“But we shall not see these things,” said Kate, “even if that ship carries them. We shall take but food, and shall not unnecessarily despoil them of that. We may be pirates, but we shall not be wicked.”
“It is hard to see the difference,” said Dame Charter, with a sigh, “but we must eat. The cook tells me that they have made peaceful prizes before now. This they do when they want some particular thing, such as food or money, and care not for the trouble of stripping the ship, putting all on board to death, and then setting her on fire. The cook never does any boarding himself, so he says, but he stands on the deck here, armed with his great axe, which likes him better than a cutlass, and no matter what happens, he defends his kitchen.”
“From his looks,” said Kate, “I should imagine him to be the fiercest fighter among them all.”
“But that is not so,” said Dame Charter; “he tells me that he is of a very peaceable mind and would never engage in any broils or fights if he could help it. Look! look!” she cried, “they’re running out their long brass guns; and do you see that other ship, how her sails are fluttering in the wind? And there, that little spot at the top of her mast; that’s her flag, and it is coming down! Down, down it comes, and I must run to the cook and ask him what will happen next.”
MR. DELAPLAINE LEADS A BOARDING PARTY
Steadily southward sailed the brig Black Swan which bore upon its decks the happy Mander family and our poor friend Dickory, carrying with him his lifelong destiny in the shape of the blood-stained letter from Captain Vince.
The sackcloth draperies of Lucilla, with the red cord lightly tied about them, had given place to a very ordinary gown fashioned by her mother and herself, which added so few charms to her young face and sparkling eyes that Dickory often thought that he wished there were some bushes on deck so that she might stand behind them and let him see only her face, as he had seen it when first he met her. But he saw the pretty face a great deal, for Lucilla was very anxious to know things, and asked many questions about Barbadoes, and also asked if there was any probability that the brig would go straight on to that lovely island without bothering to stop at Jamaica. It was during such talks as this that Dickory forgot, when he did forget, the blood-stained letter that he carried with him always.
Our young friend still wore the naval uniform, although in coming on the brig he had changed it for some rough sailor’s clothes. But Lucilla had besought him to be again a brave lieutenant.
They sailed and they sailed, and there was but little wind, and that from the south and against them. But Lucilla did not complain at their slow progress. The slowest vessel in the world was preferable just now to a desert island which never moved.