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THE INLAND SEA
J. FENIMORE COOPER
INTRODUCTION BY SUSAN FENIMORE COOPER
Here the heart
BOSTON AND NEW YORK
The Riverside Press, Cambridge
BY SUSAN FENIMORE COOPER
The fertile country south of Lake Ontario lay overshadowed by a beautiful leafy canopy, during untold ages.
When the wondering palefaces first landed on the shores of that inland sea, they beheld boundless forests stretching before them, forests made up of oak, ash, chestnut, pine, and maple, of the most noble growth. More than two centuries passed away after the discovery of the St. Lawrence, and still that region preserved the same character of a grand, shadowy wilderness. Slowly and reluctantly as it were, those great old trees dropped their limbs, bowed their heads, and stretched their giant trunks on the earth. That fluttering, leafy canopy, vast in its proportions, beautiful and delicate in texture, ever-varying in its aspects under the successive changes of storm and sunshine, of spring and autumn - that living canopy was not to be folded, and laid aside in one century. The brawny arms of hundreds of thousands of woodmen were needed to do the work, half a dozen generations or more toiled out a lifetime, one after the other, and lay down in their graves ere the task was done. It was not until the first years of the present century that the soil of that region was thoroughly opened to the light of the sun.
Meanwhile stirring scenes were enacted within the shady limits of those forests. There were grand hunts in which whole tribes were engaged. There were wars in which