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 193

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription TWELVE YEARS 193
hyar, that'll live to see it. Mark my words. You're right, Mike, as you always
hev been. Oh! Lawd, of you and I could ha' fixed it, the boy would hev been
your'n by nateral law! you was always the true friend of the family, and
poor Rose; Lawd! when I think of all, my heart swells in my buzzom
as ef 'twas gwine to bu'st. But thar's no use in talking. You always talks sen-
sible, Mike, and to the right pint. The boy is rightfully your own, seeing
that the onnateral father ain't the pusson to do nothing for it!"
Here the good old lady crossed to where Mike was sitting, with the
urchin asleep in his lap, and while one hand stroked the head of the boy,
the other did the like office with the head of Mike; a performance which
did not seem to please him much, for he put the boy into her arms, and
quietly walked out of the house, into the night, and among the trees,
under which he had rambled with Rose in days which had never known
a night.
And so the days passed, and so the years, until our "Cub of the
Panther" had seen the dawn of his twelfth summer. He had grown and
thriven; was vigorous as a young bull, without much height or bulk. He
had no spare flesh; was all bone, muscle and sinew; and as lithe of
motion, as active, quick and eager as the formidable beast whose token
he carried on his forehead an ineffaceable mark which, in his excited
moods, seemd to glow and burn, as if with a life of its own; its tawny lines
becoming absolutely fiery in their aspect.
He was now a fearless horseman; was a good shot, and accompanied
the two hunters, Mike and Sam, whithersoever the chase carried them.
Sam's boy grew also, a vigorous fellow, more huge of limb, capable of
greater shows of strength, but not of the endurance, or the restless activ-
ity of his companion. He was also a mild and gentle boy, and in this
respect differed from the "Cub," who was quick in quarrel; irritable and
resentful, if not absolutely revengeful.
It may be that this quality will also exhibit itself in his further devel-
opments of character. But to Mike Baynam, whom he considered his
father, and to Sam Fuller, who was known as his uncle, he was all defer-
ence and modest obedience. With Mattie Fuller, whom he knew as his
mother, however, he was a little disposed to be impetuous; and he lis-
tened very peevishly to the admonitions of that excellent matron, and to
those of the garrulous and good old Betsy Moore.
How had those twelve years passed with the household at "Fairleigh
Lodge?" Not happily. Wealth and fashion were inadequate to reconcile
the members of the household to one another. The handsome English
wife of young Fairleigh was haughty and arrogant of bearing; easily