Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Appendix: Historical and Textual Commentary >> Page 269

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Page 269

Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription APPENDICES
Historical and Textual Commentary
The Cub of the Panther deserves more attention than it has received.
Textually it is one of the most interesting of all of Simms's novels, for two
chapters deleted from the serial publication still exist in manuscript
the only manuscript save isolated fragments that has survived for any
of his novels. Furthermore, much of the manuscript source material for
this tale of the North Carolina backwoods is extant, including notes
made on a trip to the area more than twenty years earlier. The germ of
the novel may be found in four relevant manuscripts in the Charles
Carroll Simms Collection. First is a volume, "Personal and Literary
Memorials," that includes forty-seven pages of journal entries from the
excursion to the mountains of North Carolina in September—October
1847. Second is a very brief holograph outline of the story and its char-
acters as they appear in The Old Guard. Third is a five-page manuscript
draft based on "Statements by Mr. Daniels" describing folk-games that
appear in the novel. Finally, there are two chapters comprising thirty-five
pages omitted from the serialization; these chapters are restored to the
novel for the first time in this edition.
Of the deleted material, one chapter entitled "The Chinquapin Hunt"
fully explains allusions that are wholly obscure in The Old Guard, namely
the several references to an idyllic forest frolic and exactly why Mike
Baynam becomes known as the "melancholy hunter." If inserted in their
proper place in the book, manuscript Chapters Nine and Ten clarify these
allusions that occur in Book Third.
When Simms wrote on Christmas Day 1868 that he had finished one
book of the novel, he also said that "one instalment has been issued in
the Old Guard for January."' He may not have examined carefully his
January issue if he had received it by then to note that only the first
four chapters of Book First appeared in that issue. If he had in mind that
the whole of Book First would comprise a single issue, it may account for
his original projection of six installments for the novel. But the rather
strict format of The Old Guard probably required that the novel be bro-
ken up to fit the pages allotted it, no matter how the episodes fell. This
may account for the omission of two chapters of Book Second.'