Dickory gave an impatient kick at the mast near which he was standing. “It would have been more likely,” said he, “that before this he would have begun a new life on the gallows with you and me alongside of him, and how do you suppose you would have got rid of the sin on your soul when you thought of his orphan daughter in Jamaica?”
“Your thoughts are too much on that daughter,” snapped Greenway, “an’ no’ enough on her father’s soul.”
“I am tired of her father’s soul,” said Dickory. “I wonder what new piece of mischief they are going to do here; there are no ships to be robbed?”
Dickory did not know very much, or care very much about the sea and its commerce, and some ships to be robbed soon made their appearance. One was a large merchantman, with a full cargo, and the other was a bark, northward bound, in ballast. The acquisition of the latter vessel put a new idea into Captain Bonnet’s head. The Revenge was already overloaded, and he determined to take the bark as a tender to relieve him of a portion of his cargo and to make herself useful in the business of marooning and such troublesome duties.
Being now commander of two vessels, which might in time increase to a little fleet, Captain Bonnet’s ideas of his own importance as a terror of the sea increased rapidly. On the Revenge he was more despotic and severe than ever before, while the villain who had been chosen to command the tender, because he had a fair knowledge of navigation, was informed that if he kept the bark more than a mile from the flag-ship, he would be sunk with the vessel and all on board. The loss of the bark and some men would be nothing compared to the maintenance of discipline, quoth the planter pirate.
Bonnet’s ambition rose still higher and higher. He was not content with being a relentless pirate, bloody if need be, but he longed for recognition, for a position among his fellow-terrors of the sea, which should be worthy of a truly wicked reputation. A pirate bold, he would consort with pirates bold. So he set sail for the Gulf of Honduras, then a great rendezvous for piratical craft of many nations. If the father of Kate Bonnet had captured and burned a dozen ships, and had forced every sailor and passenger thereupon to walk a plank, he would not have sinned more deeply in the eyes, of Dickory Charter than he did by thus ruthlessly, inhumanly, hard-heartedly, and altogether shamefully ignoring and pitilessly passing by that island on which dwelt an angel, his own daughter.
But Bonnet declared to the young man that it would now be dangerous for him and his ship to approach the harbour of Kingston, generally the resort of British men-of-war, but in the waters of Honduras he could not fail to find some quiet merchant ship by which he could send a message to his daughter. Ay! and in which—and the pirate’s eye glistened with parental joy as this thought came into his mind—he might, disguised as a plain gentleman, make a visit to Mistress Kate and to his good brother-in-law, Delaplaine.