Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Nine: Catstrophe—Conclusion >> Page 245

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 245

Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription CATASTROPHE-CONCLUSION 245
entire distance; an unbroken mass, the ascent to which was scarce possible
to man or beast. The deer, accordingly, had but two courses of flight, as we
have said, and these over the two smaller mountains on the south.
On one of these, the nearest to his drive, and that which would prob-
ably be sought by the fugitive deer, Mike Baynam stationed his hunters,
forming a line, with intervals of some hundred yards between, covering
the face of the ascent. In the hollow, or little valley, which divided these
two hills, he stationed our "Cub of the Panther," who, by this time, was
as much to be relied on as any old hunter of the country. The stand was
held to be one of the best.
An hour had passed and more, after these preparations had been
made, when Fairleigh and his party reached the heights of the contigu-
ous hill. Here, under Binkley's guidance, they prepared also for the drive
below, but concentrated their forces upon the unoccupied mountain of
the twins, while Binkley prepared for his drive at the opposite extrem-
ity of the "Wallow," rendering it possible that the deer would be driven
up the slopes of the one height which they had thus appropriated.
It thus happened that our "Cub of the Panther" held a station nearly
midway between the two parties, about a hundred yards from the last
hunter of his own, on the left, and about twice that distance from the
hunter of Fairleigh's party, who happened to be Fairleigh himself, and
who held the extreme right of his cordon, or line. The other hunters, of
both sides, occupied a curve, as it were, so as to receive the fugitive deer
in something like the segment of a circle.
Binkley's plan of the campaign being agreed upon, and the parties
about to take their stations, Fairleigh summoned up his body-servant,
Jared, with the inevitable liquor valise, and filling a bumper for himself,
cried out to his companions:
"Come, fellows, up to the rack, fodder or no fodder. It's a cold morn-
ing. Let's liquor, all round, before we begin business."
No motion could have been generally more acceptable. Each emptied
his cup of peach brandy, taken in puris naturalibus, undiluted either by
honey or water. It was not the first, as we know, which had been swallowed
that morning. The "phlegm-cutter" had been taken before breakfast, and
the "air-expeller" immediately after it. The third draught simply prepared
them for business.
While they yet drank, however, Binkley started with the goblet at his
mouth, and with an imprecation cried out:
"That darn'd fellow, Mike Baynam, has got the start of us. I hear the
dogs now, down in the North Wallow."