Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Nine: The Panther in Pursuit >> Page 155

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Page 155

Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription THE PANTHER IN PURSUIT 155
Oh! who shall tell the fearful tragedy now, in this dreariest depth of
midnight being enacted on that desolate mountain top? Who shall
conceive, or describe, all the terrors the agonies of terror the dread
despair possessing the soul and the imagination of that hapless girl,
as she hears the shrill but soft cry of her fierce pursuer in the distance;
as she hears his stealthy foot approaching on the snow; as she feels his
hot breath borne to her on the wind; as she beholds him crouching, in
a very ball of muscle, and preparing to make his final leap upon his prey,
while his small, red eyes flash out with demoniac appetite, until she closes
her own eyes, unable longer to subdue the doom which their terrible
glances threaten.
In that moment in that scene brought to this terrible straight
with such an enemy with no champion under the naked sky with
none abroad to see the heart succumbs the soul sends up a silent
prayer to the only power which can save, and then sinks into an insen-
sibility which possibly saves it from all further pain!
Is it so now here?
The night passes—slowly—with what terrible slowness! the snows
fall as before and no voice from out the darkness makes answer to our
question!