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 104

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Page 104

Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 104 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
and change to feel very keenly the severity of this rebuke, and the
Coventry to which she was so insolently and pitilessly consigned.
But how to replace Miss Hall? That was the question; and that ques-
tion solves for us the difficulty which troubled good Aunt Betsy in her
endeavors to account for the sudden and excruciating attention of the
stately widow Fairleigh to the humble family at Rose Cottage.
Mrs. Fairleigh had heard of the charming beauty of Rose Carter, her
grace and elegance, for a long season; but recently, from her son and
young Bulkley, she had heard of her accomplishments also. In the week
which Rose had spent at Squire Blanton's, after the marriage of his
daughter, the two young men had been frequent visitors. They had heard
Rose read from the Poets, one or two worn copies of whose writings were
to be found in the house; they had heard her play on the antique little
piano, which was a conspicuous and much cherished piece of furniture
in Blanton's parlor; and they were both struck gratefully with her singing.
This led to inquiries touching her education, and it was discovered that
Mrs. Carter, ambitious of her daughter, resolved on making her a fine
lady, had drawn to the utmost extent upon her resources, in better days,
in sending her, first, to one of the best female schools in the country, and
subsequently to a female college, where she had graduated with all the
honors.
These facts, once fully ascertained, young Fairleigh prompted his col-
lege friend, Bulkley, and when the latter heard the tribulation expressed
by Mrs. Fairleigh, at the loss of Miss Hall, and the difficulty of finding
a proper substitute, he, at once, indicated Rose Carter as likely to fulfill
all the required conditions. A significant look from young Fairleigh led
him to exaggerate somewhat the merits of Rose, both as a reader and a
musician, and a remark, carelessly made, by Fairleigh, who knew his
mother well, at once determined the usurious lady.
"I suppose the young woman could be had cheaply? They are poor,
are they not, these people?""Quite so! They live very humbly, from what I hear."
Not a syllable was said of the wedding party, its incidents, or of their
own participation in the scene. Enough, however, was said to determine
Mrs. Fairleigh that Miss Carter should, if possible, be persuaded to take
the place of Miss Hall. When Mrs. Fairleigh expressed herself to this
effect, Mr. Bulkley put in a few words of caveat:
"You will have need to be very cautious, Mrs. Fairleigh, as the mother
is said to have an enormous conceit of herself and daughter. She is