Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Three: How a Woman's Tongue Can Clear the Atmosphere by Pleasantly Disturbing It >> Page 59

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription A WOMAN'S TONGUE 59
onst druv her out of the house, one snow-storm, bleeding like a stuck
pig; and I reckon ef one could sarch out under the wig atop of her head,
they'd find the mark of the broom-handle, broad as my three fingers, to
this very day! And when she gits to talk of her edication, and Rose's edi-
cation, and how fine it was, and how it finished 'em and polished 'em
off, so that they could be tip-top themselves, ef only the money was not
wanting, it's enough to make a body split sides with laughing. The can-
tankerous, redickilous, rheumatic, old head-twisted woman!"
We have condensed, in these paragraphs, the disjointed fragmen-
tary speeches which employed Mrs. Mattie Fuller through the whole
day and late in the night, to the amusement of her husband, perhaps,
and possibly to the annoyance of Mike. Mattie had a good deal of low
humor, and possessed a coarse talent for mimicry, which, in dealing
with the stately Lady Carter, she put to the most mischievous uses. She,
too, tossed her head, wiped her eyes, whined pitifully, at times, when
speaking of the poor, dear departed; and her imitations of the big dic-
tionary language of the widow were quite as ludicrous, on her tongue,
as was the patois of herself and Aunt Betsy when ironically repeated by
the lady of "High-falutin."
To all this talk Mike Baynam offered no reply. However it might
affect him secretly, he made no comment which could betray the state
of his feelings. But there was proof, nevertheless, that a very favorable
impression had been made upon him. He sat silent, it is true, but he
ceased to refill and relight his pipe, and sometimes he suffered its fire
to go out without consuming his tobacco.
Mattie remarked upon this fact, especially to her husband, and
accounted for it on philosophical principles, saying:
"You see, Sam, his heart was so full of what I was telling him, that
he couldn't fetch his breath!"
Then it was noted that immediately after dinner Mike brought out
his horse, "Go It," and gave him a good currying —a regular rubbing
down and called upon Sam to help him while he trimmed his hoofs.
This solicitude for his horse, according to Mattie, after they had gone
to bed:
"Shows he's guine to use him, Sam, and he hasn't crossed the critter
sense he come back from Polly Blanton's wedding.""Well," said Sam," see what you please, Mattie, but say nothing about
what you see! Let him work out his own notions for himself. Many a
man is drowned from clumsy friends trying to help him; and many a
man of fine feelins is jest as apt to turn away from the very woman he