At such moments Mr. Delaplaine would sometimes say in his heart, not daring to breathe such thoughts aloud, “And what could be better than that he should die and be done with it? He is a thorn in the side of the young, the good, and the beautiful, and as long as he lives that thorn will rankle.”
Moreover, not only did the good merchant harbour such a wicked thought, but Dame Charter thought something of the very same kind, though differently expressed. If he had never been born, she would say to herself, how much better it would have been; but then the thought would come crowding in, how bad that would have been for Dickory and for the plans she was making for him.
In the midst of all this uncertainty, this anxiety, this foreboding, almost this despair, there came a sunburst which lighted up the souls of these three good people, which made their eyes sparkle and their hearts swell with thankfulness. This happiness came in the shape of a letter from Martin Newcombe.
The letter was a long one and told many things. The first part of it Kate read to herself and kept to herself, for in burning words it assured her that he loved her and would always love her, and that no misfortune of her own nor wrongdoings of others could prevent him from offering her his most ardent and unchangeable affection. Moreover, he begged and implored her to accept that affection, to accept it now that it might belong to her forever. Happiness, he said, seemed opening before her; he implored her to allow him to share that happiness with her. The rest of the letter was read most jubilantly aloud. It told of news which had come to Newcombe from Honduras Gulf: great news, wonderful news, which would make the heart sing. Major Bonnet was at Belize. He had given up all connection with piracy and was now engaged in mercantile pursuits. This was positively true, for the person who had sent the news to Bridgetown had seen Major Bonnet and had talked to him, and had been informed by him that he had given up his ship and was now an accountant and commission agent doing business at that place.
The sender of this great news also stated that Ben Greenway was with Major Bonnet, working as his assistant—and here Dame Charter sat open-mouthed and her heart nearly stopped beating—young Dickory Charter had also been in the port and had gone away, but was expected ere long to return.
Kate stood on her tip-toes and waved the letter over her head.
“To Belize, my dear uncle, to Belize! If we cannot get there any other way we must go in a boat with oars. We must fly, we must not wait. Perhaps he is seeking in disguise to escape the vengeance of the wicked Vince; but that matters not; we know where he is; we must fly, uncle, we must fly!”
The opportunities for figurative flying were not wanting. There were no vessels in the port which might be engaged for an indeterminate voyage in pursuit of a British man-of-war, but there was a goodly sloop about to sail in ballast for Belize. Before sunset three passages were engaged upon this sloop.