Elizabeth was married in June, and went to Ohio. In the autumn, my husband’s mother and the boys came to live with us, to which I made no objection, for “honor thy father and mother” was spoken as much to him as to me. Maybe I had some spiritual pride in seeing that she turned from her converted daughters, who were wealthy and lived near, to make a home with unregenerate me. She liked my housekeeping, and “grandmother,” as I always called her, with her white ’kerchiefs and caps, sitting by the fireplace plying her knitting-needles, became my special pride.
My husband had converted the Louisville goods into one panther, one deer, two bears, and a roll of “wildcat” money. It was not very good stock with which to begin life on a farm, but the monotony was relieved by a hooking, kicking cow, and a horse which broke wagons to splinters.
Tom, the panther, was domiciled in the corner made by the old stone chimney and the log wall of the house, close to the path which led to the garden. The bears were chained in the meadow behind the house and Billy, the deer, ranged at will. Tom and the bears ate pigs and poultry so fast that we gave up trying to raise any, while Billy’s visits to the garden did not improve the vegetables. I tried to establish some control over Tom, as a substitute for the fear he felt for his master, who was not always within call, and who insisted that Tom could be tamed so as to serve the place of a watchdog. Tom had been quite obedient for Tom, and my terror for him had abated.
I was interested in the heathen of India, and was president of a society which met in Pittsburg. Coming home from a meeting, I was thrown out of a buggy and so badly hurt that I was kept in bed six weeks. When I began to go out on crutches, I started to go to the garden, and forgot Tom until I heard him growl. He lay flat, with his nose on his paws, his tail on the ground straight as a ramrod, save a few inches at the tip, which wagged slowly, his eyes green and fiery, and I not three feet from his head, and just in reach, even if his chain held; but I had seen it break in one of those springs which he was now preparing to make. There was no help near! He would spring for my head and shoulders. If these were out of his way, he could not hold me by my dress which, was a thin muslin wrapper. He was not likely to leap until something moved, and might lie there sometime. I had heard that a panther will not jump under the gaze of a human eye, so I looked steadily into his, while I talked to him.
“Tom! Tom! Down sir,” and so tried to recall his knowledge of me.