Chapter 9 Summary
The Man With the Belt of Gold
More than a week goes by and bad luck follows the Covenant. A thick fogs rolls in and that night the Covenant collides with another ship and all but one man aboard her drowns. The survivor is small and engaging; he has elegant manners and toasts the captain handsomely. The man is Scottish but wears fine French clothes and has his own weapons. Davie thinks to himself that he would rather have this man for a friend than an enemy; the captain thinks he may be able to get at least some of the man’s money.
Alan Breck Stewart is a Jacobite (one who believes that the Stuarts are the rightful heirs to the throne of England) and a Catholic, both sworn enemies of the surprisingly religious Captain Hoseason who is a devout Protestant. Nevertheless, when Stewart offers the captain many gold guineas to drop him off in France, Hoseason is excited at seeing so much money and says he can only take him back to Scotland. He leaves the cabin quickly, and Davie follows soon after to get the key to the liquor cupboard.
Davie overhears Hoseason and Riach plotting how best to overtake Stewart by force so they can steal his money belt. They enlist David’s help (for they call him David now) to gather a few weapons from the roundhouse without Stewart’s knowledge in exchange for a good word in the Carolinas and some of Stewart’s gold. On his way back to the cabin, David decides to join forces with Stewart against the other two and offers Stewart the information.
Stewart is glad to have David fighting with him and gives the boy a cutlass before assigning him the task of loading all the pistols; David admits that he is not a good shot, and Stewart appreciates his honesty. Stewart examines the room and determines how best to defend it. Then he talks to the boy, trying to determine their best course of action. David is so nervous that he can hardly remember how many men are on the ship. There are fifteen of them, but Stewart is not particularly daunted by the odds.
Stewart will cover the main door through which he anticipates the primary battle will be waged; David is only to shoot in that direction if Stewart falls and David must defend them both. David is charged with guarding the bolted door on the other side of the cabin and the skylight above them. It is a lot to ask of the boy, but Stewart trusts him to do the job.