... the one in the bow and the other in the stem, each using a paddle, with a long, steady, noiseless sweep. The conversation was carried on in low tones, all the party beginning to feel the necessity of prudence as they drew nearer to the outskirts of the fort, and had no longer the cover of the woods.

J. Fenimore Cooper,The Pathfinder, New York and London, p. 42.

PLACE: Upstate New York

TIME: ca. 1750



"That sounds pleasantly," said Cap, pricking up his ears like a dog that hears a distant baying; "it is the surf on the shores of your lake, I suppose?"

"Not so--not so," answered the Pathfinder-- "it is merely this river tumbling over some rocks half a mile below us."

J. Fenimore Cooper,The Pathfinder, New York and London, p. 44.

PLACE: Upstate New York

TIME: ca. 1750



The dialogue had been carried on in voices, too, guardedly low; for, though the quiet of deep solitude reigned in that vast and nearly boundless forest, nature was speaking with her thousand tongues, in the eloquent language of night in a wilderness. The air sighed through ten thousand trees, the water rippled, and, at places, even roared along the shores; and now and then was heard the creaking of a branch, or a trunk, as it rubbed against some object similar to itself, under the vibrations of a nicely balanced body. All living sounds had ceased. Once, it is true, the Pathfinder fancied he heard the howl of a distant wolf, of which a few prowled through these woods; but it was a transient and doubtful cry, that night possibly have had been attributed to the imagination. When he desired his companions, however, to cease talking, in the manner just mentioned, his vigilant ear had caught the peculiar sound that is made by the parting of a dried branch of a tree, and which, if his senses did not deceive him, came from the western shore. All who are accustomed to that particular sound will understand how readily the ear receives it, and how easy it is to distinguish the tread which breaks the branch from every other noise of the forest.

"There is the footstep of a man on the bank," said Pathfinder to Jasper, speaking in neither a whisper nor yet in a voice loud enough to be heard at a distance. "Can the accursed Iroquois have crossed the river, already, with their arms, and without a boat?"

"It may be the Delaware! He would follow us of course down this bank, and would know where to look for us. Let me draw closer in to the shore, and reconnoitre."

"Go boy, but be light with the paddle, and on no account venture ashore on an onsartainty."

"Is this prudent?" demanded Mabel, with an impetuousity that rendered her incautious in modulating her sweet voice.

"Very imprudent, if you speak so loud, fair one. I like your voice, which is soft and pleasing, after listening so long to the tones of men; but it must not be heard too much, or too freely, just now. Your father, the honest sergeant, will tell you, when you meet him, that silence is a double virtue on a trail. Go, Jasper, and do justice to your own character for prudence."

Ten anxious minutes succeeded the disappearance of the canoe of Jasper, which glided away from that of the Pathfinder so noiselessly that it had been swallowed up in the gloom before Mabel allowed herself to believe the young man would really venture alone on a service that struck her imagination as singularly dangerous. During this time the party continued to float with the current, no one speaking, and it might almost be said no one breathing, so strong was the general desire to catch the minutest sound that should come from the shore. But the same solemn, we might indeed say sublime, quiet reigned as before; the washing of the water, as it piled up against some slight obstruction, and the sighing of the trees, alone interrupting the slumbers of the forest. At the end of the period mentioned the snapping of dried branches was again faintly heard, and the Pathfinder fancied that the sound of smothered voices reached him.

"I may be mistaken," he said, "for the thoughts often fancy what the heart wishes; but them were notes like the low tones of the Delaware!"

J. Fenimore Cooper,The Pathfinder, New York and London, p. 113 - 115.

PLACE: Upstate New York

TIME: ca. 1750



...much of the shore was rocky, and into its caverns the sluggish waters occasionally rolled, producing a hollow sound, that resembled the concussions of a distant gun.

J. Fenimore Cooper,The Pathfinder, New York and London, p. 124.

PLACE: Upstate New York

TIME: ca. 1750



A silent army, in the woods, is doubly strong; and a noisy one, doubly weak.

J. Fenimore Cooper,The Pathfinder, New York and London, p. 212.

PLACE: Upstate New York

TIME: ca. 1750