Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Five: ''It Needed But This'' >> Page 223

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 224 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
haughty carriage. She was, in the usual phrase, admirably preserved, and
with vigorous constitution, upon which disease had rarely made assault.
She would, if an American, have been considered hardly more than
twenty-five. The contrast between her noble presence and that of her
lord, he bloated, obese, and somewhat infirm from frequent debauchery,
made itself felt to all spectators.
As she approached and confronted him, she said tauntingly, with an
air or scorn, and something of contempt in her tones:
"So you are the great hunter! You could brag of bagging your bear,
and it seems that he has nearly bagged you! Where is all that fine skill,
that famous shooting, that you boasted of? Really, Fairleigh, you should
stay quietly at home and hug your easy chair for the rest of your life."
The words, tone, manner and air of the speaker, were, no doubt, very
provoking, but no body anticipated the proceeding by which the hus-
band resented them. Without a word of reply, he smote her upon the
mouth, and then followed it with a slap, heavily put, upon each cheek
of the speaker.
The blood gushed from the cut lips of the lady; her cheeks became
scarlet, her eyes dilated beyond their usual size, and turning quickly away,
she exclaimed:
"It needed but this! But this!"
So saying, with a single glance to Bulkley, she passed from the piazza
and disappeared within the dwelling.
Everybody was taken by surprise. Bulkley, who was ascending the
steps, now dashed forward with fists doubled, and inflamed counte-
nance, evidently resolved to strike the brutal husband, when one of the
gentlemen grasped him by the arm and forcibly held him back.
The ladies were terribly shocked; and even the old mother, who had
little love for her daughter-in-law, half tottered up from her chair, crying
out:
"Oh, Edward! oh, my son! how could you? Shame! shame!""Well, why the devil should she provoke me with her insolent tongue?
Does she think I have no feeling?"
The next morning witnessed the departure of all the guests; but, ere
they went, it was discovered that the young Mrs. Fairleigh had taken her
departure also, had gone, indeed, that very night, and under the escort,
it would seem, of Fairleigh's college friend, Bulkley. He had ordered her
pony carriage and his own horse at midnight.
After search, it was found that the lady had carried away her jewels,
and the best portion of her wardrobe.