Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Five: ''The Day the Deer Must Die!'' >> Page 72

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 72 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
vapor which the great deeps of valley are sending up, like the smokes
of a burning city, blended with tongues of flame; as the sun, having
rushed up the mountain tops, glares down, with inflaming glances, into
the dim, damp recesses of the thickets. Through these vapors the vul-
tures dart in divers directions. In their flight our hunter sees a proof
that they are driven out, not by the glare of the sun, but by the progress
to their retreats of Sam Fuller and the dogs. He conceives the route of
the latter from the spot whence the vultures have emerged.
As they severally shoot out from the vapor, the sun coating their
sable skirts with gold, they suggest fancies of that demoniac flight when
the fallen angels fled beneath the glances of their Lord, his burning
shafts pursuing, and gilding their gloomy aspects, even with the very
wounds which they made.
They have sped from sight. The vapors roll onward and upward,
from and among the solemn gorges. And now the hounds give
tongue slowly and at long intervals at first; then you hear a single pro-
tracted strain from a single beagle.
"It is Tear-Coat!" said Mike. He can distinguish a dog by his voice
as well as a man.
Another tongue bursts forth in cry —a short, quick, impatient bay.
"It is Snap," quoth Mike.
A howl follows rather than a bark, and then another, more of a
whine than howl or bark; and he recognizes the several tongues of
Swallow and Bruiser.
All the dogs have caught the scent of the slot, and are coursing
together.
The game is started.
"They are in full cry!" said Mike, "and the trail grows hot."
He took his attitude, cocked his rifle and stood ready. A moment
after, and a fox rushed by him within twenty feet. The rifle was lifted to
his eyes, but as instantly let down. The buck hunter must not be
deluded by the contemptible fox.
The music of the whole pack, in continued strain, now rolled up to
his ears, showing that they are in earnest; that the game is fairly afoot,
and that all parties have emerged from those thicketty margins through
which the trail has been taken.
Tear-Coat rages rapidly, swearing like a trooper, in his own language
of course; Snap, impatient that he is still in the rear, uttering himself in
brief spasmodic jerks of sound, the diapason being a long, irregular
howl.