Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Eleven: Buried in the Snow >> Page 166

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 166 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
Michael Baynam led in advance, Sam Fuller following closely, how-
ever, and keeping the dogs in check. For they, too, reaching the termi-
nus of the upper plateau, had heard, from below, the peculiar, and soft,
childlike cry of the panther. That beast was then in their very track; and,
though impatient of the impediment to his progress, though temporary,
Mike felt his necessity, as a hunter, to destroy the monster if he could.
"Keep the dogs quiet, Sam, but come on closely. We must be careful
not to frighten him off, for we can't take his scent to-day, unless with
the wind. That's in our favor now, and, unless the dogs give tongue, and
scare him off, we shall have him. Hark, you hear! The beast is eager. He
is after a doe.
How little did Mike suspect the doe upon which he was about to
spring!
He went forward cautiously, covering himself, as well as he could,
under some of the great boulders, which broke, here and there, the uni-
form surface of the second terrace.
Here, crouching behind a rock, Mike motioned back to Sam to come
forward, and share the cover with himself. The latter did so promptly, the
dogs stealing after, crouching low behind him, and now beginning to
show some signs of uneasiness. It might be terror, for they well knew the
subtle and fighting qualities of their enemy. But their full faith in the
hunters kept them at once firm and silent.
There, looking over the boulder, Sam beheld the panther, long, long,
tawny, as he slowly stole around, making a circuit on the plain, which
seemed to contemplate some object in the centre of the area which he
traversed.
"I see him!" said Sam, in a whisper, "what a monstrous fellow! as
large, I reckon, as the one you had the big fight with, down by the Balsam
Mountains. But what's he circling about?""Look to the left; about thirty yards from the panther what do
you see?""It's a bank of snow, Mike, heaped up around some low rock.""It's something that lives, Sam! Look good! Do you not see something
slowly waving in the air, just out of that bank of snow?""I think I do, Mike; what kin it be?""You see how it moves, slowly, waving towards the panther?""That's so!""That is a human arm and hand, Sam; and I think a woman's! Do you
notice anything else, Sam?""Thar's something red, as of twas clothing, poking out of the bank."