The Pathfinder may well be the best of the three Leather Stocking series I've read so far.
Extremely typical of JFC writing in that it may take a page or two to define a small point but what are we reading for anyway?
Being from Michigan and having spent 1000's of hours on the Great (and other) Lakes I really enjoyed the sea fairing parts.
This book even more than the others has Natty constantly describing everyone's "nature." JFC living in a time and place where this must have been the only way of dealing with the Melting Pot that the North American Continent was (hmmm, still is.)
Just as in "The Last of the Mohicans and The Dearslayer we have Hawkeye delivering distressed white men & women from the dangers within the sparsely inhabited North American Continent. Much less warfare in the writing and much more sailing and danger in place.
We talk so little about this time in American history, its as if American History started with the civil war.
I have also come to believe that JFC was trying to create a desperately needed America myth. It hasn't stayed with us the way that Wister's "The Virginian"did however.
My copy is abused, maybe from the 30's.
Some of the Passages I like:
Mabel looks out upon Lake Ontario for the fist time...
And again; to have a world laid out in front of you that was Endless, and there for the taking. Now its a bit different...
Here we have a scene from the Fort where the Men have a shooting contest...
The character of "Cap" is a wonderful "blowhard" from the East, your classic "expert at one thing knows and applies it to everything sort of load mouth." A great piece in the story's puzzle.
In a long passage we witness Mabel's father dying of wounds received thru indiscretion of impatiences (as pointed out by Cap several times.)
In this scene The Pathfinder is resolved to give Mabel (whom he has every wright to) up to Jasper.
Ultimately The Pathfinder falls victim to the very thing he adheres to most; his insistence in "one's nature" this is the reason that he cannot take Mabel for his wife. And so with all kindness hands her over to Jasper for the all the reasons that are natural.