Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Nine: Catstrophe—Conclusion >> Page 244

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Page 244

Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 244 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
Mike Baynam and the "Cub" had taken breakfast a goodly hour before
day, and with the first peep of dawn, they were crossing the mountains.
The other members of the hunt, four in number, including some
whom we have met before in the same company, joined them on the
route.
But before they joined, and while the "Cub," with all the eagerness
of youth, rode ahead, Mike Baynam, who wore a sadder face than usual,
though his aspect was usually grave, even to sadness, said to Fuller:
"Sam, do you know what day this is?""Don't remember, Mike.""How is it possible you should forget? This day, seventeen years ago,
we carried her home out of the snow heap to die! `The Boy' is this day
full seventeen years old.
"Why so he is; and I wonder Mattie never thought of it. Seventeen
years! Gimini, how the time does fly! And he hardly looks to be more
than fifteen. My boy would make two of him.""Yes; but he has such muscle as your boy never will have, Sam. He's
wonderfully tough, strong and active.""Yes; he's a raal painther. I'm afeard, Mike, you've spiled my boy with
his book larning. He'll never be fit for any thing hyar, on these mountains.""Don't you fear. It is on these mountains that he'll find his best uses.
I hear the best accounts of him, Sam. He's a very smart boy; and Mr.
McCullough says he'll be head of the academy in another session."
We need not pursue this conversation, which was shortly after inter-
rupted by the appearance of the several hunters of the party, at intervals,
one by one, as they went onwards. Reaching the edge of one summit,
Mike or Sam gave three mots on the horn, and the hunter, thus sum-
moned, came cantering up the heights from the mountain side where his
cabin stood.
Soon all were thus gathered together who had been calculated upon;
and the scene of action was reached after no very long interval. The good
deer hunter will always take the field, if possible, while the morning dew
still glitters upon the grass.
Mike Baynam arranged the party according to the stands. Sam Fuller,
a dogged hunter, who searched the covert thoroughly, leaving nothing in
the shape of game behind him, or the dogs, undertook the drive through
the long covert of dense laurel and undergrowth, which constituted the
fastnesses of "Bear Nook Wallow." This "Wallow" stretched, some mile or
two in width, in a semi-circular form half around the small twin moun-
tains of which we have spoken, and was overhung by a precipitous rock the