Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Ten: The Midnight Summons >> Page 159

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Page 159

Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription THE MIDNIGHT SUMMONS 159
hev it that I've got no sort of share in the baby at all; no right, title or
interest!""Oh hush your tongue, and git your fiddle and play a tune for baby.
That's a good goose of a husband. Git your fiddle."
And the fiddle was got, and Sam, hanging over the baby, in the lap
of Goody Waters, played such inspiring strains, that the child woke with
a scream, and set up a pitiful chorus of its own, which rendered it nec-
essary that the fiddle should stop, and the mother take the infant.
"Why couldn't you play easy and soft, Sam? You're always in such a
storm when you take up the fiddle, that one would think your very soul
was in the catgut.""And so I sometimes thinks it is. My fiddle is to me what Mike
Baynam's pipe is to him. It's a comfort, I tell you, and it makes my hairt
easy, and takes the aches out of my bones after a long day's hunt."
The allusion to Mike Baynam, the elder, and his pipe, seemed to draw
his attention to the fact that he had been for some time already draw-
ing upon it, for its soothing vapors, after he had exhausted all the tobacco
in the bowl. This was the only sign he had yet given of having taken in
any of this domestic dialogue.
He had sat, already musing, sadder and darker of aspect than usual,
his thoughts running upon the past with more than usual activity, from
the survey that evening of the grand abode in the supposed pleasures
of which, as he supposed, Rose Carter had forgotten him.
As if conscious that his melancholy humors did not accord with those
of the happy little family with which he dwelt, and perhaps with some
notion that his gloom was something of a restraint upon their baby
prattle, he rose in a little while quietly, and, without a word, retired to
his chamber, seeking whatever degree of peace could be yielded by his pil-
low. He was probably wearied also from the protracted fatigues of the day.
The family very soon after retired also.
It was about midnight, when Mattie Fuller, whose chamber adjoined
that of Mike, awakened Sam, and said:
"Sam, something's the matter with brother more than usual. Hear
how he's a-groaning in his sleep!"
Sam drowsily listened and said:
"Oh! it's nothing, I reckon, but sore bones. He's tired out like myself.
I wish, Mattie, when I am in such a sweet sleep, you wouldn't be wak-
ing me with your notions."
He had scarcely spoken the words when a wild shriek, succeeded to
the groaning from Mike's chamber, and in a minute after he was heard