Bonnet looked at the Scotchman with lofty contempt.
“Perhaps you can tell me,” said he, “what there is stickin’ out from the coast between here and Ocracoke Inlet, where you yourself told me that Blackbeard had gone with the one sloop he kept for himself?”
“Blackbeard!” shouted the Scotchman, “an’ what in the de’il have ye got to do wi’ Blackbeard?”
“Do with that infernal dog?” cried Bonnet, “I have everything to do with him before I do aught with anybody or anything besides. He stole from me my possessions, he degraded me from my position, he made me a laughing-stock to my men, and he even made me blush and bow my head with shame before my daughter and my brother-in-law, two people in whose sight I would have stood up grander and bolder than before any others in the world. He took away from me my sword and he gave me instead a wretched pen; he made me nothing where I had been everything. He even ceased to consider me any more than if I had been the dirty deck under his feet. And then, when he had done with my property and could get no more good out of it, he cast it to me in charity as a man would toss a penny to a beggar. Before I sail anywhere else, Ben Greenway,” continued Bonnet, “I sail for Ocracoke Inlet, and when I sight Blackbeard’s miserable little sloop I shall pour broadside after broadside into her until I sink his wretched craft with his bedizened carcass on board of it.”
“But wi’ your men stand by ye?” cried Greenway. “Ye’re neither a pirate nor a vessel o’ war to enter into a business like that.”
Bonnet swore one of his greatest oaths. “There is no business nor war for me, Ben Greenway,” he cried, “until I have taught that insolent Blackbeard what manner of man I am.”
Ben Greenway was very much disheartened. “If Blackbeard should sink the Revenge instead of Master Bonnet sinking him,” he said to himself, “and would be kind enough to maroon my old master an’ me, it might be the best for everybody after all. Master Bonnet is vera humble-minded an’ complacent when bad fortune comes upon him, an’ it is my opeenion that on a desert island I could weel manage him for the good o’ his soul.”
But there were no vessels sunk on that cruise. Blackbeard had gone, nobody knew where, and after a time Bonnet gave up the search for his old enemy and turned his bow southward. Now Ben Greenway’s countenance gleamed once more.
“It’ll be a glad day at Spanish Town when Mistress Kate shall get my letter.”
“And what have you been writing to her?” cried Bonnet.
“I told her,” said Ben Greenway, “how at last ye hae come to your right mind, an’ how ye are a true servant o’ the king, wi’ your pardon in your pocket an’ your commission waitin’ for ye at St. Thomas, an’ that, whatever else ye may do at sea, there’ll be no more black flag floatin’ over your head, nor a see-saw plank wobblin’ under the feet o’ onybody else. The days o’ your piracies are over, an’ ye’re an honest mon once more.”