Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Two: Elysian Prospects >> Page 110

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 110 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
entire possession of the floor. In this time she availed herself of every
opportunity to insist upon her own, her late lamented husband's, and
Rose's perfect claims to rank with those who are born in the purple, and
who move in society.""What a sickening creature!" thought Mrs. Fairleigh. "What vulgar
presumption! How impudent! What monstrous vanity and conceit!" But
the stately lady suppressed her real sentiments, simpered and replied
vaguely:
"Of course, Mrs. Carter; and why not?""Why not, indeed, my dear Mrs. Fairleigh? It is true, that we have not
wealth; but we have abundance; and we ask no favors. My daughter, as
accomplished as she is, was not to be thrust upon society. She was not an
heiress, madam, but she was worthy to be an heiress. And, you know, that
the patient waiting upon Providence is the Christian necessity. The reward
will come in due season, madam, and to bear the cross with humility is to
wear the crown in state. It is the sweet consolation of our religion, Mrs.
Fairleigh, that reconciles us to the denials of fortune; as it is the succor we
receive from our possessions of genius, and literature, and music, that
consoles us in our solitude for the want of society. If society remains igno-
rant of the gifts of my child, Mrs. Fairleigh, then is society the loser,
madam. Our most precious resources of pride, pleasure and comfort, lie
in ourselves.
Here the lady heaved a gentle sigh, which did not fatigue her; folded
her hands in her lap, and looked upwards with a mild, half-shut eye, as
if in prayer; while the stately dame of Fairleigh Lodge gazed on her with
a stare of wonder, which was not without its leaven of contempt.
Nay, she was indignant. By what right did this remorseless woman
presume to talk at all, in her presence and to talk with such airs of con-
sequence, was absolutely an insult. Mr. Bulkley's warning of what she had
to expect proved quite inadequate to convey any idea of what she had
found.
But she subdued her ruffled spirit, remembering the policy which she
had in view; and Mrs. Carter, still observing silence, the grand lady pre-
pared to reply; but scarcely had she begun with a sweet smile, and a con-
ciliatory opening, with, "Very true, my dear Mrs. Carter, you have said
it well. Good society, madam, which" when the other echoed her
"Good society, Mrs. Fairleigh, is the really desirable thing of all,
better than fortune, madame; but, my dear madam, this by no means sig-
nifies the necessity for any large circle. A few friends, madam, gifted,
refined, well educated, capable of elegant conversation, of polished man-