Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Four: The ''Cub'' Saves his Father's Life, But Administers a Sharp Admonition >> Page 210

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 210 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
It required all the strength of the Squire and the two boys to lift the
five hundred pounds of she-bear into the go-cart. The cubs were fine
specimens of "shoat-meat."
A fine moon lighted their way, and, by nine o'clock, the meat was all
within the barn yard.
But the "Cub" was not for rest. He and Billy Hoke proceeded to skin,
quarter, and cut up. Both boys had learned the lesson of butchering long
ago. They worked secundum artem, and at midnight the work was done,
the meat secured, Squire Hoke made happy in the hide of the she-bear,
and one enormous ham, and supper being eaten, the boys slept soundly.
At noon, the next day, driving old Hoke's cart, with his own pony, our
"Cub of the Panther" appeared at Rose Cottage, to the delight of every
body, bringing home the spolia opima of his enterprise.
Mike Baynam smiled approvingly, as he heard the story, but said
nothing. The women were astounded, as well they might be, and were
ceaseless in their ejaculations. But Sam Fuller was grand and glorified.
He hugged the boy, and declared him the prodigy, the world-wonder of
the mountains; and finding all language unavailing to express his emo-
tions, he turned upon his own son with reproaches, making a melan-
choly contrast between the boys, in favor of the bear-hunter over the
poor book-worm.
Young Fuller was greatly humbled, but said nothing in reply; only
fixed his eyes more attentively upon the book he was reading. His father
jerked the book out of his hands, and hurled it into the corner.
"Dern the book!" he exclaimed; "you won't be worth your salt, gwine
on at this rate. You won't hev sence enough in your skull to know the dif-
ference twixt a skunk and a squirrel. What the h —'s the use of the book,
to a fellow that's got to git his living by his gun?"
Here old Michael Baynam, the boy's uncle, interposed, quietly picked
up the book of the boy, and returned it to him, saying to Sam, the father,
in his gentle fashion:
"Sam, let me have the managing of the boy. I gave him the book, and
I mean, if God spares me, to give him other books, and as many as I can
get for him. You see, Sam, God does not make everybody to be a hunter.
If he did, meat would soon be scarce in the mountains, and there would
be nobody to buy. God knows better than man how the world's busi-
ness is to be carried on. Some men He makes born hunters, or for a fish-
erman, good for these things, and for nothing else. Here's young Mike
now, we see that he was born to be a hunter, and we now know that he
will be a great one. But hunting is not exactly the best business of life,