Vanity Fea

James Fenimore Cooper

From The Oxford Companion to American Literature:

William Cooper (1754-1809), father of J. F. Cooper, settled on the shores of Otsego Lake in central New York (1790) and founded the town which bears his name. At one time his land holdings aggregated more than 750,000 acres, and he prospered as a land agent. He adopted a policy of installment payments for his tenants, and kept his land free of the Anti-Rent Wars. A staunch Federalist, he was a member of Congress 1795-97, 1799-1801, and often left his magnificent home to show his prowess as a wrestler in some neighboring shanty. He died as the result of a blow struck to him by a political opponent. His son's Chronicles of Cooperstown (1838) tells of his settlement, which he himself vigorously describes in A Guide to the Wilderness (1810).

James Fenimore
COOPER (1789-1851), was born at Burlington, N.J., the son of William Cooper, who in 1790 removed his family to Otsego Hall, a manorial estate at Cooperstown on Otsego Lake, west of Albany, N.Y. Educated at the local school and in Albany, Cooper went to Yale, from which he was dismissed (1806). During the next five years he served at sea as a foremast-hand, was a midshipman in the navy (1808-11), and left to marry and settle as a country gentleman at Mamaroneck. He moved to Cooperstown (1814), but in 1817 moved again to a farm at Scarsdale.

At 30 he was suddenly plunged into a literary career, when his wife challenged his claim that he could write a better book than the English novel he was reading to her. The result was Precaution (1820), a conventional novel of manners in genteel English society. His second book, The Spy (1821), was an immediate success and established Cooper's typical attitude towards plot and characterization, being significant for its use of the American scene as the background of a romance. In The Pioneers (1823) he began his series of Leather-Stocking Tales, but in his rapid quest for unusual subjects he turned to the sea in The Pilot (1823), intending to prove that a sailor could write a better novel than the landsman Scott had done in The Pirate (1822).
James Fenimore Cooper
Established as a leading American author, he moved to New York City, where he founded the Bread and Cheese Club. To further his position as the outstanding American novelist, he planned to write 13 national romances, one for each of the original states, but wrote only Lionel Lincoln (1825), dealing with Revolutionary Boston. Encouraged by the success of The Pioneers and the growing interest in the clash between savagery and civilization on the frontier, he continued his history of the pioneer scout Natty Bumppo in The Last of the Mohicans (1826) and The Prairie (1827). While traveling abroad (1826-33), nominally as U.S. consul at Lyons, he published The Red Rover (1827), The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish (1829) and The Water-Witch (1830), romances about America and life on American ships. In addition, he wrote The Bravo (1831), The Heidenmauer (1832), and The Headsman (1833), a trilogy intended to dispel the glamor of feudalism and to show its decline before the rise of democratic liberalism. A Letter  . . . to General Lafayette (1831) champions republics against monarchies, and Notions of the Americans (1828) is an answer to English critics of U.S. society and government.

Upon his return, Cooper in turn was repelled by the absence of what he considered to be public and private virtue, the abuses of democracy, and the failure to perceive the best elements of the life he had conjured up in his novels. A Letter to His Countrymen (1834), petulantly expressing his conservatism, was followed by his satire, The Monikins (1835), and four volumes of Gleanings in Europe (1837-38), containing brilliant descriptions and pungent social criticism. The American Democrat (1838), a full statement of his aristocratic social ideals, was followed by Homeward Bound (1838) and Home as Found (1838), fictional statements of these themes.

During the ensuing years, the press attacked his books and personal character, and he brought suits for libel against various Whig papers, arguing his own cases so successfully that he was regularly victorious. He returned to live at Cooperstown, where his favorite companion and amanuensis for the rest of his life was his daughter Susan, whose books describe their home. Here he carried his war with the press to a war with the people concerning property rights, in which, although he was constantly vindicated, he stood alone and unpopular.

Meanwhile he wrote a scholarly History of the Navy (1839), whose simplicity and gusto were overlooked in a controversy centering on his treatment of the Battle of Lake Erie. With the publication of The Pathfinder (1840) and The Deerslayer (1841) he completed the epical Leather-Stocking series, and in a burst of creative energy wrote 16 works of fiction, a great amount of controversial literature, and some scholarly and factual works. Mercedes of Castile (1840) deals with the first voyage of Columbus; The Two Admirals (1842) is a story of the British Navy before the Revolutionary War; and Wing-and-Wing (1842) is concerned with a French privateer in the Mediterranean. Ned Meyers (1843) is the fictional biography of a former shipmate, and the Lives of Distinguished American Naval Officers (1846) supplements the History of the Navy. Wyandotté (1843) deals with the outbreak of the Revolution in New York; Le Mouchoir (1843), republished as The Autobiography of a Pocket-Handkerchief, is a short romance of New York society and class distinctions; Afloat and Ashore (1844) and its sequel
Miles Wallingford (1844) seem to present a sefl-portrait of Cooper; The Crater (1848) is a Utopian social allegory; and Jack Tier (1848), The Oak Openings (1848) and The Sea Lions (1848) are all swift-moving historical romances. Cooper's last novel, The Ways of the Hour (1850), concerned with the perversions of social justice, is a forerunner of the modern mystery novel. Another late work is an unpublished comedy, Upside Down, or Philosophy in Petticoats, produced in New York. Of the novels written after 1840, the most important are those in the trilogy known as the Littlepage Manuscripts: Satanstoe (1845), The Chainbearer (1845), and The Redskins (1846), tracing the growing difficulties between propertied and propertyless classes in New York. A collection of Letters and Journals (6 vols., 1960-68), by James F. Beard gathers all known previously unpublished manuscripts.

Cooper's achievement, although uneven and the result of brilliant improvisation rather than a deeply considered artistry, was nevertheless sustained almost to the close of a hectic, crowded career. His worldwide fame attests his power of invention, for his novels have been popular principally for their variety of dramatic incidents, vivid descriptions of romantic scenes and situations, and adventurous plots. But a more sophisticated view caused a revival of interest in the mid-20th century concentrating on Cooper's novels in their creation of tension between different kinds of society, the settlement and the wilderness, and between civil law and natural rights as these suggest issues of moral and mythic import.



The Spy:
A Tale of the Neutral Ground,
romance by Cooper, published in 1821, and dramatized by C. P. Clinch (1822).

Harvey Binch, supposed to be a Loyalist spy but secretly in the intelligence service of General Washington, operates in the "neutral ground" of his native Westchester Country, New York, and aids his neighbors, Henry Wharton, a Loyalist who pretends to be neutral, his daughters Sarah and Frances, and a son, Captain Henry Wharton of the British army. In 1780, Washington, in his accustomed disguise as Mr. Harper, is sheltered at the Wharton home, where he is impressed by the rebel sympathies of Frances. To repay the family's hospiitality, Birch warns Captain Henry of his impending capture, but the young man, refusing to leave, is taken by a rebel force under Captain Jack Lawton. Frances appeals to her fiancé, the patriot Major Peyton Dunwoodie, but meanwhile Captain Henry escapes during a battle, only to be recaptured with Colonel Wellemere, Sara's British admirer. Birch is almost captured by Lawton, who mistakes him for a spy, but in their struggle he spares Lawton's life, a good deed repaid by Lawton when Birch is later turned over to him by the "Skinners," a band of marauding patriots. The wedding of Wellemere and Sarah is interrupted by Birch, who reveals that Wellemere is already married, and the Englishman escapes during a raid by the marauders, who destroy the Wharton home. Captain Henry is sentenced to be executed as a spy, but Birch helps him escape, and Frances, seeking them, goes to Birch's mountain retreat, where she finds "Mr. Harper" and persuades him to end the pursuit of her brother. Birch takes Captain Henry to a British ship, Frances and Dunwoodie are married, Lawton is killed in battle, and Birch, ending his service to Washington, refuses rewards, preferring to remain an itinerant peddler.

The Pioneers; or, The Sources of the Susquehanna, romance by Cooper, published in 1823. It is the fourth in plot sequence of the Leather-Stocking Tales.

During the decade after the Revolutionary War, Judge Marmaduke Temple, a retired Quaker merchant, is the leading landowner of Otsego County on the New York frontier, having acquired the estate of the Loyalist father of his friend Edward Effingham. While hunting deer he accidentally shoots Oliver Edwards, young companion of Natty Bumppo ("Leather-Stocking), a veteran frontiersman. The judge and his daughter Elizabeth befriend the young man, who becomes their overseer, although persisting in his mysterious association with Bumppo and old chief Chingachgook (John Mohegan), who is rumored to be his father. Elizabeth and her friend Louisa Grant, the rector's daughter, disdain the company of the supposed half-breed. After Bumppo is released from jail, following his arrest for shooting deer out of season, Elizabeth visits him and is trapped by a forest fire. She is saved by Edwards, but Chingachgook dies after his rescue by Bumppo. Elizabeth and Edwards now admit their love, and his identity is made known when a searching party discovers demented old Major Effingham, and it is revealed that Edwards is his grandson, that Bumppo had been an employee of his family, and that Chingachgook had adopted them into his tribe. The young couple is betrothed and given half of the judge's estate.

The Pilot,  romance by Cooper, published in 1823. The unnamed hero is supposed to represent John Paul Jones.

During the Revolutionary War, the schooner Ariel and an unnamed frigate appear off the coast of England near the residence of Colonel Howard, an expatriated South Carolina Loyalist. Lieutenants Griffith and Barnstable love Howard's two nieces, but their romances are thwarted by conflicting political views. The officers return to their shps with the mysterious "Pilot," who takes charge of the frigate. The schooner puts to sea through a channel that the frigate cannot navigate, but, during a terrible storm, the Pilot guides his ship to safety through a difficult shoal passage. The mission of the Americans is to capture prominent Englishmen, in order to force a modification of British impressment, and they decide to raid the guarded Howard residence. In the attempt, the Pilot and others are captured, but make their escape despite the precautions of villainous Christopher Dillon, a suitor of one of the girls. Dillon warns the crew of a British cutter, which is, however, defeated in battle by the Ariel. Long Tom Coffin, a daring old salt, is sent with the captured Dillon to attempt an exchange , but attempts to escape, is recaptured and taken back to the ship, which is wrecked in a strom. Only Barnstable and a few others survive. The Pilot captures the Howards, and imprisons them on the cutter. In a fierce battle with British warships, the frigate escapes through the shoal waters. Colonel Howard has been wounded, but before he dies he surrenders to the inevitability of American victory in the war, and permits the marriage of his nieces with the officers. The Pilot goes to Holland, while his ship sails for America.

Lionel Lincoln;
or, The Leaguer of Boston,
a romance by Cooper, published in 1825 and dramatized as The Leaguer of Boston.

Lionel Lincoln arrives at Boston (April 1775) as an officer with the British troops. On shipboard he has met an old man, "Ralph," who is actually his father, Sir Lionel, supposed to be in an English insane asylum. Another companion, whose true identity is unknown to either of them, is Job Pray, Lionel's half-wit stepbrother, who guides them to the house of his mother, Abigail. The latter is terrified at the sight of Sir Lionel. They go then to the home of Mrs Lechmere, Lionel's aunt, with whose granddaughter, Cecil Dynever, Lionel falls in love. Job serves among the Minute Men at Lexington, and, althought Lionel's father fails to convince his son of the justice of the rebel cause, Ralph saves his son's life during the battle. The young man vainly attempts to solve the mystery of their relationship, before he is called to serve at Bunker Hill. Seriously wounded, he is nursed to recovery by Cecil, and the two marry, encouraged by the strange insistence of Mrs. Lechmere, who soon dies. Finally Sir Lionel explains the various mysteries. Mrs. Lechmere, years before, had wished him to marry her daughter, but instead he had married her ward, Lionel's mother, whose death caused him to become temporarily insane. Somewhat earlier, he had assumed the character of "Ralph," during his liaison with Abigail. Mrs. Lechmere has insisted on the marriage of Cecil and Lionel in order to achieve her long cherished scheme of union between the families. The story ends with the sudden deaths of Sir Lionel, Abigail, and Job, the British evacuation of Boston, and the departure for England of Lionel and Cecil.

The Last of the Mohicans, romance by Cooper, published in 1826, is the second of the Leatherstocking Tales.

While the French and Indians besiege Fort William Henry on Lake George (1757), Cora and Alice Munro, daughters of the English commander, are on their way to join their father, accompanied by Major Duncan Heyward, Alice's fiancé, the singing teacher David Gamut, and the treacherous Indian Magua, who secretly serves the French. Magua's plan to betray the party to the Iroquois is foiled by the scout Hawkeye (Natty Bumppo) and his companions, old chief Chingachgook and his son Uncas, only survivors of the Mohican aristocracy. Escaping, Magua obtains Iroquois aid and returns to capture the girls. He promises them safety if Cora will become his squaw, but she refuses, and Hawkeye arrives to rescue them. Reaching the fort, they remain until Munro surrenders to Montcalm, who gives them a safe-conduct. When they leave they are set upon by Indians, and the sisters are captured. Hawkeye pursues them, finding Cora imprisoned in a Delaware camp and Alice in a Huron camp. Uncas is captured by the Hurons, and Heyward enters the camp in disguise, rescuess Alice, and with Uncas escapes to the Delaware camp, where they are cordially received. Old chief Tamenund, learning Uncas's identity, hails him as his destined successor. Magua then claims Cora s his rightful property, and Uncas is unable to object, but, joined by the English, leads his tribe against the Hurons. When Magua attempts to desert, Uncas follows, and tries to rescue Cora. Uncas and Cora are killed, and Hawkeye shoots Magua, who falls from a precipice to his death. The others return to civilization, except Hawkeye, who continues his frontier career.

Audiobook: The Last of the Mohicans:


The Prairie, romance by Cooper, published in 1827. It is the fifth in plot sequence of the Leather-Stocking Tales.

Natty Bumppo, though nearly 90 in 1804, is still competent as a frontiersman and trapper on the Western plains, clinging to his faithful hound Hector and his rifle Killdeer. He encounters an emigrant train led by surly Ishmael Bush and his rascally brother-in-law Abiram White, in whose party are also the naturalist Dr. Obed Battins; a woman captive concealed in a covered wagon; her attendant, Ellen Wade; and the bee-hunter Paul Hover, who is in love with Ellen. The old trapper barely averts an Indian raid on the train., which he then guides to a safe camp. He is joined by a young soldier, Duncan Uncas Middleton, whom he is overjoyed to recognize as a descendant of an old friend, Duncan Heyward (see Last of the Mohicans). Middleton, on an army mission, is also seeking his betrothed, Doña Inez de Certavallos, who has been kidnapped for ransom. Discovering that she is Ishamel's captive, he rescues her with the aid of the trapper. With Paul and Ellen, they leave the emigrants, only to be captured by the Sioux. Escaping, they are endangered successively by a prairie fire and a buffalo stampede, but saved by the skill of Bumppo. Recaptured by the Sioux, they are rescued by a successful Pawnee attack, but during the confusion Ishmael captures them. He accuses Bumppo of the murder of one of his men, but Abiram is found to be guilty. After his friends find safety with Middleton's soldiers, Bumppo finally yields to the weakness of his years, and dies quietly, surrounded by his Pawnee and white friends.

The Red Rover, romance by Cooper, published in 1827 and dramatized by S. H. Chapman (1828).

Lieutenant Henry Ark, on the track of the Red Rover, a notorious pirate, disguises himself as a common sailor ("Wilder") and enlists a second in command of the mysterious Dolphin. When the captain of the merchant ship Caroline is accidentally injured, Ark is sent to take his place. Both ships sails immediately from Newport, and the youthful commander's skillful seamanship disturbs the superstitious crew of the Caroline, who desert him. He is left with the two passengers, Gertrude Grayson and her governess, Mrs. Wyllys, to escape the sinking ship in a small boat, from which they are rescued by the Dolphin. Captain Heidegger (the Rover) is attracted to Mrs. Wyllys, and becomes friendly with Ark, confessing to him that he had been a seaman in the royal navy, but that his loyalty to the colonies had led him into a quarrel in which he killed an officer and escaped to become a pirate. Ark's former ship, the Dart, is now sighted, and when the Rover goes aboard her, disguised as a naval officer, he learns Ark's true identity. Returning, he is persuaded to put the women and Ark aboard the Dart. A fierce battle ensues, in which the pirate is victorious. Ark is about to be hanged, when it is revealed that he is actually Paul de Lacey, the long-lost son of Mrs. Wyllys. At this, the Rover sets his prisoners free, sends them ashore, dismisses his crew, burns his ship, and disappears. After the close of the Revolutionary War, 20 years later, he is brought, dying, to the home of De Lacey, who has married Gertrude. He discloses that he is the brother of Mrs. Wyllys, and that after ending his piracies he reformed, led a virguous life, and served honorably in the patriot cause.

The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish, romance by Cooper, published in 1829. In England it was titled The Borderers (1829) and The Heathcotes (1854). An anonymous dramatization was produced (1834) and published (1856).

In 1666 in the Connecticut settlement of Wish-ton-Wish the old colonist Mark Heathcote is threatened by Indian attacks, but he is aided by the advice and warning of the mysterious stranger Submission (the regicide Goffe) and a captive Indian lad who is especially befriended by Heathcote's daughter-in-law, Ruth. The boy disappears during an attack, taking with him her small daughter, also named Ruth. The main part of the story deals with King Philip's War, ten years later. The Heathcote settlement is attacked by Indians under Metacomet (King Philip) and Conanchet (Canonchet), the latter being the former boy captive, now grown and a chief of the Narragansett. His wife, Narra-mattah, is the kidnapped Ruth, and when the Heathcotes are captured, she and Conanchet save them from execution. A few days later, Conanchet's intervention in behalf of Submission and the Heathcotes results in his capture and execution in Philip's camp, following a chase by his old enemies, the Pequot and Mohegan, under their chief, Uncas. Narra-Mattah dies beside the body of her husband, and her mother dies soon afterward, "the wept of Wish-ton-Wish".

The Water Witch, romance by Cooper, published in 1830. Several dramatic versions, including one by R. P. Smith, were produced in 1830 and 1831.

Set in the region of New York City at the close of the 17th century, the story is a concerned with the admirable small brigantine Water Witch and its pirate captain, known as "The Skimmer of the Seas," whose romantic abduction of a beautiful heiress, Alinda de Barberie, begins the action. Pursued by the English sloop of war, the Coquette, whose commander, Captain Ludlow, is Alinda's suitor, the Water Witch manages to escape, though remaining in Lond Island Sound, until the Coquette is engaged in battle by two French ships. The Skimmer of the Seas cannot desert his fellow countrymen in time of danger, and joins forces with Ludlow, helping to destroy the enemy craft. Ludlow is doubly grateful when his fiancée is restored to him, and offers his protection to the patriotic pirate, but The Skimmer of the Seas embarks for new adventures in his own favorite, the Water Witch.

The Heidenmauer, or, The Benedictines, romance by Cooper, published in 1832.

In 16th-century Bavaria the Benedictines of the abbey of Limburg strive to maintain their temporal power in the town of Dürkheim, which they finally lose to the feudal lord Count Emich of Leiningen-Hartenburg. This theme, showing a society emerging from domination by Catholicism and superstition to secular rule and critical Protestantism, is amplified by a subplot dealing with the love and marriage of the count's forester, Berchtold Hintermayer, with Meta Frey, daughter of a leading citizen of Dürkheim. The title refers to a ruined fortress near the town, home of the hermit Baron Odo von Ritternstein, once the fiancé of Meta's mother.

The Headsman, or, The Abbaye des Vignerons, romance by Cooper, published in 1833.

During the early 18th century, Balthazar, headsman or executioner of Berne, conceals the identity of his supposed son Sigismund so that the youth may not be forced to continue the family's hereditary profession. Sigmund loves Adelheid, daughter of Baron Melchior de Willading, but, when questioned concerning his birth, he reveals his secret. Adelheid continues to love him, and it is later disclosed, when Balthazar is unjustly accused of murder, that Sigismund is actually the son of the Doge of Genoa, having been stolen as a child.

The American Democrat, or Hints on the Social and Civil Relations of the United States of America, critical work by Cooper, published in 1838.

Returning from Europe in 1835, the author was struck by "a disposition in the majority to carry out the opinions of the system to extremes, and a disposition in the minority to abandon all to the current of the day," and he writes in order to express "the voice of simple, honest and ... fearless truth" on the peculiarities of the American system in theory and practice. Following an introduction and general chapters on government and republican theories, he discusses government in the U.S., especially with regard to the doctrine of state rights. The 43 brief chapters that follow are concerned with "Distinctive American Principles," "Equality," "Liberty," "Advantages of a Democracy," "Disadvantages of a Democracy," "Prejudice," "The Private Duties of Station," ""Language," "Demagogues," "The Press, "Property," and similar subjects, all discussed from the point of view of a conservative thinker who is convinced of the value of an aristocratic system.

The Monikins, allegorical satire by Cooper, published in 1835.

Sir John Goldencalf meets Noah Poke, a Yankee sea captain, in Paris, where they become acquainted with four monkeys who have been traveling in Europ: Dr. Reasono, Lord Chatterino, Lady Chatterissa, and Mistress Vigilance Lynx. The Knight and the captain, after being enlightened concerning the superior institutions of these "Monikins," accompany them to their homeland in the polar regions. Sir John visits the countries of Leaphigh (England), whose society is founded upon a rigid system of castes and a false social hierarchy; Leapthrough (France), which he considers unprincipled, erratic, and selfish; and Leaplow (the U.S.), where the leveling tendency of democratic politics has destroyed virtue and distinction. Leaplow isgj governed according to a National Allegory (the Constitution), by a Great Sachem (President), Riddles (senators), a Legion (representatives), and Supreme Arbitrators (Supreme Court). The system operates by the institution of contrasting parties, "Perpendicular" and "Horizontal," sometimes supplemented by a third group, "Tangents." These parties are led by the Godlikes, who bow to the dominant commercial interests, allowing society to become "the great moral eclipse," in which "the great moral postulate of principle" is overshadowed by "the great immoral postulate known as interest," and public opinion is manipulated by scheming demagogues and a powerful press. When Sir John returns to England, he marries his patient fiancée, Anna Etherington, while Captain Poke returns to Connecticut.

The Bravo, romance by Cooper, was published in 1831 and dramatized by R. P. Smith in 1837.

In Venice of the Renaissance, Jacopo Fontoni, to win freedom for his unjustly imprisoned father, pretends to be a "bravo" or hired assassin for the Senate, but he actually works against it by aiding the Neapolitan Don Camillo Monforte to win the hand of Violetta Tiepolo, the senators' wealthy ward, whose frotune they want to retain by marriage to a Venetian. When unrest follows the lovers' escape and the death of Jacopo's friend Antonio, Jacopo is falsely accused of murder and is executed at the behest of the Senate.

Homeward Bound; or, The Chase, novel by Cooper, published in 1838. Home as Found is a sequel.

Edward and John Effingham, New York landowners, with Edward's daughter Eve, have spent several years in Europe, and now sail for home on the American packet Montauk, commanded by Captain Truck. Their fellow passengers include the vulgar American, Steadfast Dodge; foppish Sir George Templemore; Mr. Sharp, a handsome young English aristocrat; and Mr. Blunt, an American adventurer, who falls in love with Eve. The Montauk encounters many hazards during the voyage: a port officer attempts to arrest a steerage passenger and is ordered off the ship; it is chased by the English war sloop Foam; in order to escape, Captain Truck heads for the tBay of Biscay and is caught in a storm; anchored for reparis on the Afican coast, it is attacked by Arab raiders, who are beaten off. Finally crossing the ocean, the packet arrives off Sandy Hook, only to find the waiting Foam, whose captain recognizes Mr. Sharp as the real Templemore and explains that his mission ahs been to arrest the imposter, a fleeing defaulter. Mr. Blunt reveals that he is actually Paul Powis, and is learned that John Effingham is his long-lost father.

Home as Found, novel by Cooper, published in 1838 as a sequel to Homeward Bound. In it, Cooper satirizes his neighbours at Cooperstown, and, as a result of the controversies and libel suits which followed, he was himself satirized in an anonymous novel, The Effinghams; or, Home as I Found It (1842).

After their return from Europe, the Effinghams open their house in New York City, where they participate in many social affairs, during whose course their young relative Grace Van Cortland is wooed by Sir George Templemore. After Grace and Sir George go to England to be married, the Effinghams go to their estate at Templeton, a small upstate community, where they are joined by Paul Powis, John Effingham's newly found son, who is the suitor of his cousin Eve. Mlle Viefville, Eve's vivacious maid, marries Aristabulus Bragg, the village lawyer and an inveterate "booster," while other Tempelton citizens are depicted as hypocritical demagogues or foolish democrats. Paul gives up his life of travel and adventure to marry Eve, and the Effinghams settle down to their duties as landowners and civic leaders.

The Pathfinder, or The Inland Sea, romance by Cooper, published in 1840 as the third in plot sequence of the Leatherstocking Tales.

In 1759, Mabel Dunham is on her way to join her father at the British fort at Oswego, Lake Ontario, acompanied by her uncle, Charles Cap; Arrowhead, a Tuscarora Indian; his wife, Dew-in-June; Pathfinder, the scout aged about 40; the Mohican chief Chingachgook; and Jasper Western, a young sailor called Eau-douce by the French. Arrowhead and his wife disappear during skirmishes with the Iroquois, but the others reach Oswego. Then Dunham, Cap, Pathfinder, Mabel, and Lieutenant Muir, who wants to marry her, sail on Jasper's Scud to relieve a post in the Thousand Islands. Jasper's loyalty is suspected and he is returned to Oswego. While Dunham and his men are off destroying French supply boats, the rest are warned by Dew-in-June of an Iroquois attack to be led by Arrowhead. Cap and Muir are seized, Dunham is badly wounded, and Mabel, who defends the blockhouse, promises to wed Pathfinder if he protects her father. After Jasper and Chingachgook rout the Iroquois, Jasper is arrested by Muir as a traitor. Muir is proved the only guilty one and is killed by Arrowhead. Dunham dies, hoping Mabel and Pathfinder will marry, but Jasper has won Mabel's love.

The Deerslayer, romance by Cooper, published in 1841. An anonymous dramatization was produced the same year. The romance is the first in plot sequence of the Leather-Stocking Tales.

At Lake Otsego, during the 1740s, early in the French and Indian Wars, lives the trapper Thomas Hutter, with his daughters Judith and Hetty. The frontiersmen, giant Hurry Harry and Natty Bumppo, known as Deerslayer among the Delaware Indians, help Hutter to resist an Iroquois attack adn return to his log fortress. There Deerslayer is joined by his friend, the Mohican chief Chingachbook, and they attempt to ransom Hutter and Hurry Harry, who have bben captured. Feeble-minded Hetty slips away to the Iroquois camp, where she is unharmed because of the Indians' veneration for the demented, and before her return she sees her father and Harry, as well as Chingachgook's bride Hist, also a captive. The trapper and Harry are released, but Deerslayer, who helps his friend rescue Hist, is captured, and Hutter is later killed. Judith, who discovers that she and Hetty are not Hutter's children but are actually of noble birth, tells Deerslayer, when he is released on parole, that she loves him. She tries to prevent his return to the Iroquois, but he keeps his word, returns, and is about to be tortured. Judith appears, delaying the executioners until Chingachgook arrives with a troop of British soldiers. Hetty is killed, and Judith disappears. Although Deerslayer later learns that Judith married one of the titled British officers, he always treasures romantic memories of the affair.

Wing-and-Wing, romance by Cooper, published in 1842.

On the island of Elba, at the height of the Napoleonic empire, lives Ghita Caraccioli, granddaughter of the Neapolitan admiral and beloved of the French privateer Raoul Yverne. Raoul's ship is the Wing-and-Wing, a lugger carrying British colors but actually preying on British shipping. The romantic privateer visits Ghita, who refuses to marry him unless he becomes a Catholic and gives up his occupation. He is nearly trapped by the arrival of an English frigate, the Proserpine, but with the aid of his lieutenant, Ithuel Bolt, a Yankee soldier of fortune, he manages to reach his ship. The Proserpine pursues the Wing-and-Wing for several exciting days, but by his daring and superior seamanship the privateer escapes. The notorious execution of Admiral Caraccioli by order of Lord Nelson takes place at Naples, and Ghita, present for a last interview with her grandfather, is joined by Raoul in disguise. Attempting to take her and her uncle to their home, Raoul and Ithuel are apprehended. Ithuel is released on the condition that he serve again in the British navy, but Raoul is sentenced to death. A delay is granted, for the unjust Caraccioli execution has had an unfortunate effect on the people, and Ithael and Ghita help Raoul to escape. They regain the Wing-and-Wing, but the ship is soon wrecked on a dangerous reef. The British attack, and Raoul is fatally wounded, but Ithuel helps Ghita to escape.

Ned Meyers, biography of a former shipmate, cast as a novel by Cooper, and published in 1843.

Afloat and Ashore, romance by Cooper (1844). Miles Wallingford is a sequel.

Miles and Grace Wallingford, orphaned children of a Revolutionary naval officer, are raised on their Hudson River estate by the Rev. Mr. Hardinge, with his children Rupert and Lucy. Miles and Lucy have already fallen in love when the two boys run away to New York, accompanied by the black slave Neb. They sign on the John, a ship bound for the Indies, which is commanded by Captain Robbins, a friend of Miles's father. Miles and Neb become favorites of the mate, Mr. Marble. In the Strit of Sunda the John escapes capture by Malay pirates, but is afterward wrecked off Madagacar. The survivors reach the isle of Bourbon and ship home on the Tigris, but Robbins dies during hte voyage. Rupert and Miles reach new York in time to deny reports of their death, and Rupert enters a lawyer's office. Miles ships under Mr. Marble as third mate of the
Crisis, enlisting Neb as a seaman. After various adventures, they reach England and sail for the Pacific. They engage in trade on the South American coast, have their ship stolen by the crew of a wrecked French privateer, rebuild the privateer, retake the Crisis, and sail for China. When he returns to America after this voyage, Miles becomes master of his own ship, the Dawn.

Miles Wallingford,
romance by Cooper, published in 1844 as a sequel to Afloat and Ashore.

Believing his childhood sweetheart, Lucy Hardinge, loves another man, Miles decides to remain a bachelor, makes a compact with a cousin to will their property to one another, and with his friends Marble and Neb, a black, sets sail in his ship, the Dawn, to Hamburg. Anxious to reach Hamburg to pay off a mortgage on his estate, he is harried when his ship is seized first by the British for carrying French goods, then by the French, and, after a second escape, is wrecked. Taken aboard a British warship, Miles is imprisoned and his friends pressed into service. Escaping to New York, Miles finds his cousin is dead and his estate seized by a distant relative, Daggett, who has Miles jailed for debt. Lucy, though plagued by the problem of her spendthrift brother Rupert, provides bail for Miles. Once freed, Miles dispossesses Daggett and marries Lucy.

Satanstoe, novel by Cooper, published in 1845 as the first of the Littlepage Manuscripts.

Cornelius ("Corny") Littlepage is reared as an 18th-century country gentleman on the family estate Satanstoe, in Westchester County, New York, guided by his grandfather, Captain Hugh Littlepage, and Mr. Worden, an English parson. With his friends, Dick Follock, descendant of a Dutch family, and Jason Newcome, the shrewd Yankee schoolmaster, he visits New York City, whose aspect and wayss are described, with views of the theater and the black festival of "Pinkster." Corny falls in love with Dirck's cousin, Anneke Mordaunt, a belle whose other suitors include Dirck and Major Bulstrode. The fathers of Dirck and Corny send the young men with Jason and Mr. Worden to Albany to survey large grants of land where they plan to settle tenant farmers. The Mordaunts are there for like reasons, and all are befriended by Guert Ten Eyck, a young "buck'" of the town, who loves Anneke's companion, Mary Wallace. Bulstrode is also present as the troops prepare for battles in the French and Indian War. Guert and Corny go to Mooseridge, the Littlepage lands, where their work is interrupted by the war. Susquesus, an Onondaga scout, guides them to the troops at Ticonderoga. After the British defeat there, they go to Ravensnest, the Mordaunt estate, where they fight off an Indian attack in which Guert is mortally wounded. At the end Anneke and Corny wed.

The Chainbearer,
novel by Cooper, published in 1845 as the second part of his Littlepage Manuscripts.

Mordaunt, son of Cornelius Littlepage and heir to his New York estates, is educated at Princeton, and in the last year of the Revolutionary War is an ensign in the company of the bluff Dutch surveyor Andries Coejemans, called Chainbearer, who later goes to Ravensnest and Mooseridge, the Littlepage frontier estates, as chief surveyor. There Mordanut joins him, and falls in love with his niece Dus Malbone. Mordaunt and the Indian guide Susquesus are captured while spying on Aaron Thousandacres, a surly squatter who has been plundering the timber at Ravensnest. Sussquesus escapes to summon Chainbearer, who comes to parley with Thousandacres. The Squatter demands that Dus marry his son, and when the indignant uncle refuses there is analtercation in which he is killed. Thousandacres is killed by a posse while resisting arrest, and members of the Littlepage family arrive in time to learn of the betrothal of Mordaunt and Dus.

The Redskins, or, Indian and Injin, novel by Cooper, published in 1846 as the third of the Littlepage Manuscripts, dealing with the Anti-Rent War.

Much of the land in New York state is held by absentee landlords, in the manner of feudal estates, and during the 1840s there is a popular anti-rent uprising. Bands of agitators, armed and disguised as "Injins," intimidate wealthy families and raid their property. Hugh Littlepage and his uncle Roger visit their estate, Ravensnest, to investigate the activities of the redskins. Hugh becomes engaged to Mary Warren, daughter of the local rector, although Seneca Newcombe, an unscrupulous lawyer, attempts to arrange a match between Hugh and his daughter Opportunity. Hugh and Roger have been disguised as German peddlers, but they reveal themselves to the family after they are recognized by the faithful old Indian Susquesus and the black servant Jaap. A band of anti-renters arrives in "Injin" disguise and is contrasted unfavorably with a group of Western Indians who come to confer with Susquesus. Hugh, aided by Mary and the real Indians, discovers and foils the arson plot of Newcombe and the anti-renters. The sheriff disperses the raiders, and, when Ravensnest is finally made safe again, Hugh and Mary are married.

The Oak Openings,
or, The Bee-Hunter, romance by Cooper, published in 1848.

In Michigan, at the opening of the War of 1812, the bee-hunter Benjamin Boden, called Le Bourdon ("The Drone"), is joined at his "Honey Castle") (Château au Miel) by the drunken settler Gershom Waring, and the Indians Elksfoot and Pigeonswing. He learns that the British have captured the fort at Mackinaw, and the Pigeonswing ia  U.S. army messenger, while Elksfoot is a British spy. On his way with Waring to the latter's home, Boden finds the corpse of Elksfoot, who has been scalped by Pigeonswing. At Waring's home, he meets the settler's wife and his attractive sister Margery, and wins their gratitude by destroying Waring's supply of liquor. Just before the arrival of a band of pro-British Potawatami, they abandon the cabin. After rescuiing Pigeonswing, they are joined by Parson Amen and the American corporal Flint, both bound for Mackinaw in the company of a renegade Indian, Onoah, or Scalping Pete. At Boden's 'Castle', they are surrounded by the Potstwatami, with whom Pete pretends to parley while actually plotting the massacre of the whites. He is friendly to Boden, however, and urges him to marry Margery, so that the two may escape. They do marry, and afterward Amen and Flint are killed, but, with the aid of Pigeonswing and the repentant Pete, the other whites escape.

Sir Walter Scott

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