she made no answer. She knew she was his very queen, but she would not yet consent to be invested with the royal robes and with the crown.
And when she had reached Belize, how proudly happy she had been! She had seen her father, no longer an outlaw, honest though in mean condition, earning his bread by honourable labour. Then, with a still greater pride, she had seen him clad as a noble gentleman and bearing himself with dignity and high complacence. What a figure he would have made among the fine folks who were her uncle’s friends in Kingston and in Spanish Town!
But all this was over now. With his own hand he had told her that once again she was a pirate’s daughter. She went below to her cabin, where, with wet cheeks, Dame Charter attended her.
Mr. Delaplaine was angry, intensely angry. Such a shameful, wicked trick had never before been played upon a loving daughter. There were no words in which to express his most justifiable wrath. Again he went to the town to learn more, but there was nothing more to learn except that some people said they had reason to believe that Bonnet had gone to follow Blackbeard. From things they had heard they supposed that the vessel which had sailed away in the night had gone to offer herself as consort to the Revenge; to rob and burn in the company of that notorious ship.
There was no satisfaction in this news for the heart of the good merchant, and when he returned to the brig and sought his niece’s cabin he had no words with which to cheer her. All he could do was to tell her the little he had learned and to listen to her supplications.
“Oh, uncle,” she exclaimed, “we must follow him, we must take him, we must hold him! I care not where he is, even if it be in the company of the dreadful Blackbeard! We must take him, we must hold him, and this time we must carry him away, no matter whether he will or not. I believe there must be some spark of feeling, even in the heart of a bloody pirate, which will make him understand a daughter’s love for her father, and he will let me have mine. Oh, uncle! we were very wrong. When he was here with us we should have taken him then; we should have shut him up; we should have sailed with him to Kingston.”