Chapter 18 contained still more fascinating descriptions of Hetty's behavior, which is among the most interesting I've read in a long time. If great writers create interesting characters, than Cooper might qualify, at least in that regard, as a great writer.
These sentences are also examples of the author's ability to write with both grace and dignity:
"Judith was expert in the management of a bark canoe, the lightness of which demanded skill rather than strength; and she forced her own little vessel swiftly over the water, the moment she had ended her conference with Hetty, and had come to the determination to return. Still no ark was seen. Several times the sisters fancied they saw it, looming up in the obscurity, like a low black rock; but on each occasion it was found to be either an optical illusion, or some swell of the foliage on the shore."
Unfortunately Cooper also occasionally writes with clumsiness and a great lack of clarity!