Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Eight: Playing the Trout >> Page 235

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription PLAYING THE TROUT 235
She had been pleased with the courteous old gentleman, and he had suf-
ficiently shown, by his graceful courtesies, that she had made a favorable
impression upon him. She ventures to presume on this, to solicit an
interview with him at an early hour.
Bridget has returned from her mission and brought the answer
meanwhile, she reports to her lady that Mr. Bulkley is impatiently kick-
ing his heels in the parlor.
"Let him wait," was the cool reply; "and when Colonel Henderson
comes the instructions were concluded in a whisper. She descends
to Bulkley at last, but at her leisure, and meets him courteously. He offers
his hand to conduct her to the sofa. She thanks him, but prefers a chair.
She is very courteous. He must acknowledge that, but it strikes him that
she is by no means cordial; and this, in connection with her resolute
denial that he should enter the carriage the night before, disturbs his self-
complacency.
His auguries had been more favorable. In brief, he had construed cer-
tain flirtations at "Fairleigh Lodge" to mean something beyond that def-
inition which fashionables give to this word. We, who moralize, or try
to do so, according to an old-fashioned school, have long since entered
our protest against the legitimation of a practice which, as in the case
of Canute, addressing the sea, appears to say to the great billows of
human passions, fairly aroused, "So far, and no farther! Here, on the very
verge of the abyss, shall your fierce waves be stayed."
Bulkley presumed on these fashionable flirtations, so frequently
enjoyed with the wife of his friend, Fairleigh, and construed her smiling
reception of his devotions into a significance which, in all probability, she
herself never designed. She had been trained in the sort of society to
which these things had been habitual; a society which, in the pleasant ban-
ter and gay badinage of fashionable parlors and ballrooms, votes all
empressement vulgar.
Bulkley had enjoyed no such training; had lived but little in any but
very simple and earnest circles; and that petty, pretty, pleasant little play
of fancy, which loves to dance and sport along the shores of the sea, never
venturing in, was inconsistent with the stern earnestness of his passions.
In the fierce language of Byron's "Gaiour," he might say:
"I knew not how to whine and sigh,
I knew but to enjoy or die!"
His devotions were received by Mrs. Fairleigh according to certain
recognized conventional artifices, such as influenced the relations of the