“Of course he may,” cried the pirate, “and of course he shall; I will see to that myself. Then I will give him back his ship, for I don’t want it, and let him become an honest merchant.”
“Give him back his ship!” exclaimed Greenway, his countenance downcast. “That will be puttin’ into his hands the means o’ beginnin’ again a life o’ sin. I pray ye, don’t do that.”
Blackbeard leaned back and laughed. “I swear that I thought it would be one of the very first steps in conversion for me to give back to the fellow the ship which is his own and which I have taken from him. But fear not, my noble pirate’s clerk; he is not the man that I am; he is a vile coward, and when he has taken the oath he will be afraid to break it. Moreover—”
“And if, with that ship,” said Greenway, his eyes beginning to sparkle, “he become an honest merchant—”
“I don’t trust him,” said Blackbeard; “he is a knave and a sharper, and there is no truth in him. But when you have settled up my business, my clerk, and have gotten me well converted, I will send you away with him, and you shall take up again the responsibility of his soul.”
The Scotchman clapped his horny hands together. “And once I get him back to Bridgetown, I will burn his cursed ship!”
“Heigho!” cried Blackbeard, “and that will be your way of converting him? You know your business, my royal chaplain, you know it well.” And with that he gave Greenway a tremendous slap on the back which would have dashed to the deck an ordinary man, but Ben Greenway was a Scotchman, tough as a yew-tree.
CAPTAIN THOMAS OF THE ROYAL JAMES
When Blackbeard’s little fleet anchored in Topsail Inlet, Stede Bonnet, who had not been informed of the intentions of the pirate, was a good deal puzzled. Since joining Blackbeard’s fleet in the vessel which came up from Belize, Bonnet had considered himself very shabbily treated, and his reasons for that opinion were not bad. During the engagements off Charles Town his services had not been required and his opinion had not been consulted, Blackbeard having no use for the one and no respect for the other. The pirate captain had taken a fancy to Ben Greenway, while his contempt for the Scotchman’s master increased day by day; and it was for this reason that Greenway had been taken on board the flag-ship, while Bonnet remained on one of the smaller vessels.
Bonnet was in a discontented and somewhat sulky mood, but when Blackbeard’s full plans were made known to him and he found that he might again resume command of his own vessel, the Revenge, if he chose to do so, his eyes began to sparkle once more.
Ben Greenway soon resumed his former position with Bonnet, for it did not take Blackbeard very long to settle up his affairs, and in a very short time he became tired of the work of conversion; or, to speak more correctly, of the bore of talking about it. Bonnet was glad to have the Scotchman back again, although he never ceased to declare his desire to get rid of this faithful friend and helper; for, when the Revenge again came into his hands, there were many things to be done, and few people to help him do it.