Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

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

Part 9 out of 10

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.9 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

for life!”

The place of the interview between Miss Temple and the Indian has
already been described as one of those plat forms of rock, which form
a sort of terrace in the mountains of that country, and the face of
it, we have said, was both high and perpendicular. Its shape was
nearly a natural arc, the ends of which blended with the mountain, at
points where its sides were less abrupt in their descent. It was
round one of these terminations of the sweep of the rock that Edwards
had ascended, and it was toward the same place that he urged Elizabeth
to a desperate exertion of speed.

Immense clouds of white smoke had been pouring over the summit of the
mountain, and had concealed the approach and ravages of the element;
but a crackling sound drew the eyes of Miss Temple, as she flew over
the ground supported by the young man, toward the outline of smoke
where she already perceived the waving flames shooting forward from
the vapor, now flaring high in the air, and then bending to the earth,
seeming to light into combustion every stick and shrub on which they
breathed. The sight aroused them to redoubled efforts; but,
unfortunately, a collection of the tops of trees, old and dried, lay
directly across their course; and at the very moment when both had
thought their safety insured, the warm current of the air swept a
forked tongue of flame across the pile, which lighted at the touch;
and when they reached the spot, the flying pair were opposed by the
surly roaring of a body of fire, as if a furnace were glowing in their
path. They recoiled from the heat, and stood on a point of the rock,
gazing in a stupor at the flames which were spreading rap idly down
the mountain, whose side, too, became a sheet of living fire. It was
dangerous for one clad in the light and airy dress of Elizabeth to
approach even the vicinity of the raging element; and those flowing
robes, that gave such softness and grace to her form, seemed now to be
formed for the instruments of her destruction.

The villagers were accustomed to resort to that hill, in quest of
timber and fuel; in procuring which, it was their usage to take only
the bodies of the trees, leaving the tops and branches to decay under
the operations of the weather. Much of the hill was, consequently,
covered with such light fuel, which, having been scorched under the
sun for the last two months, was ignited with a touch. Indeed, in
some cases, there did not appear to be any contact between the fire
and these piles, but the flames seemed to dart from heap to heap, as
the fabulous fire of the temple is represented to reillumine its
neglected lamp.

There was beauty as well as terror in the sight, and Edwards and
Elizabeth stood viewing the progress of the desolation, with a strange
mixture of horror and interest. The former, however, shortly roused
himself to new exertions, and, drawing his companion after him, they
skirted the edge of the smoke, the young man penetrating frequently
into its dense volumes in search of a passage, but in every instance
without success. In this manner they proceeded in a semicircle around
the upper part of the terrace, until arriving at the verge of the
precipice opposite to the point where Edwards had ascended, the horrid
conviction burst on both, at the same instant, that they were
completely encircled by fire. So long as a single pass up or down the
mountain was unexplored, there was hope: but when retreat seemed to be
absolutely impracticable, the horror of their situation broke upon
Elizabeth as powerfully as if she had hitherto considered the danger

“This mountain is doomed to be fatal to me!” she whispered;” we shall
find our graves on it!”

“Say not so, Miss Temple; there is yet hope,” returned the youth, in
the same tone, while the vacant expression of his eye contradicted his
words; “let us return to the point of the rock—there is—there must be—
some place about it where we can descend.

“Lead me there,” exclaimed Elizabeth; “let us leave no effort
untried.” She did not wait for his compliance, but turning, retraced
her steps to the brow of the precipice, murmuring to herself, in
suppressed, hysterical sobs, My father! my poor, my distracted

Edwards was by her side in an instant, and with aching eyes he
examined every fissure in the crags in quest of some opening that
might offer facilities for flight. But the smooth, even surface of
the rocks afforded hardly a resting-place for a foot, much less those
continued projections which would have been necessary for a descent of
nearly a hundred feet. Edwards was not slow in feeling the conviction
that this hope was also futile, and, with a kind of feverish despair
that still urged him to action, he turned to some new expedient.

“There is nothing left, Miss Temple,” he said, “but to lower you from
this place to the rock beneath. If Natty were here, or even that
Indian could be roused, their ingenuity and long practice would easily
devise methods to do it; but I am a child at this moment in everything
but daring. Where shall I find means? This dress of mine is so light,
and there is so little of it—then the blanket of Mohegan; we must try—
we must try—anything is better than to see you a victim to such a

“And what will become of you?” said Elizabeth. “In deed, indeed,
neither you nor John must be sacrificed to my safety.”

He heard her not, for he was already by the side of Mohegan, who
yielded his blanket without a question, retaining his seat with Indian
dignity and composure, though his own situation was even more critical
than that of the others. The blanket was cut into shreds, and the
fragments fastened together: the loose linen jacket of the youth and
the light muslin shawl of Elizabeth were attached to them, and the
whole thrown over the rocks with the rapidity of lightning; but the
united Pieces did not reach half-way to the bottom.

“It will not do—it will not do!” cried Elizabeth; “ for me there is no
hope! The fire comes slowly, but certainly. See, it destroys the very
earth before it!”

Had the flames spread on that rock with half the quick ness with which
they leaped from bush to tree in other parts of the mountain, our
painful task would have soon ended; for they would have consumed
already the captives they inclosed. But the peculiarity of their
situation afforded Elizabeth and her companion the respite of which
they had availed themselves to make the efforts we have recorded.

The thin covering of earth on the rock supported but a scanty and
faded herbage, and most of the trees that had found root in the
fissures had already died, during the in tense heats of preceding
summers. Those which still retained the appearance of life bore a few
dry and withered leaves, while the others were merely the wrecks of
pines, oaks, and maples. No better materials to feed the fire could
be found, had there been a communication with the flames; but the
ground was destitute of the brush that led the destructive element,
like a torrent, over the remainder of the hill. As auxiliary to this
scarcity of fuel, one of the large springs which abound in that
country gushed out of the side of the ascent above, and, after
creeping sluggishly along the level land, saturating the mossy
covering of the rock with moisture, it swept around the base of the
little cone that formed the pinnacle of the mountain, and, entering
the canopy of smoke near one of the terminations of the terrace, found
its way to the lake, not by dashing from rock to rock, but by the
secret channels of the earth. It would rise to the surface, here and
there, in the wet seasons, but in the droughts of summer it was to be
traced only by the bogs and moss that announced the proximity of
water. When the fire reached this barrier, it was compelled to pause,
until a concentration of its heat could overcome the moisture, like an
army awaiting the operations of a battering train, to open its way to

That fatal moment seemed now to have arrived, for the hissing steams
of the spring appeared to be nearly exhausted, and the moss of the
rocks was already curling under the intense heat, while fragments of
bark, that yet clung to the dead trees, began to separate from their
trunks, and fall to the ground in crumbling masses. The air seemed
quivering with rays of heat, which might be seen playing along the
parched stems of the trees. There were moments when dark clouds of
smoke would sweep along the little terrace; and, as the eye lost its
power, the other senses contributed to give effect to the fearful
horror of the scene. At such moments, the roaring of the flames, the
crackling of the furious element, with the tearing of falling
branches, and occasionally the thundering echoes of some falling tree,
united to alarm the victims. Of the three, however, the youth
appeared much the most agitated. Elizabeth, having relinquished
entirely the idea of escape, was fast obtaining that resigned
composure with which the most delicate of her sex are sometimes known
to meet unavoidable evils; while Mohegan, who was much nearer to the
danger, maintained his seat with the invincible resignation of an
Indian warrior. Once or twice the eye of the aged chief, which was
ordinarily fixed in the direction of the distant hills, turned toward
the young pair, who seemed doomed to so early a death, with a slight
indication of pity crossing his composed features, but it would
immediately revert again to its former gaze, as if already looking
into the womb of futurity. Much of the time he was chanting a kind of
low dirge in the Delaware tongue, using the deep and remarkable
guttural tones of his people.

“At such a moment, Mr. Edwards, all earthly distinctions end,”
whispered Elizabeth; “persuade John to move nearer to us—let us die

“I cannot—he will not stir,” returned the youth, in the same horridly
still tones. “ He considers this as the happiest moment of his life,
he is past seventy, and has been decaying rapidly for some time; he
received some injury in chasing that unlucky deer, too, on the lake,
Oh! Miss Temple, that was an unlucky chase, indeed! it has led, I
fear, to this awful scene.”

The smile of Elizabeth was celestial. “Why name such a trifle now?—at
this moment the heart is dead to all earthly emotions!”

“If anything could reconcile a man to this death,” cried the youth,
“it would be to meet it in such company!”

“Talk not so, Edwards; talk not so,” interrupted Miss Temple. “I am
unworthy of it, and it is unjust to your self. We must die; yes—yes—
we must die—it is the will of God, and let us endeavor to submit like
his own children.”

“Die!” the youth rather shrieked than exclaimed, “no —no—no—there must
yet be hope—you, at least, must-not, shall not die.”

“In what way can we escape?” asked Elizabeth, pointing with a look of
heavenly composure toward the fire “Observe! the flame is crossing the
barrier of wet ground—it comes slowly, Edwards, but surely. Ah! see!
the tree! the tree is already lighted!”

Her words were too true. The heat of the conflagration had at length
overcome the resistance of the spring, and the fire was slowly
stealing along the half-dried moss; while a dead pine kindled with the
touch of a forked flame, that, for a moment, wreathed around the stem
of the tree, as it whined, in one of its evolutions, under the
influence of the air. The effect was instantaneous, The flames danced
along the parched trunk of the pine like lightning quivering on a
chain, and immediately a column of living fire was raging on the
terrace. It soon spread from tree to tree, and the scene was
evidently drawing to a close. The log on which Mohegan was seated
lighted at its further end, and the Indian appeared to be surrounded
by fire. Still he was unmoved. As his body was unprotected, his
sufferings must have been great; but his fortitude was superior to
all. His voice could yet be heard even in the midst of these horrors.
Elizabeth turned her head from the sight, and faced the valley Furious
eddies of wind were created by the heat, and, just at the moment, the
canopy of fiery smoke that overhung the valley was cleared away,
leaving a distinct view of the peaceful village beneath them,
My father!—--my lather!” shrieked Elizabeth “Oh! this—surely might
have been spared me—but I submit.”

The distance was not so great but the figure of Judge Temple could be
seen, standing in his own grounds, and apparently contemplating, in
perfect unconsciousness of the danger of his child, the mountain in
flames. This sight was still more painful than the approaching
danger; and Elizabeth again faced the hill.

“My intemperate warmth has done this!” cried Edwards, in the accents
of despair. “If I had possessed but a moiety of your heavenly
resignation, Miss Temple, all might yet have been well.”

“Name it not—name it not,” she said. “It is now of no avail. We must
die, Edwards, we must die—let us do so as Christians. But—no—you may
yet escape, perhaps. Your dress is not so fatal as mine. Fly! Leave
me, An opening may yet be found for you, possibly—certainly it is
worth the effort. Fly! leave me—but stay! You will see my father! my
poor, my bereaved father! Say to him, then, Edwards, say to him, all
that can appease his anguish. Tell him that I died happy and
collected; that I have gone to my beloved mother; that the hours of
this life are nothing when balanced in the scales of eternity. Say
how we shall meet again. And say,” she continued, dropping her voice,
that had risen with her feelings, as if conscious of her worldly
weakness, “how clear, how very dear, was my love for him; that it was
near, too near, to my love for God.”

The youth listened to her touching accents, but moved not. In a
moment he found utterance, and replied:

“And is it me that you command to leave you! to leave you on the edge
of the grave? Oh! Miss Temple, how little have you known me!” he
cried, dropping on his knees at her feet, and gathering her flowing
robe in his arms as if to shield her from the flames. “I have been
driven to the woods in despair, but your society has tamed the lion
within me. If I have wasted my time in degradation, ‘twas you that
charmed me to it. If I have forgotten my name and family, your form
supplied the place of memory. If I have forgotten my wrongs, ‘twas
you that taught me charity. No—no—dearest Elizabeth, I may die with
you, but I can never leave you!”

Elizabeth moved not, nor answered. It was plain that her thoughts had
been raised from the earth, The recollection of her father, and her
regrets at their separation, had been mellowed by a holy sentiment,
that lifted her above the level of earthly things, and she was fast
losing the weakness of her sex in the near view of eternity. But as
she listened to these words she became once more woman. She struggled
against these feelings, and smiled, as she thought she was shaking off
the last lingering feeling of nature, when the world, and all its
seductions, rushed again to her heart, with the sounds of a human,
voice, crying in piercing tones:

“Gal! where he ye, gal! gladden the heart of an old man, if ye yet
belong to ‘arth!”

“Hist!” said Elizabeth; “ ‘tis the Leather-Stocking; he seeks me!”

“Tis Natty!” shouted Edwards, “and we may yet be saved!”

A wide and circling flame glared on their eyes for a moment, even
above the fire of the woods, and a loud report followed.

“'Tis the canister, ‘tis the powder,” cried the same voice, evidently
approaching them. “ ‘Tis the canister, and the precious child is

At the next instant Natty rushed through the steams of the spring, and
appeared on the terrace, without his deerskin cap, his hair burnt to
his head, his shirt, of country check, black and filled with holes,
and his red features of a deeper color than ever, by the heat he had


“Even from the land of shadows, now
My father’s awful ghost appears.”—Gertrude Of Wyoming.

For an hour after Louisa Grant was left by Miss Temple, in the
situation already mentioned, she continued in feverish anxiety,
awaiting the return of her friend. But as the time passed by without
the reappearance of Elizabeth, the terror of Louisa gradually
increased, until her alarmed fancy had conjured every species of
danger that appertained to the woods, excepting the one that really
existed. The heavens had become obscured by degrees, and vast volumes
of smoke were pouring over the valley; but the thoughts of Louisa were
still recurring to beasts, without dreaming of the real cause for
apprehension. She was stationed in the edge of the low pines and
chestnuts that succeed the first or large growth of the forest, and
directly above the angle where the highway turned from the straight
course to the village, and ascended the mountain laterally.
Consequently, she commanded a view, not only of the valley, but of the
road beneath her. The few travellers that passed, she observed, were
engaged in earnest conversation, and frequently raised their eyes to
the hill, and at length she saw the people leaving the court house,
and gazing upward also. While under the influence of the alarm
excited by such unusual movements, reluctant to go, and yet fearful to
remain, Louisa was startled by the low, cracking, but cautious treads
of some one approaching through the bushes. She was on the eve of
flight, when Natty emerged from the cover, and stood at her side. The
old man laughed as he shook her kindly by a hand that was passive with

“I am glad to meet you here, child,” he said; “for the back of the
mountain is a-fire, and it would be dangerous to go up it now, till it
has been burnt over once, and the dead wood is gone. There’s a
foolish man, the comrade of that varmint who has given me all this
trouble, digging for ore on the east side. I told him that the
kearless fellows, who thought to catch a practysed hunter in the woods
after dark, had thrown the lighted pine-knots in the brush, and that
‘twould kindle like tow, and warned him to leave the hill. But he was
set upon his business, and nothing short of Providence could move him.
if he isn’t burnt and buried in a grave of his own digging, he’s made
of salamanders. Why, what ails the child? You look as skeary as if
you’d seed more painters. I wish there were more to be found! they’d
count up faster than the beaver. But where’s the good child with a
bad father? Did she forget her promise to the old man?”

“The hill! the hill!” shrieked Louisa; “she seeks you on the hill with
the powder!”

Natty recoiled several feet at this unexpected intelligence.

“The Lord of Heaven have mercy on her! She’s on the Vision, and that’s
a sheet of fire agin’ this. Child, if ye love the dear one, and hope
to find a friend when ye need it most, to the village, and give the
alarm. The men are used to fighting fire, and there may be a chance
left, Fly! I bid ye fly! nor stop even for breath.”

The Leather-Stocking had no sooner uttered this injunction, than he
disappeared in the bushes, and, when last seen by Louisa, was rushing
up the mountain, with a speed that none but those who were accustomed
to the toil could attain.

“Have I found ye!” the old man exclaimed, when he burst out of the
smoke; “God be praised that I have found ye; but follow—there’s no
time for talking.”

“My dress!” said Elizabeth; “ it would be fatal to trust myself nearer
to the flames in it.”

“I bethought me of your flimsy things,” cried Natty, throwing loose
the folds of a covering buckskin that he carried on his arm, and
wrapping her form in it, in such a manner as to envelop her whole
person; “ now follow, for it’s a matter of life and death to us all.”

“But John! what will become of John?” cried Edwards; “can we leave the
old warrior here to perish?”

The eyes of Natty followed the direction of Edwards’ finger, where he
beheld the Indian still seated as before, with the very earth under
his feet consuming with fire. Without delay the hunter approached the
spot, and spoke in Delaware:

“Up and away, Chingachgook! will ye stay here to burn, like a Mingo at
the stake? The Moravians have teached ye better, I hope; the Lord
preserve me if the powder hasn’t flashed atween his legs, and the skin
of his back is roasting. Will ye come, I say; will ye follow me?”

“Why should Mohegan go?” returned the Indian, gloomily. “He has seen
the days of an eagle, and his eye grows dim He looks on the valley; he
looks on the water; he looks in the hunting-grounds—but he sees no
Delawares. Every one has a white skin. My fathers say, from the far-
off land, Come. My women, my young warriors, my tribe, say, Come.
The Great Spirit says, Come. Let Mohegan die.”

“But you forget your friend,” cried Edwards,

“‘Tis useless to talk to an Indian with the death-fit on him, lad,”
interrupted Natty, who seized the strips of the blanket, and with
wonderful dexterity strapped the passive chieftain to his own back;
when he turned, and with a strength that seemed to bid defiance, not
only to his years, but to his load, he led the way to the point whence
he had issued. As they crossed the little terrace of rock, one of the
dead trees, that had been tottering for several minutes, fell on the
spot where they had stood, and filled the air with its cinders.

Such an event quickened the steps of the party, who followed the
Leather-Stocking with the urgency required by the occasion.

“Tread on the soft ground,” he cried, when they were in a gloom where
sight availed them but little, “and keep in the white smoke; keep the
skin close on her, lad; she’s a precious one—another will be hard to
be found.”

Obedient to the hunter’s directions, they followed his steps and
advice implicitly; and, although the narrow pas sage along the winding
of the spring led amid burning logs and falling branches, they happily
achieved it in safety. No one but a man long accustomed to the woods
could have traced his route through the smoke, in which respiration
was difficult, and sight nearly useless; but the experience of Natty
conducted them to an opening through the rocks, where, with a little
difficulty, they soon descended to another terrace, and emerged at
once into a tolerably clear atmosphere.

The feelings of Edwards and Elizabeth at reaching this spot may be
imagined, though not easily described. No one seemed to exult more
than their guide, who turned, with Mohegan still lashed to his back,
and, laughing in his own manner, said:

“I knowed ‘twa the Frenchman’s powder, gal; it went so all together;
your coarse grain will squib for a minute. The Iroquois had none of
the best powder when I went agin’ the Canada tribes, under Sir
William. Did I ever tell you the story, lad, consarning the scrimmage

“For God’s sake, tell me nothing now, Natty, until we are entirely
safe. Where shall we go next?”

“Why, on the platform of rock over the cave, to be sure; you will be
safe enough there, or we’ll go Into It, if you be so minded.”
The young man started, and appeared agitated; but, Looking around him
with an anxious eye, said quickly:

“Shalt we be safe on the rock? cannot the fire reach us there, too?”

“Can’t the boy see?” said Natty, with the coolness of one accustomed
to the kind of danger he had just encountered. “Had ye stayed in the
place above ten minutes longer, you would both have been in ashes, but
here you may stay forever, and no fire can touch you, until they burn
the rocks as well as the woods.”

With this assurance, which was obviously true, they proceeded to the
spot, and Natty deposited his load, placing the Indian on the ground
with his back against a fragment of the rocks. Elizabeth sank on the
ground, and buried her face in her hands, while her heart was swelling
with a variety of conflicting emotions.

“Let me urge you to take a restorative, Miss Temple,” said Edwards
respectfully; “your frame will sink else.”

“Leave me, leave me,” she said, raising her beaming eyes for a moment
to his; “I feel too much for words! I am grateful, Oliver, for this
miraculous escape; and next to my God to you.”

Edwards withdrew to the edge of the rock, and shouted:

“Benjamin! where are you, Benjamin?”

A hoarse voice replied, as if from the bowels of the earth:

“Hereaway, master; stowed in this here bit of a hole, which is all the
time as hot as the cook’s coppers. I’m tired of my berth, d’ye see,
and if-so-be that Leather Stocking has got much overhauling to do
before he sails after them said beaver I’ll go into dock again, and
ride out my quarantine, till I can get prottick from the law, and so
hold on upon the rest of my ‘spaniolas.”

“Bring up a glass of water from the spring,” continued Edwards, “and
throw a little wine in it; hasten, I entreat you!”

“I knows but little of your small drink, Master Oliver,” returned the
steward, his voice issuing out of the cave into the open air, “and the
Jamaikey held out no longer than to take a parting kiss with Billy
Kirby, when he anchored me alongside the highway last night, where you
run me down in the chase. But here’s summat of a red color that may
suit a weak stomach, mayhap. That Master Kirby is no first-rate in a
boat; but he’ll tack a cart among the stumps, all the same as a Lon’on
pilot will back and fill, through the colliers in the Pool.”

As the steward ascended while talking, by the time he had ended his
speech he appeared on the rock with the desired restoratives,
exhibiting the worn-out and bloated features of a man who had run deep
in a debauch, and that lately.

Elizabeth took from the hands of Edwards the liquor which he offered
and then motioned to be left again to herself.

The youth turned at her bidding, and observed Natty kindly assiduous
around the person of Mohegan. When their eyes met, the hunter said

“His time has come, lad; see it in his eyes—when an Indian fixes his
eye, he means to go but to one place; and what the wilful creatures
put their minds on, they’re sure to do.”

A quick tread prevented the reply, and in a few moments, to the
amazement of the whole party, Mr. Grant was seen clinging to the side
of the mountain, and striving to reach the place where they stood.
Oliver sprang to his assistance, and by their united efforts the
worthy divine was soon placed safely among them.

“How came you added to our number?” cried Edwards. “Is the hill alive
with people at a time like this?”

The hasty but pious thanksgivings of the clergyman were soon
ejaculated, and, when he succeeded in collecting his bewildered
senses, he replied:

“I heard that my child was seen coming to the mountain; and, when the
fire broke over its summit, my uneasiness drew me up the road, where I
found Louisa, in terror for Miss Temple. It was to seek her that I
came into this dangerous place; and I think, but for God’s mercy,
through the dogs of Natty, I should have perished in the flames

“Ay! follow the hounds, and if there’s an opening they’ll scent it
out,” said Natty; “their noses be given them the same as man’s

“I did so, and they led me to this place; but, praise be to God that I
see you all safe and well.”

“No, no,” returned the hunter; “safe we be, but as for well, John
can’t be called in a good way, unless you’ll say that for a man that’s
taking his last look at ‘arth.”

“He speaks the truth!” said the divine, with the holy awe with which
he ever approached the dying; “I have been by too many death-beds, not
to see that the hand of the tyrant is laid on this old warrior. Oh!
how consoling it is to know that he has not rejected the offered mercy
in the hour of his strength and of worldly temptations! The offspring
of a race of heathens, he has in truth been ‘as a brand plucked from
the burning.’”

“No, no,” returned Natty, who alone stood with him by the side of the
dying warrior; “it is no burning that ails him, though his Indian
feelings made him scorn to move, unless it be the burning of man’s
wicked thoughts for near fourscore years; but it’s natur’ giving out
in a chasm that’s run too long.—Down with ye, Hector! down, I say!
Flesh Isn’t iron, that a man can live forever, and see his kith and
kin driven to a far country, and he left to mourn, with none to keep
him company.”

“John,” said the divine, tenderly, “do you hear me? do you wish the
prayers appointed by the church, at this trying moment?”

The Indian turned his ghastly face toward the speaker, and fastened
his dark eyes on him, steadily, but vacantly.

No sign of recognition was made: and in a moment he moved his head
again slowly toward the vale, and began to sing, using his own
language, in those low, guttural tones, that have been so often
mentioned, his notes rising with his theme, till they swelled so loud
as to be distinct.

“I will come! I will come! to the land of the just I will come! The
Maquas I have slain! I have slain the Maquas! and the Great Spirit
calls to his son. I will come! I will come to the land of the just! I
will come!”

“What says he, Leather-Stocking?” Inquired the priest, with tender
interest; “sings he the Redeemer’s praise?” “No, no—’tis his own
praise that he speaks now,” said Natty, turning in a melancholy manner
from the sight of his dying friend; “and a good right he has to say it
all, for I know every word to be true.”

“May heaven avert such self-righteousness from his heart! Humility and
penitence are the seals of Christianity; and, without feeling them
deeply seated in the soul, all hope is delusive, and leads to vain
expectations. Praise himself when his whole soul and body should
unite to praise his Maker! John! you have enjoyed the blessings of a
gospel ministry, and have been called from out a multitude of sinners
and pagans, and, I trust. for a wise and gracious purpose. Do you
now feel what it is to be justified by our Saviour’s death, and reject
all weak and idle dependence on good works, that spring from man’s
pride and vainglory?”

The Indian did not regard his interrogator, but he raised his head
again, and said in a low, distinct voice:

“Who can say that the Maqous know the back of the Mohegan? What enemy
that trusted in him did not see the morning? What Mingo that he chased
ever sang the song of triumph? Did Mohegan ever he? No; the truth
lived in him, and none else could come out of him. In his youth he
was a warrior, and his moccasins left the stain of blood. In his age
he was wise; his words at the council fire did not blow away with the
winds. “

“Ah! he has abandoned that vain relic of paganism, his songs,” cried
the divine; “ what says he now? is he sensible of his lost state?”

“Lord!! man,” said Natty, “he knows his end is at hand as well as you
or I; but, so far from thinking it a loss, he believes it to be a
great gain. He is old and stiff, and you have made the game so scarce
and shy, that better shots than him find it hard to get a livelihood.
Now he thinks he shall travel where it will always be good hunting ;
Where no wicked or unjust Indians can go; and where he shall meet all
his tribe together agin. There’s not much loss in that, to a man
whose hands are hardly fit for basket-making Loss! if there be any
loss, ‘twill be to me. I’m sure after he’s gone, there will be but
little left for me but to follow.”

“His example and end, which, I humbly trust, shall yet be made
glorious,” returned Mr. Grant, “should lead your mind to dwell on the
things of another life. But I feel it to be my duty to smooth the way
for the parting spirit. This is the moment, John, when the reflection
that you did not reject the mediation of the Redeemer, will bring balm
to your soul. Trust not to any act of former days, but lay the burden
of your sins at his feet, and you have his own blessed assurance that
he will not desert you.”

“Though all you say be true, and you have scriptur' gospels for it,
too,” said Natty, “you will make nothing of the Indian. He hasn’t
seen a Moravian p sin’ the war; and it’s hard to keep them from going
hack to their native ways. I should think ‘twould be as well to let
the old man pass in peace. He's happy now; I know it by his eye; and
that’s more than I would say for the chief, sin’ the time the
Delawares broke up from the head waters of their river and went west.
Ah’s me! ‘tis a grevous long time that, and many dark days have we
seen together sin’ it.”

“Hawk-eye!” said Mohegan, rousing with the last glimmering of life. “
Hawk-eye! listen to the words of your brother.”

“Yes, John,” said the hunter, in English, strongly affected by the
appeal, and drawing to his side, we have been brothers; and more so
than it means in the Indian tongue. What would ye have with me,

“Hawk-eye! my fathers call me to the happy hunting grounds. The path
is clear, and the eyes of Mohegan grow young. I look—but I see no
white-skins ; there are none to be seen but just and brave Indians.
Farewell, Hawk-eye—you shall go with the Fire-eater and the Young
Eagle to the white man’s heaven; but I go after my fathers. Let the
bow, and tomahawk, and pipe, and the wampum of Mohegan he laid in his
grave; for when he starts 'twil be in the night, like a warrior on a
war-party, and he can not stop to seek them.”

“What says he, Nathaniel?” cried Mr. Grant, earnestly, and with
obvious anxiety; “does he recall the promises of the mediation? and
trust his salvation to the Rock of Ages?”

Although the faith of the hunter was by no means clear, yet the fruits
of early instruction had not entirely fallen in the wilderness. He
believed in one Cod, and one heaven; and when the strong feeling
excited by the leave-taking of his old companion, which was exhibited
by the powerful working of every muscle in his weather-beaten face,
suffered him to speak, he replied:

“No—no—he trusts only to the Great Spirit of the savages, and to his
own good deeds. He thinks, like all his people, that he is to be
young agin, and to hunt, and be happy to the end of etarnity. its
pretty much the same with all colors, parson. I could never bring
myself to think that I shall meet with these hounds, or my piece, in
another world; though the thought of leaving them forever sometimes
brings hard feelings over me, and makes me cling to life with a
greater craving than beseems three-Score-and-ten.”

“The Lord in his mercy avert such a death from one who has been sealed
with the sign of the cross!” cried the minister, in holy fervor.

He paused for the elements. During the period occupied by the events
which we have related, the dark clouds in the horizon had continued to
increase in numbers and multitude; and the awful stillness that now
pervaded the air, announced a crisis in the state of the atmosphere.
The flames, which yet continued to rage along the sides of the
mountain, no longer whirled in uncertain currents of their own eddies,
but blazed high and steadily toward the heavens. There was even a
quietude in the ravages of the destructive element, as if it foresaw
that a hand greater titan even its own desolating power, was about to
stay its progress. The piles of smoke which lay above the valley
began to rise, and were dispelling rapidly; and streaks of livid
lightning were dancing through the masses of clouds that impended over
the western hills. While Mr. Grant was speaking, a flash, which sent
its quivering light through the gloom, laying bare the whole opposite
horizon, was followed by a loud crash of thunder, that rolled away
among the hills, seeming to shake the foundations of the earth to
their centre. Mohegan raised him self, as if in obedience to a signal
for his departure, and stretched his wasted arm toward the west. His
dark face lighted with a look of joy; which, with all other
expressions, gradually disappeared; the muscles stiffening as they
retreated to a state of rest; a slight convulsion played, for a single
instant, about his lips; and his arm slowly dropped by his side,
leaving the frame of the dead warrior reposing against the rock with
its glassy eyes open, and fixed on the distant hills, as if the
deserted shell were tracing the flight of the spirit to its new abode.

All this Mr. Grant witnessed in silent awe; but when the last echoes
of the thunder died away he clasped his bands together, with pious
energy, and repeated, in the full, rich tones of assured faith;

“Lord! how unsearchable are Thy judgments; and Thy ways past finding
out! ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the
latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin, worms destroy
this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see for my
self, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.”

As the divine closed this burst of devotion, he bowed his head meekly
to his bosom, and looked all the dependence and humility that the
inspired language expressed.

When Mr. Grant retired from the body, the hunter approached, and
taking the rigid hand of his friend, looked him wistfully in the face
for some time without speaking, when he gave vent to his feelings by
saying, in the mournful voice of one who felt deeply:

“Red skin or white, it’s all over now! he's to be judged by a
righteous Judge, and by no laws that’s made to suit times, and new
ways. Well, there’s only one more death, and the world will be left
to me and the hounds, Ah’s me! a man must wait the time of God's
pleasure, but I begin to weary of life. There is scarcely a tree
standing that I know, and it’s hard to find a face that I was ac-
quainted with in my younger days.”

Large drops of rain now began to fall, and diffuse them selves over
the dry rock, while the approach of the thunder shower was rapid and
certain. ‘the body of the Indian was hastily removed into the cave
beneath, followed by the whining hounds, who missed and moaned for the
look of intelligence that had always met their salutations to the

Edwards made some hasty and confused excuse for not taking Elizabeth
into the same place, which was now completely closed in front with
logs and bark, saying some-thing that she hardly understood about its
darkness, and the unpleasantness of being with the dead body. Miss
Temple, however, found a sufficient shelter against the torrent of
rain that fell, under the projection of a rock which overhung them,
But long before the shower was over, the sounds of voices were heard
below them crying aloud for Elizabeth, and men soon appeared beating
the dying embers of the bushes, as they worked their way cautiously
among the unextinguished brands.

At the first short cessation in the rain, Oliver conducted Elizabeth
to the road, where he left her. Before parting, however, he found
time to say, in a fervent manner that his companion was now at no loss
to interpret.

“The moment of concealment is over, Miss Temple. By this time to-
morrow, I shall remove a veil that perhaps it has been weakness to
keep around me and my allaus so long. But I have had romantic and
foolish wishes and weakness; and who has not, that is young and torn
by conflicting passions? God bless you! I hear your father's voice; he
is coming up the road, and I would not, just now, subject myself to
detention. Thank Heaven, you are safe again; that alone removes the
weight of a world from my spirit!”

He waited for no answer, but sprang into the woods. Elizabeth,
notwithstanding she heard the cries of her father as he called upon
her name, paused until he was concealed among the smoking trees, when
she turned, and in a moment rushed into the arms of her half-
distracted Parent.

A carriage had been provided, into which Miss Temple hastily entered;
when the cry was passed along the hill, that the lost one was found,
and the people returned to the village wet and dirty, but elated with
the thought that the daughter of their landlord had escaped from so
horrid and untimely an end.*

* The probability of a fire in the woods similar to that here described
has been questioned. The writer can only say that he once witnessed a
fire in another part of New York that compelled a man to desert his
wagon and horses in the highway, and in which the latter were
destroyed. In order to estimate the probability of such an event, it
is necessary to remember the effects of a long drought in that climate
and the abundance of dead wood which is found in a forest like that
described, The fires in the American forests frequently rage to such
an extent as to produce a sensible effect on the atmosphere at a
distance of fifty miles. Houses, barns, and fences are quite commonly
swept away in their course.


“Selictar! unsheathe then our chief’s scimetar; Tambourgi! thy 'larum
gives promise of war; Ye mountains! that see us descend to the shore,
Shall view us as victors, or view us no more.”-Byron.

The heavy showers that prevailed during the remainder of the day
completely stopped the progress of the flames; though glimmering fires
were observed during the night, on different parts of the hill,
wherever there was a collection of fuel to feed the element. The next
day the woods for ‘many miles were black and smoking, and were
stripped of every vestige of brush and dead wood; but the pines and
hemlocks still reared their heads proudly among the hills, and even
the smaller trees of the forest retained a feeble appearance of life
and vegetation.

The many tongues of rumor were busy in exaggerating the miraculous
escape of Elizabeth; and a report was generally credited, that Mohegan
had actually perished in the flames. This belief became confirmed,
and was indeed rendered probable, when the direful intelligence
reached the village that Jotham Riddel, the miner, was found in his
hole, nearly dead with suffocation, and burnt to such a degree that no
hopes were entertained of his life.

The public attention became much alive to the events of the last few
days ; and, just at this crisis, the convicted counterfeiters took the
hint from Natty, and, on the night succeeding the fire, found means to
cut through their log prison also, and to escape unpunished. When
this news began to circulate through the village, blended with the
fate of Jotham, and the exaggerated and tortured reports of the events
on the hill, the popular opinion was freely expressed, as to the
propriety of seizing such of the fugitives as remained within reach.
Men talked of the cave as a secret receptacle of guilt; and, as the
rumor of ores and metals found its way into the confused medley of
conjectures, counterfeiting, and everything else that was wicked and
dangerous to the peace of society, suggested themselves to the busy
fancies of the populace.

While the public mind was in this feverish state, it was hinted that
the wood had been set on fire by Edwards and the Leather—Stocking, and
that, consequently, they alone were responsible for the damages. This
opinion soon gained ground, being most circulated by those who, by
their own heedlessness, had caused the evil; and there was one
irresistible burst of the common sentiment that an attempt should he
made to punish the offenders. Richard was by no means deaf to this
appeal, and by noon he set about in earnest to see the laws executed.

Several stout young men were selected, and taken apart with an
appearance of secrecy, where they received some important charge from
the sheriff, immediately under the eyes, but far removed from the
ears, of all in the village. Possessed of a knowledge of their duty,
these youths hurried into the hills, with a bustling manner, as if the
fate of the world depended on their diligence, and, at the same time,
with an air of mystery as great as if they were engaged on secret
matters of the state.

At twelve precisely a drum beat the “long roll ' before the” Bold
Dragoon,” and Richard appeared, accompanied by Captain Hollister, who
was clad in Investments as commander of the “Templeton Light
Infantry,” when the former demanded of the latter the aid of the posse
comitatus in enforcing the laws of the country. We have not room to
record the speeches of the two gentlemen on this occasion, but they
are preserved in the columns of the little blue newspaper, which is
yet to be found on the file, and are said to be highly creditable to
the legal formula of one of the parties, and to the military precision
of the other. Everything had been previously arranged, and, as the
red-coated drummer continued to roll out his clattering notes, some
five-and-twenty privates appeared in the ranks, and arranged
themselves in the order of battle.

As this corps was composed of volunteers, and was commanded by a man
who had passed the first five-and-thirty years of his life in camps
and garrisons, it was the non-parallel of military science in that
country, and was confidently pronounced by the judicious part of the
Templeton community, to be equal in skill and appearance to any troops
in the known world; in physical endowments they were, certainly, much
superior! To this assertion there were but three dissenting voices,
and one dissenting opinion. The opinion belonged to Marmaduke, who,
however, saw no necessity for its promulgation. Of the voices, one,
and that a pretty loud one’, came from the spouse of the commander
himself, who frequently reproached her husband for condescending to
lead such an irregular band of warriors, after he had filled the
honorable station of sergeant-major to a dashing corps of Virginia
cavalry through much of the recent war.

Another of these skeptical sentiments was invariably expressed by Mr.
Pump, whenever the company paraded generally in some such terms as
these, which were uttered with that sort of meekness that a native of
the island of our forefathers is apt to assume when he condescends to
praise the customs or character of her truant progeny:

“It’s mayhap that they knows summat about loading and firing, d'ye
see, but as for working ship? why, a corporal’s guard of the
Boadishey's marines would back and fill on their quarters in such a
manner as to surround and captivate them all in half a glass.” As
there was no one to deny this assertion, the marines of the Boadicea
were held in a corresponding degree of estimation.

The third unbeliever was Monsieur Le Quoi, who merely whispered to the
sheriff, that the corps was one of the finest he had ever seen second
only to the Mousquetaires of Le Boa Louis! However, as Mrs. Hollister
thought there was something like actual service in the present
appearances, and was, in consequence, too busily engaged with certain
preparations of her own, to make her comments; as Benjamin was absent,
and Monsieur Le Quoi too happy to find fault with anything, the corps
escaped criticism and comparison altogether on this momentous day,
when they certainly had greater need of self-confidence than on any
other previous occasion. Marmaduke was said to be again closeted with
Mr. Van der School and no interruption was offered to the movements of
the troops. At two o’clock precisely the corps shouldered arms,
beginning on the right wing, next to the veteran, and carrying the
motion through to the left with great regularity. When each
musket was quietly fixed in its proper situation, the order was given
to wheel to the left, and march. As this was bringing raw troops, at
once, to face their enemy, it is not to be supposed that the manoeuver
was executed with their usual accuracy; but as the music struck up the
inspiring air of Yankee-doodle, and Richard, accompanied by Mr.
Doolittle preceded the troops boldly down the street, Captain
Hollister led on, with his head elevated to forty-five degrees, with a
little, low cocked hat perched on his crown, carrying a tremendous
dragoon sabre at a poise, and trailing at his heels a huge steel
scabbard, that had war in its very clattering. There was a good deal
of difficulty in getting all the platoons (there were six) to look the
same way; but, by the time they reached the defile of the bridge, the
troops were in sufficiently compact order. In this manner they
marched up the hill to the summit of the mountain, no other alteration
taking place in the disposition of the forces, excepting that a mutual
complaint was made, by the sheriff and the magistrate, of a failure in
wind, which gradually’ brought these gentlemen to the rear. It will
be unnecessary to detail the minute movements that succeeded. We
shall briefly say, that the scouts came in and reported, that, so far
from retreating, as had been anticipated, the fugitives had evidently
gained a knowledge of the attack, and were fortifying for a desperate
resistance. This intelligence certainly made a material change, not
only in the plans of the leaders, but in the countenances of the
soldiery also. The men looked at one another with serious faces, and
Hiram and Richard began to consult together, apart.

At this conjuncture, they were joined by Billy Kirby, who came along
the highway, with his axe under his arm, as much in advance of his
team as Captain Hollister had been of his troops in the ascent. The
wood-chopper was amazed at the military array, but the sheriff eagerly
availed himself of this powerful reinforcement, and commanded his
assistance in putting the laws in force. Billy held Mr. Jones in too
much deference to object; and it was finally arranged that he should
be the bearer of a summons to the garrison to surrender before they
proceeded to extremities. The troops now divided, one party being led
by the captain, over the Vision, and were brought in on the left of
the cave, while the remainder advanced upon its right, under the
orders of the lieutenant. Mr. Jones and Dr. Todd—for the surgeon was
in attendance also—appeared on the platform of rock, immediately over
the heads of the garrison, though out of their sight. Hiram thought
this approaching too near, and he therefore accompanied Kirby along
the side of the hill to within a safe distance of the fortifications,
where he took shelter behind a tree. Most of the men discovered great
accuracy of eye in bringing some object in range between them and
their enemy, and the only two of the besiegers, who were left in plain
sight of the besieged, were Captain Hollister on one side, and the
wood-chopper on the other. The veteran stood up boldly to the front,
supporting his heavy sword in one undeviating position, with his eye
fixed firmly on his enemy, while the huge form of Billy was placed in
that kind of quiet repose, with either hand thrust into his bosom,
bearing his axe under his right arm, which permitted him, like his own
oxen, to rest standing. So far, not a word had been exchanged between
the belligerents. The besieged had drawn together a pile of black
logs and branches of trees, which they had formed into a chevaux-de-
frise, making a little circular abatis in front of the entrance to the
cave. As the ground was steep and slippery in every direction around
the place, and Benjamin appeared behind the works on one side, and
Natty on the other, the arrangement was by no means contemptible,
especially as the front was sufficiently guarded by the difficulty of
the approach. By this time, Kirby had received his orders, and he
advanced coolly along the mountain, picking his way with the same
indifference as if he were pursuing his ordinary business. When he
was within a hundred feet of the works, the long and much-dreaded
rifle of the Leather-Stocking was seen issuing from the parapet, and
his voice cried aloud:

“Keep off! Billy Kirby, keep off! I wish ye no harm; but if a man of
ye all comes a step nigher, there’ll be blood spilt atwixt us. God
forgive the one that draws it first, but so it must be.”

“Come, old chap,” said Billy, good-naturedly, “don’t be crabb’d, but
hear what a man has got to say I’ve no consarn in the business, only
to see right ‘twixt man and man; and I don’t kear the valie of a
beetle-ring which gets the better; but there’s Squire Doolittle,
yonder be hind the beech sapling, he has invited me to come in and ask
you to give up to the law—that’s all.”

“I see the varmint! I see his clothes!” cried the indignant Natty:
“and if he’ll only show so much flesh as will bury a rifle bullet,
thirty to the pound, I’ll make him feel me. Go away, Billy, I bid ye;
you know my aim, and I bear you no malice.”

“You over-calculate your aim, Natty,” said the other, as he stepped
behind a pine that stood near him, “if you think to shoot a man
through a tree with a three-foot butt. I can lay this tree right
across you in ten minutes by any man's watch, and in less time, too;
so be civil—I want no more than what’s right.”

There was a simple seriousness in the countenance of Natty, that
showed he was much in earnest; but it was also evident that he was
reluctant to shed human blood. He answered the taunt of the wood-
chopper, by saying:

“I know you drop a tree where you will, Billy Kirby; but if you show a
hand, or an arm, in doing it, there’ll be bones to be set, and blood
to staunch. If it’s only to get into the cave that ye want, wait till
a two hours’ sun, and you may enter it in welcome; but come in now you
shall not. There’s one dead body already, lying on the cold rocks,
and there’s another in which the life can hardly be said to stay. If
you will come in, there’ll be dead with out as well as within.”

The wood-chopper stepped out fearlessly from his cover, and cried:

“That’s fair; and what’s fair is right. He wants you to stop till
it’s two hours to sundown; and I see reason in the thing. A man can
give up when he’s wrong, if you don’t crowd him too hard; but you
crowd a man, and he gets to be like a stubborn ox—the more you beat,
the worse he kicks.”

The sturdy notions of independence maintained by Billy neither suited
the emergency nor the impatience of Mr. Jones, who was burning with a
desire to examine the hid den mysteries of the cave. He therefore
interrupted this amicable dialogue with his own voice;

“I command you Nathaniel Bumppo, by my authority, to surrender your
person to the law,” he cried. “And I command you, gentlemen, to aid
me in performing my duty. Benjamin Penguillan I arrest you, and order
you to follow me to the jail of the county, by virtue of this

“I’d follow ye, Squire Dickens,” said Benjamin, removing the pipe from
his month (for during the whole scene the ex-major-domo had been very
composedly smoking); ay! I’d sail in your wake, to the end of the
world, if-so— be that there was such a place, where there isn’t,
seeing that it’s round. Now mayhap, Master Hollister, having lived
all your life on shore, you isn’t acquainted that the world, d’ye see”

“Surrender!” interrupted the veteran, in a voice that startled his
hearers, and which actually caused his own forces to recoil several
paces; surrender, Benjamin Pengullan, or expect no quarter.’”

“Damn your quarter!” said Benjamin, rising from the log on which he
was seated, and taking a squint along the barrel of the swivel, which
had been brought on the hill during the night, and now formed the
means of defence on his side of the works. “ Look you, master or
captain, thof I questions if ye know the name of a rope, except the
one that’s to hang ye, there’s no need of singing out, as if ye was
hailing a deaf man on a topgallant yard. May-hap you think you’ve got
my true name in your sheep skin; but what British sailor finds it
worth while to sail in these seas, without a sham on his stern, in
case of need, d’ye see. If you call me Penguillan, you calls me by
the name of the man on whose hand, dye see, I hove into daylight; and
he was a gentleman ; and that’s more than my worst enemy will say of
any of the family of Benjamin Stubbs.”

“Send the warrant round to me, and I’ll put in an alias,” cried Hiram,
from behind his cover.

“Put in a jackass, and you’ll put in yourself, Mister Doo-but-little,”
shouted Benjamin, who kept squinting along his little iron tube, with
great steadiness.

“I give you but one moment to yield,” cried Richard. “Benjamin!
Benjamin! this is not the gratitude I expected from you.”

“I tell you, Richard Jones,” said Natty, who dreaded the sheriff’s
influence over his comrade; “ though the canister the gal brought be
lost, there’s powder enough in the cave to lift the rock you stand on.
I’ll take off my roof if you don’t hold your peace.”

“I think it beneath the dignity of my office to parley further with
the prisoners,” the sheriff observer to his companion, while they both
retired with a precipitancy that Captain Hollister mistook for the
signal to advance.

“Charge baggonet!” shouted the veteran; “ march!”

Although this signal was certainly expected, it took the assailed a
little by surprise, and the veteran approached the works, crying, “
Courage, my brave lads! give them no quarter unless they surrender;”
and struck a furious blow upward with his sabre, that would have
divided the steward into moieties by subjecting him to the process of
decapitation, but for the fortunate interference of the muzzle of the
swivel. As it was, the gun was dismounted at the critical moment that
Benjamin was applying his pipe to the priming, and in consequence some
five or six dozen of rifle bullets were projected into the air, in
nearly a perpendicular line. Philosophy teaches us that the atmos-
phere will not retain lead; and two pounds of the metal, moulded into
bullets of thirty to the pound, after describing an ellipsis in their
journey, returned to the earth rattling among the branches of the
trees directly over the heads of the troops stationed in the rear of
their captain. Much of the success of an attack, made by irregular
soldiers, depends on the direction in which they are first got in
motion. In the present instance it was retrograde, and in less than a
minute after the bellowing report of the swivel among the rocks and
caverns, the whole weight of the attack from the left rested on the
prowess of the single arm of the veteran. Benjamin received a severe
contusion from the recoil of his gun, which produced a short stupor,
during which period the ex-steward was prostrate on the ground.
Captain Hollister availed himself of this circumstance to scramble
ever the breastwork and obtain a footing in the bastion—for such was
the nature of the fortress, as connected with the cave. The moment
the veteran found himself within the works of his enemy, he rushed to
the edge of the fortification, and, waving his sabre over his head,

“Victory! come on, my brave boys, the work’s our own!”

All this was perfectly military, and was such an example as a gallant
officer was in some measure bound to exhibit to his men but the outcry
was the unlucky cause of turning the tide of success. Natty, who had
been keeping a vigalent eye on the wood-chopper, and the enemy
immediately before him, wheeled at this alarm, and was appalled at
beholding his comrade on the ground, and the veteran standing on his
own bulwark, giving forth the cry of victory! The muzzle of the long
rifle was turned instantly toward the captain. There was a moment
when the life of the old soldier was in great jeopardy but the object
to shoot at was both too large and too near for the Leather-Stocking,
who, instead of pulling his trigger, applied the gun to the rear of
his enemy, and by a powerful shove sent him outside of the works with
much greater rapidity than he had entered them. The spot on which
Captain Hollister alighted was directly in front, where, as his feet
touched the ground, so steep and slippery was the side of the
mountain, it seemed to recede from under them. His motion was swift,
and so irregular as utterly to confuse the faculties of the old
soldier. During its continuance, he supposed himself to be mounted,
and charging through the ranks of his enemy. At every tree he made a
blow, of course, as at a foot-soldier; and just as he was making the
cut “St. George” at a half burnt sapling he landed in the highway,
and, to his utter amazement, at the feet of his own spouse. When Mrs.
Hollister, who was toiling up the hill, followed by at least twenty
curious boys, leaning with one hand on the staff with which she
ordinarily walked, and bearing in the other an empty bag, witnessed
this exploit of her husband, indignation immediately got the better,
not only of her religion, but of her philosophy.

“Why, sargeant! is it flying ye are?” she cried—” that I should live
to see a husband of mine turn his hack to an inimy! and such a one!
Here I have been telling the b’ys, as we come along, all about the
saige of Yorrektown, and how ye was hurted; and how ye’d be acting the
same agin the day; and I mate ye retraiting jist as the first gun is
fired. Och! I may trow away the bag! for if there’s plunder, ‘twill
not be the wife of sich as yerself that will be privileged to be
getting the same. They do say, too, there is a power of goold and
silver in the place—the Lord forgive me for setting my heart on
woorldly things; but what falls in the battle, there’s scriptur’ for
believing, is the just property of the victor,”

“Retreating!” exclaimed the amazed veteran; “where’s my horse? he has
been shot under me—I——”

“Is the man mad?” interrupted his wife—” devil the horse do ye own,
sargeant, and ye’re nothing but a shabby captain of malaishy. Oh! if
the ra’al captain was here, tis the other way ye’d be riding, dear, or
you would not follow your laider!”

While this worthy couple were thus discussing events, the battle began
to rage more violently than ever above them. When Leather-Stocking
saw his enemy fairly under headway, as Benjamin would express it, he
gave his attention to the right wing of the assailants. It would have
been easy for Kirby, with his powerful frame, to have seized the
moment to scale the bastion, and, with his great strength, to have
sent both of its defenders in pursuit of the veteran; but hostility
appeared to he the passion that the wood-chopper indulged the least in
at that moment, for, in a voice that was heard by the retreating left
wing, he shouted:

“Hurrah well done, captain! keep it up! how he handles his bush-hook!
he makes nothing of a sapling!” and such other encouraging
exclamations to the flying veteran, until, overcome by mirth, the
good-natured fellow seated himself on the ground, kicking the earth
with delight, and giving vent to peal after peal of laughter.

Natty stood all this time in a menacing attitude, with his rifle
pointed over the breastwork, watching with a quick and cautions eye
the least movement of the assail ants. The outcry unfortunately
tempted the ungovernable curiosity of Hiram to take a peep from behind
his cover at the state of the battle. Though this evolution was
performed with great caution, in protecting his front, he left, like
many a better commander, his rear exposed to the attacks of his enemy.
Mr. Doolittle belonged physically to a class of his countrymen, to
whom Nature has denied, in their formation, the use of curved lines.
Every thing about him was either straight or angular. But his tailor
was a woman who worked, like a regimental contractor, by a set of
rules that gave the same configuration to the whole human species.
Consequently, when Mr. Doolittle leaned forward in the manner
described, a loose drapery appeared behind the tree, at which the
rifle of Natty was pointed with the quickness of lightning. A less
experienced man would have aimed at the flowing robe, which hung like
a festoon half-way to the earth ; but the Leather-Stocking knew both
the man and his female tailor better; and when the smart report of the
rifle was heard, Kirby, who watched the whole manoeuvre in breath less
expectation. saw the bark fly from the beech and the cloth, at some
distance above the loose folds, wave at the same instant. No battery
was ever unmasked with more promptitiude than Hiram advanced from
behind the tree at this summons.

He made two or three steps, with great precision, to the front and,
placing one hand on the afflicted part, stretched forth the other with
a menacing air toward Natty, and cried aloud:

“Gawl darn ye: this shan’t he settled so easy; I’ll follow it up from
the ‘common pleas’ to the ‘court of errors.’”

Such a shocking imprecation, from the mouth of so orderly a man as
Squire Doolittle, with the fearless manner in which he exposed
himself, together with, perhaps, the knowledge that Natty’s rifle was
unloaded, encouraged the troops in the rear, who gave a loud shout,
and fired a volley into the tree-tops, after the contents of the
swivel. Animated by their own noise, the men now rushed on in
earnest; and Billy Kirby, who thought the joke, good as it was, had
gone far enough, was in the act of scaling the works, when Judge
Temple appeared on the opposite side, exclaiming:

“Silence and peace! why do I see murder and blood shed attempted? Is
not the law sufficient to protect itself, that armed bands must be
gathered, as in rebellion and war, to see justice performed?”

“‘Tis the posse comitatus,” shouted the sheriff, from a distant rock,

“Say rather a posse of demons. I command the peace.” “Hold shied not
blood!” cried a voice from the top of the Vision. “ Hold, for the
sake of Heaven, fire no more! all shall be yielded! you shall enter
the cave!”

Amazement produced the desired effect. Natty, who had reloaded his
piece, quietly seated himself on the logs, and rested his head on his
hands, while the “ Light Infantry” ceased their military movements,
and waited the issue in suspense.

In less than a minute Edwards came rushing down the hill, followed by
Major Hartman, with a velocity that was surprising for his years.
They reached the terrace in an instant, from which the youth led the
way, by the hollow in the rock, to the mouth of the cave, into which
they both entered, leaving all without silent, and gazing after them
with astonishment.


“I am dumb.
Were you the doctor, and I knew you not?”-Shakespeare.

During the five or six minutes that elapsed before the youth and Major
reappeared. Judge Temple and the sheriff together with most of the
volunteers, ascended to the terrace, where the latter began to express
their conjectures of the result, and to recount their individual
services in the conflict. But the sight of the peace-makers ascending
the ravine shut every mouth.

On a rude chair, covered with undressed deer-skins, they supported a
human being, whom they seated carefully and respectfully in the midst
of the assembly. His head was covered by long, smooth locks of the
color of snow. His dress, which was studiously neat and clean, was
composed of such fabrics as none but the wealthiest classes wear, but
was threadbare and patched ; and on his feet were placed a pair of
moccasins, ornamented in the best manner of Indian ingenuity. The
outlines of his face were grave and dignified, though his vacant eye,
which opened and turned slowly to the faces of those around him in
unmeaning looks, too surely’ announced that the period had arrived
when age brings the mental imbecility of childhood.

Natty had followed the supporters of this unexpected object to the top
of the cave, and took his station at a little distance behind him,
leaning no his rifle, in the midst of his pursuers, with a
fearlessness that showed that heavier interests than those which
affected himself were to be decided. Major Hartmann placed himself
beside the aged man, uncovered, with his whole soul beaming through
those eyes which so commonly danced with frolic and humor. Edwards
rested with one hand familiarly but affectionately on the chair,
though his heart was swelling with emotions that denied him utterance.

All eyes were gazing intently, but each tongue continued mute. At
length the decrepit stranger, turning his vacant looks from face to
face, made a feeble attempt to rise, while a faint smile crossed his
wasted face, like an habitual effort at courtesy, as he said, in a
hollow, tremulous voice:

“Be pleased to be seated, gentlemen. The council will open
immediately. Each one who loves a good and virtuous king will wish to
see these colonies continue loyal. Be seated—I pray you, be seated,
gentlemen. The troops shall halt for the night.”

“This is the wandering of insanity!” said Marmaduke: “who will explain
this scene.”

“No, sir,” said Edwards firmly, “‘tis only the decay of nature; who is
answerable for its pitiful condition, remains to be shown.”

“Will the gentlemen dine with us, my son?” said the old stranger,
turning to a voice that he both knew and loved. “Order a repast
suitable for his Majesty’s officers. You know we have the best of
game always at command,”

“Who is this man?” asked Marmaduke, in a hurried voice, in which the
dawnings of conjecture united with interest to put the question.

“This man,” returned Edwards calmly, his voice, how ever, gradually
rising as he proceeded; “this man, sir, whom you behold hid in
caverns, and deprived of every-thing that can make life desirable, was
once the companion and counsellor of those who ruled your country.
This man, whom you see helpless and feeble, was once a warrior, so
brave and fearless, that even the intrepid natives gave him the name
of the Fire-eater. This man, whom you now see destitute of even the
ordinary comfort of a cabin, in which to shelter his head, was once
the owner of great riches—and, Judge Temple, he was the rightful
proprietor of this very soil on which we stand. This man was the
father of———”

“This, then,” cried Marmaduke, with a powerful emotion, “this, then,
is the lost Major Effingham!”

“Lost indeed,” said the youth, fixing a piercing eye on the other.

“And you! and you!” continued the Judge, articulating with difficulty.

“I am his grandson.”

A minute passed in profound silence. All eyes were fixed on the
speakers, and even the old German appeared to wait the issue in deep
anxiety. But the moment of agitation soon passed. Marmaduke raised
his head from his bosom, where it had sunk, not in shame, but in
devout mental thanksgivings, and, as large tears fell over his fine,
manly face, he grasped the hand of the youth warmly, and said:

“Oliver, I forgive all thy harshness—all thy suspicions. I now see it
all. I forgive thee everything, but suffering this aged man to dwell
in such a place, when not only my habitation, but my fortune, were at
his and thy command.”

“He’s true as ter steel!” shouted Major Hartmann; “ titn’t I tell you,
lat, dat Marmatuke Temple vas a friend dat woult never fail in ter
dime as of neet?”

“It is true, Judge Temple, that my opinions of your conduct have been
staggered by what this worthy gentle man has told me. When I found it
impossible to convey my grandfather back whence the enduring love of
this old man brought him, without detection and exposure, I went to
the Mohawk in quest of one of his former comrades, in whose justice I
had dependence. He is your friend, Judge Temple, but, if what he says
be true, both my father and myself may have judged you harshly.”

“You name your father!” said Marmaduke tenderly— “was he, indeed, lost
in the packet?”

“He was. He had left me, after several years of fruit less
application and comparative poverty, in Nova Scotia, to obtain the
compensation for his losses which the British commissioners had at
length awarded. After spending a year in England, he was returning to
Halifax, on his way to a government to which he had been appointed, in
the West Indies, intending to go to the place where my grand father
had sojourned during and since the war, and take him with us.”

“But thou!” said Marmaduke, with powerful interest; “I had thought
that thou hadst perished with him.”

A flush passed over the cheeks of the young man, who gazed about him
at the wondering faces of the volunteers, and continued silent.
Marmaduke turned to the veteran captain, who just then rejoined his
command, and said:

“March thy soldiers back again, and dismiss them, the zeal of the
sheriff has much mistaken his duty.—Dr. Todd, I will thank you to
attend to the injury which Hiram Doolittle has received in this
untoward affair,—Richard, you will oblige me by sending up the
carriage to the top of the hill.—Benjamin, return to your duty in my

Unwelcome as these orders were to most of the auditors, the suspicion
that they had somewhat exceeded the whole some restraints of the law,
and the habitual respect with which all the commands of the Judge were
received, induced a prompt compliance.

When they were gone, and the rock was left to the parties most
interested in an explanation, Marmaduke, pointing to the aged Major
Effingham, said to his grand son:

“Had we not better remove thy parent from this open place until my
carriage can arrive?”

“Pardon me, sir, the air does him good, and he has taken it whenever
there was no dread of a discovery. I know not how to act, Judge
Temple; ought I, can I suffer Major Effingham to become an inmate of
your family?”

“Thou shalt he thyself the judge,” said Marmaduke. Thy father was my
early friend, He intrusted his fortune to my care. When we separated
he had such confidence in me that he wished on security, no evidence
of the trust, even had there been time or convenience for exacting it.
This thou hast heard?”

“Most truly, sir,” said Edwards, or rather Effingham as we must now
call him.

“We differed in politics. If the cause of this country was
successful, the trust was sacred with me, for none knew of thy
father’s interest, if the crown still held its sway, it would he easy
to restore the property of so loyal a subject as Colonel Effingham.
Is not this plain?‘“

“The premises are good, sir,” continued the youth, with the same
incredulous look as before.

“Listen—listen, poy,” said the German, “Dere is not a hair as of ter
rogue in ter het of Herr Tchooge.”

“We all know the issue of the struggle,” continued Marmaduke,
disregarding both. “Thy grandfather was left in Connecticut,
regularly supplied by thy father with the means of such a subsistence
as suited his wants. This I well knew, though I never had intercourse
with him, even in our happiest days. Thy father retired with the
troops to prosecute his claims on England. At all events, his losses
must be great, for his real estates were sold, and I became the lawful
purchaser. It was not unnatural to wish that he might have no bar to
its just recovery.”

“There was none, but the difficulty of providing for so many

“But there would have been one, and an insuperable one, and I
announced to the world that I held these estates, multiplied by the
times and my industry, a hundredfold in value, only as his trustee.
Thou knowest that I supplied him with considerable sums immediately
after the war.”

“You did, until—”

“My letters were returned unopened. Thy father had much of thy own
spirit, Oliver; he was sometimes hasty and rash.” The Judge continued,
in a self-condemning manner; “ Perhaps my fault lies the other way: I
may possibly look too far ahead, and calculate too deeply. It
certainly was a severe trial to allow the man whom I most loved, to
think ill of me for seven years, in order that he might honestly apply
for his just remunerations. But, had he opened my last letters, thou
wouldst have learned the whole truth. Those I sent him to England, by
what my agent writes me, he did read. He died, Oliver, knowing all,
he died my friend, and I thought thou hadst died with him”

“Our poverty would not permit us to pay for two passages,” said the
youth, with the extraordinary emotion with which he ever alluded to
the degraded state of his family ; “ I was left in the Province to
wait for his return, and, when the sad news of his loss reached me, I
was nearly penniless.”

“And what didst thou, boy?” asked Marmaduke in a faltering voice.

“I took my passage here in search of my grandfather; for I well knew
that his resources were gone, with the half pay of my father. On
reaching his abode, I learned that he had left it in secret; though
the reluctant hireling, who had deserted him in his poverty, owned to
my urgent en treaties, that he believed he had been carried away by an
-old man who had formerly been his servant. I knew at
once it was Natty, for my father often—”

“Was Natty a servant of thy grandfather?” exclaimed the Judge.

“Of that too were you ignorant?” said the youth in evident surprise.

“How should I know it? I never met the Major, nor was the name of
Bumppo ever mentioned to me. I knew him only as a man of the woods,
and one who lived by hunting. Such men are too common to excite

“He was reared in the family of my grandfather; served him for many
years during their campaigns at the West, where he became attached to
the woods; and he was left here as a kind of locum tenens on the lands
that old Mohegan (whose life my grandfather once saved) induced the
Delawares to grant to him when they admitted him as an honorary member
of their tribe.

“This, then, is thy Indian blood?”

“I have no other,” said Edwards, smiling—” Major Effingham was adopted
as the son of Mohegan, who at that time was the greatest man in his
nation; and my father, who visited those people when a boy, received
the name of the Eagle from them, on account of the shape of his face,
as I understand. They have extended his title to me, I have no other
Indian blood or breeding; though I have seen the hour, Judge Temple,
when I could wish that such had been my lineage and education.”

“Proceed with thy tale,” said Marmaduke.

“I have but little more to say, sir, I followed to the lake where I
had so often been told that Natty dwelt, and found him maintaining his
old master in secret; for even he could not bear to exhibit to the
world, in his poverty and dotage, a man whom a whole people once
looked up to with respect.”

“And what did you?”

“What did I? I spent my last money in purchasing a rifle, clad myself
in a coarse garb, and learned to be a hunter by the side of Leather-
Stocking. You know the rest, Judge Temple.”

“Ant vere vas olt Fritz Hartmann?” said the German, reproachfully;
“didst never hear a name as of olt Fritz Hartmann from ter mout of ter
fader, lat?”

“I may have been mistaken, gentlemen,” returned the youth, ‘but I had
pride, and could not submit to such an exposure as this day even has
reluctantly brought to light. I had plans that might have been
visionary; but, should my parent survive till autumn, I purposed
taking him with me to the city, where we have distant relatives, who
must have learned to forget the Tory by this time. He decays
rapidly,” he continued mournfully, “and must soon lie by the side of
old Mohegan.”

The air being pure, and the day fine, the party continued conversing
on the rock, until the wheels of Judge Temple’s carriage were heard
clattering up the side of the mountain, during which time the
conversation was maintained with deep interest, each moment clearing
up some doubtful action, and lessening the antipathy of the youth to
Marmaduke. He no longer objected to the removal of his grand father,
who displayed a childish pleasure when he found himself seated once
more in a carriage. When placed in the ample hall of the mansion-
house, the eyes of the aged veteran turned slowly to the objects in
the apartment, and a look like the dawn of intellect would, for
moments flit across his features, when he invariably offered some use
less courtesies to those near him, wandering painfully in his
subjects. The exercise and the change soon produced an exhaustion
that caused them to remove him to his bed, where he lay for hours,
evidently sensible of the change in his comforts, and exhibiting that
mortifying picture of human nature, which too plainly shows that the
propensities of the animal continue even after the nobler part of the
creature appears to have vanished.

Until his parent was placed comfortably in bed, with Natty seated at
his side, Effingham did not quit him. He then obeyed a summons to the
library of the Judge, where he found the latter, with Major Hartmann,
waiting for him.

“Read this paper, Oliver,” said Marmaduke to him, as he entered, “and
thou wilt find that, so far from intending thy family wrong during
life, it has been my care to see that justice should be done at even a
later day.”

The youth took the paper, which his first glance told him was the will
of the Judge. Hurried and agitated as he was, he discovered that the
date corresponded with the time of the unusual depression of
Marmaduke. As he proceeded, his eyes began to moisten, and the hand
which held the instrument shook violently.

The will commenced with the usual forms, spun out by the ingenuity of
Mr. Van der School: but, after this subject was fairly exhausted, the
pen of Marmaduke became plainly visible. In clear, distinct, manly,
and even eloquent language, he recounted his obligations to Colonel
Effingham, the nature of their connection, and the circumstances in
which they separated. He then proceeded to relate the motives of his
silence, mentioning, however, large sums that he had forwarded to his
friend, which had been returned with the letters unopened. After
this, he spoke of his search for the grandfather who unaccountably
disappeared, and his fears that the direct heir of the trust was
buried in the ocean with his father.

After, in short, recounting in a clear narrative, the events which our
readers must now he able to connect, he proceeded to make a fair and
exact statement of the sums left in his care by Colonel Effingham. A
devise of his whole estate to certain responsible trustees followed;
to hold the same for the benefit, in equal moieties, of his daughter,
on one part, and of Oliver Effingham, formerly a major in the army of
Great Britain, and of his son Ed ward Effingham, and of his son Edward
Oliver Effingham, or to the survivor of them, and the descendants of
such survivor, forever, on the other part. The trust was to endure
until 1810, when, if no person appeared, or could be found, after
sufficient notice, to claim the moiety so devised, then a certain sum,
calculating the principal and interest of his debt to Colonel
Effingham, was to be paid to the heirs-at-law of the Effingham family,
and the bulk of his estate was to be conveyed in fee to his daughter,
or her heirs.

The tears fell from the eyes of the young man, as he read this
undeniable testimony of the good faith of Marmaduke, and his
bewildered gaze was still fastened on the paper, when a voice, that
thrilled on every nerve, spoke near him, saying:

“Do you yet doubt us, Oliver?”

“I have never doubted you!” cried the youth, recovering his
recollection and his voice, as he sprang to seize the hand of
Elizabeth ; “no, not one moment has my faith in you wavered.”

“And my father—”

“God bless him!”

“I thank thee, my son,” said the Judge, exchanging a warm pressure of
the hand with the youth ; “but we have both erred: thou hast been too
hasty, and I have been too slow. One-half of my estates shall be
thine as soon as they can be conveyed to thee; and, if what my
suspicions tell me be true, I suppose the other must follow speedily.”
He took the hand which he held, and united it with that of his
daughter, and motioned toward the door to the Major.

“I telt yon vat, gal!” said the old German, good-humoredly ; “if I vas
as I vas ven I servit mit his grand-fader on ter lakes, ter lazy tog
shouldn’t vin ter prize as for nottin’.”

“Come, come, old Fritz,” said the Judge; “you are seventy, not
seventeen; Richard waits for you with a bowl of eggnog, in the hall.”

“Richart! ter duyvel!” exclaimed the other, hastening out of the room;
“he makes ter nog as for ter horse. vilt show ter sheriff mit my own
hants! Ter duyvel! I pelieve he sweetens mit ter Yankee melasses!”

Marmaduke smiled and nodded affectionately at the young couple, and
closed the door after them. If any of our readers expect that we are
going to open it again, for their gratification, they are mistaken.

The tete-a-tete continued for a very unreasonable time—-how long we
shall not say; but it was ended by six o’clock in the evening, for at
that hour Monsieur Le Quoi made his appearance agreeably to the
appointment of the preceding day, and claimed the ear of Miss Temple.
He was admitted ; when he made an offer of his hand, with much
suavity, together with his “amis beeg and leet’, his père, his mere
and his sucreboosh.” Elizabeth might, possibly, have previously
entered into some embarrassing and binding engagements with Oliver,
for she declined the tender of all, in terms as polite, though perhaps
a little more decided, than those in which they were made.

The Frenchman soon joined the German and the sheriff in the hall, who
compelled him to take a seat with them at the table, where, by the aid
of punch, wine, and egg nog, they soon extracted from the complaisant
Monsieur Le Quoi the nature of his visit, it was evident that he had
made the offer, as a duty which a well- bred man owed to a lady in
such a retired place, before he had left the country, and that his
feelings were but very little, if at all, interested in the matter.
After a few potations, the waggish pair persuaded the exhilarated
Frenchman that there was an inexcusable partiality in offering to one
lady, and not extending a similar courtesy to another. Consequently,
about nine, Monsieur Le Quoi sallied forth to the rectory, on a
similar mission to Miss Grant, which proved as successful as his first
effort in love.

When he returned to the mansion-house, at ten, Richard and the Major
were still seated at the table. They at tempted to persuade the Gaul,
as the sheriff called him, that he should next try Remarkable
Pettibone. But, though stimulated by mental excitement and wine, two
hours of abstruse logic were thrown away on this subject; for he
declined their advice, with a pertinacity truly astonishing in so
polite a man.

When Benjamin lighted Monsieur Le Quoi from the door, he said, at

“If-so-be, Mounsheer, you’d run alongside Mistress Pettybones, as the
Squire Dickens was bidding ye, ‘tis my notion you’d have been
grappled; in which case, d’ye see, you mought have been troubled in
swinging clear agin in a handsome manner; for thof Miss Lizzy and the
parson’s young ‘un be tidy little vessels, that shoot by a body on a
wind, Mistress Remarkable is summat of a galliot fashion: when you
once takes ‘em in tow, they doesn’t like to be cast off agin.”


“Yes, sweep ye on!—We will not leave,
For them who triumph those who grieve.
With that armada gay
Be laughter loud, and jocund shout—
—But with that skill
Abides the minstrel tale. “—Lord of the Isles.

The events of our tale carry us through the summer; and after making
nearly the circle of the year, we must conclude our labors in the
delightful month of October. Many important incidents had, however,
occurred in the intervening period; a few of which it may be necessary
to recount.

The two principal were the marriage of Oliver and Elizabeth, and the
death of Major Effingham. They both took place early in September;
and the former preceded the latter only a few days. The old man
passed away like the last glimmering of a taper; and, though his death
cast a melancholy over the family, grief could not follow such an end.
One of the chief concerns of Marmaduke was to reconcile the even
conduct of a magistrate with the course that his feelings dictated to
the criminals. The day succeeding the discovery at the cave, however,
Natty and Benjamin re-entered the jail peaceably, where they
continued, well fed and comfortable, until the return of an express to
Albany, who brought the governor’s pardon to the Leather-Stocking. In
the mean time, proper means were employed to satisfy Hiram for the
assaults on his person ; and on the same day the two comrades issued
together into society again, with their characters not at all affected
by the imprisonment.

Mr. Doolittle began to discover that neither architecture nor his law
was quite suitable to the growing wealth and intelligence of the
settlement; and after exacting the last cent that was attainable in
his compromise, to use the language of the country he “pulled up
stakes,” and proceeded farther west, scattering his professional
science and legal learning through the land; vestiges of both of which
are to be discovered there even to the present hour.

Poor Jotham, whose life paid the forfeiture of his folly,
acknowledged, before he died, that his reasons for believing in a mine
were extracted from the lips of a sibyl, who, by looking in a magic
glass, was enabled to discover the hidden treasures of the earth.
Such superstition was frequent in the new settlements; and, after the
first surprise was over, the better part of the community forgot the
subject. But, at the same time that it removed from the breast of
Richard a lingering suspicion of the acts of the three hunter, it
conveyed a mortifying lesson to him, which brought many quiet hours,
in future, to his cousin Marmaduke. It may be remembered that the
sheriff confidently pronounced this to be no “ visionary “scheme, and
that word was enough to shut his lips, at any time within the next ten

Monsieur Le Quoi, who has been introduced to our readers because no
picture of that country would be faithful without some such character,
found the island of Martinique, and his “sucreboosh,” in possession of
the English but Marmaduke and his family were much gratified in soon
hearing that he had returned to his bureau, in Paris; where he
afterward issued yearly bulletins of his happiness, and of his
gratitude to his friends in America.

With this brief explanation, we must return to our narrative. Let the
American reader imagine one of our mildest October mornings, when the
sun seems a ball of silvery fire, and the elasticity of the air is
felt while it is inhaled, imparting vigor and life to the whole system
; the weather, neither too warm nor too cold, but of that happy
temperature which stirs the blood, without bringing the lassitude of
spring. It was on such a morning, about the middle of the month, that
Oliver entered the hall where Elizabeth was issuing her usual orders
for the day, and requesting her to join him in a short excursion to
the lakeside. The tender melancholy in the manner of her husband
caught the attention of Elizabeth, who instantly abandoned her
concerns, threw a light shawl across her shoulders, and, concealing
her raven hair under a gypsy hat, and took his arm, and submitted
herself, without a question, to his guidance. They crossed the
bridge, and had turned from the highway, along the margin of the lake,
before a word was exchanged. Elizabeth well knew, by the direction,
the object of the walk, and respected the feelings of her companion
too much to indulge in untimely conversation. But when they gained
the open fields, and her eye roamed over the placid lake, covered with
wild fowl already journeying from the great northern waters to seek a
warmer sun, but lingering to play in the limpid sheet of the Otsego,
and to the sides of the mountain, which were gay with the thou- sand
dyes of autumn, as if to grace their bridal, the swelling heart of the
young wife burst out in speech.

“This is not a time for silence, Oliver!” she said, clinging more
fondly to his arm; “everything in Nature seems to speak the praises of
the Creator; why should we, who have so much to be grateful for, be

“Speak on!” said her husband, smiling; “I love the sounds of your
voice. You must anticipate our errand hither: I have told you my
plans: how do you like them?”

“I must first see them,” returned his wife. “But I have had my plans,
too; it is time I should begin to divulge them.”

“You! It is something for the comfort of my old friend, Natty, I

“Certainly of Natty; but we have other friends besides the Leather-
Stocking to serve. Do you forget Louisa and her father?”

“No, surely; have I not given one of the best farms in the county to
the good divine? As for Louisa, I should wish you to keep her always
near us.”

“You do!” said Elizabeth, slightly compressing her lips; “but poor
Louisa may have other views for herself; she may wish to follow my
example, and marry.”

“I don’t think it,” said Effingham, musing a moment, really don’t
know any one hereabouts good enough for her.”

“Perhaps not her; but there are other places besides Templeton, and
other churches besides ‘New St. Paul’s.’”

“Churches, Elizabeth! you would not wish to lose Mr. Grant, surely!
Though simple, he is an excellent man I shall never find another who
has half the veneration for my orthodoxy. You would humble me from a
saint to a very common sinner.”

“It must be done, sir,” returned the lady, with a half-concealed
smile, “though it degrades you from an angel to a man.”

“But you forget the farm?”

“He can lease it, as others do. Besides, would you have a clergyman
toil in the fields?”

“Where can he go? You forget Louisa.”

“No, I do not forget Louisa,” said Elizabeth, again compressing her
beautiful lips. “You know, Effingham, that my father has told you
that I ruled him, and that I should rule you. I am now about to exert
my power.”

“Anything, anything, dear Elizabeth, but not at the expense of us all:
not at the expense of your friend.”

“How do you know, sir, that it will be so much at the expense of my
friend?” said the lady, fixing her eyes with a searching look on his
countenance, where they met only the unsuspecting expression of manly

“How do I know it? Why, it is natural that she should regret us.”
It is our duty to struggle with our natural feelings,” returned the
lady; “and there is but little cause to fear that such a spirit as
Louisa’s will not effect it.”

“But what is your plan?”

“Listen, and you shall know. My father has procured a call for Mr.
Grant, to one of the towns on the Hudson where he can live more at his
ease than in journeying through these woods; where he can spend the
evening of his life in comfort and quiet; and where his daughter may
meet with such society, and form such a connection, as may be proper
for one of her years and character.”

“Bess! you amaze me! I did not think you had been such a manager!”

“Oh! I manage more deeply than you imagine, sir,” said the wife,
archly smiling again; “ but it is thy will and it is your duty to
submit—for a time at least.”

Effingham laughed; but, as they approached the end of their walk, the
subject was changed by common consent.

The place at which they arrived was the little spot of level ground
where the cabin of the Leather-Stocking had so long stood. Elizabeth
found it entirely cleared of rubbish, and beautifully laid down in
turf, by the removal of sods, which, in common with the surrounding
country, had grown gay, under the influence of profuse showers, as if
a second spring had passed over the land. This little place was
surrounded by a circle of mason-work, and they entered by a small
gate, near which, to the surprise of both, the rifle of Natty was
leaning against the wall. Hector and the slut reposed on the grass by
its side, as if conscious that, however altered, they were lying on
the ground and were surrounded by objects with which they were
familiar. The hunter himself was stretched on the earth, before a
head-stone of white marble, pushing aside with his fingers the long
grass that had already sprung up from the luxuriant soil around its
base, apparently to lay bare the inscription. By the side of this
stone, which was a simple slab at the head of a grave, stood a rich
monument, decorated with an urn and ornamented with the chisel.

Oliver and Elizabeth approached the graves with a light tread, unheard
by the old hunter, whose sunburnt face was working, and whose eyes
twinkled as if something impeded their vision. After some little time
Natty raised himself slowly from the ground, and said aloud:

“Well, well—I’m bold to say it’s all right! There’s something that I
suppose is reading; but I can’t make anything of it; though the pipe
and the tomahawk, and the moccasins, be pretty well—pretty well, for a
man that, I dares to say, never seed ‘ither of the things. Ah’s me!
there they lie, side by side, happy enough! Who will there be to put
me in the ‘arth when my time comes?”

“When that unfortunate hour arrives, Natty, friends shall not be
wanting to perform the last offices for you,” said Oliver, a little
touched at the hunter’s soliloquy.

The old man turned, without manifesting surprise, for he had got the
Indian habits in this particular, and, running his hand under the
bottom of his nose, seemed to wipe away his sorrow with the action.

“You’ve come out to see the graves, children, have ye?” he said; “
well, well, they’re wholesome sights to young as well as old.”

“I hope they are fitted to your liking,” said Effingham, “no one has a
better right than yourself to be consulted in the matter.”

“Why, seeing that I ain’t used to fine graves,” returned the old man,
“it is but little matter consarning my taste. Ye laid the Major’s
head to the west, and Mohegan’s to the east, did ye, lad?”

“At your request it was done,”

“It’s so best,” said the hunter; “they thought they had to journey
different ways, children: though there is One greater than all, who’ll
bring the just together, at His own time, and who’ll whiten the skin
of a blackamoor, and place him on a footing with princes.”

“There is but little reason to doubt that,” said Elizabeth, whose
decided tones were changed to a soft, melancholy voice; “I trust we
shall all meet again, and be happy together.”

“Shall we, child, shall we?” exclaimed the hunter, with unusual
fervor, “there’s comfort in that thought too. But before I go, I
should like to know what 'tis you tell these people, that be flocking
into the country like pigeons in the spring, of the old Delaware, and
of the bravest white man that ever trod the hills?”

Effingham and Elizabeth were surprised at the manner of the Leather-
Stocking, which was unusually impressive and solemn; but, attributing
it to the scene, the young man turned to the monument, and read aloud:

“Sacred to the memory of Oliver Effingham Esquire, formally a Major in
his B. Majesty’s 60th Foot; a soldier of tried valor; a subject of
chivalrous loyalty; and a man of honesty. To these virtues he added
the graces of a Christian. The morning of his life was spent in
honor, wealth, and power; but its evening was obscured by poverty,
neglect, and disease, which were alleviated only by the tender care of
his old, faithful, and upright friend and attendant Nathaniel Bumppo.
His descendants rest this stone to the virtues of the master, and to
the enduring gratitude of the servant.”

The Leather-Stocking started at the sound of his own name, and a smile
of joy illuminated his wrinkled features, as he said:

“And did ye say It, lad? have you then got the old man’s name cut in
the stone, by the side of his master’s! God bless ye, children! ‘twas
a kind thought, and kindness goes to the heart as Life shortens.”

Elizabeth turned her back to the speakers. Effingham made a fruitless
effort before he succeeded in saying:

“It is there cut in plain marble; but it should have been written in
letters of gold!”

“Show me the name, boy,” said Natty, with simple eagerness; “let me
see my own name placed in such honor. ‘Tis a gin’rous gift to a man
who leaves none of his name and family behind him in a country where
he has tarried so long.”

Effingham guided his finger to the spot, and Natty followed the
windings of the letters to the end with deep interest, when he raised
himself from the tomb, and said:

“I suppose it’s all right; and it’s kindly thought, and kindly done!
But what have ye put over the red-skin”

“You shall hear: This stone is raised to the memory of an Indian Chief
of the Delaware tribe, who was known by the several names of John
Mohegan Mohican———’”

“Mo-hee-can, lad, they call theirselves! ‘hecan.”

“Mohican; and Chingagook—”

“‘Gach, boy; ‘gach-gook; Chingachgook, which interpreted, means Big-
sarpent. The name should he set down right, for an Indian’s name has
always some meaning in it.”

“I will see it altered. ‘He was the last of his people who continued
to inhabit this country; and it may he said of him that his faults
were those of an Indian, and his virtues those of a man.’”

“You never said truer word, Mr. Oliver; ah’s me! if you had knowed him
as I did, in his prime, in that very battle where the old gentleman,
who sleeps by his side saved his life, when them thieves, the
Iroquois, had him at the stake, you’d have said all that, and more
too. I cut the thongs with this very hand, and gave him my own
tomahawk and knife, seeing that the rifle was always my fav'rite
weapon. He did lay about him like a man! I met him as I was coming
home from the trail, with eleven Mingo scalps on his pole. You
needn’t shudder, Madam Effingham, for they was all from shaved heads
and warriors. When I look about me, at these hills, where I used to
could count sometimes twenty smokes, curling over the tree-tops, from
the Delaware camps, it raises mournful thoughts, to think that not a
red-skin is left of them all; unless it be a drunken vagabond from the
Oneidas, or them Yankee Indians, who, they say, be moving up from the
seashore; and who belong to none of Gods creatures, to my seeming,
being, as it were, neither fish nor flesh—neither white man nor
savage. Well, well! the time has come at last, and I must go——”

“Go!” echoed Edwards, “ whither do you go?”

The Leather-Stocking; who had imbibed unconsciously, many of the
Indian qualities, though he always thought of himself as of a
civilized being, compared with even the Delawares, averted his face to
conceal the workings of his muscles, as he stooped to lift a large
pack from behind the tomb, which he placed deliberately on his

“Go!” exclaimed Elizabeth, approaching him with a hurried step; “you
should not venture so far in the woods alone, at your time of life,
Natty; indeed, it Is Imprudent, He is bent, Effingham, on some distant

“What Mrs. Effingham tells you is true, Leather-Stocking’ said
Edwards; “there can be no necessity for your submitting to such
hardships now. So throw aside your pack, and confine your hunt to the
mountains near us, if you will go.”

“Hardship! ‘tis a pleasure, children, and the greatest that is left me
on this side the grave.”

“No, no; you shall not go to such a distance,” cried Elizabeth, laying
her white hand on his deer-skin pack—” I am right! I feel his camp-
kettle, and a canister of powder! He must not be suffered to wander so
far from us, Oliver; remember how suddenly Mohegan dropped away.”

“I knowed the parting would come hard, children—I knowed it would!”
said Natty, “and so I got aside to look at the graves by myself, and
thought if I left ye the keep sake which the Major gave me, when we
first parted in the woods, ye wouldn’t take it unkind, but would know
that, let the old man’s body go where it might, his feelings stayed
behind him.”

“This means something more than common,” exclaimed the youth. “Where
is it, Natty, that you purpose going?”

The hunter drew nigh him with a confident, reasoning air, as If what
he had to say would silence all objections, and replied:

“Why, lad, they tell me that on the big lakes there’s the best of
hunting, and a great range without a white man on it unless it may be
one like myself. I’m weary of living in clearings, and where the
hammer is sounding in my ears from sunrise to sundown. And though I’m
much bound to ye both, children—I wouldn’t say it if It was not true—I
crave to go into the woods agin—I do.”

“Woods!” echoed Elizabeth, trembling with her feelings; “do you not
call these endless forests woods?”

“Ah! child, these be nothing to a man that’s used to the wilderness.
I have took but little comfort sin’ your father come on with his
settlers; but I wouldn’t go far, while the life was in the body that

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest