Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Six: Gilded Sepulchres >> Page 75

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription GILDED SEPULCHRES 75
sheltered in its hollows, and with its shady clump of chestnut and fruit
trees around it, he had conned over, with repeated memories, the very
language in which he was to urge his suit and try his fortunes.
He would not reproach her with anything in the past. He would
make no complaints. He would utter no sighs. He would simply lay his
heart and hand before her, and accept her reply as final. And then, "to
supper with what appetite he might."
But he was soon destined to a sudden and complete dispersion of
all this train of ideas, if not resolves, by one of the most wonderful and
unexpected events in his experience, an event which filled him with
amaze.
As he descended the heights, entered upon the valley, and wound
his way into the road, his direct pathway to the cottage, what should he
encounter but the magnificent carriage of the stately lady, the Widow
Fairleigh, coming towards him on the same route, and evidently emerg-
ing from the court-yard of "Rosedale."
Mike had no hostile feeling towards the social aristocracy of the
country, though it might withhold its privileges from the class to which
he belonged. He was neither ashamed of himself nor of his class; nor
did he feel any sense of mortification at the asserted inequalities of
birth, fortune, and education; and yet, something of a fancy, the secret
of which lay rather in his instincts than his thoughts, prompted him to
wish to turn aside, and avoid the encounter with the great lady, and her
grand equipage.
But this was impossible unless he should wheel about, turn back, and
canter off upon the route over which he came. This was not to be thought
of. The road, at this point, narrowed to a mere gorge, with hardly more
space than was needed for a double carriage track. Accordingly, he must
pass within two or three paces of the vehicle. As he was doing so, bowing
his head respectfully as he approached the carriage window, the great
lady had her horses stopped, and called to Mike in the language of lady-
like condescension:
"Come hither, my man, if you please.""Come hither, my man," was hardly a phrase to please the ears of Mike
Baynam; but he rode up respectfully and bowed, while the lady said:
"I wish to buy your buck, my man; what is your price?""It is not for sale, madam," was the quiet and cold, but respectful
answer.
"Not for sale! Why, are you not a professional hunter?""That is my business, madam."