Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Three: The Adventure of the Cavern in Whiteside Mountain >> Page 206

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 206 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
He returned, accordingly, to the farm of old Stephen Hoke, and there
spent the night, impatient for the adventure of the ensuing day. Satisfied
that there was a she-bear, and a cavern, persuading himself that he had
found that "narrow path" which led to her den, he prepared to be early
on the ground, to take his stand on an eminence, covered by a boulder,
from which he could see the beast the moment she should emerge from
the ledge, from which he knew that she could not swerve a step until this
point was reached. There he was to watch and kill her, as soon as she
appeared in sight.
The rest was easy. To creep along the ledge, penetrate the cave, and
slaughter the cubs, was a very easy and subordinate matter, the dam
being disposed of.
Such was the scheme of our "Cub." But, "the best laid schemes,"&c.
At early daylight, old Hoke gave him breakfast. He did not tell the old
man what was his purpose, nor did the other inquire. It was enough that
the "Cub of the Panther" was, by this time, a sort of privileged charac-
ter, well known, not only to Hoke, but to hundreds besides, all of whom
would have been glad to give him supper, bed and breakfast, and most of
whom, knowing his history, regarded him as a mystery no less than a
wonder; as one gifted by the panther with attributes similar to his own.
Hoke could see that the boy meditated something, and was content
to wait events; especially as the boy called for no assistance, and seemed
perfectly to know his own intentions.
Well, after a breakfast at daylight, the "Cub" caught up his rifle,
mounted his pony, and pushed directly for the mountain at a good smart
trot, which he continued till the ascent became quite too steep for all
rapid motion.
We will suppose him to have reached his point of watch and obser-
vation. Fastening his pony in the background, well screened from sight
by boulders and bushes, he advanced to his selected station, and put him-
self on the alert. Here he watched till after mid-day, seeing nothing.
Though cool, steady, and usually patient, as a hunter should be, the boy
was too eagerly set on this adventure, not to grow restless and impatient
at this long watch. Either the bear had gone forth early in the morning,
for the day, or was still sleeping in its den.
He knew too well the habits of the animal, to suppose, at this season
of the year, that the latter was the case, and assuming, finally, that the dam
was absent, he determined to seek the cavern, and do execution upon
the cubs.