Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Nine: Catstrophe—Conclusion >> Page 248

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 248 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
should any of the of polloi presume to trespass, with dog or gun, upon
the sports of the country gentry. They were true to their Norman
instincts. To shoot the game, which another party has put up, is not a for-
givable offence; and the least punishment inflicted, on such occasions,
was a sharp application of the horsewhip.
Our "Cub of the Panther" had, however unwittingly, slain the buck
which had been started by the party of Fairleigh.
He knew nothing of that party, and took for granted that the buck
had been driven towards him by his own; and even if it had been other-
wise, he knew nothing of these artificial rules of benerie which forbade
him, under certain customs of sport, to shoot any wild beast that he saw
upon the bound.
Unconscious, therefore, of all offence, the urchin sate, with his heels
kicking the sides of the prostrate deer, at the moment when Fairleigh
rode furiously towards him. The boy, meanwhile, winding his horn for
his comrades, and wiping his bloody knife upon the hide of his victim.
Furious at what he saw, inflamed with passion and strong drink,
Fairleigh, as he drew nigh, vented the bitterest curses upon the youth.
"You impudent young scoundrel! I'll teach you how to cross my path
again," and he flourished his horsewhip as he spoke.
By this time, Mike Baynam, entering the valley, at the head of the
hunting groups, and seeing the action, cried out at the top of his voice:
"Do not strike the boy, sir."
But it was too late.
The whip-lash had already descended heavily upon the lad's shoulders.
With a cry of equal pain and astonishment, the boy sprang to his feet.
He had never felt the touch of whip before, and seemed confused at first,
and at a loss how to understand it; but when the first cut was followed by
a second and a third, then a wild yell gushed from his throat, and, with
a single bound lithe as the panther, who, by some of the vulgar was
assumed to be his sire, he sprung upon the haunches of Fairleigh's horse,
and in an instant, before any one could interfere, or even surmise the
danger, he had driven his knife deep into the body of his assailant.
Fairleigh fell incontinently from his horse, and immediately after, the
"Cub" sprang off, and darted for his own, re-appearing in a little while,
rifle in hand, and mounted, with the slain deer fastened behind him; as
cool and quiet of demeanor, as if nothing unusual had occurred.
The hunters, meanwhile, had hurried to the spot. A general feeling of
horror seized upon most of them, who could only look on,aghast. Mike
Baynam and Sam Fuller, were those only, whose presence of mind moved
them to alight, and ascertain the extent of the mischief.