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Free eBooks > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Classics > Cooper, James Fenimore > The Red Rover

The Red Rover

by James Fenimore Cooper

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No one, who is familiar with the bustle and activity of an American commercial town, would recognize, in the repose which now reigns in the ancient mart of Rhode Island, a place that, in its day, has been ranked amongst the most important ports along the whole line of our extended coast.

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"The Red Rover" is most completely a book of the sea -- as much so as "The Mohicans" is a tale of the forest. The whole drama is almost entirely enacted on the ocean. The curtain rises in port; but the varied scenes, so full of nautical interest, and succeeding each other in startling rapidity, are wholly unfolded on the bosom of the deep. It is believed that there is scarcely another book in [178] English literature so essentially marine in spirit. It is like some material picture of the sea, drawn by a master hand, where the eye looks abroad over the rolling waves, where it glances at the sea-bird fluttering amid the spray, and then rests upon the gallant ship, with swelling canvas, bending before the breeze, until the land behind us, and the soil beneath our own feet, are forgotten. In the Rover, the different views of the ocean, in majestic movement, are very noble, while the two vessels which carry the heart of the narrative with them come and go with wonderful power and grace, guided by the hand of one who was both pilot and poet in his own nature. The love story, as usual in the novel of that period, and that particular class, is insignificant, though "Gertrude" is certainly very pretty and proper, which is much more than one would venture to aver of many heroines of the present hour. In reality, however, our worthy friends Dick Fid, that arrant old foretopman, and his comrade, S'ip, are the true lovers of the narrative; and most worthy and most real they are -- the last, indeed, is a noble creature, a hero under the skin of Congo. As for Wilder, the author professed to owe him an apology for having thrown a sufficiently clever fellow, and an honorable man no doubt, into a position slightly equivocal; he declared himself however, very much indebted to a friendly critic who saw much to admire in the course pursued by the young lieutenant -- this crachat of the obliging reviewer relieving the author's mind, as he avowed, of a great weight of responsibility on that particular point!



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