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THE PIONEERS

OrThe Sources of the Susquehanna

A Descriptive Tale

By J. FENIMORE COOPER

INTRODUCTION

As this work professesin its title-pageto be a descriptive tale
they who will take the trouble to read it may be glad to know how much
of its contents is literal factand how much is intended to represent
a general picture. The author is very sensible thathad he confined
himself to the latteralways the most effectiveas it is the most
valuablemode of conveying knowledge of this naturehe would have
made a far better book. But in commencing to describe scenesand
perhaps he may add charactersthat were so familiar to his own youth
there was a constant temptation to delineate that which he had known
rather than that which he might have imagined. This rigid adhesion to
truthan indispensable requisite in history and travelsdestroys the
charm of fiction; for all that is necessary to be conveyed to the mind
by the latter had better be done by delineations of principlesand of
characters in their classesthan by a too fastidious attention to
originals.

New York having but one county of Otsegoand the Susquehanna but one
proper sourcethere can be no mistake as to the site of the tale.
The history of this district of countryso far as it is connected
with civilized menis soon told.

Otsegoin common with most of the interior of the province of New
Yorkwas included in the county of Albany previously to the war of
the separation. It then becamein a subsequent division of
territorya part of Montgomery; and finallyhaving obtained a
sufficient population of its ownit was set apart as a county by
itself shortly after the peace of 1783. It lies among those low spurs
of the Alleghanies which cover the midland counties of New Yorkand
it is a little east of a meridional line drawn through the centre of
the State. As the waters of New York flow either southerly into the
Atlantic or northerly into Ontario and its outletOtsego Lakebeing
the source of the Susquehannais of necessity among its highest
lands. The face of the countrythe climate as it was found by the
whitesand the manners of the settlersare described with a
minuteness for which the author has no other apology than the force of
his own recollections.

Otsego is said to be a word compounded of Ota place of meetingand
Segoor Sagothe ordinary term of salutation used by the Indians of
this region. There is a tradition which says that the neighboring
tribes were accustomed to meet on the banks of the lake to make their


treatiesand otherwise to strengthen their alliancesand which
refers the name to this practice. As the Indian agent of New York had
a log dwelling at the foot of the lakehoweverit is not impossible
that the appellation grew out of the meetings that were held at his
council fires; the war drove off the agentin common with the other
officers of the crown; and his rude dwelling was soon abandoned. The
author remembers ita few years laterreduced to the humble office
of a smoke-house.

In 1779 an expedition was sent against the hostile Indianswho dwelt
about a hundred miles west of Otsegoon the banks of the Cayuga. The
whole country was then a wildernessand it was necessary to transport
the bag gage of the troops by means of the rivers—a devious but
practicable route. One brigade ascended the Mohawk until it reached
the point nearest to the sources of the Susquehannawhence it cut a
lane through the forest to the head of the Otsego. The boats and
baggage were carried over this “portage” and the troops proceeded to
the other extremity of the lakewhere they disembarked and encamped.
The Susquehannaa narrow though rapid stream at its sourcewas much
filled with “flood wood” or fallen trees; and the troops adopted a
novel expedient to facilitate their passage. The Otsego is about nine
miles in lengthvarying in breadth from half a mile to a mile and a
half. The water is of great depthlimpidand supplied from a
thousand springs. At its foot the banks are rather less than thirty
feet high the remainder of its margin being in mountainsintervals
and points. The outletor the Susquehannaflows through a gorge in
the low banks just mentionedwhich may have a width of two hundred
feet. This gorge was dammed and the waters of the lake collected: the
Susquehanna was converted into a rill.

When all was ready the troops embarkedthe damn was knocked awaythe
Otsego poured out its torrentand the boats went merrily down with
the current.

General James Clintonthe brother of George Clintonthen governor of
New Yorkand the father of De Witt Clintonwho died governor of the
same State in 1827commanded the brigade employed on this duty.
During the stay of the troops at the foot of the Otsego a soldier was
shot for desertion. The grave of this unfortunate man was the first
place of human interment that the author ever beheldas the smokehouse
was the first ruin! The swivel alluded to in this work was
buried and abandoned by the troops on this occasionand it was
subsequently found in digging the cellars of the authors paternal
residence.

Soon after the close of the warWashingtonaccompanied by many
distinguished menvisited the scene of this taleit is said with a
view to examine the facilities for opening a communication by water
with other points of the country. He stayed but a few hours.

In 1785 the author’s fatherwho had an interest in extensive tracts
of land in this wildernessarrived with a party of surveyors. The
manner in which the scene met his eye is described by Judge Temple.
At the commencement of the following year the settlement began; and
from that time to this the country has continued to flourish. It is a
singular feature in American life that at the beginning of this
centurywhen the proprietor of the estate had occasion for settlers
on a new settlement and in a remote countyhe was enabled to draw
them from among the increase of the former colony.

Although the settlement of this part of Otsego a little preceded the
birth of the authorit was not sufficiently advanced to render it
desirable that an event so important to himself should take place in
the wilderness. Perhaps his mother had a reasonable distrust of the


practice of Dr Toddwho must then have been in the novitiate of his
experimental acquirements. Be that as it maythe author was brought
an infant into this valleyand all his first impressions were here
obtained. He has inhabited it ever sinceat intervals; and he thinks
he can answer for the faithfulness of the picture he has drawn.
Otsego has now become one of the most populous districts of New York.
It sends forth its emigrants like any other old regionand it is
pregnant with industry and enterprise. Its manufacturers are
prosperousand it is worthy of remark that one of the most ingenious
machines known in European art is derived from the keen ingenuity
which is exercised in this remote region.

In order to prevent mistakeit may be well to say that the incidents
of this tale are purely a fiction. The literal facts are chiefly
connected with the natural and artificial objects and the customs of
the inhabitants. Thus the academyand court-houseand jailand
innand most similar thingsare tolerably exact. They have all
long sincegiven place to other buildings of a more pretending
character. There is also some liberty taken with the truth in the
description of the principal dwelling; the real building had no
“firstly” and “lastly.” It was of bricksand not of stone; and its
roof exhibited none of the peculiar beauties of the “composite order.”
It was erected in an age too primitive for that ambitious school of
architecture. But the author indulged his recollections freely when
he had fairly entered the door. Here all is literaleven to the
severed arm of Wolfeand the urn which held the ashes of Queen Dido.*

* Though forests still crown the mountains of Otsegothe bearthe
wolfand the panther are nearly strangers to them. Even the innocent
deer is rarely seen bounding beneath their arches; for the rifle and
the activity of the settlers hare driven them to other haunts. To
this change (which in some particulars is melancholy to one who knew
the country in its infancy)it may be added that the Otsego is
beginning to be a niggard of its treasures.
The author has elsewhere said that the character of Leather-Stocking
is a creationrendered probable by such auxiliaries as were necessary
to produce that effect. Had he drawn still more upon fancythe
lovers of fiction would not have so much cause for their objections to
his work. Stillthe picture would not have been in the least true
without some substitutes for most of the other personages. The great
proprietor resident on his landsand giving his name to instead of
receiving it from his estates as in Europeis common over the whole
of New York. The physician with his theoryrather obtained from than
corrected by experiments on the human constitution; the piousselfdenying
laboriousand ill-paid missionary; the half-educated
litigiousenviousand disreputable lawyerwith his counterpoisea
brother of the professionof better origin and of better character;
the shiftlessbargainingdiscontented seller of his “betterments;”
the plausible carpenterand most of the othersare more familiar to
all who have ever dwelt in a new country.

It may be well to say herea little more explicitlythat there was
no real intention to describe with particular accuracy any real
characters in this book. It has been often saidand in published
statementsthat the heroine of this book was drawn after the sister
of the writerwho was killed by a fall from a horse now near half a
century since. So ingenious is conjecture that a personal resemblance
has been discovered between the fictitious character and the deceased
relative! It is scarcely possible to describe two females of the same
class in life who would be less alikepersonallythan Elizabeth
Temple and the sister of the author who met with the deplorable fate
mentioned. In a wordthey were as unlike in this respect as in
historycharacterand fortunes.


Circumstances rendered this sister singularly dear to the author.
After a lapse of half a centuryhe is writing this paragraph with a
pain that would induce him to cancel itwere it not still more
painful to have it believed that one whom he regarded with a reverence
that surpassed the love of a brother was converted by him into the
heroine of a work of fiction.

From circumstances whichafter this Introductionwill be obvious to
allthe author has had more pleasure in writing “The Pioneers” than
the book will probably ever give any of its readers. He is quite
aware of its numerous faultssome of which he has endeavored to
repair in this edition; but as he has—in intentionat least—done his
full share in amusing the worldhe trusts to its good-nature for
overlooking this attempt to please himself.

CHAPTER I.

“SeeWinter comesto rule the varied years
Sullen and sadwith all his rising train;
Vaporsand cloudsand storms.”—Thomson.

Near the centre of the State of New York lies an extensive district of
country whose surface is a succession of hills and dalesorto speak
with greater deference to geographical definitionsof mountains and
valleys. It is among these hills that the Delaware takes its rise;
and flowing from the limpid lakes and thousand springs of this region
the numerous sources of the Susquehanna meander through the valleys
untiluniting their streamsthey form one of the proudest rivers of
the United States. The mountains are generally arable to the tops
although instances are not wanting where the sides are jutted with
rocks that aid greatly in giving to the country that romantic and
picturesque character which it so eminently possesses. The vales are
narrowrichand cultivatedwith a stream uniformly winding through
each. Beautiful and thriving villages are found interspersed along
the margins of the small lakesor situated at those points of the
streams which are favorable for manufacturing; and neat and
comfortable farmswith every indication of wealth about themare
scattered profusely through the valesand even to the mountain tops.
Roads diverge in every direction from the even and graceful bottoms of
the valleys to the most rugged and intricate passes of the hills.
Academies and minor edifices of learning meet the eye of the stranger
at every few miles as be winds his way through this uneven territory
and places for the worship of God abound with that frequency which
characterize a moral and reflecting peopleand with that variety of
exterior and canonical government which flows from unfettered liberty
of conscience. In shortthe whole district is hourly exhibiting how
much can be donein even a rugged country and with a severe climate
under the dominion of mild lawsand where every man feels a direct
interest in the prosperity of a commonwealth of which he knows himself
to form a part. The expedients of the pioneers who first broke ground
in the settlement of this country are succeeded by the permanent
improvements of the yeoman who intends to leave his remains to moulder
under the sod which he tillsor perhaps of the sonwhoborn in the
landpiously wishes to linger around the grave of his father. Only
forty years * have passed since this territory was a wilderness.

* Our tale begins in 1793about seven years after the commencement of
one of the earliest of those settlements which have conduced to effect

that magical change in the power and condition of the State to which
we have alluded.

Very soon after the establishment of the independence of the States by
the peace of 1783the enterprise of their citizens was directed to a
development of the natural ad vantages of their widely extended
dominions. Before the war of the Revolutionthe inhabited parts of
the colony of New York were limited to less than a tenth of its
possessionsA narrow belt of countryextending for a short distance
on either side of the Hudsonwith a similar occupation of fifty miles
on the banks of the Mohawktogether with the islands of Nassau and
Statenand a few insulated settlements on chosen land along the
margins of streamscomposed the countrywhich was then inhabited by
less than two hundred thousand souls. Within the short period we have
mentionedthe population has spread itself over five degrees of
latitude and seven of longitudeand has swelled to a million and a
half of inhabitantswho are maintained in abundanceand can look
forward to ages before the evil day must arrive when their possessions
shall become unequal to their wants.

It was near the setting of the sunon a clearcold day in December
when a sleigh was moving slowly up one of the mountains in the
district we have described. The day had been fine for the seasonand
but two or three large cloudswhose color seemed brightened by the
light reflected from the mass of snow that covered the earthfloated
in a sky of the purest blue. The road wound along the brow of a
precipiceand on one side was upheld by a foundation of logs piled
one upon the otherwhile a narrow excavation in the mountain in the
opposite direction had made a passage of sufficient width for the
ordinary travelling of that day. But logsexcavationand every
thing that did not reach several feet above the earth lay alike buried
beneath the snow. A single trackbarely wide enough to receive the
sleigh* denoted the route of the highwayand this was sunk nearly
two feet below the surrounding surface.

* Sleigh is the word used in every part of the United States to denote
a traineau. It is of local use in the west of Englandwhence it is
most probably derived by the Americans. The latter draw a distinction
between a sledor sledgeand a sleighthe sleigh being shod with
metal. Sleighs are also subdivided into two - horse and one-horse
sleighs. Of the latterthere are the cutterwith thills so arranged
as to permit the horse to travel in the side track; the “pung” or
“tow-pung” which is driven with a pole; and the “gumper” a rude
construction used for temporary purposes in the new countries. Many
of the American sleighs are elegant though the use of this mode of
conveyance is much lessened with the melioration of the climate
consequent to the clearing of the forests.
In the valewhich lay at a distance of several hundred feet lower
there was whatin the language of the countrywas called a clearing
and all the usual improvements of a new settlement; these even
extended up the hill to the point where the road turned short and ran
across the level landwhich lay on the summit of the mountain; but
the summit itself remained in the forest. There was glittering in the
atmosphereas if it was filled with innumerable shining particles;
and the noble bay horses that drew the sleigh were coveredin many
parts with a coat of hoar-frost. The vapor from their nostrils was
seen to issue like smoke; and every object in the viewas well as
every arrangement of the travellersdenoted the depth of a winter in
the mountains. The harnesswhich was of a deepdull black
differing from the glossy varnishing of the present daywas
ornamented with enormous plates and buckles of brassthat shone like
gold in those transient beams of the sun which found their way
obliquely through the tops of the trees. Huge saddlesstudded with


nails and fitted with cloth that served as blankets to the shoulders
of the cattlesupported four highsquare-topped turretsthrough
which the stout reins led from the mouths of the horses to the hands
of the driverwho was a negroof apparently twenty years of age.
His facewhich nature had colored with a glistening blackwas now
mottled with the coldand his large shining eyes filled with tears; a
tribute to its power that the keen frosts of those regions always
extracted from one of his African origin. Stillthere was a smiling
expression of good-humor in his happy countenancethat was created by
the thoughts of home and a Christmas firesidewith its Christmas
frolics. The sleigh was one of those largecomfortableoldfashioned
conveyanceswhich would admit a whole family within its
bosombut which now contained only two passengers besides the driver.
The color of its outside was a modest greenand that of its inside a
fiery redThe latter was intended to convey the idea of heat in that
cold climate. Large buffalo-skins trimmed around the edges with red
cloth cut into festoonscovered the back of the sleighand were
spread over its bottom and drawn up around the feet of the travellers
- one of whom was a man of middle age and the other a female just
entering upon womanhood. The former was of a large stature; but the
precautions he had taken to guard against the cold left but little of
his person exposed to view. A great-coatthat was abundantly
ornamented by a profusion of fursenveloped the whole of his figure
excepting the headwhich was covered with a cap of mar ten-skins
lined with moroccothe sides of which were made to fallif
necessaryand were now drawn close over the ears and fastened beneath
his chin with a black rib bon. The top of the cap was surmounted with
the tail of the animal whose skin had furnished the rest of the
materialswhich fell backnot ungracefullya few inches be hind the
head. From beneath this mask were to be seen part of a finemanly
faceand particularly a pair of expressive large blue eyesthat
promised extraordinary intellectcovert humorand great benevolence.
The form of his companion was literally hid beneath the garments she
wore. There were furs and silks peeping from under a large camlet
cloak with a thick flannel liningthat by its cut and size was
evidently intended for a masculine wearer. A huge hood of black silk
that was quilted with downconcealed the whole of her headexcept at
a small opening in front for breaththrough which occasionally
sparkled a pair of animated jet-black eyes.

Both the father and daughter (for such was the connection between the
two travellers) were too much occupied with their reflections to break
a stillness that derived little or no interruption from the easy
gliding of the sleigh by the sound of their voices. The former was
thinking of the wife that had held this their only child to her bosom
whenfour years beforeshe had reluctantly consented to relinquish
the society of her daughter in order that the latter might enjoy the
advantages of an education which the city of New York could only offer
at that period. A few months afterward death had deprived him of the
remaining companion of his solitude; but still he had enough real
regard for his child not to bring her into the comparative wilderness
in which he dweltuntil the full period had expired to which he had
limited her juvenile labors. The reflections of the daughter were
less melancholyand mingled with a pleased astonishment at the novel
scenery she met at every turn in the road.

The mountain on which they were journeying was covered with pines that
rose without a branch some seventy or eighty feetand which
frequently doubled that height by the addition of the tops. Through
the innumerable vistas that opened beneath the lofty treesthe eye
could penetrate until it was met by a distant inequality in the
groundor was stopped by a view of the summit of the mountain which
lay on the opposite side of the valley to which they were hastening.
The dark trunks of the trees rose from the pure white of the snow in


regularly formed shaftsuntilat a great heighttheir branches shot
forth horizontal limbsthat were covered with the meagre foliage of
an evergreenaffording a melancholy contrast to the torpor of nature
below. To the travellers there seemed to be no wind; but these pines
waved majestically at their topmost boughssending forth a dull
plaintive sound that was quite in consonance with the rest of the
melancholy scene.

The sleigh had glided for some distance along the even surfaceand
the gaze of the female was bent in inquisitive andperhapstimid
glances into the recesses of the forestwhen a loud and continued
howling was heardpealing under the long arches of the woods like the
cry of a numerous pack of hounds. The instant the sounds reached the
ear of the gentleman he cried aloud to the black:

“Hol upAggy; there is old Hector; I should know his bay among ten
thousand! The Leather-Stocking has put his hounds into the hills this
clear dayand they have started their game. There is a deer-track a
few rods ahead; and nowBessif thou canst muster courage enough to
stand fireI will give thee a saddle for thy Christmas dinner.”

The black drew upwith a cheerful grin upon his chilled featuresand
began thrashing his arms together in order to restore the circulation
of his fingerswhile the speaker stood erect andthrowing aside his
outer coveringstepped from the sleigh upon a bank of snow which
sustained his weight without yielding.

In a few moments the speaker succeeded in extricating a doublebarrelled
fowling-piece from among a multitude of trunks and
bandboxes. After throwing aside the thick mittens which had encased
his handsthere now appeared a pair of leather gloves tipped with
fur; he examined his primingand was about to move forwardwhen the
light bounding noise of an animal plunging through the woods was
heardand a fine buck darted into the path a short distance ahead of
him. The appearance of the animal was suddenand his flight
inconceivably rapid; but the traveller appeared to be too keen a
sportsman to be disconcerted by either. As it came first into view he
raised the fowling-piece to his shoulder andwith a practised eye and
steady handdrew a trigger. The deer dashed forward undauntedand
apparently unhurt. Without lowering his piecethe traveller turned
its muzzle toward his victimand fired again. Neither discharge
howeverseemed to have taken effect

The whole scene had passed with a rapidity that confused the female
who was unconsciously rejoicing in the escape of the buckas he
rather darted like a meteor than ran across the roadwhen a sharp
quick sound struck her earquite different from the fullround
reports of her father’s gunbut still sufficiently distinct to be
known as the concussion produced by firearms. At the same instant
that she heard this unexpected reportthe buck sprang from the snow
to a great height in the airand directly a second dischargesimilar
in sound to the firstfollowedwhen the animal came to the earth
failing head long and rolling over on the crust with its own velocity.
A loud shout was given by the unseen marksmanand a couple of men
instantly appeared from behind the trunks of two of the pineswhere
they had evidently placed them selves in expectation of the passage of
the deer.

“Ha! Nattyhad I known you were in ambushI should not have fired”
cried the travellermoving toward the spot where the deer lay—near to
which he was followed by the delighted blackwith his sleigh; “but
the sound of old Hector was too exhilarating to be quiet; though I
hardly think I struck himeither.”


“No—no——Judge” returned the hunterwith an inward chuckleand with
that look of exultation that indicates a consciousness of superior
skill“you burnt your powder only to warm your nose this cold
evening. Did ye think to stop a full-grown buckwith Hector and the
slut open upon him within soundwith that pop-gun in your hand!
There’s plenty of pheasants among the swamps; and the snow-birds are
flying round your own doorwhere you may feed them with crumbsand
shoot them at pleasureany day; but if you’re for a buckor a little
bear's meatJudgeyou’ll have to take the long riflewith a greased
waddingor you’ll waste more powder than you’ll fill stomachsI’m
thinking.”

As the speaker concluded he drew his bare hand across the bottom of
his noseand again opened his enormous mouth with a kind of inward
laugh.

“The gun scatters wellNattyAnd it has killed a deer before now”
said the travellersmiling good-humoredly. “One barrel was charged
with buckshotbut the other was loaded for birds only. Here are two
hurts; one through the neckand the other directly through the heart.
It is by no means certainNattybut I gave him one of the two

“Let who will kill him.” said the hunterrather surily.

“I suppose the creature is to be eaten.” So sayinghe drew a large
knife from a leathern sheathwhich was stuck through his girdleor
sashand cut the throat of the animal“If there are two balls
through the deerI would ask if there weren’t two rifles fired—
besideswho ever saw such a ragged hole from a smooth-bore as this
through the neck? And you will own yourselfJudgethat the buck fell
at the last shotwhich was sent from a truer and a younger hand than
your’n or mine either; butfor my partalthough I am a poor man I
can live without the venisonbut I don’t love to give up my lawful
dues in a free country. Thoughfor the matter of thatmight often
makes right hereas well as in the old countryfor what I can see.”

An air of sullen dissatisfaction pervaded the manner of the hunter
during the whole of his speech; yet he thought it prudent to utter the
close of the sentence in such an undertone as to leave nothing audible
but the grumbling sounds of his voice.

“NayNatty” rejoined the travellerwith undisturbed good-humor“it
is for the honor that I contend. A few dollars will pay for the
venison; but what will requite me for the lost honor of a buck’s tail
in my cap? ThinkNattyhow I should triumph over that quizzing dog
Dick Joneswho has failed seven times already this seasonand has
only brought in one woodchuck and a few gray squirrels.”

“Ah! The game is becoming hard to findindeedJudgewith your
clearings and betterments” said the old hunterwith a kind of
compelled resignation. “The time has been when I have shot thirteen
deer without counting the fa’ns standing in the door of my own hut;
and for bear’s meatif one wanted a ham or sohe had only to watch
a-nightsand he could shoot one by moonlightthrough the cracks of
the logsno fear of his oversleeping himself neitherfor the howling
of the wolves was sartin to keep his eyes open. There’s old Hector”—
patting with affection a tall hound of black and yellow spotswith
white belly and legsthat just then came in on the scentaccompanied
by the slut he had mentioned; “see where the wolves bit his throat
the night I druv them from the venison that was smoking on the chimney
top—that dog is more to be trusted than many a Christian man; for he
never forgets a friendand loves the hand that gives him bread”

There was a peculiarity in the manner of the hunter that attracted the


notice of the young femalewho had been a close and interested
observer of his appearance and equipmentsfrom the moment he came
into view. He was talland so meagre as to make him seem above even
the six feet that he actually stood in his stockings. On his head
which was thinly covered with lanksandy hairhe wore a cap made of
fox-skinresembling in shape the one we have already described
although much inferior in finish and ornaments. His face was skinny
and thin al most to emaciation; but yet it bore no signs of disease—
on the contraryit had every indication of the most robust and
enduring health. The cold and exposure hadtogethergiven it a
color of uniform red. His gray eyes were glancing under a pair of
shaggy browsthat over hung them in long hairs of gray mingled with
their natural hue; his scraggy neck was bareand burnt to the same
tint with his face; though a small part of a shirt-collarmade of the
country checkwas to be seen above the overdress he wore. A kind of
coatmade of dressed deer-skinwith the hair onwas belted close to
his lank body by a girdle of colored worsted. On his feet were deerskin
moccasinsornamented with porcupines’ quillsafter the manner
of the Indiansand his limbs were guarded with long leggings of the
same material as the moccasinswhichgartering over the knees of his
tarnished buckskin breecheshad obtained for him among the settlers
the nickname of Leather-Stocking. Over his left shoulder was slung a
belt of deer-skinfrom which depended an enormous ox-hornso thinly
scraped as to discover the powder it contained. The larger end was
fitted ingeniously and securely with a wooden bottomand the other
was stopped tight by a little plug. A leathern pouch hung before him
from whichas he concluded his last speechhe took a small measure
andfilling it accurately with powderhe commenced reloading the
riflewhich as its butt rested on the snow before him reached nearly
to the top of his fox-skin cap.

The traveller had been closely examining the wounds during these
movementsand nowwithout heeding the ill-humor of the hunter’s
mannerhe exclaimed:

“I would fain establish a rightNattyto the honor of this death;
and surely if the hit in the neck be mine it is enough; for the shot
in the heart was unnecessary—what we call an act of supererogation
Leather-Stocking.”

“You may call it by what larned name you pleaseJudge” said the
hunterthrowing his rifle across his left armand knocking up a
brass lid in the breechfrom which he took a small piece of greased
leather andwrapping a bail in itforced them down by main strength
on the powderwhere he continued to pound them while speaking. “It’s
far easier to call names than to shoot a buck on the spring; but the
creatur came by his end from a younger hand than either your’n or
mineas I said before.”

“What say youmy friend” cried the travellerturning pleasantly to
Natty’s companion; “shall we toss up this dollar for the honorand
you keep the silver if you lose; what say youfriend?”

“That I killed the deer” answered the young manwith a little
haughtinessas he leaned on another long rifle similar to that of
Natty.

“Here are two to oneindeed” replied the Judge with a smile; “I am
outvoted—overruledas we say on the bench. There is Aggyhe can’t
votebeing a slave; and Bess is a minor—so I must even make the best
of it. But you’ll send me the venison; and the deuce is in itbut I
make a good story about its death.”

“The meat is none of mine to sell” said Leather-Stockingadopting a


little of his companion’s hauteur; “for my partI have known animals
travel days with shots in the neckand I’m none of them who’ll rob a
man of his rightful dues.”

“You are tenacious of your rightsthis cold eveningNatty” returned
the Judge with unconquerable good-nature; “but what say youyoung
man; will three dollars pay you for the buck?”

“First let us determine the question of right to the satisfaction of
us both” said the youth firmly but respect fullyand with a
pronunciation and language vastly superior to his appearance: “with
how many shot did you load your gun?”

“With fivesir” said the Judgea little struck with the other’s
manner; “are they not enough to slay a buck like this?”

“One would do it; but” moving to the tree from be hind which he had
appeared“you knowsiryou fired in this direction—here are four of
the bullets in the tree.”

The Judge examined the fresh marks in the bark of the pineand
shaking his headsaid with a laugh:

“You are making out the case against yourselfmy young advocate;
where is the fifth?”

“Here” said the youththrowing aside the rough over coat that he
woreand exhibiting a hole in his under-garmentthrough which large
drops of blood were oozing.

“Good God!” exclaimed the Judgewith horror; “have I been trifling
here about an empty distinctionand a fellow-creature suffering from
my hands without a murmur? But hasten—quick—get into my sleigh—it is
but a mile to the villagewhere surgical aid can be obtained—all
shall be done at my expenseand thou shalt live with me until thy
wound is healedayand forever afterward.”

“I thank you for your good intentionbut I must decline your offer.
I have a friend who would be uneasy were he to hear that I am hurt and
away from him. The injury is but slightand the bullet has missed
the bones; but I believesiryou will now admit me title to the
venison.”

“Admit it!” repeated the agitated Judge; “I here give thee a right to
shoot deeror bearsor anything thou pleasest in my woodsforever.
Leather-Stocking is the only other man that I have granted the same
privilege to; and the time is coming when it will be of value. But I
buy your deer—herethis bill will pay theeboth for thy shot and my
own.”

The old hunter gathered his tall person up into an air of pride during
this dialoguebut he waited until the other had done speaking.

“There’s them living who say that Nathaniel Bumppo's right to shoot on
these hills is of older date than Marmaduke Temple’s right to forbid
him” he said. “But if there’s a law about it at allthough who ever
heard of a law that a man shouldn’t kill deer where he pleased!—but if
there is a law at allit should be to keep people from the use of
smooth-bores. A body never knows where his lead will flywhen he
pulls the trigger of one of them uncertain firearms.”

Without attending to the soliloquy of Nattythe youth bowed his head
silently to the offer of the bank-noteand replied:


“Excuse me: I have need of the venison.”

“But this will buy you many deer” said the Judge; “take itI entreat
you;” andlowering his voice to a whisperhe added“It is for a
hundred dollars.”

For an instant only the youth seemed to hesitateand thenblushing
even through the high color that the cold had given to his cheeksas
if with inward shame at his own weaknesshe again declined the offer.

During this scene the female aroseand regardless of the cold air
she threw back the hood which concealed her featuresand now spoke
with great earnestness.

“Surelysurely—young man—sir—you would not pain my father so much as
to have him think that he leaves a fellow-creature in this wilderness
whom his own hand has injured. I entreat you will go with usand
receive medical aid.”

Whether his wound became more painfulor there was something
irresistible in the voice and manner of the fair pleader for her
father’s feelingswe know not; but the distance of the young mans
manner was sensibly softened by this appealand he stood in apparent
doubtas if reluctant to comply with and yet unwilling to refuse her
request. The Judgefor such being his office must in future be his
titlewatched with no little interest the display of this singular
contention in the feelings of the youth; andadvancingkindly took
his handandas he pulled him gently toward the sleighurged him to
enter it.

“There is no human aid nearer than Templeton” he said“and the hut
of Natty is full three miles from this— comecomemy young friend
go with usand let the new doctor look to this shoulder of thine.
Here is Natty will take the tidings of thy welfare to thy friend; and
shouldst thou require itthou shalt return home in the morning.”
The young man succeeded in extricating his hand from the warm grasp of
the Judgebut he continued to gaze on the face of the femalewho
regardless of the coldwas still standing with her fine features
exposedwhich expressed feeling that eloquently seconded the request
of her father. Leather-Stocking stoodin the mean timeleaning upon
his long riflewith his head turned a little to one sideas if
engaged in sagacious musing; whenhaving apparently satisfied his
doubtsby revolving the subject in his mindhe broke silence.
“It may be best to goladafter all; forif the shot hangs under
the skinmy hand is getting too old to be cutting into human flesh
as I once used toThough some thirty years agonein the old war
when I was out under Sir WilliamI travelled seventy miles alone in
the howling wildernesswith a rifle bullet in my thighand then cut
it out with my own jack-knife. Old Indian John knows the time well.
I met him with a party of the Delawareson the trail of the Iroquois
who had been down and taken five scalps on the Schoharie. But I made
a mark on the red-skin that I’ll warrant he’ll carry to his grave! I
took him on the posteerumsaving the lady's presenceas he got up
from the ambushmentand rattled three buckshot into his naked hide
so close that you might have laid a broad joe upon them all”—here
Natty stretched out his long neckand straightened his bodyas he
opened his mouthwhich exposed a single tusk of yellow bonewhile
his eyeshis faceeven his whole frame seemed to laughalthough no
sound was emitted except a kind of thick hissingas he inhaled his
breath in quavers. “I had lost my bullet-mould in crossing the Oneida
outletand had to make shift with the buckshot; but the rifle was
trueand didn’t scatter like your two-legged thing thereJudge
which don’t doI findto hunt in company with.”


Natty’s apology to the delicacy of the young lady was unnecessary
forwhile he was speakingshe was too much employed in helping her
father to remove certain articles of baggage to hear him. Unable to
resist the kind urgency of the travellers any longerthe youth
though still with an unaccountable reluctancesuffered himself to be
persuaded to enter the sleigh. The blackwith the aid of his master
threw the buck across the baggage and entering the vehicle themselves
the Judge invited the hunter to do so likewise.

“ Nono” said the old roanshaking his head; “I have work to do at
home this Christmas eve—drive on with the boyand let your doctor
look to the shoulder; though if he will only cut out the shotI have
yarbs that will heal the wound quicker than all his foreign
‘intments.” He turnedand was about to move offwhensuddenly
recollecting himselfhe again faced the partyand added: “If you see
anything of Indian Johnabout the foot of the lakeyou had better
take him with youand let him lend the doctor a hand; forold as he
ishe is curious at cuts and bruisesand it’s likelier than not
he’ll be in with brooms to sweep your Christmas ha’arths.”

“Stopstop” cried the youthcatching the arm of the black as he
prepared to urge his horses forward; “Natty—you need say nothing of
the shotnor of where I am going—rememberNattyas you love me.”
“Trust old Leather-Stocking” returned the hunter significantly; “he
hasn’t lived fifty years in the wildernessand not larnt from the
savages how to hold his tongue— trust to melad; and remember old
Indian John.”

“AndNatty” said the youth eagerlystill holding the black by the
arm. “I will just get the shot extractedand bring you up to-night a
quarter of the buck for the Christmas dinner.”

He was interrupted by the hunterwho held up his finger with an
expressive gesture for silence. He then moved softly along the margin
of the roadkeeping his eyes steadfastly fixed on the branches of a
pine. When he had obtained such a position as he wishedhe stopped
andcocking his riflethrew one leg far behind himand stretching
his left arm to its utmost extent along the barrel of his piecehe
began slowly to raise its muzzle in a line with the straight trunk of
the tree. The eyes of the group in the sleigh naturally preceded the
movement of the rifleand they soon discovered the object of Natty’s
aim. On a small dead branch of the pinewhichat the distance of
seventy feet from the groundshot out horizontallyimmediately
beneath the living members of the treesat a birdthat in the vulgar
language of the country was indiscriminately called a pheasant or a
partridge. In sizeit was but little smaller than a common barn-yard
fowl. The baying of the dogsand the conversation that had passed
near the root of the tree on which it was perchedhad alarmed the
birdwhich was now drawn up near the body of the pinewith a head
and neck so erect as to form nearly a straight line with its legs. As
soon as the rifle bore on the victimNatty drew his triggerand the
partridge fell from its height with a force that buried it in the
snow.

“Lie downyou old villain” exclaimed Leather-Stockingshaking his
ramrod at Hector as he bounded toward the foot of the tree“ lie
downI say.” The dog obeyedand Natty proceeded with great rapidity
though with the nicest accuracyto reload his piece. When this was
endedhe took up his gameandshowing it to the party without a
headhe cried: “ Here is a tidbit for an old man’s Christmas—never
mind the venisonboyand remember Indian John; his yarbs are better
than all the foreign ‘intments. HereJudge” holding up the bird
again“do you think a smooth-bore would pick game off their roost
and not ruffle a feather?” The old man gave another of his remarkable


laughswhich partook so largely of exultationmirthand ironyand
shaking his headhe turnedwith his rifle at a trailand moved into
the forest with steps that were between a walk and a trot. At each
movement he made his body lowered several incheshis knees yielding
with an inclination inward; butas the sleigh turned at a bend in the
roadthe youth cast his eyes in quest of his old companionand he
saw that he was already nearly concealed by the trunks of the tree;
while his dogs were following quietly in his footstepsoccasionally
scenting the deer trackthat they seemed to know instinctively was
now of no further use to them. Another jerk was given to the sleigh
and Leather-Stocking was hid from view.


CHAPTER II


All places that the eye of heaven visits
Are to a wise man ports and happy havens:
Think not the king did banish thee:
But thou the king.—Richard II


An ancestor of Marmaduke Temple hadabout one hundred and twenty
years before the commencement of our talecome to the colony of
Pennsylvaniaa friend and co-religionist of its great patron. Old
Marmadukefor this formidable prenomen was a kind of appellative to
the racebrought with himto that asylum of the persecuted an
abundance of the good things of this life. He became the master of
many thousands of acres of uninhabited territoryand the supporter of
many a score of dependents. He lived greatly respected for his piety
and not a little distinguished as a sectary; was intrusted by his
associates with many important political stations; and died just in
time to escape the knowledge of his own poverty. It was his lot to
share the fortune of most of those who brought wealth with them into
the new settlements of the middle colonies.


The consequence of an emigrant into these provinces was generally to
be ascertained by the number of his white servants or dependentsand
the nature of the public situations that he held. Taking this rule as
a guidethe ancestor of our Judge must have been a man of no little
note.


It ishowevera subject of curious inquiry at the present dayto
look into the brief records of that early periodand observe how
regularand with few exceptions how inevitablewere the gradations
on the one handof the masters to povertyand on the otherof their
servants to wealth. Accustomed to easeand unequal to the struggles
incident to an infant societythe affluent emigrant was barely
enabled to maintain his own rank by the weight of his personal
superiority and acquirements; butthe moment that his head was laid
in the gravehis indolent and comparatively uneducated offspring were
compelled to yield precedency to the more active energies of a class
whose exertions had been stimulated by necessity. This is a very
common course of thingseven in the present state of the Union; but
it was peculiarly the fortunes of the two extremes of societyin the
peaceful and unenterprising colonies of Pennsylvania and New Jersey


The posterity of Marmaduke did not escape the common lot of those who
depend rather on their hereditary possessions than on their own
powers; and in the third generation they had descended to a point
below whichin this happy countryit is barely possible for honesty
intellect and sobriety to fall. The same pride of family that hadby



its self-satisfied indolenceconduced to aid their failnow became a
principle to stimulate them to endeavor to rise again. The feeling
from being morbidwas changed to a healthful and active desire to
emulate the characterthe conditionandperadventurethe wealth of
their ancestors also. It was the father of our new acquaintancethe
Judgewho first began to reascend in the scale of society; and in
this undertaking he was not a little assisted by a marriagewhich
aided in furnishing the means of educating his only son in a rather
better manner than the low state of the common schools of Pennsylvania
could promise; or than had been the practice in the family for the two
or three preceding generations.

At the school where the reviving prosperity of his father was enabled
to maintain himyoung Marmaduke formed an intimacy with a youth whose
years were about equal to his own. This was a fortunate connection
for our Judgeand paved the way to most of his future elevation in
life.

There was not only great wealth but high court interest among the
connections of Edward Effingham. They were one of the few families
then resident in the colonies who thought it a degradation to its
members to descend to the pursuits of commerce; and who never emerged
from the privacy of domestic life unless to preside in the councils of
the colony or to bear arms in her defense. The latter had from youth
been the only employment of Edward’s father. Military rank under the
crown of Great Britain was attained with much longer probationand by
much more toilsome servicessixty years ago than at the present time.
Years were passed without murmuringin the sub ordinate grades of the
service; and those soldiers who were stationed in the colonies felt
when they obtained the command of a companythat they were entitled
to receive the greatest deference from the peaceful occupants of the
soil. Any one of our readers who has occasion to cross the Niagara
may easily observe not only the self importancebut the real
estimation enjoyed by the hum blest representative of the crowneven
in that polar region of royal sunshine. Suchand at no very distant
periodwas the respect paid to the military in these Stateswhere
nowhappilyno symbol of war is ever seenunless at the free and
tearless voice of their people. Whenthereforethe father of
Marmaduke’s friendafter forty years’ serviceretired with the rank
of majormaintaining in his domestic establishment a comparative
splendorhe be came a man of the first consideration in his native
colony which was that of New York. He had served with fidelity and
courageand having beenaccording to the custom of the provinces
intrusted with commands much superior to those to which he was
entitled by rankwith reputation also. When Major Effingham yielded
to the claims of agehe retired with dignityrefusing his half-pay
or any other compensation for services that he felt he could no longer
perform.

The ministry proffered various civil offices which yielded not only
honor but profit; but he declined them allwith the chivalrous
independence and loyalty that had marked his character through life.
The veteran soon caused this set of patriotic disinterestedness to be
followed by another of private munificencethathowever little it
accorded with prudencewas in perfect conformity with the simple
integrity of his own views.

The friend of Marmaduke was his only child; and to this sonon his
marriage with a lady to whom the father was particularly partialthe
Major gave a complete conveyance of his whole estateconsisting of
money in the fundsa town and country residencesundry valuable
farms in the old parts of the colonyand large tracts of wild land in
the new—in this manner throwing himself upon the filial piety of his
child for his own future maintenance. Major Effinghamin declining


the liberal offers of the British ministryhad subjected himself to
the suspicion of having attained his dotageby all those who throng
the avenues to court patronageeven in the remotest corners of that
vast empire; butwhen he thus voluntarily stripped himself of his
great personal wealththe remainder of the community seemed
instinctively to adopt the conclusion also that he had reached a
second childhood. This may explain the fact of his importance rapidly
declining; andif privacy was his objectthe veteran had soon a free
indulgence of his wishes. Whatever views the world might entertain of
this act of the Majorto himself and to his child it seemed no more
than a natural gift by a father of those immunities which he could no
longer enjoy or improveto a sonwho was formedboth by nature and
educationto do both. The younger Effingham did not object to the
amount of the donation; for he felt that while his parent reserved a
moral control over his actionshe was relieving himself of a
fatiguing burden: suchindeedwas the confidence existing between
themthat to neither did it seem anything more than removing money
from one pocket to another.

One of the first acts of the young manon corning into possession of
his wealthwas to seek his early friendwith a view to offer any
assistance that it was now in his power to bestow.

The death of Marmaduke’s fatherand the consequent division of his
small estaterendered such an offer extremely acceptable to the young
Pennsylvanian; he felt his own powersand sawnot only the
excellencesbut the foibles in the character of his friend.
Effingham was by nature indolentconfidingand at times impetuous
and indiscreet; but Marmaduke was uniformly equablepenetratingand
full of activity and enterprise. To the latter thereforethe
assistanceor rather connection that was proffered to himseemed to
produce a mutual advantage. It was cheerfully acceptedand the
arrangement of its conditions was easily completed. A mercantile
house was established in the metropolis of Pennsylvaniawith the
avails of Mr. Effingham's personal property; allor nearly allof
which was put into the possession of Templewho was the only
ostensible proprietor in the concernwhilein secretthe other was
entitled to an equal participation in the profits. This connection
was thus kept private for two reasonsone of whichin the freedom of
their inter coursewas frankly avowed to Marmadukewhile the other
continued profoundly hid in the bosom of his friendThe last was
nothing more than pride. To the descend ant of a line of soldiers
commerceeven in that indirect mannerseemed a degrading pursuit;
but an insuperable obstacle to the disclosure existed in the
prejudices of his father

We have already said that Major Effingham had served as a soldier with
reputation. On one occasionwhile in command on the western frontier
of Pennsylvania against a league of the French and Indiansnot only
his glorybut the safety of himself and his troops were jeoparded by
the peaceful policy of that colony. To the soldierthis was an
unpardonable offence. He was fighting in their defense—he knew that
the mild principles of this little nation of practical Christians
would be disregarded by their subtle and malignant enemies; and he
felt the in jury the more deeply because he saw that the avowed object
of the colonistsin withholding their succorswould only have a
tendency to expose his commandwithout preserving the peace. The
soldier succeededafter a desperate conflictin extricating himself
with a handful of his menfrom their murderous enemy; but he never
for gave the people who had exposed him to a danger which they left
him to combat alone. It was in vain to tell him that they had no
agency in his being placed on their frontier at all; it was evidently
for their benefit that he had been so placedand it was their
“religious duty” so the Major always expressed it“it was their


religions duty to have supported him.”

At no time was the old soldier an admirer of the peaceful disciples of
Fox. Their disciplined habitsboth of mind and bodyhad endowed
them with great physical perfection; and the eye of the veteran was
apt to scan the fair proportions and athletic frames of the colonists
with a look that seemed to utter volumes of contempt for their moral
imbecilityHe was also a little addicted to the expression of a
belief thatwhere there was so great an observance of the externals
of religionthere could not be much of the substance. It is not our
task to explain what is or what ought to be the substance of
Christianitybut merely to record in this place the opinions of Major
Effingham.

Knowing the sentiments of the father in relation to this peopleit
was no wonder that the son hesitated to avow his connection withnay
even his dependence on the integrity ofa Quaker.

It has been said that Marmaduke deduced his origin from the
contemporaries and friends of Penn. His father had married without
the pale of the church to which he belongedand hadin this manner
forfeited some of the privileges of his offspring. Stillas young
Marmaduke was educated in a colony and society where even the ordinary
intercourse between friends was tinctured with the aspect of this mild
religionhis habits and language were some what marked by its
peculiarities. His own marriage at a future day with a lady without
not only the palebut the influenceof this sect of religionists
had a tendencyit is trueto weaken his early impressions; still he
retained them in some degree to the hour of his deathand was
observed uniformlywhen much interested or agitatedto speak in the
language of his youth. But this is anticipating our tale.

When Marmaduke first became the partner of young Effinghamhe was
quite the Quaker in externals; and it was too dangerous an experiment
for the son to think of encountering the prejudices of the father on
this subject. The connectionthereforeremained a profound secret
to all but those who were interested in it

For a few years Marmaduke directed the commercial operations of his
house with a prudence and sagacity that afforded rich returns. He
married the lady we have mentionedwho was the mother of Elizabeth
and the visits of his friend were becoming more frequent. There was a
speedy prospect of removing the veil from their intercourseas its
advantages became each hour more apparent to Mr. Effinghamwhen the
troubles that preceded the war of the Revolution extended themselves
to an alarming degree.

Educated in the most dependent loyaltyMr. Effingham hadfrom the
commencement of the disputes between the colonists and the crown
warmly maintained what he believed to be the just prerogatives of his
prince; whileon the other handthe clear head and independent mind
of Temple had induced him to espouse the cause of the people. Both
might have been influenced by early impressions; forif the son of
the loyal and gallant soldier bowed in implicit obedience to the will
of his sovereignthe descendant of the persecuted followers of Penn
looked back with a little bitterness to the unmerited wrongs that had
been heaped upon his ancestors.

This difference in opinion had long been a subject of amicable dispute
between them: butLatterlythe contest was getting to be too
important to admit of trivial discussions on the part of Marmaduke
whose acute discernment was already catching faint glimmerings of the
important events that were in embryo. The sparks of dissension soon
kindled into a blaze; and the coloniesor ratheras they quickly


declared themselvesTHE STATESbecame a scene of strife and
bloodshed for years.

A short time before the battle of LexingtonMr. Effinghamalready a
widowertransmitted to Marmadukefor safe-keepingall his valuable
effects and papers; and left the colony without his father. The war
hadhoweverscarcely commenced in earnestwhen he reappeared in New
Yorkwearing the Livery of his king; andin a short timehe took
the field at the head of a provincial corps. In the mean time
Marmaduke had completely committed himself in the causeas it was
then calledof the rebel lion. Of courseall intercourse between
the friends ceased—on the part of Colonel Effingham it was unsought
and on that of Marmaduke there was a cautious reserve. It soon became
necessary for the latter to abandon the capital of Philadelphia; but
he had taken the precaution to remove the whole of his effects beyond
the reach of the royal forcesincluding the papers of his friend
also. There he continued serving his country during the strugglein
various civil capacitiesand always with dignity and usefulness.
Whilehoweverhe discharged his functions with credit and fidelity
Marmaduke never seemed to lose sight of his own interests; forwhen
the estates of the adherents of the crown fell under the hammerby
the acts of confiscationhe appeared in New Yorkand became the
purchaser of extensive possessions at comparatively low prices.

It is true that Marmadukeby thus purchasing estates that had been
wrested by violence from othersrendered himself obnoxious to the
censures of that Sect whichat the same time that it discards its
children from a full participation in the family unionseems ever
unwilling to abandon them entirely to the world. But either his
successor the frequency of the transgression in otherssoon wiped
off this slight stain from his character; andalthough there were a
few whodissatisfied with their own fortunesor conscious of their
own demeritswould make dark hints concerning the sudden prosperity
of the unportioned Quakeryet his servicesand possibly his wealth
soon drove the recollection of these vague conjectures from men’s
minds. When the war endedand the independence of the States was
acknowledgedMr. Temple turned his attention from the pursuit of
commercewhich was then fluctuating and uncertainto the settlement
of those tracts of land which he had purchased. Aided by a good deal
of moneyand directed by the suggestions of a strong and practical
reasonhis enterprise throve to a degree that the climate and rugged
face of the country which he selected would seem to forbid. His
property increased in a tenfold ratioand he was already ranked among
the most wealthy and important of his countrymen. To inherit this
wealth he had but one child—the daughter whom we have introduced to
the readerand whom he was now conveying from school to preside over
a household that had too long wanted a mistress.

When the district in which his estates lay had become sufficiently
populous to be set off as a countyMr. Temple hadaccording to the
custom of the new settlementsbeen selected to fill its highest
judicial station. This might make a Templar smile; but in addition to
the apology of necessitythere is ever a dignity in talents and
experience that is commonly sufficientin any stationfor the
protection of its possessor; and Marmadukemore fortunate in his
native clearness of mind than the judge of King Charlesnot only
decided rightbut was generally able to give a very good reason for
it. At all eventssuch was the universal practice of the country and
the times; and Judge Templeso far from ranking among the lowest of
his judicial contemporaries in the courts of the new countiesfelt
himselfand was unanimously acknowledged to beamong the first.

We shall here close this brief explanation of the history and
character of some of our personages leaving them in future to speak


and act for themselves.

CHAPTER III

“All that thou see'st is Natures handiwork;
Those rocks that upward throw their mossy brawl
Like castled pinnacles of elder times;
These venerable stemsthat slowly rock
Their towering branches in the wintry gale;
That field of frostwhich glitters in the sun
Mocking the whiteness of a marble breast!
Yet man can mar such works with his rude taste
Like some sad spoiler of a virgin’s fame.” —Duo.


Some little while elapsed ere Marmaduke Temple was sufficiently
recovered from his agitation to scan the person of his new companion.
He now observed that he was a youth of some two or three and twenty
years of ageand rather above the middle height. Further observation
was prevented by the rough overcoat which was belted close to his form
by a worsted sashmuch like the one worn by the old hunter. The eyes
of the Judgeafter resting a moment on the figure of the stranger
were raised to a scrutiny of his countenance. There had been a look
of care visible in the features of the youthwhen he first entered
the sleighthat had not only attracted the notice of Elizabethbut
which she had been much puzzled to interpret. His anxiety seemed the
strongest when he was en joining his old companion to secrecy; and
even when he had decidedand was rather passively suffering himself
to be conveyed to the villagethe expression of his eyes by no means
indicated any great degree of self-satisfaction at the step. But the
lines of an uncommonly prepossessing countenance were gradually
becoming composed; and he now sat silentand apparently musing. The
Judge gazed at him for some time with earnestnessand then smiling
as if at his own forgetfulnesshe said:


“I believemy young friendthat terror has driven you from my
recollection; your face is very familiarand yetfor the honor of a
score of bucks’ tails in my capI could not tell your name.”


“I came into the country but three weeks since” returned the youth
coldly“and I understand you have been absent twice that time.”


“It will be five to-morrow. Yet your face is one that I have seen;
though it would not be strangesuch has been my affrightshould I
see thee in thy winding-sheet walking by my bedside to-night. What
say’st thouBess? Am I compos mentis or not? Fit to charge a grand
juryorwhat is just now of more pressing necessityable to do the
honors of Christmas eve in the hall of Templeton?”


“More able to do eithermy dear father.” said a playful voice from
under the ample inclosures of the hood“ than to kill deer with a
smooth-bore.” A short pause followedand the same voicebut in a
different accentcontinued. “We shall have good reasons for our
thanksgiving to nighton more accounts than one”


The horses soon reached a point where they seemed to know by instinct
that the journey was nearly endedandbearing on the bits as they
tossed their headsthey rapidly drew the sleigh over the level land
which lay on the top of the mountainand soon came to the point where
the road descended suddenlybut circuitouslyinto the valley.



The Judge was roused from his reflectionswhen he saw the four
columns of smoke which floated above his own chimneys. As house
villageand valley burst on his sighthe exclaimed cheerfully to his
daughter:

“SeeBessthere is thy resting-place for life! And thine tooyoung
manif thou wilt consent to dwell with us.”

The eyes of his auditors involuntarily met; andif the color that
gathered over the face of Elizabeth was contradicted by the cold
expression of her eyethe ambiguous smile that again played about the
lips of the stranger seemed equally to deny the probability of his
consenting to form one of this family group. The scene was one
howeverwhich might easily warm a heart less given to philanthropy
than that of Marmaduke Temple.

The side of the mountain on which our travellers were journeying
though not absolutely perpendicularwas so steep as to render great
care necessary in descending the rude and narrow path whichin that
early daywound along the precipices. The negro reined in his
impatient steedsand time was given Elizabeth to dwell on a scene
which was so rapidly altering under the hands of manthat it only
resembled in its outlines the picture she had so often studied with
delight in childhood. Immediately beneath them lay a seeming plain
glittering without in equalityand buried in mountains. The latter
were precipitousespecially on the side of the plainand chiefly in
forest. Here and there the hills fell away in longlow pointsand
broke the sameness of the outlineor setting to the long and wide
field of snowwhichwithout housetreefenceor any other
fixtureresembled so much spot less cloud settled to the earth. A
few dark and moving spots werehowevervisible on the even surface
which the eye of Elizabeth knew to be so many sleighs going their
several ways to or from the village. On the western border of the
plainthe mountainsthough equally highwere less precipitousand
as they receded opened into irregular valleys and glensor were
formed into terraces and hollows that admitted of cultivation.
Although the evergreens still held dominion over many of the hills
that rose on this side of the valleyyet the undulating outlines of
the distant mountainscovered with forests of beech and maplegave a
relief to the eyeand the promise of a kinder soil. Occasionally
spots of white were discoverable amidst the forests of the opposite
hillswhich announcedby the smoke that curled over the tops of the
treesthe habitations of man and the commencement of agriculture.
These spots were sometimesby the aid of united laborenlarged into
what were called settlementsbut more frequently were small and
insulated; though so rapid were the changesand so persevering the
labors of those who had cast their fortunes on the success of the
enterprisethat it was not difficult for the imagination of Elizabeth
to conceive they were enlarging under her eye while she was gazingin
mute wonderat the alterations that a few short years had made in the
aspect of the country. The points on the western side of this
remarkable plainon which no plant had taken rootwere both larger
and more numerous than those on its easternand one in particular
thrust itself forward in such a manner as to form beautifully curved
bays of snow on either side. On its extreme end an oak stretched
forwardas if to overshadow with its branches a spot which its roots
were forbidden to enter. It had released itself from the thraldom
that a growth of centuries had imposed on the branches of the
surrounding forest treesand threw its gnarled and fantastic arms
abroadin the wildness of liberty. A dark spot of a few acres in
extent at the southern extremity of this beautiful flatand
immediately under the feet of our travellersalone showed by its
rippling surfaceand the vapors which exhaled from itthat what at


first might seem a plain was one of the mountain lakeslocked in the
frosts of winter. A narrow current rushed impetuously from its bosom
at the open place we have mentionedand was to be traced for miles
as it wound its way toward the south through the real valleyby its
borders of hemlock and pineand by the vapor which arose from its
warmer surface into the chill atmosphere of the hills. The banks of
this lovely basinat its outletor southern endwere steepbut not
high; and in that direction the land continuedfar as the eye could
reacha narrow but graceful valleyalong which the settlers had
scattered their humble habitationswith a profusion that bespoke the
quality of the soil and the comparative facilities of intercourse
Immediately on the bank of the lake and at its footstood the village
of Templeton. It consisted of some fifty buildingsincluding those
of every descriptionchiefly built of woodand whichin their
architecturebore no great marks of tastebut which alsoby the
unfinished appearance of most of the dwellingsindicated the hasty
manner of their constructionTo the eyethey presented a variety of
colors. A few were white in both front and rearbut more bore that
expensive color on their fronts onlywhile their economical but
ambitious owners had covered the remaining sides of the edifices with
a dingy red. One or two were slowly assuming the russet of age; while
the uncovered beams that were to be seen through the broken windows of
their second stories showed that either the taste or the vanity of
their proprietors had led them to undertake a task which they were
unable to accomplish. The whole were grouped in a manner that aped
the streets of a cityand were evidently so arranged by the
directions of one who looked to the wants of posterity rather than to
the convenience of the present incumbents. Some three or four of the
better sort of buildingsin addition to the uniformity of their
colorwere fitted with green blindswhichat that season at least
were rather strangely contrasted to the chill aspect of the lakethe
mountainsthe forestsand the wide fields of snow. Before the doors
of these pretending dwellings were placed a few saplingseither
without branches or possessing only the feeble shoots of one or two
summers’ growththat looked not unlike tall grenadiers on post near
the threshold of princes. In truththe occupants of these favored
habitations were the nobles of Templetonas Marmaduke was its king.
They were the dwellings of two young men who were cunning in the law;
an equal number of that class who chaffered to the wants of the
community under the title of storekeepers; and a disciple of
Aesculapiuswhofor a noveltybrought more subjects into the world
than he sent out of it. In the midst of this incongruous group of
dwellings rose the mansion of the Judgetowering above all its
neighbors. It stood in the centre of an inclosure of several acres
which was covered with fruit-trees. Some of the latter had been left
by the Indiansand began already to assume the moss and inclination
of agetherein forming a very marked contrast to the infant
plantations that peered over most of the picketed fences of the
village. In addition to this show of cultivation were two rows of
young Lombardy poplarsa tree but lately introduced into America
formally lining either side of a pathway which led from a gate that
opened on the principal street to the front door of the building. The
house itself had been built entirely under the superintendence of a
certain Mr. Richard Joneswhom we have already mentionedand who
from his cleverness in small mattersand an entire willingness to
exert his talentsadded to the circumstance of their being sisters’
childrenordinarily superintended all the minor concerns of Marmaduke
Temple. Richard was fond of saying that this child of invention
consisted of nothing more nor less than what should form the
groundwork of every clergyman’s discourseviz.a firstly and a
lastly. He had commenced his laborsin the first year of their
residenceby erecting a tallgaunt edifice of woodwith its gable
toward the highway. In this shelter for it was little morethe
family resided three years. By the end of that periodRichard had


completed his design. He had availed himselfin this heavy
undertakingof the experience of a certain wandering eastern
mechanicwhoby exhibiting a few soiled plates of English
architectureand talking learnedly of friezesentablaturesand
particularly of the composite orderhad obtained a very undue
influence over Richard’s taste in everything that pertained to that
branch of the fine arts. Not that Mr. Jones did not affect to
consider Hiram Doolittle a perfect empiric in his professionbeing in
the constant habit of listening to his treatises on architecture with
a kind of indulgent smile; yeteither from an inability to oppose
them by anything plausible from his own stores of learning or from
secret admirationRichard generally submitted to the arguments of his
co-adjutor. Togetherthey had not only erected a dwelling for
Marmadukebut they had given a fashion to the architecture of the
whole county. The composite orderMr. Doolittle would contendwas
an order composed of many othersand was intended to be the most
useful of allfor it admitted into its construction such alterations
as convenience or circumstances might require. To this proposition
Richard usually assented; and when rival geniuses who monopolize not
only all the reputation but most of the money of a neighborhoodare
of a mindit is not uncommon to see them lead the fashioneven in
graver matters. In the present instanceas we have already hinted
the castleas Judge Templeton’s dwelling was termed in common
parlancecame to be the modelin some one or other of its numerous
excellencesfor every aspiring edifice within twenty miles of it.

The house itselfor the “ lastly” was of stone: largesquareand
far from uncomfortable. These were four requisiteson which
Marmaduke had insisted with a little more than his ordinary
pertinacity. But everything else was peaceably assigned to Richard
and his associate. These worthies found the material a little too
solid for the tools of their workmenwhichin Generalwere employed
on a substance no harder than the white pine of the adjacent
mountainsa wood so proverbially soft that it is commonly chosen by
the hunters for pillows. But for this awkward dilemmait is probable
that the ambitious tastes of our two architects would have left us
much more to do in the way of description. Driven from the faces of
the house by the obduracy of the materialthey took refuge in the
porch and on the roof. The formerit was decidedshould be severely
classicaland the latter a rare specimen of the merits of the
Composite order.

A roofRichard contendedwas a part of the edifice that the ancients
always endeavored to concealit being an excrescence in architecture
that was only to be tolerated on account of its usefulness. Besides
as he wittily addeda chief merit in a dwelling was to present a
front on whichever side it might happen to be seen; foras it was
exposed to all eyes in all weathersthere should be no weak flank for
envy or unneighborly criticism to assail. It was therefore decided
that the roof should be flatand with four faces. To this
arrangementMarmaduke objected the heavy snows that lay for months
frequently covering the earth to a depth of three or four feet.
Happily the facilities of the composite order presented themselves to
effect a compromiseand the rafters were lengthenedso as to give a
descent that should carry off the frozen element. Butunluckily
some mistake was made in the admeasurement of these material parts of
the fabric; andas one of the greatest recommendations of Hiram was
his ability to work by the “square rule” no opportunity was found of
discovering the effect until the massive timbers were raised on the
four walls of the building. Thenindeedit was soon seen thatin
defiance of all rulethe roof was by far the most conspicuous part of
the whole edifice. Richard and his associate consoled themselves with
the relief that the covering would aid in concealing this unnatural
elevation; but every shingle that was laid only multiplied objects to


look at. Richard essayed to remedy the evil with paintand four
different colors were laid on by his own hands. The first was a skyblue
in the vain expectation that the eye might be cheated into the
belief it was the heavens themselves that hung so imposingly over
Marmaduke’s dwelling; the second was what he called a “cloud-color”
being nothing more nor less than an imitation of smoke; the third was
what Richard termed an invisible greenan experiment that did not
succeed against a background of sky. Abandoning the attempt to
concealour architects drew upon their invention for means to
ornament the offensive shingles.

After much deliberation and two or three essays by moonlightRichard
ended the affair by boldly covering the whole beneath a color that he
christened “sunshine” a cheap wayas he assured his cousin the
Judgeof always keeping fair weather over his head. The platformas
well as the caves of the housewere surmounted by gaudily painted
railingsand the genius of Hiram was exerted in the fabrication of
divers urns and mouldingsthat were scattered profusely around this
part of their labors. Richard had originally a cunning expedientby
which the chimneys were intended to be so lowand so situatedas to
resemble ornaments on the balustrades; but comfort required that the
chimneys should rise with the roofin order that the smoke might bc
carried offand they thus became four extremely conspicuous objects
in the view.

As this roof was much the most important architectural undertaking in
which Mr. Jones was ever engagedhis failure produced a correspondent
degree of mortification At firsthe whispered among his acquaintances
that it proceeded from ignorance of the square rule on the part of
Hiram; butas his eye became gradually accustomed to the objecthe
grew better satisfied with his laborsand instead of apologizing for
the defectshe commenced praising thc beauties of the mansion-house;
he soon found hearersandas wealth and comfort are at all times
attractiveit wasas has been saidmade a model for imitation on a
small scale. In less than two years from its erectionhe had the
pleasure of standing on the elevated platformand of looking down on
three humble imitators of its beauty. Thus it is ever with fashion
which even renders the faults of the great subjects of admiration.

Marmaduke bore this deformity in his dwelling with great good-nature
and soon contrivedby his own improvementsto give an air of
respectability and comfort to his place of residence. Stillthere
was much of in congruityeven immediately about the mansion-house.
Although poplars had been brought from Europe to ornament the grounds
and willows and other trees were gradually springing up nigh the
dwellingyet many a pile of snow betrayed the presence of the stump
of a pine; and evenin one or two instancesunsightly remnants of
trees that had been partly destroyed by fire were seen rearing their
blackglistening columns twenty or thirty feet above the pure white
of the snowThesewhich in the language of the country are termed
stubsabounded in the open fields adjacent to the villageand were
accompaniedoccasionallyby the ruin of a pine or a hemlock that had
been stripped of its barkand which waved in melancholy grandeur its
naked limbs to the blasta skeleton of its former glory. But these
and many other unpleasant additions to the view were unseen by the
delighted Elizabethwhoas the horses moved down the side of the
mountainsaw only in gross the cluster of houses that lay like a map
at her feet; the fifty smokes that were curling from the valley to the
clouds; the frozen lake as it lay imbedded in mountains of evergreen
with the long shadows of the pines on its white surfacelengthening
in the setting sun; the dark ribbon of water that gushed from the
outlet and was winding its way toward the distant Chesapeake—the
alteredthough still rememberedscenes of her child hood.


Five years had wrought greater changes than a century would produce in
countries where time and labor have given permanency to the works of
man. To our young hunter and the Judge the scene had less novelty;
though none ever emerge from the dark forests of that mountainand
witness the glorious scenery of that beauteous valleyas it bursts
unexpectedly upon themwithout a feeling of delight. The former cast
one admiring glance from north to southand sank his face again
beneath the folds of his coat; while the latter contemplatedwith
philanthropic pleasurethe prospect of affluence and comfort that was
expanding around him; the result of his own enterpriseand much of it
the fruits of his own industry.

The cheerful sound of sleigh-bellshoweverattracted the attention
of the whole partyas they came jingling up the sides of the
mountainat a rate that announced a powerful team and a hard driver.
The bushes which lined the highway interrupted the viewand the two
sleighs were close upon each other before either was seen.

CHAPTER IV

“How now? whose mare’s dead? what’s the matter?” - Falstaff

A large lumber sleighdrawn by four horseswas soon seen dashing
through the leafless bushes which fringed the road. The leaders were
of grayand the pole-horses of a jet-black. Bells innumerable were
suspended from every part of the harness where one of the tinkling
balls could be placedwhile the rapid movement of the equipagein
defiance of the steep ascentannounced the desire of the driver to
ring them to the utmost. The first glance at this singular
arrangement acquainted the Judge with the character of those in the
sleigh. It contained four male figures. On one of those stools that
are used at writing deskslashed firmly to the sides of the vehicle
was seated a little manenveloped in a great-coat fringed with fur
in such a manner that no part of him was visibleexcept a face of an
unvarying red color. There was an habitual upward look about the head
of this gentlemanas if dissatisfied with its natural proximity to
the earth; and the expression of his countenance was that of busy
careHe was the charioteerand he guided the mettled animals along
the precipice with a fearless eye and a steady handImmediately
behind himwith his face toward the other twowas a tall figureto
whose appearance not even the duplicate overcoats which he woreaided
by the corner of a horse-blanketcould give the appearance of
strength. His face was protruding from beneath a woollen night cap;
andwhen he turned to the vehicle of Marmaduke as the sleighs
approached each otherit seemed formed by nature to cut the
atmosphere with the least possible resistance. The eyes alone
appeared to create any obstaclefor from either side of his forehead
their light-blueglassy balls projected. The sallow of his
countenance was too permanent to be affected even by the intense cold
of the evening. Opposite to this personage sat a solidshortand
square figure. No part of his form was to be discovered through his
overdressbut a face that was illuminated by a pair of black eyes
that gave the lie to every demure feature in his countenance. A fair
jolly wig furnished a neat and rounded outline to his visageand he
well as the other twowore marten-skin caps. The fourth was a meeklooking
long-visaged manwithout any other protection from the cold
than that which was furnished by a black surcoatmade with some
little formalitybut which was rather threadbare and rusty. He wore
a hat of extremely decent proportionsthough frequent brushing had


quite destroyed its nap. His face was paleand withal a little
melancholyor what might be termed of a studious complexion. The air
had given itjust nowa light and somewhat feverish flushThe
character of his whole appearanceespecially contrasted to the air of
humor in his next companionwas that of habitual mental care. No
sooner had the two sleighs approached within speaking distancethan
the driver of this fantastic equipage shouted aloud

“Draw up in the quarry—draw upthou king of the Greeks; draw into the
quarryAgamemnonor I shall never be able to pass you. Welcome
homeCousin ‘Duke— welcomewelcomeblack-eyed Bess. Thou seest
Marina duke that I have taken the field with an assorted cargoto do
thee honor. Monsieur Le Quoi has come out with only one cap; Old
Fritz would not stay to finish the bottle; and Mr. Grant has got to
put the ‘lastly’ to his sermonyet. Even all the horses would come—
by the-byeJudgeI must sell the blacks for you immediately; they
interfereand the nigh one is a bad goer in double harness. I can
get rid of them to—”

“Sell what thou wiltDickon” interrupted the cheerful voice of the
Judge“so that thou leavest me my daughter and my lands. And Fritz
my old friendthis is a kind complimentindeedfor seventy to pay
to five-and-forty. Monsieur Le QuoiI am your servant. Mr. Grant”
lifting his cap“I feel indebted to your attention. GentlemenI
make you acquainted with my child. Yours are names with which she is
very familiar.”

“Velcomevelcome Tchooge” said the elder of the partywith a strong
German accent. “Miss Petsy vill owe me a kiss.”

“And cheerfully will I pay Itmy good sir” cried the soft voice of
Elizabeth; which soundedin the clear air of the hills. Like tones
of silveramid the loud cries of Richard. “I have always a kiss for
my old friend. Major Hartmann.”

By this time the gentleman in the front seatwho had been addressed
as Monsieur Le Quoihad arisen with some difficultyowing to the
impediment of his overcoatsand steadying himself by placing one hand
on the stool of the charioteerwith the other he removed his capand
bowing politely to the Judge and profoundly to Elizabethhe paid his
compliments.

“Cover thy pollGaulcover thy poll” cried the driverwho was Mr.
Richard Jones; “cover thy pollor the frost will pluck out the
remnant of thy locks. Had the hairs on the head of Absalom been as
scarce as thinehe might have been living to this day.” The jokes of
Richard never failed of exciting risibilityfor he uniformly did
honor to his own wit; and he enjoyed a hearty laugh on the present
occasionwhile Mr. Le Quoi resumed his seat with a polite
reciprocation in his mirth. The clergymanfor such was the office of
Mr. Grantmodestlythough quite affectionatelyexchanged his
greetings with the travellers alsowhen Richard prepared to turn the
heads of his horses homeward.

It was in the quarry alone that he could effect this objectwithout
ascending to the summit of the mountain. A very considerable
excavation had been made in the side of the hillat the point where
Richard had succeeded in stopping the sleighsfrom which the stones
used for building in the village were ordinarily quarriedand in
which he now attempted to turn his team. Passing itself was a task of
difficultyand frequently of dangerin that narrow road; but Richard
had to meet the additional risk of turning his four-in-hand. The
black civilly volunteered his services to take off the leadersand
the Judge very earnestly seconded the measure with his advice.


Richard treated both proposals with great disdain.

“Whyand wherefore. Cousin ‘Duke?” he exclaimeda little angrily;
“the horses are gentle as lambs. You know that I broke the leaders
myselfand the pole-horses are too near my whip to be restive. Here
is Mr. Le Quoinowwho must know something about drivingbecause he
has rode out so often with me; I will leave it to Mr. Le Quoi whether
there is any danger.”

It was not in the nature of the Frenchman to disappoint expectations
so confidently formed; although he cat looking down the precipice
which fronted himas Richard turned his leaders into the quarrywith
a pair of eyes that stood out like those of lobsters. The German’s
muscles were unmovedbut his quick sight scanned each movement. Mr.
Grant placed his hands on the side of the sleighin preparation for a
springbut moral timidity deterred him from taking the leap that
bodily apprehension strongly urged him to attempt.

Richardby a sudden application of the whipsucceeded in forcing the
leaders into the snow-bank that covered the quarry; but the instant
that the impatient animals suffered by the crustthrough which they
broke at each stepthey positively refused to move an inch farther in
that direction. On the contraryfinding that the cries and blows of
their driver were redoubled at this juncturethe leaders backed upon
the pole-horseswho in their turn backed the sleigh. Only a single
log lay above the pile which upheld the road on the side toward the
valleyand this was now buried in the snow. The sleigh was easily
breed across so slight an impedimentand before Richard became
conscious of his danger one-half of the vehicle Was projected over a
precipicewhich fell perpendicularly more than a hundred feet. The
Frenchmanwho by his position had a full view of their threatened
flightinstinctively threw his body as far forward as possibleand
cried

“Oh! mon cher Monsieur Deeck! mon Dieu! que faites vous!”

“Donner und blitzenRichart!” exclaimed the veteran Germanlooking
over the side of the sleigh with unusual emotion“put you will preak
ter sleigh and kilt ter horses!”

“Good Mr. Jones” said the clergyman“be prudentgood sir—be
careful”

“Get upobstinate devils!” cried Richardcatching a bird’s-eye view
of his situationand in his eagerness to move forward kicking the
stool on which he sat—” get upI say—Cousin ‘DukeI shall have to
sell the grays too; they are the worst broken horses—Mr. Le Quoi”
Richard was too much agitated to regard his pronunciationof which he
was commonly a little vain: “Monsieur La Quoipray get off my leg;
you hold my leg so tight that it's no wonder the horses back.”

“Merciful Providence!” exclaimed the Judge; “they will be all killed!”
Elizabeth gave a piercing shriekand the black of Agamemnon’s face
changed to a muddy white.

At this critical momentthe young hunterwho during the salutations
of the parties had sat in rather sullen silencesprang from the
sleigh of Marmaduke to the heads of the refractory leaders. The
horseswhich were yet suffering under the injudicious and somewhat
random blows of Richardwere dancing up and down with that ominous
movement that threatens a sudden and uncontrollable startstill
pressing backward. The youth gave the leaders a powerful jerkand
they plunged asideand re-entered the road in the position in which
they were first halted. The sleigh was whirled from its dangerous


positionand upsetwith the runners outward. The German and the
divine were thrownrather unceremoniouslyinto the highwaybut
without danger to their bones. Richard appeared in the air
describing the segment of a circleof which the reins were the radii
and landedat the distance of some fifteen feetin that snow-bank
which the horses had dreadedright end uppermost. Hereas he
instinctively grasped the reinsas drowning men seize at strawshe
admirably served the purpose of an anchor. The Frenchmanwho was on
his legsin the act of springing from the sleightook an aerial
flight alsomuch in the attitude which boys assume when they play
leap-frogandflying off in a tangent to the curvature of his
coursecame into the snow-bank head foremostw-here he remained
exhibiting two lathy legs on highlike scarecrows waving in a cornfield.
Major Hartmannwhose self-possession had been admirably
preserved during the whole evolutionwas the first of the party that
gained his feet and his voice.

“Ter deyvelRichart!” he exclaimed in a voice half serioushalfcomical
“put you unload your sleigh very hautily!”

It may be doubtful whether the attitude in which Mr. Grant continued
for an instant after his overthrow was the one into which he had been
thrownor was assumedin humbling himself before the Power that he
reverencedin thanksgiving at his escape. When he rose from his
kneeshe began to gaze about himwith anxious looksafter the
welfare of his companionswhile every joint in his body trembled with
nervous agitation. There was some confusion in the faculties of Mr.
Jones also: but as the mist gradually cleared from before his eyeshe
saw that all was safeandwith an air of great self-satisfactionhe
cried“Well—that was neatly savedanyhow!— it was a lucky thought in
me to hold on to the reinsor the fiery devils would have been over
the mountain by this time. How well I recovered myself‘Duke!
Another moment would have been too late; but I knew just the spot
where to touch the off-leader; that blow under his right flankand
the sudden jerk I gave the reinbrought them round quite in ruleI
must own myself.” *

* The spectatorsfrom immemorial usagehave a right to laugh at the
casualties of a sleigh ride; and the Judge was no sooner certain that
no one was done than he made full use of the privilege.
“Thou jerk! thou recover thyselfDickon!” he said; ‘but for that
brave lad yonderthou and thy horsesor rather minewould have been
dashed to pieces—but where is Monsieur Le Quoi?”

“Oh! mon cher Juge! mon ami!” cried a smothered voice” praise be God
I live; vill youMister Agamemnonbe pleas come down iciand help
me on my leg?”

The divine and the negro seized the incarcerated Gaul by his legs and
extricated him from a snow-bank of three feet in depthwhence his
voice had sounded as from the tombs. The thoughts of Mr. Le Quoi
immediately on Ms liberationwere not extremely collected; andwhen
he reached the lighthe threw his eyes upwardin order to examine
the distance he had fallen. His good-humor returnedhoweverwith a
knowledge of his safetythough it was some little time before he
clearly comprehended the case.

“Whatmonsieur” said Richardwho was busily assisting the black in
taking off the leaders; “are you there? I thought I saw you flying
toward the top of the mountain just now.”

“Praise be GodI no fly down into the lake” returned the Frenchman
with a visage that was divided between painoccasioned by a few large


scratches that he had received in forcing his head through the crust
and the look of complaisance that seemed natural to his pliable
features.

“Ah! mon cher Mister Deeckvat you do next? - dere be noting you no
try.”

“The next thingI trustwill be to learn to drive” said the Judge
who bad busied himself in throwing the bucktogether with several
other articles of baggagefrom his own sleigh into the snow; “here
are seats for you allgentlemen; the evening grows piercingly cold
and the hour approaches for the service of Mr. Grant; we will leave
friend Jones to repair the damageswith the assistance of Agamemnon
and hasten to a warm fire. HereDickonare a few articles of Bess’
trumperythat you can throw into your sleigh when ready; and there is
also a deer of my takingthat I will thank you to bring. Aggy!
remember that there will be a visit from Santa Claus * to-night.”

* The periodical visits of St. Nicholasor Santa Clausas he is
termedwere never forgotten among the inhabitants of New Yorkuntil
the emigration from New England brought in the opinions and usages of
the Puritanslike the “bon homme de Noel.” he arrives at each
Christmas.
The black grinnedconscious of the bribe that was offered him for
silence on the subject of the deerwhile Richardwithout in the
least waiting for the termination of his cousin’s speechbegan his
reply:

“Learn to drivesayest thouCousin ‘Duke? Is there a man in the
county who knows more of horse-flesh than myself? Who broke in the
fillythat no one else dare mountthough your coachman did pretend
that he had tamed her before I took her in hand; but anybody could see
that he lied—he was a great liarthat John—what’s thata buck?”
Richard abandoned the horsesand ran to the spot where Marmaduke had
thrown the deer“It is a buck! I am amazed! Yeshere are two holes
in himhe has fired both barrelsand hit him each timeEgod! how
Marmaduke will brag! he is a prodigious bragger about any small matter
like this now; wellto think that ‘Duke has killed a buck before
Christmas! There will be no such thing as living with him—they are
both bad shots thoughmere chance—mere chance—nowI never fired
twice at a cloven foot in my life—it is hit or miss with me—dead or
run away-had it been a bearor a wild-cata man might have wanted
both barrels. Here! you Aggy! how far off was the Judge when this
buck was shot?”

“Oh! massa Richardmaybe a ten rod” cried the blackbending under
one of the horseswith the pretence of fastening a bucklebut in
reality to conceal the grin that opened a mouth from ear to ear.

“Ten rod!” echoed the other; “wayAggythe deer I Killed last winter
‘was at twenty—yes! if anything it was nearer thirty than twenty. I
wouldn’t shoot at a deer at ten rod: besidesyou may rememberAggy
I only fired once.”

“Yesmassa RichardI ‘member ‘em! Natty Bumppo fire t’oder gun. You
knowsirall ‘e folks say Natty kill him.”

“The folks lieyou black devil!” exclaimed Richard in great heat. “I
have not shot even a gray squirrel these four yearsto which that old
rascal has not laid claimor some one else [or him. This is a damned
envious world that we live in—people are always for dividing the
credit at a thingin order to bring down merit to their own level.
Now they have a story about the Patent* that Hiram Doolittle helped


to plan the steeple to St. Paul’s; when Hiram knows that it is
entirely mine; a little taken front a print of his namesake in London
I own; but essentiallyas to all points of geniusmy own.”

* The grants of landmade either by the crown or the statewere but
letters patent under the great sealand the term “patent” is usually
applied to any district of extent thus conceded; though under the
crown’manorial rights being often granted with the soilin the
older counties the word “manor” is frequently used. There are many
manors in New York though all political and judicial rights have
ceased.
“I don't know where he come from” said the blacklosing every mark
of humor in an expression of admiration“but eb’rybody sayhe
wounerful handsome.”

“And well they may say soAggy” cried Richardleaving the buck and
walking up to the negro with the air of a man who has new interest
awakened within him“I think I may saywithout braggingthat it is
the handsomest and the most scientific country church in America. I
know that the Connecticut settlers talk about their West Herfield
meeting-house; but I never believe more than half what they saythey
are such unconscionable braggers. Just as you have got a thing done
if they see it likely to be successfulthey are always for
interfering; and then it’s tea to one but they lay claim to halfor
even all of the credit. You may rememberAggywhen I painted the
sign of the bold dragoon for Captain Hollister there was that fellow
who was about town laying brick-dust on the housescame one day and
offered to mix what I call the streaky blackfor the tail and mane;
and thenbecause it looks like horse-hairhe tells everybody that
the sign was painted by himself and Squire Jones. If Marmaduke don’t
send that fellow off the Patenthe may ornament his village with his
own hands for me” Here Richard paused a momentand cleared his
throat by a loud hemwhile the negrowho was all this time busily
engaged in preparing the sleighproceeded with his work in respectful
silence. Owing to the religious scruples of the JudgeAggy was the
servant of Richardwho had his services for a time* and whoof
coursecommanded a legal claim to the respect of the young negro.
But when any dispute between his lawful and his real master occurred
the black felt too much deference for both to express any opinion.

* The manumission of the slaves in New York has been gradual. When
public opinion became strong in their favorthen grew up a custom of
buying the services of a slavefor six or eight yearswith a
condition to liberate him at the end of the period. Then the law
provided that all born after a certain day should be freethe males
at twenty— eight and the females at twenty-five. After this the owner
was obliged to cause his servants to be taught to read and write
before they reached the age of eighteenandfinallythe few that
remained were all unconditionally liberated in 1826or after the
publication of this tale. It was quite usual for men more or less
connected with the Quakerswho never held slaves to adopt the first
expedient.
In the mean whileRichard continued watching the negro as he fastened
buckle after buckleuntilstealing a look of consciousness toward
the otherhe continued: “Nowif that young man who was in your
sleigh is a real Connecticut settlerhe will be telling everybody how
he saved my horseswhenif he had let them alone for half a minute
longerI would have brought them in much betterwithout upsetting
with the whip amid rein—it spoils a horse to give him his healI
should not wonder if I had to sell the whole teamjust for that one
jerk he gave them” Richard paused and hemmed; for his conscience
smote him a little for censuring a man who had just saved his life.


“Who is the ladAggy—I don’t remember to have seen him before?”

The black recollected the hint about Santa Claus; andwhile he
briefly explained how they had taken up the person in question on the
top of the mountainhe forbore to add anything concerning the
accident or the woundonly saying that he believed the youth was a
stranger. It was so usual for men of the first rank to take into
their sleighs any one they found toiling through the snowthat
Richard was perfectly satisfied with this explanation. He heard Aggy
with great attentionand then remarked: “Wellif the lad has not
been spoiled by the people in Templeton he may be a modest young man
andas he certainly meant wellI shall take some notice of him—
perhaps he is land-hunting—I sayAggymaybe he is out hunting?”

“Eh! yesmassa Richard” said the blacka little confused; foras
Richard did all the flogginghe stood in great terror of his master
in the main—” YessirI b’lieve he be.”

“Had he a pack and an axe?”

“Nosironly he rifle.”

“Rifle!” exclaimed Richardobserving the confusion of The negro
which now amounted to terror. “By Jovehe killed the deer! I knew
that Marmaduke couldn’t kill a buck on the jump—how was itAggy? Tell
me all about itand I’ll roast ‘Duke quicker than he can roast his
saddle—how was itAggy? the lad shot the buckand the Judge bought
itha! and he is taking the youth down to get the pay?”

The pleasure of this discovery had put Richard in such a good humor
that the negro’s fears in some measure vanishedand he remembered the
stocking of Santa Claus. After a gulp or twohe made out to reply;

“You forgit a two shotsir?”

“Don’t lieyou black rascal!” cried Richardstepping on the snowbank
to measure the distance from his lash to the negro’s back; “speak
truthor I trounce you.” While speakingthe stock was slowly rising
in Richard’s right handand the lash drawing through his leftin the
scientific manner with which drummers apply the cat; and Agamemnon
after turning each side of himself toward his masterand finding both
equally unwilling to remain therefairly gave in. In a very few
words he made his master acquainted with the truthat the same time
earnestly conjuring Richard to protect him from the displeasure of thc
lodge I’ll do itboyI’ll do it” cried the otherrubbing his hands
with delight; “say nothingbut leave me to manage ‘Duke. I have a
great mind to leave the deer on the hilland to make the fellow send
for his own carcass; but noI will let Marmaduke tell a few bounces
about it before I come out upon him. Comehurry inAggyI must
help to dress the lad’s wound; this Yankee* doctor knows nothing of
surgery—I had to hold out Milligan’s leg for himwhile he cut it off.

* In America the term Yankee is of local meaning. It is thought to be
derived from the manner in which the Indians of New England pronounced
the word “English” or “Yengeese.” New York being originally a Dutch
provincethe term of course was not known thereand Farther south
different dialects among the natives themselves probably produced a
different pronunciation Marmaduke and his cousinbeing Pennsylvanians
by birthwere not Yankees in the American sense of the word.
Richard was now seated on the stool againandthe black taking the
hind seatthe steeds were put in motion toward homeAs they dashed
down the hill on a fast trotthe driver occasionally turned his face
to Aggyand continued speaking; fornotwithstanding their recent


rupturethe most perfect cordiality was again existing between them
“This goes to prove that I turned the horses with the reinsfor no
man who is shot in the right shoulder can have strength enough to
bring round such obstinate devils. I knew I did it from the first;
but I did not want to multiply words with Marmaduke about it.—Will you
biteyou villain? —hipboyship! Old Nattytoothat is the best
of it!—Wellwell—’Duke will say no more about my deer—and the Judge
fired both barrelsand hit nothing but a poor lad who was behind a
pine-tree. I must help that quack to take out the buckshot for the
poor fellow.” In this manner Richard descended the mountain; the bells
ringingand his tongue goinguntil they entered the villagewhen
the whole attention of the driver was devoted to a display of his
horsemanshipto the admiration of all the gaping women and children
who thronged the windows to witness the arrival of their landlord and
his daughter.


CHAPTER V


“Nathaniel’s coatsirwas not fully made
And Gabriel’s pumps were all unpink’d i’ th' heel;
There was no link to color Peter’s hat
And Walter’s dagger was not come from sheathing;
There were none finebut AdamRalphand Gregory.”—Shakespeare.


After winding along the side of the mountainthe roadon reaching
the gentle declivity which lay at the base of the hillturned at a
right angle to its former courseand shot down an inclined plane
directly into the village of Templeton. The rapid little stream that
we have already mentioned was crossed by a bridge of hewn timber
which manifestedby its rude construction and the unnecessary size of
its frameworkboth the value of Labor and the abundance of materials.
This little torrentwhose dark waters gushed over the limestones that
lined its bottomwas nothing less than one of the many sources of the
Susquehanna; a river to which the Atlantic herself has extended an arm
in welcome. It was at this point that the powerful team of Mr. Jones
brought him up to the more sober steeds of our travellers. A small
hill was risenand Elizabeth found herself at once amidst the
incongruous dwellings of the village. The street was of the ordinary
widthnotwithstanding the eye might embracein one viewthousands
and tens of thousands of acresthat were yet tenanted only by the
beasts of the forest. But such had been the will of her fatherand
such had also met the wishes of his followers. To them the road that
made the most rapid approaches to the condition of the oldoras
they expressed itthe down countrieswas the most pleasant; and
surely nothing could look more like civilization than a cityeven if
it lay in a wilderness! The width of the streetfor so it was called
might have been one hundred feet; but the track for the sleighs was
much more limited. On either side of the highway were piled huge
heaps of logsthat were daily increasing rather than diminishing in
sizenotwithstanding the enormous fires that might be seen through
every window.


The last object at which Elizabeth gazed when they renewed their
journeyafter their encountre with Richardwas the sunas it
expanded in the refraction of the horizonand over whose disk the
dark umbrage of a pine was stealingwhile it slowly sank behind the
western hills. But his setting rays darted along the openings of the
mountain he was onand lighted the shining covering of the birches
until their smooth and glossy coats nearly rivalled the mountain sides



in color. The outline of each dark pine was delineated far in the
depths of the forestand the rockstoo smooth and too perpendicular
to retain the snow that had fallenbrightenedas if smiling at the
leave-taking of the luminary. But at each step as they descended
Elizabeth observed that they were leaving the day behind them. Even
the heartless but bright rays of a December sun were missed as they
glided into the cold gloom of the valley. Along the summits of the
mountains in the eastern rangeit is truethe light still lingered
receding step by step from the earth into the clouds that were
gathering with the evening mistabout the limited horizonbut the
frozen lake lay without a shadow on its bosom; the dwellings were
becoming already gloomy and indistinctand the wood-cutters were
shouldering their axes and preparing to enjoythroughout the long
evening before themthe comforts of those exhilarating fires that
their labor had been supplying with fuel. They paused only to gaze at
the passing sleighsto lift their caps to Marmaduketo exchange
familiar nods with Richardand each disappeared in his dwelling. The
paper curtains dropped behind our travellers in every windowshutting
from the air even the firelight of the cheerful apartmentsand when
the horses of her father turned with a rapid whirl into the open gate
of the mansion-houseand nothing stood before her but the cold dreary
stone walls of the buildingas she approached them through an avenue
of young and leafless poplarsElizabeth felt as if all the loveliness
of the mountain-view had vanished like the fancies of a dream.
Marmaduke retained so much of his early habits as to reject the use of
bellsbut the equipage of Mr. Jones came dashing through the gate
after themsending its jingling sounds through every cranny of the
buildingand in a moment the dwelling was in an uproar.

On a stone platformof rather small proportionsconsidering the size
of the buildingRichard and Hiram hadconjointlyreared four little
columns of woodwhich in their turn supported the shingled roofs of
the portico— this was the name that Mr. Jones had thought proper to
give to a very plaincovered entrance. The ascent to the platform
was by five or six stone stepssomewhat hastily laid togetherand
which the frost had already begun to move from their symmetrical
positionsBut the evils of a cold climate and a superficial
construction did not end here. As the steps lowered the platform
necessarily fell alsoand the foundations actually left the super
structure suspended in the airleaving an open space of a foot
between the base of the pillars and the stones on which they had
originally been placed. It was lucky for the whole fabric that the
carpenterwho did the manual part of the laborhad fastened the
canopy of this classic entrance so firmly to the side of the house
thatwhen the base deserted the superstructure in the manner we have
describedand the pillarsfor the want of a foundationwere no
longer of service to support the roofthe roof was able to uphold the
pillars. Here wasindeedan unfortunate gap left in the ornamental
part of Richard’s column; butlike the window in Aladdin’s palaceit
seemed only left in order to prove the fertility of its master’s
resources. The composite order again offered its advantagesand a
second edition of the base was givenas the booksellers saywith
additions and improvements. It was necessarily largerand it was
properly ornamented with mouldings; still the steps continued to
yieldandat the moment when Elizabeth returned to her father’s
doora few rough wedges were driven under the pillars to keep them
steadyand to prevent their weight from separating them from the
pediment which they ought to have supported.

From the great door which opened into the porch emerged two or three
female domesticsand one male. The latter was bareheadedbut
evidently more dressed than usualand on the whole was of so singular
a formation and attire as to deserve a more minute description. He
was about five feet in heightof a square and athletic framewith a


pair of shoulders that would have fitted a grenadier. His low stature
was rendered the more striking by a bend forward that he was in the
habit of assumingfor no apparent reasonunless it might be to give
greater freedom to his armsin a particularly sweeping swingthat
they constantly practised when their master was in motion. His face
was longof a fair complexionburnt to a fiery red; with a snub
nosecocked into an inveterate pug; a mouth of enormous dimensions
filled with fine teeth; and a pair of blue eyesthat seemed to look
about them on surrounding objects with habitual contempt. His head
composed full one-fourth of his whole lengthand the cue that
depended from its rear occupied another. He wore a coat of very light
drab clothwith buttons as large as dollarsbearing the impression
of a “foul anchor.” The skirts were extremely longreaching quite to
the calfand were broad in proportion. Beneaththere were a vest
and breeches of red plushsomewhat worn and soiled. He had shoes
with large bucklesand stockings of blue and white stripes.

This odd-looking figure reported himself to be a native of the county
of Cornwallin the island of Great Britain. His boyhood had passed
in the neighborhood of the tin minesand his youth as the cabin-boy
of a smugglerbetween Falmouth and Guernsey. From this trade he had
been impressed into the service of his kingandfor the want of a
betterhad been taken into the cabinfirst as a servantand finally
as steward to the captain. Here he acquired the art of making
chowderlobsterand one or two other sea-dishesandas he was fond
of sayinghad an opportunity of seeing the world. With the exception
of one or two outports in Franceand an occasional visit to
PortsmouthPlymouthand Dealhe had in reality seen no more of
mankindhoweverthan if he had been riding a donkey in one of his
native mines. Butbeing discharged from the navy at the peace of
‘83he declared thatas he had seen all the civilized parts of the
earthhe was inclined to make a trip to the wilds of America We will
not trace him in his brief wanderingsunder the influence of that
spirit of emigration that some times induces a dapper Cockney to quit
his homeand lands himbefore the sound of Bow-bells is out of his
earswithin the roar of the cataract of Niagara; but shall only add
that at a very early dayeven before Elizabeth had been sent to
schoolhe had found his way into the family of Marmaduke Temple
whereowing to a combination of qualities that will be developed in
the course of the talehe heldunder Mr. Jonesthe office of majordomo.
The name of this worthy was Benjamin Penguillanaccording to
his own pronunciation; butowing to a marvellous tale that he was in
the habit of relatingconcerning the length of time he had to labor
to keep his ship from sinking after Rodney’s victoryhe had
universally acquired the nick name of Ben Pump.

By the side of Benjaminand pressing forward as if a little jealous
of her stationstood a middle-aged womandressed in calicorather
violently contrasted in color with a tallmeagreshapeless figure
sharp featuresand a somewhat acute expression of her physiognomy.
Her teeth were mostly goneand what did remain were of a tight
yellow. The skin of her nose was drawn tightly over the memberto
hang in large wrinkles in her cheeks and about her mouth. She took
snuff in such quantities as to create the impression that she owed the
saffron of her lips and the adjacent parts to this circumstance; but
it was the unvarying color of her whole face. She presided over the
female part of the domestic arrangementsin the capacity of
housekeeper; was a spinsterand bore the name of Remarkable
Pettibone. To Elizabeth she was an entire strangerhaving been
introduced into the family since the death of her mother.

In addition to thesewere three or four subordinate menialsmostly
blacksome appearing at the principal doorand some running from the
end of the buildingwhere stood the entrance to the cellar-kitchen.


Besides thesethere was a general rush from Richard’s kennel
accompanied with every canine tone from the howl of the wolf-dog to
the petulant bark of the terrier. The master received their
boisterous salutations with a variety of imitations from his own
throatwhen the dogsprobably from shame of being outdoneceased
their out- cry. One statelypowerful mastiffwho wore round his
neck a brass collarwith “M. T.” engraved in large letters on the
rimalone was silent. He walked majesticallyamid the confusionto
the side of the Judgewherereceiving a kind pat or twohe turned
to Elizabethwho even stooped to kiss himas she called him kindly
by the name of “Old Brave.” The animal seemed to know heras she
ascended the stepssupported by Monsieur Le Quoi and her fatherin
order to protect her from falling on the ice with which they were
covered. He looked wistfully after her figureand when the door
closed on the whole partyhe laid himself in a kennel that was placed
nigh byas if conscious that the house contained some thing of
additional value to guard.

Elizabeth followed her fatherwho paused a moment to whisper a
message to one of his domesticsinto a large hallthat was dimly
lighted by two candiesplaced in highold-fashionedbrass
candlesticks. The door closedand the party were at once removed
from an atmosphere that was nearly at zeroto one of sixty degrees
above. In the centre of the hall stood an enormous stovethe sides
of which appeared to be quivering with heat; from which a large
straight pipeleading through the ceiling abovecarried off the
smoke. An iron basincontaining waterwas placed on this furnace
for such only it could be calledin order to preserve a proper
humidity in the apartment. The room was carpetedand furnished with
convenientsubstantial furnituresome of which was brought from the
citythe remainder having been manufactured by the mechanics of
Templeton. There was a sideboard of mahoganyinlaid with ivoryand
bearing enormous handles of glittering brassand groaning under the
piles of silver plate. Near it stood a set of prodigious tablesmade
of the wild cherryto imitate the imported wood of the sideboardbut
plain and without ornament of any kind. Opposite to these stood a
smaller tableformed from a lighter-colored woodthrough the grains
of which the wavy lines of the curled maple of the mountains were
beautifully undulating. Near to thisin a cornerstood a heavy
old-fashionedbrass-faced clockincased in a high boxof the dark
hue of the black walnut from the seashore. An enormous setteeor
sofacovered with light chintzstretched along the walls for nearly
twenty feet on one side of the hail; and chairs of woodpainted a
light yellowwith black lines that were drawn by no very steady hand
were ranged oppositeand in the intervals between the other pieces of
furniture. A Fahrenheit's thermometer in a mahogany caseand with a
barometer annexedwas hung against the wallat some little distance
from the stovewhich Benjamin consultedevery half hourwith
prodigious exactitude. Two small glass chandeliers were suspended at
equal distances between the stove and outer doorsone of which opened
at each end of the halland gilt lustres were affixed to the frame
work of the numerous side-doors that led from the apartment. Some
little display in architecture had been made in constructing these
frames and casingswhich were surmounted with pedimentsthat bore
each a little pedestal in its centre; on these pedestals were small
busts in blacked plaster-of-Paris. The style of the pedestals as well
as the selection of the busts were all due to the taste of Mr. Jones.
On one stood Homera most striking likenessRichard affirmed“as
any one might seefor it was blind” Another bore the image of a
smooth-visaged gentleman with a pointed beardwhom he called
Shakespeare. A third ornament was an urnwhich; from its shape
Richard was accustomed to sayintended to represent itself as holding
the ashes of Dido. A fourth was certainly old Franklinin his cap


and spectacles. A fifth as surely bore the dignified composure of the
face of Washington. A sixth was a nondescriptrepresenting “a man
with a shirt-collar open” to use the language of Richard“with a
laurel on his head-it was Julius Caesar or Dr. Faustus; there were
good reasons for believing either”

The walls were hung with a dark lead-colored English paper that
represented Britannia weeping over the tomb of WolfeThe hero himself
stood at a little distance from the mourning goddessand at the edge
of the paper. Each width contained the figurewith the slight
exception of one arm of the generalwhich ran over on the next piece
so that when Richard essayedwith his own handsto put together this
delicate outlinesome difficulties occurred that prevented a nice
conjunction; and Britannia had reason to lamentin addition to the
loss of her favorite’s lifenumberless cruel amputations of his right
arm.

The luckless cause of these unnatural divisions now announced his
presence in the halt by a loud crack of his whip.

“WhyBenjamin! you Ben Pump! is this the manner in which you receive
the heiress?” he cried. “Excuse himCousin Elizabeth. The
arrangements were too intricate to be trusted to every one; but now I
am herethings will go on better. —Comelight upMr. Penguillan
light uplight upand let us see One another’s faces. Well‘Duke
I have brought home your deer; what is to be done with itha?”

“By the Lordsquire” commenced Benjaminin replyfirst giving his
mouth a wipe with the back of his hand“if this here thing had been
ordered sum’at earlier in the dayit might have been got upd’ye
seeto your liking. I had mustered all hands and was exercising
candleswhen you hove in sight; but when the women heard your bells
they started an endas if they were riding the boat swain’s colt; and
if-so-be there is that man in the house who can bring up a parcel of
women when they have got headway on themuntil they’ve run out the
end of their ropehis name is not Benjamin Pump. But Miss Betsey
here must have altered more than a privateer in disguisesince she
has got on her woman’s dudsif she will take offence with an old
fellow for the small matter of lighting a few candles.”

Elizabeth and her father continued silentfor both experienced the
same sensation on entering the hall. The former had resided one year
in the building before she left home for schooland the figure of its
lamented mistress was missed by both husband and child.

But candles had been placed in the chandeliers and lustresand the
attendants were so far recovered from surprise as to recollect their
use; the oversight was immediately remediedand in a minute the
apartment was in a blaze of light.

The slight melancholy of our heroine and her father was banished by
this brilliant interruption; and the whole party began to lay aside
the numberless garments they had worn in the air.

During this operation Richard kept up a desultory dialogue with the
different domesticsoccasionally throwing out a remark to the Judge
concerning the deer; but as his conversation at such moments was much
like an accompaniment on a pianoa thing that is heard without being
attended towe will not undertake the task of recording his diffuse
discourse

The instant that Remarkable Pettibone had executed her portion of the
labor in illuminatingshe returned to a position near Elizabethwith
the apparent motive of receiving the clothes that the other threw


asidebut in reality to examinewith an air of curiosity—not unmixed
with jealousy—the appearance of the lady who was to supplant her in
the administration of their domestic economy. The housekeeper felt a
little appalledwhenafter cloakscoatsshawlsand socks had been
taken off in successionthe large black hood was removedand the
dark ringletsshining like the raven’s wingfell from her headand
left the sweet but commanding features of the young lady exposed to
view. Nothing could be fairer and more spotless than the forehead of
Elizabethand preserve the appearance of life and health. Her nose
would have been called Grecianbut for a softly rounded swellthat
gave in character to the feature what it lost in beauty. Her mouth
at first sightseemed only made for love; butthe instant that its
muscles movedevery expression that womanly dignity could utter
played around it with the flexibility of female grace. It spoke not
only to the earbut to the eye. So muchadded to a form of
exquisite proportionsrather full and rounded for her yearsand of
the tallest medium heightshe inherited from her mother. Even the
color of her eyethe arched browsand the long silken lashescame
from the same source; but its expression was her father’s. Inert and
composedit was softbenevolentand attractive; but it could be
rousedand that without much difficulty. At such moments it was
still beautifulthough it was a little severe. As the last shawl
fell asideand she stood dressed in a rich blue riding-habitthat
fitted her form with the nicest exactness; her cheeks burning with
rosesthat bloomed the richer for the heat of the halland her eyes
lightly suffused with moisture that rendered their ordinary beauty
more dazzlingand with every feature of her speaking countenance
illuminated by the lights that flared around herRemarkable felt that
her own power had ended

The business of unrobing had been simultaneous. Marmaduke appeared in
a suit of plainneat black; Monsieur Le Quoi in a coat of snuffcolor
covering a vest of embroiderywith breechesand silk
stockingsand buckles—that were commonly thought to be of paste.
Major Hartmann wore a coat of sky-bluewith large brass buttonsa
club wigand boots; and Mr. Richard Jones had set off his dapper
little form in a frock of bottle-greenwith bullet-buttonsby one of
which the sides were united over his well-rounded waistopening
aboveso as to show a jacket of red clothwith an undervest of
flannelfaced with green velvetand belowso as to exhibit a pair
of buckskin breecheswith longsoiledwhite top-bootsand spurs;
one of the latter a little bentfrom its recent attacks on the stool.

When the young lady had extricated herself from her garmentsshe was
at liberty to gaze about herand to examine not only the household
over which she was to presidebut also the air and manner in which
the domestic arrangements were conducted. Although there was much
incongruity in the furniture and appearance of the hallthere was
nothing mean. The floor was carpetedeven in its remotest corners.
The brass candlesticksthe gilt lustresand the glass chandeliers
whatever might be their keeping as to propriety and tastewere
admirably kept as to all the purposes of use and comfort. They were
clean and glittering in the strong light of the apartment.

Compared with the chill aspect of the December night withoutthe
warmth and brilliancy of the apartment produced an effect that was not
unlike enchantment. Her eye had not time to detectin detailthe
little errors which in truth existedbut was glancing around her in
de lightwhen an object arrested her view that was in strong contrast
to the smiling faces and neatly attired person ages who had thus
assembled to do honor to the heiress of Templeton.

In a corner of the hall near the grand entrance stood the young
hunterunnoticedand for the moment apparently forgotten. But even


the forgetfulness of the Judgewhichunder the influence of strong
emotionhad banished the recollection of the wound of this stranger
seemed surpassed by the absence of mind in the youth himself. On
entering the apartmentbe had mechanically lifted his capand
exposed a head covered with hair that rivalledin color and gloss
the locks of Elizabeth. Nothing could have wrought a greater
transformation than the single act of removing the rough fox-skin cap.
If there was much that was prepossessing in the countenance of the
young hunterthere was something even noble in the rounded outlines
of his head and brow. The very air and manner with which the member
haughtily maintained itself over the coarse and even wild attire in
which the rest of his frame was cladbespoke not only familiarity
with a splendor that in those new settlements was thought to be
unequalledbut something very like contempt also.

The hand that held the cap rested lightly on the little ivory-mounted
piano of Elizabethwith neither rustic restraint nor obtrusive
vulgarity. A single finger touched the instrumentas if accustomed
to dwell on such places. His other arm was extended to its utmost
lengthand the hand grasped the barrel of his long rifle with
something like convulsive energy. The act and the attitude were both
involuntaryand evidently proceeded from a feeling much deeper than
that of vulgar surprise. His appearanceconnected as it was with the
rough exterior of his dressrendered him entirely distinct from the
busy group that were moving across the other end of the long hall
occupied in receiving the travellers and exchanging their welcomes;
and Elizabeth continued to gaze at him in wonder. The contraction of
the stranger’s brows in creased as his eyes moved slowly from one
object to another. For moments the expression of his countenance was
fierceand then again it seemed to pass away in some painful emotion.
The arm that was extended bent and brought the hand nigh to his face
when his head dropped upon itand concealed the wonderfully speaking
lineaments.

“We forgetdear sirthe strange gentleman” (for her life Elizabeth
could not call him otherwise) “whom we have brought here for
assistanceand to whom we owe every attention.”

All eyes were instantly turned in the direction of those of the
speakerand the youth rather proudly elevated his head againwhile
he answered:

“My wound is triflingand I believe that Judge Temple sent for a
physician the moment we arrived.”

“Certainly” said Marmaduke: “I have not forgotten the object of thy
visityoung mannor the nature of my debt.

“Oh!” exclaimed Richardwith something of a waggish leer“thou owest
the lad for the venisonI suppose that thou killedCousin ‘Duke!
Marmaduke! Marmaduke! That was a marvellous tale of thine about the
buck! Hereyoung manare two dollars for the deerand Judge Temple
can do no less than pay the doctor. I shall charge you nothing for my
servicesbut you shall not fare the worst for that. Comecome
‘Dukedon’t he down hearted about it; if you missed the buckyou
contrived to shoot this poor fellow through a pine-tree. Now I own
that you have beat me; I never did such a thing in all my life.”

“And I hope never will” returned the Judge“if you are to experience
the uneasiness that I have suffered; but be of good cheermy young
friendthe injury must be smallas thou movest thy arm with apparent
freedom.

“Don’t make the matter worse‘Dukeby pretending to talk about


surgery” interrupted Mr. Joneswith a contemptuous wave of the hand:
“it is a science that can only be learned by practice. You know that
my grandfather was a doctorbut you haven’t got a drop of medical
blood in your veins. These kind of things run in families. All my
family by my father’s side had a knack at physic. ‘There was my uncle
that was killed at Brandywine—he died as easy again as any other man
the regimentjust from knowing how to hold his breath naturally. Few
men know how to breathe naturally.”

“I doubt notDickon” returned the Judgemeeting the bright smile
whichin spite of himselfstole over the stranger’s features“that
thy family thoroughly under stand the art of letting life slip through
their lingers.”

Richard heard him quite coollyand putting a hand in either pocket of
his surcoatso as to press forward the skirtsbegan to whistle a
tune; but the desire to reply overcame his philosophyand with great
heat he exclaimed:

“You may affect to smileJudge Templeat hereditary virtuesif you
please; but there is not a man on your Patent who don’t know better.
Hereeven this young manwho has never seen anything but bearsand
deerand woodchucksknows better than to believe virtues are not
transmitted in families. Don’t youfriend?”

“I believe that vice is not” said the stranger abruptly; his eye
glancing from the father to the daughter.

“The squire is rightJudge” observed Benjaminwith a knowing nod of
his head toward Richardthat bespoke the cordiality between them
“Nowin the old countrythe king’s majesty touches for the eviland
that is a disorder that the greatest doctor in the fleetor for the
matter of that admiral either: can’t cure; only the king’s majesty or
a man that’s been hanged. Yesthe squire is right; for if-so-be that
he wasn’thow is it that the seventh son always is a doctorwhether
he ships for the cockpit or not? Now when we fell in with the
mounsheersunder De Grassed’ye seewe hid aboard of us a doctor—”

“Very wellBenjamin” interrupted Elizabethglancing her eyes from
the hunter to Monsieur Le Quoiwho was most politely attending to
what fell from each individual in succession“you shall tell me of
thatand all your entertaining adventures together; just nowa room
must be preparedin which the arm of this gentleman can be dressed.”

“I will attend to that myselfCousin Elizabeth” observed Richard
somewhat haughtily. “The young man will not suffer because Marmaduke
chooses to be a little obstinate. Follow memy friendand I will
examine the hurt myself.”

“It will be well to wait for the physician” said the hunter coldly;
“he cannot be distant”

Richard paused and looked at the speakera little astonished at the
languageand a good deal appalled at the refusal. He construed the
latter into an act of hostilityandplacing his hands in the pockets
againhe walked up to Mr. Grantandputting his face close to the
countenance of the divinesaid in an undertone:

“Nowmark my words—there will be a story among the settlersthat all
our necks would have been broken but for that fellow—as if I did not
know how to drive. Whyyou might have turned the horses yourself
sir; nothing was easier; it was only pulling hard on the nigh rein
and touching the off flank of the leader. I hopemy dear siryou
are not at all hurt by the upset the lad gave us?”


The reply was interrupted by the entrance of the village physician.

CHAPTER VI

“And about his shelves
A beggarly account of empty boxes
Green earthen potsbladdersand musty seeds.
Remnants of packthreadand old cakes of roses
Were thinly scattered to make up a show.”-Shakespeare.


Doctor Elnathan Toddfor such was the name of the man of physicwas
commonly thought to beamong the settlersa gentleman of great
mental endowmentsand he was assuredly of rare personal proportions.
In height he measuredwithout his shoesexactly six feet and four
inches. His handsfeetand knees corresponded in every respect with
this formidable stature; but every other part of his frame appeared to
have been intended for a man several sizes smallerif we except the
length of the limbs. His shoulders were squarein one sense at
leastbeing in a right line from one side to the other; but they were
so narrowthat the long dangling arms they supported seemed to issue
out of his back. His neck possessedin an eminent degreethe
property of length to which we have alludedand it was topped by a
small bullet-head that exhibited on one side a bush of bristling brown
hair and on the other a shorttwinkling visagethat appeared to
maintain a constant struggle with itself in order to look wise. He
was the youngest son of a farmer in the western part of Massachusetts
whobeing in some what easy circumstanceshad allowed this boy to
shoot up to the height we have mentionedwithout the ordinary
interruptions of field laborwood-choppingand such other toils as
were imposed on his brothers. Elnathan was indebted for this
exemption from labor in some measure to his extraordinary growth
whichleaving him paleinanimateand listlessinduced his tender
mother to pronounce him “a sickly boyand one that was not equal to
workbut who might earn a living comfortably enough by taking to
pleading lawor turning ministeror doctoringor some such like
easy calling.’ Stillthere was great uncertainty which of these
vocations the youth was best endowed to fill; buthaving no other
employmentthe stripling was constantly lounging about the homestead”
munching green apples and hunting for sorrel; when the same sagacious eye
that had brought to light his latent talents seized upon this circumstance
as a clew to his future path through the turmoils of the world.
“Elnathan was cut out for a doctorshe knewfor he was forever digging
for herbsand tasting all kinds of things that grow’d about the lots.
Then again he had a natural love for doctor-stufffor when she had left
the bilious pills out for her manall nicely covered with maple sugar
just ready to takeNathan had come in and swallowed them for all the
world as if they were nothingwhile Ichabod (her husband) could never get
one down without making such desperate faces that it was awful to look on.”


This discovery decided the matter. Elnathanthen about fifteenwas
much like a wild coltcaught and trimmed by clipping his bushy locks;
dressed in a suit of homespundyed in the butternut bark; furnished
with a “New Testament” and a “Webster’s Spelling Book” and sent to
school. As the boy was by nature quite shrewd enoughand had
previouslyat odd timeslaid the foundations of readingwriting
and arithmetiche was soon conspicuous in the school for his
learning. The delighted mother had the gratification of hearingfrom
the lips of the masterthat her son was a “prodigious boyand far



above all his class.” He also thought that “the youth had a natural
love for doctoringas he had known him frequently advise the smaller
children against eating to much; andonce or twicewhen the ignorant
little things had persevered in opposition to Elnathan’s advicehe
had known her son empty the school-baskets with his own mouthto
prevent the consequences.”

Soon after this comfortable declaration from his school masterthe
lad was removed to the house of the village doctora gentleman whose
early career had not been unlike that of our hero where he was to be
seen sometimes watering a horseat others watering medicinesblue
yellowand red: then again he might be noticed lolling under an
apple-treewith Ruddiman’s Latin Grammar in his handand a corner of
Denman’s Midwifery sticking out of a pocket; for his instructor held
it absurd to teach his pupil how to dispatch a patient regularly from
this worldbefore he knew how to bring him into it.

This kind of life continued for a twelvemonthwhen he suddenly
appeared at a meeting in a long coat (and well did it deserve the
name!) of black homespunwith little booteesbound with an uncolored
calf-skin for the want of red morocco.

Soon after he was seen shaving with a dull razor. Three or four
months had scarce elapsed before several elderly ladies were observed
hastening toward the house of a poor woman in the villagewhile
others were running to and fro in great apparent distress. One or two
boys were mountedbarebackon horsesand sent off at speed in
various directions. Several indirect questions were put concerning
the place where the physician was last seen; but all would not do; and
at length Elnathan was seen issuing from his door with a very grave
airpreceded by a little white-headed boyout of breathtrotting
before him. The following day the youth appeared in the streetas
the highway was calledand the neighborhood was much edified by the
additional gravity of his air. The same week he bought a new razor;
and the succeeding Sunday he entered the meeting-house with a red silk
handkerchief in his handand with an extremely demure countenance.
In the evening he called upon a young woman of his own class in life
for there were no others to be foundandwhen he was left alone with
the fairhe was calledfor the first time in his lifeDr. Toddby
her prudent mother. The ice once broken in this mannerElnathan was
greeted from every mouth with his official appellation.

Another year passed under the superintendence of the same master
during which the young physician had the credit of “ riding with the
old doctor” although they were generally observed to travel different
roads. At the end of that periodDr. Todd attained his legal
majority. He then took a jaunt to Boston to purchase medicinesand
as some intimatedto walk the hospital; we know not how the latter
might have beenbutif truehe soon walked through itfor he
returned within a fortnightbringing with him a suspicious-looking
boxthat smelled powerfully of brimstone.

The next Sunday he was marriedand the following morning he entered a
one-horse sleigh with his bridehaving before him the box we have
mentionedwith another filled with home-made household linena
paper-covered trunk with a red umbrella lashed to ita pair of quite
new saddle-bagsand a handbox. The next intelligence that his
friends received of the bride and bridegroom wasthat the latter was
“settled in the new countriesand well to do as a doctor in
Templetonin York State!”

If a Templar would smile at the qualifications of Marmaduke to fill
the judicial seat he occupiedwe are certain that a graduate of
Leyden or Edinburgh would be extremely amused with this true narration


of the servitude of Elnathan in the temple of Aesculapius. But the
same consolation was afforded to both the jurist and the leechfor
Dr. Todd was quite as much on a level with his own peers of the
profession in that countryas was Marmaduke with his brethren on the
bench.

Time and practice did wonders for the physician. He was naturally
humanebut possessed of no small share of moral courage; orin other
wordshe was chary of the lives of his patientsand never tried
uncertain experiments on such members of society as were considered
useful; butonce or twicewhen a luckless vagrant had come under his
carehe was a little addicted to trying the effects of every phial in
his saddle-bags on the strangers constitution. Happily their number
was smalland in most cases their natures innocent. By these means
Elnathan had acquired a certain degree of knowledge in fevers and
aguesand could talk with judgment concerning intermittents
remittentstertiansquotidiansetc. In certain cutaneous disorders
very prevalent in new settlementshe was considered to be infallible;
and there was no woman on the Patent but would as soon think of
becoming a mother without a husband as without the assistance of Dr.
Todd. In shorthe was rearingon this foundation of sand a
superstructure cemented by practicethough composed of somewhat
brittle materials. He howeveroccasionally renewed his elementary
studiesandwith the observation of a shrewd mindwas comfort ably
applying his practice to his theory.

In surgeryhaving the least experienceand it being a business that
spoke directly to the senseshe was most apt to distrust his own
powers; but he had applied oils to several burnscut round the roots
of sundry defective teethand sewed up the wounds of numberless wood
chopperswith considerable éclatwhen an unfortunate jobber suffered
a fracture of his leg by the tree that he had been felling. It was on
this occasion that our hero encountered the greatest trial his nerves
and moral feeling had ever sustained. In the hour of needhowever
he was not found wanting. Most of the amputations in the new
settlementsand they were quite frequentwere per formed by some one
practitioner whopossessing originally a reputationwas enabled by
this circumstance to acquire an experience that rendered him deserving
of it; and Elnathan had been present at one or two of these
operations. But on the present occasion the man of practice was not
to be obtainedand the duty fellas a matter of courseto the share
of Mr. Todd. He went to work with a kind of blind desperation
observingat the same timeall the externals of decent gravity and
great skillThe sufferer’s name was Milliganand it was to this
event that Richard alludedwhen he spoke of assisting the doctor at
an amputation by holding the leg! The limb was certainly cut offand
the patient survived the operation. It washowevertwo years before
poor Milligan ceased to complain that they had buried the leg in so
narrow a box that it was straitened for room; he could feel the pain
shooting up from the inhumed fragment into the living members.
Marmaduke suggested that the fault might lie in the arteries and
nerves; but Richardconsidering the amputation as part of his own
handiworkstrongly repelled the insinuationat the same time
declaring that he had often heard of men who could tell when it was
about to rainby the toes of amputated limbsAfter two or three
yearsnotwithstandingMilligan's complaints gradually diminished
the leg was dug upand a larger box furnishedand from that hour no
one had heard the sufferer utter another complaint on the subject.
This gave the public great confidence in Dr. Toddwhose reputation
was hourly increasingandluckily for his patientshis information
also.

Notwithstanding Dr. Todd’s practiceand his success with the leghe
was not a little appalled on entering the hall of the mansion-house.


It was glaring with the light of day; it looked so imposingcompared
with the hastily built and scantily furnished apartments which he
frequented in his ordinary practiceand contained so many welldressed
persons and anxious facesthat his usually firm nerves were a
good deal discomposed. He had heard from the messenger who summoned
himthat it was a gun-shot woundand had come from his own home
wading through the snowwith his saddle-bags thrown over his arm
while separated arteriespenetrated lungsand injured vitals were
whirling through his brainas if he were stalking over a field of
battleinstead of Judge Temple’s peaceable in closure.

The first object that met his eyeas he moved into the roomwas
Elizabeth in her riding-habitrichly laced with gold cordher fine
form bending toward himand her face expressing deep anxiety in every
one of its beautiful features. The enormous knees of the physician
struck each other with a noise that was audible; forin the absent
state of his mindhe mistook her for a general officerperforated
with bulletshastening from the field of battle to implore
assistance. The delusionhoweverwas but momentaryand his eye
glanced rapidly from the daughter to the earnest dignity of the
father’s countenance; thence to the busy strut of Richardwho was
cooling his impatience at the hunter’s indifference to his assistance
by pacing the hall and cracking his whip; from him to the Frenchman
who had stood for several minutes unheeded with a chair for the lady;
thence to Major Hartmannwho was very coolly lighting a pipe three
feet long by a candle in one of the chandeliers; thence to Mr. Grant
who was turning over a manuscript with much earnestness at one of the
lustres; thence to Remarkablewho stoodwith her arms demurely
folded before hersurveyingwith a look of admiration and envythe
dress and beauty of the young lady; and from her to Benjaminwho
with his feet standing wide apartand his arms akimbowas balancing
his square little body with the indifference of one who is accustomed
to wounds and bloodshed. All of these seemed to be unhurtand the
operator began to breathe more freely; butbefore he had time to take
a second lookthe Judgeadvancingshook him kindly by the handand
spoke.

“Thou art welcomemy good sirquite welcomeindeed; here is a youth
whom I have unfortunately wounded in shooting a deer this eveningand
who requires some of thy assistance.”

“Shooting at a deer‘Duke” interrupted Richard— “shooting at a deer.
Who do you think can prescribeunless he knows the truth of the case?
It is always so with some people; they think a doctor can be deceived
with the same impunity as another man.”

“Shooting at a deertruly” returned the Judgesmiling“although it
is by no means certain that I did not aid in destroying the buck; but
the youth is injured by my handbe that as it may; and it is thy
skill that must cure himand my pocket shall amply reward thee for
it.”

“Two ver good tings to depend on” observed Monsieur Le Quoibowing
politelywith a sweep of his head to the Judge and to the
practitioner.

“I thank youmonsieur” returned the Judge; “but we keep the young
man in pain. Remarkablethou wilt please to provide linen for lint
and bandages.”

This remark caused a cessation of the complimentsand induced the
physician to turn an inquiring eye in the direction of his patient.
During the dialogue the young hunter had thrown aside his overcoat
and now stood clad in a plain suit of the commonlight-colored


homespun of the countrythat was evidently but recently made. His
hand was on the lapels of his coatin the attitude of removing the
garmentwhen he suddenly suspended the movementand looked toward
the commiserating Elizabethwho was standing in an unchanged posture
too much absorbed with her anxious feelings to heed his actions. A
slight color appeared on the brow of the youth.

“Possibly the sight of blood may alarm the lady; I will retire to
another room while the wound is dressing.”

“By no means.” said Dr. Toddwhohaving discovered that his patient
was far from being a man of importancefelt much emboldened to
perform the duty. “The strong light of these candles is favorable to
the operationand it is seldom that we hard students enjoy good
eyesight.”

While speakingElnathan placed a pair of large iron-rimmed spectacles
on his facewhere they droppedas it were by long practiceto the
extremity of his slim pug nose; andif they were of no service as
assistants to his eyesneither were they any impediment to his
vision; for his little gray organs were twinkling above them like two
stars emerging from the envious cover of a cloud. The action was
unheeded by all but Remarkablewho observed to Benjamin:

“Dr. Todd is a comely man to look onand despu’t pretty. How well he
seems in spectacles! I declarethey give a grand look to a body’s
face. I have quite a great mind to try them myself.”

The speech of the stranger recalled the recollection of Miss Temple
who started as if from deep abstractionandcoloring excessively
she motioned to a young woman who served in the capacity of maidand
retired with an air of womanly reserve.

The field was now left to the physician and his patientwhile the
different personages who remained gathered around the latterwith
faces expressing the various degrees of interest that each one felt in
his condition. Major Hartmann alone retained his seatwhere he
continued to throw out vast quantities of smokenow rolling his eyes
up to the ceilingas if musing on the uncertainty of lifeand now
bending them on the wounded manwith an expression that bespoke some
consciousness of his situation.

In the mean time Elnathanto whom the sight of a gun shot wound was a
perfect noveltycommenced his preparations with a solemnity and care
that were worthy of the occasion. An old shirt was procured by
Benjaminand placed in the hand of the otherwho tore divers
bandages from itwith an exactitude that marked both his own skill
and the importance of the operation.

When this preparatory measure was takenDr. Todd selected a piece of
the shirt with great careand handing to Mr. Joneswithout moving a
musclesaid: “HereSquire Jonesyou are well acquainted with these
things; will you please to scrape the lint? It should be fine and
softyou knowmy dear sir; and be cautious that no cotton gets in
or it may p’izen the wound. The shirt has been made with cotton
threadbut you can easily pick it out.”

Richard assumed the officewith a nod at his cousinthat said quite
plainly“You see this fellow can’t get along without me;” and began
to scrape the linen on his knee with great diligence.

A table was now spread with phialsboxes of salveand divers
surgical instruments. As the latter appeared in successionfrom a
case of red moroccotheir owner held up each implement to the strong


light of the chandeliernear to which he stoodand examined it with
the nicest care. A red silk handkerchief was frequently applied to
the glittering steelas if to remove from the polished surfaces the
least impediment which might exist to the most delicate operation.
After the rather scantily furnished pocket-case which contained these
instruments was exhaustedthe physician turned to his saddle-bags
and produced various phialsfilled with liquids of the most radiant
colors. These were arranged in due order by the side of the murderous
sawsknivesand scissorswhen Elnathan stretched his long body to
its utmost elevationplacing his hand on the small of his back as if
for sup portand looked about him to discover what effect this
display of professional skill was likely to produce on the spectators.

“Upon my worttoctor” observed Major Hartmannwith a roguish roll
of his little black eyesbut with every other feature of his face in
a state of perfect rest“put you have a very pretty pocket-book of
tools tereand your toctor-stuff glitters as if it was petter for ter
eyes as for ter pelly.”

Elnathan gave a hem—one that might have been equally taken for that
kind of noise which cowards are said to make in order to awaken their
dormant courageor for a natural effort to clear the throat; if for
the latter it was successful; forturning his face to the veteran
Germanhe said:

“Very trueMajor Hartmannvery truesir; a prudent man will always
strive to make his remedies agreeable to the eyesthough they may not
altogether suit the stomach. It is no small part of our artsir”
and he now spoke with the confidence of a man who understood his
subject“to reconcile the patient to what is for his own goodthough
at the same time it may be unpalatable.”

“Sartain! Dr. Todd is right” said Remarkable“and has Scripter for
what he says. The Bible tells us how things may be sweet to the
mouthand bitter to the inwards.”

“Truetrue” interrupted the Judgea little impatiently; “but here
is a youth who needs no deception to lure him to his own benefit. I
seeby his eyethat he fears nothing more than delay.”

The stranger hadwithout assistancebared his own shoulderwhen the
slight perforation produced by the pas sage of the buckshot was
plainly visible. The intense cold of the evening had stopped the
bleedingand Dr. Toddcasting a furtive glance at the woundthought
it by no means so formidable an affair as he had anticipated. Thus
encouragedhe approached his patientand made some indication of an
intention to trace the route that had been taken by the lead.

Remarkable often found occasionsin after daysto recount the
minutiae of that celebrated operation; and when she arrived at this
point she commonly proceeded as follows:” And then the doctor tuck out
of the pocket book a long thinglike a knitting-needlewith a button
fastened to the end on't; and then he pushed it into the wound and
then the young man looked awful; and then I thought I should have
swaned away—I felt in sitch a dispu’t taking; and then the doctor had
run it right through his shoulderand shoved the bullet out on tother
side; and so Dr. Todd cured the young man—Of a ball that the Judge had
shot into him—for all the world as easy as I could pick out a splinter
with my darning-needle.”

Such were the impressions of Remarkable on the subject; and such
doubtless were the opinions of most of those who felt it necessary to
entertain a species of religious veneration for the skill of Elnathan;
but such was far from the truth.


When the physician attempted to introduce the instrument described by
Remarkablehe was repulsed by the strangerwith a good deal of
decisionand some little contemptin his manner.

“I believesir” he said“that a probe is not necessary; the shot
has missed the boneand has passed directly through the arm to the
opposite sidewhere it remains but skin deepand whenceI should
thinkit might he easily extracted.”

“The gentleman knows best” said Dr. Toddlaying down the probe with
the air of a man who had assumed it merely in compliance with forms;
andturning to Richardhe fingered the lint with the appearance of
great care and foresight. “Admirably well scrapedSquire Jones: it
is about the best lint I have ever seen. I want your assistancemy
good sirto hold the patient’s arm while I make an incision for the
ball. NowI rather guess there is not another gentleman present who
could scrape the lint so well as Squire Jones!”

“Such things run in families” observed Richardrising with alacrity
to render the desired assistance. “My fatherand my grandfather
before himwere both celebrated for their knowledge of surgery; they
were notlike Marmaduke herepuffed up with an accidental thing
such as the time when he drew in the hip-joint of the man who was
thrown from his horse; that was the fall before you came into the
settlementdoctor; but they were men who were taught the thing
regularlyspending half their lives in learning those little
niceties; thoughfor the matter of thatmy grandfather was a
college-bred physicianand the best in the colonytoo—that isin
his neighborhood.”

“So it goes with the worldsquire” cried Benjamin; “if so be that a
man wants to walk the quarter-deck with creditd’ye seeand with
regular built swabs on his shouldershe mustn’t think to do it by
getting in at the cabin windows. There are two ways to get into a
topbesides the lubber-holes. The true way to walk aft is to begin
forrard; tho’f it he only in a humble waylike myselfd’ye see
which was from being only a hander of topgallant sailsand a stower
of the flying-jibto keeping the key of the captain’s locker.”

Benjamin speaks quite to the purpose’ continued Richard“I dare say
that he has often seen shot extracted in the different ships in which
he has served; suppose we get him to hold the basin; he must be used
to the sight of blood.”

“That he issquirethat he is” interrupted the cidevant steward;
“many’s the good shotrounddouble-headedand grapethat I’ve seen
the doctors at work on. For the matter of thatI was in a boat
alongside the shipwhen they cut out the twelve-pound shot from the
thigh of the captain of the Foodyrongone of Mounsheer Ler Quaw’s
countrymen!” *

* It is possible that the reader may start at this declaration of
Benjaminbut those who have lived in the new settlements of America
are too much accustomed to hear of these European exploits to doubt
it.
“A twelve-pound ball from the thigh of a human being:” exclaimed Mr.
Grantwith great simplicitydropping the sermon he was again
readingand raising his spectacles to the top of his forehead.

“A twelve-pounder!” echoed Benjaminstaring around him with much
confidence; “a twelve-pounder! ay! a twenty-four-pound shot can easily
be taken from a man’s bodyif so be a doctor only knows howThere’s


Squire Jonesnowask himsir; he reads all the books; ask him if he
never fell in with a page that keeps the reckoning of such things.”


“Certainlymore important operations than that have been performed”
observed Richard; “the encyclopaedia mentions much more incredible
circumstances than thatasI dare sayyou knowDr. Todd.”


“Certainlythere are incredible tales told in the encyclopaedias”
returned Elnathan“though I cannot say that I have ever seenmyself
anything larger than a musket ball extracted.”


During this discourse an incision had been made through the skin of
the young hunter’s shoulderand the lead was laid bare. Elnathan
took a pair of glittering forcepsand was in the act of applying them
to the woundwhen a sudden motion of the patient caused the shot to
fall out of itselfThe long arm and broad hand of the operator were
now of singular service; for the latter expanded itselfand caught
the leadwhile at the same time an extremely ambiguous motion was
made by its brotherso as to leave it doubtful to the spectators how
great was its agency in releasing the shotRichardhoweverput the
matter at rest by exclaiming:


“Very neatly donedoctor! I have never seen a shot more neatly
extracted; and I dare say Benjamin will say the same.”


“Whyconsidering” returned Benjamin“I must say that it was ship-
shape and Brister-fashion. Now all that the doctor has to dois to
clap a couple of plugs in the holesand the lad will float in any
gale that blows in these here hills”


“I thank yousirfor what you have done” said the youthwith a
little distance; “but here is a man who will take me under his care
and spare you allgentlemenany further trouble on my account”


The whole group turned their heads in surpriseand beheldstanding
at one of the distant doors of the hallthe person of Indian John.


CHAPTER VII.


“From Sesquehanna’s utmost springs
Where savage tribes pursue their game
His blanket tied with yellow strings
The shepherd of the forest came. ‘—Freneau.


Before the Europeansorto use a more significant termthe
Christiansdispossessed the original owners of the soilall that
section of country which contains the New England Statesand those of
the Middle which lie east of the mountainswas occupied by two great
nations of Indiansfrom whom had descended numberless tribes. But
as the original distinctions between these nations were marked by a
difference in languageas well as by repeated and bloody warsthey
were never known to amalgamateuntil after the power and inroads of
the whites had reduced some of the tribes to a state of dependence
that rendered not only their politicalbutconsidering the wants and
habits of a savagetheir animal existence alsoextremely precarious.


These two great divisions consistedon the one sideof the Fiveor
as they were afterward calledthe Six Nationsand their allies; and
on the otherof the Lenni Lenapeor Delawareswith the numerous and



powerful tribes that owned that nation as their grandfather The former
was generally calledby the Anglo-Americans Iroquoisor the Six
Nationsand sometimes Mingoes. Their appellation among their rivals
seems generally to have been the Mengweor Maqua. They consisted of
the tribes oras their allies were fond of assertingin order to
raise their consequenceof the several nations of the Mohawksthe
Oneidasthe OnondagasCayugasand Senecas; who rankedin the
confederation in the order in which they are named. The Tuscaroras
were admitted to this union near a century after its foundationand
thus completed the number of six.

Of the Lenni Lenapeor as they were called by the whitesfrom the
circumstances of their holding their great council-fire on the banks
of that riverthe Delaware nationthe principal tribesbesides that
which bore the generic namewere the MahicanniMohicansor
Mohegansand the Nanticokesor Nentigoes. Of these the latter held
the country along the waters of the Chesapeake and the seashore; while
the Mohegans occupied the district between the Hudson and the ocean
including much of New England. Of course these two tribes were the
first who were dispossessed of their lands by the Europeans.

The wars of a portion of the latter are celebrated among us as the
wars of King Philip; but the peaceful policy of William Pennor
Miquonas he was termed by the nativeseffected its object with less
difficultythough not with less certainty. As the natives gradually
disappeared from the country of the Moheganssome scattering families
sought a refuge around the council-fire of the mother tribeor the
Delawares.

This people had been induced to suffer themselves to be called women
by their old enemiesthe Mingoesor Iroquois. After the latter
having in vain tried the effects of hostilityhad recourse in
artifice in order to prevail over their rivals. According to this
declarationthe Delawares were to cultivate the arts of peaceand to
intrust their defence entirely to the menor warlike tribes of the
Six Nations.

This state of things continued until the war of the Revolution. When
the Lenni Lenape formally asserted their independenceand fearlessly
declared that they were again men. Butin a government so peculiarly
republican as the Indian polityit was not at all times an easy task
to restrain its members within the rules of the nation. Several
fierce and renowned warriors of the Mohegansfinding the conflict
with the whites to be in vainsought a refuge with their grandfather
and brought with them the feelings and principles that had so long
distinguished them in their own tribe. These chieftains kept alive
in some measurethe martial spirit of the Delawares; and wouldat
timeslead small parties against their ancient enemiesor such other
foes as incurred their resentment.

Among these warriors was one race particularly famous for their
prowessand for those qualities that render an Indian hero
celebrated. But wartimediseaseand want had conspired to thin
their number; and the sole representative of this once renowned family
now stood in the hall of Marmaduke Temple. He had for a long time
been an associate of the white menparticularly in their warsand
having beenat the season when his services were of importancemuch
noticed and flatteredhe had turned Christian and was baptized by the
name of John. He had suffered severely in his family during the
recent warhaving had every soul to whom he was allied cut off by an
inroad of the enemy; and when the last lingering remnant of his nation
extinguished their firesamong the hills of the Delawarehe alone
had remainedwith a determination of laying his hones in that country
where his fathers had so long lived and governed.


It was onlyhoweverwithin a few monthsthat he had appeared among
the mountains that surrounded Templeton. To the hut of the old hunter
he seemed peculiarly welcome; andas the habits of the Leather-
Stocking were so nearly assimilated to those of the savagesthe
conjunction of their interests excited no surprise. They resided in
the same cabinate of the same foodand were chiefly occupied in the
same pursuits.

We have already mentioned the baptismal name of this ancient chief;
but in his conversation with Nattyheld in the language of the
Delawareshe was heard uniformly to call himself Chingachgookwhich
interpretedmeans the “Great Snake.” This name he had acquired in his
youthby his skill and prowess in war; but when his brows began to
wrinkle with timeand he stood alonethe last of his familyand his
particular tribethe few Delawareswho yet continued about the headwaters
of their rivergave him the mournful appellation of Mohegan.
Perhaps there was something of deep feeling excited in the bosom of
this inhabitant of the forest by the sound of a name that recalled the
idea of his nation in ruinsfor he seldom used it himself—never
indeedexcepting on the most solemn occasions; but the settlers had
unitedaccording to the Christian customhis baptismal with his
national nameand to them he was generally known as John Moheganor
more familiarlyas Indian John.

From his long association with the white menthe habits of Mohegan
were a mixture of the civilized and savage statesthough there was
certainly a strong preponderance in favor of the latter. In common
with all his peoplewho dwelt within the influence of the Anglo-
Americanshe had acquired new wantsand his dress was a mixture of
his native and European fashions. Notwithstanding the in tense cold
withouthis head was uncovered; but a profusion of longblack
coarse hair concealed his foreheadhis crownand even hung about his
cheeksso as to convey the ideato one who knew his present amid
former conditionsthat he encouraged its abundanceas a willing veil
to hide the shame of a noble soulmourning for glory once known. His
foreheadwhen it could be seenappeared loftybroadand noble.
His nose was highand of the kind called Romanwith nostrils that
expandedin his seventieth yearwith the freedom that had
distinguished them in youth. His mouth was largebut compressedand
possessing a great share of expression and characterandwhen
openedit discovered a perfect set of shortstrongand regular
teeth. His chin was fullthough not prominent; and his face bore the
infallible mark of his peoplein its squarehigh cheek-bones. The
eyes were not largebut their black orbs glittered in the rays of the
candlesas he gazed intently down the halllike two balls of fire.

The instant that Mohegan observed himself to be noticed by the group
around the young strangerhe dropped the blanket which covered the
upper part of his framefrom his shoulderssuffering it to fall over
his leggins of untanned deer-skinwhere it was retained by a belt of
bark that confined it to his waist.

As he walked slowly down the long hailthe dignified and deliberate
tread of the Indian surprised the spectators.

His shouldersand body to his waistwere entirely barewith the
exception of a silver medallion of Washingtonthat was suspended from
his neck by a thong of buckskinand rested on his high chestamid
many scars. His shoulders were rather broad and full; but the arms
though straight and gracefulwanted the muscular appearance that
labor gives to a race of men. The medallion was the only ornament he
worealthough enormous slits in the rim of either earwhich suffered
the cartilages to fall two inches below the membershad evidently


been used for the purposes of decoration in other days. in his hand
he held a small basket of the ash-wood slipscolored in divers
fantastical conceitswith red and black paints mingled with the white
of the wood.

As this child of the forest approached themthe whole party stood
asideand allowed him to confront the object of his visit. He did
not speakhoweverbut stood fixing his glowing eyes on the shoulder
of the young hunterand then turning them intently on the countenance
of the Judge. The latter was a good deal astonished at this unusual
departure from the ordinarily subdued and quiet manner of the Indian;
but he extended his handand said:

“Thou art welcomeJohn. This youth entertains a high opinion of thy
skillit seemsfor he prefers thee to dress his wound even to our
good friendDr. Todd.”

Mohegan now spoke in tolerable Englishbut in a lowmonotonous
guttural tone;

“The children of Miquon do not love the sight of blood; and yet the
Young Eagle has been struck by the hand that should do no evil!”

“Mohegan! old John!” exclaimed the Judge“thinkest thou that my hand
has ever drawn human blood willingly? For shame! for shameold John!
thy religion should have taught thee better.”

“The evil spirit sometimes lives in the best heart” returned John
“but my brother speaks the truth; his hand has never taken lifewhen
awake; no! not even when the children of the great English Father were
making the waters red with the blood of his people.”

“Surely John” said Mr. Grantwith much earnestness“you remember
the divine command of our Saviour‘Judge notlest ye be judged.’
What motive could Judge Temple have for injuring a youth like this;
one to whom he is unknownand from whom he can receive neither in
jury nor favor?”

John listened respectfully to the divineandwhen he had concluded
he stretched out his armand said with energy:

“He is innocent. My brother has not done this.”

Marmaduke received the offered hand of the other with a smilethat
showedhowever he might be astonished at his suspicionhe had ceased
to resent it; while the wounded youth stoodgazing from his red
friend to his hostwith interest powerfully delineated in his
countenance.

No sooner was this act of pacification exchangedthan John proceeded
to discharge the duty on which he had come. Dr. Todd was far from
manifesting any displeasure at this invasion of his rightsbut made
way for the new leech with an air that expressed a willingness to
gratify the humors of his patientnow that the all-important part of
the business was so successfully performedand nothing remained to be
done but what any child might effectindeedhe whispered as much to
Monsieur Le Quoiwhen he said:

“It was fortunate that the ball was extracted before this Indian came
in; but any old woman can dress the wound. The young manI hear
lives with John and Natty Bumppoand it’s always best to humor a
patientwhen it can be done discreetly—I saydiscreetlymonsieur.”

“Certainement” returned the Frenchman; “you seem ver happyMister


Toddin your pratice. I tink the elder lady might ver well finish
vat you so skeelfully begin.”

But Richard hadat the bottoma great deal of veneration for the
knowledge of Moheganespecially in external wounds; andretaining
all his desire for a participation in gloryhe advanced nigh the
Indianand said: “SagosagoMohegan! sago my good fellow I am glad
you have come; give me a regular physicianlike Dr. Todd to cut into
fleshand a native to heal the wound. Do you rememberJohnthe
time when I and you set the bone of Natty Bumppo’s little finger
after he broke it by falling from the rockwhen he was trying to get
the partridge that fell on the cliffs? I never could tell yet whether
it was I or Natty who killed that bird: he fired firstand the bird
stoopedand then it was rising again as I pulled trigger. I should
have claimed it for a certaintybut Natty said the hole was too big
for shotand he fired a single ball from his rifle; but the piece I
carried then didn’t scatterand I have known it to bore a hole
through a boardwhen I’ve been shooting at a markvery much like
rifle bullets. Shall I help youJohn? You know I have a knack at
these things.”

Mohegan heard this disquisition quite patientlyandwhen Richard
concludedhe held out the basket which contained his specifics
indicatingby a gesturethat he might hold it. Mr. Jones was quite
satisfied with this commission; and ever afterin speaking of the
eventwas used to say that “Dr. Todd and I cut out the bulletand I
and Indian John dressed the wound.”

The patient was much more deserving of that epithet while under the
hands of Moheganthan while suffering under the practice of the
physician. Indeedthe Indian gave him but little opportunity for the
exercise of a forbearing temperas he had come prepared for the
occasion. His dressings were soon appliedand consisted only of some
pounded barkmoistened with a fluid that he had expressed from some
of the simples of the woods.

Among the native tribes of the forest there were always two kinds of
leeches to be met with. The one placed its whole dependence on the
exercise of a supernatural powerand was held in greater veneration
than their practice could at all justify ; but the other was really
endowed with great skill in the ordinary complaints of the human body
and was more particularlyas Natty had intimated“curous” in cuts
and bruises.”

While John and Richard were placing the dressings on the wound
Elnathan was acutely eyeing the contents of Mohegan’s basketwhich
Mr. Jonesin his physical ardor had transferred to the doctorin
order to hold himself one end of the bandages. Here he was soon
enabled to detect sundry fragments of wood and barkof which he quite
coolly took possessionvery possibly without any intention of
speaking at all upon the subject; butwhen he beheld the full blue
eye of Marmaduke watching his movementshe whispered to the Judge:

“It is not to be deniedJudge Templebut what the savages are
knowing in small matters of physic. They hand these things down in
their traditions. Now in cancers and hydrophoby they are quite
ingenious. I will just take this bark home and analyze it; for
though it can’t be worth sixpence to the young man’s shoulderit may
be good for the toothacheor rheumatismor some of them complaints.
A man should never be above learningeven if it be from an Indian”

It was fortunate for Dr. Todd that his principles were so liberalas
coupled with his practicethey were the means by which he acquired
all his knowledgeand by which he was gradually qualifying himself


for the duties of his profession. The process to which he subjected
the specific differedhowevergreatly from the ordinary rules of
chemistry; for instead of separating he afterward united the component
parts of Mohegan’s remedyand was thus able to discover the tree
whence the Indian had taken it.

Some ten years after this eventwhen civilization and its refinements
had creptor rather rushedinto the settlements among these wild
hillsan affair of honor occurredand Elnathan was seen to apply a
salve to the wound received by one of the partieswhich had the
flavor that was peculiar to the treeor rootthat Mohegan had used.
Ten years later stillwhen England and the United States were again
engaged in warand the hordes of the western parts of the State of
New York were rushing to the fieldElnathanpresuming on the
reputation obtained by these two operationsfollowed in the rear of a
brigade of militia as its surgeon!

When Mohegan had applied the barkhe freely relinquished to Richard
the needle and thread that were used in sewing the bandagesfor these
were implements of which the native but little understood the use:
andstep ping back with decent gravityawaited the completion of the
business by the other.

“Reach me the scissors” said Mr. Joneswhen he had finishedand
finished for the second timeafter tying the linen in every shape and
form that it could be placed; “reach me the scissorsfor here is a
thread that must be cut offor it might get under the dressingsand
inflame the wound. SeeJohnI have put the lint I scraped between
two layers of the linen; for though the bark is certainly best for the
fleshyet the lint will serve to keep the cold air from the wound.
If any lint will do it goodit is this lint; I scraped it myselfand
I will not turn my back at scraping lint to any man on the Patent. I
ought to know howif anybody oughtfor my grandfather was a doctor
and my father had a natural turn that way.”

“Heresquireis the scissors” said Remarkableproducing from
beneath her petticoat of green moreen a pair of dull-looking shears;
“wellupon my say-soyou have sewed on the rags as well as a woman.”

“As well as a woman!” echoed Richard with indignation; “what do women
know of such matters? and you are proof of the truth of what I say.
Who ever saw such a pair of shears used about a wound? Dr. ToddI
will thank you for the scissors from the caseNowyoung manI think
you’ll do. The shot has been neatly taken outalthoughperhaps
seeing I had a hand in itI ought not to say so; and the wound is
admirably dressed. You will soon be well again; though the jerk you
gave my leaders must have a tendency to inflame the shoulderyet you
will doyou will doYou were rather flurriedI sup poseand not
used to horses; but I forgive the accident for the motive; no doubt
you had the best of motives; yesnow you will do.”

“Thengentlemen” said the wounded strangerrisingand resuming his
clothes“it will be unnecessary for me to trespass longer on your
time and patience. There remains but one thing more to be settled
and that isour respective rights to the deerJudge Temple.”

“I acknowledge it to be thine” said. Marmaduke; “and much more
deeply am I indebted to thee than for this piece of venison. But in
the morning thou wilt call hereand we can adjust thisas well as
more important matters Elizabeth”—for the young ladybeing apprised
that the wound was dressedhad re-entered the hall—” thou wilt order
a repast for this youth before we proceed to the church; and Aggy will
have a sleigh prepared to convey him to his friend.”


“ButsirI cannot go without a part of the deer” returned the
youthseemingly struggling with his own feelings; “I have already
told you that I needed the venison for myself.”

“Ohwe will not he particular” exclaimed Richard; “the Judge will
pay you in the morning for the whole deer; andRemarkablegive the
lad all the animal excepting the saddle; soon the wholeI think you
may consider yourself as a very lucky young man—you have been shot
without being disabled; have had the wound dressed in the best
possible manner here in the woodsas well as it would have been done
in the Philadelphia hospitalif not better; have sold your deer at a
high priceand yet can keep most of the carcasswith the skin in the
bargain. ‘Markytell Tom to give him the skin tooand in the
morning bring the skin to me and I will give you half a dollar for it
or at least three-and-sixpence. I want just such a skin to cover the
pillion that I am making for Cousin Bess.”

“I thank yousirfor your liberalityandI trustam also thankful
for my escape” returned the stranger; “but you reserve the very part
of the animal that I wished for my own use. I must have the saddle
myself.”

“Must!” echoed Richard; “must is harder to be swallowed than the horns
of the buck.”

“Yesmust” repeated the youth; whenturning his head proudly around
himas if to see who would dare to controvert his rightshe met the
astonished gaze of Elizabethand proceeded more mildly: “That isif
a man is allowed the possession of that which his hand hath killed.
and the law will protect him in the enjoyment of his own.”

“The law will do so” said Judge Templewith an air of mortification
mingled with surprise. “Benjaminsee that the whole deer is placed
in the sleigh; and have this youth conveyed to the hut of Leather
Stocking. Butyoung man thou hast a nameand I shall see you again
in order to compensate thee for the wrong I have done thee?”

“I am called Edwards” returned the hunter; “Oliver EdwardsI am
easily to be seensirfor I live nigh byand am not afraid to show
my facehaving never injured any man.”

“It is we who have injured yousir” said Elizabeth; “and the
knowledge that you decline our assistance would give my father great
pain. He would gladly see you in the morning.”

The young hunter gazed at the fair speaker until his earnest look
brought the blood to her temples; whenrecollecting himselfhe bent
his headdropping his eyes to the carpetand replied:

“In the morningthenwill I returnand see Judge Temple; and I will
accept his offer of the sleigh in token of amity.”

“Amity!” repeated Marmaduke; “there was no malice in the act that
injured theeyoung man; there should be none in the feelings which it
may engender.”

“Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”
observed Mr. Grant“is the language used by our Divine Master
himselfand it should be the golden rule with ushis humble
followers.”

The stranger stood a moment lost in thoughtand thenglancing his
dark eyes rather wildly around the hallhe bowed low to the divine
and moved from the apartment with an air that would not admit of


detention.

“‘Tis strange that one so young should harbor such feelings of
resentment” said Marmadukewhen the door closed behind the stranger;
“but while the pain is recentand the sense of the injury so fresh
he must feel more strongly than in cooler moments. I doubt not we
shall see him in the morning more tractable.”

Elizabethto whom this speech was addresseddid not replybut moved
slowly up the hall by herselffixing her eyes on the little figure of
the English ingrain carpet that covered the floor; whileon the other
handRichard gave a loud crack with his whipas the stranger
disappearedand cried:

“Well‘Dukeyou are your own masterbut I would have tried law for
the saddle before I would have given it to the fellow. Do you not own
the mountains as well as the valleys? are not the woods your own? what
right has this chapor the Leather-Stockingto shoot in your woods
without your permission? NowI have known a farmer in Pennsylvania
order a sportsman off his farm with as little ceremony as I would
order Benjamin to put a log in the stove—By-the-byeBenjaminsee how
the thermometer stands.—Nowif a man has a right to do this on a farm
of a hundred acreswhat power must a landlord have who owns sixty
thousand—ayfor the matter of thatincluding the late purchasesa
hundred thousand? There is Moheganto be surehe may have some
rightbeing a native; but it’s little the poor fellow can do now with
his rifle. How is this managed in FranceMonsieur Le Quoi? Do you
let everybody run over your land in that country helter-skelteras
they do hereshooting the gameso that a gentleman has but little or
no chance with his gun?”

“Bah! diablenoMeester Deeck” replied the Frenchman; “we givein
Franceno liberty except to the ladi.”

“Yesyesto the womenI know” said Richard“that is your Salic
law. I readsirall kinds of books; of Franceas well as England;
of Greeceas well as Rome. But if I were in ‘Duke’s placeI would
stick up advertisements to-morrow morningforbidding all persons to
shootor trespass in any manneron my woods. I could write such an
advertisement myselfin an houras would put a stop to the thing at
once.”

“Richart” said Major Hartmannvery coolly knocking the ashes from
his pipe into the spitting-box by his side“now listen; I have livet
seventy-five years on ter Mohawkand in ter woots. You had better
mettle as mit ter deyvelas mit ter huntersTey live mit ter gun
and a rifle is better as ter law.”

“Ain’t Marmaduke a judge?” said Richard indignantly. “Where is the
use of being a judgeor having a judgeif there is no law? Damn the
fellow! I have a great mind to sue him in the morning myselfbefore
Squire Doolittlefor meddling with my leaders. I am not afraid of
his rifle. I can shoottoo. I have hit a dollar many a time at
fifty rods

“Thou hast missed more dollars than ever thou hast hitDickon”
exclaimed the cheerful voice of the Judge. “But we will now take our
evening’s repastwhich I perseiveby Remarkable's physiognomyis
ready. Monsieur Le QuoiMiss Temple has a hand at your service.
Will you lead the waymy child?”

“Ah! ma chere mam’sellecomme je suis enchante!” said the Frenchman.
“Il ne manque que les dames de faire un paradis de Templeton.”


Mr. Grant and Mohegan continued in the hallwhile the remainder of
the party withdrew to an eating parlorif we except Benjaminwho
civilly remained to close the rear after the clergyman and to open the
front door for the exit of the Indian.


“John” said the divinewhen the figure of Judge Temple disappeared
the last of the group“to-morrow is the festival of the nativity of
our blessed Redeemerwhen the church has appointed prayers and
thanksgivings to be offered up by her childrenand when all are
invited to partake of the mystical elements. As you have taken up the
crossand become a follower of good and an eschewer of evilI trust
I shall see you before the altarwith a contrite heart and a meek
spirit.”


“John will come” said the Indianbetraying no surprise; though he
did not understand all the terms used by the other.


“Yes” continued Mr. Grantlaying his hand gently on the tawny
shoulder of the aged chief“but it is not enough to be there in the
body; you must come in the spirit and in truth. The Redeemer died for
allfor the poor Indian as well as for the white man. Heaven knows
no difference in color; nor must earth witness a separation of the
church. It is good and profitableJohnto freshen the
understandingand support the waveringby the observance of our holy
festivals; but all form is but stench in the nostrils of the Holy One
unless it be accompanied by a devout and humble spirit.”


The Indian stepped back a littleandraising his body to its utmost
powers of erectionhe stretched his right arm on highand dropped
his forefinger downwardas if pointing from the heavens; then
striking his other band on his naked breasthe saidwith energy:


“The eye of the Great Spirit can see from the clouds— the bosom of
Mohegan is bare!”


“It is wellJohnand I hope you will receive profit and consolation
from the performance of this duty. The Great Spirit overlooks none of
his children; and the man of the woods is as much an object of his
care as he who dwells in a palace. I wish you a good-nightand pray
God to bless you.


The Indian bent his headand they separated—the one to seek his hut
and the other to join his party at the supper-table. While Benjamin
was opening the door for the passage of the chiefhe criedin a tone
that was meant to be encouraging:


The parson says the word that is trueJohn. If so be that they took
count of the color of the skin in heavenwhythey might refuse to
muster on their books a Christian-bornlike myselfjust for the
matter of a little tanfrom cruising in warm latitudes; thoughfor
the matter of thatthis damned norwester is enough to whiten the skin
of a blackamore. Let the reef out of your blanketmanor your red
hide will hardly weather the night with out a touch from the frost.”


CHAPTER VIII.


“For here the exile met from every clime
And spokein friendshipevery distant tongue.”—Campbell.



We have made our readers acquainted with some variety in character and
nationsin introducing the most important personages of this legend
to their notice; butin order to establish the fidelity of our
narrativewe shall briefly attempt to explain the reason why we have
been obliged to present so motley a dramatis personae.

Europeat the period of our talewas in the commencement of that
commotion which afterward shook her political institutions to the
centre. Louis the Sixteenth had been beheadedand a nation once
esteemed the most refined among the civilized people of the world was
changing its characterand substituting cruelty for mercyand
subtlety and ferocity for magnanimity and courage. Thou sands of
Frenchmen were compelled to seek protection in distant lands. Among
the crowds who fled from France and her islandsto the United States
of Americawas the gentleman whom we have already mentioned as
Monsieur Le Quoi. He had been recommended to the favor of Judge
Temple by the head of an eminent mercantile house in New Yorkwith
whom Marmaduke was in habits of intimacyand accustomed to exchange
good offices. At his first interview with the Frenchmanour Judge
had discovered him to be a man of breedingand one who had seen much
more prosperous days in his own country. From certain hints that had
escaped himMonsieur Le Quoi was suspected of having been a West-
India plantergreat numbers of whom had fled from St. Domingo and the
other islandsand were now living in the Unionin a state of
comparative povertyand some in absolute want The latter was not
howeverthe lot of Monsieur Le Quoi. He had but littlehe
acknowledged; but that little was enough to furnishin the language
of the countryan assortment for a store.

The knowledge of Marmaduke was eminently practicaland there was no
part of a settler's life with which he was not familiar. Under his
directionMonsieur Le Quoi made some purchasesconsisting of a few
cloths; some grocerieswith a good deal of gunpowder and tobacco; a
quantity of iron-wareamong which was a large proportion of Barlow’s
jack-knivespotash-kettlesand spiders; a very formidable collection
of crockery of the coarsest quality and most uncouth forms; together
with every other common article that the art of man has devised for
his wantsnot forgetting the luxuries of looking-glasses and Jew’sharps.
With this collection of valuablesMonsieur Le Quoi had
stepped behind a counterandwith a wonderful pliability of
temperamenthad dropped into his assumed character as gracefully as
he had ever moved in any other. The gentleness and suavity of his
manners rendered him extremely popular; besides thisthe women soon
discovered that he had taste. His calicoes were the finestorin
other wordsthe most showyof any that were brought into the
countryand it was impossible to look at the prices asked for his
goods by” so pretty a spoken man” Through these conjoint meansthe
affairs of Monsieur Le Quoi were again in a prosperous conditionand
he was looked up to by the settlers as the second best man on the
“Patent.”*

* The term “Patent” which we have already usedand for which we may
have further occasionmeant the district of country that had been
originally granted to old Major Effingham by the “king’s letters
patent” and which had now becomeby purchase under the act of
confiscationthe property of Marmaduke Temple. It was a term in
common use throughout the new parts of the State; and was usually
annexed to the landlord’s nameas “Temple’s or Effingham’s Patent”
Major Hartmann was a descendant of a man whoin company with a number
of his countrymenhad emigrated with their families from the banks of
the Rhine to those of the Mohawk. This migration had occurred as far
back as the reign of Queen Anne; and their descendants were now
livingin great peace and plentyon the fertile borders of that


beautiful stream.

The Germansor “High Dutchers” as they were calledto distinguish
them from the original or Low Dutch colonistswere a very peculiar
people. They possessed all the gravity of the latterwithout any of
their phlegm; and like themthe “High Dutchers” were industrious
honestand economicalFritzor Frederick Hartmannwas an epitome
of all the vices and virtuesfoibles and excellencesof his race.
He was passionate though silentobstinateand a good deal suspicious
of strangers; of immovable couragein flexible honestyand
undeviating in his friendships. In deed there was no change about
himunless it were from grave to gay. He was serious by monthsand
jolly by weeks. He hadearly in their acquaintanceformed an
attachment for Marmaduke Templewho was the only man that could not
speak High Dutch that ever gained his en tire confidence Four times in
each yearat periods equidistanthe left his low stone dwelling on
the banks of the Mohawkand travelled thirty milesthrough the
hillsto the door of the mansion-house in Templeton. Here he
generally stayed a week; and was reputed to spend much of that time in
riotous livinggreatly countenanced by Mr. Richard Jones. But every
one loved himeven to Remarkable Pettiboneto whom he occasioned
some additional troublehe was so frankso sincereandat times
so mirthful. He was now on his regular Christmas visitand had not
been in the village an hour when Richard summoned him to fill a seat
in the sleigh to meet the landlord and his daughter.

Before explaining the character and situation of Mr. Grantit will be
necessary to recur to times far back in the brief history of the
settlement.

There seems to be a tendency in human nature to endeavor to provide
for the wants of this worldbefore our attention is turned to the
business of the other. Religion was a quality but little cultivated
amid the stumps of Temple’s Patent for the first few years of its
settlement; butas most of its inhabitants were from the moral States
of Connecticut and Massachusettswhen the wants of nature were
satisfied they began seriously to turn their attention to the
introduction of those customs and observances which had been the
principal care of their fore fathers. There was certainly a great
variety of opinions on the subject of grace and free-will among the
tenantry of Marmaduke; andwhen we take into consideration the
variety of the religious instruction which they receivedit can
easily be seen that it could not well be otherwise.

Soon after the village had been formally laid out into the streets and
blocks that resembled a citya meeting of its inhabitants had been
convenedto take into consideration the propriety of establishing an
academy. This measure originated with Richardwhoin truthwas
much disposed to have the institution designated a universityor at
least a college. Meeting after meeting was heldfor this purpose
year after year. The resolutions of these as sembiages appeared in
the most conspicuous columns of a little blue-looking newspaperthat
was already issued weekly from the garret of a dwelling-house in the
villageand which the traveller might as often see stuck into the
fissure of a stakeerected at the point where the footpath from the
log-cabin of some settler entered the highwayas a post-office for an
individual. Sometimes the stake supported a small boxand a whole
neighborhood received a weekly supply for their literary wants at this
pointwhere the man who “rides post’ regularly deposited a bundle of
the precious commodity. To these flourishing resolutionswhich
briefly recounted the general utility of educationthe political and
geographical rights of the village of Templeton to a participation in
the favors of the regents of the universitythe salubrity of the air
and wholesomeness of the watertogether with the cheapness of food


and the superior state of morals in the neighbor hoodwere uniformly
annexedin large Roman capitalsthe names of Marmaduke Temple as
chairman and Richard Jones as secretary.

Happily for the success of this undertakingthe regents were not
accustomed to resist these appeals to their generositywhenever there
was the smallest prospect of a donation to second the request.
Eventually Judge Temple concluded to bestow the necessary landand to
erect the required edifice at his own expense. The skill of Mr.or
as he was now calledfrom the circumstance of having received the
commission of a justice of the peaceSquire Doolittlewas again put
in requisition; and the science of Mr. Jones was once more resorted
to.

We shall not recount the different devices of the architects on the
occasion; nor would it be decorous so to doseeing that there was a
convocation of the society of the ancient and honorable fraternity “
of the Free and Accepted Masons’ at the head of whom was Richardin
the capacity of masterdoubtless to approve or reject such of the
plans asin their wisdomthey deemed to he for the best. The knotty
point washoweversoon decided; andon the appointed daythe
brotherhood marched in great statedisplaying sundry banners and
mysterious symbolseach man with a little mimic apron before him
from a most cunningly contrived apartment in the garret of the “Bold
Dragoon” an inn kept by one Captain Hollisterto the site of the
intended edifice. Here Richard laid the corner stonewith suitable
gravityamidst an assemblage of more than half the menand all the
womenwithin ten miles of Templeton.

In the course of the succeeding week there was another meeting of the
peoplenot omitting swarms of the gentler sexwhen the abilities of
Hiram at the “square rule” were put to the test of experiment. The
frame fitted well; and the skeleton of the fabric was reared without a
single accidentif we except a few falls from horses while the
laborers were returning home in the evening. From this time the work
advanced with great rapidityand in the course of the season the
Labor was completed; the edifice Mandingin all its heatity and
proportionsthe boast of the villagethe study of young aspirants
for architectural fameand the admiration of every settler on the
Patent.

It was a longnarrow house of woodpainted whiteand more than half
windows; andwhen the observer stood at the western side of the
buildingthe edifice offered but a small obstacle to a full view of
the rising sun. It wasin truthbut a very comfortless open place
through which the daylight shone with natural facility. On its front
were divers ornaments in wooddesigned by Richard and executed by
Hiram; but a window in the centre of the second storyimmediately
over the door or grand entranceand the “steeple” were the pride of
the building. The former waswe believeof the composite order; for
it included in its composition a multitude of ornaments and a great
variety of proportions. It consisted of an arched compartment in the
centres with a square and small division on either sidethe whole
incased in heavy framesdeeply and laboriously moulded in pine-wood
and lighted with a vast number of blurred and green-looking glass of
those dimensions which are commonly called ”eight by ten.” Blinds
that were intended to be painted greenkept the window in a state of
preservationand probably might have contributed to the effect of the
wholehad not the failure in the public fundswhich seems always to
be incidental to any undertaking of this kindleft them in the sombre
coat of lead-color with which they had been originally clothed. The
“steeple” was a little cupolareared on the very centre of the roof
on four tall pillars of pine that were fluted with a gougeand loaded
with mouldings. On the tops of the columns was reared a dome or


cupolaresembling in shape an inverted tea-cup without its bottom
from the centre of which projected a spireor shaft of wood
transfixed with two iron rodsthat bore on their ends the letters N.

S. E. and Win the same metal. The whole was surmounted by an
imitation of one of the finny tribecarved in wood by the hands of
Richardand painted what he called a “scale-color.” This animal Mr.
Jones affirmed to be an admirable resemblance of a great favorite of
the epicures in that countrywhich bore the title of “lake-fish” and
doubtless the assertion was true; foralthough intended to answer the
purposes of a weathercockthe fish was observed invariably to look
with a longing eye in the direction of the beautiful sheet of water
that lay imbedded in the mountains of Templeton.
For a short time after the charter of the regents was receivedthe
trustees of this institution employed a graduate of one of the Eastern
colleges to instruct such youth as aspired to knowledge within the
walls of the edifice which we have described. The upper part of the
building was in one apartmentand was intended for gala-days and
exhibitions; and the lower contained two rooms that were intended for
the great divisions of educationviz.the Latin and the English
scholars. The former were never very numerous; though the sounds of
“nominativepennaa—genitivepenny” were soon heard to issue from
the windows of the roomto the great delight and manifest edification
of the passenger.

Only one laborer in this temple of Minervahoweverwas known to get
so far as to attempt a translation of Virgil. Heindeedappeared at
the annual exhibitionto the prodigious exultation of all his
relativesa farmer’s family in the vicinityand repeated the whole
of the first eclogue from memoryobserving the intonations of the
dialogue with much judgment and effect. The soundsas they proceeded
from his mouthof

“Titty-ree too patty-lee ree-coo-bans sub teg-mi-nee faa-gy

Syl-ves-trem ten-oo-i moo-sammed-i-taa-risaa-ve-ny.”

were the last that had been heard in that buildingas probably they
were the first that had ever been heardin the same languagethere
or anywhere else. By this time the trustees discovered that they had
anticipated the age and the instructoror principalwas superseded
by a masterwho went on to teach the more humble lesson of “the more
haste the worst speed” in good plain English.

From this time until the date of our incidentsthe academy was a
common country schooland the great room of the building was
sometimes used as a court-roomon extraordinary trials; sometimes for
conferences of the religious and the morally disposedin the evening;
at others for a ball in the afternoongiven under the auspices of
Richard; and on Sundaysinvariablyas a place of public worship.

When an itinerant priest of the persuasion of the Methodists
BaptistsUniversalistsor of the more numerous sect of the
Presbyterianswas accidentally in the neighborhoodhe was ordinarily
invited to officiateand was commonly rewarded for his services by a
collection in a hatbefore the congregation separated. When no such
regular minister offereda kind of colloquial prayer or two was made
by some of the more gifted membersand a sermon was usually read
from Sterneby Mr. Richard Jones.

The consequence of this desultory kind of priesthood wasas we have
already intimateda great diversity of opinion on the more abstruse
points of faith. Each sect had its adherentsthough neither was
regularly organized and disciplined. Of the religious education of


Marmaduke we have already writtennor was the doubtful character of
his faith completely removed by his marriage. The mother of Elizabeth
was an Episcopalianas indeedwas the mother of the Judge himself;
and the good taste of Marmaduke revolted at the familiar colloquies
which the leaders of the conferences held with the Deityin their
nightly meetings. In formhe was certainly an Episcopalianthough
not a sectary of that denomination. On the other handRichard was as
rigid in the observance of the canons of his church as he was
inflexible in his opinions. Indeedhe had once or twice essayed to
introduce the Episcopal form of serviceon the Sundays that the
pulpit was vacant; but Richard was a good deal addicted to carrying
things to an excessand then there was some thing so papal in his air
that the greater part of his hearers deserted him on the second
Sabbath—on the third his only auditor was Ben Pumpwho had all the
obstinate and enlightened orthodoxy of a high churchman.

Before the war of the Revolutionthe English Church was supported in
the colonieswith much interestby some of its adherents in the
mother countryand a few of the congregations were very amply
endowed. Butfor the seasonafter the independence of the States
was establishedthis sect of Christians languished for the want of
the highest order of its priesthood. Pious and suitable divines were
at length selectedand sent to the mother countryto receive that
authority whichit is understoodcan only be transmitted directly
from one to the otherand thus obtainin order to reservethat
unity in their churches which properly belonged to a people of the
same nation. But unexpected difficulties presented themselvesin the
oaths with which the policy of England had fettered their
establishment; and much time was spent before a conscientious sense of
duty would permit the prelates of Britain to delegate the authority so
earnestly sought. Timepatienceand zealhoweverremoved every
impedimentand the venerable men who had been set apart by the
American churches at length returned to their expecting dioceses
endowed with the most elevated functions of their earthly church.
Priests and deacons were ordainedand missionaries providedto keep
alive the expiring flame of devotion in such members as were deprived
of the ordinary administrations by dwelling in new and unorganized
districts.

Of this number was Mr. Grant. He had been sent into the county of
which Templeton was the capitaland had been kindly invited by
Marmadukeand officiously pressed by Richardto take up his abode in
the village. A small and humble dwelling was prepared for his family
and the divine had made his appearance in the place but a few days
previously to the time of his introduction to the readerAs his forms
were entirely new to most of the inhabitantsand a clergyman of
another denomination had previously occupied the fieldby engaging
the academythe first Sunday after his arrival was allowed to pass in
silence; but now that his rival had passed onlike a meteor filling
the air with the light of his wisdomRichard was empowered to give
notice that “Public worshipafter the forms of the Protestant
Episcopal Churchwould be held on the night before Christmasin the
long room of the academy in Templetonby the Rev. Mr. Grant.”

This annunciation excited great commotion among the different
sectaries. Some wondered as to the nature of the exhibition; others
sneered; but a far greater partrecollecting the essays of Richard in
that wayand mindful of the liberalityor rather laxityof
Marmaduke’s notions on the subject of sectarianismthought it most
prudent to be silent.

The expected evening washoweverthe wonder of the hour; nor was the
curiosity at all diminished when Richard and Benjaminon the morning
of the eventful daywere seen to issue from the woods in the


neighborhood of the villageeach bearing on his shoulders a large
bunch of evergreens. This worthy pair was observed to enter the
academyand carefully to fasten the doorafter which their
proceedings remained a profound secret to the rest of the village; Mr.
Jonesbefore he commenced this mysterious businesshaving informed
the school-masterto the great delight of the white-headed flock he
governedthat there could be no school that day. Marmaduke was
apprised of all these preparations by letterand it was especially
arranged that he and Elizabeth should arrive in season to participate
in the solemnities of the evening.


After this digressionwe shall return to our narrative.


CHAPTER IX.


Now all admirein each high-flavored dish
The capabilities of flesh—fowl—fish;
In order due each guest assumes his station
Throbs high his breast with fond anticipation
And prelibates the joys of mastication. “—Heliogabaliad.


The apartment to which Monsieur Le Quoi handed Elizabeth communicated
with the hallthrough the door that led under the urn which was
supposed to contain the ashes of Dido. The room was spaciousand of
very just proportions; but in its ornaments and furniture the same
diversity of taste and imperfection of execution were to be observed
as existed in the hall. Of furniturethere were a dozen green
wooden arm-chairswith cushions of moreentaken from the same piece
as the petticoat of Remarkable. The tables were spreadand their
materials and workmanship could not be seen; but they were heavy and
of great sizeAn enormous mirrorin a gilt framehung against the
walland a cheerful fireof the hard or sugar maplewas burning on
the hearth. The latter was the first object that struck the attention
of the Judgewho on beholding it exclaimedrather angrilyto
Richard:


“How often have I forbidden the use of the sugar maple in my dwelling!
The sight of that sapas it exudes with the heatis painful to me
RichardReallyit behooves the owner of woods so extensive as mine
to be cautious what example he sets his peoplewho are already
felling the forests as if no end could be found to their treasures
nor any limits to their extent. If we go on in this waytwenty years
hence we shall want fuel.”


“Fuel in these hillsCousin ‘Duke!” exclaimed Richardin derision—”
fuel! whyyou might as well predict that the fish will die for the
want of water in the lakebecause I intendwhen the frost gets out
of the groundto lead one or two of the spring; through logsinto
the village. But you are always a little wild on such subject;
Marmaduke.”


“Is it wildness” returned the Judge earnestly“to condemn a practice
which devotes these jewels of the forestthese precious gifts of
naturethese mines of corn- I fort and wealthto the common uses of
a fireplace? But I mustand willthe instant the snow is off the
earthsend out a party into the mountains to explore for coal.”


“Coal!” echoed Richard. “Who the devil do you think will dig for coal
whenin hunting for a bushel. he would have to rip up more of trees



than would keep him in fuel for a twelvemonth? Poh! poh! Marmaduke:
you should leave the management of these things to mewho have a
natural turn that way. It was I that ordered this fireand a noble
one it isto warm the blood of my pretty Cousin Bess.”

The motivethenmust be your apologyDick on” said the Judge.—”
Butgentlemenwe are waiting.— Elizabethmy childtake the head of
the table; RichardI seemeans to spare me the trouble of carving
by sitting opposite to you.”

“To be sure I do” cried Richard. “Here is a turkey to carve; and I
flatter myself that I understand carving a turkeyorfor that
mattera gooseas well as any man alive.—Mr. Grant! Where’s Mr.
Grant? Will you please to say gracesir? Everything in getting cold.
Take a thing from the fire this cold weatherand it will freeze in
five minutes. Mr. Grantwe want you to say grace. ‘For what we are
about to receivethe Lord makeus thankful Comesit downsit down.
Do you eat wing or breastCousin Bess?”

But Elizabeth had not taken her seatnor Was she in readiness to
receive either the wing or breast. Her Laughing eyes were glancing at
the arrangements of the tableand the quality and selection of the
food. The eyes of the father soon met the wondering looks of his
daughterand he saidwith a smile:

“You perceivemy childhow much we are indebted to Remarkable for
her skill in housewifery. She has indeed provided a noble repast—such
as well might stop the cravings of hunger.”

“Law!” said Remarkable“I’m glad if the Judge is pleased; but I’m
notional that you’ll find the sa’ce over done. I thoughtas
Elizabeth was coming homethat a body could do no less than make
things agreeable.”

“My daughter has now grown to woman’s estateand is from this moment
mistress of my house” said the Judge; “it is proper that all who live
with me address her as Miss Temple.

“Do tell!” exclaimed Remarkablea little aghast; “wellwho ever
heerd of a young woman’s being called Miss? If the Judge had a wife
nowI shouldn’t think of calling her anything but Miss Temple; but—”

“Having nothing but a daughter you will observe that style to herif
you pleasein future” interrupted Marmaduke.

As the Judge looked seriously displeasedandat such moments
carried a particularly commanding air with himthe wary housekeeper
made no reply; andMr. Grant entering the roomthe whole party were
seated at the table. As the arrangements of this repast were much in
the prevailing taste of that period and countrywe shall endeavor to
give a short description of the appearance of the banquet.

The table-linen was of the most beautiful damaskand the plates and
dishes of real chinaan article of great luxury at this early period
of American commerce. The knives and forks were of exquisitely
polished steeland were set in unclouded ivory. So muchbeing
furnished by the wealth of Marmadukewas not only comfortable but
even elegant. The contents of the several dishesand their
positionshoweverwere the result of the sole judgment of
Remarkable. Before Elizabeth was placed an enormous roasted turkey
and before Richard one boiledin the centre of the table stood a pair
of heavy silver casterssurrounded by four dishes: one a fricassee
that consisted of gray squirrels; another of fish fried; a third of
fish boiled; the last was a venison steak. Between these dishes and


the turkeys stoodon the one sidea prodigious chine of roasted
bear’s meatand on the other a boiled leg of delicious mutton.
Interspersed among this load of meats was every species of vegetables
that the season and country afforded. The four corners were garnished
with plates of cake. On one was piled certain curiously twisted and
complicated figurescalled “nut-cakes” On another were heaps of a
black-looking sub stancewhichreceiving its hue from molasseswas
properly termed “sweet-cake ;” a wonderful favorite in the coterie of
RemarkableA third was filledto use the language of the
housekeeperwith “cards of gingerbread ;” and the last held a “ plumcake”
so called from the number of large raisins that were showing
their black heads in a substance of suspiciously similar color. At
each corner of the table stood saucersfilled with a thick fluid of
some what equivocal color and consistencevariegated with small dark
lumps of a substance that resembled nothing but itselfwhich
Remarkable termed her “sweetmeats.” At the side of each platewhich
was placed bottom upwardwith its knife and fork most accurately
crossed above itstood anotherof smaller sizecontaining a motleylooking
piecomposed of triangular slices of applemincepump kin
cranberryand custard so arranged as to form an entire whole
Decanters of brandyrumginand winewith sundry pitchers of
ciderbeerand one hissing vessel of “flip” were put wherever an
opening would admit of their introduction. Notwithstanding the size
of the tablesthere was scarcely a spot where the rich damask could
be seenso crowded were the disheswith their associated bottles
platesand saucers. The object seemed to be profusionand it was
obtained entirely at the expense of order and elegance.

All the guestsas well as the Judge himselfseemed perfectly
familiar with this description of farefor each one commenced eating
with an appetite that promised to do great honor to Remarkable’s taste
and skill. What rendered this attention to the repast a little
surprisingwas the fact that both the German and Richard had been
summoned from another table to meet the Judge; but Major Hartmann both
ate and drank without any rulewhen on his excursions; and Mr. Jones
invariably made it a point to participate in the business in handlet
it be what it would. The host seemed to think some apology necessary
for the warmth he had betrayed on the subject of the firewoodand
when the party were comfortably seatedand engaged with their knives
and forkshe observed:

“The wastefulness of the settlers with the noble trees of this country
is shockingMonsieur Le Quoias doubt less you have noticed. I have
seen a man fell a pinewhen he has been in want of fencing stuffand
roll his first cuts into the gapwhere he left it to rotthough its
top would have made rails enough to answer his purposeand its butt
would have sold in the Philadelphia market for twenty dollars.”

“And how the devil—I beg your pardonMr. Grant” interrupted Richard:
“but how is the poor devil to get his logs to the Philadelphia market
pray? put them in his pocketha! as you would a handful of chestnuts
or a bunch of chicker-berries? I should like to see you walking up
High Streetwith a pine log in each pocket!— Poh! poh! Cousin ‘Duke
there are trees enough for us alland some to spare. WhyI can
hardly tell which way the wind blowswhen I’m out in the clearings
they are so thick and so tall; I couldn’t at allif it wasn’t for the
cloudsand I happen to know all the points of the compassas it
wereby heart.”

“Ay! ay! squire” cried Benjaminwho had now entered and taken his
place behind the Judge’s chaira little aside withalin order to be
ready for any observation like the present; “look aloftsirlook
aloft. The old seamen say‘that the devil wouldn’t make a sailor
unless he looked aloft’ As for the compasswhythere is no such


thing as steering without one. I’m sure I never lose sight of the
main-topas I call the squire’s lookout on the roofbut I set my
compassd’ye seeand take the bearings and distance of thingsin
order to work out my courseif so be that it should cloud upor the
tops of the trees should shut out the light of heaven. The steeple of
St. Paul’snow that we nave got it on endis a great help to the
navigation of the woodsforby the Lord Harry! as was—”

“It is wellBenjamin” interrupted Marmadukeobserving that his
daughter manifested displeasure at the major-domo’s familiarity; “but
you forget there is a lady in companyand the women love to do most
of the talking themselves.”

“The Judge says the true word” cried Benjaminwith one of his
discordant laughs. “Now here is Mistress Remarkable Pettibones; just
take the stopper off her tongueand you’ll hear a gabbling worse like
than if you should happen to fall to leeward in crossing a French
privateeror some such thingmayhapas a dozen monkeys stowed in
one bag.”

It were impossible to say how perfect an illustration of the truth of
Benjamin’s assertion the housekeeper would have furnishedif she had
dared; but the Judge looked sternly at herand unwilling to incur his
resentmentyet unable to contain her angershe threw herself out of
the room with a toss of the body that nearly separated her frail form
in the centre.

“Richard” said Marmadukeobserving that his displeasure had produced
the desired effect“can you inform me of anything concerning the
youth whom I so unfortunately wounded? I found him on the mountain
hunting in company with the Leather-Stockingas if they were of the
same family; but there is a manifest difference in their manners. The
youth delivers himself in chosen languagesuch as is seldom heard in
these hillsand such as occasions great surprise to mehow one so
meanly cladand following so lowly a pursuitcould attain. Mohegan
also knew him. Doubtless he is a tenant of Natty’s hut. Did you
remark the language of the lad. Monsieur Le Quoi?”

“CertainementMonsieur Temple” returned the French man“he deed
convairse in de excellent Anglaise.”

“The boy is no miracle” exclaimed Richard; “I’ve known children that
were sent to school earlytalk much better before they were twelve
years old. There was Zared Coeold Nehemiah’s sonwho first settled
on the beaver-dam meadowhe could write almost as good . hand as
myselfwhen he was fourteen; though it’s trueI helped to teach him
a little in the evenings. But this shooting gentleman ought to be put
in the stocksif he ever takes a rein in his hand again. He is the
most awkward fellow about a horse I ever met with. I dare say he
never drove anything but oxen in his life.”

“ThereI thinkDickonyou do the lad injustice” said the Judge;
“he uses much discretion in critical moments. Dost thou not think so
Bess?”

There was nothing in this question particularly to excite blushesbut
Elizabeth started from the revery into which she had fallenand
colored to her forehead as she answered:

“To medear sirhe appeared extremely skilfuland promptand
courageous; but perhaps Cousin Richard will say I am as ignorant as
the gentleman himself.”

“Gentleman!” echoed Richard; “do you call such chaps gentlemenat


schoolElizabeth?”

“Every man is a gentleman that knows how to treat a woman with respect
and consideration” returned the young lady promptlyand a little
smartly.

“So much for hesitating to appear before the heiress in his shirtsleeves”
cried Richardwinking at Monsieur Le Quoiwho returned the
wink with one eyewhile he rolled the otherwith an expression of
sympathytoward the young lady. “Wellwellto me he seemed
anything but a gentleman. I must sayhoweverfor the ladthat he
draws a good triggerand has a true aim. He’s good at shooting a
buckha! Marmaduke?”

“Richart” said Major Hartmannturning his grave countenance toward
the gentleman he addressedwith much earnestness“ter poy is goot.
He savet your lifeand my lifeand ter life of i’ominie Grantand
ter life of ter Frenchman; andRichardhe shall never vant a pet to
sleep in vile olt Fritz Hartmann has a shingle to cover his het mit.”
“Wellwellas you pleaseold gentleman” returned Mr. Jones
endeavoring to look indifferent; “put him into your own stone house
if you willMajor. I dare say the lad never slept in anything better
than a bark shanty in his lifeunless it was some such hut as the
cabin of Leather-Stocking. I prophesy you will soon spoil him; any
one could see how proud he grewin a short timejust because he
stood by my horses’ heads. while I turned them into the highway.”

“Nono. my old friend” cried Marmaduke“it shall be my task to
provide in some manner for the youth; I owe him a debt of my own
besides the service he has done me through my friends. And yet I
anticipate some little trouble in inducing him to accept of my
services. He showed a marked dislikeI thoughtBessto my offer of
a residence within these walls for life.”

“Reallydear sir” said Elizabethprojecting her beautiful underlip
“I have not studied the gentleman so closely as to read his
feelings in his countenance. I thought he might very naturally feel
pain from his woundand therefore pitied him; but”—and as she spoke
she glanced her eyewith suppressed curiositytoward the major-domo—
” I dare saysirthat Benjamin can tell you something about himHe
cannot have been in the villageand Benjamin not have seen him
often.”

“Ay! I have seen the boy before” said Benjaminwho wanted little
encouragement to speak; “he has been backing and filling in the wake
of Natty Bumppothrough the mountainsafter deerlike a Dutch longboat
in tow of an Albany sloop. He carries a good rifletoo‘the
Leather-Stocking saidin my hearingbefore Betty Hollister’s barroom
fireno later than the Tuesday nightthat the younger was
certain death to the wild beasts. If so be he can kill the wild-cat
that has been heard moaning on the lake-side since the hard frosts and
deep snows have driven the deer to herdhe will be doing the thing
that is good. Your wild-cat is a bad shipmateand should be made to
cruise out of the track of Christian men”

“Lives he in the hut of Bumppo?” asked Marmadukewith some interest.

“Cheek by jowl; the Wednesday will be three weeks since he first hove
in sightin company with Leather-Stocking. They had captured a wolf
between themand had brought in his scalp for the bounty. That
Mister Bump-ho has a handy turn with him in taking off a scalp; and
there’s themin this here villagewho say he l’arnt the trade by
working on Christian men. If so be that there is truth in the saying
and I commanded along shore hereas your honor doeswhyd'ye see


I’d bring him to the gangway for ityet. There’s a very pretty post
rigged alongside of the stocks; and for the matter of a catI can fit
one with my own hands; ay! and use it toofor the want of a better.”


“You are not to credit the idle tales you hear of Natty; he has a kind
of natural right to gain a livelihood in these mountains; and if the
idlers in the village take it into their heads to annoy himas they
sometimes do reputed roguesthey shall find him protected by the
strong arm of the law”


“Ter rifle is petter as ter law” said the Major sententiously.


“That for his rifle!” exclaimed Richardsnapping his fingers; “Ben is
rightand I—” He was stopped by the sound of a common ship-bellthat
had been elevated to the belfry of the academywhich now announced
by its incessant ringingthat the hour for the appointed service had
arrived. “‘For this and every other instance of his goodness—’ I beg
pardonMr. Grantwill you please to return thankssir? It is time
we should be movingas we are the only Episcopalians in the
neighborhood; that isI and Benjaminand Elizabeth; for I count
half— breedslike Marmaduke as bad as heretics.”


The divine arose and performed the office meekly and ferventlyand
the whole party instantly prepared them selves for the church—or
rather academy.


CHAPTER X.


“And calling sinful man to pray
Loudlongand deep the bell had tolled.”—Scotts Burgher


While Richard and Monsieur Le Quoiattended by Benjaminproceeded to
the academy by a foot-path through the snowthe judgehis daughter
the divineand the Major took a more circuitous route to the same
place by the streets of the village.


The moon had risenand its orb was shedding a flood of light over the
dark outline of pines which crowned the eastern mountain. In many
climates the sky would have been thought clear and lucid for a
noontide. The stars twinkled in the heavenslike the last
glimmerings of distant fireso much were they obscured by the
overwhelming radiance of the atmosphere; the rays from the moon
striking upon the smoothwhite surfaces of the lake and fields
reflecting upward a light that was brightened by the spotless color of
the immense bodies of snow which covered the earth.


Elizabeth employed herself with reading the signsone of which
appeared over almost every door; while the sleigh moved steadilyand
at an easy gaitalong the principal street. Not only new
occupationsbut names that were strangers to her earsmet her gaze
at every step they proceeded. The very houses seemed changed. This
had been altered by an addition; that had been painted; another had
been erected on the site of an old acquaintancewhich had been
banished from the earth almost as soon as it made its appearance on
it. All werehoweverpouring forth their inmateswho uniformly
held their way toward the point where the expected exhibition of the
conjoint taste of Richard and Benjamin was to be made.


After viewing the buildingswhich really appeared to some advantage



under the bright but mellow light of the moonour heroine turned her
eyes to a scrutiny of the different figures they passedin search of
any form that she knew. But all seemed alikeas muffled in cloaks
hoodscoatsor tippetsthey glided along the narrow passages in the
snow which led under the houseshalf hid by the bank that had been
thrown up in excavating the deep path in which they trod. Once or
twice she thought there was a stature or a gait that she recollected;
but thc person who owned it instantly disappeared behind one of those
enormous piles of wood that lay before most of the doorsIt was only
as they turned from the main street into another that intersected it
at right anglesand which led directly to the place of meetingthat
she recognized a face and building that she knew.

The house stood at one of the principal corners in the village; and by
its well-trodden doorwayas well as the sign that was swinging with a
kind of doleful sound in the blasts that occasionally swept down the
lakewas clearly one of the most frequented inns in the place. The
building was only of one story; but the dormer-windows in the roof
the paintthe window-shuttersand the cheerful fire that shone
through the open doorgave it an air of comfort that was not
possessed by many of its neighbors. The sign was suspended from a
common ale-house postand represented the figure of a horsemanarmed
with sabre and pistolsand surmounted by a bear-skin capwith a
fiery animal that he bestrode “rampant.” All these particulars were
easily to be seen by the aid of the moontogether with a row of
somewhat illegible writing in black paintbut in which Elizabethto
whom the whole was familiarread with facility“The Bold Dragoon.”

A man and a woman were issuing from the door of this habitation as the
sleigh was passingThe former moved with a stiffmilitary stepthat
was a good deal heightened by a limp in one leg; but the woman
advanced with a measure and an air that seemed not particularly
regardful of what she might encounter. The light of the moon fell
directly upon her fullbroadand red visageexhibiting her
masculine countenanceunder the mockery of a ruffled cap that was
intended to soften the lineamints of features that were by no means
squeamish. A small bonnet of black silkand of a slightly formal
cutwas placed on the back of her headbut so as not to shade her
visage in the least. The faceas it encountered the rays of the moon
from the eastseemed not unlike sun rising in the west. She advanced
with masculine strides to intercept the sleigh; and the Judge
directing the namesake of the Grecian kingwho held the linesto
check his horsethe par ties were soon near to each other.

“Good luck to yeand a welcome homeJooge” cried the femalewith a
strong Irish accent; “and I’m sure it’s to me that ye’re always
welcome. Sure! and there’s Miss Lizzyand a fine young woman she is
grown. What a heart-ache would she be giving the young men nowif
there was sich a thing as a rigiment in the town! Och! but it’s idle
to talk of sich vanitieswhile the bell is calling us to mateing jist
as we shall he called away unexpictedly some daywhen we are the
laist calkilating. Good-evenMajor; will I make the bowl of gin
toddy the nightor it’s likely ye’ll stay at the big house the
Christmas eveand the very night of yer getting there?”

“I am glad to see youMrs. Hollister” returned Elizabeth. “I have
been trying to find a face that I knew since we left the door of the
mansion-house; but none have I seen except your own. Your housetoo
is unalteredwhile all the others are so changed thatbut for the
places where they standthey would be utter strangers. I observe you
also keep the dear sign that I saw Cousin Richard paint; and even the
name at the bottomabout whichyou may rememberyou had the
disagreement.”


“It is the bould dragoonye mane? And what name would he havewho
niver was known by any otheras my husband herethe captaincan
testify? He was a pleasure to wait uponand was ever the foremost in
need. Och! but he had a sudden end! but it’s to be hoped that he was
justified by the causeAnd it’s not Parson Grant there who’ll gainsay
that same. Yesyes; the squire would paintand so I thought that we
might have his face up therewho had so often shared good and evil
wid us. The eyes is no so large nor so fiery as the captain’s Own;
but the whiskers and the cap is as two paes. WellwellI'll not
keep ye in the cowldtalkingbut will drop in the morrow after
sarviceand ask ye how ye do. It’s our bounden duty to make the most
of this presentand to go to the house which is open to all; so God
bless yeand keep ye from evil! Will I make the gin-twist the night
or noMajor?”

To this question the German repliedvery sententiouslyin the
affirmative; andafter a few words had passed between the husband of
the fiery-faced hostess and the Judgethe sleigh moved on. It soon
reached the door of the academywhere the party alighted and entered
the building.

In the mean timeMr. Jones and his two companionshaving a much
shorter distance to journeyhad arrived before the appointed place
some minutes sooner than the party in the sleigh. Instead of
hastening into the room in order to enjoy the astonishment of the
settlersRichard placed a hand in either pocket of his surcoatand
affected to walk aboutin front of the academylike one to whom the
ceremonies were familiar.

The villagers proceeded uniformly into the buildingwith a decorum
and gravity that nothing could moveon such occasions; but with a
haste that was probably a little heightened by curiosity. Those who
came in from the adjacent country spent some little time in placing
certain blue and white blankets over their horses before they
proceeded to indulge their desire to view the interior of the house.
Most of these men Richard approachedand inquired after the health
and condition of their families. The readiness with which he
mentioned the names of even the childrenshowed how very familiarly
acquainted he was with their circumstances; and the nature of the
answers he received proved that he was a general favorite.

At length one of the pedestrians from the village stopped alsoand
fixed an earnest gaze at a new brick edifice that was throwing a long
shadow across the fields of snowas it rosewith a beautiful
gradation of light and shadeunder the rays of a full moon. In front
of the academy was a vacant piece of groundthat was intended for a
public square. On the side opposite to Mr. Jonesthe new and as yet
unfinished church of St. Paul’s was erectedThis edifice had been
reared during the preceding summerby the aid of what was called a
subscription; though allor nearly allof the money came from the
pockets of the landlord. It had been built under a strong conviction
of the necessity of a more seemly place of worship than “the long room
of the academy” and under an implied agreement thatafter its
completionthe question should be fairly put to the peoplethat they
might decide to what denomination it should belong. Of coursethis
expectation kept alive a strong excitement in some few of the
sectaries who were interested in its decision; though but little was
said openly on the subject. Had Judge Temple espoused the cause of
any particular sectthe question would have been immediately put at
restfor his influence was too powerful to be opposed; but he
declined interference in the matterpositively refusing to lend even
the weight of his name on the side of Richardwho had secretly given
an assurance to his diocesan that both the building and the
congregation would cheerfully come within the pale of the Protestant


Episcopal Church. Butwhen the neutrality of the Judge was clearly
ascertainedMr. Jones discovered that he had to contend with a stiff
necked people. His first measure was to go among them and commence a
course of reasoningin order to bring them round to his own way of
thinking. They all heard him patientlyand not a man uttered a word
in reply in the way of argumentand Richard thoughtby the time that
he had gone through the settlementthe point was conclusively decided
in his favor. Willing to strike while the iron was hothe called a
meetingthrough the news paperwith a view to decide the question by
a vote at once. Not a soul attended; and one of the most anxious
afternoons that he had ever known was spent by Richard in a vain
discussion with Mrs. Hollisterwho strongly contended that the
Methodist (her own) church was the best entitled to and most deserving
ofthe possession of the new tabernacle. Richard now perceived that
he had been too sanguineand had fallen into the error of all those
who ignorantly deal with that wary and sagacious people. He assumed a
disguise himself—that isas well as he knew howand proceeded step
by step to advance his purpose.

The task of erecting the building had been unanimously transferred to
Mr. Jones and Hiram Doolittle. Together they had built the mansionhouse
the academyand the jailand they alone knew how to plan and
rear such a structure as was now required. Early in the daythese
architects had made an equitable division of their duties. To the
former was assigned the duty of making all the plansand to the
latter the labor of superintending the execution.

Availing himself of this advantageRichard silently determined that
the windows should have the Roman arch; the first positive step in
effecting his wishes. As the building was made of brickshe was
enabled to conceal his design until the moment arrived for placing the
frames; thenindeedit became necessary to act. He communicated his
wishes to Hiram with great caution; andwithout in the least
adverting to the spiritual part of his projecthe pressed the point a
little warmly on the score of architectural beauty. Hiram heard him
patientlyand without contradictionbut still Richard was unable to
discover the views of his coadjutor on this interesting subject. As
the right to plan was duly delegated to Mr. Jonesno direct objection
was made in words. but numberless unexpected difficulties arose in
the execution. At first there was a scarcity in the right kind of
material necessary to form the frames; but this objection was
instantly silenced by Richard running his pencil through two feet of
their length at one stroke. Then the expense was mentioned; but
Richard reminded Hiram that his cousin paidand that he was
treasurer. This last intimation had great weightand after a silent
and protractedbut fruitless oppositionthe work was suffered to
proceed on the original plan.

The next difficulty occurred in the steeplewhich Richard had
modelled after one of the smaller of those spires that adorn the great
London cathedral. The imitation was somewhat lameit was truethe
proportions being but in differently observed; butafter much
difficultyMr. Jones had the satisfaction of seeing an object reared
that bore in its outlinesa striking resemblance to a vinegar-cruet.
There was less opposition to this model than to the windows; for the
settlers were fond of noveltyand their steeple was without a
precedent.

Here the labor ceased for the seasonand the difficult question of
the interior remained for further deliberation. Richard well knew
thatwhen he came to propose a reading-desk and a chancelhe must
unmask; for these were arrangements known to no church in the country
but his own. Presuminghoweveron the advantages he had already
obtainedhe boldly styled the building St. Paul’sand Hiram


prudently acquiesced in this appellationmakinghoweverthe slight
addition of calling it “New St. Paul’s” feeling less aversion to a
name taken from the English cathedral than from the saint.

The pedestrian whom we have already mentionedas pausing to
contemplate this edificewas no other than the gentleman so
frequently named as Mr. or Squire Doolittle. He was of a tallgaunt
formationwith rather sharp featuresand a face that expressed
formal propriety mingled with low cunning. Richard approached him
followed by Monsieur Le Quoi and the major-domo.

“Good-eveningsquire” said Richardbobbing his headbut without
moving his hands from his pockets.

“Good-eveningsquire” echoed Hiramturning his body in order to
turn his head also.

“A cold nightMr. Doolittlea cold nightsir.”

“Coolish; a tedious spell on’t.”

“Whatlooking at our churchha! It looks wellby moonlight; how the
tin of the cupola glistens! I warrant you the dome of the other St.
Paul’s never shines so in the smoke of London.”

“It is a pretty meeting -house to look on” returned Hiram“and I
believe that Monshure Ler Quow and Mr. Penguilliam will allow it.”

“Sairtainlee!” exclaimed the complaisant Frenchman“it ees ver fine”

“I thought the monshure would say so. The last molasses that we had
was excellent good. It isn’t likely that you have any more of it on
hand?”

“Ah! oui; eessair” returned Monsieur Le Quoiwith a slight shrug
of his shoulderand a trifling grimace“dere is more. I feel ver
happi dat you love eet. I hope dat Madame Doleet’ is in good ‘ealth.”

“Whyso as to be stirring” said Hiram. “The squire hasn’t finished
the plans for the inside of the meeting house yet?”

“No—no—no” returned Richardspeaking quicklybut making a
significant pause between each negative—.. “it requires reflection.
There is a great deal of room to fill upand I am afraid we shall not
know how to dispose of it to advantage. There will be a large vacant
spot around the pulpitwhich I do not mean to place against the wall
like a sentry-box stuck up on the side of a fort.”

“It is rulable to put the deacons’ box under the pulpit” said Hiram;
and thenas if he had ventured too muchhe added“but there’s
different fashions in different Countries.”

“That there is” cried Benjamin; “nowin running down the coast of
Spain and Portingallyou may see a nunnery stuck out on every
headlandwith more steeples and outriggers. such as dog-vanes and
weathercocksthan you’ll find aboard of a three-masted schooner. If
so be that a well-built church is wantingold Englandafter allis
the country to go to after your models and fashion pieces. As to
Paul’sthof I’ve never seen itbeing that it’s a long way up town
from Radcliffe Highway and the docksyet everybody knows that it’s
the grandest place in the world NowI’ve no opinion but this here
church over there is as like one end of it as a grampus is to a whale;
and that’s only a small difference in bulk. Mounsheer Ler Quawhere
has been in foreign parts; and thof that is not the same as having


been at homeyet he must have seen churches in France tooand can
form a small idee of what a church should be; now I ask the mounsheer
to his face if it is not a clever little thingtaking it by and
large.”

“It ees ver apropos of saircumstance” said the French-. man—” ver
judgment—but it is in the catholique country dat dey build dc—vat you
call—ah a ah-ha—la grande cathédrale—de big church. St. PaulLondre
is ver fine; ver belle; ver grand—vat you call beeg; butMonsieur
Benpardonnez-moiit is no vort so much as Notre Dame.”

“Ha! mounsheerwhat is that you say?” cried Benjamin; “St. Paul’s
church is not worth so much as a damn! Mayhap you may be thinking too
that the Royal Billy isn’t so good a ship as the Billy de Paris; but
she would have licked two of her any dayand in all weathers.”

As Benjamin had assumed a very threatening kind of attitude
flourishing an arm with a bunch at the end of it that was half as big
as Monsieur Le Quoi’s headRichard thought it time to interpose his
authority.

“HushBenjaminhush” he said; “you both misunderstand Monsieur Le
Quoi and forget yourself. But here comes Mr. Grantand the service
will commence. Let us go in.”

The Frenchmanwho received Benjamin’s reply with a well-bred goodhumor
that would not admit of any feeling but pity for the other’s
ignorancebowed in acquiescence and followed his companion.

Hiram and the major -domo brought up the rearthe latter grumbling as
he entered the building:

“If so be that the king of France had so much as a house to live in
that would lay alongside of Paul’sone might put up with their jaw.
It’s more than flesh and blood can bear to hear a Frenchman run down
an English church in this manner. WhySquire DoolittleI’ve been at
the whipping of two of them in one day—clean builtsnug frigates with
standing royals and them new-fashioned cannonades on their quarters—
such asif they had only Englishmen aboard of themwould have fout
the devil.”

With this ominous word in his mouth Benjamin entered the church.

CHAPTER XI.

“And fools who came to scoffremained to pray.”—Goldsmith.

Notwithstanding the united labors of Richard and Benjaminthe “long
room” was but an extremely inartificial temple. Benches; made in the
coarsest mannerand entirely with a view to usefulnesswere arranged
in rows for the reception of the Congregation; while a rough
unpainted box was placed against the wallin the centre of the length
of the apartmentas an apology for a pulpit. Something like a
reading-desk was in front of this rostrum; and a small mahogany table
from the mansion-housecovered with a spotless damask clothstood a
little on one sideby the way of an altar. Branches of pines and
hemlocks were stuck in each of the fissures that offered in the
unseasoned and hastily completed woodwork of both the building and its
furniture; while festoons and hieroglyphics met the eye in vast


profusion along the brown sides of the scratch-coated walls. As the
room was only lighted by some ten or fifteen miserable candlesand
the windows were without shuttersit would have been but a dreary
cheerless place for the solemnities of a Christmas evehad not the
large fire that was crackling at each end of the apartment given an
air of cheerfulness to the sceneby throwing an occasional glare of
light through the vistas of bushes and faces.

The two sexes were separated by an area in the centre of the room
immediately before the pulpit; amid a few benches lined this space
that were occupied by the principal personages of the village and its
vicinity. This distinction was rather a gratuitous concession made by
the poorer and less polished part of the population than a right
claimed by the favored few. One bench was occupied by the party of
Judge Templeincluding his daughterandwith the exception of Dr.
Toddno one else appeared willing to incur the imputation of pride
by taking a seat in what wasliterallythe high place of the
tabernacle.

Richard filled the chair that was placed behind another tablein the
capacity of clerk; while Benjaminafter heaping sundry logs on the
fireposted himself nigh byin reserve for any movement that might
require co-operation.

It would greatly exceed our limits to attempt a description of the
congregationfor the dresses were as various as the individuals.
Some one article of more than usual fineryand perhaps the relic of
other dayswas to be seen about most of the femalesin connection
with the coarse attire of the woods. This wore a faded silkthat had
gone through at least three generationsover coarsewoollen black
stockings; thata shawlwhose dyes were as numerous as those of the
rainbowover an awkwardly fitting gown of rough brown “woman’s wear.”
In shorteach one exhibited some favorite articleand all appeared
in their bestboth men and women; while the ground-works in dressin
either sexwere the coarse fabrics manufactured within their own
dwellings. One man appeared in the dress of a volunteer company of
artilleryof which he had been a member in the “down countries”
precisely for no other reason than because it was the best suit he
had. Severalparticularly of the younger mendisplayed pantaloons
of blueedged with red cloth down the seams part of the equipments of
the “Templeton Light Infantry” from a little vanity to be seen in
“boughten clothes.” There was also one man in a “rifle frock” with
its fringes and folds of spotless whitestriking a chill to the heart
with the idea of its coolnessalthough the thick coat of brown” homemade”
that was concealed beneath preserved a proper degree of warmth.

There was a marked uniformity of expression in Countenanceespecially
in that half of the congregation who did not enjoy the advantages of
the polish of the village. A sallow skinthat indicated nothing but
exposurewas common to allas was an air of great decency and
attentionmingledgenerallywith an expression of shrewdnessand
in the present instance of active curiosity. Now and then a face and
dress were to be seen among the congregationthat differed entirely
from this description. If pock-marked and floridwith gartered legs
and a coat that snugly fitted the person of the wearerit was surely
an English emigrantwho had bent his steps to this retired quarter of
the globe. If hard-featured and without colorwith high cheek-bones
it was a native of Scotlandin similar circumstances.

The shortblack-eyed manwith a cast of the swarthy Spaniard in his
facewho rose repeatedly to make room for the belles of the village
as they enteredwas a son of Erinwho had lately left off his pack
and become a stationary trader in Templeton. In shorthalf the
nations in the north of Europe had their representatives in this


assemblythough all had closely assimilated themselves to the
Americans in dress and appearanceexcept the English man. He
indeednot only adhered to his native customs in attire and living
but usually drove his plough among the stumps in the same manner as he
had before done on the plains of Norfolkuntil dear-bought experience
taught him the useful lesson that a sagacious people knew what was
suited to their circumstances better than a casual observeror a
sojourner who wasperhapstoo much prejudiced to compare and
peradventuretoo conceited to learn.

Elizabeth soon discovered that she divided the attention of the
congregation with Mr. Grant. Timiditythereforeconfined her
observation of the appearances which we have described to stoles
glances; butas the stamping of feet was now becoming less frequent
and even the coughingand other little preliminaries of a
congregation settling themselves down into reverential attentionwere
ceasingshe felt emboldened to look around her. Gradually all noises
diminisheduntil the suppressed cough denoted that it was necessary
to avoid singularityand the most pro found stillness pervaded the
apartment. The snapping of the firesas they threw a powerful heat
into the roomwas alone heardand each face and every eye were
turned on the divine.

At this momenta heavy stamping of feet was heard in the passage
belowas if a new-corner was releasing his limbs from the snow that
was necessarily clinging to the legs of a pedestrian. It was
succeeded by no audible tread; but directly Moheganfollowed by the
Leather-Stocking and the young huntermade his appearance.

Their footsteps would not have been heardas they trod the apartment
in their moccasinsbut for the silence which prevailed.

The Indian moved with great gravity across the floorandobserving a
vacant seat next to the Judgehe took itin a manner that manifested
his sense of his own dignity. Heredrawing his blanket closely
around him so as partly to conceal his countenancehe remained during
the service immovablebut deeply attentive. Natty passed the place
that was so freely taken by his red companionand seated himself on
one end of a log that was lying near the firewhere he continued
with his rifle standing between his legsabsorbed in reflections
seemingly of no very pleasing nature. The youth found a seat among
the congregationand another silence prevailed.

Mr. Grant now arose and commenced his service with the sublime
declaration of the Hebrew prophet: “The Lord is in His holy temple;
let all the earth keep silence before Him.” The example of Mr. Jones
was unnecessary to teach the congregation to rise; the solemnity of
the divine effected this as by magic. After a short pauseMr. Grant
proceeded with the solemn and winning exhortation of his service.
Nothing was heard but the deep though affectionate tones of the
readeras he went slowly through this exordium; untilsomething
unfortunately striking the mind of Richard as incompletehe left his
place and walked on tiptoe from the room.

When the clergyman bent his knees in prayer and confessionthe
congregation so far imitated his example as to resume their seats;
whence no succeeding effort of the divineduring the eveningwas
able to remove them in a body. Some rose at times; but by far the
larger part continued unbending; observantit is truebut it was the
kind of observation that regarded the ceremony as a spectacle rather
than a worship in which they were to participate. Thus deserted by
his clerk Mr. Grant continued to read; but no response was audible.
The short and solemn pause that succeeded each petition was made;
still no voice repeated the eloquent language of the prayer.


The lips of Elizabeth movedbut they moved in vain and accustomed as
she was to the service of the churches of the metropolisshe was
beginning to feel the awkwardness of the circumstance most painfully
when a softlow female voice repeated after the priest” We have left
undone those things which we ought to have done.” Startled at finding
one of her own sex in that place who could rise superior to natural
timidityMiss Temple turned her eyes in the direction of the
penitent. She observed a young female on her kneesbut a short
distance from herwith her meek face humbly bent over her book.

The appearance of this strangerfor such she wasentirelyto
Elizabethwas light and fragile. Her dress was neat and becoming;
and her countenancethough pale and slightly agitatedexcited deep
interest by its sweet and melancholy expression. A second and third
response was made by this juvenile assistantwhen the manly sounds of
a male voice proceeded from the opposite part of the roomMiss Temple
knew the tones of the young hunter instantlyand struggling to
overcome her own diffidence she added her low voice to the number.

All this time Benjamin stood thumbing the leaves of a prayer-book with
great industry; but some unexpected difficulties prevented his finding
the place. Before the divine reached the close of the confession
howeverRichard reappeared at the doorandas he moved lightly
across the roomhe took up the responsein a voice that betrayed no
other concern than that of not being heard. In his hand he carried a
small open boxwith the figures “8 by 10” written in black paint on
one of its sides; whichhaving placed in the pulpitapparently as a
footstool for the divinehe returned to his station in time to say
sonorously“Amen.” The eyes of the congregationvery naturallywere
turned to the windowsas Mr. Jones entered with his singular load;
and thenas if accustomed to his “general agency” were again bent on
the priestin close and curious attention.

The long experience of Mr. Grant admirably qualified him to perform
his present duty. He well understood the character of his listeners
who were mostly a primitive people in their habits; and whobeing a
good deal addicted to subtleties and nice distinctions in their
religious opinionsviewed the introduction of any such temporal
assistance as form into their spiritual worship not only with
jealousybut frequently with disgust. He had acquired much of his
knowledge from studying the great book of human nature as it lay open
in the world; andknowing how dangerous it was to contend with
ignoranceuniformly endeavored to avoid dictating where his better
reason taught him it was the most prudent to attempt to leadHis
orthodoxy had no dependence on his cassock; he could pray with fervor
and with faithif circumstances required itwithout the assistance
of his clerk; and he had even been known to preach a most evangelical
sermonin the winning manner of native eloquencewithout the aid of
a cambric handkerchief.

In the present instance he yieldedin many placesto the prejudices
of his congregation; and when he had endedthere was not one of his
new hearers who did not think the ceremonies less papal and offensive
and more conformant to his or her own notions of devout worshipthan
they had been led to expect from a service of formsRichard found in
the divineduring the eveninga most powerful co-operator in his
religious schemes. In preachingMr. Grant endeavored to steer a
middle course between the mystical doctrines of those sublimated
creeds which daily involve their professors in the most absurd
contradictionsand those fluent roles of moral government which would
reduce the Saviour to a level with the teacher of a school of ethics.
Doctrine it was necessary to preachfor nothing less would have
satisfied the disputatious people who were his listenersand who


would have interpreted silence on his part into a tacit acknowledgment
of the superficial nature of his creed. We have already said that
among the endless variety of religious instructorsthe settlers were
accustomed to hear every denomination urge its own distinctive
preceptsand to have found one indifferent to this Interesting
subject would have been destructive to his influence. But Mr. Grant
so happily blended the universally received opinions of the Christian
faith with the dogmas of his own church thatalthough none were
entirely exempt from the influence of his reasonsvery few took any
alarm at the innovation.

“When we consider the great diversity of the human character
influenced as it is by educationby opportunityand by the physical
and moral conditions of the creaturemy dear hearers” he earnestly
concluded “it can excite no surprise that creeds so very different in
their tendencies should grow out of a religion revealedit is true
but whose revelations are obscured by the lapse of agesand whose
doctrines wereafter the fashion of the countries in which they were
first promulgatedfrequently delivered in parablesand in a language
abounding in metaphors and loaded with figures. On points where the
learned havein purity of heartbeen compelled to differthe
unlettered will necessarily be at variance. Buthappily for usmy
brethrenthe fountain of divine love flows from a source too pure to
admit of pollution in its course; it extendsto those who drink of
its vivifying watersthe peace of the righteousand life
everlasting; it endures through all timeand it pervades creation.
If there be mystery in its workingsit is the mystery of a Divinity.
With a clear knowledge of the naturethe mightand the majesty of
Godthere might be convictionbut there could be no faith. If we
are required to believe in doctrines that seem not in conformity with
the deductions of human wisdomlet us never forget that such is the
mandate of a wisdom that is infinite. It is sufficient for us that
enough is developed to point our path arightand to direct our
wandering steps to that portal which shall open on the light of an
eternal day. Thenindeedit may be humbly hoped that the film which
has been spread by the subtleties of earthly arguments will be
dissipated by the spiritual light of Heaven; and that our hour of
probationby the aid of divine gracebeing once passed in triumph
will be followed by an eternity of intelligence and endless ages of
fruition. All that is now obscure shall become plain to our expanded
faculties; and what to our present senses may seem irreconcilable to
our limited notions of mercyof justiceand of loveshall stand
irradiated by the light of truthconfessedly the suggestions of
Omniscienceand the acts of an All-powerful Benevolence.”

“What a lesson of humilitymy brethrenmight not each of us obtain
from a review of his infant hoursand the recollection of his
juvenile passions! How differently do the same acts of parental rigor
appear in the eyes of the suffering child and of the chastened man!
When the sophist would supplantwith the wild theories of his worldly
wisdomthe positive mandates of inspirationlet him remember the
expansion of his own feeble intellectsand pause—let him feel the
wisdom of God in what is partially concealed. as well as that which
is revealed; in shortlet him substitute humility for pride of
reason—let him have faithand live!”

“The consideration of this subject is full of consolationmy hearers
and does not fail to bring with it lessons of humility and of profit
thatduly improvedwould both chasten the heart and strengthen the
feeble-minded man in his course. It is a blessed consolation to be
able to lay the misdoubtings of our arrogant nature at the thresh old
of the dwelling-place of the Deityfrom whence they shall be swept
awayat the great opening of the portallike the mists of the
morning before the rising sun. It teaches us a lesson of humilityby


impressing us with the imperfection of human powersand by warning us
of the many weak points where we are open to the attack of the great
enemy of our race; it proves to us that we are in danger of being
weakwhen our vanity would fain soothe us into the belief that we arc
most strong; it forcibly points out to us the vainglory of intellect
and shows us the vast difference between a saving faith and the
corollaries of a philosophical theology; and it teaches us to reduce
our self-examination to the test of good works. By good works must be
understood the fruits of repentancethe chiefest of which is charity.
Not that charity only which causes us to help the needy and comfort
the sufferingbut that feeling of universal philanthropy whichby
teaching us to lovecauses us to judge with lenity all men; striking
at the root of self-righteousnessand warning us to be sparing of our
condemnation of otherswhile our own salvation is not yet secure.”


“The lesson of expediencymy brethrenwhich I would gather from the
consideration of this subjectis most strongly inculcated by
humility. On the heading and essential points of our faiththere is
but little difference among those classes of Christians who
acknowledge the attributes of the Saviourand depend on his
mediation. But heresies have polluted every churchand schisms are
the fruit of disputation. In order to arrest these dangersand to
insure the union of his followersit would seem that Christ had
established his visible church. and delegated the ministry. Wise and
holy menthe fathers of our religionhave expended their labors in
clearing what was revealed from the obscurities of languageand the
results of their experience and researches have been em bodied in the
form of evangelical discipline That this discipline must be salutary
is evident from the view of the weakness of human nature that we have
already taken; and that it may be profitable to usand all who listen
to its precepts and its liturgymay Godin his infinite wisdom
grant!—And now to” etc.


With this ingenious reference to his own forms and ministryMr. Grant
concluded his discourse. The most profound attention had been paid to
the sermon during the whole of its deliveryalthough the prayers had
not been received with so perfect demonstration of respect. This was
by no means an intended slight of that liturgy to which the divine
alludedbut was the habit of a people who owed their very existence
as a distinct nationto the doctrinal character of their ancestors.
Sundry looks of private dissatisfaction were exchanged between Hiram
and one or two of the leading members of the conferencebut the
feeling went no further at that time; and the congregationafter
receiving the blessing of Mr. Grant.dispersed in Silenceand with
great decorum.


CHAPTER XII.


“Your creeds and dogmas of a learned church
May build a fabricfair with moral beauty;
But it would seem that the strong hand of God
Canonly'rase the devil from the heart.”—Duo.


While the congregation was separatingMr. Grant approached the place
where Elizabeth and her father were seatedleading the youthful
female whom we have mentioned in the preceding chapterand presented
her as his daughter. Her reception was as cordial and frank as the
manners of the country and the value of good society could render it;
the two young women feelinginstantlythat they were necessary to



the comfort of each otherThe Judgeto whom the clergyman’s daughter
was also a strangerwas pleased to find one whofrom habitssex
and yearscould probably contribute largely to the pleasures of his
own childduring her first privations on her removal from the
associations of a city to the solitude of Templeton; while Elizabeth
who had been forcibly struck with the sweetness and devotion of the
youthful suppliantremoved the slight embarrassment of the timid
stranger by the ease of her own manners. They were at once
acquainted; andduring the ten minutes that the “academy” was
clearingengagements were made between the young peoplenot only for
the succeeding daybut they would probably have embraced in their
arrangements half of the winterhad not the divine interrupted them
by saying:

“Gentlygentlymy dear Miss Templeor you will make my girl too
dissipated. You forget that she is my housekeeperand that my
domestic affairs must remain unattended toshould Louisa accept of
half the kind offers you are so good as to make her.”

“And why should they not be neglected entirelysir?” interrupted
Elizabeth. “There are but two of you; and certain I am that my
father’s house will not only contain you bothbut will open its doors
spontaneously to receive such guests. Society is a good not to he
rejected on account of cold formsin this wildernesssir; and I have
often heard my father saythat hospitality is not a virtue in a new
countrythe favor being conferred by the guest.”

“The manner in which Judge Temple exercises its rites would confirm
this opinion; but we must not trespass too freely. Doubt not that you
will see us oftenmy childparticularly during the frequent visits
that I shall be compelled to make to the distant parts of the country.
But to obtain an influence with such a people” he continuedglancing
his eyes toward the few who were still lingeringcurious observers of
the interview“a clergyman most not awaken envy or distrust by
dwelling under so splendid a roof as that of Judge Temple.”

“You like the roofthenMr. Grant” cried Richardwho had been
directing the extinguishment of the fires and other little necessary
dutiesand who approached in time to hear the close of the divine’s
speech. “I am glad to find one man of taste at last. Here’s ‘Duke.
nowpretends to call it by every abusive name he can invent; but
though ‘Duke is a tolerable judgehe is a very poor carpenterlet me
tell him. WellsirwellI think we may saywithout boastingthat
the service was as well per formed this evening as you often see; I
thinkquite as well as I ever knew it to be done in old Trinity—that
isif we except the organ. But there is the school-master leads the
psalm with a very good air. I used to lead myselfbut latterly I
have sung nothing but bass. There is a good deal of science to be
shown in the bassand it affords a fine opportunity to show off a
fulldeep voice. Benjamintoosings a good bassthough he is
often out in the words. Did you ever hear Benjamin sing the ‘Bay of
Biscay0?”

“I believe he gave us part of it this evening” said Marmaduke
laughing. “There wasnow and thena fearful quaver in his voice
and it seems that Mr. Penguillian is like most others who do one thing
particularly well; he knows nothing else. He hascertainlya
wonderful partiality to one tuneand he has a prodigious selfconfidence
in that onefor he delivers himself like a northwester
sweeping across the lake. But comegentlemenour way is clearand
the sleigh waits. Good-eveningMr. Grant. Good-nightyoung lady—
remember you dine beneath the Corinthian roofto-morrowwith
Elizabeth.”


The parties separatedRichard holding a close dissertation with Mr.
Le Quoias they descended the stairson the subject of psalmody
which he closed by a violent eulogium on the air of the “Bay of
Biscay0” as particularly connected with his friend Benjamin’s
execution.

During the preceding dialogueMohegan retained his seatwith his
head shrouded in his blanketas seemingly inattentive to surrounding
objects as the departing congregation was itself to the presence of
the aged chiefNattyalsocontinued on the log where he had first
placed himselfwith his head resting on one of his handswhile the
other held the riflewhich was thrown carelessly across his lap. His
countenance expressed uneasinessand the occasional unquiet glances
that he had thrown around him during the service plainly indicated
some unusual causes for unhappiness. His continuing seated washow
everout of respect to the Indian chief. to whom he paid the utmost
deference on all occasionsalthough it was mingled with the rough
manner of a hunter.

The young companion of these two ancient inhabitants of the forest
remained also standing before the extinguished brandsprobably from
an unwillingness to depart without his comrades. The room was now
deserted by all but this groupthe divineand his daughter. As the
party from the mansion-house disappearedJohn aroseanddropping
the blanket from his headhe shook back the mass of black hair from
his faceandapproaching Mr. Granthe extended his handand said
solemnly:

“FatherI thank you. The words that have been saidsince the rising
moonhave gone upwardand the Great Spirit is glad. What you have
told your childrenthey will rememberand be good.” He paused a
momentand thenelevating himself with the grandeur of an Indian
chiefhe added: “If Chingachgook lives to travel toward the setting
sunafter his tribeand the Great Spirit carries him over the lakes
and mountains with the breath of his bodyhe will tell his people the
good talk he has heard; and they will believe him; for who can say
that Mohegan has ever lied?”

“Let him place his dependence on the goodness of Divine mercy” said
Mr. Grantto whom the proud consciousness of the Indian sounded a
little heterodox“and it never will desert him. When the heart is
filled with love to Godthere is no room for sin. Butyoung manto
you I owe not only an obligationin common with those you saved this
evening on the mountainbut my thanks for your respectable and pious
manner in assisting in the service at a most embarrassing moment. I
should be happy to see you sometimes at my dwellingwhenperhapsmy
conversation may strengthen you in the path which you appear to have
chosen. It is so unusual to find one of your age and appearancein
these woodsat all acquainted with our holy liturgythat it lessens
at once the distance between usand I feel that we are no longer
strangers. You seem quite at home in the service; I did not perceive
that you had even a bookalthough good Mr. Jones. had laid several
in different parts of the room.”

“It would be strange if I were ignorant of the service of our church
sir” returned the youth modestly; “for I was baptized in its
communion and I have never yet attended public worship elsewhere. For
me to use the forms of any other denomination would be as singular as
our own have proved to the people here this evening.”

“You give me great pleasuremy dear sir” cried the divineseizing
the other by the handand shaking it cordially. “You will go home
with me now—indeed you must—my child has yet to thank you for saving
my life. I will-listen to no apologies. This worthy Indianand your


friendtherewill accompany us. Bless me! to think that’ he has
arrived at manhood in this countrywithout entering a dissenting *
meeting-house!”

* The divines of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States
commonly call other denominations Dissentersthough there never was
an established church in their own country!
“Nono” interrupted the Leather-Stocking“I must away to the
wigwam; there’s work there that mustn’t be forgotten for all your
churchings and merry-makings. Let the lad go with you in welcome; he
is used to keeping company with ministersand talking of such
matters; so is old Johnwho was christianized by the Moravians abouts
the time of the old war. But I am a plain unlarned manthat has
sarved both the king and his countryin his dayagin’ the French and
savagesbut never so much as looked into a bookor larnt a letter of
scholarshipin my born days. I’ve never seen the use of much in-door
workthough I have lived to be partly baldand in my time have
killed two hundred beaver in a seasonand that without counting thc
other game. If you mistrust what I am telling youyou can ask
Chingachgook therefor I did it in the heart of the Delaware country
and the old man is knowing to the truth of every word I say.”

“I doubt notmy friendthat you have been both a valiant soldier and
skilful hunter in your day” said the divine; “but more is wanting to
prepare you for that end which approaches. You may have heard the
maximthat ‘young men may diebut that old men must’”

“I’m sure I never was so great a fool as to expect to live forever”
said Nattygiving one of his silent laughs; “no man need do that who
trails the savages through the woodsas I have doneand livesfor
the hot monthson the lake streams. I’ve a strong constitutionI
must say that for myselfas is plain to be seen; for I’ve drunk the
Onondaga water a hundred timeswhile I’ve been watching the deerlicks
when the fever-an’-agy seeds was to be seen in it as plain and
as plenty as you can see the rattle snakes on old Crumhorn. But then
I never expected to hold out forever; though there’s them living who
have seen the German flats a wilderness; ay! and them that’s larned
and acquainted with religiontoo; though you might look a weeknow
and not find even the stump of a pine on them; and that’s a wood that
lasts in the ground the better part of a hundred years after the tree
is dead.”

“This is but timemy good friend” returned Mr. Grantwho began to
take an interest in the welfare of his new acquaintance“but I would
have you prepare for eternity. It is incumbent on you to attend
places of public worshipas I am pleased to see that you have done
this evening. Would it not he heedless in you to start on a day’s
toil of hard huntingand leave your ramrod and flint behind?”

“It must be a young hand in the woods” interrupted Nattywith
another laugh“that didn’t know how to dress a rod out of an ash
sapling or find a fire-stone in the mountains. NonoI never
expected to live forever; but I seetimes be altering in these
mountains from what they was thirty years agoorfor that matter
ten years. But might makes rightand the law is stronger than an old
manwhether he is one that has much lamingor only like methat is
better now at standing at the passes than in following the houndsas
I once used to could. Heigh-ho! I never know’d preaching come into a
settlement but it made game scarceand raised the price of gunpowder;
and that’s a thing that’s not as easily made as a ramrod or an Indian
flint.”

The divineperceiving that he had given his opponent an argument by


his own unfortunate selection of a comparisonvery prudently
relinquished the controversy; although he was fully determined to
resume it at a more happy momentRepeating his request to the young
hunter with great earnestnessthe youth and Indian consented to ac
company him and his daughter to the dwelling that the care of Mr.
Jones had provided for their temporary residence. Leather-Stocking
persevered in his intention of returning to the hutand at the door
of the building they separated.

After following the course of one of the streets of the village a
short distance. Mr. Grantwho led the wayturned into a field
through a pair of open barsand entered a footpathof but sufficient
width to admit one person to walk in at a time. The moon had gained a
height that enabled her to throw her rays perpendicularly on the
valley; and the distinct shadows of the party flitted along on the
banks of the silver snowlike the presence of aerial figuresgliding
to their appointed place of meeting. The night still continued
intensely coldalthough not a breath of wind was felt. The path was
beaten so hard that the gentle femalewho made one of the party
moved with ease along its windings; though the frost emitted a low
creaking at the impression of even her light footsteps.

The clergyman in his dark dress of broadclothwith his mild
benevolent countenance occasionally turned toward his companions
expressing that look of subdued care which was its characteristic
presented the first object in this singular group. Next to him moved
the Indianhis hair falling about his facehis head uncoveredand
the rest of his form concealed beneath his blanket. As his swarthy
visagewith its muscles fixed in rigid composurewas seen under the
light of the moonwhich struck his face obliquelyhe seemed a
picture of resigned old ageon whom the storms of winter had beaten
in vain for the greater part of a century; but whenin turning his
headthe rays fell directly on his darkfiery eyesthey told a tale
of passions unrestrainedand of thoughts free as air. The slight
person of Miss Grantwhich followed nextand which was but too
thinly clad for the severity of the seasonformed a marked contrast
to thc wild attire and uneasy glances of the Delaware chief; and more
than once during their walkthe young hunterhimself no
insignificant figure in the groupwas led to consider the difference
in the human formas the face of Mohegan and the gentle countenance
of Miss Grantwith eyes that rivalled the soft hue of the skymet
his view at the instant that each turned to throw a glance at the
splendid orb which lighted their path. Their waywhich led through
fields that lay at some distance in the rear of the houseswas
cheered by a conversation that flagged or became animated with the
subject. The first to speak was the divine.

“Really” he said“it is so singular a circumstance to meet with one
of your agethat has not been induced by idle curiosity to visit any
other church than the one in which he has been educatedthat I feel a
strong curiosity to know the history of a life so fortunately
regulated. Your education must have been excellent; as indeed is
evident from your manners and language. Of which of the States are
you a nativeMr. Edwards? for suchI believewas the name that you
gave Judge Temple.”

“Of this.”

“Of this! I was at a loss to conjecturefrom your dialectwhich does
not partakeparticularlyof the peculiarities of any country with
which I am acquainted. You havethenresided much in the cities
for no other part of this country is so fortunate as to possess the
constant enjoyment of our excellent liturgy.”


The young hunter smiledas he listened to the divine while he so
clearly betrayed from what part of the country he had come himself;
butfor reasons probably connected with his present situationhe
made no answer.

“I am delighted to meet with youmy young friendfor I think an
ingenuous mindsuch as I doubt not yours must bewill exhibit all
the advantages of a settled doctrine and devout liturgy. You perceive
how I was compelled to bend to the humors of my hearers this evening.
Good Mr. Jones wished me to read the communionandin factall the
morning service; buthappilythe canons do not require this of an
evening. It would have wearied a new congregation; but to-morrow I
purpose administering the sacramentDo you communemy young friend?”

“I believe notsir” returned the youthwith a little embarrassment
that was not at all diminished by Miss Grant’s pausing involuntarily
and turning her eyes on him in surprise; “I fear that I am not
qualified; I have never yet approached the altar; neither would I wish
to do it while I find so much of the world clinging to my heart.”

“Each must judge for himself” said Mr. Grant; “though I should think
that a youth who had never been blown about by the wind of false
doctrinesand who has enjoyed the advantages of our liturgy for so
many years in its puritymight safely come. Yetsirit is a solemn
festivalwhich none should celebrate until there is reason to hope it
is not mockery. I observed this eveningin your manner to Judge
Templea resentment that bordered on one of the worst of human
passionsWe will cross this brook on the ice; it must bear us allI
thinkin safety. Be careful not to slipmy child.” While speaking
he descended a little bank by the pathand crossed one of the small
streams that poured their waters into the lake; andturning to see
his daughter passobserved that the youth had advancedand was
kindly directing her footsteps. When all were safely overhe moved
up the opposite bankand continued his discourse. “It was wrongmy
dear sirvery wrongto suffer such feelings to riseunder any
circumstancesand especially in the presentwhere the evil was not
intended.”

“There is good in the talk of my father” said Moheganstopping
shortand causing those who Were behind him to pause also; “it is the
talk of Miquon. The white man may do as his fathers have told him;
but the ‘Young Eagle’ has the blood of a Delaware chief in his veins;
it is redand the stain it makes can only be washed out with the
blood of a Mingo.”

Mr. Grant was surprised by the interruption of the Indianand
stoppingfaced the speaker. His mild features were confronted to the
fierce and determined looks of the chiefand expressed the horror he
felt at hearing such sentiments from one who professed the religion of
his Saviour. Raising his hands to a level with his headhe
exclaimed:

“JohnJohn! is this the religion that you have learned from the
Moravians? But no—I will not be so uncharitable as to suppose it.
They are a piousa gentleand a mild peopleand could never
tolerate these passions. Listen to the language of the Redeemer: ‘But
I say unto youlove your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good
to them that hate you; pray for them that despitefully use you and
persecute you.’ This is the command of GodJohnandwithout
striving to cultivate such feelingsno man can see Him.”

The Indian heard the divine with attention; the unusual fire of his
eye gradually softenedand his muscles relaxed into their ordinary
composure; butslightly shaking his headhe motioned with dignity


for Mr. Grant to resume his walkand followed himself in silenceThe
agitation of the divine caused him to move with unusual rapidity along
the deep pathand the Indianwithout any apparent exertionkept an
equal pace; but the young hunter observed the female to linger in her
stepsuntil a trifling distance intervened between the two former and
the latter. Struck by the circumstanceand not perceiving any new
impediment to retard her footstepthe youth made a tender of his
assistance.

“You are fatiguedMiss Grant” he said; “the snow yields to the foot
and you are unequal to the strides of us men. Step on the crustI
entreat youand take the help of my armYonder light isI believe
the house of your father; but it seems yet at some distance.”

“I am quite equal to the walk” returned a lowtremulous voice; “but
I am startled by the manner of that IndianOh! his eye was horridas
he turned to the moonin speaking to my father. But I forgotsir;
he is your friendand by his language may be your relative; and yet
of you I do not feel afraid.”

The young man stepped on the bank of snowwhich firmly sustained his
weightand by a gentle effort induced his companion to follow.
Drawing her arm through his ownhe lifted his cap from his head
allowing the dark locks to flow in rich curls over his open browand
walked by her side with an air of conscious prideas if inviting an
examination of his utmost thoughts. Louisa took but a furtive glance
at his personand moved quietly alongat a rate that was greatly
quickened by the aid of his arm.

“You are but little acquainted with this peculiar peopleMiss Grant”
he said“or you would know that revenge is a virtue with an Indian.
They are taughtfrom infancy upwardto believe it a duty never to
allow an injury to pass unrevenged; and nothing but the stronger
claims of hospitality can guard one against their resentments where
they have power.”

“Surelysir” said Miss Grantinvoluntarily withdrawing her arm from
his“you have not been educated with such unholy sentiments?”

“It might be a sufficient answer to your excellent father to say that
I was educated in the church” he returned; “but to you I will add
that I have been taught deep and practical lessons of forgiveness. I
believe thaton this subjectI have but little cause to reproach
myself; it shall he my endeavor that there yet be less.”

While speakinghe stoppedand stood with his arm again proffered to
her assistance. As he endedshe quietly accepted his offerand they
resumed their walk.

Mr. Grant and Mohegan had reached the door of the former's residence
and stood waiting near its threshold for the arrival of their young
companions. The former was earnestly occupied in endeavoring to
correctby his preceptsthe evil propensities that he had discovered
in the Indian during their conversation; to which the latter listened
in Profound but respectful attention. On the arrival of the young
hunter and the ladythey entered the building. The house stood at
some distance from the villagein the centre of a fieldsurrounded
by stumps that were peering above the snowbearing caps of pure
whitenearly two feet in thickness. Not a tree nor a shrub was nigh
it; but the houseexternallyexhibited that cheer lessunfurnished
aspect which is so common to the hastily erected dwellings of a new
country. The uninviting character of its outside washowever
happily relieved by the exquisite neatness and comfortable warmth
within.


They entered an apartment that was fitted as a parlorthough the
large fireplacewith its culinary arrangementsbetrayed the domestic
uses to which it was occasionally applied. The bright blaze from the
hearth rendered the light that proceeded from the candle Louisa
produced unnecessary; for the scanty furniture of the room was easily
seen and examined by the former. The floor was covered in the centre
by a carpet made of ragsa species of manufacture that was thenand
yet continues to bemuch in use in the interior; while its edges
that were exposed to viewwere of unspotted cleanliness. There was a
trifling air of better life in a tea-table and work-standas well as
in an old-fashioned mahogany bookcase; but the chairsthe diningtable
and the rest of the furniture were of the plainest and cheapest
constructionAgainst the walls were hung a few specimens of needlework
and drawingthe former executed with great neatnessthough of
somewhat equivocal merit in their designswhile the latter were
strikingly deficient in both

One of the former represented a tombwith a youthful female weeping
over itexhibiting a church with arched windows in the background.
On the tomb were the nameswith the dates of the births and deaths
of several individualsall of whom bore the name of Grant. An
extremely cursory glance at this record was sufficient to discover to
the young hunter the domestic state of the divine. He there read that
he was a widower; and that the innocent and timid maidenwho had been
his companionwas the only survivor of six children. The knowledge
of the dependence which each of these meek Christians had on the other
for happiness threw an additional charm around the gentle but kind
attentions which the daughter paid to the father.

These observations occurred while the party were seating themselves
before the cheerful fireduring which time there was a suspension of
discourse. Butwhen each was comfortably arrangedand Louisaafter
laying aside a thin coat of faded silkand a gypsy hatthat was more
becoming to her modestingenuous countenance than appropriate to the
seasonhad taken a chair between her father and the youththe former
resumed the conversation.

“I trustmy young friend” he said“that the education you have
received has eradicated most of those revengeful principles which you
may have inherited by descentfor I understand from the expressions
of John that you have some of the blood of the Delaware tribe. Do not
mistake meI begfor it is not color nor lineage that constitutes
merit; and I know not that he who claims affinity to the proper owners
of this soil has not the best right to tread these hills with the
lightest conscience.”

Mohegan turned solemnly to the speakerandwith the peculiarly
significant gestures of an Indianhe spoke:

“Fatheryou are not yet past the summer of life; your limbs are
young. Go to the highest hilland look around you. All that you
seefrom the rising to the setting sunfrom the head-waters of the
great springto where the ‘crooked river’* is hid by the hillsis
his. He has Delaware bloodand his right is strong.

* The Susquehannah means crooked river; “hannah” or “hannock” meant
river in many of the native dialects. Thus we find Rappahannock as
far south as Virginia.
But the brother of Miquon is just; he will cut the country in two
partsas the river cuts the lowlandsand will say to the ‘Young
Eagle’ ‘Child of the Delawares! take it—keep it; and be a chief in
the land of your fathers.’”


“Never!” exclaimed the young hunterwith a vehemence that destroyed
the rapt attention with which the divine and his daughter were
listening to the Indian. “The wolf of the forest is not more
rapacious for his prey than that man is greedy of gold; and yet his
glidings into wealth are subtle as the movements of a serpent.”

“Forbearforbearmy sonforbear” interrupted Mr. Grant. “These
angry passions most be subdued. The accidental injury you have
received from Judge Temple has heightened the sense of your hereditary
wrongs. But remember that the one was unintentionaland that the
other is the effect of political changeswhich havein their course
greatly lowered the pride of kingsand swept mighty nations from the
face of the earth. Where now are the Philistineswho so often held
the children of Israel in bondage? or that city of Babylonwhich
rioted in luxury and viceand who styled herself the Queen of Nations
in the drunkenness of her pride? Remember the prayer of our holy
litanywhere we implore the Divine Power—’that it may please thee to
forgive our enemiespersecutorsand slanderersand to turn their
hearts. The sin of the wrongs which have been done to the natives is
shared by Judge Temple only in common with a whole peopleand your
arm will speedily be restored to its strength.”

“This arm!” repeated the youthpacing the floor in violent agitation.
“Think yousirthat I believe the man a murderer? Ohno! he is too
wilytoo cowardlyfor such a crime. But let him and his daughter
riot in their wealth—a day of retribution will come. Nonono” he
continuedas he trod the floor more calmly—” it is for Mohegan to
suspect him of an intent to injure me; but the trifle is not worth a
second thought.” He seated himselfand hid his face between his
handsas they rested on his knees.

“It is the hereditary violence of a native’s passionmy child” said
Mr. Grant in a low tone to his affrighted daughterwho was clinging
in terror to his arm. “He is mixed with the blood of the Indiansyou
have heard; and neither the refinements of education nor the
advantages of our excellent liturgy have been able entirely to
eradicate the evil. But care and time will do much for him yet.”

Although the divine spoke in a low toneyet what he uttered was heard
by the youthwho raised his headwith a smile of indefinite
expressionand spoke more calmly:

“Be not alarmedMiss Grantat either the wildness of my manner or
that of my dress. I have been carried away by passions that I should
struggle to repress. I must attribute itwith your fatherto the
blood in my veinsalthough I would not impeach my lineage willingly;
for it is all that is left me to boast of. Yes! I am proud of my
descent from a Delaware chiefwho was a warrior that ennobled human
nature. Old Mohegan was his friendand will vouch for his virtues.”

Mr. Grant here took up the discourseandfinding the young man more
calmand the aged chief attentivehe entered into a full and
theological discussion of the duty of forgiveness. The conversation
lasted for more than an hourwhen the visitors aroseandafter
exchanging good wishes with their entertainersthey departed. At the
door they separatedMohegan taking the direct route to the village
while the youth moved toward the lake. The divine stood at the
entrance of his dwellingregarding the figure of the aged chief as it
glidedat an astonishing gait for his yearsalong the deep path; his
blackstraight hair just visible over the bundle formed by his
blanketwhich was sometimes blended with the snowunder the silvery
light of the moon. From the rear of the house was a window that
overlooked the lake; and here Louisa was found by her fatherwhen he


enteredgazing intently on some object in the direction of the
eastern mountain. He approached the spotand saw the figure of the
young hunterat the distance of half a milewalking with prodigious
steps across the wide fields of frozen snow that covered the ice
toward the point where he knew the hut inhabited by the Leather-
Stocking was situated on the margin of the lakeunder a rock that was
crowned by pines and hemlocks. At the next instantthe wild looking
form entered the shadow cast from the over-hanging treesand was lost
to view.

“It is marvellous how long the propensities of the savage continue in
that remarkable race” said the good divine; “but if he perseveres as
he has commencedhis triumph shall yet be complete. Put me in mind
Louisato lend him the homily ‘against peril of idolatry’ at his
next visit.”

“Suretyfatheryou do not think him in danger of relapsing into the
worship of his ancestors?”

“Nomy child” returned the clergymanlaying his hand affectionately
on her flaxen locksand smiling; “his white blood would prevent it;
but there is such a thing as the idolatry of our passions.”

CHAPTER XIII.

“And I’ll drink out of the quart pot— Here’s a health to the barley
mow. “—Drinking Song.

On one of the cornerswhere the two principal streets of Templeton
intersected each otherstoodas we have already mentionedthe inn
called the “Bold Dragoon”. In the original plan it was ordained that
the village should stretch along the little stream that rushed down
the valley; and the street which led from the lake to the academy was
intended to be its western boundary. But convenience frequently
frustrates the best-regulated plans. The house of Mr.or asin
consequence of commanding the militia of that vicinityhe was called
Captain Hollisterhadat an early daybeen erected directly facing
the main streetand ostensibly interposed a barrier to its further
progress. Horsemenand subsequently teamstershoweveravailed
themselves of an openingat the end of the buildingto shorten their
passage westwarduntil in time the regular highway was laid out along
this courseand houses were gradually built on either sideso as
effectually to prevent any subsequent correction of the evil.

Two material consequences followed this change in the regular plans of
Marmaduke. The main streetafter running about half its lengthwas
suddenly reduced for precisely that difference in its width; and “Bold
Dragoon” becamenext to the mansion-houseby far the most
conspicuous edifice in the place.

This conspicuousnessaided by the characters of the host and hostess
gave the tavern an advantage over all its future competitors that no
circumstances could conquer. An effort washowevermade to do so;
and at the corner diagonally oppositestood a new building that was
in tendedby its occupantsto look down all opposition. It was a
house of woodornamented in the prevailing style of architectureand
about the roof and balustrades was one of the three imitators of the
mansion-house. The upper windows were filled with rough boards
secured by nailsto keep out the cold air—for the edifice was far


from finishedalthough glass was to be seen in the lower apartments
and the light of the powerful fires within de noted that it was
already inhabited. The exterior was painted white on the front and on
the end which was exposed to the street; but in the rearand on the
side which was intended to join the neighboring houseit was coarsely
smeared with Spanish brown. Before the door stood two lofty posts
connected at the top by a beamfrom which was suspended an enormous
signornamented around its edges with certain curious carvings in
pine boardsand on its faces loaded with Masonic emblems. Over these
mysterious figures was writtenin large letters“The Templeton
Coffee-houseand Traveller’s Hotel” and beneath them“By Habakkuk
Foote and Joshua Knapp.” This was a fearful rival to the” Bold
Dragoon” as our readers will the more readily perceive when we add
that the same sonorous names were to be seen over a newly erected
store in the villagea hatter’s shopand the gates of a tan-yard.
Buteither because too much was attempted to be executed wellor
that the “Bold Dragoon” had established a reputation which could not
be easily shakennot only Judge Temple and his friendsbut most of
the villagers alsowho were not in debt to the powerful firm we have
namedfrequented the inn of Captain Hollister on all occasions where
such a house was necessary

On the present evening the limping veteran and his consort were hardly
housed after their return from the academywhen the sounds of
stamping feet at their threshold announced the approach of visitors
who were probably assembling with a view to compare opinions on the
subject of the ceremonies they had witnessed.

The publicor as it was calledthe “bar-room” of the Bold Dragoon”
was a spacious apartmentlined on three sides with benches and on the
fourth by fireplaces. Of the latter there were two of such size as to
occupywith their enormous jambsthe whole of that side of the
apartment where they were placedexcepting room enough for a door or
twoand a little apartment in one cornerwhich was protected by
miniature palisadesand profusely garnished with bottles and glasses.
In the entrance to this sanctuary Mrs. Hollister was seatedwith
great gravity in her airwhile her husband occupied himself with
stirring the firesmoving the logs with a large stake burnt to a
point at one end.

“Theresargeantdear” said the landladyafter she thought the
veteran had got the logs arranged in the most judicious manner“give
over pokingfor it’s no good ye’ll be doingnow that they burn so
convaniently. There’s the glasses on the table thereand the mug
that the doctor was taking his cider and ginger inbefore the fire
here— just put them in the barwill ye? for we’ll be having the
joogeand the Majorand Mr. Jones down the nightwithout reckoning
Benjamin Poompand the lawyers; so yell be fixing the room tidy; and
put both flip irons in the coals; and tell Judethe lazy black baste
that if she’s no be cleaning up the kitchen I’ll turn her out of the
houseand she may live wid the jontlemen that kape the ‘Coffee
house’ good luck to ‘em. Och! sargeantsure it’s a great privilege
to go to a mateing where a body can sit asywithout joomping up and
down so oftenas this Mr. Grant is doing that same.”

“It’s a privilege at all timesMrs. Hollisterwhether we stand or be
seated; oras good Mr. Whitefleld used to do after he had made a
wearisome day’s marchget on our knees and praylike Moses of old
with a flanker to the right and left to lift his hands to heaven”
returned her husbandwho composedly performed what she had directed
to be done. “It was a very pretty fightBettythat the Israelites
had on that day with the AmalekitesIt seams that they fout on a
plainfor Moses is mentioned as having gone on the heights to
overlook the battleand wrestle in prayer; and if I should judge


with my little larningthe Israelites depended mainly on their horse
for it was written ‘that Joshua cut up the enemy with the edge of the
sword; from which I infernot only that they were horsebut well
diseiplyned troops. Indeedit says as much as that they were chosen
men; quite likely volunteers; for raw dragoons seldom strike with the
edge of their swordsparticularly if the weapon be any way crooked.”
“Pshaw! why do ye bother yourself wid textsmanabout so small a
matter?” interrupted the landlady; “sureit was the Lord who was with
‘em; for he always sided with the Jewsbefore they fell away; and
it’s but little matter what kind of men Joshua commandedso that he
was doing the right bidding. Aven them cursed millaishythe Lord
forgive me for swearingthat was the death of himwid their
cowardicewould have carried the day in old times. There’s no rason
to be thinking that the soldiers were used to the drill.”

“I must sayMrs. Hollisterthat I have not often seen raw troops
fight better than the left flank of the militiaat the time you
mention. They rallied handsomelyand that without beat of drum
which is no easy thing to do under fireand were very steady till he
fell. But the Scriptures contain no unnecessary words; and I will
maintain that horsewho know how to strike with the edge of the
swordmust be well disoiplyned. Many a good sarmon has been preached
about smaller matters than that one word! If the text was not meant to
be particularwhy wasn’t it written with the swordand not with the
edge? Nowa back-handed strokeon the edgetakes long practice.
Goodness! what an argument would Mr. Whitefield make of that word
edge! As to the captainif he had only called up the guard of
dragoons when he rallied the footthey would have shown the inimy
what the edge of a sword was; foralthough there was no commissioned
officer with themyet I think I must say” the veteran continued
stiffening his cravat about his throatand raising himself up with
tile air of a drill-sergeant“they were led by a man who knowed how
to bring them on. in spite of the ravine.”

“Is it lade on ye would” cried the landlady“when ye know yourself
Mr. Hollisterthat the baste he rode was but little able to joomp
from one rock to anotherand the animal was as spry as a squirrel?
Och! but it’s useless to talkfor he’s gone this many a year. I
would that he had lived to see the true light; but there’s mercy for a
brave sowlthat died in the saddlefighting for the liberty. It is
a poor tombstone they have given himanywayand many a good one that
died like himself; but the sign is very likeand I will be kapeing it
upwhile the blacksmith can make a hook for it to swing onfor all
the ‘coffee-houses’ betwane this and Albany.”

There is no saying where this desultory conversation would have led
the worthy couplehad not the menwho were stamping the snow off
their feet on the little plat form before the doorsuddenly ceased
their occupationand entered the bar-room.

For ten or fifteen minutes the different individualswho intended
either to bestow or receive edification before the fires of the “Bold
Dragoon” on that eveningwere collectinguntil the benches were
nearly filled with men of different occupations. Dr. Todd and a
slovenly-lookingshabby-genteel young manwho took tobacco
profuselywore a coat of imported cloth cut with something like a
fashionable airfrequently exhibited a large French silver watch
with a chain of woven hair and a silver keyand whoaltogether
seemed as much above the artisans around him as he was himself
inferior to the real gentle manoccupied a high-back wooden settee
in the most comfortable corner in the apartment.

Sundry brown mugscontaining cider or beerwere placed between the
heavy andironsand little groups were found among the guests as


subjects arose or the liquor was passed from one to the other. No man
was seen to drink by himselfnor in any instance was more than one
vessel considered necessary for the same beverage; but the glass or
the mug was passed from hand to hand until a chasm in the line or a
regard to the rights of ownership would regularly restore the dregs of
the potation to him who de frayed the cost.

Toasts were uniformly drunk; and occasionally some one who conceived
himself peculiarly endowed by Nature to shine in the way of wit would
attempt some such sentiment as “ hoping that he” who treated “might
make a better man than his father;” or “live till all his friends
wished him dead;” while the more humble pot-companion contented
himself by sayingwith a most composing gravity in his air“Come
here’s luck” or by expressing some other equally comprehensive
desire. In every instance the veteran landlord was requested to
imitate the custom of the cupbearers to kingsand taste the liquor he
presentedby the invitation of “After you is manners” with which
request he ordinarily complied by wetting his lipsfirst expressing
the wish of “Here’s hoping” leaving it to the imagination of the
hearers to fill the vacuum by whatever good each thought most
desirable. During these movements the landlady was busily occupied
with mixing the various compounds required by her customerswith her
own handsand occasionally exchanging greetings and inquiries
concerning the conditions of their respective familieswith such of
the villagers as approached the bar.

At length the common thirst being in some measure assuaged
conversation of a more general nature became the order of the hour.
The physician and his companionwho was one of the two lawyers of the
villagebeing considered the best qualified to maintain a public
discourse with creditwere the principal speakersthough a remark
was hazardednow and thenby Mr. Doolittlewho was thought to be
their inferior only in the enviable point of education. A general
silence was produced on all but the two speakersby the following
observation from the practitioner of the law:

“SoDr. ToddI understand that you have been per forming an
important operation this evening by cutting a charge of buckshot from
the shoulder of the son of Leather-Stocking?”

“Yessir” returned otherelevating his little head with an air of
importance. “I had a small job up at the Judge’s in that way; it was
howeverbut a trifle to what it might have beenhad it gone through
the body. The shoulder is not a very vital part; and I think the
young man will soon be well. But I did not know that the patient was
a son of Leather-Stocking; it is news to me to hear that Natty had a
wife.”

“It is by no means a necessary consequencereturned the other
winkingwith a shrewd look around the bar room; “there is such a
thingI suppose you knowin law as a filius nullius.”

“Spake it outman” exclaimed the landlady; “spake it out in king’s
English; what for should ye be talking Indian in a room full of
Christian folksthough it is about a poor hunterwho is but little
better in his ways than the wild savages themselves? Och! it’s to be
hoped that the missionaries willin his own timemake a conversion
of the poor devils; and then it will matter little of what color is
the skinor wedder there be wool or hair on the head.”

“Oh! it is Latinnot IndianMiss Hollister!” returned the lawyer
repeating his winks and shrewd looks; “and Dr. Todd understands Latin
or how would he read the labels on his gailipots and drawers? Nono
Miss Hollis terthe doctor understands me; don’t youdoctor?”


“Hem—whyI guess I am not far out of the way” returned Elnathan
endeavoring to imitate the expression of the other’s countenanceby
looking jocular. “Latin is a queer languagegentlemen; now I rather
guess there is no one in the roomexcept Squire Lippetwho can
believe that ‘Far. Av.’ means oatmealin English.”

The lawyer in his turn was a good deal embarrassed by this display of
learning; foralthough he actually had taken his first degree at one
of the eastern universitieshe was somewhat puzzled with the terms
used by his companion. It was dangeroushoweverto appear to he out
done in learning in a public bar-roomand before so many of his
clients; he therefore put the best face on the matterand laughed
knowingly as if there were a good joke concealed under itthat was
understood only by the physician and himself. All this was attentively
observed by the listenerswho exchanged looks of approbation; and the
expressions of “ tonguey mati” and “I guess Squire Lippet knows if
anybody does” were heard in different parts of the roomas vouchers
for the admiration of his auditors. Thus encouragedthe lawyer rose
from his chairand turning his back to the fireand facing the
companyhe continued:

“The son of Nattyor the son of nobodyI hope the young man is not
going to let the matter drop. This is a country of law; and I should
like to see it fairly triedwhether a man who ownsor says he owns
a hundred thousand acres of landhas any more right to shoot a body
than another. What do you think of itDr. Todd?”

OhsirI am of opinion that the gentleman will soon be wellas I
said before; the wound isn’t in a vital part; and as the ball was
extracted so soonand the shoulder was what I call well attended to
I do not think there is as much danger as there might have been.”
“I saySquire Doolittle” continued the attorneyraising his voice
“you are a magistrateand know what is law and what is not law. I
ask yousirif shooting a man is a thing that is to be settled so
very easily? Supposesirthat the young man had a wife and family;
and suppose that he was a mechanic like yourselfsir; and sup pose
that his family depended on him for bread; and suppose that the ball
instead of merely going through the fleshhad broken the shoulderblade
and crippled him forever; I ask you allgentlemensupposing
this to be the casewhether a jury wouldn’t give what I call handsome
damages?”

As the close of this supposititious case was addressed to the company
generallyHiram did not at first consider himself called on for a
reply; but finding the eyes of the listeners bent on him in
expectationhe remembered his character for judicial discrimination
and spokeobserving a due degree of deliberation and dignity.

“Whyif a man should shoot another” he said“ and if he should do
it on purpose and if the law took notice on’tand if a jury should
find him guiltyit would be likely to turn out a state-prison
matter.”

“It would sosir” returned the attorney. “The lawgentlemenis no
respecter of persons in a free country. It is one of the great
blessings that has been handed down to us from our ancestorsthat all
men are equal in the eye of the lawsas they are by nater. Though
some may get propertyno one knows howyet they are not privileged
to transgress the laws any more than the poorest citizen in the State.
This is my notiongentlemen: and I think that it a man had a mind to
bring this matter upsomething might be made out of it that would
help pay for the salve—ha! doctor!”


“Whysir” returned the physicianwho appeared a little uneasy at
the turn the conversation was taking“I have the promise of Judge
Temple before men—not but what I would take his word as soon as his
note of hand— but it was before men. Let me see—there was Mounshier
Ler Quowand Squire Jonesand Major Hartmannand Miss Pettibone
and one or two of the blacks bywhen he said that his pocket would
amply reward me for what I did.”

“Was the promise made before or after the service was performed?”
asked the attorney.

“It might have been both” returned the discreet physician; “though
I’m certain he said so before I undertook the dressing.”

“But it seems that he said his pocket should reward youdoctor”
observed Hiram. “Now I don’t know that the law will hold a man to
such a promise; he might give you his pocket with sixpence in’tand
tell you to take your pay out on’t”

“That would not be a reward in the eye of the lawinterrupted the
attorney—” not what is called a ‘quid pro quo;’ nor is the pocket to
be considered as an agentbut as part of a man’s own personthat is
in this particular. I am of opinion that an action would lie on that
promiseand I will undertake to bear him outfree of costsif he
don’t recover.”

To this proposition the physician made no reply; but he was observed
to cast his eyes around himas if to enumerate the witnessesin
order to substantiate this promise alsoat a future dayshould it
prove necessary. A subject so momentous as that of suing Judge Temple
was not very palatable to the present company in so public a place;
and a short silence ensuedthat was only interrupted by the opening
of the doorand the entrance of Natty himself.

The old hunter carried in his hand his never-failing companionthe
rifle; and although all of the company were uncovered excepting the
lawyerwho wore his hat on one sidewith a certain dam’me airNatty
moved to the front of one of the fires without in the least altering
any part of his dress or appearance. Several questions were addressed
to himon the subject of the game he had killedwhich he answered
readilyand with some little interest; and the landlordbetween whom
and Natty there existed much cordialityon account of their both
having been soldiers in youthoffered him a glass of a liquid which
if we might judge from its receptionwas no unwelcome guest. When
the forester had got his potation alsohe quietly took his seat on
the end of one of the logs that lay nigh the firesand the slight
interruption produced by his entrance seemed to he forgotten.

“The testimony of the blacks could not be takensir” continued the
lawyer“for they are all the property of Mr. Joneswho owns their
time. But there is a way by which Judge Templeor any other man
might be made to pay for shooting anotherand for the cure in the
bargain. There is a wayI sayand that without going into the
‘court of errors’ too”

“And a mighty big error ye would make of itMister Todd” cried the
landlady“should ye be putting the mat ter into the law at allwith
Joodge Templewho has a purse as long as one of them pines on the
hilland who is an asy man to dale widif yees but mind the humor of
him. He’s a good man is Joodge Templeand a kind oneand one who
will be no the likelier to do the pratty thingbecase ye would wish
to tarrify him wid the law. I know of but one objaction to the same
which is an over-careless ness about his sowl. It’s neither a
Methodienor a Papishnor Parsbetyrianthat he isbut just nothing


at all; and it’s hard to think that he‘who will not fight the good
fightunder the banners of a rig’lar churchin this worldwill be
mustered among the chosen in heaven’ as my husbandthe captain
thereas ye call himsays—though there is but one captain that I
knowwho desarves the name. I hopesLather-Stockingye’ll no be
foolishand putting the boy up to try the law in the matter; for
‘twill be an evil day to ye bothwhen ye first turn the skin of so
paceable an animal as a sheep into a bone of contentionThe lad is
wilcome to his drink for nothinguntil his shoulther will bear the
rifle agin.”

“Wellthat’s gin’rous” was heard from several mouths at oncefor
this was a company in which a liberal offer was not thrown away; while
the hunterinstead ‘of expressing any of that indignation which he
might be sup posed to feelat hearing the hurt of his young companion
alluded toopened his mouthwith the silent laugh for which he was
so remarkable; and after he had indulged his humormade this reply:

“I knowed the Judge would do nothing with his smooth bore when he got
out of his sleigh. I never saw but one smooth-bore that would carry
at alland that was a French ducking-pieceupon the big lakes; it
had a barrel half as long agin as my rifleand would throw fine shot
into a goose at one hundred yards; but it made dreadful work with the
gameand you wanted a boat to carry it about in. When I went with
Sir William agin’ the Frenchat Fort Niagaraall the rangers used
the rifle; and a dreadful weapon it isin the hands of one who knows
how to charge itand keep a steady aim. The captain knowsfor he
says he was a soldier in Shirley’s; andthough they were nothing but
baggonet-menhe must know how we cut up the French and Iroquois in
the skrimmages in that war. Chingachgookwhich means ‘Big Sarpent’
in Englishold John Moheganwho lives up at the hut with mewas a
great warrior thenand was out with us; he can tell all about it
too; though he was overhand for the tomahawknever firing more than
once or twicebefore he was running in for the scalps. Ah! times is
dreadfully altered since then. Whydoctorthere was nothing but a
foot pathor at the most a track for pack-horsesalong the Mohawk
from the Jarman Flats up to the forts. Nowthey saythey talk of
running one of them wide roads with gates on it along the river; first
making a roadand then fencing it up! I hunted one season back of the
Kaatskillsnigh-hand to the settlementsand the dogs often lost the
scentwhen they came to them highwaysthere was so much travel on
them; though I can’t say that the brutes was of a very good breed.
Old Hector will wind a deerin the fall of the yearacross the
broadest place in the Otsegoand that is a mile and a halffor I
paced it my self on the icewhen the tract was first surveyedunder
the Indian grant.”

“It sames to meNattybut a sorry compliment to call your comrad
after the evil one” said the landlady; “and it’s no much like a snake
that old John is looking nowNimrod would be a more becomeing name
for the ladand a more Christiantooseeing that it conies from the
Bible. The sargeant read me the chapter about himthe night before
my christeningand a mighty asement it was to listen to anything from
the book.”

“Old John and Chingachgook were very different men to look on”
returned the huntershaking his head at his melancholy recollections.
“In the ‘fifty-eighth war’ he was in the middle of manhoodand taller
than now by three inches. If you had seen himas I didthe morning
we beat Dieskaufrom behind our log wallsyou would have called him
as comely a redskin as ye ever set eyes on. He was naked all to his
breech-cloth and leggins; and you never seed a creatur’ so handsomely
painted. One side of his face was red and the other black. His head
was shaved cleanall to a few hairs on the crownwhere he wore a


tuft of eagle’s feathersas bright as if they had come from a
peacock’s tail. He had colored his sides so that they looked like
anatomyribs and allfor Chingachgook had a great taste in such
thingsso thatwhat with his boldfiery countenancehis knifeand
his tomahawkI have never seen a fiercer warrior on the ground. He
played his parttoolike a manfor I saw him next day with thirteen
scalps on his pole. And I will say this for the ‘Big Snake’ that he
always dealt fairand never scalped any that he didn’t kill with his
own hands.”


“Wellwell!” cried the landlady“fighting is fighting
anywayand there is different fashions in the thing; though
I can’t say that I relish mangling a body after the breath
is out of it; neither do I think it can be uphild by doctrine.
I hopesargeantye niver was helping in sich evil worrek.”
“It was my duty to keep my ranksand to stand or fall by the baggonet
or lead” returned the veteran. “I was then in the fortand seldom
leaving my placesaw but little of the savageswho kept on the
flanks or in frontskrimmaging. I rememberhowsomeverto have
heard mention made of the ‘Great Snake’ as he was calledfor he was
a chief of renown; but little did I ever expect to see him enlisted in
the cause of Christianityand civilized like old John.”


“Oh! he was Christianized by the Moravianswho were always over-
intimate with the Delawares” said Leather-Stocking. “It’s my opinion
thathad they been left to themselvesthere would he no such doings
now about the head-waters of the two riversand that these hills
mought have been kept as good hunting-ground by their right ownerwho
is not too old to carry a rifleand whose sight is as true as a fish-
hawk hovering—”


He was interrupted by more stamping at the doorand presently the
party from the mansion-house enteredfollowed by the Indian himself.


CHAPTER XIV.


“There’s quart-potpint-pot. Mit-pint
Gill-pothalf-gill. nipperkin.
And the brown bowl— Here’s a health to the barley mow
My brave boysHere’s a health to the barley mow.”—Drinking Song.


Some little commotion was produced by the appearance of the new
guestsduring which the lawyer slunk from the room. Most of the men
approached Marmadukeand shook his offered handhoping “that the
Judge was well;” while Major Hartmann having laid aside his hat and
wigand substituted for the latter a warmpeaked woollen nightcap
took his seat very quietly on one end of the setteewhich was
relinquished by its former occupant. His tobacco-box was next
producedand a clean pipe was handed him by the landlord. When he
had succeeded in raising a smokethe Major gave a long whiffand
turning his head toward the barhe said:


“Pettypring in ter toddy.”


In the mean time the Judge had exchanged his salutations with most of
the companyand taken a place by the side of the Majorand Richard
had bustled himself into the most comfortable seat in the room. Mr.
Le Quoi was the last seatednor did he venture to place his chair
finallyuntil by frequent removals he had ascertained that he could



not possibly intercept a ray of heat front any individual present.
Mohegan found a place on an end of one of the benchesand somewhat
approximated to the bar.

When these movements had subsidedthe Judge remarked pleasantly:
WellBettyI find you retain your popularity through all weathers
against all rivalsand among all religions. How liked you the
sermon?”

“Is it the sarmon?” exclaimed the landlady. “I can’t say but it was
rasonable; but the prayers is mighty unasy. It’s no small a matter
for a body in their fifty-nint’ year to be moving so much in church.
Mr. Grant sames a godly manany wayand his garrel a hommble on; and
a devout. HereJohnis a mug of ciderlaced with whiskey. An
Indian will drink ciderthough he niver be athirst.
“I must say” observed Hiramwith due deliberation“that it was a
tongney thing; and I rather guess that it gave considerable
satisfactionThere was one partthoughwhich might have been left
outor something else put in; but then I s’pose thatas it was a
written discourseit is not so easily altered as where a minister
preaches without notes.”

“Ày! there’s the rubJoodge” cried the landlady. “How can a man
stand up and be preaching his wordwhen all that he is saying is
written downand he is as much tied to it as iver a thaving dragoon
was to the pickets?”

“Wellwell” cried Marmadukewaving his hand for silence“there is
enough said; as Mr. Grant told usthere are different sentiments on
such subjectsand in my opinion he spoke most sensibly. SoJotham
I am told you have sold your betterments to a new settlerand have
moved into the village and opened a school. Was it cash or dicker?”

The man who was thus addressed occupied a seat immediately behind
Marmadukeand one who was ignorant of the extent of the Judge’s
observation might have thought he would have escaped notice. He was
of a thinshapeless figurewith a discontented expression of
countenanceand with something extremely shiftless in his whole air
Thus spoken toafter turning and twisting a littleby way of
preparationhe made a reply:

“Why part cash and part dicker. I sold out to a Pumfietman who was
so’thin’ forehanded. He was to give me ten dollar an acre for the
clearin’and one dollar an acre over the first cost on the woodland
and we agreed to leave the buildin’s to men. So I tuck Asa Montagu
and he tuck Absalom Bementand they two tuck old Squire Napthali
Green. And so they had a meetin’and made out a vardict of eighty
dollars for the buildin’s. There was twelve acres of clearin’ at ten
dollarsand eighty-eight at oneand the whole came to two hundred
and eighty-six dollars and a halfafter paying the men.”

“Hum” said Marmaduke“what did you give for the place?”

“Whybesides what’s comin’ to the JudgeI gi’n my brother Tim a
hundred dollars for his bargain; but then there’s a new house on’t
that cost me sixty moreand I paid Moses a hundred dollars for
choppin’and loggin’and sowin’so that the whole stood to me in
about two hundred and sixty dollars. But then I had a great crop oft
on’tand as I got twenty-six dollars and a half more than it costI
conclude I made a pretty good trade on’t.”

“Yesbut you forgot that the crop was yours without the tradeand
you have turned yourself out of doors for twenty-six dollars.”


“Oh! the Judge is clean out” said the man with a look of sagacious
calculation; “he turned out a span of horsesthat is wuth a hundred
and fifty dollars of any man’s moneywith a bran-new wagon; fifty
dollars in cashand a good note for eighty more; and a side-saddle
that was valued at seven and a half—so there was jist twelve shillings
betwixt us. I wanted him to turn out a set of harnessand take the
cow and the sap troughs. He wouldn’t—but I saw through it; he thought
I should have to buy the tacklin’ afore I could use the wagon and
horses; but I knowed a thing or two myself; I should like to know of
what use is the tacklin’ to him! I offered him to trade back agin for
one hundred and fifty-five. But my woman said she wanted to churnso
I tuck a churn for the change.”

“And what do you mean to do with your time this winter? You must
remember that time is money.”

“Whyas master has gone down country to see his motherwhothey
sayis going to make a die on’tI agreed to take the school in hand
till he comes backIt times doesn’t get worse in the springI’ve
some notion of going into tradeor maybe I may move off to the
Genesee; they say they are carryin’ on a great stroke of business
that-a-way. If the wust comes to the wustI can but work at my
tradefor I was brought up in a shoe manufactory.”

It would seem that Marmaduke did not think his society of sufficient
value to attempt inducing him to remain where he wasfor he addressed
no further discourse to the manbut turned his attention to other
subjects. After a short pauseHiram ventured a question:

“What news does the Judge bring us from the Legislature? It’s not
likely that Congress has done much this session; or maybe the French
haven’t fit any more battles lately?”

“The Frenchsince they have beheaded their kinghave done nothing
but fight” returned the Judge. “The character of the nation seems
changed. I knew many French gentlemen during our warand they all
appeared to me to be men of great humanity and goodness of heart; but
these Jacobins are as blood thirsty as bull-dogs.”

“There was one Roshambow wid us down at Yorrektown” cried the
landlady “a mighty pratty man he was too; and their horse was the very
same. It was there that the sargeant got the hurt in the leg from the
English batteriesbad luck to ‘em.”

“Oh! mon pauvre roil” muttered Monsieur Le Quoi.

“The Legislature have been passing laws” continued Marmaduke“that
the country much required. Among othersthere is an act prohibiting
the drawing of seinesat any other than proper seasonsin certain of
our streams and small lakes; and anotherto prohibit the killing of
deer in the teeming months. These are laws that were loudly called
for by judicious men; nor do I despair of getting an act to make the
unlawful felling of timber a criminal offence.”

The hunter listened to this detail with breathless attentionand
when the Judge had endedhe laughed in open derision.

“You may make your lawsJudge” be cried“but who will you find to
watch the mountains through the long summer daysor the lakes at
night? Game is gameand be who finds may kill; that has been the law
in these mountains for forty years to my sartain knowledge; and I
think one old law is worth two new ones. None but a green one would
wish to kill a doe with a fa’n by its sideunless his moccasins were
getting oldor his leggins raggedfor the flesh is lean and coarse.


But a rifle rings among the rocks along the lake shoresometimesas
if fifty pieces were fired at once—it would be hard to tell where the
man stood who pulled the trigger.”

“Armed with the dignity of the lawMr. Bumppo” returned the Judge
gravely“a vigilant magistrate can prevent much of the evil that has
hitherto prevailedand which is already rendering the game scarce.
hope to live to see the day when a man’s rights in his game shall be
as much respected as his title to his farm”

“Your titles and your farms are all new together” cried Natty; “but
laws should be equaland not more for one than another. I shot a
deerlast Wednesday was a fort nightand it floundered through the
snow-banks till it got over a brush fence; I catched the lock of my
rifle in the twigs in followingand was kept backuntil finally the
creature got off. Now I want to know who is to pay me for that deer;
and a fine buck it was. If there hadn’t been a fence I should have
gotten another shot into it; and I never drawed upon anything that
hadn’t wings three times runningin my born days. NonoJudge
it’s the farmers that makes the game scarceand not the hunters.”

“Ter teer is not so plenty as in tee old warPumppo” said the Major
who had been an attentive listeneramid clouds of smoke; “put ter
lant is not mate as for ter teer to live onput for Christians.”

“WhyMajorI believe you’re a friend to justice and the right
though you go so often to the grand house; but it’s a hard case to a
man to have his honest calling for a livelihood stopped by lawsand
thattoowhenif right was donehe mought hunt or fish on any day
in the weekor on the best flat in the Patentif he was so minded.”

“I unterstant youLetter-Stockint” returned the Majorfixing his
black eyeswith a look of peculiar meaningon the hunter: “put you
didn’t use to be so prutent as to look ahet mit so much care.”

“Maybe there wasn’t so much occasion” said the huntera little
sulkily; when he sank into a silence from which be was not roused for
some time.

“The Judge was saying so’thin’ about the French” Hiram observed when
the pause in the conversation had continued a decent time.

“Yessir” returned Marmaduke“the Jacobins of France seem rushing
from one act of licentiousness to an otherThey continue those
murders which are dignified by the name of executions. You have heard
that they have added the death of their queen to the long list of
their crimes.”

“Les monstres!” again murmured Monsieur Le Quoiturning himself
suddenly in his chairwith a convulsive start.

“The province of La Vendée is laid waste by the troops of the
republicand hundreds of its inhabitantswho are royalists in their
sentimentsare shot at a time. La Vendée is a district in the
southwest of Francethat continues yet much attached to the family of
the Bourbons; doubtless Monsieur Le Quoi is acquainted with itand
can describe it more faithfully.”

“Nonnonnonmon cher ami” returned the Frenchman in a suppressed
voicebut speaking rapidlyand gesticulating with his right handas
if for mercywhile with his left he concealed his eyes.

“There have been many battles fought lately” continued Marmaduke
“and the infuriated republicans are too often victorious. I cannot


sayhoweverthat I am sorry that they have captured Toulon from the
Englishfor it is a place to which they have a just right.”

“Ah—ha!” exclaimed Monsieur Le Quoispringing on his feet and
flourishing both arms with great animation; “ces Anglais!”

The Frenchman continued to move about the room with great alacrity for
a few minutesrepeating his exclamations to himself; when overcome by
the contrary nature of his emotionshe suddenly burst out of the
houseand was seen wading through the snow toward his little shop
waving his arms on highas if to pluck down honor from the moon. His
departure excited but little surprisefor the villagers were used to
his manner; but Major Hartmann laughed outrightfor the first during
his visitas he lifted the mugand observed:

“Ter Frenchman is mat—put he is goot as for noting to trink: he is
trunk mit joy.”

“The French are good soldiers” said Captain Hollis ter; “they stood
us in hand a good turn at Yorktown; nor do I thinkalthough I am an
ignorant man about the great movements of the armythat his
excellency would have been able to march against Cornwallis without
their reinforcements.”

“Ye spake the trot’sargeant” interrupted his wife“and I would
iver have ye be doing the same. It’s varry pratty men is the French;
and jist when I stopt the cartthe time when ye was pushing on in
front it wasto kape the riglers ina rigiment of the jontlemen
marched byand so I dealt them out to their liking. Was it pay I
got? Sure did Iand in good solid crowns; the divil a bit of
continental could they muster among them allfor love nor money.
Och! the Lord forgive me for swearing and spakeing of such vanities;
but this I will say for the Frenchthat they paid in good silver; and
one glass would go a great way wid ‘emfor they gin’rally handed it
back wid a drop in the cup; and that’s a brisk tradeJoodgewhere
the pay is goodand the men not over-partic’lar.”

“A thriving tradeMrs. Hollister” said Marmaduke. “But what has
become of Richard? he jumped up as soon as seatedand has been absent
so long that I am really fearful he has frozen.”

“No fear of thatCousin ‘Duke” cried the gentleman himself;
“business will sometimes keep a man warm the coldest night that ever
snapt in the mountains. Bettyyour husband told meas we came out
of churchthat your hogs were getting mangyand so I have been out
to take a look at themand found it true. I stepped acrossdoctor
and got your boy to weigh me out a pound of saltsand have been
mixing it with their swill. I’ll bet a saddle of venison against a
gray squirrel that they are better in a week. And nowMrs.
HollisterI’m ready for a hissing mug of flip.”

“Sure I know’d ye’d be wanting that same” said the landlady; “it’s
fixt and ready to the boiling. Sargeantdearbe handing up the
ironwill ye?—nothe one on the far fireit’s blackye will see.
Ah! you’ve the thing now; look if it’s not as red as a cherry.”
The beverage was heatedand Richard took that kind of draught which
men are apt to indulge in who think that they have just executed a
clever thingespecially when they like the liquor.

“Oh! you have a hand. Bettythat was formed to mix flip” cried
Richardwhen he paused for breath. “The very iron has a flavor in
it. HereJohndrinkmandrink! I and you and Dr. Todd have done a
good thing with the shoulder of that lad this very night. ‘DukeI
made a song while you were gone—one day when I had nothing to do; so


I'll sing you a verse or twothough I haven’t really determined on
the tune yet.


“What is life but a scene of care
Where each one must toil in his way?
Then let us be jollyand prove that we are
A set of good fellowswho seem very rare
And can laugh and sing all the day.
Then let us be jolly
And cast away folly
For grief turns a black head to gray.”


“There‘Dukewhat do you think of that? There is another verse of
itall but the last line. I haven’t got a rhyme for the last line
yet. Wellold Johnwhat do you think of the music? as good as one
of your war-songsha?”


“Good!” said Moheganwho had been sharing deeply in the potations of
the landladybesides paying a proper respect to the passing mugs of
the Major and Marmaduke.


“Bravo! pravo! Richart” cried the Majorwhose black eyes were
beginning to swim in moisture; “pravisimo his a goot song; put Natty
Pumppo has a petter. Letter-Stockintvilt sing? sayolt poyvilt
sing ter song as apout ter wools?”


“NonoMajor” returned the hunterwith a melancholy shake of the
head“I have lived to see what I thought eyes could never behold in
these hillsand I have no heart left for singing. If he that has a
right to be master and ruler here is forced to squinch his thirst
when a-drywith snow-Waterit ill becomes them that have lived by
his bounty to be making merryas if there was nothing in the world
but sunshine and summer.”


When he had spokenLeather-Stocking again dropped his head on his
kneesand concealed his hard and wrinkled features with his hands.
The change from the excessive cold without to the heat of the bar-
roomcoupled with the depth and frequency of Richard’s draughtshad
already levelled whatever inequality there might have existed between
him and the other guestson the score of spirits; and he now held out
a pair of swimming mugs of foaming flip toward the hunteras he
cried:


“Merry! ay! merry Christmas to youold boy! Sun shine and summer! no!
you are blindLeather-Stocking‘tis moonshine and winter—take these
spectacles. and open your eyes— So let us be jolly


And cast away folly


For grief turns a black head to gray.’


—Hear how old John turns his quavers. What damned dull music an
Indian song isafter allMajor! I wonder if they ever sing by note.”


While Richard was singing and talkingMohegan was uttering dull
monotonous toneskeeping time by a gentle motion of his head and
body. He made use of but few wordsand such as he did utter were in
his native languageand consequently only understood by himself and
Natty. Without heeding Richardhe continued to sing a kind of wild
melancholy airthat roseat timesin sudden and quite elevated
notesand then fell again into the lowquavering sounds that seemed
to compose the character of his music.


The attention of the company was now much dividedthe men in the rear



having formed themselves into little groupswhere they were
discussing various matters; among the principal of which were the
treatment of mangy hogs and Parson Grant’s preaching; while Dr. Todd
was endeavoring to explain to Marmaduke the nature of the hurt
received by the young hunter. Mohegan continued to singwhile his
countenance was becoming vacantthoughcoupled with his thickbushy
hairit was assuming an expression very much like brutal ferocity.
His notes were gradually growing louderand soon rose to a height
that caused a general cessation in the discourse. The hunter now
raised his head againand addressed the old warrior warmly in the
Delaware languagewhichfor the benefit of our readerswe shall
render freely into English.

“Why do you sing of your battlesChingachgookand of the warriors
you have slainwhen the worst enemy of all is near youand keeps the
Young Eagle from his rights? I have fought in as many battles as any
warrior in your tribebut cannot boast of my deeds at such a time as
this.”

“Hawk-eye” said the Indiantottering with a doubtful step from his
place“I am the Great Snake of the Delawares; I can track the Mingoes
like an adder that is stealing on the whip-poor-will’s eggsand
strike them like the rattlesnake dead at a blow. The white man made
the tomahawk of Chingachgook bright as the waters of Otsegowhen the
last sun is shining; but it is red with the blood of the Maquas.”

“And why have you slain the Mingo warriors? Was it not to keep these
hunting-grounds and lakes to your father’s children? and were they not
given in solemn council to the Fire-eater? and does not the blood of a
warrior run in the veins of a young chiefwho should speak aloud
where his voice is now too low to be heard?”

The appeal of the hunter seemed in some measure to recall the confused
faculties of the Indianwho turned his face toward the listeners and
gazed intently on the Judge. He shook his headthrowing his hair
back from his countenanceand exposed eyes that were glaring with an
expression of wild resentment. But the man was not himself. His hand
seemed to make a fruitless effort to release his tomahawkwhich was
confined by its handle to his beltwhile his eyes gradually became
vacant. Richard at that instant thrusting a mug before himhis
features changed to the grin of idiocyand seizing the vessel with
both handshe sank backward on the bench and drank until satiated
when he made an effort to lay aside the mug with the helplessness of
total inebriety.

“Shed not blood!” exclaimed the hunteras he watched the countenance
of the Indian in its moment of ferocity; “but he is drunk and can do
no harm. This is the way with all the savages; give them liquorand
they make dogs of themselves. Wellwell—the- day will come when
right will be done; and we must have patience.”

Natty still spoke in the Delaware languageand of course was not
understood. He had hardly concluded before Richard cried:

“Wellold John is soon sewed up. Give him a berthcaptainin the
barnand I will pay for it. I am rich to nightten times richer
than ‘Dukewith all his landsamid military lotsand funded debts
and bondsand mortgages

' Comelet us be jolly
And cast awsy folly
For grief—-’

DrinkKing Hiram—drinkMr. Doo-nothing—-drinksirI say. This is


a Christmas evewhich comesyou knowbut once a year.”


“He! he! he! the squire is quite moosical to-night” said Hiramwhose
visage began to give marvellous signs of relaxation. “I rather guess
we shall make a church on’t yetsquire?”


“A churchMr. Doolittle! we will make a cathedral of it! bishops
priestsdeaconswardensvestryand choir; organorganistamid
bellows! By the Lord Harryas Benjamin sayswe will clap a steeple
on the other end of itand make two churches of it. What say you
‘Dukewill you pay? ha! my cousin Judgewilt pay?”


“Thou makest such a noiseDickon” returned Marmaduke“it is
impossible that I can hear what Dr. Todd is saying. I think thou
observedstit is probable the wound will festerso as to occasion
danger to the limb in this cold weather?”


“Out of natersirquite out of nater” said Elnathanattempting to
expectoratebut succeeding only in throwing a lightfrothy
substancelike a flake of snowinto the fire—” quite out of nater
that a wound so well dressedand with the ball in my pocketshould
fester. I s’poseas the Judge talks of taking the young man into his
houseit will be most convenient if I make but one charge on’t.”


“I should think one would do” returned Marmadukewith that arch
smile that so often beamed on his face; leaving the beholder in doubt
whether he most enjoyed the character of his companion or his own
covert humor. The landlord had succeeded in placing the. Indian on
some straw in one of his outbuildingswherecovered with his own
blanketJohn continued for the remainder of the night.


In the mean timeMajor Hartmann began to grow noisy and jocular;
glass succeeded glassand mug after mug was introduceduntil the
carousal had run deep into the nightor rather morning; when the
veteran German ex- I pressed an inclination to return to the mansion-
house. Most of the party had already retiredbut Marmaduke knew the
habits of his friend too well to suggest an earlier adjournment. So
soonhoweveras the proposal was madethe Judge eagerly availed
himself of itand the trio prepared to depart. Mrs. Hollister
attended them to the door in personcautioning her guests as to the
safest manner of leaving her premises


“Lane on Mister JonesMajor” said she “he’s young and will be a
support to ye. Wellit’s a charming sight to see yeanywayat the
Bould Dragoon; and sure it’s no harm to be kaping a Christmas eve wid
a light heartfor it’s no telling when we may have sorrow come upon
us. So good-nightJoodgeand a merry Christmas to ye all tomorrow
morning.”


The gentlemen made their adieus as well as they couldand taking the
middle of the roadwhich was a finewideand well-beaten paththey
did tolerably well until they reached the gate of the mansion-house:
but on entering the Judge’s domains they encountered some slight
difficulties. We shall not stop to relate thembut will just mention
that in the morning sundry diverging paths were to be seen in the
snow; and that once during their progress to the doorMarmaduke
missing his companionswas enabled to trace them by one of these
paths to a spot where he discovered them with nothing visible but
their headsRichard singing in a most vivacious strain:


“Comelet us be jolly
And cast away folly
For grief turns a black head to gray.”



CHAPTER XV.

“As she layon that dayin the Bay of Biscay0!”

Previously to the occurrence of the scene at the “Bold Dragoon”
Elizabeth had been safely reconducted to the mansion-housewhere she
was left as its mistresseither to amuse or employ herself during the
evening as best suited her own inclinations. Most of the lights were
extinguished; but as Benjamin adjusted with great care and regularity
four large candlesin as many massive candlesticks of brassin a row
on the sideboardthe hall possessed a peculiar air of comfort and
warmthcontrasted with the cheerless aspect of the room she had left
in the academy.

Remarkable had been one of the listeners to Mr. Grantand returned
with her resentmentwhich had been not a little excited by the
language of the Judgesomewhat softened by reflection and the
worship. She recollected the youth of Elizabethand thought it no
difficult taskunder present appearancesto exercise that power
indirectly which hitherto she had enjoyed undisputed. The idea of
being governedor of being compelled to pay the deference of
servitudewas absolutely intolerable; and she had already determined
within herselfsome half dozen timesto make an effort that should
at once bring to an issue the delicate point of her domestic
condition. But as often as she met the darkproud eye of Elizabeth
who was walking up and down the apartmentmusing on the scenes of her
youth and the change in her conditionand perhaps the events of the
daythe housekeeper experienced an awe that she would not own to
herself could be excited by anything mortal. Ithoweverchecked her
advancesand for some time held her tongue-tied. At length she
determined to commence the discourse by entering on a subject that was
apt to level all human distinctionsand in which she might display
her own abilities.

“It was quite a wordy sarmon that Parson Grant gave us to-night” said
Remarkable. “The church ministers be commonly smart sarmonizersbut
they write down their ideeswhich is a great privilege. I don’t
think thatby naterthey are as tonguey speakersfor an off-hand
discourseas the standing-order ministers.”

“And what denomination do you distinguish as the standing-order?”
inquired Miss Templewith some surprise.

“Whythe Presbyter’ans and Congregationalsand Baptiststoofortil’
now; and all sitch as don’t go on their knees to prayer”

“By that rulethenyou would call those who belong’ to the
persuasion of my fatherthe sitting-order” observed Elizabeth.
“I’m sure I’ve never heard ‘em spoken of by any other’ name than
Quakersso called” returned Remarkablebetraying a slight
uneasiness; “I should be the last to call them otherwisefor I never
in my life used a disparaging’ tarm of the Judgeor any of his
family. I’ve always set store by the Quakersthey are so prettyspoken
clever peopleand it’s a wonderment to me how your father
come to marry into a church family; for they are as contrary in
religion as can be. One sits stillandfor the most part; says
nothingwhile the church folks practyse all kinds of waysso that I
sometimes think it quite moosical to see them; for I went to a churchmeeting
once beforedown country.”


“You have found an excellence in the church liturgy that has hitherto
escaped me. I will thank you to inquire whether the fire in my room
burns; I feel fatigued with my journeyand will retire.”

Remarkable felt a wonderful inclination to tell the young mistress of
the mansion that by opening a door she might see for herself; but
prudence got the better of resentmentand after pausing some little
timeas a salve to her dignityshe did as desired. The report was
favorableand the young ladywishing Benjaminwho was filling the
stove with woodand the housekeepereach a good-nightwithdrew.

The instant the door closed on Miss TempleRemark able commenced a
sort of mysteriousambiguous discoursethat was neither abusive nor
commendatory of the qualities of the absent personagebut which
seemed to be drawing nighby regular degreesto a most dissatisfied
description. The major-domo made no reply. but continued his
occupation with great industrywhich being happily completedhe took
a look at the thermometerand then opening a drawer of the sideboard
he produced a supply of stimulants that would have served to keep the
warmth in his system without the aid of the enormous fire he had been
building. A small stand was drawn up near the stoveand the bottles
and the glasses necessary for convenience were quietly arranged. Two
chairs were placed by the side of this comfortable situationwhen
Benjaminfor the first timeappeared to observe his companion.

“Come” he cried“comeMistress Remarkablebring yourself to an
anchor on this chair. It’s a peeler withoutI can tell yougood
woman; but what cares I? blow high or blow lowd’ye seeit’s all the
same thing to Ben. The niggers are snug stowed below before a fire
that would roast an ox whole. The thermometer stands now at fiftyfive
but if there’s any vartue in good maple woodI’ll weather upon
itbefore one glassas much as ten points moreso that the squire
when he comes home from Betty Hollister’s warm roomwill feel as hot
as a hand that has given the rigging a lick with bad tar. Come
mistressbring up in this here chairand tell me how you like our
new heiress.”

“Whyto my notionMr. Penguillum——”

“PumpPump” interrupted Benjamin; “it’s Christmas eveMistress
Remarkableand sodye seeyou had better call me Pump. It’s a
shorter nameand as I mean to pump this here decanter till it sucks
whyyou may as well call me Pump.”

“Did you ever!” cried Remarkablewith a laugh that seemed to unhinge
every joint in her body. “You’re a moosical creatureBenjaminwhen
the notion takes you. Butas I was sayingI rather guess that times
will be altered now in this house.”

“Altered!” exclaimed the major-domoeyeing the bottlethat was
assuming the clear aspect of cut glass with astonishing rapidity; “it
don’t matter muchMistress Remarkableso long as I keep the keys of
the lockers in my pocket.”

“I can’t say” continued the housekeeper“but there’s good eatables
and drinkables enough in the house for a body’s content—a little more
sugarBenjaminin the glass —for Squire Jones is an excellent
provider. But new lordsnew laws; and I shouldn’t wonder if you and
I had an unsartain time on’t in footer.”

“Life is as unsartain as the wind that blows” said Benjaminwith a
moralizing air; “and nothing is more varible than the windMistress
Remarkableunless you hap pen to fall in with the tradesd’ye see


and then you may run for the matter of a month at a timewith
studding-sails on both sidesalow and aloftand with the cabin-boy
at the wheel.”

“I know that life is disp’ut unsartain” said Remark ablecompressing
her features to the humor of her companion; “but I expect there will
be great changes made in the house to rights; and that you will find a
young man put over your headas there is one that wants to be over
mine; and after having been settled as long as you haveBenjaminI
should judge that to be hard.”

“Promotion should go according to length of sarvice” said the majordomo;
“and if-so-be that they ship a hand for my berthor place a new
steward aftI shall throw up my commission in less time than you can
put a pilot-boat in stays. Thof Squire Dickon “—this was a common
misnomer with Benjamin—” is a nice gentlemanand as good a man to
sail with as heart could wishyet I shall tel the squired’ye see
in plain Englishand that’s my native tonguethat if-so-be he is
thinking of putting any Johnny Raw over my headwhyI shall resign.
I began forrardMistress Prettybonesand worked my way aftlike a
man. I was six months aboard a Garnsey luggerhauling in the slack
of the lee-sheet and coiling up rigging. From that I went a few trips
in a fore-and-afterin the same tradewhichafter allwas but a
blind kind of sailing in the darkwhere a man larns but little
excepting how to steer by the stars. Wellthend’ye seeI larnt
how a topmast should be slushedand how a topgallant-sail was to be
becketted; and then I did small jobs in the cabinsuch as mixing the
skipper’s grog. ‘Twas there I got my tastewhichyou must have
often seenis excel lent. Wellhere’s better acquaintance to us.”
Remarkable nodded a return to the complimentand took a sip of the
beverage before her; forprovided it was well sweetenedshe had no
objection to a small potation now and thenAfter this observance of
courtesy between the worthy couplethe dialogue proceeded.

“You have had great experiences in lifeBenjamin; foras the
Scripter says‘They that go down to the sea in ships see the works of
the Lord.’”

“Ay! for that matterthey in brigs and schoonerstoo; and it mought
saythe works of the devil. The seaMistress Remarkableis a great
advantage to a manin the way of knowledgefor he sees the fashions
of nations and the shape of a country. NowI supposefor myself
herewho is but an unlarned man to some that follows the seasI
suppose thattaking the coast from Cape Ler Hogue as low down as Cape
Finish-therethere isn’t so much as a headlandor an islandthat I
don’t know either the name of it or something more or less about it.
Take enoughwomanto color the water. Here’s sugar. It’s a sweet
tooththat fellow that you hold on upon yetMistress Prettybones.
Butas I was sayingtake the whole coast alongI know it as well as
the way from here to the Bold Dragoon; and a devil of acquaintance is
that Bay of Biscay. Whew! I wish you could but hear the wind blow
there. It sometimes takes two to hold one man’s hair on his head.
Scudding through the bay is pretty much the same thing as travelling
the roads in this countryup one side of a mountain and down the
other”

“Do tell!” exclaimed Remarkable; “and does the sea run as high as
mountainsBenjamin?”

“WellI will tell; but first let’s taste the grog. Hem! it’s the
right kind of stuffI must saythat you keep in this country; but
then you’re so close aboard the West Indiesyou make but a small run
of it. By the Lord Harrywomanif Garnsey only lay somewhere
between Cape Hatteras and the bite of Logannbut you’d see rum cheap!


As to the seasthey runs more in uppers in the Bay of Biscayunless
it may be in a sow-westerwhen they tumble about quite handsomely;
thof it’s not in the narrow sea that you are to look for a swell; just
go off the Western Islandsin a westerly blowkeeping the land on
your larboard handwith the ship’s head to the south’ardand bring
tounder a close-reefed topsail; ormayhapa reefed foresailwith
a fore-topmast-staysail and mizzen staysail to keep her up to the sea
if she will bear it; and ay there for the matter of two watchesif
you want to see mountains. Whygood womanI’ve been off there in
the Boadishey frigatewhen you could see nothing but some such matter
as a piece of skymayhapas big as the main sail; and then again
there was a hole under your lee-quarter big enough to hold the whole
British navy.”

“Oh! for massy’s sake! and wa’n’t you afeardBenjamin? and how did
you get off?”

“Afeard! who the devil do you think was to be frightened at a little
salt water tumbling about his head? As for getting offwhen we had
enough of itand had washed our decks down pretty wellwe called all
handsford’ye seethe watch below was in their hammocksall the
same as if they were in one of your best bedrooms; and so we watched
for a smooth timeclapt her helm hard a weatherlet fall the
foresailand got the tack aboard; and sowhen we got her afore itI
ask youMistress Prettybonesif she didn’t walk? didn’t she? I’m no
liargood womanwhen I say that I saw that ship jump from the top of
one sea to anotherjust like one of these squirrels that can fly
jumps from tree to tree.”

“What! clean out of the water?” exclaimed Remark ablelifting her two
lank armswith their bony hands spread in astonishment.

“It was no such easy matte: to get out of the watergood woman; for
the spray flew so that you couldn’t tell which was sea or which was
cloud. So there we kept her afore it for the matter of two glasses.
The first lieutenant he cun’d the ship himselfand there was four
quarter masters at the wheelbesides the master with six forecastle
men in the gun-room at the relieving tackles. But then she behaved
herself so well! Oh! she was a sweet shipmistress! That one frigate
was well worth moreto live inthan the best house in the island.
If I was king of England I’d have her hauled up above Lon’on bridge
and fit her up for a palace; because why? if anybody can afford to
live comfortablyhis majesty can.”

“Well! butBenjamin” cried the listenerwho was in an ecstasy of
astonishment at this relation of the steward’s dangers“what did you
do?”

“Do! whywe did our duty like hearty fellows. Now if the countrymen
of Monnsheer Ler Quaw had been aboard of herthey would have just
struck her ashore on some of them small islands; but we run along the
land until we found her dead to leeward off the mountains of Picoand
dam’me if I know to this day how we got there—whether we jumped over
the island or hauled round it; but there we wasand there we lay
under easy sailfore-reaching first upon one tack and then upon
t’otherso as to poke her nose out now and then and take a look to
wind’ard till the gale blowed its pipe out.”

“I wondernow!” exclaimed Remarkableto whom most of the terms used
by Benjamin were perfectly unintelligiblebut who had got a confused
idea of a raging tempest. “It must be an awful lifethat going to
sea! and I don’t feel astonishment that you are so affronted with the
thoughtsof being forced to quit a comfortable home like this. Not
that a body cares much for’tas there’s more houses than one to live


in. Whywhen the Judge agreed with me to come and live with himI’d
no more notion of stopping any time than anything. I happened in just
to see how the family didabout a week after Mrs. Temple died
thinking to be back home agin’ night; but the family was in such a
distressed way that I couldn’t but stop awhile and help em on. I
thought the situation a good oneseeing that I was an unmarried body
and they were so much in want of help; so I tarried.”

“And a long time you’ve left your anchors down in the same place
mistress. I think yo’ must find that the ship rides easy.”

“How you talkBenjamin! there’s no believing a word you say. I must
say that the Judge and Squire Jones have both acted quite cleverso
long; but I see that now we shall have a specimen to the contrary. I
heern say thats the Judge was gone a great ‘broadand that he meant
to bring his darter humbut I didn’t calculate on sich carrins
on. To my notionBenjaminshe’s likely to turn out a desp’ut ugly
gal.”

“Ugly!” echoed the major-domoopening eyes that were beginning to
close in a very suspicious sleepinessin wide amazement. “By the
Lord HarrywomanI should as soon think of calling the Boadishey a
clumsy frigate. What the devil would you have? Arn’t her eyes as
bright as the morning and evening stars? and isn’t her hair as black
and glistening as rigging that has just had a lick of tar? doesn’t she
move as stately as a first-rate in smooth wateron a bowline? Why
womanthe figure-head of the Boadishey was a fool to herand that
as I’ve often heard the captain saywas an image of a great queen;
and arn’t queens always comelywoman? for who do you think would be a
kingand not choose a handsome bedfellow?”

“Talk decentBenjamin” said the housekeeper“Or I won’t keep your
company. I don’t gainsay her being comely to look onbut I will
maintain that she’s likely to show poor conduct. She seems to think
herself too good to talk to a body. From what Squire Jones had telled
meI some expected to be quite captivated by her company. Nowto my
reckoningLowizy Grant is much more pritty behaved than Betsey
Temple. She wouldn’t so much as hold discourse with me when I wanted
to ask her how she felt on coming home and missing her mammy.”

“Perhaps she didn’t understand youwoman; you are none of the best
linguister; and then Miss Lizzy has been exercising the king’s English
under a great Lon’on ladyandfor that mattercan talk the language
almost as well as myselfor any native-born British subject. You’ve
forgot your schoolingand the young mistress is a great scollard.”

“Mistress!” cried Remarkable; “don’t make one out to be a nigger
Benjamin. She’s no mistress of mineand never will be. And as to
speechI hold myself as second to nobody out of New England. I was
born and raised in Essex County; and I’ve always heern say that the
Bay State was provarbal for pronounsation!”

“I’ve often heard of that Bay of State” said Benjamin“but can’t say
that I’ve ever been in itnor do I know exactly whereaway it is that
it lays; but I suppose there is good anchorage in itand that it’s no
bad place for the taking of ling; but for size it can’t be so much as
a yawl to a sloop of war compared with the Bay of Biscayormayhap
Torbay. And as for languageif you want to hear the dictionary
overhauled like a log-line in a blowyou must go to Wapping and
listen to the Lon’oners as they deal out their lingo. HowsomeverI
see no such mighty matter that Miss Lizzy has been doing to yougood
woman; so take another drop of your brews and forgive and forgetlike
an honest soul”


“Noindeed! and I shan’t do sitch a thingBenjamin. This treatment
is a newity to meand what I won’t put up with. I have a hundred and
fifty dollars at usebesides a bed and twenty sheepto good; and I
don’t crave to live in a house where a body mustn’t call a young woman
by her given name to her face. I will call her Betsey as much as I
please; it’s a free countryand no one can stop me. I did intend to
stop while summerbut I shall quit to-morrow morning; and I will talk
just as I please.”

“For that matterMistress Remarkable” said Benjamin“there’s none
here who will contradict you; for I’m of opinion that it would be as
easy to stop a hurricane with a Barcelony handkerchy as to bring up
your tongue when the stopper is off. I saygood womando they grow
many monkeys along the shores of that Bay of State?”

“You’re a monkey yourselfMr. Penguillum” cried the enraged
housekeeper“or a bear—a blackbeastly bear! and ain’t fit for a
decent woman to stay with. I’ll neverkeep your company aginsir
if I should live thirty years with the Judge. Sitch talk is more
befitting the kitchen than the keeping-room of a house of one who is
well-to-do in the world.”

“Look youMistress Pitty—Patty------Prettybonesmayhap I’m some such
matter as a bearas they will find who come to grapple with me; but
dam’me if I’m a monkey— a thing that chatters without knowing a word
of what it says—a parrot; that will hold a dialoguefor what an
honest man knowsin a dozen languages; mayhap in the Bay of State
lingo; mayhap in Greek or High Dutch. But dost it know what it means
itself? canst answer me thatgood woman? Your midshipman can sing
outand pass the wordwhen the captain gives the orderbut just
send him adrift by himselfand let him work the ship of his own head
and stop my grog if you don’t find all the Johnny Raws laughing at
him.”

“Stop your grogindeed!” said Remarkablerising with great
indignationand seizing a candle; “you’re groggy nowBenjamin and
I’ll quit the room before I hear any misbecoming words from you.”
The housekeeper retiredwith a manner but little less dignifiedas
she thoughtthan the air of the heiressmuttering as she drew the
door after herwith a noise like the report of a musketthe
opprobrious terms of “drunkard” “sot” and “ beast.”

“Who’s that you say is drunk?” cried Benjamin fiercelyrising and
making a movement toward Remarkable. “You talk of mustering yourself
with a lady you’re just fit to grumble and find fault. Where the
devil should you larn behavior and dictionary? in your damned Bay of
Stateha?”

Benjamin here fell back in his chairand soon gave vent to certain
ominous soundswhich resembled not a little the growling of his
favorite animal the bear itself. Be forehoweverhe was quite
locked—to use the language that would suit the Della-cruscan humor of
certain refined minds of the present day—” in the arms of Morpheus”
he spoke aloudobserving due pauses between his epithetsthe
impressive terms of “monkey” “parrot” “picnic” “tar pot” and
“linguisters”

We shall not attempt to explain his meaning nor connect his sentences;
and our readers must be satisfied with our informing them that they
were expressed with all that coolness of contempt that a man might
well be supposed to feel for a monkey.

Nearly two hours passed in this sleep before the major domo was
awakened by the noisy entrance of RichardMajor Hartmannand the


master of the mansion. Benjamin so far rallied his confused faculties
as to shape the course of the two former to their respective
apartmentswhen he disappeared himselfleaving the task of securing
the house to him who was most interested in its safety. Locks and
bars were but little attended to in the early days of that settlement
and so soon as Marmaduke had given an eye to the enormous fires of his
dwelling he retired. With this act of prudence closes the first night
of our tale.

CHAPTER XVI

“Watch (aside). Some treasonmasters—
Yet stand close.”—Much Ado About Nothing.

It was fortunate for more than one of the bacchanalians who left the
“Bold Dragoon” late in the evening that the severe cold of the season
was becoming rapidly less dangerous as they threaded the different
mazes through the snow-banks that led to their respective dwellings.
Then driving clouds began toward morning to flit across the heavens
and the moon set behind a volume of vapor that was impelled furiously
toward the northcarrying with it the softer atmosphere from the
distant ocean. The rising sun was obscured by denser and increasing
columns of cloudswhile the southerly wind that rushed up the valley
brought the never-failing symptoms of a thaw.

It was quite late in the morning before Elizabethobserving the faint
glow which appeared on the eastern mountain long after the light of
the sun had struck the opposite hillsventured from the housewith a
view to gratify her curiosity with a glance by daylight at the
surrounding objects before the tardy revellers of the Christmas eve
should make their appearance at the breakfast- table. While she was
drawing the folds of her pelisse more closely around her formto
guard against a cold that was yet great though rapidly yieldingin
the small inclosure that opened in the rear of the house on a little
thicket of low pines that were springing up where trees of a mightier
growth had lately stoodshe was surprised at the voice of Mr. Jones.

“Merry Christmasmerry Christmas to youCousin Bess” he shouted.
“Ahha! an early riserI see; but I knew I should steal a march on
you. I never was in a house yet where I didn’t get the first
Christmas greeting on every soul in itmanwomanand child—great
and small—blackwhiteand yellow. But stop a minute till I can just
slip on my coat. You are about to look at the improvementsI see
which no one can explain so well as Iwho planned them all. It will
be an hour before ‘Duke and the Major can sleep off Mrs. Hollister’s
confounded distillationsand so I’ll come down and go with you.

Elizabeth turned and observed her cousin in his night capwith his
head out of his bedroom windowwhere his zeal for pre-eminencein
defiance of the weatherhad impelled him to thrust it. She laughed
and promising to wait for his company re-entered the housemaking her
appearance againholding in her hand a packet that was secured by
several large and important sealsjust in time to meet the gentleman.

“ComeBessycome” he crieddrawing one of her arms through his
own; “ the snow begins to givebut it will bear us yet. Don’t you
snuff old Pennsylvania in the very air? This is a vile climategirl;
now at sunsetlast eveningit was cold enough to freeze a man’s
zealand thatI can tell youtakes a thermometer near zero for me;


then about nine or ten it began to moderate; at twelve it was quite
mildand here all the rest of the night I have been so hot as not to
bear a blanket on the bed. —Holla! Aggy—merry ChristmasAggy—I say
do you hear meyou black dog! there’s a dollar for you; and if the
gentle men get up before I come backdo you come out and let me know.
I wouldn’t have 'Duke get the start of me for the worth of your head.”

The black caught the money from the snowand promising a due degree
of watchfulnesshe gave the dollar a whirl of twenty feet in the air
and catching it as it fell in the palm of his handhe withdrew to the
kitchento exhibit his presentwith a heart as light as his face was
happy in its expression.

“Ohrest easymy dear coz” said the young lady; “I took a look in
at my fatherwho is likely to sleep an hour; and by using due
vigilance you will secure all the honors of the season.”

“WhyDuke is your fatherElizabeth ; but ‘Duke is a man who likes to
be foremosteven in trifles. Nowas for myselfI care for no such
thingsexcept in the way of competition; for a thing which is of no
moment in itself may be made of importance in the way of competition.
So it is with your father—he loves to he first; but I only; struggle
with him as a competitor.”

“It’s all very clearsir” said Elizabeth; “you would not care a fig
for distinction if there were no one in the world but yourself; but as
there happens to be a great many otherswhyyou must struggle with
them all—in the way of competition.”

“Exactly so; I see you are a clever girlBessand one who does
credit to her masters. It was my plan to send you to that school; for
when your father first mentioned the thingI wrote a private letter
for advice to a judicious friend in the citywho recommended the very
school you went to. ‘Duke was a little obstinate at firstas usual
but when he heard the truth he was obliged to send you.”

“Wella truce to ‘Duke’s foiblessir; he is my fatherand if you
knew what he has been doing for you while we were in Albanyyou would
deal more tenderly with his character.”

“For me!” cried Richardpausing a moment in his walk to reflect.
“Oh! he got the plans of the new Dutch meeting-house for meI
suppose; but I care very little about itfor a man of a certain kind
of talent is seldom aided by any foreign suggestions; his own brain is
the best architect.”

“No such thing” said Elizabethlooking provokingly knowing.

“No! let me see—perhaps he had my name put in the bill for the new
turnpikeas a director.”

“He might possibly; but it is not to such an appointment that I
allude.”

“Such an appointment!” repeated Mr. Joneswho began to fidget with
curiosity; “then it is an appointment. If it is in the militiaI
won’t take it.

“Nonoit is not in the militia” cried Elizabethshowing the
packet in her handand then drawing it back with a coquettish air;
“it is an office of both honor and emolument.”

“Honor and emolument!” echoed Richardin painful suspense; “show me
the papergirl. Sayis it an office where there is anything to do?”


“You have hit itCousin Dickon; it is the executive office of the
county; at least so said my father when he gave me this packet to
offer you as a Christmas-box. Surelyif anything will please
Dickon’ he said‘it will be to fill the executive chair of the
county.’”

“Executive chair! what nonsense!” cried the impatient gentleman
snatching the packet from her hand; “there is no such office in the
county. Eh! what! it isI declarea commissionappointing Richard
JonesEsquiresheriff of the county. Wellthis is kind in ‘Duke
positively. I must say ‘Duke has a warm heartand never forgets his
friends. Sheriff! High Sheriff of —! it sounds wellBessbut it
shall execute better. ‘Duke is a judicious man after alland knows
human nature thoroughlyI’m much obliged to him” continued Richard
using the skirt of his coat unconsciously to wipe his eyes; “though I
would do as much for him any dayas he shall seeif I have an
opportunity to perform any of the duties of my office on him. It
shall be doneCousin Bess----it shall be doneI say. How this
cursed south wind makes one’s eyes water!”

“NowRichard” said the laughing maiden“now I think you will find
something to do. I have often heard you complain of old that there
was nothing to do in this new countrywhile to my eyes it seemed as
if everything remained to be done.”

“Do!” echoed Richardwho blew his noseraised his little form to its
greatest elevationand looked serious. “Everything depends on
systemgirl. I shall sit down this afternoon and systematize the
county. I must have deputiesyou know. I will divide the county
into districtsover which I will place my deputies; and I will have
one for the villagewhich I will call my home department. Let me
see—ho! Benjamin! yesBenjamin will make a good deputy; he has been
naturalizedand would answer admirably if he could only ride on
horseback.”

“YesMr. Sheriff” said his companion; “and as he understands ropes
so wellhe would be very expertshould occasion happen for his
services in another way.”

“No” interrupted the other; “I flatter myself that no man could hang
a man better than—that is—ha!—oh! yesBenjamin would do extremely
well in such an unfortunate dilemmaif he could be persuaded to
attempt it. But I should despair of the thing. I never could induce
him to hangor teach him to ride on horseback. I must seek another
deputy.”
“Wellsiras you have abundant leisure for all these important
affairsI beg that you will forget that you are high sheriffand
devote some little of your time to gallantry. Where are the beauties
and improvements which you were to show me?”

“Where? whyeverywhere! Here I have laid out some new streets; and
when they are openedand the trees felledand they are all built up
will they not make a fine town? Well‘Duke is a liberal-hearted
fellowwith all his stubbornness. Yesyes; I must have at least
four deputiesbesides a jailer.”

“I see no streets in the direction of our walk” said Elizabeth
“unless you call the short avenues through these pine bushes by that
name. Surely you do not contemplate building housesvery soonin
that forest before usand in those swamps.”

We must run our streets by the compasscozand disregard trees
hillspondsstumpsorin factanything but posterity. Such is


the will of your fatherand your fatheryou know——”

“Had you made sheriffMr. Jones” interrupted the ladywith a tone
that said very plainly to the gentleman that he was touching a
forbidden subject.

“I know itI know it” cried Richard; “and if it were in my power
I’d make ‘Duke a king. He is a noble hearted fellowand would make
an excellent king; that isif he had a good prime minister. But who
have we here? voices in the bushes—a combination about mischiefI’ll
wager my commission. Let us draw near and examine a little into the
matter.”

During this dialogueas the parties had kept in motionRichard and
his cousin advanced some distance from the house into the open space
in the rear of the villagewhereas may be gathered from the
conversationstreets were planned and future dwellings contemplated;
but wherein truththe only mark of improvement that was to be seen
was a neglected clearing along the skirt of a dark forest of mighty
pinesover which the bushes or sprouts of the same tree had sprung up
to a height that interspersed the fields of snow with little thickets
of evergreen. The rushing of the windas it whistled through the
tops of these mimic treesprevented the footsteps of the pair from
being heardwhile the branches concealed their persons. Thus aided
the listeners drew nigh to a spot where the young hunterLeather-
Stockingand the Indian chief were collected in an earnest
consultation. The former was urgent in his mannerand seemed to
think the subject of deep importancewhile Natty appeared to listen
with more than his usual attention to what the other was saying.
Mohegan stood a little on one sidewith his head sunken on his chest
his hair falling forward so as to conceal most of his featuresand
his whole attitude expressive of deep dejectionif not of shame.
Let us withdraw” whispered Elizabeth; “ we are intrudersand can
have no right to listen to the secrets of these men.”

“No right!” returned Richard a little impatientlyin the same tone
and drawing her arm so forcibly through his own as to prevent her
retreat; “you forgetcousinthat it is my duty to preserve the peace
of the county and see the laws executedthese wanderers frequently
commit depredationsthough I do not think John would do anything
secretly. Poor fellow! he was quite boozy last nightand hardly
seems to be over it yet. Let us draw nigher and hear what they say.”

Notwithstanding the lady’s reluctanceRichardstimulated doubtless
by his sense of dutyprevailed; and they were soon so near as
distinctly to hear sounds.

“The bird must he had” said Natty“by fair means or foul. Heigho!
I’ve known the timeladwhen the wild turkeys wasn’t over-scarce in
the country; though you must go into the Virginia gaps if you want
them now. ‘to be surethere is a different taste to a partridge and
a well-fatted turkey; thoughto my eatingbeaver’s tail and bear’s
ham make the best of food. But then every one has his own appetite.
I gave the last farthingall to that shillingto the French trader
this very morningas I came through the townfor powder; soas you
have nothingwe can have but one shot for it. I know that Billy
Kirby is outand means to have a pull of the trigger at that very
turkey. John has a true eye for a single fireandsome howmy hand
shakes so whenever I have to do anything extrawnarythat I often lose
my aim. Nowwhen I killed the she-bear this fallwith her cubs
though they were so mighty ravenousI knocked them over one at a
shotand loaded while I dodged the trees in the bargain; but this is
a very different thingMr. Oliver.”


“This” cried the young manwith an accent that sounded as if he took
a bitter pleasure in his povertywhile he held a shilling up before
his eyes“this is all the treasure that I possess—this and my rifle!
NowindeedI have become a man of the woodsand must place my sole
dependence on the chase. ComeNattylet us stake the last penny for
the bird; with your aimit cannot fail to be successful.”

“I would rather it should be Johnlad; my heart jumps into my mouth
because you set your mind so much out; and I’m sartain that I shall
miss the bird. Them Indians can shoot one time as well as another;
nothing ever troubles them. I sayJohnhere’s a shilling; take my
rifleand get a shot at the big turkey they’ve put up at the stump.
Mr. Oliver is over-anxious for the creatur’and I’m sure to do
nothing when I have over-anxiety about it.”

The Indian turned his head gloomilyand after looking keenly for a
momentin profound silenceat his companionshe replied:

“When John was youngeyesight was not straighter than his bullet.
The Mingo squaws cried out at the sound of his rifle. The Mingo
warriors were made squaws. When did he ever shoot twice? The eagle
went above the clouds when he passed the wigwam of Chingachgook; his
feathers were plenty with the women. But see” he saidraising his
voice from the lowmournful tones in which he had spoken to a pitch
of keen excitementand stretching forth both hands“they shake like
a deer at the wolf’s howl. Is John old? When was a Mohican a squaw
with seventy winters? No! the white man brings old age with him—rum is
his tomahawk!”

“Whythendo you use itold man?” exclaimed the young hunter; “why
will oneso noble by natureaid the devices of the devil by making
himself a beast?”

“Beast! is John a beast?” replied the Indian slowly; “yes; you say no
liechild of the Fire-eater! John is a beast. The smokes were once
few in these hillsThe deer would lick the hand of a white man and
the birds rest on his head. They were strangers to him. My fathers
came from the shores of the salt lake. They fled before rum. They
came to their grandfatherand they lived in peace; orwhen they did
raise the hatchetit was to strike it into the brain of a Mingo.
They gathered around the council fireand what they said was done.
Then John was a man. But warriors and traders with light eyes
followed them. One brought the long knife and one brought rum. They
were more than the pines on the mountains; and they broke up the
councils and took the landsThe evil spirit was in their jugsand
they let him loose. Yes yes—you say no lieYoung Eagle; John is a
Christian beast.”

“Forgive meold warrior” cried the youthgrasping his hand; “I
should be the last to reproach you. The curses of Heaven light on the
cupidity that has destroyed such a race. RememberJohnthat I am of
your familyand it is now my greatest pride.”

The muscles of Mohegan relaxed a littleand he saidmore mildly:

“You are a Delawaremy son; your words are not heard—John cannot
shoot.”

“I thought that lad had Indian blood in him” whispered Richard“by
the awkward way he handled my horses last night. You seecozthey
never use harness. But the poor fellow shall have two shots at the
turkeyif he wants itfor I’ll give him another shilling myself;
thoughper hapsI had better offer to shoot for him. They have got
up their Christmas sportsI findin the bushes yonderwhere you


hear the laughter—though it is a queer taste this chap has for turkey;
not but what it is good eatingtoo”

“HoldCousin Richard” exclaimed Elizabethclinging to his arm;
“would it be delicate to offer a shilling to that gentleman?”

“Gentlemanagain! Do you think a half-breedlike himwill refuse
money? Nonogirlhe will take the shilling; ay! and even rum too
notwithstanding he moralizes so much about itBut I’ll give the lad a
chance for his turkey; for that Billy Kirby is one of the best
marksmen in the country; that isif we except the—the gentleman.”

“Then” said Elizabethwho found her strength unequal to her will“
thensirI will speak.” She advancedwith an air of determination
in front of her cousinand entered the little circle of bushes that
surrounded the trio of hunters. Her appearance startled the youth
who at first made an unequivocal motion toward retiringbut
recollecting himselfbowedby lifting his capand resumed his
attitude of leaning on his rifle. Neither Natty nor Mohegan betrayed
any emotionthough the appearance of Elizabeth was so entirely
unexpected.

“I find” she said“that the old Christmas sport of shooting the
turkey is yet in use among you. I feel inclined to try my chance for
a bird. Which of you will take this moneyandafter paying my fee
give me the aid of his rifle?”

“Is this a sport for a lady?” exclaimed the young hunterwith an
emphasis that could not well be mistakenand with a rapidity that
showed he spoke without consulting anything but feeling.
“Why notsir? If it be inhuman the sin is not confined to one sex
only. But I have my humor as well as others. I ask not your
assistancebut”—turning to Nattyand dropping a dollar in his hand—”
this old veteran of the forest will not be so ungallant as to refuse
one fire for a lady.”

Leather-Stocking dropped the money into his pouchand throwing up the
end of his rifle he freshened his priming; and first laughing in his
usual mannerhe threw the piece over his shoulderand said:

“If Billy Kirby don’t get the bird before meand the Frenchman’s
powder don’t hang fire this damp morningyou’ll see as fine a turkey
deadin a few minutesas ever was eaten in the Judge’s shanty. I
have knowed the Dutch womenon the Mohawk and Schohariecount
greatly on coming to the merry-makings; and soladyou shouldn’t be
short with the lady. Comelet us go forwardfor if we wait the
finest bird will be gone.”

“But I have a right before youNattyand shall try on my own luck
first. You will excuse meMiss Temple; I have much reason to wish
that birdand may seem ungallantbut I must claim my privileges.”

“Claim anything that is justly your ownsir” returned the lady; “we
are both adventurers; and this is my knight. I trust my fortune to
his hand and eye. Lead onSir Leather-Stockingand we will follow.”

Nattywho seemed pleased with the frank address of the young and
beauteous Elizabethwho had so singularly intrusted him with such a
commissionreturned the bright smile with which she had addressed
himby his own peculiar mark of mirthand moved across the snow
toward the spot whence the sounds of boisterous mirth proceededwith
the long strides of a hunter. His companions followed in silencethe
youth casting frequent and uneasy glances toward Elizabethwho was
detained by a motion from Richard.


“I should thinkMiss Temple” he saidso soon as the others were out
of hearing“that if you really wished a turkeyyou would not have
taken a stranger for the officeand such a one as Leather-Stocking.
But I can hardly believe that you are seriousfor I have fiftyat
this momentshut up in the coopsin every stage of fatso that you
might choose any quality you pleased. There are six that I am trying
an experiment onby giving them brick-bats with—”


“EnoughCousin Dickon” interrupted the lady; “I do wish the bird
and it is because I so wish that I commissioned this Mr. Leather-
Stocking.”


“Did you ever hear of the great shot that I made at the wolfCousin
Elizabethwho was carrying off your father's sheep?” said Richard
drawing himself up with an air of displeasure. “He had the sheep on
his hack; andhad the head of the wolf been on the other sideI
should have killed him dead; as it was—”


“You killed the sheep—I know it alldear coz. Hut would it have been
decorous for the High Sheriff of —to mingle in such sports as these?”
“Surely you did not think that I intended actually to fire with my own
hands?” said Mr. Jones. “But let us followand see the shooting.
There is no fear of anything unpleasant occurring to a female in this
new countryespecially to your father’s daughterand in my
presence.”


“My father’s daughter fears nothingsirmore especially when
escorted by the highest executive officer in the county.”


She took his armand he led her through the mazes of the bushes to
the spot where most of the young men of the village were collected for
the sports of shooting a Christmas matchand whither Natty and his
Companions had already preceded them.


CHAPTER XVII


I guessby all this quaint array
The burghers hold their sports to-day.”—Scott.


The ancient amusement of shooting the Christmas turkey is one of the
few sports that the settlers of a new country seldom or never neglect
to observe. It was connected with the daily practices of a people who
often laid aside the axe or the scythe to seize the rifleas the deer
glided through the forests they were fellingor the bear entered
their rough meadows to scent the air of a clearingand to scanwith
a look of sagacitythe progress of the invader.


On the present occasionthe usual amusement of the day had been a
little hastnedin order to allow a fair opportunity to Mr. Grant
whose exhibition was not less a treat to the young sportsmen than the
one which engaged their present attention. The owner of the birds was
a free blackwho had prepared for the occasion a collection of game
that was admirably qualified to inflame the appetite of an epicure
and was well adapted to the means and skill of the different
competitorswho were of all ages. He had offered to the younger and
more humble marks men divers birds of an inferior qualityand some
shooting had already taken placemuch to the pecuniary advantage of
the sable owner of the game. The order of the sports was extremely



simpleand well understood. The bird was fastened by a string to the
stump of a large pinethe side of whichtoward the point where the
marksmen were placedhad been flattened with an axein order that it
might serve the purpose of a targetby which the merit of each
individual might be ascertained. The distance between the stump and
shooting-stand was one hundred measured yards; a foot more or a foot
less being thought an invasion of the right of one of the parties.
The negro affixed his own price to every birdand the terms of the
chance; butwhen these were once establishedhe was obligedby the
strict principles of public justice that prevailed in the countryto
admit any adventurer who might offer.

The throng consisted of some twenty or thirty young menmost of whom
had riflesand a collection of all the boys in the village. The
little urchinsclad in coarse but warm garmentsstood gathered
around the more distinguished marksmenwith their hands stuck under
their waistbandslistening eagerly to the boastful stories of skill
that had been exhibited on former occasionsand were already
emulating in their hearts these wonderful deeds in gunnery.

The chief speaker was the man who had been mentioned by Natty as Billy
Kirby. This fellowwhose occupationwhen he did laborwas that of
clearing landsor chopping jobswas of great statureand carried in
his very air the index of his character. He was a noisyboisterous
reckless ladwhose good-natured eye contradicted the bluntness and
bullying tenor of his speech. For weeks he would lounge around the
taverns of the countyin a state of perfect idlenessor doing small
jobs for his liquor and his mealsand cavilling with applicants about
the prices of his labor; frequently preferring idleness to an
abatement of a little of his independenceor a cent in his wages.
Butwhen these embarrassing points were satisfactorily arrangedhe
would shoulder his axe and his rifleslip his arms through the straps
of his packand enter the woods with the tread of a Hercules. His
first object was to learn his limitsround which he would pace
occasionally fresheningwith a blow of his axethe marks on the
boundary trees; and then he would proceedwith an air of great
deliberationto the centre of his premisesandthrowing aside his
superfluous garmentsmeasurewith a knowing eyeone or two of the
nearest trees that were towering apparently into the very clouds as he
gazed upward. Commonly selecting one of the most noble for the first
trial of his powerhe would approach it with a listless air
whistling a low tune; and wielding his axe with a certain flourish
not unlike the salutes of a fencing-masterhe would strike a light
blow into the barkand measure his distance. The pause that followed
was ominous of the fall of the forest which had flourished there for
centuries. The heavy and brisk blows that he struck were soon
succeeded by the thundering report of the treeas it camefirst
cracking and threatening with the separation of its own last
ligamentsthen threshing and tearing with its branches the tops of
its surrounding brethrenand finally meeting the ground with a shock
but little inferior to an earthquake. From that moment the sounds of
the axe were ceaselesswhile the failing of the trees was like a
distant cannonading; and the daylight broke into the depths of the
woods with the suddenness of a winter morning.

For daysweeksnay monthsBilly Kirby would toil with an ardor that
evinced his native spiritand with an effect that seemed magical
untilhis chopping being endedhis stentorian lungs could be heard
emitting soundsas he called to his patient oxenwhich rang through
the hills like the cries of an alarm. He had been often heardon a
mild summer’ eveninga long mile across the vale of Templeton; when
the echoes from the mountains would take up his criesuntil they died
away in the feeble sounds from the distant rocks that overhung the
lake. His pilesorto use the language of the countryhis logging


endedwith a dispatch that could only accompany his dexterity and
herculean strengththe jobber would collect together his implements
of laborlight the heaps of timberand march away under the blaze of
the prostrate forestlike the conqueror of some city whohaving
first prevailed over his adversaryapplies the torch as the finishing
blow to his conquest. For a long time Billy Kirby would then be seen
sauntering around the tavernsthe rider of scrub racesthe bully of
cock-fightsand not infrequently the hero of such sports as the one
in hand.

Between him and the Leather-Stocking there had long existed a jealous
rivalry on the point of skill with the rifle. Notwithstanding the
long practice of Nattyit was commonly supposed that the steady
nerves and the quick eye of the wood-chopper rendered him his equal.
The competition hadhoweverbeen confined hitherto to boastingand
comparisons made from their success in various hunting excursions; but
this was the first time they had ever come in open collision. A good
deal of higgling about the price of the choicest bird had taken place
between Billy Kirby and its owner before Natty and his companions
rejoined the sportsmen It hadhoweverbeen settled at one shilling *
a shotwhich was the highest sum ever exactedthe black taking care
to protect himself from lossesas much as possibleby the conditions
of the sport.

* Before the Revolutioneach province had its own money of account
though neither coined any but copper pieces. In New York the Spanish
dollar was divided into eight shillingseach of the value of a
fraction more than sixpence sterling. At present the Union has
provided a decimal systemwith coins to represent it.
The turkey was already fastened at the “mark” hut its body was
entirely hid by the surrounding snownothing being visible but its
red swelling head and its long neck. If the bird was injured by any
bullet that struck below the snowit was to continue the property of
its present owner; but if a feather was touched in a visible partthe
animal became the prize of the successful adventurer.

These terms were loudly proclaimed by the negrowho was seated in the
snowin a somewhat hazardous vicinity to his favorite birdwhen
Elizabeth and her cousin approached the noisy sportsmen. The sounds
of mirth and contention sensibly lowered at this unexpected visit;
butafter a moment’s pausethe curious interest exhibited in the
face of the young ladytogether with her smiling airrestored the
freedom of the morning; though it was somewhat chastenedboth in
language and vehemenceby the presence of such a spectator.

“Stand out of the way thereboys!” cried the wood-chopperwho was
placing himself at the shooting-point— stand out of the wayyou
little rascalsor I will shoot through you. NowBromtake leave of
your turkey.”
Stop!” cried the young hunter; “I am a candidate for a chance. Here
is my shillingBrom; I wish a shot too.”
You may wish it in welcome” cried Kirby“but if I ruffle the
gobbler’s feathershow are you to get it? Is money so plenty in your
deer-skin pocketthat you pay for a chance that you may never have?”

“How know yousirhow plenty money is in my pocket?” said the youth
fiercely. “Here is my shillingBromand I claim a right to shoot.”

“Don't be crabbedmy boy” said the otherwho was very coolly fixing
his flint. “They say you have a hole in your left shoulder yourself
so I think Brom may give you a fire for half-price. It will take a
keen one to hit that birdI can tell youmy ladeven if I give you
a chancewhich is what I have no mind to do.”


“Don’t be boastingBilly Kirby” said Nattythrowing the breech of
his rifle into the snowand leaning on its barrel; “you’ll get but
one shot at the creatur’for if the lad misses his aimwhich
wouldn’t be a wonder if he didwith his arm so stiff and soreyou’ll
find a good piece and an old eye coming a’ter you. Maybe it’s true
that I can’t shoot as I used to couldbut a hundred yards is a short
distance for a long rifle.”

“Whatold Leather-Stockingare you out this morning?” cried his
reckless opponent. “Wellfair play’s a jewel. I’ve the lead of you
old fellow; so here goes for a dry throat or a good dinner.”

The countenance of the negro evinced not only all the interest which
his pecuniary adventure might occasionbut also the keen excitement
that the sport produced in the othersthough with a very different
wish as to the result. While the wood-chopper was slowly and steadily
raising his riflehe bawled;

“Fair playBilly Kirby—stand back—make ‘em stand backboys—gib a
nigger fair play—poss-up- gobbler; shake a headfool; don’t you see
‘em taking aim?”

These crieswhich were intended as much to distract the attention of
the marksman as for anything elsewere fruitless.

The nerves of the wood-chopper were not so easily shakenand he took
his aim with the utmost deliberation. Stillness prevailed for a
momentand he fired. The head of the turkey was seen to dash on one
sideand its wings were spread in momentary fluttering; but it
settled itself down calmly into its bed of snowand glanced its eyes
uneasily around. For a time long enough to draw a deep breathnot a
sound was heard. The silence was then broken by the noise of the
negrowho laughedand shook his body with all kinds of antics
rolling over in the snow in the excess of delight.

“Well donea gobbler” be criedjumping up and affecting to embrace
his bird; “I tell ‘em to poss-upand you see ‘em dodge. Gib anoder
shillin’Billyand halb anoder shot.”

“No—the shot is mine” said the young hunter; “you have my money
already. Leave the markand let me try my luck.”

“Ah! it’s but money thrown awaylad” said Leather-Stocking. “A
turkey’s head and neck is but a small mark for a new hand and a lame
shoulder. You’d best let me take the fireand maybe we can make some
settlement with the lady about the bird.”
The chance is mine” said the young hunter. “Clear the groundthat I
may take it.”

The discussions and disputes concerning the last shot were now
abatingit having been determined that if the turkey’s head had been
anywhere but just where it was at that momentthe bird must certainly
have been killed. There was not much excitement produced by the
preparations of the youthwho proceeded in a hurried manner to take
his aimand was in the act of pulling the triggerwhen he was
stopped by Natty.

“Your hand shakeslad” he said“and you seem over eager. Bulletwounds
are apt to weaken fleshand to my judgment you’ll not shoot so
well as in common. If you will fireyou should shoot quickbefore
there is time to shake off the aim.”

“Fair play” again shouted the negro; “fair play—gib a nigger fair


play. What right a Nat Bumppo advise a young man? Let ‘em shoot—clear
a ground.”

The youth fired with great rapiditybut no motion was made by the
turkey; andwhen the examiners for the ball returned from the “mark”
they declared that he had missed the stump.

Elizabeth observed the change in his countenanceand could not help
feeling surprise that one so evidently superior to his companions
should feel a trifling loss so sensibly. But her own champion was now
preparing to enter the lists.

The mirth of Bromwhich had been again excitedthough in a much
smaller degree than beforeby the failure of the second adventurer
vanished the instant Natty took his stand. His skin became mottled
with large brown spotsthat fearfully sullied the lustre of his
native ebonywhile his enormous lips gradually compressed around two
rows of ivory that had hitherto been shining in his visage like pearls
set in jet. His nostrilsat all times the most conspicuous feature
of his facedilated until they covered the greater part of the
diameter of his countenance; while his brown and bony hands
unconsciously grasped the snow-crust near himthe excitement of the
moment completely overcoming his native dread of cold.

While these indications of apprehension were exhibited in the sable
owner of the turkeythe man who gave rise to this extraordinary
emotion was as calm and collected as if there was not to be a single
spectator of his skill.

“I was down in the Dutch settlements on the Schoharie” said Natty
carefully removing the leather guard from the lock of his rifle“just
before the breaking out of the last warand there was a shootingmatch
among the boys; so I took a hand. I think I opened a good many
Dutch eyes that day; for I won the powder-hornthree bars of lead
and a pound of as good powder as ever flashed in pan. Lord! how they
did swear in Jarman! They did tell me of one drunken Dutchman who said
he’d have the life of me before I got back to the lake agin. But if
he had put his rifle to his shoulder with evil intent God would have
punished him for it; and even if the Lord didn’tand he had missed
his aimI know one that would have given him as good as he sentand
better tooif good shooting could come into the ‘count.”
By this time the old hunter was ready for his businessand throwing
his right leg far behind himand stretching his left arm along the
barrel of his piecehe raised it toward the birdEvery eye glanced
rapidly from the marks man to the mark; but at the moment when each
ear was expecting the report of the riflethey were disappointed by
the ticking sound of the flint.

“A snapa snap!” shouted the negrospringing from his crouching
posture like a madmanbefore his bird. A snap good as fire—Natty
Bumppo gun he snap—Natty Bumppo miss a turkey!”

Natty Bumppo hit a nigger” said the indignant old hunter“if you
don’t get out of the wayBrom. It’s contrary to the reason of the
thingboythat a snap should count for a firewhen one is nothing
more than a fire-stone striking a steel panand the other is sudden
death; so get out of my wayboyand let me show Billy Kirby how to
shoot a Christmas turkey.”

“Gib a nigger fair play!” cried the blackwho continued resolutely to
maintain his postand making that appeal to the justice of his
auditors which the degraded condition of his caste so naturally
suggested. “Eberybody know dat snap as good as fire. Leab it to
Massa Jone—leab it to lady.”


“Sartain” said the wood-chopper; “it’s the law of the game in this
part of the countryLeather-Stocking. If you fire agin you must pay
up the other shilling. I b’lieve I’ll try luck once more myself; so
Bromhere’s my moneyand I take the next fire.”

“It’s likely you know the laws of the woods better than I doBilly
Kirby” returned Natty. “You come in with the settlerswith an oxgoad
in your handand I come in with moccasins on my feetand with a
good rifle on my shouldersso long back as afore the old war. Which
is likely to know the best? I say no man need tell me that snapping is
as good as firing when I pull the trigger.”

“Leab it to Massa Jone” said the alarmed negro; “he know eberyting.”
This appeal to the knowledge of Richard was too flattering to be
unheeded. He therefore advanced a little from the spot whither the
delicacy of Elizabeth had induced her to withdrawand gave the
following opinionwith the gravity that the subject and his own rank
demanded:

“There seems to be a difference in opinion” he said“on the subject
of Nathaniel Bumppo’s right to shoot at Abraham Freeborn’s turkey
without the said Nathaniel paying one shilling for the privilege.” The
fact was too evident to be deniedand after pausing a momentthat
the audience might digest his premisesRichard proceeded: “It seems
proper that I should decide this questionas I am bound to preserve
the peace of the county; and men with deadly weapons in their hands
should not be heedlessly left to contention and their own malignant
passions. It appears that there was no agreementeither in writing
or in wordson the disputed point; therefore we must reason from
analogywhich isas it werecomparing one thing with another. Now
in duelswhere both parties shootit is generally the rule that a
snap is a fire; and if such is the rule where the party has a right to
fire back againit seems to me unreasonable to say that a man may
stand snapping at a defenceless turkey all day. I therefore am of the
opinion that Nathaniel Bumppo has lost his chanceand must pay
another shilling before he renews his right.”

As this opinion came from so high a quarterand was delivered with
effectit silenced all murmurs—for the whole of the spectators had
begun to take sides with great warmth—except from the Leather-
Stocking himself.

“I think Miss Elizabeth’s thoughts should be taken” said Natty.
“I’ve known the squaws give very good counsel when the Indians had
been dumfounded. If she says that I ought to loseI agree to give it
up.”

“Then I adjudge you to be a loser for this time” said Miss Temple;
“but pay your money and renew your chance; unless Brom will sell me
the bird for a dollar. I will give him the moneyand save the life
of the poor victim.”

This proposition was evidently but little relished by any of the
listenerseven the negro feeling the evil excitement of the chances.
In the mean whileas Billy Kirby was preparing himself for another
shotNatty left the standwith an extremely dissatisfied manner
muttering:

“There hasn’t been such a thing as a good flint sold at the foot of
the lake since the Indian traders used to come into the country; and
if a body should go into the flats along the streams in the hills to
hunt for such a thingit’s ten to one but they will be all covered up
with the plough. Heigho! it seems to me that just as the game grows


scarceand a body wants the best ammunition to get a livelihood
everything that’s bad falls on him like a judgment. But I’ll change
the stonefor Billy Kirby hasn’t the eye for such a markI know.”

The wood-chopper seemed now entirely sensible that his reputation
depended on his care; nor did he neglect any means to insure success.
He drew up his rifleand renewed his aim again and againstill
appearing reluctant to fireNo sound was heard from even Bromduring
these portentous movementsuntil Kirby discharged his piecewith the
same want of success as before. Thenindeedthe shouts of the negro
rang through the bushes and sounded among the trees of the neighboring
forest like the outcries of a tribe of Indians. He laughedrolling
his head first on one sidethen on the otheruntil nature seemed
exhausted with mirth. He danced until his legs were wearied with
motion in the snow; andin shorthe exhibited all that violence of
joy that characterizes the mirth of a thoughtless negro.

The wood-chopper had exerted all his artand felt a proportionate
degree of disappointment at the failure. He first examined the bird
with the utmost attentionand more than once suggested that he had
touched its feathers; but the voice of the multitude was against him
for it felt disposed to listen to the often-repeated cries of the
black to “gib a nigger fair play.”

Finding it impossible to make out a title to the birdKirby turned
fiercely to the black and said:

“Shut your ovenyou crow! Where is the man that can hit a turkey’s
head at a hundred yards? I was a fool for trying. You needn’t make an
uproar like a falling pine-tree about it. Show me the man who can do
it.”

“Look this a-wayBilly Kirby” said Leather-Stockingand let them
clear the markand I’ll show you a man who’s made better shots afore
nowand that when he’s been hard pressed by the savages and wild
beasts”

“Perhaps there is one whose rights come before oursLeather-
Stocking” said Miss Temple. “If sowe will waive our privilege.”

“If it be me that you have reference to” said the young hunter“I
shall decline another chance. My shoulder is yet weakI find.”

Elizabeth regarded his mannerand thought that she could discern a
tinge on his cheek that spoke the shame of conscious poverty. She
said no morebut suffered her own champion to make a trial. Although
Natty Bumppo had certainly made hundreds of more momentous shots at
his enemies or his gameyet he never exerted himself more to excel.
He raised his piece three several times: once to get his range; once
to calculate his distance; and once because the birdalarmed by the
death-like stillnessturned its head quickly to examine its foes.
But the fourth time he fired. The smokethe reportand the
momentary shock prevented most of the spectators from instantly
knowing the result; but Elizabethwhen she saw her champion drop the
end of his rifle in the snow and open his mouth in one of its silent
laughsand then proceed very coolly to recharge his pieceknew that
he had been successful. The boys rushed to the markand lifted the
turkey on highlifelessand with nothing but the remnant of a head.
“Bring in the creatur’” said Leather-Stocking“and put it at the
feet of the lady. I was her deputy in the matterand the bird is her
property.”

“And a good deputy you have proved yourself” returned Elizabeth—” so
goodCousin Richardthat I would advise you to remember his


qualities.” She pausedand the gayety that beamed on her face gave
place to a more serious earnestness. She even blushed a little as she
turned to the young hunterand with the charm of a woman’s manner
added: “But it was only to see an exhibition of the far-famed skill of
Leather-Stockingthat I tried my fortunes. Will yousiraccept the
bird as a small peace offering for the hurt that prevented your own
success?”

The expression with which the youth received this present was
indescribableHe appeared to yield to the blandishment of her airin
opposition to a strong inward impulse to the contrary. He bowedand
raised the victim silently from her feetbut continued silent.

Elizabeth handed the black a piece of silver as a remuneration for his
losswhich had some effect in again unbending his musclesand then
expressed to her companion her readiness to return homeward.

“Wait a minuteCousin Bess” cried Richard; “there is an uncertainty
about the rules of this sport that it is proper I should remove. If
you will appoint a committeegentlemento wait on me this morningI
will draw up in writing a set of regulations—’ He stoppedwith some
indignationfor at that instant a hand was laid familiarly on the
shoulder of the High Sheriff of —.

“A merry Christmas to youCousin Dickon” said Judge Templewho had
approached the party unperceived: “I must have a vigilant eye to my
daughtersirif you are to be seized daily with these gallant fits.
I admire the taste which would introduce a lady to such scenes!”

“It is her own perversity‘Duke” cried the disappointed sheriffwho
felt the loss of the first salutation as grievously as many a man
would a much greater misfortune; “and I must say that she comes
honestly by it. I led her out to show her the improvementsbut away
she scamperedthrough the snowat the first sound of fire-armsthe
same as if she had been brought up in a campinstead of a first-rate
boarding-school. I do thinkJudge Templethat such dangerous
amusements should be suppressedby statute; nayI doubt whether they
are not already indict able at common law.”

“Wellsiras you are sheriff of the countyit becomes your duty to
examine into the matter” returned the smiling Marmaduke“I perceive
that Bess has executed her commissionand I hope it met with a
favorable reception.” Richard glanced his eye at the packet which he
held in his handand the slight anger produced by disappointment
vanished instantly.

“Ah! ‘Dukemy dear cousin” he said“step a little on one side; I
have something I would say to you.”

Marmaduke compliedand the sheriff led him to a little distance in
the bushesand continued: “First‘Dukelet me thank you for your
friendly interest with the Council and the Governorwithout which I
am confident that the greatest merit would avail but little. But we
are sisters’ children—we are sisters’ childrenand you may use me
like one of your horses; ride me or drive me‘DukeI am wholly
yours. But in my humble opinionthis young companion of Leather-
Stocking requires looking after. He has a very dangerous propensity
for turkey.”

“Leave him to my managementDickon” said the Judge“and I will cure
his appetite by indulgence. It is with him that I would speak. Let
us rejoin the sportsmen.”


CHAPTER XVIII.


“Poor wretch! the mother that him bare
If she had been in presence there
In his wan faceand sunburnt hair
She had not known her child‘—Scott.


It diminishedin no degreethe effect produced by the conversation
which passed between Judge Temple and the I young hunterthat the
former took the arm of his daughter and drew it through his ownwhen
he advanced from the spot whither Richard had led him to that where
the youth was standingleaning on his rifleand contemplating the
dead bird at his feet. The presence of Marmaduke did not interrupt
the sportswhich were resumed by loud and clamorous disputes
concerning the conditions of a chance that involved the life of a bird
of much inferior quality to the last. Leather-Stocking and Mohegan
had alone drawn aside to their youthful companion; andalthough in
the immediate vicinity of such a throngthe following conversation
was heard only by those who were interested in it.


“I have greatly injured youMr. Edwards” said the Judge; but the
sudden and inexplicable start with which the person spoken to received
this unexpected addresscaused him to pause a moment. As no answer
was givenand the strong emotion exhibited in the countenance of the
youth gradually passed awayhe continued: “But fortunately it is in
some measure in my power to compensate you for what I have done. My
kinsmanRichard Joneshas received an appointment that willin
futuredeprive me of his assistanceand leave mejust now
destitute of one who might greatly aid me with his pen. Your manner
notwithstanding appearancesis a sufficient proof of your education
nor will thy shoulder suffer thee to laborfor some time to come.”
(Marmaduke insensibly relapsed into the language of the Friends as he
grew warm.) “My doors are open to theemy young friendfor in this
infant country we harbor no suspicions; little offering to tempt the
cupidity of the evil-disposed. Be come my assistantfor at least a
seasonand receive such compensation as thy services will deserve.”


There was nothing in the manner of the offer of the Judge to justify
the reluctanceamounting nearly to loathingwith which the youth
listened to his speech; butafter a powerful effort for self-command
he replied:


“I would serve yousiror any other manfor an honest supportfor
I do not affect to conceal that my necessities are very greateven
beyond what appearances would indicate; but I am fearful that such new
duties would interfere too much with more important business; so that
I must decline your offerand depend on my rifleas beforefor
subsistence.”


Richard here took occasion to whisper to the young ladywho had
shrunk a little from the foreground of the picture:


“Thisyou seeCousin Bessis the natural reluctance of a half-breed
to leave the savage state. Their attachment to a wandering life isI
verily believeunconquerable.”


“It is a precarious life” observed Marmadukewithout hearing the
sheriff’s observation“and one that brings more evils with it than
present suffering. Trust meyoung friendmy experience is greater
than thinewhen I tell thee that the unsettled life of these hunters



is of vast disadvantage for temporal purposesand it totally removes
one from the influence of more sacred things.”

“NonoJudge” interrupted the Leather-Stockingwho was hitherto
unseenor disregarded; “take him into your shanty in welcomebut
tell him truth. I have lived in the woods for forty long yearsand
have spent five at a time without seeing the light of a clearing
bigger than a window in the trees; and I should like to know where
you’ll find a manin his sixty-eighth yearwho can get an easier
livingfor all your betterments and your deer laws; andas for
honestyor doing what’s right between man and manI’ll not turn my
back to the longest-winded deacon on your Patent.”

“Thou art an exceptionLeather-Stocking” returned the Judgenodding
good-naturedly at the hunter; “for thou hast a temperance unusual in
thy classand a hardihood exceeding thy years. But this youth is
made of I materials too precious to be wasted in the forest—I entreat
thee to join my familyif it be but till thy arm is healed. My
daughter herewho is mistress of my dwellingwilt tell thee that
thou art welcome.”

“Certainly” said Elizabethwhose earnestness was a little checked by
female reserve. “The unfortunate would be welcome at any timebut
doubly so when we feel that we have occasioned the evil ourselves”
“Yes” said Richard“and if you relish turkeyyoung manthere are
plenty in the coopsand of the best kindI can assure you.”

Finding himself thus ably secondedMarmaduke pushed his advantage to
the utmost. He entered into a detail of the duties that would attend
the situationand circumstantially mentioned the rewardand all
those points which are deemed of importance among men of business.
The youth listened in extreme agitation. There was an evident contest
in his feelings; at times he appeared to wish eagerly for the change
and then again the incomprehensible expression of disgust would cross
his featureslike a dark cloud obscuring a noonday sun.

The Indianin whose manner the depression of self-abasement was most
powerfully exhibitedlistened to the offers of the Judge with an
interest that increased with each syllable. Gradually he drew nigher
to the group and whenwith his keen glancehe detected the most
marked evidence of yielding in the countenance of his young companion
he changed at once from his attitude and look of shame to the front of
an Indian warriorand movingwith great dignitycloser to the
partieshe spoke.

“Listen to your father” he said; “his words are old. Let the Young
Eagle and the Great Land Chief eat together; let them sleepwithout
fearnear each other. The children of Miquon love not blood: they
are justand will do right. The sun must rise and set oftenbe fore
men can make one family; it is not the work of a daybut of many
winters. The Mingoes and the Delawares are born enemies; their blood
can never mix in the wigwam; it never will run in the same stream in
the battle. What makes the brother of Miquon and the Young Eagle
foes? They are of the same tribe; their fathers and mothers are one.
Learn to waitmy sonyou are a Delawareand an Indian warrior knows
how to be patient.”

This figurative address seemed to have great weight with the young
manwho gradually yielded to the representations of Marmadukeand
eventually consented to his proposal. It washoweverto be an
experiment only; andif either of the parties thought fit to rescind
the engagementit was left at his option so to do. The remarkable
and ill-concealed reluctance of the youth to accept of an offerwhich
most men in his situation would consider as an unhoped-for elevation


occasioned no little surprise in those to whom he was a stranger; and
it left a slight impression to his disadvantage. When the parties
separatedthey very naturally made the subject the topic of a
conversationwhich we shall relate; first commencing with the Judge
his daughterand Richardwho were slowly pursuing the way back to
the mansion-house.

“I have surely endeavored to remember the holy man dates of our
Redeemerwhen he bids us ‘love them who despitefully use you’ in my
intercourse with this incomprehensible boy” said Marmaduke. “I know
not what there is in my dwelling to frighten a lad of his years
unless it may he thy presence and visageBess”

“Nono” said Richardwith great simplicity“it is not Cousin Bess.
But when did you ever know a half-breed‘Dukewho could bear
civilization? For that mat terthey are worse than the savages
themselves! Did you notice how knock-kneed he stoodElizabethand
what a wild look he had in his eyes?”

“I heeded not his eyesnor his kneeswhich would be all the better
for a little humbling. Reallymy dear sirI think you did exercise
the Christian virtue of patience to the utmost. I was disgusted with
his airslong before he consented to make one of our family. Truly
we are much honored by the association! In what apartment is he to be
placedsir; and at what table is he to receive his nectar and
ambrosia?”

“With Benjamin and Remarkable” interrupted Mr. Jones; “you sorely
would not make the youth eat with the blacks! He is part Indianit is
true; but the natives hold the negroes in great contempt. Nono; he
would starve before he would break a crust with the negroes.”

“I am but too happyDickonto tempt him to eat with ourselves” said
Marmaduke“to think of offering even the indignity you propose.”

“Thensir” said Elizabethwith an air that was slightly affected
as if submitting to her father’s orders in opposition to her own will
“it is your pleasure that he be a gentleman.”

“Certainly; he is to fill the station of one. Let him receive the
treatment that is due to his placeuntil we find him unworthy of it.”

“Wellwell‘Duke” cried the sheriff“ you will find it no easy
matter to make a gentleman of him. The old proverb says that ‘it
takes three generations to make a gentleman.’ There was my father whom
everybody knew my grandfather was an M.D.and his father a D.D.; and
his father came from EnglandI never could come at the truth of his
origin; but he was either a great mer chant in Londonor a great
country lawyeror the youngest son of a bishop.”

“Here is a true American genealogy for you” said Marmadukelaughing.
“It does very well till you get across the waterwhereas everything
is obscureit is certain to deal in the superlative. You are sure
that your English progenitor was greatDickonwhatever his
profession might have been?”

“To be sure I am” returned the other. “I have heard my old aunt talk
of him by the month. We are of a good familyJudge Templeand have
never filled any but honorable stations in life.”

“I marvel that you should be satisfied with so scanty a provision of
gentility in the olden timeDickon. Most of the American
genealogists commence their traditions like the stories for children
with three brotherstaking especial care that one of the triumvirate


shall be the pro genitor of any of the same name who may happen to be
better furnished with worldly gear than themselves. Buthereall
are equal who know how to conduct themselves with propriety; and
Oliver Edwards comes into my family on a footing with both the high
sheriff and the judge.”

“Well‘DukeI call this democracynot republicanism; but I say
nothing; only let him keep within the lawor I shall show him that
the freedom of even this country is under wholesome restraint.”

“SurelyDickonyou will not execute till I condemn! But what says
Bess to the new inmate? We must pay a deference to the ladies in this
matterafter all.”

“Ohsir!” returned Elizabeth“I believe I am much like a certain
Judge Temple in this particular—not easily to be turned from my
opinion. Butto be seriousalthough I must think the introduction
of a demi-savage into the family a somewhat startling event
whomsoever you think proper to countenance may be sure of my respect.”

The Judge drew her arm more closely in his own and smiledwhile
Richard led the way through the gate of the little court-yard in the
rear of the dwellingdealing out his ambiguous warnings with his
accustomed loquacity.

On the other handthe foresters—for the three hunters
notwithstanding their difference in characterwell deserved this
common name—pursued their course along the skirts of the village in
silence. It was not until they had reached the lakeand were moving
over its frozen surface toward the foot of the mountainwhere the hut
stoodthat the youth exclaimed:

“Who could have foreseen this a month since! I have consented to serve
Marmaduke Temple—to be an inmate in the dwelling of the greatest enemy
of my race; yet what better could I do? The servitude cannot be long;
andwhen the motive for submitting to it ceases to existI will
shake it off like the dust from my feet.”

“Is he a Mingothat you will call him enemy?” said Mohegan. “The
Delaware warrior sits stilland waits the time of the Great Spirit.
He is no womanto cry out like a child.”

“WellI’m mistrustfulJohn” said Leather-Stockingin whose air
there had beenduring the whole businessa strong expression of
doubt and uncertainty. “They say that there’s new laws in the land
and I’m sartin that there’s new ways in the mountains. One hardly
knows the lakes and streamsthey’ve altered the country so much. I
must say I’m mistrustful of such smooth speakers; for I've known the
whites talk fair when they wanted the Indian lands most. This I will
saythough I’m a white myselfand was born nigh Yorkand of honest
parentstoo.”

“I will submit” said the youth; “I will forget who I am. Cease to
rememberold Moheganthat I am the descendant of a Delaware chief
who once was master of these noble hillsthese beautiful valesand
of this waterover which we tread. Yesyes; I will become his bonds
man—his slaveIs it not an honorable servitudeold man?”

“Old man!” repeated the Indian solemnlyand pausing in his walkas
usualwhen much excited; “yesJohn is old. Son of my brother! if
Mohegan was youngwhen would his rifle be still? Where would the deer
hideand he not find him? But John is old; his hand is the hand of a
squaw; his tomahawk is a hatchet; brooms and baskets are his enemies—
he strikes no other. Hunger and old age come together. See Hawk-eye!


when younghe would go days and eat nothing; but should he not put
the brush on the fire nowthe blaze would go out. Take the son of
Miquon by the handand he will help you.”

“I’m not the man I wasI’ll ownChingachgook” returned the Leather-
Stocking; “but I can go without a meal nowon occasion. When we
tracked the Iroquois through the ‘Beech-woods’ they drove the game
afore themfor I hadn’t a morsel to eat from Monday morning come
Wednesday sundownand then I shot as fat a buckon the Pennsylvany
lineas ever mortal laid eyes on. It would have done your heart good
to have seen the Delaware eat; for I was out scouting and skrimmaging
with their tribe at the time. Lord! The Indiansladlay stilland
just waited till Providence should send them their gamebut I foraged
aboutand put a deer upand put him down tooafore he had made a
dozen jumps. I was too weak and too ravenous to stop for his flesh
so I took a good drink of his bloodand the Indians ate of his meat
raw. John was thereand John knows. But then starvation would be
apt to be too much for me nowI will ownthough I’m no great eater
at any time.”

“Enough is saidmy friend” cried the youth. “I feel that everywhere
the sacrifice is required at my handsand it shall be made; but say
no moreI entreat you; I can not bear this subject now.”

His companions were silent; and they soon reached the hutwhich they
enteredafter removing certain complicated and ingenious fastenings
that were put there apparently to guard a property of but very little
value. Immense piles of snow lay against the log walls of this
secluded habitation on one side; while fragments of small treesand
branches of oak and chestnutthat had been torn from their parent
stems by the windswere thrown into a pile on the other. A small
column of smoke rose through a chimney of stickscemented with clay
along the side of the rockand had marked the snow above with its
dark tingesin a wavy linefrom the point of emission to an other
where the hill receded from the brow of a precipiceand held a soil
that nourished trees of a gigantic growththat overhung the little
bottom beneath.

The remainder of the day passed off as such days are commonly spent in
a new country. The settlers thronged to the academy againto witness
the second effort of Mr. Grant; and Mohegan was one of his hearers.
Butnot withstanding the divine fixed his eyes intently on the Indian
when he invited his congregation to advance to the tablethe shame of
last night’s abasement was yet too keen in the old chief to suffer him
to move.

When the people were dispersingthe clouds that had been gathering
all the morning were dense and dirtyand before half of the curious
congregation had reached their different cabinsthat were placed in
every glen and hollow of the mountainsor perched on the summits of
the hills themselvesthe rain was falling in torrents. The dark
edges of the stumps began to exhibit themselvesas the snow settled
rapidly; the fences of logs and brushwhich before had been only
traced by long lines of white moundsthat ran across the valley and
up the mountainspeeped out from their coveringand the black stubs
were momentarily becoming more distinctas large masses of snow and
ice fell from their sidesunder the influence of the thaw.

Sheltered in the warm hall of her father’s comfortable mansion
Elizabethaccompanied by Louisa Grantlooked abroad with admiration
at the ever-varying face of things without. Even the villagewhich
had just before been glittering with the color of the frozen element
reluctantly dropped its maskand the houses exposed their dark roofs
and smoked chimneys. The pines shook off the covering of snowand


everything seemed to he assuming its proper hues with a transition
that bordered on the supernatural.

CHAPTER XIX.

“And yetpoor Edwin was no vulgar boy.”—Beattie.

The close of Christmas DayA.D. 1793was tempestuousbut
comparatively warm. When darkness had again hid the objects in the
village from the gaze of Elizabethshe turned from the windowwhere
she had remained while the least vestige of light lingered over the
tops of the dark pineswith a curiosity that was rather excited than
appeased by the passing glimpses of woodland scenery that she had
caught during the day.

With her arm locked in that of Miss Grantthe young mistress of the
mansion walked slowly up and down the hallmusing on scenes that were
rapidly recurring to her memoryand possibly dwellingat timesin
the sanctuary of her thoughtson the strange occurrences that had led
to the introduction to her father’s family of one whose Manners so
singularly contradicted the inferences to be drawn from his situation.
The expiring heat of the apartment—for its great size required a day
to reduce its temperature—had given to her cheeks a bloom that
exceeded their natural colorwhile the mild and melancholy features
of Louisa were brightened with a faint tingethatlike the hectic of
diseasegave a painful interest to her beauty.

The eyes of the gentlemenwho were yet seated around the rich wines
of Judge Templefrequently wandered from the tablethat was placed
at one end of the hallto the forms that were silently moving over
its length. Much mirthand thatat timesof a boisterous kind
proceeded from the mouth of Richard; but Major Hartmann was not yet
excited to his pitch of merrimentand Marmaduke respected the
presence of his clerical guest too much to indulge in even the
innocent humor that formed no small ingredient in his character.

Such wereand such continued to bethe pursuits of the partyfor
half an hour after the shutters were closedand candles were placed
in various parts of the hallas substitutes for departing daylight.
The appearance of Benjaminstaggering under the burden of an armful
of woodwas the first interruption to the scene.

“How nowMaster Pump!” roared the newly appointed sheriff; “is there
not warmth enough in ‘Duke’s best Madeira to keep up the animal heat
through this thaw? Rememberold boythat the Judge is particular
with his beech and maplebeginning to dread already a scarcity of the
precious articles. Ha! ha! ha! ‘Dukeyou are a goodwarm-hearted
relationI will ownas in duty boundbut you have some queer
notions about youafter all. ‘Comelet us be jollyand cast away
folly.”

The notes gradually sank into a humwhile the major-domo threw down
his loadandturning to his interrogator with an air of earnestness
replied:

“Whylook youSquire Dickonmayhap there’s a warm latitude round
about the table therethof it’s not the stuff to raise the heat in my
bodyneither; the raal Jamaiky being the only thing to do that
besides good woodor some such matter as Newcastle coal. Butif I


know anything of the weatherd’ye seeit’s time to be getting all
snogand for putting the ports in and stirring the fires a bit.
Mayhap I’ve not followed the seas twenty-seven yearsand lived
another seven in these here woodsfor nothinggemmen.”

“Whydoes it bid fair for a change in the weatherBenjamin?”
inquired the master of the house.

“There’s a shift of windyour honor” returned the steward; “and when
there’s a shift of windyou may look for a change in this here
climate. I was aboard of one of Rodney’s fleetdye seeabout the
time we licked De GrasseMounsheer Lor Quaw’s countrymanthere; and
the wind was here at the south’ard and east'ard; and I was below
mixing a toothful of hot stuff for the captain of marineswho dined
dye seein the cabinthat there very same day; and I suppose he
wanted to put out the captain’s fire with a gun-room ingyne; and so
just as I got it to my own likingafter tasting pretty oftenfor the
soldier was difficult to pleaseslap came the foresail agin’ the
mastwhiz went the ship round on her heellike a whirligig. And a
lucky thing was it that our helm was down; for as she gathered
starnway she paid offwhich was more than every ship in the fleet
didor could do. But she strained herself in the trough of the sea
and she shipped a deal of water over her quarter. I never swallowed
so much clear water at a time in my life as I did thenfor I was
looking up the after-hatch at the instant.”

“I wonderBenjaminthat you did not die with a dropsy!” said
Marmaduke.

“I moughtJudge” said the old tarwith a broad grin; “but there was
no need of the medicine chest for a cure; foras I thought the brew
was spoilt for the marine’s tasteand there was no telling when
another sea might come and spoil it for mine. I finished the mug on
the spot. So then all hands was called to the pumpsand there we
began to ply the pumps—”

“Wellbut the weather?” interrupted Marmaduke;

“what of the weather without doors?”

“Why here the wind has been all day at the southand now there’s a
lullas if the last blast was out of the bellows; and there’s a
streak along the mountainsto the northardthatjust nowwasn’t
wider than the bigness of your hand; and then the clouds drive afore
it as you’d brail a mainsailand the stars are heaving in sightlike
so many lights and beaconsput there to warn us to pile on the wood;
andif so be that I’m a judge of weatherit’s getting to be time to
build on a fireor you'll have half of them there porter bottlesand
them dimmyjohns of winein the locker herebreaking with the frost
afore the morning watch is called.”

“Thou art a prudent sentinel” said the Judge. “Act thy pleasure with
the forestsfor this night at feast.”

Benjamin did as he was ordered; nor had two hours elapsedbefore the
prudence of his precautions became very visible. The south wind had
indeedblown itself cutand it was succeeded by the calmness that
usually gave warning of a serious change in the weather. Long before
the family retired to restthe cold had become cuttingly severe; and
when Monsieur Le Quoi sallied c forth under a bright moonto seek his
own abodehe was compelled to beg a blanketin which he might
envelop c his formin addition to the numerous garments that his
sagacity had provided for the occasion. The divine and s his daughter
remained as inmates of the mansion-house during the nightand the


excess of last night’s merriment c induced the gentlemen to make an
early retreat to their several apartmentsLong before midnightthe
whole s family were invisible.

Elizabeth and her friend had not yet lost their senses in sleepand
the howlings of the northwest wind were heard around the buildings
and brought with them that exquisite sense of comfort that is ever
excited under such circumstancesin an apartment where the fire has
not yet ceased to glimmerand curtainsand shuttersand feathers
unite to preserve the desired temperature. Oncejust as her eyes had
openedapparently in the last stage of drowsinessthe roaring winds
brought with them a long and plaintive howlthat seemed too wild for
a dogand yet resembled the cries of that faithful animalwhen night
awakens his vigilanceand gives sweetness and solemnity to its
charms. The form of Louis Grant instinctively pressed nearer to that
of the young heiresswhofinding her companion was yet awakesaid
in a low toneas if afraid to break a charm with her voice:

“Those distant cries are plaintiveand even beautiful. Can they be
the hounds from the hut of Leather-Stocking?”

“They are wolveswho have ventured from the mountainon the lake”
whispered Louisa“and who are only kept from the village by the
lights. One nightsince we have been herehunger drove them to our
very door. Ohwhat a dreadful night it was! But the riches of Judge
Temple have given him too many safeguardsto leave room for fear in
this house.”

“The enterprise of Judge Temple is taming the very forests!” exclaimed
Elizabeththrowing off the coveringand partly rising in the bed.
“How rapidly is civilization treading on the foot of Nature!” she
continuedas her eye glanced over not only the comfortshut the
luxuries of her apartmentand her ear again listened to the distant.
but often repeated howls from the lake. Findinghow-everthat the
timidity of her companion rendered the sounds painful to her
Elizabeth resumed her placeand soon forgot the changes in the
countrywith those in her own conditionin a deep sleep.

The following morningthe noise of the female servantwho entered
the apartment to light the fireawoke the females. They aroseand
finished the slight preparations I of their toilets in a clearcold
atmospherethat penetrated through all the defences of even Miss
Temple’s warm room. When Elizabeth was attiredshe approached a
window and drew its curtainand throwing open its shutters she
endeavored to look abroad on the village and the lake. But a thick
covering of frost on the glasswhile it admitted the lightshut out
the view. She raised the sashand thenindeeda glorious scene met
her delighted eye.

The lake had exchanged its covering of unspotted snow for a face of
dark icethat reflected the rays of the rising sun like a polished
mirror. The houses clothed in a dress of the same descriptionbut
whichowing to its positionshone like bright steel; while the
enormous icicles that were pendent from every roof caught the
brilliant lightapparently throwing it from one to the otheras each
glitteredon the side next the luminarywith a golden lustre that
melted awayon its oppositeinto the dusky shades of a background.
But it was the appearance of the boundless forests that covered the
hills as they rose in the distanceone over the otherthat most
attracted the gaze of Miss Temple. The huge branches of the pines and
hemlocks bent with the weight of the ice they supportedwhile their
summits rose above the swelling tops of the oaksbeechesand maples
like spires of burnished silver issuing from domes of the same
material. The limits of the viewin the westwere marked by an


undulating outline of bright lightas ifreversing the order of
naturenumberless suns might momentarily he expected to heave above
the horizon. In the foreground of the picturealong the shores of
the lakeand near to the villageeach tree seemed studded with
diamonds. Even the sides of the mountains where the rays of the sun
could not yet fallwere decorated with a glassy coatthat presented
every gradation of brilliancyfrom the first touch of the luminary to
the dark foliage of the hemlockglistening through its coat of
crystal. In shortthe whole view was one scene of quivering
radiancyas lakemountainsvillageand woodseach emitted a
portion of lighttinged with its peculiar hueand varied by its
position and its magnitude.

“See!” cried Elizabeth; “seeLouisa; hasten to the windowand
observe the miraculous change!”

Miss Grant complied; andafter bending for a moment in silence from
the openingshe observedin a low toneas if afraid to trust the
sound of her voice:

“The change is indeed wonderful! I am surprised that he should be able
to effect it so soon.”

Elizabeth turned in amazementto hear so skeptical a sentiment from
one educated like her companion; but was surprised to find that
instead of looking at the viewthe mild blue eyes of Miss Grant were
dwelling on the form of a well-dressed young manwho was standing –
before the door of the buildingin earnest conversation with her
father. A second look was necessary before she was able to recognize
the person of the young hunter in a plainbut assuredly the ordinary
garb of a gentleman.

“Everything in this magical country seems to border on the
marvellous” said Elizabeth; “andamong all the changesthis is
certainly not the least wonderfulThe actors are as unique as the
scenery.”

Miss Grant colored and drew in her head.

“I am a simple country girlMiss Templeand I am afraid you will
find me but a poor companion” she said. “I—I am not sure that I
understand all you say. But I really thought that you wished me to
notice the alteration in Mr. EdwardsIs it not more wonderful when we
recollect his origin? They say he is part Indian.”

“He is a genteel savage; but let us go downand give the sachem his
tea; for I suppose he is a descendant of King Philipif not a
grandson of Pocahontas.”

The ladies were met in the hall by Judge Templewho took his daughter
aside to apprise her of that alteration in the appearance of their new
inmatewith which she was already acquainted.

“He appears reluctant to converse on his former situation” continued
Marmaduke “but I gathered from his discourseas is apparent from his
mannerthat he has seen better days; and I am really inclining to the
opinion of Richardas to his origin; for it was no unusual thing for
the Indian agents to rear their children in a laudable mannerand—”

“Very wellmy dear sir” interrupted his daughterlaughing and
averting her eyes; “it is all well enoughI dare say; butas I do
not understand a word of the Mohawk language he must be content to
speak English; and as for his behaviorI trust to your discernment to
control it.”


“Ay! butBess” cried the judgedetaining her gently by the hand
“nothing must be said to him of his past life. This he has begged
particularly of meas a favorHe isperhapsa little souredjust
nowwith his wounded arm; the injury seems very lightand another
time he may be more communicative”

“Oh! I am not much troubledsirwith that laudable thirst after
knowledge that is called curiosity. I shall believe him to he the
child of Corn-stalkor Corn-planteror some other renowned
chieftain; possibly of the Big Snake himself; and shall treat him as
such until he sees fit to shave his good-looking headborrow some
half-dozen pair of my best earringsshoulder his rifle againand
disappear as suddenly as he made his entrance. So comemy dear sir
and let us not forget the rites of hospitalityfor the short time he
is to remain with us.”

Judge Temple smiled at the playfulness of his childand taking her
arm they entered the breakfast parlorwhere the young hunter was
seated with an air that showed his determination to domesticate
himself in the family with as little parade as possible.

Such were the incidents that led to this extraordinary increase in the
family of Judge Templewherehaving once established the youththe
subject of our tale requires us to leave him for a timeto pursue
with diligence and intelligence the employments that were assigned him
by Marmaduke.

Major Hartmann made his customary visitand took his leave of the
party for the next three months. Mr. Grant was compelled to be absent
most of his timein remote parts of the countryand his daughter
became almost a constant visitor at the mansion-house. Richard
enteredwith his constitutional eagernesson the duties of his new
office; andas Marmaduke was much employed with the constant
applications of adventures for farmsthe winter passed swiftly away.
The lake was the principal scene f or the amusements of the young
people; where the ladiesin their one-horse cutterdriven by
Richardand attendedwhen the snow would admit of itby young Ed
wards on his skatesspent many hours taking the benefit of exercise
in the clear air of the hills. The reserve of the youth gradually
gave way to time and his situationthough it was still evidentto a
close observerthat he had frequent moments of bitter and intense
feeling.

Elizabeth saw many large openings appear in the sides of the mountains
during the three succeeding monthswhere different settlers hadin
the language of the country “made their pitch” while the numberless
sleighs that passed through the villageloaded with wheat and barrels
of potashesafforded a clear demonstration that all these labors were
not undertaken in vain. In shortthe whole country was exhibiting
the bustle of a thriving settlementwhere the highways were thronged
with sleighsbearing piles of rough household furniturestudded
here and therewith the smiling faces of women and childrenhappy in
the excitement of novelty; or with loads of producehastening to the
common market at Albanythat served as so many snares to induce the
emigrants to enter into those wild mountains in search of competence
and happiness.

The village was alive with businessthe artisans in creasing in
wealth with the prosperity of the countryand each day witnessing
some nearer approach to the manners and usages of an old-settled town.
The man who carried the mail or “the post” as he was calledtalked
much of running a stageandonce or twice during the winterhe was
seen taking a single passengerin his cutterthrough the snow-banks


toward the Mohawkalong which a regular vehicle glidedsemi-weekly
with the velocity of lightningand under the direction of a knowing
whip from the “down countries” Toward springdivers familieswho
had been into the “old States” to see their relativesreturned in
time to save the snowfrequently bringing with them whole
neighborhoodswho were tempted by their representations to leave the
farms of Connecticut and Massachusettsto make a trial of fortune in
the woods.


During all this timeOliver Edwardswhose sudden elevation excited
no surprise in that changeful countrywas earnestly engaged in the
service of Marmadukeduring the days; but his nights were often spent
in the hut of Leather-Stocking. The intercourse between the three
hunters was maintained with a certain air of mysteryit is truebut
with much zeal and apparent interest to all the parties. Even Mohegan
seldom came to the mansion-houseand Natty never; but Edwards sought
every leisure moment to visit his former abodefrom which he would
often return in the gloomy hours of night. through the snoworif
detained beyond the time at which the family retired to restwith the
morning sun. These visits certainly excited much speculation in those
to whom they were knownbut no comments were madeexcepting
occasionally in whispers from Richardwho would say:


“It is not at all remarkable; a half-breed can never be weaned from
the savage ways—andfor one of his lineagethe boy is much nearer
civilization than couldin reasonbe expected.”


CHAPTER XX.


“Away! nor let me loiter in my song
For we have many a mountain-path to tread.”—Byron.


As the spring gradually approachedthe immense piles of snow thatby
alternate thaws and frostsand repeated stormshad obtained a
firmness which threatened a tiresome durabilitybegan to yield to the
influence of milder breezes and a warmer sun. The gates of heaven at
times seemed to openand a bland air diffused itself over the earth
when animate and inanimate nature would awakenandfor a few hours
the gayety of spring shone in every eye and smiled on every field.
But the shivering blasts from the north would carry their chill
influence over the scene againand the dark and gloomy clouds that
intercepted the rays of the sun were not more cold and dreary than the
reaction. These struggles between the seasons became daily more
frequentwhile the earthlike a victim to contentionslowly lost
the animated brilliancy of winterwithout obtaining the aspect of
spring.


Several weeks were consumed in this cheerless mannerduring which the
inhabitants of the country gradually changed their pursuits from the
social and bustling movements of the time of snow to the laborious and
domestic engagements of the coming seasonThe village was no longer
thronged with visitors; the trade that had enlivened the shops for
several monthsbegan to disappear; the highways lost their shining
coats of beaten snow in impassable sloughsand were deserted by the
gay and noisy travellers whoin sleighshadduring the winter
glided along their windings; andin shorteverything seemed
indicative of a mighty changenot only in the earthbut in those who
derived their sources of comfort and happiness from its bosom.



The younger members of the family in the mansion houseof which
Louisa Grant was now habitually onewere by no means indifferent
observers of these fluctuating and tardy changes. While the snow
rendered the roads passablethey had partaken largely in the
amusements of the winterwhich included not only daily rides over the
mountainsand through every valley within twenty miles of thembut
divers ingenious and varied sources of pleasure on the bosom of their
frozen lake. There had been excursions in the equipage of Richard
when with his four horses he had outstripped the windsas it flew
over the glassy ice which invariably succeeded a thaw. Then the
exciting and dangerous “whirligig” would be suffered to possess its
moment of notice. Cuttersdrawn by a single horseand handsleds
impelled by the gentlemen on skateswould each in turn be used; and
in shortevery source of relief against the tediousness of a winter
in the mountains was resorted to by the familyElizabeth was
compelled to acknowledge to her fatherthat the seasonwith the aid
of his librarywas much less irksome than she had anticipated.

As exercise in the open air was in some degree necessary to the habits
of the familywhen the constant recurrence of frosts and thaws
rendered the roadswhich were dangerous at the most favorable times
utterly impassable for wheelssaddle-horses were used as substitutes
for other conveyances. Mounted on small and sure-footed beaststhe
ladies would again attempt the passages of the mountains and penetrate
into every retired glen where the enterprise of a settler had induced
him to establish himself. In these excursions they were attended by
some one or all of the gentlemen of the familyas their different
pursuits admitted. Young Edwards was hourly becoming more
familiarized to his situationand not infrequently mingled in the
parties with an unconcern and gayety that for a short time would expel
all unpleasant recollections from his mind. Habitand the buoyancy
of youthseemed to be getting the ascendency over the secret causes
of his uneasiness; though there were moments when the same remarkable
expression of disgust would cross his intercourse with Marmadukethat
had distinguished their conversations in the first days of their
acquaintance.

It was at the close of the month of Marchthat the sheriff succeeded
in persuading his cousin and her young friend to accompany him in a
ride to a hill that was said to overhang the lake in a manner peculiar
to itself.

“BesidesCousin Bess” continued the indefatigable Richard“we will
stop and see the ‘sugar bush’ of Billy Kirby; he is on the east end of
the Ransom lotmaking sugar for Jared Ransom. There is not a better
hand over a kettle in the county than that same Kirby. You remember
‘Dukethat I had him his first season in our camp; and it is not a
wonder that he knows something of his trade.”

“He’s a good chopperis Billy” observed Benjaminwho held the
bridle of the horse while the sheriff mounted; “and he handles an axe
much the same as a forecastleman does his marling-spikeor a tailor
his goose. They say he’ll lift a potash-kettle off the arch alone
though I can’t say that I’ve ever seen him do it with my own eyes; but
that is the say. And I’ve seen sugar of his makingwhichmaybe
wasn’t as white as an old topgallant sailbut which my friend
Mistress Pettiboneswithin theresaid had the true molasses smack to
it; and you are not the oneSquire Dickensto be told that Mistress
Remarkable has a remarkable tooth for sweet things in her nutgrinder.”


The loud laugh that succeeded the wit of Benjaminand in which he
participated with no very harmonious sounds himselfvery fully
illustrated the congenial temper which existed between the pair. Most


of its point washoweverlost on the rest of the partywho were
either mounting their horses or assisting the ladies at the moment.
When all were safely in their saddlesthey moved through the village
in great order. They paused for a moment before the door of Monsieur
Le Quoiuntil he could bestride his steedand thenissuing from the
little cluster of housesthey took one of the principal of those
highways that centred in the village.

As each night brought with it a severe frostwhich the heat of the
succeeding day served to dissipatethe equestrians were compelled to
proceed singly along the margin of the roadwhere the turfand
firmness of the groundgave the horses a secure footing. Very
trifling indications of vegetation were to he seenthe surface of the
earth presenting a coldwetand cheerless aspect that chilled the
blood. The snow yet lay scattered over most of those distant
clearings that were visible in different parts of the mountains;
though here and there an opening might be seen whereas the white
covering yielded to the seasonthe bright and lively green of the
wheat served to enkindle the hopes of the husbandman. Nothing could
be more marked than the contrast between the earth and the heavens;
forwhile the former presented the dreary view that we have
describeda warm and invigorating sun was dispensing his heats from a
sky that contained but a solitary cloudand through an atmosphere
that softened the colors of the sensible horizon until it shone like a
sea of blue.

Richard led the way on thisas on all other occasions that did not
require the exercise of unusual abilities; and as he moved alonghe
essayed to enliven the party with the sounds of his experienced voice.

“This is your true sugar weather‘Duke” he cried; “a frosty night
and a sunshiny day. I warrant me that the sap runs like a mill-tail
up the maples this warm morning. It is a pityJudgethat you do not
introduce a little more science into the manufactory of sugar among
your tenants. It might be donesirwithout knowing as much as Dr.
Franklin—it might be doneJudge Temple.”

“The first object of my solicitudefriend Jones” returned Marmaduke
“is to protect the sources of this great mine of comfort and wealth
from the extravagance of the people themselves. When this important
point shall be achievedit will be in season to turn our attention to
an improvement in the manufacture of the articleBut thou knowest
Richardthat I have already subjected our sugar to the process of the
refinerand that the result has produced loaves as white as the snow
on yon fieldsand possessing the saccharine quality in its utmost
purity.”

“Saccharineor turpentineor any other 'ineJudge Templeyou have
never made a loaf larger than a good-sized sugar-plum” returned the
sheriff. “NowsirI assert that no experiment is fairly tried
until it be reduced to practical purposes. IfsirI owned a
hundredorfor that mattertwo hundred thousand acres of landas
you do. I would build a sugar house in the village; I would invite
learned men to an investigation of the subject—and such are easily to
be foundsir; yessirthey are not difficult to find—men who unite
theory with practice; and I would select a wood of young and thrifty
trees; andinstead of making loaves of the size of a lump of candy
dam’me‘Dukebut I’d have them as big as a haycock.”

“And purchase the cargo of one of those ships that they say are going
to China” cried Elizabeth; “turn your pot ash-kettles into teacups
the scows on the lake into saucersbake your cake in yonder limekiln
and invite the county to a tea-party. How wonderful are the
projects of genius! Reallysirthe world is of opinion that Judge


Temple has tried the experiment fairlythough he did not cause his
loaves to be cast in moulds of the magnitude that would suit your
magnificent conceptions.”

“You may laughCousin Elizabeth—you may laughmadam” retorted
Richardturning himself so much in his saddle as to face the party
and making dignified gestures with his whip; “but I appeal to common
sensegood senseorwhat is of more importance than eitherto the
sense of tastewhich is one of the five natural senseswhether a big
loaf of sugar is not likely to contain a better illustration of a
proposition than such a lump as one of your Dutch women puts under her
tongue when she drinks her tea. There are two ways of doing
everythingthe right way and the wrong way. You make sugar nowI
will admitand you maypossiblymake loaf-sugar; but I take the
question to bewhether you make the best possible sugarand in the
best possible loaves.”

“Thou art very rightRichard” observed Marmadukewith a gravity in
his air that proved how much he was interested in the subject. “It is
very true that we manufacture sugarand the inquiry is quite useful
how much? and in what manner? I hope to live to see the day when farms
and plantations shall be devoted to this branch of business. Little
is known concerning the properties of the tree itselfthe source of
all this wealth; how much it may be improved by cultivationby the
use of the hoe and plough.”

“Hoe and plough!” roared the sheriff; “would you set a man hoeing
round the root of a maple like this?” pointing to one of the noble
trees that occur so frequently in that part of the country. “Hoeing
trees! are you mad‘Duke? This is next to hunting for coal! Poh! poh!
my dear cousinhear reasonand leave the management of the sugarbush
to me. Here is Mr. Le Quoi—he has been in the West Indiesand
has seen sugar made. Let him give an account of how it is made there
and you will hear the philosophy of the thing. Wellmonsieurhow is
it that you make sugar in the West Indies; anything in Judge Temples
fashion?”

The gentleman to whom this query was put was mounted on a small horse
of no very fiery temperamentand was riding with his stirrups so
short as to bring his kneeswhile the animal rose a small ascent in
the wood-path they were now travellinginto a somewhat hazardous
vicinity to his chin. There was no room for gesticulation or grace in
the delivery of his replyfor the mountain was steep and slippery;
andalthough the Frenchman had an eye of uncommon magnitude on either
side of his facethey did not seem to be half competent to forewarn
him of the impediments of bushestwigsand fallen treesthat were
momentarily crossing his path. With one hand employed in averting
these dangersand the other grasping his bridle to check an untoward
speed that his horse was assumingthe native of France responded as
follows:

“Sucre! dey do make sucre in Martinique; mais—mais ce n’est pas one
tree—ah—ah—vat you call—je voudrois que ces chemins fussent au diable

-vat you call—steeck pour la promenade?”
“Cane” said Elizabethsmiling at the imprecation which the wary
Frenchman supposed was understood only by himself.
“Ouimam’sellecane.”
“Yesyes” cried Richard“cane is the vulgar name for itbut the
real term is saccharum officinarum; and what we call the sugaror
hard mapleis acer saccharinum. These are the learned names
monsieurand are such asdoubtlessyou well understand.”
“Is this Greek or LatinMr. Edwards?” whispered Elizabeth to the
youthwho was opening a passage for herself and her companions


through the bushes“or per haps it is a still more learned language
for an interpretation of which we must look to you.”


The dark eye of the young man glanced toward the speakerbut its
resentful expression changed in a moment.


“I shall remember your doubtsMiss Templewhen next I visit my old
friend Moheganand either his skillor that of Leather-Stocking
shall solve them.”


“And are youthenreally ignorant of their language?”


“Not absolutely; but the deep learning of Mr. Jones is more familiar
to meor even the polite masquerade of Monsieur Le Quoi.”


“Do you speak French?” said the ladywith quickness.


“It is a common language with the Iroquoisand through the Canadas”
he answeredsmiling.


“Ah! but they are Mingoesand your enemies.”


“It will be well for me if I have no worse” said the youthdashing
ahead with his horseand putting an end to the evasive dialogue.


The discoursehoweverwas maintained with great vigor by Richard
until they reached an open wood on the summit of the mountainwhere
the hemlocks and pines totally disappearedand a grove of the very
trees that formed the subject of debate covered the earth with their
tallstraight trunks and spreading branchesin stately pride. The
underwood had been entirely removed from this groveor bushasin
conjunction with the simple arrangements for boilingit was called
and a wide space of many acres was clearedwhich might be likened to
the dome of a mighty templeto which the maples formed the columns
their tops composing the capitals and the heavens the arch. A deep
and careless incision had been made into each treenear its root
into which little spoutsformed of the I bark of the alderor of the
sumachwere fastened; and a troughroughly dug out of the lindenor
basswoodwas I lying at the root of each treeto catch the sap that
flowed from this extremely wasteful and inartificial arrangement.


The party paused a momenton gaining the flatto breathe their
horsesandas the scene was entirely new to several of their
numberto view the manner of collecting the fluid. A finepowerful
voice aroused them from their momentary silenceas it rang under the
branches of the treessinging the following words of that inimitable
doggerelwhose versesif extendedwould reach from the Caters of
the Connecticut to the shores of Ontario. The tune wasof coursea
familiar air whichalthough it is said to have been first applied to
this nation in derisioncircumstances have since rendered so glorious
that no American ever hears its jingling cadence without feeling
a thrill at his heart:


“The Eastern States be full of men
The Western Full of woodssir
The hill be like a cattle-pen
The roads be full of goodssir!
Then flow awaymy sweety sap
And I will make you boily;
Nor catch a wood man’s hasty nap
For fear you should get roily.
The maple-tree's a precious one
‘Tis fuelfoodand timber;
And when your stiff day’s work is done



Its juice will make you limber
Then flow awayetc.


“And what’s a man without his glass.
His wife without her teasir?
But neither cup nor mug will pass
Without his honey-beesir!
Then flow away” etc.


During the execution of this sonorous doggerelRichard kept time with
his whip on the mane of his chargeraccompanying the gestures with a
corresponding movement of his head and body. Toward the close of the
songhe was overheard humming the chorusandat its last
repetitionto strike in at “sweety sap’ and carry a second through
with a prodigious addition to the “effect” of the noiseif not to
that of the harmony.


“Well done us!” roared the sheriffon the same key with the tune; “a
very good songBilly Kirbyand very well sung. Where got you the
wordslad? Is there more of itand can you furnish me with a copy?”
The sugar-boilerwho was busy in his “camp” at a short distance from
the equestriansturned his head with great indifferenceand surveyed
the partyas they approachedwith admirable coolness. To each
individualas he or she rode close by himhe gave a nod that was
extremely good-natured and affablebut which partook largely of the
virtue of equalityfor not even to the ladies
did he in the least vary his mode of salutationby touching the
apology for a hat that he woreor by any other motion than the one we
have mentioned.


“How goes ithow goes itsheriff?” said the wood-chopper; “what’s
the good word in the village?”


“Whymuch as usualBilly” returned Richard. “But how is this?
where are your four kettlesand your troughsand your iron coolers?
Do you make sugar in this slovenly way? I thought you were one of the
best sugar-boilers in the county.”


“I’m all thatSquire Jones” said Kirbywho continued his
occupation; “I’ll turn my back to no man in the Otsego hills for
chopping and loggingfor boiling down the maple sapfor tending
brick-kilnsplitting out railsmaking potashand parling tooor
hoeing corn; though I keep myself pretty much to the first business
seeing that the axe comes most natural to me.”


“You be von Jack All-tradeMister Beel” said Monsieur Le Quoi.


“How?” said Kirbylooking up with a simplicity whichcoupled with
his gigantic frame and manly facewas a little ridiculous“if you be
for trademounsherhere is some as good sugar as you’ll find the
season through. It’s as clear from dirt as the Jarman Flats is free
from stumpsand it has the raal maple flavor. Such stuff would sell
in York for candy.”


The Frenchman approached the place where Kirby had deposited his cake
of sugarunder the cover of a bark roofand commenced the
examination of the article with the eye of one who well understood its
value. Marmaduke had dismountedand was viewing the works and the
trees very closelyand not without frequent expressions of
dissatisfaction at the careless manner in which the manufacture was
conducted.


“You have much experience in these thingsKirby” he said; “what
course do you pursue in making your sugar? I see you have but two



kettles.”

“Two is as good as two thousandJudge. I’m none of your polite
sugar-makersthat boils for the great folks; but if the raal sweet
maple is wantedI can answer your turn. FirstI chooseand then I
tap my trees; say along about the last of Februaryor in these
mountains maybe not afore the middle of March; but anywayjust as the
sap begins to cleverly run—”

“Wellin this choice” interrupted Marmaduke“are you governed by
any outward signs that prove the quality of the tree?”

“Whythere’s judgment in all things” said Kirbystirring the liquor
in his kettles briskly. “There’s some thing in knowing when and how
to stir the pot. It’s a thing that must be larnt. Rome wasn’t built
in a daynor for that matter Templeton eitherthough it may be said
to be a quick-growing place. I never put my axe into a stunty tree
or one that hasn’t a goodfresh-looking bark: for trees have
disorderslike creatur’s; and where’s the policy of taking a tree
that’s sicklyany more than you’d choose a foundered horse to ride
postor an over heated ox to do your logging?”

“All that is true. But what are the signs of illness? how do you
distinguish a tree that is well from one that is diseased?”

“How does the doctor tell who has fever and who colds?” interrupted
Richard. “By examining the skinand feeling the pulseto be sure.”

“Sartain” continued Billy; “the squire ain’t far out of the way.
It’s by the look of the thingsure enough. Wellwhen the sap begins
to get a free runI hang over the kettlesand set up the bush. My
first boiling I push pretty smartlytill I get the virtue of the sap;
but when it begins to grow of a molasses naterlike this in the
kettleone mustn’t drive the fires too hardor you’ll burn the
sugar; and burny sugar is bad to the tastelet it be never so sweet.
So you ladle out from one kettle into the other till it gets sowhen
you put the stirring-stick into itthat it will draw into a thread—
when it takes a kerful hand to manage it. There is a way to drain it
offafter it has grainedby putting clay into the pans; bitt it
isn’t always practised; some doos and some doosn’t. Wellmounsher
be we likely to make a trade?”

“I will give youMister Etelfor von pounddix sous.”

“NoI expect cash for it; I never dicker my sugarButseeing that
it’s youmounsher” said Billywith a Coaxing smile“I'll agree to
receive a gallon of rumand cloth enough for two shirts if you’ll
take the molasses in the bargain. It’s raal good. I wouldn’t deceive
you or any man and to my drinking it’s about the best molasses that
come out of a sugar-bush.”

“Mr. Le Quoi has offered you ten pence” said young Edwards.

The manufacturer stared at the speaker with an air of great freedom
but made no reply.

“Oui” said the Frenchman“ten penny. Jevausraner ciemonsieur: ah!
mon Anglois! je l'oublie toujours.”

The wood-chopper looked from one to the other with some displeasure;
and evidently imbibed the opinion that they were amusing themselves at
his expense. He seized the enormous ladlewhich was lying on one of
his kettlesand began to stir the boiling liquid with great
diligence. After a moment passed in dipping the ladle fulland then


raising it on highas the thick rich fluid fell back into the kettle
he suddenly gave it a whirlas if to cool what yet remainedand
offered the bowl to Mr. Le Quoisaying:

‘Taste thatmounsherand you will say it is worth more than you
offer. The molasses itself would fetch the money”

The complaisant Frenchmanafter several timid efforts to trust his
lips in contact with the howl of the ladlegot a good swallow of the
scalding liquid. He clapped his hands on his breastand looked most
piteously at the ladiesfor a single instant; and thento use the
language oft Billywhen he afterward recounted the tale“no
drumsticks ever went faster on the skin of a sheep than the
Frenchman’s legsfor a round or two; and then such swearing and
spitting in French you never saw. But it’s a knowing onefrom the
old countriesthat thinks to get his jokes smoothly over a woodchopper.”


The air of innocence with which Kirby resumed the occupation of
stirring the contents of his kettles would have completely deceived
the spectators as to his agency in the temporary sufferings of Mr. Le
Quoihad not the reckless fellow thrust his tongue into his cheek
and cast his eyes over the partywith a simplicity of expression that
was too exquisite to be natural. Mr. Le Quoi soon recovered his
presence of mind and his decorum; and he briefly apologized to the
ladies for one or two very intemperate expressions that had escaped
him in a moment of extraordinary excitementandremounting his
horsehe continued in the background during the remainder of the
visitthe wit of Kirby putting a violent terminationat onceto all
negotiations on the subject of trade. During all this timeMarmaduke
had been wandering about the grovemaking observations on his
favorite treesand the wasteful manner in which the wood-chopper
conducted his manufacture.

“It grieves me to witness the extravagance that pervades this
country” said the Judge“where the settlers trifle with the
blessings they might enjoywith the prodigality of successful
adventurers. You are not exempt from the censure yourselfKirbyfor
you make dreadful wounds in these trees where a small incision would
effect the same object. I earnestly beg you will remember that they
are the growth of centuriesand when once gone none living will see
their loss remedied.”

“WhyI don’t knowJudge” returned the man he ad dressed; “it seems
to meif there’s plenty of anything in this mountaynious country
it’s the trees. If there’s any sin in chopping themI’ve a pretty
heavy account to settle; for I’ve chopped over the best half of a
thousand acreswith my own handscounting both Varmount and York
States; and I hope to live to finish the whullbefore I lay up my
axe. Chopping comes quite natural to meand I wish no other
employment; but Jared Ransom said that he thought the sugar was likely
to be source this seasonseeing that so many folks was coming into
the settlementand so I concluded to take the ‘bush’ on sheares for
this one spring. What’s the best newsJudgeconsarning ashes? do
pots hold so that a man can live by them still? I s’pose they willif
they keep on fighting across the water.”

“Thou reasonest with judgmentWilliam” returned Marmaduke. “So long
as the Old Worm is to be convulsed with warsso long will the harvest
of America continue.”

“Wellit’s an ill windJudgethat blows nobody any good. I’m sure
the country is in a thriving way; and though I know you calkilate
greatly on the treessetting as much store by them as some men would


by their childrenyet to my eyes they are a sore sight any time
unless I'm privileged to work my will on them: in which case I can’t
say but they are more to my liking. I have heard the settlers from
the old countries say that their rich men keep great oaks and elms
that would make a barrel of pots to the treestanding round their
doors and humsteds and scattered over their farmsjust to look at.
NowI call no country much improved that is pretty well covered with
trees. Stumps are a different thingfor they don’t shade the land;
andbesidesyou dig them—they make a fence that will turn anything
bigger than a hogbeing grand for breachy cattle.”

“Opinions on such subjects vary much in different countries” said
Marmaduke; “but it is not as ornaments that I value the noble trees of
this country; it is for their usefulness We are stripping the forests
as if a single year would replace what we destroy. But the hour
approaches when the laws will take notice of not only the woodsbut
the game they contain also.”

With this consoling reflectionMarmaduke remountedand the
equestrians passed the sugar-campon their way to the promised
landscape of Richard. The wood-chop-per was left alonein the bosom
of the forestto pursue his labors. Elizabeth turned her headwhen
they reached the point where they were to descend the mountainand
thought that the slow fires that were glimmering under his enormous
kettleshis little brush sheltercovered with pieces of hemlock
barkhis gigantic sizeas he wielded his ladle with a steady and
knowing airaided by the back-ground of stately treeswith their
spouts and troughsformedaltogetherno unreal picture of human
life in its first stages of civilization. Perhaps whatever the scene
possessed of a romantic character was not injured by the powerful
tones of Kirby’s voice ringing through the woods as he again awoke his
strains to another tunewhich was but little more scientific than the
former. All that she understood of the words were:

“And when the proud forest is fallingTo my oxen cheerfully calling
From morn until night I am bawlingWhoaback thereand haw and gee;
Till our labor is mutually endedBy my strength and cattle
befriendedAnd against the mosquitoes defended By the bark of the
walnut-trees. Away! thenyou lads who would buy land; Choose the oak
that grows on the high landor the silvery pine on the dry landit
matters but little to me.”

CHAPTER XXI.

“Speed! Malisespeed! such cause of haste
Thine active sinews never braced. “—Scott.

The roads of Otsegoif we except the principal high wayswereat
the early day of our talebut little better than wood-paths. The
high trees that were growing on the very verge of the wheel-tracks
excluded the sun’s raysunless at meridian; and the slowness of the
evaporationunited with the rich mould of vegetable decomposition
that covered the whole country to the depth of several inches
occasioned but an indifferent foundation for the footing of
travellers. Added to these were the inequalities of a natural
surfaceand the constant recurrence of enormous and slippery roots
that were laid bare by the removal of the light soiltogether with
stumps of treesto make a passage not only difficult but dangerous.
Yet the riders among these numerous obstructionswhich were such as


would terrify an unpracticed eyegave no demonstrations of uneasiness
as their horses toiled through the sloughs or trotted with uncertain
paces along the dark route. In many places the marks on the trees
were the only indications of a roadwith perhaps an occasional
remnant of a pine thatby being cut close to the earthso as to
leave nothing visible but its base of rootsspreading for twenty feet
in every directionwas apparently placed there as a beacon to warn
the traveller that it was the centre of a highway.

Into one of these roads the active sheriff led the wayfirst striking
out of the foot-pathby which they had descended from the sugar-bush
across a little bridgeformed of round logs laid loosely on sleepers
of pinein which large openings of a formidable width were frequent.
The nag of Richardwhen it reached one of these gapslaid its nose
along the logs and stepped across the difficult passage with the
sagacity of a man; but the blooded filly which Miss Temple rode
disdained so humble a movement. She made a step or two with an
unusual cautionand thenon reaching the broadest openingobedient
to the curt and whip of her fearless mistressshe bounded across the
dangerous pass with the activity of a squirrel.

“Gentlygentlymy child” said Marmadukewho was following in the
manner of Richard; “this is not a country for equestrian feats. Much
prudence is requisite to journey through our rough paths with safety.
Thou mayst practise thy skill in horsemanship on the plains of New
Jersey with safety; but in the hills of Otsego they may be suspended
for a time.”

“I may as well then relinquish my saddle at oncedear sir” returned
his daughter; “for if it is to be laid aside until this wild country
be improvedold age will overtake meand put an end to what you term
my equestrian feats.”
“Say not somy child” returned her father; “but if thou venturest
again as in crossing this bridgeold age will never overtake thee
but I shall be left to mourn theecut off in thy pridemy Elizabeth.
If thou hadst seen this district of countryas I didwhen it lay in
the sleep of natureand bad witnessed its rapid changes as it awoke
to supply the wants of manthou wouldst curb thy impatience for a
little timethough thou shouldst not check thy steed.”

“I recollect hearing you speak of your first visit to these woodsbut
the impression is faintand blended with the confused images of
childhood. Wild and unsettled as it may yet seemit must have been a
thousand times more dreary then. Will you repeatdear sirwhat you
then thought of your enterpriseand what you felt?”

During this speech of Elizabethwhich was uttered with the fervor of
affectionyoung Edwards rode more closely to the side of the Judge
and bent his dark eyes on his countenance with an expression that
seemed to read his thoughts.

“Thou wast then youngmy childbut must remember when I left thee
and thy motherto take my first survey of these uninhabited
mountains” said Marmaduke. “But thou dost not feel all the secret
motives that can urge a man to endure privations in order to
accumulate wealth. In my case they have not been triflingand God
has been pleased to smile on my efforts. If I have encountered pain
famineand disease in accomplishing the settlement of this rough
territoryI have not the misery of failure to add to the grievances.”

“Famine!” echoed Elizabeth; “I thought this was the land of abundance!
Had you famine to contend with?”

“Even somy child” said her father. “Those who look around them


nowand see the loads of produce that issue out of every wild path in
these mountains during the season of travellingwill hardly credit
that no more than five years have elapsed since the tenants of these
woods were compelled to eat the scanty fruits of the forest to sustain
lifeandwith their unpracticed skillto hunt the beasts as food
for their starving families.”

“Ay!” cried Richardwho happened to overhear the last of this speech
between the notes of the wood-chopper’s songwhich he was endeavoring
to breathe aloud; “that was the starving-time* Cousin Bess. I grew
as lank as a weasel that falland my face was as pale as one of your
fever-and-ague visages. Monsieur Le Quoitherefell away like a
pumpkin in drying; nor do I think you have got fairly over it yet
monsieur. BenjaminI thoughtbore it with a worse grace than any of
the family; for he swore it was harder to endure than a short
allowance in the calm latitudes. Benjamin is a sad fellow to swear if
you starve him ever so little. I had half a mind to quit you then
‘Dukeand to go into Pennsylvania to fatten; butdamn itthinks I
we are sisters’ childrenand I will live or die with himafter all.”

* The author has no better apology for interrupting the interest of a
work of fiction by these desultory dialogues than that they have reference
to facts. In reviewing his workafter so many yearshe is
compelled to confess it is injured by too many allusions to incidents
that are not at all suited to satisfy the just expectations of the
general reader. One of these events is slightly touched on in the
commencement of this chapter.
More than thirty years since a very near and dear relative of the
writeran elder sister and a second motherwas killed by a fall from
a horse in a ride among the very mountains mentioned in this tale.
Few of her sex and years were more extensively known or more
universally beloved than the admirable woman who thus fell a victim to
the chances of the wilderness.
“I do not forget thy kindness” said Marmaduke“nor that we are of
one blood.”

“Butmy dear father” cried the wondering Elizabeth“was there
actual suffering? Where were the beautiful and fertile vales of the
Mohawk? Could they not furnish food for your wants?”

“It was a season of scarcity; the necessities of life commanded a high
price in Europeand were greedily sought after by the speculators.
The emigrants from the East to the West invariably passed along the
valley of the Mohawkand swept away the means of subsistence like a
swarm of locustsNor were the people on the Flats in a much better
condition. They were in want themselvesbut they spared the little
excess of provisions that nature did not absolutely requirewith the
justice of the German character. There was no grinding of the poor.
The word speculator was then unknown to them. I have seen many a
stout manbending under the load of the bag of meal which he was
carrying from the mills of the Mohawkthrough the rugged passes of
these mountainsto feed his half-famished childrenwith a heart so
lightas he approached his hutthat the thirty miles he had passed
seemed nothing. Remembermy childit was in our very infancy; we
had neither millsnor grainnor roadsnor often clearings; we had
nothing of increase but the mouths that were to be fed: for even at
that inauspicious moment the restless spirit of emigration was not
idle; naythe general scarcity which extended to the East tended to
increase the number of adventurers.”

“And howdearest fatherdidst thou encounter this dreadful evil?”
said Elizabethunconsciously adopting the dialect of her parent in
the warmth of her sympathy. “Upon thee must have fallen the


responsibilityif not the suffering.”

“It didElizabeth” returned the Judgepausing for a single moment
as if musing on his former feelings. “ I had hundreds at that
dreadful time daily looking up to me for bread. The sufferings of
their families and the gloomy prospect before them had paralyzed the
enterprise and efforts of my settlers; hunger drove them to the woods
for foodbut despair sent them at nightenfeebled and wanto a
sleepless pillow. It was not a moment for in action. I purchased
cargoes of wheat from the granaries of Pennsylvania; they were landed
at Albany and brought up the Mohawk in boats; from thence it was
transported on pack-horses into the wilderness and distributed among
my people. Seines were madeand the lakes and rivers were dragged
for fish. Something like a miracle was wrought in our favorfor
enormous shoals of herrings were discovered to have wandered five
hundred miles through the windings of the impetuous Susquehannaand
the lake was alive with their numbers. These were at length caught
and dealt out to the peoplewith proper portions of saltand from
that moment we again began to prosper.” *

* All this was literally true.
“Yes” cried Richard“and I was the man who served out the fish and
salt. When the poor devils came to receive their rationsBenjamin
who was my deputywas obliged to keep them off by stretching ropes
around mefor they smelt so of garlicfrom eating nothing but the
wild onionthat the fumes put me out often in my measurement. You
were a child thenBessand knew nothing of the matterfor great
care was observed to keep both you and your mother from suffering.
That year put me back dreadfullyboth in the breed of my hogs and of
my turkeys.”

“NoBess” cried the Judgein a more cheerful tonedisregarding the
interruption of his cousin“he who hears of the settlement of a
country knows but little of the toil and suffering by which it is
accomplished. Unimproved and wild as this district now seems to your
eyeswhat was it when I first entered the hills? I left my partythe
morning of my arrivalnear the farms of the Cherry Valleyand
following a deer-pathrode to the summit of the mountain that I have
since called Mount Vision; for the sight that there met my eyes seemed
to me as the deceptions of a dream. The fire had run over the
pinnacleand in a great measure laid open the view. The leaves were
fallenand I mounted a tree and sat for an hour looking on the silent
wilderness. Not an opening was to be seen in the boundless forest
except where the lake laylike a mirror of glass. The water was
covered by myriads of the wild-fowl that migrate with the changes in
the season; and while in my situation on the branch of the beechI
saw a bearwith her cubsdescend to the shore to drink. I had met
many deergliding through the woodsin my journey ; but not the
vestige of a man could I trace during my progressnor from my
elevated observatory. No clearingno hutnone of the winding roads
that are now to be seenwere there; nothing but mountains rising
behind mountains ; and the valleywith its surface of branches
enlivened here and there with the faded foliage of some tree that
parted from its leaves with more than ordinary reluctance. Even the
Susquehanna was then hid by the height and density of the forest.”

“And were you alone?” asked Elizabeth: “passed you the night in that
solitary state?”

“Not somy child” returned the father. “After musing on the scene
for an hourwith a mingled feeling of pleasure and desolationI left
my perch and descended the mountain. My horse was left to browse on
the twigs that grew within his reachwhile I explored the shores of


the lake and the spot where Templeton stands. A pine of more than
ordinary growth stood where my dwelling is now placed! A wind—row had
been opened through the trees from thence to the lakeand my view was
but little impeded. Under the branches of that tree I made my
solitary dinner. I had just finished my repast as I saw smoke curling
from under the mountainnear the eastern bank of the lake. It was
the only indication of the vicinity of man that I had then seen.
After much toil I made my way to the spotand found a rough cabin of
logsbuilt against the foot of a rockand bearing the marks of a
tenantthough I found no one within it—”

“It was the hut of Leather-Stocking” said Edwards quickly.

“It was; though I at first supposed it to be a habitation of the
Indians. But while I was lingering around the spot Natty made his
appearancestaggering under the carcass of a buck that he bad slain.
Our acquaintance commenced at that time; beforeI had never heard
that such a being tenanted the woods. He launched his bark canoe and
set me across the foot of the lake to the place where I had fastened
my horseand pointed out a spot where he might get a scanty browsing
until the morning; when I returned and passed the night in the cabin
of the hunter.”

Miss Temple was so much struck by the deep attention of young Edwards
during this speech that she forgot to resume her interrogations; but
the youth himself continued the discourse by asking:

“And how did the Leather-Stocking discharge the duties of a host sir?”

“Whysimply but kindlyuntil late in the eveningwhen he discovered
my name and objectand the cordiality of his manner very sensibly
diminishedorI might better saydisappeared. He considered the
introduction of the settlers as an innovation on his rightsI believe
for he expressed much dissatisfaction at the measurethough it was in
his confused and ambiguous manner. I hardly understood his objections
myselfbut supposed they referred chiefly to an interruption of the
hunting.”

“Had you then purchased the estateor were you examining it with an
intent to buy?” asked Edwardsa little abruptly.

“It had been mine for several years. It was with a view to People the
land that I visited the lake. Natty treated me hospitablybut
coldlyI thoughtafter he learned the nature of my journey. I slept
on his own bear—skinhoweverand in the morning joined my surveyors
again.”

“Said he nothing of the Indian rightssir? The Leather-Stocking is
much given to impeach the justice of the tenure by which the whites
hold the country.”

“I remember that he spoke of thembut I did not nearly comprehend
himand may have forgotten what he said; for the Indian title was
extinguished so far back as the close of the old warand if it had
not been at allI hold under the patents of the Royal Governors
confirmed by an act of our own State Legislatureand no court in the
country can affect my title.”
“Doubtlesssiryour title is both legal and equitable” returned the
youth coldlyreining his horse back and remaining silent till the
subject was changed.

It was seldom Mr. Jones suffered any conversation to continue for a
great length of time without his participation. It seems that he was
of the party that Judge Temple had designated as his surveyors; and he


embraced the opportunity of the pause that succeeded the retreat of
young Edwards to take up the discourseand with a narration of their
further proceedingsafter his own manner. As it wantedhoweverthe
interest that had accompanied the description of the Judgewe must
decline the task of committing his sentences to paper.

They soon reached the point where the promised view was to be seen.
It was one of those picturesque and peculiar scenes that belong to the
Otsegobut which required the absence of the ice and the softness of
a summer’s landscape to be enjoyed in all its beauty. Marmaduke had
early forewarned his daughter of the seasonand of its effect on the
prospect; and after casting a cursory glance at its capabilitiesthe
party returned homewardperfectly satisfied that its beauties would
repay them for the toil of a second ride at a more propitious season.

“The spring is the gloomy time of the American year” said the Judge
“and it is more peculiarly the case in these mountains. The winter
seems to retreat to the fast nesses of the hillsas to the citadel of
its dominionand is only expelled after a tedious siegein which
either partyat timeswould seem to be gaining the victory.”

“A very just and apposite figureJudge Temple” observed the sheriff;
“and the garrison under the command of Jack Frost make formidable
sorties—you understand what I mean by sortiesmonsieur; salliesin
English— and sometimes drive General Spring and his troops back again
into the low countries.”

“Yes sair” returned the Frenchmanwhose prominent eyes were watching
the precarious footsteps of the beast he rodeas it picked its
dangerous way among the roots of treesholeslog bridgesand
sloughs that formed the aggregate of the highway. “Je vous entends;
de low countrie is freeze up for half de year.”

The error of Mr. Le Quoi was not noticed by the sheriff; and the rest
of the party were yielding to the influence of the changeful season
which was already teaching the equestrians that a continuance of its
mildness was not to be expected for any length of time. Silence and
thoughtfulness succeeded the gayety and conversation that had
prevailed during the commencement of the rideas clouds began to
gather about the heavensapparently collecting from every quarterin
quick motionwithout the agency of a breath of air

While riding over one of the cleared eminencies that occurred in their
routethe watchful eye of Judge Temple pointed out to his daughter
the approach of a tempest. Flurries of snow already obscured the
mountain that formed the northern boundary of the lakeand the genial
sensation which had quickened the blood through their veins was
already succeeded by the deadening influence of an approaching
northwester.

All of the party were now busily engaged in making the best of their
way to the villagethough the badness of the roads frequently
compelled them to check the impatience of their animalswhich often
carried them over places that would not admit of any gait faster than
a walk.

Richard continued in advancefollowed by Mr. Le Quoi; next to whom
rode Elizabethwho seemed to have imbibed the distance which pervaded
the manner of young Edwards since the termination of the discourse
between the latter and her father. Marmaduke followed his daughter
giving her frequent and tender warnings as to the management of her
horse. It waspossiblythe evident dependence that Louisa Grant
placed on his assistance which induced the youth to continue by her
sideas they pursued their way through a dreary and dark woodwhere


the rays of the sun could but rarely penetrateand where even the
daylight was obscured and rendered gloomy by the deep forests that
surrounded them. No wind had yet reached the spot where the
equestrians were in motionbut that dead silence that often precedes
a storm contributed to render their situation more irksome than if
they were already subject to the fury of the tempest. Suddenly the
voice of young Edwards was heard shouting in those appalling tones
that carry alarm to the very souland which curdle the blood of those
that hear them.

“A tree! a tree! Whip—spur for your lives! a tree! a tree. “

“A tree! a tree!” echoed Richardgiving his horse a blow that caused
the alarmed beast to jump nearly a rodthrowing the mud and water
into the air like a hurricane.

“Von tree! von tree!” shouted the Frenchmanbending his body on the
neck of his chargershutting his eyesand playing on the ribs of his
beast with his heels at a rate
that caused him to be conveyed on the crupper of the sheriff with a
marvellous speed.

Elizabeth checked her filly and looked upwith an unconscious but
alarmed airat the very cause of their dangerwhile she listened to
the crackling sounds that awoke the stillness of the forest; but the
next instant her bridlet was seized by her fatherwho cried“God
protect my child!” and she felt herself hurried onwardimpelled by
the vigor of his nervous arm.

Each one of the party bowed to his saddle-bows as the tearing of
branches was succeeded by a sound like the rushing of the windswhich
was followed by a thundering reportand a shock that caused the very
earth to tremble as one of the noblest ruins of the forest fell
directly across their path.

One glance was enough to assure Judge Temple that his daughter and
those in front of him were safeand he turned his eyesin dreadful
anxietyto learn the fate of the others. Young Edwards was on the
opposite side of the treehis form thrown back in his saddle to its
utmost distancehis left hand drawing up his bridle with
its greatest forcewhile the right grasped that of Miss Grant so as
to draw the head of her horse under its body. Both the animals stood
shaking in every joint with terrorand snorting fearfully. Louisa
herself had relinquished her reinsandwith her hands pressed on her
facesat bending forward in her saddlein an attitude of despair
mingled strangely with resignation.

“Are you safe?” cried the Judgefirst breaking the awful silence of
the moment.

“By God’s blessing” returned the youth; but if there had been
branches to the tree we must have been lost—”

He was interrupted by the figure of Louisa slowly yielding in her
saddleand but for his arm she would have sunk to the earth. Terror
howeverwas the only injury that the clergyman’s daughter had
sustainedandwith the aid of Elizabethshe was soon restored to
her senses. After some little time was lost in recovering her
strengththe young lady was replaced in her saddleand supported on
either side by Judge Temple and Mr. Edwards she was enabled to follow
the party in their slow progress.

“The sudden fallings of the trees” said Marmaduke“are the most
dangerous accidents in the forestfor they are not to be foreseen


being impelled by no windsnor any extraneous or visible cause
against which we can guard.”

“The reason of their fallingJudge Templeis very obvious” said the
sheriff. “The tree is old and decayedand it is gradually weakened
by the frostsuntil a line drawn from the centre of gravity falls
without its baseand then the tree comes of a certainty; and I should
like to know what greater compulsion there can be for any thing than a
mathematical certainty. I studied math—”

“Very trueRichard” interrupted Marmaduke; “thy reasoning is true
andif my memory be not over-treacherouswas furnished by myself on
a former occasionBut how is one to guard against the danger? Canst
thou go through the forests measuring the bases and calculating the
centres of the oaks? Answer me thatfriend Jonesand I will say thou
wilt do the country a service.”

“Answer thee thatfriend Temple!” returned Richard; “a well-educated
man can answer thee anythingsir. Do any trees fall in this manner
but such as are decayed? Take care not to approach the roots of a
rotten treeand you will be safe enough.”

“That would be excluding us entirely from the forests’ said
Marmaduke. “Buthappilythe winds usually force down most of these
dangerous ruinsas their currents are admitted into the woods by the
surrounding clearingsand such a fall as this has been is very rare.”

Louisa by this time had recovered so much strength as to allow the
party to proceed at a quicker pacebut long before they were safely
housed they were overtaken by the storm; and when they dismounted at
the door of the mansion-housethe black plumes of Miss Temple’s hat
were drooping with the weight of a load of damp snowand the coats of
the gentlemen were powdered with the same material.

While Edwards was assisting Louisa from her horsethe warm-hearted
girl caught his hand with fervor and whispered:

“NowMr. Edwardsboth father and daughter owe their lives to you.”

A driving northwesterly storm succeededand before the sun was set
every vestige of spring had vanished; the lakethe mountainsthe
villageand the fields being again hidden under one dazzling coat of
snow.

CHAPTER XXII

“Menboysand girls
Desert the unpeopled village; and wild crowds
Spread o’er the plainby the sweet phrensy driven.”-Somerville.

From this time to the close of April the weather continued to be a
succession of neat and rapid changes. One day the soft airs of spring
seemed to be stealing along the valleyandin unison with an
invigorating sunattempting covertly to rouse the dormant powers of
the vegetable worldwhileon the nextthe surly blasts from the
north would sweep across the lake and erase every impression left by
their gentle adversaries. The snowhoweverfinally disappearedand
the green wheat fields were seen in every directionspotted with the
dark and charred stumps that hadthe preceding seasonsupported some


of the proudest trees of the forest. Ploughs were in motionwherever
those useful implements could be usedand the smokes of the sugarcamps
were no longer seen issuing from the woods of maple. The lake
had lost the beauty of a field of icebut still a dark and gloomy
covering concealed its watersfor the absence of currents left them
yet hidden under a porous crustwhichsaturated with the fluid
barely retained enough strength to preserve the continuity of its
parts. Large flocks of wild geese were seen passing over the country
which hoveredfor a timearound the hidden sheet of water
apparently searching for a resting-place; and thenon finding them
selves excluded by the chill coveringwould soar away to the north
filling the air with discordant screamsas if venting their
complaints at the tardy operations of Nature.

For a weekthe dark covering of the Otsego was left to the
undisturbed possession of two eagleswho alighted on the centre of
its fieldand sat eyeing their undisputed territory. During the
presence of these monarchs of the airthe flocks of migrating birds
avoided crossing the plain of ice by turning into the hills
apparently seeking the protection of the forestswhile the white and
bald heads of the tenants of the lake were turned upwardwith a look
of contempt. But the time had come when even these kings of birds
were to be dispossessed. An opening had been gradually increasing at
the lower extremity of the lakeand around the dark spot where the
current of the river prevented the formation of ice during even the
coldest weather; and the fresh southerly windsthat now breathed
freely upon the valleymade an impression on the waters. Mimic waves
began to curl over the margin of the frozen fieldwhich exhibited an
outline of crystallizations that slowly receded toward the north. At
each step the power of the winds and the waves increaseduntilafter
a struggle of a few hoursthe turbulent little billows succeeded in
setting the whole field in motionwhen it was driven beyond the reach
of the eyewith a rapidity that was as magical as the change produced
in the scene by this expulsion of the lingering remnant of winter.
Just as the last sheet of agitated ice was disappearing in the
distancethe eagles roseand soared with a wide sweep above the
cloudswhile the waves tossed their little caps of snow in the air
as if rioting in their release from a thraldom of five minutes’
duration.

The following morning Elizabeth was awakened by the exhilarating
sounds of the martenswho were quarrelling and chattering around the
little boxes suspended above her windowsand the cries of Richard
who was calling in tones animating as signs of the season itself:

“Awake! awake! my fair lady! the gulls are hovering over the lake
alreadyand the heavens are alive with pigeons. You may look an hour
before you can find a hole through which to get a peep at the sun.
Awake! awake! lazy ones’ Benjamin is overhauling the ammunitionand
we only wait for our breakfastsand away for the mountains and
pigeon-shooting.”

There was no resisting this animated appealand in a few minutes Miss
Temple and her friend descended to the parlor. The doors of the hall
were thrown openand the mildbalmy air of a clear spring morning
was ventilating the apartmentwhere the vigilance of the ex-steward
had been so long maintaining an artificial heat with such unremitted
diligence. The gentlemen were impatiently waiting for their morning’s
repasteach equipped in the garb of a sportsman. Mr. Jones made many
visits to the southern doorand would cry:

“SeeCousin Bess! see‘Dukethe pigeon-roosts of the south have
broken up! They are growing more thick every instantHere is a flock
that the eye cannot see the end of. There is food enough in it to


keep the army of Xerxes for a monthand feathers enough to make beds
for the whole country. XerxesMr. Edwardswas a Grecian kingwho—
nohe was a Turkor a Persianwho wanted to conquer Greecejust
the same as these rascals will overrun our wheat fieldswhen they
come back in the fall. Away! away! Bess; I long to pepper them.”

In this wish both Marmaduke and young Edwards seemed equally to
participatefor the sight was exhilarating to a sportsman; and the
ladies soon dismissed the party after a hasty breakfast.

If the heavens were alive with pigeonsthe whole village seemed
equally in motion with menwomenand children. Every species of
firearmfrom the French ducking gunwith a barrel near six feet in
lengthto the common horseman's pistolwas to be seen in the hands
of the men and boys; while bows and arrowssome made of the simple
stick of walnut sapling and others in a rude imitation of the ancient
cross-bowswere carried by many of the latter.

The houses and the signs of life apparent in the village drove the
alarmed birds from the direct line of their flighttoward the
mountainsalong the sides and near the bases of which they were
glancing in dense massesequally wonderful by the rapidity of their
motion and their incredible numbers.

We have already said thatacross the inclined plane which fell from
the steep ascent of the mountain to the banks of the Susquehannaran
the highway on either side of which a clearing of many acres had been
made at a very early day. Over those clearingsand up the eastern
mountainand along the dangerous path that was cut into its sidethe
different individuals posted themselvesand in a few moments the
attack commenced.

Among the sportsmen was the tallgaunt form of Leather-Stocking
walking over the fieldwith his rifle hanging on his armhis dogs at
his heels; the latter now scenting the dead or wounded birds that were
beginning to tumble from the flocksand then crouching under the legs
of their masteras if they participated in his feelings at this
wasteful and unsportsmanlike execution.

The reports of the firearms became rapidwhole volleys rising from
the plainas flocks of more than ordinary numbers darted over the
openingshadowing the field like a cloud; and then the light smoke of
a single piece would issue from among the leafless bushes on the
mountainas death was hurled on the retreat of the affrighted birds
who were rising from a volleyin a vain effort to escape. Arrows and
missiles of every kind were in the midst of the flocks; and so
numerous were the birdsand so low did they take their flightthat
even long poles in the hands of those on the sides of the mountain
were used to strike them to the earth.

During all this time Mr. Joneswho disdained the humble and ordinary
means of destruction used by his companionswas busily occupied
aided by Benjaminin making arrangements for an assault of more than
ordinarily fatal character. Among the relics of the old military
excursionsthat occasionally are discovered throughout the different
districts of the western part of New Yorkthere had been found in
Templetonat its settlementa small swivelwhich would carry a ball
of a pound weight. It was thought to have been deserted by a warparty
of the whites in one of their inroads into the Indian
settlementswhenperhapsconvenience or their necessity induced
them to leave such an incumberance behind them in the woods. This
miniature cannon had been released from the rustand being mounted on
little wheels was now in a state for actual service. For several
years it was the sole organ for extraordinary rejoicings used in those


mountains. On the mornings of the Fourth of July it would be heard
ringing among the hills; and even Captain Hollisterwho was the
highest authority in that part of the country on all such occasions
affirmed thatconsidering its dimensionsit was no despicable gun
for a salute. It was somewhat the worse for the service it had
performedit is truethere being but a trifling difference in size
between the touch-hole and the muzzle Stillthe grand conceptions of
Richard had suggested the importance of such an instrument in hurling
death at his nimble enemies. The swivel was dragged by a horse into a
part of the open space that the sheriff thought most eligible for
planning a battery of the kindand Mr. Pump proceeded to load it.
Several handfuls of duck-shot were placed on top of the powderand
the major-domo announced that his piece was ready for service.

The sight of such an implement collected all the idle spectators to
the spotwhobeing mostly boysfilled the air with cries of
exultation and delight The gun was pointed highand Richardholding
a coal of fire in a pair of tongspatiently took his seat on a stump
awaiting the appearance of a flock worthy of his notice.

So prodigious was the number of the birds that the scattering fire of
the gunswith the hurling of missiles and the cries of the boyshad
no other effect than to break off small flocks from the immense masses
that continued to dart along the valleyas if the whole of the
feathered tribe were pouring through that one pass. None pretended to
collect the gamewhich lay scattered over the fields in such
profusion as to cover the very ground with fluttering victims.

Leather-Stocking was a silent but uneasy spectator of all these
proceedingsbut was able to keep his sentiments to himself until he
saw the introduction of the swivel into the sports.

“This comes of settling a country!” he said. “Here have I known the
pigeon to fly for forty long yearsandtill you made your clearings
there was nobody to skeart or to hurt themI loved to see them come
into the woodsfor they were company to a bodyhurting nothing
—beingas it wasas harmless as a garter-snake. But now it gives me
sore thoughts when I hear the frighty things whizzing through the air
for I know it’s only a motion to bring out all the brats of the
village. Wellthe Lord won’t see the waste of his creatures for
nothingand right will be done to the pigeonsas well as othersby
and by. There’s Mr. Oliver as bad as the rest of themfiring into
the flocks as if he was shooting down nothing but Mingo warriors.”
Among the sportsmen was Billy Kirbywhoarmed with an old musket
was loadingandwithout even looking into the airwas firing and
shouting as his victims fell even on his own person. He heard the
speech of Nattyand took upon himself to reply:

“What! old Leather-Stocking” he cried“grumbling at the loss of a
few pigeons! If you had to sow your wheat twiceand three timesas I
have doneyou wouldn’t be so massyfully feeling toward the divils.
Hurrahboys! scatter the feathers! This is better than shooting at a
turkey’s head and neckold fellow.”

“It’s better for youmaybeBilly Kirby” replied the indignant old
hunter“and all them that don’t know how to put a ball down a riflebarrel
or how to bring it up again with a true aim; but it’s wicked
to be shooting into flocks in this wasty mannerand none to do it who
know how to knock over a single bird. If a body has a craving for
pigeon’s fleshwhyit’s made the same as all other creaturesfor
man’s eating; but not to kill twenty and eat one. When I want such a
thing I go into the woods till I find one to my likingand then I
shoot him off the brancheswithout touching the feather of another
though there might be a hundred on the same tree. You couldn’t do


such a thingBilly Kirby—you couldn’t do it if you tried.”

“What’s thatold corn-stalk! you sapless stub!” cried the woodchopper.
“You have grown wordysince the affair of the turkey; but
if you are for a single shothere goes at that bird which comes on by
himself.”

The fire from the distant part of the field had driven a single pigeon
below the flock to which it belongedandfrightened with the
constant reports of the musketsit was approaching the spot where the
disputants stooddarting first from One side and then to the other
cutting the air with the swiftness of lightningand making a noise
with its wings not unlike the rushing of a bullet. Unfortunately for
the wood-choppernotwithstanding his vaunthe did not see this bird
until it was too late to fire as it approachedand he pulled the
trigger at the unlucky moment when it was darting immediately over his
head. The bird continued its course with the usual velocity.

Natty lowered his rifle from his arm when the challenge was madeand
waiting a momentuntil the terrified victim had got in a line with
his eyeand had dropped near the bank of the lakehe raised it again
with uncommon rapidityand fired. It might have been chanceor it
might have been skillthat produced the result; it was probably a
union of both; but the pigeon whirled over in the airand fell into
the lake with a broken wing At the sound of his rifleboth his dogs
started from his feetand in a few minutes the “slut” brought out the
birdstill alive.

The wonderful exploit of Leather-Stocking was noised through the field
with great rapidityand the sportsmen gathered into learn the truth
of the report.

“What” said young Edwards” have you really killed a pigeon on the
wingNattywith a single ball?”

“Haven’t I killed loons before nowladthat dive at the flash?”
returned the hunter. “It’s much better to kill only such as you want
without wasting your powder and leadthan to be firing into God’s
creatures in this wicked manner. But I came out for a birdand you
know the reason why I like small gameMr. Oliverand now I have got
one Twill go homefor I don’t relish to see these wasty ways that you
are all practysingas if the least thing wasn’t made for useand not
to destroy.”

“Thou sayest wellLeather-Stocking” cried Marmaduke“and I begin to
think it time to put an end to this work of destruction.”

“Put an indJudgeto your clearings. Ain’t the woods His work as
well as the pigeons? Usebut don’t waste. Wasn’t the woods made for
the beasts and birds to harbor in? and when man wanted their flesh
their skinsor their feathersthere’s the place to seek them. But
I’ll go to the hut with my own gamefor I wouldn’t touch one of the
harmless things that cover the ground herelooking up with their eyes
on meas if they only wanted tongues to say their thoughts.”
With this sentiment in his monthLeather-Stocking threw his rifle
over his armandfollowed by his dogsstepped across the clearing
with great cautiontaking care not to tread on one of the wounded
birds in his path. He soon entered the bushes on the margin of the
lake and was hid from view.

Whatever impression the morality of Natty made on the Judgeit was
utterly lost on Richard. He availed himself of the gathering of the
sportsmento lay a plan for one “fell swoop” of destruction. The
musket-men were drawn up in battle arrayin a line extending on each


side of his artillerywith orders to await the signal of firing from
himself.

“Stand bymy lads” said Benjaminwho acted as an aid de-camp on
this occasion“stand bymy heartiesand when Squire Dickens heaves
out the signal to begin firingd’ye seeyou may open upon them in a
broadside. Take care and fire lowboysand you’ll be sure to hull
the flock.”

“Fire low!” shouted Kirby; “hear the old fool! If we fire lowwe may
hit the stumpsbut not ruffle a pigeon.”

“How should you knowyou lubber?” cried Benjaminwith a very
unbecoming heat for an officer on the eve of battle—” how should you
knowyou grampus? Haven’t I sailed aboard of the Boadishy for five
years? and wasn’t it a standing order to fire lowand to hull your
enemy! Keep silence at your gunsboys and mind the order that is
passed.”

The loud laughs of the musket-men were silenced by the more
authoritative voice of Richardwho called for attention and obedience
to his signals.

Some millions of pigeons were supposed to have already passedthat
morningover the valley of Templeton; but nothing like the flock that
was now approaching had been seen before. It extended from mountain
to mountain in one solid blue massand the eye looked in vainover
the southern hillsto find its termination. The front of this living
column was distinctly marked by a line but very slightly indentedso
regular and even was the flight. Even Marmaduke forgot the morality
of Leather-Stocking as it approachedandin common with the rest
brought his musket to a poise.

“Fire!” cried the sheriffclapping a coal to the priming of the
cannon. As half of Benjamin’s charge escaped through the touch-hole
the whole volley of the musketry preceded the report of the swivel.
On receiving this united discharge of small-armsthe front of the
flock darted upwardwhileat the same instantmyriads of those in
the rear rushed with amazing rapidity into their placesso thatwhen
the column of white smoke gushed from the mouth of the little cannon
an accumulated mass of objects was gliding over its point of
direction. The roar of the gun echoed along the mountainsand died
away to the northlike distant thunderwhile the whole flock of
alarmed birds seemedfor a momentthrown into one disorderly and
agitated mass. The air was filled with their irregular flightlayer
rising above layerfar above the tops of the highest pinesnone
daring to advance beyond the dangerous pass; whensuddenlysome of
the headers of the feathered tribes shot across the valleytaking
their flight directly over the villageand hundreds of thousands in
their rear followed the exampledeserting the eastern side of the
plain to their persecutors and the slain.

“Victory!” shouted Richard“victory! we have driven the enemy from
the field.”

“Not soDickon” said Marmaduke; “the field is covered with them;
andlike the Leather-StockingI see nothing but eyesin every
directionas the innocent sufferers turn their heads in terror. Full
one-half of those that have fallen are yet alive; and I think it is
time to end the sportif sport it be.”

“Sport!” cried the sheriff; “it is princely sport! There are some
thousands of the blue-coated boys on the groundso that every old
woman in the village may have a pot-pie for the asking.”


“Wellwe have happily frightened the birds from this side of the
valley” said Marmaduke“and the carnage must of necessity end for
the present. BoysI will give you sixpence a hundred for the
pigeons’ heads only; so go to workand bring them into the village.”

This expedient produced the desired effectfor every urchin on the
ground went industriously to work to wring the necks of the wounded
birds. Judge Temple retired toward his dwelling with that kind of
feeling that many a man has experienced before himwho discovers
after the excitement of the moment has passedthat he has purchased
pleasure at the price of misery to others. Horses were loaded with
the dead; andafter this first burst of sportingthe shooting of
pigeons became a businesswith a few idlersfor the remainder of the
seasonRichardhoweverboasted for many a year of his shot with the
“cricket;” and Benjamin gravely asserted that he thought they had
killed nearly as many pigeons on that day as there were Frenchmen
destroyed on the memorable occasion of Rodney’s victory.

CHAPTER XXIII.

“Helpmastershelp; here’s a fish hangs in the netlike a poor
Man’s right in the law.’—Pericles of Tyre.

The advance of the season now became as rapid as its first approach
had been tedious and lingering. The days were uniformly mildwhile
the nightsthough coolwere no longer chilled by frosts. The whippoor-
will was heard whistling his melancholy notes along the margin of
the lakeand the ponds and meadows were sending forth the music of
their thousand tenants. The leaf of the native poplar was seen
quivering in the woods; the sides of the mountains began to lose their
hue of brownas the lively green of the different members of the
forest blended their shades with the permanent colors of the pine and
hemlock; and even the buds of the tardy oak were swelling with the
promise of the coming summer. The gay and fluttering blue-birdthe
social robinand the industrious little wren were all to be seen
enlivening the fields with their presence and their songs; while the
soaring fish-hawk was already hovering over the waters of the Otsego
watching with native voracity for the appearance of his prey.

The tenants of the lake were far-famed for both their quantities and
their qualityand the ice had hardly disappeared before numberless
little boats were launched from the shoresand the lines of the
fishermen were dropped into the inmost recesses of its deepest
cavernstempting the unwary animals with every variety of bait that
the ingenuity or the art of man had invented. But the slow though
certain adventures with hook and line were ill suited to the profusion
and impatience of the settlers. More destructive means were resorted
to; andas the season had now arrived when the bass fisheries were
allowed by the provisions of the law that Judge Temple had procured
the sheriff declared his intentionby availing himself of the first
dark nightto enjoy the sport in person.

“And you shall be presentCousin Bess” he addedwhen he announced
this design“and Miss Grantand Mr. Edwards; and I will show you
what I call fishing not nibblenibblenibbleas ‘Duke does when he
goes after the salmon-trout. There he will sit for hoursin a
broiling sun orperhapsover a hole in the leein the coldest days
in winterunder the lee of a few bushesand not a fish will he


catchafter all this mortification of the flesh. Nono—give me a
good seine that’s fifty or sixty fathoms in lengthwith a jolly
parcel of boatmen to crack their jokes the whilewith Benjamin to
steerand let us haul them in by thousands; I call that fishing.”

“Ah! Dickon” cried Marmaduke“thou knowest but little of the
pleasure there is in playing with the hook and lineor thou wouldst
be more saving of the game. I have known thee to leave fragments
enough behind theewhen thou hast headed a night party on the lake
to feed a dozen famishing families.”

“I shall not dispute the matterJudge Temple; this night will I go;
and I invite the company to attendand then let them decide between
us.”

Richard was busy during most of the afternoonmaking his preparations
for the important occasion. Just as the light of the settling sun had
disappearedand a new moon had begun to throw its shadows on the
earththe fisher-men took their departurein a boatfor a point
that was situated on the western shore of the lakeat the distance of
rather more than half a mile from the village. The ground had become
settledand the walking was good and dry. Marmadukewith his
daughterher friendand young Edwardscontinued on the high grassy
banks at the outlet of the placid sheet of waterwatching the dark
object that was moving across the lakeuntil it entered the shade of
the western hillsand was lost to the eye. The distance round by
land to the point of destination was a mileand he observed:

“It is time for us to be moving; the moon will be down ere we reach
the pointand then the miraculous hauls of Dickon will commence.”

The evening was warmandafter the long and dreary winter from which
they had just escapeddelightfully invigorating. Inspirited by the
scene and their anticipated amusementthe youthful companions of the
Judge followed his stepsas he led them along the shores of the
Otsegoand through the skirts of the village.

“See!” said young Edwards“they are building their fire already; it
glimmers for a momentand dies again like the light of a firefly.”

“Now it blazes” cried Elizabeth; “you can perceive figures moving
around the light. Oh! I would bet my jewels against the gold beads of
Remarkablethat my impatient Cousin Dickon had an agency in raising
that bright flame; and see! it fades againlike most of his brilliant
schemes.”

Thou hast guessed the truthBess” said her father; “he has thrown an
armful of brush on the pilewhich has burnt out as soon as lighted.
But it has enabled them to find a better fuelfor their fire begins
to blaze with a more steady flame. It is the true fisherman’s beacon
now; observe how beautifully it throw s its little circle of light on
the water!”

The appearance of the fire urged the pedestrians onfor even the
ladies had become eager to witness the miraculous draught. By the
time they reached the bankwhich rose above the low point where the
fishermen had landedthe moon had sunk behind the top of the western
pinesandas most of the stars were obscured by cloudsthere was
but little other light than that which proceeded from the fire. At
the suggestion of Marmadukehis companions paused to listen to the
conversation of those below themand examine the party for a moment
before they descended to the shore.

The whole group were seated around the firewith the exception of


Richard and Benjamin; the former of whom occupied the root of a
decayed stumpthat had been drawn to the spot as part of their fuel
and the latter was standing. with his arms akimboso near to the
flame that the smoke occasionally obscured his solemn visageas it
waved around the pile in obedience to the night airs that swept gently
over the water.

“Whylook yousquiresaid the major-domo. You may call a lake-fish
that will weigh twenty or thirty pounds a serious matterbut to a man
who has hauled in a shovel-nosed shirkd’ye seeit’s but a poor kind
of fishing after all.”

“I don’t knowBenjamin” returned the sheriff; “a haul of one
thousand Otsego basswithout counting pikepickerelperchbullpouts
salmon-troutsand suckersis no bad fishinglet me tell you.
There may he sport in sticking a sharkbut what is he good for after
you have got him? Nowany one of the fish that I have named is fit to
set before a king.”

“Wellsquire” returned Benjamin“just listen to the philosophy of
the thing. Would it stand to reasonthat such a fish should live and
be catched in this here little pond of waterwhere it’s hardly deep
enough to drown a manas you’ll find in the wide oceanwhereas
every body knows that iseverybody that has followed the seaswhales
and grampuses are to be seenthat are as long as one of the pinetrees
on yonder mountain?”

“SoftlysoftlyBenjamin” said the sheriffas if he wished to save
the credit of his favorite; “whysome of the pines will measure two
hundred feetand even more.”

“Two hundred or two thousandit’s all the same thing” cried
Benjaminwith an air which manifested that he was not easily to be
bullied out of his opinionon a subject like the present. “ Haven’t
I been thereand haven’t I seen? I have said that you fall in with
whales as long as one of them there pines: and what I have once said
I’ll stand to!”

During this dialoguewhich was evidently but the close of much longer
discussionthe huge frame of Billy Kirby was seen extended on one
side of the firewhere he was picking his teeth with splinters of the
chips near himand occasionally shaking his head with distrust of
Benjamin’s assertions.

“I’ve a notion” said the wood-chopper“ that there’s water in this
lake to swim the biggest whale that ever was invented; andas to the
pinesI think I ought to know so’thing consarning them; I have
chopped many a one that was sixty times the length of my helve
without counting the eye; and I believeBennythat if the old pine
that stands in the hollow of the Vision Mountain just over the
village—you may see the tree itself by looking upfor the moon is on
its top yet—wellnow I believeif that same tree was planted out in
the deepest part of the lakethere would be water enough for the
biggest ship that ever was built to float over itwithout touching
its upper branchesI do.”

“Did’ee ever see a shipMaster Kirby?” roared the steward“did’ee
ever see a shipman? or any craft bigger than a lime-scowor a woodboat
on this here small bit of fresh water?”

“YesI have” said the wood-chopper stoutly; “I can say that I have
and tell no lie.”

“Did’ee ever see a British shipMaster Kirby? an English line-of



battle shipboy? Where did’ee ever fall in with a regular built
vesselwith starn-post and cutwatergar board-streak and plankshear
gangwaysand hatchwaysand waterwaysquarter-deckand
forecastleayand flush-deck?—tell me thatmanif you can; where
away did’ee ever fall in with a full-riggedregular-builtnecked
vessel?”

The whole company were a good deal astounded with this overwhelming
questionand even Richard afterward remarked that it “was a thousand
pities that Benjamin could not reador he must have made a valuable
officer to the British marine. It is no wonder that they overcame the
French so easily on the waterwhen even the lowest sailor so well
understood the different parts of a vessel.” But Billy Kirby was a
fearless wightand had great jealousy of foreign dictation; he had
risen on his feetand turned his back to the fireduring the voluble
delivery of this interrogatory; and when the steward endedcontrary
to all expectationhe gave the following spirited reply:

“Where! whyon the North Riverand maybe on Champlain. There’s
sloops on the riverboythat would give a hard time on’t to the
stoutest vessel King George owns. They carry masts of ninety feet in
the clear of good solid pinefor I’ve been at the chopping of many a
one in Varmount State. I wish I was captain in one of themand you
was in that Board-dish that you talk so much aboutand we’d soon see
what good Yankee stuff is made onand whether a Varmounter’s hide
ain’t as thick as an Englishman’s.”
The echoes from the opposite hillswhich were more than half a mile
from the fishing pointsent back the discordant laugh that Benjamin
gave forth at this challenge; and the woods that covered their sides
seemedby the noise that issued from their shadesto be full of
mocking demons.

“Let us descend to the shore” whispered Marmaduke“or there will
soon be ill-blood between them. Benjamin is a fearless boaster; and
Kirbythough good-naturedis a careless son of the forestwho
thinks one American more than a match for six Englishmen. I marvel
that Dickon is silentwhere there is such a trial of skill in the
superlative!”

The appearance of Judge Temple and the ladies producedif not a
pacificationat least a cessation of hostilities. Obedient to the
directions of Mr. Jones the fishermen prepared to launch their boat
which had been seen in the background of the viewwith the net
carefully disposed on a little platform in its sternready for
service. Richard gave vent to his reproaches at the tardiness of the
pedestrianswhen all the turbulent passions of the party were
succeeded by a calmas mild and as placid as that which prevailed
over the beautiful sheet of water that they were about to rifle of its
best treasures.

The night had now become so dark as to render objectswithout the
reach of the light of the firenot only indistinctbut in most cases
invisible. For a little distance the water was discernible
glisteningas the glare from the fire danced over its surface
touching it here and there with red quivering streaks; butat a
hundred feet from the shorethere lay a boundary of impenetrable
gloom. One or two stars were shining through the openings of the
cloudsand the lights were seen in the villageglimmering faintly
as if at an immeasurable distance. At timesas the fire loweredor
as the horizon clearedthe outline of the mountainon the other side
of the lakemight be traced by its undulations; but its shadow was
castwide and denseon the bosom of the waterrendering the
darkness in that direction trebly deep.


Benjamin Pump was invariably the coxswain and net caster of Richard’s
boatunless the sheriff saw fit to preside in person: andon the
present occasionBilly Kirbyand a youth of about half his strength
were assigned to the oars. The remainder of the assistants were
stationed at the drag-ropes. The arrangements were speedily madeand
Richard gave the signal to “shove off.”

Elizabeth watched the motion of the batteau as it pulled from the
shoreletting loose its rope as it wentbut it soon disappeared in
the darknesswhen the ear was her only guide to its evolutions.
There was great affectation of stillness during all these manoeuvers
in orderas Richard assured them“not to frighten the basswho were
running into the shoal watersand who would approach the light if not
disturbed by the sounds from the fishermen.”

The hoarse voice of Benjamin was alone heard issuing out of the gloom
as he utteredin authoritative tones“Pull larboard oar” “Pull
starboard” “ Give way togetherboys” and such other indicative
mandates as were necessary for the right disposition of his seine. A
long time was passed in this necessary part of the processfor
Benjamin prided himself greatly on his skill in throwing the netand
in factmost of the success of the sport depended on its being done
with judgment. At length a loud splash in the wateras he threw away
the “staff” or “stretcher” with a hoarse call from the steward of
“Clear” announced that the boat was returning; when Richard seized a
brand from the fireand ran to a point as far above the centre of the
fishing-groundas the one from which the batteau had started was
below it.

“Stick her in dead for the squireboys” said the steward“and we’ll
have a look at what grows in this here pond.”

In place of the falling net were now to be heard the quick strokes of
the oarsand the noise of the rope running out of the boat.
Presently the batteau shot into the circle of lightand in an instant
she was pulled to the shore. Several eager hands were extended to
receive the lineandboth ropes being equally well mannedthe
fishermen commenced hauling in with slowand steady dragsRichard
standing to the centregiving ordersfirst to one partyand then to
the otherto increase or slacken their effortsas occasion required.
The visitors were posted near himand enjoyed a fair view of the
whole operation. which was slowly advancing to an end.

Opinions as to the result of their adventure were now freely hazarded
by all the mensome declaring that the net came in as light as a
featherand others affirming that it seemed to be full of logs. As
the ropes were many hundred feet in lengththese opposing sentiments
were thought to be of little moment by the sheriffwho would go first
to one lineand then to the othergiving each small pullin order
to enable him to form an opinion for himself.

“WhyBenjamin” he criedas he made his first effort in this way
“you did not throw the net clear. I can move it with my little
finger. The rope slackens in my hand.”

“Did you ever see a whalesquire?” responded the steward: “ I say
thatif that there net is foulthe devil is in the lake in the shape
of a fishfor I cast it as far as ever rigging was rove over the
quarter-deck of a flag-ship.”

But Richard discovered his mistakewhen he saw Billy Kirby before
himstanding with his feet in the waterat an angle of forty-five
degreesinclining southwardand expending his gigantic strength in
sustaining himself in that posture. He ceased his remonstrancesand


proceeded to the party at the other line.

“I see the ‘staffs’” shouted Mr. Jones—” gather inboysand away
with it; to shore with her!—to shore with her!”

At this cheerful soundElizabeth strained her eyes and saw the ends
of the two sticks on the seine emerging from the darknesswhile the
men closed near to each otherand formed a deep bag of their net.
The exertions of the fishermen sensibly increasedand the voice of
Richard was heard encouraging them to make their greatest efforts at
the present moment.

“Now’s the timemy lads” he cried; “let us get the ends to landand
all we have will be our own—away with her!”

“Away with herit is” echoed Benjamin!—” hurrah! ho-a-hayho-a-hoy
ho-a!”

“In with her” shouted Kirbyexerting himself in a manner that left
nothing for those in his rear to dobut to gather up the slack of the
rope which passed through his hands.

“Staff. ho!” shouted the steward.

“Staffho!” echoed Kirbyfrom the other rope.
The men rushed to the water’s edgesome seizing the upper ropeand
some the lower or lead ropeand began to haul with great activity and
zealA deep semicircular sweep of the little balls that supported the
seine in its perpendicular position was plainly visible to the
spectatorsandas it rapidly lessened in sizethe bag of the net
appearedwhile an occasional flutter on the water announced the
uneasiness of the prisoners it contained.

“Haul inmy lads” shouted Richard—” I can see the dogs kicking to
get free. Haul inand here’s a cast that will pay for the labor.”
Fishes of various sorts were now to be seenentangled in the meshes
of the netas it was passed through the hands of the laborers; and
the waterat a little distance from the shorewas alive with the
movements of the alarmed victims. Hundreds of white sides were
glancing up to the surface of the waterand glistening in the fire
lightwhenfrightened at the uproar and the changethe fish would
again dart to the bottomin fruitless efforts for freedom.
Hurrah!” shouted Richard: “one or two more heavy dragsboysand we
are safe.”

“Cheerilyboyscheerily!” cried Benjamin; “I see a salmon-trout that
is big enough for a chowder.”

“Away with youyou varmint!” said Billy Kirbyplucking a bullpout
from the meshesand casting the animal back into the lake with
contempt. “Pullboyspull; here’s all kindsand the Lord condemn
me for a liarif there ain’t a thousand bass!”

Inflamed beyond the bounds of discretion at the sightand forgetful
of the seasonthe wood-chopper rushed to his middle into the water
and began to drive the reluctant animals before him from their native
element.

“Pull heartilyboys” cried Marmadukeyielding to the excitement of
the momentand laying his hands to the netwith no trifling addition
to the force. Edwards had preceded him; for the sight of the immense
piles of fishthat were slowly rolling over on the gravelly beach
had impelled him also to leave the ladies and join the fishermen.


Great care was observed in bringing the net to landandafter much
toilthe whole shoal of victims was safely deposited in a hollow of
the bankwhere they were left to flutter away their brief existence
in the new and fatal element.

Even Elizabeth and Louisa were greatly excited and highly gratified by
seeing two thousand captives thus drawn from the bosom of the lake
and laid prisoners at their feet. But when the feelings of the moment
were passing awayMarmaduke took in his hands a bassthat might have
weighed two poundsand after viewing it a momentin melancholy
musinghe turned to his daughterand observed:

“This is a fearful expenditure of the choicest gifts of Providence.
These fishBesswhich thou seest lying in such piles before thee
and which by to-morrow evening will be rejected food on the meanest
table in Templetonare of a quality and flavor thatin other
countrieswould make them esteemed a luxury on the tables of princes
or epicures. The world has no better fish than the bass of Otsego; it
unites the richness of the shad * to the firmness of the salmon.”

* Of all the fish the writer has ever tastedbe thinks the one in
question the best.
“But surelydear sir” cried Elizabeth“they must prove a great
blessing to the countryand a powerful friend to the poor.”

“The poor are always prodigalmy childwhere there is plentyand
seldom think of a provision against the morrow. Butif there can be
any excuse for destroying animals in this mannerit is in taking the
bass. During the winteryou knowthey are entirely protected from
our assaults by the icefor they refuse the hook; and during the hot
months they are not seen. It is supposed they retreat to the deep and
cool waters of the lakeat that season; and it is only in the spring
and autumn thatfor a few daysthey are to be found around the
points where they are within the reach of a seine. Butlike all the
other treasures of the wildernessthey already begin to disappear
before the wasteful extravagance of man.”

“DisappearDuke! disappear!” exclaimed the sheriff “if you don’t call
this appearingI know not what you will. Here are a good thousand of
the shinerssome hundreds of suckersand a powerful quantity of
other fry. But this is always the way with youMarmaduke: first it’s
the treesthen it’s the deer; after that it’s the maple sugarand so
on to the end of the chapter. One day you talk of canals through a
country where there's a river or a lake every half-milejust because
the water won’t run the way you wish it to go; andthe nextyou say
some thing about mines of coalthough any man who has good eyes like
myself—I saywith good eyes—can see more wood than would keep the
city of London in fuel for fifty years; wouldn’t itBenjamin?”

“Whyfor thatsquire” said the steward“Lon’on is no small place.
If it was stretched an endall the same as a town on one side of the
riverit would cover some such matter as this here lake. Thof I
dar’st to saythat the wood in sight might sarve them a good turn
seeing that the Lon’oners mainly burn coal.”

“Now we are on the subject of coalJudge Temple” interrupted the
sheriff“I have a thing of much importance to communicate to you; but
I will defer it -until tomorrow. I know that you intend riding into
the eastern part of the Patentand I will accompany youand conduct
you to a spot where some of your projects may be realized. We will
say no more nowfor there are listeners; but a secret has this
evening been revealed to me‘Dukethat is of more consequence to
your welfare than all your estate united”


Marmaduke laughed at the important intelligenceto which in a variety
of shapes he was accustomedand the sheriffwith an air of great
dignityas if pitying his want of faithproceeded in the business
more immediately be fore them. As the labor of drawing the net had
been very greathe directed one party of his men to commence throwing
the fish into pilespreparatory to the usual divisionwhile another
under the superintendence of Benjaminprepared the seine for a second
haul.


CHAPTER XXIV.


“While from its marginterrible to tell
Three sailors with their gallant boatswain fell.” —Falconer.


While the fishermen were employed in making the preparations for an
equitable division of the spoilElizabeth and her friend strolled a
short distance from the groupalong the shore of the lake. After
reaching a point to which even the brightest of the occasional gleams
of the fire did not extendthey turnedand paused a momentin
contemplation of the busy and lively party they had leftand of the
obscurity whichlike the gloom of oblivionseemed to envelop the
rest of the creation.


“This is indeed a subject for the pencil!” exclaimed Elizabeth.
“Observe the countenance of that woodchopperwhile he exults in
presenting a larger fish than common to my cousin sheriff; and see
Louisahow hand some and considerate my dear father looksby the
light of that firewhere he stands viewing the havoc of the game. He
seems melancholyas if he actually thought that a day of retribution
was to follow this hour of abundance and prodigality! Would they not
make a pictureLouisa?”


“You know that I am ignorant of all such accomplishmentsMiss
Temple.”


“Call me by my Christian name” interrupted Elizabeth; “this is not a
placeneither is this a scenefor forms.”


“Wellthenif I may venture an opinion’ said Louisa timidly“I
should think it might indeed make a picture. The selfish earnestness
of that Kirby over his fish would contrast finely with the—the—
expression of Mr. Edwards’ face. I hardly know what to call it; but
it is—a—is— you know what I would saydear Elizabeth.”


“You do me too much creditMiss Grant” said the heiress; “I am no
diviner of thoughtsor interpreter of expressions.”


There was certainly nothing harsh or even cold in the manner of the
speakerbut still it repressed the conversationand they continued
to stroll still farther from the partyretaining each other’s arm
but observing a pro found silence. Elizabethperhaps conscious of
the improper phraseology of her last speechor perhaps excited by the
new object that met her gazewas the first to break the awkward
cessation in the discourseby exclaiming:


“LookLouisa! we are not alone; there are fishermen lighting a fire
on the other side of the lakeimmediately opposite to us; it must be
in front of the cabin of Leather-Stocking!”



Through the obscuritywhich prevailed most immediately under the
eastern mountaina small and uncertain light was plainly to be seen
thoughas it was occasionally lost to the eyeit seemed struggling
for existence. They observed it to moveand sensibly to loweras it
carried down the descent of the bank to the shore. Herein a very
short timeits flame gradually expandedand grew brighteruntil it
became of the size of a man’s headwhen it continued to shine a
steady ball of fire. Such an objectlighted as it were by magic
under the brow of the mountainand in that retired and unfrequented
placegave double interest to the beauty and singularity of its
appearance. It did not at all resemble the large and unsteady light
of their own firebeing much more clear and brightand retaining its
size and shape with perfect uniformity.

There are moments when the best-regulated minds are more or less
subjected to the injurious impressions which few have escaped in
infancy; and Elizabeth smiled at her own weaknesswhile she
remembered the idle tales which were circulated through the village
at the expense of the Leather-Stocking. The same ideas seized her
companionand at the same instantfor Louisa pressed nearer to her
friendas she said in a low voicestealing a timid glance toward the
bushes and trees that overhung the bank near them:

“Did you ever hear the singular ways of this Natty spoken ofMiss
Temple? They say thatin his youthhe was an Indian warrior; or
what is the same thinga white man leagued with the savages; and it
is thought he has been concerned in many of their inroadsin the old
wars.”

“The thing is not at all improbable” returned Elizabeth; “he is not
alone in that particular.”

“Nosurely; but is it not strange that he is so cautious with his
hut? He never leaves itwithout fastening it in a remarkable manner;
and in several instanceswhen the childrenor even the men of the
villagehave wished to seek a shelter there from the stormshe has
been known to drive them from his door with rudeness and threats.
That surely is singular to this country!”

“It is certainly not very hospitable; but we must remember his
aversion to the customs of civilized life. You heard my father saya
few days sincehow kindly he was treated by him on his first visit to
his place.” Elizabeth pausedand smiledwith an expression of
peculiar arch nessthough the darkness hid its meaning from her
companionas she continued: “Besideshe certainly admits the visits
of Mr. Edwardswhom we both know to be far from a savage.”

To this speech Louisa made no replybut continued gazing on the
object which had elicited her remarks. In addition to the bright and
circular flamewas now to be seen a fainterthough a vivid lightof
an equal diameter to the other at the upper endbut whichafter
extending downward for many feetgradually tapered to a point at its
lower extremity. A dark space was plainly visible between the two
and the new illumination was placed beneath the otherthe whole
forming an appearance not unlike an inverted note of admiration. It
was soon evident that the latter was nothing but the reflectionfrom
the waterof the formerand that the objectwhatever it might be
was advancing acrossor rather over the lakefor it seemed to be
several feet above its surfacein a direct line with themselves. Its
motion was amazingly rapidthe ladies having hardly discovered that
it was moving at allbefore the waving light of a flame was
discernedlosing its regular shapewhile it increased in sizeas it
approached.


“It appears to be supernatural!” whispered Louisabeginning to
retrace her steps toward the party.

“It is beautiful!” exclaimed Elizabeth

A brilliant though waving flame was now plainly visiblegracefully
gliding over the lakeand throwing its light on the water in such a
manner as to tinge it slightly though in the airso strong was the
contrastthe darkness seemed to have the distinctness of material
substancesas if the fire were imbedded in a setting of ebony. This
appearancehowevergradually wore offand the rays from the torch
struck outand enlightened the atmosphere in front of itleaving the
background in a darkness that was more impenetrable than ever.

“Ho! Nattyis that you?” shouted the sheriff. “Paddle inold boy
and I’ll give you a mess of fish that is fit to place before the
governor”

The light suddenly changed its directionand a long and slightly
built boat hove up out of the gloomwhile the red glare fell on the
weather-beaten features of the Leather-Stockingwhose tall person was
seen erect in the frail vesselwieldingwith the grace of an
experienced boatmana long fishing-spearwhich he held by its
centrefirst dropping one end and then the other into the waterto
aid in propelling the little canoe of barkwe will not say through
but overthe water. At the farther end of the vessel a form was
faintly seenguiding its motionsand using a paddle with the ease of
one who felt there was no necessity for exertion. The Leather-
Stocking struck his spear lightly against the short staff which up
heldon a rude grating framed of old hoops of ironthe knots of pine
that composed the fueland the lightwhich glared highfor an
instant fell on the swarthy features and darkglancing eyes of
Mohegan.

The boat glided along the shore until it arrived opposite the fishingground
when it again changed its direction and moved on to the land
with a motion so gracefuland yet so rapidthat it seemed to possess
the power of regulating its own progress. The water in front of the
canoe was hardly ruffled by its passage and no sound betrayed the
collisionwhen the light fabric shot on the gravelly beach for nearly
half its lengthNatty receding a step or two from its bowin order
to facilitate the landing.

“ApproachMohegan” said Marmaduke; “approachLeather-Stockingand
load your canoe with bass. It would be a shame to assail the animals
with the spearwhen such multitudes of victims lie herethat will be
lost as food for the want of mouths to consume them.”

NonoJudge” returned Nattyhis tall figure stalking over the
narrow beachand ascending to the little grassy bottom where the fish
were laid in piles; “I eat of no man’s wasty ways. I strike my spear
into the eels or the troutwhen I crave the creatur’; but I wouldn’t
be helping to such a sinful kind of fishing for the best rifle that
was ever brought out from the old countries. If they had furlike
the beaveror you could tan their hideslike a bucksomething might
be said in favor of taking them by the thousand with your nets; but as
God made them for man’s foodand for no other disarnable reasonI
call it sinful and wasty to catch more than can be eat.”

“Your reasoning is mine; for onceold hunterwe agree in opinion;
and I heartily wish we could make a convert of the sheriff. A net of
half the size of this would supply the whole village with fish for a
week at one haul.”


The Leather-Stocking did not relish this alliance in sentiment; and he
shook his head doubtingly as he answered;

“Nono; we are not much of one mindJudgeor you’d never turn good
hunting-grounds into stumpy pastures. And you fish and hunt out of
rule; butto methe flesh is sweeter where the creatur’ has some
chance for its life; for that reasonI always use a single balleven
if it be at a bird or a squirrel. Besidesit saves lead; forwhen a
body knows how to shootone piece of lead is enough for allexcept
hard-lived animals.”

The sheriff heard these opinions with great indignation; and when he
completed the last arrangement for the divisionby carrying with his
own hands a trout of a large sizeand placing it on four different
piles in successionas his vacillating ideas of justice required
gave vent to his spleen.

“A very pretty confederacyindeed! Judge Templethe landlord and
owner of a townshipwith Nathaniel Bumppo a lawless squatterand
professed deer-killerin order to preserve the game of the county!
But‘Dukewhen I fish I fish; soawayboysfor another hauland
we’ll send out wagons and carts in the morning to bring in our
prizes.”

Marmaduke appeared to understand that all opposition to the will of
the sheriff would he uselessand he strolled from the fire to the
place where the canoe of the hunters laywhither the ladies and
Oliver Edwards had already preceded him.

Curiosity induced the females to approach this spot; but it was a
different motive that led the youth thither. Elizabeth examined the
light ashen timbers and thin bark covering of the canoein admiration
of its neat but simple executionand with wonder that any human being
could he so daring as to trust his life in so frail a vessel. But the
youth explained to her the buoyant properties of the boatand its
perfect safety when under proper management; addingin such glowing
termsa description of the manner in which the fish were struck with
the spearthat she changed suddenlyfrom an apprehension of the
danger of the excursionto a desire to participate in its pleasures.
She even ventured a proposition to that effect to her fatherlaughing
at the same time at her own wishand accusing herself of acting under
a woman’s caprice.

“Say not soBess” returned the Judge; “I would have you above the
idle fears of a silly girl. These canoes are the safest kind of boats
to those who have skill and steady nerves. I have crossed the
broadest part of the Oneida in one much smaller than this.”

“And I the Ontary” interrupted the Leather-Stocking; “ and that with
squaws in the canoetoo. But the Delaware women are used to the
paddleand are good hands in a boat of this natur’If the young lady
would like to see an old man strike a trout for his breakfastshe is
welcome to a seat. John will say the sameseeing that he built the
canoewhich was only launched yesterday; for I’m not over-curious at
such small work as broomsand basket-makingand other like Indian
trades.”

Natty gave Elizabeth one of his significant laughswith a kind nod of
the headwhen he concluded his invitation but Moheganwith the
native grace of an Indianapproachedand taking her soft white hand
into his own swarthy and wrinkled palmsaid:

“Comegranddaughter of Miquonand John will be glad. Trust the


Indian; his head is oldthough his hand is not steady. The Young
Eagle will goand see that no harm hurts his sister.”

“Mr. Edwards” said Elizabethblushing slightly“your friend Mohegan
has given a promise for you. Do you redeem the pledge?”

“With my lifeif necessaryMiss Temple” cried the youthwith
fervor. “ The sight is worth some little apprehension; for of real
danger there is noneI will go with you and Miss Grandhoweverto
save appearances.”

“With me!” exclaimed Louisa. “Nonot with meMr. Edwards; nor
surelydo you mean to trust yourself in that slight canoe.”

“But I shall; for I have no apprehensions any longer” said Elizabeth
stepping into the boatand taking a seat where the Indian directed.
“Mr. Edwardsyou may remainas three do seem to be enough for such
an egg shell.” “

“It shall hold a fourth” cried the young manspringing to her side
with a violence that nearly shook the weak fabric of the vessel
asunder. “Pardon meMiss Templethat I do not permit these
venerable Charons to take you to the shades unattended by your
genius.”

“Is it a good or evil spirit?” asked Elizabeth.
“Good to you.”

“And mine” added the maidenwith an air that strangely blended pique
with satisfaction. But the motion of the canoe gave rise to new
ideasand fortunately afforded a good excuse to the young man to
change the discourse.

It appeared to Elizabeth that they glided over the water by magicso
easy and graceful was the manner in which Mohegan guided his little
bark. A slight gesture with his spear indicated the way in which
Leather-Stocking wished to goand a profound silence was preserved by
the whole partyas the precaution necessary to the success of their
fishery. At that point of the lake the water shoaled regularly.
differing in this particular altogether from those parts where the
mountains rose nearly in perpendicular precipices from the beach.
There the largest vessels could have lainwith their yards
interlocked with the pines; while here a scanty growth of rushes
lifted their tops above the lakegently curling the watersas their
bending heads waved with the passing breath of the night air. It was
at the shallow points only that the bass could he foundor the net
cast with success.

Elizabeth saw thousands of these fish swimming in shoals along the
shallow and warm waters of the shore; for the flaring light of their
torch laid bare the mysteries of the lakeas plainly as if the limpid
sheet of the Otsego was but another atmosphere. Every instant she
expected to see the impending spear of Leather-Stocking darting into
the thronging hosts that were rushing beneath herwhere it would seem
that a blow could not go amiss; and whereas her father had already
saidthe prize that would be obtained was worthy any epicure. But
Natty had his peculiar habitsandit would seemhis peculiar tastes
also.

His tall statureand his erect postureenabled him to see much
farther than those who were seated in the bottom of the canoe; and he
turned his head warily in every directionfrequently bending his body
forwardand straining his visionas if desirous of penetrating the
water that surrounded their boundary of light. At length his anxious


scrutiny was rewarded with successandwaving his spear from the
shorehe said in a cautious tone:

“Send her outside the bassJohn; I see a laker therethat has run
out of the school. It’s seldom one finds such a creatur’ in shallow
waterwhere a spear can touch it.”

Mohegan gave a wave of assent with his handand in the next instant
the canoe was without the “ run of the bass” and in water nearly
twenty feet in depth. A few additional knots were laid on the
gratingand the light penetrated to the bottomElizabeth then saw a
fish of unusual size floating above small pieces of logs and sticks.
The animal was only distinguishableat that distanceby a slight but
almost imperceptible motion of its fins and tail. The curiosity
excited by this unusual exposure of the secrets of the lake seemed to
be mutual between the heiress of the land and the lord of these
watersfor the “ “salmon-trout” soon announced his interest by
raising his head and body for a few degrees above a horizontal line
and then dropping them again into a horizontal position.

“Whist! whist!” said Nattyin a low voiceon hearing a slight sound
made by Elizabeth in bending over the side of the canoe in curiosity;
“‘tis a skeary animaland it’s a far stroke for a spear. My handle
is hut fourteen footand the creator’ lies a good eighteen from the
top of the water: but I’ll try himfor he's a ten—pounder.”

While speakingthe Leather-Stocking was poising and directing his
weapon. Elizabeth saw the brightpolished tinesas they slowly and
silently entered the waterwhere the refraction pointed them many
degrees from the true direction of the fish; and she thought that the
intended victim saw them alsoas he seemed to increase the play of
his tail and finsthough without moving his station. At the next
instant the tall body of Natty bent to the water’s edgeand the
handle of his spear disappeared in the lake. The longdark streak of
the gliding weaponand the little bubbling vortex which followed its
rapid flightwere easily to be seen: but it was not until the handle
snot again into the air by its own reactionand its master catching
it in his handthrew its tines uppermostthat Elizabeth was
acquainted with the success of the blow. A fish of great size was
transfixed by the barbed steeland was very soon shaken from its
impaled situation into the bottom of the canoe.

That will doJohn” said Nattyraising his prize by one of his
fingersand exhibiting it before the torch; “ I shall not strike
another blow to-night.”

The Indian again waved his handand replied with the simple and
energetic monosyllable of:

“Good.”

Elizabeth was awakened from the trance created by this sceneand by
gazing in that unusual manner at the bot tom of the lakebe the
hoarse sounds of Benjamin’s voiceand the dashing of oarsas the
heavier boat of the seine-drawers approached the spot where the canoe
laydragging after it the folds of the net.

“Haul offhaul offMaster Bumppo” cried Benjamin“your top-light
frightens the fishwho see the net and sheer off soundings. A fish
knows as much as a horseorfor that mattermoreseeing that it’s
brought up on the water. Haul oilMaster Bumppohaul offI say
and give a wide berth to the seine.”

Mohegan guided their little canoe to a point where the movements of


the fishermen could be observedwithout interruption to the business
and then suffered it to lie quietly on the waterlooking like an
imaginary vessel floating in air. There appeared to be much ill-humor
among the party in the batteaufor the directions of Benjamin were
not only frequentbut issued in a voice that partook largely of
dissatisfaction.

“Pull larboard oarwill yeMaster Kirby?” cried the old seaman;
“pull larboard best. It would puzzle the oldest admiral in their
British fleet to cast this here net fairwith a wake like a
corkscrew. Full starboardboypull starboard oarwith a will.”

“HarkeeMister Pump” said Kirbyceasing to rowand speaking with
sonic spirit; “I'm a man that likes civil language and decent
treatmentsuch as is right ‘twixt man and man. If you want us to go
hoysay soand hoy I'll gofor the benefit of the company; but I m
not used to being ordered about like dumb cattle.”

“Who’s dumb cattle?”” echoed Benjaminfiercelyturning his
forbidding face to the glare of light from the canoeand exhibiting
every feature teeming with the expression of disgust. “If you want to
come aft and cun the boat roundcome and be damnedand pretty
steerage you’ll make of it. There’s but another heave of the net in
the stern-sheetsand we’re clear of the thing. Give waywill ye?
and shoot her ahead for a fathom or twoand if you catch me afloat
again with such a horse-marine as your selfwhyrate me a ship's
jackassthat’s all.”

Probably encouraged by the prospect of a speedy termination to his
laborthe wood-chopper resumed his oarandunder strong excitement
gave a stroke that not only cleared the boat of the net but of the
steward at the same instant. Benjamin had stood on the little
platform that held the seinein the stern of the boatand the
violent whirl occasioned by the vigor of the wood-chopper’s arm
completely destroyed his balance. The position of the lights rendered
objects in the batteau distinguishableboth from the canoe and the
shore; and the heavy fall on the water drew all eyes to the steward
as he lay strugglingfor a momentin sight.

A loud burst of merrimentto which the lungs of Kirby contributed no
small partbroke out like a chorus of laughterand ran along the
eastern mountainin echoesuntil it died away in distantmocking
mirthamong the rocks and woods. The body of the steward was seen
slowly to disappearas was expected; but when the light waveswhich
had been raised by his fallbegan to sink in calmnessand the water
finally closed over his headunbroken and stilla very different
feeling pervaded the spectators.

“How fare youBenjamin?” shouted Richard from the shore.

“The dumb devil can’t swim a stroke!” exclaimed Kirbyrisingand
beginning to throw aside his clothes.

“Paddle upMohegan” cried young Edwards“the light will show us
where he liesand I will dive for the body.”

“Oh! save him! for God’s sakesave him!” exclaimed Elizabethbowing
her head on the side of the canoe in horror.

A powerful and dexterous sweep of Mohegan's paddle sent the canoe
directly over the spot where the steward had fallenand a loud shout
from the Leather-Stocking announced that he saw the body.

“Steady the boat while I dive” again cried Edwards.


“Gentlyladgently” said Natty; “ I’ll spear the creatur’ up in
half the timeand no risk to anybody.”

The form of Benjamin was lying about half-way to the bottomgrasping
with both hands some broken rushes. The blood of Elizabeth curdled to
her heartas she saw the figure of a fellow-creature thus extended
under an immense sheet of waterapparently in motion by the
undulations of the dying waveswith its face and handsviewed by
that lightand through the medium of the fluidalready colored with
hues like death.

At the same instantshe saw the shining tines of Natty’s spear
approaching the head of the suffererand entwinning themselves
rapidly and dexterouslyin the hairs of his cue and the cape of his
coat. The body was now raised slowlylooking ghastly and grim as its
features turned upward to the light and approached the surface. The
arrival of the nostrils of Benjamin into their own atmosphere was
announced by a breathing that would have done credit to a porpoise.
For a momentNatty held the steward suspendedwith his head just
above the waterwhile his eyes slowly opened and stared about himas
if he thought that he had reached a new and unexplored country.

As all the parties acted and spoke togethermuch less time was
consumed in the occurrence of these events than in their narration.
To bring the batteau to the end of the spearand to raise the form of
Benjamin into the boatand for the whole party to regain the shore
required but a minute. Kirbyaided by Richardwhose anxiety induced
him to run into the water to meet his favorite assistantcarried the
motionless steward up the bankand seated him before the firewhile
the sheriff proceeded to order the most approved measures then in use
for the resuscitation of the drowned.

“RunBilly” he cried“to the villageand bring up the rum-hogshead
that lies before the doorin which I am making vinegarand be quick
boydon’t stay to empty the vinegarand stop at Mr. Le Quoi’sand
buy a paper of tobacco and half a dozen pipes; and ask Remarkable for
some saltand one of her flannel petticoats; and ask Dr. Todd to send
his lancetand to come himself; and— ha! ‘Dukewhat are you about?
would you strangle a man who is full of waterby giving him rum? Help
me to open his handthat I may pat it.”

All this time Benjamin satwith his muscles fixedhis mouth shut
and his hands clinching the rushes which he had seized in the
confusion of the moment and whichas he held fastlike a true
seamanhad been the means of preventing his body from rising again to
the surface. His eyeshoweverwere openand stared wildly on the
group about the firewhile his lungs were playing like a blacksmith’s
bellowsas if to compensate themselves for the minute of inaction to
which they had been subjected. As he kept his lips compressedwith a
most inveterate determinationthe air was compelled to pass through
his nostrilsand he rather snorted than breathedand in such a
manner that nothing but the excessive agitation of the sheriff could
at all justify his precipitous orders.

The bottleapplied to the steward’s lips by Marmadukeacted like a
charm. His mouth opened instinctively; his hands dropped the rushes
and seized the glass; his eyes raised from their horizontal stare to
the heavens; and the whole man was lostfor a momentin a new
sensation. Unhappily for the propensity of the stewardbreath was as
necessary after one of these draughts as after his submersionand the
time at length arrived when he was compelled to let go the bottle.

“WhyBenjamin!” roared the sheriff; “you amaze me! for a man of your


experience in drownings to act so foolishly! Just nowyou were half
full of waterand now you are—”

“Full of grog” interrupted the stewardhis features settling down
with amazing flexibilityinto their natural economy. “Butd’yesee
squireI kept my hatches choseand it’s but little water that ever
gets into my scuttle-butt. HarkeeMaster Kirby! I’ve followed the
salt-water for the better part of a man’s lifeand have seen some
navigation on the fresh; but this here matter I will say in your
favorand that isthat you’re the awk’ardest green 'un that ever
straddled a boat’s thwart. Them that likes you for a shipmatemay
sail with you and no thanks; but dam'me if I even walk on the lake
shore in your company. For why? you’d as lief drown a man as one of
them there fish; not to throw a Christian creature so much as a rope’s
end when he was adriftand no life-buoy in sight! Natty Bumppogive
us your fist. There’s them that says you’re an Indianand a scalper
but you’ve served me a good turnand you may set me down for a
friend; thof it would have been more ship shape like to lower the
bight of a rope or running bowline below methan to seize an old
seaman by his head-lanyard; but I suppose you are used to taking men
by the hairand seeing you did me good instead of harm therebywhy
it’s the same thingd'ye see?”

Marmaduke prevented any replyand assuming the action of matters with
a dignity and discretion that at once silenced all opposition from his
cousinBenjamin was dispatched to the village by landand the net
was hauled to shore in such a manner that the fish for once escaped
its meshes with impunity.

The division of the spoils was made in the ordinary mannerby placing
one of the party with his hack to the gamewho named the owner of
each pile. Bill Kirby stretched his large frame on the grass by the
side of the fireas sentinel until morningover net and fish ; and
the remainder of the party embarked in the batteauto return to the
village.

The wood-chopper was seen broiling his supper on the coals as they
lost sight of the fireand when the boat approached the shorethe
torch of Mohegan’s canoe was shining again under the gloom of the
eastern mountain. Its motion ceased suddenly; a scattering of brands
was in the airand then all remained dark as the conjunction of
nightforestand mountain could render the scene.

The thoughts of Elizabeth wandered from the youthwho was holding a
canopy of shawls over herself and Louisato the hunter and the Indian
warrior; and she felt an awakening curiosity to visit a hut where men
of such different habits and temperament were drawn together as by
common impulse.

CHAPTER XXV.

“Cease all this parlance about hills and dales.
None listen to thy scenes of boyish frolic.
Fond dotard! with such tickled ears as thou dost
Come to thy tale.”—Duo.

Mr. Jones arose on the following morning with the sunandordering
his own and Marmaduke’s steeds to be saddledhe proceededwith a
countenance big with some business of unusual moment to the apartment


of the Judge. The door was unfastenedand Richard enteredwith the
freedom that characterized not only the intercourse between the
cousinsbut the ordinary manners of the sheriff.

“Well‘Duketo horse” he cried“and I will explain to you my
meaning in the allusions I made last night. David saysin the
Psalms—noit was Solomonbut it was all in the family—Solomon said
there was a time for all things; andin my humble opiniona fishingparty
is not the moment for discussing important subjects. Ha! why
what the devil ails youMarmaduke? Ain't you well? Let me feel your
pulse; my grandfatheryou know—”

“Quite well in the bodyRichard” interrupted the Judgerepulsing
his cousinwho was about to assume the functions that rightly
belonged to Dr. Todd; “ but ill at heart. I received letters by the
post last nightafter we returned from the pointand this among the
number.”

The sheriff took the letterbut without turning his eyes on the
writingfor he was examining the appearance of the other with
astonishment. From the face of his cousin the gaze of Richard
wandered to the tablewhich was covered with letterspacketsand
newspapers; then to the apartment and all it contained. On the bed
there was the impression that had been made by a human formbut the
coverings were unmovedand everything indicated that the occupant of
the room had passed a sleepless night. The candles had burned to the
socketsand had evidently extinguished themselves in their own
fragments Marmaduke had drawn his curtainsand opened both the
shutters and the sashesto admit the balmy air “ of a spring
morning; but his pale cheekhis quivering lipand his sunken eye
presented altogether so very different an appearance from the usual
calmmanlyand cheerful aspect of the Judgethat the sheriff grew
each moment more and more bewildered with astonishment. At length
Richard found time to cast his eyes on the direction of the letter
which he still held unopenedcrumpling it in his hand.

“What! a ship-letter!” he exclaimed; “and from Englandha! ‘Duke
there must be news of importance! indeed!”

“Read it” said Marmadukepacing the floor in excessive agitation.

Richardwho commonly thought aloudwas unable to read a letter
without suffering part of its contents to escape him in audible
sounds. So much of the epistle as was divulged in that mannerwe
shall lay before the readeraccompanied by the passing remarks of the
sheriff:

“‘LondonFebruary 121793.’ What a devil of a pas sage she had! but
the wind has been northwest for six weeksuntil within the last
fortnight. Siryour favors of August 10thSeptember 23dand of
December 1stwere received in due seasonand the first answered by
return of packet. Since the receipt of the lastI’ “—here a long
passage was rendered indistinct by a kind of humming noise by the
sheriff—” ‘I grieve to say that ‘—humhumbad enough to be sure—’
but trusts that a merciful Providence has seen fit’—humhumhum
seems to be a goodpious sort of a man‘Duke; belongs to the
Established ChurchI dare say; humhum—’ vessel sailed from Falmouth
on or about the 1st September of last yearand’—humhumhum‘If
anything should transpire on this afflicting subject shall not fail’—
humhum; really a good-hearted manfor a lawyer—’but Can communicate
nothing further at present’—humhum. “ The national convention ‘—
humhum—’ unfortunate Louis’—humhum—’example of your Washington’—a
very sensible manI declareand none of your crazy democrats. Hum
hum—’our gallant navy’—humhum—’under our most excellent monarch’—ay


a good man enoughthat King Georgebut bad advisers: humhum—’I beg
to conclude with assurances of my perfect respect.’—humhum—’Andrew
Holt. ‘—Andrew Holta very sensiblefeeling manthis Mr. Andrew
Holt—but the writer of evil tidings. What will you do nextCousin
Marmaduke?”

“What can I doRichardbut trust to timeand the will of Heaven?
Here is another letter from Connecticutbut it only repeats the
substance of the last. There is but one consoling reflection to be
gathered from the English newswhich isthat my last letter was
received by him before the ship sailed”

“This is bad enoughindeed! ‘Dukebad enoughindeed! and away go
all my plansof putting wings to the houseto the devil. I had made
arrangements for a ride to introduce you to something of a very
important nature. You know how much you think of mines—”

“Talk not of mines” interrupted the Judge: “there is a sacred duty to
be performedand that without delayI must devote this day to
writing; and thou must be my assistantRichard; it will not do to
employ Oliver in a matter of such secrecy and interest”

“Nono‘Duke” cried the sheriffsqueezing his hand“ I am your
manjust now; we are sister’s childrenand bloodafter allis the
best cement to make friendship stick together. Wellwellthere is
no hurry about the silver minejust now; another time will do as
well. We shall want Dirky VanI suppose?”

Marmaduke assented to this indirect questionand the sheriff
relinquished all his intentions on the subject of the rideand
repairing to the breakfast parlorhe dispatched a messenger to
require the immediate presence of Dirck Van der School.

The village of Templeton at that time supported but two lawyersone
of whom was introduced to our readers in the bar-room of the “Bold
Dragoon.” and the other was the gentleman of whom Richard spoke by the
friendly yet familiar appellation of Dirckor Dirky Van. Great goodnature
a very tolerable share of skill in his professionand
considering the circumstancesno contemptible degree of honestywere
the principal ingredients in the character of this manwho was known
to the settlers as Squire Van der Schooland sometimes by the
flattering though anomalous title of the “Dutch” or “honest lawyer.”

We would not wish to mislead our readers in their conceptions of any
of our charactersand we therefore feel it necessary to add that the
adjectivein the preceding agnomen of Mr. Van der Schoolwas used in
direct reference to its substantive. Our orthodox friends need not be
told that all the merit in this world is comparative; andonce for
allwe desire to say thatwhere anything which involves qualities or
characters is assertedwe must be understood to mean“under the
circumstances.”

During the remainder of the daythe Judge was closeted with his
cousin and his lawyer; and no one else was admitted to his apartment
excepting his daughter. The deep distress that so evidently affected
Marmaduke was in some measure communicated to Elizabeth also; for a
look of dejection shaded her intelligent featuresand the buoyancy of
her animated spirits was sensibly softened. Once on that dayyoung
Edwardswho was a wondering and observant spectator of the sudden
alteration produced in the heads of the familydetected a tear
stealing over the cheek of Elizabethand suffusing her bright eyes
with a softness that did not always belong to their expression.

“Have any evil tidings been receivedMiss Temple?” he inquiredwith


an interest and voice that caused Louisa Grant to raise her head from
her needleworkwith a quick ness at which she instantly blushed
herself. “I would offer my services to your fatherifas I suspect
he needs an agent in some distant placeand I thought it would give
you relief.”

“We have certainly heard bad news” returned Elizabeth“ and it may
be necessary that my father should leave home for a short period;
unless I can persuade him to trust my cousin Richard with the
businesswhose absence from the countryjust at this timetoo
might be inexpedient.”

The youth paused a momentand the blood gathered slowly to his
temples as he continued:

“If it be of a nature that I could execute-”

“It is such as can only be confided to one we know— one of ourselves”

“Surelyyou know meMiss Temple!” he addedwith a warmth that he
seldom exhibitedbut which did some times escape him in the moments
of their frank communications. “Have I lived five months under your
roof to be a stranger?”

Elizabeth was engaged with her needle alsoand she bent her head to
one sideaffecting to arrange her muslin; but her hand shookher
color heightenedand her eyes lost their moisture in an expression of
ungovernable interestas she said:

“How much do we know of youMr. Edwards?”

“How much!” echoed the youthgazing from the speaker to the mild
countenance of Louisathat was also illuminated with curiosity; “ how
much Have I been so long an inmate with you and not known?”

The head of Elizabeth turned slowly from its affected positionand
the look of confusion that had blended so strongly with an expression
of interest changed to a smile.

“We know yousirindeed; you are called Mr. Oliver Edwards. I
understand that you have informed my friend Miss Grant that you are a
native—”

“Elizabeth!” exclaimed Louisablushing to thc eyesand trembling
like an aspen ; “ you misunderstood medear Miss Temple; I—I—it was
only a conjecture. Besidesif Mr. Edwards is related to the natives
why should we reproach him? In what are we better? at least Iwho am
the child of a poor and unsettled clergyman?”

Elizabeth shook her head doubtinglyand even laughedbut made no
replyuntilobserving the melancholy which pervaded the countenance
of her companionwho was thinking of the poverty and labors of her
fathershe continued:

“NayLouisahumility carries you too far. The daughter of a
minister of the church can have no superiors. Neither I nor Mr.
Edwards is quite your equalunless” she addedagain smiling“he is
in secret a king “

“A faithful servant of the King of kingsMiss Templeis inferior to
none on earth” said Louisa; “but his honors are his own; I am only
the child of a poor and friendless manand can claim no other
distinction. Whythenshould I feel myself elevated above Mr.
Edwardsbecause—because—perhaps he is only veryvery distantly


related to John Mohegan?”

Glances of a very comprehensive meaning were exchanged between the
heiress and the young manas Louisa betrayedwhile vindicating his
lineagethe reluctance with which she admitted his alliance with the
old warrior; but not even a smile at the simplicity of their companion
was indulged in by either.

“On reflectionI must acknowledge that my situation here is somewhat
equivocal” said Edwards“though I may be said to have purchased it
with my blood.”

“The bloodtooof one of the native lords of the soil!” cried
Elizabethwho evidently put little faith in his aboriginal descent.

“Do I bear the marks of my lineage so very plainly impressed on my
appearance? I am darkbut not very red—not more so than common?”

“Rather more sojust now.”

“I am sureMiss Temple” cried Louisa“you cannot have taken much
notice of Mr. Edwards. His eyes are not so black as Mohegan’s or even
your ownnor is his hair.”

“Very possiblythenI can lay claim to the same de scent It would be
a great relief to my mind to think sofor I own that I grieve when I
see old Mohegan walking about these lands like the ghost of one of
their ancient possessorsand feel how small is my own right to
possess them.”

“Do you?” cried the youthwith a vehemence that startled the ladies

“I doindeed” returned Elizabethafter suffering a moment to pass
in surprise; “but what can I do—what can my father do? Should we offer
the old man a home’ and a maintenancehis habits would compel him to
refuse us. Neither were we so silly as to wish such a thingcould we
convert these clearings and farms again into hunting groundsas the
Leather-Stocking would wish to see them.”

“You speak the truthMiss Temple” said Edwards. “What can you do
indeed? But there is one thing that I am certain you can and will do
when you become the mistress of these beautiful valleys—use your
wealth with indulgence to the poorand charity to the needy; indeed
you can do no more.”

“And That will be doing a good deal” said Louisasmiling in her
turn. “But there willdoubtlessbe one to take the direction of
such things from her hands.”

am not about to disclaim matrimonylike a silly girlwho dreams of
nothing else from morn till night; but I am a nun herewithout the
vow of celibacy. Where shall I find a husband in these forests?”

“There is noneMiss Temple” said Edwards quickly; “there is none who
has a right to aspire to youand I know that you will wait to be
sought by your equal; or dieas you livelovedrespectedand
admired by all who know you.”

The young man seemed to think that he had said all that was required
by gallantryfor he aroseandtaking his hathurried from the
apartment. Perhaps Louisa thought that he had said more than was
necessaryfor she sighedwith an aspiration so low that it was
scarcely audible to herselfand bent her head over her work again.
And it is possible that Miss Temple wished to hear morefor her eyes


continued fixed for a minute on the door through which the young man
had passedthen glanced quickly toward her companionwhen the long
silence that succeeded manifested how much zest may be given to the
conversation of two maidens under eighteenby the presence of a youth
of three-and-twenty.

The first person encountered by Mr. Edwardsas he rather rushed than
walked from the housewas the little square-built lawyerwith a
large bundle of papers under his arma pair of green spectacles on
his nosewith glasses at the sidesas if to multiply his power of
detecting frauds by additional organs of vision.

Mr. Van der School was a well-educated manbut of slow comprehension
who had imbibed a wariness in his speeches and actionsfrom having
suffered by his collisions with his more mercurial and apt brethren
who had laid the foundations of their practice in the Eastern courts
and who had sucked in shrewdness with their mother’s milk. The
caution of this gentleman was exhibited in his actionsby the utmost
method and punctualitytinctured with a good deal of timidity; and in
his speechesby a parenthetical stylethat frequently left to his
auditors a long search after his meaning.

“A good-morning to youMr. Van der School” said Edwards; “it seems
to be a busy day with us at the mansion-house.”

“Good-morningMr. Edwards (if that is your name [forbeing a
strangerwe have no other evidence of the fact than your own
testimony]as I understand you have given it to Judge Temple)goodmorning
sir. It isapparently a busy day (but a man of your
discretion need not be told [havingdoubtlessdiscovered it of your
own accord]that appearances are often deceitful) up at the mansionhouse”


“Have you papers of consequence that will require copying? Can I be of
assistance in any way?”

“There are papers (as doubtless you see [for your eyes are young] by
the outsides) that require copying.”

“WellthenI will accompany you to your officeand receive such as
are most neededand by night I shall have them done if there be much
haste.”

“I shall always be glad to see yousirat my office (as in duty
bound [not that it is obligatory to receive any man within your
dwelling (unless so inclined)which is a castle]according to the
forms of politeness)or at any other place; but the papers are most
strictly confidential (andas suchcannot be read by any one)
unless so directed (by Judge Temple’s solemn injunctions)and are
invisible to all eyes; excepting those whose duties (I mean assumed
duties) require it of them.”

“Wellsiras I perceive that I can be of no serviceI wish you
another good-morning; but beg you will remember that I am quite idle
just nowand I wish you would intimate as much to Judge Templeand
make him a ten der of my services in any part of the worldunless—
unless—it be far from Templeton.”

“I will make the communicationsirin your name (with your own
qualifications)as your agent. Good morningsir. But stay
proceedingsMr. Edwards (so called)for a moment. Do you wish me to
state the offer of travelling as a final contract (for which
consideration has been received at former dates [by sums advanced]
which would be binding)or as a tender of services for which


compensation is to be paid (according to future agreement between the
parties)on performance of the conditions?”

“Any wayany way” said Edwards; “he seems in distressand I would
assist him.”

“The motive is goodsir (according to appearances which are often
deceitful] on first impressions)and does you honor. I will mention
your wishyoung gentleman (as you now seem)and will not fail to
communicate the answer by five o’clock P.M. of this present day (God
willing)if you give me an opportunity so to do.”

The ambiguous nature of the situation and character of Mr. Edwards had
rendered him an object of peculiar suspicion to the lawyerand the
youth was consequently too much accustomed to similar equivocal and
guarded speeches to feel any unusual disgust at the present dialogue.
He saw at once that it was the intention of the practitioner to
conceal the nature of his businesseven from the private secretary of
Judge Temple; and he knew too well the difficulty of comprehending the
meaning of Mr. Van der Schoolwhen the gentleman most wished to be
luminous in his discoursenot to abandon all thoughts of a discovery
when he perceived that the attorney was endeavoring to avoid anything
like an approach to a cross-examination. They parted at the gatethe
lawyer walking with an important and hurried air toward his office
keeping his right hand firmly clinched on the bundle of papers.

It must have been obvious to all our readersthat the youth
entertained an unusual and deeply seated prejudice against the
character of the Judge; but owing to some counteracting causehis
sensations were now those of powerful interest in the state of his
patron’s present feelingsand in the cause of his secret uneasiness.
He remained gazing after the lawyer until the door closed on both the
bearer and the mysterious packetwhen he returned slowly to the
dwellingand endeavored to forget his curiosity in the usual
avocations of his office.

When the Judge made his reappearance in the circles of his familyhis
cheerfulness was tempered by a shade of melancholy that lingered for
many days around his manly brow; but the magical progression of the
season aroused him from his temporary apathyand his smiles returned
with the summer.

The heats of the daysand the frequent occurrence of balmy showers
had completed in an incredibly short period the growth of plants which
the lingering spring had so long retarded in the germ; and the woods
presented every shade of green that the American forests know. The
stumps in the cleared fields were already hidden beneath the wheat
that was waving with every breath of the sum mer airshining and
changing its hues like velvet.

During the continuance of his cousin’s dejectionMr. Jones forebore
with much considerationto press on his attention a business that
each hour was drawing nearer to the heart of the sheriffand which
if any opinion could he formed by his frequent private conferences
with the man who was introduced in these pages by the name of Jotham
at the bar-room of the Bold Dragoonwas becoming also of great
importance.

At length the sheriff ventured to allude again to the subject; and one
eveningin the beginning of JulyMarmaduke made him a promise of
devoting the following day to the desired excursion.


CHAPTER XXVI.


“Speak onmy dearest father!
Thy words are like the breezes of the west.”—Milman.


It was a mild and soft morningwhen Marmaduke and Richard mounted
their horses and proceeded on the expedition that had so long been
uppermost in the thoughts of the latter; and Elizabeth and Louisa
appeared at the same instant in the hallattired for an excursion on
foot.


The head of Miss Grant was covered by a neat little hat of green silk
and her modest eyes peered from under its shadewith the soft languor
that characterized her whole appearance; but Miss Temple trod her
father’s wide apartments with the step of their mistressholding in
her handsdangling by one of its ribbonsthe gypsy that was to
conceal the glossy locks that curled around her polished fore head in
rich profusion.


“What? are you for a walkBess?” cried the Judgesuspending his
movements for a moment to smilewith a father’s fondnessat the
display of womanly grace and beauty that his child presented.
“Remember the heats of Julymy daughter; nor venture further than
thou canst retrace before the meridian. Where is thy parasolgirl?
thou wilt lose tine polish of that browunder this sun and southern
breezeunless thou guard it with unusual care.”


“I shall then do more honor to my connections” returned the smiling
daughter. “Cousin Richard has a bloom that any lady might envy. At
present the resemblance between us is so trifling that no stranger
would know us to be ‘sisters’ children. ‘ “


“Grandchildrenyou meanCousin Bess” said the sheriff. “But on
Judge Temple; time and tide wait for no man; and if you take my
counselsirin twelve months from this day you may make an umbrella
for your daughter of her camel’s-hair shawland have its frame of
solid silver. I ask nothing for myself‘Duke; you have been a good
friend to me already; besidesall that I have will go to Bess there
one of these melancholy daysso it’s as long as it’s shortwhether I
or you leave it. But we have a day’s ride before ussir; so move
forwardor dismountand say you won’t go at once.”


“PatiencepatienceDickon“returned the Judgechecking his horse
and turning again to his daughter. “If thou art for the mountains
lovestray not too deep into the forest. I entreat thee; forthough
it is done often with impunitythere is sometimes danger.”


“Not at this seasonI believesir” said Elizabeth; “forI will
confessit is the intention of Louisa and myself to stroll among the
hills.”


“Less at this season than in the winterdear; but still there may be
danger in venturing too far. But though thou art resoluteElizabeth
thou art too much like thy mother not to be prudent.”


The eyes of the parent turned reluctantly from his childand the
Judge and sheriff rode slowly through the gatewayand disappeared
among the buildings of the village.


During this short dialogueyoung Edwards stoodan attentive
listenerholding in his hand a fishing-rodthe day and the season



having tempted him also to desert the house for the pleasure of
exercise in the air. As the equestrians turned through the gatehe
approached the young femaleswho were already moving toward the
streetand was about to address themas Louisa pausedand said.
quickly:

“Mr. Edwards would speak to usElizabeth.”

The other stopped alsoand turned to the youthpolitely but with a
slight coldness in her airthat sensibly checked the freedom with
which he had approached them

“Your father is not pleased that you should walk unattended in the
hillsMiss Temple. If I might offer my self as a protector—”
“Does my father select Mr. Oliver Edwards as the organ of his
displeasure?” interrupted the lady.

“Good Heaven! you misunderstood my meaning; I should have said uneasy
or not pleased. I am his servantmadamand in consequence yours. I
repeat thatwith your consentI will change my rod for a fowlingpiece
and keep nigh you on the mountain”

“I thank youMr. Edwards; but where there is no dangerno protection
is required. We are not yet reduced to wandering among these free
hills accompanied by a body guard. If such a one is necessary there
he ishowever.— HereBrave—Brave——my noble Brave!”
The huge mastif that has been already mentionedappeared from his
kennelgaping and stretching himself with pampered laziness; but as
his mistress again called:

“Comedear Brave; once you have served your master well; let us see
how you can do your duty by his daughter”—the dog wagged his tailas
if he understood her languagewalked with a stately gait to her side
where he seated himselfand looked up at her facewith an
intelligence but little inferior to that which beamed in her own
lovely countenance.

She resumed her walkbut again pausedafter a few stepsand added
in tones of conciliation:

“You can be serving us equallyandI presumemore agreeably to
yourselfMr. Edwardsby bringing us a string of your favorite perch
for the dinner-table”

When they again began to walk Miss Temple did not look back to see how
the youth bore this repulse; but the head of Louisa was turned several
times before they reached the gate on that considerate errand.

“I am afraidElizabeth” she said“ that we have mortified Oliver.
He is still standing where we left himleaning on his rod. Perhaps
he thinks us proud.”

“He thinks justly” exclaimed Miss Templeas if awaking from a deep
musing; “he thinks justlythen. We are too proud to admit of such
particular attentions from a young man in an equivocal situation.
What! make him the companion of our most private walks! It is pride
Louisabut it is the pride of a woman.”

It was several minutes before Oliver aroused himself from the
abstracted position in which he was standing when Louisa last saw him;
but when he didhe muttered something rapidly and incoherentlyand
throwing his rod over his shoulderhe strode down the walk through
the gate and along one of the streets of the villageuntil he reached
the lake-shorewith the air of an emperor. At this spot boats were


kept for the use of Judge Temple and his family. The young man threw
himself into a light skiffandseizing the oarshe sent it across
the lake toward the hut of Leather-Stockingwith a pair of vigorous
arms. By the time he had rowed a quarter of a milehis reflections
were less bitter; and when he saw the bushes that lined the shore in
front of Natty’s habitation gliding by himas if they possessed the
motion which proceeded from his own effortshe was quite cooled in
mindthough somewhat heated in body. It is quite possible that the
very same reason which guided the conduct of Miss Temple suggested
itself to a man of the breeding and education of the youth; and it is
very certain thatif such were the caseElizabeth rose instead of
falling in the estimation of Mr. Edwards.

The oars were now raised from the waterand the boat shot close in to
the landwhere it lay gently agitated by waves of its own creating
while the young manfirst casting a cautious and searching glance
around him in every directionput a small whistle to his mouthand
blew a longshrill note that rang among the echoing rocks behind the
hut. At this alarmthe hounds of Natty rushed out of their bark
kenneland commenced their longpiteous howlsleaping about as if
half franticthough restrained by the leashes of buckskin by which
they were fastened.

“QuietHectorquiet” said Oliveragain applying his whistle to his
mouthand drawing out notes still more shrill than before. No reply
was madethe dogs having returned to their kennel at the sound of his
voice.

Edwards pulled the bows of the boat on the shoreand landing
ascended the beach and approached the door of the cabin. The
fastenings were soon undoneand he enteredclosing the door after
himwhen all was as silentin that retired spotas if the foot of
man had never trod the wilderness. The sounds of the hammersthat
were in incessant motion in the villagewere faintly heard across the
water; but the dogs had crouched into their lairssatisfied that none
but the privileged had approached the forbidden ground.

A quarter of an hour elapsed before the youth reappearedwhen he
fastened the door againand spoke kindly to the hounds. The dogs
came out at the well-known tonesand the slut jumped upon his person
whining and barking as if entreating Oliver to release her from
prison. But old Hector raised his nose to the light current of air
and opened a long howlthat might have been heard for a mile.
“Ha! what do you scentold veteran of the woods?” cried Edwards. “If
a beastit is a bold one; and if a manan impudent.”

He sprang through the top of a pine that had fallen near the side of
the hutand ascended a small hillock that sheltered the cabin to the
southwhere he caught a glimpse of the formal figure of Hiram
Doolittleas it vanishedwith unusual rapidity for the architect
amid the bushes.

“What can that fellow be wanting here?” muttered Oliver. “He has no
business in this quarterunless it be curiositywhich is an endemic
in these woods. But against that I will effectually guardthough the
dogs should take a liking to his ugly visageand let him pass.” The
youth returned to the doorwhile giving vent to this soliloquyand
completed the fastenings by placing a small chain through a staple
and securing it there by a padlock. “He is a pettifoggerand surely
must know that there is such a thing as feloniously breaking into a
man’s house.”

Apparently well satisfied with this arrangementthe youth again spoke
to the hounds; anddescending to the shorehe launched his boatand


taking up his oarspulled off into the lake.

There were several places in the Otsego that were celebrated fishingground
for perch. One was nearly opposite to the cabinand another
still more famouswas near a pointat the distance of a mile and a
half above itunder the brow of the mountainand on the same side of
the lake with the hut. Oliver Edwards pulled his little skiff to the
firstand satfor a minuteundecided whether to continue there
with his eyes on the door of the cabinor to change his groundwith
a view to get superior game. While gazing about himhe saw the
light-colored bark canoe of his old companions riding on the waterat
the point we have mentionedand containing two figuresthat he at
once knew to be Mohegan and the Leather-Stocking. This decided the
matterand the youth pulledin a very few minutesto the place
where his friends were fishingand fastened his boat to the light
vessel of the Indian.

The old men received Oliver with welcoming nodsbut neither drew his
line from the water nor in the least varied his occupation. When
Edwards had secured his own boathe baited his hook and threw it into
the lakewith out speaking.

“Did you stop at the wigwamladas you rowed past?” asked Natty.

“Yesand I found all safe; but that carpenter and justice of the
peaceMr.or as they call himSquireDoolittlewas prowling
through the woods. I made sure of the door before I left the hutand
I think he is too great a coward to approach the hounds.”

“There's little to be said in favor of that man” said Nattywhile he
drew in a perch and baited his hook. “He craves dreadfully to come
into the cabinand has as good as asked me as much to my face; but I
put him off with unsartain answersso that he is no wiser than Solo
mon. This comes of having so many laws that such a man may be called
on to intarpret them.”

“I fear he is more knave than fool” cried Edwards; “he makes a tool
ofthat simple manthe sheriff; and I dread that his impertinent
curiosity may yet give us much trouble.”

“If he harbors too much about the cabinladI’ll shoot the
creatur’” said the Leather-Stockingquite simply.

“NonoNattyyou must remember the law” said Edwards“or we shall
have you in trouble; and thatold manwould be an evil day and sore
tidings to us all.”

“Would itboy?’ exclaimed the hunterraising his eyeswith a look
of friendly interesttoward the youth. “You have the true blood in
your veinsMr. Oliver; and I’ll support it to the face of Judge
Temple or in any court in the country. How is itJohn? Do I speak
the true word? Is the lad stanchand of the right blood?”

“He is a Delaware” said Mohegan“and my brother. The Young Eagle is
braveand he will be a chief. No harm can come.”

“Wellwell” cried the youth impatiently“say no more about itmy
good friends; if I am not all that your partiality would make meI am
yours through lifein prosperity as in poverty. We will talk of
other matters.”

The old hunters yielded to his wishwhich seemed to be their law.
For a short time a profound silence prevailedduring which each man
was very busy with his hook and linebut Edwardsprobably feeling


that it remained with him to renew the discoursesoon observedwith
the air of one who knew not what he said:

“How beautifully tranquil and glassy the lake is! Saw you it ever more
calm and even than at this momentNatty?”

“I have known the Otsego water for five-and-forty years” said
Leather—Stocking“ and I will say that for itwhich isthat a
cleaner spring or better fishing is not to be found in the land. Yes
yes; I had the place to myself onceand a cheerful time I had of it.
The game was plenty as heart could wish; and there was none to meddle
with the ground unless there might have been a hunting party of the
Delawares crossing the hillsormaybea rifling scout of them
thievesthe Iroquois. There was one or two Frenchmen that squatted
in the flats further westand married squaws; and some of the Scotch-
Irishersfrom the Cherry Valleywould come on to the lakeand
borrow my canoe to take a mess of parchor drop a line for salmontrout;
butin the mainit was a cheerful placeand I had but little
to disturb me in it. John would comeand John knows.”
Mohegan turned his dark face at this appeal; andmoving his hand
forward with graceful motion of assenthe spokeusing the Delaware
language:

“The land was owned by my people; we gave it to my brother in council—
to the Fire-eater; and what the Delawares give lasts as long as the
waters run. Hawk-eye smoked at that councilfor we loved him.”

“NonoJohn” said Natty I was no chiefseeing that I knowed
nothing of scholarshipand had a white skin. But it was a
comfortable hunting-ground thenladand would have been so this day
but for the money of Marmaduke Templeand the twisty ways of the
law.”

“It must have been a sight of melancholy pleasure in deed” said
Edwardswhile his eye roved along the shores and over the hills
where the clearingsgroaning with the golden cornwere cheering the
forest with the signs of life“to have roamed over these mountains
and along this sheet of beautiful waterwithout a living soul to
speak toor to thwart your humor.”

“Haven’t I said it was cheerful?” said Leather-Stocking. “Yesyes
when the trees begain to be covered with leavesand the ice was out
of the hakeit was a second paradise. I have travelled the woods for
fifty-three yearsand have made them my home for more than fortyand
I can say that I have met but one place that was more to my liking;
and that was only to eyesightand not for hunting or fishing.”

“And where was that?” asked Edwards.

“Where! whyup on the Catskills. I used often to go up into the
mountains after wolves’ skins and bears; once they paid me to get them
a stuffed painterand so I often went. ‘there’s a place in them
hills that I used to climb to when I wanted to see the carryings on of
the worldthat would well pay any man for a barked shin or a torn
moccasin. You know the Catskillslad; for you must have seen them on
your leftas you followed the river up from Yorklooking as blue as
a piece of clear skyand holding the clouds on their topsas the
smoke curls over the head of an Indian chief at the council fire.
Wellthere’s the High-peak and the Round-topwhich lay back like a
father and mother among their childrenseeing they are far above all
the other hills. But the place I mean is next to the riverwhere one
of the ridges juts out a little from the restand where the rocks
fallfor the best part of a thousand feetso much up and downthat
a man standing on their edges is fool enough to think he can jump from


top to bottom.”

“What see you when you get there?” asked Edwards

“Creation” said Nattydropping the end of his rod into the water
and sweeping one hand around him in a circle“all creationlad. I
was on that hill when Vaughan burned ‘Sopus in the last war; and I saw
the vessels come out of the Highlands as plain as I can see that limescow
rowing into the Susquehannathough one was twenty times farther
from me than the other. The river was in sight for seventy miles
looking like a curled shaving under my feetthough it was eight long
miles to its banks. I saw the hills in the Hampshire grantsthe
highlands of the riverand all that God had doneor man could do
far as eye could reach—you know that the Indians named me for my
sightlad ; and from the flat on the top of that mountainI have
often found the place where Albany stands. And as for ‘Sopusthe day
the royal troops burnt the townthe smoke seemed so nighthat I
thought I could hear the screeches of the women.”

“It must have been worth the toil to meet with such a glorious view.”

If being the best part of a mile in the air and having men’s farms and
houses your feetwith rivers looking like ribbonsand mountains
bigger than the ‘Vision seeming to be hay-stacks of green grass under
yougives any satisfaction to a manI can recommend the spot. When
I first came into the woods to liveI used to have weak spells when I
felt lonesome: and then I would go into the Catskillsand spend a few
days on that hill to look at the ways of man; but it’s now many a year
since I felt any such longingsand I am getting too old for rugged
rocks. But there’s a placea short two miles back of that very hill
that in late times I relished better than the mountains: for it was
more covered with the treesand nateral.”

“And where was that?” inquired Edwardswhose curiosity was strongly
excited by the simple description of the hunter.

“Whythere’s a fall in the hills where the water of two little ponds.
that lie near each otherbreaks out of their bounds and runs over the
rocks into the valley. The stream ismaybesuch a one as would turn
a millif so useless thing was wanted in the wilderness. But the
hand that made that ‘Leap’ never made a mill. There the water comes
crooking and winding among the rocksfirst so slow that a trout could
swim in itand then starting and running like a creatur’ that wanted
to make a far springtill it gets to where the mountain divideslike
the cleft hoof of a deerleaving a deep hollow for the brook to
tumble into. The first pitch is nigh two hundred feetand the water
looks like flakes of driven snow afore it touches the bottom; and
there the stream gathers itself together again for a new startand
maybe flutters over fifty feet of flat rock before it falls for
another hundredwhen it jumps about from shelf to shelffirst
turning this-away and then turning that-awaystriving to get out of
the hollowtill it finally comes to the plain.”

“I have never heard of this spot before; it is not mentioned in the
books.”

“I never read a book in my life” said Leather-Stocking; “and how
should a man who has lived in towns and schools know anything about
the wonders of the woods? Nonolad; there has that little stream of
water been playing among the hills since He made the worldand not a
dozen white men have ever laid eyes on it. The rock sweeps like
mason-workin a half-roundon both sides of the falland shelves
over the bottom for fifty feet; so that when I’ve been sitting at the
foot of the first pitchand my hounds have run into the caverns


behind the sheet of waterthey’ve looked no bigger than so many
rabbits. To my judgmentladit’s the best piece of work that I’ve
met with in the woods; and none know how often the hand of God is seen
in the wildernessbut them that rove it for a man’s life”

“What becomes of the water? In which direction does it run? Is it a
tributary of the Delaware?”

“Anan!” said Natty.

“Does the water run into the Delaware?”

“Nono; it’s a drop for the old Hudsonand a merry time it has till
it gets down off the mountain. I’ve sat on the shelving rock many a
long hourboyand watched the bubbles as they shot by meand
thought how long it would be before that very waterwhich seemed made
for the wildernesswould be under the bottom of a vesseland tossing
in the salt sea. It is a spot to make a man solemnize. You go right
down into the valley that lies to the east of the High Peakwherein
the fall of the yearthousands of acres of woods are before your
eyesin the deep hollowand along the side of the mountainpainted
like ten thousand rainbowsby no hand of manthough without the
ordering of God’s providence.”

“You are eloquentLeather-Stocking” exclaimed the youth.

“Anan!” repeated Natty.

“The recollection of the sight has warmed your bloodold man. How
many years is it since you saw the place?”

The hunter made no reply; butbending his ear near the waterhe sat
holding his breathand listening attentively as if to some distant
sound. At length he raised his headand said:

“If I hadn’t fastened the hounds with my own handswith a fresh leash
of green buckskinI’d take a Bible oath that I heard old Hector
ringing his cry on the mountain.”

“It is impossible” said Edwards; “it is not an hour since I saw him
in his kennel.”

By this time the attention of Mohegan was attracted to the sounds;
butnotwithstanding the youth was both silent and attentivehe could
hear nothing but the lowing of some cattle from the western hills. He
looked at the old menNatty sitting with his hand to his earlike a
trumpetand Mohegan bending forwardwith an arm raised to a level
with his faceholding the forefinger elevated as a signal for
attentionand laughed aloud at what he deemed to be imaginary sounds.

“Laugh if you willboy” said Leather-Stocking“ the hounds be out
and are hunting a deerNo man can deceive me in such a matter. I
wouldn’t have had the thing happen for a beaver’s skin. Not that I
care for the law; but the venison is lean nowand the dumb things run
the flesh off their own bones for no good. Now do you hear the
hounds?”

Edwards startedas a full cry broke on his earchanging from the
distant sounds that were caused by some intervening hillto confused
echoes that rang among the rocks that the dogs were passingand then
directly to a deep and hollow baying that pealed under the forest
under the Lake shore. These variations in the tones of the hounds
passed with amazing rapidity; andwhile his eyes were glancing along
the margin of the watera tearing of the branches of the alder and


dogwood caught his attentionat a spot near them and at the next
moment a noble buck sprang on the shoreand buried himself in the
lake. A full-mouthed cry followedwhen Hector and the slut shot
through the opening in the bushesand darted into the lake also
bearing their breasts gallantly against the water


CHAPTER XXVII.


“Oft in the full descending flood he tries
To lose the scentand lave his burning sides.”—Thomson.


“I knowed it—I knowed it!” cried Nattywhen both deer and hounds were
in full view; “ the buck has gone by them with the windand it has
been too much for the poor rogues; but I must break them of these
tricksor they’ll give me a deal of trouble. He-erehe-ere—shore.
with yourascals—shore with you—will ye? Oh! off with youold
Hectoror I'll hackle your hide with my ramrod when I get ye.”


The dogs knew their master’s voiceand after swimming in a circleas
if reluctant to give over the chaseand yet afraid to perseverethey
finally obeyedand returned to the landwhere they filled the air
with their cries.


In the mean time the deerurged by his fearshad swum over half the
distance between the shore and the boatsbefore his terror permitted
him to see the new danger. But at the sounds of Natty’s voicehe
turned short in his course and for a few moments seemed about to rush
back againand brave the dogs. His retreat in this direction was
howevereffectually cut offandturning a second timehe urged his
course obliquely for the centre of the lakewith an intention of
landing on the western shore. As the buck swam by the fishermen
raising his nose high into the aircurling the water before his slim
neck like the beak of a galleythe Leather-Stocking began to sit very
uneasy in his canoe.


“‘Tis a noble creatur’!” he exclaimed; “what a pair of horns! a man
might hang up all his garments on the branches. Let me see—July is
the last monthand the flesh must be getting good.” While he was
talkingNatty had instinctively employed himself in fastening the
inner end of the bark ropethat served him for a cableto a paddle
andrising suddenly on his legshe cast this buoy away. and cried;
“Strike outJohn! let her go. The creatur’s a fool to tempt a man in
this way.


Mohegan threw the fastening of the youth’s boat from the canoeand
with one stroke of his paddle sent the light bark over the water like
a meteor.


“Hold!” exclaimed Edwards. “ Remember the lawmy old friends. You
are in plain sight of the villageand I know that Judge Temple is
determined to prosecute allindiscriminatelywho kill deer out of
season.”


The remonstrance came too late; the canoe was already far from the
skiffand the two hunters were too much engaged in the pursuit to
listen to his voice.


The buck was now within fifty yards of his pursuerscutting the water
gallantlyand snorting at each breath with terror and his exertions



while the canoe seemed to dance over the waves as it rose and fell
with the undulations made by its own motion. Leather-Stocking raised
his rifle and freshened the primingbut stood in suspense whether to
slay his victim or not.

“Shall IJohn or no?” he said. “It seems but a poor advantage to
take of the dumb thingtoo. I won’t; it has taken to the water on
its own natur’which is the reason that God has given to a deerand
I’ll give it the lake play; soJohnlay out your armand mind the
turn of the buck; it’s easy to catch thembut they’ll turn like a
snake.”

The Indian laughed at the conceit of his friendbut continued to send
the canoe forward with a velocity’ that proceeded much more from skill
than his strength. Both of the old men now used the language of the
Delawares when they spoke.

“Hugh!” exclaimed Mohegan; “the deer turns his head. Hawk-eyelift
your spear.”

Natty never moved abroad without taking with him every implement that
mightby possibilitybe of service in his pursuits. From his rifle
he never parted; and although intending to fish with the linethe
canoe was invariably furnished with all of its utensilseven to its
grate This precaution grew out of the habits of the hunterwho was
often ledby his necessities or his sportsfar beyond the limits of
his original destination. A few years earlier than the date of our
talethe Leather-Stocking had left his hut on the shores of the
Otsegowith his rifle and his houndsfor a few days’ hunting in the
hills; but before he returned he had seen the waters of Ontario. One
twoor even three hundred miles had once been nothing to his sinews
which were now a little stiffened by age. The hunter did as Mohegan
advisedand prepared to strike a blow with the barbed weapon into the
neck of the buck.

“Lay her more to the leftJohn” he cried“lay her more to the left;
another stroke of the paddle and I have him.”

While speaking he raised the spearand darted it front him like an
arrow. At that instant the buck turnedthe long pole glanced by him
the iron striking against his hornand buried itself harmlessly in
the lake.

“Back water” cried Nattyas the canoe glided over the place where
the spear had fallen; “hold waterJohn.”

The pole soon reappearedshooting up from the lakeandas the
hunter seized it in his handthe Indian whirled the light canoe
roundand renewed the chase. But this evolution gave the buck a
great advantage; and it also allowed time for Edwards to approach the
scene of action.

“Hold your handNatty!” cried the youth“hold your hand; remember it
is out of season.”

This remonstrance was made as the batteau arrived close to the place
where the deer was struggling with the waterhis back now rising to
the surfacenow sinking beneath itas the waves curled from his
neckthe animal still sustaining itself nobly against the odds

“Hurrah!” shouted Edwardsinflamed beyond prudence at the sight;
“mind him as he doubles—mind him as he doubles; sheer more to the
rightMoheganmore to the rightand I’ll have him by the horns;
I'll throw the rope over his antlers.”


The dark eye of the old warrior was dancing in his head with a wild
animationand the sluggish repose in which his aged frame had been
resting in the canoe was now changed to all the rapid inflections of
practiced agility. The canoe whirled with each cunning evolution of
the chaselike a bubble floating in a whirlpool; and when the
direction of the pursuit admitted of a straight course the little bark
skimmed the lake with a velocity that urged the deer to seek its
safety in some new turn.

It was the frequency of these circuitous movements thatby confining
the action to so small a compassenabled the youth to keep near his
companions. More than twenty times both the pursued and the pursuer
glided by himjust without the reach of his oarsuntil he thought
the best way to view the sport was to remain stationaryandby
watching a favorable opportunityassist as much as he could in taking
the victim.

He was not required to wait longfor no sooner had he adopted this
resolutionand risen in the boatthan he saw the deer coming bravely
toward himwith an apparent intention of pushing for a point of land
at some distance from the houndswho were still barking and howling
on the shore. Edwards caught the painter of his skiffandmaking a
noosecast it from him with all his forceand luckily succeeded in
drawing its knot close around one of the antlers of the buck.

For one instant the skiff was drawn through the waterbut in the next
the canoe glided before itand Nattybending lowpassed his knife
across the throat of the animalwhose blood followed the wound
dyeing the waters. The short time that was passed in the last
struggles of the animal was spent by the hunters in bringing their
boats together and securing them in that positionwhen Leather-
Stocking drew the deer from the water and laid its lifeless form in
the bottom of the canoe. He placed his hands on the ribsand on
different parts of the body of his prizeand thenraising his head
he laughed in his peculiar manner.

“So much for Marmaduke Temple's law!” he said“This warms a body’s
bloodold John: I haven’t killed a buck in the lake afore thissin’
many a year. I call that good venisonlad: and I know them that will
relish the creatur’s steaks for all the betterments in the land.”

The Indian had long been drooping with his yearsand perhaps under
the calamities of his racebut this invigorating and exciting sport
caused a gleam of sunshine to cross his swarthy face that had long
been absent from his features. it was evident the old man enjoyed the
chase more as a memorial of his youthful sports and deeds than with
any expectation of profiting by the success. He felt the deer
howeverlightlyhis hand already trembling with the reaction of his
unusual exertionsand smiled with a nod of approbationas he said
in the emphatic and sententious manner of his people:

“Good.”

“I am afraidNatty” said Edwardswhen the heat of the moment had
passedand his blood began to cool“that we have all been equally
transgressors of the law. But keep your own counseland there are
none here to betray us. Yet how came those dogs at large? I left them
securely fastenedI knowfor I felt the thongs and examined the
knots when I was at the hunt.”

“It has been too much for the poor things” said Natty“to have such
a buck take the wind of them. Seeladthe pieces of the buckskin
are hanging from their necks yet. Let us paddle upJohnand I will


call them in and look a little into the matter.”

When the old hunter landed and examined the thongs that were yet fast
to the houndshis countenance sensibly changedand he shook his head
doubtingly.

“Here has been a knife at work” he said; “this skin was never torn
nor is this the mark of a hound’s tooth. Nono—Hector is not in
faultas I feared.”

“Has the leather been cut?” cried Edwards.

“Nono—I didn’t say it had been cutlad; but this is a mark that was
never made by a jump or a bite.”

“Could that rascally carpenter have dared!”

“Ay! he durst do anything when there is no danger” said Natty; “he is
a curious bodyand loves to be helping other people on with their
consarns. But he had best not harbor so much near the wigwam!”

In the mean timeMohegan had been examiningwith an Indian’s
sagacitythe place where the leather thong had been separated. After
scrutinizing it closelyhe saidin Delaware:

“It was cut with a knife—a sharp blade and a long handle—the man was
afraid of the dogs.”

“How is thisMohegan?” exclaimed Edwards; “you saw it not! how can
you know these facts?”

“Listenson” said the warrior. “The knife was sharpfor the cut
was smooth; the handle was longfor a man’s arm would not reach from
this gash to the cut that did not go through the skin; he was a
cowardor he would have cut the thongs around the necks of the
hounds.”
On my life” cried Natty“John is on the scent! It was the carpenter;
and he has got on the rock back of the kennel and let the dogs loose
by fastening his knife to a stick. It would be an easy matter to do
it where a man is so minded.”

“And why should he do so?” asked Edwards; “who has done him wrong
that he should trouble two old men like you?”

“It’s a hard matterladto know men’s waysI findsince the
settlers have brought in their new fashionsBut is there nothing to
be found out in the place? and maybe he is troubled with his longings
after other people’s businessas he often is”

“Your suspicions are just. Give me the canoe; I am young and strong.
and will get down there yetperhapsin time to interrupt his plans.
Heaven forbid that we should be at the mercy of such a man!”

His proposal was acceptedthe deer being placed in the skiff in order
to lighten the canoeand in less than five minutes the little vessel
of bark was gilding over the glassy lakeand was soon hid by the
points of land as it shot close along the shore.

Mohegan followed slowly with the skiffwhile Natty called his hounds
to himbade them keep closeandshouldering his riflehe ascended
the mountainwith an intention of going to the hut by land.


CHAPTER XXVIII.


“Ask me not what the maiden feelsLeft in that dreadful hour alone:
Perchanceher reason stoopsor reel!;
Perchancea courage not her own
Braces her mind to desperate tone.”—Scott.


While the chase was occurring on the lakeMiss Temple and her
companion pursued their walk on the mountain. Male attendants on such
excursions were thought to be altogether unnecessaryfor none were
even known to offer insult to a female who respected herself. After
the embarrassment created by the parting discourse with Edwards had
dissipatedthe girls maintained a conversation that was as innocent
and cheerful as themselves.


The path they took led them but a short distance above the hut of
Leather-Stockingand there was a point in the road which commanded a
bird’s-eye view of the sequestered spot.


From a feeling that might have beennaturaland must have been
powerfulneither of the friendsin their frequent and confidential
dialogueshad ever trusted herself to utter one syllable concerning
the equivocal situation in which the young man who was now so
intimately associated with them had been found. If judge Temple had
deemed it prudent to make any inquiries on the subjecthe had also
thought it proper to keep the answers to him self; though it was so
common an occurrence to find the well-educated youth of the Eastern
States in every stage of their career to wealththat the simple
circumstance of his intelligenceconnected with his povertywould
notat that day and in that countryhave excited any very powerful
curiosity. With his breedingit might have been different; but the
youth himself had so effectually guarded against surprise on this
subjectby his cold and evenin some casesrude deportmentthat
when his manners seemed to soften by timethe Judgeif he thought
about it at allwould have been most likely to imagine that the
improvement was the result of his late association. But women are
always more alive to such subjects than men; and what the abstraction
of the father had overlookedthe observation of the daughter had
easily detected. In the thousand little courtesies of polished life
she had early discovered that Edwards was not wantingthough his
gentleness was so often crossed by marks of what she conceived to be
fierce and uncontrollable passions. It mayperhapsbe unnecessary
to tell the reader that Louisa Grant never reasoned so much after the
fashions of the world. The gentle girlhoweverhad her own thoughts
on the subjectandlike othersshe drew her own conclusions.


“I would give all my other secretsLouisa” exclaimed Miss Temple
laughingand shaking back her dark lockswith a look of childish
simplicity that her intelligent face seldom expressed“to be mistress
of all that those rude logs have heard and witnessed.”


They were both looking at the secluded hut at the instantand Miss
Grant raised her mild eyes as she answered:


“I am sure they would tell nothing to the disadvantage of Mr.
Edwards.”


“Perhaps not; but they mightat leasttell who he is.”


“Whydear Miss Templewe know all that already. I have heard it all
very rationally explained by your cousin—”



“The executive chief! he can explain anything. His ingenuity will one
day discover the philosopher’s stone. But what did he say?”

“Say!” echoed Louisawith a look of surprise; “whyeverything that
seemed to me to be satisfactoryand I now believed it to be true. He
said that Natty Bumppo had lived most of his life in the woods and
among the Indiansby which means he had formed an acquaintance with
old Johnthe Delaware chief.”

“Indeed! that was quite a matter-of-fact tale for Cousin Dickon. What
came next?”

“I believe he accounted for their close intimacy by some story about
the Leather-Stocking saving the life of John in a battle.”

“Nothing more likely” said Elizabetha little impatiently; “but what
is all this to the purpose?”

“NayElizabethyou must bear with my ignoranceand I will repeat
all that I remember to have overheard for the dialogue was between my
father and the sheriffso lately as the last time they metHe then
added that the kings of England used to keep gentlemen as agents among
the different tribes of Indiansand sometimes officers in the army
who frequently passed half their lives on the edge of the wilderness.”

“Told with wonderful historical accuracy! And did he end there?”

“Oh! no—then he said that these agents seldom married; and—and—they
must have been wicked menElizabeth! but I assure you he said so.”

“Never mind” said Miss Templeblushing and smilingthough so
slightly that both were unheeded by her companion; “skip all that.”

“Wellthenhe said that they often took great pride in the education
of their childrenwhom they frequently sent to Englandand even to
the colleges; and this is the way that he accounts for the liberal
manner in which Mr. Edwards has been taught; for he acknowledges that
he knows almost as much as your father—or mine—or even himself.”

“Quite a climax in learning’. And so he made Mohegan the granduncle
or grandfather of Oliver Edwards.”

“You have heard him yourselfthen?” said Louisa.

“Often; but not on this subject. Mr. Richard Jonesyou knowdear
has a theory for everything; but has he one which will explain the
reason why that hut is the only habitation within fifty miles of us
whose door is not open to every person who may choose to lift its
latch?”

“I have never heard him say anything on this subject” returned the
clergyman’s daughter; “but I suppose thatas they are poorthey very
naturally are anxious to keep the little that they honestly own. It
is sometimes dangerous to be richMiss Temple; but you cannot know
how hard it is to be veryvery poor.”

“Nor youI trustLouisa; at least I should hope thatin this land
of abundanceno minister of the church could be left in absolute
suffering.”

“There cannot be actual misery” returned the otherin a low and
humble tone“where there is a dependence on our Maker; but there may
be such suffering as will cause the heart to ache.”


“But not you—not you” said the impetuous Elizabeth— “not youdear
girlyou have never known the misery that is connected with poverty.”

“Ah! Miss Templeyou little understand the troubles of this lifeI
believe. My father has spent many years as a missionary in the new
countrieswhere his people were poorand frequently we have been
without bread; unable to buyand ashamed to begbecause we would not
disgrace his sacred calling. But how often have I seen him leave his
homewhere the sick and the hungry feltwhen he left themthat they
had lost their only earthly friendto ride on a duty which could not
be neglected for domes tic evils! Oh! how hard it must be to preach
consolation to others when your own heart is bursting with anguish!”

“But it is all over now! your father’s income must now be equal to his
wants—it must be—it shall be—”

“It is” replied Louisadropping her head on her bosom to conceal the
tears which flowed in spite of her gentle Christianity—” for there are
none left to be supplied but me.”

The turn the conversation had taken drove from the minds of the young
maidens all other thoughts but those of holy charity; and Elizabeth
folded her friend in her armswhen the latter gave vent to her
momentary grief in audible sobs. When this burst of emotion had
subsidedLouisa raised her mild countenanceand they continued their
walk in silence.

By this time they had gained the summit of the mountainwhere they
left the highwayand pursued their course under the shade of the
stately trees that crowned the eminence. The day was becoming warm
and the girls plunged more deeply into the forestas they found its
invigorating coolness agreeably contrasted to the excessive heat they
had experienced in the ascent. The conversationas if by mutual
consentwas entirely changed to the little incidents and scenes of
their walkand every tall pineand every shrub or flowercalled
forth some simple expression of admiration.

In this manner they proceeded along the margin of the precipice
catching occasional glimpses of the placid Otsegoor pausing to
listen to the rattling of wheels and the sounds of hammers that rose
from the valleyto mingle the signs of men with the scenes of nature
when Elizabeth suddenly startedand exclaimed:

“Listen! there are the cries of a child on this mountain! Is there a
clearing near usor can some little one have strayed from its
parents?”

“Such things frequently happen” returned Louisa. Let us follow the
sounds; it may be a wanderer starving on the hill.”

Urged by this considerationthe females pursued the lowmournful
soundsthat proceeded from the forestwith quick and impatient
steps. More than oncethe ardent Elizabeth was on the point of
announcing that she saw the suffererwhen Louisa caught her by the
armand pointing behind themcried:

“Look at the dog!”

Brave had been their companionfrom the time the voice of his young
mistress lured him from his kennelto the present moment. His
advanced age had long before deprived him of his activity; and when
his companions stopped to view the sceneryor to add to their
bouquetsthe mastiff would lay his huge frame on the ground and await


their movementswith his eyes closedand a listlessness in his air
that ill accorded with the character of a protector. But when
aroused by this cry from LouisaMiss Temple turnedshe saw the dog
with his eyes keenly set on some distant objecthis head bent near
the groundand his hair actually rising on his bodythrough fright
or anger. It was most probably the latterfor he was growling in a
low keyand occasionally showing his teethin a manner that would
have terrified his mistresshad she not so well known his good
qualities.

“Brave!” she said“be quietBrave! What do you seefellow?”

At the sounds of her voicethe rage of the mastiffinstead of being
at all diminishedwas very sensibly increased. He stalked in front
of the ladiesand seated himself at the feet of his mistress
growling louder than beforeand occasionally giving vent to his ire
by a shortsurly barking.

“What does he see?” said Elizabeth; “there must be some animal in
sight.”

Hearing no answer from her companionMiss Temple turned her head and
beheld Louisastanding with her face whitened to the color of death
and her finger pointing upward with a sort of flickeringconvulsed
motion. The quick eye of Elizabeth glanced in the direction indicated
by her friendwhere she saw the fierce front and glaring eyes of a
female pantherfixed on them in horrid malignityand threatening to
leap.

“Let us fly” exclaimed Elizabethgrasping the arm of Louisawhose
form yielded like melting snow.

There was not a single feeling in the temperament of Elizabeth Temple
that could prompt her to desert a companion in such an extremity. She
fell on her knees by the side of the inanimate Louisatearing from
the person of her friendwith instinctive readinesssuch parts of
her dress as might obstruct her respirationand encouraging their
only safeguardthe dogat the same timeby the sounds of her voice.

“CourageBrave!” she criedher own tones beginning to tremble
“couragecouragegood Brave!”

A quarter-grown cubthat had hitherto been unseennow appeared
dropping from the branches of a sapling that grew under the shade of
the beech which held its dam. This ignorant but vicious creature
approached the dogimitating the actions and sounds of its parent
but exhibiting a strange mixture of the playfulness of a kitten with
the ferocity of its race. Standing on its hind-legsit would rend
the bark of a tree with its fore-pawsand play the antics of a cat;
and thenby lashing itself with its tailgrowlingand scratching
the earthit would at tempt the manifestations of anger that rendered
its parent so terrific.

All this time Brave stood firm and undauntedhis short tail erect
his body drawn backward on its haunchesand his eyes following the
movements of both dam and cub. At every gambol played by the latter
it approached nigher to the dogthe growling of the three becoming
more horrid at each momentuntil the younger beastover-leaping its
intended boundfell directly before the mastiff. There was a moment
of fearful cries and strugglesbut they ended almost as soon as
commencedby the cub appearing in the airhurled from the jaws of
Bravewith a violence that sent it against a tree so forcibly as to
render it completely senseless. Elizabeth witnessed the short
struggleand her blood was warming with the triumph of the dogwhen


she saw the form of the old panther in the airspringing twenty feet
from the branch of the beech to the back of the mastiff. No words of
ours can describe the fury of the conflict that followed. It was a
confused struggle on the dry leavesaccompanied by loud and terrific
cries. Miss Temple continued on her kneesbending over the form of
Louisaher eyes fixed on the animals with an interest so horridand
yet so intensethat she almost forgot her own stake in the result.
So rapid and vigorous were the bounds of the inhabitant of the forest
that its active frame seemed constantly in the airwhile the dog
nobly faced his foe at each successive leap. When the panther lighted
on the shoulders of the mastiffwhich was its constant aimold
Bravethough torn with her talonsand stained with his own blood
that already flowed from a dozen woundswould shake off his furious
foe like a featherandrearing on his hind-legsrush to the fray
againwith jaws distendedand a dauntless eye. But ageand his
pampered lifegreatly disqualified the noble mastiff for such a
struggle. In everything but courage. he was only the vestige of what
he had once been. A higher bound than ever raised the wary and
furious beast far beyond the reach of the dogwho was making a
desperate but fruitless dash at herfrom which she alighted in a
favorable positionon the back of her aged foe. For a single moment
only could the panther remain therethe great strength of the dog
returning with a convulsive effort. But Elizabeth sawas Brave
fastened his teeth in the side of his enemythat the collar of brass
around his neckwhich had been glittering throughout the fraywas of
the color of bloodand directly that his frame was sinking to the
earthwhere it soon lay prostrate and helpless. Several mighty
efforts of the wild-cat to extricate herself from the jaws of the dog
followedbut they were fruitlessuntil the mastiff turned on his
backhis lips collapsedand his teeth loosenedwhen the short
convulsions and stillness that succeeded announced the death of poor
Brave.

Elizabeth now lay wholly at the mercy of the beast. There is said to
be something in the front of the image of the Maker that daunts the
hearts of the inferior beings of his creation; and it would seem that
some such powerin the present instancesuspended the threatened
blow. The eyes of the monster and the kneeling maiden met for an
instantwhen the former stooped to examine her fallen foe; nextto
scent her luckless cub. From the latter examination it turned
howeverwith its eyes apparently emitting flashes of fireits tail
lashing its sides furiouslyand its claws projecting inches from her
broad feet.

Miss Temple did not or could not move. Her hands were clasped in the
attitude of prayerbut her eyes were still drawn to her terrible
enemy—her cheeks were blanched to the whiteness of marbleand her
lips were slightly separated with horror.

The moment seemed now to have arrived for the fatal terminationand
the beautiful figure of Elizabeth was bowing meekly to the stroke
when a rustling of leaves behind seemed rather to mock the organs than
to meet her ears.

“Hist! hist!” said a low voice“stoop lowergal; your bonnet hides
the creatur’s head.”

It was rather the yielding of nature than a compliance with this
unexpected orderthat caused the head of our heroine to sink on her
bosom; when she heard the report of the riflethe whizzing of the
bulletand the enraged cries of the beastwho was rolling over on
the earthbiting its own fleshand tearing the twigs and branches
within its reach. At the next instant the form of the Leather-
Stocking rushed by herand he called aloud:


“Come inHector! come inold fool; ‘tis a hard-lived animaland may
jump agin.”

Natty fearlessly maintained his position in front of the females
notwithstanding the violent bounds and threatening aspect of the
wounded pantherwhich gave several indications of returning strength
and ferocityuntil his rifle was again loadedwhen he stepped up to
the enraged animalandplacing the muzzle close to its headevery
spark of life was extinguished by the discharge.

The death of her terrible enemy appeared to Elizabeth like a
resurrection from her own grave. There was an elasticity in the mind
of our heroine that rose to meet the pressure of instant dangerand
the more direct it had beenthe more her nature had struggled to
overcome them. But still she was a woman. Had she been left to
herself in her late extremityshe would probably have used her
faculties to the utmostand with discretionin protecting her
person; butencumbered with her inanimate friendretreat was a thing
not to be attempted. Notwithstanding the fearful aspect of her foe
the eye of Elizabeth had never shrunk from its gazeand long after
the event her thoughts would recur to her passing sensationsand the
sweetness of her midnight sleep would be disturbedas her active
fancy conjuredin dreamsthe most trifling movements of savage fury
that the beast had exhibited in its moment of power.

We shall leave the reader to imagine the restoration of Louisa’s
sensesand the expressions of gratitude which fell from the young
women. The former was effected by a little waterthat was brought
from one of the thousand springs of those mountainsin the cap of the
Leather-Stocking; and the latter were uttered with the warmth that
might be expected from the character of Elizabeth. Natty received her
vehement protestations of gratitude with a simple expression of goodwill
and with indulgence for her present excitementbut with a
carelessness that showed how little he thought of the service he had
rendered.

“Wellwell” he said“be it sogal; let it be soif you wish it—
we'll talk the thing over another time. Comecome—let us get into
the roadfor you’ve had terror enough to make you wish yourself in
your father’s house agin.”

This was uttered as they were proceedingat a pace that was adapted
to the weakness of Louisatoward the highway; on reaching which the
ladies separated from their guidedeclaring themselves equal to the
remainder of the walk without his assistanceand feeling encouraged
by the sight of the village which lay beneath their feet like a
picturewith its limpid lake in frontthe winding stream along its
marginand its hundred chimneys of whitened bricks.

The reader need not be told the nature of the emotions which two
youthfulingenuousand well-educated girls would experience at their
escape from a death so horrid as the one which had impended over them
while they pursued their way in silence along the track on the side of
the mountain; nor how deep were their mental thanks to that Power
which had given them their existenceand which had not deserted them
in their extremity; neither how often they pressed each other’s arms
as the assurance of their present safety camelike a healing balm
athwart their troubled spiritswhen their thoughts were recurring to
the recent moments of horror.

Leather-Stocking remained on the hillgazing after their retiring
figuresuntil they were hidden by a bend in the roadwhen he
whistled in his dogsand shouldering his riflehe returned into the


forest.

“Wellit was a skeary thing to the young creatur’s” said Natty
while he retrod the path toward the plain. “It might frighten an
older womanto see a she-painter so near herwith a dead cub by its
side. I wonder if I had aimed at the varmint’s eyeif I shouldn’t
have touched the life sooner than in the forehead; but they are hardlived
animalsand it was a good shotconsid’ring that I could see
nothing but the head and the peak of its tail. Hah! who goes there?”

“How goes itNatty?” said Mr. Doolittlestepping out of the bushes
with a motion that was a good deal accelerated by the sight of the
riflethat was already lowered in his direction. “What! shooting
this warm day! Mindold manthe law don’t get hold on you.”

“The lawsquire! I have shook hands with the law these forty year”
returned Natty; “for what has a man who lives in the wilderness to do
with the ways of the law?”

“Not muchmaybe” said Hiram; “but you sometimes trade in venison. I
s’pose you knowLeather-Stockingthat there is an act passed to lay
a fine of five pounds currencyor twelve dollars and fifty centsby
decimalson every man who kills a deer betwixt January and August.
The Judge had a great hand in getting the law through.”

“I can believe it” returned the old hunter; “ I can believe that or
anything of a man who carries on as he does in the country.”

“Yesthe law is quite positiveand the Judge is bent on putting it
in force—five pounds penalty. I thought I heard your hounds out on
the scent of so’thing this morning; I didn’t know but they might get
you in difficulty.”

“They know their manners too well” said Natty carelessly. “And how
much goes to the State’s evidencesquire?”

“How much?” repeated Hiramquailing under the honest but sharp look
of the hunter; “the informer gets halfI—I believe—yesI guess it’s
half. But there’s blood on your sleeveman—you haven’t been shooting
anything this morning?”

“I havethough” said the hunternodding his head significantly to
the other“and a good shot I made of it.”

“H-e-m!” ejacuated the magistrate; “and where is the game? I s’pose
it’s of a good natur’for your dogs won’t hunt anything that isn’t
choice.”

“They’ll hunt anything I tell them tosquire” cried Nattyfavoring
the other with his laugh. “They’ll hunt youif I say so. He-e-e-re
he-e-e-reHector—he-e-e-reslut—come this a-waypups—come this away-—
come hither.”

“Oh! I have always heard a good character of the dogs” returned Mr.
Doolittlequickening his pace by raising each leg in rapid
successionas the hounds scented around his person. “And where is
the gameLeather-Stocking?”

During this dialoguethe speakers had been walking at a very fast
gaitand Natty swung the end of his rifle roundpointing through the
bushesand replied: “There lies one. How do you like such meat?”

“This!” exclaimed Hiram; “whythis is Judge Temple’s dog Brave. Take
careLeather-Stockingand don’t make an enemy of the Judge. I hope


you haven’t harmed the animal?”


“Look for yourselfMr. Doolittle” said Nattydrawing his knife from
his girdleand wiping it in a knowing manneronce or twice across
his garment of buckskin; “does his throat look as if I had cut it with
this knife?”


“It is dreadfully torn! it’s an awful wound—no knife ever did this
deed. Who could have done it?”


“The painters behind yousquire.”


“Painters!” echoed Hiramwhirling on his heel with an agility that
would have done credit to a dancing’ master.


“Be easyman” said Natty; “there’s two of the venomous things; but
the dog finished oneand I have fastened the other’s jaws for her; so
don’t be frightenedsquire; they won’t hurt you.”


“And where’s the deer?” cried Hiramstaring about him with a
bewildered air.


“Anan? deer!” repeated Natty.
“Sartain; an’t there venison hereor didn’t you kill a buck?”


“What! when the law forbids the thingsquire!” said the old hunter
“I hope there’s no law agin’ killing the painters.”


“No! there’s a bounty on the scalps—but—will your dogs hunt painters
Natty?”


“Anything; didn’t I tell you they would hunt a man? He-e-rehe-e-re
pups—”


“YesyesI remember. Wellthey are strange dogsI must say—I am
quite in a wonderment.”


Natty had seated himself on the groundand having laid the grim head
of his late ferocious enemy in his lapwas drawing his knife with a
practiced hand around the earswhich he tore from the head of the
beast in such a manner as to preserve their connectionwhen he
answered;


“What atsquire? did you never see a painter’s scalp afore? Comeyou
are a magistrateI wish you’d make me out an order for the bounty.”


“The bounty!” repeated Hiramholding the ears on the end of his
finger for a momentas if uncertain how to proceed. “Welllet us go
down to your hutwhere you can take the oathand I will write out
the orderI sup pose you have a Bible? All the law wants is the four
evangelists and the Lord’s prayer.”


“I keep no books” said Nattya little coldly; “not such a Bible as
the law needs.”


“Oh! there’s but one sort of Bible that’s good in law” returned the
magistrate“and your’n will do as well as another’s. Comethe
carcasses are worth nothingman; let us go down and take the oath.”


“Softlysoftlysquire” said the hunterlifting his trophies very
deliberately from the groundand shouldering his rifle; “why do you
want an oath at allfor a thing that your own eyes has seen? Won’t
you believe yourselfthat another man must swear to a fact that you
know to be true? You have seen me scalp the creatur’sand if I must



swear to itit shall be before Judge Templewho needs an oath.”

“But we have no pen or paper hereLeather-Stocking; we must go to the
hut for themor how can I write the order?”

Natty turned his simple features on the cunning magistrate with
another of his laughsas he said:

“And what should I be doing with scholars’ tools? I want no pens or
papernot knowing the use of either; and I keep none. NonoI’ll
bring the scalps into the villagesquireand you can make out the
order on one of your law-booksand it will he all the better for it.
The deuce take this leather on the neck of the dogit will strangle
the old fool. Can you lend me a knifesquire?”

Hiramwho seemed particularly anxious to be on good terms with his
companionunhesitatingly complied. Natty cut the thong from the neck
of the houndandas he returned the knife to its ownercarelessly
remarked:

“Tis a good bit of steeland has cut such leather as this very same
before nowI dare say.”

“Do you mean to charge me with letting your hounds loose?” exclaimed
Hiramwith a consciousness that disarmed his caution.

“Loose!” repeated the hunter—” I let them loose my self. I always let
them loose before I leave the hut.”

The ungovernable amazement with which Mr. Doolittle listened to this
falsehood would have betrayed his agency in the liberation of the
dogshad Natty wanted any further confirmation; and the coolness and
management of the old man now disappeared in open indignation.

“Look you hereMr. Doolittle” he saidstriking the breech of his
rifle violently on the ground; “ what there is in the wigwam of a poor
man like methat one like you can craveI don’t know; but this I
tell you to your facethat you never shall put foot under the roof of
my cabin with my consentand thatif you harbor round the spot as
you have done latelyyou may meet with treatment that you will little
relish.”

“And let me tell youMr. Bumppo” said Hiramretreatinghowever
with a quick step“that I know you’ve broke the lawand that I’m a
magistrateand will make you feel it toobefore you are a day
older.”

“That for you and your lawtoo” cried Nattysnap ping his fingers
at the justice of the peace; “away with youyou varmintbefore the
devil tempts me to give you your desarts. Take careif I ever catch
your prowling face in the woods aginthat I don’t shoot it for an
owl.”

There is something at all times commanding in honest indignationand
Hiram did not stay to provoke the wrath of the old hunter to
extremities. When the intruder was out of sightNatty proceeded to
the hutwhere he found all quiet as the grave. He fastened his dogs
and tapping at the doorwhich was opened by Edwardsasked;

“Is all safelad?”

“Everything” returned the youth. “Some one attempted the lockbut
it was too strong for him.”


“I know the creatur’” said Natty“but he’ll not trust himself within
the reach of my rifle very soon——” What more was uttered by the
Leather-Stockingin his vexationwas rendered inaudible by the
closing of the door of the cabin.

CHAPTER XXIX.

“It is noisedhe hath a mass of treasure.”—Timon of Athens.

When Marmaduke Temple and his cousin rode through the gate of the
formerthe heart of the father had been too recently touched with the
best feelings of our natureto leave inclination for immediate
discourse. There was an importance in the air of Richardwhich would
not have admitted of the ordinary informal conversation of the
sheriffwithout violating all the rules of consistency; and the
equestrians pursued their way with great diligencefor more than a
milein profound silence. At length the soft expression of parental
affection was slowly chased from the handsome features of the Judge
and was gradually supplanted by the cast of humor and benevolence that
was usually seated on his brow.

“WellDickon” he saidsince I have yielded myself so far implicitly
to your guidanceI think the moment has arrived when I am entitled to
further confidence. Why and wherefore are we journeying together in
this solemn gait?”

The sheriff gave a loud hemthat rang far in the forestand keeping
his eyes fixed on objects before him like a man who is looking deep
into futurity:

“There has always been one point of difference between usJudge
TempleI may saysince our nativity” he replied; not that I would
insinuate that you are at all answerable for the acts of Nature; for a
man is no more to be condemned for the misfortunes of his birththan
he is to be commended for the natural advantages he may possess; but
on one point we may be said to have differed from our birthsand
theyyou knowoccurred within two days of each other.”

“I really marvelRichardwhat this one point can beforto my
eyeswe seem to differ so materiallyand so often—”

“Mere consequencessir” interrupted the sheriff; “all our minor
differences proceed from one causeand that isour opinions of the
universal attainments of genius.”

“In whatDickon?”

“I speak plain EnglishI believeJudge Temple: at least I ought; for
my fatherwho taught mecould speak——”

“Greek and Latin” interrupted Marmaduke. “I well know the
qualifications of your family in tonguesDickon. But proceed to the
point; why are we travelling over this mountain to-day?”

“To do justice to any subjectsirthe narrator must he suffered to
proceed in his own way” continued the sheriff. “You are of opinion
Judge Templethat a man is to be qualified by nature and education to
do only one thing wellwhereas I know that genius will supply the
place of learningand that a certain sort of man can do anything and


everything.”

“Like yourselfI suppose” said Marmadukesmiling.

“I scorn personalitiessirI say nothing of myself; but there are
three men on your Patentof the kind that I should term talented by
nature for her general purposes though acting under the influence of
different situations.”

“We are better offthenthan I had supposed. Who are these
triumviri?”

“Whysirone is Hiram Doolittle; a carpenter by tradeas you know—
and I need only point to the village to exhibit his merits. Then he
is a magistrateand might shame many a manin his distribution of
justicewho has had better opportunities.”

“Wellhe is one” said Marmadukewith the air of a man that was
determined not to dispute the point.

“Jotham Riddel is another.”

“Who?”

“Jotham Riddel.”

“Whatthat dissatisfiedshiftlesslazyspeculating fellow! he who
changes his county every three yearshis farm every six monthsand
his occupation every season! an agriculturist yesterdaya shoemaker
to-dayand a school master to-morrow! that epitome of all the
unsteady and profitless propensities of the settlers without one of
their good qualities to counterbalance the evil! NayRichard. this
is too bad for even—but the third.”

“As the third is not used to hearing such comments on his character
Judge TempleI shall not name him.”

“The amount of all thisthenDickonis that the trioof which you
are oneand the principalhave made some important discovery.”

“I have not said that I am oneJudge Temple. As I told you before
say nothing egotistical. But a discovery has been madeand you are
deeply interested in it.”

“Proceed—I am all ears.”

“Nono‘Dukeyou are bad enoughI ownbut not so bad as that
either; your ears are not quite full grown.”

The sheriff laughed heartily at his own witand put himself in good
humor therebywhen he gratified his patient cousin with the following
explanation:

“You know‘Dukethere is a man living on your estate that goes by
the name of Natty Bumppo. Here has this man livedby what I can
learnfor more than forty years—by himselfuntil lately; and now
with strange companions.”

“Part very trueand all very probable” said the Judge.

“All truesir; all true. Wellwithin these last few months have
appeared as his companions an old Indian chiefthe lastor one of
the last of his tribe that is to be found in this part of the country
and a young manwho is said to be the son of some Indian agentby a


squaw.”

“Who says that?” cried Marmadukewith an interest; that he had not
manifested before.

“Who? whycommon sense—common report—the hue and cry. But listen
till you know all. This youth has very pretty talents—yeswhat I
call very pretty talents— and has been well educatedhas seen very
tolerable companyand knows how to behave himself when he has a mind
to. NowJudge Templecan you tell me what has brought three such
men as Indian JohnNatty Bumppoand Oliver Edwards together?”
Marmaduke turned his countenancein evident surpriseto his cousin
and replied quickly:

“Thou hast unexpectedly hit on a subjectRichardthat has often
occupied my mind. But knowest thou anything of this mysteryor are
they only the crude conjectures of—”

“Crude nothing‘Dukecrude nothing : but factsstub-born facts.
You know there arc mines in these mountains; I have often heard you
say that you believed in their existence.”

“Reasoning from analogyRichardbut not with any certainty of the
fact.”

“You have heard them mentionedand have seen specimens of the ore
sir; you will not deny that! andreasoning from analogyas you say
if there be mines in South Americaought there not to be mines in
North America too?”

“NaynayI deny nothingmy cousin. I certainly have heard many
rumors of the existence of mines in these hills: and I do believe that
I have seen specimens of the precious metals that have been found
here. It would occasion me no surprise to learn that tin and silver
or what I consider of more consequencegood coal—”

“Damn your coal” cried the sheriff; “ who wants to find coal in these
forests? Nono—silver‘Duke; silver is the one thing needfuland
silver is to be found. But listen: you are not to be told that the
natives have long known the use of gold and silver; now who so likely
to be acquainted where they are to be found as the ancient inhabitants
of a country? I have the best reasons for believing that both Mohegan
and the Leather-Stocking have been privy to the existence of a mine in
this very mountain for many years.”

The sheriff had now touched his cousin in a sensitive spot; and
Marmaduke lent a more attentive ear to the speakerwhoafter waiting
a moment to see the effect of this extraordinary development
proceeded:

“YessirI have my reasonsand at a proper time you shall know
them”

“No time is so good as the present.”

“Wellwellbe attentive” continued Richardlooking cautiously
about himto make certain that no eavesdropper was hid in the forest
though they were in constant motion. “I have seen Mohegan and the
Leather-Stockingwith my own eyes—and my eyes are as good as
anybody’s eyes—I have seen themI sayboth going up the mountain and
coming down itwith spades and picks; and others have seen them
carrying things into their hutin a secret and mysterious manner
after dark. Do you call this a fact of importance?”


The Judge did not replybut his brow had contractedwith a
thoughtfulness that he always wore when much interestedand his eyes
rested on his cousin in expectation of hearing more. Richard
continued:

“It was ore. NowsirI ask if you can tell me who this Mr. Oliver
Edwards isthat has made a part of your household since Christmas?”

Marmaduke again raised his eyesbut continued silentshaking his
head in the negative.

“That he is a half-breed we knowfor Mohegan does not scruple to call
him openly his kinsman; that he is well educated we know. But as to
his business here—do you remember that about a month before this young
man made his appearance among usNatty was absent from home several
days? You do; for you inquired for himas you wanted some venison to
take to your friendswhen you went for Bess. Wellhe was not to be
found. Old John was left in the hut aloneand when Natty did appear
although he came on in the nighthe was seen drawing one of those
jumpers that they carry their grain to mill inand to take out
something with great carethat he had covered up under his bearskins.
Now let me ask youJudge Templewhat motive could induce a
man like the Leather-Stocking to make a sledand toil with a load
over these mountainsif he had nothing but his rifle or his
ammunition to carry?”

“They frequently make these jumpers to convey their game homeand you
say he had been absent many days.”

“How did he kill it? His rifle was in the villageto be mended. No
no—that he was gone to some unusual place is certain; that he brought
back some secret utensils is more certain; and that he has not allowed
a soul to approach his hut since is most certain of all.”

“He was never fond of intruders——--”

“I know it” interrupted Richard; “but did he drive them from his
cabin morosely? Within a fortnight of his returnthis Mr. Edwards
appears. They spend whole days in the mountainspretending to be
shootingbut in reality exploring; the frosts prevent their digging
at that timeand he avails himself of a lucky accident to get into
good quarters. But even nowhe is quite half of his time in that
hut—many hours every night. They are smelting'Duke they are
smeltingand as they grow richyou grow poor.”

“How much of this is thine ownRichardand how much comes from
others? I would sift the wheat from the chaff.”

“Part is my ownfor I saw the jumperthough it was broken up and
burnt in a day or two. I have told you that I saw the old man with
his spades and picks. Hiram met Nattyas he was crossing the
mountainthe night of his arrival with the sledand very goodnaturedly
offered —Hiram is good-natured—to carry up part of his load
for the old man had a heavy pull up the back of the mountainbut he
wouldn't listen to the thingand repulsed the offer in such a manner
that the squire said he had half a mind to swear the peace against
him. Since the snow has been offmore especially after the frosts
got out of the groundwe have kept a watchful eye on the gentle
manin which we have found Jotham useful.”
Marmaduke did not much like the associates of Richard in this
business; still he knew them to be cunning and ready expedients; and
as there was certainly something mysteriousnot only in the
connection between the old hunters and Edwardsbut in what his cousin
had just relatedhe began to revolve the subject in his own mind with


more care. On reflectionhe remembered various circumstances that
tended to corroborate these suspicionsandas the whole business
favored one of his infirmitieshe yielded the more readily to their
impression. The mind of Judge Templeat all times comprehensivehad
received from his peculiar occupations a bias to look far into
futurityin his speculations on the improvements that posterity were
to make in his lands. To his eyewhere others saw nothing but a
wildernesstownsmanufactoriesbridgescanalsminesand all the
other resources of an old country were constantly presenting
themselvesthough his good sense suppressedin some degreethe
exhibition of these expectations.

As the sheriff allowed his cousin full time to reflect on what he had
heardthe probability of some pecuniary adventure being the
connecting link in the chain that brought Oliver Edwards into the
cabin of Leather-Stocking appeared to him each moment to be stronger.
But Marmaduke was too much in the habit of examining both sides of a
subject not to perceive the objectionsand he reasoned with himself
aloud:

“It cannot be soor the youth would not be driven so near the verge
of poverty.”

“What so likely to make a man dig for money as being poor?” cried the
sheriff.

“Besidesthere is an elevation of character about Oliver that
proceeds from educationwhich would forbid so clan- destine a
proceeding.”

“Could an ignorant fellow smelt?” continued Richard.

“Bess hints that he was reduced even to his last shilling when we took
him into our dwelling.”

“He had been buying tools. And would he spend his last sixpence for a
shot at a turkey had he not known where to get more?”

“Can I have possibly been so long a dupe? His manner has been rude to
me at timesbut I attributed it to his conceiving himself injured
and to his mistaking the forms of the world.”

“Haven’t you been a dupe all your life‘Dukeand an’t what you call
ignorance of forms deep cunningto conceal his real character?”

“If he were bent on deceptionhe would have concealed his knowledge
and passed with us for an inferior man.”

“He cannot. I could no more pass for a foolmyselfthan I could
fly. Knowledge is not to be concealedlike a candle under a bushel”

“Richard” said the Judgeturning to his cousin“there are many
reasons against the truth of thy conjecturesbut thou hast awakened
suspicions which must be satisfied. But why are we travelling here?”

“Jothamwho has been much in the mountain latterlybeing kept there
by me and Hiramhas made a discoverywhich he will not explainhe
saysfor he is bound by an oath; but the amount isthat he knows
where the ore liesand he has this day begun to dig. I would not
consent to the thing‘Dukewithout your knowledgefor the land is
yours; and now you know the reason of our ride. I call this a
countermineha!”

“And where is the desirable spot?” asked the Judge with an air half


comicalhalf serious.

“At hand; and when we have visited thatI will show you one of the
places that we have found within a weekwhere our hunters have been
amusing themselves for six months past.”

The gentlemen continued to discuss the matterwhile their horses
picked their way under the branches of the trees and over the uneven
ground of the mountain. They soon arrived at the end of their
journeywherein truththey found Jotham already buried to his neck
in a hole that he had been digging.

Marmaduke questioned the miner very closely as to his reasons for
believing in the existence of the precious metals near that particular
spot; but the fellow maintained an obstinate mystery in his answers.
He asserted that he had the best of reasons for what he didand
inquired of the judge what portion of the profits would fall to his
own sharein the event of successwith an earnestness that proved
his faith. After spending an hour near the placeexamining the
stonesand searching for the usual indications of the proximity of
orethe Judge remounted and suffered his cousin to lead the way to
the place where the mysterious trio had been making their excavation.

The spot chosen by Jotham was on the back of the mountain that
overhung the hut of Leather-Stockingand the place selected by Natty
and his companions was on the other side of the same hillbut above
the roadandof coursein an opposite direction to the route taken
by the ladies in their walk.

“We shall be safe in approaching the place now” said Richardwhile
they dismounted and fastened their horses; “for I took a look with the
glassand saw John and Leather-Stocking in their canoe fishing before
we left homeand Oliver is in the same pursuit; but these may be
nothing but shams to blind our eye; so we will be expeditiousfor it
would not be pleasant to be caught here by them.”

“Not on my own land?” said Marmaduke sternly. “If it be as you
suspectI will know their reasons for making this excavation.”

“Mum” said Richardlaying a finger on his lipand leading the way
down a very difficult descent to a sort of natural cavernwhich was
found in the face of the rockand was not unlike a fireplace in
shape. In front of this place lay a pile of earthwhich had
evidently been taken from the recessand part of which was yet fresh.
An examination of the exterior of the cavern left the Judge in doubt
whether it was one of Nature’s frolics that had thrown it into that
shapeor whether it had been wrought by the hands of manat some
earlier period. But there could be no doubt that the whole of the
interior was of recent formationand the marks of the pick were still
visible where the softlead-colored rock had opposed itself to the
progress of the miners. The whole formed an excavation of about
twenty feet in widthand nearly twice that distance in depth. The
height was much greater than was required for the ordinary purposes of
experimentbut this was evidently the effect of chanceas the roof
of the cavern was a natural stratum of rock that projected many feet
beyond the base of the pile. Immediately in front of the recessor
cavewas a little terracepartly formed by natureand partly by the
earth that had been carelessly thrown aside by the laborers. The
mountain fell off precipitously in front of the terraceand the
approach by its sidesunder the ridge of the rockswas difficult and
a little dangerous. The whole was wildrudeand apparently
incomplete; forwhile looking among the bushesthe sheriff found the
very implements that had been used in the work.


When the sheriff thought that his cousin had examined the spot
sufficientlyhe asked solemnly:

“Judge Templeare you satisfied?”

“Perfectlythat there is something mysterious and perplexing in this
business. It is a secret spotand cunningly devisedRichard; yet I
see no symptoms of ore.”

“Do you expectsirto find gold and silver lying like pebbles on the
surface of the earth?—dollars and dimes ready coined to your hands?
Nono—the treasure must be sought after to be won. But let them
mine; I shall countermine.”

The Judge took an accurate survey of the placeand noted in his
memorandum-book such marks as were necessary to find it again in the
event of Richard’s absence; when the cousins returned to their horses.

On reaching the highway they separatedthe sheriff to summon twentyfour
“good men and true” to attend as thc inquest of the countyon
the succeeding Mondaywhen Marmaduke held his stated court of “common
pleas and general sessions of the peace” and the Judge to return
musing deeply on what he had seen and heard in the course of the
morning.

When the horse of the latter reached the spot where the highway fell
toward the valleythe eye of Marmaduke restedit is trueon the
same scene that hadten minutes beforebeen so soothing to the
feelings of his daughter and her friendas they emerged from the
forest; but it rested in vacancy. He threw the reins to his sure
footed beastand suffered the animal to travel at his own gaitwhile
he soliloquized as follows:

“There may be more in this than I at first supposed. I have suffered
my feelings to blind my reasonin admitting an unknown youth in this
manner to my dwelling; yet this is not the land of suspicion. I will
have Leather-Stocking before meandby a few direct questions
extract the truth from the simple old man.”

At that instant the Judge caught a glimpse of the figures of Elizabeth
and Louisawho were slowly descending the mountainshort distance
before him. He put spurs to his horseand riding up to them
dismountedand drove his steed along the narrow path. While the
agitated parent was listening to the vivid description that his
daughter gave of her recent dangerand her unexpected escapeall
thoughts of minesvested rightsand examinations were absorbed in
emotion; and when the image of Natty again crossed his recollection
it was not as a law Less and depredating squatterbut as the
preserver of his child.

CHAPTER XXX.

“The court awards itand the law doth give it.”—Merchant of Venice.

Remarkable Pettibonewho had forgotten the wound received by her
pridein contemplation of the ease and comforts of her situationand
who still retained her station in the family of judge Templewas
dispatched to the humble dwelling which Richard already styled “The
Rectory” in attendance on Louisawho was soon consigned to the arms


of her father.

In the mean timeMarmaduke and his daughter were closeted for more
than an hournor shall we invade the sanctuary of parental loveby
relating the conversation. When the curtain rises on the readerthe
Judge is seen walking up and down the apartmentwith a tender
melancholy in his airand his child reclining on a setteewith a
flushed cheekand her dark eyes seeming to float in crystals.

“It was a timely rescue! it wasindeeda timely rescuemy child!”
cried the Judge. “Then thou didst not desert thy friendmy noble
Bess?”

“I believe I may as well take the credit of fortitude” said
Elizabeth“though I much doubt if flight would have availed me
anythinghad I even courage to execute such an intention. But I
thought not of the expedient.”

“Of what didst thou thinklove? where did thy thoughts dwell mostat
that fearful moment?”

“The beast! the beast!” cried Elizabethveiling her face with her
hand. “Oh! I saw nothingI thought of nothing but the beast. I
tried to think of better thingsbut the horror was too glaringthe
danger too much before my eyes.”

“Wellwellthou art safeand we will converse no more on the
unpleasant subject. I did not think such an animal yet remained in
our forests; but they will stray far from their haunts when pressed by
hungerand—”

A loud knocking at the door of the apartment interrupted what he was
about to utterand he bid the applicant enter. The door was opened
by Benjaminwho came in with a discontented airas if he felt that
he had a communication to make that would be out of season.

“Here is Squire Doolittle belowsir” commenced the major-domo. “He
has been standing off and on in the door-yard for the matter of a
glass; and he has summat on his mind that he wants to heave upd’ye
see; but I tells himsays Imanwould you be coming aboard with
your complaintssaid Iwhen the judge has gotten his own childas
it wereout of the jaws of a lion? But damn the bit of manners has
the fellowany more than if he was one of them Guineas down in the
kitchen there; and so as he was sheering nearerevery stretch he made
toward the houseI could do no better than to let your honor know
that the chap was in the offing.”

“He must have business of importance” said Marmaduke: “something in
relation to his officemost probablyas the court sits so shortly.”

“Ayayyou have itsir” cried Benjamin; “it’s summat about a
complaint that he has to make of the old Leather-Stockingwhoto my
judgmentis the better man of the two. It’s a very good sort of a
man is this Master Bumppoand he has a way with a spearall the same
as if he was brought up at the bow-oar of the captain’s bargeor was
born with a boat-hook in his hand.”

“Against the Leather-Stocking!” cried Elizabethrising from her
reclining posture.

“Rest easymy child; some trifleI pledge you; I believe I am
already acquainted with its import Trust meBessyour champion shall
be safe in my care. Show Mr. Doolittle inBenjamin”


Miss Temple appeared satisfied with this assurancebut fastened her
dark eyes on the person of the architectwho profited by the
permissionand instantly made his appearance.

All the impatience of Hiram seemed to vanish the instant he entered
the apartment. After saluting the Judge and his daughterhe took the
chair to which Marmaduke pointedand sat for a minutecomposing his
straight black hairwith a gravity of demeanor that was in tended to
do honor to his official station. At length he said:

“It’s likelyfrom what I hearthat Miss Temple had a narrow chance
with the painterson the mountain.”

Marmaduke made a gentle inclination of his headby way of assentbut
continued silent.

“I s’pose the law gives a bounty on the scalps” continued Hiram“in
which case the Leather-Stocking will make a good job on’t.”

“It shall be my care to see that he is rewarded” returned the Judge.

“YesyesI rather guess that nobody hereabouts doubts the Judge’s
generosity. Does he know whether the sheriff has fairly made up his
mind to have a reading desk or a deacon’s pew under the pulpit?”
“I have not heard my cousin speak on that subjectlately” replied
Marmaduke.
“I think it’s likely that we will have a pretty dull court on'tfrom
what I can gather. I hear that Jotham Riddel and the man who bought
his betterments have agreed to leave their difference to menand I
don’t think there’ll be more than two civil cases in the calendar.”

“I am glad of it” said the judge; “nothing gives me more pain than to
see my settlers wasting their time and substance in the unprofitable
struggles of the law. I hope it may prove truesir.”

“I rather guess ‘twill be left out to men” added Hiramwith an air
equally balanced between doubt and assurancebut which judge Temple
understood to mean certainty; “I some think that I am appointed a
referee in the case myself; Jotham as much as told me that he should
take me. The defendantI guessmeans to take Captain Hollisterand
we two have partly agreed on Squire Jones for the third man.”

“Are there any criminals to be tried?” asked Marmaduke.

“There's the counterfeiters” returned the magistrate“as they were
caught in the actI think it likely that they’ll be indictedin
which case it’s probable they’ll be tried.”

“Certainlysir; I had forgotten those men. There are no moreI
hope.”
“Whythere is a threaten to come forward with an assault that
happened at the last independence day; but I’m not sartain that the
law'll take hold on’t. There was plaguey hard words passedbut
whether they struck or not I haven’t heard. There’s some folks talk
of a deer or two being killed out of seasonover on the west side of
the Patentby some of the squatters on the ‘Fractions.’”

“Let a complaint be madeby all means” said the Judge; “I am
determined to see the law executed to the letteron all such
depredators.”

“WhyyesI thought the judge was of that mind; I came partly on such
a business myself.”


“You!” exclaimed Marmadukecomprehending in an instant how completely
he had been caught by the other’s cunning; “and what have you to say
sir?”

“I some think that Natty Bumppo has the carcass of a deer in his hut
at this momentand a considerable part of my business was to get a
search-warrant to examine.”

“You thinksir! do you know that the law exacts an oathbefore I can
issue such a precept? The habitation of a citizen is not to be idly
invaded on light suspicion.”

“I rather think I can swear to it myself” returned the immovable
Hiram; “and Jotham is in the streetand as good as ready to come in
and make oath to the same thing.”

“Then issue the warrant thyself; thou art a magistrateMr. Doolittle;
why trouble me with the matter?”

“Whyseeing it’s the first complaint under the lawand knowing the
judge set his heart on the thingI thought it best that the authority
to search should come from himself. Besidesas I’m much in the
woodsamong the timberI don’t altogether like making an enemy of
the Leather Stocking. Nowthe Judge has a weight in the county that
puts him above fear.”

Miss Temple turned her face to the callous Architect as she said’ “And
what has any honest person to dread from so kind a man as Bumppo?”

“Whyit’s as easymissto pull a rifle trigger on a magistrate as
on a painter. But if the Judge don’t conclude to issue the warrantI
must go home and make it out myself.”

“I have not refused your applicationsir” said Marmadukeperceiving
at once that his reputation for impartiality was at stake; “go into my
officeMr. Doolittlewhere I will join youand sign the warrant.”
Judge Temple stopped the remonstrances which Elizabeth was about to
utterafter Hiram had withdrawnby laying his hand on her mouthand
saying:

“It is more terrible in sound than frightful in realitymy child. I
suppose that the Leather-Stocking has shot a deerfor the season is
nearly overand you say that he was hunting with his dogs when he
came so timely to your assistance. But it will be only to examine his
cabinand find the animalwhen you can pay the penalty out of your
own pocketBess. Nothing short of the twelve dollars and a half will
satisfy this harpyI perceive; and surely my reputation as judge is
worth that trifle.”

Elizabeth was a good deal pacified with this assuranceand suffered
her father to leave herto fulfil his promise to Hiram.

When Marmaduke left his office after executing his disagreeable duty
he met Oliver Edwardswalking up the gravelled walk in front of the
mansion-house with great stridesand with a face agitated by feeling.
On seeing judge Templethe youth turned asideand with a warmth in
his manner that was not often exhibited to Marmadukehe cried:

“I congratulate yousir; from the bottom of my soulI congratulate
youJudge Temple. Oh! it would have been too horrid to have
recollected for a moment! I have just left the hutwhereafter
showing me his scalpsold Natty told me of the escape of the ladies
as the thing to be mentioned last. Indeedindeedsirno words of
mine can express half of what I have felt “—the youth paused a moment


as if suddenly recollecting that he was overstepping prescribed
limitsand concluded with a good deal of embarrassment—” what I have
felt at this danger to Miss—Grantand—and your daughtersir”

But the heart of Marmaduke was too much softened to admit his
cavilling at triflesandwithout regarding the confusion of the
otherhe replied:

“I thank theethank theeOliver; as thou sayestit is almost too
horrid to be remembered. But comelet us hasten to Bessfor Louisa
has already gone to the rectory.”

The young man sprang forwardandthrowing open a doorbarely
permitted the Judge to precede himwhen he was in the presence of
Elizabeth in a moment.

The cold distance that often crossed the demeanor of the heiressin
her intercourse with Edwardswas now entirely banishedand two hours
were passed by the partyin the freeunembarrassedand confiding
manner of old and esteemed friends. Judge Temple had forgotten the
suspicions engendered during his morning’s rideand the youth and
maiden conversedlaughedand were sad by turnsas impulse directed.

At lengthEdwardsafter repeating his intention to do so for the
third timeleft the mansion-house to go to the rectory on a similar
errand of friendship.

During this short perioda scene was passing at the hut that
completely frustrated the benevolent intentions of Judge Temple in
favor of the Leather-Stockingand at once destroyed the short-lived
harmony between the youth and Marmaduke.

When Hiram Doolittle had obtained his search-warranthis first
business was to procure a proper officer to see it executed. The
sheriff was absentsummoning in person the grand inquest for the
county; the deputy who resided in the village was riding on the same
errandin a different part of the settlement; and the regular
constable of the township had been selected for his station from
motives of charitybeing lame of a leg. Hiram intended to accompany
the officer as a spectatorbut he felt no very strong desire to bear
the brunt of the battle. It washoweverSaturdayand the sun was
already turning the shadows of the pines toward the east; on the
morrow the conscientious magistrate could not engage in such an
expedition at the peril of his soul and long before Mondaythe
venisonand all vestiges of the death of the deermight be secreted
or destroyed. Happilythe lounging form of Billy Kirby met his eye
and Hiramat all time fruitful in similar expedientssaw his way
clear at once. Jothamwho was associated in the whole businessand
who had left the mountain in consequence of a summons from his
coadjutorbut who failedequally with Hiramin the unfortunate
particular of nervewas directed to summon the wood-chopper to the
dwelling of the magistrate.

When Billy appearedhe was very kindly invited to take the chair in
which he had already seated himselfand was treated in all respects
as if he were an equal.

“Judge Temple has set his heart on putting the deer law in force”
said Hiramafter the preliminary civilities were over“and a
complaint has been laid before him that a deer has been killed. He
has issued a search-warrantand sent for me to get somebody to
execute it.”

Kirbywho had no idea of being excluded from the deliberative part of


any affair in which he was engageddrew up his bushy head in a
reflecting attitudeand after musing a momentreplied by asking a
few questions

“The sheriff has gone out of the way?”

“Not to be found.”

“And his deputy too?”

“Both gone on the skirts of the Patent.”

“But I saw the constable hobbling about town an hour ago.”

“Yesyes” said Hiramwith a coaxing smile and knowing nod“but
this business wants a man—not a cripple.”

“Why” said Billylaughing“ will the chap make fight?” “He’s a
little quarrelsome at timesand thinks he’s the best man in the
country at rough and tumble.”

“I heard him brag once” said Jotham“that there wasn’t a man ‘twixt
the Mohawk Flats and the Pennsylvany line that was his match at a
close hug.”

“Did you?” exclaimed Kirbyraising his huge frame in his seatlike a
lion stretching in his lair; “I rather guess he never felt a
Varmounter’s knuckles on his backbone-But who is the chap?”

“Why” said Jotham“ it’s—”

“It’s agin’ law to tell” interrupted Hiram unless you’ll qualify to
sarve. You’d be the very man to take himBilland I'll make out a
special deputation in a minutewhen you will get the fees.”

“What’s the fees?” said Kirbylaying his large hand on the leaves of
a statute-book that Hiram had opened in order to give dignity to his
officewhich he turned over in his rough manneras if he were
reflecting on a subject about which he hadin truthalready decided;
“will they pay a man for a broken head?”

“They’ll be something handsome” said Hiram.

“Damn the fees” said Billyagain laughing—” does the fellow think
he’s the best wrestler in the countythough? what’s his inches?”

“He’s taller than you be” said Jotham“and one of the biggest—”

Talkershe was about to addbut the impatience of Kirby interrupted
him. The wood-chopper had nothing fierce or even brutal in his
appearance; the character of his expression was that of good-natured
vanity. It was evident he prided himself on the powers of the
physical manlike all who have nothing better to boast of; and
stretching out his broad handwith the palm downwardhe said
keeping his eyes fastened on his own bones and sinews:

“Comegive us a touch of the book. I’ll swearand you’ll see that
I’m a man to keep my oath.”

Hiram did not give the wood-chopper time to change his mindbut the
oath was administered without unnecessary delay. So soon as this
preliminary was completedthe three worthies left the houseand
proceeded by the nearest road toward the hut. They had reached the
bank of the lakeand were diverging from the route of the highway


before Kirby recollected that he was now entitled to the privilege of
the initiatedand repeated his question as to the name of the
offender

“Which waywhich waysquire?” exclaimed the hardy wood-chopper; “I
thought it was to search a house that you wanted menot the woods.
There is nobody lives on this side of the lakefor six milesunless
you count the Leather-Stocking and old John for settlers. Cometell
me the chap’s nameand I warrant me that I lead you to his clearing
by a straighter path than thisfor I know every sapling that grows
within two miles of Templeton.”

“This is the way” said Hirampointing forward and quickening his
stepas if apprehensive that Kirby would desert“and Bumppo is the
man.”

Kirby stopped shortand looked from one of his companions to the
other in astonishment. He then burst into a loud laughand cried:

“Who? Leather-Stocking! He may brag of his aim and his riflefor he
has the best of bothas I will own myselffor sin’ he shot the
pigeon I knock under to him; but for a wrestle! whyI would take the
creatur’ between my finger and thumband tie him in a bow-knot around
my neck for a Barcelony. The man is seventyand was never anything
particular for strength.”

“He’s a deceiving man” said Hiram“like all the hunters; he is
stronger than he seems; besideshe has his rifle.”

“That for his rifle!” cried Billy; “he’d no more hurt me with his
rifle than he’d fly. He’s a harmless creatur’and I must say that I
think he has as good right to kill deer as any man on the Patent.
It’s his main supportand this is a free countrywhere a man is
privileged to follow any calling he likes.”

“According to that doctrine” said Jotham“anybody may shoot a deer.”

This is the man’s callingI tell you” returned Kirby“and the law
was never made for such as he.”

“The law was made for all” observed Hiramwho began to think that
the danger was likely to fall to his own sharenotwithstanding his
management; “and the law is particular in noticing parjury.”

“See hereSquire Doolittle” said the reckless woodchopper; “I don’t
care the valie of a beetlering for you and your parjury too. But as I
have come so farI’ll go down and have a talk with the old manand
maybe we’ll fry a steak of the deer together.”

“Wellif you can get in peaceablyso much the better” said the
magistrate. “To my notionstrife is very unpopular; I prefarat all
timesclever conduct to an ugly temper.”

As the whole party moved at a great pacethey soon reached the hut
where Hiram thought it prudent to halt on the outside of the top of
the fallen pinewhich formed a chevaux-de-friseto defend the
approach to the fortresson the side next the village. The delay was
little relished by Kirbywho clapped his hands to his mouthand gave
a loud halloo that brought the dogs out of their kennelandalmost
at the same instantthe scantily-covered head of Natty from the door.

“Lie downold fool” cried the hunter; “do you think there’s more
painters about you?”


“Ha! Leather-StockingI’ve an arrand with you” cried Kirby; “here’s
the good people of the State have been writing you a small letterand
they’ve hired me to ride
post.”

“What would you have with meBilly Kirby?” said Nattystepping
across his thresholdand raising his hand over his eyesto screen
them from the rays of the setting sunwhile he took a survey of his
visitor. ‘I’ve no land to clearand Heaven knows I would set out six
trees afore I would cut down one.—DownHectorI say; into your
kennel with ye.”

“Would youold boy?” roared Billy; “then so much the better for me.
But I must do my arrand. Here’s a letter for youLeather-Stocking.
If you can read itit’s all welland if you can’there’s Squire
Doolittle at handto let you know what it means. It seems you
mistook the twentieth of July for the first of August. that’s all.”

By this time Natty had discovered the lank person of Hiramdrawn up
under the cover of a high stump; and all that was complacent in his
manner instantly gave way to marked distrust and dissatisfaction. He
placed his head within the door of his hutand said a few words in an
undertonewhen he again appearedand continued:

“I’ve nothing for ye; so awayafore the Evil One tempts me to do you
harm. I owe you no spiteBilly Kirbyand what for should you
trouble an old man who has done you no harm?”

Kirby advanced through the top of the pineto within a few feet of
the hunterwhere he seated himself on the end of a logwith great
composureand began to examine the nose of Hectorwith whom he was
familiarfrom their frequently meeting in the woodswhere he
sometimes fed the dog from his own basket of provisions.

“You’ve outshot meand I’m not ashamed to say it” said the woodchopper;
“but I don’t owe you a grudge for thatNatty! though it
seems that you’ve shot once too oftenfor the story goes that you’ve
killed a buck.”

“I’ve fired but twice to-dayand both times at the painters”
returned the Leather-Stocking; “seehere are the scalps! I was just
going in with them to the Judge’s to ask the bounty.”

While Natty was speakinghe tossed the ears to Kirbywho continued
playing with them with a careless airholding them to the dogsand
laughing at their movements when they scented the unusual game.

But Hiramemboldened by the advance of the deputed constablenow
ventured to approach alsoand took up the discourse with the air of
authority that became his commission. His first measure was to read
the warrant aloudtaking care to give due emphasis to the most
material partsand concluding with the name of the Judge in very
audible and distinct tones.

“Did Marmaduke Temple put his name to that bit of paper?” said Natty
shaking his head; “wellwellthat man loves the new waysand his
bettermentsand his landsafore his own flesh and blood. But I
won’t mistrust the gal; she has an eye like a full-grown buck! poor
thingshe didn’t choose her fatherand can’t help it. I know but
little of the lawMr. Doolittle; what is to be donenow you’ve read
your commission?”

“Oh! it’s nothing but formNatty” said Hiramendeavoring to assume
a friendly aspect. “Let’s go inand talk the thing over in reason; I


dare to say that the money can be easily foundand I partly conclude
from what passedthat Judge Temple will pay it himself.”

The old hunter had kept a keen eye on the movements of his three
visitorsfrom the beginningand had maintained his positionjust
without the threshold of the cabinwith a determined mannerthat
showed he was not to be easily driven from his post. When Hiram drew
nigheras if expecting his proposition would be acceptedNatty
lifted his handand motioned for him to retreat.

“Haven’t I told you more than oncenot to tempt me?” he said. “I
trouble no man; why can’t the law leave me to myself? Go back—go back
and tell your Judge that he may keep his bounty; but I won’t have his
wasty ways brought into my hut.”

This offerhoweverinstead of appeasing the curiosity of Hiram
seemed to inflame it the more; while Kirby cried:

“Wellthat’s fairsquire; he forgives the county his demandand the
county should forgive him the fine; it’s what I call an even trade
and should be concluded on the spot. I like quick dealingsand
what’s fair ‘twixt man and man.”

“I demand entrance into this house” said Hiramsummoning all the
dignity he could muster to his assistance“in the name of the people;
and by virtue of this war rantand of my officeand with this peace
officer.”

“Stand backstand backsquireand don’t tempt me” said the
Leather-Stockingmotioning him to retirewith great earnestness.

“Stop us at your peril” continued Hiram. “Billy! Jotham! close up—I
want testimony.”

Hiram had mistaken the mild but determined air of Natty for
submissionand had already put his foot on the threshold to enter
when he was seized unexpectedly by his shouldersand hurled over the
little bank toward the laketo the distance of twenty feet. The
suddenness of the movementand the unexpected display of strength on
the part of Nattycreated a momentary astonishment in his invaders
that silenced all noises; but at the next instant Billy Kirby gave
vent to his mirth in peals of laughterthat he seemed to heave up
from his very soul.

“Well doneold stub!” he shouted; “the squire knowed you better than
I did. Comecomehere’s a green spot; take it out like menwhile
Jotham and I see fair play.”

“William KirbyI order you to do your duty” cried Hiramfrom under
the bank; “seize that man; I order you to seize him in the name of the
people.”

But the Leather-Stocking now assumed a more threatening attitude; his
rifle was in his handand its muzzle was directed toward the woodchopper.


“Stand offI bid ye” said Natty; “you know my aimBilly Kirby; I
don’t crave your bloodbut mine and your’n both shall turn this green
grass redafore you put foot into the hut.”

While the affair appeared triflingthe wood-chopper seemed disposed
to take sides with the weaker party; butwhen the firearms were
introducedhis manner very sensibly changed. He raised his large
frame from the logandfacing the hunter with an open fronthe


replied:


“I didn’t come here as your enemyLeather-Stocking; but I don’t value
the hollow piece of iron in your hand so much as a broken axe-helve;
sosquiresay the wordand keep within the lawand we’ll soon see
who’s the best main of the two.”


But no magistrate was to be seen! The instant the rifle was produced
Hiram and Jotham vanished; and when the wood-chopper bent his eyes
about him in surprise at receiving no answerhe discovered their
retreating figures moving toward the village at a rate that
sufficiently indicated that they had not only calculated the velocity
of a rifle-bulletbut also its probable range.


“You’ve scared the creatur’s off” said Kirbywith great contempt
expressed on his broad features; “but you are not going to scare me;
soMr. Bumppodown with your gunor there’ll be trouble ‘twixt us.”
Natty dropped his rifleand replied:


“I wish you no harmBilly Kirby; but I leave it to yourselfwhether
an old man’s hut is to be run down by such varmint. I won’t deny the
buck to youBillyand you may take the skin inif you pleaseand
show it as testimony. The bounty will pay the fineand that ought to
satisfy any man”


“Twillold boy‘twill” cried Kirbyevery- shade of displeasure
vanishing from his open brow at the peace-offering; “throw out the
hideand that shall satisfy the law.”


Natty entered the hutand soon reappearedbringing with him the
desired testimonial; and the wood-chopper departedas thoroughly
reconciled to the hunter as if nothing had happened. As he paced
along the margin of the lake he would burst into frequent fits of
laughterwhile he recollected the summerset of Hiram: andon the
wholehe thought the affair a very capital joke.


Long before Billy’ reached the villagehoweverthe news of his
dangerand of Natty’s disrespect of the lawand of Hiram’s
discomfiturewere in circulation. A good deal was said about sending
for the sheriff; some hints were given about calling out the posse
comitatus to avenge the insulted laws; and many of the citizens were
collecteddeliberating how to proceed. The arrival of Billy with the
skinby removing all grounds for a searchchanged the complexion of
things materially. Nothing now remained but to collect the fine and
assert the dignity of the people; all of whichit was unanimously
agreedcould be done as well on the succeeding Monday as on Saturday
night—a time kept sacred by large portion of the settlers.
Accordinglyall further proceedings were suspended for six-and-thirty
hours.


CHAPTER XXXI.


And dar’st thou then
To beard the lion in his den
The Douglas in his hall “—Marmion.


The commotion was just subsidingand the inhabitants of the village
had begun to disperse from the little groups that had formedeach
retiring to his own homeand closing his door after himwith the



grave air of a man who consulted public feeling in his exterior
deportmentwhen Oliver Edwardson his return from the dwelling of
Mr. Grantencountered the young lawyerwho is known to the reader as
Mr. Lippet. There was very little similarity in the manners or
opinions of the two; but as they both belonged to the more intelligent
class of a very small communitythey wereof courseknown to each
otherand as their meeting was at a point where silence would have
been rudenessthe following conversation was the result of their
interview:

“A fine eveningMr. Edwards” commenced the lawyerwhose
disinclination to the dialogue wasto say the leastvery doubtful;
“we want rain sadly; that’s the worst of this climate of oursit’s
either a drought or a deluge. It’s likely you’ve been used to a more
equal temperature?”

“I am a native of this State” returned Edwardscoldly.

“Well. I’ve often heard that point disputed; but it’s so easy to get
a man naturalizedthat it’s of little consequence where he was born.
I wonder what course the Judge means to take in this business of Natty
Bumppo!”
“Of Natty Bumppo!” echoed Edwards; “to what do you alludesir?”
“Haven’t you heard!” exclaimed the otherwith a look of surpriseso
naturally assumed as completely to deceive his auditor; “it may turn
out an ugly business. It seems that the old man has been out in the
hillsand has shot a buck this morningand thatyou knowis a
criminal matter in the eyes of Judge Temple.”

“Oh! he hashas he?” said Edwardsaverting his face to conceal the
color that collected in his sunburnt cheek. “Wellif that be allhe
must even pay the fine.”

“It’s five pound currency” said the lawyer; “could Natty muster so
much money at once?”

“Could he!” cried the youth. “I am not richMr. Lippet; far from it—
I am poorand I have been hoarding my salary for a purpose that lies
near my heart; butbe fore that old man should lie one hour in a
jailI would spend the last cent to prevent it. Besideshe has
killed two panthersand the bounty will discharge the fine many times
over.”

“Yesyes” said the lawyerrubbing his hands togetherwith an
expression of pleasure that had no artifice about it; “we shall make
it out; I see plainly we shall make it out.”

“Make what outsir? I must beg an explanation.”

“Whykilling the buck is but a small matter compared to what took
place this afternoon” continued Mr. Lippetwith a confidential and
friendly air that won upon the youthlittle as he liked the man. “It
seems that a complaint was made of the factand a suspicion that
there was venison in the hut was sworn toall which is provided for
in the statutewhen Judge Temple granted the search warrant.”

“A search-warrant!” echoed Edwardsin a voice of horrorand with a
face that should have been again averted to conceal its paleness; “and
how much did they discover? What did they see

“They saw old Bumppo’s rifle; and that is a sight which will quiet
most men’s curiosity in the woods.”

“Did they! did they!” shouted Edwardsbursting into a convulsive


laugh; “so the old hero beat them back beat them back! did he?”
The lawyer fastened his eyes in astonishment on the youthbutas his
wonder gave way to the thoughts that were commonly uppermost in his
mindhe replied:

“It is no laughing matterlet me tell yousir; the forty dollars of
bounty and your six months of salary will be much reduced before you
can get the matter fairly settled. Assaulting a magistrate in the
execution of his dutyand menacing a constable with firearms at the
same timeis a pretty serious affairand is punishable with both
fine and imprisonment.”

“Imprisonment!” repeated Oliver; “imprison the Leather-Stocking! no
nosir; it would bring the old man to his grave. They shall never
imprison the Leather-Stocking.”

“WellMr. Edwards” said Lippetdropping all reserve from his
manner“you are called a curious man; but if you can tell me how a
jury is to be prevented from finding a verdict of guiltyif this case
comes fairly before themand the proof is clearI shall acknowledge
that you know more law than I dowho have had a license in my pocket
for three years.”

By this time the reason of Edwards was getting the ascendency of his
feelingsandas he began to see the real difficulties of the case
he listened more readily to the conversation of the lawyer. The
ungovernable emotion that escaped the youthin the first moments of
his surpriseentirely passed away; andalthough it was still evident
that he continued to be much agitated by what he had heardhe
succeeded in yielding forced attention to the advice which the other
uttered.

Notwithstanding the confused state of his mindOliver soon discovered
that most of the expedients of the lawyer were grounded in cunning
and plans that required a time to execute them that neither suited his
disposition nor his necessities. Afterhowevergiving Mr. Lippet to
under stand that he retained him in the event of a trialan assurance
that at once satisfied the lawyerthey partedone taking his course
with a deliberate tread in the direction of the little building that
had a wooden sign over its doorwith “Chester LippetAttorney-atlaw”
painted on it; and the other pacing over the ground with
enormous strides toward the mansion-house. We shall take leave of the
attorney for the presentand direct the attention of the reader to
the client.

When Edwards entered the hallwhose enormous doors were opened to the
passage of the air of a mild eveninghe found Benjamin engaged in
some of his domestic avocationsand in a hurried voice inquired where
Judge Temple was to be found.

Whythe Judge has stepped into his officewith that master
carpenterMister Doolittle; but Miss Lizzy is in that there parlor.
I sayMaster Oliverwe’d like to have had a bad job of that panther
or painter’s work— some calls it oneand some calls it t’other—but I
know little of the beastseeing that it is not of British growth. I
said as much as that it was in the hills the last winter for I heard
it moaning on the lake shore one evening in the fallwhen I was
pulling down from the fishing-point in the skiff. Had the animal come
into open waterwhere a man could see where and how to work his
vesselI would have engaged the thing myself; but looking aloft among
the trees is all the same to me as standing on the deck of one ship
and looking at another vessel’s tops. I never can tell one rope from
another—”


“Wellwell” interrupted Edwards; “I must see Miss Temple.”

“And you shall see hersir” said the steward; “she’s in this here
room. LordMaster Edwardswhat a loss she’d have been to the Judge!
Dam’me if I know where he would have gotten such another daughter;
that isfull grownd’ye see. I saysirthis Master Bumppo is a
worthy manand seems to have a handy way with himwith firearms and
boat-hooks. I’m his friendMaster Oliverand he and you may both
set me down as the same.”

“We may want your friendshipmy worthy fellow” cried Edwards
squeezing his hand convulsively; “we may want your friendshipin
which case you shall know it.”

Without waiting to hear the earnest reply that Benjamin meditatedthe
youth extricated himself from the vigorous grasp of the stewardand
entered the parlor.

Elizabeth was aloneand still reclining on the sofawhere we last
left her. A handwhich exceeded all that the ingenuity of art could
modelin shape and colorveiled her eyes; and the maiden was sitting
as if in deep communion with herself. Struck by the attitude and
loveliness of the form that met his eyethe young man checked his
impatienceand approached her with respect and caution.

“Miss Temple—Miss Temple” he said“I hope I do not intrude; but I am
anxious for an interviewif it be only for a moment.”

Elizabeth raised her faceand exhibited her dark eyes swimming in
moisture.

Is it youEdwards?” she saidwith a sweetness in her voiceand a
softness in her airthat she often used to her fatherbut which
from its novelty to himselfthrilled on every nerve of the youth;
“how left you our poor Louisa?”

“She is with her fatherhappy and grateful” said Oliver“ I never
witnessed more feeling than she manifestedwhen I ventured to express
my pleasure at her escape. Miss Templewhen I first heard of your
horrid situationmy feelings were too powerful for utterance; and I
did not properly find my tongueuntil the walk to Mr. Grant’s had
given me time to collect myself. I believe—I do believeI acquitted
myself better therefor Miss Grant even wept at my silly speeches.”
For a moment Elizabeth did not replybut again veiled her eyes with
her hand. The feeling that caused the actionhoweversoon passed
awayandraising her face again to his gazeshe continued with a
smile:

“Your friendthe Leather-Stockinghas now become my friendEdwards;
I have been thinking how I can best serve him; perhaps youwho know
his habits and his wants so wellcan tell me——”

“I can” cried the youthwith an impetuosity that startled his
companion. “I canand may Heaven reward you for the wishNatty has
been so imprudent as to for get the lawand has this day killed a
deer. NayI believe I must share in the crime and the penaltyfor I
was an accomplice throughout. A complaint has been made to your
fatherand he has granted a search—”

“I know it all” interrupted Elizabeth; “I know it all. The forms of
the law must be complied withhowever; the search must be madethe
deer foundand the penalty paid. But I must retort your own
question. Have you lived so long in our family not to know us? Look
at meOliver Edwards. Do I appear like one who would permit the man


that has just saved her life to linger in a jail for so small a sum as
this fine? Nonosir; my father is a judgebut he is a man and a
Christian. It is all under stoodand no harm shall follow.”

“What a load of apprehension do your declarations remove!” exclaimed
Edwards: “ He shall not be disturbed again! your father will protect
him! I have assuranceMiss Templethat he willand I must believe
it.”

“You may have his ownMr. Edwards” returned Elizabeth“for here he
comes to make it.”

But the appearance of Marmadukewho entered the apartment
contradicted the flattering anticipations of his daughter. His brow
was contractedand his manner disturbed. Neither Elizabeth nor the
youth spoke; but the Judge was allowed to pace once or twice across
the room without interruptionwhen he cried:

“Our plans are defeatedgirl; the obstinacy of the Leather-Stocking
has brought down the indignation of the law on his headand it is now
out of my power to avert it.”

“How? in what manner?” cried Elizabeth; “the fine is nothing surely—”

“I did not—I could not anticipate that an olda friendless man like
himwould dare to oppose the officers of justice” interrupted the
Judge“I supposed that he would submit to the searchwhen the fine
could have been paidand the law would have been appeased; but now he
will have to meet its rigor.”

“And what must the punishment besir?” asked Ed wardsstruggling to
speak with firmness.

Marmaduke turned quickly to the spot where the youth had withdrawn
and exclaimed:

“You here! I did not observe you. I know not what it will besir; it
is not usual for a judge to decide until he has heard the testimony
and the jury have convicted. Of one thinghoweveryou may be
assuredMr. Edwards; it shall be whatever the law demands
notwithstanding any momentary weakness I may have exhibitedbecause
the luckless man has been of such eminent service to my daughter.”

“No oneI believedoubts the sense of justice which Judge Temple
entertains!” returned Edwards bitterly.

“But let us converse calmlysir. Will not the yearsthe habits
naythe ignorance of my old friendavail him any thing against this
charge?”

“Ought they? They may extenuatebut can they ac quit? Would any
society be tolerableyoung manwhere the ministers of justice are to
be opposed by men armed with rifles? Is it for this that I have tamed
the wilder ness?”

“Had you tamed the beasts that so lately threatened the life of Miss
Templesiryour arguments would apply better.”

“Edwards!” exclaimed Elizabeth.

“Peacemy child” interrupted the father; “ the youth is unjust; but
I have not given him cause. I overlook thy remarkOliverfor I know
thee to be the friend of Nattyand zeal in his behalf has overcome
thy discretion”


“Yeshe is my friend” cried Edwards“and I glory in the title. He
is simpleunletteredeven ignorant; prejudicedperhapsthough I
feel that his opinion of the world is too true; but he has a heart
Judge Templethat would atone for a thousand faults; he knows his
friendsand never deserts themeven if it be his dog.”

“This is a good characterMr. Edwards” returned Marmadukemildly;
“but I have never been so fortunate as to secure his esteemfor to me
he has been uniformly repulsive; yet I have endured itas an old
man’s whimHoweverwhen he appears before meas his judgehe shall
find that his former conduct shall not aggravateany more than his
recent services shall extenuatehis crime.”

“Crime!” echoed Edwards: “is it a crime to drive a prying miscreant
from his door? Crime! Ohnosir; if there be a criminal involved in
this affairit is not he.”

“And who may it besir?” asked Judge Templefacing the agitated
youthhis features settled to their usual composure.

This appeal was more than the young man could bear. Hitherto he had
been deeply agitated by his emotions; but now the volcano burst its
boundaries.

“Who! and this to me!” he cried; “ask your own conscienceJudge
Temple. Walk to that doorsirand look out upon the valleythat
placid lakeand those dusky mountainsand say to your own heartif
heart you havewhence came these richesthis valethose hillsand
why am I their owner? I should thinksirthat the appearance of
Mohegan and the Leather-Stockingstalking through the country
impoverished and forlornwould wither your sight.”

Marmaduke heard this burst of passionat firstwith deep amazement;
but when the youth had endedhe beckoned to his impatient daughter
for silenceand replied:

“Oliver Edwardsthou forgettest in whose presence thou standest. I
have heardyoung manthat thou claimest descent from the native
owners of the soil; but surely thy education has been given thee to no
effectif it has not taught thee the validity of the claims that have
transferred the title to the whites. These lands are mine by the very
grants of thy ancestryif thou art so descended; and I appeal to
Heaven for a testimony of the uses I have put them to. After this
languagewe must separate. I have too long sheltered thee in my
dwelling; but the time has arrived when thou must quit it. Come to my
officeand I will discharge the debt I owe thee. Neither shall thy
present intemperate language mar thy future fortunesif thou wilt
hearken to the advice of one who is by many years thy senior.”

The ungovernable feeling that caused the violence of the youth had
passed awayand he stood gazing after the retiring figure of
Marmadukewith a vacancy in his eye that denoted the absence of his
mind. At length he recollected himselfandturning his head slowly
around the apartmenthe beheld Elizabethstill seated on the sofa
but with her head dropped on her bosomand her face again concealed
by her hands.

“Miss Temple” he said—all violence had left his manner—” Miss Temple—
I have forgotten myself—forgotten you. You have heard what your
father has decreedand this night I leave here. With youat least
I would part in amity.”

Elizabeth slowly raised her faceacross which a momentary expression


of sadness stole; but as she left her seather dark eyes lighted with
their usual fireher cheek flushed to burningand her whole air
seemed to belong to another nature.

“I forgive youEdwardsand my father will forgive you” she said
when she reached the door. “You do not know usbut the time may come
when your opinions shall change—”

“Of you! never!” interrupted the youth; “I—”

“I would speaksirand not listen. There is something in this
affair that I do not comprehend; but tell the Leather-Stocking he has
friends as well as judges in us. Do not let the old man experience
unnecessary uneasiness at this rupture. It is impossible that you
could increase his claims here; neither shall they be diminished by
any thing you have said. Mr. EdwardsI wish you happinessand
warmer friends”

The youth would have spokenbut she vanished from the door so
rapidlythat when he reached the hall her form was nowhere to be
seen. He paused a momentin stuporand thenrushing from the
houseinstead of following Marmaduke in his “office” he took his way
directly for the cabin of the hunters.

CHAPTER XXXII.

“Who measured earthdescribed the starry spheres
And traced the long records of lunar years. “—Pope.

Richard did not return from the exercise of his official duties until
late in the evening of the following day. It had been one portion of
his business to superintend the arrest of part of a gang of
counterfeitersthat hadeven at that early periodburied themselves
in the woodsto manufacture their base coinwhich they afterward
circulated from one end of the Union to the other. The expedition had
been completely successfuland about midnight the sheriff entered the
villageat the head of a posse of deputies and constablesin the
centre of whom rodepinionedfour of the malefactors. At the gate
of the mansion-house they separatedMr. Jones directing his assist
ants to proceed with their charge to the county jailwhile he pursued
his own way up the gravel walkwith the kind of self-satisfaction
that a man of his organization would feelwho had really for once
done a very clever thing.

“Holla! Aggy!” shouted the sheriffwhen he reached the door; “where
are youyou black dog? will you keep me here in the dark all night?
Holla! Aggy! Brave! Brave! hoyhoy—where have you got toBrave? Off
his watch! Everybody is asleep but myself! Poor I must keep my eyes
openthat others may sleep in safety. Brave! Brave! WellI will say
this for the doglazy as he’s grownthat it is the first time I ever
knew him to let any one come to the door after darkwithout having a
smell to know whether it was an honest man or not. He could tell by
his nosealmost as well as I could myself by looking at them. Holla!
you Agamemnon! where are you? Oh! here comes the dog at last.”

By this time the sheriff had dismountedand observed a formwhich he
supposed to be that of Braveslowly creeping out of the kennel; when
to his astonishmentit reared itself on two legs instead of fourand
he was able to distinguishby the starlightthe curly head and dark


visage of the negro.

“Ha! what the devil are you doing thereyou black rascal?” he cried.
“Is it not hot enough for your Guinea blood in the house this warm
nightbut you must drive out the poor dogand sleep in his straw?”

By this time the boy was quite awakeandwith a blubbering whinehe
attempted to reply to his master.

“Oh! masser Richard! masser Richard! such a ting! such a ting! I
nebber tink a could ‘appen! neber tink he die! OhLor-a-gor! ain’t
bury—keep ‘em till masser Richard get back—got a grabe dug—”
Here the feelings of the negro completely got the masteryand
instead of making any intelligible explanation of the causes of his
griefhe blubbered aloud.

“Eh! what! buried! grave! dead!” exclaimed Richardwith a tremor in
his voice; “nothing serious? Nothing has happened to BenjaminI hope?
I know he has been biliousbut I gave him—”

“Ohworser ‘an dat! worser ‘an dat!” sobbed the negro. “ Oh! de Lor!
Miss 'Lizzy an’ Miss Grant—walk—mountain—poor Bravy ‘—kill a lady—
painter-—OhLorLor!—Natty Bumppo—tare he troat open—come a see
masser Richard—here he be—here he be.”

As all this was perfectly inexplicable to the sheriffhe was very
glad to wait patiently until the black brought a lantern from the
kitchenwhen he followed Aggy to the kennelwhere he beheld poor
Braveindeedlying in his bloodstiff and coldbut decently
covered with the great coat of the negro. He was on the point of
demanding an explanation; but the grief of the blackwho had fallen
asleep on his voluntary watchhaving burst out afresh on his waking
utterly disqualified the lad from giving one. Luckilyat this moment
the principal door of the house openedand the coarse features of
Benjamin were thrust over the thresholdwith a candle elevated above
themshedding its dim rays around in such a manner as to exhibit the
lights and shadows of his countenance. Richard threw his bridle to
the blackandbidding him look to the horsehe entered the hall.
What is the meaning of the dead dog?” he cried.

“Where is Miss Temple?”

Benjamin made one of his square gestureswith the thumb of his left
hand pointing over his right shoulderas he answered:

“Turned in.”

“Judge Temple—where is he?”

“In his berth.”

“But explain; why is Brave dead? and what is the cause of Aggy’s
grief?”

“Whyit’s all downsquire” said Benjaminpointing to a slate that
lay on the tableby the side of a mug of toddya short pipe in which
the tobacco was yet burningand a prayer-book.

Among the other pursuits of Richardhe had a passion to keep a
register of all passing events; and his diarywhich was written in
the manner of a journalor log. bookembraced not only such
circumstances as affected himselfbut observations on the weather
and all the occurrences of the familyand frequently of the village.
Since his appointment to the office of sheriff and his consequent


absences from homehe had employed Benjamin to make memoranda on a
slateof whatever might be thought worth rememberingwhichon his
returnwere regularly transferred to the journal with proper
notations of the timemannerand other little particulars. There
wasto be sureone material objection to the clerkship of Benjamin
which the ingenuity of no one but Richard could have overcome. The
steward read nothing but his prayer-bookand that only in particular
partsand by the aid of a good deal of spellingand some misnomers;
but he could not form a single letter with a pen. This would have
been an insuperable bar to journalizing with most men; but Richard
invented a kind of hieroglyphical characterwhich was intended to
note all the ordinary occurrences of a daysuch as how the wind blew
whether the sun shoneor whether it rainedthe hoursetc. ; and
for the extraordinaryafter giving certain elementary lectures on the
subjectthe sheriff was obliged to trust to the ingenuity of the
major-domo. The reader will at once perceivethat it was to this
chronicle that Benjamin pointedinstead of directly answering the
sheriff’s interrogatory.

When Mr. Jones had drunk a glass of toddyhe brought forth from its
secret place his proper journalandseating himself by the tablehe
prepared to transfer the contents of the slate to the paperat the
same time that he appeased his curiosity. Benjamin laid one hand on
the back of the sheriff's chairin a familiar mannerwhile he kept
the other at liberty to make use of a forefingerthat was bent like
some of his own charactersas an index to point out his meaning.

The first thing referred to by the sheriff was the diagram of a
compasscut in one corner of the slate for permanent use. The
cardinal points were plainly marked on itand all the usual divisions
were indicated in such a manner that no man who had ever steered a
ship could mistake them.

“Oh!” said the sheriffseating himself down comfort ably in his
chair“you’d the wind southeastI seeall last night I thought it
would have blown up rain.”

“Devil the dropsir” said Benjamin; “I believe that the scuttle-butt
up aloft is emptiedfor there hasn’t so much water fell in the
country for the last three weeks as would float Indian John’s canoe
and that draws just one inch nothinglight.”

“Well but didn’t the wind change here this morning? there was a change
where I was.”

“To be sure it didsquire; and haven’t I logged it as a shift of
wind?”

“I don’t see whereBenjamin—”

“Don’t see!” interrupted the stewarda little crustily; “ain’t there
a mark agin’ east-and-by-nothe-half-nothewith summat like a rising
sun at the end of itto show ‘twas in the morning watch?”

“Yesyesthat is very legible; but where is the change noted?”

“Where! why doesn’t it see this here tea-kettlewith a mark run from
the spout straightor mayhap a little crooked or sointo west-andby-
southe-half-southe? now I call this a shift of windsquire. Well
do you see this here boar’s head that you made for mealongside of
the compass—”

“Ayay—Boreas—-—I see. Whyyou’ve drawn lines from its mouth
extending from one of your marks to the other.”


“It’s no fault of mineSquire Dickens; ‘tis your d—d climate. The
wind has been at all them there marks this very dayand that’s all
round the compassexcept a little matter of an Irishman’s hurricane
at meridiumwhich you’ll find marked right up and down. NowI’ve
known a sow-wester blow for three weeksin the channelwith a clean
drizzlein which you might wash your face and hands without the
trouble of hauling in water from alongside.”

“Very wellBenjamin” said the sheriffwriting in his journal; “I
believe I have caught the idea. Oh! here’s a cloud over the rising
sun—so you had it hazy in the morning?”

“Ayaysir” said Benjamin.

“Ah it’s Sunday. and here are the marks for the length of the sermon—
onetwothreefour—what! did Mr. Grant preach forty minutes?”

“Aysummat like it; it was a good half-hour by my own glassand then
there was the time lost in turning itand some little allowance for
leeway in not being over-smart about it.”

“Benjaminthis is as long as a Presbyterian; you never could have
been ten minutes in turning the glass!”

“Whydo you seeSquirethe parson was very solemnand I just
closed my eyes in order to think the better with myselfjust the same
as you’d put in the dead-lights to make all snugand when I opened
them agin I found the congregation were getting under way for homeso
I calculated the ten minutes would cover the leeway after the glass
was out. It was only some such matter as a cat’s nap.”

“Ohho! Master Benjaminyou were asleepwere you? but I’ll set down
no such slander against an orthodox divine.” Richard wrote twenty-nine
minutes in his journaland continued: “Whywhat’s this you’ve got
opposite ten o’clock A.M.? A full moon! had you a moon visible by day?
I have heard of such portents before nowbut—eh! what’s this
alongside of it? an hour-glass?”

“That!” said Benjaminlooking coolly over the sheriff’s shoulderand
rolling the tobacco about in his mouth with a jocular air; “why
that’s a small matter of my own. It’s no moonsquirebut only Betty
Hollister’s face; fordye seesirhearing all the same as if she
had got up a new cargo of Jamaiky from the riverI called in as I was
going to the church this morning—ten A.M. was it?—just the time—and
tried a glass; and so I logged itto put me in mind of calling to pay
her like an honest man.”

“That was itwas it?” said the sheriffwith some displeasure at this
innovation on his memoranda; “and could you not make a better glass
than this? it looks like a death’s-head and an hour-glass.”

“Whyas I liked the stuffsquire” returned the steward“I turned
inhomeward boundand took t’other glasswhich I set down at the
bottom of the firstand that gives the thing the shape it has. But
as I was there again to-nightand paid for the three at onceyour
honor may as well run the sponge over the whole business.”

“I will buy you a slate for your own affairsBenjamin” said the
sheriff; “I don’t like to have the journal marked over in this
manner.”

“You needn’t—you needn’tsquire; forseeing that I was likely to
trade often with the woman while this barrel lasted. I’ve opened a


fair account with Bettyand she keeps her marks on the back of her
bar-doorand I keeps the tally on this here bit of a stick.”
As Benjamin concluded he produced a piece of woodon which five very
largehonest notches were apparent. The sheriff cast his eyes on
this new ledger for a momentand continued:

“What have we here! Saturdaytwo P.M.—Why here’s a whole family
piece! two wine-glasses upside-down!”

“That’s two women; the one this a-way is Miss ‘Lizzyand t’other is
the parson’s young‘un.”

“Cousin Bess and Miss Grant!” exclaimed the sheriffin amazement;
“what have they to do with my journal?”

“They’d enough to do to get out of the jaws of that there painter or
panther” said the immovable steward. “This here thingumysquire
that maybe looks summat like a ratis the beastd’ye see; and this
here t’other thingkeel uppermostis poor old Bravewho died nobly
all the same as an admiral fighting for his king and country; and that
there—”

“Scarecrow” interrupted Richard.

“Aymayhap it do look a little wild or so” continued the steward;
“but to my judgmentsquireit’s the best image I’ve madeseeing
it’s most like the man himself; wellthat’s Natty Bumppowho shot
this here painterthat killed that there dogwho would have eaten or
done worse to them here young ladies.”

“And what the devil does all this mean?” cried Richardimpatiently.

“Mean!” echoed Benjamin; “it is as true as the Boadishey’s log book—”
He was interrupted by the sheriffwho put a few direct questions to
himthat obtained more intelligible answersby which means he became
possessed of a tolerably correct idea of the truthWhen the wonder
and we must do Richard the justice to saythe feelings alsothat
were created by this narrativehad in some degree subsidedthe
sheriff turned his eyes again on his journalwhere more inexplicable
hieroglyphics met his view.

“What have we here?” he cried; “two men boxing! Has there been a
breach of the peace? Ahthat’s the waythe moment my back is turned—
-.”

“That’s the Judge and young Master Edwards” interrupted the steward
very cavalierly.

“How! ‘Duke fighting with Oliver! what the devil has got into you all?
More things have happened within the last thirty-six hours than in the
preceding six months.”
“Yesit’s so indeedsquire” returned the steward
“I’ve known a smart chaseand a fight at the tail of it”where less
has been logged than I’ve got on that there slate. Howsomneverthey
didn’t come to facersonly passed a little jaw fore and aft.”

“Explain! explain!” cried Richard; “it was about the minesha! Ay
ayI see itI see it; here is a man with a pick on his shoulder. So
you heard it allBenjamin?”

“Whyyesit was about their mindsI believesquirereturned the
steward; “andby what I can learnthey spoke them pretty plainly to
one another. IndeedI may say that I overheard a small matter of it
myselfseeing that the windows was openand I hard by. But this


here is no pick. but an anchor on a man’s shoulder; and here’s the
other fluke down his backmaybe a little too closewhich signifies
that the lad has got under way and left his moorings.”

“Has Edwards left the house?”

“He has.”

Richard pursued this advantage; andafter a long and close
examinationhe succeeded in getting out of Benjamin all that he
knewnot only concerning the misunderstandingbut of the attempt to
search the hutand Hiram’s discomfiture. The sheriff was no sooner
possessed of these factswhich Benjamin related with all possible
tenderness to the Leather-Stockingthansnatching up his hatand
bidding the astonished steward secure the doors and go to his bedhe
left the house.

For at least five minutesafter Richard disappearedBenjamin stood
with his arms akimboand his eyes fastened on the door; whenhaving
collected his astonished facultieshe prepared to execute the orders
he had received.

It has been already said that the “court of common pleas and general
sessions of the peace” oras it is commonly calledthe “county
court” over which Judge Temple presidedheld one of its stated
sessions on the following morning. The attendants of Richard were
officers who had come to the villageas much to discharge their usual
duties at this courtas to escort the prisoners and the sheriff knew
their habits too wellnot to feel confident that he should find most
if not all of themin the public room of the jaildiscussing the
qualities of the keeper’s liquors. Accordingly he held his way
through the silent streets of the villagedirectly to the small and
insecure building that contained all the unfortunate debt ors and some
of the criminals of the countyand where justice was administered to
such unwary applicants as were so silly as to throw away two dollars
in order to obtain one from their neighbors. The arrival of four
malefactors in the custody of a dozen officers was an eventat that
dayin Templeton; andwhen the sheriff reached the jailhe found
every indication that his subordinates in tended to make a night of
it.

The nod of the sheriff brought two of his deputies to the doorwho in
their turn drew off six or seven of the constables. With this force
Richard led the way through the villagetoward the bank of the lake
undisturbed by any noiseexcept the barking of one or two curswho
were alarmed by the measured tread of the partyand by the low
murmurs that ran through their own numbersas a few cautious
questions and answers were exchangedrelative to the object of their
expedition. When they had crossed the little bridge of hewn logs that
was thrown over the Susquehannathey left the highwayand struck
into that field which had been the scene of the victory over the
pigeons. From this they followed their leader into the low bushes of
pines and chestnuts which had sprung up along the shores of the lake
where the plough had not succeeded the fall of the treesand soon
entered the forest itself. Here Richard paused and collected his
troop around him.

“I have required your assistancemy friends” he criedin a low
voice“in order to arrest Nathaniel Bumppocommonly called the
Leather-Stocking He has assaulted a magistrateand resisted the
execution of a search-war rantby threatening the life of a constable
with his rifle. In shortmy friendshe has set an example of
rebellion to the lawsand has become a kind of outlaw. He is
suspected of other misdemeanors and offences against private rights;


and I have this night taken on myself. by the virtue of my office as
sheriffto arrest the said Bumppoand bring him to the county jail
that he may be present and forthcoming to answer to these heavy
charges before the court to-morrow morning. In executing this duty
friends and fellow-citizensyou are to use courage and discretion;
couragethat you may not be daunted by any lawless attempt that this
man may make with his rifle and his dogs to oppose you; and
discretionwhich here means caution and prudencethat he may not
escape from this sudden attack—and for other good reasons that I need
not mention. You will form yourselves in a complete circle around his
hutand at the word ‘advance’ called aloud by meyou will rush
forward andwithout giving the criminal time for deliberationenter
his dwelling by forceand make him your prisoner. Spread yourselves
for this purposewhile I shall descend to the shore with a deputyto
take charge of that point; and all communications must be made
directly to meunder the bank in front of the hutwhere I shall
station myself and remainin order to receive them.”

This speechwhich Richard had been studying during his walkhad the
effect that all similar performances produceof bringing the dangers
of the expedition immediately before the eyes of his forces. The men
dividedsome plunging deeper into the forestin order to gain their
stations without giving an alarmand others Continuing to advanceat
a gait that would allow the whole party to go in order; but all
devising the best plan to repulse the attack of a dogor to escape a
rifle-bullet. It was a moment of dread expectation and interest.

When the sheriff thought time enough had elapsed for the different
divisions of his force to arrive at their stationshe raised his
voice in the silence of the forestand shouted the watchword. The
sounds played among the arched branches of the trees in hollow
cadences; but when the last sinking tone was lost on the earin place
of the expected howls of the dogsno other noises were returned but
the crackling of torn branches and dried sticksas they yielded
before the advancing steps of the officers. Even this soon ceasedas
if by a common consentwhen the curiosity and impatience of the
sheriff getting the complete ascendency over discretionhe rushed up
the bankand in a moment stood on the little piece of cleared
ground in front of the spot where Natty had so long livedTo his
amazementin place of the hut he saw only its smouldering ruins.

The party gradually drew together about the heap of ashes and the ends
of smoking logs; while a dim flame in the centre of the ruinwhich
still found fuel to feed its lingering lifethrew its pale light
flickering with the passing currents of the airaround the circle—now
showing a face with eyes fixed in astonishmentand then glancing to
another countenanceleaving the former shaded in the obscurity of
night. Not a voice was raised in inquirynor an exclamation made in
astonishment. The transition from excitement to disappointment was
too powerful for Speech; and even Richard lost the use of an organ
that was seldom known to fail him.

The whole group were yet in the fullness of their surprisewhen a
tall form stalked from the gloom into the circletreading down the
hot ashes and dying embers with callous feet; andstanding over the
lightlifted his capand exposed the bare head and weather-beaten
features of the Leather-Stocking. For a moment he gazed at the dusky
figures who surrounded himmore in sorrow than in anger before he
spoke.

“What would ye with an old and helpless man?” he said“You’ve driven
God’s creatur’s from the wilder nesswhere His providence had put
them for His own pleasure; and you’ve brought in the troubles and
diviltries of the lawwhere no man was ever known to disturb another.


You have driven methat have lived forty long years of my appointed
time in this very spotfrom my home and the shelter of my headlest
you should put your wicked feet and wasty ways in my cabin. You’ve
driven me to burn these logsunder which I’ve eaten and drunk—the
first of Heaven’s giftsand the other of the pure springs—for the
half of a hundred years; and to mourn the ashes under my feetas a
man would weep and mourn for the children of his body. You’ve rankled
the heart of an old manthat has never harmed you or your’nwith
bitter feelings toward his kindat a time when his thoughts should be
on a better world; and you’ve driven him to wish that the beasts of
the forestwho never feast on the blood of their own familieswas
his kindred and race; and nowwhen he has come to see the last brand
of his hutbefore it is incited into ashesyou follow him upat
midnightlike hungry hounds on the track of a worn-out and dying
deer. What more would ye have? for I am here—one too many. I come to
mournnot to fight; andif it is God’s pleasurework your will on
me.”


When the old man ended he stoodwith the light glimmering around his
thinly covered headlooking earnestly at the groupwhich receded
from the pile with an involuntary movementwithout the reach of the
quivering raysleaving a free passage for his retreat into the
busheswhere pursuit in the dark would have been fruit less. Natty
seemed not to regard this advantagebut stood facing each individual
in the circle in successionas if to see who would he the first to
arrest him. After a pause of a few moments Richard began to rally his
confused facultiesandadvancingapologized for his dutyand made
him his prisoner. The party flow collectedandpreceded by the
sheriffwith Natty in their centrethey took their way toward the
village.


During the walkdivers questions were put to the prisoner concerning
his reasons for burning the hutand whither Mohegan had retreated;
but to all of them he observed a profound silenceuntilfatigued
with their previous dutiesand the lateness of the hourthe sheriff
and his followers reached the villageand dispersed to their several
places of restafter turning the key of a jail on the aged and
apparently friendless Leather-Stocking.


CHAPTER XXXIII.


“Fetch here the stocksho!
You stubborn ancient knave
you reverend braggetWe’ll teach you.”—Lear.


The long days and early sun of July allowed time for a gathering of
the interestedbefore the little bell of the academy announced that
the appointed hour had arrived for administering right to the wronged
and punishment to the guilty. Ever since the dawn of daythe
highways and woodpaths thatissuing from the forestsand winding
among the sides of the mountainscentred in Templetonhad been
thronged with equestrians and footmenbound to the haven of justice.
There was to be seen a well-clad yeomanmounted on a sleekswitch-
tailed steedrambling along the highwaywith his red face elevated
in a manner that said“I have paid for my landand fear no man;”
while his bosom was swelling with the pride of being one of the grand
inquest for the county. At his side rode a companionhis equal in
independence of feelingperhapsbut his inferior in thriftas in
property and consideration. This was a professed dealer in lawsuits—a



man whose name appeared in every calendar—whose substancegained in
the multifarious expedients of a settler’s change able habitswas
wasted in feeding the harpies of the courts. He was endeavoring to
impress the mind of the grand juror with the merits of a cause now at
issueAlong with these was a pedestrianwhohaving thrown a rifle
frock over his shirtand placed his best wool hat above his sunburnt
visagehad issued from his retreat in the woods by a footpathand
was striving to keep company with the otherson his way to hear and
to decide the disputes of his neighborsas a petit juror. Fifty
similar little knots of countrymen might have been seenon that
morningjourneying toward the shire-town on the same errand.

By ten o’clock the streets of the village were filled with busy faces;
some talking of their private concernssome listening to a popular
expounder of political creeds; and others gaping in at the open
storesadmiring the fineryor examining scythesaxesand such
other manufactures as attracted their curiosity or excited their
admiration. A few women were in the crowdmost carrying infantsand
followedat a lounginglistless gaitby their rustic lords and
masters. There was one young couplein whom connubial love was yet
freshwalking at a respectful distance from each other; while the
swain directed the timid steps of his brideby a gallant offering of
a thumb.

At the first stroke of the bellRichard issued from the door of the
“Bold Dragoon” flourishing a sheathed swordthat he was fond of
saying his ancestors had carried in one of Cromwell’s victoriesand
cryingin an authoritative toneto “clear the way for the court.”
The order was obeyed promptlythough not servilelythe members of
the crowd nodding familiarly to the members of the procession as it
passed. A party of constables with their staves followed the sheriff
preceding Marmaduke and four plaingrave-looking yeomenwho were his
associates on the bench. There was nothing to distinguish these
Subordinate judges from the better part of the spectatorsexcept
gravitywhich they affected a little more than commonand that one
of their number was attired in an old-fashioned military coatwith
skirts that reached no lower than the middle of his thighsand
bearing two little silver epauletsnot half so big as a modern pair
of shoulder-knots. This gentleman was a colonel of the militiain
attendance on a court-martialwho found leisure to steal a moment
from his military to attend to his civil jurisdiction; but this
incongruity excited neither notice nor comment. Three or four cleanshaved
lawyers followedas meek as if they were lambs going to the
slaughter. One or two of their number had contrived to obtain an air
of scholastic gravity by wearing spectacles. The rear was brought up
by another posse of constablesand the mob followed the whole into
the room where the court held its sitting.

The edifice was composed of a basement of squared logsperforated
here and there with small grated windowsthrough which a few wistful
faces were gazing at the crowd without. Among the captives were the
guiltydowncast countenances of the counterfeitersand the simple
but honest features of the Leather-Stocking. The dungeons were to be
distinguishedexternallyfrom the debtors’ apartments only by the
size of the aperturesthe thickness of the gratesand by the heads
of the spikes that were driven into the logs as a protection against
the illegal use of edge-tools. The upper story was of frame work
regularly covered with boardsand contained one room decently fitted
up for the purpose of justice. A benchraised on a narrow platform
to the height of a man above the floorand protected in front by a
light railing. ran along one of its sides. In the centre was a seat
furnished with rude armsthat was always filled by the presiding
judge. In fronton a level with the floor of the roomwas a large
table covered with green baizeand surrounded by benches; and at


either of its ends were rows of seatsrising one over the otherfor
jury-boxes. Each of these divisions was surrounded by a railing. The
remainder of the room was an open squareappropriated to the
spectators.

When the judges were seatedthe lawyers had taken possession of the
tableand the noise of moving feet had ceased in the areathe
proclamations were made in the usual formthe jurors were swornthe
charge was givenand the court proceeded to hear the business before
them.

We shall not detain the reader with a description of the captious
discussions that occupied the court for the first two hoursJudge
Temple had impressed on the juryin his chargethe necessity for
dispatch on their partrecommending to their noticefrom motives of
humanitythe prisoners in the jail as the first objects of their
attention. Accordinglyafter the period we have mentioned had
elapsedthe cry of the officer to “clear the way for the grand jury”
announced the entrance of that body. The usual forms were observed
when the foreman handed up to the bench two billson both of which
the Judge observedat the first glance of his eyethe name of
Nathaniel Bumppo. It was a leisure moment with the court; some low
whispering passed between the bench and the sheriffwho gave a signal
to his officersand in a very few minutes the silence that prevailed
was interrupted by a general movement in the outer crowdwhen
presently the Leather-Stocking made his appearanceushered into the
criminal’s bar under the custody of two constablesThe hum ceased
the people closed into the open space againand the silence soon
became so deep that the hard breathing of the prisoner was audible.

Natty was dressed in his buckskin garmentswithout his coatin place
of which he wore only a shirt of coarse linen-cheekfastened at his
throat by the sinew of a deerleaving his red neck and weather-beaten
face exposed and bare. It was the first time that he had ever crossed
the threshold of a court of justiceand curiosity seemed to be
strongly blended with his personal feelings. He raised his eyes to
the benchthence to the jury-boxesthe barand the crowd without
meeting everywhere looks fastened on himself. After surveying his own
personas searching the cause of this unusual attractionhe once
more turned his face around the assemblageand opened his mouth in
one of his silent and remarkable laughs.

“Prisonerremove your cap” said Judge Temple.

The order was either unheard or unheeded.

“Nathaniel Bumppobe uncovered” repeated the Judge.

Natty started at the sound of his nameandraising his face
earnestly toward the benchhe said:

“Anan!”

Mr. Lippet arose from his seat at the tableand whispered in the ear
of the prisoner; when Natty gave him a nod of assentand took the
deer-skin covering from his head.

“Mr. District Attorney” said the Judge“the prisoner is ready; we
wait for the indictment.”

The duties of public prosecutor were discharged by Dirck Van der
Schoolwho adjusted his spectaclescast a cautious look around him
at his brethren of the barwhich he ended by throwing his head aside
so as to catch one glance over the glasseswhen he proceeded to read


the bill aloud. It was the usual charge for an assault and battery on
the person of Hiram Doolittleand was couched in the ancient language
of such instrumentsespecial care having been taken by the scribe not
to omit the name of a single offensive weapon known to the law. When
he had doneMr. Van der School removed his spectacleswhich he
closed and placed in his pocketseemingly for the pleasure of again
opening and replacing them on his noseAfter this evolution was
repeated once or twicehe handed the bill over to Mr. Lippetwith a
cavalier airthat said as much as “Pick a hole in that if you can.”

Natty listened to the charge with great attentionleaning forward
toward the reader with an earnestness that denoted his interest; and
when it was endedhe raised his tall body to the utmostand drew a
long sigh. All eyes were turned to the prisonerwhose voice was
vainly expected to break the stillness of the room.

“You have heard the presentment that the grand jury have made
Nathaniel Bumppo” said the Judge; “what do you plead to the charge?”

The old man drooped his head for a moment in a reflecting attitude
and thenraising ithe laughed before he answered:

“That I handled the man a little rough or sois not to be denied; but
that there was occasion to make use of all the things that the
gentleman has spoken of is downright untrue. I am not much of a
wrestlerseeing that I'm getting old; but I was out among the Scotch-
Irishers—let me see—it must have been as long ago as the first year of
the old war—”

“Mr. Lippetif you are retained for the prisoner” interrupted Judge
Temple“instruct your client how to plead; if notthe court will
assign him counsel.”

Aroused from studying the indictment by this appealthe attorney got
upand after a short dialogue with the hunter in a low voicehe
informed the court that they were ready to proceed.

“Do you plead guilty or not guilty?” said the Judge.

“I may say not guiltywith a clean conscience” returned Natty; “for
there’s no guilt in doing what’s right; and I’d rather died on the
spotthan had him put foot in the hut at that moment.”

Richard started at this declaration and bent his eyes significantly on
Hiramwho returned the look with a slight movement of his eyebrows.

“Proceed to open the causeMr. District Attorney' continued the
Judge. “Mr. Clerkenter the plea of not guilty.”

After a short opening address from Mr. Van der SchoolHiram was
summoned to the bar to give his testimony. It was delivered to the
letterperhapsbut with all that moral coloring which can be
conveyed under such expressions as“thinking no harm” “feeling it my
bounden duty as a magistrate” and “seeing that the constable was
back’ard in the business.” When he had doneand the district attorney
declined putting any further interrogatoriesMr. Lippet arosewith
an air of keen investigationand asked the following questions:

“Are you a constable of this countysir?”

“Nosir” said Hiram“I’m only a justice-peace.”

“I ask youMr. Doolittlein the face of this courtput ting it to
your conscience and your knowledge of the lawwhether you had any


right to enter that man’s dwelling?”

“Hem!” said Hiramundergoing a violent struggle between his desire
for vengeanceand his love of legal fame: “I do suppose—that in—that
is—strict law—that supposing—maybe I hadn’t a real—lawful right; but
as the case was—and Billy was so back’ard—I thought I might come
for’ard in the business.”

“I ask you againsir” continued the lawyerfollowing up his
success“whether this oldthis friendless old mandid or did not
repeatedly forbid your entrance?”

“WhyI must say” said Hiram“that he was considerable crossgrained;
not what I call cleverseeing that it was only one neighbor
wanting to go into the house of another.”

“Oh! then you own it was only meant for a neighborly visit on your
partand without the sanction of law. Remembergentlementhe words
of the witness‘one neighbor wanting to enter the house of another.’
NowsirI ask you if Nathaniel Bumppo did not again and again order
you not to enter?”

“There was some words passed between us” said Hiram“but I read the
warrant to him aloud.”

“I repeat my question; did he tell you not to enter his habitation?”

“There was a good deal passed betwixt us—but I’ve the warrant in my
pocket; maybe the court would wish to see it?”

“Witness” said Judge Temple“answer the question directly; did or
did not the prisoner forbid your entering his hut?”

“WhyI some think—”

“Answer without equivocation” continued the Judge sternly.

“He did.”

“And did you attempt to enter after his order?”

“I did; but the warrant was in my hand.”

“ProceedMr. Lippetwith your examination.”

But the attorney saw that the impression was in favor of his client
and waving his hand with a supercilious manneras if unwilling to
insult the understanding of the jury with any further defencehe
replied:

“Nosir; I leave it for your honor to charge; I rest my case here.”

“Mr. District Attorney” said the Judge“have you anything to say?”
Mr. Van der School removed his spectaclesfolded them andreplacing
them once more on his noseeyed the other bill which he held in his
handand then saidlooking at the bar over the top of his glasses;
I shall rest the prosecution hereif the court please.”

Judge Temple arose and began the charge.

“Gentlemen of the jury” he said“you have heard the testimonyand I
shall detain you but a moment. If an officer meet with resistance in
the execution of a processhe has an undoubted right to call any
citizen to his assistance; and the acts of such assistant come within


the protection of the law. I shall leave you to judgegentlemen
from the testimonyhow far the witness in this prosecution can be so
consideredfeeling less reluctance to submit the case thus informally
to your decisionbecause there is yet another indictment to be tried
which involves heavier charges against the unfortunate prisoner.”

The tone of Marmaduke was mild and insinuatingandas his sentiments
were given with such apparent impartialitythey did not fail of
carrying due weight with the jury. The grave-looking yeomen who
composed this tribunal laid their heads together for a few minutes
without leaving the boxwhen the foreman aroseandafter the forms
of the court were duly observedhe pronounced the prisoner to be “Not
guilty.”

“You are acquitted of this chargeNathaniel Bumppo” said the Judge.

“Anan!” said Natty.

“You are found not guilty of striking and assaulting Mr. Doolittle.”

“NonoI’ll not deny but that I took him a little roughly by the
shoulders” said Nattylooking about him with great simplicity“and
that I—”

“You are acquitted” interrupted the Judge“and there is nothing
further to be said or done in the matter.”

A look of joy lighted up the features of the old manwho now
comprehended the caseandplacing his cap eagerly on his head again
he threw up the bar of his little prisonand saidfeelingly:

“I must say this for youJudge Templethat the law has not been so
hard on me as I dreaded. I hope God will bless you for the kind
things you’ve done to me this day.”

But the staff of the constable was opposed to his egressand Mr.
Lippet whispered a few words in his earwhen the aged hunter sank
back into his placeandremoving his capstroked down the remnants
of his gray and sandy lockswith an air of mortification mingled with
submission.

“Mr. District Attorney” said Judge Templeaffecting to busy himself
with his minutes“proceed with the second indictment.”

Mr. Van der School took great care that no part of the presentment
which he now readshould be lost on his auditors. It accused the
prisoner of resisting the execution of a search-warrantby force of
armsand particularized in the vague language of the lawamong a
variety of other weaponsthe use of the rifle. This was indeed a
more serious charge than an ordinary assault and batteryand a
corresponding degree of interest was manifested by the spectators in
its result. The prisoner was duly arraignedand his plea again
demanded. Mr. Lippet had anticipated the answers of Nattyand in a
whisper advised him how to plead. But the feelings of the old hunter
were awakened by some of the expressions in the indictmentand
forgetful of his cautionhe exclaimed:

“‘Tis a wicked untruth; I crave no man’s blood. Them thievesthe
Iroquoiswon’t say it to any face that I ever thirsted after man’s
bloodI have fou’t as soldier that feared his Maker and his officer
but I never pulled trigger on any but a warrior that was up and awake.
No man can say that I ever struck even a Mingo in his blanket. I
believe there’s some who thinks there’s no God in a wilder ness!”


“Attend to your pleaBumppo” said the Judge; “you hear that you are
accused of using your rifle against an officer of justice? Are you
guilty or not guilty?”

By this time the irritated feelings of Natty had found vent: and he
rested on the bar for a momentin a musing posturewhen he lifted
his facewith his silent laughandpointing to where the woodchopper
stoodhe said:

“Would Billy Kirby be standing thered’ye thinkif I had used the
rifle?”

“Then you deny it” said Mr. Lippet; “you plead not guilty?”

“Sartain” said Natty; “Billy knows that I never fired at all. Billy
do you remember the turkey last winter? Ah me! that was better than
common firing; but I can’t shoot as I used to could.”

“Enter the plea of not guilty” said Judge Templestrongly affected
by the simplicity of the prisoner.

Hiram was again swornand his testimony given on the second charge.
He had discovered his former errorand proceeded more cautiously than
before. He related very distinctly andfor the manwith amazing
tersenessthe suspicion against the hunterthe complaintthe
issuing of the warrantand the swearing in of Kirby; all of whichhe
affirmedwere done in due form of law. He then added the manner in
which the constable had been received; and stateddistinctlythat
Natty had pointed the rifle at Kirbyand threatened his life if he
attempted to execute his duty. All this was confirmed by Jothamwho
was observed to adhere closely to the story of the magistrate. Mr.
Lippet conducted an artful cross-examination of these two witnesses
butafter consuming much timewas compelled to relinquish the
attempt to obtain any advantagein despair.

At length the District Attorney called the wood-chopper to the bar
Billy gave an extremely confused account of the whole affairalthough
he evidently aimed at the truthuntil Mr. Van der School aided him
by asking some direct questions:

“It appears from examining the papersthat you demanded admission
into the hut legally; so you were put in bodily fear by his rifle and
threats?”

“I didn’t mind them thatman” said Billysnapping his fingers; “I
should be a poor stick to mind old Leather-Stocking.”

“But I understood you to say (referring to your previous words [as
delivered here in court] in the commencement of your testimony) that
you thought he meant to shoot you?”

“To be sure I did; and so would youtoosquireif you had seen a
chap dropping a muzzle that never missesand cocking an eye that has
a natural squint by long practice I thought there would be a dust
on’tand my back was up at once; but Leather-Stocking gi’n up the
skinand so the matter ended.”

“Ah! Billy” said Nattyshaking his head“‘twas a lucky thought in
me to throw out the hideor there might have been blood spilt; and
I’m sureif it had been your’nI should have mourned it sorely the
little while I have to stay.”

“WellLeather-Stocking” returned Billyfacing the prisoner with a
freedom and familiarity that utterly disregarded the presence of the


court“as you are on the subject it may be that you’ve no—”

“Go on with your examinationMr. District Attorney.”

That gentleman eyed the familiarity between his witness and the
prisoner with manifest disgustand indicated to the court that he was
done.

“Then you didn’t feel frightenedMr. Kirby?” said the counsel for the
prisoner.

“Me! no” said Billycasting his eyes oven his own huge frame with
evident self-satisfaction; “I’m not to be skeared so easy.”

“You look like a hardy man; where were you bornsir?”

“Varmount State; ‘tis a mountaynious placebut there’s a stiff soil
and it’s pretty much wooded with beech and maple.”

“I have always heard so” said Mr. Lippet soothingly. “You have been
used to the rifle yourself in that country.”

“I pull the second best trigger in this county. I knock under to
Natty Bumppotheresin’ he shot the pigeon.”

Leather-Stocking raised his headand laughed againwhen he abruptly
thrust out a wrinkled handand said:

“You’re young yetBillyand haven’t seen the matches that I have;
but here’s my hand; I bear no malice to youI don’t.”

Mr. Lippet allowed this conciliatory offering to be acceptedand
judiciously pausedwhile the spirit of peace was exercising its
influence over the two; but the Judge interposed his authority.

“This is an improper place for such dialogues” he said; “proceed with
your examination of this witnessMr. Lippetor I shall order the
next.”

The attorney startedas if unconscious of any improprietyand
continued:

“So you settled the matter with Natty amicably on the spotdid you?”

“He gi’n me the skinand I didn’t want to quarrel with an old man;
for my partI see no such mighty matter in shooting a buck!”

“And you parted friends? and you would never have thought of bringing
the business up before a courthadn’t you been subpoenaed?”

“I don’t think I should; he gi’n the skinand I didn’t feel a hard
thoughtthough Squire Doolittle got some affronted.”

“I have donesir” said Mr. Lippetprobably relying on the charge of
the Judgeas he again seated himselfwith the air of a main who felt
that his success was certain.

When Mr. Van der School arose to address the juryhe commenced by
saying:

“Gentlemen of the juryI should have interrupted the leading
questions put by the prisoner’s counsel (by leading questions I mean
telling him what to say)did I not feel confident that the law of the
land was superior to any ad vantages (I mean legal advantages) which


he might obtain by his art. The counsel for the prisonergentlemen
has endeavored to persuade youin opposition to your own good sense
to believe that pointing a rifle at a constable (elected or deputed)
is a very innocent affair; and that society (I mean the commonwealth
gentlemen) shall not be endangered thereby. But let me claim your
attentionwhile we look over the particulars of this heinous
offence.” Here Mr. Vain der School favored the jury with an abridgment
of the testimonyrecounted in such a manner as utterly to confuse the
faculties of his worthy listeners. After this exhibition he closed as
follows: “And nowgentlemenhaving thus made plain to your senses
the crime of which this unfortunate man has been guilty (unfortunate
both on account of his ignorance and his guilt)I shall leave you to
your own consciences; not in the least doubting that you will see the
importance (notwithstanding the prisoner’s counsel [doubtless relying
on your former verdict] wishes to appear so confident of success) of
punishing the offenderand asserting the dignity of the laws.”

It was now the duty of the Judge to deliver his charge. It consisted
of a shortcomprehensive summary of the testimonylaying bare the
artifice of the prisoner’s counseland placing the facts in so
obvious a light that they could not well be misunderstood. “Living as
we dogentlemen” he concluded“on the skirts of societyit becomes
doubly necessary to protect the ministers of the law. If you believe
the witnessesin their construction of the acts of the prisonerit
is your duty to convict him; but if you believe that the old manwho
this day appears before youmeant not to harm the constablebut was
acting more under the influence of habit than by the instigations of
maliceit will be your duty to judge himbut to do it with lenity”

As beforethe jury did not leave their box; butafter a consultation
of some little timetheir foreman aroseand pronounced the prisoner
Guilty.

There was but little surprise manifested in the courtroom at this
verdictas the testimonythe greater part of which we have omitted
was too clear and direct to be passed over. The judges seemed to have
anticipated this sentimentfor a consultation was passing among them
alsoduring the deliberation of the juryand the preparatory
movements of the “bench” announced the coming sentence.

“Nathaniel Bumppo” commenced the Judgemaking the customary pause.

The old hunterwho had been musing againwith his head on the bar
raised himselfand criedwith a promptmilitary tone:

“Here.”

The Judge waved his hand for silenceand proceeded:

“In forming their sentencethe court have been governed as much by
the consideration of your ignorance of the laws as by a strict sense
of the importance of punishing such outrages as this of which you have
been found guilty. They have therefore passed over the obvious
punishment of whipping on the bare backin mercy to your years; but
as the dignity of the law requires an open exhibition of the
consequences of your crimeit is ordered that you be conveyed from
this room to the public stockswhere you are to be confined for one
hour; that you pay a fine to the State of one hundred dollars; and
that you be imprisoned in the jail of this county for one calendar
monthandfurthermorethat your imprisonment do not cease until the
said fine shall be paid. I feel it my dutyNathaniel Bumppo—”

“And where should I get the money?” interrupted the Leather-Stocking
eagerly; “ where should I get the money? you’ll take away the bounty


on the paintersbecause I cut the throat of a deer; and how is an old
man to find so much gold or silver in the woods? NonoJudge; think
better of itand don’t talk of shutting me up in a jail for the
little time I have to stay.”

“If you have anything to urge against the passing of the sentencethe
court will yet hear you” said the Judgemildly.

“I have enough to say agin’ it” cried Nattygrasping the bar on
which his fingers were working with a convulsed motion. “Where am I
to get the money? Let me out into the woods and hillswhere I’ve been
used to breathe the clear airand though I’m threescore and tenif
you’ve left game enough in the countryI’ll travel night and day but
I’ll make you up the sum afore the season is over. Yesyes—you see
the reason of the thingand the wicked ness of shutting up an old man
that has spent his daysas one may saywhere he could always look
into the windows of heaven.”

“I must be governed by the law—”

“Talk not to me of lawMarmaduke Temple” interrupted the hunter.
“Did the beast of the forest mind your lawswhen it was thirsty and
hungering for the blood of your own child? She was kneeling to her God
for a greater favor than I askand he heard her; and if you now say
no to my prayersdo you think he will be deaf?”

“My private feelings must not enter into—”

“Hear meMarmaduke Temple” interrupted the old manwith melancholy
earnestness“and hear reason. I’ve travelled these mountains when
you was no judgebut an infant in your mother’s arms; and I feel as
if I had a right and a privilege to travel them agin afore I die.
Have you forgot the time that you come on to the lake shorewhen
there wasn’t even a jail to lodge in: and didn’t I give you my own
bear-skin to sleep onand the fat of a noble buck to satisfy the
cravings of your hunger? Yesyes—you thought it no sin then to kill a
deer! And this I didthough I had no reason to love youfor you had
never done anything but harm to them that loved and sheltered me. And
nowwill you shut me up in your dungeons to pay me for my kindness? A
hundred dollars! Where should I get the money? Nono—there’s them
that says hard things of youMarmaduke Templebut you ain’t so bad
as to wish to see an old man die in a prisonbecause he stood up for
the right. Comefriendlet me pass; it’s long sin’ I’ve been used
to such crowdsand I crave to be in the woods agin. Don’t fear me
Judge— I bid you not to fear me; for if there’s beaver enough left on
the streamsor the buckskins will sell for a shilling apieceyou
shall have the last penny of the fine. Where are yepups? come away
dogscome away! we have a grievous toil to do for our yearsbut it
shall be done—yesyesI’ve promised itand it shall be done!”

It is unnecessary to say that the movement of the Leather-Stocking was
again intercepted by the constable; butbefore he had time to speak
a bustling in the crowdand a loud hemdrew all eyes to another part
of the room.

Benjamin had succeeded in edging his way through the peopleand was
now seen balancing his short bodywith one foot in a window and the
other on a railing of the jury-box. To the amazement of the whole
courtthe steward was evidently preparing to speak. After a good
deal of difficultyhe succeeded in drawing from his pocket a small
bagand then found utterance.

“If-so-be” he said“that your honor is agreeable to trust the poor
fellow out on another cruise among the beastshere’s a small matter


that will help to bring down the riskseeing that there’s just
thirty-five of your Spaniards in it; and I wishfrom the bottom of my
heartthat they was raal British guineasfor the sake of the old
boy. But ‘tis as it is; and if Squire Dickens will just be so good as
to overhaul this small bit of an accountand take enough from the bag
to settle the samehe’s welcome to hold on upon the resttill such
time as the Leather-Stocking can grapple with them said beaveror
for that matterforeverand no thanks asked”

As Benjamin concludedhe thrust out the wooden register of his
arrears to the “ Bold Dragoon” with one handwhile he offered his bag
of dollars with the other. Astonishment at this singular interruption
produced a profound stillness in the roomwhich was only interrupted
by the sheriffwho struck his sword on the tableand cried:
“Silence!”

“There must be an end to this” said the Judgestruggling to overcome
his feelings. “Constablelead the prisoner to the stocks. Mr.
Clerkwhat stands next on the calendar?”

Natty seemed to yield to his destinyfor he sank his head on his
chestand followed the officer from the court room in silence. The
crowd moved back for the passage of the prisonerand when his tall
form was seen descending from the outer doora rush of the people to
the scene of his disgrace followed.

CHAPTER XXXIV.

“Ha! ha! look! he wears cruel garters!”-Lear.

The punishments of the common law were still knownat the time of our
taleto the people of New York; and the whipping-postand its
companionthe stockswere not yet supplanted by the more merciful
expedients of the public prison. Immediately in front of the jail
those relics of the older times were situatedas a lesson of
precautionary justice to the evil-doers of the settlement.

Natty followed the constables to this spotbowing his head in
submission to a power that he was unable to op poseand surrounded by
the crowd that formed a circle about his personexhibiting in their
countenances strong curiosity. A constable raised the upper part of
the stocksand pointed with his finger to the holes where the old man
was to place his feet. Without making the least objection to the
punishmentthe Leather-Stocking quietly seated himself on the ground
and suffered his limbs to be laid in the openingswithout even a
murmur; though he cast one glance about himin quest of that sympathy
that human nature always seems to require under suffering “ but he met
no direct manifestations of pityneither did he see any unfeeling
exultationor hear a single reproachful epithet. The character of
the mobif it could be called by such a namewas that of attentive
subordination.

The constable was in the act of lowering the upper plankwhen
Benjaminwho had pressed close to the side of the prisonersaidin
his hoarse toneas if seeking for some cause to create a quarrel:

“Where awaymaster constableis the use of clapping a man in them
here bilboes? It neither stops his grog nor hurts his back; what for
is it that you do the thing?”


“‘Tis the sentence of the courtMr. Penguilliumand there’s law for
itI s’pose.”

“AyayI know that there’s law for the thing; but where away do you
find the useI say? it does no harmand it only keeps a man by the
heels for the small matter of two glasses”

“Is it no harmBenny Pump” said Nattyraising his eyes with a
piteous look in the face of the steward—” is it no harm to show off a
man in his seventy-first yearlike a tame bearfor the settlers to
look on? Is it no harm to put an old soldierthat has served through
the war of ‘fifty-sixand seen the enemy in the ‘seventy-six
businessinto a place like thiswhere the boys can point at him and
sayI have known the time when he was a spectacle for the county? Is
it no harm to bring down the pride of an honest man to be the equal of
the beasts of the forest?”

Benjamin stared about him fiercelyand could he have found a single
face that expressed contumelyhe would have been prompt to quarrel
with its owner; but meeting everywhere with looks of sobrietyand
occasionally of commiserationhe very deliberately seated himself by
the side of the hunterandplacing his legs in the two vacant holes
of the stockshe said:

“Now lower awaymaster constablelower awayI tell ye! If-so-be
there’s such a thing hereaboutsas a man that wants to see a bear
let him look and be d—dand he shall find two of themand mayhap one
of the same that can bite as well as growl.”

“But I have no orders to put you in the stocksMr. Pump” cried the
constable; “you must get up and let me do my duty.”

“You’ve my ordersand what do you need better to meddle with my own
feet? so lower awaywill yeand let me see the man that chooses to
open his mouth with a grin on it.”

“There can’t be any harm in locking up a creatur’ that will enter the
pound” said the constablelaughingand closing the stocks on them
both.

It was fortunate that this act was executed with decisionfor the
whole of the spectatorswhen they saw Benjamin assume the position he
tookfelt an inclination for merrimentwhich few thought it worth
while to suppress. The steward struggled violently for his liberty
againwith an evident intention of making battle on those who stood
nearest to him; but the key was already turnedand all his efforts
were vain.

“Hark yemaster constable” he cried“just clear away your bilboes
for the small matter of a log-glasswill yeand let me show some of
them there chaps who it is they are so merry about”

“Nonoyou would go inand you can’t come out” returned the
officer“until the time has expired that the Judge directed for the
keeping of the prisoner.”

Benjaminfinding that his threats and his struggles were uselesshad
good sense enough to learn patience from the resigned manner of his
companionand soon settled himself down by the side of Nattywith a
contemptuousness expressed in his hard featuresthat showed he had
substituted disgust for rage. When the violence of the steward’s
feelings had in some measure subsidedhe turned to his fellowsufferer
andwith a motive that might have vindicated a worse


effusionhe attempted the charitable office of consolation

“Taking it by and largeMaster Bump-hoit’s but a small matter after
all” he said. “NowI’ve known very good sort of menaboard of the
Boadisheylaid by the heelsfor nothingmayhapbut forgetting that
they’d drunk their allowance alreadywhen a glass of grog has come in
their way. This is nothing more than riding with two anchors ahead
waiting for a turn in the tideor a shift of windd’ye seewith a
soft bottom and plenty of room for the sweep of your hawse. Now I’ve
seen many a manfor over-shooting his reckoningas I told ye moored
head and starnwhere he couldn’t so much as heave his broadside
roundand mayhap a stopper clapped on his tongue tooin the shape of
a pump-bolt lashed athwartship his jawsall the same as an outrigger
along side of a taffrel-rail.”

The hunter appeared to appreciate the kind intentions of the other
though he could not understand his eloquenceandraising his humbled
countenancehe attempted a smileas he said:

“Anan!”

“‘Tis nothingI saybut a small matter of a squall that will soon
blow over” continued Benjamin. “ To you that has such a length of
keelit must be all the same as nothing; thofseeing that I am
little short in my lower timbersthey’ve triced my heels up in such a
way as to give me a bit of a cant. But what cares IMaster Bump-ho
if the ship strains a little at her anchor? it’s only for a dog-watch
and dam’me but she’ll sail with you then on that cruise after them
said beaver. I'm not much used to small armsseeing that I was
stationed at the ammunition- boxesbeing summat too low-rigged to see
over the ham- mock-cloths; but I can carry the gamedye seeand
mayhap make out to lend a hand with the traps; and if- so-be you’re
any way so handy with them as ye be with your boat-hook‘twill be but
a short cruise after allI've squared the yards with Squire Dickens
this morningand I shall send him word that he needn’t bear my name
on the books again till such time as the cruise is over.”

“You’re used to dwell with menBenny” said Leather-Stocking
mournfully“ and the ways of the woods would be hard on youif——”

“Not a bit—not a bit” cried the steward; “I’m none of your fairweather
chapsMaster Bump-hoas sails only in smooth water. When I
find a friendI sticks by himdye see. Nowthere’s no better man
a-going than Squire Dickensand I love him about the same as I loves
Mistress Hollister’s new keg of Jamaiky.” The steward pausedand
turning his uncouth visage on the hunterhe surveyed him with a
roguish leer of his eyeand gradually suffered the muscles of his
hard features to relaxuntil his face was illuminated by the display
of his white teethwhen he “ dropped his voiceand added; “I say
Master Leather-

Stocking‘tis fresher and livelier than any Hollands you’ll get in
Garnsey. But we’ll send a hand over and ask the woman for a taste
for I’m so jammed in these here bilboes that I begin to want summat to
lighten my upper works.”

Natty sighedand gazed about him on the crowdthat already began to
disperseand which had now diminished greatlyas its members
scattered in their various pursuits. He looked wistfully at Benjamin
but did not reply; a deeply-seated anxiety seeming to absorb every
other sensationand to throw a melancholy gloom over his wrinkled
featureswhich were working with the movements of his mind.

The steward was about to act on the old principlethat silence gives


consentwhen Hiram Doolittleattended by Jothamstalked out of the
crowdacross the open spaceand approached the stocks. The
magistrate passed by the end where Benjamin was seatedand posted
himselfat a safe distance from the stewardin front of the Leather-
Stocking. Hiram stoodfor a momentcowering before the keen looks
that Natty fastened on himand suffering under an embarrassment that
was quite new; when having in some degree recovered himselfhe looked
at the heavensand then at the smoky atmosphereas if it were only
an ordinary meeting with a friendand said in his formalhesitating
way:

“Quite a scurcity of rainlately; I some think we shall have a long
drought on’t.”

Benjamin was occupied in untying his bag of dollarsand did not
observe the approach of the magistratewhile Natty turned his face
in which every muscle was workingaway from him in disgustwithout
answering. Rather encouraged than daunted by this exhibition of
dislikeHiramafter a short pausecontinued:

“The clouds look as if they’d no water in themand the earth is
dreadfully parched. To my judgmentthere’ll be short crops this
seasonif the rain doesn’t fail quite speedily.”

The air with which Mr. Doolittle delivered this prophetical opinion
was peculiar to his species. It was a jesuiticalcoldunfeeling
and selfish mannerthat seemed to say“I have kept within the law”
to the man he had so cruelly injured. It quite overcame the restraint
that the old hunter had been laboring to impose on himselfand he
burst out in a warm glow of indignation.

“Why should the rain fall from the clouds” he cried“when you force
the tears from the eyes of the oldthe sickand the poor! Away with
ye—away with ye! you may be formed in the image of the Makerbut
Satan dwells in your heart. Away with yeI say! I am mournfuland
the sight of ye brings bitter thoughts.”

Benjamin ceased thumbing his moneyand raised his head at the instant
that Hiramwho was thrown off his guard by the invectives of the
hunterunluckily trusted his person within reach of the stewardwho
grasped one of his legs with a hand that had the grip of a viseand
whirled the magistrate from his feetbefore he had either time to
collect his senses or to exercise the strength he did really possess.
Benjamin wanted neither proportions nor manhood in his head
shouldersand armsthough all the rest of his frame appeared to be
originally intended for a very different sort of a man. He exerted
his physical powers on the present occasionwith much discretion;
andas he had taken his antagonist at a great disadvantagethe
struggle resulted very soon in Benjamin getting the magistrate fixed
in a posture somewhat similar to his ownand manfully placed face to
face.

“You’re a ship’s cousinI tell yeMaster Doo-but-little” roared the
steward; “some such matter as a ship’s cousinsir. I know youI do
with your fair-weather speeches to Squire Dickensto his faceand
then you go and sarve out your grumbling to all the old women in the
towndo ye? Ain’t it enough for any Christianlet him harbor never
so much maliceto get an honest old fellow laid by the heels in this
fashionwithout carrying sail so hard on the poor dogas if you
would run him down as he lay at his anchors? But I’ve logged many a
hard thing against your namemasterand now the time’s come to foot
up the day’s workd’ye see; so square yourselfyou lubbersquare
yourselfand we’ll soon know who’s the better man.”


“Jotham!” cried the frightened magistrate—” Jotham! call in the
constables. Mr. PenguilliumI command the peace—I order you to keep
the peace.”

“There's been more peace than love atwixt usmaster” cried the
stewardmaking some very unequivocal demonstrations toward hostility;
“so mind yourself! square your selfI say! do you smell this here bit
of a sledge-hammer?”

“Lay hands on me if you dare!” exclaimed Hiramas well as he could
under the grasp which the steward held on his throttle—” lay hands on
me if you dare!”

“If you call this layingmasteryou are welcome to the eggs” roared
the steward.

It becomes our disagreeable duty to record herethat the acts of
Benjamin now became violent; for he darted his sledge-hammer violently
on the anvil of Mr. Doolittle’s countenanceand the place became in
an instant a scene of tumult and confusion. The crowd rushed in a
dense circle around the spotwhile some ran to the court room to give
the alarmand one or two of the more juvenile part of the multitude
had a desperate trial of speed to see who should be the happy man to
communicate the critical situation of the magistrate to his wife.

Benjamin worked awaywith great industry and a good deal of skillat
his occupationusing one hand to raise up his antagonistwhile he
knocked him over with the other; for he would have been disgraced in
his own estimationhad he struck a blow on a fallen adversary. By
this considerate arrangement he had found means to hammer the visage
of Hiram out of all shapeby the time Richard succeeded in forcing
his way through the throng to the point of combat. The sheriff
afterward declared thatindependently of his mortification as
preserver of the peace of the countyat this interruption to its
harmonyhe was never so grieved in his life as when he saw this
breach of unity between his favorites. Hiram had in some degree
become necessary to his vanityand Benjaminstrange as it may
appearhe really loved. This attachment was exhibited in the first
words that he uttered.

“Squire Doolittle! Squire Doolittle! I am ashamed to see a man of your
character and office forget himself so much as to disturb the peace
insult the courtand beat poor Benjamin in this manner!”

At the sound of Mr. Jones’ voicethe steward ceased his employment
and Hiram had an opportunity of raising his discomfited visage toward
the mediator. Emboldened by the sight of the sheriffMr. Doolittle
again had recourse to his lungs.

“I’ll have law on you for this” he cried desperately; “I’ll have the
law on you for this. I call on youMr. Sheriffto seize this man
and I demand that you take his body into custody.”

By this time Richard was master of the true state of the caseand
turning to the stewardhe said reproach fully:

“Benjaminhow came you in the stocks? I always thought you were mild
and docile as a lamb. It was for your docility that I most esteemed
you. Benjamin! Benjamin! you have not only disgraced yourselfbut
your friendsby this shameless conductBless me! bless me! Mr.
Doolittlehe seems to have knocked your face all of one side.”

Hiram by this time had got on his feet againand with out the reach
of the stewardwhen he broke forth in violent appeals for vengeance.


The offence was too apparent to be passed overand the sheriff
mindful of the impartiality exhibited by his cousin in the recent
trial of the Leather-Stockingcame to the painful conclusion that it
was necessary to commit his major-domo to prison. As the time of
Natty’s punishment was expiredand Benjamin found that they were to
be confinedfor that night at leastin the same apartmenthe made
no very strong objection to the measurenor spoke of bailthoughas
the sheriff preceded the party of constables that conducted them to
the jailhe uttered the following remonstrance:


“As to being berthed with Master Bump-ho for a night or soit’s but
little I think of itSquire Dickensseeing that I calls him an
honest manand one as has a handy way with boat-hooks and rifles; but
as for owning that a man desarves anything worse than a double
allowancefor knocking that carpenters face a-one-sideas you call
itI’ll maintain it’s agin’ reason and Christianity. If there’s a
bloodsucker in this 'ere countyit’s that very chap. Ay! I know him!
and if he hasn’t got all the same as dead wood in his headworkshe
knows summat of me. Where’s the mighty harmsquirethat you take it
so much to heart? It’s all the same as any other battled’ye see sir
being broadside to broadsideonly that it was foot at anchor
which was what we did in Port Pray a roadswhen Suff’ring came in
among us; and a suff’ring time he had of it before he got out again.”


Richard thought it unworthy of him to make any reply to this speech
but when his prisoners were safely lodged in an outer dungeon
ordering the bolts to be drawn and the key turnedhe withdrew.


Benjamin held frequent and friendly dialogues with different people
through the iron gratingsduring the afternoon; but his companion
paced their narrow’ limitsin his moccasinswith quickimpatient
treadshis face hanging on his breast in dejectionor when lifted
at momentsto the idlers at the windowlightedperhapsfor an
instantwith the childish aspect of aged forgetfulnesswhich would
vanish directly in an expression of deep and obvious anxiety.


At the close of the dayEdwards was seen at the windowin earnest
dialogue with his friend; and after he de parted it was thought that
he had communicated words of comfort to the hunterwho threw himself
on his pallet and was soon in a deep sleep. The curious spectators
had exhausted the conversation of the stewardwho had drunk good
fellowship with half of his acquaintanceandas Natty was no longer
in motionby eight o’clockBilly Kirbywho was the last lounger at
the windowretired into the “Templeton Coffee-house” when Natty rose
and hung a blanket before the openingand the prisoners apparently
retired for the night.


CHAPTER XXXV.


“And to avoid the foe’s pursuit
With spurring put their cattle to’t;
And till all four were out of wind
And danger tooneer looked behind.”—Hudibras.


As the shades of evening approachedthe jurorswit nessesand other
attendants on the court began to disperseand before nine o’clock the
village was quietand its streets nearly deserted. At that hour
Judge Temple and his daughterfollowed at a short distance by Louisa
Grantwalked slowly down the avenueunder the slight shadows of the



young poplarsholding the following discourse:

“You can best soothe his wounded spiritmy child” said Marmaduke;
“but it will be dangerous to touch on the nature of his offence; the
sanctity of the laws must be respected.”

“Surelysir” cried the impatient Elizabeth“those laws that condemn
a man like the Leather-Stocking to so severe a punishmentfor an
offence that even I must think very venialcannot be perfect in
themselves.”

“Thou talkest of what thou dost not understandElizabeth” returned
her father. “Society cannot exist without wholesome restraints.
Those restraints cannot be inflicted without security and respect to
the persons of those who administer them; and it would sound ill
indeed to report that a judge had extended favor to a convicted
criminalbecause he had saved the life of his child.”

“I see—I see the difficulty of your situationdear sir” cried the
daughter; “butin appreciating the offence of poor NattyI cannot
separate the minister of the law from the man.”

“There thou talkest as a womanchild; it is not for an assault on
Hiram Doolittlebut for threatening the life of a constablewho was
in the performance of—”

“It is immaterial whether it be one or the other” interrupted Miss
Templewith a logic that contained more feeling than reason; “I know
Natty to be innocentand thinking so I must think all wrong who
oppress him.”

“His judge among the number! thy fatherElizabeth?”

“Naynaynay; do not put such questions to me; give me my
commissionfatherand let me proceed to execute it.”

The Judge paused a momentsmiling fondly on his childand then
dropped his hand affectionately on her shoulderas he answered:

“Thou hast reasonBessand much of ittoobut thy heart lies too
near thy headBut listen; in this pocketbook are two hundred dollars.
Go to the prison—there are none in this pace to harm thee—give this
note to the jailerandwhen thou seest Bumpposay what thou wilt to
the poor old man; give scope to the feeling of thy warm heart; but try
to rememberElizabeththat the laws alone remove us from the
condition of the savages; that he has been criminaland that his
judge was thy father.”

Miss Temple made no replybut she pressed the hand that held the
pocket-book to her bosomandtaking her friend by the armthey
issued together from the inclosure into the principal street of the
village.

As they pursued their walk in silenceunder the row of houseswhere
the deeper gloom of the evening effectually concealed their persons
no sound reached themexcepting the slow tread of a yoke of oxen
with the rattling of j a cartthat were moving along the street in
the same direction with themselvesThe figure of the teamster was
just discernible by the dim lightlounging by the side of his cattle
with a listless airas if fatigued by the toil of the day. At the
cornerwhere the jail stoodthe progress of the ladies was impeded
for a momentby the oxenwho were turned up to the side of the
buildingand given a lock of haywhich they had carried on their
necksas a reward for their patient laborThe whole of this was so


naturaland so commonthat Elizabeth saw nothing to induce a second
glance at the teamuntil she heard the teamster speaking to his
cattle in a low voice:


“Mind yourselfBrindle; will yousir! will you!” The language itself
was so unusual to oxenwith which all who dwell in a new country are
familiar; but there was something in the voicealsothat startled
Miss Temple On turning the cornershe necessarily approached the man
and her look was enabled to detect the person of Oliver Edwards
concealed under the coarse garb of a teamster. Their eyes met at the
same instantandnot- t withstanding the gloomand the enveloping
cloak of Elizabeththe recognition was mutual.


“Miss Temple!” “Mr. Edwards!” were exclaimed simultaneouslythough a
feeling that seemed common to both rendered the words nearly
inaudible.


“Is it possible!” exclaimed Edwardsafter the moment of doubt had
passed; “do I see you so nigh the jail! but you are going to the
rectory: I beg pardonMiss GrantI believe; I did not recognize you
at first.”


The sigh which Louisa tittered was so faintthat it was only heard by
Elizabethwho replied quickly“We are going not only to the jail
Mr. Edwards' but into it. We wish to show the Leather-Stocking that
we do not forget his servicesand that at the same time we must be
justwe are also grateful. I suppose you are on a similar errand;
but let me beg that you will give us leave to precede you ten minutes.
Good-nightsir; I— I—am quite sorryMr. Edwardsto see you reduced
to such labor; I am sure my father would—”


“I shall wait your pleasuremadam” interrupted the youth coldly.
“May I beg that you will not mention my being here?”


“Certainly” said Elizabethreturning his bow by a slight inclination
of her headand urging the tardy Louisa forward. As they entered the
jailer’s househoweverMiss Grant found leisure to whisper:


“Would it not be well to offer part of your money to Oliver? half of
it will pay the fine of Bumppo; and he is so unused to hardships! I am
sure my father will subscribe much of his little pittanceto place
him in a station that is more worthy of him.”


The involuntary smile that passed over the features of Elizabeth was
blended with an expression of deep and heartfelt pity. She did not
replyhoweverand the appearance of the jailer soon recalled the
thoughts of both to the object of their visit.


The rescue of the ladiesand their consequent interest in his
prisonertogether with the informal manners that prevailed in the
countryall united to prevent any surprise on the part of the jailer
at their request for admission to Bumppo. The note of Judge Temple
howeverwould have silenced all objectionsif he had felt them and
he led the way without hesitation to the apartment that held the
prisoners. The instant the key was put into the lockthe hoarse
voice of Benjamin was hearddemanding:


“Yo hoy! who comes there?”


“Some visitors that you’ll be glad to see” returned the jailer.
“What have you done to the lockthat it won’t turn”


“Handsomelyhandsomelymaster” cried the steward:
“I have just drove a nail into a berth alongside of this here boltas



a stopperd’ye seeso that Master Doo-but little can’t be running in
and breezing up another fight atwixt us: forto my accountthere’ll
be but a han-yan with me soonseeing that they’ll mulct me of my
Spaniardsall the same as if I’d over-flogged the lubber. Throw your
ship into the windand lay by for a small matterwill ye? and I’ll
soon clear a passage.”

The sounds of hammering gave an assurance that the steward was in
earnestand in a short time the lock yieldedwhen the door was
opened.

Benjamin had evidently been anticipating the seizure of his moneyfor
he had made frequent demands on the favorite cask at the “Bold
Dragoon” during the afternoon and eveningand was now in that state
which by marine imagery is called “half-seas-over.” It was no easy
thing to destroy the balance of the old tar by the effects of liquor
foras he expressed it himself“he was too low-rigged not to carry
sail in all weathers;” but he was precisely in that condition which is
so expressively termed “muddy.” When he perceived who the visitors
werehe retreated to the side of the room where his pallet layand
regardless of the presence of his young mistressseated himself on it
with an air of great sobrietyplacing his back firmly against the
wall.

“If you undertake to spoil my locks in this mannerMr. Pump” said
the jailer“I shall put a stopperas you call iton your legsand
tie you down to your bed.”

“What for should yemaster?” grumbled Benjamin; “I’ve rode out one
squall to-day anchored by the heelsand I wants no more of them.
Where’s the harm o’ doing all the same as yourself? Leave that there
door free out boardand you’ll find no locking inboardI’ll promise
ye.”

“I must shut up for the night at nine” said the jailer“and it’s now
forty-two minutes past eight.” He placed the little candle on a rough
pine tableand withdrew.

“Leather-Stocking!” said Elizabethwhen the key of the door was
turned on them again“my good friendLeather-Stocking! I have come
on a message of gratitude. Had you submitted to the searchworthy
old manthe death of the deer would have been a trifleand all would
have been well———”

“Submit to the sarch!” interrupted Nattyraising his face from
resting on his kneeswithout rising from the corner where he had
seated himself; “d’ye think galI would let such a varmint into my
hut? Nono—I wouldn’t have opened the door to your own sweet
countenance then. But they are welcome to search among the coals and
ashes now; they’ll find only some such heap as is to be seen at every
pot-ashery in the mountains.”

The old man dropped his face again on one handand seemed to be lost
in melancholy.

“The hut can be rebuiltand made better than before” returned Miss
Temple;” and it shall be my office to see it donewhen your
imprisonment is ended.”

Can ye raise the deadchild?” said Nattyin a sorrowful voice: “can
ye go into the place where you’ve laid your fathersand mothersand
childrenand gather together their ashesand make the same men and
women of them as afore? You do not know what ‘tis to lay your head for
more than forty years under the cover of the same logsand to look at


the same things for the better part of I a man’s life. You are young
yetchildbut you are one of the most precious of God’s creatures.
I had hoped for ye that it might come to passbut it’s all over now;
thisput to thatwill drive the thing quite out of his mind for
ever.”

Miss Temple must have understood the meaning of the old man better
than the other listeners; for while Louisa stood innocently by her
sidecommiserating the griefs of the huntershe bent her head aside
so as to conceal her features. The action and the feeling that caused
it lasted but a moment.

“Other logsand betterthoughcan be hadand shall be found for
youmy old defender” she continued. “Your confinement will soon
be overandbefore that time arrivesI shall have a house prepared
for youwhere I you may spend the close of your long and harmless
life in ease and plenty.”

“Ease and plenty! house!” repeated Nattyslowly. “You mean wellyou
mean welland I quite mourn that it cannot be; but he has seen me a
sight and a laughing-stock for—”

“Damn your stocks” said Benjaminflourishing his bottle with one
handfrom which he had been taking hasty and repeated draughts
while he made gestures of disdain with the other: “who cares for his
bilboes? There’s a leg that been stuck up on end like a jibboom for an
hour. d’ye seeand what’s it the worse for’tha? canst tell me
what’s it the worserha?”

“I believe you forgetMr. Pumpin whose presence you are” said
Elizabeth.

“Forget youMiss Lizzy?” returned the steward; “if I dodam’me; you
are not to be forgotlike Goody Pretty-bonesup at the big house
there. I sayold sharpshootershe may have pretty bonesbut I
can’t say so much for her fleshd’ye seefor she looks somewhat like
anatomy with another man’s jacket on. Now for the skin of her face
it’s all the same as a new topsail with a taut bolt-ropebeing snug
at the leechesbut all in a bight about the inner cloths”

“Peace—I command you to be silentsir!” said Elizabeth.

“Ayayma’am” returned the steward. “You didn’t say I shouldn’t
drinkthough.”

“We will not speak of what is to become of others” said Miss Temple
turning again to the hunter—” but of your own fortunesNatty. It
shall be my care to see that you pass the rest of your days in ease
and plenty.”

“Ease and plenty!” again repeated the Leather-Stocking; “what ease can
there be to an old manwho must walk a mile across the open fields
before he can find a shade to hide him from a scorching sun! or what
plenty is there where you hunt a dayand not start a buckor see
anything bigger than a minkor maybe a stray fox! Ah! I shall have a
hard time after them very beaversfor this fine. I must go low
toward the Pennsylvania line in search of the creaturesmaybe a
hundred mile; for they are not to be got here-away. Nono—your
betterments and clearings have druv the knowing things out of the
countryand instead of beaver-damswhich is the nater of the animal
and according to Providenceyou turn back the waters over the low
grounds with your mill-damsas if ‘twas in man to stay the drops from
going where He wills them to go—Bennyunless you stop your hand from
going so often to your mouthyou won’t be ready to start when the


time comes.

“Hark’eeMaster Bump-ho” said the steward; “don’t you fear for Ben
When the watch is calledset me of my legs and give me the bearings
and the distance of where you want me to steerand I’ll carry sail
with the best of youI will.”

“The time has come now” said the hunterlistening; “I hear the horns
of the oxen rubbing agin’ the side of the jail.”

“Wellsay the wordand then heave aheadshipmate” said Benjamin.

“You won’t betray usgal?” said Nattylooking simply into the face
of Elizabeth—” you won’t betray an old manwho craves to breathe the
clear air of heaven? I mean no harm; and if the law says that I must
pay the hundred dollarsI’ll take the season throughbut it shall be
forthcoming; and this good man will help me.”

“You catch them” said Benjaminwith a sweeping gesture of his arm
“and if they get away againcall me a slinkthat’s all.”

“But what mean you?” cried thc wondering Elizabeth. “ Here you must
stay for thirty days; but I have the money for your fine in this
purse. Take it; pay it in the morningand summon patience for your
mouth. I will come often to see youwith my friend; we will make up
your clothes with our own hands; indeedindeedyou shall be
comfortable.”

“Would yechildren?” said Nattyadvancing across the floor with an
air of kindnessand taking the hand of Elizabeth“would ye be so
kearful of an old manand just for shooting a beast which cost him
nothing? Such things doesn’t run in the bloodI believefor you seem
not to forget a favor. Your little fingers couldn’t do much on a
buckskinnor be you used to push such a thread as sinews. But if he
hasn’t got past hearinghe shalt hear it and know itthat he may
seelike methere is some who know how to remember a kindness”

“Tell him nothing” cried Elizabethearnestly; “if you love meif
you regard my feelingstell him nothing. It is of yourself only I
would talkand for yourself only I act. I grieveLeather-Stocking
that the law requires that you should be detained here so long; but
after allit will be only a short monthand——”

“A month?” exclaimed Nattyopening his mouth with his usual laugh
“not a daynor a nightnor an hourgal. Judge Temple may sintence
but he can’t keep without a better dungeon than this. I was taken
once by the Frenchand they put sixty-two of us in a block-house
nigh hand to old Frontinac; but ‘twas easy to cut through a pine log
to them that was used to timber.” The hunter pausedand looked
cautiously around the roomwhenlaughing againhe shoved the
steward gently from his postand removing the bedclothesdiscovered
a hole recently cut in the logs with a mallet and chisel. “It’s only
a kickand the outside piece is offand then—”

“Off! ayoff!” cried Benjaminrising from his stupor; “wellhere’s
off. Ay! ay! you catch ‘emand I'll hold on to them said beaverhats”


“I fear this lad will trouble me much” said Natty; “‘twill be a hard
pull for the mountainshould they take the scent soonand he is not
in a state of mind to run.”

“Run!” echoed the steward; “nosheer alongsideand let’s have a
fight of it.”


“Peace!” ordered Elizabeth.

“Ayayma’am.”

“You will not leave ussurelyLeather-Stocking” continued Miss
Temple; “I beseech youreflect that you will be driven to the woods
entirelyand that you are fast getting old. Be patient for a little
timewhen you can go abroad openlyand with honor.”

“Is there beaver to be catched heregal?”

“If nothere is money to discharge the fineand in a month you are
free. Seehere it is in gold.”

“Gold!” said Nattywith a kind of childish curiosity; “it’s long sin’
I’ve seen a gold-piece. We used to get the broad joesin the old
waras plenty as the bears be now. I remember there was a man in
Dieskau’s armythat was killedwho had a dozen of the shining things
sewed up in his shirt. I didn’t handle them myselfbut I seen them
cut out with my own eyes; they was bigger and brighter than them be.”

“These are English guineasand are yours” said Elizabeth; “an
earnest of what shall be done for you.”

“Me! why should you give me this treasure!” said Nattylooking
earnestly at the maiden.

“Why! have you not saved my life? Did you not rescue me from the jaws
of the beast?” exclaimed Elizabethveiling her eyesas if to hide
some hideous object from her view.

The hunter took the moneyand continued turning it in his hand for
some timepiece by piecetalking aloud during the operation.

“There’s a riflethey sayout on the Cherry Valleythat will carry
a hundred rods and kill. I’ve seen good guns in my daybut none
quite equal to that. A hundred rods with any sartainty is great
shooting! Wellwell— I’m oldand the gun I have will answer my time.
Herechildtake back your gold. But the hour has come; I hear him
talking to the cattleand I must be going. You won’t tell of us
gal—you won’t tell of uswill ye?”

“Tell of you!” echoed Elizabeth. “But take the moneyold man; take
the moneyeven if you go into the mountains.”

“Nono” said Nattyshaking his head kindly; “I would not rob you so
for twenty rifles. But there’s one thing you can do for meif ye
willthat no other is at hand to do.

“Name it—name it.”

“Whyit’s only to buy a canister of powder—’twill cost two silver
dollars. Benny Pump has the money readybut we daren’t come into the
town to get it. Nobody has it but the Frenchman. 'Tis of the best
and just suits a rifle. Will you get it for megal?—saywill you
get it for me?”

“Will I? I will bring it to youLeather-Stockingthough I toil a day
in quest of you through the woods. But where shall I find youand
how?”

“Where?” said Nattymusing a moment—” to-morrow on the Vision; on the
very top of the VisionI’ll meet youchildjust as the sun gets


over our heads. See that it’s the fine grain; you’ll know it by the
gloss and the price.”

“I will do it” said Elizabethfirmly.

Natty now seated himselfand placing his feet in the holewith a
slight effort he opened a passage through into the street. The ladies
heard the rustling of hayand well understood the reason why Edwards
was in the capacity of a teamster.

“ComeBenny” said the hunter: “‘twill be no darker to-nightfor the
moon will rise in an hour.”

“Stay!” exclaimed Elizabeth; “it should not be said that you escaped
in the presence of the daughter of Judge Temple. ReturnLeather-
Stockingand let us retire be fore you execute your plan.”

Natty was about to replywhen the approaching footsteps of the jailer
announced the necessity of his immediate return. He had barely time
to regain his feetand to conceal the hole with the bedclothes
across which Benjamin very opportunely fellbefore the key was
turnedand the door of the apartment opened.

“Isn’t Miss Temple ready to go?” said the civil jailer; “ it’s the
usual hour for locking up.”

“I follow yousir” returned Elizabeth “good-nightLeather-
Stocking.”

“It’s a fine graingaland I think twill carry lead further than
common. I am getting oldand can’t follow up the game with the step
I used to could”

Miss Temple waved her hand for silenceand preceded Louisa and the
keeper from the apartment. The man turned the key onceand observed
that he would return and secure his prisonerswhen he had lighted the
ladies to the street. Accordingly they parted at the door of the
buildingwhen the jailer retired to his dungeonsand the ladies
walkedwith throbbing heartstoward the corner.

“Now the Leather-Stocking refuses the money” whispered Louisa“it
can all be given to Mr. Edwardsand that added to—”

“Listen!” said Elizabeth; “ I hear the rustling of the hay; they are
escaping at this moment. Oh! they will be detected instantly!”

By this time they were at the cornerwhere Edwards and Natty were in
the act of drawing the almost helpless body of Benjamin through the
aperture. The oxen had started back from their hayand were standing
with their heads down the streetleaving room for the party to act
in.

“Throw the hay into the cart” said Edwards“or they will suspect how
it has been done. Quickthat they may not see it.”

Natty had just returned from executing this orderwhen the light of
the keeper’s candle shone through the holeand instantly his voice
was heard in the jail exclaiming for his prisoners.

“What is to be done now?” said Edwards; “this drunken fellow will
cause our detectionand we have not a moment to spare.”

“Who’s drunkye lubber?” muttered the steward.


“A break-jail! a break-jail!” shouted five or six voices from within.

“We must leave him” said Edwards.

“‘Twouldn’t be kindlad” returned Natty; “he took half the disgrace
of the stocks on himself to-dayand the creatur’ has feeling.”

At this moment two or three men were heard issuing from the door of
the “Bold Dragoon” and among them the voice of Billy Kirby.

“There’s no moon yet” cried the wood-chopper; “but it’s a clear
night. Comewho’s for home? Hark! what a rumpus they’re kicking up
in the jail—here’s go and see what it’s about.”

“We shall be lost” said Edwards“if we don’t drop this man.”

At that instant Elizabeth moved close to himand said rapidlyin a
low voice:

“Lay him in the cartand start the oxen; no one will look there.”

“There’s a woman’s quickness in the thought” said the youth.

The proposition was no sooner made than executed. The steward was
seated on the hayand enjoined to hold his peace and apply the goad
that was placed in his handwhile the oxen were urged on. So soon as
this arrangement was completedEdwards and the hunter stole along the
houses for a short distancewhen they disappeared through an opening
that led into the rear of the buildings.

The oxen were in brisk motionand presently the cries of pursuit were
heard in the street. The ladies quickened their pacewith a wish to
escape the crowd of constables and idlers that were approachingsome
execratingand some laughing at the exploit of the prisoners. In the
confusionthe voice of Kirby was plainly distinguishable above all
the othersshouting and swearing that he would have the fugitives
threatening to bring back Natty in one pocketand Benjamin in the
other.

“Spread yourselvesmen” he criedas he passed the ladieshis heavy
feet sounding along the street like the tread of a dozen; “spread
yourselves; to the mountains; they’ll be in the mountains in a quarter
of an hourand then look out for a long rifle.”

His cries were echoed from twenty mouthsfor not only the jail but
the taverns had sent forth their numberssome earnest in the pursuit
and others joining it as in sport.

As Elizabeth turned in at her father’s gate she saw the wood-chopper
stop at the cartwhen she gave Benjamin up for lost. While they were
hurrying up the walktwo figuresstealing cautiously but quickly
under the shades of the treesmet the eyes of the ladiesand in a
moment Edwards and the hunter crossed their path.

“Miss TempleI may never see you again” exclaimed the youth; “let me
thank you for all your kindness; you do notcannot know my motives.”

“Fly! fly!” cried Elizabeth; “the village is alarmed. Do not be found
conversing with me at such a momentand in these grounds.”

“NayI must speakthough detection were certain”

“Your retreat to the bridge is already cut off; before you can gain
the wood your pursuers will be there. If—”


“If what?” cried the youth. “Your advice has saved me once already; I
will follow it to death.”

“The street is now silent and vacant” said Elizabethafter a pause;
“cross itand you will find my father’s boat in the lake. It would
be easy to land from it where you please in the hills.”

“But Judge Temple might complain of the trespass.”

“His daughter shall be accountablesir.”

The youth uttered something in a low voicethat was heard only by
Elizabethand turned to execute what she had suggested. As they were
separatingNatty approached the femalesand said:

“You’ll remember the canister of powderchildren. Them beavers must
be hadand I and the pups be getting old; we want the best of
ammunition.”

“ComeNatty” said Edwardsimpatiently.

“Comingladcoming. God bless youyoung onesboth of yefor ye
mean well and kindly to the old man.”

The ladies paused until they had lost sight of the retreating figures
when they immediately entered the mansion-house.

While this scene was passing in the walkKirby had overtaken the
cartwhich was his ownand had been driven by Edwardswithout
asking the ownerfrom the place where the patient oxen usually stood
at eveningwaiting the pleasure of their master.

“Woa—come hitherGolden” he cried; “whyhow come you off the end of
the bridgewhere I left youdummies?”

“Heave ahead” muttered Benjamingiving a random blow with his lash
that alighted on the shoulder of the other.

“Who the devil be you?” cried Billyturning round in surprisebut
unable to distinguishin the darkthe hard visage that was just
peering over the cart-rails.

“Who be I? whyI’m helmsman aboard of this here craft d’ye seeand a
straight wake I’m making of it. Ayay! I’ve got the bridge right
aheadand the bilboes dead aft: I calls that good steerageboy.
Heave ahead.”

“Lay your lash in the right spotMr. Benny Pump” said the woodchopper
“or I’ll put you in the palm of my hand and box your ears.
Where be you going with my team?”

“Team!”

“Ay. my cart and oxen”

“Whyyou must knowMaster Kirbythat the Leather-Stocking and I—
that’s Benny Pump—you knows Ben?— wellBenny and I—nome and Benny;
dam’me if I know how ‘tis; but some of us are bound after a cargo of
beaver-skinsd’ye seeso we’ve pressed the cart to ship them ‘ome
in. I sayMaster Kirbywhat a lubberly oar you pull—you handle an
oarboypretty much as a cow would a musketor a lady would a
marling-spike.”


Billy had discovered the state of the steward’s mindand he walked
for some time alongside of the cartmusing with himselfwhen he took
the goad from Benjamin (who fell back on the hay and was soon asleep)
and drove his cattle down the streetover the bridgeand up the
mountaintoward a clearing in which he was to work the next day
without any other interruption than a few hasty questions from parties
of the constables.


Elizabeth stood for an hour at the window of her roomand saw the
torches of the pursuers gliding along the side of the mountainand
heard their shouts and alarms; butat the end of that timethe last
party returnedwearied and disappointedand the village became as
still as when she issued from the gate on her mission to the jail.


CHAPTER XXXVI.


“And I could weep “—th’ Oneida chief
His descant wildly thus begun—”
But that I may not stain with grief
The death-song of my father’s son.”—Gertrude OF Wyoming.


It was yet early on the following morningwhen Elizabeth and Louisa
met by appointmentand proceeded to the store of Monsieur Le Quoiin
order to redeem the pledge the former had given to the Leather-
Stocking. The people were again assembling for the business of the
daybut the hour was too soon for a crowdand the ladies found the
place in possession of its polite ownerBilly Kirbyone female
customerand the boy who did the duty of helper or clerk.


Monsieur Le Quoi was perusing a packet of letters with manifest
delightwhile the wood-chopperwith one hand thrust in his bosom
and the other in the folds of his jacketholding an axe under his
right armstood sympathizing in the Frenchman’s pleasure with good-
natured interest. The freedom of manners that prevailed in the new
settlements commonly levelled all difference in rankand with it
frequentlyall considerations of education and intelligence. At the
time the ladies entered the storethey were unseen by the ownerwho
was saying to Kirby:


“Ah! ha! Monsieur Beeldis lettair mak me de most happi of mans. Ah!
ma chére France! I vill see you again.”


“I rejoicemonsieurat anything that contributes to your happiness”
said Elizabeth“ but hope we are not going to lose you entirely.”


The complaisant shopkeeper changed the language to French and
recounted rapidly to Elizabeth his hopes of being permitted to return
to his own country. Habit hadhoweverso far altered the manners of
this pliable person agethat he continued to serve the wood-chopper
who was in quest of some tobaccowhile he related to his more gentle
visitor the happy change that had taken place in the dispositions of
his own countrymen.


The amount of it all wasthat Mr. Le Quoiwho had fled from his own
country more through terror than because he was offensive to the
ruling powers in Francehad succeeded at length in getting an
assurance that his return to the West Indies would be unnoticed; and
the Frenchmanwho had sunk into the character of a country shopkeeper
with so much gracewas about to emerge again from his obscurity into



his proper level in society.

We need not repeat the civil things that passed between the parties on
this occasionnor recount the endless repetitions of sorrow that the
delighted Frenchman expressed at being compelled to quit the society
of Miss Temple. Elizabeth took an opportunityduring this
expenditure of polite expressionsto purchase the powder privately of
the boywho bore the generic appellation of Jonathan. Be fore they
partedhoweverMr. Le Quoiwho seemed to think that he had not said
enoughsolicited the honor of a private interview with the heiress
with a gravity in his air that announced the importance of the
subject. After conceding the favorand appointing a more favorable
time for the meetingElizabeth succeeded in getting out of the store
into which the countrymen now began to enteras usualwhere they met
with the same attention and bien seance as formerly.

Elizabeth and Louisa pursued their walk as far as the bridge in
profound silence; but when they reached that place the latter stopped
and appeared anxious to utter something that her diffidence
suppressed.

“Are you illLouisa?” exclaimed Miss Temple; “had we not better
returnand seek another opportunity to meet the old man?”

“Not illbut terrified. Oh! I nevernever can go on that hill again
with you only. I am not equal to itin deed I am not.”

This was an unexpected declaration to Elizabethwhoalthough she
experienced no idle apprehension of a danger that no longer existed
felt most sensitively all the delicacy of maiden modesty. She stood
for some timedeeply reflecting within herself; butsensible it was
a time for action instead of reflectionshe struggled to shake off
her hesitationand repliedfirmly:

“Wellthen it must be done by me alone. There is no other than
yourself to be trustedor poor old Leather-Stocking will be
discovered. Wait for me in the edge of these woodsthat at least I
may not be seen strolling in the hills by myself just nowOne would
not wish to create remarksLouisa—if—if— You will wait for medear
girl?”

“A yearin sight of the villageMiss Temple’ returned the agitated
Louisa“but do notdo not ask me to go on that hill.”

Elizabeth found that her companion was really unable to proceedand
they completed their arrangement by posting Louisa out of the
observation of the people who occasionally passedbut nigh the road
and in plain view of the whole valley. Miss Temple then proceeded
alone. She ascended the road which has been so often mentioned in our
narrativewith an elastic and firm stepfearful that the delay in
the store of Mr. Le Quoiand the time necessary for reaching the
summitwould prevent her being punctual to the appointment Whenever
she pressed an opening in the bushesshe would pause for breathor
per hapsdrawn from her pursuit by the picture at her feetwould
linger a moment to gaze at the beauties of the valley. The long
drought hadhoweverchanged its coat of verdure to a hue of brown
andthough the same localities were therethe view wanted the lively
and cheering aspect of early summer. Even the heavens seemed to share
in the dried appearance of the earthfor the sun was concealed by a
haziness in the atmospherewhich looked like a thin smoke without a
particle of moistureif such a thing were possible. The blue sky was
scarcely to be seenthough nowand then there was a faint lighting
up in spots through which masses of rolling vapor could be discerned
gathering around the horizonas if nature were struggling to collect


her floods for the relief of man. The very atmosphere that Elizabeth
inhaled was hot and dryand by the time she reached the point where
the course led her from the highway she experienced a sensation like
suffocation. Butdisregarding her feelingsshe hastened to execute
her missiondwelling on nothing but the disappointmentand even the
helplessnessthe hunter would experience without her aid.

On the summit of the mountain which Judge Temple had named the
“Vision” a little spot had been clearedin order that a better view
might he obtained of the village and the valley. At this point
Elizabeth understood the hunter she was to meet him; and thither she
urged her wayas expeditiously as the difficulty of the ascentand
the impediment of a forestin a state of naturewould admit.
Numberless were the fragments of rockstrunks of fallen treesand
brancheswith which she had to contend; but every difficulty vanished
before her resolutionandby her own watchshe stood on the desired
spot several minutes before the appointed hour.

After resting a moment on the end of a logMiss Temple cast a glance
about her in quest of her old friendbut he was evidently not in the
clearing; she arose and walked around its skirtsexamining every
place where she thought it probable Natty might deem it prudent to
conceal him self. Her search was fruitless; andafter exhausting not
only herselfbut her conjecturesin efforts to discover or imagine
his situationshe ventured to trust her voice in that solitary place.

“Natty! Leather-Stocking! old man!” she called aloudin every
direction; but no answer was givenexcepting the reverberations of
her own clear tonesas they were echoed in the parched forest.

Elizabeth approached the brow of the mountainwhere a faint crylike
the noise produced by striking the hand against the mouthat the same
time that the breath is strongly exhaledwas heard answering to her
own voice. Not doubting in the least that it was the Leather-Stocking
lying in wait for herand who gave that signal to indicate the place
where he was to be foundElizabeth descended for near a hundred feet
until she gained a little natural terracethinly scattered with
treesthat grew in the fissures of the rockswhich were covered by a
scanty soil. She had advanced to the edge of this platformand was
gazing over the perpendicular precipice that formed its facewhen a
rustling among the dry leaves near her drew her eyes in another
direction. Our heroine certainly was startled by the object that she
then sawbut a moment restored her self-possessionand she advanced
firmlyand with some interest in her mannerto the spot.

Mohegan was seated on the trunk of a fallen oakwith his tawny visage
turned toward herand his eyes fixed on her face with an expression
of wildness and firethat would have terrified a less resolute
female. His blanket had fallen from his shouldersand was lying in
folds around himleaving his breastarmsand most of his body bare.
‘The medallion of Washington reposed on his chesta badge of
distinction that Elizabeth well knew he only produced on great and
solemn occasions. But the whole appearance of the aged chief was more
studied than commonand in some particulars it was terrific. The
long black hair was plaited on his headfailing awayso as to expose
his high forehead and piercing eyes. In the enormous incisions of his
ears were entwined ornaments of silverbeadsand porcupine’s quills
mingled in a rude tasteand after the Indian fashions. A large drop
composed of similar materialswas suspended from the cartilage of his
noseandfalling below his lipsrested on his chin. Streaks of red
paint crossed his wrinkled browand were traced down his cheekswith
such variations in the lines as caprice or custom suggested. His body
was also colored in the same manner; the whole exhibiting an Indian
warrior prepared for some event of more than usual moment.


“John! how fare youworthy John?” said Elizabethas she approached
him; “you have long been a stranger in the village. You promised me a
willow basketand I have long had a shirt of calico in readiness for
you.”

The Indian looked steadily at her for some time without answeringand
thenshaking his headhe repliedin his lowguttural tones:

“John’s hand can make baskets no more—he wants no shirt.”

But if he shouldhe will know where to come for it” returned Miss
Temple. “Indeed old John. I feel as if you had a natural right to
order what you will from us.”

“Daughter” said the Indian“listen : Six times ten hot summers have
passed since John was young tall like a pine; straight like the bullet
of Hawk-eyestrong as all buffalo; spry as the cat of the mountain.
He was strongand a warrior like the Young Eagle. If his tribe
wanted to track the Maquas for many sunsthe eye of Chingachgook
found the print of their moccasins. If the people feasted and were
gladas they counted the scalps of their enemiesit was on his pole
they hung. If the squaws cried because there was no meat for their
childrenhe was the first in the chase. His bullet was swifter than
the deer. Daughterthen Chingachgook struck his tomahawk into the
trees; it was to tell the lazy ones where to find him and the Mingoes—
but he made no baskets.”

“Those times have gone byold warrior” returned Elizabeth ; “ since
then your people have disappearedandin place of chasing your
enemiesyou have learned to fear God and to live at peace.”

“Stand heredaughterwhere you can see the great springthe wigwams
of your fatherand the land on the crooked river. John was young
when his tribe gave away the countryin councilfrom where the blue
mountain stands above the waterto where the Susquehanna is hid by
the trees. All thisand all that grew in itand all that walked
over itand all that fed therethey gave to the Fire-eater——for they
loved him. He was strongand they were womenand he helped them.
No Delaware would kill a deer that ran in his woodsnor stop a bird
that flew over his land; for it was his. Has John lived in peace?
Daughtersince John was younghe has seen the white man from
Frontinac come down on his white brothers at Albany and fight. Did
they fear God? He has seen his English and his American fathers
burying their tomahawks in each other’s brainsfor this very land.
Did they fear Godand live in peace? He has seen the land pass away
from the Fire-eaterand his childrenand the child of his childand
a new chief set over the country. Did they live in peace who did
this? did they fear God?”

“Such is the custom of the whitesJohn. Do not the Delawares fight
and exchange their lands for powderand blanketsand merchandise?”

The Indian turned his dark eyes on his companionand kept them there
with a scrutiny that alarmed her a little.

“Where are the blankets and merchandise that bought the right of the
Fire-eater?” he replied in a more animated voice; “are they with him
in his wigwam? Did they say to himBrothersell us your landand
take this goldthis silverthese blanketsthese riflesor even
this rum? No; they tore it front himas a scalp is torn from an
enemy; and they that did it looked not behind themto see whether he
lived or died. Do such men live in peace and fear the Great Spirit?”


“But you hardly understand the circumstances” said Elizabethmore
embarrassed than she would owneven to herself. “If you knew our
laws and customs betteryou would Judge differently of our acts. Do
not believe evil of my fatherold Moheganfor he is just and good.”

“The brother of Miquon is goodand he will do right. I have said it
to Hawk-eye---I have said it to the Young Eagle that the brother of
Miquon would do justice.”

“Whom call you the Young Eagle?” said Elizabethaverting her face
from the gaze of the Indianas she asked the question; “whence comes
heand what are his rights?”

“Has my daughter lived so long with him to ask this question?”
returned the Indian warily. “Old age freezes up the bloodas the
frosts cover the great spring in winter; but youth keeps the streams
of the blood open like a sun in the time of blossoms. The Young Eagle
has eyes; had he no tongue?”

The loveliness to which the old warrior alluded was in no degree
diminished by his allegorical speech; for the blushes of the maiden
who listened covered her burning cheeks till her dark eyes seemed to
glow with their reflection; butafter struggling a moment with shame
she laughedas if unwilling to understand him seriouslyand replied
in pleasantry:

“Not to make me the mistress of his secret. He is too much of a
Delaware to tell his secret thoughts to a woman.”

“Daughterthe Great Spirit made your father with a white skinand he
made mine with a red; but he colored both their hearts with blood.
When youngit is swift and warm; but when oldit is still and cold.
Is there difference below the skin? No. Once John had a woman. She
was the mother of so many sons”—he raised his hand with three fingers
elevated—” and she had daughters that would have made the young
Delawares happy. She was kinddaughterand what I said she did.
You have different fashions; but do you think John did not love the
wife of his youth—the mother of his children?”

“And what has become of your familyJohn—your wife and your
children?” asked Elizabethtouched by the Indian’s manner.

“Where is the ice that covered the great spring? It is meltedand
gone with the waters. John has lived till all his people have left
him for the land of spirits; his time has comeand he is ready.”

Mohegan dropped his head in his blanketand sat in silence. Miss
Temple knew not what to say. She wished to draw the thoughts of the
old warrior from his gloomy recollectionsbut there was a dignity in
his sorrowand in his fortitudethat repressed her efforts to speak.
After a long pausehowevershe renewed the discourse by asking:

“Where is the Leather-StockingJohn? I have brought this canister of
powder at his request; but he is nowhere to he seen. Will you take
charge of itand see it delivered?”

The Indian raised his head slowly and looked earnestly at the gift
which she put into his hand.

“This is the great enemy of my nation. Without thiswhen could the
white man drive the Delawares? Daughterthe Great Spirit gave your
fathers to know how to make guns and powderthat they might sweep the
Indians from the land. There will soon be no red-skin in the country.
When John has gonethe last will leave these hillsand his family


will be dead.” The aged warrior stretched his body forwardleaning an
elbow on his kneeand appeared to be taking a parting look at the
objects of the valewhich were still visible through the misty
atmospherethough the air seemed to thicken at each moment around
Miss Templewho became conscious of an increased difficulty of
respiration. The eye of Mohegan changed gradually from its sorrowful
expression to a look of wildness that might be supposed to border on
the inspiration of a prophetas he continued: “But he will go on to
the country where his fathers have met. The game shall be plenty as
the Ash in the lakes. No woman shall cry for meat: no Mingo can ever
come The chase shall be for children; and all just red men shall live
together as brothers.”

“John! this is not the heaven of a Christian” cried Miss Temple; “you
deal now in the superstition of your forefathers.”

“Fathers! sons!” said Moheganwith firmness.—” all gone—all gone!—!
have no son but the Young Eagleand he has the blood of a white man.”

“Tell meJohn” said Elizabethwilling to draw his thoughts to other
subjectsand at the same time yielding to her own powerful interest
in the youth; “who is this Mr. Edwards? why are you so fond of him
and whence does he come ?”

The Indian started at the questionwhich evidently recalled his
recollection to earth. Taking her handhe drew Miss Temple to a seat
beside himand pointed to the country beneath them.

“Seedaughter” he saiddirecting her looks toward the north; “as
far as your young eyes can seeit was the land of his. But immense
volumes of smoke at that moment rolled over their heathandwhirling
in the eddies formed by the mountainsinterposed a barrier to their
sightwhile he was speaking. Startled by this circumstanceMiss
Temple sprang to her feetandturning her eyes toward the summit of
the mountainshe beheld It covered by a similar canopywhile a
roaring sound was heard in the forest above her like the rushing of
winds.

“What means itJohn?” she exclaimed: “we are enveloped in smokeand
I feel a heat like the glow of a furnace.”

Before the Indian could replya voice was heard crying In the woods:
“John! where are youold Mohegan! the woods are on fireand you have
but a minute for escape.”

The chief put his hand before his mouthandmaking it lay on his
lipsproduced the kind of noise that had attracted Elizabeth to the
placewhen a quick and hurried step was heard dashing through the
dried underbrush and bushesand presently Edwards rushed to his side
with horror an every feature.

CHAPTER XXXVII.

“Love rules the courtthe campthe grove.”—Lay of the Last Minstrel.

“IT would have been sadindeedto lose you in such mannermy old
friend” said Olivercatching his breath for utterance. “Up and
away! even now we may be too late; the flames are circling round the
point of the rock belowandunless we can pass thereour only


chance must be over the precipice. Away! away! shake off your apathy
John; now is the time of need.”

Mohegan pointed toward Elizabethwhoforgetting her dangerhad sunk
back to a projection of the rock as soon as she recognized the sounds
of Edwards’ voiceand said with something like awakened animation:

“Save her—leave John to die.”

“Her! whom mean you?” cried the youthturning quickly to the place
the other indicated; but when he saw the figure of Elizabeth bending
toward him in an attitude that powerfully spoke terrorblended with
reluctance to meet him in such a placethe shock deprived him of
speech.

“Miss Temple!” he criedwhen he found words; “ you here! is such a
death reserved for you!”

“Nonono—no deathI hopefor any of usMr. Edwards” she
repliedendeavoring to speak calmly; there is smokebut no fire to
harm us. Let us endeavor to retire.”

“Take my arm” said Edwards; “there must he an opening in some
direction for your retreat. Are you equal to the effort?”

“Certainly. You surely magnify the dangerMr. Ed wards. Lead me out
the way you came.”

“I will—I will” cried the youthwith a kind of hysterical utterance.
“Nono—there is no danger—I have alarmed you unnecessarily.”

“But shall we leave the Indian—can we leave himas be saysto die?”

An expression of painful emotion crossed the face of the young man; he
stopped and cast a longing look at Mohegan butdragging his companion
after himeven against her willhe pursued his way with enormous
strides toward the pass by which he had just entered the circle of
flame.

“Do not regard him“ he saidin those tones that de note a desperate
calmness; “he is used to the woodsand such scenes; and he will
escape up the mountain—over the rock—or he can remain where he is in
safety.”

“You thought not so this momentEdwards! Do not leave him there to
meet with such a death” cried Elizabethfixing a look on the
countenance of her conductor that seemed to distrust his sanity.

“An Indian born! who ever heard of an Indian dying by fire? An Indian
cannot burn; the idea is ridiculous. HastenhastenMiss Templeor
the smoke may incommodate you.”

“Edwards! your lookyour eyeterrifies me! Tell me the danger; is it
greater than it seems? I am equal to any trial.”

“If we reach the point of yon rock before that sheet of firewe are
safeMiss Temple” exclaimed the young man in a voice that burst
without the bounds of his forced composure. “ Fly! the struggle is
for life!”

The place of the interview between Miss Temple and the Indian has
already been described as one of those plat forms of rockwhich form
a sort of terrace in the mountains of that countryand the face of
itwe have saidwas both high and perpendicular. Its shape was


nearly a natural arcthe ends of which blended with the mountainat
points where its sides were less abrupt in their descent. It was
round one of these terminations of the sweep of the rock that Edwards
had ascendedand it was toward the same place that he urged Elizabeth
to a desperate exertion of speed.

Immense clouds of white smoke had been pouring over the summit of the
mountainand had concealed the approach and ravages of the element;
but a crackling sound drew the eyes of Miss Templeas she flew over
the ground supported by the young mantoward the outline of smoke
where she already perceived the waving flames shooting forward from
the vapornow flaring high in the airand then bending to the earth
seeming to light into combustion every stick and shrub on which they
breathed. The sight aroused them to redoubled efforts; but
unfortunatelya collection of the tops of treesold and driedlay
directly across their course; and at the very moment when both had
thought their safety insuredthe warm current of the air swept a
forked tongue of flame across the pilewhich lighted at the touch;
and when they reached the spotthe flying pair were opposed by the
surly roaring of a body of fireas if a furnace were glowing in their
path. They recoiled from the heatand stood on a point of the rock
gazing in a stupor at the flames which were spreading rap idly down
the mountainwhose sidetoobecame a sheet of living fire. It was
dangerous for one clad in the light and airy dress of Elizabeth to
approach even the vicinity of the raging element; and those flowing
robesthat gave such softness and grace to her formseemed now to be
formed for the instruments of her destruction.

The villagers were accustomed to resort to that hillin quest of
timber and fuel; in procuring whichit was their usage to take only
the bodies of the treesleaving the tops and branches to decay under
the operations of the weather. Much of the hill wasconsequently
covered with such light fuelwhichhaving been scorched under the
sun for the last two monthswas ignited with a touch. Indeedin
some casesthere did not appear to be any contact between the fire
and these pilesbut the flames seemed to dart from heap to heapas
the fabulous fire of the temple is represented to reillumine its
neglected lamp.

There was beauty as well as terror in the sightand Edwards and
Elizabeth stood viewing the progress of the desolationwith a strange
mixture of horror and interest. The formerhowevershortly roused
himself to new exertionsanddrawing his companion after himthey
skirted the edge of the smokethe young man penetrating frequently
into its dense volumes in search of a passagebut in every instance
without success. In this manner they proceeded in a semicircle around
the upper part of the terraceuntil arriving at the verge of the
precipice opposite to the point where Edwards had ascendedthe horrid
conviction burst on bothat the same instantthat they were
completely encircled by fire. So long as a single pass up or down the
mountain was unexploredthere was hope: but when retreat seemed to be
absolutely impracticablethe horror of their situation broke upon
Elizabeth as powerfully as if she had hitherto considered the danger
light.

“This mountain is doomed to be fatal to me!” she whispered;” we shall
find our graves on it!”

“Say not soMiss Temple; there is yet hope” returned the youthin
the same tonewhile the vacant expression of his eye contradicted his
words; “let us return to the point of the rock—there is—there must be—
some place about it where we can descend.

“Lead me there” exclaimed Elizabeth; “let us leave no effort


untried.” She did not wait for his compliancebut turningretraced
her steps to the brow of the precipicemurmuring to herselfin
suppressedhysterical sobsMy father! my poormy distracted
father!”

Edwards was by her side in an instantand with aching eyes he
examined every fissure in the crags in quest of some opening that
might offer facilities for flight. But the smootheven surface of
the rocks afforded hardly a resting-place for a footmuch less those
continued projections which would have been necessary for a descent of
nearly a hundred feet. Edwards was not slow in feeling the conviction
that this hope was also futileandwith a kind of feverish despair
that still urged him to actionhe turned to some new expedient.

“There is nothing leftMiss Temple” he said“but to lower you from
this place to the rock beneath. If Natty were hereor even that
Indian could be rousedtheir ingenuity and long practice would easily
devise methods to do it; but I am a child at this moment in everything
but daring. Where shall I find means? This dress of mine is so light
and there is so little of it—then the blanket of Mohegan; we must try—
we must try—anything is better than to see you a victim to such a
death!”

“And what will become of you?” said Elizabeth. “In deedindeed
neither you nor John must be sacrificed to my safety.”

He heard her notfor he was already by the side of Moheganwho
yielded his blanket without a questionretaining his seat with Indian
dignity and composurethough his own situation was even more critical
than that of the others. The blanket was cut into shredsand the
fragments fastened together: the loose linen jacket of the youth and
the light muslin shawl of Elizabeth were attached to themand the
whole thrown over the rocks with the rapidity of lightning; but the
united Pieces did not reach half-way to the bottom.

“It will not do—it will not do!” cried Elizabeth; “ for me there is no
hope! The fire comes slowlybut certainly. Seeit destroys the very
earth before it!”

Had the flames spread on that rock with half the quick ness with which
they leaped from bush to tree in other parts of the mountainour
painful task would have soon ended; for they would have consumed
already the captives they inclosed. But the peculiarity of their
situation afforded Elizabeth and her companion the respite of which
they had availed themselves to make the efforts we have recorded.

The thin covering of earth on the rock supported but a scanty and
faded herbageand most of the trees that had found root in the
fissures had already diedduring the in tense heats of preceding
summers. Those which still retained the appearance of life bore a few
dry and withered leaveswhile the others were merely the wrecks of
pinesoaksand maples. No better materials to feed the fire could
be foundhad there been a communication with the flames; but the
ground was destitute of the brush that led the destructive element
like a torrentover the remainder of the hill. As auxiliary to this
scarcity of fuelone of the large springs which abound in that
country gushed out of the side of the ascent aboveandafter
creeping sluggishly along the level landsaturating the mossy
covering of the rock with moistureit swept around the base of the
little cone that formed the pinnacle of the mountainandentering
the canopy of smoke near one of the terminations of the terracefound
its way to the lakenot by dashing from rock to rockbut by the
secret channels of the earth. It would rise to the surfacehere and
therein the wet seasonsbut in the droughts of summer it was to be


traced only by the bogs and moss that announced the proximity of
water. When the fire reached this barrierit was compelled to pause
until a concentration of its heat could overcome the moisturelike an
army awaiting the operations of a battering trainto open its way to
desolation.

That fatal moment seemed now to have arrivedfor the hissing steams
of the spring appeared to be nearly exhaustedand the moss of the
rocks was already curling under the intense heatwhile fragments of
barkthat yet clung to the dead treesbegan to separate from their
trunksand fall to the ground in crumbling masses. The air seemed
quivering with rays of heatwhich might be seen playing along the
parched stems of the trees. There were moments when dark clouds of
smoke would sweep along the little terrace; andas the eye lost its
powerthe other senses contributed to give effect to the fearful
horror of the scene. At such momentsthe roaring of the flamesthe
crackling of the furious elementwith the tearing of falling
branchesand occasionally the thundering echoes of some falling tree
united to alarm the victims. Of the threehoweverthe youth
appeared much the most agitated. Elizabethhaving relinquished
entirely the idea of escapewas fast obtaining that resigned
composure with which the most delicate of her sex are sometimes known
to meet unavoidable evils; while Moheganwho was much nearer to the
dangermaintained his seat with the invincible resignation of an
Indian warrior. Once or twice the eye of the aged chiefwhich was
ordinarily fixed in the direction of the distant hillsturned toward
the young pairwho seemed doomed to so early a deathwith a slight
indication of pity crossing his composed featuresbut it would
immediately revert again to its former gazeas if already looking
into the womb of futurity. Much of the time he was chanting a kind of
low dirge in the Delaware tongueusing the deep and remarkable
guttural tones of his people.

“At such a momentMr. Edwardsall earthly distinctions end”
whispered Elizabeth; “persuade John to move nearer to us—let us die
together.”

“I cannot—he will not stir” returned the youthin the same horridly
still tones. “ He considers this as the happiest moment of his life
he is past seventyand has been decaying rapidly for some time; he
received some injury in chasing that unlucky deertooon the lake
Oh! Miss Templethat was an unlucky chaseindeed! it has ledI
fearto this awful scene.”

The smile of Elizabeth was celestial. “Why name such a trifle now?—at
this moment the heart is dead to all earthly emotions!”

“If anything could reconcile a man to this death” cried the youth
“it would be to meet it in such company!”

“Talk not soEdwards; talk not so” interrupted Miss Temple. “I am
unworthy of itand it is unjust to your self. We must die; yes—yes—
we must die—it is the will of Godand let us endeavor to submit like
his own children.”

“Die!” the youth rather shrieked than exclaimed“no —no—no—there must
yet be hope—youat leastmust-notshall not die.”

“In what way can we escape?” asked Elizabethpointing with a look of
heavenly composure toward the fire “Observe! the flame is crossing the
barrier of wet ground—it comes slowlyEdwardsbut surely. Ah! see!
the tree! the tree is already lighted!”

Her words were too true. The heat of the conflagration had at length


overcome the resistance of the springand the fire was slowly
stealing along the half-dried moss; while a dead pine kindled with the
touch of a forked flamethatfor a momentwreathed around the stem
of the treeas it whinedin one of its evolutionsunder the
influence of the air. The effect was instantaneousThe flames danced
along the parched trunk of the pine like lightning quivering on a
chainand immediately a column of living fire was raging on the
terrace. It soon spread from tree to treeand the scene was
evidently drawing to a close. The log on which Mohegan was seated
lighted at its further endand the Indian appeared to be surrounded
by fire. Still he was unmoved. As his body was unprotectedhis
sufferings must have been great; but his fortitude was superior to
all. His voice could yet be heard even in the midst of these horrors.
Elizabeth turned her head from the sightand faced the valley Furious
eddies of wind were created by the heatandjust at the momentthe
canopy of fiery smoke that overhung the valley was cleared away
leaving a distinct view of the peaceful village beneath them
My father!—--my lather!” shrieked Elizabeth “Oh! this—surely might
have been spared me—but I submit.”

The distance was not so great but the figure of Judge Temple could be
seenstanding in his own groundsand apparently contemplatingin
perfect unconsciousness of the danger of his childthe mountain in
flames. This sight was still more painful than the approaching
danger; and Elizabeth again faced the hill.

“My intemperate warmth has done this!” cried Edwardsin the accents
of despair. “If I had possessed but a moiety of your heavenly
resignationMiss Templeall might yet have been well.”

“Name it not—name it not” she said. “It is now of no avail. We must
dieEdwardswe must die—let us do so as Christians. But—no—you may
yet escapeperhaps. Your dress is not so fatal as mine. Fly! Leave
meAn opening may yet be found for youpossibly—certainly it is
worth the effort. Fly! leave me—but stay! You will see my father! my
poormy bereaved father! Say to himthenEdwardssay to himall
that can appease his anguish. Tell him that I died happy and
collected; that I have gone to my beloved mother; that the hours of
this life are nothing when balanced in the scales of eternity. Say
how we shall meet again. And say” she continueddropping her voice
that had risen with her feelingsas if conscious of her worldly
weakness“how clearhow very dearwas my love for him; that it was
neartoo nearto my love for God.”

The youth listened to her touching accentsbut moved not. In a
moment he found utteranceand replied:

“And is it me that you command to leave you! to leave you on the edge
of the grave? Oh! Miss Templehow little have you known me!” he
crieddropping on his knees at her feetand gathering her flowing
robe in his arms as if to shield her from the flames. “I have been
driven to the woods in despairbut your society has tamed the lion
within me. If I have wasted my time in degradation‘twas you that
charmed me to it. If I have forgotten my name and familyyour form
supplied the place of memory. If I have forgotten my wrongs‘twas
you that taught me charity. No—no—dearest ElizabethI may die with
youbut I can never leave you!”

Elizabeth moved notnor answered. It was plain that her thoughts had
been raised from the earthThe recollection of her fatherand her
regrets at their separationhad been mellowed by a holy sentiment
that lifted her above the level of earthly thingsand she was fast
losing the weakness of her sex in the near view of eternity. But as
she listened to these words she became once more woman. She struggled


against these feelingsand smiledas she thought she was shaking off
the last lingering feeling of naturewhen the worldand all its
seductionsrushed again to her heartwith the sounds of a human
voicecrying in piercing tones:


“Gal! where he yegal! gladden the heart of an old manif ye yet
belong to ‘arth!”


“Hist!” said Elizabeth; “ ‘tis the Leather-Stocking; he seeks me!”


“Tis Natty!” shouted Edwards“and we may yet be saved!”


A wide and circling flame glared on their eyes for a momenteven
above the fire of the woodsand a loud report followed.


“'Tis the canister‘tis the powder” cried the same voiceevidently
approaching them. “ ‘Tis the canisterand the precious child is
lost.”


At the next instant Natty rushed through the steams of the springand
appeared on the terracewithout his deerskin caphis hair burnt to
his headhis shirtof country checkblack and filled with holes
and his red features of a deeper color than everby the heat he had
encountered.


CHAPTER XXXVIII.


“Even from the land of shadowsnow
My father’s awful ghost appears.”—Gertrude Of Wyoming.


For an hour after Louisa Grant was left by Miss Templein the
situation already mentionedshe continued in feverish anxiety
awaiting the return of her friend. But as the time passed by without
the reappearance of Elizabeththe terror of Louisa gradually
increaseduntil her alarmed fancy had conjured every species of
danger that appertained to the woodsexcepting the one that really
existed. The heavens had become obscured by degreesand vast volumes
of smoke were pouring over the valley; but the thoughts of Louisa were
still recurring to beastswithout dreaming of the real cause for
apprehension. She was stationed in the edge of the low pines and
chestnuts that succeed the first or large growth of the forestand
directly above the angle where the highway turned from the straight
course to the villageand ascended the mountain laterally.
Consequentlyshe commanded a viewnot only of the valleybut of the
road beneath her. The few travellers that passedshe observedwere
engaged in earnest conversationand frequently raised their eyes to
the hilland at length she saw the people leaving the court house
and gazing upward also. While under the influence of the alarm
excited by such unusual movementsreluctant to goand yet fearful to
remainLouisa was startled by the lowcrackingbut cautious treads
of some one approaching through the bushes. She was on the eve of
flightwhen Natty emerged from the coverand stood at her side. The
old man laughed as he shook her kindly by a hand that was passive with
fear.


“I am glad to meet you herechild” he said; “for the back of the
mountain is a-fireand it would be dangerous to go up it nowtill it
has been burnt over onceand the dead wood is gone. There’s a
foolish manthe comrade of that varmint who has given me all this



troubledigging for ore on the east side. I told him that the
kearless fellowswho thought to catch a practysed hunter in the woods
after darkhad thrown the lighted pine-knots in the brushand that
‘twould kindle like towand warned him to leave the hill. But he was
set upon his businessand nothing short of Providence could move him.
if he isn’t burnt and buried in a grave of his own digginghe’s made
of salamanders. Whywhat ails the child? You look as skeary as if
you’d seed more painters. I wish there were more to be found! they’d
count up faster than the beaver. But where’s the good child with a
bad father? Did she forget her promise to the old man?”

“The hill! the hill!” shrieked Louisa; “she seeks you on the hill with
the powder!”

Natty recoiled several feet at this unexpected intelligence.

“The Lord of Heaven have mercy on her! She’s on the Visionand that’s
a sheet of fire agin’ this. Childif ye love the dear oneand hope
to find a friend when ye need it mostto the villageand give the
alarm. The men are used to fighting fireand there may be a chance
leftFly! I bid ye fly! nor stop even for breath.”

The Leather-Stocking had no sooner uttered this injunctionthan he
disappeared in the bushesandwhen last seen by Louisawas rushing
up the mountainwith a speed that none but those who were accustomed
to the toil could attain.

“Have I found ye!” the old man exclaimedwhen he burst out of the
smoke; “God be praised that I have found ye; but follow—there’s no
time for talking.”

“My dress!” said Elizabeth; “ it would be fatal to trust myself nearer
to the flames in it.”

“I bethought me of your flimsy things” cried Nattythrowing loose
the folds of a covering buckskin that he carried on his armand
wrapping her form in itin such a manner as to envelop her whole
person; “ now followfor it’s a matter of life and death to us all.”

“But John! what will become of John?” cried Edwards; “can we leave the
old warrior here to perish?”

The eyes of Natty followed the direction of Edwards’ fingerwhere he
beheld the Indian still seated as beforewith the very earth under
his feet consuming with fire. Without delay the hunter approached the
spotand spoke in Delaware:

“Up and awayChingachgook! will ye stay here to burnlike a Mingo at
the stake? The Moravians have teached ye betterI hope; the Lord
preserve me if the powder hasn’t flashed atween his legsand the skin
of his back is roasting. Will ye comeI say; will ye follow me?”

“Why should Mohegan go?” returned the Indiangloomily. “He has seen
the days of an eagleand his eye grows dim He looks on the valley; he
looks on the water; he looks in the hunting-grounds—but he sees no
Delawares. Every one has a white skin. My fathers sayfrom the faroff
landCome. My womenmy young warriorsmy tribesayCome.
The Great Spirit saysCome. Let Mohegan die.”

“But you forget your friend” cried Edwards

“‘Tis useless to talk to an Indian with the death-fit on himlad”
interrupted Nattywho seized the strips of the blanketand with
wonderful dexterity strapped the passive chieftain to his own back;


when he turnedand with a strength that seemed to bid defiancenot
only to his yearsbut to his loadhe led the way to the point whence
he had issued. As they crossed the little terrace of rockone of the
dead treesthat had been tottering for several minutesfell on the
spot where they had stoodand filled the air with its cinders.

Such an event quickened the steps of the partywho followed the
Leather-Stocking with the urgency required by the occasion.

“Tread on the soft ground” he criedwhen they were in a gloom where
sight availed them but little“and keep in the white smoke; keep the
skin close on herlad; she’s a precious one—another will be hard to
be found.”

Obedient to the hunter’s directionsthey followed his steps and
advice implicitly; andalthough the narrow pas sage along the winding
of the spring led amid burning logs and falling branchesthey happily
achieved it in safety. No one but a man long accustomed to the woods
could have traced his route through the smokein which respiration
was difficultand sight nearly useless; but the experience of Natty
conducted them to an opening through the rockswherewith a little
difficultythey soon descended to another terraceand emerged at
once into a tolerably clear atmosphere.

The feelings of Edwards and Elizabeth at reaching this spot may be
imaginedthough not easily described. No one seemed to exult more
than their guidewho turnedwith Mohegan still lashed to his back
andlaughing in his own mannersaid:

“I knowed ‘twa the Frenchman’s powdergal; it went so all together;
your coarse grain will squib for a minute. The Iroquois had none of
the best powder when I went agin’ the Canada tribesunder Sir
William. Did I ever tell you the storyladconsarning the scrimmage
with—”

“For God’s saketell me nothing nowNattyuntil we are entirely
safe. Where shall we go next?”

“Whyon the platform of rock over the caveto be sure; you will be
safe enough thereor we’ll go Into Itif you be so minded.”
The young man startedand appeared agitated; butLooking around him
with an anxious eyesaid quickly:

“Shalt we be safe on the rock? cannot the fire reach us theretoo?”

“Can’t the boy see?” said Nattywith the coolness of one accustomed
to the kind of danger he had just encountered. “Had ye stayed in the
place above ten minutes longeryou would both have been in ashesbut
here you may stay foreverand no fire can touch youuntil they burn
the rocks as well as the woods.”

With this assurancewhich was obviously truethey proceeded to the
spotand Natty deposited his loadplacing the Indian on the ground
with his back against a fragment of the rocks. Elizabeth sank on the
groundand buried her face in her handswhile her heart was swelling
with a variety of conflicting emotions.

“Let me urge you to take a restorativeMiss Temple” said Edwards
respectfully; “your frame will sink else.”

“Leave meleave me” she saidraising her beaming eyes for a moment
to his; “I feel too much for words! I am gratefulOliverfor this
miraculous escape; and next to my God to you.”


Edwards withdrew to the edge of the rockand shouted:

“Benjamin! where are youBenjamin?”

A hoarse voice repliedas if from the bowels of the earth:

“Hereawaymaster; stowed in this here bit of a holewhich is all the
time as hot as the cook’s coppers. I’m tired of my berthd’ye see
and if-so-be that Leather Stocking has got much overhauling to do
before he sails after them said beaver I’ll go into dock againand
ride out my quarantinetill I can get prottick from the lawand so
hold on upon the rest of my ‘spaniolas.”

“Bring up a glass of water from the spring” continued Edwards“and
throw a little wine in it; hastenI entreat you!”

“I knows but little of your small drinkMaster Oliver” returned the
stewardhis voice issuing out of the cave into the open air“and the
Jamaikey held out no longer than to take a parting kiss with Billy
Kirbywhen he anchored me alongside the highway last nightwhere you
run me down in the chase. But here’s summat of a red color that may
suit a weak stomachmayhap. That Master Kirby is no first-rate in a
boat; but he’ll tack a cart among the stumpsall the same as a Lon’on
pilot will back and fillthrough the colliers in the Pool.”

As the steward ascended while talkingby the time he had ended his
speech he appeared on the rock with the desired restoratives
exhibiting the worn-out and bloated features of a man who had run deep
in a debauchand that lately.

Elizabeth took from the hands of Edwards the liquor which he offered
and then motioned to be left again to herself.

The youth turned at her biddingand observed Natty kindly assiduous
around the person of Mohegan. When their eyes metthe hunter said
sorrowfully:

“His time has comelad; see it in his eyes—when an Indian fixes his
eyehe means to go but to one place; and what the wilful creatures
put their minds onthey’re sure to do.”

A quick tread prevented the replyand in a few momentsto the
amazement of the whole partyMr. Grant was seen clinging to the side
of the mountainand striving to reach the place where they stood.
Oliver sprang to his assistanceand by their united efforts the
worthy divine was soon placed safely among them.

“How came you added to our number?” cried Edwards. “Is the hill alive
with people at a time like this?”

The hasty but pious thanksgivings of the clergyman were soon
ejaculatedandwhen he succeeded in collecting his bewildered
senseshe replied:

“I heard that my child was seen coming to the mountain; andwhen the
fire broke over its summitmy uneasiness drew me up the roadwhere I
found Louisain terror for Miss Temple. It was to seek her that I
came into this dangerous place; and I thinkbut for God’s mercy
through the dogs of NattyI should have perished in the flames
myself.”

“Ay! follow the houndsand if there’s an opening they’ll scent it
out” said Natty; “their noses be given them the same as man’s
reason.”


“I did soand they led me to this place; butpraise be to God that I
see you all safe and well.”

“Nono” returned the hunter; “safe we bebut as for wellJohn
can’t be called in a good wayunless you’ll say that for a man that’s
taking his last look at ‘arth.”

“He speaks the truth!” said the divinewith the holy awe with which
he ever approached the dying; “I have been by too many death-bedsnot
to see that the hand of the tyrant is laid on this old warrior. Oh!
how consoling it is to know that he has not rejected the offered mercy
in the hour of his strength and of worldly temptations! The offspring
of a race of heathenshe has in truth been ‘as a brand plucked from
the burning.’”

“Nono” returned Nattywho alone stood with him by the side of the
dying warrior; “it is no burning that ails himthough his Indian
feelings made him scorn to moveunless it be the burning of man’s
wicked thoughts for near fourscore years; but it’s natur’ giving out
in a chasm that’s run too long.—Down with yeHector! downI say!
Flesh Isn’t ironthat a man can live foreverand see his kith and
kin driven to a far countryand he left to mournwith none to keep
him company.”

“John” said the divinetenderly“do you hear me? do you wish the
prayers appointed by the churchat this trying moment?”

The Indian turned his ghastly face toward the speakerand fastened
his dark eyes on himsteadilybut vacantly.

No sign of recognition was made: and in a moment he moved his head
again slowly toward the valeand began to singusing his own
languagein those lowguttural tonesthat have been so often
mentionedhis notes rising with his themetill they swelled so loud
as to be distinct.

“I will come! I will come! to the land of the just I will come! The
Maquas I have slain! I have slain the Maquas! and the Great Spirit
calls to his son. I will come! I will come to the land of the just! I
will come!”

“What says heLeather-Stocking?” Inquired the priestwith tender
interest; “sings he the Redeemer’s praise?” “Nono—’tis his own
praise that he speaks now” said Nattyturning in a melancholy manner
from the sight of his dying friend; “and a good right he has to say it
allfor I know every word to be true.”

“May heaven avert such self-righteousness from his heart! Humility and
penitence are the seals of Christianity; andwithout feeling them
deeply seated in the soulall hope is delusiveand leads to vain
expectations. Praise himself when his whole soul and body should
unite to praise his Maker! John! you have enjoyed the blessings of a
gospel ministryand have been called from out a multitude of sinners
and pagansandI trust. for a wise and gracious purpose. Do you
now feel what it is to be justified by our Saviour’s deathand reject
all weak and idle dependence on good worksthat spring from man’s
pride and vainglory?”

The Indian did not regard his interrogatorbut he raised his head
againand said in a lowdistinct voice:

“Who can say that the Maqous know the back of the Mohegan? What enemy
that trusted in him did not see the morning? What Mingo that he chased


ever sang the song of triumph? Did Mohegan ever he? No; the truth
lived in himand none else could come out of him. In his youth he
was a warriorand his moccasins left the stain of blood. In his age
he was wise; his words at the council fire did not blow away with the
winds. “

“Ah! he has abandoned that vain relic of paganismhis songs” cried
the divine; “ what says he now? is he sensible of his lost state?”

“Lord!! man” said Natty“he knows his end is at hand as well as you
or I; butso far from thinking it a losshe believes it to be a
great gain. He is old and stiffand you have made the game so scarce
and shythat better shots than him find it hard to get a livelihood.
Now he thinks he shall travel where it will always be good hunting ;
Where no wicked or unjust Indians can go; and where he shall meet all
his tribe together agin. There’s not much loss in thatto a man
whose hands are hardly fit for basket-making Loss! if there be any
loss‘twill be to me. I’m sure after he’s gonethere will be but
little left for me but to follow.”

“His example and endwhichI humbly trustshall yet be made
glorious” returned Mr. Grant“should lead your mind to dwell on the
things of another life. But I feel it to be my duty to smooth the way
for the parting spirit. This is the momentJohnwhen the reflection
that you did not reject the mediation of the Redeemerwill bring balm
to your soul. Trust not to any act of former daysbut lay the burden
of your sins at his feetand you have his own blessed assurance that
he will not desert you.”

“Though all you say be trueand you have scriptur' gospels for it
too” said Natty“you will make nothing of the Indian. He hasn’t
seen a Moravian p sin’ the war; and it’s hard to keep them from going
hack to their native ways. I should think ‘twould be as well to let
the old man pass in peace. He's happy now; I know it by his eye; and
that’s more than I would say for the chiefsin’ the time the
Delawares broke up from the head waters of their river and went west.
Ah’s me! ‘tis a grevous long time thatand many dark days have we
seen together sin’ it.”

“Hawk-eye!” said Moheganrousing with the last glimmering of life. “
Hawk-eye! listen to the words of your brother.”

“YesJohn” said the hunterin Englishstrongly affected by the
appealand drawing to his sidewe have been brothers; and more so
than it means in the Indian tongue. What would ye have with me
Chingachgook?”

“Hawk-eye! my fathers call me to the happy hunting grounds. The path
is clearand the eyes of Mohegan grow young. I look—but I see no
white-skins ; there are none to be seen but just and brave Indians.
FarewellHawk-eye—you shall go with the Fire-eater and the Young
Eagle to the white man’s heaven; but I go after my fathers. Let the
bowand tomahawkand pipeand the wampum of Mohegan he laid in his
grave; for when he starts 'twil be in the nightlike a warrior on a
war-partyand he can not stop to seek them.”

“What says heNathaniel?” cried Mr. Grantearnestlyand with
obvious anxiety; “does he recall the promises of the mediation? and
trust his salvation to the Rock of Ages?”

Although the faith of the hunter was by no means clearyet the fruits
of early instruction had not entirely fallen in the wilderness. He
believed in one Codand one heaven; and when the strong feeling
excited by the leave-taking of his old companionwhich was exhibited


by the powerful working of every muscle in his weather-beaten face
suffered him to speakhe replied:

“No—no—he trusts only to the Great Spirit of the savagesand to his
own good deeds. He thinkslike all his peoplethat he is to be
young aginand to huntand be happy to the end of etarnity. its
pretty much the same with all colorsparson. I could never bring
myself to think that I shall meet with these houndsor my piecein
another world; though the thought of leaving them forever sometimes
brings hard feelings over meand makes me cling to life with a
greater craving than beseems three-Score-and-ten.”

“The Lord in his mercy avert such a death from one who has been sealed
with the sign of the cross!” cried the ministerin holy fervor.
John—”

He paused for the elements. During the period occupied by the events
which we have relatedthe dark clouds in the horizon had continued to
increase in numbers and multitude; and the awful stillness that now
pervaded the airannounced a crisis in the state of the atmosphere.
The flameswhich yet continued to rage along the sides of the
mountainno longer whirled in uncertain currents of their own eddies
but blazed high and steadily toward the heavens. There was even a
quietude in the ravages of the destructive elementas if it foresaw
that a hand greater titan even its own desolating powerwas about to
stay its progress. The piles of smoke which lay above the valley
began to riseand were dispelling rapidly; and streaks of livid
lightning were dancing through the masses of clouds that impended over
the western hills. While Mr. Grant was speakinga flashwhich sent
its quivering light through the gloomlaying bare the whole opposite
horizonwas followed by a loud crash of thunderthat rolled away
among the hillsseeming to shake the foundations of the earth to
their centre. Mohegan raised him selfas if in obedience to a signal
for his departureand stretched his wasted arm toward the west. His
dark face lighted with a look of joy; whichwith all other
expressionsgradually disappeared; the muscles stiffening as they
retreated to a state of rest; a slight convulsion playedfor a single
instantabout his lips; and his arm slowly dropped by his side
leaving the frame of the dead warrior reposing against the rock with
its glassy eyes openand fixed on the distant hillsas if the
deserted shell were tracing the flight of the spirit to its new abode.

All this Mr. Grant witnessed in silent awe; but when the last echoes
of the thunder died away he clasped his bands togetherwith pious
energyand repeatedin the fullrich tones of assured faith;

“Lord! how unsearchable are Thy judgments; and Thy ways past finding
out! ‘I know that my Redeemer livethand that he shall stand at the
latter day upon the earth; and though after my skinworms destroy
this bodyyet in my flesh shall I see Godwhom I shall see for my
selfand mine eyes shall beholdand not another.”

As the divine closed this burst of devotionhe bowed his head meekly
to his bosomand looked all the dependence and humility that the
inspired language expressed.

When Mr. Grant retired from the bodythe hunter approachedand
taking the rigid hand of his friendlooked him wistfully in the face
for some time without speakingwhen he gave vent to his feelings by
sayingin the mournful voice of one who felt deeply:

“Red skin or whiteit’s all over now! he's to be judged by a
righteous Judgeand by no laws that’s made to suit timesand new
ways. Wellthere’s only one more deathand the world will be left


to me and the houndsAh’s me! a man must wait the time of God's
pleasurebut I begin to weary of life. There is scarcely a tree
standing that I knowand it’s hard to find a face that I was acquainted
with in my younger days.”

Large drops of rain now began to falland diffuse them selves over
the dry rockwhile the approach of the thunder shower was rapid and
certain. ‘the body of the Indian was hastily removed into the cave
beneathfollowed by the whining houndswho missed and moaned for the
look of intelligence that had always met their salutations to the
chief.

Edwards made some hasty and confused excuse for not taking Elizabeth
into the same placewhich was now completely closed in front with
logs and barksaying some-thing that she hardly understood about its
darknessand the unpleasantness of being with the dead body. Miss
Templehoweverfound a sufficient shelter against the torrent of
rain that fellunder the projection of a rock which overhung them
But long before the shower was overthe sounds of voices were heard
below them crying aloud for Elizabethand men soon appeared beating
the dying embers of the bushesas they worked their way cautiously
among the unextinguished brands.

At the first short cessation in the rainOliver conducted Elizabeth
to the roadwhere he left her. Before partinghoweverhe found
time to sayin a fervent manner that his companion was now at no loss
to interpret.

“The moment of concealment is overMiss Temple. By this time tomorrow
I shall remove a veil that perhaps it has been weakness to
keep around me and my allaus so long. But I have had romantic and
foolish wishes and weakness; and who has notthat is young and torn
by conflicting passions? God bless you! I hear your father's voice; he
is coming up the roadand I would notjust nowsubject myself to
detention. Thank Heavenyou are safe again; that alone removes the
weight of a world from my spirit!”

He waited for no answerbut sprang into the woods. Elizabeth
notwithstanding she heard the cries of her father as he called upon
her namepaused until he was concealed among the smoking treeswhen
she turnedand in a moment rushed into the arms of her halfdistracted
Parent.

A carriage had been providedinto which Miss Temple hastily entered;
when the cry was passed along the hillthat the lost one was found
and the people returned to the village wet and dirtybut elated with
the thought that the daughter of their landlord had escaped from so
horrid and untimely an end.*

* The probability of a fire in the woods similar to that here described
has been questioned. The writer can only say that he once witnessed a
fire in another part of New York that compelled a man to desert his
wagon and horses in the highwayand in which the latter were
destroyed. In order to estimate the probability of such an eventit
is necessary to remember the effects of a long drought in that climate
and the abundance of dead wood which is found in a forest like that
describedThe fires in the American forests frequently rage to such
an extent as to produce a sensible effect on the atmosphere at a
distance of fifty miles. Housesbarnsand fences are quite commonly
swept away in their course.

CHAPTER XXXIX.

“Selictar! unsheathe then our chief’s scimetar; Tambourgi! thy 'larum
gives promise of war; Ye mountains! that see us descend to the shore
Shall view us as victorsor view us no more.”-Byron.

The heavy showers that prevailed during the remainder of the day
completely stopped the progress of the flames; though glimmering fires
were observed during the nighton different parts of the hill
wherever there was a collection of fuel to feed the element. The next
day the woods for ‘many miles were black and smokingand were
stripped of every vestige of brush and dead wood; but the pines and
hemlocks still reared their heads proudly among the hillsand even
the smaller trees of the forest retained a feeble appearance of life
and vegetation.

The many tongues of rumor were busy in exaggerating the miraculous
escape of Elizabeth; and a report was generally creditedthat Mohegan
had actually perished in the flames. This belief became confirmed
and was indeed rendered probablewhen the direful intelligence
reached the village that Jotham Riddelthe minerwas found in his
holenearly dead with suffocationand burnt to such a degree that no
hopes were entertained of his life.

The public attention became much alive to the events of the last few
days ; andjust at this crisisthe convicted counterfeiters took the
hint from Nattyandon the night succeeding the firefound means to
cut through their log prison alsoand to escape unpunished. When
this news began to circulate through the villageblended with the
fate of Jothamand the exaggerated and tortured reports of the events
on the hillthe popular opinion was freely expressedas to the
propriety of seizing such of the fugitives as remained within reach.
Men talked of the cave as a secret receptacle of guilt; andas the
rumor of ores and metals found its way into the confused medley of
conjecturescounterfeitingand everything else that was wicked and
dangerous to the peace of societysuggested themselves to the busy
fancies of the populace.

While the public mind was in this feverish stateit was hinted that
the wood had been set on fire by Edwards and the Leather—Stockingand
thatconsequentlythey alone were responsible for the damages. This
opinion soon gained groundbeing most circulated by those whoby
their own heedlessnesshad caused the evil; and there was one
irresistible burst of the common sentiment that an attempt should he
made to punish the offenders. Richard was by no means deaf to this
appealand by noon he set about in earnest to see the laws executed.

Several stout young men were selectedand taken apart with an
appearance of secrecywhere they received some important charge from
the sheriffimmediately under the eyesbut far removed from the
earsof all in the village. Possessed of a knowledge of their duty
these youths hurried into the hillswith a bustling manneras if the
fate of the world depended on their diligenceandat the same time
with an air of mystery as great as if they were engaged on secret
matters of the state.

At twelve precisely a drum beat the “long roll ' before the” Bold
Dragoon” and Richard appearedaccompanied by Captain Hollisterwho
was clad in Investments as commander of the “Templeton Light
Infantry” when the former demanded of the latter the aid of the posse
comitatus in enforcing the laws of the country. We have not room to
record the speeches of the two gentlemen on this occasionbut they


are preserved in the columns of the little blue newspaperwhich is
yet to be found on the fileand are said to be highly creditable to
the legal formula of one of the partiesand to the military precision
of the other. Everything had been previously arrangedandas the
red-coated drummer continued to roll out his clattering notessome
five-and-twenty privates appeared in the ranksand arranged
themselves in the order of battle.

As this corps was composed of volunteersand was commanded by a man
who had passed the first five-and-thirty years of his life in camps
and garrisonsit was the non-parallel of military science in that
countryand was confidently pronounced by the judicious part of the
Templeton communityto be equal in skill and appearance to any troops
in the known world; in physical endowments they werecertainlymuch
superior! To this assertion there were but three dissenting voices
and one dissenting opinion. The opinion belonged to Marmadukewho
howeversaw no necessity for its promulgation. Of the voicesone
and that a pretty loud one’came from the spouse of the commander
himselfwho frequently reproached her husband for condescending to
lead such an irregular band of warriorsafter he had filled the
honorable station of sergeant-major to a dashing corps of Virginia
cavalry through much of the recent war.

Another of these skeptical sentiments was invariably expressed by Mr.
Pumpwhenever the company paraded generally in some such terms as
thesewhich were uttered with that sort of meekness that a native of
the island of our forefathers is apt to assume when he condescends to
praise the customs or character of her truant progeny:

“It’s mayhap that they knows summat about loading and firingd'ye
seebut as for working ship? whya corporal’s guard of the
Boadishey's marines would back and fill on their quarters in such a
manner as to surround and captivate them all in half a glass.” As
there was no one to deny this assertionthe marines of the Boadicea
were held in a corresponding degree of estimation.

The third unbeliever was Monsieur Le Quoiwho merely whispered to the
sheriffthat the corps was one of the finest he had ever seen second
only to the Mousquetaires of Le Boa Louis! Howeveras Mrs. Hollister
thought there was something like actual service in the present
appearancesand wasin consequencetoo busily engaged with certain
preparations of her ownto make her comments; as Benjamin was absent
and Monsieur Le Quoi too happy to find fault with anythingthe corps
escaped criticism and comparison altogether on this momentous day
when they certainly had greater need of self-confidence than on any
other previous occasion. Marmaduke was said to be again closeted with
Mr. Van der School and no interruption was offered to the movements of
the troops. At two o’clock precisely the corps shouldered arms
beginning on the right wingnext to the veteranand carrying the
motion through to the left with great regularity. When each
musket was quietly fixed in its proper situationthe order was given
to wheel to the leftand march. As this was bringing raw troopsat
onceto face their enemyit is not to be supposed that the manoeuver
was executed with their usual accuracy; but as the music struck up the
inspiring air of Yankee-doodleand Richardaccompanied by Mr.
Doolittle preceded the troops boldly down the streetCaptain
Hollister led onwith his head elevated to forty-five degreeswith a
littlelow cocked hat perched on his crowncarrying a tremendous
dragoon sabre at a poiseand trailing at his heels a huge steel
scabbardthat had war in its very clattering. There was a good deal
of difficulty in getting all the platoons (there were six) to look the
same way; butby the time they reached the defile of the bridgethe
troops were in sufficiently compact order. In this manner they
marched up the hill to the summit of the mountainno other alteration


taking place in the disposition of the forcesexcepting that a mutual
complaint was madeby the sheriff and the magistrateof a failure in
windwhich gradually’ brought these gentlemen to the rear. It will
be unnecessary to detail the minute movements that succeeded. We
shall briefly saythat the scouts came in and reportedthatso far
from retreatingas had been anticipatedthe fugitives had evidently
gained a knowledge of the attackand were fortifying for a desperate
resistance. This intelligence certainly made a material changenot
only in the plans of the leadersbut in the countenances of the
soldiery also. The men looked at one another with serious facesand
Hiram and Richard began to consult togetherapart.

At this conjuncturethey were joined by Billy Kirbywho came along
the highwaywith his axe under his armas much in advance of his
team as Captain Hollister had been of his troops in the ascent. The
wood-chopper was amazed at the military arraybut the sheriff eagerly
availed himself of this powerful reinforcementand commanded his
assistance in putting the laws in force. Billy held Mr. Jones in too
much deference to object; and it was finally arranged that he should
be the bearer of a summons to the garrison to surrender before they
proceeded to extremities. The troops now dividedone party being led
by the captainover the Visionand were brought in on the left of
the cavewhile the remainder advanced upon its rightunder the
orders of the lieutenant. Mr. Jones and Dr. Todd—for the surgeon was
in attendance also—appeared on the platform of rockimmediately over
the heads of the garrisonthough out of their sight. Hiram thought
this approaching too nearand he therefore accompanied Kirby along
the side of the hill to within a safe distance of the fortifications
where he took shelter behind a tree. Most of the men discovered great
accuracy of eye in bringing some object in range between them and
their enemyand the only two of the besiegerswho were left in plain
sight of the besiegedwere Captain Hollister on one sideand the
wood-chopper on the other. The veteran stood up boldly to the front
supporting his heavy sword in one undeviating positionwith his eye
fixed firmly on his enemywhile the huge form of Billy was placed in
that kind of quiet reposewith either hand thrust into his bosom
bearing his axe under his right armwhich permitted himlike his own
oxento rest standing. So farnot a word had been exchanged between
the belligerents. The besieged had drawn together a pile of black
logs and branches of treeswhich they had formed into a chevaux-defrise
making a little circular abatis in front of the entrance to the
cave. As the ground was steep and slippery in every direction around
the placeand Benjamin appeared behind the works on one sideand
Natty on the otherthe arrangement was by no means contemptible
especially as the front was sufficiently guarded by the difficulty of
the approach. By this timeKirby had received his ordersand he
advanced coolly along the mountainpicking his way with the same
indifference as if he were pursuing his ordinary business. When he
was within a hundred feet of the worksthe long and much-dreaded
rifle of the Leather-Stocking was seen issuing from the parapetand
his voice cried aloud:

“Keep off! Billy Kirbykeep off! I wish ye no harm; but if a man of
ye all comes a step nigherthere’ll be blood spilt atwixt us. God
forgive the one that draws it firstbut so it must be.”

“Comeold chap” said Billygood-naturedly“don’t be crabb’dbut
hear what a man has got to say I’ve no consarn in the businessonly
to see right ‘twixt man and man; and I don’t kear the valie of a
beetle-ring which gets the better; but there’s Squire Doolittle
yonder be hind the beech saplinghe has invited me to come in and ask
you to give up to the law—that’s all.”

“I see the varmint! I see his clothes!” cried the indignant Natty:


“and if he’ll only show so much flesh as will bury a rifle bullet
thirty to the poundI’ll make him feel me. Go awayBillyI bid ye;
you know my aimand I bear you no malice.”

“You over-calculate your aimNatty” said the otheras he stepped
behind a pine that stood near him“if you think to shoot a man
through a tree with a three-foot butt. I can lay this tree right
across you in ten minutes by any man's watchand in less timetoo;
so be civil—I want no more than what’s right.”

There was a simple seriousness in the countenance of Nattythat
showed he was much in earnest; but it was also evident that he was
reluctant to shed human blood. He answered the taunt of the woodchopper
by saying:

“I know you drop a tree where you willBilly Kirby; but if you show a
handor an armin doing itthere’ll be bones to be setand blood
to staunch. If it’s only to get into the cave that ye wantwait till
a two hours’ sunand you may enter it in welcome; but come in now you
shall not. There’s one dead body alreadylying on the cold rocks
and there’s another in which the life can hardly be said to stay. If
you will come inthere’ll be dead with out as well as within.”

The wood-chopper stepped out fearlessly from his coverand cried:

“That’s fair; and what’s fair is right. He wants you to stop till
it’s two hours to sundown; and I see reason in the thing. A man can
give up when he’s wrongif you don’t crowd him too hard; but you
crowd a manand he gets to be like a stubborn ox—the more you beat
the worse he kicks.”

The sturdy notions of independence maintained by Billy neither suited
the emergency nor the impatience of Mr. Joneswho was burning with a
desire to examine the hid den mysteries of the cave. He therefore
interrupted this amicable dialogue with his own voice;

“I command you Nathaniel Bumppoby my authorityto surrender your
person to the law” he cried. “And I command yougentlemento aid
me in performing my duty. Benjamin Penguillan I arrest youand order
you to follow me to the jail of the countyby virtue of this
warrant.”

“I’d follow yeSquire Dickens” said Benjaminremoving the pipe from
his month (for during the whole scene the ex-major-domo had been very
composedly smoking); ay! I’d sail in your waketo the end of the
worldif-so— be that there was such a placewhere there isn’t
seeing that it’s round. Now mayhapMaster Hollisterhaving lived
all your life on shoreyou isn’t acquainted that the worldd’ye see”

“Surrender!” interrupted the veteranin a voice that startled his
hearersand which actually caused his own forces to recoil several
paces; surrenderBenjamin Pengullanor expect no quarter.’”

“Damn your quarter!” said Benjaminrising from the log on which he
was seatedand taking a squint along the barrel of the swivelwhich
had been brought on the hill during the nightand now formed the
means of defence on his side of the works. “ Look youmaster or
captainthof I questions if ye know the name of a ropeexcept the
one that’s to hang yethere’s no need of singing outas if ye was
hailing a deaf man on a topgallant yard. May-hap you think you’ve got
my true name in your sheep skin; but what British sailor finds it
worth while to sail in these seaswithout a sham on his sternin
case of needd’ye see. If you call me Penguillanyou calls me by
the name of the man on whose handdye seeI hove into daylight; and


he was a gentleman ; and that’s more than my worst enemy will say of
any of the family of Benjamin Stubbs.”

“Send the warrant round to meand I’ll put in an alias” cried Hiram
from behind his cover.

“Put in a jackassand you’ll put in yourselfMister Doo-but-little”
shouted Benjaminwho kept squinting along his little iron tubewith
great steadiness.

“I give you but one moment to yield” cried Richard. “Benjamin!
Benjamin! this is not the gratitude I expected from you.”

“I tell youRichard Jones” said Nattywho dreaded the sheriff’s
influence over his comrade; “ though the canister the gal brought be
lostthere’s powder enough in the cave to lift the rock you stand on.
I’ll take off my roof if you don’t hold your peace.”

“I think it beneath the dignity of my office to parley further with
the prisoners” the sheriff observer to his companionwhile they both
retired with a precipitancy that Captain Hollister mistook for the
signal to advance.

“Charge baggonet!” shouted the veteran; “ march!”

Although this signal was certainly expectedit took the assailed a
little by surpriseand the veteran approached the workscrying“
Couragemy brave lads! give them no quarter unless they surrender;”
and struck a furious blow upward with his sabrethat would have
divided the steward into moieties by subjecting him to the process of
decapitationbut for the fortunate interference of the muzzle of the
swivel. As it wasthe gun was dismounted at the critical moment that
Benjamin was applying his pipe to the primingand in consequence some
five or six dozen of rifle bullets were projected into the airin
nearly a perpendicular line. Philosophy teaches us that the atmosphere
will not retain lead; and two pounds of the metalmoulded into
bullets of thirty to the poundafter describing an ellipsis in their
journeyreturned to the earth rattling among the branches of the
trees directly over the heads of the troops stationed in the rear of
their captain. Much of the success of an attackmade by irregular
soldiersdepends on the direction in which they are first got in
motion. In the present instance it was retrogradeand in less than a
minute after the bellowing report of the swivel among the rocks and
cavernsthe whole weight of the attack from the left rested on the
prowess of the single arm of the veteran. Benjamin received a severe
contusion from the recoil of his gunwhich produced a short stupor
during which period the ex-steward was prostrate on the ground.
Captain Hollister availed himself of this circumstance to scramble
ever the breastwork and obtain a footing in the bastion—for such was
the nature of the fortressas connected with the cave. The moment
the veteran found himself within the works of his enemyhe rushed to
the edge of the fortificationandwaving his sabre over his head
shouted:

“Victory! come onmy brave boysthe work’s our own!”

All this was perfectly militaryand was such an example as a gallant
officer was in some measure bound to exhibit to his men but the outcry
was the unlucky cause of turning the tide of success. Nattywho had
been keeping a vigalent eye on the wood-chopperand the enemy
immediately before himwheeled at this alarmand was appalled at
beholding his comrade on the groundand the veteran standing on his
own bulwarkgiving forth the cry of victory! The muzzle of the long
rifle was turned instantly toward the captain. There was a moment


when the life of the old soldier was in great jeopardy but the object
to shoot at was both too large and too near for the Leather-Stocking
whoinstead of pulling his triggerapplied the gun to the rear of
his enemyand by a powerful shove sent him outside of the works with
much greater rapidity than he had entered them. The spot on which
Captain Hollister alighted was directly in frontwhereas his feet
touched the groundso steep and slippery was the side of the
mountainit seemed to recede from under them. His motion was swift
and so irregular as utterly to confuse the faculties of the old
soldier. During its continuancehe supposed himself to be mounted
and charging through the ranks of his enemy. At every tree he made a
blowof courseas at a foot-soldier; and just as he was making the
cut “St. George” at a half burnt sapling he landed in the highway
andto his utter amazementat the feet of his own spouse. When Mrs.
Hollisterwho was toiling up the hillfollowed by at least twenty
curious boysleaning with one hand on the staff with which she
ordinarily walkedand bearing in the other an empty bagwitnessed
this exploit of her husbandindignation immediately got the better
not only of her religionbut of her philosophy.

“Whysargeant! is it flying ye are?” she cried—” that I should live
to see a husband of mine turn his hack to an inimy! and such a one!
Here I have been telling the b’ysas we come alongall about the
saige of Yorrektownand how ye was hurted; and how ye’d be acting the
same agin the day; and I mate ye retraiting jist as the first gun is
fired. Och! I may trow away the bag! for if there’s plunder‘twill
not be the wife of sich as yerself that will be privileged to be
getting the same. They do saytoothere is a power of goold and
silver in the place—the Lord forgive me for setting my heart on
woorldly things; but what falls in the battlethere’s scriptur’ for
believingis the just property of the victor”

“Retreating!” exclaimed the amazed veteran; “where’s my horse? he has
been shot under me—I——”

“Is the man mad?” interrupted his wife—” devil the horse do ye own
sargeantand ye’re nothing but a shabby captain of malaishy. Oh! if
the ra’al captain was heretis the other way ye’d be ridingdearor
you would not follow your laider!”

While this worthy couple were thus discussing eventsthe battle began
to rage more violently than ever above them. When Leather-Stocking
saw his enemy fairly under headwayas Benjamin would express ithe
gave his attention to the right wing of the assailants. It would have
been easy for Kirbywith his powerful frameto have seized the
moment to scale the bastionandwith his great strengthto have
sent both of its defenders in pursuit of the veteran; but hostility
appeared to he the passion that the wood-chopper indulged the least in
at that momentforin a voice that was heard by the retreating left
winghe shouted:

“Hurrah well donecaptain! keep it up! how he handles his bush-hook!
he makes nothing of a sapling!” and such other encouraging
exclamations to the flying veteranuntilovercome by mirththe
good-natured fellow seated himself on the groundkicking the earth
with delightand giving vent to peal after peal of laughter.

Natty stood all this time in a menacing attitudewith his rifle
pointed over the breastworkwatching with a quick and cautions eye
the least movement of the assail ants. The outcry unfortunately
tempted the ungovernable curiosity of Hiram to take a peep from behind
his cover at the state of the battle. Though this evolution was
performed with great cautionin protecting his fronthe leftlike
many a better commanderhis rear exposed to the attacks of his enemy.


Mr. Doolittle belonged physically to a class of his countrymento
whom Nature has deniedin their formationthe use of curved lines.
Every thing about him was either straight or angular. But his tailor
was a woman who workedlike a regimental contractorby a set of
rules that gave the same configuration to the whole human species.
Consequentlywhen Mr. Doolittle leaned forward in the manner
describeda loose drapery appeared behind the treeat which the
rifle of Natty was pointed with the quickness of lightning. A less
experienced man would have aimed at the flowing robewhich hung like
a festoon half-way to the earth ; but the Leather-Stocking knew both
the man and his female tailor better; and when the smart report of the
rifle was heardKirbywho watched the whole manoeuvre in breath less
expectation. saw the bark fly from the beech and the clothat some
distance above the loose foldswave at the same instant. No battery
was ever unmasked with more promptitiude than Hiram advanced from
behind the tree at this summons.

He made two or three stepswith great precisionto the front and
placing one hand on the afflicted partstretched forth the other with
a menacing air toward Nattyand cried aloud:

“Gawl darn ye: this shan’t he settled so easy; I’ll follow it up from
the ‘common pleas’ to the ‘court of errors.’”

Such a shocking imprecationfrom the mouth of so orderly a man as
Squire Doolittlewith the fearless manner in which he exposed
himselftogether withperhapsthe knowledge that Natty’s rifle was
unloadedencouraged the troops in the rearwho gave a loud shout
and fired a volley into the tree-topsafter the contents of the
swivel. Animated by their own noisethe men now rushed on in
earnest; and Billy Kirbywho thought the jokegood as it washad
gone far enoughwas in the act of scaling the workswhen Judge
Temple appeared on the opposite sideexclaiming:

“Silence and peace! why do I see murder and blood shed attempted? Is
not the law sufficient to protect itselfthat armed bands must be
gatheredas in rebellion and warto see justice performed?”

“‘Tis the posse comitatus” shouted the sherifffrom a distant rock
“who-”

“Say rather a posse of demons. I command the peace.” “Hold shied not
blood!” cried a voice from the top of the Vision. “ Holdfor the
sake of Heavenfire no more! all shall be yielded! you shall enter
the cave!”

Amazement produced the desired effect. Nattywho had reloaded his
piecequietly seated himself on the logsand rested his head on his
handswhile the “ Light Infantry” ceased their military movements
and waited the issue in suspense.

In less than a minute Edwards came rushing down the hillfollowed by
Major Hartmanwith a velocity that was surprising for his years.
They reached the terrace in an instantfrom which the youth led the
wayby the hollow in the rockto the mouth of the caveinto which
they both enteredleaving all without silentand gazing after them
with astonishment.

CHAPTER XL.


“I am dumb.
Were you the doctorand I knew you not?”-Shakespeare.


During the five or six minutes that elapsed before the youth and Major
reappeared. Judge Temple and the sheriff together with most of the
volunteersascended to the terracewhere the latter began to express
their conjectures of the resultand to recount their individual
services in the conflict. But the sight of the peace-makers ascending
the ravine shut every mouth.


On a rude chaircovered with undressed deer-skinsthey supported a
human beingwhom they seated carefully and respectfully in the midst
of the assembly. His head was covered by longsmooth locks of the
color of snow. His dresswhich was studiously neat and cleanwas
composed of such fabrics as none but the wealthiest classes wearbut
was threadbare and patched ; and on his feet were placed a pair of
moccasinsornamented in the best manner of Indian ingenuity. The
outlines of his face were grave and dignifiedthough his vacant eye
which opened and turned slowly to the faces of those around him in
unmeaning lookstoo surely’ announced that the period had arrived
when age brings the mental imbecility of childhood.


Natty had followed the supporters of this unexpected object to the top
of the caveand took his station at a little distance behind him
leaning no his riflein the midst of his pursuerswith a
fearlessness that showed that heavier interests than those which
affected himself were to be decided. Major Hartmann placed himself
beside the aged manuncoveredwith his whole soul beaming through
those eyes which so commonly danced with frolic and humor. Edwards
rested with one hand familiarly but affectionately on the chair
though his heart was swelling with emotions that denied him utterance.


All eyes were gazing intentlybut each tongue continued mute. At
length the decrepit strangerturning his vacant looks from face to
facemade a feeble attempt to risewhile a faint smile crossed his
wasted facelike an habitual effort at courtesyas he saidin a
hollowtremulous voice:


“Be pleased to be seatedgentlemen. The council will open
immediately. Each one who loves a good and virtuous king will wish to
see these colonies continue loyal. Be seated—I pray yoube seated
gentlemen. The troops shall halt for the night.”


“This is the wandering of insanity!” said Marmaduke: “who will explain
this scene.”


“Nosir” said Edwards firmly“‘tis only the decay of nature; who is
answerable for its pitiful conditionremains to be shown.”


“Will the gentlemen dine with usmy son?” said the old stranger
turning to a voice that he both knew and loved. “Order a repast
suitable for his Majesty’s officers. You know we have the best of
game always at command”


“Who is this man?” asked Marmadukein a hurried voicein which the
dawnings of conjecture united with interest to put the question.


“This man” returned Edwards calmlyhis voicehow evergradually
rising as he proceeded; “this mansirwhom you behold hid in
cavernsand deprived of every-thing that can make life desirablewas
once the companion and counsellor of those who ruled your country.
This manwhom you see helpless and feeblewas once a warriorso
brave and fearlessthat even the intrepid natives gave him the name



of the Fire-eater. This manwhom you now see destitute of even the
ordinary comfort of a cabinin which to shelter his headwas once
the owner of great riches—andJudge Templehe was the rightful
proprietor of this very soil on which we stand. This man was the
father of———”

“Thisthen” cried Marmadukewith a powerful emotion“thisthen
is the lost Major Effingham!”

“Lost indeed” said the youthfixing a piercing eye on the other.

“And you! and you!” continued the Judgearticulating with difficulty.

“I am his grandson.”

A minute passed in profound silence. All eyes were fixed on the
speakersand even the old German appeared to wait the issue in deep
anxiety. But the moment of agitation soon passed. Marmaduke raised
his head from his bosomwhere it had sunknot in shamebut in
devout mental thanksgivingsandas large tears fell over his fine
manly facehe grasped the hand of the youth warmlyand said:

“OliverI forgive all thy harshness—all thy suspicions. I now see it
all. I forgive thee everythingbut suffering this aged man to dwell
in such a placewhen not only my habitationbut my fortunewere at
his and thy command.”

“He’s true as ter steel!” shouted Major Hartmann; “ titn’t I tell you
latdat Marmatuke Temple vas a friend dat woult never fail in ter
dime as of neet?”

“It is trueJudge Templethat my opinions of your conduct have been
staggered by what this worthy gentle man has told me. When I found it
impossible to convey my grandfather back whence the enduring love of
this old man brought himwithout detection and exposureI went to
the Mohawk in quest of one of his former comradesin whose justice I
had dependence. He is your friendJudge Templebutif what he says
be trueboth my father and myself may have judged you harshly.”

“You name your father!” said Marmaduke tenderly— “was heindeedlost
in the packet?”

“He was. He had left meafter several years of fruit less
application and comparative povertyin Nova Scotiato obtain the
compensation for his losses which the British commissioners had at
length awarded. After spending a year in Englandhe was returning to
Halifaxon his way to a government to which he had been appointedin
the West Indiesintending to go to the place where my grand father
had sojourned during and since the warand take him with us.”

“But thou!” said Marmadukewith powerful interest; “I had thought
that thou hadst perished with him.”

A flush passed over the cheeks of the young manwho gazed about him
at the wondering faces of the volunteersand continued silent.
Marmaduke turned to the veteran captainwho just then rejoined his
commandand said:

“March thy soldiers back againand dismiss themthe zeal of the
sheriff has much mistaken his duty.—Dr. ToddI will thank you to
attend to the injury which Hiram Doolittle has received in this
untoward affair—Richardyou will oblige me by sending up the
carriage to the top of the hill.—Benjaminreturn to your duty in my
family.”


Unwelcome as these orders were to most of the auditorsthe suspicion
that they had somewhat exceeded the whole some restraints of the law
and the habitual respect with which all the commands of the Judge were
receivedinduced a prompt compliance.

When they were goneand the rock was left to the parties most
interested in an explanationMarmadukepointing to the aged Major
Effinghamsaid to his grand son:

“Had we not better remove thy parent from this open place until my
carriage can arrive?”

“Pardon mesirthe air does him goodand he has taken it whenever
there was no dread of a discovery. I know not how to actJudge
Temple; ought Ican I suffer Major Effingham to become an inmate of
your family?”

“Thou shalt he thyself the judge” said Marmaduke. Thy father was my
early friendHe intrusted his fortune to my care. When we separated
he had such confidence in me that he wished on securityno evidence
of the trusteven had there been time or convenience for exacting it.
This thou hast heard?”

“Most trulysir” said Edwardsor rather Effingham as we must now
call him.

“We differed in politics. If the cause of this country was
successfulthe trust was sacred with mefor none knew of thy
father’s interestif the crown still held its swayit would he easy
to restore the property of so loyal a subject as Colonel Effingham.
Is not this plain?‘“

“The premises are goodsir” continued the youthwith the same
incredulous look as before.

“Listen—listenpoy” said the German“Dere is not a hair as of ter
rogue in ter het of Herr Tchooge.”

“We all know the issue of the struggle” continued Marmaduke
disregarding both. “Thy grandfather was left in Connecticut
regularly supplied by thy father with the means of such a subsistence
as suited his wants. This I well knewthough I never had intercourse
with himeven in our happiest days. Thy father retired with the
troops to prosecute his claims on England. At all eventshis losses
must be greatfor his real estates were soldand I became the lawful
purchaser. It was not unnatural to wish that he might have no bar to
its just recovery.”

“There was nonebut the difficulty of providing for so many
claimants.”

“But there would have been oneand an insuperable oneand I
announced to the world that I held these estatesmultiplied by the
times and my industrya hundredfold in valueonly as his trustee.
Thou knowest that I supplied him with considerable sums immediately
after the war.”

“You diduntil—”

“My letters were returned unopened. Thy father had much of thy own
spiritOliver; he was sometimes hasty and rash.” The Judge continued
in a self-condemning manner; “ Perhaps my fault lies the other way: I
may possibly look too far aheadand calculate too deeply. It


certainly was a severe trial to allow the man whom I most lovedto
think ill of me for seven yearsin order that he might honestly apply
for his just remunerations. Buthad he opened my last lettersthou
wouldst have learned the whole truth. Those I sent him to Englandby
what my agent writes mehe did read. He diedOliverknowing all
he died my friendand I thought thou hadst died with him”

“Our poverty would not permit us to pay for two passages” said the
youthwith the extraordinary emotion with which he ever alluded to
the degraded state of his family ; “ I was left in the Province to
wait for his returnandwhen the sad news of his loss reached meI
was nearly penniless.”

“And what didst thouboy?” asked Marmaduke in a faltering voice.

“I took my passage here in search of my grandfather; for I well knew
that his resources were gonewith the half pay of my father. On
reaching his abodeI learned that he had left it in secret; though
the reluctant hirelingwho had deserted him in his povertyowned to
my urgent en treatiesthat he believed he had been carried away by an
-old man who had formerly been his servant. I knew at
once it was Nattyfor my father often—”

“Was Natty a servant of thy grandfather?” exclaimed the Judge.

“Of that too were you ignorant?” said the youth in evident surprise.

“How should I know it? I never met the Majornor was the name of
Bumppo ever mentioned to me. I knew him only as a man of the woods
and one who lived by hunting. Such men are too common to excite
surprise.”

“He was reared in the family of my grandfather; served him for many
years during their campaigns at the Westwhere he became attached to
the woods; and he was left here as a kind of locum tenens on the lands
that old Mohegan (whose life my grandfather once saved) induced the
Delawares to grant to him when they admitted him as an honorary member
of their tribe.

“Thisthenis thy Indian blood?”

“I have no other” said Edwardssmiling—” Major Effingham was adopted
as the son of Moheganwho at that time was the greatest man in his
nation; and my fatherwho visited those people when a boyreceived
the name of the Eagle from themon account of the shape of his face
as I understand. They have extended his title to meI have no other
Indian blood or breeding; though I have seen the hourJudge Temple
when I could wish that such had been my lineage and education.”

“Proceed with thy tale” said Marmaduke.

“I have but little more to saysirI followed to the lake where I
had so often been told that Natty dweltand found him maintaining his
old master in secret; for even he could not bear to exhibit to the
worldin his poverty and dotagea man whom a whole people once
looked up to with respect.”

“And what did you?”

“What did I? I spent my last money in purchasing a rifleclad myself
in a coarse garband learned to be a hunter by the side of Leather-
Stocking. You know the restJudge Temple.”

“Ant vere vas olt Fritz Hartmann?” said the Germanreproachfully;


“didst never hear a name as of olt Fritz Hartmann from ter mout of ter
faderlat?”

“I may have been mistakengentlemen” returned the youth‘but I had
prideand could not submit to such an exposure as this day even has
reluctantly brought to light. I had plans that might have been
visionary; butshould my parent survive till autumnI purposed
taking him with me to the citywhere we have distant relativeswho
must have learned to forget the Tory by this time. He decays
rapidly” he continued mournfully“and must soon lie by the side of
old Mohegan.”

The air being pureand the day finethe party continued conversing
on the rockuntil the wheels of Judge Temple’s carriage were heard
clattering up the side of the mountainduring which time the
conversation was maintained with deep interesteach moment clearing
up some doubtful actionand lessening the antipathy of the youth to
Marmaduke. He no longer objected to the removal of his grand father
who displayed a childish pleasure when he found himself seated once
more in a carriage. When placed in the ample hall of the mansionhouse
the eyes of the aged veteran turned slowly to the objects in
the apartmentand a look like the dawn of intellect wouldfor
moments flit across his featureswhen he invariably offered some use
less courtesies to those near himwandering painfully in his
subjects. The exercise and the change soon produced an exhaustion
that caused them to remove him to his bedwhere he lay for hours
evidently sensible of the change in his comfortsand exhibiting that
mortifying picture of human naturewhich too plainly shows that the
propensities of the animal continue even after the nobler part of the
creature appears to have vanished.

Until his parent was placed comfortably in bedwith Natty seated at
his sideEffingham did not quit him. He then obeyed a summons to the
library of the Judgewhere he found the latterwith Major Hartmann
waiting for him.

“Read this paperOliver” said Marmaduke to himas he entered“and
thou wilt find thatso far from intending thy family wrong during
lifeit has been my care to see that justice should be done at even a
later day.”

The youth took the paperwhich his first glance told him was the will
of the Judge. Hurried and agitated as he washe discovered that the
date corresponded with the time of the unusual depression of
Marmaduke. As he proceededhis eyes began to moistenand the hand
which held the instrument shook violently.

The will commenced with the usual formsspun out by the ingenuity of
Mr. Van der School: butafter this subject was fairly exhaustedthe
pen of Marmaduke became plainly visible. In cleardistinctmanly
and even eloquent languagehe recounted his obligations to Colonel
Effinghamthe nature of their connectionand the circumstances in
which they separated. He then proceeded to relate the motives of his
silencementioninghoweverlarge sums that he had forwarded to his
friendwhich had been returned with the letters unopened. After
thishe spoke of his search for the grandfather who unaccountably
disappearedand his fears that the direct heir of the trust was
buried in the ocean with his father.

Afterin shortrecounting in a clear narrativethe events which our
readers must now he able to connecthe proceeded to make a fair and
exact statement of the sums left in his care by Colonel Effingham. A
devise of his whole estate to certain responsible trustees followed;
to hold the same for the benefitin equal moietiesof his daughter


on one partand of Oliver Effinghamformerly a major in the army of
Great Britainand of his son Ed ward Effinghamand of his son Edward
Oliver Effinghamor to the survivor of themand the descendants of
such survivorforeveron the other part. The trust was to endure
until 1810whenif no person appearedor could be foundafter
sufficient noticeto claim the moiety so devisedthen a certain sum
calculating the principal and interest of his debt to Colonel
Effinghamwas to be paid to the heirs-at-law of the Effingham family
and the bulk of his estate was to be conveyed in fee to his daughter
or her heirs.

The tears fell from the eyes of the young manas he read this
undeniable testimony of the good faith of Marmadukeand his
bewildered gaze was still fastened on the paperwhen a voicethat
thrilled on every nervespoke near himsaying:

“Do you yet doubt usOliver?”

“I have never doubted you!” cried the youthrecovering his
recollection and his voiceas he sprang to seize the hand of
Elizabeth ; “nonot one moment has my faith in you wavered.”

“And my father—”

“God bless him!”

“I thank theemy son” said the Judgeexchanging a warm pressure of
the hand with the youth ; “but we have both erred: thou hast been too
hastyand I have been too slow. One-half of my estates shall be
thine as soon as they can be conveyed to thee; andif what my
suspicions tell me be trueI suppose the other must follow speedily.”
He took the hand which he heldand united it with that of his
daughterand motioned toward the door to the Major.

“I telt yon vatgal!” said the old Germangood-humoredly ; “if I vas
as I vas ven I servit mit his grand-fader on ter lakester lazy tog
shouldn’t vin ter prize as for nottin’.”

“Comecomeold Fritz” said the Judge; “you are seventynot
seventeen; Richard waits for you with a bowl of eggnogin the hall.”

“Richart! ter duyvel!” exclaimed the otherhastening out of the room;
“he makes ter nog as for ter horse. vilt show ter sheriff mit my own
hants! Ter duyvel! I pelieve he sweetens mit ter Yankee melasses!”

Marmaduke smiled and nodded affectionately at the young coupleand
closed the door after them. If any of our readers expect that we are
going to open it againfor their gratificationthey are mistaken.

The tete-a-tete continued for a very unreasonable time—-how long we
shall not say; but it was ended by six o’clock in the eveningfor at
that hour Monsieur Le Quoi made his appearance agreeably to the
appointment of the preceding dayand claimed the ear of Miss Temple.
He was admitted ; when he made an offer of his handwith much
suavitytogether with his “amis beeg and leet’his pèrehis mere
and his sucreboosh.” Elizabeth mightpossiblyhave previously
entered into some embarrassing and binding engagements with Oliver
for she declined the tender of allin terms as politethough perhaps
a little more decidedthan those in which they were made.

The Frenchman soon joined the German and the sheriff in the hallwho
compelled him to take a seat with them at the tablewhereby the aid
of punchwineand egg nogthey soon extracted from the complaisant
Monsieur Le Quoi the nature of his visitit was evident that he had


made the offeras a duty which a well- bred man owed to a lady in
such a retired placebefore he had left the countryand that his
feelings were but very littleif at allinterested in the matter.
After a few potationsthe waggish pair persuaded the exhilarated
Frenchman that there was an inexcusable partiality in offering to one
ladyand not extending a similar courtesy to another. Consequently
about nineMonsieur Le Quoi sallied forth to the rectoryon a
similar mission to Miss Grantwhich proved as successful as his first
effort in love.


When he returned to the mansion-houseat tenRichard and the Major
were still seated at the table. They at tempted to persuade the Gaul
as the sheriff called himthat he should next try Remarkable
Pettibone. Butthough stimulated by mental excitement and winetwo
hours of abstruse logic were thrown away on this subject; for he
declined their advicewith a pertinacity truly astonishing in so
polite a man.


When Benjamin lighted Monsieur Le Quoi from the doorhe saidat
parting:


“If-so-beMounsheeryou’d run alongside Mistress Pettybonesas the
Squire Dickens was bidding ye‘tis my notion you’d have been
grappled; in which cased’ye seeyou mought have been troubled in
swinging clear agin in a handsome manner; for thof Miss Lizzy and the
parson’s young ‘un be tidy little vesselsthat shoot by a body on a
windMistress Remarkable is summat of a galliot fashion: when you
once takes ‘em in towthey doesn’t like to be cast off agin.”


CHAPTER XLI.


“Yessweep ye on!—We will not leave
For them who triumph those who grieve.
With that armada gay
Be laughter loudand jocund shout—
—But with that skill
Abides the minstrel tale. “—Lord of the Isles.


The events of our tale carry us through the summer; and after making
nearly the circle of the yearwe must conclude our labors in the
delightful month of October. Many important incidents hadhowever
occurred in the intervening period; a few of which it may be necessary
to recount.


The two principal were the marriage of Oliver and Elizabethand the
death of Major Effingham. They both took place early in September;
and the former preceded the latter only a few days. The old man
passed away like the last glimmering of a taper; andthough his death
cast a melancholy over the familygrief could not follow such an end.
One of the chief concerns of Marmaduke was to reconcile the even
conduct of a magistrate with the course that his feelings dictated to
the criminals. The day succeeding the discovery at the cavehowever
Natty and Benjamin re-entered the jail peaceablywhere they
continuedwell fed and comfortableuntil the return of an express to
Albanywho brought the governor’s pardon to the Leather-Stocking. In
the mean timeproper means were employed to satisfy Hiram for the
assaults on his person ; and on the same day the two comrades issued
together into society againwith their characters not at all affected
by the imprisonment.



Mr. Doolittle began to discover that neither architecture nor his law
was quite suitable to the growing wealth and intelligence of the
settlement; and after exacting the last cent that was attainable in
his compromiseto use the language of the country he “pulled up
stakes” and proceeded farther westscattering his professional
science and legal learning through the land; vestiges of both of which
are to be discovered there even to the present hour.

Poor Jothamwhose life paid the forfeiture of his folly
acknowledgedbefore he diedthat his reasons for believing in a mine
were extracted from the lips of a sibylwhoby looking in a magic
glasswas enabled to discover the hidden treasures of the earth.
Such superstition was frequent in the new settlements; andafter the
first surprise was overthe better part of the community forgot the
subject. Butat the same time that it removed from the breast of
Richard a lingering suspicion of the acts of the three hunterit
conveyed a mortifying lesson to himwhich brought many quiet hours
in futureto his cousin Marmaduke. It may be remembered that the
sheriff confidently pronounced this to be no “ visionary “schemeand
that word was enough to shut his lipsat any time within the next ten
years.

Monsieur Le Quoiwho has been introduced to our readers because no
picture of that country would be faithful without some such character
found the island of Martiniqueand his “sucreboosh” in possession of
the English but Marmaduke and his family were much gratified in soon
hearing that he had returned to his bureauin Paris; where he
afterward issued yearly bulletins of his happinessand of his
gratitude to his friends in America.

With this brief explanationwe must return to our narrative. Let the
American reader imagine one of our mildest October morningswhen the
sun seems a ball of silvery fireand the elasticity of the air is
felt while it is inhaledimparting vigor and life to the whole system
; the weatherneither too warm nor too coldbut of that happy
temperature which stirs the bloodwithout bringing the lassitude of
spring. It was on such a morningabout the middle of the monththat
Oliver entered the hall where Elizabeth was issuing her usual orders
for the dayand requesting her to join him in a short excursion to
the lakeside. The tender melancholy in the manner of her husband
caught the attention of Elizabethwho instantly abandoned her
concernsthrew a light shawl across her shouldersandconcealing
her raven hair under a gypsy hatand took his armand submitted
herselfwithout a questionto his guidance. They crossed the
bridgeand had turned from the highwayalong the margin of the lake
before a word was exchanged. Elizabeth well knewby the direction
the object of the walkand respected the feelings of her companion
too much to indulge in untimely conversation. But when they gained
the open fieldsand her eye roamed over the placid lakecovered with
wild fowl already journeying from the great northern waters to seek a
warmer sunbut lingering to play in the limpid sheet of the Otsego
and to the sides of the mountainwhich were gay with the thou- sand
dyes of autumnas if to grace their bridalthe swelling heart of the
young wife burst out in speech.

“This is not a time for silenceOliver!” she saidclinging more
fondly to his arm; “everything in Nature seems to speak the praises of
the Creator; why should wewho have so much to be grateful forbe
silent?”

“Speak on!” said her husbandsmiling; “I love the sounds of your
voice. You must anticipate our errand hither: I have told you my
plans: how do you like them?”


“I must first see them” returned his wife. “But I have had my plans
too; it is time I should begin to divulge them.”

“You! It is something for the comfort of my old friendNattyI
know.”

“Certainly of Natty; but we have other friends besides the Leather-
Stocking to serve. Do you forget Louisa and her father?”

“Nosurely; have I not given one of the best farms in the county to
the good divine? As for LouisaI should wish you to keep her always
near us.”

“You do!” said Elizabethslightly compressing her lips; “but poor
Louisa may have other views for herself; she may wish to follow my
exampleand marry.”

“I don’t think it” said Effinghammusing a momentreally don’t
know any one hereabouts good enough for her.”

“Perhaps not her; but there are other places besides Templetonand
other churches besides ‘New St. Paul’s.’”

“ChurchesElizabeth! you would not wish to lose Mr. Grantsurely!
Though simplehe is an excellent man I shall never find another who
has half the veneration for my orthodoxy. You would humble me from a
saint to a very common sinner.”

“It must be donesir” returned the ladywith a half-concealed
smile“though it degrades you from an angel to a man.”

“But you forget the farm?”

“He can lease itas others do. Besideswould you have a clergyman
toil in the fields?”

“Where can he go? You forget Louisa.”

“NoI do not forget Louisa” said Elizabethagain compressing her
beautiful lips. “You knowEffinghamthat my father has told you
that I ruled himand that I should rule you. I am now about to exert
my power.”

“Anythinganythingdear Elizabethbut not at the expense of us all:
not at the expense of your friend.”

“How do you knowsirthat it will be so much at the expense of my
friend?” said the ladyfixing her eyes with a searching look on his
countenancewhere they met only the unsuspecting expression of manly
regret.

“How do I know it? Whyit is natural that she should regret us.”
It is our duty to struggle with our natural feelings” returned the
lady; “and there is but little cause to fear that such a spirit as
Louisa’s will not effect it.”

“But what is your plan?”

“Listenand you shall know. My father has procured a call for Mr.
Grantto one of the towns on the Hudson where he can live more at his
ease than in journeying through these woods; where he can spend the
evening of his life in comfort and quiet; and where his daughter may
meet with such societyand form such a connectionas may be proper


for one of her years and character.”

“Bess! you amaze me! I did not think you had been such a manager!”

“Oh! I manage more deeply than you imaginesir” said the wife
archly smiling again; “ but it is thy will and it is your duty to
submit—for a time at least.”

Effingham laughed; butas they approached the end of their walkthe
subject was changed by common consent.

The place at which they arrived was the little spot of level ground
where the cabin of the Leather-Stocking had so long stood. Elizabeth
found it entirely cleared of rubbishand beautifully laid down in
turfby the removal of sodswhichin common with the surrounding
countryhad grown gayunder the influence of profuse showersas if
a second spring had passed over the land. This little place was
surrounded by a circle of mason-workand they entered by a small
gatenear whichto the surprise of boththe rifle of Natty was
leaning against the wall. Hector and the slut reposed on the grass by
its sideas if conscious thathowever alteredthey were lying on
the ground and were surrounded by objects with which they were
familiar. The hunter himself was stretched on the earthbefore a
head-stone of white marblepushing aside with his fingers the long
grass that had already sprung up from the luxuriant soil around its
baseapparently to lay bare the inscription. By the side of this
stonewhich was a simple slab at the head of a gravestood a rich
monumentdecorated with an urn and ornamented with the chisel.

Oliver and Elizabeth approached the graves with a light treadunheard
by the old hunterwhose sunburnt face was workingand whose eyes
twinkled as if something impeded their vision. After some little time
Natty raised himself slowly from the groundand said aloud:

“Wellwell—I’m bold to say it’s all right! There’s something that I
suppose is reading; but I can’t make anything of it; though the pipe
and the tomahawkand the moccasinsbe pretty well—pretty wellfor a
man thatI dares to saynever seed ‘ither of the things. Ah’s me!
there they lieside by sidehappy enough! Who will there be to put
me in the ‘arth when my time comes?”

“When that unfortunate hour arrivesNattyfriends shall not be
wanting to perform the last offices for you” said Olivera little
touched at the hunter’s soliloquy.

The old man turnedwithout manifesting surprisefor he had got the
Indian habits in this particularandrunning his hand under the
bottom of his noseseemed to wipe away his sorrow with the action.

“You’ve come out to see the graveschildrenhave ye?” he said; “
wellwellthey’re wholesome sights to young as well as old.”

“I hope they are fitted to your liking” said Effingham“no one has a
better right than yourself to be consulted in the matter.”

“Whyseeing that I ain’t used to fine graves” returned the old man
“it is but little matter consarning my taste. Ye laid the Major’s
head to the westand Mohegan’s to the eastdid yelad?”

“At your request it was done”

“It’s so best” said the hunter; “they thought they had to journey
different wayschildren: though there is One greater than allwho’ll
bring the just togetherat His own timeand who’ll whiten the skin


of a blackamoorand place him on a footing with princes.”

“There is but little reason to doubt that” said Elizabethwhose
decided tones were changed to a softmelancholy voice; “I trust we
shall all meet againand be happy together.”

“Shall wechildshall we?” exclaimed the hunterwith unusual
fervor“there’s comfort in that thought too. But before I goI
should like to know what 'tis you tell these peoplethat be flocking
into the country like pigeons in the springof the old Delawareand
of the bravest white man that ever trod the hills?”

Effingham and Elizabeth were surprised at the manner of the Leather-
Stockingwhich was unusually impressive and solemn; butattributing
it to the scenethe young man turned to the monumentand read aloud:

“Sacred to the memory of Oliver Effingham Esquireformally a Major in
his B. Majesty’s 60th Foot; a soldier of tried valor; a subject of
chivalrous loyalty; and a man of honesty. To these virtues he added
the graces of a Christian. The morning of his life was spent in
honorwealthand power; but its evening was obscured by poverty
neglectand diseasewhich were alleviated only by the tender care of
his oldfaithfuland upright friend and attendant Nathaniel Bumppo.
His descendants rest this stone to the virtues of the masterand to
the enduring gratitude of the servant.”

The Leather-Stocking started at the sound of his own nameand a smile
of joy illuminated his wrinkled featuresas he said:

“And did ye say Itlad? have you then got the old man’s name cut in
the stoneby the side of his master’s! God bless yechildren! ‘twas
a kind thoughtand kindness goes to the heart as Life shortens.”

Elizabeth turned her back to the speakers. Effingham made a fruitless
effort before he succeeded in saying:

“It is there cut in plain marble; but it should have been written in
letters of gold!”

“Show me the nameboy” said Nattywith simple eagerness; “let me
see my own name placed in such honor. ‘Tis a gin’rous gift to a man
who leaves none of his name and family behind him in a country where
he has tarried so long.”

Effingham guided his finger to the spotand Natty followed the
windings of the letters to the end with deep interestwhen he raised
himself from the tomband said:

“I suppose it’s all right; and it’s kindly thoughtand kindly done!
But what have ye put over the red-skin”

“You shall hear: This stone is raised to the memory of an Indian Chief
of the Delaware tribewho was known by the several names of John
Mohegan Mohican———’”

“Mo-hee-canladthey call theirselves! ‘hecan.”

“Mohican; and Chingagook—”

“‘Gachboy; ‘gach-gook; Chingachgookwhich interpretedmeans Bigsarpent.
The name should he set down rightfor an Indian’s name has
always some meaning in it.”

“I will see it altered. ‘He was the last of his people who continued


to inhabit this country; and it may he said of him that his faults
were those of an Indianand his virtues those of a man.’”

“You never said truer wordMr. Oliver; ah’s me! if you had knowed him
as I didin his primein that very battle where the old gentleman
who sleeps by his side saved his lifewhen them thievesthe
Iroquoishad him at the stakeyou’d have said all thatand more
too. I cut the thongs with this very handand gave him my own
tomahawk and knifeseeing that the rifle was always my fav'rite
weapon. He did lay about him like a man! I met him as I was coming
home from the trailwith eleven Mingo scalps on his pole. You
needn’t shudderMadam Effinghamfor they was all from shaved heads
and warriors. When I look about meat these hillswhere I used to
could count sometimes twenty smokescurling over the tree-topsfrom
the Delaware campsit raises mournful thoughtsto think that not a
red-skin is left of them all; unless it be a drunken vagabond from the
Oneidasor them Yankee Indianswhothey saybe moving up from the
seashore; and who belong to none of Gods creaturesto my seeming
beingas it wereneither fish nor flesh—neither white man nor
savage. Wellwell! the time has come at lastand I must go——”

“Go!” echoed Edwards“ whither do you go?”

The Leather-Stocking; who had imbibed unconsciouslymany of the
Indian qualitiesthough he always thought of himself as of a
civilized beingcompared with even the Delawaresaverted his face to
conceal the workings of his musclesas he stooped to lift a large
pack from behind the tombwhich he placed deliberately on his
shoulders.

“Go!” exclaimed Elizabethapproaching him with a hurried step; “you
should not venture so far in the woods aloneat your time of life
Natty; indeedit Is ImprudentHe is bentEffinghamon some distant
hunting.”

“What Mrs. Effingham tells you is trueLeather-Stocking’ said
Edwards; “there can be no necessity for your submitting to such
hardships now. So throw aside your packand confine your hunt to the
mountains near usif you will go.”

“Hardship! ‘tis a pleasurechildrenand the greatest that is left me
on this side the grave.”

“Nono; you shall not go to such a distance” cried Elizabethlaying
her white hand on his deer-skin pack—” I am right! I feel his campkettle
and a canister of powder! He must not be suffered to wander so
far from usOliver; remember how suddenly Mohegan dropped away.”

“I knowed the parting would come hardchildren—I knowed it would!”
said Natty“and so I got aside to look at the graves by myselfand
thought if I left ye the keep sake which the Major gave mewhen we
first parted in the woodsye wouldn’t take it unkindbut would know
thatlet the old man’s body go where it mighthis feelings stayed
behind him.”

“This means something more than common” exclaimed the youth. “Where
is itNattythat you purpose going?”

The hunter drew nigh him with a confidentreasoning airas If what
he had to say would silence all objectionsand replied:

“Whyladthey tell me that on the big lakes there’s the best of
huntingand a great range without a white man on it unless it may be
one like myself. I’m weary of living in clearingsand where the


hammer is sounding in my ears from sunrise to sundown. And though I’m
much bound to ye bothchildren—I wouldn’t say it if It was not true—I
crave to go into the woods agin—I do.”

“Woods!” echoed Elizabethtrembling with her feelings; “do you not
call these endless forests woods?”

“Ah! childthese be nothing to a man that’s used to the wilderness.
I have took but little comfort sin’ your father come on with his
settlers; but I wouldn’t go farwhile the life was in the body that
lies under the sod there. But now he’s goneand Chingachgook Is
gone; and you be both young and happy. Yes! the big house has rung
with merriment this month past! And now I thought was the time to get
a little comfort in the close of my days. Woods! indeed! I doesn’t
call these woodsMadam Effinghamwhere I lose myself every day of my
life in the clearings.”

“If there be anything wanting to your comfortname itLeather-
Stocking; if it be attainable it is yours.”

“You mean all for the bestladI know; and so does madamtoo; but
your ways isn’t my ways. ‘Tis like the dead therewho thoughtwhen
the breath was in themthat one went eastand one went westto find
their heavens; but they’ll meet at lastand so shall wechildren.
Yesand as you’ve begunand we shall meet in the land of the just at
last.”

“This is so new! so unexpected!” said Elizabethin almost breathless
excitement; “I had thought you meant to live with us and die with us
Natty.”

“Words are of no avail” exclaimed her husband: “the habits of forty
years are not to he dispossessed by the ties of a day. I know you too
well to urge you furtherNatty; unless you will let me build you a
hut on one of the distant hillswhere we can sometimes see youand
know that you are comfortable.”

“Don’t fear for the Leather-Stockingchildren; God will see that his
days be provided forand his ind happy. I know you mean all for the
bestbut our ways doesn't agree. I love the woodsand ye relish the
face of man; I eat when hungryand drink when a-dry; and ye keep
stated hours and rules; naynayyou even over-feed the dogslad
from pure kindness; and hounds should be gaunty to run well. The
meanest of God’s creatures be made for some useand I’m formed for
the wildernessIf ye love melet me go where my soul craves to be
agin!”

The appeal was decisive; and not another word of en treaty for him to
remain was then uttered; but Elizabeth bent her head to her bosom and
weptwhile her husband dashed away the tears from his eyes; andwith
hands that almost refused to perform their officehe procured his
pocket-bookand extended a parcel of bank-notes to the hunter.

“Take these” he said“at least take these; secure them about your
personand in the hour of need they will do you good service.”

The old man took the notesand examined them with curious eye.

“Thisthenis some of the new-fashioned money that they’ve been
making at Albanyout of paper! It can't be worth much to they that
hasn’t larning! Nonolad-——take back the stuff; it will do me no
sarviceI took kear to get all the Frenchman’s powder afore he broke
upand they say lead grows where I’m going. it isn’t even fit for
wadsseeing that I use none but leather!—Madam Effinghamlet an old


man kiss your handand wish God’s choicest blessings on you and
your’n”

“Once more let me beseech youstay!” cried Elizabeth. Do not
Leather-Stockingleave me to grieve for the man who has twice rescued
me from deathand who has served those I love so faithfully. For my
sakeif not for your ownstay. I shall see you in those frightful
dreams that still haunt my nightsdying in poverty and ageby the
side of those terrific beasts you slew. There will be no evilthat
sicknesswantand solitude can inflictthat my fancy will not
conjure as your fate. Stay with usold manif not for your own
sakeat least for ours.”

“Such thoughts and bitter dreamsMadam Effingham” returned the
huntersolemnly“ will never haunt an innocent parson long. They’ll
pass away with God’s pleasure. And if the cat-a-mounts be yet brought
to your eyes in sleeptis not for my sakebut to show you the power
of Him that led me there to save you. Trust in Godmadamand your
honorable husbandand the thoughts for an old man like me can never
be long nor bitter. I pray that the Lord will keep you in mind—the
Lord that lives in clearings as well as in the wilderness—and bless
youand all that belong to youfrom this time till the great day
when the whites shall meet the red-skins in judgementand justice
shall be the lawand not power.”

Elizabeth raised her headand offered her colorless cheek to his
salutewhen he lifted his cap and touched it respectfully. His hand
was grasped with convulsive fervor by the youthwho continued silent.
The hunter prepared himself for his journeydrawing his belt tighter
and wasting his moments in the little reluctant movements of a
sorrowful departure. Once or twice he essayed to speakbut a rising
in his throat prevented it. At length he shouldered his rifleand
cried with a clear huntsman’s call that echoed through the woods:
He-e-e-rehe-e-e-repups—awaydogsaway!—ye'll be footsore afore
ye see the end of the journey!”

The hounds leaped from the earth at this cryand scenting around the
grave and silent pairas if conscious of their own destinationthey
followed humbly at the heels of their master. A short pause
succeededduring which even the youth concealed his face on his
grandfather’s tomb. When the pride of manhoodhoweverhad sup
pressed the feelings of naturehe turned to renew his en treaties
but saw that the cemetery was occupied only by himself and his wife.

“He is gone!” cried Effingham.

Elizabeth raised her faceand saw the old hunter standing looking
back for a momenton the verge of the wood. As he caught their
glanceshe drew his hard hand hastily across his eyes againwaved it
on high for an adieuanduttering a forced cry to his dogswho were
crouching at his feethe entered the forest.

This was the last they ever saw of the Leather-Stockingwhose rapid
movements preceded the pursuit which Judge Temple both ordered and
conducted. He had gone far toward the setting sun—the foremost in
that band of pioneers who are opening the way for the march of the
nation across the continent.