Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Five: The Amiable Sisters >> Page 129

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription THE AMIABLE SISTERS 129
described the charming events of her charming summer, and opened the
eyes of her mother to some wonderful lessons in geography. The com-
placent old lady, never once avowing her ignorance of anything, place or
person, was yet forced secretly to wonder at the extent of the world, and
the wonderful extent of her daughter's travels in so short a space of time.
She, however, thought Rose a little thinner and a little paler than
usual; but naturally ascribed these appearances to the nightly hops and
dances of which she had never-ending accounts in which Rose had
been the centre of the fashionable system.
Rose returned to Fairleigh Lodge, after three days spent with her
mother; and the fashionable season, for the winter, soon began, for the
domestic circle of its lady proprietor; and there were readings, and music,
and quadrilles, and, finally, from tableaux, they advanced to private the-
atricals, Rose developing new and surprising powers, as an actress in gen-
teel comedy. Happy Rose!
Of all these things, Mattie Fuller heard in due season. She had become
somewhat intimate with Mrs. Childs, formerly Miss Hall, the ungrateful
young lady who did not sufficiently appreciate the charms and bless-
ings of Fairleigh Hall.
Mrs. Childs was not very communicative, being something of a lady;
but Mattie Fuller had a curious faculty of extracting information, and as
she herself phrased it, she "knew how to pick the secret from between the
very teeth of man or woman, especially woman." From her she obtained,
at intervals, a knowledge of so many peculiarities of Mrs. Fairleigh of
her selfishness, vanity, meanness, and despotic temper that she drew,
for her own and husband's satisfaction, a very life-like portrait. Speaking
of Rose, Mrs. Childs said:
"Poor girl, I pity her! I pitied her from the moment I saw her enter
the house. It's all very fine and pleasant at first, Mrs. Fuller, but wait
only wait! Already I think I see a change in Miss Carter. I see her some-
times at church, in the great family pew; and she doesn't wear the same
face of pride and satisfaction that she wore at first. She's pale and thin,
and looks anxiously about her. Something troubles her already. Either
she's worn out with the work and Mrs. Fairleigh well knows how to
tickle at first, and then to drive the willing horse or she's troubled in
some way by the tryannies of that old woman. I tell you it's a danger-
ous place for a young woman to be in, now that the house is filled always
with those young fellows, fresh from college, the companions of Ned
Fairleigh, who is as great a tyrant as his mother. She'll get all that she
can out of Rose, and then whistle her away as she did me; hating her