Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Ten: The Midnight Summons >> Page 157

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription THE MIDNIGHT SUMMONS 157
extreme conditions, where humanity can command no other agency to
effect some great good, or prevent some great evil, the intervention of
some superior power, whose mysterious operations it is impossible for
science to define or discover, and the belief in which, in many countries,
is almost their only substitute for religion.
In referring now to some such agency, in the case of Rose Carter, in
her great peril, we still follow the old mountain legend, as transmitted to
us by a generation of simple hunters, some fifty or sixty years ago.
That dreary evening in which we have seen Rose Carter, speeding,
crazed with fears and fancies, and the agonies at once of heart and con-
science, up the dreary steppes of the mountain, conscious of the terrible
and savage beast which sped also in keen pursuit, was yet even cheerfully
passed in the cabin of Sam Fuller at least, by two of its inmates.
A rousing fire was blazing in the chimney-place, the shutters were
all fastened in, excluding all sight of the melancholy snow-drifts, and the
presence of a dismal winter was only made apparent to them by the sad
soughing of the wind, simmering through crack or crevice.
A hot supper of venison steaks, wheaten biscuit, corn pones, and warm
coffee, reconciled Sam and his wife to the atmospheric influences which
they did not feel, and care hung upon neither heart, in the consciousness
of peace and plenty. Besides, there was the dear baby, now several weeks
old, "as hearty," in Sam's phrase, "as a buck," and looking about him already
as "spry as a young puppy, of good nose, in his first deer-hunt."
Mattie Fuller was a vigorous and healthy woman, and did not suffer
herself to keep her bed, or even her chamber, more than two weeks after
the baby's birth. Though she still retained Goody Waters, the female
accoucheur, as her nurse and assistant for a while, she yet made herself
almost as busy as ever about the household. She had an abundance of
milk, and the baby throve wondrously. Every day she makes some new
discovery of his perfections, and to-night she particularly challenges
Sam's attention to the length of his limbs.
"It's about the tallest boy-child," quoth Goody Waters, "that I ever did
see. Mattie Fuller, I never seed sich long legs and long airms to a baby
before.
"He'll take after Mike," said the sister; "he's tall and Sam's short.""I short, Mattie! You hear that, Goody Waters! Who ever said I
was short before, I wonder! I'm jist of the right height, and of little Mike
will only grow like me, he'll do, I reckon, for any young woman in the
country!"