Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Eleven: Buried in the Snow >> Page 167

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription BURIED IN THE SNOW 167
"It is clothing, and is partly round the arm, the snow falling off as the
arm waves. Stay it must be a cloak or shawl!"
Then, as he said this, Mike Baynam was seized with a sudden shiver,
and he exclaimed:
"My God! my God! It is a woman! And 0, Sam! Rose always wears a
red shawl! Sam Fuller, Rose Carter is under that bank of snow, with one
arm out, and she's trying to keep off the beast with that poor little arm
of hers! A dream, did you call it? 'Twas no dream, Sam! It was her voice
I heard, and she is there, or I'm no living man.""Psho! How should you hear her cry a mile off at any time, and sich
a night as this? It's cl'ar unpossible.""Nothing's impossible with God, Sam; and I believe in God when I
have no faith in man or woman. Be ready to let the dogs slip when I give
the word. The beast is drawing his circles nearer and nearer. He's hardly
fifty feet from her now; and he can leap at fifteen. He's hardly more than
sixty yards from us.""Snow's deceiving, Mike. That painther's a good hundred yards off.""It matters not. Here is the only cover between us. I must shoot.""Don't; you're all in a shiver, Mike. Let me shoot.""You? No, Sam! I cannot trust your shot here. I can trust no eye and
aim but my own. Don't you fear. I'll kill him. I can't miss him, believ-
ing, as I do, that Rose Carter lies buried in that heap of snow.""Wall, stop a minute and steady yourself."
Mike rose, and seemed to shake himself, like a Newfoundland dog
just out of the water. His face was covered with a thick clammy sweat.
Then he caught up the rifle, threw it up on a line with his eye, and pre-
pared to fire. Just then one of the dogs gave tongue, and the panther stopt
in his catlike circuit, and eagerly snuffed in the direction of the sound.
In that moment Mike fired, and in the next instant the beast bounded
up fully twenty feet in the air, then, as he came down, he tore the snow
with his sharp claws, and lashed it with his tail; rolling over and over at
every spasm, till he lay writhing directly between the hunters and the
snow-covered form of the woman.
Mike Baynam naturally conceived him to be much nearer to Rose
than he really was; and, obeying his passionate impulse, in spite of the
expostulations of Sam Fuller, he threw down his rifle, and drew forth his
hunter's knife —a sharp, formidable instrument, approximating the well-
known Bowie blade, capable at once of cutting and stabbing.
"Take care, Mike, ef the beast is in his death spasm, he's dangerous;
and ef he aint got his death from that bullet, you'll hev work to do."