Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Six: A Philosophical Husband >> Page 227

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 228 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
"But what will you do about your wife?""What should I do? She's gone let her go
and a good riddance.
Her tongue was enough to drive any man mad.""But Bulkley, you will pursue him, the treacherous friend, who has
brought dishonor upon our house.""Pursue him! For what?""To shoot him what else?"
And the eyes of the old woman flashed with sudden fire of vindictive
fury, and the one white snag of a tooth in front of her mouth glared out
sharp and white, like that of a wolf, as she hissed rather than spoke the
words:
"Yes! pursue the treacherous friend to the death. Shoot, destroy him,
who has dishonored your name forever. The whole country will expect it.""Oh! d -n the country! Who cares what it expects? As for Bulkley, he
has done me the best service of friendship he ever did me in his life, in
ridding me of that woman. I was sick of her, goaded from morning to
night by her infernal tongue, and her taunts and jeers that were like so
many hisses of a snake in my ears. Let him keep her if he will; they may
go the devil together.""Oh! my God!" cried the old woman, "that my son should be insen-
sible to shame the dreadful disgrace of name and family, only to be
wiped out in the heart's blood of the criminal!"
Squire Fairleigh swallowed his coffee, and ate his toast the while, as
coolly as if the course of love ran smoothly in his house. He rang for the
servant, another cup of coffee was called for, and this he laced with peach
brandy; then, taking up his hat, and lighting his pipe, he strolled out into
the grounds, leaving the old woman to groan without an auditor. He was
visited two days afterwards by one of his quondam friends, who had been
of the hunting party.
Major Todd was a fire eater had been in the army, and had enjoyed
sundry affairs of honor. His ears pricked up, as it were by instinct, like
those of an old hound on a warm scent, whenever pistols and coffee were
on the tapis. From the moment of his leaving Fairleigh Lodge on the
morning after the hunt, he had busied himself on horseback, making
inquiries after the treacherous friend of Fairleigh. He had gathered such
information as he thought satisfactory. He took for granted that, as a
matter of course, according to the custom of the country, Fairleigh
should either challenge Bulkley or shoot him down upon the highway.
He did not give Fairleigh credit for any undue affection for his wife, but
he did credit him with some sensibility some regard for his honor
and a large degree of resentment at the treachery of his long-trusted