Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Six >> Page 33

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription CHAPTER SIX 33
addressed himself to the task of bringing Mike out. Somehow, he
bungled, and Mike was never up to time. The rooms were crowded, and
whether Rose herself participated in the perpetual defeats of Mike,
avoiding him with an old perversity when he sought to approach her,
or whether some hostile gods had set their heads together to baffle
opportunity, who shall say? These old gods seem to be just as active in
our day as they were in Homer's, and are no doubt just as spiteful, envi-
ous and malignant. Who denies that Mammon still rules a great por-
tion of the human family, maintaining his church and doing much of
his work under the name of Jehovah? and it was not long that night
before Squire Blanton fully illustrated the powers of Bacchus in his own
person, to say nothing of his ministrations as high priest of the god, in
bringing others to his altars. What chance for Venus and Cupid where
Mammon and Bacchus so thoroughly occupy the field?
But the indefatigable Aunt Betsy did her best to neutralise these hos-
tile forces in behalf of love. She alternated between Mike and Rose with
amazing energy, pushing her sharp elbows and angular sides through
the maze of dancers and spectators now whispering in the ear of
Rose, and now nudging the arm of Mike. At length, watching what she
conceived a fortunate moment, she caught Mike by the shoulder, and
muttered in his ear,
"Now's your time, Mike! Ef you be a man, push across as fast as you
kin, now when she's a-setting down."
And Mike obeyed, forcing his way through the crowd, with as little
respect to its claims as a mad buffalo shows when trampling over a
settlement of prairie dogs.
"So you're come at last, Mr. Baynam. I thought you had quite for-
gotten me, dancing with the beautiful Miss Scrymgeour""No, Rose; I've been trying all the evening to get near you.""Oh! you couldn't have tried very hard, Mr. Baynam, seeing that
others could get near enough when they pleased.""But I did try, Rose. But somehow what with the ladies always in
the way, and Squire Blanton pulling me on one side or t'other, and
introducing me to so many
"Oh! don't waste your breath in making excuses, Mr. Baynam; I
didn't lose anything more than you, and I suppose neither of us missed
the other.""I'm so sorry, Rose. It's made me quite miserable, I assure you; but
now, that I have a chance, will you dance with me the next? You're not
engaged for the next, I reckon."