Beck Center English Dept. University Libraries Emory University
Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Women's Genre Fiction Project

Panola, an electronic edition

by Sarah A. Dorsey [Dorsey, Sarah A. (Sarah Anne), 1829-1879.]

date: 1877
source publisher: T. B. Peterson & Brothers
collection: Genre Fiction

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You see by the date that I have arrived here. We had a tedious and tempestuous voyage, which increased poor Victor's sufferings; but he bore it all so patiently. He had such a sweet temper naturally, and so gay and bright, and really an affectionate, true heart. Poor Victor! He was so anxious to live to reach 'home,' and grandpapa and you. But, oh, Mark! it seemed cruel that he should die just the day before we got to New York! It was so hard! I weep to think of it. However it has to be borne. I am so glad | | 250 that I persisted in coming with him. I don't know what he would have done without my good Ellen and me. He was so weak. But he would laugh and say funny things to the very last. The day before he died he was sitting up on the deck in a sheltered place. I was sitting by him. Ellen was below preparing some little dainty for him, when a lady came up and said, kindly:

"'How is your brother to-day, madame?

"Victor answered himself, 'that he was more comfortable.' Then, when she had walked away, he said:

"'What relation am I to you, Panola?'

"I really was nonplussed for the instant, but, recovering myself, I said:

"'In our Indian tongue I should call you "my brother."'"

"'Should you?' he said. 'And yet, how different it might have all been, Panola.'

"'It is better as it is,' I replied. 'I have always known that.'

"'Yes, you love your Straduarius better than you do me, and Mark better than the Straduarius, and grandpapa better than Mark.'

"I smiled. Then Victor said, very seriously:

"'Panola, do you know that I could have been madly in love with one other woman in the world besides my infatuation for Natika; nay, even in spite of it, had the fates been propitious?'

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"'I know, Victor,' I said; 'it was with mamma.'

"'Yes. I could have loved her. I expect she died cursing me too, did not she?'

"I could not reply. I expect my mother did.

"'Well, it does not matter much now. In a very little while all will be clear between your mother and myself. I shall have an explanation with her pretty soon, in the "land of the hereafter," as you Indians call it.'

"Victor used to think more seriously than he talked of things, Mark. He used to think a great deal, and I believe he often prayed; but it was his way to talk lightly and gayly about serious matters. Victor had some lovely traits of character.

"He died quite calmly, whilst sleeping. I will give you all the details when we meet, so that you can write them to Natika. I found a thick letter, sealed and addressed to her, in Victor's writing-desk. I forwarded it as soon as we arrived, with a newspaper containing the notice of his death at sea.

"The remains have gone on to Louisiana. I find myself so much fatigued and exhausted by watching, anxiety and grief, that I must stay here a while to rest, before I renew my travels. My engagement is ended, and I long for home; so you may expect me soon. Grandpapa will have to take me in until I can provide myself with an establishment in my own long-deserted huge house. His and your

| | 252 page image : 252 PANOLA.

The group of friends stood around Victor's open grave. The words "Earth to earth, and dust to dust" had just been uttered, and the earth was being cast gently upon the coffin, when a woman made her way through the small group to the side of the grave. She had a blanket pinned over her head. She put this aside, and revealed the dusky features of Indian Molly, Cherokee Joe's wife. She knelt, and laid upon the descending coffin a hatchet whose handle was streaked and painted with red, and a pipe tufted with red feathers; then she rose up and glided swiftly away. Death had forestalled the vengeance of the Cherokee. The grave was filled in silence, and the vengeful weapons were buried with Victor.

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