View from the Mountain House

Natty Bumppo, hero of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales, describing the view from the site where the Catskill Mountain House would be built:


“There’s a place in them hills that I used to climb to, when I wanted to see the carryings on of the world, that would well pay any man for a barked shin or a torn moccasin. You know the Catskills, lad, for you must have seen them on your left, as you followed the river up from York, looking as blue as a piece of clear sky, and holding up the clouds on their tops, as the smoke curls over the head of an Indian chief at the council fire. Well, there’s the High-peak and Round-top, which lay back, like a father and mother among their children, seeing they are high above all the other hills. But the place I mean is next to the river, where one of the ridges juts out a little from the rest, and where the rocks fall for the best part of a thousand feet, so much up and down, that a man standing on their edges is fool enough to think he can jump from top to bottom.”

"What see you when you get there?” asked Edwards.

“Creation!” said Natty, dropping the end of his rod into the water, and sweeping one hand around him in a circle -- “all creation, lad...”


James Fenimore Cooper, from The Pioneers