But Dickory did not reach out his hand.
Now up spoke Ben Greenway: “Look ye, boy,” said he, “as long as there’s a chance left o’ gettin’ honest gold on board this vessel, I pray ye, seize it, an’ if ye’re afraid o’ this gold, thinkin’ it may be smeared wi’ the blood o’ fathers an’ the tears o’ mithers, I’ll tell ye ane thing, an’ that is, that Master Bonnet hasna got to be so much o’ a pirate that he willna tell the truth. So I’ll tak’ the money for ye, Dickory, an’ I’ll keep it till ye’re ready to tak’ it to your mither; an’ I hope that will be soon.”
CAPTAIN BONNET GOES TO CHURCH
The pirate vessel Revenge was now bound to the coast of the Carolinas and Virginia, and perhaps even farther north, if her wicked fortune should favour her. The growing commerce of the colonies offered great prizes in those days to the piratical cruisers which swarmed up and down the Atlantic coast. To lie over for a time off the coast of Charles Town was Captain Bonnet’s immediate object, and to get there as soon as possible was almost a necessity.
The crew of desperate scoundrels whom he had gathered together had discovered that their captain knew nothing of navigation or the management of a ship, and there were many of them who believed that if Black Paul had chosen to turn the vessel’s bows to the coast of South America, Bonnet would not have known that they were not sailing northward. Thus they had lost all respect for him, and their conduct was kept within bounds only by the cruel punishments which he inflicted for disobedience or general bad conduct, and which were rendered possible by the dissensions and bad feelings among the men themselves; one clique or faction being always ready to help punish another. Consequently, the landsman pirate would speedily have been tossed overboard and the command given to another, had it not been that the men were not at all united in their opinions as to who that other should be.
There was also another very good reason for Bonnet’s continuance in authority; he was a good divider, and, so far, had been a good provider. If he should continue to take prizes, and to give each man under him his fair share of the plunder, the men were likely to stand by him until some good reason came for their changing their minds. So with floggings and irons, on deck and below, and with fair winds filling the sails above, the Revenge kept on her way; and, in spite of the curses and quarrels and threats which polluted the air through which the stout ship sailed, there was always good-natured companionship wherever the captain, Dickory, and Ben Greenway found themselves together. There seemed to be no end to the questions which Bonnet asked about his daughter, and when he had asked them all he began over again, and Dickory made answer, as he had done before.
The young fellow was growing very anxious at this northern voyage, and when he asked questions they always related to the probability of his getting back to Jamaica with news from the father of Mistress Kate Bonnet. The captain encouraged the hopes of an early return, and vowed to Dickory that he would send him to Spanish Town with a letter to his daughter just as soon as an opportunity should show itself.