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comradeship, of perfect sympathy, that one has to recall dates in order to realize that the two men were not companions. No man's last years were ever more full of

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honors than Irving's. The whole country loved him. As Thackeray said, his gate was “forever swinging before visitors who came to him.” Every one was welcomed, and every one carried away kindly thoughts of the magician of the Hudson.

20. James Fenimore Cooper, 1789-1851. About the time that the New York town crier was finding Irving's wanderings a source of income, a year-old baby, named James Fenimore Cooper, was taking a much longer journey. He travelled from his birthplace in Burlington, New Jersey, to what is now Cooperstown, New York, where his father owned several thousand acres of land and proposed to establish a village. The village was established, a handsome residence was built, and there, in the very heart of the wilderness, the boy

spent his early years. He was used to the free life of the forest; and it is small wonder that after he entered Yale, he found it rather difficult to obey orders and was sent home in disgrace.

His next step was to spend four years at sea. Then he married, left the navy, and became a country gentle. man, with no more thought of writing novels than many

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other country gentlemen. One day, after reading a story of English life, he exclaimed, “I believe I could write a better book myself.” “Try it, then," retorted his wife playfully; and he tried it. The result was Precaution,

Unless the English novel was very poor, this book can hardly have been much of an improvement, for

Precaution, it is decidedly dull. Another fault is its lack 1820. of truth to life, for Cooper laid his scene in England in the midst of society that he knew nothing about. The book was anonymous. It was reprinted in England and was thought by some critics to be the work of an English writer. Americans of that day were so used to looking across the ocean for their literature that this mistake gave Cooper courage.

Moreover, his friends stood by him generously. “ Write another," they said, “and lay the scene in America.” Cooper took up his pen again. The Spy was the result. Irving's The Spy, Sketch Book had come out only a year or two 1821. earlier, and now American critics were indeed jubilant. A novel whose scene was laid in America and during the American Revolution had been written by an American and was a success in England. The neers, The bolder spirits began to whisper that American Pllot, 1823. literature had really begun. Two years later, Cooper published The Pioneers, whose scene is laid in the forest, and also The Pilot, a sea tale.

There was little waiting for recognition. On both sides of the ocean his fame increased. He kept on writing, and his eager audience kept on reading and begged for more.

His books were translated into French, German, Norwegian, even into Arabic and Persian. Among them was his History of the United States Navy, History of which is still an authority. Some of his books were very good, others were exceedingly poor. Navy,1839. The Leatherstocking Tales are his best work. The best character is Natty Bumppo, or Leatherstocking, the hunter and scout, whose achievements are traced through the five volumes of the series.

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the United States

Cooper spent several years abroad. When he returned, he found that the good folk of Cooperstown had Cooper and long been using a piece of his land as a pleasure the courts. ground. Cooper called them trespassers, and the courts agreed with him. The matter would have ended there had it not been a bad habit of Cooper's to criticise things and people as boldly as if he were the one person whose actions were above criticism. Of course he had not spared the newspapers, and now they did not spare him. He sued them for libel again and again. In one suit of this kind, the court had to hear his two-volume novel, Home as Found, read aloud in order to decide whether the criticisms in question were libellous or not. He often won his suits, but he lost far more than he gained ; for, while Irving was loved by the whole country, Cooper made new enemies every day. Before his death he pledged his family to give no sight of his papers and no details of his home life to any future biographer who might ask for them. This is unfortunate, for Cooper was a man who always turned his rough side to the world ; but at least we can fall back upon the knowledge that the people who knew him best loved him most.

Cooper's success was so immediate that he hardly realized the need of any thought or special preparation for

a book; therefore he wrote carelessly, often Cooper's carelessness with most shiftless inattention to style or plot

or consistency. Mark Twain is scarcely more than just when he declares that the rules governing literary art require that “when a personage talks like an illustrated, gilt-edged, tree-calf, hand-tooled, seven-dollar Friendship's Offering in the beginning of a paragraph, he shall not talk like a negro minstrel in the end of it. But this rule is flung down and danced upon in the

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in writing.

Deerslayer tale.” On the other hand, something must be pardoned to rapid composition, to the wish for an effect rather than accuracy of detail; and it is at best a most ungrateful task to pour out harsh criticism upon the man who has given us so many hours of downright pleasure, who has added to our literature two or three original characters, and who has brought into our libraries the salt breeze of the ocean and the rustling of the leaves of the forest.

21. William Cullen Bryant, 1794–1878. America had now produced a writer of exquisite prose and a novelist of recognized ability, but had she a poet? The answer to this question lay in the portfolio of a young man of hardly eighteen years, who was named William Cullen Bryant.

He was born in Cummington, Massachusetts, the son of a country doctor. He was brought up almost as strictly as if he had been born in Plymouth a century and a half earlier. Still, there was much to enjoy in the quiet village life. . There were occasional huskings, barn-raisings, and maple-sugar parties; there were the woods and the fields and the brooks and the flowers. There were books, and there was a father who loved them. There was little money to spare in the simple country home, but good books had a habit of finding their way thither, and the boy was encouraged to read poetry and to write it. Some of this encourage- Embargo, ment was perhaps hardly wise; for when he produced a satirical poem, The Embargo, the father straightway had it put into print.

When Bryant was sixteen, he entered Williams College as a sophomore. His reputation went before him, and it was whispered among the boys, “ He has written poetry and some of it has been printed.” His college



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