“An’ then sink her?” asked the Scotchman.
“Ay, sink her!” replied Bonnet. “Thus would I rid myself of a man who vexes me every moment that I lay my eyes on him, and, moreover, it would please you; for you would die in the midst of those friends and neighbours you have such a high regard for. That would put an end to your cackle, and there would be no gossip in the town about it.”
The sailing-master now came aft. The vessel had been put about and was slowly approaching the brig. “Shall we make fast?” asked Black Paul. “If we do we shall have to be quick about it; the sea is rising, and that clumsy hulk may do us damage.”
For a moment Captain Bonnet hesitated, he was beginning to learn something of the risks and dangers of a nautical life, and here was real danger if the two vessels ran nearer each other. Suddenly he turned and glared at Greenway. “Make fast!” he cried savagely, “make fast! if it be only for a minute.”
“Do ye think in your heart,” asked the Scotchman grimly, “that ye’re pirate enough for that?”
FACE TO FACE
With her head to the wind the pirate vessel Revenge bore down slowly upon the King and Queen, now lying to and awaiting her. The stiff breeze was growing stiffer and the sea was rising. The experienced eye of Paul Bittern, the sailing-master of the pirate, now told him that it would be dangerous to approach the brig near enough to make fast to her, even for the minute which Captain Bonnet craved—the minute which would have been long enough for a couple of sturdy fellows to toss on board the prize that exasperating human indictment, Ben Greenway.
“We cannot do it,” shouted Black Paul to Bonnet, “we shall run too near her as it is. Shall we let fly at short range and riddle her hull?”
Captain Bonnet did not immediately answer; the situation puzzled him. He wanted very much to put the Scotchman on board the brig, and after that he did not care what happened. But before he could speak, there appeared on the rail of the King and Queen, holding fast to a shroud, the figure of a young man, who put his hand to his mouth and hailed:
“Throw me a line! Throw me a line!”
Such an extraordinary request at such a time naturally amazed the pirates, and they stood staring, as they crowded along the side of their vessel.
“If you are not going to board her,” shouted Dickory again, “throw me a line!”
Filled with curiosity to know what this strange proceeding meant, Black Paul ordered that a line be thrown, and, in a moment, a tall fellow seized a coil of light rope and hurled it through the air in the direction of the brig; but the rope fell short, and the outer end of it disappeared beneath the water. Now the spirit of Black Paul was up. If the fellow on the brig wanted a line he wanted to come aboard, and if he wanted to come aboard, he should do so. So he seized a heavier coil and, swinging it around his head, sent it, with tremendous force, towards Dickory, who made a wild grab at it and caught it.