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 216

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 216 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
position taken by Squire Fairleigh, and when about forty yards distant,
Fairleigh fired.
The shot struck the beast, who was seen to swerve aside at the
moment; but, in another instant, snuffing the air with a great snort of
rage, his pace was accelerated, and he rushed headlong towards the
hunter.
Fairleigh again fired, but, whether through agitation or surprise, for
the second barrel was emptied upon the bear when he was not ten paces
off, the shot, this time, seemed to make no impression; and the very event
occurred against which the hunter Wood had warned Fairleigh at the
beginning of the day.
There was no time left him to get out of the way of the bear, who
plunged headlong down upon him. He struck at the beast with the butt
of the gun, but was hurled to the ground at the same instant, and the bear
swept over him, then wheeled about and threw himself headlong upon
the prostrate man, whom he grappled with his forepaws, while ripping
and tearing him with his claws behind, just as one uses his rowels upon
the steed.
A wild yell escaped from Fairleigh, who was now seen to have drawn
his couteau de chasse with his right hand, and was striking with it blindly
in the air.
The arm was too much fettered by the hug of the beast to obey the
will of the man; and, by this time, the great snout of the bear had almost
stifled him.
Then it was that our "Cub," just as on a former occasion, when he
came to the rescue of Sam Fuller, darted up, swift and stealthy as a tiger
cat, and before the beast was conscious of the approach of any other
enemy, he had blown his bullet through his ears.
A wild death-struggle followed; the claws of the beast still ripping the
sides of the prostrate man, as he continued to roll about in his death agony.
To finish him with his knife was the next movement of the boy,
who struck vigorously at the side of the beast; but, in the death writhings
of the animal, the knife glanced from his ribs, and punctured the thigh
of Fairleigh; not deeply nor seriously, making a flesh wound only,
but Fairleigh, whose head by this time was freed from that of the bear,
yelled out:
"The d —d little rascal has struck me with his knife."
The next stroke of the weapon split the heart of the bear; and he
rolled over with one mighty wallow, and lay dead beside the still out-
stretched body of Fairleigh, who groaned pitifully where he lay.