I soon found out, beyond all doubt, the scope of this disaster;
But I hadn't the face to return to my place and break it to my master.
A nursery-maid is never afraid of what you people call work,
So I made up my mind to go as a kind of piratical maid-of-all-work;
And that is how you find me now a member of your shy lot,
Which you wouldn't have found had he been bound apprentice to a pilot.
Ruth. (Kneeling at his feet.) Oh pardon, Frederic! pardon!
Fred. Rise, sweet one; I have long pardoned you. (Ruth rises.)
Ruth. The two words were so much alike!
Fred. They still are, though years have rolled over their heads! (Ruth goes up with Samuel.) But this afternoon my obligation ceases. Individually, I love you all with affection unspeakable; but collectively, I look upon you with a disgust that amounts to absolute detestation. Oh pity me, my beloved friends, for such is my sense of duty that once out of my indentures I shall feel myself bound to devote myself, heart and soul, to your extermination.
All. Poor lad! poor lad! (All weep.)
King. Well, Frederic, if you conscientiously feel that it is your duty to destroy us, we cannot blame you for acting on that conviction. Always act in accordance with the dictates of your conscience, my boy, and chance the consequences.
Samuel. Besides, we can offer you but little temptation to remain with us. We don't seem to make piracy pay. I'm sure I don't know why, but we don't.
Fred. I know why, but, alas! I mustn't tell you: it wouldn't be right.
King. Why not, my boy? It's only half-past eleven, and you are one of us until the clock strikes twelve.
Sam. True, and until then you are bound to protect our interests.
All. Hear! hear!
Fred. Well, then, it is my duty as a pirate to tell you that you are too tender-hearted. For instance, you make a point of never attacking a weaker party than yourselves, and when you attack a stronger party you invariably get thrashed.
King. There is some truth in that.
Fred. Then, again, you make a point of never molesting an orphan.
Sam. Of course: we are orphans ourselves, and know what it is.