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 191

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Page 191

Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription TWELVE YEARS 191
Mrs. Fairleigh was quite a lawyer. Of course, he was told of the death
of Rose.
"There was a child, I believe," said the virtuous mother; "but I stu-
diously forebore all inquiries. The less we know of these things the bet-
ter. The child is dead, I fancy; and there's an end of it."
But that was not the end of it, as we shall see; nor was the child dead
very far from it. The "Cub of the Panther" grew and flourished. Suckled
at the breasts of Mattie Fuller, along with her own child, the Cub grew
strong, as if he had derived aliment and character from the very disas-
trous circumstances which attended his birth.
At the end of two years, and at the time of Mrs. Fairleigh's return from
Europe, with her son and his bride, the little urchin was toddling all
about; moving as stealthily as a cat, and prying into every hole and cor-
ner. Small of frame, he was yet lithe and muscular, bold and hardy. His
limbs were singularly well knit together, and his temperament seemed to
promise great energy and activity. Meanwhile, growing with his growth
the token of the panther, upon his forehead, grew more and more won-
derfully distinct. The whole outline of the beast was as clearly marked
as if photographed as if impressed in his very blood; as doubtless it
was. It was remarked that, in his fits of childish passion, and these were
frequent, the colors of his mark would deepen, and seemed to glow as
if with fire; the tawny outlines dilating into absolute redness with every
emotion.
Mike Baynam, to the great annoyance of Mattie, made a great pet of
the child, who followed him about the house, as devotedly as any of his
hounds. Aunt Betsy, who had come to live with Mattie Fuller, after the
burial of her sister and Rose, seemed equally disposed to spoil the urchin,
and her unwise indulgence of him was frequent subject of controversy
among the women. We should not omit to mention, that the day after
Rose's funeral, Mrs. Fairleigh sent over to the mother, (being as yet igno-
rant of her death) the trunk of Rose, with all her little possessions of
wardrobe and trinkets, minus those few specimens which the horrid
housekeeper, Mrs. Sweetzer, had abstracted for her own uses.
The cottage at Rosedale had been sold, and bought by Mike Baynam,
and in process of time, after certain additions had been made to the
place, the whole family, Sam and Mattie Fuller, Mike Baynam, good old
Aunt Betsy, and the two children, were all removed from the mountain
cabin, where they had dwelt so long, to that more commodious and com-
fortable home, which nestled snugly along the mountain side.
Here Mike and Sam continued the life of the hunter; the former, sub-
dued to a grave quietude of demeanor; never being seen to laugh; and