[Illustration: In an instant Dickory was there.]
Briefly and tersely, but with tears in the very ink, so sad were the words, the writer assured Mr. Delaplaine that his love for his niece had been, and was, the overpowering impulse of his life; that to win this love he had dared everything, he had hoped for everything, he had been willing to pass by and overlook everything, but that now, and it tore his heart to write it, his evil fortune had been too much for him; he could do anything for the sake of his love that a man with respect for himself could do, but there was one thing at which he must stop, at which he must bow his head and submit to his fate—he could not marry the daughter of an executed felon.
Thus came to that little family group the news of the pirate Bonnet’s death. There was more of the letter, but Mr. Delaplaine did not read it.
Kate did not scream, nor moan, nor faint, but she sat up straight in her chair and gazed, with a wild intentness, at her uncle. No one spoke. At such a moment condolence or sympathy would have been a cruel mockery. They were all as pale as chalk. In his heart, Mr. Delaplaine said: “I see it all; the Governor must have known, and he loved her so he could not break her heart.”
In the midst of the silence, in the midst of the chalky whiteness of their faces, in the midst of the blackness which was settling down upon them, Kate Bonnet still sat upright, a coldness creeping through every part of her. Suddenly she turned her head, and in a voice of wild entreaty she called out: “Oh, Dickory, why don’t you come to me!”
In an instant Dickory was there, and, cold and lifeless, Kate Bonnet was in his arms.
THE BLESSINGS WHICH COME FROM THE DEATH OF THE WICKED
It was three weeks after Martin Newcombe’s letter came before Ben Greenway arrived in Spanish Town. He had had a hard time to get there, having but little money and no friends to help him; but he had a strong heart and an earnest, and so he was bound to get there at last; and, although Kate saw no visitors, she saw him. She was not dressed in mourning; she could not wear black for herself.
She greeted the Scotchman with earnestness; he was a friend out of the old past, but she gave him no chance to speak first.
“Ben,” she exclaimed, “have you a message for me?”
“No message,” he replied, “but I hae somethin’ on my heart I wish to say to ye. I hae toiled an’ laboured an’ hae striven wi’ mony obstacles to get to ye an’ to say it.”
She looked at him, with her brows knit, wondering if she should allow him to speak; then, with the words scarcely audible between her tightly closed lips, she said: “Ben, what is it?”
“It is this, an’ no more nor less,” replied the Scotchman; “he was never fit to be your father, an’ it is not fit now for ye to remember him as your father. I was faithful to him to the vera last, but there was no truth in him. It is an abomination an’ a wickedness for ye to remember him as your father!”