Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Twelve: ''The Jooks'' >> Page 172

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Page 172

Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 172 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
Mike stole towards the bed, clasping his own hands together, with a
vicelike clutch, and gazed on the face of the frail, fair beauty whom he
had so much loved, and who was about to be lost to him forever. She was
still fair; but the pallor of death had already taken all color from her
cheeks, even that which comes from extreme pain and anguish. The fea-
tures were all in repose. The eyes were sealed over with the lids fully let
down, and the long lashes spreading their silken net-work over the now
narrow apertures. She did not even seem to breathe.
A deep sob, choking, for the moment, stifled the voice of Mike
Baynam; then, with a burst of anguish throwing himself down by the
bedside, with his eyes riveted on her face, while his hands grasped one of
hers, which hung drooping by the pillow, he cried:
"Oh! Rose! oh! my precious Rose: look at me. Give me one look of
those dear eyes. It is I —it is I, Mike Baynam, who loved you, Rose, as
mortal never loved before! One look, Rose, dear Rose; one look of those
beautiful eyes, before you shut them from earth forever, to open them in
heaven.
"She looks! she looks!" cried Mattie Fuller; and indeed she did look,
as if this fond, sobbing adjuration had arrested the fingers of death for
the moment, the lids were rolled away from the orbs, and the large eyes,
filled with expression, settled, for a moment, tenderly on the face of her
luckless lover. But only for a moment then they closed again, sealed
firmly in death. One slight shiver, and she lay silent. Nor voice of love
or hate, nor feeling of pain or pleasure, shall lighten those beautiful orbs
again with mortal consciousness of mortal life.
"She is gone!" cried Mattie.
"Gone!" echoed Mike, while a great groan, bursting from his bosom,
shook to the centre his Herculean frame. Then, wringing his hands
together, he gave one look to the beautiful death before him; stooped
fondly, and pressed his lips upon her cold cheeks; and then darted head-
long from the chamber from the house, and into the neighboring soli-
tudes of thickets. None saw him again for the remainder of the day; but
at midnight, Mattie Fuller, hearing a noise in the chamber of death, went
thither, and found her brother sitting by the coffin, with one cold hand
of the dead woman grasped firmly, almost fiercely, within his own! And
he bade Mattie depart, sternly and he watched with his silent com-
panion that livelong night, till they came in to him at dawn, to deck the
beautiful victim for the grave!