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 215

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription THE CUB SAVES HIS FATHER'S LIFE 215
in the end, to send two of the bears up the slopes of the very mountain
where the amateur hunters, hearing the tongues of the beagles from
below, had stationed themselves, en echelon, at a hundred yards distance
from each other.
Here, prepared, with guns cocked, they made themselves ready for
the fray.
But Mike Baynam, unaware of their proximity, for they had changed
front several times in a capricious progress, had put spurs to his horse,
resolved on heading the bear. Knowing every path and tract, point and
bearing, of the mountain, he rounded a small promontory, and entered
upon a valley slope, which swept through the gorge, closely followed by
the "Cub;" and the two together found themselves, in a little while, on
the same line with the gentlemen hunters, with hardly more than a hun-
dred yards between the "Cub" and his supposed father, Edward Fairleigh.
The boy had been studiously kept in ignorance of the facts relating
to his birth. He knew no other father than Mike Baynam, called him by
the name of father, and really believed himself to be his son, while he
considered Sam Fuller his uncle, and Mattie his aunt.
Whether Edward Fairleigh was any wiser than the boy, as respects
his paternity, none knew. It is probable that, beyond the mere fact that
Rose Carter was dead, and had died in giving birth to a child, he knew
nothing.
The media of communication between the wealthy landed gentry and
their poorer neighbors, particularly the professional hunters, were few
and not encouraged by either party. A great social gulf spread between
them, which was rarely overpassed by either.
And so, the "Cub of the Panther" ranged himself on the same line
with his father, only a hundred yards distant, and saw him, from where
he stood; regarding him with perfect indifference, or with that natural
dislike which Fairleigh had, by this time, inspired in the breasts of almost
all the poorer classes of the precinct.
Mike Baynam had not reached his station a moment too soon. He
and the boy had barely time to fling themselves from their horses, and
put themselves in readiness, when the two bears were seen ascending the
ridge in front, with their snouts in air, snuffing for the scent, and bear-
ing right down, breastwise, upon the outstretched line of hunters.
One of the beasts made directly towards Mike, and when about sev-
enty yards distant, the unerring bullet of Mike buried itself with crash-
ing effect in his brain. He rolled over, with one fearful struggle and great
grunt, and was dead in another instant.
The other bear, in the meanwhile, dashed down directly upon the