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James Fenimore Cooper by Mary E. Phillips

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sleeves and "large ruffles" of lace which with "the experience of forty
years," also veiled her shoulders, to the triple row of large pearls
about her throat,--all these details are found in Cooper's text-picture
of Jeanette Peyton. His "Sarah Wharton" no less closely follows the
portrait of Mrs. Jay's older sister, Sarah Duyckinck, who became Mrs.
Richard Bancker. Her name Sarah may have been given purposely to Sarah
Wharton of Cooper's story. Cooper was thirty-two when it was written,
and it is not unlikely that Mrs. Jay, then eighty-five years of age, was
pleased with this delicate tribute the young novelist paid to the beauty
of her own and her sister's youth.

[Illustration: LAFAYETTE THEATRE.]

[Illustration: COOPER'S HEROINES.]

Four daughters and a son now shared the author's home life, and in order
to place his little girls in a school and be near his publishers, Cooper
rented a modest brick house on Broadway, across the street from Niblo's
Garden, near No. 585, Astor's home, which was a grand resort of
Halleck and Irving, who wrote there a part of his "Life of Washington."
Cooper's house was just above Prince Street--then almost out of town.


The modern club being then unknown, the brilliant men of the day met in
taverns, and there talked of "everything under the starry scope of
heaven." In the 1820's there was Edward Windhurst's famous nook under
the sidewalk below Park Theatre, where Edmund Kean, Junius Brutus Booth,
Cooper, Morris, Willis, and Halleck made gay and brilliant talk.

In the "Life and Letters of Fitz-greene Halleck," by General James Grant
Wilson, it appears that Cooper was warmly attached to Halleck since
1815, when they first met. Fitz-greene Halleck is credited with taking
Cooper's earliest books to Europe in 1822 and finding a London publisher
for them. The novelist called his friend "The Admirable Croaker," on
account of a series of amusing and satirical verses written by Halleck
and Drake and published over the signature of "Croaker and Co.," in the
public press of that day. Into this atmosphere of charm came delightful
and delighting Joseph Rodman Drake, with his "six feet two" of splendid
youth; he was thought by some "the handsomest man in New York." From out
this brilliant group comes the record that "'Culprit Fay,' written in
August, 1816," says Halleck, "came from Cooper, Drake, DeKay, and
Halleck, speaking of Scottish streams and their inspiration for poetry.
Cooper and Halleck thought our American rivers could claim no such
tribute of expression. Drake differed from his friends and made good his
stand by producing in three days 'The Culprit Fay' from the Highlands of
the Hudson; but," is added, "the Sound from Hunt's Point, his familiar
haunt of _salt_ water, made his inspiration."

[Illustration: JAMES FENIMORE COOPER, 1822.]

[Illustration: FITZ-GREENE HALLECK.]

[Illustration: JOSEPH RODMAN DRAKE.]

[Illustration: CRO' NEST.]

To the City Hotel came Morris again with Dana, Cooper, and his friend,
Samuel Woodworth, author of "The Old Oaken Bucket"--to plan "The
Mirror," in 1823.

[Illustration: SAMUEL WOODWORTH.]

[Illustration: THE OLD OAKEN BUCKET.]

The story of the old song's writing is: At noon on a summer's day in
1817 Woodworth, whose pen-name was "Selim," walked home to dinner from
his office at the foot of Wall Street. Being very warm, he drank a glass
of water from his pump, and after drinking it said, "How much more
refreshing would be a draught from the old bucket that hung in my
father's well!" Then his wife--whom the poet called his
inspiration--exclaimed, "Why, Selim, wouldn't that be a pretty subject
for a poem?" Thus urged, he began writing at once, and in an hour's time
finished the heart-stirring song so well known as "The Old Oaken

At this City Hotel Cooper himself in 1824 founded "The Bread and Cheese
Club"--so named because membership was voted _for_ with bits of bread,
and _against_ with bits of cheese. He called it the "Lunch." Later on,
the "Lunch, or Cooper's Club," met in Washington Hall, corner of
Broadway and Chambers Street. Among its distinguished members were
Chancellor Kent, DeKay, naturalist, King, later president of Columbia
College, the authors Verplanck, Bryant, and Halleck, Morse the inventor,
the artists Durand and Jarvis, and Wiley the publisher. They met
Thursday evenings, each member in turn caring for the supper, always
cooked to perfection by Abigail Jones--an artist of color, in that line.
It was at one of these repasts that Bryant "was struck with Cooper's
rapid, lively talk, keen observation, knowledge, and accurate memory of
details." Said he: "I remember, too, being somewhat startled, coming as
I did from the seclusion of a country life, with a certain emphatic
frankness of manner, which, however, I came at last to like and admire."
Many an attractive page might be written of these talks with Mathews,
rambles with DeKay, and daily chats with his old messmates of the sea,
and this "Bread and Cheese Club." Cooper was scarcely in France before
he sent frequent missives to his friends at the club to be read at their
weekly meetings; but it "missed its founder, went into a decline, and
not long afterward quietly expired." General Wilson says that it was at
Wiley's, corner of Wall and New Streets, in a small back room christened
by Cooper "The Den"--which appeared over the door--that he first met
"The Idle Man," R.H. Dana. Here Cooper was in the habit of holding
forth to an admiring audience, much as did Christopher North about the
same time in "Blackwood's" back parlor in George Street, Edinburgh.

John Bartlett's Bookshop, too,--"a veritable treasury of literary
secrets,"--in the new Astor House, became a haunt for the bookmen of its
times. Cooper was fond of the society of literary men when he could meet
them as _men_, and not as lions. He once said: "You learn nothing about
a man when you meet him at a show dinner and he sits up to talk _for_
you instead of talking _with_ you. When I was in London Wordsworth came
to town, and I was asked to meet him at one of those displays; but I
would not go." Then Mrs. Cooper said: "But you met him afterwards, my
dear, and was very much pleased with him." To this Cooper replied: "Yes,
at Rogers', and _was_ very much pleased with him; but it was because I
met him in a place where he felt at home, and he let himself out


[Illustration: EARLY BROADWAY.]



[Illustration: ST. JOHN'S CHAPEL.]

After some stay on Broadway, Cooper moved his family to their Beach
Street abode. Some twenty paces from Hudson it stood,--a brick house of
many attractions in the wrought iron railings, marble steps, arched
doorway, high ceilings, with heavy, ornate mouldings, massive oaken
doors, and Venetian blinds of the deep windows. Spacious and inviting
was this city home during the 1820's, in the fashionable district of
St. John's. In April, 1823, while living here, Cooper was made a member
of the Philadelphia Philosophical Society. August of this year he lost
his first son,--the youngest child,--Fenimore; and he himself went
through a serious illness, brought on by an accident: "On returning
from a New Bedford visit his carriage broke down, and always glad to be
afloat, he took passage in a sloop for New York. Being anxious to reach
home, when the wind began to fail, and to make the most of the tide, he
took the helm and steered the little craft himself through Hell Gate.
The day was very stormy, and the trying heat brought on a sudden
sun-stroke-like fever." February 3, 1824, his second son, Paul, was

"The Spy" finished and the glow of success upon its author, he again
resolved "to try one more book." For this work his thoughts turned in
love to the home of his childhood, so closely associated with the little
"Lake of the Fields." "Green-belted with great forest trees was this
'smile of God'--from Mount Vision dreaming at its feet, to the densely
wooded 'sleeping lion' guarding its head, nine miles to the north." Of
the new book Cooper frankly said: "'The Pioneers' is written exclusively
to please myself." Herein Leatherstocking makes his first appearance,
and for all time, as Natty Bumppo, "with his silent footfall stepped
from beneath the shadows of the old pines into the winter sunlight."


An old hunter--Shipman by name--often came with his rifle and dogs
during the early years of the new colony, to offer his game at William
Cooper's door, and was a great attraction for the lads of Otsego Hall. A
dim memory of Shipman served as an outline only for Cooper's creation,
"Natty," as in strength and beauty of character he came from the
writer's pen, to live through the five "Leatherstocking Tales," as "the
ever familiar friend of boys." While Cooper placed no real character
from life in this book, Judge Temple is accepted as a sketch of his
father. The aim was to create a character from the class to which each
belonged. Thus served brave old Indian John as "Chingachgook"; Mr.
Grant, the missionary; and "Monsieur Le Quoi," the Frenchman. In
"Chronicles of Cooperstown" it appears that a real "Mr. Le Quoy excited
much interest in the place, in being superior to his occupation as a
country grocer." One day a Mr. Renouard, a seaman, entered his shop for
some tobacco, and returned in a few minutes agitated and pale, excitedly
asking, "Who is the man that sold me this tobacco?" At the answer, "Mr.
Le Quoy," he replied, "Yes, Mr. Le Quoy de Mesereau. When I went to
Martinique to be port-captain of St. Pierre, this man was civil governor
of the island, and refused to confirm my appointment." It was learned
later that the French Revolution drove Mr. Le Quoy with little money to
a New York friend,--a Mr. Murray,--who also knew well Judge Cooper, and
they both advised this country store until peaceful France could and
did invite its owner to return to his island home.

[Illustration: NATTY'S CAVE.]

An Indian alarm of the early-village period of 1794 formed the opening
chapter of the new book, but the incidents were mainly creations of
Cooper's fancy. Yet the pigeon-flights, Natty's cave, which sheltered
Elizabeth Temple from the forest fire, and each charming picture of the
Glimmerglass country, are true to life. The academy, court-house, jail,
inn; the "'Cricket'--that famous old cannon which sent its thunders
thousands of times over the Otsego hills on days of rejoicing--are
fairly given." The old gun was found when digging the cellar of Judge
Cooper's first house, and was said to have been buried by troops under
Gen. James Clinton, who marched from Albany against the Indians in 1779.
They cut their way through forests, brought their boats to Lake Otsego,
and their headquarters were in a log house built on the future site of
the first Hall. The place where was the old Clinton Dam is now marked by
the Daughters of the American Revolution as the _one_ Cooperstown,
connecting link with the War of Independence.


[Illustration: CLINTON DAM.]

The outward appearance of the old Hall is fairly given by Cooper's pen,
but once within, all is a faithful record, "even to the severed nose of
Wolfe, and the urn that held the ashes of Queen Dido." The tale was of a
great landlord living among his settlers on property bearing his name.
The book was "The Pioneers, or, Sources of the Susquehanna," and
"thirty-five hundred copies sold before noon of the day it was

It was of "The Pioneers" that Bryant wrote: "It dazzled the world by the
splendor of its novelty."

An interesting incident of Cooper's kindness of heart is of this date
and some ten years later came to light as follows: After his return from
Europe in 1833 he one day gave to his eldest daughter "a small book
bound in boards." It was entitled "Tales for Fifteen, or, Imagination
and Heart" by Jane Morgan. He said to her: "Dearie, here is a little
book that I wrote for Wiley," adding that he had bought it at a news
stand on his way home. It appears "when Wiley failed a number of his
patrons wrote stories and gave them to him." These two--one called
"Heart" and the other "Imagination" were written by Cooper, but
"curiously enough,"--were published under the pen-name of "Jane Morgan."
The book is very rare; only two copies are known to be in existence.

The thought of writing a romance of the sea first came to Mr. Cooper
while dining at Mr. Charles Wilkes', where the table-talk turned on "The
Pirate," just issued by the author of "Waverley." When his marine
touches were highly praised for their accuracy, Cooper held they were
not satisfactory to the nautical reader. His friends thought more
accuracy might better please seamen but would prove dull reading for the
general public. With his usual spirit, Cooper refused to be convinced,
and on his way home that evening "the outlines of a nautical romance
were vaguely sketched in his mind"; but he never dreamed it would
become one of a series of sea-stories. "I must write one more book--a
sea tale--" he said, "to show what can be done in this way by a sailor!"
The stirring struggles of the American Revolution again enlisted the
author's loyal pen-service in the character of that bold adventurer,
John Paul Jones, and his cruise in _The Ranger_, when he made his daring
descent upon Whitehaven and St. Mary's Isle, which suggested to Cooper
his plot for "The Pilot." Two ships, a frigate and the schooner _Ariel_,
were drawn for the tale. During its writing the author had many doubts
of its success. Friends thought the sea tame when calm, and unpleasant
in storms; and as to ladies--the reading of storms would surely make
them seasick. His first encouragement came from an Englishman of taste,
though a doubter of American talent. To Cooper's surprise, this
authority pronounced his sea tale good. Then came the favorable opinion
of Commodore Shubrick, of which the author wrote: "Anxious to know what
the effect would be on the public, I read a chapter to S----, now
captain, which contained an account of a ship working off-shore in a
gale. My listener betrayed interest as we proceeded, until he could no
longer keep his seat. He paced the room furiously until I got through,
and just as I laid down the paper he exclaimed: 'It is all very well,
but you have let your jib stand too long, my fine fellow!' I blew it out
of the bolt-rope in pure spite!" And thus it was that when the author
"came beating out of the 'Devil's Grip,'" this old messmate jumped from
his seat and paced the floor with strides, not letting a detail escape
him. Cooper was fully satisfied and accepted the criticism, and the
tale, alive with spirited description of sea-action, won the day. It was
written with all the author's power and accuracy of detail. In "Mr.
Gray" appeared John Paul Jones, while "Long Tom Coffin" was said to be
Mr. Irish, the mate of the _Stirling_, in which the lad "Cooper made his
voyage before-the-mast." Of this mate and the Yankees the author wrote:
"He too was from Nantucket, and was a prime fellow, and fit to command a
ship." Prof. Brander Matthews calls this simple-hearted cockswain and
Natty Bumppo "co-heirs of time." The famous fifth chapter of "The Pilot"
was the first fiction to show that "a master of the sea tale had come
into the world, and it has never been surpassed in literature of the
sea." This, the third of Cooper's novels, won for him his greatest
popularity. It was dedicated to William Branford Shubrick, United States
Navy--the author's loyal friend since their days together on the _Wasp_,
in 1809. Its inscription reads in part: "My Dear Shubrick--by your old
Messmate, the Author." A few days after "The Pilot" was issued, January,
1824, Cooper wrote this friend: "I found Wiley had the book in the hands
of his five printers--on my return--for reprint. So much for our joint
efforts." Concerning "The Pilot" and its author, this appeared in the
_Edinburgh Review_: "The empire of the sea is conceded to him by


[Illustration: CHARLES WILKES.]

[Illustration: JOHN PAUL JONES.]

Meeting Cooper at dinner three months later, Bryant wrote his wife that
"he seemed a little giddy with the great success his works have met."
Another said: "What wonder that the hearty, breezy author of 'The Spy,'
'The Pioneers,' and 'The Pilot,' should, by a certain 'emphatic
frankness of manner,' have somewhat startled the shy, retiring, country
poet who had not yet found his place on _The Evening Post!"_ Later, in
1824, to Richard Henry Dana's newsy letter about Cooper's foreign
standing, Bryant replies: "What you tell me of the success of our
countryman, Cooper, in England, is an omen of good things. I hope it is
the breaking of a bright day for American literature." Bryant's memorial
address after Cooper's death remains a splendid record of their
unclouded friendship, based on mutual respect. It was delivered at
Metropolitan Hall, in New York City, February 25, 1852. The occasion was
honored by the presence of the most brilliant men of the time. Daniel
Webster presided, assisted by William Cullen Bryant, and Washington
Irving. At that time these three men were made the subjects of a pencil
sketch by Daniel Huntington.

[Illustration: LONG TOM COFFIN.]

Mr. George Palmer Putnam thus describes a meeting between Irving and
Cooper, after the latter's return from Europe: "One day Mr. Irving was
sitting at my desk, with his back to the door, when Mr. Cooper came in
(a little bustling as usual) and stood at the office entrance, talking.
Mr. Irving did not turn (for obvious reasons), and Cooper did not see
him. I had acquired caution as to introductions without mutual consent,
but with brief thought--sort of instinct--I stoutly obeyed the impulse
of the moment, and simply said, 'Mr. Cooper, here is Mr. Irving.' The
latter turned, Cooper held out his hand cordially, dashed at once into
an animated conversation, took a chair, and, to my surprise and delight,
the two authors sat for an hour, chatting in their best manner about
almost every topic of the day and former days; and Mr. Irving
afterwards frequently alluded to the incident as being a very great
gratification to him. Not many months afterwards, he sat on the platform
and joined in Bryant's tribute to the genius of the departed novelist."


September 18, 1851, Irving wrote: "The death of Fenimore Cooper is an
event of deep and public concern. To me it comes with a shock; for it
seems but the other day that I saw him at Putnam's, in the full vigor of
mind and body, 'a very castle of a man.' He left a space in our
literature which will not be easily supplied. I shall not fail to
attend the proposed meeting."

It is recorded that "Yale never, in later years, saw fit to honor
herself by giving Cooper his degree, but Columbia, in this instance more
intelligent than either Harvard or Yale, in 1824, conferred on the
author the honorary degree of A.M."

When, in 1824, General Lafayette, as the Nation's guest, landed from the
_Cadmus_ at Castle Garden, Mr. Cooper made one of the active committee
of welcome and entertainment. Of his part in the Castle-Garden ball, and
his enthusiasm, a friend wrote: "After working hard all day in
preparations and all night in carrying them out, towards dawn he went to
the office of his friend Charles King and wrote out a full and accurate
report, which appeared in Mr. King's paper the next day." Concerning
this famous Castle-Garden ball, Cooper himself wrote: "A tall spar was
raised in the center, a vast awning of sail-cloth covered the whole,
which was concealed by flags that gave a soft, airy finish--all flooded
by lights. Music of the national air hailed Lafayette's arrival. The
brilliant throngs and gay dancers over the floor fell into line like a
charm, forming a lane, through which the old man passed, giving and
receiving warm and affectionate salutations at every step to the small
marquee in the midst, prepared for the 'Guest of the Nation.' He was
like a father among his children." In various other ways Cooper paid
tributes of courtesy to General Lafayette during this visit to America.

[Illustration: THE LANDING OF LAFAYETTE, 1824.]

As the three successful books which the author had now written dealt
with the strength and struggles of liberty-loving Americans for their
new country, his wide sense of justice suggested writing on loyalty from
the other point of view--the Mother Country's--as held by men of birth
and honor. This loyalty to England Cooper made the subject of his next
book. It was a dangerous venture, and a time too near the dearly-bought
laurels of our young republic in its separation from England. But the
author made every effort for accuracy on all points; he was tireless in
his study of history, state papers, official reports, almanacs, and
weather-records. A journey "to Yankee Land" familiarized him with every
locality he so faithfully described in the pages of "Lionel Lincoln." "A
Legend of the Thirteen Republics" was an added title to the first
edition only (1825) of "Lionel Lincoln," for Cooper's intention to write
a story of each of the thirteen states was given up later, and the title
"A Narrative of 1775" took its place. The author himself was not
satisfied with this work, nor with the character of "Lionel Lincoln,"
whose lack of commanding interest makes "Job," his poor half-witted
brother and son of "Abigail,"--a tenant of the old warehouse,--the
_real_ hero of the book. Of its author, Bancroft the historian wrote:
"He has described the battle of Bunker's Hill better than it has ever
been described in any other work." Another high authority says:
"'Lionel Lincoln' certainly gives spirited battlepieces--notably the
battle of Bunker's Hill, which is a masterpiece." Rhode Island people
may care to know that a part of this book was written in Providence, in
the home of Mr. John Whipple, which stands on the verge of the old elm
trees of College Street. Here, too, Cooper may have studied on the
opening scenes of "The Red Rover."

[Illustration: LAFAYETTE.]


[Illustration: JOB PRAY.]


Early spring of 1825 found Fenimore Cooper in Washington, whence he
wrote: "I have just witnessed one of the most imposing ceremonies of
this government; I allude to the inauguration of the President of the
United States." It was that of John Quincy Adams, who succeeded James
Monroe. Elsewhere one learns that Cooper had dined at the White House;
he gave a description of Mrs. Monroe as first lady of the land.


[Illustration: MRS. JAMES MONROE.]

[Illustration: PRESIDENT'S HOUSE, WASHINGTON, D.C., 1825.]

Up to this year the author had signed his name "James Cooper"; then, in
remembrance of his mother's wish, he changed it, and by the April,
1826, act of Legislature the family name became Fenimore Cooper.

During the summer of 1825 Mr. Cooper made one of a party of young
men,--which included also the Hon. Mr. Stanley, afterwards Lord Derby,
Prime Minister of England, and the Hon. Wortley Montagu, later Lord
Wharncliffe, in an excursion to Saratoga and the Lake George country.
They went slowly up the Hudson, paid a brief visit to West Point, thence
to Catskill, where, like Leatherstocking, they saw "Creation!"--as Natty
said, dropping the end of his rod into the water, and sweeping one hand
around him in a circle--"all creation, lad." In the hills they saw the
two small ponds, and the merry stream crooking and winding through the
valley to the rocks; and the "Leap" in its first plunge of two hundred
feet: "It's a drop for the old Hudson," added Natty. The Shakers were
called upon in their beautiful valley and neat village at Lebanon; good
dinners were eaten at friendly tables in Albany; and gay were the times
they had in Ballston and Saratoga. Thence to the Lake George region, its
wooded heights, islands, crystal lakes, silent shores. For a while they
lingered with delight, then turned back for the dark, still caverns in
the heart of Glens Fall. These caverns were, Natty said, "Two little
holes for us to hide in." He added, "Falls on two sides of us, and the
river above and below!--it would be worth the trouble to step up on the
height of this rock and look at the pervarcity of the water. It falls by
no rule at all." Within the shadows and silence of these caverns Mr.
Stanley suggested to Cooper that "here was the very scene for a
romance," and the author promised his friend that a book should be
written in which these caves would play an important part. A story of
strong Indian make-up first came then to the author's mind. Before
leaving, these caverns and the surrounding country were closely examined
for future use.


[Illustration: GLEN'S FALL'S CAVERNS.]

[Illustration: HONORABLE MR. STANLEY.]

Besides his youthful and Lake Ontario experiences with Indians, Cooper
followed parties of them from Albany to New York, and several times to
Washington, for the purpose of closely studying their natures and
habits; all authorities in print were consulted. On his return home the
book was begun and rapidly written. "Planned beneath the summer leaves,
on the far shore of picturesque Hell Gate, above smiling fields and
bowering orchards of his Angevine home, those leaves had scarcely fallen
when the story was told--'the most uniformly exciting and powerful of
his fictions'--'The Last of the Mohicans,' and Natty and Chingachgook
were left in the wilderness beside the rude grave of Uncas." Again they
came into the shadow of the unbroken forest, as called for by the _one_
friend he now constantly consulted,--his faithful, loving life-mate. At
the time of its writing Cooper had a serious illness, during which his
mind was filled with ideas for this book. Suddenly rousing himself one
of these autumn afternoons, he called for pen and paper, but too ill to
use them, asked Mrs. Cooper, watching anxiously by his side, to write
for him. Fearing delirium, she wrote, thinking it would relieve him. A
page of notes was rapidly dictated, which seemed to his alarmed nurse
but the wild fancies of a fevered brain. It proved to be a clear account
of a lively struggle between "Magua" and "Chingachgook," and made the
twelfth chapter of the book. Why the author called Lake George by
another name is thus explained: "Looking over an ancient map, he found
that a tribe of Indians the French called _Les Honcans_ lived by this
beautiful sheet of water, and thinking the English name too commonplace
and the Indian name too hard to pronounce, he chose the 'Horican' as
better suiting simple Natty." This book, "The Last of the Mohicans,"
proved, perhaps, to be the most popular of all his works up to 1826.

[Illustration: GLENS FALL.]

[Illustration: LAKE GEORGE, OR "THE HORICAN."]

A present-day man-of-letters writes of Cooper: "He paints Indians and
Indian scenes with a glow of our sunset skies and the crimson of our
autumn maples, and makes them alive with brilliant color. Rifles crack,
tomahawks gleam, and arrows dart like sunbeams through the air. Indians
fleet of foot and full of graceful movement are these dusky Apollo's
Uncas. Cooper's readers never yawn over these tales of the forest or the
sea. He is the swan on the lake, the eagle in the air, the deer in the
wood, and the wind on the sea." So writes Prof. Brander Matthews. That
life-student of the American Indian, Francis Parkman, wrote: "It is easy
to find fault with 'The Last of the Mohicans,' but it is far from easy
to rival or even approach its excellence." It is said that "Magua," of
this book, "is the best-drawn Indian in fiction; from scalp-lock to
moccasin tingling with life" and the tension of the canoe-chase on the

During this Lake George excursion a question came up between the Hon.
Mr. Stanley, the Hon. Wortley Montagu, and Mr. Cooper as to who was the
"Premier Baron of England." Cooper named Lord Henry William Fitzgerald
(3rd son of James, 1st Duke of Leinster) 22nd Baron de Ros [b. 1761--d.
1829] as his man; whose title came from Henry I., to Peter, Lord of
Holderness called Ros. Each of his two friends claimed another as the
"Premier Baron of England." All were so confident that a wager was
laid, and later inquiry proved Cooper right. In due time the debt
was paid with a large gold, silver-filled seal. On its stone--a
chrysoprase--appeared a baron's coronet and the old Scottish proverb:
"He that will to Cupar maun to Cupar!" The incident serves to affirm
Cooper's wide information and accurate memory.

[Illustration: THE WAGER SEAL.]

This winter of 1825-26 Cooper and his family made their home at 345
Greenwich Street, not many steps from 92 Hudson Street, where lived the
poet William Cullen Bryant, who often went around the corner for a walk
with his friend.

[Illustration: BRYANT.]

General Wilson wrote: "Soon after Bryant went to New York he met Cooper,
who, a few days later, said: 'Come and dine with me tomorrow; I live at
No. 345 Greenwich Street.' 'Please put that down for me,' said Bryant,
'or I shall forget the place.' 'Can't you remember three-four-five?'
replied Cooper bluntly. Bryant did remember 'three-four-five,' not only
for that day, but ever afterward."

During this spring Cooper followed a deputation of Pawnee and Sioux
Indians from New York to Washington, in order to make a close study of
them for future use. He was much interested in the chiefs' stories of
their wild powers, dignity, endurance, grace, cunning wiles, and fierce
passions. The great buffalo hunts across the prairies he had never seen;
the fights of mounted tribes and the sweeping fires over those boundless
plains all claimed his eager interest and sympathy, with the resulting
desire to place "these mounted tribes" and their desert plains beyond
the Mississippi in another Indian story. One of the chiefs of this
party--a very fine specimen of a warrior, a remarkable man in every
way--is credited with being the original of "Hard-Heart" of "The
Prairie," which an authority gives as Cooper's favorite book. On a
knoll, and within the glory of a western sunset, stood Natty, born of
the author's mind and heart, as he first appeared in this book. "The
aged trapper--a nobly pathetic figure contrasted with the
squatter"--looms up, colossal, against the gleaming radiance of
departing day; and full well he knows his own leaving for the long-home
is not far off--for the remarkable life of wondrous Leatherstocking
closes within these pages. Of other characters and the author Prof.
Matthews says: "He was above all things a creator of character.--He can
draw women.--The wife of Ishmael Bush, the squatter, mother of seven
stalwart sons and sister of a murderous rascal, is an unforgotten
portrait, solidly painted by a master." "The Prairie" was begun in the
winter of 1826, in the New York, Greenwich-Street home, while Cooper was
under the weather from the old fever effects. The closing of his
father's estate, and debts contracted against him by those whom he had
helped, emptied his purse and left him a poor man. To meet these calls
of honor and his own needs, he wrote when not able to do so, and for a
short and only time in his life called in the aid of coffee for his
work. Wine he drank daily at dinner only, and he never smoked.

[Illustration: "NATTY, THE TRAPPER."]

[Illustration: HENRY CLAY.]

[Illustration: CHANCELLOR KENT.]

When Cooper followed the Sioux and Pawnee Indians to Washington, in
1826, Henry Clay, Secretary of State, offered him the appointment of
United States Minister to Sweden. It was declined in favor of the
consulship to Lyons, France, which latter would allow him more freedom
and protect his family in case of foreign troubles. With this trip to
Europe in view his family busily studied French and Spanish. Returning
to New York, Cooper's club gave him a farewell dinner, at which the
author said he intended to write a history of the United States Navy. At
this dinner he was toasted by Chancellor Kent as "the genius which has
rendered our native soil classic ground, and given to our early history
the enchantment of fiction."

[Illustration: THE U.S.S. "HUDSON."]

May 1 the town house was given up for a month of hotel life, and on June
1, at eleven o'clock, Mr. and Mrs. Cooper and their children boarded the
_Hudson_ at Whitehall Wharf for Europe. They left a land-squall--their
maid Abigail--ashore and found some rough weather ahead before June 30.
"A fine clear day brought in plain sight ninety-seven sail, which had
come into the Channel, like ourselves, during the thick weather. The
blue waters were glittering with canvas." A little later Cooper wrote:
"There is a cry of 'Land!' and I must hasten on deck to revel in the
cheerful sight." The _Hudson_ brought up at Cowes, Isle of Wight, July
2, 1826; "after a passage of thirty-one days we first put foot in
Europe," wrote Cooper. In this "toy-town" they found rooms at the
"Fountain," where the windows gave them pretty vistas, and evening
brought the first old-country meal, also the first taste of the famous
Isle-of-Wight butter, which, however, without salt they thought
"tasteless." As eager newcomers to strange lands, they made several
sight-seeing ventures, among which was enjoyed the ivy-clad ruin of
Carisbrook, the one-time prison of Charles I. A few days later they
landed on the pier at Southampton, which town is recorded as being
"noted for long passages, bow-windows, and old maids." Here they found
pleasant lodgings, friends, and a sister of Mrs. Cooper's whereby time
was pleasantly passed by the family while Cooper went up to London to
see his publishers. On his return they were soon aboard the _Camilla_,
"shorn of one wing" (one of her two boilers was out of order), and on
their way to France. At midnight they were on deck for their first sight
of France; "Land!--of ghostly hue in the bright moonlight, and other
lights glittering from the two towers on the headlands near by." Landing
at the small port of Havre, they had some weary hours of search before
finding shelter in _Hotel d'Angleterre_. By a "skirted wonder" of the
port their luggage soon passed the customs next morning and they were
started for Paris. They were charmed with the dark old sombre,
mysterious towers and fantastic roofs of Rouen, where Cooper bought a
large traveling carriage, in which they safely passed the "ugly dragons"
that "thrust out their grinning heads from the Normandy towns" on the
way to the heart of France. From the windmills of Montmartre they took
in the whole vast capital at a glance. A short stay was made at a small
hotel, where soon after their arrival they engaged "a governess for the
girls." She proved to be "a furious royalist," teaching the children
that "Washington was a rebel, Lafayette a monster, and Louis XVI a
martyr." Under the rule of returned royalists was attempted the
exclusion of even the _name_ of Bonaparte from French history. "My
girls," Cooper wrote, "have shown me the history of France--officially
prepared for schools, in which there is no sort of allusion to him."
Their next venture was Hotel de Jumieges in a small garden, far from
the Faubourg St. Germain, where they had an apartment of six rooms.
Cooper wrote: "The two lower floors were occupied as a girls'
boarding-school;--the reason for dwelling in it, our own daughters were
in the school; on the second floor there was nothing but our own
apartment." And here, next door to their nun-neighbors of the convent
St. Maur, Cooper wrote the last pages of "The Prairie." It was published
in the autumn of 1826, by Lea and Carey, of Philadelphia.

[Illustration: WHITEWALL WHARF, 1826.]

[Illustration: KEEP OF CARISBROOK.]

[Illustration: HAVRE, BY NIGHT.]


[Illustration: THE CONVENT ST. MAUR.]

[Illustration: HOTEL DE JUMIEGES.]

Cooper was very fond of walking, and to get a general idea of Paris he
and Captain Chauncey--an old messmate and officer in the navy--made the
circuit of the city walls, a distance of nineteen miles, in four hours.
For two hours the captain had Cooper "a little on his quarter." "By this
time," Cooper wrote, "I ranged up abeam,"--to find a pinching boot on
his friend's foot. Near the finish the mate of this "pinching boot"
became "too large," and the captain "fell fairly astern." But without
stopping, eating, or drinking, they made the distance in four hours to a

Washington Irving wrote from Madrid the following spring: "I left Paris
before the arrival of Cooper, and regret extremely that I missed him. I
have a great desire to make his acquaintance, for I am delighted with
his novels. His naval scenes and characters in 'The Pilot' are
admirable." Cooper soon became known in France by his presence at a
dinner given by the U.S. Minister to Canning then in Paris.

In "Bryant and His Friends" General James Grant Wilson says: "Scott and
Cooper met at the Princess Galitzin's, in Paris, November, 1826; and,
says Scott's diary, 'so the Scotch and American Lions took the field
together.'" In Miss Cooper's "Pages and Pictures" appears her father's
first interview with the author of "Waverley," of which Cooper wrote in
part: "Ten days after the arrival of Sir Walter Scott I ordered a
carriage one morning. I had got as far as the lower flight to the door
when another carriage-steps rattled, and presently a large, heavy man
appeared in the door of the hotel. He was gray, limped a little, walking
with a cane. We passed on the stairs, bowing. I was about to enter the
carriage when I fancied the face and form were known to me, and it
flashed on my mind that the visit might be to myself. The stranger went
up the large stone steps, with one hand on the railing and the other on
his cane. He was on the first landing as I stopped, and, turning, our
eyes met. He asked in French, 'Is it Mr. Cooper that I have the honor to
see?' 'I am, sir.' 'Oh, well then, I am Walter Scott.' I ran up, shook
the hand he stood holding out to me cordially, and expressed my sense of
the honor he was conferring. He told me the Princess Galitzin had been
as good as her word and given him my address,--and cutting short
ceremony he had driven from his hotel to my lodgings." Realizing all at
once that he was speaking French to Cooper's English, he said: "Well, I
have been _parlez-vousing_ in a way to surprise you. These Frenchmen
have my tongue so set to their lingo I have half forgotten my own
language,' he continued in English, and accepted my arm up the next
flight of stairs." They had some copyright and other talk, and Sir
Walter "spoke of his works with frankness and simplicity"; and as to
proof-reading, he said he "would as soon see his dinner after a hearty
meal" as to read one of his own tales--"when fairly rid of it." When he
rose to go Cooper begged he might have the gratification of presenting
his wife. Sir Walter good-naturedly assented. When Mrs. Cooper and their
nephew William Cooper were introduced, he sat some little time relating
in Scotch dialect some anecdotes. Then his hostess remarked that the
chair he sat in had been twice honored that day, as General Lafayette
had not left it more than an hour before. Sir Walter was surprised,
thinking Lafayette had gone to America to live, and observed, "He is a
great man." Two days later Sir Walter had Cooper to breakfast, where the
Scotch bard appeared in a newly-bought silk gown, trying "as hard as he
could to make a Frenchman of himself." Among others present was Miss
Anne Scott, who was her father's traveling companion. "She was in half
mourning, and with her black eyes and jet-black hair might very well
have passed for a French woman." Of Scott Cooper wrote: "During the time
the conversation was not led down to business, he manifested a strong
propensity to humor." In naming their common publisher in Paris "he
quaintly termed him, with a sort of malicious fun, 'our gosling' (his
name was Goselin), adding that he hoped at least he 'laid golden eggs.'"
Mr. Cooper was warmly interested in aiding Sir Walter's "Waverley"
copyrights in America, and concerning their author he later wrote: "In
Auld Reekie, and among the right set, warmed, perhaps, by a glass of
'mountain dew,' Sir Walter Scott, in his peculiar way, is one of the
pleasantest companions the world holds." About 1830, when Cooper was
sitting for his portrait by Madame de Mirbel, that artist--for its
pose--asked him to look at the picture of a distinguished statesman.
Cooper said: "No, if I must look at any, it shall be at my master," and
lifting his eyes higher they rested on a portrait of Sir Walter Scott.

[Illustration: SIR WALTER SCOTT.]

[Illustration: MISS ANNE SCOTT.]



One of Cooper's steadfast friends exclaimed of him:--"What a love he
cherished for superior talents in every ennobling pursuit in life!" This
characteristic no doubt led him into that day life of Pierre Jean David
d'Angers, whose brave soul had battled its way to artistic recognition.
In M. Henry Jouin's "David d'Angers et ses Relations Litteraires,"
Paris, 1890, appear two letter records of this master-sculptor as to
Cooper. In that of David to Victor Pavie, November, 1826, is: "Next week
I am to dine with Cooper; I shall make his bust. If you have not yet
read his works, read them, you will find the characters vigorously
traced." A note adds that the sculptor kept his word, and this bust of
Cooper appeared in the "Salon of 1827." Paris, March 30, 1828, David
again writes of Cooper to Victor Pavie:--"Dear friend, in speaking of
the sea, I think of 'The Red Rover' of my good friend Cooper. Have you
read it? It interests me much." A note adds: "Without doubt the author
had presented his new book to the sculptor," who gave to Cooper this
bust, modeled in 1826. Mrs. Cooper thought the bust and the Jarvis
portrait of her husband were "perfect likenesses." Later on David's
genius again found expression in a bronze medallion of his "good friend
Cooper." David has given the striking intellectual of Cooper's head of
which an authority of that time wrote: "Nature moulded it in majesty,
yet denied it not the gentler graces that should ever adorn greatness."




"In Paris Cooper's style of living gave his ideas of the duties and
position of an American gentleman. In a part of the handsome Hotel de
Jumieges he lived, keeping his carriage and service required by a modest
establishment; and his doors were always open to every American who had
claims on his society. Meanwhile nothing was allowed to break in upon
his literary duties, for which a part of each day was set aside." So
wrote one who became a friend staunch and true at this time in Paris. Of
their meeting he wrote: "I shall never forget the first day I saw
Cooper. He was at good old General Lafayette's, in the little apartment
of the rue d'Anjou,--the scene of many hallowed memories." Lafayette's
kind heart had granted an interview to some Indians by whom a reckless
white man was filling his purse in parading through Europe. With winning
smile the great, good man told these visitors to return to their home
while yet they could. Mr. G. continued: "As I was gazing at this scene I
saw a gentleman enter whose appearance called off the General's
attention. He was in the prime of life (thirty-five), and of that vigor
which air and manly exercise give. I had seen the heads of great men,
and there were some close to me, but none with such a full, expansive
forehead, such strong features, a mouth firm without harshness, and an
eye whose clear gray seemed to read you at a glance while it fears not
to let you read him in turn. 'Who is he?' I whispered to a
grand-daughter of the General near me. 'Mr. Cooper; do you not know Mr.
Cooper? Let me introduce you to him.' 'Cooper,' said I to myself; 'can
it be that I am within five paces, and that there, too, are the feeble
of the race around which his genius has shed a halo like that of Homer's
own heros?' I was fresh from 'The Mohicans,' and my hand trembled as it
met the cordial grasp of the man to whom I owed so many pleasing hours.
I asked about the Indians. 'They are poor specimens,' said he;
'fourth-rate at best in their own woods, and ten-times worse for the
lives they are leading here.'" Later, Mr. G. met the author in
Lafayette's bed-room, and saw how warmly he was welcomed by the great
poet Beranger. Still later Mr. G. and Cooper met in Florence, where they
had much fine talking and walking "on calm summer evenings." Of the
Bard-of-Avon it is noted that Cooper said: "Shakespeare is my traveling
library. To a novel-writer he is invaluable. Publishers will have
mottoes for every chapter; I never yet turned over Shakespeare without
hitting upon just what I wanted I like to take them, whenever I can,
from our own poets. It is a compliment they have a right to, and I am
glad when I can pay it." Concerning the author's habits, this friend
concludes: "When Cooper left his desk he left his pen on it. He came out
into the world to hear and see what other men were doing. If they wanted
to hear him, there he was, perfectly ready to express opinions of men or
things. It was delightful to hear him talk about his own works, he did
it with such a frank, fresh, manly feeling."


[Illustration: P.T. DE BERANGER.]

[Illustration: TALLEYRAND.]

[Illustration: DUCHESSE DE BERRI.]

[Illustration: CHARLES X of FRANCE.]

Among the great again was seen the ever-favored yet not "gai"
Talleyrand. Of the incident Cooper noted: "It is etiquette for the kings
of France to dine in public on January 14 and on the monarch's
fete-day." Wishing to see this ceremony, Mr. and Mrs. Cooper were sent
the better of the two permissions granted for the occasion. Cooper
describes the ceremony--the _entree_ of Charles X: _"Le Roi_, tall,
decidedly graceful; the Dauphin to his right, the Dauphine to his left,
and to her right the Duchess of Berri." Passing Cooper, he continues:
"Near a little gate was an old man in strictly court-dress. The long
white hair that hung down his face, the _cordon bleu_, the lame foot,
and the unearthly aspect made me suspect the truth, it was M. de
Talleyrand as grand chamberlin, to officiate at the dinner of his
master"; whereby proving his own words: "It is not enough to be some
one,--it is needful to do something." A near Abbe whispered of
Talleyrand to Cooper: "But, sir, he is a cat, that always falls on its
feet." Yet of Talleyrand another's record is: "But if Charles Maurice
was lame of leg--his wit was keener and more nimble than that of any man
in Europe." Brushing past the gorgeous state-table to Mrs. Cooper, the
author adds: "She laughed, and said 'it was all very magnificent and
amusing,' but some one had stolen her shawl!"

[Illustration: COOPER'S SUMMER HOME, ST. OUEN, 1827.]

Cooper was ever a home-lover. Wherever he might be in foreign lands, he
contrived to have his own roof-tree when possible. Therefore, the summer
of 1827 sent them from rue St. Maur to the village of St. Ouen, on the
banks of the Seine and a league from the gates of Paris. The village
itself was not attractive, but pleasant was the home, next to a small
chateau where Madame de Stael lived when her father, M. Necker, was in
power. Some twenty-two spacious, well-furnished rooms this summer home
had, in which once lived the Prince de Soubise when _grand veneur_ of
Louis XV, who went there at times to eat his dinner--"in what served us
for a drawing-room," Cooper wrote. The beautiful garden of shade-trees,
shrubbery, and flowers, within gray walls fourteen feet high, was a
blooming paradise; and for it all--horses, cabriolet, grand
associations--was paid two hundred dollars per month for the season of

"The Red Rover" was written in these three or four summer months in St.
Ouen on the Seine, whence the author's letters tell of watching the
moving life on the river, the merry washerwomen as they chatter, joke,
and splash beneath his terrace; how he tried punting, and left it to
"honest Pierre," who never failed to charge him double fare, and of whom
he tells a pretty story; how they all enjoyed the village _fetes_, with
whirligigs and flying-horses, whereby the French contrive to make and
spend a few _sous_ pleasantly. "I enjoy all this greatly," wrote Cooper.
Excursions were made,--one to Montmorenci, in plain view of Paris; and
the author explains that the Montmorenci claim to being "the first
Christian baron" is of the Crusade War-Cry date and origin. His wife
and he took all the pretty drives in their cabriolet, but later he took
to the saddle for the out-of-field paths, where pleasant salutations
were exchanged with kindly-hearted peasants. Of these rambles Cooper
wrote: "One of my rides is ascending Montmartre by its rear, to the
windmills that night and day are whirling their rugged arms over the
capital of France." Montmartre, he said, gave him a view "like a glimpse
into the pages of history." He often met royalty dashing to and from
Paris. The king with his carriage-and-eight, attended by a dozen mounted
men, made a royal progress truly magnificent.


[Illustration: OLD MILL AT NEWPORT.]

[Illustration: THE STRUGGLE.]

Overhanging the river at the garden side was a broad terrace which ended
in a pleasant summer-house, and here many pages of the author's next
book--"The Red Rover"--were written. After he left the navy, and while
he was living in Angevine, Cooper became part owner in a
whaling-ship,--_The Union_, of Sag Harbor. She made trips to different
parts of the coast, and several times, for the pleasure of it, Cooper
played skipper. Under his direction she once carried him to Newport,
with which he was greatly pleased. He explored the old ruin there, but
no fancy could ever persuade him to see more than a windmill in it; but
the charm of Newport's situation, harbor, and shore lines lingered in
his mind and served him for the opening and closing scenes of this work.
After its publication he received from some Newport gentlemen the gift
of a little box made from the keel of the _Endeavor_, Cook's famous
exploring ship, which wound up its world-circling voyage in Newport
harbor. On the lid of the box was a silver-plate engraving. In Cooper's
story the "Red Rover" appears on this Newport scene in the height of his
career,--an outlaw in spirit, a corsair in deed. In early life he was of
quick mind, strong will, with culture and social position, but wildly
passionate and wayward; and smarting under official injustice, in an
evil hour he casts his lawlessness loose on the storm-tide of life. The
voice of an elder sister, who had given something of a mother's deep
love and tenderness to the wayward youth, falls upon his ear. Old
memories are awakened; home feeling revives; conscience is aroused, and
in the very hour of its greatest triumph the proud spirit bows in
penitence,--the Rover surrenders his captives. A like change of heart
came, through a mutual love of the birds of heaven, to a real pirate who
chanced upon a cabin in the forest's solitude and here confessed his
life to its inmate, Audubon, who left this "striking incident" a record
in his works. However, "Dick Fid, that arrant old foretop man, and his
comrade, Negro Sip, are the true lovers of the narrative;--the last,
indeed, is a noble creature, a hero under the skin of Congo." "The Red
Rover" is all a book of the sea. In Sir Walter Scott's journal, January,
1828, appears: "I have read Cooper's new novel, 'The Red Rover.' The
current of it rolls entirely on the ocean. Something too much of
nautical language. It is very clever, though." Its author "has often
been idly compared to the author of 'Waverley,' but to no such heritage
as Scott's was ever Cooper born. Alone he penetrated the literary
wilderness, blazing paths for those who should come after him
there";--and a Columbus of letters for others to follow on the sea's
highway was he.

[Illustration: THE NEWPORT BOX.]


A misprint in Lockhart's "Life of Scott" made his comment on Cooper most
unfortunate by an "s" added to the word manner. Sir Walter's journal
reads: "This man who has shown so much genius has a good deal of manner,
or want of manner, peculiar to his countrymen." Cooper, hurt to the
quick for himself and his country at being rated "a rude boor from the
bookless wilds," by one he had called his "sovereign" in past cordial
relations, resented this expression in his review of Lockhart's work
for the _Knickerbocker Magazine_, 1838, and for so doing he was harshly
criticised in England. October, 1864, the literary editor of _The
Illustrated London News_ wrote: "I am almost inclined to agree with
Thackeray in liking Hawkeye 'better than any of Scott's lot.' What noble
stories those five are in which the hero is described from youth to
age!" From "Thackeray in the United States," by General James Grant
Wilson, comes: "At an American dinner table" (the talk was of Cooper and
his writings) "Thackeray pronounced Leatherstocking the greatest
character created in fiction since the Don Quixote of Cervantes"; and he
thought the death scene in "The Prairie," where the old trapper said
"Here!" surpassing anything he had "met in English literature."

[Illustration: NATTY'S LAST CALL.]

Of Natty's answer to the Spirit Land call Cooper's own words are: "The
trapper was placed on a rude seat, which had been made, with studied
care, to support his frame in an upright and easy attitude--so as to let
the light of the setting sun fall full upon the solemn features. His
head was bare, the long, thin locks of gray fluttering lightly in the
evening breeze. The first glance of the eye told his former friends
that the old man was at length called upon to pay the last tribute of
nature. The trapper had remained nearly motionless for an hour. His eyes
alone had occasionally opened and shut. When opened, his gaze seemed
fastened on the clouds which hung around the western horizon, reflecting
the bright colors, and giving form and loveliness to the glorious tints
of an American sunset. The hour--the calm beauty of the season--the
occasion, all conspired to fill the spectators with solemn awe.
Suddenly, while musing on the remarkable position in which he was
placed, Middleton felt the hand which he held grasp his own with
incredible power, and the old man, supported on either side by his
friends, rose upright to his feet. For a moment he looked about him, as
if to invite all in presence to listen (the lingering remnant of human
frailty), and then, with a fine military elevation of the head, and with
a voice that might be heard in every part of that numerous assembly, he
pronounced the word--'Here!'

"When Middleton and Hard Heart, each of whom had involuntarily extended
a hand to support the form of the old man, turned to him again, they
found that the subject of their interest was removed forever beyond the
necessity of their care."

Concerning social life Cooper wrote: "Taking into consideration our
tastes and my health, the question has been, not how to get into, but
how to keep out of, the great world." But for the happy chance of
inquiry at the gate of a friend, the author would "have dined with the
French Lord-High-Chancellor, without the smallest suspicion of who he
was!" Of French women Cooper adds: "The highest style of French beauty
is classical. I cannot recall a more lovely picture than the Duchess
de----[this title and blank are said to veil the identity of the
Princess Galitzin] in full dress at a carnival ball, where she shone
peerless among hundreds of the _elite_ of Europe. And yet this woman was
a grandmother!"


In a letter dated Paris, November 28, 1826, written by Mrs. Cooper to
her sister, appears of Mr. Cooper:--"They make quite a Lion of him and
Princesses write to him and he has invitations from Lords and Ladies. He
has so many notes from the Princess Galitzin I should be absolutely
jealous were it not that she is a Grandmother. We were at a Soiree there
the other evening among Dutchesses, Princesses, Countesses, etc."



Once with and twice without Mrs. Cooper, the author visited La Grange,
the country home of General Lafayette, some twenty-seven miles from
Paris and near Rosay. He tells us that La Grange means barn, granary, or
farm, and that the chateau came to Lafayette through his wife; that it
had some five hundred acres of wood, pasture, meadow, and cultivated
land; that the house is of hewn stone, good grayish color, with its five
plain, round towers and their high, pyramidal slate roofs making a part
of the walls; that the end towers are buried in ivy planted by Charles
Fox. He tells how small, irregular windows open beautifully through the
thick foliage for the blooming faces of children, in their home-part of
La Grange. He gives rare pictures of the great stairway, the General's
bed-room, cabinet, and library in the tower-angle overlooking the
willow-shaded moat. Beneath this library was the author's own bed-room.
Then came the array of drawing-rooms and innumerable other rooms, where
hospitality seemed to know no limit. Lafayette's cabinet contained
many portraits,--one of Madame de Stael, and one of his own father. Of
this room, and the library, and his grand old host Cooper wrote: "I
passed much of our visit alone with him in these two rooms. No one can
be pleasanter in private, and he is full of historical anecdotes that he
tells with great simplicity and frequently with great humor." The
chateau stands on three sides of an irregular square, and is one of the
most picturesque structures in the country. The winding road enters a
thicket of evergreens, crosses a bridge, and passes beneath an arch to
the paved court. Together, Cooper and his host had many walks and drives
thereabouts, and, all in all, the author fell under the spell of
Lafayette's personal charm and his simple integrity of character.
Between Lafayette's richness of years and Talleyrand's old age there was
a gulf,--one had attained nearly everything worth striving for; the
other had lost the same.


Cooper and his family entered France July, 1826, and February, 1828,
they thought the time had come to change the scene, and proceeded to
England. "I drove around to the rue d'Anjou to take my leave of General
Lafayette," wrote Cooper. To Calais they had rain and chill and darkness
most of the way. Passing through the gate, they drove to the inn
immortalized by Lawrence Sterne and Beau Brummel, where they found
English comfort with French cooking and French taste. One of February's
fine days they left the Hotel Dessein to embark for England. After a
two-hours' run the cliffs of Dover appeared on each side of that
port,--the nearest to the continent,--making these chalk cliffs seem,
Cooper says, "a magnificent gateway to a great nation." Leaving the
fishing-boats of the French coast, "the lofty canvas of countless ships
and several Indiamen rose from the sea," as they shot towards the
English shore, many "bound to that focus of coal-smoke, London." Quietly
landing at Dover-haven, they went to Wright's tavern, where they missed
the French manner, mirrors, and table-service, but "got in their place a
good deal of solid, unpretending comfort." In due time Mr. Wright put
them and their luggage into a comfortable post-coach, and on the road he
called "quite rotten, sir," to London. To Americans, at that date, the
road proved good, and also the horses that made the sixteen miles to
Canterbury in an hour and a half, where they drove to another Mr.
Wright's; going to four of the name between Dover and London, Cooper
concluded with an apology that "it was literally all Wright on this
road." The visit to Canterbury cathedral was made during "morning
vespers in the choir. It sounded odd to hear our own beautiful service
in our own tongue, in such a place, after the _Latin_ chants of canons;
and we stood listening with reverence without the screen." London met
them "several miles in the suburbs down the river," but they suddenly
burst out onto Waterloo bridge, over which they were whirled into the
Strand and set down at Wright's hotel, Adam Street, Adelphi; "and,"
wrote Cooper, "we were soon refreshing ourselves with some of worthy
Mrs. Wright's excellent tea."

[Illustration: CLIFFS OF DOVER.]



The second night in London Cooper, stretched out on a sofa, was reading,
when some street musicians began to play beneath his window several
tunes without success; "finally," he wrote, "the rogues contrived, after
all, to abstract half a crown from my pocket by suddenly striking up
'Yankee Doodle!'" After some hunting they took a small house in St.
James Place, which gave them "a tiny drawing-room, a dining-room, three
bed-rooms, offices, and house-service for a guinea per day." A guinea
more weekly was added for their three fires, and their own maid and man
gave personal service during this London season. Of his man-servant
Cooper wrote: "The English footman I engaged is a steady, little, old
man, with a red face and a powdered poll, who appears in black breeches
and coat, but who says himself that his size has marred his fortune. He
is cockney born, about fifty; quality and splendor act forcibly on his
imagination, and he is much condemned in the houses where I visit on
account of his dwarfish stature"; and we are told that the English favor
pretty faces for their maids and fine figures for their footmen.

[Illustration: ST. JAMES PLACE, LONDON.]

To a Mr. Spencer whom Cooper met in France was due the visit soon paid
him by his near neighbor, the author of the "Pleasures of Memory." Of
Samuel Rogers Cooper wrote: "He very kindly sought me out"; and, "few
men have a more pleasant way of saying pleasant things." His visit was
followed by an invitation to breakfast the next morning. Cooper
continues: "It was but a step from my door, and you may be certain I was
punctual." He found the poet's home perfection for a bachelor's needs;
only eighteen feet front, but the drawing-room and dining-room were
lined with old masters. And in the bow-window stood the "Chantrey Vase,"
placed by its maker when artist workman in the room where he later
dined as Chantrey the sculptor and Rogers' honored guest. The library
was filled with valuable books and curiosities in history, literature,
and art. Of this poet's dream-home Cooper wrote: "Neither he nor any one
else has a right to live in so exquisite a house and expect everybody to
hold their tongues about it. Taking the house, the host, the mental
treats he dispenses, the company, and the tone, it is not easy to
conceive of anything better in their way. Commend me in every respect to
the delicious breakfasts of St. James Place!" On one occasion, "Rogers,
talking of Washington Irving's 'Columbus,' said, 'in his airy,
significant way,' as Moore called it, 'It's rather long.' Cooper turned
round on him and said sharply, 'That's a short criticism.'" This
banker-poet could be severe on his English friends too, as it appears
"Lady Holland was always lamenting that she had nothing to do. One day,
complaining worse than ever that she did not know 'what to be at,'" said
Rogers, "I could not resist recommending her to try a novelty--try and
do a little good."


[Illustration: SAMUEL ROGERS.]

[Illustration: ROGERS' LONDON HOME.]


Through Samuel Rogers Cooper was soon dining at Holland House, in the
much-carved and gilded room where Sully and embassy supped in 1603. By a
word to the porter, Sir James Mackintosh had planned a pleasant
half-hour for his American friend in the gardens, where was Rogers'
seat, and then in the library on the second floor, where he saw its
each-end tables. The generous space between is said to have been paced
by "Addison when composing," and his inspiration quickened by kindly
"bottles placed on them for that purpose." The artist Charles Robert
Leslie caught a rare glimpse on canvas of this library, in which appear
his friends Lord and Lady Holland, who were also the host and hostess of
Fenimore Cooper. We are told by him that the dining-table was square;
that the host had one corner and the hostess the centre; and the
American author, "as the stranger, had the honor of a seat next to Lady
Holland." When talking, he was offered by her a plate of herring, of
which he frankly avowed he "ought to have eaten one, even to the fins
and tail"; but little dreaming of their international worth just then,
the herring were declined. With good humor his hostess said: "You do not
know what you say; they are _Dutch_." With some vigor of look and tone
Cooper repeated--"Dutch!" The reply was: "Yes, Dutch; we can only get
them _through an ambassador_." Then Cooper rose to the occasion by
replying: "There are too many good things of native production to
require a voyage to Holland on my account." Of their host Rogers' record
was: "Lord Holland always comes down to breakfast like a man upon whom
sudden good fortune had just fallen--his was the smile that spoke the
mind at ease." And after his death were found on Lord Holland's
dressing-table, and in his handwriting, these lines on himself:

Nephew of Fox and friend of Gay,
Enough my meed of fame
If those who deighn'd to observe me say
I injured neither name.

[Illustration: ROGERS' SEAT.]

"Here Rogers sat, and here forever dwell
With me, those Pleasures that he sang so well."

After dining at Lord Grey's Cooper wrote of him: "He on all occasions
acted as if he never thought of national differences"; and the author
thought him "the man of most character in his set." We are told that
England is the country of the wealthy, and that the king is seldom seen,
although the royal start from St. James for Windsor was seen and
described as going off "at a slapping pace."



[Illustration: HOLLAND HOUSE.]



[Illustration: LORD GREY.]


But it was in that dreamland of Rogers' that Cooper's heart found its
greatest joy. There he met the artists,--Sir Thomas Lawrence, handsome
and well-mannered; Leslie, mild, caring little for aught save his tastes
and affections; and Newton, who "thinks himself" English. Here, dining,
he meets again Sir Walter Scott, his son-in-law and later biographer,
Mr. Lockhart, Sir Walter's daughters, Mrs. Lockhart and Miss Anne Scott.
He says Mrs. Lockhart "is just the woman to have success in Paris, by
her sweet, simple manners." He had a stately chat with Mrs. Siddons, and
Sir James Mackintosh he called "the best talker I have ever seen; the
only man I have yet met in England who appears to have any clear or
definite notions of us." Rare indeed were these flash-lights of genius
that Samuel Rogers charmed to his "feasts of reason and flow of soul."

[Illustration: JOANNA BAILLIE.]

[Illustration: SIR THOMAS LAWRENCE.]

With Mr. Southby Cooper went to see Coleridge at Highgate, where, he
says, "our reception was frank and friendly, the poet coming out to meet
us in his morning-gown. I rose to take a nearer view of a little
picture, when Mr. Coleridge told me it was by his friend Allston." From
the bard of Highgate they went to see Miss Joanna Baillie at Hampstead,
and found her "a little, quiet woman, a deeply-seated earnestness about
her that bespoke the higher impulses within; no one would have thought
her little person contained the elements of a tragedy."


An Amsterdam engagement for early June called Cooper and his family from
London before the end of the season, and prompted him to say, "The
force of things has moved heavier bodies." Quitting England was by no
means easy, but "the weather was fine and the North Sea smooth as a
dish." They paddled the whole night long in their "solid good vessel,
but slow of foot." With morning "a low spit of land hove in sight, and a
tree or a church tower" rose out of the water,--this was Holland. At
Rotterdam "the boat was soon alongside the Boom Key." With some
fluttering about the dykes and windmills of Dutchland, a flight through
Belgium soon brought them once more to Paris.

[Illustration: BOOM KEY AT ROTTERDAM.]

Cooper was a keen observer and a calm critic of both home and foreign
folk. That he was stirred to strong words by unpleasing comments on his
country appears in his "Notions of Americans: Picked up by a Traveling
Bachelor." This book of facts, showing wide and accurate knowledge, was
intended to enlighten and clear away mistakes. Instead of this, it drew
upon its writer critical fire both at home and abroad, and was the first
of the many shadows of his after life. His stories of our new country
taught Europe more about America than Europe had ever learned before.
His love for, and faith in, his own country were strong. Abroad he was a
staunch defender of her free institutions, and foreigners deemed him
more proud of his American birth than of his literary birthright of
genius; and yet, at home he was voted "an enemy of all that the fathers
of the Republic fought for." However, the opinion of those who knew
Cooper best was given by his Bread and Cheese Club friend, Dr. John
Wakefield Francis, as,--"He was an American inside and out--a thorough
patriot." It was said that as an aristocratic American he never
presented letters of introduction. Yet in foreign lands his society was
sought by the most distinguished men of his time. However of this, the
rare pleasure of these London days he ever held in warm remembrance.

Flying from the summer heat of Paris, the family soon left for
Switzerland with a team of sturdy Norman horses, a postilion riding the
near beast. It slipped and fell, rolled over and caught its rider's leg
beneath, but was saved its breaking by the make of his old-fashioned
boot, "so with a wry face and a few _sacr-r-r-es,_ he limped back to his

In their salon of the inn at Avallon were curious emblem pictures of
different nationalities: one a _belle_ of fair hair; another a _belle_
of raven locks; a third a _belle_ of brown ringlets;--all these for
Europe; but for the United States was "a _wench_ as black as coal!" So
thought Switzerland of us in the days of 1828. One lovely day Cooper
"persuaded A. to share" his seat on the carriage-box. Rounding a ruin
height "she exclaimed, 'What a beautiful cloud!' In the direction of her
finger I saw," wrote Cooper, "a mass that resembled the highest wreath
of a cloud; its whiteness greatly surpassed the brilliancy of vapor. I
called to the postilion and pointed out the object. '_Mont Blanc,_
Monsieur!' It was an inspiration when seventy miles by an air line from
it. This first view of the hoary Alps always makes a thrilling moment."

[Illustration: MONT BLANC.]

Later came morning rides and evening strolls. The modest stone
country-house which they took for economy and the author's love of quiet
home-life was _La Lorraine_, and belonged to the Count de Portales of
Neufchatel. There was a high field near, where, one day, when Mr. Cooper
was teaching his little son Paul the "mysteries of flying a kite," they
caught the rare fleeting glimpse of a glittering glacier. _La Lorraine,_
only half a mile from Berne, is noted as "one of the pretty little
retired villas that dot the landscape," with "the sinuous Aar glancing
between" it and the town. The trim little garden and half-ruined
fountain were well shaded by trees, and the adjoining farmhouse and
barn-yard, all Swiss, made a fine playground for the children's summer
holiday. The house and its furniture they found "faultlessly neat."
There was a near-by common where hoops, rope-jumping, and kites could be
enjoyed. From this point and the cottage windows "was a very beautiful
view of the Alps--an unfailing source of delight, especially during the
evening hours." Cooper has given some fine descriptions of their life in
the glow of this Alpine country; of harvest-time and mountain gleaners.
He tells of a visit to Hindelbank to see the sculptor Nahl's wondrous
idealism in stone, which represents a young mother, the pastor's wife,
and her babe. The infant lies in passive innocence on its mother's
bosom, while her face is radiant with the light of a holy joy on the
resurrection morn. Her hand is slightly raised in reverent greeting of
her Redeemer. Of this work Cooper writes: "I take it to be the most
sublime production of its kind in the world." And they found it in "one
of the very smallest, humblest churches in Europe."



In the small, uncarpeted study of _La Lorraine_ a new book was planned
and begun. For the story's setting the author's mind turned to the
far-away, new home-country, and early frontier life in Connecticut.
There he brought the transatlantic Puritan and the North American Indian
together--the strong, stern Puritan family affection in close contact
with the red-man's savage cruelty, dignity, and his adoption of a white
child. A fair-haired little girl is torn from her mother and cared for
by a young Indian chief, once a captive in the white settlement. Years
pass over the bereaved family, when an Indian outbreak restores the lost
child to her parents' roof as "Narra-Mattah," the devoted wife of a
Narraganset warrior-chief, and the young mother of his little son. This
book draws a strong picture of pure family devotion; even the old
grandfather's heart, beneath his stiff Puritan garb, beats an
unforgettable part. Sorrow for the lost child gave the story its
name--"The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish" (then thought to mean in the Indian
language, "Place of the Whip-poor-will")and it has been said to
describe the settlement of the Fenimore family in America.

[Illustration: NARRA-MATTAH.]

Many and interesting were their excursions. One was to Interlachen, with
its glimpse of the Jungfrau, and the Lauterbrunnen valleys "full of
wonder and delight." At Lauterbrunnen they walked to the famous Falls of
_Staubbach_, which Cooper describes and explains as meaning "Torrents of


As the summer had fled autumn winds began to whistle through the lindens
of _La Lorraine_, and the snow began to fall upon its pretty garden,
warning the author to fly south with his fledglings and their mother
before the Alpine passes were closed by real winter. Cooper resigned
the consulate at Lyons, which was given him solely "to avoid the
appearance of going over to the enemy" while abroad. A carriage and two
servitors were engaged. One of these, Caspar, had his soldiering under
the first Napoleon, and many were the camp tales he had to tell in a way
to please his employers. At the old town of Alstetten, with painted
wooden houses at the foot of the Am Stoss, they arrived, more than ready
for breakfast, which was somewhat delayed because, said Cooper, "our
German was by no means classical; and English, Italian, and French were
all Hebrew to the good people of the inn." It was "easy to make the
hostess understand that we _wished_ to eat,--but _what_ would we eat? In
this crisis I bethought me of a long-neglected art, and crowed like a
cock. The shrill strain hardly reached the ear of the good woman before
it was answered by such laughter as none but village lungs could raise.
William--an admirable mimic--began to cackle like a hen. In due time we
had a broiled fowl, an _omelette_, and boiled eggs." At another place
where they stopped for mid-day luncheon Cooper writes: "We asked for a
fruit-tart, and--odors and nosegays!--they gave us one made of onions,
which they thought very good fruit in its way, and we ate exactly as
much as we wished."

[Illustration: FALL OF THE STAUBBACH.]

"The baths of Pfaeffer," he wrote "in my own unworthy person have wrought
a sudden and wondrous cure"; and of his visit to the Devil's Bridge over
the Reuss: "We entered a gorge between frightful rocks, where the river
was fretting and struggling to get in before us." From the yawning mouth
of a gloomy cave came the tinkling bells of pack-horses to Italy by the
St. Gothard. To the roar of the river and the rushing of winds without
they plunged through this dark "Hole of Uri," which brought them to a
rugged rock-rift pass with but a thread of heaven's blue far above them;
and here "a slight, narrow bridge of a single arch spanned the gorge
with a hardihood that caused one to shudder." Its slender, unrailed,
fifteen feet of width was eighty of span, and one hundred above the
boiling torrent that fell on broken rocks below, and over it; wrote
Cooper: "The wind blew so furiously that I really wished for a rope to
hold on by. This was the far-famed Devil's Bridge; other bridges may
have been built by imps, but Beelzebub himself had a hand in this."

[Illustration: THE DEVIL'S BRIDGE.]


They enjoyed the beauty of Lake Geneva, and were charmed by the
attractions of "Ferney," Voltaire's home on Leman's shore, and enjoyed
the solemn gorge-valley of the Rhone, and through the Simplon passed
into fair Italy. As they "drew near a small chapel in a rock Casper
flourished his whip, calling out the word 'Italia!' I pulled off my hat
in reverence," wrote the author. Down the steep mountains, over bridged
torrents, past the hill-towns and valley-lands, they came to the City of
the Lily,--fair Florence of the Arno. "As early as 1829," Cooper
thought, "the unification of Italy was irresistible."

[Illustration: THE SIMPLON PASS.]

[Illustration: FLORENCE, ITALY.]


In Florence a home was soon found in the Palazzo Ricasoli, Via del
Cocomero. Lofty of ceiling--twenty feet--was their apartment, in which
they enjoyed "two noble bed-rooms, several smaller ones, a large
drawing-room, dining-room, baths, a small court and garden within the
iron gates, and all for the modest sum of sixty dollars per month." The
oil burned in their lamps the home-folk "would be happy to use on their
salads." Here, around the cheering glow of great wood-fires, the
American author would gather his friends, old and new. From Otsego days
a blazing hearth-stone ever rejoiced his cheery nature, and his way of
laying the wood and nursing the flames horrified his Italian servants as
waste of fuel. The chill of the _tra montana_ brought into this circle
of warmth and light many eminent foreigners; and of home-country folk,
that true American, Horatio Greenough, often basked in the bright glow
of the author's wood-fires at Florence.

Later Greenough wrote: "Fenimore Cooper saved me from despair after my
return to Italy. He employed me as I wish to be employed; and up to this
moment has been a father to me." Greenough's last work was a bust of his
illustrious friend, the American novelist, which he proposed to cast in
bronze, at his own expense, and place in the field where stands the Old
Mill in Newport, and where the opening scene of "The Red Rover" is laid.
He took counsel with Cooper's friends as to a monument to the author,
and among his papers was found an elaborate design for the work.

[Illustration: HORATIO GREENOUGH.]

Cooper loved to encourage rising talent in young artists. He gave them
orders, and also his cheering sympathy. One of these wrote that Cooper
gave him a free letter-of-credit on his banker in Paris, and added: "I
had occasion to use it more than once, and my drafts were always
cheerfully accepted. Since then I have paid him, though he never would
have asked for the money; nobody but he and I ever knew of the
transaction." A Boston man writes of his visit to the Florence studio of
Greenough: "My eye fell upon a bust which awakened sea and forest
pictures,--the spars of an elegant craft, the lofty figure of a hunter,
the dignified bearing of a mysterious pilot." It was the bust of
Fenimore Cooper. Of the sculptor it was noted that "he always referred
with emotion to the gleam of sunshine which encouraged him at this
crisis, in the friendship of our late renowned novelist, Cooper."


In the Pitti one day they passed before Raphael's _Madonna del Trono_,
and the sculptor pointed out to his companion the fine drawing in the
two little angel figures of the foreground, in the act of singing.
Cooper asked if the subject would not lend itself to sculpture;
afterwards one of his daughters copied the figures, and the result of
the mutual interest in the design was an order from Cooper for a group
which in a few months Greenough executed in marble. It was exhibited in
America under the title of "The Chanting Cherubs." It was Cooper's
"Chanting Cherubs"--the first group of its kind from an American chisel
--that led to Greenough's order for the statue of Washington, and
inspired the pen of Richard Henry Dana to write:

Whence came ye, cherubs? from the moon?
Or from some shining star?
Ye, sure, are sent a blessed boon,
From kinder worlds afar;
For while I look my heart is all delight:
Earth hath no creatures half so pure and bright.

[Illustration: CHANTING CHERUBS.]

Later on Greenough came to them "all booted and bearded beyond
recognition" save in "his walk and his talk."

During Cooper's later American press troubles his close friend,
Greenough, wrote him: "You lose your hold on the American public with
rubbing down their skins with brick-bats." And yet, during Greenough's
dark days, he said: "What is the use of blowing up bladders for
posterity to jump upon for the mere pleasure of hearing them crack?" The
author's keen delight in architecture, sculpture, and painting then gave
him daily pleasure in the churches, palaces, and art-galleries of _Bella
Firenzi_. Familiar from youth with his father's engravings of antique
sculpture subjects, he writes of his first glimpses of the originals in
the Pitti: "I stood, hat in hand, involuntarily bowing to the circle of
marble figures that surrounded me."


[Illustration: PITTI PALACE, FLORENCE, ITALY, 1828.]

Attired in "a black coat, breeches, and vest with steel buttons, lace
frills and ruff, a sword and a dress-hat," our author was presented at
the brilliant Tuscan Court. Grand Duke Leopold II left on Cooper's mind
a strong impression of integrity of character; his simplicity and
justice were borne out in his greeting: "They tell me you are the
author of many books, but as it has never been my good fortune to meet
with them, I can say no more on this subject than that I have heard them
well spoken of by those who have." Cooper was asked "a hundred questions
as to America," and assured of the prince's pleasure in seeing him at
court and his being in Tuscany. When leaving Florence Cooper paid his
parting respects at the Pitti in an hour's pleasant converse, and then
presented the Grand Duke with a copy of "The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish,"
printed in his city of the Arno. Here Cooper and his family had some gay
carnival days with their various friends. Among them was the Count St.
Leu, son of Queen Hortense and King Louis of Holland, and the author's
sometimes host, and "one of the handsomest men of his age" that Cooper
ever met. We are told of the Count: "He lived in good style, having a
fine villa where I dined lately, and a palace in town." By those nearest
him he was addressed "your Majesty," and held some "little show" of
royalty. Princess Charlotte, his wife, and daughter of Joseph Bonaparte,
the author also knew. He met Madame Mere, who is described as "a slight
old lady, with little remains of beauty except fine black eyes." She was
quiet, simple; in short, motherly, when seen by Cooper the winter of

[Illustration: COUNT ST. LEU.]


[Illustration: MADAME MERE.]

Longing for the open country came with the early Italian spring, and a
hillside villa just outside the walls of Florence was secured. A narrow
lane ran between this villa _St. Illario_ and its rustic church of the
same name. The villa had two projecting wings with belvederes and roofed
terraces, one of which connected with the author's study. Herein he
wrote of "the witchery of Italy"--the land he loved next to his own. His
letters give glorious glimpses of the Arno, their strolls to
Bellosguardo's heights, the churches, monasteries, costumes, and songs
of the peasants--all attuned to poesy. Frequent were the exchanges of
civility between the author's study and the good old _curato_ across the
lane. Cooper wrote of him: "The man has some excellent figs, and our
cook, having discovered it, lays his trees under contribution." He
continues: "One small, green-coated, fresh fig is the precise point of
felicity. But the good _curato_, besides his figs, has a pair of uneasy
bells in his church-tower that are exactly forty-three feet from my
ears, which ring in pairs six or eight times daily. There are matins,
noontide, vespers, to say nothing of christenings, weddings, and

Then follows a rare account of a night funeral service ending beneath
his study walls.


[Illustration: VILLA, ST. ILLARIO.]

During the great Florentine _fete_ of St. John, the patron saint of the
city,--from the Count St. Leu's windows on the Arno,--the author and his
family saw the display of gala-boats decked with thousands of
colored-paper lanterns.


They enjoyed the chariot races in the wide Piazza Santa Maria Novella,
where the small obelisks point the start and finish of the races. These
were followed by the _corso dei barberi_--barbed horse-races without
riders--down the longest street of the town. Then followed the French
Minister's masked ball, amusing as well as splendid, readers of Cooper's
"Italy" will find. But more than all, on their return to Villa St.
Illario, were they charmed with the brilliant illumination of the noble
cathedral dome, which against the dark skies "looked like a line
engraving of fire." So closed this festa of Florence in the grand-ducal
days, bright in gay gear and alive with everybody, from prince to
_contadini_. Then he came in happy touch with the impulsive, laughing,
singing, dark-haired Italians, and to the finer aspects of their nature
he was partial. They were in sharp contrast to the Puritan band in the
valley of the Connecticut, which his pen pictured in the finishing
touches of "The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish," when in his study at _Casa

[Illustration: GENOA.]

Press censorship and no English printing-house in Florence forced Cooper
to leave his family and go to Marseilles. His letters give some pretty
pictures which passed his carriage windows on the way. Of Genoa: "The
seaward prospect was glorious." The islands "were borrowed by Leonardo,"
and a circuit of the city walls was made on horseback. Full of charm
and interest was the road "on the margin of the sea"--from Genoa to
Nice. In his "Excursions in Italy" appears of Genoa: "I looked back with
longing-eyes at _Genoa la Superba_ and thought it well deserved the
title." "The whole of this coast," he wrote, "is as picturesque and
glorious as the imagination can picture it." He tells of feluccas and
other water-craft that claimed a sailor's eye; and the landward views of
Mentone, Santa Monica, the heights, arches, and passes, and the
wasp-like Villa Franca, perched on its ledge up two hundred feet--for
fear of "the bears" said the guide. In Marseilles an English printer was
secured and brought back to Florence. Besides being deaf and dumb his
name--Richard Heavysides--bore out the burden of an unfortunate temper
to the necessity of sending this printer back to Marseilles. Finally, by
the kindness of the grand duke's librarian, a small edition of "The Wept
of Wish-ton-Wish" was printed, and early sheets sent to publishers in
Paris, London, and Philadelphia. In England the book was called "The
Borderers," being based on the story of Eunice Williams of Deerfield,
Mass., but it was more highly valued in England and France than in

[Illustration: LEGHORN.]

The Mediterranean blue on Cooper's journey to Marseilles allured him
into conceiving another sea tale. Its writing, however, was delayed by a
mild return of the old fever that was induced by the summer sun of
Italy. Longing, therefore, for the water breezes, mid-summer found him
within "sight and sound" of the sea waves. He writes "July 29 the whole
family went to Leghorn, where the salt air was grateful, and I snuffed
the odor of this delightful sea with a feeling that was 'redolent of joy
and youth.' We feasted our eyes on the picturesque rigs and barks of
those poetical waters, and met several men from the Levant,--an
Algerian Rais calmly smoking his chibouque on the deck of his poleacre,
many Sardinians, Tuscans, Jews, and three Russians. Rowing under the
bows of a Yankee, I found one seated on the windlass playing on the
flute,--as cool a piece of impudence as can well be imagined for a
Massachusetts man to practice in Italy! The delicious odors of the
seaport were inhaled with a delight no language can describe."

[Illustration: NAPLES.]

At Leghorn Cooper engaged a Genovese felucca, "_La Bella Genovese_,--a
craft of thirty tons, beautiful mould, lateen-rigged, carrying two of
that sail and a jib, and ten men for her crew." Aboard this small vessel
the author and his family spent six days of pure pleasure, yet "somewhat
bitten by fleas." They touched at Elba and other islands, and skirted
the coasts of Tuscany, the Roman States, and so on to Naples, of which
Cooper wrote: "Oh Napoli! glorious, sunny, balmy Napoli!" This cruising
along the western coast of Italy in the _Bella Genovese_ suggested to
the author one of his favorite stories, "Wing-and-Wing," which was
published twelve years later. In Naples several weeks were passed at a
hotel; thence to a short-time home of their own on the cliffs of
Sorrento. The very air of Italy was a delight to this sunny-hearted
sailor, who so deeply felt the charm of all Italian nature. "The house
we have taken," he wrote, "is said to be the one in which Tasso was
born. It stands on the brow of the cliffs, within the walls of the town,
and in plain sight of every object of interest on the bay. We occupy the
principal floor only, though I have taken the entire house. There is a
chapel beneath the grand _sala_, and kitchens and offices somewhere in
those lower regions. We enter by a porte-cochere into a court which has
a well with a handsome marble curb and a flight of broad, marble steps
fit for a palace." Seaward several rooms led to the _sala_, fifty feet
long, and facing the water. Cooper tells of its tiled floor, gilded
couches, chairs, and marble busts. The great charm of the house was its
terrace, fifty feet long by twenty-five wide, and protected by a stone
balustrade, massive and carved, hanging over the blue Mediterranean, and
giving to view Vesuvius, Ischia, and all the coast of glorious sea.
Hearing an outcry from his son Paul one day, his father found the boy
with his head fast between two of these great spindles--"in a way that
frightened me as well as the youngster himself. It was like being
imbedded in a rock. Below the terrace runs a narrow beach, where our
children delight to play, picking up shells and more than
shells,--ancient mosaics. There is a little room off from the terrace I
use for writing," and where he could watch the beauty of the sea. Much
of "The Water Witch" was rapidly written in this study on the inspiring
terrace of _Casa Tasso_, Vesuvius in sight. Daily excursions were made.
When four-of-the-clock threw the rock shadows far over the water, they
went a-boating. On land they made "donkey" and "non-donkey" jaunts.
_Capo di Monti_, overlooking the town landing-place, was also a favorite
resting-place, and gave some bright pictures of native life. By an
amusing practice of giving their king--a fine old mendicant with a lame
leg--and his daily-growing train a _grano_ a day at the gate, Cooper and
his family on their excursions were freed from an army of beggars. All
were grateful, and wished the American _admiral_ "a thousand
years,"--save one poor creature, who blundered into "a hundred," upon
which his angered fellows cudgeled him with blows and words into
shouting, "A thousand years, and long ones." Donkeys and boats were
taken for Amalfi with her convent-crowned cliffs above the sea. Not
until the chill _tra montana_ and the snow-powdered mountain-tops
reminded them that but one fire could be kindled in their vast Sorrento
home did they leave it one morning, with ninety-six of their well-wisher
beggars in the court to bid them good-speed on their way to the Eternal



In the autumn of 1830 Cooper and his family entered Rome through the
gate of St. John, and drove across the city to the Hotel de Paris, just
below the Pincio and near the _Porta del Popolo_. After dinner, with
still an hour of daylight, and eager to see what Rome was like, Cooper
called a guide, and, holding Paul by the hand, sallied forth through the
narrow, crooking streets over the bridge of the angels to St. Peters.
"Pushing aside the door, I found myself in the nave of the noblest
temple in which any religious rites were ever celebrated. To me there
was no disappointment, and as I stood gazing at the glorious pile, the
tears forced themselves from my eyes. Even little Paul was oppressed
with the vastness of the place, for he clung close to my side and kept
murmuring, 'What is this? What is this? Is this a church?' I turned away
impressed with the truth that if ever the hand of man had raised a
structure to the Deity in the least worthy of His Majesty, it was this!"

[Illustration: ST. PETER'S, EXTERIOR, ROME.]

[Illustration: ST. PETERS, INTERIOR.]

[Illustration: ADAM MICKIEOWICZ.]

The usual roof-tree was soon found in the via Ripetta, where their back
windows overlooked the tawny Tiber and gave them views of Castle St.
Angelo and St. Peter's dome glorified by each day's setting sun, and
here was passed their winter in old Rome. The Eternal City's ruins were
most interesting to Cooper; it was his special delight to ride for hours
with some friend over the Campagna, lingering among fragments of
structures or statues of ancient days. Perhaps none who rode with him
gave him more pleasure than the famous Polish poet, Adam Mickieowicz,--a
man full of originality, genius, and sadness for the fate of his lost
country. All of this won Cooper's sympathy and help in zealous writing
and speaking for the suffering Poles; and one, Count Truskalaskie
Wuskalaskia, later on found a welcome at Otsego Hall.


Our author also saw something of social Rome, as is noted: He "was at a
grand ball--faultless as to taste and style"--given by a prince to a
prince near to the royal family of England. Of compatriots he writes:
"_We_ have had a dinner, too, in honor of Washington, at which _I_ had
the honor to preside. You will be surprised to hear that we sat down
near seventy Yankees in the Eternal City!"

[Illustration: ROMAN FORUM.]

"The Water Witch," now nearly finished, required printing, which some
kind Italian friends nearly brought about in Rome; but the book
contained this sentence: "Rome itself is only to be traced by fallen
temples and buried columns," which gave offense where none was intended
and barred the work's issue there. The story was finished and laid aside
until spring, when, after five delightful months in Rome and a few days
at Tivoli, Cooper and his family reluctantly drove through the _Porto
del Popolo_. In their own carriage, with four white horses, and their
servitors in another with four brown ones, they passed up the Adriatic
coast to Venice.

[Illustration: PORTA DEL POPOLO.]

Miss Cooper's "Pages and Pictures" gives her father's graphic account of
this interesting journey,--how, in a wild mountain-road they fell in
with pilgrims neither way-worn nor solemn, but most willing to talk.
They seemed moving pictures with their staffs, scrip, and scallop-shell
capes, returning from Rome. Then came Terni and its famous waterfall--a
mile away, they knew, for they walked there. Man-made were those falls,
by the turning of a pretty stream many hundred years ago.


High bridges and hermit nooks were passed, and then a long aqueduct with
_Gothic_ arches, called _Roman_ in the guide-books; an old temple turned
into a church, and but a trifle larger than a Yankee corn-crib. Then
over the fine road beyond Foligno, and the hill Fiorito, and they rolled
easily down into the Ancona country, where they found the shrine of

[Illustration: ANCONA.]

[Illustration: LORETO.]

Ancona gave them their first sight of the Adriatic--less beautiful in
hue than the Mediterranean blue, it seemed to our travelers. But with a
sailor's joy in rope, pitch, and tar, Cooper hurried with his usual
boyish eagerness to the port, and with a lively interest examined its
several rusty-looking craft. The next day found them again on the way,
of which he writes: "Walking ahead of the carriage this morning, we
amused ourselves on the beach, the children gathering shells on the
shores of the Adriatic." Short stops were made in Bologna and Ferrara,
then northward to the coast. Afloat and a pull for an hour brought them
to Venice. Through the Grand Canal and under the Rialto they glided to
the opening port beyond. They left their craft at the _Leone Bianco_, or
white lion. Entering, they found "a large paved hall" a few steps above
the water. From their windows they could see the gliding gondolas;
beyond the splashing of an oar no sound came from their movement.
"Everything was strange," wrote Cooper. "Though a sailor and accustomed
to water, I had never seen a city a-float. It was now evening; but a
fine moon shedding its light on the scene rendered it fairy-like." That
night a friend showed him the other ways than the water-ways of Venice.
Through lane-like, shop-lined ways, over bridges, and through the
Giant's Clock-tower he passed into the great square of St. Mark, with
"much surprise and pleasure." By its glittering lamps, and over it all
the moonlight, he felt as if "transported to a scene in the Arabian


[Illustration: VENICE.]

Later he writes: "I have set up my own gondola and we have been looking
at the sights." For weeks their easy gondola--which in form and
lightness reminded him so much of the Indian bark-canoe--"went gliding
along the noiseless canals," and Cooper studied his Venice for a
purpose. He became interested in the details of its singular government
and read many books about it. The heartless trifling with sacred
personal rights in order to glorify the ruling powers of _San Marco_, as
shown by the life of crime in its secret councils, seemed terrible to
him. And so came about the thought of writing a book in which both views
of the subject, as clear and just as his pen could draw them, should be
given. And whoever has read "The Bravo" will know that it faithfully
pictures Venetian life. The great Piazza, the splendid church, the
towering belfry,--rebuilt,--the small Piazza and its columns; the Palace
of the Doge, with its court, well, giant's stairway, lions' mouths,
dungeons and roof prisons, and the Bridge-of-Sighs, leading to its
neighbor, the Prison Building--all are here, with beautiful _Venetia_
in the pride of her most glorious days near their waning. These and much
more make up the fearful picture of Venice's cold cruelty, as revealed
to the author of "The Bravo" in authentic historical records. Gelsomina,
the jailer's daughter, a sweet and delicately-drawn character, got her
name and general character from real life. Miss Cooper writes that when
their "family was living on the cliffs of Sorrento a young peasant girl
became one of the household,--half nurse, half playfellow to the
children. She bore the sweet name of Gelsomina. Simple, innocent, and
childlike, yet faithful to duty, Gelsomina was soon in high favor with
great and small, and, in charge of the young flock, made one of every
family party about the bay." At such times "she was always in gay
costume,--light-blue silk jacket with gold lace; a flowing skirt; her
dark hair well garnished with long golden pins and bodkins; a gold chain
of manifold strands encircled her throat, and drops long and heavy hung
from her ears. One afternoon, after playing with her young charges,
Gelsomina went for water to that picturesque marble well in the court.
While bending over the curbstone and drawing up the bucket, like
Zara-of-Moriah fame, she dropped one of her long, heavy ear-rings into
the water. Great was the lamentation of the simple creature! Warm was
the sympathy of the household." But the old well was far too deep to
give up this heirloom and family treasure, which was gone beyond
Gelsomina's tears to recover. Gelsomina would have followed her American
friends north, but a portly, stately, dignified aunt "would not trust
her so far from the orange-groves of Sorrento." When the hour of parting
came, pretty Gelsomina received from her mistress a fine pair of new
ear-rings, and tears of gratitude fell upon the trinkets as she kissed
the hand of the giver. Her name and something of her sweet innocence and
fidelity were given to the jailer's daughter of "The Bravo."

"The well is deep--far down they lie,
beneath the cold, blue water!
My ear-rings! my ear-rings!"

[Illustration: PIAZZA SAN MARCO.]

[Illustration: PALACE OF THE DOGE.]

[Illustration: TASSO'S WELL.]

This book, one of Cooper's favorite works, was an artist's picture of
Venice, and was written to martial music in Paris, in 1830, where Cooper
arrived on the eve of a revolution, for a stay of three years. It was
published by Lea and Carey, Philadelphia, in 1834, and did not find
favor in America, but was much liked in Germany and France. Prof.
Brander Matthews writes:--"The scene in which Antonio, the old
fisherman, is shrived by the Carmelite monk, in his boat, under the
midnight moon upon the lagoon, is one of the finest in the whole range
of literature in fiction."

[Illustration: THE BRAVO.]

Concerning the carrying off of the art treasures of Venice by the
French, Cooper wrote: "One great picture escaped them; it stood in a
dark chapel completely covered with dust and smoke. Within a few years
some artist had the curiosity to examine this then unknown altarpiece.
The picture was taken down, and being thoroughly cleaned, proved to be
'The Assumption'"--Titian's masterpiece, some think. It is now in the
Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. Cooper tells of a monument Canova had
"designed for Titian, beautifully chiseled out of spotless marble." The
author found it "beneath the gloomy arches of the church," and thought
it "singularly dramatic and startling"; but it had been erected to the
honor of Canova himself instead of to the painter!



[Illustration: ALT MARKET, DRESDEN.]

From Venice Cooper and family went by way of Tyrol to Munich, where he
much admired the king of Bavaria's art collections. After this brief
visit they moved on to Dresden, passing here some pleasant months in a
cheerful apartment overlooking the Alt Market. The quaint and busy show
of homely German life, the town, gardens, river, bridge, and fine
gallery "worthy of Italy," were enjoyed. _The Water Witch_, "wrecked on
the Tiber, was now safely launched on the broader waters of the Elbe."
It was issued by Lea and Carey, Philadelphia, in 1830.

Comparing national traits became at times an unfortunate habit with
Cooper. He was provoked by a Dresden schoolmaster's surprise that his
children were not black; and, again, because he could not convince an
English scholar that in Boston "to gouge" did not mean the cruel
practice "to squeeze out a man's eyes with the thumb." This English
scholar was Sir James Mackintosh.

On the return to Paris from Germany several places were tried before
finding a short distance across the Seine, No. 59 rue St. Dominique,--an
off-and-on home for three years. Here the salon was thirty feet long and
lofty--to a sailor's delight, seventeen feet; above the doors were
paintings in gilded frames; and there were four large mirrors, and vast
windows reaching to the floor. The dining-room, even larger, opened on
the garden. After this manner the doctor of the Duke of Orleans built
his home for himself--and this American tenant. The turmoil in this
city of light at once attracted him in the near view of the Revolution
of July. Having known General Lafayette since 1824, these two fine men
were brought in close touch on Cooper's second visit to Paris. In 1831
the Marquis Lafayette was the center of American life here, and
consequently he and our author were constantly and intimately thrown


Lafayette's neat, simple apartment in a hotel of some pretension was in
the rue d'Anjou. There were a large antechamber, two salons, and an
inner room, where he wrote, and finally had his bed. His town servants
were his German valet, Bastien, who served during the last visit to
America, a footman, and a coachman. Cooper wrote: "When I show myself at
the door Bastien makes a signal of assent, intimates that the general
is at dinner; but I am at once ushered into the bed-room. Here I find
Lafayette at table--so small as to be covered with a napkin, his little
white dog his only companion." It was understood that the guest had
dined, so he takes a seat in the chimney-corner, and as they talk the
dinner goes on to its finish of dates, which are shared by the visitor.
The last of these pleasant visits grew from the usual half hour to
almost two, as they chatted of the great and small and all in their fine
way. Lafayette thought Louis Philippe "the falsest man" he ever met. Of
Charles X he "spoke kindly," giving him "an exactly opposite character,"
and Marie Antoinette he believed "an injured woman."


[Illustration: LOUIS PHILIPPE.]

[Illustration: GENERAL LAFAYETTE.]

When Mr. McLane, our minister to England, made a flight to Paris in
1830, Lafayette strongly urged Cooper to give him the pleasure of
presenting him with Mr. McLane to Louis Philippe at a Palais Royal
"evening." Concerning the event Cooper noted: "Though such a visit was
contrary to my quiet habits, I could do nothing but comply." His book on
France relates the event and concludes with: "We all got invitations to
dine at the palace in a day or two." But Cooper "never had any faith in
the republican king," and thought "General Lafayette had been the dupe
of his own good faith and kind feelings." Queen Marie Amelie, who was
the daughter of Ferdinand I of the two Sicilies, asked Cooper which he
most preferred of all the lands he had visited. His quick and strictly
truthful reply was: "That in which your majesty was born for its nature,
and that in which your majesty reigns for its society." As the "evening"
was for men Cooper noticed that "the queen and her ladies wore

[Illustration: QUEEN MARIE AMELIE.]

December 8, 1830 the Americans in Paris gave General Lafayette a dinner
over which Cooper presided. And, says Professor Lounsbury, "in a speech
of marked fervor and ability, he had dwelt upon the debt due from the
United States to the gallant Frenchman, who had ventured fortune and
life to aid a nation struggling against great odds to be free." As "It
was not in his [Cooper's] nature to have his deeds give lie to his
words," he was fairly caught in a public controversy that brought upon
him the following unpleasant results.

During this period a public dispute arose on the comparative expenses of
American and French government, which Lafayette was called upon to
settle, and he appealed to Cooper as an American authority. In his
spirited defense of the gallant Marquis, our author was caught in a
maelstrom of harsh criticism. It ended in his victory abroad, but
brought upon him uncalled-for comment from the American press for
"attacking the authorities of a friendly country"--as that press
unjustly termed it.

At Paris in 1831, by the request of an English friend, Cooper wrote of
"The Great Eclipse" which he saw June 16, 1806, at his Cooperstown home.
This account was found after his death and appeared in _Putnam's
Magazine_ of 1869. It included a thrilling tragedy and closed as
follows: "I have passed a varied and eventful life--but never have I
beheld any spectacle which so plainly manifested the majesty of the
Creator, or so forcibly taught the lesson of humility to man as the
total eclipse of the sun."

From Paris, in 1832, Cooper wrote: "I care nothing for criticism, but I
am not indifferent to slander. If these attacks on my character should
be kept up five years after my return to America, I shall resort to the
New York courts for protection." Cooper gave the press the full period,
then, said Bryant,--himself an editor,--"he put a hook in the nose of
this huge monster of the inky pool, dragged him to land, and made him
tractable." After these five years had passed Cooper noted, February,
1843: "I have, beaten every man I have sued who has not retracted his

[Illustration: N.P. WILLIS.]

In Paris, in 1832, our author was meeting many foreigners of note, and
among the Americans was N.P. Willis, then sketching his "Pencillings by
the Way," and breakfasting with Cooper, and strolling with him through
the Tuileries gardens.

[Illustration: S.F.B. MORSE.]

Samuel F.B. Morse, who was later to chain electricity for future use,
was then a young artist painting in the Louvre, and helping Cooper to
buy pictures. Of one purchase is noted: "Shortly after the revolution
of 1830, passing through the Carousel, he bought a portrait, covered
with dust but of apparent rare beauty, from a dealer in antiques, who
said it was a Teniers. This painting was shown to Morse and to
Archbishop Luscomb of Paris, also an art critic of his day, both of whom
verified the dealer's statement. Catalogues and prints of originals of
Tenier's wife later proved the picture to be her portrait painted round
in form by that artist and afterwards cut to the square."

[Illustration: TUILERIES GARDENS.]

[Illustration: TENIER'S WIFE.]

Some twenty years later Morse wrote: "We were in daily, almost hourly,
intercourse during the years 1832-33. I never met a more sincere,
warm-hearted, constant friend." Their relations were ever warm and
close. Cooper himself was winning, in the heart of France, a welcome for
"the beloved _Bas-de-cuir_ with _la longe carabine,_--that magic rifle
of his that so seldom missed its mark and never got out of repair."
Surely his life and pursuits conformed to his motto: "Loyalty to truth
at any price." Those who best knew him best loved him. The charm of his
family life during these pleasant days has found attractive expression
in the portraits of his children drawn about this time by his daughter
Susan, as shown on the opposite page.



During the dreadful siege of cholera in Paris, Cooper and his family
remained in the stricken city, fearing to fare worse with country
discomforts. In contrast to many instances of heroic devotion were
artists' funny pictures of the scourge. The Tuileries gardens were
deserted, and Paul missed his apple-women friends of the corners between
rue St. Dominique and Pont Royal; and the flight through the city of Mr.
Van Buren and other friends were a few personal incidents of this
awesome time.

July 18 Cooper and his family left Paris for the Rhine country. They
enjoyed Brussels, and old Antwerp's Dutch art and its beautiful
cathedral-tower that Napoleon thought should be kept under glass. They
found Liege "alive with people" to greet their arrival at the _Golden
Sun_, where they were mistaken for the expected and almost new king,
Leopold, and his fine-looking brother. Sad truth brought cold looks and
back views among other shadows of neglect. Cooper noted: The "_Golden
Sun_ veiled its face from us; we quit the great square to seek more
humble lodgings at the _Black Eagle_, a clean, good house." In Liege
were seen the venerable, interesting churches, which caused Cooper to
think, "I sometimes wish I had been educated a Catholic in order to
unite the poetry of religion with its higher principles." He called _The
Angelus_ "the open prayer of the fields," and wrote of it: "I remember
with pleasure the effect produced by the bell of the village church as
it sent its warning voice on such occasions across the plains and over
the hills, while we were dwellers in French or Italian hamlets."

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