“Well spoken, Mistress Bonnet,” exclaimed the Governor, “your heart, though a tender, is a stout one. But this you tell me of Captain Vince is very bad; he is a vindictive man and will have what he wants, even without regard to the means by which he may get it. I am glad to know what you have told me, Mistress Bonnet, and if I had known it betimes I would not have sent, in pursuit of your father, a man whose anger had been excited against his daughter. But now I shall despatch orders to Captain Vince which shall be very exact and peremptory. After he has received them he will not dare to harm your father, and would cause him to be brought here as I command.”
“From my heart I thank you, sir,” cried Kate, “give me the orders and I will take them, or I will—”
“Nay, nay,” said the Governor, “such offices are not for you, but I will give the matter my present attention. On any day a vessel may enter the port with news of the Badger, and on any day a vessel may clear from Kingston, possibly for Bridgetown, where I imagine the Badger will first touch. Rely upon me, my dear young lady, my order shall go to Captain Vince by the very earliest opportunity.”
Kate rose and thanked him warmly. “This is much to do, your Excellency, for one poor girl,” she said.
“It is but little to do,” said the Governor, “and that girl be yourself.”
With that he rose, offered Kate his arm, and conducted her to her uncle.
When Mr. Delaplaine was made acquainted with the result of the interview, both his gratitude and surprise were great. He comprehended far better than Kate could the extent of the favour which the Governor had offered to bestow. It was, indeed, extraordinary to commute what was really a sentence of death against a notorious and dangerous pirate for the sake of a beautiful and pleading woman. An ambitious idea shot through the merchant’s brain. The Governor was a widower; he had met Kate before. Was there any other lady on the island better fitted to preside over the gubernatorial household? But, although a man of high position could not wed the daughter of a pirate, a pirate, evidently of an unsound mind, could be adjudged demented, as he truly was, and thus the shadow of his crime be lifted from him. This was a great deal to think in a very short time, but the good merchant did it, and the fervour of his thankfulness was greatly increased by his rapid reflections.
As they were on their way home Kate’s eyes were bright, and her step lighter than it had been of late. “Now, uncle,” said she, “you know we shall not wait for any chance ship which may take the Governor’s despatch. We shall engage a swift vessel ourselves, by which the orders may be carried. And, uncle, when that ship sails I must go in her.”
“You!” cried Mr. Delaplaine, “you go in search of the Badger and Captain Vince? That can never—”
“But remember, uncle,” cried Kate, “it is just as likely that I shall meet my father’s ship as any other, and then we can snap our fingers at all orders and all captains. My father shall be brought here and the good Governor will make him safe, and free him, as he best knows how, from the terrible straits into which his disturbed reason has led him.”