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The Pioneers Or, The Sources of the Susquehanna by James Fenimore Cooper

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Or, The Sources of the Susquehanna

A Descriptive Tale



As this work professes, in its title-page, to 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 fact, and how much is intended to represent
a general picture. The author is very sensible that, had he confined
himself to the latter, always the most effective, as it is the most
valuable, mode of conveying knowledge of this nature, he would have
made a far better book. But in commencing to describe scenes, and
perhaps he may add characters, that 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
truth, an indispensable requisite in history and travels, destroys 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 principles, and of
characters in their classes, than by a too fastidious attention to

New York having but one county of Otsego, and the Susquehanna but one
proper source, there can be no mistake as to the site of the tale.
The history of this district of country, so far as it is connected
with civilized men, is soon told.

Otsego, in common with most of the interior of the province of New
York, was included in the county of Albany previously to the war of
the separation. It then became, in a subsequent division of
territory, a part of Montgomery; and finally, having obtained a
sufficient population of its own, it 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 York, and
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 outlet, Otsego Lake, being
the source of the Susquehanna, is of necessity among its highest
lands. The face of the country, the climate as it was found by the
whites, and the manners of the settlers, are 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 Ot, a place of meeting, and
Sego, or Sago, the 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
treaties, and otherwise to strengthen their alliances, and which
refers the name to this practice. As the Indian agent of New York had
a log dwelling at the foot of the lake, however, it is not impossible
that the appellation grew out of the meetings that were held at his
council fires; the war drove off the agent, in common with the other
officers of the crown; and his rude dwelling was soon abandoned. The
author remembers it, a few years later, reduced to the humble office
of a smoke-house.

In 1779 an expedition was sent against the hostile Indians, who dwelt
about a hundred miles west of Otsego, on the banks of the Cayuga. The
whole country was then a wilderness, and 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 Susquehanna, whence 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 lake, where they disembarked and encamped.
The Susquehanna, a narrow though rapid stream at its source, was 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 length, varying in breadth from half a mile to a mile and a
half. The water is of great depth, limpid, and supplied from a
thousand springs. At its foot the banks are rather less than thirty
feet high the remainder of its margin being in mountains, intervals,
and points. The outlet, or the Susquehanna, flows through a gorge in
the low banks just mentioned, which 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 embarked, the damn was knocked away, the
Otsego poured out its torrent, and the boats went merrily down with
the current.

General James Clinton, the brother of George Clinton, then governor of
New York, and the father of De Witt Clinton, who died governor of the
same State in 1827, commanded 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 beheld, as the smoke-
house was the first ruin! The swivel alluded to in this work was
buried and abandoned by the troops on this occasion, and it was
subsequently found in digging the cellars of the authors paternal

Soon after the close of the war, Washington, accompanied by many
distinguished men, visited the scene of this tale, it 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 father, who had an interest in extensive tracts
of land in this wilderness, arrived 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
century, when the proprietor of the estate had occasion for settlers
on a new settlement and in a remote county, he 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 author, it 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 Todd, who must then have been in the novitiate of his
experimental acquirements. Be that as it may, the author was brought
an infant into this valley, and all his first impressions were here
obtained. He has inhabited it ever since, at 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 region, and it is
pregnant with industry and enterprise. Its manufacturers are
prosperous, and 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 mistake, it 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 academy, and court-house, and jail, and
inn, and most similar things, are tolerably exact. They have all,
long since, given 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 bricks, and 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 literal, even to the
severed arm of Wolfe, and the urn which held the ashes of Queen Dido.*

* Though forests still crown the mountains of Otsego, the bear, the
wolf, and 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 creation, rendered probable by such auxiliaries as were necessary
to produce that effect. Had he drawn still more upon fancy, the
lovers of fiction would not have so much cause for their objections to
his work. Still, the picture would not have been in the least true
without some substitutes for most of the other personages. The great
proprietor resident on his lands, and giving his name to instead of
receiving it from his estates as in Europe, is common over the whole
of New York. The physician with his theory, rather obtained from than
corrected by experiments on the human constitution; the pious, self-
denying, laborious, and ill-paid missionary; the half-educated,
litigious, envious, and disreputable lawyer, with his counterpoise, a
brother of the profession, of better origin and of better character;
the shiftless, bargaining, discontented seller of his “betterments;”
the plausible carpenter, and most of the others, are more familiar to
all who have ever dwelt in a new country.

It may be well to say here, a little more explicitly, that there was
no real intention to describe with particular accuracy any real
characters in this book. It has been often said, and in published
statements, that the heroine of this book was drawn after the sister
of the writer, who 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 alike, personally, than Elizabeth
Temple and the sister of the author who met with the deplorable fate
mentioned. In a word, they were as unlike in this respect as in
history, character, and fortunes.

Circumstances rendered this sister singularly dear to the author.
After a lapse of half a century, he is writing this paragraph with a
pain that would induce him to cancel it, were 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 which, after this Introduction, will be obvious to
all, the 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 faults, some of which he has endeavored to
repair in this edition; but as he has—in intention, at least—done his
full share in amusing the world, he trusts to its good-nature for
overlooking this attempt to please himself.


“See, Winter comes, to rule the varied years,
Sullen and sad, with all his rising train;
Vapors, and clouds, and 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 dales, or, to speak
with greater deference to geographical definitions, of 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
until, uniting their streams, they 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
narrow, rich, and cultivated, with a stream uniformly winding through
each. Beautiful and thriving villages are found interspersed along
the margins of the small lakes, or situated at those points of the
streams which are favorable for manufacturing; and neat and
comfortable farms, with every indication of wealth about them, are
scattered profusely through the vales, and 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 people, and with that variety of
exterior and canonical government which flows from unfettered liberty
of conscience. In short, the whole district is hourly exhibiting how
much can be done, in even a rugged country and with a severe climate,
under the dominion of mild laws, and 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 tills, or perhaps of the son, who, born in the
land, piously wishes to linger around the grave of his father. Only
forty years * have passed since this territory was a wilderness.

* Our tale begins in 1793, about 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 1783, the enterprise of their citizens was directed to a
development of the natural ad vantages of their widely extended
dominions. Before the war of the Revolution, the inhabited parts of
the colony of New York were limited to less than a tenth of its
possessions, A narrow belt of country, extending for a short distance
on either side of the Hudson, with a similar occupation of fifty miles
on the banks of the Mohawk, together with the islands of Nassau and
Staten, and a few insulated settlements on chosen land along the
margins of streams, composed the country, which was then inhabited by
less than two hundred thousand souls. Within the short period we have
mentioned, the population has spread itself over five degrees of
latitude and seven of longitude, and has swelled to a million and a
half of inhabitants, who are maintained in abundance, and 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 sun, on a clear, cold 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 season, and
but two or three large clouds, whose color seemed brightened by the
light reflected from the mass of snow that covered the earth, floated
in a sky of the purest blue. The road wound along the brow of a
precipice, and on one side was upheld by a foundation of logs piled
one upon the other, while 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 logs, excavation, and every
thing that did not reach several feet above the earth lay alike buried
beneath the snow. A single track, barely wide enough to receive the
sleigh, * denoted the route of the highway, and 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 England, whence it is
most probably derived by the Americans. The latter draw a distinction
between a sled, or sledge, and a sleigh, the sleigh being shod with
metal. Sleighs are also subdivided into two - horse and one-horse
sleighs. Of the latter, there are the cutter, with 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 vale, which lay at a distance of several hundred feet lower,
there was what, in the language of the country, was 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 land, which lay on the summit of the mountain; but
the summit itself remained in the forest. There was glittering in the
atmosphere, as if it was filled with innumerable shining particles;
and the noble bay horses that drew the sleigh were covered, in many
parts with a coat of hoar-frost. The vapor from their nostrils was
seen to issue like smoke; and every object in the view, as well as
every arrangement of the travellers, denoted the depth of a winter in
the mountains. The harness, which was of a deep, dull black,
differing from the glossy varnishing of the present day, was
ornamented with enormous plates and buckles of brass, that shone like
gold in those transient beams of the sun which found their way
obliquely through the tops of the trees. Huge saddles, studded with
nails and fitted with cloth that served as blankets to the shoulders
of the cattle, supported four high, square-topped turrets, through
which the stout reins led from the mouths of the horses to the hands
of the driver, who was a negro, of apparently twenty years of age.
His face, which nature had colored with a glistening black, was now
mottled with the cold, and 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. Still, there was a smiling
expression of good-humor in his happy countenance, that was created by
the thoughts of home and a Christmas fireside, with its Christmas
frolics. The sleigh was one of those large, comfortable, old-
fashioned conveyances, which would admit a whole family within its
bosom, but which now contained only two passengers besides the driver.
The color of its outside was a modest green, and that of its inside a
fiery red, The 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 festoons, covered the back of the sleigh, and 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-coat, that was abundantly
ornamented by a profusion of furs, enveloped the whole of his figure
excepting the head, which was covered with a cap of mar ten-skins
lined with morocco, the sides of which were made to fall, if
necessary, and 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
materials, which fell back, not ungracefully, a few inches be hind the
head. From beneath this mask were to be seen part of a fine, manly
face, and particularly a pair of expressive large blue eyes, that
promised extraordinary intellect, covert humor, and 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 lining, that by its cut and size was
evidently intended for a masculine wearer. A huge hood of black silk,
that was quilted with down, concealed the whole of her head, except at
a small opening in front for breath, through 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,
when, four years before, she 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 dwelt, until the full period had expired to which he had
limited her juvenile labors. The reflections of the daughter were
less melancholy, and 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 feet, and which
frequently doubled that height by the addition of the tops. Through
the innumerable vistas that opened beneath the lofty trees, the eye
could penetrate until it was met by a distant inequality in the
ground, or 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 shafts, until, at a great height, their branches shot
forth horizontal limbs, that were covered with the meagre foliage of
an evergreen, affording 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 boughs, sending 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 surface, and
the gaze of the female was bent in inquisitive and, perhaps, timid
glances into the recesses of the forest, when a loud and continued
howling was heard, pealing 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 up, Aggy; there is old Hector; I should know his bay among ten
thousand! The Leather-Stocking has put his hounds into the hills this
clear day, and they have started their game. There is a deer-track a
few rods ahead; and now, Bess, if thou canst muster courage enough to
stand fire, I will give thee a saddle for thy Christmas dinner.”

The black drew up, with a cheerful grin upon his chilled features, and
began thrashing his arms together in order to restore the circulation
of his fingers, while the speaker stood erect and, throwing aside his
outer covering, stepped from the sleigh upon a bank of snow which
sustained his weight without yielding.

In a few moments the speaker succeeded in extricating a double-
barrelled fowling-piece from among a multitude of trunks and
bandboxes. After throwing aside the thick mittens which had encased
his hands, there now appeared a pair of leather gloves tipped with
fur; he examined his priming, and was about to move forward, when the
light bounding noise of an animal plunging through the woods was
heard, and a fine buck darted into the path a short distance ahead of
him. The appearance of the animal was sudden, and 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 and, with a practised eye and
steady hand, drew a trigger. The deer dashed forward undaunted, and
apparently unhurt. Without lowering his piece, the traveller turned
its muzzle toward his victim, and fired again. Neither discharge,
however, seemed 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 buck, as he
rather darted like a meteor than ran across the road, when a sharp,
quick sound struck her ear, quite different from the full, round
reports of her father’s gun, but still sufficiently distinct to be
known as the concussion produced by firearms. At the same instant
that she heard this unexpected report, the buck sprang from the snow
to a great height in the air, and directly a second discharge, similar
in sound to the first, followed, when 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 marksman, and a couple of men
instantly appeared from behind the trunks of two of the pines, where
they had evidently placed them selves in expectation of the passage of
the deer.

“Ha! Natty, had I known you were in ambush, I should not have fired,”
cried the traveller, moving toward the spot where the deer lay—near to
which he was followed by the delighted black, with his sleigh; “but
the sound of old Hector was too exhilarating to be quiet; though I
hardly think I struck him, either.”

“No—no——Judge,” returned the hunter, with an inward chuckle, and 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 buck, with Hector and the
slut open upon him within sound, with that pop-gun in your hand!
There’s plenty of pheasants among the swamps; and the snow-birds are
flying round your own door, where you may feed them with crumbs, and
shoot them at pleasure, any day; but if you’re for a buck, or a little
bear's meat, Judge, you’ll have to take the long rifle, with a greased
wadding, or you’ll waste more powder than you’ll fill stomachs, I’m

As the speaker concluded he drew his bare hand across the bottom of
his nose, and again opened his enormous mouth with a kind of inward

“The gun scatters well, Natty, And it has killed a deer before now,”
said the traveller, smiling good-humoredly. “One barrel was charged
with buckshot, but the other was loaded for birds only. Here are two
hurts; one through the neck, and the other directly through the heart.
It is by no means certain, Natty, but I gave him one of the two

“Let who will kill him.” said the hunter, rather surily.

“I suppose the creature is to be eaten.” So saying, he drew a large
knife from a leathern sheath, which was stuck through his girdle, or
sash, and cut the throat of the animal, “If there are two balls
through the deer, I would ask if there weren’t two rifles fired—
besides, who ever saw such a ragged hole from a smooth-bore as this
through the neck? And you will own yourself, Judge, that the buck fell
at the last shot, which was sent from a truer and a younger hand than
your’n or mine either; but, for my part, although I am a poor man I
can live without the venison, but I don’t love to give up my lawful
dues in a free country. Though, for the matter of that, might often
makes right here, as well as in the old country, for 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.

“Nay, Natty,” rejoined the traveller, with 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? Think, Natty, how I should triumph over that quizzing dog,
Dick Jones, who has failed seven times already this season, and has
only brought in one woodchuck and a few gray squirrels.”

“Ah! The game is becoming hard to find, indeed, Judge, with your
clearings and betterments,” said the old hunter, with 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 meat, if one wanted a ham or so, he had only to watch
a-nights, and he could shoot one by moonlight, through the cracks of
the logs, no fear of his oversleeping himself neither, for 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 spots, with
white belly and legs, that just then came in on the scent, accompanied
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 friend, and loves the hand that gives him bread,”

There was a peculiarity in the manner of the hunter that attracted the
notice of the young female, who had been a close and interested
observer of his appearance and equipments, from the moment he came
into view. He was tall, and 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 lank, sandy hair, he wore a cap made of
fox-skin, resembling 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 contrary, it had every indication of the most robust and
enduring health. The cold and exposure had, together, given it a
color of uniform red. His gray eyes were glancing under a pair of
shaggy brows, that over hung them in long hairs of gray mingled with
their natural hue; his scraggy neck was bare, and burnt to the same
tint with his face; though a small part of a shirt-collar, made of the
country check, was to be seen above the overdress he wore. A kind of
coat, made of dressed deer-skin, with the hair on, was belted close to
his lank body by a girdle of colored worsted. On his feet were deer-
skin moccasins, ornamented with porcupines’ quills, after the manner
of the Indians, and his limbs were guarded with long leggings of the
same material as the moccasins, which, gartering over the knees of his
tarnished buckskin breeches, had obtained for him among the settlers
the nickname of Leather-Stocking. Over his left shoulder was slung a
belt of deer-skin, from which depended an enormous ox-horn, so thinly
scraped as to discover the powder it contained. The larger end was
fitted ingeniously and securely with a wooden bottom, and the other
was stopped tight by a little plug. A leathern pouch hung before him,
from which, as he concluded his last speech, he took a small measure,
and, filling it accurately with powder, he commenced reloading the
rifle, which 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
movements, and now, without heeding the ill-humor of the hunter’s
manner, he exclaimed:

“I would fain establish a right, Natty, to 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,

“You may call it by what larned name you please, Judge,” said the
hunter, throwing his rifle across his left arm, and knocking up a
brass lid in the breech, from which he took a small piece of greased
leather and, wrapping a bail in it, forced them down by main strength
on the powder, where 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
mine, as I said before.”

“What say you, my friend,” cried the traveller, turning pleasantly to
Natty’s companion; “shall we toss up this dollar for the honor, and
you keep the silver if you lose; what say you, friend?”

“That I killed the deer,” answered the young man, with a little
haughtiness, as he leaned on another long rifle similar to that of

“Here are two to one, indeed,” replied the Judge with a smile; “I am
outvoted—overruled, as we say on the bench. There is Aggy, he can’t
vote, being 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 it, but I
make a good story about its death.”

“The meat is none of mine to sell,” said Leather-Stocking, adopting a
little of his companion’s hauteur; “for my part, I have known animals
travel days with shots in the neck, and I’m none of them who’ll rob a
man of his rightful dues.”

“You are tenacious of your rights, this cold evening, Natty,” returned
the Judge with unconquerable good-nature; “but what say you, young
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 fully, and with a
pronunciation and language vastly superior to his appearance: “with
how many shot did you load your gun?”

“With five, sir,” said the Judge, a 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 know, sir, you fired in this direction—here are four of
the bullets in the tree.”

The Judge examined the fresh marks in the bark of the pine, and,
shaking his head, said with a laugh:

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

“Here,” said the youth, throwing aside the rough over coat that he
wore, and exhibiting a hole in his under-garment, through which large
drops of blood were oozing.

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

“I thank you for your good intention, but 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 slight, and the bullet has missed
the bones; but I believe, sir, you will now admit me title to the

“Admit it!” repeated the agitated Judge; “I here give thee a right to
shoot deer, or bears, or anything thou pleasest in my woods, forever.
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—here, this bill will pay thee, both for thy shot and my

The old hunter gathered his tall person up into an air of pride during
this dialogue, but 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 all, though who ever
heard of a law that a man shouldn’t kill deer where he pleased!—but if
there is a law at all, it should be to keep people from the use of
smooth-bores. A body never knows where his lead will fly, when he
pulls the trigger of one of them uncertain firearms.”

Without attending to the soliloquy of Natty, the youth bowed his head
silently to the offer of the bank-note, and replied:

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

“But this will buy you many deer,” said the Judge; “take it, I entreat
you;” and, lowering his voice to a whisper, he added, “It is for a
hundred dollars.”

For an instant only the youth seemed to hesitate, and then, blushing
even through the high color that the cold had given to his cheeks, as
if with inward shame at his own weakness, he again declined the offer.

During this scene the female arose, and regardless of the cold air,
she threw back the hood which concealed her features, and now spoke,
with great earnestness.

“Surely, surely—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 us, and
receive medical aid.”

Whether his wound became more painful, or there was something
irresistible in the voice and manner of the fair pleader for her
father’s feelings, we know not; but the distance of the young mans
manner was sensibly softened by this appeal, and he stood in apparent
doubt, as if reluctant to comply with and yet unwilling to refuse her
request. The Judge, for such being his office must in future be his
title, watched with no little interest the display of this singular
contention in the feelings of the youth; and, advancing, kindly took
his hand, and, as he pulled him gently toward the sleigh, urged 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— come, come, my young friend,
go with us, and 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 it, thou shalt return home in the morning.”
The young man succeeded in extricating his hand from the warm grasp of
the Judge, but he continued to gaze on the face of the female, who,
regardless of the cold, was still standing with her fine features
exposed, which expressed feeling that eloquently seconded the request
of her father. Leather-Stocking stood, in the mean time, leaning upon
his long rifle, with his head turned a little to one side, as if
engaged in sagacious musing; when, having apparently satisfied his
doubts, by revolving the subject in his mind, he broke silence.
“It may be best to go, lad, after all; for, if the shot hangs under
the skin, my hand is getting too old to be cutting into human flesh,
as I once used to, Though some thirty years agone, in the old war,
when I was out under Sir William, I travelled seventy miles alone in
the howling wilderness, with a rifle bullet in my thigh, and then cut
it out with my own jack-knife. Old Indian John knows the time well.
I met him with a party of the Delawares, on 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 posteerum, saving the lady's presence, as he got up
from the ambushment, and 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 neck, and straightened his body, as he
opened his mouth, which exposed a single tusk of yellow bone, while
his eyes, his face, even his whole frame seemed to laugh, although no
sound was emitted except a kind of thick hissing, as he inhaled his
breath in quavers. “I had lost my bullet-mould in crossing the Oneida
outlet, and had to make shift with the buckshot; but the rifle was
true, and didn’t scatter like your two-legged thing there, Judge,
which don’t do, I find, to hunt in company with.”

Natty’s apology to the delicacy of the young lady was unnecessary,
for, while he was speaking, she 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 longer, the youth,
though still with an unaccountable reluctance, suffered himself to be
persuaded to enter the sleigh. The black, with 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.

“ No, no,” said the old roan, shaking his head; “I have work to do at
home this Christmas eve—drive on with the boy, and let your doctor
look to the shoulder; though if he will only cut out the shot, I have
yarbs that will heal the wound quicker than all his foreign
‘intments.” He turned, and was about to move off, when, suddenly
recollecting himself, he again faced the party, and added: “If you see
anything of Indian John, about the foot of the lake, you had better
take him with you, and let him lend the doctor a hand; for, old as he
is, he is curious at cuts and bruises, and it’s likelier than not
he’ll be in with brooms to sweep your Christmas ha’arths.”

“Stop, stop,” cried the youth, catching the arm of the black as he
prepared to urge his horses forward; “Natty—you need say nothing of
the shot, nor of where I am going—remember, Natty, as you love me.”
“Trust old Leather-Stocking,” returned the hunter significantly; “he
hasn’t lived fifty years in the wilderness, and not larnt from the
savages how to hold his tongue— trust to me, lad; and remember old
Indian John.”

“And, Natty,” said the youth eagerly, still holding the black by the
arm. “I will just get the shot extracted, and bring you up to-night a
quarter of the buck for the Christmas dinner.”

He was interrupted by the hunter, who held up his finger with an
expressive gesture for silence. He then moved softly along the margin
of the road, keeping his eyes steadfastly fixed on the branches of a
pine. When he had obtained such a position as he wished, he stopped,
and, cocking his rifle, threw one leg far behind him, and stretching
his left arm to its utmost extent along the barrel of his piece, he
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 rifle, and they soon discovered the object of Natty’s
aim. On a small dead branch of the pine, which, at the distance of
seventy feet from the ground, shot out horizontally, immediately
beneath the living members of the tree, sat a bird, that in the vulgar
language of the country was indiscriminately called a pheasant or a
partridge. In size, it was but little smaller than a common barn-yard
fowl. The baying of the dogs, and the conversation that had passed
near the root of the tree on which it was perched, had alarmed the
bird, which was now drawn up near the body of the pine, with a head
and neck so erect as to form nearly a straight line with its legs. As
soon as the rifle bore on the victim, Natty drew his trigger, and the
partridge fell from its height with a force that buried it in the

“Lie down, you old villain,” exclaimed Leather-Stocking, shaking his
ramrod at Hector as he bounded toward the foot of the tree, “ lie
down, I say.” The dog obeyed, and Natty proceeded with great rapidity,
though with the nicest accuracy, to reload his piece. When this was
ended, he took up his game, and, showing it to the party without a
head, he cried: “ Here is a tidbit for an old man’s Christmas—never
mind the venison, boy, and remember Indian John; his yarbs are better
than all the foreign ‘intments. Here, Judge,” 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
laughs, which partook so largely of exultation, mirth, and irony, and,
shaking his head, he turned, with his rifle at a trail, and moved into
the forest with steps that were between a walk and a trot. At each
movement he made his body lowered several inches, his knees yielding
with an inclination inward; but, as the sleigh turned at a bend in the
road, the youth cast his eyes in quest of his old companion, and he
saw that he was already nearly concealed by the trunks of the tree;
while his dogs were following quietly in his footsteps, occasionally
scenting the deer track, that 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.


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 had, about one hundred and twenty
years before the commencement of our tale, come to the colony of
Pennsylvania, a friend and co-religionist of its great patron. Old
Marmaduke, for this formidable prenomen was a kind of appellative to
the race, brought with him, to 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 territory, and 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 dependents, and
the nature of the public situations that he held. Taking this rule as
a guide, the ancestor of our Judge must have been a man of no little

It is, however, a subject of curious inquiry at the present day, to
look into the brief records of that early period, and observe how
regular, and with few exceptions how inevitable, were the gradations,
on the one hand, of the masters to poverty, and on the other, of their
servants to wealth. Accustomed to ease, and unequal to the struggles
incident to an infant society, the affluent emigrant was barely
enabled to maintain his own rank by the weight of his personal
superiority and acquirements; but, the moment that his head was laid
in the grave, his 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 things, even in the present state of the Union; but
it was peculiarly the fortunes of the two extremes of society, in 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 which, in this happy country, it is barely possible for honesty,
intellect and sobriety to fall. The same pride of family that had, by
its self-satisfied indolence, conduced to aid their fail, now became a
principle to stimulate them to endeavor to rise again. The feeling,
from being morbid, was changed to a healthful and active desire to
emulate the character, the condition, and, peradventure, the wealth of
their ancestors also. It was the father of our new acquaintance, the
Judge, who first began to reascend in the scale of society; and in
this undertaking he was not a little assisted by a marriage, which
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 him, young Marmaduke formed an intimacy with a youth whose
years were about equal to his own. This was a fortunate connection
for our Judge, and paved the way to most of his future elevation in

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 probation, and by
much more toilsome services, sixty years ago than at the present time.
Years were passed without murmuring, in the sub ordinate grades of the
service; and those soldiers who were stationed in the colonies felt,
when they obtained the command of a company, that 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 importance, but the real
estimation enjoyed by the hum blest representative of the crown, even
in that polar region of royal sunshine. Such, and at no very distant
period, was the respect paid to the military in these States, where
now, happily, no symbol of war is ever seen, unless at the free and
tearless voice of their people. When, therefore, the father of
Marmaduke’s friend, after forty years’ service, retired with the rank
of major, maintaining in his domestic establishment a comparative
splendor, he be came a man of the first consideration in his native
colony which was that of New York. He had served with fidelity and
courage, and having been, according to the custom of the provinces,
intrusted with commands much superior to those to which he was
entitled by rank, with reputation also. When Major Effingham yielded
to the claims of age, he retired with dignity, refusing his half-pay
or any other compensation for services that he felt he could no longer

The ministry proffered various civil offices which yielded not only
honor but profit; but he declined them all, with 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 munificence, that, however little it
accorded with prudence, was in perfect conformity with the simple
integrity of his own views.

The friend of Marmaduke was his only child; and to this son, on his
marriage with a lady to whom the father was particularly partial, the
Major gave a complete conveyance of his whole estate, consisting of
money in the funds, a town and country residence, sundry valuable
farms in the old parts of the colony, and 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 Effingham, in declining
the liberal offers of the British ministry, had subjected himself to
the suspicion of having attained his dotage, by all those who throng
the avenues to court patronage, even in the remotest corners of that
vast empire; but, when he thus voluntarily stripped himself of his
great personal wealth, the 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; and, if privacy was his object, the veteran had soon a free
indulgence of his wishes. Whatever views the world might entertain of
this act of the Major, to 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 improve, to a son, who was formed, both by nature and
education, to 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 actions, he was relieving himself of a
fatiguing burden: such, indeed, was the confidence existing between
them, that to neither did it seem anything more than removing money
from one pocket to another.

One of the first acts of the young man, on corning into possession of
his wealth, was to seek his early friend, with a view to offer any
assistance that it was now in his power to bestow.

The death of Marmaduke’s father, and the consequent division of his
small estate, rendered such an offer extremely acceptable to the young
Pennsylvanian; he felt his own powers, and saw, not only the
excellences, but the foibles in the character of his friend.
Effingham was by nature indolent, confiding, and at times impetuous
and indiscreet; but Marmaduke was uniformly equable, penetrating, and
full of activity and enterprise. To the latter therefore, the
assistance, or rather connection that was proffered to him, seemed to
produce a mutual advantage. It was cheerfully accepted, and the
arrangement of its conditions was easily completed. A mercantile
house was established in the metropolis of Pennsylvania, with the
avails of Mr. Effingham's personal property; all, or nearly all, of
which was put into the possession of Temple, who was the only
ostensible proprietor in the concern, while, in secret, the other was
entitled to an equal participation in the profits. This connection
was thus kept private for two reasons, one of which, in the freedom of
their inter course, was frankly avowed to Marmaduke, while the other
continued profoundly hid in the bosom of his friend, The last was
nothing more than pride. To the descend ant of a line of soldiers,
commerce, even in that indirect manner, seemed 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 occasion, while in command on the western frontier
of Pennsylvania against a league of the French and Indians, not only
his glory, but the safety of himself and his troops were jeoparded by
the peaceful policy of that colony. To the soldier, this 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 colonists, in withholding their succors, would only have a
tendency to expose his command, without preserving the peace. The
soldier succeeded, after a desperate conflict, in extricating himself,
with a handful of his men, from 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 placed, and 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 habits, both of mind and body, had 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
imbecility, He was also a little addicted to the expression of a
belief that, where there was so great an observance of the externals
of religion, there could not be much of the substance. It is not our
task to explain what is or what ought to be the substance of
Christianity, but merely to record in this place the opinions of Major

Knowing the sentiments of the father in relation to this people, it
was no wonder that the son hesitated to avow his connection with, nay,
even his dependence on the integrity of, a 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 belonged, and had, in this manner,
forfeited some of the privileges of his offspring. Still, as young
Marmaduke was educated in a colony and society where even the ordinary
intercourse between friends was tinctured with the aspect of this mild
religion, his habits and language were some what marked by its
peculiarities. His own marriage at a future day with a lady without
not only the pale, but the influence, of this sect of religionists,
had a tendency, it is true, to weaken his early impressions; still he
retained them in some degree to the hour of his death, and was
observed uniformly, when much interested or agitated, to speak in the
language of his youth. But this is anticipating our tale.

When Marmaduke first became the partner of young Effingham, he 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 connection, therefore, remained 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 mentioned, who 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 intercourse, as its
advantages became each hour more apparent to Mr. Effingham, when the
troubles that preceded the war of the Revolution extended themselves
to an alarming degree.

Educated in the most dependent loyalty, Mr. Effingham had, from the
commencement of the disputes between the colonists and the crown,
warmly maintained what he believed to be the just prerogatives of his
prince; while, on the other hand, the 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; for, if the son of
the loyal and gallant soldier bowed in implicit obedience to the will
of his sovereign, the 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: but, Latterly, the 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 colonies, or rather, as they quickly
declared themselves, THE STATES, became a scene of strife and
bloodshed for years.

A short time before the battle of Lexington, Mr. Effingham, already a
widower, transmitted to Marmaduke, for safe-keeping, all his valuable
effects and papers; and left the colony without his father. The war
had, however, scarcely commenced in earnest, when he reappeared in New
York, wearing the Livery of his king; and, in a short time, he took
the field at the head of a provincial corps. In the mean time
Marmaduke had completely committed himself in the cause, as it was
then called, of the rebel lion. Of course, all 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 forces, including the papers of his friend
also. There he continued serving his country during the struggle, in
various civil capacities, and always with dignity and usefulness.
While, however, he discharged his functions with credit and fidelity,
Marmaduke never seemed to lose sight of his own interests; for, when
the estates of the adherents of the crown fell under the hammer, by
the acts of confiscation, he appeared in New York, and became the
purchaser of extensive possessions at comparatively low prices.

It is true that Marmaduke, by thus purchasing estates that had been
wrested by violence from others, rendered himself obnoxious to the
censures of that Sect which, at the same time that it discards its
children from a full participation in the family union, seems ever
unwilling to abandon them entirely to the world. But either his
success, or the frequency of the transgression in others, soon wiped
off this slight stain from his character; and, although there were a
few who, dissatisfied with their own fortunes, or conscious of their
own demerits, would make dark hints concerning the sudden prosperity
of the unportioned Quaker, yet his services, and possibly his wealth,
soon drove the recollection of these vague conjectures from men’s
minds. When the war ended, and the independence of the States was
acknowledged, Mr. Temple turned his attention from the pursuit of
commerce, which was then fluctuating and uncertain, to the settlement
of those tracts of land which he had purchased. Aided by a good deal
of money, and directed by the suggestions of a strong and practical
reason, his 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 ratio, and 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 reader, and 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 county, Mr. Temple had, according to the
custom of the new settlements, been selected to fill its highest
judicial station. This might make a Templar smile; but in addition to
the apology of necessity, there is ever a dignity in talents and
experience that is commonly sufficient, in any station, for the
protection of its possessor; and Marmaduke, more fortunate in his
native clearness of mind than the judge of King Charles, not only
decided right, but was generally able to give a very good reason for
it. At all events, such was the universal practice of the country and
the times; and Judge Temple, so far from ranking among the lowest of
his judicial contemporaries in the courts of the new counties, felt
himself, and was unanimously acknowledged to be, among 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.


“All that thou see'st is Natures handiwork;
Those rocks that upward throw their mossy brawl
Like castled pinnacles of elder times;
These venerable stems, that slowly rock
Their towering branches in the wintry gale;
That field of frost, which 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 age, and rather above the middle height. Further observation
was prevented by the rough overcoat which was belted close to his form
by a worsted sash, much like the one worn by the old hunter. The eyes
of the Judge, after 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 youth, when he first entered
the sleigh, that had not only attracted the notice of Elizabeth, but
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 decided, and was rather passively suffering himself
to be conveyed to the village, the 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 silent, and apparently musing. The
Judge gazed at him for some time with earnestness, and then smiling,
as if at his own forgetfulness, he said:

“I believe, my young friend, that terror has driven you from my
recollection; your face is very familiar, and yet, for the honor of a
score of bucks’ tails in my cap, I 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 strange, such has been my affright, should I
see thee in thy winding-sheet walking by my bedside to-night. What
say’st thou, Bess? Am I compos mentis or not? Fit to charge a grand
jury, or, what is just now of more pressing necessity, able to do the
honors of Christmas eve in the hall of Templeton?”

“More able to do either, my 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 followed, and the same voice, but in a
different accent, continued. “We shall have good reasons for our
thanksgiving to night, on more accounts than one,”

The horses soon reached a point where they seemed to know by instinct
that the journey was nearly ended, and, bearing on the bits as they
tossed their heads, they rapidly drew the sleigh over the level land
which lay on the top of the mountain, and soon came to the point where
the road descended suddenly, but circuitously, into the valley.

The Judge was roused from his reflections, when he saw the four
columns of smoke which floated above his own chimneys. As house,
village, and valley burst on his sight, he exclaimed cheerfully to his

“See, Bess, there is thy resting-place for life! And thine too, young
man, if thou wilt consent to dwell with us.”

The eyes of his auditors involuntarily met; and, if the color that
gathered over the face of Elizabeth was contradicted by the cold
expression of her eye, the 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,
however, which 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 perpendicular, was so steep as to render great
care necessary in descending the rude and narrow path which, in that
early day, wound along the precipices. The negro reined in his
impatient steeds, and time was given Elizabeth to dwell on a scene
which was so rapidly altering under the hands of man, that 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 equality, and buried in mountains. The latter
were precipitous, especially on the side of the plain, and chiefly in
forest. Here and there the hills fell away in long, low points, and
broke the sameness of the outline, or setting to the long and wide
field of snow, which, without house, tree, fence, or any other
fixture, resembled so much spot less cloud settled to the earth. A
few dark and moving spots were, however, visible 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
plain, the mountains, though equally high, were less precipitous, and
as they receded opened into irregular valleys and glens, or 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 valley, yet the undulating outlines of
the distant mountains, covered with forests of beech and maple, gave a
relief to the eye, and the promise of a kinder soil. Occasionally
spots of white were discoverable amidst the forests of the opposite
hills, which announced, by the smoke that curled over the tops of the
trees, the habitations of man and the commencement of agriculture.
These spots were sometimes, by the aid of united labor, enlarged into
what were called settlements, but more frequently were small and
insulated; though so rapid were the changes, and so persevering the
labors of those who had cast their fortunes on the success of the
enterprise, that it was not difficult for the imagination of Elizabeth
to conceive they were enlarging under her eye while she was gazing, in
mute wonder, at the alterations that a few short years had made in the
aspect of the country. The points on the western side of this
remarkable plain, on which no plant had taken root, were both larger
and more numerous than those on its eastern, and 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
forward, as 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 trees, and threw its gnarled and fantastic arms
abroad, in the wildness of liberty. A dark spot of a few acres in
extent at the southern extremity of this beautiful flat, and
immediately under the feet of our travellers, alone showed by its
rippling surface, and the vapors which exhaled from it, that what at
first might seem a plain was one of the mountain lakes, locked in the
frosts of winter. A narrow current rushed impetuously from its bosom
at the open place we have mentioned, and was to be traced for miles,
as it wound its way toward the south through the real valley, by its
borders of hemlock and pine, and by the vapor which arose from its
warmer surface into the chill atmosphere of the hills. The banks of
this lovely basin, at its outlet, or southern end, were steep, but not
high; and in that direction the land continued, far as the eye could
reach, a narrow but graceful valley, along which the settlers had
scattered their humble habitations, with 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 foot, stood the village
of Templeton. It consisted of some fifty buildings, including those
of every description, chiefly built of wood, and which, in their
architecture, bore no great marks of taste, but which also, by the
unfinished appearance of most of the dwellings, indicated the hasty
manner of their construction, To the eye, they presented a variety of
colors. A few were white in both front and rear, but more bore that
expensive color on their fronts only, while 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 city, and 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 buildings, in addition to the uniformity of their
color, were fitted with green blinds, which, at that season at least,
were rather strangely contrasted to the chill aspect of the lake, the
mountains, the forests, and the wide fields of snow. Before the doors
of these pretending dwellings were placed a few saplings, either
without branches or possessing only the feeble shoots of one or two
summers’ growth, that looked not unlike tall grenadiers on post near
the threshold of princes. In truth, the occupants of these favored
habitations were the nobles of Templeton, as 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
Aesculapius, who, for a novelty, brought 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 Judge, towering 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 Indians, and began already to assume the moss and inclination
of age, therein 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 poplars, a 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 Jones, whom we have already mentioned, and who,
from his cleverness in small matters, and an entire willingness to
exert his talents, added to the circumstance of their being sisters’
children, ordinarily 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 discourse, viz., a firstly and a
lastly. He had commenced his labors, in the first year of their
residence, by erecting a tall, gaunt edifice of wood, with its gable
toward the highway. In this shelter for it was little more, the
family resided three years. By the end of that period, Richard had
completed his design. He had availed himself, in this heavy
undertaking, of the experience of a certain wandering eastern
mechanic, who, by exhibiting a few soiled plates of English
architecture, and talking learnedly of friezes, entablatures, and
particularly of the composite order, had 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 profession, being in
the constant habit of listening to his treatises on architecture with
a kind of indulgent smile; yet, either from an inability to oppose
them by anything plausible from his own stores of learning or from
secret admiration, Richard generally submitted to the arguments of his
co-adjutor. Together, they had not only erected a dwelling for
Marmaduke, but they had given a fashion to the architecture of the
whole county. The composite order, Mr. Doolittle would contend, was
an order composed of many others, and was intended to be the most
useful of all, for 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 neighborhood, are
of a mind, it is not uncommon to see them lead the fashion, even in
graver matters. In the present instance, as we have already hinted,
the castle, as Judge Templeton’s dwelling was termed in common
parlance, came to be the model, in some one or other of its numerous
excellences, for every aspiring edifice within twenty miles of it.

The house itself, or the “ lastly,” was of stone: large, square, and
far from uncomfortable. These were four requisites, on 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 workmen, which, in General, were employed
on a substance no harder than the white pine of the adjacent
mountains, a wood so proverbially soft that it is commonly chosen by
the hunters for pillows. But for this awkward dilemma, it 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 material, they took refuge in the
porch and on the roof. The former, it was decided, should be severely
classical, and the latter a rare specimen of the merits of the
Composite order.

A roof, Richard contended, was a part of the edifice that the ancients
always endeavored to conceal, it being an excrescence in architecture
that was only to be tolerated on account of its usefulness. Besides,
as he wittily added, a chief merit in a dwelling was to present a
front on whichever side it might happen to be seen; for, as it was
exposed to all eyes in all weathers, there should be no weak flank for
envy or unneighborly criticism to assail. It was therefore decided
that the roof should be flat, and with four faces. To this
arrangement, Marmaduke 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 compromise, and the rafters were lengthened, so as to give a
descent that should carry off the frozen element. But, unluckily,
some mistake was made in the admeasurement of these material parts of
the fabric; and, as 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. Then, indeed, it was soon seen that, in
defiance of all rule, the 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 paint, and four
different colors were laid on by his own hands. The first was a sky-
blue, 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 green, an experiment that did not
succeed against a background of sky. Abandoning the attempt to
conceal, our architects drew upon their invention for means to
ornament the offensive shingles.

After much deliberation and two or three essays by moonlight, Richard
ended the affair by boldly covering the whole beneath a color that he
christened “sunshine,” a cheap way, as he assured his cousin the
Judge, of always keeping fair weather over his head. The platform, as
well as the caves of the house, were surmounted by gaudily painted
railings, and the genius of Hiram was exerted in the fabrication of
divers urns and mouldings, that were scattered profusely around this
part of their labors. Richard had originally a cunning expedient, by
which the chimneys were intended to be so low, and so situated, as to
resemble ornaments on the balustrades; but comfort required that the
chimneys should rise with the roof, in order that the smoke might bc
carried off, and 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 engaged, his failure produced a correspondent
degree of mortification At first, he whispered among his acquaintances
that it proceeded from ignorance of the square rule on the part of
Hiram; but, as his eye became gradually accustomed to the object, he
grew better satisfied with his labors, and instead of apologizing for
the defects, he commenced praising thc beauties of the mansion-house;
he soon found hearers, and, as wealth and comfort are at all times
attractive, it was, as has been said, made a model for imitation on a
small scale. In less than two years from its erection, he had the
pleasure of standing on the elevated platform, and 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 contrived, by his own improvements, to give an air of
respectability and comfort to his place of residence. Still, there
was much of in congruity, even 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
dwelling, yet many a pile of snow betrayed the presence of the stump
of a pine; and even, in one or two instances, unsightly remnants of
trees that had been partly destroyed by fire were seen rearing their
black, glistening columns twenty or thirty feet above the pure white
of the snow, These, which in the language of the country are termed
stubs, abounded in the open fields adjacent to the village, and were
accompanied, occasionally, by the ruin of a pine or a hemlock that had
been stripped of its bark, and which waved in melancholy grandeur its
naked limbs to the blast, a skeleton of its former glory. But these
and many other unpleasant additions to the view were unseen by the
delighted Elizabeth, who, as the horses moved down the side of the
mountain, saw 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 surface, lengthening
in the setting sun; the dark ribbon of water that gushed from the
outlet and was winding its way toward the distant Chesapeake—the
altered, though still remembered, scenes 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 mountain, and
witness the glorious scenery of that beauteous valley, as it bursts
unexpectedly upon them, without a feeling of delight. The former cast
one admiring glance from north to south, and sank his face again
beneath the folds of his coat; while the latter contemplated, with
philanthropic pleasure, the prospect of affluence and comfort that was
expanding around him; the result of his own enterprise, and much of it
the fruits of his own industry.

The cheerful sound of sleigh-bells, however, attracted the attention
of the whole party, as they came jingling up the sides of the
mountain, at a rate that announced a powerful team and a hard driver.
The bushes which lined the highway interrupted the view, and the two
sleighs were close upon each other before either was seen.


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

A large lumber sleigh, drawn by four horses, was soon seen dashing
through the leafless bushes which fringed the road. The leaders were
of gray, and 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 placed, while the rapid movement of the equipage, in
defiance of the steep ascent, announced 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 desks, lashed firmly to the sides of the vehicle,
was seated a little man, enveloped in a great-coat fringed with fur,
in such a manner that no part of him was visible, except a face of an
unvarying red color. There was an habitual upward look about the head
of this gentleman, as if dissatisfied with its natural proximity to
the earth; and the expression of his countenance was that of busy
care, He was the charioteer, and he guided the mettled animals along
the precipice with a fearless eye and a steady hand, Immediately
behind him, with his face toward the other two, was a tall figure, to
whose appearance not even the duplicate overcoats which he wore, aided
by the corner of a horse-blanket, could give the appearance of
strength. His face was protruding from beneath a woollen night cap;
and, when he turned to the vehicle of Marmaduke as the sleighs
approached each other, it seemed formed by nature to cut the
atmosphere with the least possible resistance. The eyes alone
appeared to create any obstacle, for from either side of his forehead
their light-blue, glassy 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 solid, short, and
square figure. No part of his form was to be discovered through his
overdress, but 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 visage, and he,
well as the other two, wore marten-skin caps. The fourth was a meek-
looking, long-visaged man, without any other protection from the cold
than that which was furnished by a black surcoat, made with some
little formality, but which was rather threadbare and rusty. He wore
a hat of extremely decent proportions, though frequent brushing had
quite destroyed its nap. His face was pale, and withal a little
melancholy, or what might be termed of a studious complexion. The air
had given it, just now, a light and somewhat feverish flush, The
character of his whole appearance, especially contrasted to the air of
humor in his next companion, was that of habitual mental care. No
sooner had the two sleighs approached within speaking distance, than
the driver of this fantastic equipage shouted aloud

“Draw up in the quarry—draw up, thou king of the Greeks; draw into the
quarry, Agamemnon, or I shall never be able to pass you. Welcome
home, Cousin ‘Duke— welcome, welcome, black-eyed Bess. Thou seest,
Marina duke that I have taken the field with an assorted cargo, to 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 sermon, yet. Even all the horses would come—
by the-bye, Judge, I must sell the blacks for you immediately; they
interfere, and the nigh one is a bad goer in double harness. I can
get rid of them to—”

“Sell what thou wilt, Dickon,” interrupted the cheerful voice of the
Judge, “so that thou leavest me my daughter and my lands. And Fritz,
my old friend, this is a kind compliment, indeed, for seventy to pay
to five-and-forty. Monsieur Le Quoi, I am your servant. Mr. Grant,”
lifting his cap, “I feel indebted to your attention. Gentlemen, I
make you acquainted with my child. Yours are names with which she is
very familiar.”

“Velcome, velcome Tchooge,” said the elder of the party, with a strong
German accent. “Miss Petsy vill owe me a kiss.”

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

By this time the gentleman in the front seat, who had been addressed
as Monsieur Le Quoi, had arisen with some difficulty, owing to the
impediment of his overcoats, and steadying himself by placing one hand
on the stool of the charioteer, with the other he removed his cap, and
bowing politely to the Judge and profoundly to Elizabeth, he paid his

“Cover thy poll, Gaul, cover thy poll,” cried the driver, who was Mr.
Richard Jones; “cover thy poll, or the frost will pluck out the
remnant of thy locks. Had the hairs on the head of Absalom been as
scarce as thine, he might have been living to this day.” The jokes of
Richard never failed of exciting risibility, for he uniformly did
honor to his own wit; and he enjoyed a hearty laugh on the present
occasion, while Mr. Le Quoi resumed his seat with a polite
reciprocation in his mirth. The clergyman, for such was the office of
Mr. Grant, modestly, though quite affectionately, exchanged his
greetings with the travellers also, when Richard prepared to turn the
heads of his horses homeward.

It was in the quarry alone that he could effect this object, without
ascending to the summit of the mountain. A very considerable
excavation had been made in the side of the hill, at the point where
Richard had succeeded in stopping the sleighs, from which the stones
used for building in the village were ordinarily quarried, and in
which he now attempted to turn his team. Passing itself was a task of
difficulty, and frequently of danger, in 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 leaders, and
the Judge very earnestly seconded the measure with his advice.
Richard treated both proposals with great disdain.

“Why, and wherefore. Cousin ‘Duke?” he exclaimed, a little angrily;
“the horses are gentle as lambs. You know that I broke the leaders
myself, and the pole-horses are too near my whip to be restive. Here
is Mr. Le Quoi, now, who must know something about driving, because 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 him, as Richard turned his leaders into the quarry, with
a pair of eyes that stood out like those of lobsters. The German’s
muscles were unmoved, but his quick sight scanned each movement. Mr.
Grant placed his hands on the side of the sleigh, in preparation for a
spring, but moral timidity deterred him from taking the leap that
bodily apprehension strongly urged him to attempt.

Richard, by a sudden application of the whip, succeeded in forcing the
leaders into the snow-bank that covered the quarry; but the instant
that the impatient animals suffered by the crust, through which they
broke at each step, they positively refused to move an inch farther in
that direction. On the contrary, finding that the cries and blows of
their driver were redoubled at this juncture, the leaders backed upon
the pole-horses, who in their turn backed the sleigh. Only a single
log lay above the pile which upheld the road on the side toward the
valley, and this was now buried in the snow. The sleigh was easily
breed across so slight an impediment, and before Richard became
conscious of his danger one-half of the vehicle Was projected over a
precipice, which fell perpendicularly more than a hundred feet. The
Frenchman, who by his position had a full view of their threatened
flight, instinctively threw his body as far forward as possible, and

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

“Donner und blitzen, Richart!” exclaimed the veteran German, looking
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 prudent, good sir—be

“Get up, obstinate devils!” cried Richard, catching a bird’s-eye view
of his situation, and in his eagerness to move forward kicking the
stool on which he sat—” get up, I say—Cousin ‘Duke, I shall have to
sell the grays too; they are the worst broken horses—Mr. Le Quoi”
Richard was too much agitated to regard his pronunciation, of which he
was commonly a little vain: “Monsieur La Quoi, pray 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 shriek, and the black of Agamemnon’s face
changed to a muddy white.

At this critical moment, the young hunter, who during the salutations
of the parties had sat in rather sullen silence, sprang from the
sleigh of Marmaduke to the heads of the refractory leaders. The
horses, which were yet suffering under the injudicious and somewhat
random blows of Richard, were dancing up and down with that ominous
movement that threatens a sudden and uncontrollable start, still
pressing backward. The youth gave the leaders a powerful jerk, and
they plunged aside, and re-entered the road in the position in which
they were first halted. The sleigh was whirled from its dangerous
position, and upset, with the runners outward. The German and the
divine were thrown, rather unceremoniously, into the highway, but
without danger to their bones. Richard appeared in the air,
describing the segment of a circle, of which the reins were the radii,
and landed, at the distance of some fifteen feet, in that snow-bank
which the horses had dreaded, right end uppermost. Here, as he
instinctively grasped the reins, as drowning men seize at straws, he
admirably served the purpose of an anchor. The Frenchman, who was on
his legs, in the act of springing from the sleigh, took an aerial
flight also, much in the attitude which boys assume when they play
leap-frog, and, flying off in a tangent to the curvature of his
course, came into the snow-bank head foremost, w-here he remained,
exhibiting two lathy legs on high, like scarecrows waving in a corn-
field. Major Hartmann, whose self-possession had been admirably
preserved during the whole evolution, was the first of the party that
gained his feet and his voice.

“Ter deyvel, Richart!” he exclaimed in a voice half serious, half-
comical, “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
thrown, or was assumed, in humbling himself before the Power that he
reverenced, in thanksgiving at his escape. When he rose from his
knees, he began to gaze about him, with anxious looks, after the
welfare of his companions, while 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 eyes, he
saw that all was safe, and, with an air of great self-satisfaction, he
cried, “Well—that was neatly saved, anyhow!— it was a lucky thought in
me to hold on to the reins, or 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 flank, and
the sudden jerk I gave the rein, brought them round quite in rule, I
must own myself.” *

* The spectators, from immemorial usage, have 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 thyself, Dickon!” he said; ‘but for that
brave lad yonder, thou and thy horses, or rather mine, would 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 you, Mister Agamemnon, be pleas come down ici, and 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 depth, whence his
voice had sounded as from the tombs. The thoughts of Mr. Le Quoi,
immediately on Ms liberation, were not extremely collected; and, when
he reached the light, he threw his eyes upward, in order to examine
the distance he had fallen. His good-humor returned, however, with a
knowledge of his safety, though it was some little time before he
clearly comprehended the case.

“What, monsieur,” said Richard, who 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 God, I no fly down into the lake,” returned the Frenchman,
with a visage that was divided between pain, occasioned 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

“Ah! mon cher Mister Deeck, vat you do next? - dere be noting you no

“The next thing, I trust, will be to learn to drive,” said the Judge,
who bad busied himself in throwing the buck, together with several
other articles of baggage, from his own sleigh into the snow; “here
are seats for you all, gentlemen; the evening grows piercingly cold,
and the hour approaches for the service of Mr. Grant; we will leave
friend Jones to repair the damages, with the assistance of Agamemnon,
and hasten to a warm fire. Here, Dickon, are a few articles of Bess’
trumpery, that you can throw into your sleigh when ready; and there is
also a deer of my taking, that I will thank you to bring. Aggy!
remember that there will be a visit from Santa Claus * to-night.”

* The periodical visits of St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus, as he is
termed, were never forgotten among the inhabitants of New York, until
the emigration from New England brought in the opinions and usages of
the Puritans, like the “bon homme de Noel.” he arrives at each

The black grinned, conscious of the bribe that was offered him for
silence on the subject of the deer, while Richard, without in the
least waiting for the termination of his cousin’s speech, began his

“Learn to drive, sayest thou, Cousin ‘Duke? Is there a man in the
county who knows more of horse-flesh than myself? Who broke in the
filly, that no one else dare mount, though 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 liar, that John—what’s that, a buck?”
Richard abandoned the horses, and ran to the spot where Marmaduke had
thrown the deer, “It is a buck! I am amazed! Yes, here are two holes
in him, he has fired both barrels, and hit him each time, Egod! how
Marmaduke will brag! he is a prodigious bragger about any small matter
like this now; well, to think that ‘Duke has killed a buck before
Christmas! There will be no such thing as living with him—they are
both bad shots though, mere chance—mere chance—now, I 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 bear, or a wild-cat, a man might have wanted
both barrels. Here! you Aggy! how far off was the Judge when this
buck was shot?”

“Oh! massa Richard, maybe a ten rod,” cried the black, bending under
one of the horses, with the pretence of fastening a buckle, but in
reality to conceal the grin that opened a mouth from ear to ear.

“Ten rod!” echoed the other; “way, Aggy, the 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: besides, you may remember, Aggy,
I only fired once.”

“Yes, massa Richard, I ‘member ‘em! Natty Bumppo fire t’oder gun. You
know, sir, all ‘e folks say Natty kill him.”

“The folks lie, you black devil!” exclaimed Richard in great heat. “I
have not shot even a gray squirrel these four years, to which that old
rascal has not laid claim, or some one else [or him. This is a damned
envious world that we live in—people are always for dividing the
credit at a thing, in 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 essentially, as to all points of genius, my own.”

* The grants of land, made either by the crown or the state, were but
letters patent under the great seal, and the term “patent” is usually
applied to any district of extent thus conceded; though under the
crown’, manorial rights being often granted with the soil, in the
older counties the word “manor” is frequently used. There are many
manors in New York though all political and judicial rights have

“I don't know where he come from,” said the black, losing every mark
of humor in an expression of admiration, “but eb’rybody say, he
wounerful handsome.”

“And well they may say so, Aggy,” cried Richard, leaving 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 say, without bragging, that 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 say, they
are such unconscionable braggers. Just as you have got a thing done,
if they see it likely to be successful, they are always for
interfering; and then it’s tea to one but they lay claim to half, or
even all of the credit. You may remember, Aggy, when I painted the
sign of the bold dragoon for Captain Hollister there was that fellow,
who was about town laying brick-dust on the houses, came one day and
offered to mix what I call the streaky black, for the tail and mane;
and then, because it looks like horse-hair, he tells everybody that
the sign was painted by himself and Squire Jones. If Marmaduke don’t
send that fellow off the Patent, he may ornament his village with his
own hands for me,” Here Richard paused a moment, and cleared his
throat by a loud hem, while the negro, who was all this time busily
engaged in preparing the sleigh, proceeded with his work in respectful
silence. Owing to the religious scruples of the Judge, Aggy was the
servant of Richard, who had his services for a time,* and who, of
course, commanded 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 favor, then grew up a custom of
buying the services of a slave, for six or eight years, with a
condition to liberate him at the end of the period. Then the law
provided that all born after a certain day should be free, the 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 eighteen, and, finally, the few that
remained were all unconditionally liberated in 1826, or after the
publication of this tale. It was quite usual for men more or less
connected with the Quakers, who never held slaves to adopt the first

In the mean while, Richard continued watching the negro as he fastened
buckle after buckle, until, stealing a look of consciousness toward
the other, he continued: “Now, if that young man who was in your
sleigh is a real Connecticut settler, he will be telling everybody how
he saved my horses, when, if he had let them alone for half a minute
longer, I would have brought them in much better, without upsetting,
with the whip amid rein—it spoils a horse to give him his heal, I
should not wonder if I had to sell the whole team, just 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 lad, Aggy—I don’t remember to have seen him before?”

The black recollected the hint about Santa Claus; and, while he
briefly explained how they had taken up the person in question on the
top of the mountain, he forbore to add anything concerning the
accident or the wound, only 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 snow, that
Richard was perfectly satisfied with this explanation. He heard Aggy
with great attention, and then remarked: “Well, if the lad has not
been spoiled by the people in Templeton he may be a modest young man,
and, as he certainly meant well, I shall take some notice of him—
perhaps he is land-hunting—I say, Aggy, maybe he is out hunting?”

“Eh! yes, massa Richard,” said the black, a little confused; for, as
Richard did all the flogging, he stood in great terror of his master,
in the main—” Yes, sir, I b’lieve he be.”

“Had he a pack and an axe?”

“No, sir, only he rifle.”

“Rifle!” exclaimed Richard, observing the confusion of The negro,
which now amounted to terror. “By Jove, he killed the deer! I knew
that Marmaduke couldn’t kill a buck on the jump—how was it, Aggy? Tell
me all about it, and I’ll roast ‘Duke quicker than he can roast his
saddle—how was it, Aggy? the lad shot the buck, and the Judge bought
it, ha! 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 vanished, and he remembered the
stocking of Santa Claus. After a gulp or two, he made out to reply;

“You forgit a two shot, sir?”

“Don’t lie, you black rascal!” cried Richard, stepping on the snow-
bank to measure the distance from his lash to the negro’s back; “speak
truth, or I trounce you.” While speaking, the stock was slowly rising
in Richard’s right hand, and the lash drawing through his left, in the
scientific manner with which drummers apply the cat; and Agamemnon,
after turning each side of himself toward his master, and finding both
equally unwilling to remain there, fairly gave in. In a very few
words he made his master acquainted with the truth, at the same time
earnestly conjuring Richard to protect him from the displeasure of thc
lodge I’ll do it, boy, I’ll do it,” cried the other, rubbing his hands
with delight; “say nothing, but leave me to manage ‘Duke. I have a
great mind to leave the deer on the hill, and to make the fellow send
for his own carcass; but no, I will let Marmaduke tell a few bounces
about it before I come out upon him. Come, hurry in, Aggy, I must
help to dress the lad’s wound; this Yankee* doctor knows nothing of
surgery—I had to hold out Milligan’s leg for him, while 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
province, the term of course was not known there, and Farther south
different dialects among the natives themselves probably produced a
different pronunciation Marmaduke and his cousin, being Pennsylvanians
by birth, were not Yankees in the American sense of the word.

Richard was now seated on the stool again, and, the black taking the
hind seat, the steeds were put in motion toward home, As they dashed
down the hill on a fast trot, the driver occasionally turned his face
to Aggy, and continued speaking; for, notwithstanding their recent
rupture, the most perfect cordiality was again existing between them,
“This goes to prove that I turned the horses with the reins, for 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
bite, you villain? —hip, boys, hip! Old Natty, too, that is the best
of it!—Well, well—’Duke will say no more about my deer—and the Judge
fired both barrels, and 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
ringing, and his tongue going, until they entered the village, when
the whole attention of the driver was devoted to a display of his
horsemanship, to the admiration of all the gaping women and children
who thronged the windows to witness the arrival of their landlord and
his daughter.


“Nathaniel’s coat, sir, was 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 fine, but Adam, Ralph, and Gregory.”—Shakespeare.

After winding along the side of the mountain, the road, on reaching
the gentle declivity which lay at the base of the hill, turned at a
right angle to its former course, and 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 manifested, by its rude construction and the unnecessary size of
its framework, both the value of Labor and the abundance of materials.
This little torrent, whose dark waters gushed over the limestones that
lined its bottom, was 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 risen, and Elizabeth found herself at once amidst the
incongruous dwellings of the village. The street was of the ordinary
width, notwithstanding the eye might embrace, in one view, thousands
and tens of thousands of acres, that were yet tenanted only by the
beasts of the forest. But such had been the will of her father, and
such had also met the wishes of his followers. To them the road that
made the most rapid approaches to the condition of the old, or, as
they expressed it, the down countries, was the most pleasant; and
surely nothing could look more like civilization than a city, even if
it lay in a wilderness! The width of the street, for 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 logs, that were daily increasing rather than diminishing in
size, notwithstanding the enormous fires that might be seen through
every window.

The last object at which Elizabeth gazed when they renewed their
journey, after their encountre with Richard, was the sun, as it
expanded in the refraction of the horizon, and over whose disk the
dark umbrage of a pine was stealing, while it slowly sank behind the
western hills. But his setting rays darted along the openings of the
mountain he was on, and 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 forest, and the rocks, too smooth and too perpendicular
to retain the snow that had fallen, brightened, as 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 range, it is true, the light still lingered,
receding step by step from the earth into the clouds that were
gathering with the evening mist, about the limited horizon, but the
frozen lake lay without a shadow on its bosom; the dwellings were
becoming already gloomy and indistinct, and the wood-cutters were
shouldering their axes and preparing to enjoy, throughout the long
evening before them, the comforts of those exhilarating fires that
their labor had been supplying with fuel. They paused only to gaze at
the passing sleighs, to lift their caps to Marmaduke, to exchange
familiar nods with Richard, and each disappeared in his dwelling. The
paper curtains dropped behind our travellers in every window, shutting
from the air even the firelight of the cheerful apartments, and when
the horses of her father turned with a rapid whirl into the open gate
of the mansion-house, and nothing stood before her but the cold dreary
stone walls of the building, as she approached them through an avenue
of young and leafless poplars, Elizabeth 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
bells, but the equipage of Mr. Jones came dashing through the gate
after them, sending its jingling sounds through every cranny of the
building, and in a moment the dwelling was in an uproar.

On a stone platform, of rather small proportions, considering the size
of the building, Richard and Hiram had, conjointly, reared four little
columns of wood, which 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 plain, covered entrance. The ascent to the platform
was by five or six stone steps, somewhat hastily laid together, and
which the frost had already begun to move from their symmetrical
positions, But the evils of a cold climate and a superficial
construction did not end here. As the steps lowered the platform
necessarily fell also, and the foundations actually left the super
structure suspended in the air, leaving 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
carpenter, who did the manual part of the labor, had fastened the
canopy of this classic entrance so firmly to the side of the house
that, when the base deserted the superstructure in the manner we have
described, and the pillars, for the want of a foundation, were no
longer of service to support the roof, the roof was able to uphold the
pillars. Here was, indeed, an unfortunate gap left in the ornamental
part of Richard’s column; but, like the window in Aladdin’s palace, it
seemed only left in order to prove the fertility of its master’s
resources. The composite order again offered its advantages, and a
second edition of the base was given, as the booksellers say, with
additions and improvements. It was necessarily larger, and it was
properly ornamented with mouldings; still the steps continued to
yield, and, at the moment when Elizabeth returned to her father’s
door, a few rough wedges were driven under the pillars to keep them
steady, and 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 domestics, and one male. The latter was bareheaded, but
evidently more dressed than usual, and on the whole was of so singular
a formation and attire as to deserve a more minute description. He
was about five feet in height, of a square and athletic frame, with 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 assuming, for no apparent reason, unless it might be to give
greater freedom to his arms, in a particularly sweeping swing, that
they constantly practised when their master was in motion. His face
was long, of a fair complexion, burnt to a fiery red; with a snub
nose, cocked into an inveterate pug; a mouth of enormous dimensions,
filled with fine teeth; and a pair of blue eyes, that seemed to look
about them on surrounding objects with habitual contempt. His head
composed full one-fourth of his whole length, and the cue that

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