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[319] versatile pens. Many novels celebrated Kentucky, which, as the first Western state of the Union, had secured a primacy in romance, between the Alleghanies and the Mississippi, that it has never lost. Paulding, Simms, and Bird were chief among those who laid plots there. Bird's best novel, Nick of the woods (1837), an exciting tale of border warfare in 1782, is notable for its attempt to correct Cooper's heroic drawing of the Indian and for its presentation of a type often spoken of in frontier annals, the white man who, crazed by Indian atrocities, gave his whole life to a career of ruthless vengeance.1 The great romance of Kentucky, however, while perpetuated by no single novel or novelist, centres round the life and character of Daniel Boone, who became, by the somewhat capricious choice of tradition, a folk hero, standing among other pioneers as Leather-Stocking stands among native characters of fiction. A similar, though smaller, fame belongs to David Crockett of Tennessee, who comes somewhat closer to literature by the fact of having written an Autobiography (1834).

The region west of the Mississippi continued in the popular mind to be a strange land for which the reports of explorers and travellers did the work of fiction, and Cooper's Prairie had few followers. In 1834, however, Albert Pike (1809-91) published in his Prose sketches and poems some vivid tales of life in the South-west. That same year appeared Calavar, in writing which Bird had the avowed purpose of calling the attention of his public to romantic Mexico. The next year he repeated his success with The Infidel, another story of Cortez and the Conquest. Reading these novels with their tolerable learning in Mexican antiquities, their considerable power, and their superior sense of the pomp of great historical events, one is reminded how few romances of the period ventured beyond native borders. Whatever may be said of the poets, the novelists kept themselves almost always scrupulously at home. One set of exceptions was those who dealt with Spain and Mexico, and even with them the motive was largely, as with the contemporary historians, to honour the ancient bond between America and the European nation which had discovered it. In a more distant scene Mrs. Child laid her

1 For the play founded on this novel, see Book II, Chap. II.

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