5. Plans Of Escape
After that Arabella Bishop went daily to the shed on the wharf with gifts of fruit, and later
of money and of wearing apparel for the Spanish prisoners. But she contrived so to time
her visits that Peter Blood never again met her there. Also his own visits were growing
shorter in a measure as his patients healed. That they all throve and returned to health
under his care, whilst fully one third of the wounded in the care of Whacker and Bronson
- the two other surgeons - died of their wounds, served to increase the reputation in
which this rebel-convict stood in Bridgetown. It may have been no more than the fortune
of war. But the townsfolk did not choose so to regard it. It led to a further dwindling of
the practices of his free colleagues and a further increase of his own labours and his
owner's profit. Whacker and Bronson laid their heads together to devise a scheme by
which this intolerable state of things should be brought to an end. But that is to
One day, whether by accident or design, Peter Blood came striding down the wharf a
full half-hour earlier than usual, and so met Miss Bishop just issuing from the shed. He
doffed his hat and stood aside to give her passage. She took it, chin in the air, and eyes
which disdained to look anywhere where the sight of him was possible.
"Miss Arabella," said he, on a coaxing, pleading note.
She grew conscious of his presence, and looked him over with an air that was faintly,
"La!" said she. "It's the delicate-minded gentleman!"
Peter groaned. "Am I so hopelessly beyond forgiveness? I ask it very humbly."
"It is cruel to mock me," said he, and adopted mock-humility. "After all, I am but a slave.
And you might be ill one of these days."
"It would be humiliating to send for me if you treat me like an enemy."
"You are not the only doctor in Bridgetown."
"But I am the least dangerous."