Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Two: How the ''Cub of the Panther'' Proves too Much for the Bear >> Page 198

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 198 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
larger influx of the wild animals than usual. Panthers stalked boldly from
mountain to mountain, and lurked around the habitations and the
sheep-cotes. Some enormous bears had emerged from their summer
wallows in the great thickets of mountain lands, low down in gorges that
never exposed their secrets to the sun.
The hunters were, accordingly, on the qui vive, and full of hopeful
anticipations. Rifles were carefully cleaned by night over the household
fires, the boys studiously emulating the hunters in brushing up, wiping,
oiling, loading, and making themselves ready in all particulars. Water bis-
cuits and smoked venison, heedfully sliced by Aunt Betsy, were provided
in sufficient quantities, and stowed away in the saddle-bags of Sam Fuller,
who added to the food a good, corpulent bottle of mountain whiskey,
a pure article, superior to most of domestic manufacture.
Two hours before day, Mike Baynam's horn was blown, arousing dogs
and other sleepers. Hot biscuits, broiled venison steaks, and a foaming
bowl of coffee each, furnished the essential stomachics which were to
prepare them for a keen, biting north wind, a cloudy day, a long ride, and,
doubtless, a very toilsome hunt.
But the boys, as eager as hounds let slip the leash, hardly gave them-
selves time to eat, and would not have done so but for the positive com-
mands of Mike, who would not suffer them to rise from the table until
their plates were emptied briefly, until they had gulped, each, his
allowance.
A goodly hour before day found our party out among the hills, and
pursuing a route which should take them to a famous rendezvousing sta-
tion which they desired to gain by day break or soon after. They suffered
no grass to grow beneath the feet of their horses, reached the station in
due season, and proceeded with due diligence to beat up the quarters
of the beast, no matter what, bear or deer, or panther; and even the wild
turkey was legitimate prey among the hunters.
Of the details of this day's hunt, we do not care to make mention.
Enough to say that a buck and doe were bagged at an early hour. The
dogs were soon recovered, and showing themselves eager, were put into
the thicket by Mike Baynam, who kept close as possible with them, while
Sam Fuller, and the two boys took stations upon the mountain side along
which the game of all kinds were wont to run, whenever driven from the
thickets below. Each of them dismounted, tied their horses in the rear,
and, advancing to certain points, where Sam stationed the boys severally
at about a hundred yards distance from each other, they all prepared
themselves for the chances of the day.