A CHAPTER OF HAPPENINGS
For happiness with a flaw in it, it was a very fair happiness which now hung over the Delaplaine home near Spanish Town. Kate Bonnet’s father was still a pirate, but there was no Captain Vince in hot pursuit of him, seeking his blood. Kate could sing with the birds and laugh with Dickory whenever she thought of the death of the wicked enemy. This was not, it may be thought, a proper joy for a young maiden’s heart, but it came to Kate whether she would or not; the change was so great from the fear which had possessed her before.
The old home life began again, although it was a very quiet life. Dickory went into Mr. Delaplaine’s counting-house, but it was hard for the young man to doff the naval uniform which had been bestowed upon him by Blackbeard, for he knew he looked very well in it, and everybody else thought so and told him so; but it could not be helped, and with all convenient speed he discarded his cocked hat and all the rest of it, and clothed himself in the simple garb of a merchant’s clerk, although it might be said, that in all the West Indies, at that day, there was no clerk so good-looking as was Dickory. Dame Charter was so thankful that her boy had come safely through all his troubles, so proud of him, and so eminently well satisfied with his present position, that she asked nothing of her particular guardian angel but that Stede Bonnet might stay away. If, after tiring of piracy, that man came back, as his relatives wished him to do, the good dame was sure he would make mischief of some sort, and as like as not in the direction of her Dickory. If this evil family genius should be lost at sea or should disappear from the world in some equally painless and undisgraceful fashion, Dame Charter was sure that she could in a reasonable time quiet the grief of poor Kate; for what right-minded damsel could fail to mingle thankfulness with her sorrow that a kind death should relieve a parent from the sins and disgraces which in life always seemed to open up in front of him.
About this time there came a letter from Barbadoes, which was of great interest to everybody in the household. It was from Master Martin Newcombe, and of course was written to Kate, but she read many portions of it to the others. The first part of the epistle was not read aloud, but it was very pleasant for Kate to read it to herself. This man was a close lover and an ardent one. Whatever had happened to her fortunes, nothing had interfered with his affection; whatever he had said he still bravely stood by, and to whatever she had objected in the way of obstacles he had paid no attention whatever.