Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Nine: Catstrophe—Conclusion >> Page 250

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 250 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
saving!" cried Sam Fuller. "It was jest so, in that very way, that old Mrs.
Carter tumbled forward and died right away, when she heard of Rose,
and how she was dead at our house! It's a God's judgment!"
Edward Fairleigh survived his mother but a few hours. A surgeon had
been promptly summoned; but it needed very slight examination to sat-
isfy him that the case was beyond his reach. He died, in great suffering to
the last, conscious to the last, but speaking little.
A coroner's inquest sat upon the body. There was no discord among
the witnesses. The transaction was beheld by the hunters of both parties;
and when brought before a grand jury, the case was dismissed as one of
justifiable homicide, in self-defence.
Mrs. Fairleigh, the younger, sitting sadly in her chamber, in humble
lodgings at Asheville, was suddenly waited upon by Colonel Henderson.
His tidings naturally shocked and horrified her. He brought to her
the first news of the catastrophe.
"Your case abates. The act of God has released you far more effectu-
ally than could any act of man."
So the lawyer summed up the results to herself, as follows:
"Mr. Fairleigh survived his mother some five hours. He inherited the
estate the moment she expired, and you inherit as his widow. There was
no will, and there is no other heir. You have no competitor, and your
claims need few legal steps to be fully recognized. Assuming that you
would desire me to do all that may be and should be done, in respect to
your interest, I have already initiated all the necessary proceedings. I have
also seen to the proper burial of your husband and his mother.""But how can I take this property, Colonel Henderson, considering
the steps I have already taken, and the last relations I had with Mr.
Fairleigh?""By all the rights of law, justice, and an honorable conscience. You
will please believe, Mrs. Fairleigh, that I will compel you to no step which
I do not regard as proper, equally in the courts of law and conscience.
Enough in this respect."
Mrs. Fairleigh, soon after taking possession of the estate, left it in charge
of Colonel Henderson, and proceeded to England, and accompanied only
by the faithful Bridget. She came back the ensuing year, accompanied by
an aunt and uncle, well stricken in years, who lived with her during the rest
of their lives. She remained a widow, honored as a lady to the last, having
survived all her fashionable tastes, and grown into a useful housekeeper
and an amiable hostess.