After some days the corvette sailed, and the Governor spoke well of the diligence and ardour which had urged Captain Vince to so quickly set out upon his path of duty.
“When Dickory comes back,” said Dame Charter to Kate, “he may bring some news to cheer your poor heart, things get so twisted in the telling.”
Kate shook her head. “Dickory cannot tell me anything now,” she said, “that I care to know, knowing so much. My father is a pirate, and a king’s ship has gone out to destroy him, and what could Dickory tell me that would cheer me?”
But Dame Charter’s optimism was beginning to take heart again and to spread its wings.
“Ah, my dear, you don’t know what good things do in this life continually crop up. A letter from your father, possibly withheld by that wicked Madam Bonnet—which is what Dickory and I both think—or some good words from the town that your father has sold his ship, and is on his way home. Nobody knows what good news that Dickory may bring with him.”
The poor girl actually smiled. She was young, and in the heart of youth there is always room for some good news, or for the hope of them.
But the smile vanished altogether when she went to her room and wrote a letter to Martin Newcombe. In this letter, which was a long one, she told her lover how troubled she had been. That she had nothing now to ask him about the bad news he had, in his kindness, forborne to tell her, and that when he saw Dickory Charter he might say to him from her that there was no need to make any further inquiries about her father; she knew enough, and far too much—more, most likely, than any one in Bridgetown knew. Then she told him of Captain Vince and the dreadful errand of the corvette Badger.
Having done this, Kate became as brave as any captain of a British man-of-war, and she told her lover that he must think no more of her; it was not for him to pay court to the daughter of a pirate. And so, she blessed him and bade him farewell.
When she had signed and sealed this letter she felt as if she had torn out a chapter of her young life and thrown it upon the fire.
When Dickory Charter sailed away from the island of Jamaica, his reason, had it been called upon, would have told him that he had a good stout brig under him on which there were people and ropes and sails and something to eat and drink. But in those moments of paradise he did not trouble his reason very much, and lived in an atmosphere of joy which he did not attempt to analyze, but was content to breathe as if it had been the common air about him. He was going away from every one he loved, and yet never before had he been so happy in going to any one he loved. He cared to talk to no one on board, but in company with his joy he stood and gazed westward out over the sea.