Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Six: A Philosophical Husband >> Page 229

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 229

Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 230 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER

Major Todd rose disgusted.
"Good morning, Mr. Fairleigh. Good morning, sir.""But Todd, my dear fellow, I thank you, nevertheless, for this proof of
your friendship, though I see no occasion to accept it. Come, Major, and
let us have a drink together.""Thank you, sir, no! nothing more with you, sir. Good morning."
And with equal looks and tones of scorn, the Major left the room,
mounted his horse, and dashed off in a rapid gallop.
"The miserable coward!" quoth the Major, as he rode. "It is neither
more nor less than miserable cowardice. Ten to one, if I had told him that
Bulkley would not fight, he'd have been ready enough to challenge the
d —d miserable coward!"
Fairleigh had his comment also, on his visitor.
"A d —d fire-eater, who is for getting everybody into a fight to gratify
his own vanity. No! no! It'll do well enough for desperate men, with noth-
ing to lose, to stand up to be shot at; but why should I? Let the b go!
The house is well rid of her. As for public opinion and shame, what do I
care for it here? As long as I have the money, and can give good dinners and
good liquors, I shall never want company enough. We shall see."
And he finished his soliloquy with a double dose of his favorite
beverage.
Meanwhile, Todd spread his tidings over the country, and the effect
was very soon perceptible. Fairleigh Lodge was deserted by all those visi-
tors who professed any delicacy of feeling, any pride or sensibility; but
Fairleigh was right in one respect. He did not lack for companions. He
had among his circle a sufficient number of persons, sufficiently obtuse
in tone and morals, and of appetites sufficiently strong and greedy, who
still clung to him and to his board, joined him in his hunts and revels,
and so long as his viands were good, held him to be a marvellous good
fellow. They might hold him in scorn as a coward, but they held him,
nevertheless, to be sufficiently a gentleman for their tastes. They might
sneer at his imbecility, but they tolerated his society in respect to his din-
ners. Fairleigh had become too much brutalized to discriminate nicely
between his present and former associates. He had declined, without a
consciousness, upon a lower range of companions, that class to whom
the phraseology of the present day has given the name of "scallawags,"
creatures whose only sensibilities lie in their appetites, and who cheer-
fully welcome the scorn and the loathing of all good men, so long as "lip
loyalty" is held to be a sufficient justification for the basest lying and the
dirtiest larceny.