Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Three >> Page 17

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription CHAPTER THREE 17
through that medium, to the heart of Rose. Her good humor and frank-
ness in dealing with him, seemed to hold out encouragement. He had
fancied, indeed, more than once, that her occasional remarks were
designed especially to egg him on in his laggard courtship. But his
courage failed him on each occasion, and the eel of opportunity slipped
too quickly from his grasp.
Miss Betsy, we must add, was herself to accompany Rose to the wed-
ding, and had already made her toilet, like that young lady, but with
less gaiety of costume. Miss Betsy had very long and intelligent ears,
but the sapphire ear-drops hung from those of the young lady, whose
necklace, rings and bracelets, of doubtful quality in gold and jewels,
had yet long been the admiration of the rustic precincts of Rose Dale.
Dinner hastily dispatched, the horses made ready, the two ladies
were assisted to their selles riding side-saddles—by the single swain
who was to attend them. He was, of course, a gallant horseman, but
Miss Rose prided herself upon her skill and courage on horseback; nor
was the lean figure of the amiable Aunt Betsy lacking in the necessary
agility to mount, the grace to sit erect, or the courage for a gallop.
Solemn adjurations from the stately Mrs. Carter, not to ride too fast
or dance too much, were met by gay laughter from the young lady, who
showed how little she regarded the counsel by touching up her filly with
the whip as soon as she was on her back, and going forward with a rush,
which Mike Baynam felt bound to follow, while Aunt Betsy slowly
brought up the rear with a judicious regard to her own and the bones
of her horse. The two young people left her fairly distanced, and, by a
sweep of the road around the mountain, they were quickly out of sight.
And now opportunity whispered in the ears of Mike—"Now's your
time, Mike;" and with the young lady close beside him, he was about to
speak, desperately, rashly, perhaps with a sudden gift of will and reso-
lution, when the young lady anticipated and spoke to him in the very
language of cold water:
"What say you, Mr. Baynam; shall we go on at full speed, and leave
Aunt Betsy in the lurch? What fun it would be, particularly if one could
hear her grumbling to herself about `thoughtless children,' and `how it
was not so in her day;' and `how all things were changed in these times;'
and `how foolish women had grown;' and `what good young men there
were how different then from the wicked ones of the present day.' And
then you would hear her groans over a hundred yards; for it is no small
suffering in her old bones, from sitting so stiffly on her nag, just to show
you how strong she is for a journey now!"