When the Revenge reached the mouth of Charles Town harbour she stationed herself there, and in four days captured three well-laden merchantmen; two bound outward, and one going in from England.
Thus all went well, and with willing hands to man her yards and a proudly strutting captain on her quarter-deck, the pirate ship renewed her northward course, and spread terror and made prizes even as far as the New England coast; and if Dickory had had any doubts that the late reputable planter of Bridgetown had now become a veritable pirate he had many opportunities of setting himself right. Bonnet seemed to be growing proud of his newly acquired taste for rapacity and cruelty. Merchantmen were recklessly robbed and burned, their crews and passengers, even babes and women, being set on shore in some desolate spot, to perish or survive, the pirate cared not which, and if resistance were offered, bloody massacres or heartless drownings were almost sure to follow, and, as his men coveted spoils and delighted in cruelty, he satisfied them to their heart’s content.
“I tell you, Dickory Charter,” said he, one day, “when you see my daughter I want you to make her understand that I am a real pirate, and not playing at the business. She’s a brave girl, my daughter Kate, and what I do, she would have me do well and not half-heartedly, to make her ashamed of me. And then, there is my brother-in-law, Delaplaine. I don’t believe that he had a very high opinion of me when I was a plain farmer and planter, and I want him to think better of me now. A bold, fearless pirate cannot be looked upon with disrespect.”
Dickory groaned in his heart that this man was the father of Kate.
Turning southward, rounding the cape of Delaware, the Revenge ran up the bay, seeking some spot where she might take in water, casting anchor before a little town on the coast of New Jersey. Here, while some of the men were taking in water, others of the crew were allowed to go on shore, their captain swearing to them that if they were guilty of any disorder they should suffer for it. “On my vessel,” he swore, “I am a pirate, but when I go on shore I am a gentleman, and every one in my service shall behave himself as a gentleman. I beg of you to remember that.”
Agreeable to this principle, Captain Bonnet arrayed himself in a fine suit of clothes, and without arms, excepting a genteel sword, and carrying a cane, he landed with Ben Greenway and Dickory, and proceeded to indulge himself in a promenade up the main street of the town.
The citizens of the place, terrified and amazed at this bold conduct of a vessel fearlessly flying a black flag with the skull and bones, could do nothing but await their fate. The women and children, and many of the men, hid themselves in garrets and cellars, and those of the people who were obliged to remain visible trembled and prayed, but Captain Stede Bonnet walked boldly up the right-hand side of the main street waving his cane in the air as he spoke to the people, assuring them that he and his men came on an errand of business, seeking nothing but some fresh water and an opportunity to stretch their legs on solid ground.