Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Eight: Lost! Gone! >> Page 145

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Page 145

Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription LOST! GONE! 145
She ate a biscuit with difficulty, and swallowed a cup of coffee; then
suffering from a sense of nausea, she hastily left the table, and retired
once more to her chamber.
It required a painful effort to reappear an hour after, and take her
place at the piano, where, without being asked, she played, as usual, for
a goodly hour, Mrs. Fairleigh brooding the while, in profound silence
over her knitting.
So passed several days, in which the indefatigable Sweetzer discovered
that the girl had been busily engaged, in repeated snatches, in writing
letters as she supposed but these were so carefully concealed that no
traces of them could be found.
At last, Saturday came the mail day, and little Benny, the mail boy,
a smart negro urchin of fifteen, was in waiting after breakfast.
"You see, ma'am," said Sweetzer, as she prepared to get the mail bag,
"you see she's off already; gone ahead. Thar, you may get a sight of her
bonnet among the trees.""Yes, indeed, there she goes," said the stately lady, spectacles on nose,
and looking forth through the window.
"There she goes all eagerness. How wonderfully fast she walks.""Yes, ma'am, it is wonderful, considering the load she's got to carry.""Astonishing! And in her eagerness and anxiety, she has gone forth
without shawl or cloak; and such a bitter cold day as it is. Why, Sweetzer,
it looks as if we were to have snow.""It's got a 'stonishing snowy look, ma'am, for the season. I reckon
'twill snow before night.""Ugh!" with a shiver, as she looked, her eyes following the retreating
form of Rose until it disappeared from sight.
"She's a vigorous girl, Sweetzer.""Strong as a horse, ma'am.
"And certainly very beautiful! very beautiful. A man might very well be
forgiven for being entrapped by such a woman. She's very artful, Sweetzer.""Cunning as a fox, ma'am.""To take advantage of my hospitality!" mused the stately lady, nurs-
ing her wrath by the usual process.
"After all the favors I have shown her; introducing her into society;
taking her with me on my travels; clothing her with fine garments, and
decking her with my own jewels. It is monstrous! And such presumption,
too! How should she dare! But it is so with all low-bred people! They
are at once ungrateful, artful and presumptuous.""That's so, ma'am," said the grinning echo, however little she might
relish the estimate made of people lowly bred.