Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Book Fourth / Chapter One: Twelve Years of the Life of ''The Cub'' >> Page 188

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Page 188

Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 188 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
It is true that this odium was, at first, confined mostly to classes of
which the social circle of Mrs. Fairleigh took but little heed; but the
effects extended somewhat beyond it, and even among her aristocratic
equals she discovered, in process of time, a coldness, and reluctance at
intimacy, which were equally new and humiliating in her experience. Her
abode was no longer the popular centre for fashionable reunions; and, in
the absence of her son in Europe, the good lady began to feel that wealth
can not always command influence, or even deference, or supply the
want of virtuous human sympathies. The little intercourse which she had
suffered to exist between herself and the mountaineers who brought her
game, was suddenly ruptured.
This class of people, of large self-esteem, in spite of poverty, resented
her stately airs of consequence, especially now, when they had such good
grounds for indignation. They no longer appeared at her doors, cap in
hand, with a fine buck, or a fat gobbler for sale. They could find cus-
tomers enough elsewhere; and, gradually, she began to discover that their
resentments were taking an active turn for her annoyance. Her cattle
were slaughtered among the hills. Her park fences were broken down,
and rude replies, and wicked comments, were audibly uttered, in her own
hearing, by persons of a class whom she had always hitherto despised.
On one occasion, as she was entering her carriage, after leaving church,
a stranger stood up to the side of the vehicle, and said abruptly
"You're waited for, ma'am, by all your friends and relatives! They've
got smart accommodations for you, and sich warm fires as you never
know'd before! Hurry up!""What do you mean, sir? What friends and relations, and what are
these accommodations?""In hell, ma'am! They've got the biler seven times heated; and all the
devils are clapping hands, and on the look out for your coming. The
sooner you hurry up the better. They're all dying to see you!"
It was, perhaps, a sorry way to revenge the wrongs of poor Rose
Carter; but these rustics knew of no other.
The result of this sudden and unpleasant change, in the experience
of the stately lady, was to give her a temporary disgust of the country;
and, without beating of drum, working secretly, the good lady suddenly
departed to join her son in Europe, leaving "Fairleigh Lodge" in the occu-
pation of an agent, who attended to her estates generally.
In taking her departure she necessarily broke up her establishment;
and this led to the discharging of the horrid Mrs. Sweetzer, her house-
keeper, without a day's warning, and without any of those rewards, for