Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Thirteen: The Cub of the Panther >> Page 174

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 174 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
"Yes; I seed it afore, when I was awashing it. It's a horrid big mark, and
of sich a horrid colour. Now, the child's naterally dark. You see he's got
the yellow gum. But this is blacker by far; a sort of reddish-brown, and
it kivirs the whole front kivirs the face over both the eyes; and it's so
queer of shape. What kin it be?"
And the old woman wondered, and the young woman wondered, and
their dialogue on the subject led to a long chapter of experiences from
the former.
"I've seed many a mark upon a baby, but never one like this. And in
sich a place, too right on the forehead. I've seed the mark of a straw-
berry on a child's cheek; the mother, you see, longed for strawberries
when they worn't in season, and she couldn't get none. Now, you knows
that ef, when the mother is alonging, you kin get the thing she longs for,
in right time, she won't mark the child. Well, I once seed the baby of a
woman from about the Galts, and he was marked with a long, yellow-
brownish fruit, they called a banyanna. And I seed another marked with
wine, as the doctor considered it; but, you see, none of them was ever
marked like this on the very forehead of the baby. They was all, except
the one with the strawberry on the cheek, marked on the arm or the
shoulder. I've seed three upon the shoulders, and one low down on the
arm, and one upon the thigh, and yes, there was Jane Cotter's baby, that
had a mark, nobody could tell what it was, and the mother couldn't
remember, on the bussom, and 'twas jist for all the world like a cabbage
in the head. But this hyer mark beats me all hollow. Ef I hed a notion at
all, I would say 'twas some beast or varmint, and like nothing that was
eatable.""Jimini!" cried Mattie Fuller, suddenly enlightened, "and a beast it
is. Why, look you, Goody Waters, it is the very CUB OF A PAINTHER!""An' so it is! Oh! Lord! Oh! Lord! Only to think!""You see," continued Mattie, "it's the very tawny color of the
Painther.""So it is.""And hyer, you see is the long body like a cat. And hyer's the tail and
you see the leetle legs just below. And, oh! my God! it looks as ef it sat
squat upon its haunches, jest ready to bounce and devour! The Lord have
mercy upon us! Thar's no seeing into the insights of Providence.""It's a most wonderful! Lord! only to think how that poor gal must
hev suffered, seeing the beast so nigh, and considerin' well, how 'twas a
beast that never show'd no marcy, but jist tore and slashed and
devoured.'