Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Nine: The Chinquapin Hunt >> Page 88

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Page 88

Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 88 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
down upon the farmlands, the woods and the Cottage of Rosedale, he
was utterly confounded by the spectacle which met his eyes.
The woods were full of people. There were to be seen, glimpsing about
and between the trees, the forms of young men and young women, some
twelve or fifteen in number, strolling about in groups or in pairs, and all
seemingly busied, and all happy in their business, whatever that might
be. He could hear, faintly brought up to him by the breeze, the merry
laughter of the young people; and now could he see one chasing the
other, some damsel in flight, some young man in pursuit; and, Oh! the
rustic horror of the event, the girl was invariably made captive, and
submitted, with feeble resistance, to the penalty of being kissed!
Among these, Mike could easily distinguish Ben Fitch, the happy
proprietor and possessor of the late Polly Blanton; and there was old
Squire Tom Blanton, himself, pursy and proud, yet romping as reck-
lessly, if not as lightly, as any of the party; and there was Joe Scrymgeour,
with his eternal fiddle, which he took with him wherever he went, hardly
omitting it on the Sabbath, and when he honoured the Meeting House
with his presence; and there was his sister, the bouncing fat Mahala
Scrymgeour, she who had so suffered by her ludicrous break-down in
the shake down of the bridal night!
But, all of the thoughts and emotions of Mike, merged in a single
one of intense misery, as he beheld certain other parties winding off
among the more shady groves, and away from the near neighbourhood
of the several groups!
There he could not mistake, there was the tall and slender form,
of Rose Carter, wearing her crimson shawl; and, alongside of her, and
close beside her, walked no less a person than young Fairleigh.
Following these two, as fast as her legs and breath would suffer, came
good old Aunt Betsy, keeping her eyes of watch upon the young couple
in front, herself attended by young Bulkley, the associate of Fairleigh in
College, and his constant companion, it would seem, in all piquant
adventures. On this occasion, it was quite evident to Mike that Bulkley
was playing the "stalking horse" for his friend, and diverting, or trying
to divert, the attention of Aunt Betsy, while Fairleigh pursued the game.
The distance momently widened between these parties; Aunt Betsy
not being able to keep up with the long strides, and the more youthful
forms of the young people. Soon, Rose and Fairleigh were lost to the
sight of Mike, among the groves, or only appeared, at moments, glimps-
ing through openings of the wood, only to disappear again among the
thickets.