When Blackbeard’s boat left the ship’s side the departing chieftain fired his pistols in the air as long as their charges lasted, while the motley desperadoes of the Revenge gave him many a parting yell. Then all the boats of the Revenge were lowered, and every man who could crowd into them left their ship for the shore. Black Paul tried to restrain them, for he feared to leave the Revenge too weakly manned, she having such a valuable cargo; but his orders and shouts were of no avail, and despairing of stopping them the sailing-master went with them; and as they pulled wildly towards the town the men of one boat shouted to another, and that one to another, “Hurrah for our captain, the brave Sir Nightcap! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!”
“The dirty Satan!” exclaimed Dickory, as he gazed after Blackbeard’s boat. “I would kill him if I could.”
“Say not so, Dickory,” said Captain Bonnet, speaking gravely. “That great pirate is not a man of breeding, and he speaks with disesteem alike of friend and enemy, but he is the famous Blackbeard, and we must treat him with honour although he pays us none.”
“I had deemed,” said Greenway calmly, “that ye were goin’ to be the maist unholy sinner that ever blackened this fair earth; but not only did ye tell a pious lie for the sake o’ good Dickory, but, compared wi’ that monstrosity, ye are a saint graved in marble, Master Bonnet, a white and shapely saint.”
* * * * *
Blackbeard’s boat was not rowed to his vessel, but his men pulled steadily shoreward.
With the wild crew of the Revenge, fresh from sea and their appetites whetted for jovial riot, and with Blackbeard, his war-paint on, to lead them into every turbulent excess, there were wild times in the town of Belize that night.
I HAVE NO RIGHT; I AM A PIRATE
As has been made plain, Captain Bonnet of the Revenge was a punctilious man when the rules of society were concerned, be that society official, high-toned, or piratical. Thus it was a positive duty, in his mind, to return Blackbeard’s visit on the next day, but until afternoon he was not able to do so on account of the difficulty of getting a sober and decently behaved boat’s crew who should row him over.
Black Paul, the sailing-master, had returned to his vessel early in the morning, feeling the necessity of keeping watch over the cargo, but most of the men came over much later, while some of them did not come at all.
Bonnet was greatly inclined to punish with an unwonted severity this breach of rules, but Black Paul assured him that it was always the custom for the crew of a newly arrived vessel to go ashore and have a good time, and that if they were denied this privilege they would be sure to mutiny, and he might be left without any crew at all. Bonnet grumbled and swore, but, as he was aware there were several things concerning a nautical life with which he was not familiar, he determined to let pass this trespass.