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The deerslayer, p.1
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       The Deerslayer, p.1

           James Fenimore Cooper
 
The Deerslayer


  Produced by Stephen Kerr and Martin Robb

  THE DEERSLAYER

  By James Fenimore Cooper

  Chapter I.

  "There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore. There is society where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but nature more, From these our interviews, in which I steal From all I may be, or have been before, To mingle with the universe, and feel What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal"

  Childe Harold.

  On the human imagination events produce the effects of time. Thus, hewho has travelled far and seen much is apt to fancy that he has livedlong; and the history that most abounds in important incidents soonestassumes the aspect of antiquity. In no other way can we account for thevenerable air that is already gathering around American annals. When themind reverts to the earliest days of colonial history, the period seemsremote and obscure, the thousand changes that thicken along the linksof recollections, throwing back the origin of the nation to a day sodistant as seemingly to reach the mists of time; and yet four lives ofordinary duration would suffice to transmit, from mouth to mouth, in theform of tradition, all that civilized man has achieved within thelimits of the republic. Although New York alone possesses a populationmaterially exceeding that of either of the four smallest kingdoms ofEurope, or materially exceeding that of the entire Swiss Confederation,it is little more than two centuries since the Dutch commenced theirsettlement, rescuing the region from the savage state. Thus, what seemsvenerable by an accumulation of changes is reduced to familiarity whenwe come seriously to consider it solely in connection with time.

  This glance into the perspective of the past will prepare the reader tolook at the pictures we are about to sketch, with less surprise than hemight otherwise feel; and a few additional explanations may carry himback in imagination to the precise condition of society that we desireto delineate. It is matter of history that the settlements on theeastern shores of the Hudson, such as Claverack, Kinderhook, and evenPoughkeepsie, were not regarded as safe from Indian incursions a centurysince; and there is still standing on the banks of the same river, andwithin musket-shot of the wharves of Albany, a residence of a youngerbranch of the Van Rensselaers, that has loopholes constructed fordefence against the same crafty enemy, although it dates from a periodscarcely so distant. Other similar memorials of the infancy of thecountry are to be found, scattered through what is now deemed the verycentre of American civilization, affording the plainest proofs that allwe possess of security from invasion and hostile violence is the growthof but little more than the time that is frequently fulfilled by asingle human life.

  The incidents of this tale occurred between the years 1740 and 1745,when the settled portions of the colony of New York were confined tothe four Atlantic counties, a narrow belt of country on each side of theHudson, extending from its mouth to the falls near its head, and toa few advanced "neighborhoods" on the Mohawk and the Schoharie. Broadbelts of the virgin wilderness not only reached the shores of the firstriver, but they even crossed it, stretching away into New England, andaffording forest covers to the noiseless moccasin of the native warrior,as he trod the secret and bloody war-path. A bird's-eye view of thewhole region east of the Mississippi must then have offered onevast expanse of woods, relieved by a comparatively narrow fringe ofcultivation along the sea, dotted by the glittering surfaces of lakes,and intersected by the waving lines of river. In such a vast picture ofsolemn solitude, the district of country we design to paint sinks intoinsignificance, though we feel encouraged to proceed by the convictionthat, with slight and immaterial distinctions, he who succeeds in givingan accurate idea of any portion of this wild region must necessarilyconvey a tolerably correct notion of the whole.

  Whatever may be the changes produced by man, the eternal round of theseasons is unbroken. Summer and winter, seed-time and harvest, return intheir stated order with a sublime precision, affording to man one of thenoblest of all the occasions he enjoys of proving the high powers ofhis far-reaching mind, in compassing the laws that control their exactuniformity, and in calculating their never-ending revolutions.

  Centuries of summer suns had warmed the tops of the same noble oaks andpines, sending their heats even to the tenacious roots, when voices wereheard calling to each other, in the depths of a forest, of which theleafy surface lay bathed in the brilliant light of a cloudless dayin June, while the trunks of the trees rose in gloomy grandeur in theshades beneath. The calls were in different tones, evidently proceedingfrom two men who had lost their way, and were searching in differentdirections for their path. At length a shout proclaimed success, andpresently a man of gigantic mould broke out of the tangled labyrinthof a small swamp, emerging into an opening that appeared to have beenformed partly by the ravages of the wind, and partly by those of fire.This little area, which afforded a good view of the sky, although it waspretty well filled with dead trees, lay on the side of one of the highhills, or low mountains, into which nearly the whole surface of theadjacent country was broken.

  "Here is room to breathe in!" exclaimed the liberated forester, as soonas he found himself under a clear sky, shaking his huge frame like amastiff that has just escaped from a snowbank. "Hurrah! Deerslayer; hereis daylight, at last, and yonder is the lake."

  These words were scarcely uttered when the second forester dashedaside the bushes of the swamp, and appeared in the area. After makinga hurried adjustment of his arms and disordered dress, he joined hiscompanion, who had already begun his disposition for a halt.

  "Do you know this spot!" demanded the one called Deerslayer, "or do youshout at the sight of the sun?"

  "Both, lad, both; I know the spot, and am not sorry to see so usefula fri'nd as the sun. Now we have got the p'ints of the compass in ourminds once more, and 't will be our own faults if we let anything turnthem topsy-turvy ag'in, as has just happened. My name is not HurryHarry, if this be not the very spot where the land-hunters camped thelast summer, and passed a week. See I yonder are the dead bushes oftheir bower, and here is the spring. Much as I like the sun, boy, I'veno occasion for it to tell me it is noon; this stomach of mine is asgood a time-piece as is to be found in the colony, and it already p'intsto half-past twelve. So open the wallet, and let us wind up for anothersix hours' run."

  At this suggestion, both set themselves about making the preparationsnecessary for their usual frugal but hearty meal. We will profit by thispause in the discourse to give the reader some idea of the appearance ofthe men, each of whom is destined to enact no insignificant part in ourlegend.

  It would not have been easy to find a more noble specimen of vigorousmanhood than was offered in the person of him who called himself HurryHarry. His real name was Henry March but the frontiersmen having caughtthe practice of giving sobriquets from the Indians, the appellation ofHurry was far oftener applied to him than his proper designation, andnot unfrequently he was termed Hurry Skurry, a nickname he had obtainedfrom a dashing, reckless offhand manner, and a physical restlessnessthat kept him so constantly on the move, as to cause him to be knownalong the whole line of scattered habitations that lay between theprovince and the Canadas. The stature of Hurry Harry exceeded six feetfour, and being unusually well proportioned, his strength fully realizedthe idea created by his gigantic frame. The face did no discredit to therest of the man, for it was both good-humored and handsome. His air wasfree, and though his manner necessarily partook of the rudeness of aborder life, the grandeur that pervaded so noble a physique prevented itfrom becoming altogether vulgar.

  Deerslayer, as Hurry called his companion, was a very different personin appearance, as well as in character. In stature he stood aboutsix feet in his moccasins, but his frame w
as comparatively light andslender, showing muscles, however, that promised unusual agility, if notunusual strength. His face would have had little to recommend it exceptyouth, were it not for an expression that seldom failed to win uponthose who had leisure to examine it, and to yield to the feeling ofconfidence it created. This expression was simply that of guilelesstruth, sustained by an earnestness of purpose, and a sincerity offeeling, that rendered it remarkable. At times this air of integrityseemed to be so simple as to awaken the suspicion of a want of theusual means to discriminate between artifice and truth; but few came inserious contact with the man, without losing this distrust in respectfor his opinions and motives.

  Both these frontiersmen were still young, Hurry having reached theage of six or eight and twenty, while Deerslayer was several years hisjunior. Their attire needs no particular description, though it maybe well to add that it was composed in no small degree of dresseddeer-skins, and had the usual signs of belonging to those who pass theirtime between the skirts of civilized society and the boundless forests.There was, notwithstanding, some attention to smartness and thepicturesque in the arrangements of Deerslayer's dress, more particularlyin the part connected with his arms and accoutrements. His rifle was inperfect condition, the handle of his hunting-knife was neatly carved,his powder-horn was ornamented with suitable devices lightly cut intothe material, and his shot-pouch was decorated with wampum.

  On the other hand, Hurry Harry, either from constitutional recklessness,or from a secret consciousness how little his appearance requiredartificial aids, wore everything in a careless, slovenly manner, asif he felt a noble scorn for the trifling accessories of dress andornaments. Perhaps the peculiar effect of his fine form and greatstature was increased rather than lessened, by this unstudied anddisdainful air of indifference.

  "Come, Deerslayer, fall to, and prove that you have a Delaware stomach,as you say you have had a Delaware edication," cried Hurry, setting theexample by opening his mouth to receive a slice of cold venison steakthat would have made an entire meal for a European peasant; "fall to,lad, and prove your manhood on this poor devil of a doe with your teeth,as you've already done with your rifle."

  "Nay, nay, Hurry, there's little manhood in killing a doe, and that tooout of season; though there might be some in bringing down a painteror a catamount," returned the other, disposing himself to comply. "TheDelawares have given me my name, not so much on account of a bold heart,as on account of a quick eye, and an actyve foot. There may not be anycowardyce in overcoming a deer, but sartain it is, there's no greatvalor."

  "The Delawares themselves are no heroes," muttered Hurry through histeeth, the mouth being too full to permit it to be fairly opened, "orthey would never have allowed them loping vagabonds, the Mingos, to makethem women."

  "That matter is not rightly understood--has never been rightlyexplained," said Deerslayer earnestly, for he was as zealous a friend ashis companion was dangerous as an enemy; "the Mengwe fill the woods withtheir lies, and misconstruct words and treaties. I have now lived tenyears with the Delawares, and know them to be as manful as any othernation, when the proper time to strike comes."

  "Harkee, Master Deerslayer, since we are on the subject, we may aswell open our minds to each other in a man-to-man way; answer me onequestion; you have had so much luck among the game as to have gottena title, it would seem, but did you ever hit anything human orintelligible: did you ever pull trigger on an inimy that was capable ofpulling one upon you?"

  This question produced a singular collision between mortification andcorrect feeling, in the bosom of the youth, that was easily to be tracedin the workings of his ingenuous countenance. The struggle was short,however; uprightness of heart soon getting the better of false pride andfrontier boastfulness.

  "To own the truth, I never did," answered Deerslayer; "seeing that afitting occasion never offered. The Delawares have been peaceable sincemy sojourn with 'em, and I hold it to be onlawful to take the life ofman, except in open and generous warfare."

  "What! did you never find a fellow thieving among your traps andskins, and do the law on him with your own hands, by way of saving themagistrates trouble in the settlements, and the rogue himself the costof the suit!"

  "I am no trapper, Hurry," returned the young man proudly: "I live by therifle, a we'pon at which I will not turn my back on any man of my years,atween the Hudson and the St. Lawrence. I never offer a skin that hasnot a hole in its head besides them which natur' made to see with or tobreathe through."

  "Ay, ay, this is all very well, in the animal way, though it makes but apoor figure alongside of scalps and ambushes. Shooting an Indian from anambush is acting up to his own principles, and now we have what you calla lawful war on our hands, the sooner you wipe that disgrace off yourcharacter, the sounder will be your sleep; if it only come from knowingthere is one inimy the less prowling in the woods. I shall not frequentyour society long, friend Natty, unless you look higher than four-footedbeasts to practice your rifle on."

  "Our journey is nearly ended, you say, Master March, and we can partto-night, if you see occasion. I have a fri'nd waiting for me, who willthink it no disgrace to consort with a fellow-creatur' that has neveryet slain his kind."

  "I wish I knew what has brought that skulking Delaware into this part ofthe country so early in the season," muttered Hurry to himself, in a wayto show equally distrust and a recklessness of its betrayal. "Where didyou say the young chief was to give you the meeting?"

  "At a small round rock, near the foot of the lake, where they tell me,the tribes are given to resorting to make their treaties, and to burytheir hatchets. This rock have I often heard the Delawares mention,though lake and rock are equally strangers to me. The country is claimedby both Mingos and Mohicans, and is a sort of common territory tofish and hunt through, in time of peace, though what it may become inwar-time, the Lord only knows!"

  "Common territory" exclaimed Hurry, laughing aloud. "I should like toknow what Floating Tom Hutter would say to that! He claims the lake ashis own property, in vartue of fifteen years' possession, and will notbe likely to give it up to either Mingo or Delaware without a battle forit!"

  "And what will the colony say to such a quarrel--all this country musthave some owner, the gentry pushing their cravings into the wilderness,even where they never dare to ventur', in their own persons, to look atthe land they own."

  "That may do in other quarters of the colony, Deerslayer, but it willnot do here. Not a human being, the Lord excepted, owns a foot of silein this part of the country. Pen was never put to paper consarningeither hill or valley hereaway, as I've heard old Tom say time andag'in, and so he claims the best right to it of any man breathing; andwhat Tom claims, he'll be very likely to maintain."

  "By what I've heard you say, Hurry, this Floating Tom must be anoncommon mortal; neither Mingo, Delaware, nor pale-face. His possession,too, has been long, by your tell, and altogether beyond frontierendurance. What's the man's history and natur'?"

  "Why, as to old Tom's human natur', it is not much like other men'shuman natur', but more like a muskrat's human natar', seeing that hetakes more to the ways of that animal than to the ways of any otherfellow-creatur'. Some think he was a free liver on the salt water, inhis youth, and a companion of a sartain Kidd, who was hanged for piracy,long afore you and I were born or acquainted, and that he came up intothese regions, thinking that the king's cruisers could never cross themountains, and that he might enjoy the plunder peaceably in the woods."

  "Then he was wrong, Hurry; very wrong. A man can enjoy plunder peaceablynowhere."

  "That's much as his turn of mind may happen to be. I've known themthat never could enjoy it at all, unless it was in the midst of ajollification, and them again that enjoyed it best in a corner. Somemen have no peace if they don't find plunder, and some if they do. Humannature' is crooked in these matters. Old Tom seems to belong to neitherset, as he enjoys his, if plunder he has really got, with his darters,in a very quiet and comfortable way, and wishe
s for no more."

  "Ay, he has darters, too; I've heard the Delawares, who've hunted thisa way, tell their histories of these young women. Is there no mother,Hurry?"

  "There was once, as in reason; but she has now been dead and sunk thesetwo good years."

  "Anan?" said Deerslayer, looking up at his companion in a littlesurprise.

  "Dead and sunk, I say, and I hope that's good English. The old fellowlowered his wife into the lake, by way of seeing the last of her, as Ican testify, being an eye-witness of the ceremony; but whether Tomdid it to save digging, which is no easy job among roots, or out of aconsait that water washes away sin sooner than 'arth, is more than I cansay."

  "Was the poor woman oncommon wicked, that her husband should take somuch pains with her body?"

  "Not onreasonable; though she had her faults. I consider Judith Hutterto have been as graceful, and about as likely to make a good ind asany woman who had lived so long beyond the sound of church bells; and Iconclude old Tom sunk her as much by way of saving pains, as by way oftaking it. There was a little steel in her temper, it's true, and,as old Hutter is pretty much flint, they struck out sparksonce-and-a-while; but, on the whole, they might be said to live amicablelike. When they did kindle, the listeners got some such insights intotheir past lives, as one gets into the darker parts of the woods, whena stray gleam of sunshine finds its way down to the roots of the trees.But Judith I shall always esteem, as it's recommend enough to one womanto be the mother of such a creatur' as her darter, Judith Hutter!"

  "Ay, Judith was the name the Delawares mentioned, though it waspronounced after a fashion of their own. From their discourse, I do notthink the girl would much please my fancy."

  "Thy fancy!" exclaimed March, taking fire equally at the indifferenceand at the presumption of his companion, "what the devil have you to dowith a fancy, and that, too, consarning one like Judith? You are but aboy--a sapling, that has scarce got root. Judith has had men among hersuitors, ever since she was fifteen; which is now near five years; andwill not be apt even to cast a look upon a half-grown creatur' likeyou!"

  "It is June, and there is not a cloud atween us and the sun, Hurry,so all this heat is not wanted," answered the other, altogetherundisturbed; "any one may have a fancy, and a squirrel has a right tomake up his mind touching a catamount."

  "Ay, but it might not be wise, always, to let the catamount know it,"growled March. "But you're young and thoughtless, and I'll overlook yourignorance. Come, Deerslayer," he added, with a good-natured laugh, afterpausing a moment to reflect, "come, Deerslayer, we are sworn friends,and will not quarrel about a light-minded, jilting jade, just becauseshe happens to be handsome; more especially as you have never seenher. Judith is only for a man whose teeth show the full marks, and it'sfoolish to be afeard of a boy. What did the Delawares say of the hussy?for an Indian, after all, has his notions of woman-kind, as well as awhite man."

  "They said she was fair to look on, and pleasant of speech; butover-given to admirers, and light-minded."

  "They are devils incarnate! After all, what schoolmaster is a match foran Indian, in looking into natur'! Some people think they are only goodon a trail or the war-path, but I say that they are philosophers, andunderstand a man as well as they understand a beaver, and a woman aswell as they understand either. Now that's Judith's character to aribbon! To own the truth to you, Deerslayer, I should have married thegal two years since, if it had not been for two particular things, oneof which was this very lightmindedness."

  "And what may have been the other?" demanded the hunter, who continuedto eat like one that took very little interest in the subject.

  "T'other was an insartainty about her having me. The hussy is handsome,and she knows it. Boy, not a tree that is growing in these hills isstraighter, or waves in the wind with an easier bend, nor did you eversee the doe that bounded with a more nat'ral motion. If that was all,every tongue would sound her praises; but she has such failings that Ifind it hard to overlook them, and sometimes I swear I'll never visitthe lake again."

  "Which is the reason that you always come back? Nothing is ever mademore sure by swearing about it."

  "Ah, Deerslayer, you are a novelty in these particulars; keeping as trueto education as if you had never left the settlements. With me the caseis different, and I never want to clinch an idee, that I do not feel awish to swear about it. If you know'd all that I know consarning Judith,you'd find a justification for a little cussing. Now, the officerssometimes stray over to the lake, from the forts on the Mohawk, to fishand hunt, and then the creatur' seems beside herself! You can see in themanner which she wears her finery, and the airs she gives herself withthe gallants."

  "That is unseemly in a poor man's darter," returned Deerslayer gravely,"the officers are all gentry, and can only look on such as Judith withevil intentions."

  "There's the unsartainty, and the damper! I have my misgivings about aparticular captain, and Jude has no one to blame but her own folly, ifI'm right. On the whole, I wish to look upon her as modest and becoming,and yet the clouds that drive among these hills are not more unsartain.Not a dozen white men have ever laid eyes upon her since she was achild, and yet her airs, with two or three of these officers, areextinguishers!"

  "I would think no more of such a woman, but turn my mind altogether tothe forest; that will not deceive you, being ordered and ruled by a handthat never wavers."

  "If you know'd Judith, you would see how much easier it is to say thisthan it would be to do it. Could I bring my mind to be easy about theofficers, I would carry the gal off to the Mohawk by force, make hermarry me in spite of her whiffling, and leave old Tom to the careof Hetty, his other child, who, if she be not as handsome or asquick-witted as her sister, is much the most dutiful."

  "Is there another bird in the same nest!" asked Deerslayer, raising hiseyes with a species of half-awakened curiosity, "the Delawares spoke tome only of one."

  "That's nat'ral enough, when Judith Hutter and Hetty Hutter are inquestion. Hetty is only comely, while her sister, I tell thee, boy, issuch another as is not to be found atween this and the sea: Judith is asfull of wit, and talk, and cunning, as an old Indian orator, while poorHetty is at the best but 'compass' meant us."

  "Anan?" inquired, again, the Deerslayer.

  "Why, what the officers call 'compass meant us,' which I understandto signify that she means always to go in the right direction, butsometimes does not know how. 'Compass'for the p'int, and 'meant us' forthe intention. No, poor Hetty is what I call on the verge of ignorance,and sometimes she stumbles on one side of the line, and sometimes ont'other."

  "Them are beings that the Lord has in his special care," saidDeerslayer, solemnly; "for he looks carefully to all who fall short oftheir proper share of reason. The red-skins honor and respect them whoare so gifted, knowing that the Evil Spirit delights more to dwell in anartful body, than in one that has no cunning to work upon."

  "I'll answer for it, then, that he will not remain long with poor Hetty;for the child is just 'compass meant us,' as I have told you. Old Tomhas a feeling for the gal, and so has Judith, quick-witted and gloriousas she is herself; else would I not answer for her being altogether safeamong the sort of men that sometimes meet on the lake shore."

  "I thought this water an unknown and little-frequented sheet," observedthe Deerslayer, evidently uneasy at the idea of being too near theworld.

  "It's all that, lad, the eyes of twenty white men never having been laidon it; still, twenty true-bred frontiersmen--hunters and trappers, andscouts, and the like,--can do a deal of mischief if they try. 'T wouldbe an awful thing to me, Deerslayer, did I find Judith married, after anabsence of six months!"

  "Have you the gal's faith, to encourage you to hope otherwise?"

  "Not at all. I know not how it is: I'm good-looking, boy,--that much Ican see in any spring on which the sun shines,--and yet I could not getthe hussy to a promise, or even a cordial willing smile, though she willlaugh by the hour. If she has dared to marry in my
absence, she'd belike to know the pleasures of widowhood afore she is twenty!"

  "You would not harm the man she has chosen, Hurry, simply because shefound him more to her liking than yourself!"

  "Why not! If an enemy crosses my path, will I not beat him out of it!Look at me! am I a man like to let any sneaking, crawling, skin-traderget the better of me in a matter that touches me as near as the kindnessof Judith Hutter! Besides, when we live beyond law, we must be our ownjudges and executioners. And if a man should be found dead in the woods,who is there to say who slew him, even admitting that the colony tookthe matter in hand and made a stir about it?"

  "If that man should be Judith Hutter's husband, after what has passed, Imight tell enough, at least, to put the colony on the trail."

  "You!--half-grown, venison-hunting bantling! You dare to think ofinforming against Hurry Harry in so much as a matter touching a mink ora woodchuck!"

  "I would dare to speak truth, Hurry, consarning you or any man that everlived."

  March looked at his companion, for a moment, in silent amazement; thenseizing him by the throat with both hands, he shook his comparativelyslight frame with a violence that menaced the dislocation of some of thebones. Nor was this done jocularly, for anger flashed from the giant'seyes, and there were certain signs that seemed to threaten much moreearnestness than the occasion would appear to call for. Whatever mightbe the real intention of March, and it is probable there was nonesettled in his mind, it is certain that he was unusually aroused; andmost men who found themselves throttled by one of a mould so gigantic,in such a mood, and in a solitude so deep and helpless, would have feltintimidated, and tempted to yield even the right. Not so, however, withDeerslayer. His countenance remained unmoved; his hand did not shake,and his answer was given in a voice that did not resort to the artificeof louder tones, even by way of proving its owner's resolution.

  "You may shake, Hurry, until you bring down the mountain," he saidquietly, "but nothing beside truth will you shake from me. It isprobable that Judith Hutter has no husband to slay, and you may neverhave a chance to waylay one, else would I tell her of your threat, inthe first conversation I held with the gal."

  March released his grip, and sat regarding the other in silentastonishment.

  "I thought we had been friends," he at length added; "but you've got thelast secret of mine that will ever enter your ears."

  "I want none, if they are to be like this. I know we live in the woods,Hurry, and are thought to be beyond human laws,--and perhaps we areso, in fact, whatever it may be in right,--but there is a law and alaw-maker, that rule across the whole continent. He that flies in theface of either need not call me a friend."

  "Damme, Deerslayer, if I do not believe you are at heart a Moravian, andno fair-minded, plain-dealing hunter, as you've pretended to be!"

  "Fair-minded or not, Hurry, you will find me as plaindealing in deedsas I am in words. But this giving way to sudden anger is foolish, andproves how little you have sojourned with the red man. Judith Hutter nodoubt is still single, and you spoke but as the tongue ran, and not asthe heart felt. There's my hand, and we will say and think no more aboutit."

  Hurry seemed more surprised than ever; then he burst forth in a loud,good-natured laugh, which brought tears to his eyes. After this heaccepted the offered hand, and the parties became friends.

  "'T would have been foolish to quarrel about an idee," March cried,as he resumed his meal, "and more like lawyers in the towns than likesensible men in the woods. They tell me, Deerslayer, much ill-bloodgrows out of idees among the people in the lower counties, and that theysometimes get to extremities upon them."

  "That do they,--that do they; and about other matters that might betterbe left to take care of themselves. I have heard the Moravians say thatthere are lands in which men quarrel even consarning their religion; andif they can get their tempers up on such a subject, Hurry, the Lord haveMarcy on 'em. Howsoever, there is no occasion for our following theirexample, and more especially about a husband that this Judith Huttermay never see, or never wish to see. For my part, I feel more cur'osityabout the feeble-witted sister than about your beauty. There'ssomething that comes close to a man's feelin's, when he meets with afellow-creatur' that has all the outward show of an accountable mortal,and who fails of being what he seems, only through a lack of reason.This is bad enough in a man, but when it comes to a woman, and she ayoung, and maybe a winning creatur' it touches all the pitiful thoughtshis natur' has. God knows, Hurry, that such poor things be defencelessenough with all their wits about 'em; but it's a cruel fortun' when thatgreat protector and guide fails 'em."

  "Hark, Deerslayer,--you know what the hunters, and trappers, andpeltry-men in general be; and their best friends will not deny thatthey are headstrong and given to having their own way, without muchbethinking 'em of other people's rights or feelin's,--and yet I don'tthink the man is to be found, in all this region, who would harm HettyHutter, if he could; no, not even a red-skin."

  "Therein, fri'nd Hurry, you do the Delawares, at least, and all theirallied tribes, only justice, for a red-skin looks upon a being thusstruck by God's power as especially under his care. I rejoice to hearwhat you say, however, I rejoice to hear it; but as the sun is beginningto turn towards the afternoon's sky, had we not better strike the trailagain, and make forward, that we may get an opportunity of seeing thesewonderful sisters?"

  Harry March giving a cheerful assent, the remnants of the meal weresoon collected; then the travelers shouldered their packs, resumed theirarms, and, quitting the little area of light, they again plunged intothe deep shadows of the forest.

  Chapter II.

  "Thou'rt passing from the lake's green side, And the hunter's hearth away; For the time of flowers, for the summer's pride, Daughter! thou canst not stay."

  Mrs. Hemans, "Edith. A Tale of the Woods" II. 191-94

 
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