He was but little younger than she was, and yet that difference, so slight, had lifted him from things of earth and had placed him in that paradise where he now dwelt.
So passed on the hours, so rolled the waves, and so moved the King and Queen before the favouring breeze.
It was on the second day out that the breeze began to be less favouring, and there were signs of a storm; and, in spite of his preoccupied condition, Dickory was obliged to notice the hurried talk of the officers about him, he occupying a point of vantage on the quarter-deck. Presently he turned and asked of some one if there was likelihood of bad weather. The mate, to whom he had spoken, said somewhat unpleasantly, “Bad weather enough, I take it, as we may all soon know; but it is not wind or rain. There is bad weather for you! Do you see that?”
Dickory looked, and saw far away, but still distinct, a vessel under full sail with a little black spot floating high above it.
He turned to the man for explanation. “And what is that?” he said.
“It is a pirate ship,” said the other, his face hardening as he spoke, “and it will soon be firing at us to heave to.”
At that moment there was a flash at the bow of the approaching vessel, a little smoke, and then the report of a cannon came over the water.
Without further delay, the captain and crew of the King and Queen went to work and hove to their brig.
Young Dickory Charter also hove to. He did not know exactly why, but his dream stopped sailing over a sea of delight. They stood motionless, their sails flapping in the wind.
“Pirates!” he thought to himself, cold shivers running through him, “is this brig to be taken? Am I to be taken? Am I not to go to Barbadoes, to Bridgetown, her home? Am I not to take her back the good news which will make her happy? Are these things possible?”
He stared over the water, he saw the swiftly approaching vessel, he could distinguish the skull and bones upon the black flag which flew above her.
These things were possible, and his heart fell; but it was not with fear. Dickory Charter was as bold a fellow as ever stood on the deck in a sea fight, but his heart fell at the thought that he might not be going to her old home, and that he might not sail back with good news to her.
As the swift-sailing pirate ship sped on, Ben Greenway came aft to Captain Bonnet, and a grievous grin was on the Scotchman’s face.
“Good greetin’s to ye, Master Bonnet,” said he, “ye’re truly good to your old friends an’ neebours an’ pass them not by, even when your pockets are burstin’ wi’ Spanish gold.”