Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Appendix: Historical and Textual Commentary >> Page 270

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 270

Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 270 HISTORICAL AND TEXTUAL COMMENTARY
At the end of the April issue (Book Second, Chapter Eight), having
brought the poor but pretentious Widow Carter and her daughter Rose a
fresh buck, Mike leaves Rosedale Cottage promising to "ride over to see
Rose the day after to-morrow" (italics Simms's). The first sentence of the
next installment unaccountably states that the reader will leave Mike "to
pursue his solitary vocation . . . striving, as well as he can, to forget that
capricious beauty who had so enslaved his fancies, wounded his affections
and mortified his pride." But up to this point in the book, there is little
justification for Mike's having been "wounded" and "mortified" by Rose.
It is true that she did not dance with him at a neighborhood wedding, but
he never directly asked her. He did see her try to hide from him when
she was out driving with the rich and haughty Widow Fairleigh. However,
these incidents do not explain his being so deeply hurt. Furthermore,
Chapter One of Book Third alludes to "the amorous sports of the
Chinquapin hunt, in which she had shown herself so willingly a com-
panion of young Fairleigh." The thirty-five pages of manuscript restored
to the text clearly fill this gap in the plot and characterization.
In October 1868, after his customary summer visit to New York, Simms
was already ailing with what would prove to be his final illness. By the time
he returned to his plantation, Woodlands, he had engaged to write three
different stories to be serialized in the Northern periodicals. Apparently,
he had begun Voltmeier earlier in the year and offered it to the Illuminated
Western World partially completed.' But well before Voltmeier was finished
about mid-January 1869, Simms had begun The Cub of the Panther and
had so he wrote to E. A. Duyckinck on October 29 "employment for
the winter, and the few hundreds which I shall realize ... (D. V.) will sup-
port me in hog and hominy during that time." He had completed four
chapters a week after he had begun on October 20, and by November 1
he wrote (to his daughter Augusta Simms Roach), "I have been at work
every day, & have already sent off 100 pages of MS. all written since I
reached Woodlands." Two weeks later he had "written on two different
books, nearly 500 pp.," and on December 1, Simms said that "for six weeks
have I been toiling religiously day by day, and in that time have written
nearly a thousand pages MS. such as this, not including a vast deal of cor-
respondence, &c."
On Christmas Day he wrote to Augusta that he was "in the hands of
the Publishers & they are now printing me, & I must keep pace with & in
advance of the Printers." On that day he was "about to close one [work]
which reaches 1200 MS. pages & over. I have written one Book, 103 MS.
pages of another, & I am taking notes for a third." Most of this work was
being done on Voltmeier, even though The Cub of the Panther had begun