Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Appendix: Historical and Textual Commentary >> Page 271

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Page 271

Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription HISTORICAL AND TEXTUAL COMMENTARY 271
to appear in January while the former did not begin until March 1869.
The second work," Simms continued, of which one Book has been
written, is called `The Cub of the Panther,' and one instalment has been
issued in the Old Guard for January. This will be a short romance, poor
pay, poor preachee.
Continuously from the end of October 1868 until April 1869, Simms's
letters indicate that he was extorting "the brain sweat daily,""toiling .. .
day & night," and suffering from "incessant & exacting labours . . . to keep
pace with the serial publishers." It irked him to be "forced to tone my mind
down to the miserable requisitions of stupid publishers, and low toned
readers"; he found it difficult to work "simply for popularity, though this
becomes the essential necessity of those who lack money." All this time
Simms felt that he was "writing for what the backwoodsmen call `a dead
Horse.' True, there will be additional monies coming to me when the MS.
is all delivered; but I shall have eaten up fully all the sums recieved [sic]
before that day arrives."
Finally in late February, illness and fatigue overtook him, as he diag-
nosed it, in "consequence of a continued strain ... for four months" of
too much writing and too little exercise. At that time he had written "Half
a dozen" installments of The Cub of the Panther. Near the end of March,
Simms had to suspend writing altogether, "having just completed & sent
off 150 pages of MS. a Legend of the mountain hunter." By May 13, 1869,
he had "completed two elaborate romances of the usual dimensions"
Voltmeier and The Cub of the Panther. He wrote Duyckinck to "see
Widdleton & ascertain if he is prepared to issue in book form, one or
both of my new romances, now going serially through the press. I think
well of both."4
In late summer 1847 the Simms family had visited Spartanburg,
South Carolina, and the neighboring up-country tourist areas. For two
weeks Simms himself went on horseback "out with the party, camping
among the wildest mtns of N.C." The horseback trip took Simms from
Mount Tryon to the untamed North Carolina Appalachians. The hunt-
ing party, composed of both amateur and professional hunters (includ-
ing Columbus Mills, Alex Wood, Glazer, Carson, and perhaps Dolby),
was accompanied by a baggage wagon laden with clothing and provi-
sions for cooking, camping, and eating. Joined by professional hunters
Jim Fisher, Nathan Langford, and Green as they went up the range
toward Asheville, the party crossed the eastern continental divide and
approached the Tuckaseegee River.
In a letter to his New York friend James Lawson on September 23,
1847, Simms wrote from Spartanburg, "Tomorrow, I expect to set off