All this was very depressing to the soul of Kate’s loving uncle, for how was he to sail after her father and take him and hold him and carry him away? He went away to talk to the captain of the Belinda, but that tall seaman shook his head. His vessel was not ready yet to sail, being much delayed by the flight of Bonnet. And, moreover, he vowed that, although he was as bold a seaman as any, he would never consent to set out upon such an errand as the following of Blackbeard. It was terrifying enough to be in the same bay with him, even though he were engaged in business with the pirate, for no one knew what strange freak might at any time suggest itself to the soul of that most bloody roisterer; but as to following him, it was like walking into an alligator’s jaws. He would take his passengers back to Kingston, but he could not sail upon any wild cruises, nor could he leave Belize immediately.
But Kate took no notice of all this when her uncle had told it to her. She did not wish to go back to Jamaica; she did not wish to wait at Belize. It was the clamorous longing of her heart to go after her father and to find him wherever he might be, and she did not care to consider anything else.
Dame Charter added also her supplications. Her boy was with Blackbeard, and she wished to follow the pirate’s ship. Even if she should never see Major Bonnet—whom she loathed and despised, though never saying so—she would find her Dickory. She, too, believed that there must be some spark of feeling even in a bloody pirate’s heart which would make him understand the love of a mother for her son, and he would let her have her boy.
Mr. Delaplaine sat brooding on the deck. The righteous anger kindled by the conduct of his brother-in-law, and his grief for the poor stricken women, sobbing in the cabin, combined together to throw him into the most dolorous state of mind, which was aggravated by the knowledge that he could do nothing except to wait until the Belinda sailed back to Jamaica and to go to Jamaica in her.
As the unhappy merchant sat thus, his face buried in his hands, a small boat came alongside and a passenger mounted to the deck. This person, after asking a few questions, approached Mr. Delaplaine.
“I have come, sir, to see you,” he said. “I am Captain Ichabod of the sloop Restless.”
Mr. Delaplaine looked up in surprise. “That is a pirate ship,” said he.
“Yes,” said the other, “I’m a pirate.”
The newcomer was a tall young man, with long dark hair and with well-made features and a certain diffidence in his manner which did not befit his calling.
Mr. Delaplaine rose. This was his first private interview with a professional sea-robber, and he did not know exactly how to demean himself; but as his visitor’s manner was quiet, and as he came on board alone, it was not to be supposed that his intentions were offensive.
“And you wish to see me, sir?” said he.