Kate greatly fancied gallant partners, whether for walking or talking or dancing, and among such, those which came from the corvette in the harbour pleased her most.
Those were not bright days for Dame Charter. Do what she would, her optimism was growing dim, and what helped to dim it was Kate’s gaiety. It did not comfort her at all when Kate told her that she was so light-hearted because she knew that Dickory would bring her good news.
“Truly, too many fine young men here,” thought Dame Charter, “while Dickory is away, and all of them together are not worth a curl on his head.”
But, although her dreams were dimmed, she did not cease dreaming. A stout-hearted woman was Dickory’s mother.
But it was not long before there were other people thereabout who began to feel that their prospects for present enjoyment were beginning to look a little dim, for Captain Christopher Vince, having met Mistress Kate Bonnet at an entertainment at the Governor’s house, was greatly struck by this young lady. Each officer of the Badger who saw their captain in company with the fair one to whom their gallant attentions had been so freely offered, now felt that in love as well as in accordance with the regulations of the service, he must give place to his captain. Moreover, when that captain took upon himself, the very next day, to call at the residence of Mr. Delaplaine, and repeated the visit upon the next day and the following, the crestfallen young fellows were compelled to acknowledge that there were other houses in the town where it might be better worth their while to spend their leisure hours.
Captain Vince was not a man to be lightly interfered with, whether he happened to be engaged in the affairs of Mars or Cupid. He was of a resolute mind, and of a person more than usually agreeable to the female eye. He was about forty years of age, of an excellent English family, and with good expectations. He considered himself an admirable judge of women, but he had never met one who so thoroughly satisfied his aesthetic taste as this fair niece of the merchant Delaplaine. She had beauty, she had wit, she had culture, and the fair fabrics of Spanish Town shops gave to her attractions a setting which would have amazed and entranced Master Newcombe or our good Dickory. The soul of Captain Vince was fired, and each time he met Kate and talked with her the fire grew brighter.
He had never considered himself a marrying man, but that was because he had never met any one he had cared to marry. Now things were changed. Here was a girl he had known but for a few days, and already, in his imagination, he had placed her in the drawing-rooms of the English home he hoped soon to inherit, more beautiful and even more like a princess than any noble dame who was likely to frequent those rooms. In fancy he had seen her by his side, walking through the shaded alleys of his grand old gardens; he had looked proudly upon her as she stood by him in the assemblages of the great; in fact, he had fallen suddenly and absolutely in love with her. When he was away from her he could not quite understand this condition of things, but when he was with her again he understood it all. He loved her because it was absolutely impossible for him to do anything else.