The Pathfinder

The Pathfinder

by James Fenimore Cooper
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Overview

The Pathfinder by James Fenimore Cooper

Follow along on this fantastic voyage as Professor Arronax, Ned, and Beth set out to capture a terrifying sea monster--before it captures them.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940026870394
Publisher: Hurd & Houghton
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Wayne Franklin is Professor of English at the University of Connecticut.

Date of Birth:

September 15, 1789

Date of Death:

September 14, 1851

Place of Birth:

Burlington, New Jersey

Place of Death:

Cooperstown, New York

Education:

Yale University (expelled in 1805)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

A Shifting Reef

The year 1866 was marked by a strange event, an unexplainable occurrence which is undoubtedly still fresh in everyone's memory. Those living in coastal towns or in the interior of continents were aroused by all sorts of rumors; but it was seafaring people who were particularly excited. Merchants, shipowners, skippers and masters of Europe and America, naval officers of all countries and the various governments of both continents were deeply concerned over the matter.

Several ships had recently met at sea “an enormous thing,” a long slender object which was sometimes phosphorescent and which was infinitely larger and faster than a whale.

The facts concerning this apparition, entered in various logbooks, agreed closely with one another as to the structure of the object or creature in question, the incredible speed of its movements, the surprising power of its locomotion and the strange life with which it seemed endowed. If it was a member of the whale family, it was larger than any so far classified by scientists. Neither Cuvier, Lacépède, Dumeril nor Quatrefages would have admitted that such a monster could exist--unless they had seen it with their own scientists' eyes.

Taking an average of observations made at different times'and rejecting those timid evaluations which said the object was only two hundred feet long, and also putting aside those exaggerated opinions which said it was a mile wide and three miles long'one could nevertheless conclude that this phenomenal creature was considerably larger than anything at that time recognized by ichthyologists'if it existed at all.

But it didexist--there was no denying this fact any longer--and considering the natural inclination of the human brain toward objects of wonder, one can understand the excitement produced throughout the world by this supernatural apparition. In any case, the idea of putting it into the realm of fiction had to be abandoned.

On July 20, 1866, the steamer Governor Higginson of the Calcutta and Burnach Steam Navigation Company had encountered this moving mass five miles east of the Australian coast. Captain Baker first thought he had sighted an unknown reef; he was even getting ready to plot its exact position when two columns of water spurted out of the inexplicable object and rose with a loud whistling noise to a height of a hundred and fifty feet. So, unless the reef contained a geyser, the Governor Higginson was quite simply in the presence of an unknown aquatic mammal, spurting columns of water mixed with air and vapor out of its blowholes.

A similar thing was observed on July 23 of the same year in Pacific waters, by the Christopher Columbus of the West India and Pacific Steam Navigation Company. This extraordinary creature could therefore move from one place to another with surprising speed, since within a space of only three days, the Governor Higginson and the Christopher Columbus had sighted it at two points on the globe separated by more than 2100 nautical miles.

Two weeks later and six thousand miles from this last spot, the Helvetia of the Compagnie Nationale and the Shannon of the Royal Mail Steamship Company, passing on opposite courses in that part of the Atlantic lying between the United States and Europe, signaled one another that they had sighted the monster at 42° 15' N. Lat. and 60° 35' W. Long. In this simultaneous observation they felt able to judge the creature's minimum length at more than 350 feet, since it was larger than both ships each of which measured 330 feet over-all. But the largest whales, the Kulammak and Umgullick that live in the waters around the Aleutian Islands, never exceed 180 feet in length, if that much.

These reports arriving one after the other, with fresh observations made on board the liner Le Pereire, a collision between the Etna of the Inman Line and the monster, an official report drawn up by the officers of the French frigate Normandie, and a very reliable sighting made by Commodore Fitz-James' staff on board the Lord Clyde, greatly stirred public opinion. In lighthearted countries, people made jokes about it, but in serious practical-minded countries, such as England, America and Germany, it was a matter of grave concern.

In every big city the monster became the fashion: it was sung in cafés, derided in newspapers and discussed on the stage. Scandal sheets had a marvelous opportunity to print all kinds of wild stories. Even ordinary newspapers--always short of copy--printed articles about every huge, imaginary monster one could think of, from the white whale, the terrible “Moby Dick” of the far north, to the legendary Norse kraken whose tentacles could entwine a five-hundred-ton ship and drag it to the bottom. Reports of ancient times were mentioned, the opinions of Aristotle and Pliny who admitted to the existence of such monsters, along with those of the Norwegian bishop, Pontoppidan, Paul Heggede and finally Mr. Harrington, whose good faith no one can question when he claims to have seen, while on board the Castillan in 1857, that enormous serpent which until then had been seen in no waters but those of the old Paris newspaper, the Constitutionnel.

It was then that in scientific societies and journals an interminable argument broke out between those who believed in the monster and those who did not. The “question of the monster” had everyone aroused. Newspapermen, who always pretend to be on the side of scientists and against those who live by their imagination, spilled gallons of ink during this memorable campaign; and some even spilled two or three drops of blood, after arguments that had started over sea serpents and ended in the most violent personal insults.

For six months this war was waged with varying fortune. Serious, weighty articles were published by the Brazilian Geographical Institute, the Royal Scientific Academy of Berlin, the British Association and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington; others appeared in the Indian Archipelago, in Abbé Moigno's Cosmos, in Petermann's Mittheilungen and in the science sections of all the important newspapers of France and other countries.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Copyright © by Jules Verne. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

Contents Introduction by Wayne Franklin Note on the Text Chronology of James Fenimore Cooper’s Life The Pathfinder Preface [First Edition] Preface [Author’s Revised Edition, 1851] Chapter I Chapter II Chapter III Chapter IV Chapter V Chapter VI Chapter VII Chapter VIII Chapter IX Chapter X Chapter XI Chapter XII Chapter XIII Chapter XIV Chapter XV Chapter XVI Chapter XVII Chapter XVIII Chapter XIX Chapter XX Chapter XXI Chapter XXII Chapter XXIII Chapter XXIV Chapter XXV Chapter XXVI Chapter XXVII Chapter XXVIII Chapter XXIX Chapter XXX Selected Bibliography

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Cooper emphatically belongs to the nation. He has left a space in our literature which will not easily be supplied.”—Washington Irving

“His memory will exist in the hearts of the people...[and his works] should find a place in every American’s library.”—Daniel Webster

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The pathfinder: or, The inland sea 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thematically, James Fenimore Cooper's 1840 novel THE PATHFINDER is a many-splendored thing. It is cross- cultural: Amerindians interact with French and British, both soldiers straight from Europe and home-grown colonials. The book is also historical: about the French and Indian Wars that determined which Europe-based nations would temporarily rule the North American continent. The yarn is also about sailing, especially the differences between sailing on oceans and sailing on that 'inland sea' which is Lake Ontario. *** Nathaniel 'Natty' Bumppo, hero of the five-volume LEATHERSTOCKING TALES, is in his later 30s. His assigned vocation, his 'gift' in his own jargon, is to be a loner, a kind of diaphragm that reacts when white Colonial lungs breathe hotly, deeply and destructively across his beloved wildernesses. *** Like Aeneas with Dido of Carthage, our hero is briefly turned aside from his Providence-assigned vocation by love of a good woman. The only woman the Pathfinder ever hopelessly, conventionally and strongly falls in love with is beautiful young Mabel Dunham, daughter of the sergeant major of the 55th British regiment. That group of soldiers was orginally recruited in Scotland, though it is now fleshed out by colonials. The imports complain about New World food, e.g. incomparable Lake Oswego bass and pine for their oatmeal cakes, as does even their commander, the Highland Laird Major Alexander Duncan of Lundie. Lundie is an historically real character. As the novel says he did, he lived in a fur-lined portable house on wheels within Fort Ontario. *** There is something primeval about Natty. He is a sort of Adam living in paradise before the Fall 'Ch. IX'. God did not mind Adam falling in love with Eve. But He had other plans for Natty Bumppo than to become a conventional husband and father. Natty found his own thoughts unprecedentedly too full of Mabel, too willing to neglect his scouting to be around her. She would reluctantly have married him only because her dying father wanted her to. But once Natty grasped that Mabel really loved the daring young lake captain Jasper Western, the Pathfinder accepted his fate. Like all creatures he had his gifts, restless celibacy being one of several. *** Something of what THE PATHFINDER is about comes out in Natty's remark to Jasper: 'I have come to the opinion, boy, that, as Providence rules all things, no gift is bestowed without some wise and reasonable end. If Injins are of no use, Injins would not have been created. ... even the Mingo tribes were produced for some rational and proper purpose, though I confess it surpasses my means to say what it is' 'p.77 Ch. VI'. *** This is a slow moving, reflective tale. It is not for children or even impatient university students if they are not English majors. But for mature adults who have known love and its loss, read on! -OOO-
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
unreadable.full of typos.don't waste your time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Deathberries....... whispers a ghostly voice. (>:0
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lept on carcasses neck and dug his teeth in
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