“Come on, Nerissa; I
have work in hand,
That you, yet, know not of,——”
Merchant of Venice.
Notwithstanding the active movements which had taken place in and around the buildings of the Lust in Rust, during the night which ended with our last chapter, none but the initiated were in the smallest degree aware of their existence. Oloff Van Staats was early afoot; and when he appeared on the lawn, to scent the morning air, there was nothing visible, to give rise to a suspicion that aught extraordinary had occurred during his slumbers. La Cour des Fees was still closed, but the person of the faithful Francois was seen, near the abode of his young mistress, busied in some of those pretty little offices, that can easily be imagined would be agreeable to a maiden of her years and station. Van Staats of Kinderhook had as little of romance in his composition, as could well be in a youth of five-and-twenty, who was commonly thought to be enamoured, and who was not altogether ignorant of the conventional sympathies of the passion. The man was mortal, and as the personal attractions of la belle Barberie were sufficiently obvious, he had not entirely escaped the fate, which seems nearly inseparable from young fancy, when excited by beauty. He drew nigh to the pavilion, and, by a guarded but decisive manoeuvre, he managed to come so close to the valet, as to render a verbal communication not only natural, but nearly unavoidable.
“A fair morning and a healthful air, Monsieur Francois;” commenced the young Patroon, acknowledging the low salute of the domestic, by gravely lifting his own beaver. “This is a comfortable abode for the warm months, and one it might be well to visit oftener.”
“When Monsieur le Patteron shall be de lor’ of ce manoir, aussi, he shall come when he shall have la volonte,” returned Francois, who knew that a pleasantry of his ought not to be construed into an engagement on the part of her he served, while it could not fail to be agreeable to him who heard it. “Monsieur de Van Staats, est grand proprietaire sur la riviere, and one day, peut-etre, he shall be proprietaire sur la mer!”