Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Six: A Philosophical Husband >> Page 228

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription A PHILOSOPHICAL HUSBAND 229
friend. Of course the opinion of Major Todd, as that of every body
besides, regarded the flight of Mrs. Fairleigh as only the crowning act,
arguing a long series of criminal treacheries on the part equally of wife
and friend. In this respect they did the wife injustice; but of this hereafter.
Major Todd was mistaken in his man. After expressing his sympa-
thies, and professing his readiness to serve the injured husband, after the
usual fashion, the Major proceeded:
"I have ascertained that Mrs. Fairleigh has reached Asheville, and
taken lodgings at the hotel in her own name. Bulkley is also there, hav-
ing taken lodgings also. They traveled together, she in her pony carriage,
and he on horseback, followed by one servant. It is probable that they
will remain some days in Asheville; but whether he leaves or not, I can
find him, and if you will honor me by entrusting me with your message,
I will find him. Bulkley will fight. He has behaved to you like a d d
scoundrel, but he don't lack pluck. He will fight."
That, however, was the very last thing that Fairleigh wished him to
do. He knew that Bulkley would fight, from his old college experience.
Had he known otherwise, he would most probably have accepted the
offer of Major Todd.
To the surprise of the latter, he declined his services, saying to him,
almost in the language he had used to his mother:
"My dear Major Todd, I am very much obliged to you for your very
polite offer, and in any other case would be happy to accept your services;
but the truth is, so far from being angry with Bulkley, I am grateful to
him. He has done me, in this proceeding, a greater act of friendship than
he ever did me in his life before. He has relieved me of a most burden-
some charge, of a great annoyance. The woman had become distasteful
to me. She was a subject of my loathing, sir, and her dd tongue, sir,
would make a hell in every household.""Great Heavens! Mr. Fairleigh, you surprise me! Such a splendid
woman, too. But whether her flight be a benefit and a relief or not, it is
nevertheless the case that Bulkley has put a mortal disgrace upon you,
has brought your name and house to shame, and public opinion will
require that you should wash out the stigma in his blood. You must seek
him out and fight him, or put him to death, as you would a wolf who had
penetrated your dwelling to devour.""I do not see the necessity of it, Major. As for public opinion, I do not
care the snap of my finger for that. I can buy up half the country, and the
opinion will be thrown in gratis. I shall not bother myself about Bulkley
or the woman. She shall punish him for me, more effectually than my
bullet would do. They may go to h —1 together, for all that I care."