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The book holds one by the scenes and characters rather than by the 'fable.' The mystery of · Edwards, and the coming to life of old Major Effingham, are well enough; but the strength of the story is in the episodes, such as that where Hiram Doolittle, supported by Jotham and Kirby, tries to serve the warrant on Natty Bumppo, in the trial of the old hunter, or the capital scene where Natty is put into the stocks, and the chivalrous major-domo, Benjamin, insists on sharing his punishment, and cheering the heart-broken old man with comfortable and picturesque words. Presently Doolittle came to enjoy the fruit of his victory. Venturing too near, he found himself in the tenacious grasp of the irate major-domo. Benjamin's legs were stationary, but his fists were free, and he proceeded to work away with great ‘industry' on Mr. Doolittle's face, ‘using one ‘hand to raise up his antagonist, while he knocked him over with the other;' he scorned to strike a fallen adversary.

The Pioneers would merit a high place in American fiction were it only on account of that original character, Natty Bumppo, or Leather-Stocking. He is natural, easy, attractive. In the other books (always excepting The Prairie), there is more of invention. Putting it in another way, the first Natty Bumppo is like a study from life, while the others often leave the impression of being studies from the first study.

By changing the background, the costume, the accessories, and making his hero younger or older, Cooper found him available for more exciting dramas than that played in Templeton.

Leather-Stocking next appears as ‘Hawkeye,' the scout, in The Last of the Mohicans, a narrative based on the massacre of Fort William Henry in 1757, and, all things considered, the most famous of Cooper's novels. It is an out-and-out Indian story, good for boys and not bad for men, being vigorous, brilliant, and packed with adventure. The capture, by a band of Montcalm's marauding Iroquois, of the two daughters of the old Scottish general, their rescue by Hawkeye, Chingachgook, and Uncas, their recapture, the pursuit and the thrilling events in the Indian villages, form the staple of a book which without exaggeration may be called world-renowned.

If The Last of the Mohicans suffers from one fault more than another, it is from a superabundance of hair-breadth escapes. The novelist heaps

difficulties on difficulties, all of which appear insurmountable, and are presently surmounted with an ease that makes the reader half angry with himself for having worried.

As might have been expected, in growing younger Natty has grown theatrical ; he appears

exactly at the critical moment to perform the deed of cool bravery expected of him. It could hardly be otherwise ; The Last of the Mohicans is a romance, and in romances such things must be. Chingachgook, that engaging savage, has for so many years met the romantic ideal of the American Indian that it is unlikely he will ever be disturbed in his place in the reader's esteem. His rôle of white man's friend was played in The Prairie by Hard-Heart, the young Pawnee chief.

The Prairie has an originality all its own. This strange and sombre tale brings together an oddly assorted group of people, some of whom — the squatter and his family in particular — are drawn with rude strength. There are weak points in the plot. The carefully guarded tent with its hidden occupant is a poor device for compelling attention. Dr. Battius, endlessly talkative about genus and species, is a tiresome personage. The justification of the story as a work of art is to be sought in the descriptions of the desert,' in the impressions given of immeasurable distance and illimitable space, the abode of mystery and terror. The passages describing the stampede of a herd of buffalo, the night surprise of the trapper and his friends by the Sioux, the escape of Hard-Heart from the torture-stake, are all done with a masterly stroke.

Natty Bumppo figures in The Prairie as an old man of eighty-seven. His eye has lost its keenness of vision and his hand its steadiness. But the heart is undaunted (Lord, what a strange

thing is fear !') and the mind fertile in expedients. At times the trapper appears in almost superhu

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man proportions; he is mythical, like a hero of antiquity. The attachment between the ancient hunter and his dog is exquisitely described. In the beautiful account of Leather-Stocking's last hour no touch is more poetic than that where the dying man discovers that the faithful Hector is dead. He will not say that a Christian can hope to meet his hound again ; but he asks that Hector be buried beside him; no harm, he thinks, can come of that. Thirteen

years after the publication of The Prairie appeared The Pathfinder, and one year after that The Deerslayer. The series was now complete, forming something like a drama in five 'acts.' The Pathfinder shows Natty in mature manhood, and (for the comfort of all who require this test of their heroes of fiction) a victim of unrequited love. Exposed to the wiles of the most treacherous of all Mingos, Cupid, the quondam hunter, hunted in turn, takes defeat like the man he is. In The Deerslayer the chronicle is completed with a group of scenes from Natty's youth. On the shores of Otsego Lake, while defending old Hutter's aquatic home, the young man learns the first lessons in the art of war.

Cooper wrote yet other Indian stories. Two may be taken note of in this section : The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish, a narrative of the Connecticut settlements in King Philip's' time, and Wyandotté, an episode of frontier life in 1775. The latter is realistic. Cooper was on his own ground and knew the Willoughby Patent and the Hutted Knoll much as he knew' Templeton' and Otsego Lake. The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish is pure romance. In spite of the labored speech of the Puritan settlers and the metaphorical flights of Metacom and Conanchet, the story is enthralling. That is a genuinely pathetic scene where Ruth Heathcote seeks to awaken in the mind of Narramattah, her lost daughter, now the wife of the Narragansett chief, some faint memory of her childhood, and the account of Conanchet's death at the hands of the Mohicans is a strong and dramatic piece of writing.

VI

THE SEA STORIES

FROM THE PILOT TO MILES WALLINGFORD

The Pilot is an imaginary episode in the life of John Paul Jones. Cooper has given his hero a poetic character. Mr. Gray'applies science to the problem before him up to the critical moment, and then trusts to intuition, to his genius, and finds wind and wave owning him their master. The new note is in the vivid descriptive passages, couched in terms of practical seamanship, but so graphically put that the most ignorant of lubbers

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