“An’ a maist extraordinary wise mon ye were to do that,” said Ben Greenway, “for ye might hae known, if ye had ever thought o’ it at all, that the place where your wife was, was the place where your daughter couldna be, an’ ye no’ wi’ her. If ye had spoke to me about it, it would hae gone to Mr. Newcombe, an’ then ye’d hae known that she’d be sure to get it.”
At this a slight cloud passed over Dickory’s face, and, in spite of the misfortunes which had followed upon the non-delivery of her father’s letter, he could not help congratulating himself that it had not been sent to the care of that man Newcombe. He had not had time to formulate the reasons why this proceeding would have been so distasteful to him, but he wanted Martin Newcombe to have nothing to do with the good or bad fortune of Mistress Kate, whose champion he had become and whose father he had found, and to whom he was now talking, face to face.
The three talked for a long time, during which Black Paul had put the vessel about upon her former course, and was sailing swiftly to the north. As Dickory went on, Bonnet ceased to curse, but, over and over, blessed his brother-in-law, as a good man and one of the few worthy to take into his charge the good and beautiful. Stede Bonnet had always been very fond of his daughter, and, now, as it became known to him into what desperate and direful condition his reckless conduct had thrown her, he loved her more and more, and grieved greatly for the troubles he had brought upon her.
“But it’ll be all right now,” he cried, “she’s with her good uncle, who will show her the most gracious kindness, both for her mother’s sake and for her own; and I will see to it that she be not too heavy a charge upon him.”
“As for ye, Dickory,” exclaimed Greenway, “ye’re a brave boy an’ will yet come to be an’ honour to yer mither’s declining years an’ to the memory o’ your father. But how did ye ever come to think o’ boardin’ this nest o’ sea-de’ils, an’ at such risk to your life?”
“I did it,” said Dickory simply, “because Mistress Kate’s father was here, and I was bound to come to him wherever I should find him, for that was my main errand. They told me on the brig that it was Captain Bonnet’s ship that was overhauling us, and I vowed that as soon as she boarded us I would seek him out and give him her message; and when I heard that the sea was getting too heavy for you to board us, I determined to come on board if I could get hold of a line.”
“Young man,” cried Bonnet, rising to his full height and swelling his chest, “I bestow upon you a father’s blessing. More than that”—and as he spoke he pulled open a drawer of a small locker—“here’s a bag of gold pieces, and when you take my answer you shall have another like it.”
But Dickory did not reach out his hand for the money, nor did he say a word.
“Don’t be afraid,” cried Bonnet. “If you have any religious scruples, I will tell you that this gold I did not get by piracy. It is part of my private fortune, and came as honestly to me as I now give it to you.”