Gustave Adolphe accordingly manned the boat with his own person, and the negro captain politely waved his hand for Newton to enter; and then, following himself, Gustave Adolphe rowed to a landing-place, about twenty yards from the schooner.
“Gustave Adolphe, suivez en arriere, et gardez bien que le prisonnier n’echappe pas;” so saying, monsieur le capitaine led the way to a large white house and buildings, about two hundred yards from the river’s banks. On their arrival, Newton was surrounded by twenty or thirty slaves of both sexes, who chattered and jabbered a thousand questions concerning him to the negro captain and Gustave Adolphe, neither of whom condescended to reply.
“Monsieur de Fontanges—ou est-il?” inquired the old negro.
“Monsieur dort,” replied a little female voice.
The captain was taken aback at this unfortunate circumstance; for no one dared to wake their master.
“Et Madame?” inquired he.
“Madame est dans sa chambre.”
There again he was floored—he could not venture there; so he conducted Newton, who was not very sorry to escape from the burning rays of the sun, to his own habitation, where an old negress, his wife, soon obtained from the negro that information relative to the capture of Newton which the bevy of slaves in the yard had attempted in vain—but wives have such winning ways with them!
“What elegance and grandeur wide
The pride of Turkey and of Persia land!
Soft quilts on quilts, on carpets carpets spread,
And couches stretch’d around in seemly band,
And endless pillows rise to prop the head.
* * * *
Here languid Beauty kept her pale-faced court.”
The female slaves who could not obtain the history of Newton immediately repaired to the chamber of their mistress, knowing that if they could succeed in raising her curiosity, they would at the same time gratify their own. Madame de Fontanges was, as they asserted, in her chamber, or, what may now be more correctly styled, her boudoir. It was a room about fourteen feet square, the sides of which were covered with a beautiful paper, representing portions of the history of Paul and Virginia: the floor was covered with fine matting, with here and there a small Persian carpet above it. Small marble tables were decorated with a variety of ornaments and French perfumes, or vases filled with the splendid flowers of a tropical clime. There was a large window at each end of the room, cut down to the ground, in the French fashion; and outside of both was a little balcony—the trellice-work covered with passion-flower and clematis. The doors and other compartments of the room were not papered, but had French mirrors let into the pannelling. On a low ottoman of elegant workmanship, covered with a damasked French silk, reposed Madame de Fontanges,