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THE TRAPPERS OF UMBAGOG.
A TALE OF BORDER LIFE.
D. P. THOMPSON,
Town and Country contrasted, in relation to Vice and Crime.--A Display Party to avoid Bankruptcy.--Gaut Gurley, and other leading Characters, introduced as Actors in this scene of City Life.
Retrospect of the life of the Country Merchant, in making Money, to become a "Solid Man of Boston."--Humble Beginnings.--Tempted into Smuggling from Canada in Embargo times, and makes a Fortune, by the aid of the desperate and daring Services of Gaut Gurley.--A Sketch of the Wild Scenes of Smuggling over the British line into Vermont and New Hampshire.--Removal to the City.
Gambling (an allegory) invented by the Fiends, and is proclaimed the Premium Vice by Lucifer.--A Gambling Scene between Gaut Gurley and the merchant, Mark Elwood.--The Failure of the latter.--The Refusal of his brother, Arthur Elwood, to help him.--The Surprise and Distress of his Family.
The Downward Path of the Habitual Gambler.--His Family sharing in the Degradation, and becoming the suffering Victims of his Vices.--The Sudden Resolve to be a Man again, and remove to an unsettled Country, to begin Life anew in the Woods.
The moral and intellectual Influences of Forest Life.--Scenery of Umbagog.--Description of Elwood's new Home in the Woods.--The Burning of his first _Slash_.--His House catches Fire, and he and his Wife engage in extinguishing it, praying for the return of their Son, Claud Elwood, to help them in their terrible strait.
Claud Elwood and his Forest Musings.--Dangerous Assault, and slaying of a Moose.--Rescue of Gaut's Daughter from the enraged animal.--Strange Developments.--Incipient Love Scene.--Trout-catching.--Return of Claud and Phillips (the Old Hunter here first introduced), to aid in saving the Elwood Cottage from the fire.--The Thunder-shower comes to complete the conquest of the fire.--The destruction of the King Pine by a Thunderbolt.
Journey up the Magalloway, to bring home the slaughtered Moose.--Love and its entanglements; its Sunshine now, its Storms in the distance.
Jaunt of Claud and Phillips over the Rapids to the next Great Lake, for Deer-hunting and Trout-catching.--Rescue of Fluella, the Indian Chief's Daughter, from Drowning in the Rapids.--Her remarkable Character for Intellect and Beauty.
The Logging Bee.--The introduction of a New Character in Comical Codman, the Trapper.--The Woodmen's Banquet.--The forming of the Trapping and Hunting Company, to start on an Expedition to the Upper Lakes.
Developments of the dark and designing character of Gaut Gurley.---Tomah, the college-learned Indian.
Mrs. Elwood's Bodings, on account of the connection of her Husband and Son with Gaut and his Daughter.--Her Interview with Fluella.--Claud's Interview with Fluella and her Father, the Chief.--The Chief's History of his Tribe.
Adventures of the Trappers the first day of their Expedition up the Lakes.--Bear-hunt, Trout-catching, etc.--Introduction of Carvil, an amateur Hunter from the Green Mountains.
The Trappers' Central Camp on the Maguntic Lake.--Three Stories of most remarkable Adventures in the Woods, told at the Camp-fire by three Hunters and Trappers.
The Voyage to Oquossah, the farthest large Lake.--The stationing of the Trappers at different points on the Lake.--The appointment of Gaut as Keeper of the Central Camp, on the Lake below.--The Results of their Fall's Operations, and Preparations to return Home.
The Trappers overtaken by a terrible Snow-storm.--Their Suffering before reaching Central Camp.--The discovery that this Camp had been Burnt, and Robbed of their whole Stock of Furs.--Their Providential Escape from Death.
The Legal Prosecution to Recover their Furs, or punish Gaut, the supposed Criminal.--The unsatisfactory Result, and Gaut's dark menaces of Revenge.
Gaut's Efforts to get the old Company off into the Forest, on a Spring Expedition.--All refuse but Elwood and Son, who conclude to go.--Love Entanglements, and the boding Fears of Mrs. Elwood.
Opening of Spring in the Settlement.--The Trappers fail to Return.--Gaut comes without them.--The Alarm and Suspicions of the Settlers that he has Murdered, the Elwoods.--The Circumstantial Evidence.
The attempt to Arrest Gaut.--His retreat to a Cave in the Mountain.--His final Dislodgement and Capture, for Trial and Examination.
Retrospect of the Adventures of Gaut and the Elwoods.--The Murder of Mark Elwood, and the Wounding of Claud, by Gaut.--Claud's life saved by Fluella.
Gaut's Trial, Sentence, and Imprisonment.--General Denouement of the Story.--Gaut breaks Jail, escapes, and becomes a desperate Pirate-leader.
Awful Fate of a Pirate Ship.--Gaut's Death.
"God made the country and man made the town."
So wrote the charming Cowper, giving us to understand, by the drift of the context, that he intended the remark as having a moral as well as a physical application; since, as he there intimates, in "gain-devoted cities," whither naturally flow "the dregs and feculence of every land," and where "foul example in most minds begets its likeness," the vices will ever find their favorite haunts; while the virtues, on the contrary, will always most abound in the country. So far as regards the virtues, if we are to take them untested, this is doubtless true. And so far, also, as regards the mere _vices_, or actual transgressions of morality, we need, perhaps, to have no hesitation in yielding our assent to the position of the poet. But, if he intends to include in the category those flagrant crimes which stand first in the gradation of human offences, we must be permitted to dissent from that part of the view; and not only dissent, but claim that truth will generally require the very reversal of the picture, for of such crimes we believe it will be found, on examination, that the country ever furnishes the greatest proportion. In cities, the frequent intercourse of men with their fellow-men, the constant interchange of the ordinary civilities of life, and the thousand amusements and calls on their attention that are daily occurring, have almost necessarily a tendency to soften or turn away the edge of malice and hatred, to divert the mind from the dark workings of revenge, and prevent it from settling into any of those fatal purposes which result in the wilful destruction of life, or some other gross outrage on humanity. But in the country, where, it will be remembered, the first blood ever spilled by the hand of a murderer cried up to Heaven from the ground, and where the meliorating circumstances we have named as incident to congregated life are almost wholly wanting, man is left to brood in solitude over his real or fancied wrongs, till all the fierce and stormy passions of his nature become aroused, and hurry him unchecked along to the fatal outbreak. In the city, the strong and bad passions of hate, envy, jealousy, and revenge, softened in action, as we have said, on finding a readier vent in some of the conditions of urban society, generally prove comparatively harmless. In the country, finding no such softening influences, and no such vent, and left to their own workings, they often become dangerously concentrated, and, growing more and more intensified as their self-fed fires are permitted to burn on, at
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