Captain Bonnet, in his brave uniform and wearing a cocked hat with a feather, his hand upon his sword-hilt, stood up tall and stately. When the boat was made fast and the great pirate’s head appeared above the rail, six cannon roared a welcome and Bonnet stepped forward, hand extended and hat uplifted.
The instant Blackbeard’s feet touched the deck he drew from their holsters a pair of pistols and fired them in the air.
“Now then,” he shouted, “we are even, salute for salute, for my pistols are more than equal to the cannon of any other man. How goes it with you, Sir Nightcap—Bonnet, I mean?” And with that he clasped the hand reached out to him in a bone-crushing grasp.
His fingers aching and his brain astonished, Bonnet could not comprehend what sort of a man it was who stood before him. With hair purposely dishevelled; with his hat more slouched than usual; with his beard divided into tails, each tied with a different-coloured ribbon; with half a dozen pistols strung across his breast; with other pistols and a knife or two stuck into his belt; with his great sword by his side, and his eyes gleaming brighter than ever and a general expression, both in face and figure, of an aggressive impudence, Blackbeard stood on his stout legs, clothed in rough red stockings, and gazed about him. But the captain of the Revenge did not forget his manners. He welcomed Blackbeard with all courtesy and besought him to enter his poor cabin.
Blackbeard laughed. “Poor cabin, say you? But I’ll tell you this one thing, my valiant Captain Cap; you have not a poor vessel, not a poor vessel, I swear that to you, my brave captain, I swear that!”
Then, with no attention to Bonnet’s invitation, Captain Blackbeard strolled about the deck, examining everything, cursing this and praising that, and followed by Captain Bonnet, Black Paul, and a crowd of admiring pirates.
Ben Greenway bowed his head and groaned. “I doubt if Master Bonnet will ever go to the de’il as I feared he would, for now has the de’il come to him. Oh, Dickory, Dickory! this master o’ mine was a worthy mon an’ a good ane when I first came to him, an’ a’ that I hae I owe to him, for I was in sad case, Dickory, very sad case; but now that he has Apollyon for his teacher, he’ll cease to know righteousness altogither.”
Dickory was angry and out of spirits. “He is a vile poltroon, this master of yours,” said he, “consorting with these bloody pirates and leaving his daughter to pine away her days and nights within a little sail of him, while he struts about at the heel of a dirty freebooter dressed like a monkey! He doesn’t deserve the daughter he possesses. Oh, that I could find a ship that would take me back to Jamaica! And I would take you too, Ben Greenway, for it is a foul shame that a good man should spend his days in such vile company.”
Ben shook his head. “I’ll stand by Master Bonnet,” he said, “until the day comes when I shall bid him fareweel at the door o’ hell. I can go no farther than that, Dickory, no farther than that!”