The Prairie (Leatherstocking Tale)
James Fenimore Cooper
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The final novel in Cooper’s epic, The Prairie depicts Natty Bumppo at the end of his life, still displaying his indomitable strength and dignity.
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that place, where ten minutes before there existed a scene of so much wildness and confusion. The Siouxes had completed their conquest, and, apparently satisfied with this addition to the numerous previous captives they had made, they now seemed content to let the remainder of the herd escape. A dozen remained around the carcass, over which a few buzzards were balancing themselves with steady wings and greedy eyes, while the rest were riding about in quest of such further booty as might come in
time to be moving, and now comes the real nicety of our case. It is easy to outwit a furnace for it is nothing but a raging element, and it is not always difficult to throw a grizzly bear from his scent, for the creatur’ is both enlightened and blinded by his instinct, but to shut the eyes of a waking Teton is a matter of greater judgement, inasmuch, as his deviltry is backed by reason.” Notwithstanding the old man appeared so conscious of the difficulty of the undertaking, he set about its
was time to give you the partic—” “Proceed with your explanation,” interrupted Middleton. “Ah! and a bloody and wicked sight it was! There I lay in a low bed of grass, as two of the hunters came nigh each other. Their meeting was not cordial, nor such as men who meet in a desert should give each other, but I thought they would have parted in peace, until I saw one put his rifle to the other’s back and do, what I call a treacherous and sinful murder. It was a noble and a manly youth, that
with an affectation of self abasement. “No, no, Ellen, I am any thing but unfortunate. Unless indeed, a man may be so called, whose fortune is made—whose fame may be said to be established forever—whose name will go down to posterity with that of Buffon—Buffon! a mere compiler! one who flourishes on the foundation of other men’s labours—no, pari passu, with Solander who bought his knowledge, with pain and privations!” “Have you discovered a mine, Doctor Bat?” “More than a mine; a treasure,
she sat patiently awaiting the return of the hunters. Ellen Wade was at no great distance, seeming to keep a little aloof from the anxious circle, as if willing to mark the distinction which existed in their characters. “Your uncle is, and always will be a dull calculator, Nell,” observed the mother, after a long pause in a conversation that had turned on the labors of the day; “A lazy hand at figures, and foreknowledge is that said Ishmael Bush! Here he sat, lolloping about the rock from light