The credulity of the warm-hearted valet could swallow no more; but, assuming a look of commiseration and dignity, he drew back, and left the young tyro of the sea to enjoy his joke with a companion who just then joined him.
In the meantime, the Coquette continued to advance. The chateau, and churches, and villages, of the midshipman, soon changed into a low sandy beach, with a back-ground of stunted pines, relieved here and there, by an opening, in which appeared the comfortable habitation and numerous out-buildings of some substantial yeoman, or occasionally embellished by the residence of a country proprietor. Towards noon, the crest of a hill rose from the sea: and, just as the sun set behind the barrier of mountain, the ship passed the sandy cape, and anchored at the spot that she had quitted when first joined by her commander after his visit to the brigantine. The vessel was soon moored, the light yards were struck, and a boat was lowered into the water. Ludlow and the Alderman then descended the side, and proceeded towards the mouth of the Shrewsbury. Although it was nearly dark before they had reached the shore, there remained light enough to enable the former to discover an object of unusual appearance floating in the bay, and at no great distance from the direction of his barge. He was led by curiosity to steer for it.
“Cruisers and Water-Witches!” muttered Myndert, when they were near enough to perceive the nature of the floating object. “That brazen hussy haunts us, as if we had robbed her of gold! Let us set foot on land, and nothing short of a deputation from the City Council shall ever tempt me to wander from my own abode, again!”
Ludlow shifted the helm of the boat, and resumed his course towards the river. He required no explanation, to tell him more of the nature of the artifice, by which he had been duped. The nicely-balanced tub, the upright spar, and the extinguished lantern, with the features of the female of the malign smile traced on its horn faces, reminded him, at once, of the false light by which the Coquette had been lured from her course, on the night she sailed in pursuit of the brigantine.
and the heir of his kingdom,
—hath referred herself
Unto a poor but worthy gentleman:—”
When Alderman Van Beverout and Ludlow drew near to the Lust in Rust, it was already dark. Night had overtaken them, at some distance from the place of landing; and the mountain already threw its shadow across the river, the narrow strip of land that separated it from the sea, and far upon the ocean itself. Neither had an opportunity of making his observations on the condition of things in and about the villa, until they had ascended nearly to its level, and had even entered the narrow but fragrant lawn in its front. Just before they arrived at the gate which opened on the latter, the Alderman paused, and addressed his companion, with more of the manner of their ancient confidence, than he had manifested during the few preceding days of their intercourse.