It was actually the fact that the little party in the cabin had not finished talking over this most momentous subject before they were informed that Captain Ichabod was on deck. Up they went, Dame Charter ready to faint. But she did not do so. When she saw the visitor she thought it could not be the pirate captain, but some one whom he had sent in his place. He was more soberly dressed than when he first came on board, and his manners were even milder. The mind of Kate Bonnet was so worked up by the trouble that had come upon her that she felt very much as she did when she hung over the side of her father’s vessel at Bridgetown, ready to drop into the darkness and the water when the signal should sound. She had an object now, as she had had then, and again she must risk everything. On her second look at Captain Ichabod, which embarrassed him very much, she was ready to trust him.
“Dame Charter,” she whispered, “we must do it or never see them again.”
So, when they had talked about it for a quarter of an hour, it was agreed that they would sail with Captain Ichabod.
When the sloop Restless made ready to sail the next day there was a fine flurry in the harbour. Nothing of the kind had ever before happened there. Two ladies and a most respectable old gentleman sailing away under the skull and cross-bones! That was altogether new in the Caribbean Sea. To those who talked to him about his quixotic expedition, Captain Ichabod swore—and at times, as many men knew, he was a great hand at being in earnest—that if he carried not his passengers through their troubles and to a place of safety, the Restless, and all on board of her, should mount to the skies in a thousand bits. Although this alternative would not have been very comforting to said passengers if they had known of it, it came from Captain Ichabod’s heart, and showed what sort of a man he was.
Old Captain Sorby came to the Restless in a boat, and having previously washed one hand, came on board and bade them all good-bye with great earnestness.
“You will catch him,” said he to Kate, “and my advice to you is, when you get him, hang him. That’s the only way to keep him out of mischief. But as you are his daughter, you may not like to string him up, so I say put irons on him. If you don’t he’ll be playin’ you some other wild trick. He is not fit for a pirate, anyway, and he ought to be taken back to his calves and his chickens.”
Kate did not resent this language; she even smiled, a little sadly. She had a great work before her, and she could not mind trifles.
None of the other pirates came on board, for they were afraid of Sorby, and when that great man had made the round of the decks and had given Captain Ichabod some bits of advice, he got down into his boat. The anchor was weighed, the sails hoisted, and, amid shouts and cheers from a dozen small boats containing some of the most terrible and bloody sea-robbers who had ever infested the face of the waters, the Restless sailed away: the only pirate ship which had, perhaps, ever left port followed by blessings and goodwill; goodwill, although the words which expressed it were curses and the men who waved their hats were blasphemers and cut-throats.