“Come now,” said Bonnet, walking boldly aft towards Big Sam, who was still cursing and swearing right and left. Bonnet stepped up to him and touched him on the arm. “Look ye,” said he, “you’re no longer sailing-master on this ship; I don’t like your ways or your fashions. Step forward, then, and go to the fo’castle where you belong; this good mariner,” pointing to Black Paul, “will take your place and sail the Revenge.”
Big Sam turned and stood astounded, staring at Bonnet. He spoke no word, but his face grew dark and his great eyebrows were drawn together. His mouth was half open, as if he were about to yell or swear. Then suddenly his right hand fell upon the hilt of his cutlass, and the great blade flashed in the air. He gave one bound towards Bonnet, and in the same second the cutlass came down like a stroke of lightning. But Bonnet had been a soldier and had learned how to use his sword; the cutlass was caught on his quick blade and turned aside. At this moment Black Paul sprung at Big Sam and seized him by the sword arm, while another fellow, taking his cue, grabbed him by the shoulder.
“Now some of you fellows,” shouted Bonnet, “seize him by the legs and heave him overboard!”
This order was obeyed almost as soon as it was given; four burly pirates rushed Big Sam to the bulwarks, and with a great heave sent him headforemost over the rail. In the next instant he had disappeared—gone, passed out of human sight or knowledge.
“Now then, Mr. Paul—not knowing your other name—”
“Which it is Bittern,” said the other.
“You are now sailing-master of this ship; and when things are straightened out a bit you can come below and sign articles with me.”
“Ay, ay, sir,” said Black Paul, and calling to the men he gave orders that they go on with the setting of the main-topsail.
“Now, truly,” said Ben, “I believe that ye’re a pirate.”
Bonnet looked at him much pleased. “I told you so, my good Ben. I knew that the time would come when you would acknowledge that I am a true pirate; after this, you cannot doubt it any more.”
“Never again, Master Bonnet,” said Ben Greenway, gravely shaking his head, “never again!”
* * * * *
The brig Amanda, with full sails and an empty hold, bent her course eastward to the island of Barbadoes, and the next morning, when the drunken sailors on board the Revenge were able to look about them and consider things, they found their vessel speeding towards the coast of Cuba, and sailed by Black Paul Bittern.
DICKORY SETS FORTH
Mr. Felix Delaplaine, merchant and planter of Spanish Town, the capital of Jamaica, occupied a commodious house in the suburbs of the town, twelve miles up the river from Kingston, the seaport, which establishment was somewhat remarkable from the fact that there were no women in the family. Madam Delaplaine had been dead for several years, and as her husband’s fortune had steadily thriven, he now found himself possessor of a home in which he could be as independent and as comfortable as if he had been the president and sole member of a club.