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[97] of old-world eroticism and despair hovers like a miasma over his magnificent panorama of the wilderness. Cooper, like Scott, is masculine.

He was a Knickerbocker only by adoption. Born in New Jersey, his childhood was spent in the then remote settlement of Cooperstown in Central New York. He had a little schooling at Albany, and a brief and inglorious career at Yale with the class of 1806. He went to sea for two years, and then served for three years in the United States Navy upon Lakes Ontario and Champlain, the very scene of some of his best stories. In 1811 he married, resigned from the Navy, and settled upon a little estate in Westchester County, near New York. Until the age of thirty, he was not in the least a bookman, but a healthy man of action. Then, as the well-known anecdote goes, he exclaims to his wife, after reading a stupid English novel, “I believe I could write a better story myself.” Precaution (1820) was the result, but whether it was better than the unknown English book, no one can now say. It was bad enough. Yet the next year Cooper published The Spy, one of the finest of his novels, which was instantly welcomed in England and translated in France. Then came, in swift succession, The pioneers, the first Leather-

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