Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Two: Elysian Prospects >> Page 109

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription ELYSIAN PROSPECTS 109
and shaking his head knowingly, `Mrs. Carter, I know what I'm about;
Rose shall have an education.' Then he would stop short for awhile, and
look at me, and say, `Mrs. Carter, do you know what genius means?' You
see, my dear Mrs. Fairleigh, it was the one only defect in the judgment of
Colonel Carter that he did not give to our sex full credit for science and
wisdom. I would then answer him with proper spirit, madam: `Colonel
Carter,' I would say, `please to spare me your definitions and etymolo-
gies,' and this, madam, for the honor of our sex. `Well,' he would say, `Rose
Carter is one of that class whom God has endowed with genius, and it
is our duty, madam, to co-operate with God, and give her an education
which shall correspond with His gifts;' and though I would dispute the
point with him, simply for the sake of domestic argument, I yet fully
agreed with him upon the wonderful gifts of our daughter, and upon our
sacred, solemn, Christian duty, to afford her an education worthy of her
gifts from God. And we did, Mrs. Fairleigh. We sent her to the best
schools in all North Carolina. She went for eighteen months to Isaac
Parsons, of Massachusetts, and to Lemuel Waters, of Rhode Island; and
to Miss Beecher, of Connecticut, and several more, all from the North,
or Europe, and she finished off at Salem College, where she took the first
honors, and the President, madam, when she graduated, complimented
her in a first-rate speech; called her a prodigy of learning, and a genius
for anything in all the departments, and finished by presenting her her
only, madam, of all the college with a most beautiful copy of the Holy
Scriptures, bound in red morocco, with a gold rim all around the edges
you can see it now; there it lies upon that table and a large quart cut-
glass bottle of cologne water, with a cut-glass stopper. Rose has kept that
bottle, madam, and I that Bible, to this very hour." Mrs. Fairleigh was
fairly overcome, overwhelmed! Mrs. Carter had beaten her at her own
weapons. Mrs. Fairleigh gasped for breath. But Mrs. Carter, even at the
close of her speech, betrayed no symptoms of exhaustion.
She resumed she continued she had a sort of slow, dogged,
purring way of speech, never once raising her voice, no matter what the
idea or motion expressed; but never relaxing; observing all proper stops
and pauses, yet never pausing long enough to encourage the opposite
party with a hope that she, too, would now be permitted a chance to
speak. The moment she discovered any seeming disposition on the part
of Mrs. Fairleigh to reply, her tones would become more emphatic, her
utterance a shade more rapid, and her manner, not affecting her uniform
languor, would grow more earnest and exacting.
Mrs. Fairleigh succumbed, for a goodly space of time. Mrs. Carter had