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The Pathfinder

The Pathfinder by James Fenimore Cooper
By: (1789-1851)

Natty Bumppo goes by many names: La Longue Carabine, Hawk Eye, Leatherstocking, and in this tale, The Pathfinder. Guide, scout, hunter, and when put to it, soldier, he also fills a lot of roles in pre-Revolution upstate New York. An old friend, Sergeant Dunham of the 55th Regiment of Foot, asks him to guide his daughter through the wilderness to the fort at Oswego where Dunham serves. With the French engaging native Indian allies against the British and the Yankee colonists, such a journey is far from safe.

Dunham has a plan in mind – to see his daughter Mable married off to the most redoubtable frontiersman and marksman in the territory, who is Pathfinder himself. But as an attractive and marriageable young lady, she draws other suitors. Then a military expedition contrives to put Sgt. Dunham, Mable, Pathfinder, and two other wooers into an isolated and dangerous garrison. Here treachery raises the stakes, and with the soldiers of the detachment shot down or captured, all of them must show mettle for any of them to escape with their scalps.

First Page:

THE PATHFINDER

or, THE INLAND SEA

By James Fenimore Cooper

PREFACE.

The plan of this tale suggested itself to the writer many years since, though the details are altogether of recent invention. The idea of associating seamen and savages in incidents that might be supposed characteristic of the Great Lakes having been mentioned to a Publisher, the latter obtained something like a pledge from the Author to carry out the design at some future day, which pledge is now tardily and imperfectly redeemed.

The reader may recognize an old friend under new circumstances in the principal character of this legend. If the exhibition made of this old acquaintance, in the novel circumstances in which he now appears, should be found not to lessen his favor with the Public, it will be a source of extreme gratification to the writer, since he has an interest in the individual in question that falls little short of reality. It is not an easy task, however, to introduce the same character in four separate works, and to maintain the peculiarities that are indispensable to identity, without incurring a risk of fatiguing the reader with sameness; and the present experiment has been so long delayed quite as much from doubts of its success as from any other cause... Continue reading book >>


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