Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Two: Matrimonial Speculations—How Women are to be Won, and So Forth. >> Page 51

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription MATRIMONIAL SPECULATIONS 51
naturally delicate and refined. It cost me no labor or much study to
become accomplished, correct and graceful of speech, easy and elegant
of manner. It would break my heart, Rose, were you not to have taken
after me. As for Betsy, it makes me perfectly miserable to listen to her
vulgarisms.""Come in, Mattie Fuller, come in," sounded the masculine tones of
Aunt Betsy from within. "Come in and take a rest a bit. You must be
pretty much overkim by your ride.""Rest a bit! overkim!" were the subdued echoes of Mrs. Jane Carter
from within. "Oh, heavens! how distressing!""Don't let it distress you, mamma. Aunt Betsy can't help it.""It is that which most distresses me, my child, that her disease is
incurable! It is lucky that her present visitor is like herself. They cer-
tainly do understand each other, speaking in their barbarous dialect.
But we must endure it, child. Betsy has her uses."
Yes, indeed, very various were Aunt Betsy's uses. She was the Mrs.
Caleb Justen of the establishment; the housekeeper, who looked to the
kitchen, the house cleaning, the meat curing, the sausage making; in
brief, to all the drudgery of farm and cottage. Her patois might have
been spared by the would-be fashionable lady, on the score of grati-
tude, at least, if not of taste.
Mrs. Martha Fuller was introduced in due form to the family circle.
She was received in state by the fine lady, who welcomed her after a
fashion, barely avoiding incivility, and making no effort to rise from
her seat.
"I hope you're well, Mrs. Fuller; I hope you've recovered from that
shortness of breath which formerly troubled you? Your husband is well?
And Mr. Baynam?""Thank you, Mrs. Carter; but we're all as well as could be expected.
I've left off wheezing, as you see, and can shake a leg now at a regular
breakdown as sprigh as any gal in the mountains. I was never better in
all my life; and Sam Fuller eats his corn and bacon jist as free as his nag
chaws his fodder. Mike, too, is lively as a lark in seed time and harvest;
and of thar was a home of good cheer and good sperits, it is ourn."
There was much in this speech to annoy the great lady. To herself
she muttered:
"Vulgar creature! With her wheezing and shaking a leg, and break-
down for dance; and sprigh for sprightly, and gal for girl, and chaw for
chew. Oh! Lord, the very match for Betsy!"
She was also disgusted at the boast of life and merriment in that
lonely mountain cabin. What right had such people to merriment and