Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Book Third / Chapter One: The Lady of Fairleigh Lodge >> Page 102

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 102 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
Enough to say that Mike Baynam had seen enough to convince him
that he had to lament over the loss of his most grateful hope! If he had
entertained a lurking notion that the capricious beauty would yet veer
about with the breeze of fancy, and again bestow upon him a counte-
nance of favor, he was soon dispossessed of this dream by events which
quickly followed, the tidings of which were not slow to reach his ears. He
did not know, however, till a week or more after the Chinquapin hunt,
that while Master Edward Fairleigh was indulging in its amorous privi-
leges with the fair coquette, his mother, the stately widow Fairleigh, of
Fairleigh Lodge, was the companion of her invalid mother. She had car-
ried home Rose Carter on the day of that charivari, and remained with
the mother while the young people went out upon the hunt.
What was the purpose of the stately and proud woman in this sud-
den and excruciating attention to her poor but pompous neighbor?
Such was the question that Aunt Betsy put to herself.
"What, I wonder's, in the wind now?" muttered the ancient maiden
when the rich widow had made her first visit. But when she brought Rose
home, and spoke of her in raptures, and took her seat, and cajoled the
vain mother with the most delusive blarney, the wonder of the good aunt
increased beyond all calculation.
"Well, I swow!" she ejaculated, as she turned away from the group,
"it's clean past my understanding; it's parfectly marackilous. Hyar now
is this woman jist a-talking as if she'd known us all her life, yet this is
jist the second time that she's darkened our door. Before this past week
she kept her nose so high in the sky when she went by us, that no one
would think she ever seen us at all, or ever haird of sich people living any
whar. What kin it mean?"
No time was left her at this moment to solve the problem by her own
thoughts, since she had resolved, with all an aunt's vigilance, to keep Rose
in her sight during the day, and to circumscribe, as well as she could,
the well known privilege of the rustic sports of the season; at least, so
far as Master Ned Fairleigh and Miss Rose Carter were concerned.
We have seen how little successful she has been in carrying out her
resolve.
It is in our power, perhaps, to answer Aunt Betsy's question.
Mrs. Fairleigh was a widow with a handsome property, proud of her
fortunes, vain of her prosperity, ostentatious in her displays, yet exces-
sively penurious. Her object her instincts, we may say, prompted her
perpetual efforts to reconcile display with economy. To do this required
some exercise of art. She had her tastes also, was fond of music, owned