For many a long day the sound of the hammer and the saw had mingled with the song of the birds, and Captain Bonnet felt that in a day or two he might again sail out upon the sea, conveying his two prizes to some convenient mart, while he, with his good ship, freshened and restored, would go in search of more victories, more booty, and more blood.
“Greenway, I tell you,” said Bonnet, continuing his remarks, “you are too glum; you’ve got the only long face in all this, my fleet. Even those poor fellows who man my prizes are not so solemn, although they know not, when I have done with them, whether I shall maroon them to quietly starve or shall sink them in their own vessels.”
“But I hae no such reason to be cheerful,” said Ben. “I hae bound mysel’ to stand by ye till ye hae gone to the de’il, an’ I hae no chance o’ freein’ mysel’ from my responsibeelities by perishin’ on land or in the sea.”
“If anything could make me glum, Ben Greenway, it would be you,” said the other; “but I am getting used to you, and some of these days when I have captured a ship laden with Scotch liquors and Scotch plaids I believe that you will turn pirate yourself for the sake of your share of the prizes.”
“Which is likely to be on the same mornin’ that ye turn to be an honest mon,” said Ben; “but I am no’ in the way o’ expectin’ miracles.”
On went the pounding and the sawing and the hammering and the swearing and the singing of birds, although the latter were a little farther away than they had been, and in the course of the day the pirate captain, erect, scrutinizing, and blasphemous, went over his ship, superintending the repairs. In a day or two everything would be finished, and then he and his two prizes could up sail and away. It was a beautiful harbour in which he lay, but he was getting tired of it.
There were great prospects before our pirate captain. Perhaps he might have the grand good fortune to fall in with that low-born devil, Blackbeard, who, when last he had been heard from, commanded but a small vessel, fearing no attack upon this coast. What a proud and glorious moment it would be when a broadside and another and another should be poured in upon his little craft from the long guns of the Royal James.
Bonnet was still standing, reflecting, with bright eyes, upon this dazzling future, and wondering what would be the best way of letting the dastardly Blackbeard know whose guns they were which had sunk his ship, when a boat was seen coming around the headland. This was one of his own boats, which had been posted as a sentinel, and which now brought the news that two vessels were coming in at the mouth of the river, but that as the distance was great and the night was coming on they could not decide what manner of craft they were.
This information made everybody jump, on board the Royal James, and the noise of the sawing and the hammering ceased as completely as had the songs of the birds. In a few minutes that quick and able mariner, Bonnet, had sent three armed boats down the river to reconnoitre. If the vessels entering the river were merchantmen, they should not be allowed to get away; but if they were enemies, although it was difficult to understand how enemies could make their appearance in these quiet waters, they must be attended to, either by fight or flight.