Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Six: A Philosophical Husband >> Page 226

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription A PHILOSOPHICAL HUSBAND 227
her in a flood, of what he had been in his youth, of his early promise, and
her early pride in him, a great groan escaped her bosom, and her head
drooped forward as if about to fall into her lap.
"Well, what's the matter now?" Fairleigh cried roughly and abruptly.
"What are you groaning about? Where's my wife?""Wife! wife! Oh, God, my son, the last shame has befallen us. You have
no wife.
"The devil I haven't. I wish you'd prove it. I shall be devilish glad to
be sure of the fact. Is she dead?""Oh! my son! but the shame of it the public disgrace. The finger
of scorn will be pointed at us forever.""Shame! Disgrace! What the devil are you talking about? I ask you
where's my wife?""And I tell you, Edward Fairleigh, you have no wife.""Well, please explain, that's all. I shall be rather well satisfied than
otherwise, if you can make the fact apparent; but no long talk, mother, if
you please; and if you can stop that groaning, I shall have a better rel-
ish for my coffee.
The servant by this time had appeared with a silver salver, bearing a
bowl of coffee and some dry toast.
But even in the presence of the servant, the miserable woman could
not suppress the mixed groans and sobs that issued from her bosom.
"Put the coffee down, and clear out!" ejaculated Fairleigh to the ser-
vant. As soon as he had departed, the son turned sneeringly upon the
mother.
"Now, for God's sake, deliver yourself of your burden, whatever it
may be, and stop all that grunting. What have you got to tell me of my
wife? What's become of her, or what's the matter with her?""Oh! the shame, Edward Fairleigh. She's gone—gone—fled away!
Gone with your friend, Bulkley—gone last night, and all owing, I sup-
pose, to the blow you gave her.""What blow did I give her?"
You struck her in the mouth with your doubled fist, and cut her lips;
and you slapt her cheeks.""The devil I did! Then she must have been giving me some of her
d —d insolence of tongue. I've no doubt she deserved it.""But the shame, the disgrace, my son. Everybody saw it, the whole
company, and they've all gone this morning. It was very, very shocking,
Edward, and it'll be the tale of the whole country.""Let 'em talk, d n 'em! who cares?"