The Last of the Mohicans - James Fenimore Cooper - Страница 1 из 563


THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
A Narrative of 1757
by James Fenimore Cooper
INTRODUCTION
It is believed that the scene of this tale, and most of the information
necessary to understand its allusions, are rendered sufficiently obvious
to the reader in the text itself, or in the accompanying notes. Still
there is so much obscurity in the Indian traditions, and so much
confusion in the Indian names, as to render some explanation useful.
Few men exhibit greater diversity, or, if we may so express it, greater
antithesis of character, than the native warrior of North America.
In war, he is daring, boastful, cunning, ruthless, self-denying,
and self-devoted; in peace, just, generous, hospitable, revengeful,
superstitious, modest, and commonly chaste. These are qualities, it
is true, which do not distinguish all alike; but they are so far the
predominating traits of these remarkable people as to be characteristic.
It is generally believed that the Aborigines of the American continent
have an Asiatic origin. There are many physical as well as moral facts
which corroborate this opinion, and some few that would seem to weigh
against it.
The color of the Indian, the writer believes, is peculiar to himself,
and while his cheek-bones have a very striking indication of a Tartar
origin, his eyes have not. Climate may have had great influence on
the former, but it is difficult to see how it can have produced the
substantial difference which exists in the latter. The imagery of the
Indian, both in his poetry and in his oratory, is oriental; chastened,


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