Frank Richard Stockton.

Kate Bonnet : the romance of a pirate's daughter online

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"Oh, Kate!" said Dickory, "you should have seen that
wonderful pirate fight."

(See page 350.)


tEDtie Romance of a J^irate'fi? aDaugtjter



f IlufitrateU hy ^. f . teller

{). ^. potter




Copyright, 1901, 1902

All rights reserved

February, 1902














The two clocks . .



On the quarter-deck



An unsuccessful errand



A pair of shoes and stockings



Kate plans



Ben Greenway is convinced thai

' Bonnet




DiCKORY sets forth .



Captain Christopher Vince .

. 117


Bad weather ....

. 133


Face to face ....

. 138


Captain Bonnet goes to church

. 147


A girl to the front

. 161


The Governor of Jamaica

. 165


A question of etiquette

. 173


An ornamented beard .

. 187


I HAVE no right; I AM A PIRATE

. 194


The NEW FIRST lieutenant

. 203


One north, one south



A projected marriage .

. 223


Blade to blade ....

. 230


The address of the letter .







XXV. Wise Mr. Delaplaine 263



XXVIII. Lucilla's SHIP 295

XXIX. Captain Ichabod 308

XXX. Dame Charter makes a friend . . . 320

XXXI. Mr. Delaplaine leads a boarding party . 330

XXXII. The delivery of the letter .... 341

XXXIII. Blackbeard gives Greenway some difficult

WORK 357

XXXIV. Captain Thomas of the Royal James . . 364
XXXV. A chapter of happenings 373

XXXVI. The tide decides 381

XXXVII. Bonnet and Greenway part company . . 392

XXXVIII. Again Dickory was there .... 399

XXXIX. The blessings which come from the death

of the wicked 405

XL. Captain Ichabod puts the case . . . 409




"Oh, Kate !" said Dickory, "you should have seen that
wonderful pirate fight " . . . . Frontispiece

"If you talk to me like that I will cut you down where

you stand ! " 46

"He is my father !" said Kate 134

"Haste ye! haste ye," cried Dickory, "they will leave

you behind " 155

"Take that," he feebly said, "and swear that it shall be

delivered" 241

Kate and her father in the warehouse .... 260

Lucilla rescues Dickory 337

In an instant Dickory was there 403






HE montli was September and
the place was in the neigh-
bourhood of Bridgetown, in
the island of Barbadoes. The
I tT^ seventeenth century was not seventeen years old,
but the girl who walked slowly down to the river
bank was three years its senior. She carried a
fishing-rod and line, and her name was Kate
Bonnet. She was a bright-faced, quick-moving
young person, and apparently did not expect to
catch many fish, for she had no basket in which
to carry away her finny prizes. Nor, apparently,
did she have any bait, except that which was
upon her hook and which had been affixed there
by one of the servants at her home, not far away.
In fact. Mistress Kate was too nicely dressed and
her gloves were too clean to have much to do with



fish or bait, but she seated herself on a little rock
in a shady spot not far from the water and threw
forth her line. Then she gazed about her; a
little up the river and a good deal down the river.

It was truly a pleasant scene which lay be-
fore her eyes. Not half a mile away was the
bridge which gave this English settlement its
name, and beyond the river were woods and cul-
tivated fields, with here and there a little bit of
smoke, for it was growing late in the afternoon,
when smoke meant supper. Beyond all this the
land rose from the lower ground near the river
and the sea, in terrace after terrace, until the
upper stretches of its woodlands showed clear
against the evening sky.

But Mistress Kate Bonnet now gazed stead-
ily down the stream, beyond the town and the
bridge, and paid no more attention to the scenery
than the scenery did to her, although one was
quite as beautiful as the other.

There was a bunch of white flowers in the
hat of the young girl ; not a very large one, and
not a very small one, but of such a size as might
be easily seen from the bridge, had any one hap-
pened to be crossing about that time. And, in
fact, as the wearer of the hat and the white flow-
ers still continued to gaze at the bridge, she saw
some one come out upon it with a quick, buoyant
step, and then she saw him stop and gaze stead-
ily up the river. At this she turned her head,
and her eyes went out over the beautiful land-



scape and the wide terraces rising above each
other towards the sky.

It is astonishing* how soon after this a young
man, dressed in a brown suit, and very pleasant
to look upon, came rapidly walking along the
river bank. This was Master Martin Newcombe,
a young Englishman, not two years from his na-
tive land, and now a prosperous farmer on the
other side of the river.

It often happened that Master Newcombe, at
the close of his agricultural labours, would put
on a good suit of clothes and ride over the bridge
to the town, to attend to business or to social
duties, as the case might be. But, sometimes,
not willing to encumber himself with a horse, he
walked over the bridge and strolled or hurried
along the river bank. This was one of the times
in which he hurried. He had been caught by
the vision of the bunch of white flowers in the
hat of the girl who was seated on the rock in the

As Master Newcombe stepped near, his spir-
its rose, as they had not always risen, as he
approached Mistress Kate, for he perceived
that, although she held the handle of her rod
in her hand, the other end of it was lying on
the ground, not very far away from the bait and
the hook which, it was very plain, had not been
in the water at all. She must have been think-
ing of something else besides fishing, he thought.
But he did not dare to go on with that sort of



thinking in the way he would have liked to do
it. He had not too great a belief in himself,
though he was very much in love with Kate

'^ Is this the best time of day for fishing,
Master Newcombe ? ' ' she said, without rising or
offering him her hand. '^ For my part, I don't
believe it is. ' '

He smiled as he threw his hat upon the
ground. ^ ^ Let me put your line a little farther
out.'' And so saying, he took the rod from her
hand and stepped between her and the bait, which
must have been now quite hot from lying so long
in a bit of sunshine. He rearranged the bait
and threw the line far out into the river. Then
he gave her the rod again. He seated himself
on the ground near-by.

" This is the second time I have been over
the bridge to-day, ' ' he said, ^ ' and this morning,
very early, I saw, for the first time, your father 's
ship, which was lying below the town. It is a
fine vessel, so far as I can judge, being a lands-
man. ' '

* ^ Yes, ' ' said she, * ^ and I have been on board
of her and have gone all over her, and have seen
many things which are queer and strange to me.
But the strangest thing about her, to my mind,
being a landswoman, is, that she should belong
to my father. There are many things which
he has not, which it would be easy to believe he
would like to have, but that a ship, with sails



and anchors and hatchways, should be one of
these things, it is hard to imagine."

Young Newcombe thought it was impossible
to imagine, but he expressed himself discreetly.

^' It must be that he is going to engage in
trade," he said; '^ has he not told you of his
intentions! "

^^ Not much," said she. ^^ He says he is
going to cruise about among the islands, and
when I asked him if he would take me, he
laughed, and answered that he might do so, but
that I must never say a word of it to Madam
Bonnet, for if she heard of it she might change
his plans."

The wicked young man found himself almost
wishing that the somewhat bad-tempered Madam
Bonnet might hear of and change any plan
which might take her husband's daughter from
this town, especially in a vessel; for vessels
were always terribly tardy when any one was
waiting for their return. And, besides, it
often happened that vessels never came back
at all.

*' I shall take a little trip with him even if
we don't go far; it would be ridiculous for my
father to own a ship, and for me never to sail
in her. ' '

^' That would not be so bad," said Master
Martin, feeling that a short absence might be
endured. Moreover, if a little pleasure trip were
to be made, it was reasonable enough to suppose



that other i)eoi)le, not belonging to the Bonnet
family, might be asked to sail as guests.

*' What my father expects to trade in," said
she contemplatively gazing before her, ^^ I am
sure I do not know. It cannot be horses or cat-
tle, for he has not enough of them to make such
a venture profitable. And as to sugar-cane, or
anything from his farm, I am sure he has a good
enough market here for all he has to sell. Cer-
tainly he does not produce enough to make it
necessary for him to buy a ship in order to carry
them away."

* ^ It is opined, ' ' said Martin, ' ' by the people
of the town, that Major Bonnet intends to be-
come a commercial man, and to carry away to
the other islands, and perhaps to the old coun-
try itself, the goods of other people."

*^ Now that would be fine! " said Mistress
Kate, her eyes sparkling, *^ for I should then
surely go with him, and would see the world,
and perhaps London." And her face flushed
with the prospect.

IMartin's face did not flush. *^ But if your
father 's ship sailed on a long voyage, ' ' he said,
with a suspicion of apprehension, ' ^ he would not
sail with her; he would send her under the
charge of others."

The girl shook her head. ' ^ When she sails, ' '
said she, '^ he sails in her. If vou had heard him
talking as I have heard him, you would not doubt
that. And if he sails, I sail."



Martin's soul grew quite sad. There were
very good reasons to believe that this dear girl
might sail away from Bridgetown, and from
him. She might come back to the town, but she
might not come back to him.

^' Mistress Kate," said he, looking very ear-
nestly at her, '' do you know that such speech
as this makes my heart sink! You know I love
you, I have told you so before. If you were
to sail away, I care not to what port, this world
would be a black place for me."

* ^ That is like a lover, ' ' she exclaimed a little
pertly ; ^ ' it is like them all, every man of them.
They must have what they want, and they must
have it, no matter who else may suffer."

He rose and stood by her.

^' But I don't want you to suffer," he said.
' ^ Do you think it would be suffering to live with
one who loved you, who would spend his whole
life in making you happy, who would look upon
you as the chief thing in the world, and have
no other ambition than to make himself worthy
of you? "

She looked up at him with a little smile.

^ ^ That would, doubtless, be all very pleasant
for you, ' ' she said, ^ ' and in order that you might
be pleased, you would have her give up so much.
That is the way with men! Now, here am I,
born in the very end of the last century, and
having had, consequently, no good out of that,
and with but seventeen years in this century,



and most of it passed in girlhood and in school ;
and now, when the world might open before me
for a little, here you come along and tell me
all that you would like to have, and that you
would like me to give up. ' '

^' But you should not think,'' said he, and
that was all he said, for at that moment Kate
Bonnet felt a little jerk at the end of her line,
and then a good strong pull.

^' I have a fish! " she cried, and sprang to
her feet. Then, with a swoop, she threw into
the midst of the weeds and wild flowers a strug-
gling fish which Martin hastened to take from
the hook.

* * A fine fellow ! " he cried, ' ' and he has ar-
rived just in time to make a dainty dish for your
supper. ' '

* ' Ah, no ! " she said, winding the line about
her rod ; " if I were to take that fish to the house,
it would sorely disturb Madam Bonnet. She
would object to my catching it; she would object
to having it prepared for the table; she would
object to having it eaten, when she had arranged
that we should eat something else. No, I will
give it to you. Master Newcombe ; I suppose in
your house you can cook and eat what you
please. ' '

^' Yes," said he; ^' but how delightful it
would be if we could eat it together. ' '

^^ Meaning," said she, *^ that I should never
eat other fish than those from this river. No,



sir; that may not be. I have a notion that the
first foreign fish I shall eat will be found in the
island of Jamaica, for my father said, that possi-
bly he might first take a trip there, where lives
my mother 's brother, whom we have not seen for
a long time. But, as I told you before, nobody
must know this. And now I must go to my
supper, and you must take yours home with
you. ' '

^ * And I am sure it will be the sweetest fish, ' '
he said, '' that was ever caught in all these wa-
ters. But I beg, before you go, you will promise
me one thing.''

* ' Promise you ! ' ' said she, quite loftily.

* ' Yes, ' ' he answered ; ' ' tell me that, no mat^
ter where you go, you will not leave Bridgetown
without letting me know of it? ''

*^ I will not, indeed,'' said she; ^' and if it
is to Jamaica we go, perhaps my father— but no,
I don't believe he will do that. He will be too
much wrapped up in his ship to want for com-
pany to whom he must attend and talk."

' ' Ah ! there would be no need of that ! ' ' said
Newcombe, with a lover's smile.

She smiled back at him.

* ^ Good-night ! ' ' she said, * * and see to it that
you eat your fish to-night while it is so fresh. ' '
Then she ran up the winding path to her home.

He stood and looked after her until she had
disappeared among the shrubbery, after which
he walked away.

2 9



I should have said more than I did/' he
reflected ; ^ ^ seldom have I had so good a chance
to speak and urge my case. It was that con-
founded ship. Her mind is all for that and not
for me.''




: ■■■..•.■•'•i




father of Kate, whose mother
had died when the child was
but a year old, was a middle-
aged Englishman of a fair estate, in the island
of Barbadoes. He had been an officer in the
army, was well educated and intelligent, and
now, in vigorous middle life, had become a con-
firmed country gentleman. His herds and his
crops were, to him, the principal things on earth,
with the exception of his daughter ; for, although
he had married for the second time, there were
a good many things which he valued more than
his wife. And it had therefore occasioned a good
deal of surprise, and more or less small talk
among his neighbours, that Major Bonnet should
want to buy a ship. But he had been a soldier
in his youth, and soldiers are very apt to change
their manner of living, and so, if Major Bonnet
had grown tired of his farm and had determined



to go into commercial enterprises, it was not, per-
haps, a very amazing thing that a military man
who had turned planter should now turn to be
something else.

Madam Bonnet had heard of the ship, al-
though she had not been told anything about
her step-daughter taking a trip in her, and if she
had heard she might not have objected. She
had regarded, in an apparently careless manner,
her husband 's desire to navigate the sea ; for, no
matter to what point he might happen to sail,
his ship would take him away from Barbadoes,
and that would very well suit her. She was get-
ting tired of Major Bonnet. She did not believe
he had ever been a very good soldier; she was
positively sure that he was not a good farmer;
and she had the strongest kind of doubt as to
his ability as a commercial man. But as this
new business would free her from him, at least
for a time, she was well content; and, although
she should feel herself somewhat handicapped
by the presence of Kate, she did not intend to
allow that young lady to interfere with her plans
and purposes during the absence of the head of
the house. So she went her way, saying nothing
derisive about' the nautical life, except what she
considered it necessary for her to do, in order
to maintain her superior position in the house-

Major Bonnet was now very much engaged
and a good deal disturbed, for he found that



projected sailing, even in one's own craft, is not
always smooth sailing. He was putting his ves-
sel in excellent order, and was fitting her out
generously in the way of stores and all manner
of nautical needfuls, not forgetting the guns
necessary for defence in these somewhat dis-
ordered times, and his latest endeavours were
towards the shipping of a suitable crew. Sea-
faring men were not scarce in the port of Bridge-
town, but Major Bonnet, now entitled to be
called '^ Captain," was very particular about
his crew, and it took him a long time to collect
suitable men.

As he was most truly a landsman, knowing
nothing about the sea or the various intricate
methods of navigating a vessel thereupon, he was
compelled to secure a real captain— one who
would be able to take charge of the vessel and
crew, and who would do, and have done, in a
thoroughly seamanlike manner, what his nom-
inal skipper should desire and ordain.

This absolutely necessary personage had
been secured almost as soon as the vessel had
been purchased, before any of the rest of the
crew had signed ship 's articles ; and it was un-
der his general supervision that the storing and
equipment had been carried on. His name was
Sam Loftus. He was a big man with a great
readiness of speech. There were, perhaps, some
things he could not do, but there seemed to be
nothing that he was not able to talk about. As



has been said, tlie rest of the crew came in slowly,
but they did come, and Major Bonnet told his
daughter that when he had secured four more
men, it was his intention to leave port.

* ^ And sail for Jamaica 1 ' ^ she exclaimed.

*' Oh, yes," he said, with an affectionate
smile, ^^ and I will leave you with your Uncle
Delaplaine, where you can stay while I make
some little cruises here and there. '^

' ^ And so I am really to go ? ' ' she exclaimed,
her eyes sparkling.

^^ Eeally to go," said he.

*' And what may I pack up? " she asked,
thinking of her stejD-mother.

^ ' Not much, ' ' he said, ^ ' not much. We will
be able to find at Spanish Town something
braver in the way of apparel than anything you
now possess. It will be some days before we
sail, and I shall have quietly conveyed on board
such belongings as you need. ' '

She was very happy, and she laughed.

'^ Yours will be an easily laden ship," said
she, '^ for you take in with you no great store
of goods for traffic. But I suppose you design
to pick up your cargo among the islands where
3^ou cruise, and at a less cost, perchance, than
it could be procured here! "

^ ^ Yes, yes, ' ^ he said ; ' ' you have hit it fairly,
my little girl, you have hit it fairly. ' '

New annoyances now began to beset Major
Bonnet. What his daughter had remarked in



pleasantry, the people of the town began to talk
about unpleasantly. Here was a good-sized
craft about to set sail, with little or no cargo,
but with a crew apparently much larger than her
requirements, but not yet large enough for the
desires of her owner. To be sure, as Major
Bonnet did not know anything about ships, he
was bound to do something odd when he bought
one and set forth to sail upon her, but there
were some odd things which ought to be looked
into ; and there were people who advised that the
attention of the colonial authorities should be
drawn to this ship of their farmer townsman.
Major Bonnet had such a high reputation as a
good citizen, that there were few people who
thought it worth while to trouble themselves
about his new business venture, but a good many
disagreeable things came to the ears of Sam
Loftus, who reported them to his employer, and
it was agreed between them that it would be
wise for them to sail as soon as they could,
even if they did not wait for the few men they
had considered to be needed.

Early upon a cloudy afternoon. Major Bon-
net and his daughter went out in a small boat
to look at his vessel, the Sarah Williams, which
was then lying a short distance below the town.

^' Now, Kate," said the good Major Bonnet,
when they were on board, ^^ I have fitted up a
little room for you below, which I think you will
find comfortable enough during the voyage to



Jamaica. I will take you with me when I return
to the house, and then you can make up a little
package of clothes which it will be easy to con-
vey to the river bank when the time shall come
for you to depart. I cannot now say just when
that time will arrive; it may be in the daytime
or it may be at night, but it will be soon, and I
will give you good notice, and I will come up
the river for you in a boat. But now I am very
busy, and I will leave you to become acquainted
with the Sarah Williams, which, for a few
days, will be your home. I shall be obliged to
row over to the town for, perhaps, half an hour,
but Ben Greenway will be here to attend to any-
thing you need until I return. ' '

Ben Greenway was a Scotchman, who had for
a long time been Major Bonnet's most trusted
servant. He was a good farmer, was apt at car-
penter work, and knew a good deal about ma-
sonry. A few months ago, any one living in that
region would have been likely to say, if the sub-
ject had been brought up, that without Ben
Greenway Major Bonnet could not get along at
all, not even for a day, for he depended upon
him in so many ways. And yet, now the master
of the estate was about to depart, for nobody
knew how long, and leave his faithful servant
behind. The reason he gave was, that Ben could
not be spared from the farm ; but people in gen-
eral, and Ben in particular, thought this very
poor reasoning. Any sort of business which



made it necessary for Major Bonnet to separate
himself from Ben Greenway was a very poor
business, and should not be entered upon.

The deck of the Sarah Williams presented
a lively scene as Kate stood upon the little quar-
ter-deck and gazed forward. The sailors were
walking about and sitting about, smoking, talk-
ing, or coiling things away. There were people
from the shore with baskets containing fruit and
other wares for sale, and all stirring and new
and very interesting to Miss Kate as she stood,
with her ribbons flying in the river breeze.

^' Who is that young fellow! " she said to
Ben Greenway, who was standing by her, '' the
one with the big basket! It seems to me I have
seen him before. ' '

'^ Oh, ay! " said Ben, ^^ he has been on the
farm. That is Dickory Charter, whose father
was drowned out fishing a few years ago. He
is a good lad, an' boards all ships comin' in or
goin' out to sell his wares, for his mither leans
on him now, having no ither. ' '

The youth, who seemed to feel that he was
being talked about, now walked aft, and held up
his basket. He was a handsome youngster, light-
ly clad and barefooted; and, although not yet
full grown, of a strong and active build. Kate
beckoned to him, and bought an orange.

'' An' how is your mither, Dickorv^f '' said

'^ Right well, I thank you,'' said he, and



gazed at Kate, who was biting a hole in her

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Online LibraryFrank Richard StocktonKate Bonnet : the romance of a pirate's daughter → online text (page 1 of 23)