Clouds now settled heavily on the faces of each of the young men, and even the ordinarily bright sky of Dame Charter became somewhat overcast; although, in her heart, she did not believe that anybody in this world could have devised a better plan, under the circumstances, than this forsaken Mistress Kate Bonnet.
“Now there is my plan,” said Kate, with something of cheerfulness in her voice, “if it so be I can carry it out. Do either of you know,” glancing at the young men impartially, but apparently not noticing the bad weather, “if in a reasonable time a vessel will leave here for Jamaica?”
Dickory knew well, but he would not answer; Kate had no right to put such a thing upon him. Newcombe, however, did not hesitate. “It is very hard for me to say,” he made reply, “but there is a merchantman, the King and Queen, which sails from here in three days for Jamaica. I know this, for I send some goods; and I wish, Mistress Bonnet, that I could say something against your sailing in her, but I cannot; for, since you will not let me take care of you, your uncle is surely the best one in the world to do it; and as to the vessel, I know she is a safe one.”
“But you could not go sailing away in any vessel by yourself,” cried Dame Charter, “no matter how safe she may be.”
“Oh, no!” cried Kate; “and the more we talk about our plan the more fully it reveals itself to me in all its various parts. I am going to ask you to go with me, my dear Dame Charter,” and as she spoke she seized both of the hands of the other. “I have funds of my own which are invested in the town, and I can afford the expense. Surely, my good friend, you will not let me go forth alone, and all unused to travel? Leaving me safely with my uncle, you could return when the ship came back to Bridgetown.”
Dame Charter turned upon the girl a look of kind compassion, but at the same time she knit her brows.
“Right glad would I be to do that for you,” she said, “but I cannot go away and leave my son, who has only me.”
“Take him with you,” cried Kate. “Two women travelling to unknown shores might readily need a protector, and if not, there are so many things which he might do. Think of it, my dear Dame Charter; to my uncle’s home in Jamaica is the only place to which I can go, and if you do not go with me, how can I go there?”
Dame Charter now shed tears, but they were the tears of one good woman feeling for the misfortunes of another.