The Last of the Mohicans

By James Fenimore Cooper

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t is believed that the scene of this tale, and most of the information necessary to understand its allusions, are rendered sufficiently obvious to the reader in the text itself, or in the accompanying notes. Still there is so much obscurity in the Indian traditions, and so much confusion in the Indian names, as to render some explanation useful. Few men exhibit greater diversity, or, if we may so express it, greater antithesis of character, than the native warrior of North America. In war, he is daring, boastful, cunning, ruthless, self-denying, and self-devoted; in peace, just, generous, hospitable, revengeful, superstitious, modest, and commonly chaste. These are qualities, it is true, which do not distinguish all alike; but they are so far the predominating traits of these remarkable people as to be characteristic. It is generally believed that the Aborigines of the American continent have an Asiatic origin. There are many physical as well as moral facts which corroborate this opinion, and some few that would seem to weigh against it. The color of the Indian, the writer believes, is peculiar to himself, and while his cheek-bones have a very striking indication of a Tartar origin, his eyes have not. Climate may have had great influence on the former, but it is difficult to see how it can have produced the substantial difference
The Last of the Mohicans 

which exists in the latter. The imagery of the Indian, both in his poetry and in his oratory, is oriental; chastened, and perhaps improved, by the limited range of his practical knowledge. He draws his metaphors from the clouds, the seasons, the birds, the beasts, and the vegetable world. In this, perhaps, he does no more than any other energetic and imaginative race would do, being compelled to set bounds to fancy by experience; but the North American Indian clothes his ideas in a dress which is different from that of the African, and is oriental in itself. His language has the richness and sententious fullness of the Chinese. He will express a phrase in a word, and he will qualify the meaning of an entire sentence by a syllable; he will even convey different significations by the simplest inflections of the voice. Philologists have said that there are but two or three languages, properly speaking, among all the numerous tribes which formerly occupied the country that now composes the United States. They ascribe the known difficulty one people have to understand another to corruptions and dialects. The writer remembers to have been present at an interview between two chiefs of the Great Prairies west of the Mississippi, and when an interpreter was in attendance who spoke both their languages. The warriors appeared to be on the most friendly terms, and seemingly conversed much together; yet, according to the account of the interpreter, each was absolutely ignorant of what the other said. They were of hostile tribes, brought together by the influence of the American government; and it is worthy of remark, that a common policy led them both to adopt the
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same subject. They mutually exhorted each other to be of use in the event of the chances of war throwing either of the parties into the hands of his enemies. Whatever may be the truth, as respects the root and the genius of the Indian tongues, it is quite certain they are now so distinct in their words as to possess most of the disadvantages of strange languages; hence much of the embarrassment that has arisen in learning their histories, and most of the uncertainty which exists in their traditions. Like nations of higher pretensions, the American Indian gives a very different account of his own tribe or race from that which is given by other people. He is much addicted to overestimating his own perfections, and to undervaluing those of his rival or his enemy; a trait which may possibly be thought corroborative of the Mosaic account of the creation. The whites have assisted greatly in rendering the traditions of the Aborigines more obscure by their own manner of corrupting names. Thus, the term used in the title of this book has undergone the changes of Mahicanni, Mohicans, and Mohegans; the latter being the word commonly used by the whites. When it is remembered that the Dutch (who first settled New York), the English, and the French, all gave appellations to the tribes that dwelt within the country which is the scene of this story, and that the Indians not only gave different names to their enemies, but frequently to themselves, the cause of the confusion will be understood. In these pages, Lenni-Lenape, Lenope, Delawares, Wapanachki, and Mohicans, all mean the same people, or tribes 
The Last of the Mohicans

of the same stock. The Mengwe, the Maquas, the Mingoes, and the Iroquois, though not all strictly the same, are identified frequently by the speakers, being politically confederated and opposed to those just named. Mingo was a term of peculiar reproach, as were Mengwe and Maqua in a less degree. The Mohicans were the possessors of the country first occupied by the Europeans in this portion of the continent. They were, consequently, the first dispossessed; and the seemingly inevitable fate of all these people, who disappear before the advances, or it might be termed the inroads, of civilization, as the verdure of their native forests falls before the nipping frosts, is represented as having already befallen them. There is sufficient historical truth in the picture to justify the use that has been made of it. In point of fact, the country which is the scene of the following tale has undergone as little change, since the historical events alluded to had place, as almost any other district of equal extent within the whole limits of the United States. There are fashionable and well-attended watering-places at and near the spring where Hawkeye halted to drink, and roads traverse the forests where he and his friends were compelled to journey without even a path. Glen’s has a large village; and while William Henry, and even a fortress of later date, are only to be traced as ruins, there is another village on the shores of the Horican. But, beyond this, the enterprise and energy of a people who have done so much in other places have done little here. The whole of that wilderness, in which the latter incidents
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of the legend occurred, is nearly a wilderness still, though the red man has entirely deserted this part of the state. Of all the tribes named in these pages, there exist only a few half-civilized beings of the Oneidas, on the reservations of their people in New York. The rest have disappeared, either from the regions in which their fathers dwelt, or altogether from the earth. There is one point on which we would wish to say a word before closing this preface. Hawkeye calls the Lac du Saint Sacrement, the ‘Horican.’ As we believe this to be an appropriation of the name that has its origin with ourselves, the time has arrived, perhaps, when the fact should be frankly admitted. While writing this book, fully a quarter of a century since, it occurred to us that the French name of this lake was too complicated, the American too commonplace, and the Indian too unpronounceable, for either to be used familiarly in a work of fiction. Looking over an ancient map, it was ascertained that a tribe of Indians, called ‘Les Horicans’ by the French, existed in the neighborhood of this beautiful sheet of water. As every word uttered by Natty Bumppo was not to be received as rigid truth, we took the liberty of putting the ‘Horican’ into his mouth, as the substitute for ‘Lake George.’ The name has appeared to find favor, and all things considered, it may possibly be quite as well to let it stand, instead of going back to the House of Hanover for the appellation of our finest sheet of water. We relieve our conscience by the confession, at all events leaving it to exercise its authority as it may see fit. 
The Last of the Mohicans

Chapter 1
‘Mine ear is open, and my heart prepared: The worst is wordly loss thou canst unfold:—Say, is my kingdom lost?’ —Shakespeare


t was a feature peculiar to the colonial wars of North America, that the toils and dangers of the wilderness were to be encountered before the adverse hosts could meet. A wide and apparently an impervious boundary of forests severed the possessions of the hostile provinces of France and England. The hardy colonist, and the trained European who fought at his side, frequently expended months in struggling against the rapids of the streams, or in effecting the rugged passes of the mountains, in quest of an opportunity to exhibit their courage in a more martial conflict. But, emulating the patience and self-denial of the practiced native warriors, they learned to overcome every difficulty; and it would seem that, in time, there was no recess of the woods so dark, nor any secret place so lovely, that it might claim exemption from the inroads of those who had pledged their blood to satiate their vengeance, or to uphold the cold and selfish policy of the distant monarchs of Europe. Perhaps no district throughout the wide extent of the intermediate frontiers can furnish a livelier picture of the
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cruelty and fierceness of the savage warfare of those periods than the country which lies between the head waters of the Hudson and the adjacent lakes. The facilities which nature had there offered to the march of the combatants were too obvious to be neglected. The lengthened sheet of the Champlain stretched from the frontiers of Canada, deep within the borders of the neighboring province of New York, forming a natural passage across half the distance that the French were compelled to master in order to strike their enemies. Near its southern termination, it received the contributions of another lake, whose waters were so limpid as to have been exclusively selected by the Jesuit missionaries to perform the typical purification of baptism, and to obtain for it the title of lake ‘du Saint Sacrement.’ The less zealous English thought they conferred a sufficient honor on its unsullied fountains, when they bestowed the name of their reigning prince, the second of the house of Hanover. The two united to rob the untutored possessors of its wooded scenery of their native right to perpetuate its original appellation of ‘Horican.’* * As each nation of the Indians had its language or its dialect, they usually gave different names to the same places, though nearly all of their appellations were descriptive of the object. Thus a literal translation of the name of this beautiful sheet of water, used by the tribe that dwelt on its banks, would be ‘The Tail of the Lake.’ Lake George, as it is vulgarly, and now, indeed, legally, called, forms a sort of tail to Lake Champlain, when viewed on the map. Hence, the name. 
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Winding its way among countless islands, and imbedded in mountains, the ‘holy lake’ extended a dozen leagues still further to the south. With the high plain that there interposed itself to the further passage of the water, commenced a portage of as many miles, which conducted the adventurer to the banks of the Hudson, at a point where, with the usual obstructions of the rapids, or rifts, as they were then termed in the language of the country, the river became navigable to the tide. While, in the pursuit of their daring plans of annoyance, the restless enterprise of the French even attempted the distant and difficult gorges of the Alleghany, it may easily be imagined that their proverbial acuteness would not overlook the natural advantages of the district we have just described. It became, emphatically, the bloody arena, in which most of the battles for the mastery of the colonies were contested. Forts were erected at the different points that commanded the facilities of the route, and were taken and retaken, razed and rebuilt, as victory alighted on the hostile banners. While the husbandman shrank back from the dangerous passes, within the safer boundaries of the more ancient settlements, armies larger than those that had often disposed of the scepters of the mother countries, were seen to bury themselves in these forests, whence they rarely returned but in skeleton bands, that were haggard with care or dejected by defeat. Though the arts of peace were unknown to this fatal region, its forests were alive with men; its shades and glens rang with the sounds of martial music, and the echoes of its mountains threw back the laugh, or repeated the wanFree eBooks at Planet 

ton cry, of many a gallant and reckless youth, as he hurried by them, in the noontide of his spirits, to slumber in a long night of forgetfulness. It was in this scene of strife and bloodshed that the incidents we shall attempt to relate occurred, during the third year of the war which England and France last waged for the possession of a country that neither was destined to retain. The imbecility of her military leaders abroad, and the fatal want of energy in her councils at home, had lowered the character of Great Britain from the proud elevation on which it had been placed by the talents and enterprise of her former warriors and statesmen. No longer dreaded by her enemies, her servants were fast losing the confidence of self-respect. In this mortifying abasement, the colonists, though innocent of her imbecility, and too humble to be the agents of her blunders, were but the natural participators. They had recently seen a chosen army from that country, which, reverencing as a mother, they had blindly believed invincible—an army led by a chief who had been selected from a crowd of trained warriors, for his rare military endowments, disgracefully routed by a handful of French and Indians, and only saved from annihilation by the coolness and spirit of a Virginian boy, whose riper fame has since diffused itself, with the steady influence of moral truth, to the uttermost confines of Christendom.* A wide frontier had been laid naked by this unexpected disaster, and more substantial evils were preceded by a thousand fanciful and imaginary dangers. The alarmed colonists believed that the
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yells of the savages mingled with every fitful gust of wind that issued from the interminable forests of the west. The terrific character of their merciless enemies increased immeasurably the natural horrors of warfare. Numberless recent massacres were still vivid in their recollections; nor was there any ear in the provinces so deaf as not to have drunk in with avidity the narrative of some fearful tale of midnight murder, in which the natives of the forests were the principal and barbarous actors. As the credulous and excited traveler related the hazardous chances of the wilderness, the blood of the timid curdled with terror, and mothers cast anxious glances even at those children which slumbered within the security of the largest towns. In short, the magnifying influence of fear began to set at naught the calculations of reason, and to render those who should have remembered their manhood, the slaves of the basest passions. Even the most confident and the stoutest hearts began to think the issue of the contest was becoming doubtful; and that abject class was hourly increasing in numbers, who thought they foresaw all the possessions of the English crown in America subdued by their Christian foes, or laid waste by the inroads of their relentless allies. * Washington, who, after uselessly admonishing the European general of the danger into which he was heedlessly running, saved the remnants of the British army, on this occasion, by his decision and courage. The reputation earned by Washington in this battle was the principal cause of his being selected to command the American armies at a later day. It is a circumstance worthy of observation, that while
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that Montcalm had been seen moving up the Champlain. by an Indian runner.’ its truth was admitted with more of the craven reluctance of fear than with the stern joy that a warrior should feel. might easily be effected by a detachment of troops. his name does not occur in any European account of the battle. therefore. and to the other that of Fort Edward. between the rising and setting of a summer sun. When. who also bore an urgent request from Munro. The loyal servants of the British crown had given to one of these forest-fastnesses the name of William Henry. toward the decline of a day in midsummer. in finding an enemy within reach of his blow. In this manner does the mother country absorb even the fame. The news had been brought. The rude path. with their necessary baggage. so that the distance which had been traveled by the son of the forest in two hours. calling each after a favorite prince of the reigning family. the commander of a work on the shore of the ‘holy lake.’ for a speedy and powerful reinforcement. It has already been mentioned that the distance between these two posts was less than five leagues. 1 The Last of the Mohicans . with an army ‘numerous as the leaves on the trees. which originally formed their line of communication. The veteran Scotchman just named held the first.all America rang with his well-merited reputation. intelligence was received at the fort which covered the southern termination of the portage between the Hudson and the lakes. at least the author has searched for it without success. with a regiment of regulars and a few provincials. under that system of rule. had been widened for the passage of wagons.

com 1 . who commanded the armies of the king in the northern provinces. lay General Webb. within their works. than to resist the progress of their march. and an hour or two of hurried footsteps and anxious faces succeeded. the post at the northern extremity of the portage. All doubts as to the intention of Webb now vanished. with the dawn. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. by emulating the successful example of the French at Fort du Quesne. which stretched along the margin of the Hudson. that a chosen detachment of fifteen hundred men was to depart. with a body of more than five thousand men. By uniting the several detachments of his command.a force really by far too small to make head against the formidable power that Montcalm was leading to the foot of his earthen mounds. with an army but little superior in numbers. After the first surprise of the intelligence had a little abated. soon became certainty. to prepare for their speedy departure. forming a chain of outworks to the body of the fort itself. That which at first was only rumor. The novice in the military art flew from point to point. however. and striking a blow on their advance. who had ventured so far from his reinforcements. At the latter. But under the influence of their degraded fortunes. both officers and men appeared better disposed to await the approach of their formidable antagonists. for William Henry. a rumor was spread through the entrenched camp. this officer might have arrayed nearly double that number of combatants against the enterprising Frenchman. as orders passed from the quarters of the commander-in-chief to the several corps he had selected for this service.

the meanest soldier arousing from his lair to witness the departure of his comrades. and a silence soon pervaded the camp. the trees cast their deeper shadows over the mounds and the rippling stream. though his sober lineaments and anxious eye sufficiently betrayed that he had no very strong professional relish for the. the last light finally disappeared from the log cabin of some officer. on the opening brightness of a soft and cloudless eastern sky. strong guards preceded 1 The Last of the Mohicans . behind the distant western hills. as deep as that which reigned in the vast forest by which it was environed. on the damp morning air. and as darkness drew its veil around the secluded spot the sounds of preparation diminished. whose rattling echoes were heard issuing. just as day began to draw the shaggy outlines of some tall pines of the vicinity. with a docility that long practice had rendered easy. At length the sun set in a flood of glory. untried and dreaded warfare of the wilderness.retarding his own preparations by the excess of his violent and somewhat distempered zeal. the less pretending colonists took their humbler position on its left. While the regular and trained hirelings of the king marched with haughtiness to the right of the line. and to share in the excitement and incidents of the hour. the heavy sleep of the army was broken by the rolling of the warning drums. According to the orders of the preceding night. while the more practiced veteran made his arrangements with a deliberation that scorned every appearance of haste. The scouts departed. The simple array of the chosen band was soon completed. as yet. out of every vista of the woods. In an instant the whole camp was in motion.

some admiring the blood Free eBooks at Planet eBook. before a log cabin of unusual size and accommodations. in front of which those sentinels paced their rounds. who were known to guard the person of the English general. The deepest sounds of the retiring and invisible column had ceased to be borne on the breeze to the listeners. were evidently fitted for the reception of as many menials. of a rank that it was not usual to meet so far in the wilds of the country. and before the gray light of the morning was mellowed by the rays of the sun. At this spot were gathered some half dozen horses. While in view of their admiring comrades. A third wore trappings and arms of an officer of the staff. the same proud front and ordered array was observed. were destined to bear the persons of females.and followed the lumbering vehicles that bore the baggage. until the notes of their fifes growing fainter in distance. but there still remained the signs of another departure. were gathered divers groups of curious 1 . and left the encampment with a show of high military bearing. already waiting the pleasure of those they served. seemingly. from the plainness of the housings. who were. the forest at length appeared to swallow up the living mass which had slowly entered its bosom. that served to drown the slumbering apprehensions of many a novice. and the traveling mails with which they were encumbered. the main body of the combatants wheeled into column. At a respectful distance from this unusual show. and the latest straggler had already disappeared in pursuit. at least. while the rest. who was now about to make his first essay in arms. caparisoned in a manner which showed that two.

closely fitted to the shape. being neither idle. His legs and thighs were thin. There was one man. a good deal sullied by use. Erect. however. A sky-blue coat. if not delicate. his arms long and dangling. thin neck. his stature surpassed that of his fellows. and others gazing at the preparations. formed a marked exception to those who composed the latter class of spectators. his shoulders narrow. His nether garment was a yellow nankeen. without being in any particular manner deformed. nearly to emaciation. He had all the bones and joints of other men. exposed a long. with the dull wonder of vulgar curiosity. His head was large. completed the costume 1 The Last of the Mohicans . The person of this individual was to the last degree ungainly. and tied at his bunches of knees by large knots of white ribbon. on one of the latter of which was a plated spur. The same contrariety in his members seemed to exist throughout the whole man. without any of their proportions. with short and broad skirts and low cape. Clouded cotton stockings. though seated. and shoes. who. by his countenance and actions. he appeared reduced within the ordinary limits of the race. while his hands were small. but of extraordinary length.and bone of the high-mettled military charger. to the worst animadversions of the evil-disposed. and his knees would have been considered tremendous. and longer and thinner legs. nor seemingly very ignorant. had they not been outdone by the broader foundations on which this false superstructure of blended human orders was so profanely reared. The ill-assorted and injudicious attire of the individual only served to render his awkwardness more conspicuous.

in deference to the quarters of Webb. freely expressing his censures or commendations on the merits of the horses. the figure we have described stalked into the center of the domestics. no curve or angle of which was concealed. and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. to support the gravity of some high and extraordinary trust. ‘I may speak of these things. not only without fear. studiously exhibited. civil cocked hat. that apparently needed such artificial aid. but with the utmost familiarity. projected an instrument. furnishing dignity to a good-natured and somewhat vacant countenance. or perhaps from the little island itself over the blue water?’ he said. as by chance they displeased or satisfied his judgment. Small as it was. might have been easily mistaken for some mischievous and unknown implement of war. that which is situate at the mouth of Thames. like those worn by clergymen within the last thirty years. as was his person for its rare proportions. is not of home raising. though several of the provincials were seen to handle 1 . From beneath the flap of an enormous pocket of a soiled vest of embossed silk. ‘This beast. for I have been down at both havens. but is from foreign lands. but. surmounted the whole. through the vanity or simplicity of its owner. friend. in a voice as remarkable for the softness and sweetness of its tones. A large.of the lower extremity of this figure. While the common herd stood aloof. on the other hand. this uncommon engine had excited the curiosity of most of the Europeans in the camp. and be no braggart. heavily ornamented with tarnished silver lace. I rather conclude. which. from being seen in such martial company.

the excitement and bustle around him.’ who had borne to the camp the unwelcome tidings of the preceding evening. and rejoiceth in his strength. His eyes fell on the still. which in named after the capital of Old England. there was a sullen fierceness mingled with the quiet of the savage. and have seen the scows and brigantines collecting their droves. and the shouting’ It would seem that the stock of the horse of Israel had descended to our own time. merited some sort of notice. with the addition of the word ‘New’. Ha. and found a new and more powerful subject of admiration in the object that encountered his gaze. the thunder of the captains. that was likely to arrest the attention of much more experienced eyes than those which now scanned him. He saith among the trumpets. upright. friend?’ Receiving no reply to this extraordinary appeal. and yet his 1 The Last of the Mohicans . Although in a state of perfect repose. for the purpose of barter and traffic in four-footed animals. and that which is called ‘Haven’. and he smelleth the battle afar off. with characteristic stoicism. like the gathering to the ark. The native bore both the tomahawk and knife of his tribe. and rigid form of the ‘Indian runner. but never before have I beheld a beast which verified the true scripture war-horse like this: ‘He paweth in the valley. would it not. in unconcealed amazement. as it was delivered with the vigor of full and sonorous tones. and apparently disregarding. ha. he goeth on to meet the armed men. being outward bound to the Island of Jamaica. he who had thus sung forth the language of the holy book turned to the silent figure to whom he had unwittingly addressed himself.

while a foal was quietly making its morning repast. For a single instant his searching and yet wary glance met the wondering look of the other. that was unconsciously gleaning the faded herbage of the camp nigh by. The colors of the war-paint had blended in dark confusion about his fierce countenance. it remained 1 . in the dress of an officer. and a low sound of gentle voices. switch-tailed mare.appearance was not altogether that of a warrior. had not his active curiosity been again drawn to other objects. might have elicited from the white man. which glistened like a fiery star amid lowering clouds. he became a spectator of the departure. on the opposite side of the same animal. It is impossible to say what unlooked-for remark this short and silent communication. as if penetrating the distant air. announced the approach of those whose presence alone was wanted to enable the cavalcade to move. gaunt. leaning with one elbow on the blanket that concealed an apology for a saddle. A general movement among the domestics. which he had not yet found leisure to repair. A young man. partly in cunning. His eye. and rendered his swarthy lineaments still more savage and repulsive than if art had attempted an effect which had been thus produced by chance. alone. The simple admirer of the war-horse instantly fell back to a low. was to be seen in its state of native wildness. where. like that which might have proceeded from great and recent exertion. On the contrary. and then changing its direction. and partly in disdain. there was an air of neglect about his person. between two such singular men. conducted to Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

as she artlessly suffered the morning air to blow aside the green veil which descended low from her beaver. however. and she was the more juvenile in her appearance.their steeds two females. not a voice was heard among them. awaited their parting on the threshold of his cabin and turning their horses’ heads. who in courtesy. The flush which still lingered above the pines in the western sky was not more bright nor delicate than the bloom on her cheek. fair golden hair. The other. followed by their train. but a slight exclamation proceed0 The Last of the Mohicans . when the whole three bowed to Webb. as it was apparent by their dresses. who. of which none of the graces were lost by the traveling dress she wore. As they traversed that short distance. nor was the opening day more cheering than the animated smile which she bestowed on the youth. to be caught. concealed her charms from the gaze of the soldiery with a care that seemed better fitted to the experience of four or five additional years. It could be seen. toward the northern entrance of the encampment. No sooner were these females seated. and bright blue eyes. permitted glimpses of her dazzling complexion. though both were young. than their attendant sprang lightly into the saddle of the war-horse. was rather fuller and more mature than that of her companion. that her person. as he assisted her into the saddle. though molded with the same exquisite proportions. they proceeded at a slow amble. One. were prepared to encounter the fatigues of a journey in the woods. who appeared to share equally in the attention of the young officer.

she bowed her face. and betrayed an indescribable look of pity. that seemed ready to burst its bounds. when. The tresses of this lady were shining and black. and rode in silence. but it rather appeared charged with the color of the rich blood.ed from the younger of the females. as the Indian runner glided by her. and horror. unexpectedly. like one whose thoughts were abstracted from the scene around her. and dignified and surpassingly beautiful. discovering by the act a row of teeth that would have shamed the purest 1 . replacing the veil. in the surprise her veil also was allowed to open its folds. And yet there was neither coarseness nor want of shadowing in a countenance that was exquisitely regular. admiration. Though this sudden and startling movement of the Indian produced no sound from the other. like the plumage of the raven. as her dark eye followed the easy motions of the savage. Her complexion was not brown. She smiled. and led the way along the military road in her front. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. as if in pity at her own momentary forgetfulness.

sooner than if we followed the tardy movements of the column. and. and. partly in assumed. Heyward. yet more in real terror. ‘He has volunteered to guide us to the lake. he may be accounted a hero. by consequence. laughing at her own weakness. both Cora and I shall have need to draw largely on that stock of hereditary courage which we boast. Duncan. sola. more agreeably. ho. the other quickly recovered from the alarm which induced the exclamation. rather. or is this sight an especial entertainment ordered on our behalf? If the latter. wo ha. Alice. I do know The Last of the Mohicans  . shuddering. or you would not trust yourself so freely to his keeping?’ ‘Say.’ returned the officer.’ said the lady. even before we are made to encounter the redoubtable Montcalm.’ ‘I like him not. ‘You know him.’ ‘Yon Indian is a ‘runner’ of the army. she inquired of the youth who rode by her side: ‘Are such specters frequent in the woods. that I would not trust you. after the fashion of his people. sola!’—Shakespeare W hile one of the lovely beings we have so cursorily presented to the reader was thus lost in thought. and.Chapter 2 ‘Sola. gratitude must close our mouths. by a path but little known. but if the former.

like most of his people. with some little inconvenience. now that the war demands the utmost exercise of his dignity. ‘Here. a narrow and blind path. pointing into the thicket that fringed the military road. he affects. ‘Will you not speak to him. receive one person at a time. and least of all will he condescend to speak it. and in which the savage was rigidly dealt by. most probably. doubtless. ‘If we Free eBooks at Planet eBook. by an ejaculation. ‘Manifest no distrust. what think you?’ asked the reluctant fair one. which might.’ ‘If he has been my father’s enemy. or he would not have my confidence.’ The conjecture of Major Heyward was true. When they reached the spot where the Indian stood. or you may invite the danger you appear to apprehend. became visible. as I have  . it is enough. the private path by which we are to journey is.him.’ ‘Cora. that he is now our friend. but I forget the idle tale. But he stops. as you know. in a low voice. who. at hand. lies our way. He is said to be a Canadian too. Though he may understand it. are one of the six allied nations. I like him still less!’ exclaimed the now really anxious girl. that I may hear his tones? Foolish though it may be. and yet he served with our friends the Mohawks. by some strange accident in which your father was interested. you have often heard me avow my faith in the tones of the human voice!’ ‘It would be in vain. and least of all at this moment. Major Heyward. then.’ said the young man. to be ignorant of the English. He was brought among us. and answered.

having been determined within the hour. For many minutes the intricacy of the route admitted of no further dialogue. though we may find their presence irksome. though certainly not more beautiful companion. Alice hesitated no longer. and even permitted her fairer. The route of the detachment is known. and entered under the high but dark arches  The Last of the Mohicans . a measure which Heyward stated had been dictated by the sagacity of their guide. they will surely be found skirting the column. for. shall we not feel better assurance of our safety?’ ‘Being little accustomed to the practices of the savages. she was the first to dash aside the slight branches of the bushes. ‘If enemies have reached the portage at all. and that his skin is dark?’ coldly asked Cora. if. after which they emerged from the broad border of underbrush which grew along the line of the highway. must still be secret.’ said Heyward. where scalps abound the most. and to follow the runner along the dark and tangled pathway. It would seem that the domestics had been previously instructed. a thing by no means probable. Alice. in order to diminish the marks of their trail. as our scouts are abroad. the Canadian savages should be lurking so far in advance of their army.’ ‘Should we distrust the man because his manners are not our manners. you mistake the place of real danger. haply. they followed the route of the column.journey with the troops. but giving her Narrangansett* a smart cut of the whip. while he sedulously opened the way himself for the passage of her who has been called Cora. The young man regarded the last speaker in open admiration. to proceed unattended. instead of penetrating the thicket. while ours.

the Narragansetts were greatly sought for by females who were obliged to travel over the roots and holes in the ‘new countries. so named after a powerful tribe of Indians. gave rise to a breed of horses which were once well known in America. caused him to check his charger. and the instant the guide perceived that the females could command their steeds. at a pace between a trot and a walk. As they were also sure of foot. * In the state of Rhode Island there is a bay called Narragansett. Until now this personage had escaped Free eBooks at Planet eBook. with as much rapidity as he could excite his meager beast to endure without coming to an open rupture. Horses of this race were. the person of the ungainly man. clattering over the roots of the broken way in his rear. he moved on. when the distant sound of horses hoofs. the whole party came to a halt. or one of those unaccountable freaks which nature sometimes plays in the animal world. Accident.of the forest. described in the preceding chapter. like a fallow deer. in another instant. and. in much request as saddle horses. in order to obtain an explanation of the unlooked-for interruption. The youth had turned to speak to the dark-eyed Cora. and. among the straight trunks of the  . and at a rate which kept the surefooted and peculiar animals they rode at a fast yet easy amble. Here their progress was less interrupted. on account of their hardiness and the ease of their movements. which formerly dwelt on its banks. as his companions drew their reins at the same instant.’ In a few moments a colt was seen gliding. and distinguished by their habit of pacing. came into view. and are still.

If he possessed the power to arrest any wandering eye when exhibiting the glories of his altitude on foot. in this manner. we finish the picture of both horse and man.the observation of the travelers. though generally content to maintain a loping trot. Notwithstanding a constant application of his one armed heel to the flanks of the mare. the most confirmed gait that he could establish was a Canterbury gallop with the hind legs. with his utmost ingenuity. his equestrian graces were still more likely to attract attention. The industry and movements of the rider were not less remarkable than those of the ridden. to decide by what sort of movement his pursuer worked his sinuous way on his footsteps with such persevering hardihood. who possessed a true eye for the merits of a horse. producing. such sudden growths and diminishings of the stature. If to this be added the fact that. Perhaps the rapidity of the changes from one of these paces to the other created an optical illusion. was unable. as baffled every conjecture that might be made as to his dimensions. which might thus magnify the powers of the beast. the former raised his tall person in the stirrups. by the undue elongation of his legs. and that the aggrieved flank was resolutely indicated by unremitted flourishes of a bushy tail. At each change in the evolutions of the latter. in consequence of the ex parte application of the spur. in which those more forward assisted for doubtful moments. one side of the mare appeared to journey faster than the other. The frown which had gathered around the handsome.  The Last of the Mohicans . for it is certain that Heyward.

and where women are concerned it is not easy. haughtily. Once sure of that.’ replied the stranger. nothing daunted by this cold reception.’ ‘Even so. I have endeavored to do both. thoughtful eye of Cora lighted with a humor that it would seem. and even the dark. ‘the highway thither is at least half a mile behind you. rather than the nature. he continued. gradually relaxed. when the other had arrived sufficiently nigh to abate his speed. to produce a circulation in the close air of the woods. ‘I hear you are riding to William Henry. and recovered his breath. and I Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he had cooled his face. and his lips curled into a slight smile. The first point to be obtained is to know one’s own mind. while you have consulted no one but yourself. the habit.’ returned Heyward. and leaving his hearers in doubt to which of the young man’s questions he responded. and here I am.’ ‘Even so. as he regarded the stranger. Alice made no very powerful effort to control her merriment. I concluded good company would seem consistent to the wishes of both parties. of its mistress repressed.’ ‘You appear to possess the privilege of a casting vote. you have mistaken your route. making diligent use of his triangular castor. ‘Seek you any here?’ demanded Heyward. ‘we are three. as I am journeying thitherward  . to act up to the decision. ‘I trust you are no messenger of evil tidings?’ ‘Even so.’ ‘If you journey to the lake.’ said Heyward. and manly brow of Heyward. ‘I have tarried at ‘Edward’ a week.’ returned the stranger. when. the next is.

I hope there is none. and if dumb there would be an end to my calling. he continued. like one whose modesty prohibited a more open expression of his admiration of a witticism that was perfectly unintelligible to his hearers. therefore. decided to join company. for which reason I follow not the line of the army.’ After simpering in a small way. I understand not your allusions about lines and angles. to either party: of defense. you are one who draws lines and angles. ‘But you speak of instruction.should be dumb not to have inquired the road I was to journey. he answered: ‘Of offense. I conclude that a gentleman of your character has the best judgment in matters of wayfaring. I have. under the pretense of expounding the mathematics?’ The stranger regarded his interrogator a moment in wonder. and of a profession. having committed no palpable sin since last entreating his pardoning grace. or. perhaps. losing every mark of self-satisfaction in an expression of solemn humility. and partake of social communion. are you an adjunct to the provincial corps. and I leave expounding to those who have been called and set apart for that holy office. undecided whether to give vent to his growing anger. as a master of the noble science of defense and offense. and then. I make none—by God’s good mercy. if not a hasty decision!’ exclaimed Heyward. ‘It is not prudent for any one of my profession to be too familiar with those he has to instruct. I lay claim to no higher gift than a small insight into the glorious art of petitioning and  The Last of the Mohicans . or to laugh in the other’s face. besides which. in order that the ride may be made agreeable.’ ‘A most arbitrary.

but this strange man amuses me. he clapped his spurs into his charger. to hear the opinions and experience of a master in the art.’ continued the maiden. and if he ‘hath music in his soul’.com  . Alice. and in a few bounds was again at the side of Cora.’ returned the Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ She pointed persuasively along the path with her riding whip. as practiced in psalmody. that I would trust those I love by this secret path.thanksgiving.’ ‘The man is. ‘and I take him under my own especial protection.’ she added. and in pity to my longing ears. suffer him to journey in our train. ignorant as I. in a low and hurried voice. yielding to her gentle influence. and we may enliven our wayfaring by indulging in our favorite pursuit. in time of need.’ cried the amused Alice. who slowly followed the footsteps of their silent. did I imagine such need could happen?’ ‘Nay. while their eyes met in a look which the young man lingered a moment to prolong. ‘it may be a friend added to our strength.’ ‘It is refreshing both to the spirits and to the body to indulge in psalmody. let us not churlishly reject his company. ‘Partial relatives have almost persuaded me that I am not entirely worthless in a duet myself. Besides. then. Heyward. It might be of signal advantage to one. friend. most manifestly. but sullen guide. as she urged her Narragansett to renew its amble. throw aside that frown. Nay. ‘I am glad to encounter thee. I think not of it now. in befitting seasons. nay. a disciple of Apollo. waving her hand to the stranger to proceed. casting a glance at the distant Cora.’ ‘Think you.

like his other talents.’ ‘You have. As the psalms of David exceed all other lan0 The Last of the Mohicans . though my boyhood may be said to have been set apart. then. Alice felt disposed to laugh. to be used.’ ‘Man’s voice is given to him. You have all the manifestations of a soft and rich treble. by especial aid. None can say they have ever known me to neglect my gifts! I am thankful that. no syllable of rude verse has ever profaned my lips. ‘though Major Heyward can assume such deep notes on occasion. much practiced in the art of psalmody?’ demanded her simple companion. and not to be abused.’ said the lady. ‘and nothing would relieve the mind more than such a consoling communion. But four parts are altogether necessary to the perfection of melody. carry a full tenor to the highest letter. who hesitated to admit me to his company. The chances of a soldier’s life are but little fitted for the encouragement of more sober inclinations. unhesitatingly complying with her intimation to follow. if one may judge from the intonations of his voice in common dialogue.’ ‘Is he. for the purposes of music.master of song. I can. his natural tones are better fitted for a mellow tenor than the bass you heard. then.’ ‘Judge not too rashly from hasty and deceptive appearances. though she succeeded in suppressing her merriment. but we lack counter and bass! Yon officer of the king. ere she answered: ‘I apprehend that he is rather addicted to profane song. might fill the latter. smiling. limited your efforts to sacred song?’ ‘Even so. like the youth of the royal David. believe me.

and even the uneasy motion of his illtrained beast at defiance. sleeping or waking.’ During this eulogium on the rare production of his native poets. shrill sound. the poetry. that set the 1 . without circumlocution or apology. so does the psalmody that has been fitted to them by the divines and sages of the land. opened the volume with a care and veneration suited to its sacred purposes. first pronounced the word ‘Standish. and Comfort of the Saints. promulgated at Boston. O see. Then. it approacheth. I may say that I utter nothing but the thoughts and the wishes of the King of Israel himself. I never abid in any place. Anno Domini 1744.’ and placing the unknown engine. from his own voice. in full. faithfully translated into English Metre. that. and melodious tones. he commenced singing the following words. Edification. without an example of this gifted work. to the great work of the inspired writer. Together e’en in unity. for the Use. for though the times may call for some slight changes. ‘The Psalms. Happily. ‘How good it is. as near as may be. yet does this version which we use in the colonies of New England so much exceed all other versions.guage. from which he drew a high. ‘Tis the six-and-twentieth edition. its exactness. surpass all vain poetry. Hymns. by its richness. that was followed by an octave below. and fitting a pair of iron-rimmed spectacles to his nose. the stranger had drawn the book from his pocket. sweet. and is entitled. For brethren so to Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and Spiritual Songs of the Old and New Testaments. to his mouth. already described. and its spiritual simplicity. And how it pleaseth well. in Public and Private. especially in New England’.

’ The delivery of these skillful rhymes was accompanied.dwell. in his turn. for the time. and on the ascent. should I diminish your enjoyments. ‘Though we are not in danger. indeed. for it did not cease until the preposition which the poet had selected for the close of his verse had been duly delivered like a word of two syllables. ‘It’s like the choice ointment. by a regular rise and fall of his right hand. You will then. ‘for never did I hear a more unworthy conjunction of execution and language than that to which I have been listening. spoke to the stranger. and. when you broke  The Last of the Mohicans . common prudence would teach us to journey through this wilderness in as quiet a manner as possible. The Indian muttered a few words in broken English to Heyward. From the head to the beard did go. on the part of the stranger. by requesting this gentleman to postpone his chant until a safer opportunity. by such a flourish of the member as none but the initiated may ever hope to imitate.’ returned the arch girl. closing his musical efforts. by suffering the fingers to dwell a moment on the leaves of the little volume. who. Alice. pardon me. Down Aaron’s head. and I was far gone in a learned inquiry into the causes of such an unfitness between sound and sense. which terminated at the descent. that downward went His garment’s skirts unto. at once interrupting. Such an innovation on the silence and retirement of the forest could not fail to enlist the ears of those who journeyed at so short a distance in advance.’ ‘You will diminish them. It would seem long practice had rendered this manual accompaniment necessary.

the light and graceful forms of the females waving among the trees. in the intermediate space. who continued his steady pace. ‘but I know that your safety. Duncan!’ ‘I know not what you call my bass. and that of Cora.’ He paused and turned his head quickly toward a thicket. that rose. A gleam of exultation shot across the darkly-painted lineaments of the inhabitant of the forest. piqued at her remark. and he rode forward. and then bent his eyes suspiciously on their  . who rode unconsciously onward. as he traced the route of his intended victims. and a human visage. in undisturbed gravity.’ said Heyward. in dark lines. finally.the charm of my musings by that bass of yours. the shapeless person of the singing master was concealed behind the numberless trunks of trees. The young man smiled to himself. is far dearer to me than could be any orchestra of Handel’s music. The cavalcade had not long passed. followed at each bend by the manly figure of Heyward. as fiercely wild as savage art and unbridled passions could make it. Major Heyward was mistaken only in suffering his youthful and generous pride to suppress his active watchfulness. in the curvatures of their path. for he believed he had mistaken some shining berry of the woods for the glistening eyeballs of a prowling savage. continuing the conversation which had been interrupted by the passing thought. until. peered out on the retiring footsteps of the travelers. before the branches of the bushes that formed the thicket were cautiously moved asunder. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

On that day. as the cooler vapors of the springs and fountains rose above their leafy beds. and rivulets play’d. and shift the scene a few miles to the westward of the place where we have last seen them. or the approach of some expected event. And fountains spouted in the shade. and rested in the atmosphere. interrupted only by the low voices of the men. we must use an author’s privilege. And torrents dash’d.Chapter 3 ‘Before these fields were shorn and till’d. and shadowing its dark current with a deeper hue. Still that breathing silence. within an hour’s journey of the encampment of Webb. The melody of waters fill’d The fresh and boundless wood. which marks the drowsy sultriness of an American landscape in July. like those who awaited the appearance of an absent person.’—Bryant L eaving the unsuspecting Heyward and his confiding companions to penetrate still deeper into a forest that contained such treacherous inmates. The vast canopy of woods spread itself to the margin of the river. the oc The Last of the Mohicans . two men were lingering on the banks of a small but rapid stream. overhanging the water. Full to the brim our rivers flow’d. and the intense heat of the day was lessened. The rays of the sun were beginning to grow less fierce. pervaded the secluded spot.

While one of these loiterers showed the red skin and wild accouterments of a native of the woods. in a posture that permitted him to heighten the effect of his earnest language. of English manufacture. His closely-shaved head. lay carelessly across his bare and sinewy knee. on which no other hair than the well-known and chivalrous scalping tuft* was preserved. The former was seated on the end of a mossy log. however. the brighter. of that sort with which the policy of the whites armed their savage allies. while a short military rifle. presented a terrific emblem of death. the other exhibited. his body. * The North American warrior caused the hair to be Free eBooks at Planet eBook. that crossed his crown. the discordant cry of some gaudy jay. full formed limbs. drawn in intermingled colors of white and black. by the calm but expressive gestures of an Indian engaged in debate. A tomahawk and scalping knife. with the exception of a solitary eagle’s plume. would denote that he had reached the vigor of his days. The expanded chest. from the dull roar of a distant waterfall. was without ornament of any kind. though no symptoms of decay appeared to have yet weakened his manhood. too familiar to the foresters to draw their attention from the more interesting matter of their dialogue. These feeble and broken sounds were. though sun-burned and long-faced complexion of one who might claim descent from a European  . were in his girdle.casional and lazy tap of a woodpecker. through the mask of his rude and nearly savage equipments. or a swelling on the ear. and grave countenance of this warrior. which was nearly naked. and depended over the left shoulder.

judging by such parts as were not concealed by his clothes. The scalp was the only admissible trophy of victory. The frame of the white man. it was deemed more important to obtain the scalp than to kill the man. roving while he spoke.  The Last of the Mohicans . but every nerve and muscle appeared strung and indurated by unremitted exposure and toil. and a summer cap of skins which had been shorn of their fur. like that which confined the scanty garments of the Indian. His person. leaned against a neighboring sapling. Thus. was small. was like that of one who had known hardships and exertion from his earliest youth. with the sinews of a deer. that laced at the sides. fringed with faded yellow*. though a rifle of great length**. though muscular. His moccasins were ornamented after the gay fashion of the natives. which the theory of the more ingenious whites had taught them was the most dangerous of all firearms. a small tuft was left on the crown of his head. but no tomahawk. Some tribes lay great stress on the honor of striking a dead body. and which were gartered above the knees. while the only part of his under dress which appeared below the hunging frock was a pair of buckskin leggings. These practices have nearly disappeared among the Indians of the Atlantic states. and restless. He also bore a knife in a girdle of wampum. keen. was rather attenuated than full. or scout. quick. in wrenching off the scalp in the event of his fall. whichever he might be. He wore a hunting shirt of forest-green. on every side of him.plucked from his whole body. The eye of the hunter. A pouch and horn completed his personal accouterments. in order that his enemy might avail himself of it.

‘Even your traditions make the case in my favor. his countenance was not only without guile. * The hunting-shirt is a picturesque  . and friends spare their words!’ * The Mississippi. Evidence of their Asiatic origin is deduced from the cirFree eBooks at Planet eBook. to preserve some of the peculiarities. with a view to concealment. that of the hunter is always long. it was charged with an expression of sturdy honesty. being shorter. and did their work much after the fashion that had been set them by yours. and the dress is one of the most striking of modern times. The colors are intended to imitate the hues of the wood. and ornamented with fringes and tassels. both of the individual and of the language. and of which we shall give a free translation for the benefit of the reader. ** The rifle of the army is short. fought the people of the country.’ he said. or distrusting the sudden approach of some lurking enemy. but at the moment at which he is introduced. crossed the big river*. Notwithstanding the symptoms of habitual suspicion. speaking in the tongue which was known to all the natives who formerly inhabited the country between the Hudson and the Potomac. and mine came from the red sky of the morning. ‘Your fathers came from the setting sun. Many corps of American riflemen have been thus attired. over the salt lake. at the same time. The scout alludes to a tradition which is very popular among the tribes of the Atlantic states. and took the land. if in quest of game. then let God judge the matter between us. The hunting-shirt is frequently white. endeavoring.

surveying. For a moment he appeared to be conscious of having the worst of the argument. though great uncertainty hangs over the whole history of the Indians. painted for war and armed with the stone hatchet and wooden gun?’ ‘I am not a prejudiced man. in the same language. I should think a rifle in the hands of their grandfathers was not so dangerous as a hickory bow and a good flint-head might be. rallying again.cumstances. the faded color of his bony and sinewy hand. judging from what I have seen. shaking his head like one on whom such an appeal to his justice was not thrown away. ‘My fathers fought with the naked red man!’ returned the Indian. though the worst enemy I have on earth. Hawkeye. if drawn with Indian judgment. though nature has made him with a red skin!’ said the white man. ‘What say your old men? Do they tell the young warriors that the pale faces met the red men. and sent by an Indian eye. nor one who vaunts himself on his natural privileges. he answered the objection of his antagonist in the best manner his limited information would allow: ‘I am no scholar. with secret satisfaction. ‘Is there no difference. and the leaden bullet with which you kill?’ ‘There is reason in an Indian. then.’ the scout replied. and I care not who knows it. and he is an Iroquois.’ returned the other. coldly waving his hand. at deer chases and squirrel hunts. ‘and I am will The Last of the Mohicans . sternly.’ ‘You have the story told by your fathers. between the stone-headed arrow of the warrior. but. of the sparks below. daren’t deny that I am genuine white.

It is one of their customs to write in books what they have done and seen. and the current flows upward?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I can’t approve. nor feel a pride in striving to outdo them. and what the Mohicans have done. what passed. of which. then. For myself. as. when our fathers first met?’ A silence of a minute succeeded. in learning the names of black marks. he continued. all good and evil gifts are bestowed. and bending a cautious glance toward his companion. so I ask you. he commenced his brief tale. instead of telling them in their villages. and the brave soldier can call on his comrades to witness for the truth of his words. according to the traditions of the red men. for I have a natural turn with a rifle.’ He hesitated a single instant. which must have been handed down from generation to generation. a man. our holy commandments tell us. as an honest man. where the lie can be given to the face of a cowardly boaster. In consequence of this bad fashion. But every story has its two sides. Chingachgook. though I should be loath to answer for other people in such a matter. with a solemnity that served to heighten its appearance of truth. in a manner that was divided between interrogation and assertion. until its waters grow to own that my people have many ways. and your ear shall drink no lie. ‘Does not this stream at our feet run toward the summer. ‘Listen. I conclude the Bumppos could shoot. during which the Indian sat mute. ‘Tis what my fathers have said. full of the dignity of his office. who is too conscientious to misspend his days among the  . Hawkeye. may never hear of the deeds of his fathers.

should become bitter in the sun. though why water. having seen them. 0 The Last of the Mohicans . and clear enough. which is so sweet in the shade. which is a thing soon explained. may be stagnant. ‘for I have been there.’ ‘No honest man will deny it. stretching the limb horizontally before him. but when you come to spread water over a great tract. they run in until the river gets to be highest. and have seen them. Now. at which he marvels even while he respects it. a little nettled at the implied distrust of his explanation of the mystery of the tides. They call this up-stream current the tide.’ ‘The waters in the woods. ‘and I grant that it is true on the small scale. and on the great lakes. But everything depends on what scale you look at things.’ said the scout. and even the great fresh-water lakes. who expected his reply with that sort of interest that a man feels in the confirmation of testimony.‘It can’t be denied that your traditions tell you true in both these matters. ‘the fathers of Chingachgook have not lied!’ ‘The holy Bible is not more true. and where the land is level. and that is the truest thing in nature.’ ‘And the current!’ demanded the Indian. as you and I both know they are. is an alteration for which I have never been able to account. run downward until they lie like my hand.’ said the Indian. pools and ponds. and six hours they run out. and then it runs out again. ‘and then they run no more. on the small scale. Six hours the waters run in. and the reason is this: when there is higher water in the sea than in the river. but on the large scale it is round. the ‘arth is level. In this manner.’ said the white man.

The first pale faces who came among us spoke no English.’ said the white man. ‘We came from the place where the sun is hid at night. guttural the sea. only by permitting his voice to fall to those low. till the ground was red with their blood. over great plains where the buffaloes live. We drove the Maquas into the woods with the bears. we threw them the bones.’ If unsatisfied by the philosophy of his companion. how in reason can the water be quiet? You might as well expect the river to lie still on the brink of those black rocks a mile above us.’ ‘All this I have heard and believe. there was none to meet us. There we fought the Alligewi. and resumed his narrative in his former solemn manner. ‘but it was long before the English came into the country.’ ‘A pine grew then where this chestnut now stands.’ he continued. betraying his deep emotion. From the banks of the big river to the shores of the salt lake. Then. We said the country should be ours from the place where the water runs up no longer on this stream. when my fathers had buried the tomahawk with the red men around them. the Indian was far too dignified to betray his unbelief. until we reached the big river. Hawkeye. They came in a large canoe. though your own ears tell you that it is tumbling over them at this very moment. They only tasted salt at the licks. He listened like one who was 1 . observing that the Indian paused. The Maquas followed at a distance. which render Free eBooks at Planet eBook. they drew no fish from the great lake. where the earth is round. to a river twenty sun’s journey toward the summer.

and gave my people the firewater. to the  The Last of the Mohicans . But where are to be found those of your race who came to their kin in the Delaware country. where it must stay forever. we were one people. to bleach in the woods. they were driven back from the shores. ‘and they often aid a man in his good intentions. we worshipped the Great Spirit. until I. and they foolishly thought they had found the Great Spirit. The blood of chiefs is in my veins. and as I suppose you hold their gifts. but I am an unmixed man. Then they parted with their land.his language. as spoken at times. The salt lake gave us its fish. Hawkeye. one by one. each in his turn.’ returned the scout.’ ‘Graves bring solemn feelings over the mind. and wise men at the council-fire. they drank until the heavens and the earth seemed to meet. and we were happy. so many summers since?’ ‘Where are the blossoms of those summers!—fallen. Foot by foot. and we kept the Maquas beyond the sound of our songs of triumph.’ ‘My tribe is the grandfather of nations.’ ‘Know you anything of your own family at that time?’ demanded the white. I expect to leave my own bones unburied. so all of my family departed. your fathers must have been brave warriors. the wood its deer. for an Indian. so very musical. a good deal touched at the calm suffering of his companion. We took wives who bore us children. The Dutch landed. or to be torn asunder by the wolves. have never seen the sun shine but through the trees. and have never visited the graves of my fathers. and the air its birds. for myself. ‘But you are just a man. that am a chief and a Sagamore. though. ‘then.

will Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he also remained silent and reserved. without betraying womanish curiosity or childish impatience. The white man seemed to take counsel from their customs. and made an involuntary movement of the hand toward his rifle. and when Uncas follows in my footsteps there will no longer be any of the blood of the Sagamores. at this sudden interruption. but the Indian sat composed. with a noiseless step. No exclamation of surprise escaped the father. ‘who speaks to Uncas?’ The white man loosened his knife in his leathern of spirits. I am on the hilltop and must go down into the valley. for my boy is the last of the Mohicans. for several minutes. nor was any question asked. Montcalm. each appearing to await the moment when he might  . At the next instant.’ ‘Uncas is here. but they lie hid like cowards. near his elbow.’ replied the young Indian. and seated himself on the bank of the rapid stream. after the manner of his companions. a youthful warrior passed between them. whom we shall call Hawkeye. At length Chingachgook turned his eyes slowly toward his son. ‘That busy Frenchman.’ said another voice. guttural tones. in the same soft.’ said the white man. or reply given. and.’ ‘The thieves are outlying for scalps and plunder. relinquishing his grasp of the rifle. ‘and know that they number as many as the fingers of my two hands. and demanded: ‘Do the Maquas dare to leave the print of their moccasins in these woods?’ ‘I have been on their trail. and without turning his head at the unexpected sounds.

he can’t tell where the rest of him should be!’ Adjusting his rifle. and laughing with a kind of inward sound. ‘all but the tips of his horns are hid!’ ‘He’s a boy!’ said the white man. Uncas. and  The Last of the Mohicans . moving the bushes below the hill! Now. ‘Does he think when a hunter sees a part of the creature’. and addressing the father. springing to his feet with youthful eagerness.’ ‘I am as ready to do the one as the other. ‘I will bet my charger three times full of powder. but he will know what road we travel!’ ‘Tis enough. dropping his rifle. that I take him atwixt the eyes. when the warrior struck up the piece with his hand. against a foot of wampum. ‘tis necessary to get the game—talk of the devil and he will come. there is a pair of the biggest antlers I have seen this season.’ ‘It cannot be!’ said the young Indian. like one who had learned to be watchful.’ returned the father. let us eat to-night. glancing his eye toward the setting sun. Hawkeye. and show the Maquas that we are men to-morrow. ‘they shall be driven like deer from their bushes. in a half whisper.’ he continued. as it might be by instinct!’ returned the scout. shaking his head while he spoke.send his spies into our very camp. saying: ‘Hawkeye! will you fight the Maquas?’ ‘These Indians know the nature of the woods. he was about to make an exhibition of that skill on which he so much valued himself. and nearer to the right than to the left. and to eat. but to fight the Iroquois ‘tis necessary to find the skulkers.

‘Twas done with Indian skill. he fitted an arrow to his bow with the utmost care. dyeing the waters with its blood. whose eyes began to glisten with the ardor of his usual occupation. as if their owner snuffed an enemy in the tainted air. and needs a knife to finish the work. When within a few yards of the cover. when bounding to the edge of the river it fell. Avoiding the horns of the infuriated animal. to eat. to the very feet of his hidden enemy. like a hound who scented game.’ said the Indian. ‘if they come within range of a bullet I will drop one.’ The instant the father seconded this intimation by an expressive gesture of the hand. or we may kill a deer for them thieves. while the antlers moved. a white streak was seen glancing into the bushes. ‘By the Lord.’ said the scout laughing inwardly. though the whole Six Nations should be lurking within sound! What do you hear. and passed his knife across the throat. Uncas darted to his side. ‘I must leave the buck to your arrow. the Iroquois. and he is dead. Chingachgook? for to my ears the woods are dumb. and approached the animal with wary movements. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and the wounded buck plunged from the cover. Uncas.’ ‘There is but one deer.’ ‘Hugh!’ ejaculated his companion. Uncas threw himself on the ground. In another moment the twang of the cord was heard. there is a drove of them!’ exclaimed the scout.turning away like a man who was convinced of his  . ‘and ‘twas a pretty sight to behold! Though an arrow is a near shot. turning quickly. but with vast satisfaction.

too—now I hear the bushes move—yes. raising himself with dignity.’ ‘That I will.bending his body till his ear nearly touched the earth. they are your brothers. and resuming his seat on the log with his former composure. ‘tis strange that an Indian should understand white sounds better than a man who. although he may have lived with the red skins long enough to be suspected! Ha! there goes something like the cracking of a dry stick. speaking in the language of which he boasted. speak to them.’ returned the hunter. yes. The horses of white men are coming!’ returned the other. his very enemies will own. and in English that the king needn’t be ashamed to answer. and are following on his trail. there is a trampling that I mistook for the falls—and— but here they come themselves.’ ‘No. ‘Hawkeye. has no cross in his blood. ‘but I see nothing. God keep them from the Iroquois!’  The Last of the Mohicans . nor do I hear the sounds of man or beast. ‘I hear the sounds of feet!’ ‘Perhaps the wolves have driven the buck to shelter.

‘Who comes?’ demanded the scout. when the leader of the party.’—Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ returned he who rode foremost. throwing his rifle carelessly across his left arm. among the beasts and dangers of the wilderness?’ ‘Believers in religion. Along this track the travelers. whose approaching footsteps had caught the vigilant ear of the Indian. without nourishment. though he avoided all appearance of menace in the act. advanced slowly toward the  . and friends to the law and to the king. in readiness to receive them. in the shades of this forest. T he words were still in the mouth of the scout.Chapter 4 ‘Well go thy way: thou shalt not from this grove Till I torment thee for this injury. came openly into view. and struck the river at the point where the white man and his red companions had posted themselves. wound through a little glen at no great distance. ‘Men who have journeyed since the rising sun. who was in front of his associates. who had produced a surprise so unusual in the depths of the forest. and are sadly tired of their wayfarFree eBooks at Planet eBook. A beaten path. ‘Who comes hither. such as those made by the periodical passage of the deer. and keeping the forefinger of his right hand on the trigger.

‘What. ‘and have found how helpless ‘tis not to know whether to take the right hand or the left?’ ‘Even so. ‘the place you advise us to seek we left this morning. another horseman dashed the bushes aside. and driving this saucy Frenchman back across Champlain.’ ‘You are.’ interrupted the hunter. lost. who tarries there. and our destination is the head of the lake. with Horican atwixt him and the deer! William Henry. and leaped his charger into the pathway. and lay the matter before Webb. man! if you are friends to the king and have business with the army. then. Know you the distance to a post of the crown called William Henry?’ ‘Hoot!’ shouted the scout. in front of his companion. sucking babes are not more dependent on those who guide them than we who are of larger growth. and who may now be said to possess the stature without the knowledge of men. who did not spare his open laughter. instead of pushing into the defiles.’ Before the stranger could make any reply to this unexpected proposition.’ ‘Then you must have lost your eyesight afore losing your  The Last of the Mohicans . may be our distance from Fort Edward?’ demanded a new speaker. though instantly checking the dangerous sounds he indulged his merriment at less risk of being overheard by any lurking enemies. your way would be to follow the river down to Edward. ‘You are as much off the scent as a hound would be. then. into his den

we know not where we are. nor do I Free eBooks at Planet eBook. as any that runs into London.way. though adopted in that tribe. as the reader has anticipated. and apparently indifferent to what passed. it was he. smiling.’ ‘An Indian lost in the woods!’ said the scout. or even before the palace of the king himself. The woods are full of deer-paths which run to the streams and licks.’ ‘We will not dispute concerning the excellence of the passage. In plain words. and is as grand a path. ‘A Huron!’ repeated the sturdy scout. and that we are deceived in his knowledge. seated immovable. I calculate. but who now sprang to their feet with an activity and interest that had evidently got the better of their reserve by surprise.’ returned Heyward. that we trusted to an Indian guide to take us by a nearer. nor have the geese done their flight to the Canada waters altogether! ‘Tis strange that an Indian should be lost atwixt Horican and the bend in the river! Is he a Mohawk?’ ‘Not by birth. once more shaking his head in open distrust. though blinder path.’ ‘Hugh!’ exclaimed the two companions of the scout. places well known to everybody. I think his birthplace was farther north. for the present. ‘they are a thievish race. ‘When the sun is scorching the tree tops. for the road across the portage is cut to a good two  . ‘It is enough. who had continued until this part of the dialogue. for. shaking his head doubtingly. and he is one of those you call a Huron. when the moss on every beech he sees will tell him in what quarter the north star will shine at night. and the water courses are full.

You have not yet answered my question.’ said Heyward.’ ‘I wish no contention of idle words with you.’ returned the other positively. and speaking in a more gentle voice. look to a Delaware. and to whom you must be a stranger. what is our distance from the main army at Edward?’ ‘It seems that may depend on who is your guide. and that he serves with our forces as a friend. how know I that I don’t guide an en0 The Last of the Mohicans .’ ‘And in so doing. or a Mohican. You forget that I have told you our guide is now a Mohawk. having suffered their cunning enemies. since William Henry is so many miles in our front. Since you trusted yourself to the care of one of that nation. ‘A Mohawk! No. to make them women—but when they will fight at all.’ said Heyward. your labor shall not go without its reward. ‘if you will tell me the distance to Fort Edward. the Maquas. friend. ‘I wish not to inquire into the character of a man that I know.’ ‘Of that there is little danger. and conduct me thither. curbing his dissatisfied manner. One would think such a horse as that might get over a good deal of ground atwixt sun-up and sun-down. for a warrior!’ ‘Enough of by whom they are adopted. you can never make anything of them but skulls and vagabonds. impatiently.’ ‘And I tell you that he who is born a Mingo will die a Mingo. and when they will fight. which they won’t all do. I only wonder that you have not fallen in with more. give me a Delaware or a Mohican for honesty.

he who commands the companies in garrison at William Henry. the gentleman you name is the senior. elevating his body like one who was proud of his trust. has got the place.’ The scout regarded Heyward in surprise. ‘If there is a man in the country who knows Major Effingham. and then lifting Free eBooks at Planet eBook. too. he stands before you. and a gallant gentleman!’ ‘Whatever he may be. yes.’ ‘Well. to hold such rank.’ ‘The Sixtieth! you can tell me little of the Royal Americans that I don’t know. and to be put above men whose heads are beginning to bleach. then. to the works of the army? It is not every man who can speak the English tongue that is an honest subject. of course. He is over young. from one of the provinces far south.emy and a spy of Montcalm.’ ‘It is a corps which has many majors. of whom I judge you to be a scout. I have heard that a young gentleman of vast riches. you may know the name of its major?’ ‘Its major!’ interrupted the hunter. or however he may be qualified for his rank.’ ‘If you serve with the troops. he now speaks to you and.’ ‘Yes. though I do wear a hunting-shirt instead of a scarlet jacket. but I speak of the junior of them all. and yet they say he is a soldier in his 1 . can be no enemy to dread. among other things. you should know of such a regiment of the king as the Sixtieth.

the runner leaned against a tree. As he repassed the females. and entering the path behind the mare of the singing master.’ said the scout.his cap. Behind these. and God having made him so. that it might in itself excite fear. answering to the smile and nod of Alice with a look of open pleasure. and not entirely without apprehension. and spending a minute in a fruitless inquiry into the character of her rider. whose foal had taken advantage of the halt to exact the maternal contribution. and by his paint. stepping past the charger of Heyward. and proceeding a few paces. trusting to the knowledge of the Indian I mentioned. ‘I have heard a party was to leave the encampment this morning for the lake shore?’ ‘You have heard the truth. as I believe. Satisfied with his scrutiny. After shoving aside the bushes. who awaited the result of the conference with anxiety. ‘A Mingo is a Mingo. though with a look so dark and savage. Thence he went to the side of the motherly animal. in a tone less confident than before— though still expressing doubt.’ ‘And he deceived you. where he stood the close examination of the scout with an air unmoved. if it is a true Iroquois I can tell him by his knavish look. and then deserted?’ ‘Neither. the hunter soon left him. nei The Last of the Mohicans . he paused a moment to gaze upon their beauty. for he is to be found in the rear. certainly not the latter. he encountered the females. but I preferred a nearer route. he answered. he shook his head and returned to Heyward.’ ‘I should like to look at the creature’.

making him.’ ‘I knew he was one of the cheats as soon as I laid eyes on him!’ returned the scout. and. when he had regained his former position. It was because I suspected him that I would follow no longer. on account of my companions. leaning forward in the saddle. but they are quite equal to a ride of a few more miles. but with such ladies in your company ‘tis impossible!’ ‘And why? They are fatigued.’ ‘Think you so?’ said Heyward. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I confess I have not been without my own  . between the angle and the knee. though I have endeavored to conceal them. in company with that runner. within an hour. for it lies only about an hour’s journey hence.’ ‘Tis a natural impossibility!’ repeated the scout. ‘The thief is leaning against the foot of the sugar sapling. ‘I wouldn’t walk a mile in these woods after night gets into them. for the best rifle in the colonies. and your mongrel Mohawk knows where to find them too well to be my companion. ‘I can take him from where I stand. ‘If we were alone. as you see. and affected a confidence I have not always felt.’ tapping his rifle. follow me. I could show you the way to Edward myself. placing a finger on his nose. and you would leave that noble horse at the mercy of the wolves to-night. and dropping his voice nearly to a whisper. They are full of outlying Iroquois. in sign of caution. that you can see over them bushes. his right leg is in a line with the bark of the tree.’ he said.ther the Mohawks nor any other tribe can alter him.

I have much reason to believe the rascal has deceived me. against an Indian in  The Last of the Mohicans . mounted. throwing his rifle forward. They spoke together earnestly in the Delaware language.’ ‘Hist! what could you do.’ ‘It will not do. If I should go back to him. and I dislike the act.with a single shot. ‘Now. mused a moment. Though. ‘Hold!’ interrupted Heyward. by a sort of instinctive movement. and then made a gesture. putting an end to his tramping through the woods. the cunning varmint would suspect something. He may be innocent. these Mohicans here will take him without breaking his paint. if I felt confident of his treachery—‘ ‘Tis a safe thing to calculate on the knavery of an Iroquois. His companions were not long in comprehending his wishes. which were frequently directed towards the top of the sapling. taking opposite sides of the path.’ said the hunter. go you back. proudly.’ ‘Nay. it was evident he pointed out the situation of their hidden enemy. and by the gestures of the white man. who had already abandoned his intention of maiming the runner. and laying aside their firearms. ‘I will seize him myself. and be dodging through the trees like a frightened deer.’ said Heyward. and burying themselves in the thicket.’ said the scout. with such cautious movements. that their steps were inaudible.’ The hunter. ‘it will not do—we must think of some other scheme—and yet. speaking again to Heyward. though in an undertone. they parted. ‘and hold the imp in talk. for at least a month to come. which instantly brought his two red companions to his side.

he would wait for the other to be free? Whoever comes into the woods to deal with the natives. suddenly deprived of his light*. think you. though with strong disgust at the nature of the office he was compelled to execute. and was pleased to find that.’ Heyward prepared to comply. and drew the reins again when the animal had carried him Free eBooks at Planet eBook. In passing his gentler companions Heyward uttered a few words of encouragement. Each moment.the bushes!’ ‘I will dismount. who immediately entered into a loud conversation with the stranger that had so unceremoniously enlisted himself in the party of travelers that morning.  .’ ‘And. and seem to believe him the truest friend you have on ‘arth. Giving them reason to believe he was merely employed in a consultation concerning the future route. were assuming a dusky hue. he left the scout. which keenly reminded him that the hour the savage usually chose for his most barbarous and remorseless acts of vengeance or hostility. and the woods. when he saw one of your feet out of the stirrup. Go. was speedily drawing near. then. if he would wish to prosper in his undertakings. though fatigued with the exercise of the day. Stimulated by apprehension. talk openly to the miscreant. must use Indian fashions. they appeared to entertain no suspicion that their present embarrassment was other than the result of accident. he spurred his charger. pressed upon him a conviction of the critical situation in which he had suffered his invaluable trust to be involved through his own confidence. The sun had already disappeared.

surely.’  The Last of the Mohicans . ‘that the night is closing around us. Magua. that is acquainted with the deerpaths and by-ways of the woods. and yet we are no nearer to William Henry than when we left the encampment of Webb with the rising sun.’ returned the runner.’ returned the runner. ‘Oh! not alone. Magua. ‘and the pale faces will see none but their own color. we have fallen in with a hunter.’ The Indian riveted his glowing eyes on Heyward as he asked. ‘Is he alone?’ ‘Alone!’ hesitatingly answered Heyward. with an air that manifested his pride at the distinction. leaning against the tree.’ he said. for you know that we are with him. nor have I been more fortunate. endeavoring to assume an air of freedom and confidence. ‘You have missed the way. coolly raising his little wallet from the place where it had lain at his feet.’ ‘Then Le Renard Subtil will go. when Munro waits for him. * The scene of this tale was in the 42d degree of latitude. he whom you hear talking to the singer. to whom deception was too new to be assumed without embarrassment.’ ‘Go! Whom call you Le Renard?’ ‘Tis the name his Canada fathers have given to Magua. happily. But. ‘Night is the same as day to Le Subtil. ‘You may see. where the twilight is never of long continuation.within a few yards of the place where the sullen runner still stood. in his imperfect English. and who promises to lead us to a place where we may rest securely till the morning.

though Magua promised to be one?’ ‘Though the gray head has a loud voice. then. in his native language.’ said Heyward.’ ‘Le Subtil knows the path to the great lakes.’ muttered the Indian. he turned them quickly away. for he is no longer to be trusted with the business of a man. he drew forth the remnant of some former repast.’ ‘The pale faces make themselves dogs to their women.‘And what account will Le Renard give the chief of William Henry concerning his daughters? Will he dare to tell the hotblooded Scotsman that his children are left without a guide.’ was the answer of the unmoved runner. and seating himself deliberately on the ground.’ The Indian then fastened his eyes keenly on the open countenance of Heyward. and a long arm. ‘and when they want to eat. nor feel him. their warriors must lay aside the tomahawk to feed their laziness. but meeting his glance. ‘are we not friends? Why should there be bitter words between us? Munro has promised you a gift for your services when performed. We have a few moments to spare. and open your wallet to eat. Renard?’ ‘Le Subtil says it is good. ‘Enough. When the ladies are refreshed we will proceed. and he can find the bones of his fathers. in the woods. Magua.’ ‘But what will the Mohawks say? They will make him petticoats. Le Renard will not hear him. let us not waste them in talk like wrangling  . Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Rest your weary limbs.’ ‘What say you. and I shall be your debtor for another. and bid him stay in the wigwam with the women.

While he hesitated how to proceed. his nostrils expanded. Le Subtil cautiously raised himself to his feet. or Montcalm may lie in our path.’ The hand of Magua dropped from his mouth to his side. which seemed not to rest a single instant on any particular object. for sounds like the snapping of a dried stick.and began to eat. and though his eyes were fastened on the ground. Heyward felt it had now become incumbent on him to act. Every effort to detect the point most regarded by the runner was completely frustrated by the tremulous glances of his organs. giving to him the appearance of a statue that was made to represent intense attention. with a determination to advance and seize  The Last of the Mohicans . though with a motion so slow and guarded. Throwing his leg over the saddle.’ continued Heyward. he paused. but recollecting himself instantly. who watched his movements with a vigilant eye. ‘we must be moving before the sun is seen. rose from the adjacent bushes. and his ears seemed even to stand more erect than usual. could be hardly said to move. and shut us out from the fortress. he continued. and the rustling of leaves. and which. ‘This is well. his head was turned aside. while he passed a hand toward the bear-skin covering of his holsters. though not without first bending his looks slowly and cautiously around him. Heyward. ‘and Le Renard will have strength and sight to find the path in the morning”. carelessly extricated one of his feet from the stirrup. he dismounted. that not the slightest noise was produced by the change. at the same time.

without betraying the least emotion. trusting the result to his own  . and plunged. But when he felt the fingers of Heyward moving gently along his own naked arm. however. or varying his riveted attitude of attention. and glided across the path in swift pursuit. ‘Le Renard Subtil does not eat. and it seems dry. perhaps something may be found among my own provisions that will help his appetite.’ he said. using the appellation he had found most flattering to the vanity of the Indian. he struck up the limb of the young man. and. He even suffered their hands to meet. Next followed the shout of Uncas. he darted beneath it. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.his treacherous companion. he still preserved an air of calmness and friendship. uttering a piercing cry. At the next instant the form of Chingachgook appeared from the bushes. when the woods were lighted by a sudden flash. at a single bound. that was accompanied by the sharp report of the hunter’s rifle. to prevent unnecessary alarm. ‘His corn is not well parched. In order.’ Magua held out the wallet to the proffer of the other. looking like a specter in its paint. into the opposite thicket. Let me examine.

and the wild cries of the pursuers. its leaves are red. and I may be accounted to have experience in these matters. And saw the lion’s shadow ere himself. Then recollecting the importance of securing the fugitive. but ‘twouldn’t do! and yet for a reasoning aim. ‘I heard the imp brushing over the dry leaves. however. in inactive surprise. I should call it a quick sight. and may yet be secured. like a black snake.. if anybody but myself had touched the trigger.’In such a night Did Thisbe fearfully o’ertrip the dew. ‘Why so soon disheartened!’ he exclaimed. he met the three foresters already returning from their unsuccessful pursuit. We are not safe while he goes at large. Look at this sumach. and one who ought to know. just over ag’in yon big pine.’ Merchant of Venice T he suddenness of the flight of his guide.. I pulled as it might be on the scent. and blinking a glimpse of him.Chapter 5 . proceeded a hundred yards. for a few moments. though everybody knows the fruit The Last of the Mohicans 0 . caused Heyward to remain fixed.’ ‘Would you set a cloud to chase the wind?’ returned the disappointed scout. Before he had. and pressed eagerly forward to lend his aid in the chase. ‘the scoundrel must be concealed behind some of these trees. he dashed aside the surrounding bushes.

is in the yellow blossom in the month of July!’ ‘Tis the blood of Le Subtil! he is hurt, and may yet fall!’ ‘No, no,’ returned the scout, in decided disapprobation of this opinion, ‘I rubbed the bark off a limb, perhaps, but the creature leaped the longer for it. A rifle bullet acts on a running animal, when it barks him, much the same as one of your spurs on a horse; that is, it quickens motion, and puts life into the flesh, instead of taking it away. But when it cuts the ragged hole, after a bound or two, there is, commonly, a stagnation of further leaping, be it Indian or be it deer!’ ‘We are four able bodies, to one wounded man!’ ‘Is life grievous to you?’ interrupted the scout. ‘Yonder red devil would draw you within swing of the tomahawks of his comrades, before you were heated in the chase. It was an unthoughtful act in a man who has so often slept with the war-whoop ringing in the air, to let off his piece within sound of an ambushment! But then it was a natural temptation! ‘twas very natural! Come, friends, let us move our station, and in such fashion, too, as will throw the cunning of a Mingo on a wrong scent, or our scalps will be drying in the wind in front of Montcalm’s marquee, ag’in this hour to-morrow.’ This appalling declaration, which the scout uttered with the cool assurance of a man who fully comprehended, while he did not fear to face the danger, served to remind Heyward of the importance of the charge with which he himself had been intrusted. Glancing his eyes around, with a vain effort to pierce the gloom that was thickening beneath the leafy arches of the forest, he felt as if, cut off from human
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aid, his unresisting companions would soon lie at the entire mercy of those barbarous enemies, who, like beasts of prey, only waited till the gathering darkness might render their blows more fatally certain. His awakened imagination, deluded by the deceptive light, converted each waving bush, or the fragment of some fallen tree, into human forms, and twenty times he fancied he could distinguish the horrid visages of his lurking foes, peering from their hiding places, in never ceasing watchfulness of the movements of his party. Looking upward, he found that the thin fleecy clouds, which evening had painted on the blue sky, were already losing their faintest tints of rose-color, while the imbedded stream, which glided past the spot where he stood, was to be traced only by the dark boundary of its wooded banks. ‘What is to be done!’ he said, feeling the utter helplessness of doubt in such a pressing strait; ‘desert me not, for God’s sake! remain to defend those I escort, and freely name your own reward!’ His companions, who conversed apart in the language of their tribe, heeded not this sudden and earnest appeal. Though their dialogue was maintained in low and cautious sounds, but little above a whisper, Heyward, who now approached, could easily distinguish the earnest tones of the younger warrior from the more deliberate speeches of his seniors. It was evident that they debated on the propriety of some measure, that nearly concerned the welfare of the travelers. Yielding to his powerful interest in the subject, and impatient of a delay that seemed fraught with so much additional danger, Heyward drew still nigher to the dusky 
The Last of the Mohicans

group, with an intention of making his offers of compensation more definite, when the white man, motioning with his hand, as if he conceded the disputed point, turned away, saying in a sort of soliloquy, and in the English tongue: ‘Uncas is right! it would not be the act of men to leave such harmless things to their fate, even though it breaks up the harboring place forever. If you would save these tender blossoms from the fangs of the worst of serpents, gentleman, you have neither time to lose nor resolution to throw away!’ ‘How can such a wish be doubted! Have I not already offered —‘ ‘Offer your prayers to Him who can give us wisdom to circumvent the cunning of the devils who fill these woods,’ calmly interrupted the scout, ‘but spare your offers of money, which neither you may live to realize, nor I to profit by. These Mohicans and I will do what man’s thoughts can invent, to keep such flowers, which, though so sweet, were never made for the wilderness, from harm, and that without hope of any other recompense but such as God always gives to upright dealings. First, you must promise two things, both in your own name and for your friends, or without serving you we shall only injure ourselves!’ ‘Name them.’ ‘The one is, to be still as these sleeping woods, let what will happen and the other is, to keep the place where we shall take you, forever a secret from all mortal men.’ ‘I will do my utmost to see both these conditions fulfilled.’
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‘Then follow, for we are losing moments that are as precious as the heart’s blood to a stricken deer!’ Heyward could distinguish the impatient gesture of the scout, through the increasing shadows of the evening, and he moved in his footsteps, swiftly, toward the place where he had left the remainder of the party. When they rejoined the expecting and anxious females, he briefly acquainted them with the conditions of their new guide, and with the necessity that existed for their hushing every apprehension in instant and serious exertions. Although his alarming communication was not received without much secret terror by the listeners, his earnest and impressive manner, aided perhaps by the nature of the danger, succeeded in bracing their nerves to undergo some unlooked-for and unusual trial. Silently, and without a moment’s delay, they permitted him to assist them from their saddles, and when they descended quickly to the water’s edge, where the scout had collected the rest of the party, more by the agency of expressive gestures than by any use of words. ‘What to do with these dumb creatures!’ muttered the white man, on whom the sole control of their future movements appeared to devolve; ‘it would be time lost to cut their throats, and cast them into the river; and to leave them here would be to tell the Mingoes that they have not far to seek to find their owners!’ ‘Then give them their bridles, and let them range the woods,’ Heyward ventured to suggest. ‘No; it would be better to mislead the imps, and make them believe they must equal a horse’s speed to run down 
The Last of the Mohicans

their chase. Ay, ay, that will blind their fireballs of eyes! Chingach—Hist! what stirs the bush?’ ‘The colt.’ ‘That colt, at least, must die,’ muttered the scout, grasping at the mane of the nimble beast, which easily eluded his hand; ‘Uncas, your arrows!’ ‘Hold!’ exclaimed the proprietor of the condemned animal, aloud, without regard to the whispering tones used by the others; ‘spare the foal of Miriam! it is the comely offspring of a faithful dam, and would willingly injure naught.’ ‘When men struggle for the single life God has given them,’ said the scout, sternly, ‘even their own kind seem no more than the beasts of the wood. If you speak again, I shall leave you to the mercy of the Maquas! Draw to your arrow’s head, Uncas; we have no time for second blows.’ The low, muttering sounds of his threatening voice were still audible, when the wounded foal, first rearing on its hinder legs, plunged forward to its knees. It was met by Chingachgook, whose knife passed across its throat quicker than thought, and then precipitating the motions of the struggling victim, he dashed into the river, down whose stream it glided away, gasping audibly for breath with its ebbing life. This deed of apparent cruelty, but of real necessity, fell upon the spirits of the travelers like a terrific warning of the peril in which they stood, heightened as it was by the calm though steady resolution of the actors in the scene. The sisters shuddered and clung closer to each other, while Heyward instinctively laid his hand on one
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of the pistols he had just drawn from their holsters, as he placed himself between his charge and those dense shadows that seemed to draw an impenetrable veil before the bosom of the forest. The Indians, however, hesitated not a moment, but taking the bridles, they led the frightened and reluctant horses into the bed of the river. At a short distance from the shore they turned, and were soon concealed by the projection of the bank, under the brow of which they moved, in a direction opposite to the course of the waters. In the meantime, the scout drew a canoe of bark from its place of concealment beneath some low bushes, whose branches were waving with the eddies of the current, into which he silently motioned for the females to enter. They complied without hesitation, though many a fearful and anxious glance was thrown behind them, toward the thickening gloom, which now lay like a dark barrier along the margin of the stream. So soon as Cora and Alice were seated, the scout, without regarding the element, directed Heyward to support one side of the frail vessel, and posting himself at the other, they bore it up against the stream, followed by the dejected owner of the dead foal. In this manner they proceeded, for many rods, in a silence that was only interrupted by the rippling of the water, as its eddies played around them, or the low dash made by their own cautious footsteps. Heyward yielded the guidance of the canoe implicitly to the scout, who approached or receded from the shore, to avoid the fragments of rocks, or deeper parts of the river, with a 
The Last of the Mohicans

readiness that showed his knowledge of the route they held. Occasionally he would stop; and in the midst of a breathing stillness, that the dull but increasing roar of the waterfall only served to render more impressive, he would listen with painful intenseness, to catch any sounds that might arise from the slumbering forest. When assured that all was still, and unable to detect, even by the aid of his practiced senses, any sign of his approaching foes, he would deliberately resume his slow and guarded progress. At length they reached a point in the river where the roving eye of Heyward became riveted on a cluster of black objects, collected at a spot where the high bank threw a deeper shadow than usual on the dark waters. Hesitating to advance, he pointed out the place to the attention of his companion. ‘Ay,’ returned the composed scout, ‘the Indians have hid the beasts with the judgment of natives! Water leaves no trail, and an owl’s eyes would be blinded by the darkness of such a hole.’ The whole party was soon reunited, and another consultation was held between the scout and his new comrades, during which, they, whose fates depended on the faith and ingenuity of these unknown foresters, had a little leisure to observe their situation more minutely. The river was confined between high and cragged rocks, one of which impended above the spot where the canoe rested. As these, again, were surmounted by tall trees, which appeared to totter on the brows of the precipice, it gave the stream the appearance of running through a deep and narrow dell. All beneath the fantastic limbs and ragged
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tree tops, which were, here and there, dimly painted against the starry zenith, lay alike in shadowed obscurity. Behind them, the curvature of the banks soon bounded the view by the same dark and wooded outline; but in front, and apparently at no great distance, the water seemed piled against the heavens, whence it tumbled into caverns, out of which issued those sullen sounds that had loaded the evening atmosphere. It seemed, in truth, to be a spot devoted to seclusion, and the sisters imbibed a soothing impression of security, as they gazed upon its romantic though not unappalling beauties. A general movement among their conductors, however, soon recalled them from a contemplation of the wild charms that night had assisted to lend the place to a painful sense of their real peril. The horses had been secured to some scattering shrubs that grew in the fissures of the rocks, where, standing in the water, they were left to pass the night. The scout directed Heyward and his disconsolate fellow travelers to seat themselves in the forward end of the canoe, and took possession of the other himself, as erect and steady as if he floated in a vessel of much firmer materials. The Indians warily retraced their steps toward the place they had left, when the scout, placing his pole against a rock, by a powerful shove, sent his frail bark directly into the turbulent stream. For many minutes the struggle between the light bubble in which they floated and the swift current was severe and doubtful. Forbidden to stir even a hand, and almost afraid to breath, lest they should expose the frail fabric to the fury of the stream, the passengers watched the glancing waters 
The Last of the Mohicans

in feverish suspense. Twenty times they thought the whirling eddies were sweeping them to destruction, when the masterhand of their pilot would bring the bows of the canoe to stem the rapid. A long, a vigorous, and, as it appeared to the females, a desperate effort, closed the struggle. Just as Alice veiled her eyes in horror, under the impression that they were about to be swept within the vortex at the foot of the cataract, the canoe floated, stationary, at the side of a flat rock, that lay on a level with the water. ‘Where are we, and what is next to be done!’ demanded Heyward, perceiving that the exertions of the scout had ceased. ‘You are at the foot of Glenn’s,’ returned the other, speaking aloud, without fear of consequences within the roar of the cataract; ‘and the next thing is to make a steady landing, lest the canoe upset, and you should go down again the hard road we have traveled faster than you came up; ‘tis a hard rift to stem, when the river is a little swelled; and five is an unnatural number to keep dry, in a hurry-skurry, with a little birchen bark and gum. There, go you all on the rock, and I will bring up the Mohicans with the venison. A man had better sleep without his scalp, than famish in the midst of plenty.’ His passengers gladly complied with these directions. As the last foot touched the rock, the canoe whirled from its station, when the tall form of the scout was seen, for an instant, gliding above the waters, before it disappeared in the impenetrable darkness that rested on the bed of the river. Left by their guide, the travelers remained a few minutes in
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helpless ignorance, afraid even to move along the broken rocks, lest a false step should precipitate them down some one of the many deep and roaring caverns, into which the water seemed to tumble, on every side of them. Their suspense, however, was soon relieved; for, aided by the skill of the natives, the canoe shot back into the eddy, and floated again at the side of the low rock, before they thought the scout had even time to rejoin his companions. ‘We are now fortified, garrisoned, and provisioned,’ cried Heyward cheerfully, ‘and may set Montcalm and his allies at defiance. How, now, my vigilant sentinel, can see anything of those you call the Iroquois, on the main land!’ ‘I call them Iroquois, because to me every native, who speaks a foreign tongue, is accounted an enemy, though he may pretend to serve the king! If Webb wants faith and honesty in an Indian, let him bring out the tribes of the Delawares, and send these greedy and lying Mohawks and Oneidas, with their six nations of varlets, where in nature they belong, among the French!’ ‘We should then exchange a warlike for a useless friend! I have heard that the Delawares have laid aside the hatchet, and are content to be called women!’ ‘Aye, shame on the Hollanders and Iroquois, who circumvented them by their deviltries, into such a treaty! But I have known them for twenty years, and I call him liar that says cowardly blood runs in the veins of a Delaware. You have driven their tribes from the seashore, and would now believe what their enemies say, that you may sleep at night upon an easy pillow. No, no; to me, every Indian who 
0 The Last of the Mohicans

speaks a foreign tongue is an Iroquois, whether the castle* of his tribe be in Canada, or be in York.’ * The principal villages of the Indians are still called ‘castles’ by the whites of New York. ‘Oneida castle’ is no more than a scattered hamlet; but the name is in general use. Heyward, perceiving that the stubborn adherence of the scout to the cause of his friends the Delawares, or Mohicans, for they were branches of the same numerous people, was likely to prolong a useless discussion, changed the subject. ‘Treaty or no treaty, I know full well that your two companions are brave and cautious warriors! have they heard or seen anything of our enemies!’ ‘An Indian is a mortal to be felt afore he is seen,’ returned the scout, ascending the rock, and throwing the deer carelessly down. ‘I trust to other signs than such as come in at the eye, when I am outlying on the trail of the Mingoes.’ ‘Do your ears tell you that they have traced our retreat?’ ‘I should be sorry to think they had, though this is a spot that stout courage might hold for a smart scrimmage. I will not deny, however, but the horses cowered when I passed them, as though they scented the wolves; and a wolf is a beast that is apt to hover about an Indian ambushment, craving the offals of the deer the savages kill.’ ‘You forget the buck at your feet! or, may we not owe their visit to the dead colt? Ha! what noise is that?’ ‘Poor Miriam!’ murmured the stranger; ‘thy foal was foreordained to become a prey to ravenous beasts!’ Then, suddenly lifting up his voice, amid the eternal din of the waters, he sang aloud: ‘First born of Egypt, smite did he, Of
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was busied in collecting certain necessary implements. ‘but it’s a good sign to see a man account upon his dumb friends. and let the carcass drive down the stream. and with such a consolation. reverting to the purport of Heyward’s last remark. as he concluded.’ he continued. and of beast also: O. while making his remarks.’ The scout. it won’t be long afore he submits to the rationality of killing a four-footed beast to save the lives of human men. He has the religion of the matter. It may be as you say. though the Delaware tongue is the same as a book to the Iroquois. or we shall have the pack howling along the cliffs.’ said the scout. when the whole three disappeared in succession. On Pharaoh and his servants too!’ ‘The death of the colt sits heavy on the heart of its owner. seeming to vanish against the dark face of a perpendicular rock that rose to the height of a few yards. within as many feet of the water’s edge. in believing what is to happen will happen. ‘and the greater the reason why we should cut our steaks. begrudging every mouthful we swallow. he moved silently by the group of travelers.mankind. the cunning varlets are quick enough at understanding the reason of a wolf’s howl. Egypt! wonders sent ‘midst thee. who seemed to comprehend his intentions with instinctive readiness.  The Last of the Mohicans . accompanied by the Mohicans. Besides.

holding a blazing knot of pine. deep cavern in the rock. and strong antipathies. were all causes for exciting distrust in minds that had been so recently alarmed by Indian treachery. he says. and laid bare the much-prized secret of the place. blunt address.Chapter 6 ‘Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide. The Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The stranger alone disregarded the passing incidents. And ‘Let us worship God’. whence he gave no other signs of consciousness than by the struggles of his spirit.’—Burns H eyward and his female companions witnessed this mysterious movement with secret uneasiness. was seated the scout. with solemn air. whose length appeared much extended by the perspective and the nature of the light by which it was seen. He wales a portion with judicious care. At the further extremity of a narrow. He seated himself on a projection of the rocks. as manifested in frequent and heavy sighs. for. as though men called to each other in the bowels of the  . his rude equipments. together with the character of his silent associates. though the conduct of the white man had hitherto been above reproach. Smothered voices were next heard. when a sudden light flashed upon those without.

that by turns usurped the possession of his muscular features. Though his person was more than usually screened by a green and fringed huntingshirt. as the proud and determined.strong glare of the fire fell full upon his sturdy. and the singular compound of quick. seen by the sober light of day. though wild expression of the features of the young warrior forced itself on their notice. but it could not be one who would willingly devote his rich natural gifts to the purposes of wanton treachery. lending an air of romantic wildness to the aspect of an individual. alike terrible and calm. The ingenuous Alice gazed  The Last of the Mohicans . bared to the generous scalping tuft. flexible figure of the young Mohican. vigilant sagacity. and of exquisite simplicity. or to the dignified elevation of his receding forehead. weather-beaten countenance and forest attire. glancing. together with all the finest proportions of a noble head. It was the first opportunity possessed by Duncan and his companions to view the marked lineaments of either of their Indian attendants. the iron-like inflexibility of his frame. the bold outline of his high. like that of the white man. pure in their native red. At a little distance in advance stood Uncas. fearless eye. his whole person thrown powerfully into view. who. They felt it might be a being partially benighted in the vale of ignorance. The travelers anxiously regarded the upright. and each individual of the party felt relieved from a burden of doubt. haughty features. graceful and unrestrained in the attitudes and movements of nature. there was no concealment to his dark. would have exhibited the peculiarities of a man remarkable for the strangeness of his dress.

for the honor of our common nature. but let us not practice a deception upon ourselves. those cruel murders. ‘I could sleep in peace. ‘with such a fearless and generous-looking youth for my sentinel. a brave and constant friend. Let us then hope that this Mohican may not disappoint our wishes. of which we read and hear so much. Duncan. are never acted in the presence of such as he!’ ‘This certainly is a rare and brilliant instance of those natural qualities in which these peculiar people are said to his free air and proud carriage. though. neither are incapable of producing them.’ said Cora. as she would have looked upon some precious relic of the Grecian chisel. though accustomed to see the perfection of form which abounds among the uncorrupted natives. openly expressed his admiration at such an unblemished specimen of the noblest proportions of man. but prove what his looks assert him to be. while Heyward.’ he answered. remembers the shade of his skin?’ A short and apparently an embarrassed silence succeedFree eBooks at Planet eBook. by expecting any other exhibition of what we esteem virtue than according to the fashion of the savage. those terrific scenes of torture. in reply. ‘who that looks at this creature of  .’ ‘Now Major Heyward speaks as Major Heyward should. so are they singular and solitary with the Indians. ‘I agree with you.’ whispered Alice. As bright examples of great qualities are but too uncommon among Christians. to which life had been imparted by the intervention of a miracle. Surely. Alice. in thinking that such a front and eye were formed rather to intimidate than to deceive.

but which sends up a sweeter flavor. friend. Come. Most of them are of local use. the scout uses the word with immediate reference to the ‘salt. ‘twas an innocent thing. ‘and might light the Mingoes to our undoing.ed this remark. These provincial terms are frequently put in the mouths of the speakers. as they complied.’ he continued. aloud. and had not seen much hardship. Uncas. too*. Its death will save the creature many a sore back and weary foot!’ * In vulgar parlance the condiments of a repast are called by the American ‘a relish. the roar of the cataract sounded like the rumbling of distant thunder. to enter. drop the blanket. than the skin of any hog can do.’ substituting the thing for its effect. we have plenty of salt.  The Last of the Mohicans . which was interrupted by the scout calling to them. In the present instance. but I’ve known stout detachments of the corps glad to eat their venison raw. ‘This fire begins to show too bright a flame. don’t be mournful for the colt. This is not such a supper as a major of the Royal Americans has a right to expect. Uncas did as the other had directed.’ with which his own party was so fortunate as to be provided. There’s fresh sassafras boughs for the ladies to sit on. you see. according to their several conditions in life. and show the knaves its dark side. which may not be as proud as their my-hog-guinea chairs. be it of Guinea. Here. and can make a quick broil. and when the voice of Hawkeye ceased. or be it of any other land. and without a relish. and others quite peculiar to the particular class of men to which the character belongs.

com  . the fall was once a few yards below us. and I dare to say was. who. with the assurance it was only their attendant. as this appalling object moved into the light. Chingachgook. some hundred feet. and seizing a blazing brand. lifting another blanket. holding the brand. was open to the heavens. Then. But old age is a great injury to good looks. and in some places they are softer than at othersome.’ said Hawkeye. well. would hold us at his mercy. he crossed a deep. ‘Is there no danger of surprise? A single armed man. Alice uttered a faint shriek. ‘Such old foxes as Chingachgook and myself are not often caught in a barrow with one hole.‘Are we quite safe in this cavern?’ demanded Heyward. but which. in its time. laughing. it makes no uncomfortable pillow. which everybody knows is soft. at its entrance. answering to the description of the first. as these sweet young ladies have yet to l’arn! The place is sadly changed! These rocks are full of cracks. as regular and as handsome a sheet of water as any along the Hudson. breaking Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and even Cora rose to her feet. narrow chasm in the rocks which ran at right angles with the passage they were in. held it toward the further extremity of their place of retreat. but a single word from Heyward calmed them. where brush and pine wood is scarce. discovered that the cavern had two outlets.’ A spectral-looking figure stalked from out of the darkness behind the scout. ‘you can easily see the cunning of the place—the rock is black limestone. and entered another cave. ay. and the water has worked out deep hollows for itself. unlike that. in every essential particular. until it has fallen back.

that rumble and crush the ‘arth. but where. and the river above and below. It falls by no rule at all. If you had daylight. ‘Why. The rock proved softer on each side of us. and thereaways.’ ‘In what part of them are we?’ asked Heyward. they were too rebellious to stay. nor are there places wanting where it looks backward. sometimes it tumbles. in one place ‘tis white as snow. we are nigh the spot that Providence first placed them at. to little spots I can show you. hereabouts.’ ‘We are then on an island!’ ‘Ay! there are the falls on two sides of us. it seems. sometimes it leaps. to mingle with the salt. it would try its hand at everything. as if having broke loose from order. the fine cobweb-looking cloth you wear at your throat is coarse. and look at the perversity of the water. there it skips. until the falls have neither shape nor consistency. here it shoots. first working out these two little holes for us to hide in. it pitches into deep hollows. and so they left the center of the river bare and dry. lady. And yet what does it amount to! After the water has been suffered so to  The Last of the Mohicans . where the river fabricates all sorts of images. as if ‘twas no harder than trodden clay. as if unwilling to leave the wilderness. The whole design of the river seems disconcerted. it ripples and sings like a brook. First it runs smoothly. and like a fishnet. and in another ‘tis green as grass. as if meaning to go down the descent as things were ordered. then it angles about and faces the and wearing there. it would be worth the trouble to step up on the height of this rock. Ay. fashioning whirlpools and gullies in the old stone.

* Glenn’s Falls are on the Hudson. like a headstrong man.have its will. it is gathered together by the hand that made it. is sufficiently correct. The description of this picturesque and remarkable little cataract. they now suffered their attention to be drawn to the necessary though more vulgar consideration of their supper. immediately above the fall. as the scout had not found it necessary to cease his culinary labors while he spoke. flowing on steadily toward the sea. it should be remembered that men always prize that most which is least enjoyed. But they were not in a situation to suffer their thoughts to dwell on the charms of natural objects. as given by the scout. the woods and other objects. of its wild beauties. unless to point out. which in an old country would be maintained at great cost. since the former sustains the pier of a bridge. with a broken fork. are got rid of. though the application of the water to uses of civilized life has materially injured its beauties.* they were much inclined to judge differently from Hawkeye. in a new country. for a time. some forty or fifty miles above the head of tide. which is now thrown across the  . The rocky island and the two caverns are known to every traveler. or that place where the river becomes navigable for sloops. the direction of some particularly obnoxious point in the rebellious stream. In explanation of the taste of Hawkeye. Thus. simply with a view of ‘improving’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and. as was foreordained from the first foundation of the ‘arth!’ While his auditors received a cheering assurance of the security of their place of concealment from this untutored description of Glenn’s. and a few rods below you may see it all.

was exceedingly refreshing to the weary party. he might have fancied that the services of the young chief were not entirely impartial. that it never failed to cause both ladies to look up in admiration and astonishment. that served to establish the appearance of an amicable intercourse between the parties. in performing the same offices to her sister. Once or twice he was compelled to speak. who well knew that it was an utter innovation on the Indian customs. In the course of these civilities. a few sentences were exchanged. That while he tendered to Alice the gourd of sweet water. As the rights of hospitality were. with sufficient courtesy. Had there been one there sufficiently disengaged to become a close observer. to command her attention of those he served. broken and imperfect. which forbid their warriors to descend to any menial employment. Uncas acted as attendant to the females. however. and the venison in a trencher. his dark eye lingered on her rich. with a mixture of dignity and anxious grace. by his deep. this little departure from the dignity of manhood excited no audible comment. but sufficiently intelligible. performing all the little offices within his power. especially in favor of their it is called. and which he rendered so mild and musical. In such cases he made use of English. speaking countenance. that served to amuse Heyward. neatly carved from the knot of the pepperidge. guttural voice. which was greatly aided by the addition of a few delicacies that Heyward had the precaution to bring with him when they left their horses. considered sacred among them. The repast. 0 The Last of the Mohicans .

He had seated himself more within the circle of light. Twenty times the gourd or the venison was suspended before his lips. roving eye of the scout seldom rested. with the difference that might be expected from age and hardships. As these frequent pauses were never followed by any remark.’ said Hawkeye. They found a strong resemblance between father and son. the quick. It was. while his head was turned aside. The fierceness of his countenance now seemed to slumber. and in its place was to be seen the quiet. when his faculties are not required for any of the greater purposes of his existence. and for a time was forgotten. the momentary uneasiness they created quickly passed away. to a recollection of the alarming reasons that had driven them to seek it. On the other hand. in order to give full effect to the terrific device which he had adopted to intimidate his enemies. uneasy glances of his guests were better enabled to separate the natural expression of his face from the artificial terrors of the war paint. and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. by the occasional gleams that shot across his swarthy visage. that it was only necessary to arouse his passions. drawing out a keg from beneath a cover of leaves. the gravity of Chingcachgook remained immovable. as though he listened to some distant and distrusted sounds—a movement that never failed to recall his guests from regarding the novelties of their situation. where the frequent. ‘Come. but his vigilance seemed never to desert him. toward the close of the repast. vacant composure which distinguishes an Indian warrior. He ate and drank with an appetite that no sense of danger could 1 . friend. easy to be seen. however.In the meanwhile.

‘A very good name. Patience. The biggest coward I ever knew as called Lyon. preparing to wash down his sorrows in a powerful draught of the woodsman’s high-flavored and well-laced compound. but that he understands the windings and turnings of human natur’. he generally is—not that Chingachgook. handed down from honest forefathers. I dare say. and quicken the life in your bosom.’ ‘You might be better employed. and strikes his enemies when they least expect him. big or little. doing great justice to his culinary skill. Can you use the smoothbore. or handle the rifle?’  The Last of the Mohicans . I’m an admirator of names. which signifies Big Sarpent. and. How do you name yourself?’ ‘Gamut—David Gamut. ‘try a little spruce.addressing the stranger who sat at his elbow.’ ‘Anan!’ ‘I teach singing to the youths of the Connecticut levy. With an Indian ‘tis a matter of conscience. What may be your calling?’ ‘I am an unworthy instructor in the art of psalmody. is really a snake.’ returned the singing master. hoping that a little horse-flesh may leave no heart-burnings atween us. though the Christian fashions fall far below savage customs in this particular. I drink to our better friendship. would scold you out of hearing in less time than a hunted deer would run a rod. what he calls himself. when they ought not to breathe louder than a fox in his cover. and is silent. and his wife. The young hounds go laughing and singing too much already through the woods. ‘twill wash away all thoughts of the colt.

Let us hear what you can do in that way. with tidings for the general. friend. in the pride of the morning. after a day of such exceeding jeopardy!’ Alice smiled. for ‘tis time that these ladies should be getting strength for a hard and a long push. but. Well. I suppose it is your gift. ‘twill be a friendly manner of saying good-night.’ ‘With joyful pleasure do I consent’.’ ‘Never. and lay down the watercourses and mountains of the wilderness on paper. and producing his beloved little volume. she blushed and hesitated. I have never had occasion to meddle with murderous implements!’ ‘Perhaps you understand the compass. like a catbird.‘Praised be God. with an inward laugh. ‘What can be more fitting and consolatory. in order that they who follow may find places by their given names?’ ‘I practice no such employment. regarding  . adjusting his iron-rimmed spectacles. and mustn’t be denied any more than if ‘twas shooting. afore the Maquas are stirring. mocking all the ups and downs that may happen to come out of other men’s throats. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘to go through life. I follow no other than my own high vocation.’ ‘You have a pair of legs that might make a long path seem short! you journey sometimes. which is instruction in sacred music!’ ‘Tis a strange calling!’ muttered Hawkeye. which he immediately tendered to Alice. I fancy. said David. or some other better inclination. than to offer up evening praise.

while his recollection was carried back to boyhood. who had placed his chin in his hand. as verse succeeded verse. every crevice and cranny of which was filled with the thrilling notes of their flexible voices. Cora betrayed a disposition to support her sister. until. The air was solemn and slow. and her keen relish for gentle sounds. ‘ought not the suggestion of the worthy namesake of the Psalmist to have its weight at such a moment?’ Encouraged by his opinion. The Indians riveted their eyes on the rocks. gradually suffered his rigid features to relax. At times it rose to the fullest compass of the rich voices of the females. But the scout. who hung over their little book in holy excitement. The book was open at a hymn not ill adapted to their situation. The natural taste and true ear of David governed and modified the sounds to suit the confined cavern. and the sacred song proceeded. that the rushing of the waters ran through their melody. had discovered some chastened and respectable powers. in the settlements of the  The Last of the Mohicans . like a hollow accompaniment. he felt his iron nature subdued. had before so strongly urged. and the tune had been duly attended to by the methodical David. and listened with an attention that seemed to turn them into stone. and again it sank so low.‘Indulge yourself. with an expression of cold indifference. when his ears had been accustomed to listen to similar sounds of praise.’ he whispered. and in which the poet. no longer goaded by his desire to excel the inspired King of Israel. after the indispensable preliminaries of the pitchpipe. Alice did what her pious inclinations.

but this has proved that I was only a vain and conceited mortal. then. ‘What it is. His roving eyes began to moisten. rose in the outward air. that my ears had not heard. which the ear devours with such greedy rapture. It was followed by a stillness apparently as deep as if the waters had been checked in their furious progress. the scout first spoke in English. earnestly. When he had  . though two of us have ranged the woods for more than thirty years. At length they spoke together. The singers were dwelling on one of those low. dying chords. and before the hymn was ended scalding tears rolled out of fountains that had long seemed dry. as if expecting the sound would be repeated. ‘What is it?’ repeated Hewyard aloud. none here can tell. as if conscious that it is about to lose them. passing by the inner and most concealed aperture. the shout the warriors make when they Free eBooks at Planet eBook. at such a horrid and unusual interruption. Neither Hawkeye nor the Indians made any reply. after a few moments of terrible suspense. that seemed neither human nor earthly. and followed each other down those cheeks. penetrating not only the recesses of the cavern. ‘What is it?’ murmured Alice. but to the inmost hearts of all who heard it. in the Delaware language. I did believe there was no cry that Indian or beast could make. when a cry. cautiously left the cavern.’ ‘Was it not.colony. They listened. that had oftener felt the storms of heaven than any testimonials of weakness. with a manner that expressed their own astonishment. or what it is not. when Uncas.

no. Heyward took with him a blazing knot. which threw a dim light through the narrow vista of their new apartment. in a manner which showed how deeply he brooded on the unaccountable interruption which had broken up their evening devotions.’ continued Hawkeye. with a steadiness that taught the more timid Alice the necessity of obedience. Pass into the other cave. ‘and our hiding-place is still in darkness. she whispered a request to Duncan. while the Mingoes are taking their morning nap. you that need it. ‘No. we must be afoot long before the sun. this was bad. shaking his head in discontent. they saw the scout seated again before the dying embers. being given in the same tongue. but when you once hear the war-whoop. he joined the females. that he would follow. and seek for sleep. Placing it in a favorable position. ‘There is nothing to be seen without. ‘what see you? do our lights shine through the blankets?’ The answer was short. and make the most of our time to get to Edward. with his face resting on his hands. and as the sisters turned to thank him for this act of attention. and apparently decided. with a calmness to which her agitated sister was a stranger. Before leaving the place.wish to intimidate their enemies?’ asked Cora who stood drawing her veil about her person. and shocking. however. Uncas!’ speaking in Delaware to the young chief as he re-entered. you will never mistake it for anything else. Uncas raised the blanket for their passage. who  The Last of the Mohicans .’ Cora set the example of compliance. Well. and had a sort of unhuman sound.

who had placed herself by the side of Alice.’ he  . against any danger from that quarter. and removing the thick screen. ‘and as you know that good men and true are on guard in front I see no reason why the advice of our honest host should be disregarded.’ He approached the further end of the cavern.’ he continued. as he believed. breathed the fresh and reviving air from the cataract. to an outlet. which its current had worn in the soft found themselves alone with him for the first time since they had left the friendly ramparts of Fort Edward. ‘Leave us not. Heyward. ‘Nature has made an impenetrable barrier on this side. on a couch of sassafras.’ said Alice: ‘we cannot sleep in such a place as this. a few rods above them. Ask yourself. like the others.’ ‘First let us examine into the security of your fortress.’ returned the elder sister. though we had been spared the shock of this mysterious noise. which. can daughters forget the anxFree eBooks at Planet eBook. directly beneath his feet. with that horrid cry still ringing in our ears. ‘and then we will speak of rest. forming an effectual defense. Duncan. ‘there would be other causes to chase away sleep. I am certain Cora will join me in saying that sleep is necessary to you both. was concealed by blankets. plunging. glancing. pointing down the perpendicular declivity into the dark current before he dropped the blanket. One arm of the river flowed through a deep.’ ‘Cora may submit to the justice of your opinion though she cannot put it in practice. and sweeping along in its most violent and broken manner. narrow ravine. the water.

‘and I will not balk it. that I may not presume to use. he said. whose children lodge he knows not where or how.’ ‘He is a father. Duncan’. Heyward?’ demanded Alice. though the latter. that however others might neglect him in his strait his children at least were faithful. would show but half her firmness’!’ ‘And did he not speak of me. ‘surely. Would to God. but I would have proved to him. ‘there was a powerful struggle in his bosom between fear and love. kindly. in urging our visit at such hazard. if possible. for while his eyes were rivet The Last of the Mohicans .’ returned the young man. with jealous affection. by so long a separation.’ said Heyward. I can warmly testify. and cannot deny his nature.’ ‘When he heard of your arrival at Edward. he forgot not altogether his little Elsie?’ ‘That were impossible. ‘he called you by a thousand endearing epithets. that he who holds the honor of our royal master in his guardianship. and in the midst of so many perils?’ ‘He is a soldier. in such a wilderness. but to the justice of which. indeed. heightened. ‘It is the spirit of my nobleminded Cora that leads them. he said—‘ Duncan ceased speaking. Once. how tender and indulgent to all my wishes!’ sobbed Alice.iety a father must endure. ‘We have been selfish. sister. quickly prevailed. and knows how to estimate the chances of the woods.’ ‘How kind has he ever been to all my follies.’ ‘I may have been rash in pressing his consent in a moment of much embarrassment.

horrid cry. the same  . Free eBooks at Planet eBook. to catch his words. filled the air. during which each looked at the others in fearful expectation of hearing the sound repeated. breathless silence succeeded. At length. and the scout stood in the aperture with a countenance whose firmness evidently began to give way before a mystery that seemed to threaten some danger.ed on those of Alice. and rendered him mute. as before. the blanket was slowly raised. against which all his cunning and experience might prove of no avail. A long. who had turned toward him with the eagerness of filial affection.

and gives them out for man’s information.’ said Hawkeye ‘when such sounds are raised in the forest.’ Gray ‘T would be neglecting a warning that is given for our good to lie hid any longer.Chapter 7 ‘They do not sleep.’ ‘Is. unto rebellion against His will.’ continued the undisturbed Cora. ‘are you certain that our enemies have not invented some new 0 The Last of the Mohicans . my friend. was I to burrow with such warnings in the air! Even the weak soul who passes his days in singing is stirred by the cry. and easily managed. where I suppose a major of the Sixtieth would wish to keep us company. I should think myself wicked. our danger so pressing?’ asked Cora. then. and. are confined to such as proceed from supernatural causes. but the Mohicans and I will watch upon the rock. but I have heard that when such shrieks are atween heaven and ‘arth. we have but little occasion to be alarmed. it would be a thing understood by us all. is ‘ready to go forth to the battle’ If ‘twere only a battle. I see them sit. a grizzly band. ‘He who makes strange sounds. as he says. These gentle ones may keep close. alone knows our danger. it betokens another sort of warfare!’ ‘If all our reasons for fear. On yonder cliffs.

but never have I thought that I heard more than the pleasure of him who sported with the things of his hand. nor any invention of the devilish Mingoes. by exchanging the pent air of the hiding-place for the cool and invigorating atmosphere which played around the whirlpools and pitches of the cataract. whence it issued heavily and constant. solemnly. Lead the way.’ returned the scout. like thunFree eBooks at Planet eBook. believe it a sign given for our good. There is no whine of the panther. no whistle of the catbird. ‘I have listened to all the sounds of the woods for thirty years. A heavy evening breeze swept along the surface of the river. and I have heard the lightning cracking in the air like the snapping of blazing brush as it spitted forth sparks and forked 1 . therefore. We. that their conquest may become more easy?’ ‘Lady. But neither the Mohicans. have I listened to the wind playing its music in the branches of the girdled trees.’ On issuing from their place of confinement. who am a white man without a cross. and again. and seemed to drive the roar of the falls into the recesses of their own cavern. it must be looked to. can explain the cry just heard.and ingenious method to strike us with terror. taking his pistols from the place where he had laid them on entering. my friend. I follow. that can cheat me! I have heard the forest moan like mortal men in their affliction. nor I. the whole party instantly experienced a grateful renovation of spirits. as a man will listen whose life and death depend on the quickness of his ears.’ ‘It is extraordinary!’ said Heyward. often. ‘be it a sign of peace or a signal of war.

der rumbling beyond the distant hills. at any other moment. then. but the extremity of the rock where they stood still lay in shadow. the scene was as still as night and solitude could make it. may be made conducive to enjoyment—‘ ‘Listen!’ interrupted Alice. and its light was already glancing here and there on the waters above them. ‘Here is nothing to be seen but the gloom and quiet of a lovely evening. as it murmured past them in fitful currents.’ said Duncan. and all this breathing solitude. ‘I know the sound full well. for myself. ‘how much should we prize such a scene. In vain were the eyes of each individual bent along the opposite shores. Their anxious and eager looks were baffled by the deceptive light. that might explain the nature of the interruption they had heard. let him speak. I judge it not to belong to ‘arth!’ ‘Here. ‘Can any here give a name to such a cry?’ demanded Hawkeye. or rested only on naked rocks. Cora! Fancy yourselves in security. perhaps. when the last echo was lost in the woods. is one who can undeceive you. was heard undulating through the forest. as if from the bed of the river. increases your terror. The moon had risen. in quest of some signs of life.’ whispered Duncan. in distant and dying cadences. ‘if so. and what now. The caution was unnecessary. With the exception of the sounds produced by the rushing waters. for often have I heard it on the  The Last of the Mohicans . and an occasional breathing of the air. and straight and immovable trees. and having broken out of the narrow bounds of the cliffs. Once more the same sound arose.

when a long howl was raised on the edge of the river. at the same time that they get rid of old ones. but in the open air I know it too well to be wrong. of their own accord. ‘hugh!’ as the truth first glanced upon their minds. though born where they abound. and the timorsome creatures are calling on man for help. and leave us without horses in the morning. and the three foresters held another of their Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Tis the horrid shriek that a horse will give in his agony. though sometimes in terror. ‘for I am little skilled in horses. or fear may do what the wolves can’t get at to perform.field of battle. and whirl a brand among the pack. as though the beasts. after a short. receded. which had proved disagreeable inmates. The two latter uttered their usual expressive exclamation. musing pause. Uncas. and in situations which are frequent in a soldier’s life.’ The scout and his companions listened to this simple explanation with the interest of men who imbibe new ideas. and was borne swiftly off into the depths of the forest. drop down in the canoe. in the best manner they are able. without the power to avoid it. were abandoning their prey in sudden terror. took upon himself to reply. with instinctive quickness. The sound might deceive me in the cavern. while the former. or he sees his danger. The wolves must be hovering above their heads on the  . ‘I cannot deny your words.’ he said. oftener drawn from him in pain. Uncas’ — he spoke in Delaware — ‘Uncas. when we shall have so much need to journey swiftly!’ The young native had already descended to the water to comply. My charger is either a prey to the beasts of the forest.

and. In such circumstances.low. This feeling seemed also common to the natives. though it would be better. perhaps. that he was prepared to meet them with the energy of his hardy nature. though no longer distinguished by any signs of unmanly apprehension. while their own persons were effectually concealed from observation. common prudence dictated that Heyward and his companions should imitate a caution that proceeded from so intelligent a source. if each one held discourse with his own thoughts. and from whom the sun has been hid for days. ‘now we begin again to know the signs of our course. who were thus protected by the rocks from any missiles. it was occupied by the sisters. It was evident that his momentary weakness had vanished with the explanation of a mystery which his own experience had not served to fathom. and the paths are cleared from briers! Seat yourselves in the shade which the moon throws from yonder beech — ‘tis thicker than that of the pines — and let us wait for that which the Lord may choose to send next. Let all your conversation be in whispers. ‘We have been like hunters who have lost the points of the heavens. wiser.’ The manner of the scout was seriously impressive. turning away from his companions. The young man drew a pile of the sassafras from the cave. who placed themselves in positions which commanded a full view of both shores. earnest conferences.’ said Hawkeye. for a time. while their  The Last of the Mohicans . and placing it in the chasm which separated the two caverns. and though he now felt all the realities of their actual condition. in the end.

The moon reached the zenith. In this manner hours passed without further interruption. without intermission. Heyward himself was posted at hand. while David. But the watchfulness of these vigilant protectors neither tired nor slumbered. Not a sound escaped them. the most subtle examination could not have told they breathed. in short. however.anxiety was relieved by the assurance that no danger could approach without a warning. and a pale streak above the treetops. bestowed his person in such a manner among the fissures of the rocks. in uncontrollable drowsiness. continued without any apparent consequences. in imitation of the woodsmen. Immovable as that rock. and then suffered his own head to seek a pillow on the rock. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. along the dark margin of trees. at the bend of the river a little below. they lay. that bounded the adjacent shores of the narrow stream. It was evident that this excess of caution proceeded from an experience that no subtlety on the part of their enemies could deceive. all but Hawkeye and the Mohicans lost every idea of consciousness. announced the approach of day. that his ungainly limbs were no longer offensive to the eye. until the moon had set. with their eyes roving. of which each appeared to form a part. and shed its mild light perpendicularly on the lovely sight of the sisters slumbering peacefully in each other’s arms. It  . Duncan cast the wide shawl of Cora before a spectacle he so much loved to contemplate. David began to utter sounds that would have shocked his delicate organs in more wakeful moments. so near that he might communicate with his companions without raising his voice to a dangerous elevation.

It seemed.’ ‘Have you had a quiet night?’ said Heyward.Then. The cries came from no particular direction.’ ‘All is yet still as midnight. for near a minute.’ whispered the youth. and were venting their savage humors in barbarous sounds. in her soft. and be ready to get into the canoe when I bring it to the landing-place. and the form of the other standing upright before him. The motion caused Cora to raise her hand as if to repulse him. Be silent. but be quick. Hawkeye was seen to stir. and while life continues or danger remains. ‘No. while Alice murmured. ‘for myself. we were not deserted. ‘Now is the time to journey. While the words were still on the lips of Heyward.’ By this time Duncan was thoroughly awake. and he immediately lifted the shawl from the sleeping females. ‘awake the gentle ones. Cora! Alice! awake! The hour has come to move!’ A loud shriek from the younger of the sisters. I believe sleep has got the better of my vigilance. sweet innocence. was the unexpected answer he received. though it was evident they filled the woods. in bewildered horror.’ he whispered. for the first time. as if the demons of hell had possessed themselves of the air about them. there had arisen such a tumult of yells and cries as served to drive the swift currents of his own blood back from its bounding course into the fountains of his heart. gentle voice. no.  The Last of the Mohicans . he will never quit thee. ‘Duncan is here. dear father. He crawled along the rock and shook Duncan from his heavy slumbers. Duncan was with us!’ ‘Yes. and.

and left the unfortunate singing master senseless on that rock where he had been so long the appalled listeners easily imagined. which he bore within the shelter of the narrow chasm that protected the sisters. The Mohicans boldly sent back the intimidating yell of their enemies. but either party was too well skilled to leave even a limb exposed to the hostile aim. The flash of rifles was then quick and close between them. blended with a shriek of agony. followed this incautious exposure of his person. At this slight repulse the assailants instantly withdrew. David raised his tall person in the midst of the infernal din. the caverns of the falls. the rocks. announced that the messenger of death sent from the fatal weapon of  . believing that flight was now their only refuge. but the canoe was nowhere to be seen on its dark waters. that man should utter sounds like these!’ The bright flashes and the quick reports of a dozen rifles. had found a victim. Duncan listened with intense anxiety for the strokes of the paddle. and a fierce yell. Duncan seized the favorable moment to spring to the body of Gamut. and the upper air. exclaiming: ‘Whence comes this discord! Has hell broke loose. from the opposite banks of the stream. with a hand on either ear. and gradually the place became as still as before the sudden tumult. who raised a shout of savage triumph at the fall of Gamut. the bed of the river. as a stream of flame issued from the rock beneath them. He had just fancied they were cruelly deserted by their scout. The river glanced by with its ordinary velocity. In another minute the Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

as I doubt whether he can find a proper cover for such a shape on these rocks. to the raging savages. Our main hope. and ‘tis their fashion.whole party was collected in this spot of comparative safety. the attack will be renewed?’ asked Heyward. then. and lay him on the sassafras. I only wonder he has escaped with life. to fall back. and master our scalps.’ returned Hawkeye. and fail in the surprise. ‘The poor fellow has saved his scalp. ‘Carry him in. coolly passing his hand over the head of David. raising his rugged countenance. ‘Do I expect a hungry wolf will satisfy his craving with a mouthful! They have lost a man.’ ‘You believe. and after he has slept awhile he will come to himself. when they meet a loss. ‘but he is a proof that a man may be born with too long a tongue! ‘Twas downright madness to show six feet of flesh and blood. casting another oblique glance at the insensible body. across which a  The Last of the Mohicans . with new expedients to circumvent us. on a naked rock.’ he continued. and be a wiser man for it.’ said Hawkeye. but we shall have them on again. while he filled his charger with admirable nicety. ‘Can we do aught to assist the wretched man?’ ‘No. till the hour of his real time shall come. in a voice whose husky tones showed how powerfully natural horror struggled with her assumed firmness. The longer his nap lasts the better it will be for him. Uncas. no! the life is in his heart yet.’ ‘Is he not dead?’ demanded Cora. and singing won’t do any good with the Iroquois.

by his sighs. where David was beginning. Come. ‘will be to keep the rock until Munro can send a party to our help! God send it may be soon and under a leader that knows the Indian customs!’ ‘You hear our probable fortunes. ‘Remember. ‘how very deservedly dear you are to all of the name of Munro.shade of anxiety just then passed like a darkening cloud. suffering his unconscious eyes to wander to the youthful form of the silent Alice. Duncan. ‘and you know we have everything to hope from the anxiety and experience of your father. at least. ‘it would be so kind an asFree eBooks at Planet eBook. He turned and beheld the speaker. with an expression of interest which immediately recalled him to her side. when he had reached the mouth of the cavern.’ she added. gazing after him. how necessary your safety is to our own — how you bear a father’s sacred trust — how much depends on your discretion and care — in short. to give symptoms of returning consciousness.’ ‘If anything could add to my own base love of life. and then commending the wounded man to their attention. with Alice. while the telltale blood stole over her features.’ said Heyward. and where you may bestow a care suited to your gentle natures on our unfortunate comrade. Cora. into this cavern. he immediately prepared to leave them. whose color had changed to a deadly paleness. will be safe from the murderous rifles of our enemies. crimsoning her very temples. then. where you. and whose lips  . ‘Duncan!’ said the tremulous voice of Cora.’ said Duncan.’ The sisters followed him into the outer cave.

as well as circumstances would permit. Maquas was the name given them by the Dutch. followed by the active Duncan. 100 The Last of the Mohicans . which were fissures in the rocks. seldom fail of bringing the death screech from a Mingo! At least. ‘you are wasteful of your powder. and the kick of the rifle disconcerts your aim! Little powder.’ said the former.’ * Mingo was the Delaware term of the Five Nations. on each side of which the water played its gambols. for no man can tell when or where a Maqua* will strike his blow.’ Without waiting for a reply. among the shrubs and fragments of stone that were scattered about the place. Uncas. In the center of the little island. and a long arm. whence they could command the approaches to the foot of the falls. such has been my experience with the creatur’s. he tore himself from the presence of the sisters. from their first intercourse with them. friends: let us to our covers. As major of the Sixtieth. it is merely to keep these blood-hounds at bay for a few hours. into which Hawkeye darted with the swiftness of a deer. The Indians silently repaired to their appointed stations. called them Iroquois. who still lay within the protection of the little chasm between the two caves. rounded rock. The French.surance. and joined the scout and his companions. Here they secured themselves. Come. our honest host will tell you I must take my share of the fray. but our task will be easy. ‘I tell you. a few short and stunted pines had found root. forming a thicket. light lead. as Heyward joined them. Above them was a bare.

I am no mortal. and. When he ventured to utter this impression to his companions. and distinguish objects beneath a canopy of gloomy pines. but they were able to look into the woods. and Duncan began to hope that their fire had proved more fatal than was supposed. With no other guide than the ripple of the stream where it met the head of the 101 . the opposite shores no longer presented a confused outline. just where it breaks over the rocks. a party of their insatiable foes had ventured into the current. but without any further evidences of a renewed attack. it was met by Hawkeye with an incredulous shake of the head. as bad luck would have it. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. if the risky devils haven’t swam down upon the very pitch. and that their enemies had been effectually repulsed. keep close! or the hair will be off your crown in the turning of a knife!’ Heyward lifted his head from the cover. and beheld what he justly considered a prodigy of rashness and skill. A long and anxious watch succeeded. they have hit the head of the island. in the manner already described.and plunged into the abysses beneath. As the day had now dawned. Hist! look into the water above. The river had worn away the edge of the soft rock in such a manner as to render its first pitch less abrupt and perpendicular than is usual at waterfalls. Hist! man. if you think he is so easily beaten back without a scalp!’ he answered. ‘If there was one of the imps yelling this morning. ‘You know not the nature of a Maqua. there were forty! and they know our number and quality too well to give up the chase so soon.

to their intended victims. by telling the Mingoes where we lie?’ demanded Hawkeye. when he shot away again with the shirling current. he was already stretching forth an arm to meet the grasp of his companions. A single. The first generous impulse of Duncan was to rush to the rescue of the hapless wretch. shrill whistle. wild. four human heads could be seen peering above a few logs of drift-wood that had lodged on these naked rocks. into that deep and yawning abyss over which he hovered. and all was hushed again as the grave.’ He placed a finger in his mouth. a fifth form was seen floating over the green edge of the fall. and ammunition is as precious now as breath to a worried deer! Freshen the priming of your pistols—the midst of the falls is apt to dampen the brimstone—and stand firm for a close struggle.and swam down upon this point. a little from the line of the island. As Hawkeye ceased speaking. favored by the glancing water. and. despairing shriek rose from the cavern. and which had probably suggested the idea of the practicability of the hazardous undertaking. while I fire on their rush. and drew a long. ‘Tis a charge of powder saved. with uplifted arms and starting eyeballs. ‘Would ye bring certain death upon us. and fell. with a sudden plunge. appeared to rise into the air. but he felt himself bound to the spot by the iron grasp of the immovable scout. which was answered from the rocks that were 10 The Last of the Mohicans . if successful. The savage struggled powerfully to gain the point of safety. knowing the ready access it would give. sternly. At the next moment.

The gunsmiths can have but little insight into their trade when they make their fowling-pieces and short horsemen’s —‘ He was interrupted by the low but expressive ‘hugh’ of Uncas. a quick eye. he beheld Uncas within a few feet. Hawkeye spoke to him in Delaware. and at the signal four savages sprang from the cover of the driftwood. ‘they are gathering for the rush.’ he added. ‘the leading man certainly comes on to his death. Duncan caught glimpses of heads above the scattered 10 . as this signal rose on the air. boy. truegrooved. to put forth all its beauties. ‘Of all we’pons. let them. soft-metaled rifle is the most dangerous in skillful hands. but they disappeared again as suddenly as they had glanced upon his sight.’ he commenced. though it should be Montcalm himself!’ At that moment the woods were filled with another burst of cries. ‘I see them. Well.guarded by the Mohicans. I see them!’ continued Hawkeye. To Heyward this was a moment of feverish and impatient suspense. when the young chief took his position with singular caution and undisturbed coolness. A low. creeping to his side. though the scout saw fit to select it as a fit occasion to read a lecture to his more youthful associates on the art of using firearms with discretion. though it wants a strong arm. and great judgment in charging. and turning his head. Heyward felt a burning desire to rush forward to meet them. examining his flint. rustling sound next drew his attention behind him. or they would keep their dingy backs below the logs. so intense was the delirious anxiety Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘the long barreled.

With ready skill. and fell headlong among the clefts of the island. ye bloody minded hell-hounds! ye meet a man without a cross!’ The words were barely uttered. ‘take the last of the screeching imps. of the other two we are sartain!’ He was obeyed. and poured out its fatal contents. ‘I know’d it! and I said it!’ muttered the scout. while his quick eyes began to flash with ardor. ‘Come on. Uncas!’ cried the scout. Duncan found himself engaged with the other. whirling the despised little implement over the falls with bitter disdain. but he was restrained by the deliberate examples of the scout and Uncas. and together they rushed down a little declivity toward their foes. the rifle of Hawkeye slowly rose among the shrubs. uttering the wildest yells. were within a few rods. When their foes. when he encountered a savage of gigantic stature. ‘Now. of the fiercest mien. For near a minute they stood looking one another in the eye. At length. The foremost Indian bounded like a stricken deer. and but two enemies remained to be overcome. drawing his long knife.of the moment. in a similar contest of hand to hand. Heyward had given one of his pistols to Hawkeye. with long bounds. they discharged their weapons at the same instant. and gradually exerting the power of their muscles for the mastery. who had leaped over the black rocks that divided them. and equally without success. the toughened sinews of the white man pre10 The Last of the Mohicans . Hawkeye and his antagonist each grasped that uplifted arm of the other which held the dangerous knife. At the same moment.

drove the sharp weapon through his naked bosom to the heart. and from this moment it became a fierce struggle who should cast the other over the dizzy height into a neighboring cavern of the falls. Each of the combatants threw all his energies into that effort. His slight sword was snapped in the first encounter. his safety now depended entirely on bodily strength and resolution. a dark hand and glancing knife appeared before him. At that instant of extreme danger. Though deficient in neither of these qualities. Every successive struggle brought them nearer to the verge.vailed over the less practiced limbs of the native. he had met an enemy every way his equal. and saw the grim smile the savage gave. In the meantime. As he was destitute of any other means of defense. his charmed eyes still were riveted Free eBooks at Planet eBook. suddenly wresting his armed hand from the grasp of the foe. who. where Duncan perceived the final and conquering effort must be made. under the revengeful hope that he hurried his enemy to a fate similar to his own. that both tottered on the brink of the precipice. and the result 10 . The arm of the latter slowly gave way before the increasing force of the scout. the Indian released his hold. and the young man experienced the passing agony of such a moment in all its horrors. he soon succeeded in disarming his adversary. Heyward had been pressed in a more deadly struggle. Happily. whose knife fell on the rock at their feet. Heyward felt the grasp of the other at his throat. as he felt his body slowly yielding to a resistless power. and while Duncan was drawn backward by the saving hand of Uncas. as the blood flowed freely from around the severed tendons of the wrist.

and sought the friendly shelter of the rocks and shrubs. and followed by Duncan. for your lives! the work is but half ended!’ The young Mohican gave a shout of triumph. 10 The Last of the Mohicans . who just then had despatched the enemy.on the fierce and disappointed countenance of his foe. who fell sullenly and disappointed down the irrecoverable precipice. he glided up the acclivity they had descended to the combat. ‘to cover. ‘To cover! to cover!’ cried Hawkeye.

which sent their leaden messengers across the rock in volleys. the roar of the falls was unbroken by any human sound whatever. But the moment the struggle was decided. as though the assailants would pour out their impotent fury on the insensible scene of the fatal contest.Chapter 8 ‘They linger yet. after which his busy piece alone proved that he still guarded his pass with unwearied diligence. though deliberate return was made from the rifle of Chingachgook. who had maintained his post throughout the fray with unmoved 10 .’—Gray T he warning call of the scout was not uttered without occasion. the gratified father raised his voice in a single responsive cry. In this manner many minFree eBooks at Planet eBook. while the quick evolutions and swift changes in the positions of the combatants effectually prevented a fire that might prove dangerous alike to friend and enemy. It would seem that interest in the result had kept the natives on the opposite shores in breathless suspense. During the occurrence of the deadly encounter just related. a yell arose as fierce and savage as wild and revengeful passions could throw into the air. Avengers of their native land. A steady. When the triumphant shout of Uncas was borne to his ears. It was followed by the swift flashes of the rifles.

’ said Duncan. the trees. During this act of friendship. but he suffered it to pass away without vindication of reply. Though the rock. and the shrubs. and so rigidly maintained. scattering shots. and I fancy the imps will tire of the sport afore these old stones cry out for mercy! Uncas. boy. ‘he saved my life in the coolest and readiest manner. their cover was so close. ‘there will be a fine gathering of lead when it is over. I told you to take that loping miscreant under the line of white point. and at others in occasional. were cut and torn in a hundred places around the besieged. the two young men exchanged looks of intelligence which caused Duncan to forget the character and condition of his wild 10 The Last of the Mohicans .’ A quiet smile lighted the haughty features of the young Mohican. ‘Let them burn their powder. the rifles of the assailants speaking. if your bullet went a hair’s breadth it went two inches above it. ‘I cannot permit you to accuse Uncas of want of judgment or of skill.utes flew by with the swiftness of thought. in rattling volleys. The life lies low in a Mingo. while bullet after bullet whizzed by the place where he securely lay. and humanity teaches us to make a quick end to the sarpents. as yet. David had been the only sufferer in their little band. at times.’ Uncas partly raised his body. and he has made a friend who never will require to be reminded of the debt he owes. now. you waste the kernels by overcharging. betraying his knowledge of the English language as well as of the other’s meaning. that. and offered his hand to the grasp of Heyward.’ said the deliberate scout. and a kicking rifle never carries a true bullet.

’ But the rifle of Uncas was deliberately raised toward the heavens. a savage was nestled. seeking the freedom of the open space. saying. directing the eyes of his companions to a point. where the mystery was immediately explained. involuntarily shrinking from a shot which struck the rock at his side with a smart rebound. and partly exposed. Hawkeye. once in crossing Horican. Among the topmost 10 . ‘These devils will scale heaven to circumvent us to our Free eBooks at Planet eBook. had it come from the clouds this might have happened. ‘Falling lead is never flattened.associate. and I very well remember that he has stood between me and death five different times. partly concealed by the trunk of the tree. three times from the Mingoes. Hawkeye laid his hand on the shapeless metal. which. I dare say I may have served Uncas some such turn myself before now. In the meanwhile. as he examined it. had inclined so far forward that its upper branches overhung that arm of the stream which flowed nearest to its own shore. who looked on this burst of youthful feeling with a cool but kind regard made the following reply: ‘Life is an obligation which friends often owe each other in the wilderness. A ragged oak grew on the right bank of the river. as though looking down upon them to ascertain the effect produced by his treacherous aim. and shook his head. and —‘ ‘That bullet was better aimed than common!’ exclaimed Duncan. nearly opposite to their position. which scantily concealed the gnarled and stunted limbs.

ruin. ‘keep him in play. no further expression of surprise or alarm was suffered to escape him. Hawkeye and the Mohicans conversed earnestly together in Delaware for a few moments. ‘This must be looked to. and the leaden hail whistled above the heads of the besieged. When his son pointed out to the experienced warrior the situation of their dangerous enemy. they were joined by Chingachgook. boy. glancing about him with an anxious eye. ‘Uncas. the leaves and bark of the oak flew into the air. though ineffectual fire. sending down upon them another bullet in return. But his aim was interrupted by the vigilance of his enemies.’ said the scout. after which. from the moment of his discovery. as if to confine them to a place where they might become easy victims to the enterprise of the warrior who had mounted the tree.’ said Hawkeye. when each quietly took his post. when we will try his metal on each side of the tree at once. Once more the savage yells burst out of the woods. but the Indian answered their assault by a taunting laugh. that struck the cap of Hawkeye from his head. The rifles flashed. and were scattered by the wind. until I can bring ‘killdeer’ to bear. call up your father.’ Uncas delayed his fire until the scout uttered the word. The warrior in the oak had maintained a quick.’ The signal was instantly given. and. in order to execute the plan they had speedily devised. whose 110 The Last of the Mohicans . before Hawkeye had reloaded his rifle. the usual exclamatory ‘hugh’ burst from his lips. we have need of all our we’pons to bring the cunning varmint from his roost.

At length. there was no appeal. emboldened by the long and patient watchfulness of his enemies. when. while he still grasped a ragged and naked branch of the tree with hands clenched in desperation. ‘his death is certain. From Free eBooks at Planet eBook. who made us. and once blood was drawn from a slight wound in his arm. in pity. which rendered him peculiarly conspicuous. a few inches from the trunk of the tree. ‘Give 111 .’ Against this stern and unyielding morality. give him the contents of another rifle. Their rifles made a common report. Still his bullets fell in the center of the crouching party. Swift as thought. Hawkeye seized the advantage. ‘Not a karnel!’ exclaimed the obdurate Hawkeye. The leaves were unusually agitated. for Indian fights sometimes last for days. ‘tis their scalps or ours! and God. and after a few moments of vain struggling. sinking on his wounded limb. the Huron attempted a better and more fatal aim. has put into our natures the craving to keep the skin on the head. The quick eyes of the Mohicans caught the dark line of his lower limbs incautiously exposed through the thin foliage. turning away his eyes in horror from the spectacle of a fellow creature in such awful jeopardy. and discharged his fatal weapon into the top of the oak. The clothes of Heyward.rifles instantaneously bore on any part of his person that was left exposed.’ cried Duncan. the form of the savage was seen swinging in the wind. part of the body of the savage came into view. were repeatedly cut. the dangerous rifle fell from its commanding elevation. and we have no powder to spare. supported as it was by such visible policy.

and the anguish of cold despair might be traced. No shout of triumph succeeded this important advantage. and ‘twas the act of a boy!’ he said. and as often. grasping wildly at the empty air. even uttering his self-disapprobation aloud. there were instants when he grimly faced his foes. it was again silently lowered. The body yielded to the currents of air. A single yell burst from the woods. through the intervening distance. when the element closed above it. in possession of his swarthy lineaments. became fixed on the hopeless condition of the wretch who was dangling between heaven and earth.that moment the yells in the forest once more ceased. shook his head at his own momentary weakness. ‘what mattered 11 The Last of the Mohicans . prudence getting the better of his intention. The lightning is not quicker than was the flame from the rifle of Hawkeye. At length one hand of the Huron lost its hold. but even the Mohicans gazed at each other in silent horror. the head fell to the bosom. the fire was suffered to decline. and all was again still. and all eyes. A desperate and fruitless struggle to recover the branch succeeded. and though no murmur or groan escaped the victim. and dropped exhausted to his side. in its ceaseless velocity. and then the savage was seen for a fleeting instant. and every vestige of the unhappy Huron was lost forever. ‘Twas the last charge in my horn and the last bullet in my pouch. those of friends as well as enemies. Three several times the scout raised his piece in mercy. and the body parted the foaming waters like lead. Hawkeye. the limbs of the victim trembled and contracted. who alone appeared to reason on the occasion.

his rifle was leveled as by Free eBooks at Planet eBook. go down to the canoe. it is all the powder we have left. As if actuated by a common impulse. even to the unpracticed ears of Duncan. 11 . leaving the scout turning over the useless contents of his pouch. toward the swift current of the river. and. at a single glance. totally regardless of the hazard he incurred by such an exposure. and bring up the big horn. he was soon called by a loud and piercing exclamation from Uncas. the young man started to his feet. From this unsatisfactory examination. and shaking the empty horn with renewed discontent. and the whole party. or I am ignorant of the Mingo nature. however. together with the wounded David. and we shall need it to the last grain.’ The young Mohican complied. that sounded. as the signal of some new and unexpected calamity. Uncas. Every thought filled with apprehension for the previous treasure he had concealed in the cavern. was made acquainted with the nature of the disaster that had disturbed even the practiced stoicism of their youthful Indian protector. At a short distance from the rock. together they rushed down the pass to the friendly chasm. their little bark was to be seen floating across the eddy. with a rapidity that rendered the scattering fire of their enemies perfectly harmless. in a manner which proved that its course was directed by some hidden agent. from their place of whether he struck the rock living or dead! feeling would soon be over. The unwonted cry had brought the sisters. The instant this unwelcome sight caught the eye of the scout. his movement was imitated by his companions.

which was the known signal of success. but the barrel gave no answer to the bright sparks of the flint. ‘the miscreant has struck the rapid. surely. His cry was answered by a yell and a laugh from the woods. while it glided swiftly down the stream. ‘for the three quickest and truest rifles in these woods are no better than so many stalks of mullein. ‘tis too late!’ Hawkeye exclaimed. losing the first feeling of disappointment in a more manly desire for exertion. ‘Tis too late. he waved his hand.instinct. and had we powder. ‘what will become of us?’ Hawkeye made no other reply than by passing his finger around the crown of his head.’ 11 The Last of the Mohicans . we may make good the caverns. ‘the Hurons are not here. ‘Surely. seating himself on a projection of the rock. in a manner so significant. or the last year’s horns of a buck!’ ‘What is to be done?’ demanded Duncan. that none who witnessed the action could mistake its meaning. our case is not so desperate!’ exclaimed the youth. and. we may oppose their landing. it could hardly send the lead swifter than he now goes!’ The adventurous Huron raised his head above the shelter of the canoe. and suffering his gun to fall neglected at his feet. ye children of the devil!’ said the scout. ‘Well may you laugh. dropping the useless piece in bitter disappointment. as tauntingly exulting as if fifty demons were uttering their blasphemies at the fall of some Christian soul. and gave forth the shout.

when the appointed hour is come. and the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and have friends. afore the wily sarpents steal upon 11 . ‘The arrows of Uncas. ‘even at this very moment succor may be at hand. placing himself in a dignified posture on another fragment of the rock. I see no enemies! They have sickened of a struggle in which they risk so much with so little prospect of gain!’ ‘It may be a minute. and smoothing the solitary tuft of hair in readiness to perform its last and revolting office. ‘Our case is not. Chingachgook. no. ‘but come they will. and let us teach these natives of the forest that white blood can run as freely as red. and rich. though thoughtful. we have fought our last battle together. and was in the act of taking the eagle’s plume from his head. you are young.‘With what?’ coolly demanded the scout. while his dark. cannot be so hopeless!’ said Duncan.’ glancing his eyes at the Mohicans. and read a confirmation of his worst apprehensions in the conduct of the Indians. and it is quite in natur’ for them to be lying within hearing at this very moment. His countenance was composed. or it may be an hour. and in such a fashion as will leave us nothing to hope! Chingachgook’—he spoke in Delaware— ‘my brother.’ Duncan turned quickly in the direction indicated by the other’s eyes. had already laid aside his knife and tomahawk.’ said Hawkeye. or such tears as women shed! No. gleaming eyes were gradually losing the fierceness of the combat in an expression better suited to the change he expected momentarily to undergo. and at such an age I know it is hard to die! But. ‘let us remember we are men without a cross.

whose eyes can make night as day. and has poisoned their triumph with the wailings of children. and they’ll soon provoke the Maquas to give them a speedy end. for their bitterest enemy is in their hands. Uncas. soft voice of the youthful chieftain. ay. ‘the Hurons float with the slimy eels! They drop from the oaks like fruit that is ready to be eaten! and the Delawares laugh!’ ‘Ay. held her riveted to the rock. ‘the Great Snake of the Mohicans has coiled himself in their wigwams. who had listened to this peculiar burst of the natives with deep attention. or their hearts will soften. then. and whirl the swiftest tomahawk.Maquas will triumph in the death of the sage man of the Mohicans. whose fathers have not returned! Eleven warriors lie hid from the graves of their tribes since the snows have melted. with no words of scoffing in my mouth. As for me. and without bitterness at the heart!’ ‘Why die at all!’ said Cora. with characteristic pride and unmoved firmness. who am of the whole blood of the whites. advancing from the place where natural horror had. and level the clouds to the mists of the springs!’ ‘Let the Mingo women go weep over the slain!’ returned the Indian. topmost branch of a noble trunk. ‘they have warmed their Indian feelings. and none will tell where to find them when the tongue of Chingachgook shall be silent! Let them draw the sharpest knife. call on the cowards to hasten. it is befitting that I should die as becomes my color. fly.’ muttered the scout. and they will change to women!’ ‘They look among the fishes for their dead!’ returned the low. to 11 The Last of the Mohicans . until this moment. and of the pale face. ‘the path is open on every side.

and bid him not mourn their early fate. brave men. if you judge they have left the path open to the woods!’ returned Hawkeye. let us no longer involve you in our hapless fortunes!’ ‘You but little know the craft of the Iroquois. ‘that the Hurons bear them into the northern wilds. the blessings.’ returned Cora. and say that you left them with a message to hasten to their aid.the woods. however. we owe you too much already.’ repeated the scout. Why linger to add to the number of the victims of our merciless enemies?’ ‘Why. her voice gradually lowering. after all. advancing nigher to the scout in her generous ardor. Go. the final prayers of his 11 . like a man musing profoundFree eBooks at Planet eBook. but that by vigilance and speed they may yet be rescued. when he asked us where and how we left his children?’ ‘Go to him.’ she continued.’ ‘Then try the river. immediately added in his simplicity. he dropped his chin to his hand.’ The hard. but to look forward with humble confidence to the Christian’s goal to meet his children. bear to him. and call on God for succor. lady. ‘the down stream current. ‘the love. it should please heaven that his assistance come too late. weatherbeaten features of the scout began to work. who. ‘because it is better for a man to die at peace with himself than to live haunted by an evil conscience! What answer could we give Munro. it is certain. might soon sweep us beyond the reach of their rifles or the sound of their voices. and when she had ended. looking about him proudly. until it seemed nearly choked. and if.

and his address. and make the marks of your trail 11 The Last of the Mohicans . ‘and what you have spoken is wise. as well as to the old. break the twigs on the bushes as you pass. Then. as if indicating his intended route. ‘Wisdom is sometimes given to the young. and appeared to ponder on his words. the warrior moved silently to the edge of the rock which was most concealed from the banks of the river. and they bear the spirit of Christianity. After a moment of hesitation. may be sinful in a man who has not even a cross in blood to plead for his ignorance. ‘There is reason in her words!’ at length broke from his compressed and trembling lips. though calm and deliberate. Chingachgook! Uncas! hear you the talk of the dark-eyed woman?’ He now spoke in Delaware to his companions. not to call it by a better word. Here he paused a moment. and uttered the English word ‘Good!’ with the peculiar emphasis of his people.’ he said. seemed very decided. replacing his knife and tomahawk in his on the nature of the proposal. he dropped into the water. he waved his hand in assent. If you are led into the woods. ‘ay. what might be right and proper in a redskin. The elder Mohican heard with deep gravity. and sank from before the eyes of the witnesses of his movements. whose breathing became lighter as she saw the success of her remonstrance. as though he felt the importance of their import. that is such of you as may be spared for awhile. pointed significantly to the woods below. and saying a few words in his own language. The scout delayed his departure to speak to the generous girl.

‘go to my father. and after regarding it a moment with melancholy solicitude. if mortal eyes can see them.’ Cora continued. ‘tis my prayer. and said: ‘Your friends have not been seen. with an intuitive consciousness of her power. as I have said. ‘Had the powder held out. in safety. in immovable composure. and looking about him. ‘To increase the horror of our capture. Go! ‘tis my wish. loosening his hold.’ He gave Cora an affectionate shake of the hand. this disgrace could never have befallen!’ then.’ the young Mohican calmly answered in English. and to diminish the chances of our release! Go. and be the most confidential of my messengers. Is it not time for you to follow?’ ‘Uncas will stay. After waiting a short time. the water closed above his head. he added bitterly. depend on having a friend who will follow to the ends of the ‘arth afore he desarts you. Tell him to trust you with the means to buy the freedom of his daughters. and descended to the place where Chingachgook had just broad as you can. and are now. with a countenance of peculiar care. laid it carefully aside. All eyes now were turned on Uncas. and he also became lost to view. lowering her eyes under the gaze of the Mohican. who stood leaning against the ragged rock. calm look of the young chief changed to Free eBooks at Planet eBook. For an instant he hung suspended by the 11 . when. and perhaps. lifted his rifle. generous young man. Cora pointed down the river. most probably. that you will go!’ The settled.

far down the current. and was seen no expression of gloom.’ she answered. These sudden and apparently successful experiments had all taken place in a few minutes of that time which had now become so precious. ‘that the worst to us can be but death. Duncan. until they caught a glimpse of his head emerging for air. but your precious life may be saved for other and nearer friends. addressed herself to Heyward: ‘I have heard of your boasted skill in the water. Hardly a breath was drawn by those he left behind.’ continued Cora. To us you can be of no further service here. After a last look at Uncas. after a pause. and dropped into the troubled stream.’ ‘Is such the faith that Cora Munro would exact from her protector?’ said the young man. but with bitterness. who was clinging to his arm with the dependency of an infant. when he again sank. ‘but a moment when every duty should be equally considered.’ 10 The Last of the Mohicans . ‘This is not a time for idle subtleties and false opinions. Cora turne.’ she said. but he no longer hesitated. then. a tribute that all must pay at the good time of God’s appointment. too.d and with a quivering lip. though his eye fell wistfully on the beautiful form of Alice.’ He made no reply. ‘follow. ‘Consider. smiling mournfully. With a noiseless step he crossed the rock. the wise example set you by these simple and faithful beings. during which she seemed to struggle with a pang even more acute than any that her fears had excited.

’ said Duncan.‘There are evils worse than death. and as if fretful at her importunity. speaking hoarsely. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and veiling her face in her shawl. drew the nearly insensible Alice after her into the deepest recess of the inner 11 .’ Cora ceased her entreaties. ‘but which the presence of one who would die in your behalf may avert.

however. In a moment of such painful doubt. with smiles. Dispel. Every effort. His attention was.Chapter 9 ‘Be gay securely. without consulting that protection from the rocks which just before had been so necessary to his safety. That hang on thy clear brow. every sign of the adventurers had been lost. the tim’rous clouds. from the stirring incidents of the combat to the stillness that now reigned around him. Still ignorant of the fate of those who had trusted to the aid of the swift current. however. to detect the least evidence of the approach of their hidden enemies was as fruitless as the inquiry after his late companions. he at first listened intently to any signal or sounds of alarm. he felt a difficulty in persuading him of their truth.’—Death of Agrippina T he sudden and almost magical change. leaving him in total uncertainty of their fate. which might announce the good or evil fortune of their hazardous undertaking. Duncan did not hesitate to look around him. my fair. for with the disappearance of Uncas. acted on the heated imagination of Heyward like some exciting dream. While all the images and events he had witnessed remained deeply impressed on his memory. bestowed in vain. The wooded banks of the river seemed again deserted by everything possessing The Last of the Mohicans 1 .

who had by no means recovered from the effects of the stunning blow he had received. with something like a reviving confidence of success. leaving the rush of the waters to swell and sink on the currents of the air. in wide sweeps. such as might manifest the fullness of time.’ ‘Poor fellow! thine own period was. ‘let us conceal ourselves in the 1 . secure on the topmost branches of a dead pine. and soared. and trust the rest to Providence. in lifting up our voices in praise and thanksgiving. and that nature had forgotten her harmony. and come with me. whose noisy voice had been stilled by the hoarser cries of the savages. while a jay. I have been mocked with the likeness of sleep. A fish-hawk. in the unmingled sweetness of nature.’ ‘I remember to have united with two comely maidens. had been a distant spectator of the fray. I will lead you where all other sounds but those of your own psalmody shall be excluded. Duncan caught from these natural accompaniments of the solitary scene a glimmering of hope.’ returned the bewildered singing-master. ventured again to open his discordant throat.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. in truth. The uproar which had so lately echoed through the vaults of the forest was gone. now swooped from his high and ragged perch. addressing David. near its accomplishment! But arouse. ‘since which time I have been visited by a heavy judgment for my sins.animal life. while sounds of discord have rent my ears. which. and he began to rally his faculties to renewed exertions.’ he said. ‘The Hurons are not to be seen. above his prey. as though once more in undisturbed possession of his wild domains.

while its outer received a chastened light from the narrow ravine. Within this fragile barrier he arranged the blankets abandoned by the foresters. ‘I like not the principle of the natives. studiously concealing every appearance of an aperture. they are gone. and the rushing of many waters is sweet to the senses!’ said David. which says. ‘Is not the air yet filled with shrieks and cries. which he drew before the passage. not now. ‘while life remains there is hope’. I trust in God. at this allusion to his beloved vocation. in. is more consoling. as though the departed spirits of the damned—‘ ‘Not now. which teaches them to submit without a struggle. too! everything but the water is still and at peace. Cora.’ interrupted the impatient Heyward. and better suited to a soldier’s temperament. where you may create those sounds you love so well to hear. he entered the narrow mouth of the cave. in emergencies that appear desperate. then. ‘they have ceased. He no longer hesitated to be led to a spot which promised such unalloyed gratification to his wearied senses. through which one arm of the river rushed to form the junction with its sister branch a few rods below. and they who raised them. and leaning on the arm of his companion. ‘our own maxim. pressing his hand confusedly on his brow.’ he said.‘There is melody in the fall of the cataract. I will urge no words of idle en1 The Last of the Mohicans . though not without a momentary gleam of pleasure. To you. darkening the inner extremity of the cavern. while busied in this employment. Duncan seized a pile of the sassafras.’ David smiled sadly.

and almost breathless silence succeeded. a deep. we will hope everything from those generous men who have risked so much already in our behalf. raising herself from the arms of her sister. Duncan. a long. a man would be ashamed to prove other than a hero. if they come. we are secret. though his gaze was unceasingly bent on the open avenue to their place of retreat. in this hidden spot we are 1 . With the last sound of his voice. As minute after minute passed by. your own fortitude and undisturbed reason will teach you all that may become your sex. and forcing an appearance of composure through her tears. pausing to press her hand as he passed toward the outer entrance of the cavern. leaving them in undisturbed security. free from injury. may not gain our position so easily as they think. and propping his head back against the rock. and its influence was gradually felt on the spirits of its inmates. Surely. The fresh air of the morning had penetrated the recess.’ ‘Now does our gentle Alice speak like a daughter of Munro!’ said Heyward. the insinuating feeling of hope was gradually gaining possession of every bosom.’ said Alice.’ he slowly muttered. but cannot we dry the tears of that trembling weeper on your bosom?’ ‘I am calmer. ‘The Hurons. he seemed to await the result in patience. though each one felt reluctant to give Free eBooks at Planet eBook.couragement.’ He then seated himself in the center of the cavern. grasping his remaining pistol with a hand convulsively clenched. ‘With two such examples of courage before him. now. while his contracted and frowning eye announced the sullen desperation of his purpose. ‘much calmer.

glancing her dark eye at Major Heyward. acting all this time under a confused recollection of the promised consolation of Duncan. in low. ‘May not this prove dangerous?’ asked Cora. for. and then ran through the preliminary modulations of the air whose name he had just mentioned.’ ‘Isle of Wight!’ repeated David. his patient industry found its reward. ‘Poor fellow! his voice is too feeble to be heard above the din of the falls. and set to solemn words! let it be sung with meet respect!’ After allowing a moment of stillness to enforce his discipline. the voice of the singer was heard. until it filled the nar1 The Last of the Mohicans . most probably. with the sweeter tones of his own musical voice. sweet sound from his pitch-pipe. looking about him with that dignity with which he had long been wont to silence the whispering echoes of his school. gradually stealing on the ear. At length. David alone formed an exception to these varying emotions. He was. whose leaves he was again occupied in turning. Let him indulge his passions since it may be done without hazard. as if searching for some song more fitted to their condition than any that had yet met their eye. A gleam of light from the opening crossed his wan countenance.utterance to expectations that the next moment might so fearfully destroy. ‘tis a brave tune. without explanation or apology. and fell upon the pages of the little volume. the cavern will prove his friend. ‘beside.’ was the answer. it would seem.’ drew a long. he pronounced aloud the words ‘Isle of Wight. murmuring syllables.

choking his voice suddenly. to fasten it. gradually wrought its sweet influence on the senses of those who heard it. It even prevailed over the miserable travesty of the song of David which the singer had selected from a volume of similar effusions. and bent her melting eyes on the pallid features of Gamut.’ returned the agitated but undaunted Heyward: ‘the sound came from the center of the island. and caused the sense to be forgotten in the insinuating harmony of the sounds. stern look from the outlet of the cavern. with a milder character. without losing that touching softness which proved its secret charm. Exerting his renovated powers to their utmost. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Not yet. that instantly stilled his pious strains. with an expression of chastened delight that she neither affected or wished to conceal. or to meet the wandering beams which at moments strayed from the humid eyes of Alice. Alice unconsciously dried her tears. Cora bestowed an approving smile on the pious efforts of the namesake of the Jewish 1 . on the face of David. ‘We are lost!’ exclaimed Alice. throwing herself into the arms of Cora. The melody. and Heyward soon turned his steady. he was yet filling the arches of the cave with long and full tones.row vault with sounds rendered trebly thrilling by the feeble and tremulous utterance produced by his debility. whose voice regained its richness and volume. not yet. The open sympathy of the listeners stirred the spirit of the votary of music. as though his heart had literally bounded into the passage of his throat. which no weakness could destroy. when a yell burst into the air without.

that it was not difficult for the anxious listeners to imagine they could be heard beneath. Cries were heard in the startling vicinity of the chasm between the two caves. We are not yet discovered. In short. as he heard the voices collect near the spot where the white man had so reluctantly abandoned his rifle. the words of Duncan were not thrown away. and were answered from the heights above. from its upper to its lower extremity. and he only when in a state of the fiercest barbarity. where. Again the impression passed away. In the midst of this tumult. for it awakened the powers of the sisters in such a manner that they awaited the results in silence. until they reached the naked rock above the caverns. A second yell soon followed the first. such as man alone can utter. as in truth they were above on every side of them. Heyward abandoned every hope. and there is still hope. a triumphant yell was raised within a few yards of the hidden entrance to the cave. Amid the jargon of Indian dialects that he now plainly heard. Some called to their fellows from the water’s edge.and it has been produced by the sight of their dead companions. so rapidly had the savage sounds diffused themselves over the barren rock. with the belief it was the signal that they were discovered. The sounds quickly spread around them in every direction.’ Faint and almost despairing as was the prospect of escape. the air continued full of horrible cries and screams. after a shout of savage triumph. when a rush of voices was heard pouring down the island. which mingled with hoarser yells that arose out of the abyss of the deep ravine. it 1 The Last of the Mohicans .

whose body. we are still safe! In every event. had been his late companion. ‘La Longue Carabine! La Longue Carabine!’ passed from mouth to 1 . we are assured. had been given by his enemies to a celebrated hunter and scout of the English camp.’ he whispered to the trembling sisters.’ There were now a few minutes of fearful stillness. Cora folded Alice to her bosom in Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the pile yielded a little. in the patois of the Canadas. ‘now is the moment of uncertainty! if our place of retreat escape this scrutiny. they hoped to find concealed in some crevice of the island. that our friends have escaped. and the branches to snap. More than once he could distinguish their footsteps. causing the faded leaves to rustle. a corner of a blanket fell. as they brushed the sassafras. filling the air with the name of a foe. After a vociferous consultation. until the whole band appeared to be collected around a trophy which would seem to announce the death of its formidable owner. they again separated. at times. and a faint ray of light gleamed into the inner part of the cave. by what has fallen from our enemies. which was. At length.was easy to distinguish not only words. ‘La Longue Carabine!’ causing the opposite woods to re-echo with a name which. Heywood could collect from their expressions. he now learned for the first time. during which Heyward well knew that the savages conducted their search with greater vigilance and method. deafened by bursts of savage joy. and in two short hours we may look for succor from Webb. A burst of voices had shouted simultaneously. Heyward well remembered. but sentences. ‘Now. and who.

Within reach of his arm was the brawny shoulder of a gigantic Indian. on their movements. they sent up a howl. believing that escape was no longer possible. After this yell of victory. and placing his face to the casual opening. Duncan could look into the vault opposite. announcing that the neighboring cavern had at length been entered. In a minute. and bore the branches into the chasm. they tore up the fragrant bed of the cavern.agony. which was filled with savages. he even looked out with a sort of desperate indifference. Duncan. scattering the boughs. whose deep and authoritative voice appeared to give directions to the proceedings of his fellows. and Duncan sprang to his feet. As the inner passages to the two caves were so close to each other. to place himself between the latter and the first onset of the terrible meeting. One fierce and wild10 The Last of the Mohicans . A shout was at that moment heard. he drew nigh the slight barrier which separated him only by a few feet from his relentless pursuers. Beyond him again. upturning and rifling the humble furniture of the scout. as if issuing from the center of the rock. like an opening from so many hounds who had recovered a lost trail. as if they suspected them of concealing the person of the man they had so long hated and feared. the number and loudness of the voices indicated that the whole party was collected in and around that secret place. Grown desperate by his situation. passed David and the sisters. The wound of David had dyed the leaves of sassafras with a color that the native well knew as anticipating the season. Over this sign of their success.

adding. forming a compact body. where he could command a view of the opening next the river. The very slightness of the defense was its chief merit. who. and pointing exultingly to the deep red stains with which it was sprinkled. Duncan once more breathed freely. to the security of those they sought. and the branches settled in the fissure of the rock by their own 11 . and were heard rushing up the island again. for. had been accidentally raised by the hands of their own party. the Indians. bearing a load of the brush. he returned to the center of the cave. for no one thought of disturbing a mass of brush. which all of them believed. threw them into one pile. As the blankets yielded before the outward pressure. Duncan now ventured to look at his companions. as if changing their purpose by a common impulse. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. as they drew the branches from the cave of the scout. in that moment of hurry and confusion. Here another wailing cry betrayed that they were again collected around the bodies of their dead comrades. broke away from the chasm in a body. While he was in the act of making this movement. His example was followed by others. whose meaning Heyward was only enabled to comprehend by the frequent repetition of the name ‘La Longue Carabine!’ When his triumph had ceased. and took the place he had left. unconsciously.looking warrior approached the chief. toward the point whence they had originally descended. he cast the brush on the slight heap Duncan had made before the entrance of the second cavern. and closed the view. With a light step and lighter heart. uttered his joy in Indian yells.

during the most critical moments of their danger. But when her lips moved. dropped in horizontal lines before her. the former secretly believing that piety had never worn a form so lovely as it had now assumed in the youthful person of Alice. her soft and melting eyes grew hard. rising from the encircling arm of Cora. toward heaven. Cora!’ he whispered. the flush of her beauty was again seated on her cheeks. has saved the lives of those I so much love. the words they should have uttered appeared frozen by some new and sudden chill. Her bloom gave place to the paleness of death. Heyward turned the instant she gave a direction to his sus1 The Last of the Mohicans . ‘They are gone. that has alone delivered us from the grasp of so merciless an enemy. and casting herself with enthusiastic gratitude on the naked rock.’ Both Heyward and the more temperate Cora witnessed the act of involuntary emotion with powerful sympathy. and her whole soul seemed ready and anxious to pour out its thanksgivings through the medium of her eloquent features. Her eyes were radiant with the glow of grateful feelings. while those hands. and seemed contracting with horror. be all the praise!’ ‘Then to Heaven will I return my thanks!’ exclaimed the younger sister. and we are saved! To Heaven. he had been apprehensive that the anxiety of his countenance might communicate some additional alarm to those who were so little able to sustain it. they are returned whence they came. the fingers pointed forward in convulsed motion. clasped in each other. which she had raised. ‘Alice. ‘to that Heaven who has spared the tears of a grayheaded father.

He had even thought of retreating beyond a curvature in the natural wall. when by the sudden gleam of intelligence that shot across the features of the savage. and peering just above the ledge which formed the threshold of the open outlet of the 1 . it was answered by a spontaneous yell from the mouth of every Indian within hearing Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Among the savages a frightful stillness succeeded the explosion. But when Le Renard raised his voice in a long and intelligible whoop. The report of the weapon made the cavern bellow like an eruption from a volcano. In that moment of surprise. which might still conceal him and his companions. and when the smoke it vomited had been driven away before the current of air which issued from the ravine the place so lately occupied by the features of his treacherous guide was vacant. Forgetful of everything but the impulses of his hot blood. he beheld the malignant. he saw it was too late. and that they were betrayed. He observed by the vacant expression of the Indian’s countenance. which had just been heard bursting from the bowels of the rock.picions. fierce and savage features of Le Renard Subtil. which soon hid him entirely from sight. The look of exultation and brutal triumph which announced this terrible truth was irresistibly irritating. Duncan leveled his pistol and fired. Heyward caught a glimpse of his dark figure stealing around a low and narrow ledge. Rushing to the outlet. the self-possession of Heyward did not desert him. that his eye. accustomed to the open air had not yet been able to penetrate the dusky light which pervaded the depth of the cavern.

and he and his companions were dragged from their shelter and borne into the day. his feeble barrier of brush was scattered to the winds. The clamorous noises again rushed down the island. 1 The Last of the Mohicans .of the sound. and before Duncan had time to recover from the shock. where they stood surrounded by the whole band of the triumphant Hurons. the cavern was entered at both its extremities.

but before the customary violence could be resorted to. these manifestations of weakness were exhibited by the young and vain of the party. not only the persons of the trembling sisters. a mandate in the authoritative voice of the large warrior. already mentioned. however. The rich ornaments of his military attire had indeed been repeatedly handled by different individuals of the tribes with eyes expressing a savage longing to possess the baubles. and convinced Heyward that they were to be reserved for some object of particular moment. While. Duncan began to make his observations on the appearance and proceedings of their captors. stayed the uplifted hand. Contrary to the usages of the natives in the wantonness of their success they had respected.Chapter 10 ‘I fear we shall outsleep the coming morn As much as we this night have overwatched!’—Midsummer Night’s Dream T he instant the shock of this sudden misfortune had abated. with an activity that denoted they were far from being satisfied with those fruits of their conquest which had already been brought to light. these diligent workers of vengeance soon ap1 Free eBooks at Planet . but his own. the more experienced warriors continued their search throughout both caverns. Unable to discover any new victim.

by plundering even the miserable effects of the scout. he turned them away in horror at the sinister though calm look he encountered. When the eyes of Heyward first met those of his recent guide.’ ‘They ask for the hunter who knows the paths through the woods. the former looked about him in quest of Magua. while his companion was spared the effort of a similar deception by his ignorance of French. Duncan affected not to comprehend the meaning of their repeated and violent interrogatories. ‘to refuse telling an unarmed man what his conquerors say. he was able. as to betray that he had already effected the grand purpose of his treachery. Conquering his disgust.’ with a fierceness that could not be easily mistaken. laying 1 The Last of the Mohicans . or had been searching with such bloodthirsty vengeance in their looks for their absent owner. The conduct of this savage had formed a solitary exception to that of all his fellows. to address his successful enemy.proached their male prisoners. While the others were busily occupied in seeking to gratify their childish passion for finery. with an averted face. in his broken English. pronouncing the name ‘La Longue Carabine.’ said the reluctant Heyward. who might interpret his answers to questions which were at each moment becoming more earnest and threatening. with a demeanor so quiet and satisfied. Wearied at length by their importunities.’ returned Magua. ‘Le Renard Subtil is too much of a warrior. however. Le Renard had stood at a little distance from the prisoners. and apprehensive of irritating his captors by too stubborn a silence.

as he answered: ‘When the white man dies. like the short gun of the white chief. he had arisen. whose tongue was peace. or the hands that gave 1 . Magua seemed also content to rest the controversy as well as all further communication there. but.’ ‘Le Renard is too brave to remember the hurts received in war. and his eye never shut.’ Renard smiled with cold contempt. at the same time. and disdained to deprecate his resentment by any words of apology. and that his hand had dug it up?’ As Duncan dared not retort upon his accuser by reminding him of his own premeditated treachery.his hand. But the cry of ‘La Longue Carabine’ was renewed the instant the impatient savages perceived that the short dialogue was ended. it is nothing against the life of Le Subtil. or they will have the blood of him that keep him hid!’ ‘He is gone — escaped. ‘You hear. ‘La Longue Carabine’! His rifle is good.’ said Magua. he is far beyond their reach. with stubborn indifference: ‘the red Hurons call for the life of ‘The Long Rifle’. when the tired Indian rested at the sugartree to taste his corn! who filled the bushes with creeping enemies! who drew the knife. on the bundle of leaves with which a wound on his own shoulder was bandaged. while his heart was colored with blood! Did Magua say that the hatchet was out of the ground. he thinks he is at peace. for he resumed the leaning attitude against the rock from which.’ ‘Was it war. with a ferocious smile. but the red men know how to torture even the ghosts of their Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he remained silent. in momentary energy.

to swim without air! The white chief read in his books. ‘Is he a stone that goes to the bottom.’ said the provoked young man. ‘The Long Rifle’ can swim. in his anger. and he believes the Hurons are fools!’ ‘Though no fish. Where is his body? Let the Hurons see his scalp. or is he a fish. that boastful language which was most likely to excite the admiration of an Indian. as well as crawl in the bushes? Where is ‘Le Gros Serpent’?’ Duncan. but escaped.’ ‘And why did the white chief stay?’ demanded the still incredulous Indian. inaudibly. your dead comrade. and when the eyes of the Hurons were behind a cloud.enemies. 1 The Last of the Mohicans . were the life still in him.’ ‘He is not dead.’ Magua shook his head incredulously. or does the scalp burn his head?’ ‘That I am not stone. that his late companions were much better known to his enemies than to himself. might answer. using. who fell into the falls. who perceived by the use of these Canadian appellations. before he continued. answered. He floated down the stream when the powder was all burned. too. ‘The white man thinks none but cowards desert their women.’ Magua muttered a few words. between his teeth. reluctantly: ‘He also is gone down with the water. aloud: ‘Can the Delawares swim.’ said Duncan gladly profiting by any excuse to create delay. ‘Is he a bird.’ ‘Le Cerf Agile’ is not here?’ ‘I know not whom you call ‘The Nimble Deer’. to spread his wings.

When Heyward ceased to speak. with a readiness that afforded additional evidence how little he would prize such worthless captives. pronouncing the Delaware name with even greater difficulty than he spoke his English words. in his native tongue. ‘the pale faces are prattling women! they have two words for each thing.’ said Duncan. however. the feeling was manifestly different.’ ‘Here is some confusion in names between us. has gone down with the water. as one man.’ Has he leaped the river to the woods?’ ‘If you mean the younger Delaware. and the son of ‘Le Serpent’ is ‘Le Cerf Agile. when one would speak of an elk. elan is the true term. ‘The deer is swift. Magua admitted the truth of what he had heard.’ muttered the Indian. but strong.’ As there was nothing improbable to an Indian in the manner of the escape.’ Then.’ ‘Yes. ‘Daim is the French for deer. he continued. With his companions. the elk is swift. and cerf for 1 . when he calls to the young Mohican. and with a silence that increased until there was a general stillness in the band. The Hurons had awaited the result of this short dialogue with characteristic patience. adhering to the imperfect nomenclature of his provincial instructors.’ returned Magua. too.‘Uncas. hoping to provoke a discussion. Le Renard. changing his language. while a red-skin will make the sound of his voice speak to him. but weak. demanding. he. on Magua. they turned their eyes. ‘Bounding Elk’ is what the white man says. in this expressive manFree eBooks at Planet eBook.

When the fact was generally understood. pressing his shoulder like a vise. in which the fiercest passion was only tempered by habitual self-command. while one or two even gave vent to their malignant feelings by the most menacing gestures. A few. while others spat upon the element. Some ran furiously to the water’s edge. when he saw the dark hand of a savage twisted in the rich tresses which were flowing in volumes over her shoulders. which declared the extent of their disappointment. Their interpreter pointed to the river.ner. threw lowering looks. to resent the supposed treason it had committed against their acknowledged rights as conquerors. while a knife was passed around the head from which they fell. and at the first movement he made. an explanation of what had been said. against which neither the sex nor the beauty of the sisters was any protection. that the natives seldom failed to threaten more than they performed. Immediately conscious how unavailing any struggle against such an overwhelming force must prove. and they not the least powerful and terrific of the band. 10 The Last of the Mohicans . encouraging his gentle companions by a few low and tender assurances. at those captives who still remained in their power. he felt the grasp of the powerful Indian who directed the band. as if to denote the horrid manner in which it was about to be robbed of its beautiful ornament. as much by the action as by the few words he uttered. and made them acquainted with the result. But his hands were bound. beating the air with frantic gestures. the savages raised a frightful yell. he submitted to his fate. The young soldier made a desperate but fruitless effort to spring to the side of Alice.

greatly relieved. The danger was. His apprehensions were. that it was oftener maintained by physical superiority than by any moral supremacy he might possess. therefore. Their deliberations were short. magnified exactly in proportion to the number of the savage spirits by which they were surrounded. wandering looks on those fragile forms which were so little able to resist the slightest assault. During his short conference. Heyward. it was apparent they dreaded the approach of danger from that quarter. or fastened one of their sullen. had leisure to admire the cautious manner in which the Hurons had made their approaches. by the silence of most of the party. This consideration probably hastened their determination. he was not so weak as to deceive himself. therefore. his heart leaped into his throat. whenever any of their fierce captors drew nearer than common to the helpless sisters. 11 . While. the decision unanimous. and it would seem. By the frequency with which the few speakers pointed in the direction of the encampment of Webb. and quickened the subsequent movements. was liable to be violated at each moment by any rash hand that might choose to sacrifice a victim to the manes of some dead friend or relative.But while Duncan resorted to these words of consolation to quiet the apprehensions of the sisters. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. finding a respite from his gravest fears. he sustained an outward appearance of calmness and fortitude. when he saw that the leader had summoned his warriors to himself in counsel. The most positive mandate from him who seemed the acknowledged leader. He well knew that the authority of an Indian chief was so little conventional.

near the mouth of the outer cavern. in attitudes that enabled them to command a view of the dangerous passage. They had selected this point to make their descent. the vessel glided down the current. It has already been stated that the upper half of the island was a naked rock. and in a 1 The Last of the Mohicans . and the possession of firearms. where he was soon seated with the sisters and the still wondering David. As resistance was impossible. Notwithstanding the Hurons were necessarily ignorant of the little channels among the eddies and rapids of the stream. but with the advantages of superior numbers. which was controlled by two of the most skillful warriors. Favored by this arrangement. and placed it in the water. they knew the common signs of such a navigation too well to commit any material blunder. for they now bore the light bark from the upper end of the rock. That such had been the manner of their descent was rendered quite apparent to Duncan. the whole band plunged again into the river. Placing their arms in the little vessel a dozen men clinging to its sides had trusted themselves to the direction of the canoe. and remonstrance useless. by leading the way into the canoe. Heyward set the example of submission. and destitute of any other defenses than a few scattered logs of driftwood. When the pilot chosen for the task of guiding the canoe had taken his station. As soon as this change was made.even after hostilities had ceased. the leader made signs to the prisoners to descend and enter. having borne the canoe through the wood around the cataract for that purpose. they touched the head of the island at that point which had proved so fatal to their first adventurers.

to whose panic their owners ascribed their heaviest misfortune. For though the French commander bore a high character for courage and enterprise. nearly opposite to the point where they had struck it the preceding evening. The great chief. leaving the prisoners in charge of six savages. All those busy and ingenious speculations were now annihilated by the conduct of his captors. and brought to the sheltered spot. mounting the charger of Heyward. so often mentioned. at whose head was Le Renard Subtil. were led from the cover of the woods. he had even imagined that the parental feelings of Munro were to be made instrumental in seducing him from his duty to the king. That portion of the band who had followed the huge warrior took the route toFree eBooks at Planet eBook. Here was held another short but earnest consultation. As the thoughts of those who are in misery seldom slumber. led the way directly across the river. that he was reserved as a prisoner to be delivered to Montcalm. and disappeared in the 1 . He had been fond of believing. however feeble and remote. during which the horses. The band now divided. and the invention is never more lively than when it is stimulated by hope. Duncan witnessed all their movements with renewed uneasiness. from the uncommon forbearance of the savages.few moments the captives found themselves on the south bank of the stream. he was also thought to be expert in those political practises which do not always respect the nicer obligations of morality. followed by most of his people. and which so generally disgraced the European diplomacy of that period.

he said. and moved a little to one side. who were busied.’ The Indian turned his eyes on the young soldier scornfully. and all that he has done for us.’ commenced Heyward.’ ‘Le Renard Subtil has proved himself worthy of the honorable name given to him by his Canada fathers. and willing. what is fit only for so great a chief to hear. trees have no ears.’ he said.’ The savage spoke carelessly to his comrades. Anxious to know the worst. after their awkward manner. in preparing the horses for the reception of the sisters. to try the potency of gold he overcame his reluctance to speak to Magua.’ ‘But the red Hurons are not deaf. speak.ward the foot of the Horican. Addressing himself to his former guide. 1 The Last of the Mohicans . and no other expectation was left for himself and companions. If Magua will not listen. in such an emergency. in tones as friendly and confiding as he could assume: ‘I would speak to Magua. who had now assumed the authority and manner of one who was to direct the future movements of the party. as he answered: ‘Speak. than that they were to be retained as hopeless captives by their savage conquerors. ‘Now. and counsel that is fit for the great men of a nation would make the young warriors drunk. and shall remember it when the hour to reward him arrives. ‘I see his wisdom. ‘if the words are such as Magua should hear. whither by a cautious gesture he induced Heyward to follow. the officer of the king knows how to be silent.

but one who knows how to deceive his enemies!’ ‘What has Renard done?’ coldly demanded the Indian. while they have gone foolishly on the north? Does not Renard mean to turn like a fox on his footsteps. but I—yes. ‘What! has he not seen that the woods were filled with outlying parties of the enemies.Yes! Renard has proved that he is not only a great chief in council. did he not lose his path to blind the eyes of the Hurons? Did he not pretend to go back to his tribe. and the deer will lick his hand. First. and driven him from their wigwams like a dog? And when he saw what he wished to do. I see it all. I will—‘ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and I have already been thinking how so much wisdom and honesty should be 1 . dollars will be as plenty in his pouch as pebbles on the shore of Horican. The medal* of Magua will no longer be of tin. and to carry to the rich and gray-headed Scotchman his daughters? Yes. and that the serpent could not steal through them without being seen? Then. but of beaten gold. and forced him to flee to the Mohawks? And did they not leave him on the south side of the river. did they not forget that they had once done him wrong. who had treated him ill. Magua. for they will know it to be vain to fly from the rifle he will carry! As for myself. his horn will run over with powder. I know not how to exceed the gratitude of the Scotchman. the chief of William Henry will give as a great chief should for such a service. with their prisoners. did we not aid him. by making a false face. that the Hurons might think the white man believed that his friend was his enemy? Is not all this true? And when Le Subtil had shut the eyes and stopped the ears of his nation by his wisdom.

and with all the dignity of an Indian. and those given by the Americans that of the president.* It has long been a practice with the whites to conciliate the important men of the Indians by presenting medals. Those given by the English generally bear the impression of the reigning king.’ Le Renard had listened gravely as Heyward slowly proceeded in this subtle speech. give?’ demanded the Huron. observing that Heyward hesitated in his desire to end the enumeration of benefits with that which might form the climax of an Indian’s wishes. who comes from toward the sun. as induced the adventurous speaker to believe he had struck the proper chord. at least. ‘He will make the fire-water from the islands in the salt lake flow before the wigwam of Magua. obtained a command of the deepest attention of the savage. but 1 The Last of the Mohicans . When the young man mentioned the artifice he supposed the Indian to have practised on his own nation. And by the time he reached the part where he so artfully blended the thirst of vengeance with the desire of gain. The question put by Le Renard had been calm. he had. the countenance of the listener was veiled in an expression of cautious gravity. ‘What will the young chief. and his breath sweeter than the wild honeysuckle. which are worn in the place of their own rude ornaments. until the heart of the Indian shall be lighter than the feathers of the hummingbird. a gleam of such ungovernable ferocity flashed from the other’s eyes. At the allusion to the injury which Duncan affected to believe had driven the Huron from his native tribe.

The Huron mused a few moments. When Magua speaks. in order to avoid the appearance of any suspicious confederacy with their 1 . In order to complete his victory. when seriously bent to kill?’ returned Duncan. twisting themselves to strike?’ ‘Would ‘Le Gros Serpent’ have been heard by the ears of one he wished to be deaf?’ ‘Does the white chief burn his powder in the faces of his brothers?’ ‘Does he ever miss his aim. perceiving that the eyes of his companion were warily fastened on the rest of the band. Le Renard is a wise chief. and what he does will be seen. fell back immediately.’ Heyward. he said. and affected to be well pleased with the diligence and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. it will be the time to answer. Duncan saw that the Indian hesitated. with some energy: ‘Do friends make such marks?’ ‘Would ‘La Longue Carbine’ cut one so slight on an enemy?’ ‘Do the Delawares crawl upon those they love like snakes. Go. he was in the act of recommencing the enumeration of the rewards. smiling with well acted sincerity. Another long and deliberate pause succeeded these sententious questions and ready replies. and then laying his hand on the rude bandages of his wounded was quite apparent. by the thoughtful expression of the listener’s countenance. and keep the mouth shut. that the answer was most cunningly devised. Magua approached the horses. when Magua made an expressive gesture and said: ‘Enough.

He then signed to Heyward to assist the sisters into the saddles. as it might enable him to retard the speed of the party. who. in consequence. however reluctantly. In this manner they proceeded in uninterrupted silence.ingenuity of his comrades. as well as Duncan. while the Indians flanked the party. so much regret this circumstance. for he still turned his longing looks in the direction of Fort Edward. as the effects of the wound became less and less apparent. in piteous exclamations. Magua made the signal to proceed. except when Heyward addressed some solitary word of comfort to the females. which might denote the approach of succor. or David gave vent to the moanings of his spirit. unless urged by some motive of more than usual moment. to comply. was compelled to journey on foot. for he seldom deigned to use the English tongue. The mare of David had been taken with the followers of the large chief. in the vain expectation of catching some sound from that quarter of the forest. with Heyward at their side. There was no longer any plausible pretext for delay. which he intended 1 The Last of the Mohicans . with a caution that seemed never to tire. and brought up the close of the march. he whispered his reviving hopes in the ears of the trembling females. its owner. The sisters rode in his rear. through dread of encountering the savage countenances of their captors. As he performed this office. Next followed David. seldom raised their eyes from the ground. and Duncan was obliged. The latter did not. advancing in front to lead the party in person. however. who was gradually coming to a true sense of his condition. When all were prepared.

and in a course nearly opposite to the road to William Henry. and whenever an opportunity offered. and he knew the windings of an Indian’s path too well to suppose that its apparent course led directly to its object. Mile after mile was. however.should express the humility of resignation. she stretched forth her arm to bend aside the twigs that met her hands. but in order to effect even the former. when artifice was at all necessary. Sometimes he fancied the wary savage. consequently. Notwithstanding this apparent adherence in Magua to the original determination of his conquerors. not only of honor. Their direction lay toward the south. Heyward could not believe his tempting bait was so soon forgotten. was holding his way toward a well-known border settlement. without any prospect of a termination to their journey. and a favored friend of the Six Nations. as he darted his meridian rays through the branches of the trees. passed through the boundless woods. and pined for the moment when the policy of Magua should change their route to one more favorable to his hopes. where a distinguished officer of the crown. held his large possessions. from the post. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and. Heyward watched the sun. To be delivered into the hands of Sir William Johnson was far preferable to being led into the wilds of Canada. each step of which was carrying him further from the scene of the war. it would be necessary to traverse the forest for many weary leagues. in this painful manner. as well as his usual 1 . Cora alone remembered the parting injunctions of the scout. but of duty. despairing of passing the army of Montcalm in safety.

and over undulating hills. let her glove fall at the same instant. or aided by such blind marks as are only known to the sagacity of a native. and by a sudden thought. seldom turned to look at his followers. Once. to leave the prints of their footsteps. across brooks and rivulets. As there were horses. and nearly with the directness of a bird. Heyward would have ventured a remonstrance had there been anything encouraging in the gloomy reserve of Magua. with the accuracy of instinct. who restored the glove. But the savage. and occupy the limb by some gesture of feminine apprehension. and never spoke. in both bands of the Indians. when it became necessary to feign an alarm she did not feel. that it put an effectual end to these stolen memorials of their passage. was she completely successful. when she broke down the bough of a large sumach. this interruption cut off any probable hopes of assistance being conveyed through the means of their trail. Whether the path was 10 The Last of the Mohicans . with a look so significant. by encountering their watchful eyes. intended for those that might follow. and then laid his hand on his tomahawk. With the sun for his only guide. This sign. through occasional little fertile vales. was observed by one of her conductors. and once only. broke the remaining branches of the bush in such a manner that it appeared to proceed from the struggling of some beast in its branches. He never seemed to hesitate. he held his way along the barrens of pine.But the vigilance of the Indians rendered this act of precaution both difficult and dangerous. during all this time. She was often defeated in her purpose.

But all this diligence and speed were not without an object. through which a gushing brook meandered. Whenever the eyes of the wearied travelers rose from the decayed leaves over which they trod. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he suddenly ascended a hill. with the light plume on his crest fluttering in a current of air. they found themselves on a level 11 .hardly distinguishable. whether it disappeared. his dark form was to be seen glancing among the stems of the trees in front. When the summit was gained. After crossing a low vale. but thinly covered with trees. made solely by the swiftness of his own motion. so steep and difficult of ascent. or whether it lay beaten and plain before him. It seemed as if fatigue could not affect him. that the sisters were compelled to alight in order to follow. made no sensible difference in his speed or certainty. his head immovably fastened in a forward position. as if willing and ready to seek that rest which was so much needed by the whole party. under one of which Magua had thrown his dark form.

one of the Indians had found an opportunity to strike a straggling fawn with an arrow. As Heyward.’—Shylock T he Indian had selected for this desirable purpose one of those steep. pyramidal hills. devoting himself entirely to the comfort and condolence of his feebler companions. It possessed no other apparent advantage for a resting place. no longer expected that rescue which time and distance now rendered so improbable. while the remains of their provisions were spread under the shade of a beech. The Narragansetts were suffered to browse on the branches of the trees and shrubs that were thinly scattered over the summit of the hill. but with one of its sides more than ordinarily irregular. than in its elevation and form. The one in question was high and precipitous. its top flattened. as usual. which bear a strong resemblance to artificial mounds. that stretched its horizontal limbs like a canopy above them. and surprise nearly impossible.Chapter 11 ‘Cursed be my tribe If I forgive him. he regarded these little peculiarities with an eye devoid of interest. Notwithstanding the swiftness of their flight. however. and had borne the more preferable 1 The Last of the Mohicans . and which so frequently occur in the valleys of America. which might render defense easy.

forget the burial place of his fathers. and does often. coldly.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. With a view to assist his plans by any suggestion of his own. and has promised to cherish. ‘Has not Magua kept the sun in his face long enough to escape all danger from the Canadians?’ he asked.’ returned Heyward. Without any aid from the science of cookery. as though no longer doubtful of the good intelligence established between them. if he had made one. This abstinence. to the spot where Le Renard was seated. anxious to recall his error. so remarkable in an 1 . and to strengthen the temptation. at length attracted the notice of Heyward. he was immediately employed. to the stopping place. ‘the white man may. in common with his fellows. as if without an object. patiently on his shoulders. to make him less liberal in his reward?’ ‘Do the pale faces love their children less in the morning than at night?’ asked the Indian. when he possessed the means of satisfying hunger. he left the beech. Magua alone sat apart. and apparently buried in the deepest thought.fragments of the victim. ‘and will not the chief of William Henry be better pleased to see his daughters before another night may have hardened his heart to their loss. and straggled. The young man willingly believed that the Huron deliberated on the most eligible manner of eluding the vigilance of his associates. ‘By no means. without participating in the revolting meal. but the affection of a parent for his child is never permitted to die. in gorging himself with this digestible sustenance. he sometimes ceases to remember those he should love.

and will he think of the babes that his squaws have given him? He is hard on his warriors and his eyes are made of stone?’ ‘He is severe to the idle and wicked.’ said the Huron. to communicate its purport to Cora. the expression of joy became so fiercely malignant that it was impossible not to apprehend it proceeded from some passion more sinister than avarice. but to the sober and deserving he is a leader. At first it seemed as if the remembrance of the promised reward grew vivid in his mind. ‘You understand the nature of an Indian’s wishes. I have known many fond and tender parents. when he spoke of those children who are now in your power!’ Heyward paused. ‘Magua waits to speak’ The father will remember what the child promises. but. for he knew not how to construe the remarkable expression that gleamed across the swarthy features of the attentive Indian. Magua. both just and humane. while he listened to the sources of parental feeling which were to assure its possession.’ Duncan. ‘go to the dark-haired daughter.’ he 1 The Last of the Mohicans . in a death-like calmness of countenance. who interpreted this speech to express a wish for some additional pledge that the promised gifts should not be withheld. slowly and reluctantly repaired to the place where the sisters were now resting from their fatigue. ‘Go. and say. but I have seen his eyes swimming in water. but never have I seen a man whose heart was softer toward his child. suppressing the alarming exhibition in an instant. as Duncan proceeded. You have seen the gray-head in front of his warriors.‘And is the heart of the white-headed chief soft.

nor would it be amiss to add some boon from your own hand. coldly: ‘When the Huron talks to the women. Remember. as if refusing to comply. the lady with whom you wish to speak. and yours!’ ‘Mine is of little moment. Cora said.concluded. and but few friends to lament a fate which I have courted with the insatiable longings of youth after distinction. with the dignity of her sex in her voice and manner. that on your presence of mind and ingenuity.’ ‘Heyward. the most prized by such as he. is here. He then signed with his hand for Heyward to retire. and stood for near a minute silent and motionless. ‘and must be prodigal of your offers of powder and blankets. and is a prize to be seized by any enemy who may possess the power. Magua. Heyward. and then turning to the native. Ardent spirits are. even your life. with that grace you so well know how to practise. may in some measure depend. as he led her toward the place where she was expected. however. his tribe shut their ears.’ The Indian rose slowly from his seat. saying. Go to Alice. But hush! we approach the Indian. she added: ‘What would Le Renard say to the daughter Free eBooks at Planet eBook. with a calm smile: ‘You hear. it is already sold to my king.’ She waited until he had departed.’ Duncan. as well as that of Alice. and comfort her with our reviving prospects. still 1 . I have no father to expect me. Cora. and delicacy at least should urge you to retire.

’ said Cora. The Hurons drove him from the graves of his fathers. and taught him to drink the fire-water. as if willing to draw her utmost attention to his words.’ ‘And am I answerable that thoughtless and unprincipled men exist. observing that he paused to suppress those passions which began to burn with too bright a flame. who was born a Huron. the people of your own color. and he was happy! Then his Canada fathers came into the woods. till the people chased him again through the woods into the arms of his enemies. and not a fool. laying his hand firmly upon her arm. Magua is a man. he saw the suns of twenty summers make the snows of twenty winters run off in the streams before he saw a pale face. a movement that Cora as firmly but quietly repulsed. as he recalled the recollection of his supposed injuries. He ran down the shores of the lakes. The chief. was at last a warrior among the Mohawks!’ ‘Something like this I had heard before.’ said the Indian. by extricating the limb from his grasp: ‘Magua was born a chief and a warrior among the red Hurons of the lakes. ‘No. whose shades of countenance may resemble mine?’ Cora calmly demanded of the excited savage. ‘Was it the fault of Le Renard that his head was not made of rock? Who gave him the fire-water? who made him a villain? ‘Twas the pale faces. as they would chase the hunted buffalo. and followed their outlet to the ‘city of cannon’ There he hunted and fished. and he became a rascal. such as you never open their lips to the burning stream: the Great Spirit has 1 The Last of the Mohicans .of Munro?’ ‘Listen.

’ ‘He forgot not his words. or say. then. He said to the Mohawks do this.given you wisdom!’ ‘What. tearing aside the slight calico Free eBooks at Planet eBook. have I do to. The old chief at Horican. ‘when his English and French fathers dug up the hatchet. resuming his earnest attitude. and now when they fight. and went out against his own nation. casting an oblique glance of the most ferocious expression at her unyielding countenance. ‘See!’ continued Magua. and whipped like a dog. your father. by punishing the offender. ‘Justice!’ repeated the Indian. and came into the cloth wigwams of his warriors. and do that. not to say of your errors?’ ‘Listen. Magua foolishly opened his mouth. He made a law. and he was minded. What did the gray-head? let his daughter say.’ repeated the Indian. it should not be forgotten. a white man leads the way. for she knew not how to palliate this imprudent severity on the part of her father in a manner to suit the comprehension of an Indian. in the matter of your 1 . it was the fire-water that spoke and acted for him! but Munro did believe it. ‘is it justice to make evil and then punish for it? Magua was not himself. and did justice. and the hot liquor led him into the cabin of Munro. that if an Indian swallowed the firewater. Le Renard struck the war-post of the Mohawks.’ said the undaunted daughter. was the great captain of our war-party.’ Cora remained silent. The Huron chief was tied up before all the pale-faced warriors. The pale faces have driven the red-skins from their hunting grounds.

it remembers forever!’ ‘But it may be appeased. after a most painful pause.’ ‘When the Chippewas tied Magua to the stake.’ ‘I had thought. show him how an Indian can forgive an injury. The spirit of a Huron is never drunk. bad for bad!’ ‘You would. If my father has done you this injustice. ‘here are scars given by knives and bullets—of these a warrior may boast before his nation. laying his finger on a deep scar. ‘What would you have?’ continued Cora.’ said the other. and cut this gash. and told them. ‘that an Indian warrior was patient. and their knives 1 The Last of the Mohicans . but the gray-head has left marks on the back of the Huron chief that he must hide like a squaw. then. while the conviction forced itself on her mind that the too sanguine and generous Duncan had been cruelly deceived by the cunning of the savage. ‘the Huron laughed in their faces. Would it not be more like a man to go before his face. under this painted cloth of the whites. his spirit lay under the birch. revenge the injury inflicted by Munro on his helpless daughters.’ resumed Cora. and that his spirit felt not and knew not the pain his body suffered. You have heard from Major Heyward —‘ Magua shook his head. and take the satisfaction of a warrior?’ ‘The arms of the pale faces are long. forbidding the repetition of offers he so much despised. ‘What a Huron loves — good for good. Women struck so light! His spirit was then in the clouds! But when he felt the blows of Munro.that very imperfectly concealed his painted breast. and take back his daughters.

’ said Cora. on the shores of the great lake. when he holds the spirit of the gray-head in his hand?’ ‘Name your intention. he has now made friends with the Hurons. or do you contemplate even some greater evil? Is there no reward. still maintaining a secret ascendancy over the fierce native by the collected and feminine dignity of her presence. notwithstanding her powerful disgust. Let the daughter of the English chief follow. ‘When Magua left his people his wife was given to another 1 . if the dark-haired woman will swear by the Great Spirit of her fathers to tell no!’ returned the savage. sufficient self-command to reply. Magua. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. without betraying the weakness.’ ‘What must I promise?’ demanded Cora.’ However revolting a proposal of such a character might prove to Cora. with a malignant laugh: ‘why should Le Renard go among the muskets of his warriors. Purchase wealth by her safety and satisfy your revenge with a single victim. and live in his wigwam forever. release my gentle sister. and of softening your heart? At least. and pour out all your malice on me. she retained. struggling with herself to speak with steady calmness. ‘The light eyes can go back to the Horican. and will go back to the graves of his tribe. and tell the old chief what has been done. The loss of both his daughters might bring the aged man to his grave. and where would then be the satisfaction of Le Renard?’ ‘Listen.’ said the Indian again. no means of palliating the injury. ‘Is it to lead us prisoners to the woods.

one who would be of a nation and color different from his own? It would be better to take the gold of Munro. the voice of Magua answered. that showed an unaltered purpose. But thou overratest thy power! You shall find it is. in its tones of deepest malignancy: ‘When the blows scorched the back of the Huron. was obliged to comply. but his heart would lie within reach of the knife of Le Subtil.’ The Indian made no reply for near a minute. that her eyes sank with shame. ‘None but a fiend could meditate such a vengeance. as if to close the conference forever. he would know where to find a woman to feel the smart.‘And what pleasure would Magua find in sharing his cabin with a wife he did not love. Cora.’ ‘Monster! well dost thou deserve thy treacherous name. the heart of Munro you hold. while he motioned her away. in an ungovernable burst of filial indignation. and that it will defy your utmost malice!’ The Indian answered this bold defiance by a ghastly smile.’ cried Cora. in such wavering glances. The body of the gray-head would sleep among his cannon. and cook his venison. under an impression that for the first time they had encountered an expression that no chaste female might endure. for Ma10 The Last of the Mohicans . but bent his fierce looks on the countenance of Cora. The daughter of Munro would draw his water. in truth. hoe his corn. and buy the heart of some Huron maid with his gifts. already regretting her precipitation. While she was shrinking within herself. in dread of having her ears wounded by some proposal still more shocking than the last.

she made no other answer than by pointing toward the dark group. there. we shall see!’ The action. we shall see. As the Huron used his native language. read our fortunes in their 11 . But. she evaded a direct reply. and the choked utterance of Cora. lay stretched on the earth in brutal indulgence. betraying only by her anxious looks fastened on the slightest movements of her captors. When Magua reached the cluster of lolling savages. who.gua instantly left the spot. he commenced speaking with the dignity of an Indian chief. gorged with their disgusting meal. and murmuring as she folded Alice to her bosom. could only conjecture the substance of his harangue from the nature of those significant gestures with which an Indian always illustrates his eloquence. ‘There. and approached his gluttonous comrades. notwithstanding the caution of the natives had kept them within the swing of their tomahawks. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. spoke more impressively than any words. the prisoners. and demanded the result of a dialogue that he had watched at a distance with so much interest. Heyward flew to the side of the agitated female. unwilling to alarm the fears of Alice. To the reiterated and earnest questions of her sister concerning their probable destination. with an agitation she could not control. The first syllables he uttered had the effect to cause his listeners to raise themselves in attitudes of respectful attention. and quickly drew the attention of her companions on that spot where her own was riveted with an intenseness that nothing but the importance of the stake could create.

At first. their frequent services to the nation. He pointed toward the youthful military captive. the language. and lost the loud. that he spoke of the land of their fathers. with which the hated appellation was received. the dark countenance of the flattered individual gleamed with exultation. as they uttered the expressive ‘Hugh!’ looked at each other in commendation of the speaker. and the number of the scalps they had taken. Frequent indications of applause escaped the listeners. by his pointing so frequently toward the direction of the great lakes. he named the name of ‘La Longue Carabine. who 1 The Last of the Mohicans .’ and paused until the forest beneath them had sent up the last echo of a loud and long yell. Heyward fancied. He enumerated the warriors of the party. nor did he even hesitate to assert the truth of the words. with its caverns and its numerous rapids and whirlpools. and of their distant tribe. to come and battle against the enemies of their Canadian fathers. animated tones of triumph with which he had enumerated their deeds of success and victory. Then the voice of the speaker fell. He described the cataract of Glenn’s. who. by gestures of applause and confirmation. When he had succeeded in sufficiently awakening the attention of his comrades. appeared calm and deliberative. He now spoke of the long and painful route by which they had left those spacious grounds and happy villages. Whenever he alluded to any present (and the subtle Indian neglected none). Le Renard was too skillful to neglect his advantage. their several merits. and described the death of a favorite warrior. the impregnable position of its rocky island. as well as the action of Magua. their wounds.

never failing to touch upon their courage. he rapidly recounted the manner in which each of their friends had fallen. of their unavenged wrongs.had been precipitated into the deep ravine by his hand. There is a dark spot on the names of the Hurons. had presented such a spectacle of horror to the whole band. and we have not a hair from a white head to give them! The women will point their fingers at us. on the branches of a sapling. their misery. hanging between heaven and earth. He not only mentioned the fate of him who. and that his nation have not taken revenge! Who will dare meet the mother of Wassawattimie. as if the wood. with his hands clean! What shall be said to the old men when they ask us for scalps. was filled with the nation. his voice once more changed. and became plaintive and even musical. he concluded by demanding: ‘Are the Hurons dogs to bear this? Who shall say to the wife of Menowgua that the fishes have his scalp. and it must be hid in blood!’ His voice was no longer audible in the burst of rage which now broke into the air. both physical and moral. that scornful woman. their distance. 1 . When this recital of events was ended. instead of containing so small a band. During the foregoing address the progress of the speaker was too plainly read by those most interested in his success through the medium of the countenances of Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but he acted anew the terrors of his situation. in its low guttural sounds. He now spoke of the wives and children of the slain. his resolution and his death. and. and their most acknowledged virtues. their destitution. Then suddenly lifting his voice to a pitch of terrific energy. at last. finally.

the men he addressed. giving utterance to their rage in the most frantic cries. nor was Heyward secured until the victory over his companion enabled the Indians to 1 The Last of the Mohicans . and his boasting. and invited them to prolong the misery of their victims. with the exultation of savages. submitted without a desperate. their eyes kindled with fury. though fruitless. and executed with the swiftness of thought. struggle. With the first intimation that it was within their reach. his assertions. His proposal was received with acclamations. they rushed upon their prisoners in a body with drawn knives and uplifted tomahawks. when he alluded to their injuries. he struck a chord which never failed to thrill in the breast of an Indian. but when he pointed out their means of vengeance. Even David hurled his assailant to the earth. while another was occupied in securing the less active singing-master. however. Two powerful warriors cast themselves on Heyward. Neither of the captives. When he spoke of courage. he diverted his comrades from their instant purpose. when he mentioned the taunts of the women. Heyward threw himself between the sisters and the foremost. by gestures of confirmation. the whole band sprang upon their feet as one man. This unexpected resistance gave Magua time to interpose. and with rapid enunciation and animated gesture. their looks were firm and responsive. whom he grappled with a desperate strength that for a moment checked his violence. In that language he knew so well how to assume. they dropped their heads in shame. They had answered his melancholy and mourning by sympathy and sorrow. he drew the attention of the band again to himself.

and alone kept her fragile form from sinking. While the less refined monsters of the band prepared. in deliberation on the propriety of the unusual occurrence. Some sought knots. David had contended. but instead of looking upward toward that power which alone could rescue them. in order to pierce the flesh of their captives with the burning fragments. to raise the blazing pile. performed that office for Alice which her trembling limbs refused. When the young soldier regained his recollection. her unconscious looks wandered to the countenance of Duncan with infantile dependency. The vengeance of the Hurons had now taken a new direction. one was riving the splinters of pine. before the eyes of those who were to suffer. the withes which bound her to a pine. these well-known Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Her hands were clasped before her in their united force to that object. and the novelty of the circumstance held him 1 . he had the painful certainty before his eyes that a common fate was intended for the whole party. pale and agitated. On his right was Cora in a durance similar to his own. He was then bound and fastened to the body of the sapling. and others bent the tops of two saplings to the earth. But the vengeance of Magua sought a deeper and more malignant enjoyment. on whose branches Magua had acted the pantomime of the falling Huron. On his left. but with an eye whose steady look still read the proceedings of their enemies. in order to suspend Heyward by the arms between the recoiling branches. and they prepared to execute it with that barbarous ingenuity with which they were familiarized by the practise of centuries.

’ she said. with the most malign expression of countenance. he approached Cora. his mercy shorter than their justice! Say. the speedy fate that awaited her: ‘Ha!’ he added. to carry his water. ‘He is a savage. the meaning of her words. will she like it better when it rolls about this hill a plaything for the wolves? Her bosom cannot nurse the children of a Huron. ‘Leave me. and knows not what he does. and feed him with corn?’ Cora beckoned him away. with an emotion of disgust she could not control. you stand between me and my God!’ The slight impression produced on the savage was. and will you follow Magua to the great lakes. mistaking in his anger. with our dying breath.and vulgar means of torture. however. to ask for him penitence and pardon. ‘the memory of an Indian is no longer than the arm of the pale faces. shall I send the yellow hair to her father. soon forgotten.’ ‘Pardon!’ echoed the fierce Huron. and he continued pointing. and pointed out. ‘you mingle bitterness in my prayers. toward Alice. she will see it spit upon by Indians!’ ‘What means the monster!’ demanded the astonished Heyward. ‘Look! the child weeps! She is too young to die! Send her 1 The Last of the Mohicans . with taunting irony. Let us find leisure. with a solemnity that for a moment checked the barbarity of the Indian. a barbarous and ignorant savage. ‘Nothing!’ was the firm reply. ‘what says the daughter of Munro? Her head is too good to find a pillow in the wigwam of Le Renard.

‘Say on. ‘the Huron offers us both life. ‘that were easy! Perhaps the alternative may not be less so. to our friends — to our father — to our heart-stricken. dearest Cora? Oh! that the proffer were made to me! to save you. and consent —‘ Her voice became choked. intelligence from a wisdom that was infinite. her accents sinking under a deep consciousness of the degradation of the proposal. go to the habitations of the Hurons. to remain there. ‘to what. At length she spoke. dearest Cora?’ asked the trembling voice of Alice. as if seeking. he offers to restore Duncan. with a countenance that wavered with powerful and contending emotions. in an expression of tenderness that seemed maternal. that betrayed the longings of nature. ‘Did he speak of sending me to our father?’ For many moments the elder sister looked upon the younger. our invaluable Duncan.’ she continued. ‘Alice. ‘What says he.’ Cora could not resist the desire to look upon her youthful sister. how cheerfully could I die!’ ‘Die!’ repeated Cora. with a calmer and firmer voice. childless father. she looked upward. to cheer our aged father. ‘follow him to the wilderness. to become Free eBooks at Planet eBook. in her agony. in short. He would have me. in whose eyes she met an imploring glance. though her tones had lost their rich and calm fullness. as well as you. and keep life in the heart of the old man. more than both. to restore Duncan. and clasping her hands. if I will bow down this rebellious.’ she said. stubborn pride of mine. to comb his gray hairs.’ cried 1 . nay.

Alice. the thought itself is worse than a thousand deaths. In a few moments. together!’ ‘Then die!’ shouted Magua. and her dark eyes once more sparkling with the lingering emotions of a woman. unconquerable disapprobation. receive it at my hands at such a price? And you. Is life to be purchased by such a sacrifice? Will you. for I am wholly yours!’ ‘Would I!’ echoed the indignant and astonished youth. Major Heyward. hurling his tomahawk with 1 The Last of the Mohicans . Duncan. looking like some beautiful emblem of the wounded delicacy of her sex. devoid of animation and yet keenly conscious. her head dropped upon her bosom. however. ‘Cora! Cora! you jest with our misery! Name not the horrid alternative again.’ ‘That such would be your answer. guide me. ‘No. as she listened to this proposal. It appeared as if the delicate and sensitive form of Alice would shrink into itself. her head began to move slowly. I well knew!’ exclaimed Cora. control me between you. no. her cheeks flushing. the fingers moving in slight convulsions.his wife! Speak. no. ‘What says my Alice? for her will I submit without another murmur. too. aid my weak reason with your counsel.’ Although both Heyward and Cora listened with painful suspense and the deepest attention. then. better that we die as we have lived. no sounds were heard in reply. and her whole person seemed suspended against the tree. Alice. Her arms had fallen lengthwise before her. in a sign of deep. child of my affections! sister of my love! And you.

violence at the unresisting speaker. who glided from his grasp. and cutting some of the flowing ringlets of Alice. and rose again with one knee on his chest. The naked body of his antagonist afforded Heyward no means of holding his adversary. Collecting all his energies in one effort he snapped the twigs which bound him and rushed upon another savage. to repeat the blow. and gnashing his teeth with a rage that could no longer be bridled at this sudden exhibition of firmness in the one he believed the weakest of the party. They encountered. grappled. when a whistling sound swept past him. The axe cleaved the air in front of Heyward. when the Indian fell dead on the faded leaves by his side. with loud yells and a more deliberate aim. and fell to the earth together. quivered in the tree above her head. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The sight maddened Duncan to desperation. he saw the savage expression of his adversary’s countenance change to a look of vacant wildness. Duncan already saw the knife gleaming in the air. pressing him down with the weight of a giant. and was rather accompanied than followed by the sharp crack of a 1 . who was preparing. He felt his breast relieved from the load it had endured.

and was succeeded by a wild and a sort of plaintive howl. where the incautious party had piled their arms. it was exceeded by that of a light and vigorous form which. and at the next moment. glided before their eyes. too eager to load the rifle he had regained. Hawkeye. I’ll be with you again. brandishing the clubbed weapon. whirling a tomahawk. armed in the emblematic panoply of death. the name of ‘La Longue Carabine’ burst simultaneously from every lip. where it stood. with incredible activity and daring. into the very center of the Hurons. an image. sire.Chapter 12 ‘Clo. And anon. Bold and rapid as was the progress of the scout. The cry was answered by a loud shout from a little thicket. bounding past him. and assumed a threatening attitude at the other’s side.—I am gone. and flourishing a glittering knife.’— Twelfth Night T he Hurons stood aghast at this sudden visitation of death on one of their band. in front of Cora. Quicker than the thoughts could follow those unexpected and audacious movements. was seen advancing upon them. The The Last of the Mohicans 10 . But as they regarded the fatal accuracy of an aim which had dared to immolate an enemy at so much hazard to a friend. with fearful menaces. leaped. sire. and cutting the air with wide and powerful sweeps.

cleft him to the brain. and rushed eagerly toward the fray. It was the signal for a general combat. Neither party had firearms. and uttered. the often repeated and peculiar exclamations of surprise. with weapons of offense.savage tormentors recoiled before these warlike intruders. well-directed blow of his tomahawk. EnFree eBooks at Planet eBook. As the combatants were now equal in number. Hawkeye soon got another enemy within reach of his arm. crushing him to the earth with the blow. and none of 11 . Casting his keen eyes around the little plain. each singled an opponent from the adverse band. hand to hand. and rushed with a loud whoop upon the expected Chingachgook. Uncas answered the whoop. It struck the Indian he had selected on the forehead. and checked for an instant his onward rush. and leaping on an enemy. The rush and blows passed with the fury of a whirlwind. he unsheathed his long and dangerous knife. as they appeared in such quick succession. Heyward ventured to hurl the tomahawk he had seized. and the swiftness of lightning. and the contest was to be decided in the deadliest manner. he comprehended the nature of the assault at a glance. and encouraging his followers by his voice as well as by his example. and with one sweep of his formidable weapon he beat down the slight and inartificial defenses of his antagonist. too ardent to await the moment of closing. Heyward tore the weapon of Magua from the sapling. with a single. followed by the well-known and dreaded appellations of: ‘Le Cerf Agile! Le Gros Serpent!’ But the wary and vigilant leader of the Hurons was not so easily disconcerted.

with hellish vengeance. Unable longer to foil an enemy so alert and vigilant. and then seeing that all around him were employed in the deadly strife. but one that was far too exhausting to himself to continue long. and cutting the withes which bound her to the tree. he had sought. threw 1 The Last of the Mohicans . the breech of Hawkeye’s rifle fell on the naked head of his adversary. to complete the baffled work of revenge. In this extremity he heard a voice near him. sending his keen axe as the dreadful precursor of his approach. he sprang toward the defenseless Cora. flexible and motionless. whose muscles appeared to wither under the shock. as he sank from the arms of Duncan. and sprang upon his enemy with naked hands. shouting: ‘Extarminate the varlets! no quarter to an accursed Mingo!’ At the next moment. the impetuous young man continued his onset. The tomahawk grazed her shoulder. in endeavoring to ward the desperate thrusts made with the knife of the Huron. to seek another. for he immediately found himself fully engaged. like a hungry lion. with all his activity and courage.couraged by this slight advantage. Raising a shout of triumph. and reckless of her own safety. he threw his arms about him. When Uncas had brained his first antagonist. The fifth and only Huron disengaged at the first onset had paused a moment. he turned. A single instant was enough to assure him of the rashness of the measure. with an iron grasp. She eluded the grasp of the savage. and succeeded in pinning the limbs of the other to his side. left the maiden at liberty to fly.

But he purchased this moment of fierce gratification with the loss of the fatal opportunity. It was just then the sight caught the eye of Uncas. each in his turn.’ Well did these barbarous warriors prove that they deserved those significant names which had been bestowed for deeds in former wars. and bowed her down with brutal violence to her knees. They arose together. some little time was lost in eluding the quick and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. driving him many yards from the spot. with a taunting and exulting laugh. fought. but the breast of the Huron was a stranger to sympathy. Seizing Cora by the rich tresses which fell in confusion about her form. The violence of the exertion cast the young Mohican at his side. and bled. and raising them on high with an outstretched arm. When they engaged. But the conflict was soon decided. headlong and prostrate. to tear asunder the twigs which confined the person of her sister. striving with convulsed and ill-directed fingers. The savage drew the flowing curls through his hand. Any other than a monster would have relented at such an act of generous devotion to the best and purest affection. the tomahawk of Heyward and the rifle of Hawkeye descended on the skull of the Huron. Bounding from his footsteps he appeared for an instant darting through the air and descending in a ball he fell on the chest of his enemy. he tore her from her frantic 1 .herself on the bosom of Alice. The battle was now entirely terminated with the exception of the protracted struggle between ‘Le Renard Subtil’ and ‘Le Gros Serpent. at the same moment that the knife of Uncas reached his heart. he passed the knife around the exquisitely molded head of his victim.

as if raised by the passage of a whirlwind. and the dark form of the Huron. encircling the little canopy of dust which hung above the warriors. Urged by the different motives of filial affection. the threatening rifle of Hawkeye was raised and suspended in vain.vigorous thrusts which had been aimed at their lives. Covered as they were with dust and blood. any hostile hand could descend on his devoted head. the spot where these experienced and desperate combatants lay could only be distinguished by a cloud of dust and leaves. its place 1 The Last of the Mohicans . however. like the fabled organs of the basilisk through the dusty wreath by which he was enveloped. In vain did Uncas dart around the cloud. the swift evolutions of the combatants seemed to incorporate their bodies into one. friendship and gratitude. The death-like looking figure of the Mohican. and he read by those short and deadly glances the fate of the combat in the presence of his enemies. It is true there were short and fleeting moments. At the moment when the victors found themselves unoccupied. in pliant and subtle folds. that the friends of the former knew not where to plant the succoring blow. twisted together like twining serpents. and came to the earth. ere. they closed. with a wish to strike his knife into the heart of his father’s foe. Suddenly darting on each other. while Duncan endeavored to seize the limbs of the Huron with hands that appeared to have lost their power. Heyward and his companions rushed with one accord to the place. when the fiery eyes of Magua were seen glittering. gleamed before their eyes in such quick and confused succession. which moved from the center of the little plain toward its boundary.

The Mohican now found an opportunity to make a powerful thrust with his knife. with a single 1 . ‘a finishing blow from a man without a cross will never tell against his honor. when a shrill and peculiar cry from the scout instantly changed their purpose. and recalled them to the summit of the hill. the subtle Huron rolled swiftly from beneath the danger. and been knocked Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and fell backward without motion. An honest Delaware now. into the center of a thicket of low bushes.’ But at the very moment when the dangerous weapon was in the act of descending. ‘a lying and deceitful varlet as he is. nor rob him of his right to the scalp. and seemingly without life. In this manner the scene of the combat was removed from the center of the little plain to its verge. was seen leaping. like hounds in open view of the deer. would have lain still. whose prejudices contributed so largely to veil his natural sense of justice in all matters which concerned the Mingoes. once more elevating the butt of the long and fatal rifle. who had believed their enemy dead. ‘Well done for the Delawares! victory to the Mohicans!’ cried Hawkeye. being fairly vanquished. ‘Twas like himself!’ cried the inveterate forester.was filled by the scowling visage of Chingachgook. over the edge of the precipice. which clung along its sides. and falling on his feet. uttered their exclamation of surprise. Magua suddenly relinquished his grasp. The Delawares. His adversary leaped on his feet. and were following with speed and clamor. making the arches of the forest ring with the sounds of triumph.

We shall not attempt to describe the gratitude to the Almighty Disposer of Events which glowed in the bosoms of the sisters. many a long mile from his French commerades. may leave the prints of our moccasins over a long reach of sandy plain. accompanied by Heyward. ‘your father is flaying the scalps already.’ he added. See.’ So saying the honest but implacable scout made the circuit of the dead. 1 The Last of the Mohicans . and like a rattler that lost his fangs. the offerings of their gentle spirits burning brightest and purest on the secret altars of their hearts. been anticipated by the elder Mohican. or we may have another of them loping through the woods. he can do no further mischief. and screeching like a jay that has been winged. It may be well to go round and feel the vagabonds that are left. Their thanksgivings were deep and silent. with as much coolness as though they had been so many brute carcasses. placed her in the arms of Cora. and he without rifle or bow. He had. As Alice rose from her knees. into whose senseless bosoms he thrust his long knife. until such time as he. But Uncas. and we too. who had already torn the emblems of victory from the unresisting heads of the slain. in Delaware. ‘tis but one man. to the assistance of the females. denying his habits. and quickly releasing Alice. we had almost said his nature. Uncas.on the head. flew with instinctive delicacy. and their renovated and more earthly feelings exhibiting themselves in long and fervent though speechless caresses. who were thus unexpectedly restored to life and to each other. but these knavish Maquas cling to life like so many cats-o’-the-mountain. Let him go — let him go. however.

and his heart will not be broken with grief. ‘We are saved! we are saved!’ she murmured. approached David. whose vigilant distrust had satisfied itself that the Hurons. my sister. until that moment. it is true. but with eyes that had already lost their fierceness. the practises of his nation. and Uncas stood. and liberated him from the bonds he had. Hawkeye. And Duncan. looking round upon the youth with a smile of ineffable innocence. During this display of emotions so natural in their situation.’ she added.where she had sunk by the side of Cora. dear father. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and. ‘even our own brave and noble Duncan has escaped without a hurt. endured with the most exemplary patience. ‘to return to the arms of our dear. and were beaming with a sympathy that elevated him far above the intelligence. who disfigured the heavenly scene. an unmoved looker-on.’ To these ardent and nearly innocent words Cora made no other answer than by straining the youthful speaker to her heart. And you. The manhood of Heyward felt no shame in dropping tears over this spectacle of affectionate rapture. are spared. fresh and blood-stained from the 1 . and sobbed aloud the name of their aged father. sparkled with the rays of hope. you. dove-like eyes. too. my mother. she threw herself on the bosom of the latter. too. my more than sister. no longer possessed the power to interrupt its harmony. a calm. while her soft. apparently. as she bent over her in melting tenderness. and advanced him probably centuries before. Cora.

to part with the little tooting instrument in your jacket to the first fool you meet with.’ he added. at least. for. casting the last withe behind him. you are welcome to my thoughts. I should think. was less owing to disinclination. but the song of thanksgiving to the victory!’ answered the liberated David.’ ‘Arms and the clarion for the battle. in kindness. The one will. your eyes would plainly tell you that a carrion crow is a better bird than a mocking-thresher. and these are. may be said to have experience beyond his years. ‘you are once more master of your own limbs. you might thus come to some prefarment. remove foul sights from before the face of man. having lived most of his time in the wilderness. I have ever found mine own well suited to the brain they shelter. by cheating the ears of all that hear them. for by this time. If advice from one who is not older than yourself. Valiant and skillful hast thou proved thyself in the conflict.‘There. though you seem not to use them with much greater judgment than that in which they were first fashioned. before proceeding to discharge 1 The Last of the Mohicans . than to the bonds of the heathen. will give no offense. ‘Friend. thrusting forth his lean. That I did not join myself to the battle. while the other is only good to brew disturbances in the woods. but who. delicate hand toward Hawkeye.’ exclaimed the scout. though those of other men may be more glossy and curling. and buy some we’pon with the money. while his eyes twinkled and grew moist. and I hereby thank thee. if it be only the barrel of a horseman’s pistol. ‘I thank thee that the hairs of my head still grow where they were first rooted by Providence. By industry and care.

’ The scout. we should have come in upon the knaves with three bullets instead of one.’ said the sturdy woodsman.’ ‘The thing is but a trifle. now looked up at the other in a displeasure that he did not affect to conceal. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. examining into the state of his rifle with a species of parental assiduity. ‘and that in itself is a victory. I can credit that yonder Huron was to fall by my hand. for with my own eyes I have seen it. roughly interrupting further speech. yon loping varlet. a good deal softened toward the man of song. striking his hand on the breech of his rifle. but nothing short of being a witness will cause me to think he has met with any reward. because thou hast proved thyself well worthy of a Christian’s praise. and most consoling and refreshing it is to the true believer. and for the best. but they outwitted themselves when they placed their firearms out of 1 .’ ‘Thou sayest well. and he that is predestined to be damned will be damned. and the curse of an honest man. and had Uncas or his father been gifted with only their common Indian patience. These Iroquois are cunning.other and more important duties. as well as his commerades. ‘I have got back my old companion. by this unequivocal expression of gratitude. This is the doctrine of truth. ‘killdeer’.’ returned the scout. who by this time was seated.’ returned David. ‘Doctrine or no doctrine. and that would have made a finish of the whole pack. But ‘twas all fore-ordered.’ he added. ‘tis the belief of knaves. and what you may often see if you tarry long among us. ‘and hast caught the true spirit of Christianity. He that is to be saved will be saved.

by endeavoring to penetrate the awful mystery of the divine nature. had been drawn around the beautiful simplicity of revelation. and this good rifle on my knee for the feather of a goose’s wing. in which of the holy books do you find language to support you?’ ‘Book!’ repeated Hawkeye. and my leathern pouch for a cross-barred handkercher to carry my dinner? Book! what have such as I. who am a warrior of the wilderness. I demand your authorities for such an uncharitable assertion (like other advocates of a system. misconceiving the other’s meaning. ‘your temple is reared on the sands. though a man without a cross.’ ‘You have no warranty for such an audacious doctrine. to do with books? I never read but in one. nor any covenant to support it. involving those who reasoned from such human dogmas in absurdities and doubt. and more especially in his province. David was not always accurate in his use of terms).’ ‘What call you the volume?’ said David. in his time. though I may boast that of forty long and hard-working years.’ cried David who was deeply tinctured with the subtle distinctions which. and the first tempest will wash away its foundation. ‘do you take me for a whimpering boy at the apronstring of one of your old gals. 10 The Last of the Mohicans . and by consequence. Name chapter and verse.or that Chingachgook there will be condemned at the final day. my ox’s horn for a bottle of ink. with singular and ill-concealed disdain. supplying faith by self-sufficiency. and the words that are written there are too simple and too plain to need much schooling.

and that the greatest of his folly lies in striving to rise to the level of One he can never equal. be it in goodness. and he will follow me from sun to sun. who formerly sang the profane renown of baron and prince. He was. to join in praise for this signal deFree eBooks at Planet eBook. he shall see enough to teach him that he is a 11 . I know not but man may so deform his works in the settlement. aloud: ‘I invite you. friends.’ The instant David discovered that he battled with a disputant who imbibed his faith from the lights of nature. While the scout was speaking. he willingly abandoned a controversy from which he believed neither profit nor credit was to be derived.’ returned the scout. in celebration of. but after the spirit of his own age and country. or rather in thanksgiving for. than those gifted bards. which nothing but the unexpected assault he had received in his orthodoxy could have so long suspended. certainly. I have heard it said that there are men who read in books to convince themselves there is a God. eschewing all subtleties of doctrine. If any such there be. through the windings of the forest. or be it in power. He waited patiently for Hawkeye to cease. and producing the ready little volume and the iron-rimmed spectacles. he had also seated himself. a minstrel of the western continent — of a much later day. in truth. as to leave that which is so clear in the wilderness a matter of doubt among traders and priests.‘Tis open before your eyes. the recent victory. and he was now prepared to exercise the cunning of his craft. ‘and he who owns it is not a niggard of its use. he said. together with his voice. he prepared to discharge a duty. then lifting his eyes.

it is probable that no bard of profane song ever uttered notes that ascended so near to that throne where all homage and praise is due.’ He next named the page and verse where the rhymes selected were to be found. for the sisters were just then pouring out those tender effusions of affection which have been already alluded to. Nothing deterred by the smallness of his audience. In this office he was now joined by Chingachgook. and applied the pitch-pipe to his lips. to collect and to examine into the state of the captured arsenal of the Hurons. nor was 1 The Last of the Mohicans . failed to awaken his slumbering emotions. wanting the extraneous assistance of scene and sympathy. or by whatever more suitable name David should be known. among the arms.liverance from the hands of barbarians and infidels. though considering the singleness and sincerity of his motive. but the sounds. which. and muttering some unintelligible words. Hawkeye listened while he coolly adjusted his flint and reloaded his rifle. among which ‘throat’ and ‘Iroquois’ were alone audible. he raised his voice. The scout shook his head. to the comfortable and solemn tones of the tune called ‘Northampton’. commencing and ending the sacred song without accident or interruption of any kind. with the decent gravity that he had been wont to use in the temple. consisted only of the discontented scout. drew upon his talents in the presence of more insensible auditors. This time he was. Never minstrel. without any accompaniment. in truth. as well as the rifle of his son. however. he walked away. who found his own. Even Heyward and David were furnished with weapons.

leaving the blind path that the Hurons had followed. for. out of which a clear and sparkling spring of bright. ‘Them careless imps. had so often proved himself their friend. with their TuscaFree eBooks at Planet eBook. Their distance from the base of the fatal hill was but a few rods. The white man then looked about him. and the sisters had learned to still the exhibition of their emotions. At the foot they found the Narragansetts browsing the herbage of the bushes. and the steeds had been serviceable only in crossing the shallow 1 . By this time the song of Gamut had ceased. Aided by Duncan and the younger Mohican. leaning their rifle against the trees. and whose summit had so nearly proved the scene of their massacre. the scout announced that the hour had arrived when it was necessary to move. short.ammunition wanting to render them all effectual. the Mohawks. and having mounted. When the foresters had made their selection. Hawkeye. The scout and the Indians appeared to be familiar with the sequestered place where they now were. they commenced throwing aside the dried leaves. and distributed their prizes. however. as though seeking for some object. The journey was. and entering the thicket. under the shade of a few water elms. they followed the movements of a guide. glancing water. and opening the blue clay. the two latter descended the precipitous sides of that hill which they had so lately ascended under so very different auspices. who. turned short to his right. and halted in a narrow dell. which was not to be found as readily as he expected. he crossed a babbling brook. quickly bubbled. in the most deadly straits.

and deformed the cleanliness of the place. Uncas. in the midst of the howling wilderness. and one would think they might carve and roast a saddle.’ Uncas silently extended toward him the desired gourd. and after taking a long. and raised a fountain of water from the bowels of the ‘arth. ‘and the vagabonds have thrown away the gourd! This is the way with benefits. Look at this! The varlets know the better pieces of the deer. when they are bestowed on such disremembering hounds! Here has the Lord laid his hand. perceiving that their guides now set about 1 The Last of the Mohicans . which the spleen of Hawkeye had hitherto prevented him from observing on a branch of an elm. equal to the best cook in the land! But everything is raw. Filling it with water. apparently.’ he muttered. he retired a short distance. after so long a trail. he commenced a very strict examination of the fragments of food left by the Hurons. ‘Thank you. returning the empty gourd to Uncas. instead of human men. ‘now we will see how these rampaging Hurons lived. to a place where the ground was more firm and dry. and. and see! the knaves have trodden in the clay. as though they were brute beasts.rora and Onondaga brethren. for the Iroquois are thorough savages. take my steel and kindle a fire. that might laugh at the richest shop of apothecary’s ware in all the colonies. a grateful draught. a mouthful of a tender broil will give natur’ a helping hand. when outlying in ambushments. which had hung in a wallet on his arm. here he coolly seated himself. for their good. have been here slaking their thirst. lad!’ he continued.’ Heyward.

’ coolly answered the scout. if not a little fierce. to keep this Mohican boy snug in the ambushment. we lay by. as from the deference he usually paid to his white associate. ‘No. but he neither spoke nor gave any indication of repentance.’ ‘You were. Ah! Uncas. ‘and without aid from the garrison of Edward?’ ‘Had we gone to the bend in the river. waiting to watch the movements of the Hurons. my generous friend.their repast in sober earnest. curiosity induced him to inquire into the circumstances which had led to their timely and unexpected rescue: ‘How is it that we see you so soon. Heyward thought the manner of the young Mohican was disdainful. witnesses of all that passed?’ ‘Not of all. under the bank of the Hudson. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. then. we might have been in time to rake the leaves over your bodies. ‘You saw our capture?’ Heyward next demanded. for Indian sight is too keen to be easily cheated. and that he suppressed passions that were ready to explode.’ he asked. as much in compliment to the listeners. after the bloody scene he had just gone through. and placed himself at their side. but too late to have saved your scalps. instead of throwing away strength and opportunity by crossing to the fort. While the culinary process was in hand. A difficult matter it was. your behavior was more like that of a curious woman than of a warrior on his 1 . too. On the contrary.’ Uncas permitted his eyes to turn for an instant on the sturdy countenance of the speaker. and we kept close. no. not unwilling to enjoy a few moments of grateful rest. Uncas. assisted the ladies to alight.

especially as all the footsteps had the prints of moccasins. It was nearly a miracle that you did not mistake the path. But when we had followed it for many miles. and ready bound for an Indian massacre. and then we lost sight of you entirely.’ ‘Ay! there we were thrown off the scent. ‘Aye.’ said Duncan. however. ‘An Indian yell is plain language to men who have passed their days in the woods. raising a foot.‘We heard it. indeed.’ was the significant answer. my mind misgave me. for we judged. that the savages would hold that course with their prisoners. ‘twas judgmatical and like themselves. are we indebted for our safety?’ ‘To what. though we were too expart to be thrown from a trail by so common an invention. and judged rightly. in matters which I should know better than he. have lost the trail. we took the path. and each band had its horses. we were driven to crawl like sarpents. and might.’ ‘Our captors had the precaution to see us shod like themselves.’ ‘To what. beneath the leaves.’ 1 The Last of the Mohicans . to the judgment of the young Mohican. that led into the wilderness. But when you landed. had it not been for Uncas. and exhibiting the buckskin he wore. as I had advised. as a white man who has no taint of Indian blood. I should be ashamed to own. without finding a single twig broken. then. until we placed eyes on you again trussed to the trees. for the Hurons divided.’ ‘Our rescue was the deed of Providence. though my own eyes tell me it is so. but which I can now hardly believe to be true.

which is contrary to the movements of all trotting four-footed animals of my knowledge. for he would value the animals for very different properties. ‘planted the legs of one side on the ground at the same time. And yet here are horses that always journey in this manner. in the small province of Providence Plantations. though other horses are not unfrequently trained to the same.‘Tis extraordinary! will you not name the reason?’ ‘Uncas was bold enough to say.’ ‘Tis the merit of the animal! They come from the shores of Narrangansett Bay. as my own eyes have seen. and.’ ‘It may be—it may be. when Duncan had 1 . Major Effingham has many noble chargers. they looked at each other significantly. and the ease of this peculiar movement. the father uttering the never-failing exclamation of surprise. my judgment in deer and beaver is greater than in beasts of burden. not without curious interest. much honored with the burdens it is often destined to bear.’ The Mohicans had suspended their operations about the glimmering fire to listen.’ continued Hawkeye. who had listened with singular attention to this explanation. but I have never seen one travel after such a sidling gait. on the fillies of the ladies. The scout ruminatFree eBooks at Planet eBook. as you witness. glancing his eyes.’ said Hawkeye. that the beasts ridden by the gentle ones. except the bear. and are celebrated for their hardihood. and as their trail has shown for twenty long miles. Still is this a breed highly esteemed and.’ ‘True. ‘though I am a man who has the full blood of the whites.

dingy brown. and after swallowing a little of the water. as a lady breaks a flower from its stem. near the prints of one of the horses. who travel south and east of the great lakes but have heard of its qualities. and had torn the rest. in no degree conscious of having exhibited any extraordinary sagacity. ‘and a very different matter it was from a waddling horse! It then struck me the Mingoes would push for this spring. but all the rest were ragged and broken down. the secluded dell. The 1 The Last of the Mohicans . with its bubbling fountain. ‘I dare to say there are even stranger sights to be seen in the settlements!’ he said.ed. surrounded. at length.’ added the scout. and once more stole a glance at the horses. Uncas had seen the movement. to make us believe a buck had been feeling the boughs with his antlers. was bent upward. and their trail led us on to the broken bush. ‘Few red-skins. by earth of a deep. The outer branch. for some such thing occurred!’ ‘That was easy to see. like a man digesting his newly-acquired knowledge. then. threw it aside with grimaces of discontent. as if the strong hand of a man had been tearing them! So I concluded that the cunning varments had seen the twig bent. so famous?’ demanded Heyward. ‘Natur’ is sadly abused by man. for the knaves well know the vartue of its waters!’ ‘Is it. But.’ ‘I do believe your sagacity did not deceive you. with a more curious eye. examining. when he once gets the mastery. Will you taste for yourself?’ Heyward took the gourd. go sidling or go straight. as it was.

as a deer does the licks*. the time was when I liked it as little as yourself. These licks are great places of resort with the hunters. the scout had instant recourse to the fragments of food which had escaped the voracity of the Hurons. in pursuit of health and pleasure. Your high-spiced wines are not better liked than a red-skin relishes this water.scout laughed in his silent but heartfelt manner. who waylay their game near the paths that lead to them. grateful duty had been performed. in order to obtain the saline particles. around which and its sister fountains. A very summary process completed the simple cookery. and shook his head with vast satisfaction. within fifty years. for our journey is long. These are called ‘licks’ or ‘salt licks. When this necessary. especially when his natur’ is ailing. each of the foresters stooped and took a long and parting draught at that solitary and silent spring*. and all before us. but I have come to my taste. the wealth. But Uncas has made his fire. and it is time we think of eating.’ * Many of the animals of the American forests resort to those spots where salt springs are found. from the circumstance that the quadruped is often obliged to lick the earth. ‘Ah! you want the flavor that one gets by 1 . Interrupting the dialogue by this abrupt transition. with the silence and characteristic diligence of men who ate in order to enable themselves to endure great and unremitting toil. when he and the Mohicans commenced their humble meal. and. and I now crave it. happily. Then HawkFree eBooks at Planet eBook. beauty and talents of a hemisphere were to assemble in throngs.’ in the language of the country.

Duncan and David grapsed their rifles. leaving the healing waters to mingle unheeded with the adjacent brooks and the bodies of the dead to fester on the neighboring mount. without the rites of sepulture. the scout leading the advance. The sisters resumed their saddles. toward the north. and followed on footsteps. and the Mohicans bringing up the rear. The whole party moved swiftly through the narrow path. a fate but too common to the warriors of the woods to excite either commiseration or comment. one of the two principal watering places of America. 10 The Last of the Mohicans . * The scene of the foregoing incidents is on the spot where the village of Ballston now stands.eye announced his determination to proceed.

Their progress. which had been traversed by their party on the morning of the same day.Chapter 13 ‘I’ll seek a readier path. and as their journey lay through the interminable forest. and never pausing to deliberate. In the meantime. A rapid and oblique glance at the moss on the trees. the forest began to change its hues. losing that lively green which had embellished its arches. seemed to select among the blind signs of their wild route. they had made good many toilsome miles on their return.’—Parnell T he route taken by Hawkeye lay across those sandy plains. were sufficient to determine his path. or a steady but passing look at the direction of the numerous water courses. with an occasional upward gaze toward the setting sun. and long before the twilight gathered about them. in consequence. The hunter. in the graver light which is the usual precursor of Free eBooks at Planet eBook. seldom abating his speed. with the baffled Magua for their guide. and remove his greatest difficulties. through which he waded. The sun had now fallen low toward the distant mountains. relived by occasional valleys and swells of land. the heat was no longer oppressive. was proportionate. with a species of 11 . like the savage whose place he filled.

After penetrating through the brush. to discover some object he had formerly known. Hawkeye turned suddenly and pointing upward toward the gorgeous heavens. we shall find the place a few rods further to our left. to keep the ravenous varmints from handling our scalps. of the flood of golden glory which formed a glittering halo around the sun. if he could understand the signs of nature. he entered an open space. will soon be over. matted as it was with briars. The recollection of the scout did not deceive him. at each step.’ Without waiting for an assent. which 1 The Last of the Mohicans . and we threw up a work of blocks. a mass of clouds that lay piled at no great distance above the western hills. ‘better and wiser would it be. shoving aside the branches of the exuberant shoots which nearly covered the ground. or bordering with narrow edgings of shining yellow.the close of day. or. and take a lesson from the fowls of the air and the beasts of the field! Our night. for a few hundred feet. While the eyes of the sisters were endeavoring to catch glimpses through the trees. the sturdy hunter moved boldly into a dense thicket of young chestnuts. If my marks do not fail me. for with the moon we must be up and moving again. tinging here and there with ruby streaks. I remember to have fou’t the Maquas. that surrounded a low.’ he said. in the first war in which I ever drew blood from man. indeed. like a man who expected. green hillock. for any reply. he spoke: ‘Yonder is the signal given to man to seek his food and natural rest. hereaways. however.

which had been hastily thrown together. A strain of melancholy. neglected and nearly forgotten. While Heyward and his companions hesitated to approach a building so decayed. not only without fear. and was now quietly crumbling in the solitude of the forest. blended with his triumph. Such memorials of the passage and struggles of man are yet frequent throughout the broad barrier of wilderness which once separated the hostile provinces. in his youth. and mingled with the soil. and with the pride of a conqueror. and threatened a speedy downfall to the remainder of the rustic edifice. had been abandoned with the disappearance of danger. which. in that secluded spot. as usual. both internally and externally. Hawkeye and the Indians entered within the low walls.was crowned by the decayed blockhouse in question. in the language of the Delawares. soft and musical. and which are in appropriate keeping with the gloomy character of the surrounding 1 . the brief history of the skirmish which had been fought. still preserved their relative positions. like the circumstances which had caused it to be reared. While the former surveyed the ruins. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. with the curiosity of one whose recollections were reviving at each moment. but the huge logs of pine. Chingachgook related to his son. having been thrown up on an emergency. and form a species of ruins that are intimately associated with the recollections of colonial history. but with obvious interest. The roof of bark had long since fallen. though one angle of the work had given way under the pressure. rendering his voice. however. This rude and neglected building was one of those deserted works.

‘had we chosen a spot less known. which I designed and partly reared. ‘tis not often that books are made. under that very little hillock where you have placed yourselves. and in a security which they believed nothing but the beasts of the forest could invade. I was then a younker. ten to twenty. but a man without a cross. because I know’d they were a scandalized and wronged race. or to bleach in the rains. in a war of their own waging. I buried the dead with my own hands. the sisters gladly dismounted.’ was the slow and musing answer. and then we sallied out upon the hounds. yes. perceiving that the scout had already finished his short survey. The Delawares lent themselves to the work. though it be 1 The Last of the Mohicans . I was then young. and went out with the Delawares. being. and new to the sight of blood.’ demanded the more vigilant Duncan. ‘Would not our resting-place have been more retired. my worthy friend. and not relishing the thought that creatures who had spirits like myself should lay on the naked ground. to be torn asunder by beasts. and no bad seat does it make neither. and prepared to enjoy their halt in the coolness of the evening. and one more rarely visited than this?’ ‘Few live who know the blockhouse was ever raised. no Indian myself. Yes. until our numbers were nearly equal.In the meantime. and we made it good. as you’ll remember. and narratives written of such a scrimmage as was here fou’t atween the Mohicans and the Mohawks. and not a man of them ever got back to tell the fate of his party. Forty days and forty nights did the imps crave our blood around this pile of logs.

with a compassionate interest in their desolate fortune.’ The eyes of the listeners involuntarily sought the forms of the Indians. from the grassy sepulcher. waving his hand. entirely suppress an emotion of natural horror. The gray light. the gloomy little area of dark grass. notwithstanding the terrific scenes they had so recently passed through.raised by the bones of mortal men. Their dark persons were still to be seen within the shadows of the blockhouse.’ continued Hawkeye. ‘They are gone. the son listening to the relation of his father with that sort of intenseness which would be created by a narrative that redounded so much to the honor of those whose names he had long revered for their courage and savage virtues. and you see before you all that are now left of his race. on the instant. ‘and that they never waged war in person. and the deathlike stillness of the vast forest. when they found themselves in such familiar contact with the grave of the dead Mohawks. in breathing silence.’ said Duncan. ‘I had thought the Delawares a pacific 1 . were all in unison to deepen such a sensation. and they are harmless. with a melancholy smile at their manifest alarm. apparently into the very clouds. ‘they’ll never shout the war-whoop nor strike a blow with the tomahawk again! And of all those who aided in placing them where they lie. beyond which the pines rose. trusting Free eBooks at Planet eBook. surrounded by its border of brush. Chingachgook and I only are living! The brothers and family of the Mohican formed our war party.’ Heyward and the sisters arose. nor could the two latter.

’ returned the scout. ‘there are larger and heavier men to be found in the settlements. ‘we have journeyed far. though a part of the same nation. apprehensive that the subject might lead to a discussion that would interrupt the harmony so necessary to the preservation of his fair companions. at the bottom. ‘and yet. perhaps.the defense of their hands to those very Mohawks that you slew!’ ‘Tis true in part. but what is left of their descendant? He may find his six feet of earth when God chooses.’ said the hunter. and keep it in peace. having to deal with the English. without crossing brook or hill that was not their own. surveying his muscular limbs with a simplicity that betrayed the honest pleasure the compliment afforded him. Such a treaty was made in ages gone by. The Mohicans. when their eyes were open to their folly. where they had settled themselves. never entered into the silly bargain. You see before you a chief of the great Mohican Sagamores! Once his family could chase their deer over tracts of country wider than that which belongs to the Albany Patteroon. but you might travel many days in a city 1 The Last of the Mohicans . but kept to their manhood. as in truth did the Delawares. who wished to disarm the natives that had the best right to the country. through the deviltries of the Dutchers. which seems to know neither fatigue nor weakness. ‘tis a wicked lie.’ ‘The sinews and bones of a man carry me through it all. and few among us are blessed with forms like that of yours. if he has a friend who will take the pains to sink his head so low that the plowshares cannot reach it!’ ‘Enough!’ said Heyward.

or who has kept the hounds within hearing during a chase of hours. and a fountain of crystal gushed from the bed. it is quite reasonable to suppose that the gentle ones are willing to rest. and petitioning for a continuance of the Divine favor throughout the coming night. and piles of sweet shrubs and dried leaves were laid beneath it for the sisters to repose on. A corner of the building was then roofed in such a manner as to exclude the heavy dew of the climate. Uncas. after all they have seen and done this day. was soon cleared of leaves. they laid their tender forms on the fragrant couch. and first offering up their thanksgivings for past mercies. While the diligent woodsmen were employed in this manner. while your father and I make a cover for their tender heads of these chestnut shoots. which many long years before had induced the natives to select the place for their temporary fortification. and which were sweetened by hopes for the morrow. Cora and Alice partook of that refreshment which duty required much more than inclination prompted them to 1 . and in spite of recollections and forebodings.’ The dialogue ceased.before you could meet one able to walk fifty miles without stopping to take breath. as flesh and blood are not always the same. diffusing its waters over the verdant hillock. clear out the spring. and a bed of grass and leaves. A spring. Duncan had prepared himself to pass the night in Free eBooks at Planet eBook. soon sank into those slumbers which nature so imperiously demanded. while the hunter and his companions busied themselves in preparations for the comfort and protection of those they guided. They then retired within the walls. However.

and in front of an enemy like the French. pointed toward Chingachgook. Do then. and sleep in safety. believing he had prevailed. by their toilsome march.’ with the fever of his wound. like one who sought to make the most of the time allotted to rest. not to close an eye until he had delivered his precious charge into the arms of Munro himself. perceiving his intention. like Uncas and myself. I could not ask for a better watchman. sleep. and that his example had been followed by David. by posting his back against the logs of the blockhouse. whose voice literally ‘clove to his jaws. as it was. who did more credit to the character of a soldier. but the scout.’ ‘I proved myself a sluggard on my post during the past night.’ Heyward perceived. just without the ruin. that the younger Indian had thrown his form on the side of the hillock while they were talking.’ said Heyward. Hawkeye. as he coolly disposed his own person on the grass. though resolutely determined. the young man affected to comply. Unwilling to prolong a useless discussion. in his own mind. ‘but in the darkness and among the signs of the wilderness your judgment would be like the folly of a child. in a half recumbent posture. ‘and have less need of repose than you. while I hold the guard. therefore let us sleep. and your vigilance thrown away. in truth. heightened. then. and a silence as deep as the solitude in which they 1 The Last of the Mohicans .watchfulness near them.’ ‘If we lay among the white tents of the Sixtieth.’ returned the scout. soon fell asleep. and said: ‘The eyes of a white man are too heavy and too blind for such a watch as this! The Mohican will be our sentinel. Let all the party seek their rest.

slight as it Free eBooks at Planet eBook.had found it. as they lay stretched on the grass. the mournful notes of a whip-poor-will became blended with the moanings of an owl. and not a leaf was ruffled by the passing air of which his ear did not detect the whispering sound. and even after the stars were glimmering above his head. he was able to distinguish the recumbent forms of his companions. At instants of momentary wakefulness he mistook a bush for his associate sentinel. his head next sank upon his shoulder. and the young man sank into a deep sleep. and alive to every moaning sound that arose from the forest. who sat upright and motionless as one of the trees which formed the dark barrier on every side. which. and to note the person of Chingachgook. sought the support of the ground. who lay within a few feet of him. He still heard the gentle breathings of the sisters. finally. when he was awakened by a light tap on the shoulder. holding his midnight vigils before the tent of a recaptured princess. his whole person became relaxed and 1 . and he then fancied he saw them through the fallen lids. and. How long the tired Duncan lay in this insensible state he never knew himself. in its turn. Aroused by this signal. however. but his slumbering visions had been long lost in total forgetfulness. whose favor he did not despair of gaining. by such a proof of devotion and watchfulness. pervaded the retired spot. dreaming that he was a knight of ancient chivalry. At length. His vision became more acute as the shades of evening settled on the place. For many minutes Duncan succeeded in keeping his senses on the alert. his heavy eyes occasionally sought the bright rays of the stars.

‘I know you to be a heedless one. and but too vigilant in favor of others. who. directly in their bivouac. ‘and ready to travel very fast after so refreshing a sleep. at the place where it was usually suspended. Duncan. Can we not tarry here a little longer while you find the rest you need? Cheerfully. in his rude English: ‘Moon comes and white man’s fort far — far off. ‘Who comes?’ he demanded. Duncan. but you have watched through the tedious night in our behalf.was. silvery tones of Alice within the building. will Cora and I keep the 00 The Last of the Mohicans . twice have I proved myself unfit for the trust I bear. ‘Speak! friend or enemy?’ ‘Friend. when sleep shuts both eyes of the Frenchman!’ ‘You say true! Call up your friends. and bridle the horses while I prepare my own companions for the march!’ ‘We are awake. in all the loveliness of her freshened beauty. I would have watched.’ replied the low voice of Chingachgook. deny it not. time to move. issuing from the shadows of the building into the light of the moon. but my treacherous eyes betrayed me. immediately added. most cheerfully. he sprang upon his feet with a confused recollection of the self-imposed duty he had assumed with the commencement of the night. feeling for his sword. pointing upward at the luminary which was shedding its mild light through the opening in the trees.’ ‘Nay.’ said the soft. after having endured so much fatigue the livelong day!’ ‘Say. rather. when self is the object of your care.’ interrupted the smiling Alice.

by this time. however. ‘Surely we have had enough of bloodshed!’ While he spoke. ‘The Mohicans hear an enemy!’ whispered Hawkeye. where. by freely exposing his life in defense of those he attended. in a whisper. weak girls as we are. gazing at the ingenuous countenance of Alice. reached his own ears. by an exclamation from Chingachgook.’ ‘No one but Duncan himself should accuse Duncan of such a weakness. while you and all these brave men endeavor to snatch a little sleep!’ ‘If shame could cure me of my drowsiness. neither of us. however. then. the young soldier seized his rifle. ‘Tis some creature of the forest prowling around us in quest of food. Go. and the attitude of riveted attention assumed by his son. I have not even the merit of guarding your pillows as should become a soldier. that after leading you into danger by my heedlessness. was awake and stirring.’ said the uneasy youth. he read nothing to confirm his half-awakened suspicion. in its sweet solicitude. as soon as the low. which had startled the Mohicans.’ The young man was relieved from the awkwardness of making any further protestations of his own demerits. and sleep.vigils. ‘It is but too true. I should never close an eye again. in common with the whole party.’ he said. and advancing toward the front. ‘They scent danger in the wind!’ ‘God forbid!’ exclaimed Heyward. Free eBooks at Planet 01 . who. will betray our watch. believe me. prepared to atone for his venial remissness. and apparently distant sounds.

Uncas. ‘or they wouldn’t indulge 0 The Last of the Mohicans . who stood by the side of Heyward. they were evidently at fault. They were soon mingled with voices calling to each other in an Indian dialect. do you follow to the same shelter. having lost those marks which. in a whisper. I shouldn’t like. until that moment. and has rung with the crack of a rifle afore to-night!’ He was instantly obeyed. It would seem by the voices that twenty men were soon collected at that one spot. at the dim objects by which he was surrounded. must! Lead the horses into the blockhouse. affirmed to Heyward was the language of the Hurons. to spill more human blood in this spot. mingling their different opinions and advice in noisy clamor. friends. When the party reached the point where the horses had entered the thicket which surrounded the blockhouse. ‘but what must be. had directed their pursuit. looking through an opening in the logs. the Mohicans leading the Narrangansetts within the ruin.‘Hist!’ returned the attentive scout. Poor and old as it is. and they have struck upon our trail. in deep shade. it offers a cover.’ whispered Hawkeye. looking around with anxiety in his features. whither the whole party repaired with the most guarded silence. ‘tis man. The sound of approaching footsteps were now too distinctly audible to leave any doubts as to the nature of the interruption. which the hunter.’ he added. ‘The knaves know our weakness. even I can now tell his tread. and. poor as my senses are when compared to an Indian’s! That Scampering Huron has fallen in with one of Montcalm’s outlying parties. myself.

their idleness in such a squaw’s march. The deeper tones of one who spoke as having authority were next 0 . He only grasped his rifle more firmly. and but a single leg. through which he gazed upon the moonlight view with increasing anxiety. amid a silence that denoted the respect with which his orders. Listen to the reptiles! each man among them seems to have two tongues. and fastened his eyes upon the narrow opening. where the objects still lay in deceptive shadow. It was not long. endeavoring to thrust his rifle through the chink in the logs. ‘let us fire on their approach. make any reply to the cool and characteristic remark of the scout. brave as he was in the combat. before the restless savages were heard beating the brush. by the rustling of leaves. however. and crackling of dried twigs. it was apparent the savages were separating in pursuit of the lost trail. while it shed a flood of mild luster upon the little area around the ruin. could not. in such a moment of painful suspense. was not sufficiently strong to penetrate the deep arches of the forest.’ muttered Heyward. for so short and sudden had been the passage from the faint path the travelers had journeyed into the thicket.’ Duncan. the light of the moon. Fortunately for the pursued. or rather advice. After which.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and gradually approaching the inner edge of that dense border of young chestnuts which encircled the little area. that every trace of their footsteps was lost in the obscurity of the woods. The search proved fruitless. was received. ‘They are coming.

calling in a low voice. Curbing his impatience. would bring the hungry varlets upon us in a body. like two upright posts. These children of the woods stood together for several moments pointing at the crumbling edifice.’ Duncan cast his eyes behind him.’ returned the scout. to strike when the blow should be needed. or even the smell of a single karnel of the brimstone. ready. At this moment. and he stopped to examine its nature. while the Mohicans stood in the shadow. like startled deer whose curiosity struggled powerfully with their awakened apprehensions for the mastery. and saw that the trembling sisters were cowering in the far corner of the building. soon drew a companion to his side. and. and betrayed its surprise and curiosity. ‘the snapping of a flint. Heyward observed that the scout loosened 0 The Last of the Mohicans . and conversing in the unintelligible language of their tribe. and who are not often backward when the war-whoop is howled. though with slow and cautious steps. As he gazed upon the silent blockhouse. and awaited the result in silence. he again looked out upon the area. Should it please God that we must give battle for the scalps. The foot of one of them suddenly rested on the mound. trust to the experience of men who know the ways of the savages. They then approached. At that instant the thicket opened. He made the exclamation which usually accompanies the former emotion in an Indian. the moon fell upon his swarthy countenance.‘Keep everything in the shade. and a tall and armed Huron advanced a few paces into the open space. and apparently willing. pausing every instant to look at the building.

the lives of better men too. and it was soon plain that all the pursuers were gathered about them. free breath. the sounds grew fainter and more distant. The savages were so near. and finally were lost in the depths of the forest. and lowered the muzzle of his rifle. Then they drew warily back. as if influenced by a reverence that was deeply blended with awe. the young man prepared himself for the struggle which now seemed inevitable. Imitating these movements. He heard the two Hurons leave the bushes. exclaimed. and drawing a long. until. But in discovering the character of the mound. or even a breath louder than common. he again turned toward those who just then interested him more. and the sounds of their voices were low and solemn.’ Heyward lent his attention for a single moment to his companion. the attention of the Hurons appeared directed to a different object. it may be. After a few minutes of earnest and solemn dialogue. and. altogether different from the noisy clamor with which they had first collected about the spot.his knife in its sheath. keeping their eyes riveted on the ruin. and it has this time saved their own lives. in an audible whisper: ‘Ay! they respect the dead. Hawkeye dropped the breech of his rifle to the 0 . They spoke together. would have betrayed the fugitives. that the least motion in one of the horses. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. in deep attention to their report. but without replying. they moved slowly into the thicket and disappeared. having reached the boundary of the area. as if they expected to see the apparitions of the dead issue from its silent walls.

and to assist the sisters into their saddles.Hawkeye waited until a signal from the listening Chingachgook assured him that every sound from the retiring party was completely swallowed by the distance. to bury themselves in the gloom of the woods. 0 The Last of the Mohicans . and stealing out by a direction opposite to the one by which they entered. when he motioned to Heyward to lead forth the horses. grave and crumbling ruin. the sisters casting furtive glances at the silent. as they left the soft light of the moon. The instant this was done they issued through the broken gateway. they quitted the spot.

and man.—Paisans.’— King Henry VI D uring the rapid movement from the blockhouse. were more deliberate than in their previous march. it seemed as if a vast range of country lay buried in eternal sleep. in consequence of his utter ignorance of the localities of the surrounding woods. beasts. if. not the least sound arising from the forest. But the sounds of the rivulet. and until the party was deeply buried in the forest. Heyward and the sisters listened. indeed. In these brief pauses. the Mohicans. pauvres gens de France.Chapter 14 ‘Guard. pointing upward at the moon. and examining the barks of the trees with care. More than once he halted to consult with his confederates.—Qui est la? Puc. with senses rendered doubly acute by the danger. any of the latter were to be found in that wide tract of wilderness. 0 . unless it was the distant and scarcely audible rippling of a watercourse. feeble and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. to detect any symptoms which might announce the proximity of their foes. At such moments. appeared to slumber alike. though his steps. each individual was too much interested in the escape to hazard a word even in whispers. after he had thrown a safe distance between himself and his enemies. The scout resumed his post in advance.

murmuring as they were. relieved the guides at once from no trifling embarrassment. Suddenly. about entering one of their gorges. that they added to the solemnity of his words. and that they were. that a mighty army was at rest among yonder silent trees and barren mountains?’ ‘We are. in the quiet and darkness of the place. The moon had already sunk into an immense pile of black clouds. He then entered the water. he invited Heyward and Gamut to follow his example. and.’ he said. though in tones so low and cautious. Hawkeye made another halt. at no great distance from William Henry?’ said Heyward. Hawkeye made a pause. and when and where to 0 The Last of the Mohicans . and toward it they immediately held their way. for he held on this way with the certainty and diligence of a man who moved in the security of his own knowledge. then. and for near an hour they traveled in the bed of the brook. ‘It is yet a long and weary path. when they issued from the low and devious water-course to rise again to the light and level of the sandy but wooded plain. leaving no trail. advancing nigher to the scout. and to find the licks and water-courses of the wilderness. in truth. which lay impending above the western horizon. and the travelers could plainly perceive that the mountains drew nigher to them on each hand. ‘but who that saw this spot could venture to say. and taking the moccasins from his feet. Here the scout seemed to be once more at home. When the banks of the little stream were gained. The path soon became more uneven. ‘It is easy to know the pathways. he spoke. waiting until he was joined by the whole party.

unfit for further acts in war. ‘He met us hard by.’ continued Hawkeye. See. and well did we pay him for the disgrace of the morning! Hundreds of Frenchmen saw the sun that day for the last time. in the service of France. and scattered us.’ * Baron Dieskau.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. a German. in our southern army. of Johnstown. is the sepulcher of the brave men who fell in the contest. Then we rallied behind our fallen trees. New York. Dieskau himself. but never have I stood on its banks before. like driven deer.’ ‘Three battles did we make with the Dutch-Frenchman* in a day. and made head against him. A few years previously to the period of the tale. ‘the fame of it reached us early. pointing through the trees toward a spot where a little basin of water reflected the stars from its placid bosom. ‘here is the ‘bloody pond’. that he has gone back to his own country. pursuing the train of his own thoughts. this officer was defeated by Sir William Johnson. and I am on ground that I have not only often traveled. fell into our hands. from the rising to the setting sun. and even their leader. through the 0 . but over which I have fou’t the enemy. in our outward march to ambush his advance.strike it is now our greatest difficulty. then. in the heat of his youthful ardor.’ ‘Ha! that sheet of dull and dreary water. to the shores of Horican.’ he said. on the shores of Lake George. ‘Twas a noble repulse!’ exclaimed Heyward. so cut and torn with the lead. rather than replying to the remark of Duncan. I have heard it named. under Sir William—who was made Sir William for that very deed.

I met a party coming down to our aid. and carry the tidings of their disaster across the portage. and there were few in our party who had not lost friend or relative by their hands. it is another matter. and. at Sir William’s own bidding. be it an enemy or be it a brute beast. ‘there are not many echoes among these hills that haven’t rung with the crack of my rifle. to lie still. that ‘killdeer’ hasn’t dropped a living body on. the dead. nor is there the space of a square mile atwixt Horican and the river. will prove a peaceful grave for a soldier. were cast into that little pond.’ ‘And you surprised them?’ ‘If death can be a surprise to men who are thinking only of the cravings of their appetites.‘Ay! but it did not end there.’ ‘It was a convenient. erecting his tall person with an air of military pride. There are them in the camp who say and think. I was sent by Major Effingham. should not be 10 The Last of the Mohicans . to outflank the French. and I led them where the enemy were taking their meal. I trust. for they had borne hard upon us in the fight of the morning. to the fort on the Hudson. where you see the trees rise into a mountain swell. You have then seen much service on this frontier?’ ‘Ay!’ said the scout. As for the grave there being as quiet as you mention. and some say the dying. little dreaming that they had not finished the bloody work of the day. These eyes have seen its waters colored with blood.’ ‘When all was over. Just hereaway. as natural water never yet flowed from the bowels of the ‘arth. man. We gave them but little breathing time.

‘D’ou venez-vous—ou allez-vous. Hist! see you nothing walking on the shore of the pond?’ ‘Tis not probable that any are as houseless as ourselves in this dreary forest. ‘By heaven. which was quickly followed by the rattling of arms. advancing from the shadow of the trees to the shore of the 11 . and night dew can never wet a body that passes its days in the water. ‘What says it?’ whispered the scout. ‘it speaks neither Indian nor English.’ ‘Qui vive?’ repeated the same voice. within a few yards of the sentinel. ‘Je viens de la decouverte. and certain it is that in the hurry of that evening. and a menacing attitude. my friends.’ ‘Such as he may care but little for house or shelter.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘France!’ cried Heyward. the doctors had but little time to say who was living and who was dead. d’aussi bonne heure?’ demanded the grenadier.’ returned the scout. there is a human form. in the language and with the accent of a man from old France. et je vais me coucher. quick voice. grasping the shoulder of Heyward with such convulsive strength as to make the young soldier painfully sensible how much superstitious terror had got the mastery of a man usually so dauntless. for we know not whom we encounter. which sounded like a challenge from another world. issuing out of that solitary and solemn place. and it approaches! Stand to your arms.buried while the breath is in the body.’ ‘Qui vive?’ demanded a stern.

’ ‘Ma foi! mesdames. little suspecting an enemy of so much effrontery.’ ‘C’est le caractere des gens de guerre.’ etc. and well for him it was that his speech was friendly and his wishes kind. perhaps. and letting his rifle fall into the hollow of his arm again. mon camarade. les filles du commandant de la fortification. or a place might have been found for his bones among those of his countrymen. by recollections of his own distant and beautiful France: ‘Vive le vin.’ they moved deliberately forward. et bien poli avec les dames. j’ai ici.’ The soldier made a low and humble acknowledgment for her civility. ‘I soon saw that he was one of them uneasy Frenchers. etc. touching his cap with grace. ‘Adieu.‘Etes-vous officier du roi?’ ‘Sans doute. me prends-tu pour un provincial! Je suis capitaine de chasseurs (Heyward well knew that the other was of a regiment in the line). vive l’amour. leaving the sentinel pacing the banks of the silent pond. Aha! tu en as entendu parler! je les ai fait prisonnieres pres de l’autre fort.’ exclaimed the young soldier. with admirable self-possession.’ 1 The Last of the Mohicans . je vous souhaiterais un devoir plus agreable a remplir. avec moi. when they had gained a little distance from the place. and. mon camarade. mon ami.’ said Cora.. ‘Tis well you understood the knave!’ whispered the scout. and Heyward adding a ‘Bonne nuit. ‘mais — fortune de guerre! vous trouverez notre general un brave homme. and humming to himself those words which were recalled to his mind by the sight of women. et je les conduis au general. j’en suis fƒche pour vous.

As the chief rejoined them. and I suppose it should not be denied.He was interrupted by a long and heavy groan which arose from the little 1 . I could wish. and with the other he replaced the knife and tomahawk that had drunk his blood. the spirits of the departed lingered about their watery sepulcher.’ said Heyward. glancing his eyes around him.’ continued the scout. Another groan more faint than the former was succeeded by a heavy and sullen plunge into the water. with one hand he attached the reeking scalp of the unfortunate young Frenchman to his girdle. ‘Surely it was of flesh. but ‘tis the gift and natur’ of an Indian. though.’ ‘It was of flesh. While they yet hesitated in uncertainty. The scout dropped one end of his rifle to the earth. and all was still again as if the borders of the dreary pool had never been awakened from the silence of creation. with the air of a man who believed he had done a deed of merit. rather than that gay young boy from the old countries. the form of the Indian was seen gliding out of the thicket. and missing Chingachgook from their little band.’ ‘Enough!’ said Heyward. shaking his head in a mournful manner. in truth. as though. Then. ‘no spirit could handle its arms so steadily. but whether the poor fellow still belongs to this world may well be doubted. He then took his wonted station. and leaning his hands on the other. he muttered: ‘Twould have been a cruel and an unhuman act for a white-skin. he stood musing in profound silence. apprehensive the unconscious Free eBooks at Planet eBook. it had befallen an accursed Mingo.

too late to harbor further thoughts about it.sisters might comprehend the nature of the detention. ‘The thing may be done in two fashions. and though better it were left undone. turn in our trail and get without the line of their lookouts. and let their beasts range the plain. and enter the mountains. indeed.’ ‘It will not do — it will not do!’ interrupted the generous Heyward. then. glancing his eyes upwards.’ said Hawkeye. but never with such a convoy. and conquering his disgust by a train of reflections very much like that of the hunter. ‘tis done. a bloody path for such tender feet to wade in. ‘tis as you say. what course do you propose to follow?’ ‘Yes. We must. toward the bank of vapor that concealed the setting moon. where 1 The Last of the Mohicans . ‘but I thought it befitting my manhood to name it.’ ‘Name them quickly for time presses. when we will bend short to the west. You see. the French have gathered around the fort in good earnest and we have a delicate needle to thread in passing them. without which it may not be done at all. rousing himself again.’ ‘And but little time to do it in.’ ‘Twould be. by sending the Mohicans in front. cannot be amended. we might then cut a lane through their sentries. ‘a soldier might force his way in this manner. we are. by the help of Providence. ‘And little time to do it in!’ repeated the scout. Ay.’ ‘One would be to dismount the gentle ones.’ returned the equally reluctant scout. too obviously within the sentinels of the enemy.’ added Heyward. and enter the fort over the dead bodies.

Like all that passing and gloomy scene. he led his followers. Bleak and black hills lay on every side of 1 . and without noise. and intersected with ravines. deep within the shadows that were cast from their high and broken summits. and their progress proportionately slow. while a low and regular wash of the little waves. quickly melted in the darkness. with swift steps. The route was now painful. lying over ground ragged with rocks.’ ‘Let it be done. They looked in vain for the form they had so recently seen stalking along in silent shores. the low basin. furnished a frightful memorial of the deed of blood they had just witnessed. however. for Hawkeye. compensating in some degree for the additional toil of the march by the sense of Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and became blended with the mass of black objects in the rear of the travelers.I can hide you. Their progress. was guarded. like their late dialogue.’ moved along the route by which they had just entered their present critical and even dangerous situation. or a crouching picket of the enemy. and that instantly. again Heyward and the scout stole furtive glances at its appalling dreariness. for none knew at what moment a passing patrol. As they held their silent way along the margin of the pond. and striking off towards the mountains which form the western boundary of the narrow plain. Hawkeye soon deviated from the line of their retreat. might rise upon their path. merely uttering the mandate to ‘follow. so that all the devil’s hounds in Montcalm’s pay would be thrown off the scent for months to come.’ Further words were unnecessary. by announcing that the waters were not yet subsided.

and taking the bridles from the mouths. among these hills. and beware that you become not food to ravenous wolves yourselves. avoiding the one and supported by the other.’ said the scout. the thick darkness which usually precedes the approach of day began to disperse. The scout now told the sisters to dismount. he turned them loose. hypocrites would grow scarce. whither he beckoned for the whole party to follow. ‘ they imparted. ‘if it was as easy to look into the heart of man as it is to spy out the nakedness of Montcalm’s camp from this spot.’ ‘Have we no further need of them?’ demanded Heyward. by a path that curiously wound among rocks and trees. and the saddles off the backs of the jaded beasts. to glean a scanty subsistence among the shrubs and meager herbage of that elevated region. When they issued from the stunted woods which clung to the barren sides of the mountain. and judge with your own eyes. ‘and seek your food where natur’ gives it to you. upon a flat and mossy rock that formed its summit. and the cunning of a Mingo might prove a los1 The Last of the Mohicans . As they gradually rose from the level of the valleys. At length the party began slowly to rise a steep and rugged ascent. as it came blushing above the green pines of a hill that lay on the opposite side of the valley of the Horican. ‘See. and objects were seen in the plain and palpable colors with which they had been gifted by nature. in a manner that showed it had been devised by men long practised in the arts of the wilderness.’ he said. advancing toward the eastern brow of the mountain. they met the morning.

But a narrow opening between the crests of the hills pointed out the passage by which they found their way still further north. the truth of the scout’s declaration. thinly sprinkled with evergreens. and.’ indented with numberless bays. To the south stretched the defile. or rather broken plain. For several miles in this direction. marking a wide strand. the southern shore of the Horican swept in a broad semicircle from mountain to mountain. was a high cone that rose a little in advance of that range which stretches for miles along the western shores of the lake. the bed of the water became lost among mountains. as it appeared from that dizzy height. so often mentioned. to spread their pure and ample sheets 1 . Immediately at the feet of the party. elevated perhaps a thousand feet in the game. that soon rose into an uneven and somewhat elevated plain. and the admirable foresight with which he had led them to their commanding station. in confused and broken masses of rock. At the distance of a few leagues.’ When the travelers reached the verge of the precipices they saw. at a glance. and dotted with countless islands. To the north stretched the limpid. or was wrapped in the masses of vapor that came slowly rolling along their bosom. The mountain on which they stood. compared to the honesty of a Delaware. before pouring out their tribute into the distant Champlain. the narrow sheet of the ‘holy lake. it ran off toward the Canadas. before a light morning air. until meeting its sisters miles beyond the water. the mountains appeared reluctant to yield their dominion. but within Free eBooks at Planet eBook. embellished by fantastic headlands.

’ Directly on the shore of the lake. but every other part of the scene lay in the green livery of nature. and nearer to its western than to its eastern margin. that would have been far more eligible for the work itself. clouds of light vapor were rising in spiral wreaths from the uninhabited woods. but in immediate contact with the fort. or the bold rocks thrust their black and naked heads above the undulating outline of the mountain ranges. lay the extensive earthen ramparts and low buildings of William Henry. posted on a rocky eminence. which bounded the opposite sides of the lake and valley. and within the walls themselves. A single. to mingle with the fogs of the lower land. across which we have accompanied our adventurers in their double journey. snowwhite cloud floated above the valley. The land had been cleared of wood for a reasonable distance around the work. Toward the southeast. or rolled lazily down the declivities. while a deep ditch and extensive morasses guarded its other sides and angles. solitary. Two of the sweeping bastions appeared to rest on the water which washed their bases. in which Hawkeye pointed out the presence of those auxiliary regiments that had so re1 The Last of the Mohicans . looking like the smoke of hidden cottages. who held a weary watch against their numerous foes. was an entrenched camp. and finally melted into the level and sandy lands. In its front might be seen the scattered sentinels. except where the limpid water mellowed the view. Along both ranges of hills. and marked the spot beneath which lay the silent pool of the ‘bloody pond. the travelers looked down upon men still drowsy with a night of vigilance.reach of the eye they diverged.

with such different emotions. ‘but is there no expedient by which we may enter? capture in the works would be far preferable to falling again into the hands of roving Indians. were to be seen the white tents and military engines of an encampment of ten thousand men. But the spectacle which most concerned the young soldier was on the western bank of the lake. that were easily to be distinguished from the purer exhalations of the springs. a little further to the south. though quite near to its southern termination.’ said the deliberate and musing scout. From the woods.’ ‘The place is. and which the scout also showed to Heyward. invested.’ ‘See!’ exclaimed the scout. unconsciously directing the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. We are a few hours too late! Montcalm has already filled the woods with his accursed Iroquois. which appeared from his stand too narrow to contain such an army. indeed.cently left the Hudson in their company. extended many hundreds of yards from the shores of the Horican to the base of the mountain. ‘Morning is just touching them below. Batteries were already thrown up in their front. the roar of artillery rose from the valley. on a scene which lay like a map beneath their feet. as evidences that the enemy lay in force in that direction. On a strip of land. but which. in truth.’ returned Duncan. and passed off in thundering echoes along the eastern hills. rose numerous dark and lurid smokes. and even while the spectators above them were looking down. ‘and the watchers have a mind to wake up the sleepers by the sound of 1 .

and will follow. ‘If I had but one of the thousand boats which lie empty along that shore. of brawny limbs and quick eyes. and make an Indian arrow more dangerous than a molded cannon. ‘the fog comes rolling down so fast.’ said Cora. and demand admission: he dare not deny a child the boon.’ ‘You would scarce find the tent of the Frenchman with the hair on your head”.attention of Cora to the quarters of her own father. ‘how that shot has made the stones fly from the side of the commandant’s house! Ay! these Frenchers will pull it to pieces faster than it was put together. I will make a push. turning from her to the rest of the party. ‘on such an errand we will follow to any danger.’ The scout turned to her with a smile of honest and cordial approbation. sir. that feared death as little as you! I’d send them jabbering Frenchers back into their den again. Now. firmly. if you are equal to the work. I sicken at the sight of danger that I cannot share. for I long to get down into that camp. But.’ he added. afore the week was ended. it might be done! Ha! here will soon be an end of the firing. as he answered: ‘I would I had a thousand men. howling like so many fettered hounds or hungry wolves. ‘Let us go to Montcalm. for yonder comes a fog that will turn day to night.’ said the undaunted but anxious daughter. we shall have 0 The Last of the Mohicans . if it be only to scatter some Mingo dogs that I see lurking in the skirts of yonder thicket of birch. solid and thick though it be!’ ‘Heyward.’ ‘We are equal. said the blunt scout.

The Mohicans profited by the delay. rather. and we shall be as likely to fall into their midst as to pass them in Free eBooks at Planet eBook. his face reddened with vexation. and to make a survey of surrounding objects. they had anticipated the fog. Remember. which was rolling heavily down the lake. The direction taken by Hawkeye soon brought the travelers to the level of the plain. They were followed at a little distance by the scout. and threw himself down the steep declivity. and in a few minutes they were all far down a mountain whose sides they had climbed with so much toil and pain. and to obtain some faint knowledge for himself of the more immediate localities.’ He then waved his hand for them to follow. follow the Mohicans. with free. to steal out of the woods. which lay itself at the distance of about half a mile from the point where he halted to allow Duncan to come up with his charge. ‘Here has the cunning Frenchman been posting a picket directly in our path. and use it as a cover. ‘red-skins and whites.but just the time to meet it on the plain. but careful footsteps. until the mists had wrapped the camp of the enemy in their fleecy mantle. while he muttered his disappointment in words of no very gentle import. if any accident should befall me. Heyward assisted the sisters to descend. and it became necessary to pause. In a very few moments he returned. and favored by the nature of the ground. be it in day or be it at night. to keep the air blowing on your left cheeks—or.’ he said. with a view to profit early by their 1 . they’d scent their way. nearly opposite to a sally-port in the western curtain of the fort. In their eagerness.

when he had ended. but it is better than nothing. in the Delaware tongue. a crisis had arrived. when acts were more required than words. and we shall hunt for the furrow it has made. ‘has plowed the ‘arth in its road from the fort. a mark for both armies to shoot at.’ ‘Tis soon done. in fact. placed himself between the sisters.’ Heyward perceiving that. ‘and come into our path again when it is passed?’ ‘Who that once bends from the line of his march in a fog can tell when or how to find it again! The mists of Horican are not like the curls from a peace-pipe. ‘It may be so. It was soon  The Last of the Mohicans . when all other signs may fail. kicking the harmless iron with his foot. and a small hope it is.’ ‘Stop!’ cried Heyward. and Uncas commenced speaking earnestly and with much action. when a crashing sound was heard. The Indians followed instantly like busy attendants on the terrible messenger. ‘first explain your expectations. the fog is shutting in. then. ‘for desperate fevers are not to be treated like a toothache.’ asked Heyward. but follow. or the fog may leave us in the middle of our path.’ He was yet speaking. keeping the dim figure of their leader in his eye. and a cannon-ball entered the thicket. its force being much expended by previous resistance.the fog!’ ‘Cannot we make a circuit to avoid the danger. and rebounding to the earth.’ added the scout. striking the body of a sapling. and drew them swiftly forward. No more words. or the smoke which settles above a mosquito fire. Come. This shot that you see. lad.’ muttered the scout.

feu!’ The order was instantly obeyed.apparent that Hawkeye had not magnified the power of the fog. it was difficult for the different individuals of the party to distinguish each other in the vapor. once more bending to the left. of: ‘Qui va la?’ ‘Push on!’ whispered the scout. having. arrete ou pardieu je te ferai ami du diable. was too plainly audible. The outcry was renewed. apparently within twenty feet of them. and the order. got over nearly half the distance to the friendly works. though still so nigh them. and were already inclining again toward the right. ‘C’est moi. the aim was bad. They had made their little circuit to the left. not only to fire again. dragging rather than leading those he supported swiftly onward. ‘Push on!’ repeated Heyward. when the summons was renewed by a dozen voices. but to pursue.’ ‘Tu m’as plus l’air d’un ennemi de la France. and the bullets cut the air in a direction a little different from that taken by the fugitives. and the fog was stirred by the explosion of fifty muskets. ‘Bete!—qui?—moi!’ ‘Ami de la France. when his ears were saluted with the fierce summons. as Heyward  . that to the unpractised ears of David and the two females. each of which seemed charged with menace. Happily. When Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ cried Duncan. it appeared as if they whistled within a few inches of the organs. Non! feu. for before they had proceeded twenty yards. camarades.

’ The scout seemed willing to comply. and the reports of muskets. for your own life and ours. ‘Let us deliver our fire. he had lost the direction. Suddenly a strong glare of light flashed across the scene. or they will wait for reinforcements. but. and bring on a general assault. and then instantly moving onward. where it had cut the ground in three adjacent ant-hills. bending to catch a glimpse of the direction. ‘they will believe it a sortie. on every side of them. Cries. oaths. ‘We shall draw their entire army upon us.’ The scheme was well conceived. and. it seemed as if the plain was alive with men. but failed in its effects.Heyward briefly explained the meaning of the words they heard. my friend. and in the change of position. Hawkeye halted and spoke with quick decision and great firmness.’ he said. voices calling to each other.’ said Duncan: ‘lead on. and the roar was thrown heavily back from the bellowing echoes of the mountain. they felt equally cool. apparently. and several cannons belched across the plain. in the hurry of the moment. were now quick and incessant. muskets rattling along its whole extent. from the shores of the lake to the furthest boundary of the woods.  The Last of the Mohicans . In vain he turned either cheek toward the light air. Uncas lighted on the furrow of the cannon ball. the fog rolled upward in thick wreaths. In this dilemma. The instant the French heard the pieces. ‘Give me the range!’ said Hawkeye. and give way.

were rushing to the woods. turning short on his tracks. to the field. He knew them for his own battalion of the Royal Americans. ‘wait to see the enemy. soon swept every trace of his purFree eBooks at Planet eBook. the sound reaching even to the woods. and rolling back in solemn echo. who seemed to direct the operations of the enemy. oh! save your daughters!’ ‘Hold!’ shouted the former speaker. were evidently on their footsteps. ‘Stand firm. ‘Point de quartier aux coquins!’ cried an eager pursuer. and darting to the spot. and be ready. the whole party retraced the error with the utmost diligence. like stricken fools.’ The instant their mistake was rectified. ‘and we. if not their destruction. and flying to their head.  .‘Tis from the fort!’ exclaimed Hawkeye. to the field. he met a long line of dark red warriors. under the very knives of the Maquas. hot and angry in pursuit. pull not a trigger. my gallant Sixtieths!’ suddenly exclaimed a voice above them. directed by the sound. passing swiftly toward the glacis. fire low and sweep the glacis.’ Duncan heard the grating of the rusty hinges. in the awful tones of parental agony. and each instant threatened their capture. Duncan willingly relinquished the support of Cora to the arm of Uncas and Cora as readily accepted the welcome assistance.’ ‘Father! father!’ exclaimed a piercing cry from out the mist: ‘it is I! Alice! thy own Elsie! Spare. Men. ‘Tis she! God has restored me to my children! Throw open the sally-port. lest ye kill my lambs! Drive off these dogs of France with your steel.

For an instant. rushed out of the body of mist. in the peculiar accent of Scotland: ‘For this I thank thee. an officer of gigantic frame. and he exclaimed. but whose air of military grandeur had been rather softened than destroyed by time. and folded them to his bosom. while large scalding tears rolled down his pale and wrinkled cheeks. thy servant is now prepared!’  The Last of the Mohicans . Lord! Let danger come as it will. whose locks were bleached with years and service. Cora and Alice had stood trembling and bewildered by this unexpected desertion. but before either had leisure for speech. or even thought.suers from before the works.

though of approved skill. the French general. declare. Animated by the  . and the dangers of the siege. It appeared as if Webb. and maintained their ancient reputation. with ready guess. which lay slumbering on the banks of the Hudson.’—King Henry V A few succeeding days were passed amid the privations. every yell and whoop from whom rang through the British encampment. the uproar. chilling the hearts of men who were already but too much disposed to magnify the danger. however. Montcalm had filled the woods of the portage with his savages. with his army. had neglected to seize the adjacent mountains. whence the besieged might have been Free eBooks at Planet eBook. they had found their courage. with a zeal that did justice to the stern character of their commander. to know his embassy. which was vigorously pressed by a power. with the besieged. Which I could. As if satisfied with the toil of marching through the wilderness to encounter his enemy. Not so. against whose approaches Munro possessed no competent means of resistance.Chapter 15 ‘Then go we in. Before the Frenchmen speak a word of it. had utterly forgotten the strait to which his countrymen were reduced. and stimulated by the examples of their leaders.

fortresses were rare. in which. or pleasure. would. or the amateur of the beauties of nature. like those of Mount Defiance. The tourist. This sort of contempt for eminences. now rolls through the scenes we have attempted to describe. It originated in the simplicity of the Indian contests. who. knowing that the neglect of an eminence. would not have been neglected for a single hour. whose difficulties. and artillery next to useless. is not to suppose that his ancestors traversed those hills.exterminated with impunity. from the nature of the combats. or floats steadily toward his object on those artificial waters which have sprung up under the administration of a statesman* who has dared to stake his political character on the hazardous issue. or rather dread of the labor of ascending them. in the more modern warfare of the country. prove fatal to the reputation of the engineer who had planned the works at their base. and which. We look back at this ignorance. the valetudinarian. with wonder. The transportation of a single heavy gun was often consid The Last of the Mohicans . or to that of the general whose lot it was to defend them. or infatuation. in quest of information. have been so greatly exaggerated. in the train of his four-in-hand. or struggled with the same currents with equal facility. might have been termed the besetting weakness of the warfare of the period. health. whichever it may be called. The carelessness engendered by these usages descended even to the war of the Revolution and lost the States the important fortress of Ticonderoga opening a way for the army of Burgoyne into what was then the bosom of the country. and the density of the forests. at the present time.

The mountains looked green. that Major Heyward profited by a parley that had just been beaten. Against this assault. and to take a survey of the progress of the siege. and loveFree eBooks at Planet eBook. if happily. and the fourth of his own service in it. the besieged could only oppose the imperfect and hasty preparations of a fortress in the wilderness. and caused them to be served with vigor and skill. for the artillerists had hastened also to profit by the temporary suspension of their arduous  . nature had also seized the moment to assume her mildest and most captivating form. without the oppression of those fierce rays that belong to the climate and the season. by repairing to the ramparts of one of the water bastions. who died governor of New York in 1828. the difficulties of the passage had not so far separated it from its necessary concomitant. to breathe the cool air from the lake. * Evidently the late De Witt Clinton. as to render it no more than a useless tube of unwieldy iron. and fresh. Though his adversary neglected the hills. and the light air from the limpid water fresh and soothing. he had planted his batteries with judgment on the plain. He was alone. The evils of this state of things pressed heavily on the fortunes of the resolute Scotsman who now defended William Henry. if the solitary sentinel who paced the mound be excepted. the ammunition. The evening was delightfully calm. It seemed as if. The sun poured down his parting glory on the scene.ered equal to a victory gained. with the termination of the roar of artillery and the plunging of shot. It was in the afternoon of the fifth day of the siege.

and others were already toiling their way up the neighboring hills. were. Some were rushing eagerly to enjoy the aquatic games of the lake. and others appearing to hover about the element. merely the idle 0 The Last of the Mohicans . as if embedded in the waters. The numerous islands rested on the bosom of the Horican. within dangerous proximity to the sullen but silent cannon of the fort. All that pertained to nature was sweet. while those parts which depended on the temper and movements of man were lively and playful. but it would seem. the rival standards of England and France. tempered with the milder light. among which the fishermen of the beleaguering army peacefully rowed their skiffs. to the enmity of the combatants. the one on a salient angle of the fort. The scene was at once animated and still. some low and sunken. or softened in shadow. or floated at rest on the glassy mirror in quiet pursuit of their employment. and the other on the advanced battery of the besiegers. Two little spotless flags were abroad. emblems of the truth which existed. however. and the besieged in little hillocks of green velvet. Behind these again swung. To all these sports and pursuits. not only to the acts. heavily opening and closing in silken folds. those of the enemy who watched the besieged. A hundred gay and thoughtless young Frenchmen were drawing a net to the pebbly beach. while the eastern mountain was sending back the loud shouts and gay merriment that attended their sport. or simply grand. with the restless curiosity of their nation. also. as thin vapors floated between them and the sun.

under the custody of a French officer. He walked to an angle of the bastion. had occurred so often of late. The countenance of Hawkeye was haggard and careworn. the woodsman. Here and there a picket had. which had drawn the dusky savages around them. raised a song. from their lairs in the forest. indeed. charged with a similar office but the instant he recognized the tall person and still sturdy though downcast features of his friend. In short. when his eyes were directed to the glacis in front of the sally-port already mentioned. that when Heyward first threw his careless glance on this group. At the inner angle of the mound he met the sisters. he started with surprise. however. as though he felt the deepest degradation at having fallen into the power of his 1 . and turned to descend from the bastion into the bosom of the work. The sounds of other voices. and for a moment caused him to forget his purpose. He was without his favorite weapon. by the sounds of approaching footsteps. Duncan had stood in a musing attitude. he expected to see another of the officers of the enemy. and beheld the scout advancing. of air and relief Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and his air dejected. than of an hour stolen from the dangers and toil of a bloody and vindictive warfare. in search. walking along the parapet. The arrival of flags to cover the messengers of summons. or mingled in a dance.though sympathizing spectators. like himself. made of the skin of a deer. caught his attention. to the body of the fort. contemplating this scene a few minutes. everything wore rather the appearance of a day of pleasure. and his arms were even bound behind him with thongs.

expecting you at our feet. ‘In truth.’ she cried. imploring mercy and forgetfulness of your craven backsliding.’ added the graver and more thoughtful Cora.’ pointing to the neighboring entrenched camp. because I thought that duty called me thither. and jaded with fatigue. of other objects in order to address them.’ ‘Your father himself could tell you.from confinement. though timid and anxious. They had not met from that painful moment when he deserted them on the plain. But. that. and that which it contains. he now saw them refreshed and blooming. or I should rather say. ‘Ah! thou tyrant! thou recreant knight! he who abandons his damsels in the very lists. Under such an inducement it will cause no surprise that the young man lost sight for a time. ‘here have we been days.’ returned the young man. I have not been altogether forgetful of your safety. He had parted from them worn with care. ‘has been keenly disputed. and he who holds it is sure to be possessed of this fort. anticipated by the voice of the ingenuous and youthful Alice. could equal!’ ‘You know that Alice means our thanks and our blessings. only to assure their safety. nay. backrunning—for verily you fled in the manner that no stricken deer. however. as our worthy friend the scout would say. My days and nights have all been passed there since we separated. ages.’ he  The Last of the Mohicans . ‘the mastery of yonder village of huts. though absent from your presence. we have a little wonder why you should so rigidly absent yourself from a place where the gratitude of the daughters might receive the support of a parent’s thanks. He was.

’ she added. laying her hand  . with an air of chagrin. dearest Miss Munro!’ he exclaimed. as if looking on the sheet of the Horican.’ she answered. ‘You are not well. but turned her face toward the water. and how deep — I had almost said.’ ‘Heyward! Duncan!’ exclaimed Alice. refusing his support with feminine reserve. bending forward to read his half-averted countenance. like this artless but ardent enthusiast. but affectionately. until a lock of her golden hair rested on her flushed cheek. I would silence it forever.’ ‘And will Cora attest the truth of this?’ cried Duncan. on the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. to conceal. ‘had I been aware that what I then believed a soldier’s conduct could be so construed. if Cora would. how justly we have prized your services. though unsuccessfully. ‘did I think this idle tongue of mine had pained you. suffering the cloud to be chased from his countenance by a smile of open pleasure. ‘That I cannot see the sunny side of the picture of life. shame would have been added to the list of reasons. they were yet filled with an expression of anguish that at once drove every thought but that of kind solicitude from his mind. how fervent — is our gratitude. Cora can say. ‘we have trifled while you are in suffering!’ ‘Tis nothing.added. which he endeavored. and nearly concealed the tear that had started to her eye. When she did bend her dark eyes on the young man. ‘What says our graver sister? Will she find an excuse for the neglect of the knight in the duty of a soldier?’ Cora made no immediate answer.

to hear his determination in matters of the last moment to the defense.’ she continued. I trust. See. as conquerors. ‘In every fortune. noble — Cora — I may and must call you. I go now to your gallant father. I know you will be an ornament and honor to your sex.’ Duncan warmly replied. and amid rejoicings!’ Without waiting for an answer from either. Alice. Alice. ‘look around you. he was quickly in the presence of their father. sir. and moving rapidly across the parade.’ ‘Neither ought nor shall be tarnished by circumstances over which he has had no control. adieu’ — his voice changed from admiration to tenderness — ‘adieu. and her cheeks gradually became of ashly paleness.arm of her sister. as if determined to shake off infirmity. ‘I was about to request this favor. ‘But your words recall me to my own duty. we shall soon meet again. ‘You have anticipated my wishes. though her lip quivered. God bless you in every fortune.’ he said. ‘is the penalty of experience. and. perhaps. Major Heyward. Munro was pacing his narrow apartment with a disturbed air and gigantic strides as Duncan entered. in a sense of duty.’ She frankly gave him her hand. the misfortune of my nature.’ ‘I am sorry to see. and tell me what a prospect is this for the daughter of a soldier whose greatest happiness is his honor and his military renown. that the messenger I so warmly recommended has returned in custody of the French! I hope there is no reason to distrust his fidelity?’  The Last of the Mohicans . the young man threw himself down the grassy steps of the bastion. Major Heyward.

For the customary attentions of your Marquis of Montcalm — I warrant me. to have failed. Major Duncan Heyward. and with the accursed politeness of his nation. if the truth was known. ‘and is above suspicion. of ‘knowing how I valued the fellow. he has sent him in with a doleful tale. There is a letter. too. What verbal report does he make?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘He keeps the letter. the gentility of this French monsieur would certainly compel him to let us know it.’ ‘But what says the scout? he has eyes and ears. that does he. Duncan. then. though his usual good fortune seems. laughing bitterly.‘The fidelity of ‘The Long Rifle’ is well known to me.’ returned Munro. he could not think of retaining him. while he releases the messenger?’ ‘Ay. that he of Lothian would buy a dozen such marquisates — but if the news of the letter were bad. and could ye not see them?’ said the old soldier. then? The scout has said as much?’ ‘When? and by what path? for the dunce has omitted to tell me this. and a tongue. sir. ‘Hoot! hoot! you’re an impatient  . and all for the sake of what you call your ‘bonhommie’ I would venture. at last. and that is the only agreeable part of the matter. Montcalm has got him. it would seem. the fellow’s grandfather taught the noble science of dancing. and cannot give the gentlemen leisure for their march!’ ‘They are coming.’ A Jesuitical way that. of telling a man of his misfortunes!’ ‘But the general and his succor?’ ‘Did ye look to the south as ye entered.

you can have Woolwich Warren in the midst of a wilderness. something in that letter which it would be well to know!’ ‘Our decision should be speedy. and it is well filled with armed men. if it touched the coals. to press the more important objects of their interview. suddenly changing his bitter.’ ‘And how should it be otherwise? Some were fished from the bottom of the lake. that the camp will not be much longer tenable. and when one of the provincial loons — you’ll know. you’re half a Scotsman yourself — when one of them dropped his powder over his porretch. no signs of any intention to advance to our relief?’ ‘There were the morning and evening parades. he continued: ‘and yet there might. ironical manner. and must be. called Edward. more than half the guns are bursted. Duncan. and provisions  The Last of the Mohicans . he is not wanting in natural organs. sir. and I am sorry to add. as such a work should be. and he is free to tell all that he has seen and heard. ‘I cannot conceal from you. you’ll know. and some were never guns at all—mere privateersmen’s playthings! Do you think. sir.’ ‘But was there no movement. there is a fort of his majesty’s on the banks of the Hudson.‘Oh! sir. that things appear no better in the fort.’ said Duncan. in honor of his gracious highness of York. three thousand miles from Great Britain?’ ‘The walls are crumbling about our ears. The whole amount is this. some have been rusting in woods since the discovery of the country. gladly availing himself of this change of humor. to one more grave and thoughtful. it just burned!’ Then.

therefore. still. in order. and of the pressing nature of our circumstances.’ continued Heyward. that we want.’ ‘And can I be of service in the matter?’ ‘Sir. in addition to his other civilities. It is a sight of the letter. though it be to be done with pebbles gathered on the lake shore. I think it would not be wise to show any undue solicitude to meet him. as my substitute. you can. ‘I should have served his majesty for half a century. for it would but ill comport with the honor of Scotland to let it be said one of her gentlemen was outdone in civility by a native of any other country on earth. While there is hope of succor. that we may know the intentions of the man the earl of Loudon has left among us as his substitute. and something to ourselves. A long and confidential communication now succeeded. an officer of rank. as he says. there is everything due to the honor of the king’s arms. Duncan cheerfully assented to supply the place of the veteran in the approaching interview.begin to fail us. to impart some additional information. invited me to a personal interview between the works and his own camp. during which the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘even the men show signs of discontent and  . and I would employ you.’ said Munro.’ ‘Major Heyward. this fortress will I defend. without regarding the new burst of indignation. and earned these gray hairs in vain. the marquis of Montcalm has.’ Without assuming the supererogatory task of entering into a discussion of the comparative merits of national courtesy. turning to his youthful associate with the dignity of his years and superior rank. Now. were I ignorant of all you say.

regarding him with the calm but sullen attention which marked the expression of that subtle savage. Heyward paused short. when. he  The Last of the Mohicans . and the presence in which he stood. within ten minutes after his instructions were ended. and by a swarthy band of the native chiefs.young man received some additional insight into his duty. the ceremonies which should have accompanied a meeting between the heads of the adverse forces were. The truce still existed. and. who had already advanced a step to receive him. and immediately accompanied to a distant marquee of the renowned soldier who led the forces of France. but instantly. and covered by a little white flag. dispensed with. The general of the enemy received the youthful messenger. The marquis of Montcalm was. who had followed him to the field. and then the former took his leave. and turned to the hostile leader. and with a roll and beat of the drum. He was received by the French officer in advance with the usual formalities. Duncan left the sally-port. in the flower of his age. recollecting his errand. he suppressed every appearance of emotion. in glancing his eyes rapidly over the dark group of the latter. from the experience and native acuteness of his commander. it may be added. A slight exclamation of surprise even burst from the lips of the young man. in the zenith of his fortunes. surrounded by his principal officers. of course. at the period of which we write. But even in that enviable situation. with the warriors of their several tribes. As Duncan could only act as the representative of the commandant of the fort. he beheld the malignant countenance of Magua.

was affable, and distinguished as much for his attention to the forms of courtesy, as for that chivalrous courage which, only two short years afterward, induced him to throw away his life on the plains of Abraham. Duncan, in turning his eyes from the malign expression of Magua, suffered them to rest with pleasure on the smiling and polished features, and the noble military air, of the French general. ‘Monsieur,’ said the latter, ‘j’ai beaucoup de plaisir a — bah! — ou est cet interprete?’ ‘Je crois, monsieur, qu’il ne sear pas necessaire,’ Heyward modestly replied; ‘je parle un peu francais.’ ‘Ah! j’en suis bien aise,’ said Montcalm, taking Duncan familiarly by the arm, and leading him deep into the marquee, a little out of earshot; ‘je deteste ces fripons-la; on ne sait jamais sur quel pie on est avec eux. Eh, bien! monsieur,’ he continued still speaking in French; ‘though I should have been proud of receiving your commandant, I am very happy that he has seen proper to employ an officer so distinguished, and who, I am sure, is so amiable, as yourself.’ Duncan bowed low, pleased with the compliment, in spite of a most heroic determination to suffer no artifice to allure him into forgetfulness of the interest of his prince; and Montcalm, after a pause of a moment, as if to collect his thoughts, proceeded: ‘Your commandant is a brave man, and well qualified to repel my assault. Mais, monsieur, is it not time to begin to take more counsel of humanity, and less of your courage? The one as strongly characterizes the hero as the other.’ ‘We consider the qualities as inseparable,’ returned
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Duncan, smiling; ‘but while we find in the vigor of your excellency every motive to stimulate the one, we can, as yet, see no particular call for the exercise of the other.’ Montcalm, in his turn, slightly bowed, but it was with the air of a man too practised to remember the language of flattery. After musing a moment, he added: ‘It is possible my glasses have deceived me, and that your works resist our cannon better than I had supposed. You know our force?’ ‘Our accounts vary,’ said Duncan, carelessly; ‘the highest, however, has not exceeded twenty thousand men.’ The Frenchman bit his lip, and fastened his eyes keenly on the other as if to read his thoughts; then, with a readiness peculiar to himself, he continued, as if assenting to the truth of an enumeration which quite doubled his army: ‘It is a poor compliment to the vigilance of us soldiers, monsieur, that, do what we will, we never can conceal our numbers. If it were to be done at all, one would believe it might succeed in these woods. Though you think it too soon to listen to the calls of humanity,’ he added, smiling archly, ‘I may be permitted to believe that gallantry is not forgotten by one so young as yourself. The daughters of the commandant, I learn, have passed into the fort since it was invested?’ ‘It is true, monsieur; but, so far from weakening our efforts, they set us an example of courage in their own fortitude. Were nothing but resolution necessary to repel so accomplished a soldier as M. de Montcalm, I would gladly trust the defense of William Henry to the elder of those la0 The Last of the Mohicans

dies.’ ‘We have a wise ordinance in our Salique laws, which says, ‘The crown of France shall never degrade the lance to the distaff’,’ said Montcalm, dryly, and with a little hauteur; but instantly adding, with his former frank and easy air: ‘as all the nobler qualities are hereditary, I can easily credit you; though, as I said before, courage has its limits, and humanity must not be forgotten. I trust, monsieur, you come authorized to treat for the surrender of the place?’ ‘Has your excellency found our defense so feeble as to believe the measure necessary?’ ‘I should be sorry to have the defense protracted in such a manner as to irritate my red friends there,’ continued Montcalm, glancing his eyes at the group of grave and attentive Indians, without attending to the other’s questions; ‘I find it difficult, even now, to limit them to the usages of war.’ Heyward was silent; for a painful recollection of the dangers he had so recently escaped came over his mind, and recalled the images of those defenseless beings who had shared in all his sufferings. ‘Ces messieurs-la,’ said Montcalm, following up the advantage which he conceived he had gained, ‘are most formidable when baffled; and it is unnecessary to tell you with what difficulty they are restrained in their anger. Eh bien, monsieur! shall we speak of the terms?’ ‘I fear your excellency has been deceived as to the strength of William Henry, and the resources of its garrison!’ ‘I have not sat down before Quebec, but an earthen work, that is defended by twenty-three hundred gallant men,’ was
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the laconic reply. ‘Our mounds are earthen, certainly—nor are they seated on the rocks of Cape Diamond; but they stand on that shore which proved so destructive to Dieskau and his army. There is also a powerful force within a few hours’ march of us, which we account upon as a part of our means.’ ‘Some six or eight thousand men,’ returned Montcalm, with much apparent indifference, ‘whom their leader wisely judges to be safer in their works than in the field.’ It was now Heyward’s turn to bite his lip with vexation as the other so coolly alluded to a force which the young man knew to be overrated. Both mused a little while in silence, when Montcalm renewed the conversation, in a way that showed he believed the visit of his guest was solely to propose terms of capitulation. On the other hand, Heyward began to throw sundry inducements in the way of the French general, to betray the discoveries he had made through the intercepted letter. The artifice of neither, however, succeeded; and after a protracted and fruitless interview, Duncan took his leave, favorably impressed with an opinion of the courtesy and talents of the enemy’s captain, but as ignorant of what he came to learn as when he arrived. Montcalm followed him as far as the entrance of the marquee, renewing his invitations to the commandant of the fort to give him an immediate meeting in the open ground between the two armies. There they separated, and Duncan returned to the advanced post of the French, accompanied as before; whence he instantly proceeded to the fort, and to the quarters of his 
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own commander.

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Chapter 16
‘EDG.—Before you fight the battle ope this letter.’— Lear


ajor Heyward found Munro attended only by his daughters. Alice sat upon his knee, parting the gray hairs on the forehead of the old man with her delicate fingers; and whenever he affected to frown on her trifling, appeasing his assumed anger by pressing her ruby lips fondly on his wrinkled brow. Cora was seated nigh them, a calm and amused looker-on; regarding the wayward movements of her more youthful sister with that species of maternal fondness which characterized her love for Alice. Not only the dangers through which they had passed, but those which still impended above them, appeared to be momentarily forgotten, in the soothing indulgence of such a family meeting. It seemed as if they had profited by the short truce, to devote an instant to the purest and best affection; the daughters forgetting their fears, and the veteran his cares, in the security of the moment. Of this scene, Duncan, who, in his eagerness to report his arrival, had entered unannounced, stood many moments an unobserved and a delighted spectator. But the quick and dancing eyes of Alice soon caught a glimpse of his figure reflected from a glass, and she sprang blushing from her father’s knee, exclaiming
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aloud: ‘Major Heyward!’ ‘What of the lad?’ demanded her father; ‘I have sent him to crack a little with the Frenchman. Ha, sir, you are young, and you’re nimble! Away with you, ye baggage; as if there were not troubles enough for a soldier, without having his camp filled with such prattling hussies as yourself!’ Alice laughingly followed her sister, who instantly led the way from an apartment where she perceived their presence was no longer desirable. Munro, instead of demanding the result of the young man’s mission, paced the room for a few moments, with his hands behind his back, and his head inclined toward the floor, like a man lost in thought. At length he raised his eyes, glistening with a father’s fondness, and exclaimed: ‘They are a pair of excellent girls, Heyward, and such as any one may boast of.’ ‘You are not now to learn my opinion of your daughters, Colonel Munro.’ ‘True, lad, true,’ interrupted the impatient old man; ‘you were about opening your mind more fully on that matter the day you got in, but I did not think it becoming in an old soldier to be talking of nuptial blessings and wedding jokes when the enemies of his king were likely to be unbidden guests at the feast. But I was wrong, Duncan, boy, I was wrong there; and I am now ready to hear what you have to say.’ ‘Notwithstanding the pleasure your assurance gives me, dear sir, I have just now, a message from Montcalm —‘
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‘Let the Frenchman and all his host go to the devil, sir!’ exclaimed the hasty veteran. ‘He is not yet master of William Henry, nor shall he ever be, provided Webb proves himself the man he should. No, sir, thank Heaven we are not yet in such a strait that it can be said Munro is too much pressed to discharge the little domestic duties of his own family. Your mother was the only child of my bosom friend, Duncan; and I’ll just give you a hearing, though all the knights of St. Louis were in a body at the sally-port, with the French saint at their head, crying to speak a word under favor. A pretty degree of knighthood, sir, is that which can be bought with sugar hogsheads! and then your twopenny marquisates. The thistle is the order for dignity and antiquity; the veritable ‘nemo me impune lacessit’ of chivalry. Ye had ancestors in that degree, Duncan, and they were an ornament to the nobles of Scotland.’ Heyward, who perceived that his superior took a malicious pleasure in exhibiting his contempt for the message of the French general, was fain to humor a spleen that he knew would be short-lived; he therefore, replied with as much indifference as he could assume on such a subject: ‘My request, as you know, sir, went so far as to presume to the honor of being your son.’ ‘Ay, boy, you found words to make yourself very plainly comprehended. But, let me ask ye, sir, have you been as intelligible to the girl?’ ‘On my honor, no,’ exclaimed Duncan, warmly; ‘there would have been an abuse of a confided trust, had I taken advantage of my situation for such a purpose.’ 
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‘Your notions are those of a gentleman, Major Heyward, and well enough in their place. But Cora Munro is a maiden too discreet, and of a mind too elevated and improved, to need the guardianship even of a father.’ ‘Cora!’ ‘Ay — Cora! we are talking of your pretensions to Miss Munro, are we not, sir?’ ‘I — I — I was not conscious of having mentioned her name,’ said Duncan, stammering. ‘And to marry whom, then, did you wish my consent, Major Heyward?’ demanded the old soldier, erecting himself in the dignity of offended feeling. ‘You have another, and not less lovely child.’ ‘Alice!’ exclaimed the father, in an astonishment equal to that with which Duncan had just repeated the name of her sister. ‘Such was the direction of my wishes, sir.’ The young man awaited in silence the result of the extraordinary effect produced by a communication, which, as it now appeared, was so unexpected. For several minutes Munro paced the chamber with long and rapid strides, his rigid features working convulsively, and every faculty seemingly absorbed in the musings of his own mind. At length, he paused directly in front of Heyward, and riveting his eyes upon those of the other, he said, with a lip that quivered violently: ‘Duncan Heyward, I have loved you for the sake of him whose blood is in your veins; I have loved you for your own good qualities; and I have loved you, because I thought you
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would contribute to the happiness of my child. But all this love would turn to hatred, were I assured that what I so much apprehend is true.’ ‘God forbid that any act or thought of mine should lead to such a change!’ exclaimed the young man, whose eye never quailed under the penetrating look it encountered. Without adverting to the impossibility of the other’s comprehending those feelings which were hid in his own bosom, Munro suffered himself to be appeased by the unaltered countenance he met, and with a voice sensibly softened, he continued: ‘You would be my son, Duncan, and you’re ignorant of the history of the man you wish to call your father. Sit ye down, young man, and I will open to you the wounds of a seared heart, in as few words as may be suitable.’ By this time, the message of Montcalm was as much forgotten by him who bore it as by the man for whose ears it was intended. Each drew a chair, and while the veteran communed a few moments with his own thoughts, apparently in sadness, the youth suppressed his impatience in a look and attitude of respectful attention. At length, the former spoke: ‘You’ll know, already, Major Heyward, that my family was both ancient and honorable,’ commenced the Scotsman; ‘though it might not altogether be endowed with that amount of wealth that should correspond with its degree. I was, maybe, such an one as yourself when I plighted my faith to Alice Graham, the only child of a neighboring laird of some estate. But the connection was disagreeable to her father, on more accounts than my poverty. I did, there The Last of the Mohicans

fore, what an honest man should — restored the maiden her troth, and departed the country in the service of my king. I had seen many regions, and had shed much blood in different lands, before duty called me to the islands of the West Indies. There it was my lot to form a connection with one who in time became my wife, and the mother of Cora. She was the daughter of a gentleman of those isles, by a lady whose misfortune it was, if you will,’ said the old man, proudly, ‘to be descended, remotely, from that unfortunate class who are so basely enslaved to administer to the wants of a luxurious people. Ay, sir, that is a curse, entailed on Scotland by her unnatural union with a foreign and trading people. But could I find a man among them who would dare to reflect on my child, he should feel the weight of a father’s anger! Ha! Major Heyward, you are yourself born at the south, where these unfortunate beings are considered of a race inferior to your own.’ ‘Tis most unfortunately true, sir,’ said Duncan, unable any longer to prevent his eyes from sinking to the floor in embarrassment. ‘And you cast it on my child as a reproach! You scorn to mingle the blood of the Heywards with one so degraded — lovely and virtuous though she be?’ fiercely demanded the jealous parent. ‘Heaven protect me from a prejudice so unworthy of my reason!’ returned Duncan, at the same time conscious of such a feeling, and that as deeply rooted as if it had been ingrafted in his nature. ‘The sweetness, the beauty, the witchery of your younger daughter, Colonel Munro, might
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Duncan! the suffering angel had remained in the heartless state of celibacy twenty long years. and before she had become acquainted with grief. with an eagerness that might have proved dangerous at a moment when the thoughts of Munro were less occupied that at present.’ returned the old man. his features exposed and working with the anguish of his regrets. would you think it. and. all difficulties being now removed. though. ‘She did. enriched by the marriage. I had her but a single year. But she is a saint in heaven. and that for the sake of a man who could forget her! She did more. she took me for her husband. ‘the girl is the image of what her mother was at her years. Munro sat utterly unconscious of the other’s presence.explain my motives without imputing to me this injustice.’ ‘And became the mother of Alice?’ exclaimed Duncan.’ ‘Ye are right. 0 The Last of the Mohicans . sir. indeed. again changing his tones to those of gentleness. When death deprived me of my wife I returned to Scotland.’ said the old man. or rather softness. while heavy tears fell from his eyes. ‘and dearly did she pay for the blessing she bestowed. At length he moved. sir. she overlooked my want of faith. a short term of happiness for one who had seen her youth fade in hopeless pining. and as if suddenly recovering his recollection. and rolled unheeded from his cheeks to the floor. and. sir. and it ill becomes one whose foot rests on the grave to mourn a lot so blessed.’ There was something so commanding in the distress of the old man. that Heyward did not dare to venture a syllable of consolation.

or on the decided. my dear sir. and when I send him a capable substitute. that. the excited feelings of the father gradually gave way before the obligations of his 1 .’ ‘Well. and taking a single turn across the room. ‘enough to make a volume of commentary on French civility.when he arose. and not to his second. sir. ‘You have said enough. Duncan. which he now repeats. though still polished message. Major Heyward. and when the other was done. It is unnecessary to dwell upon the evasive though polite manner with which the French general had eluded every attempt of Heyward to worm from him the purport of the communication he had proposed making. he approached his companion with an air of military grandeur. he saw before him nothing but the veteran. Here has this gentleman invited me to a conference. unless he chose to receive it in person.’ exclaimed the angry old man. was to the commandant of the works.’ ‘He may have thought less favorably of the substitute. and demanded: ‘Have you not. and immediately commenced in an embarrassed voice. is not a substitute clothed with all the power Free eBooks at Planet eBook. some communication that I should hear from the marquis de Montcalm?’ Duncan started in his turn. for ye’re all that. he should not receive it at all. by which he now gave his enemy to understand. As Munro listened to the detail of Duncan. though your years are but few. the half-forgotten message. he answers me with a riddle. swelling with the wounded feelings of a soldier. Major Heyward. and you will remember that the invitation.

but we are now obliged to repel art by art. that is the least failing method of proving the countenance of an enemy. Our ancestors were far above such scientific cowardice!’ ‘It may be very true. that he would visit the works in open day. The beauty and manliness of warfare has been much deformed.’ Duncan. in a half whisper. sir. young man. and would be far preferable to the battering system he has chosen. and send out a messenger to let them know who is coming. sir. if it should only be to let him behold the firm countenance we maintain in spite of his numbers and his summons. and that without fear or delay. What is your pleasure in the matter of the interview?’ ‘I will meet the Frenchman. gladly encouraged this idea. and hark’ee. for such respect is due to one who holds the honor of his king in keeping. I have much inclination to indulge the man. and in the form of a storming party. sir. who believed it of the last importance that they should speedily come to the contents of the letter borne by the scout. There might be not bad policy in such a stroke. ‘You never said truer word. Major Heyward.’ he said. Go.’ he added. and give them a flourish of the music. We will follow with a small guard. promptly. as becomes a servant of my royal master. Major Heyward. sir. he could gather no confidence by witnessing our indifference. I could wish. ‘Without doubt.and dignity of him who grants the commission? He wishes to confer with Munro! Faith. Duncan. by the arts of your Monsieur Vauban. though they  The Last of the Mohicans .

his eye lighted. when the little array which attended the French general to the conference was seen issuing from the hollow way which formed the bed of a brook that ran between the batteries of the besiegers and the fort.were alone. They had proceeded only a hundred yards from the works.’ he said. ‘Speak to the boys to be watchful. attended by the escort. waiting his appearance. he hastened without delay. his air had been grand. near which he found his superior ready. he led the guard to the sally-port. and age no longer appeared to possess any influence over his vast and still muscular person. When Duncan had done both these. Major Heyward!’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘and to look well to their flints and steel. sir. and to dispatch an orderly with a flag to announce the approach of the commandant of the fort. as the day was fast coming to a close. and his step and countenance highly military. to make the necessary arrangements. and. As soon as the usual ceremonials of a military departure were observed. Ye’ll understand me. to Duncan. in case there should be treachery at the bottom of it all. A very few minutes only were necessary to parade a few files. at the same time. for one is never safe with a servant of these Louis’s. The instant he caught a glimpse of the white plume that waved in the hat of Montcalm. From the moment that Munro left his own works to appear in front of his enemy’s.’ The young man availed himself of this order to quit the apartment. we shall show them the front of men in deep security. in an  . ‘it may be prudent to have some aid at hand. the veteran and his more youthful companion left the fortress.

bearing a white flag. speaking always in French: ‘I am rejoiced. that you have given us the pleasure of your company on this occasion. pressed close upon him. it wanted both the ease and insinuating polish of that of the Frenchman. Montcalm moved toward them with a quick but graceful step.He was interrupted by the clamor of a drum from the approaching Frenchmen. turning to his guard. Then. and beheld with uneasiness the numerous dusky groups of savages. for. If the air of Munro was more commanding and manly. with a smile of recognition. each regarding the other with curious and interested eyes. and dropping his spotless plume nearly to the earth in courtesy. As soon as this slight salutation had passed. and the wary Scotsman halted with his guard close at his back. when Montcalm. Neither spoke for a few moments. Montcalm broke the silence. he glanced his eyes around the plain. continued: ‘En arriere. mes enfants — il fait chaud —-retirez-vous un peu. he turned to Duncan. when each party pushed an orderly in advance.’ Duncan acknowledged the compliment. After uttering the usual words of greeting. There will be no necessity to employ an ordinary interpreter. as became his superior rank and the nature of the interview. which was immediately answered.  The Last of the Mohicans . which in imitation of that of their enemies. and continued.’ Before Major Heyward would imitate this proof of confidence. I feel the same security as if I spoke your language myself. baring his head to the veteran. in your hands. monsieur.

‘Monsieur de Montcalm will readily acknowledge the difference in our situation. Fall back. pointing at the same time toward those dangerous foes. you have the plighted faith of ‘un gentilhomme Francais’.’ ‘It shall. curious spectators of the interview. we should stand here at the mercy of our enemies. though his Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ Duncan added to the officer who led the escort. dear sir. for your  .’ Munro witnessed this movement with manifest uneasiness. ‘Is it not our interest.who looked out from the margin of the surrounding woods.’ The old man made a gesture of resignation.’ returned Montcalm. beyond hearing. that we confer with an officer. ‘Monsieur de Montcalm pledges his word for our safety.’ ‘It may be all right. nor did he fail to demand an instant explanation. and I have ordered the men to withdraw a little. ‘it should suffice. as they call themselves. ‘fall back. with some embarrassment. who were to be seen in almost every direction. sir. distinguished alike in Europe and America for his deeds. and wait for orders.’ ‘You forget. but I have no overweening reliance on the faith of these marquesses. to betray distrust?’ retorted Duncan.’ ‘Monsieur. ‘were we to dismiss our guard. sir. or marquis.’ he said. in order to prove how much we depend on his assurance. From a soldier of his reputation we can have nothing to apprehend. laying his hand impressively on his heart. Their patents of nobility are too common to be certain that they bear the seal of true honor. sir.

and observed: ‘What is now so freely accorded to approved courage. and was continued as long as there was hope. rather than from any present signs which might warrant so uncharitable a feeling. and witness for himself our numbers.’ returned the unmoved Scotsman. ‘because I believe he will allow himself to be persuaded that he has already done everything which is necessary for the honor of his prince. monsieur.’ he said. when he drew nigher. I will forever bear testimony that his resistance has been gallant.’  The Last of the Mohicans . it will be more valuable when it shall be better merited.rigid features still betrayed his obstinate adherence to a distrust. and opened the subject of their conference. but with sufficient courtesy: ‘However I may prize such testimony from Monsieur Montcalm. and the impossibility of his resisting them with success?’ ‘I know that the king of France is well served. and will now listen to the admonitions of humanity. Monsieur would wish to see my camp. as soon as Duncan ended his translation.’ The French general smiled. Montcalm waited patiently until this little dialogue in demi-voice was ended. which he derived from a sort of hereditary contempt of his enemy. ‘but my own royal master has as many and as faithful troops. he answered with dignity. as Duncan gave him the purport of this reply. may be refused to useless obstinacy. ‘I have solicited this interview from your superior.’ When this opening was translated to Munro.

I should have spared myself the trouble of so awkward a translation. As his eye passed hastily over the words.’ returned the politic Montcalm. without waiting for Duncan to translate the speech. please to assist me still. to which a brave man knows how to submit with the same courage that he faces his foes. dryly. he added: ‘These hills afford us every opportunity of reconnoitering your works. ‘There is a destiny in war. that his movements are not likely to prove embarrassing to my army.’ said Munro. remembering instantly his recent by-play with Munro.’ ‘Ask the French general if his glasses can reach to the Hudson. and with an eagerness that betrayed how important he deemed its contents. proudly. monsieur. suddenly extending an open letter toward Munro as he spoke.’ The veteran seized the offered paper.’ said the vexed Duncan. and I am possibly as well acquainted with their weak condition as you can be yourselves. suffering a slight color to appear on his dark cheek. fortunately for us.‘Though not at hand. his Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘Had I been conscious that Monsieur Montcalm was master of the English.  . after a short pause. ‘Your pardon. ‘you will there learn. in his ardor.’ ‘Let General Webb be his own interpreter. for the interpreter. ‘and if he knows when and where to expect the army of Webb.’ Then. without waiting. you will. therefore. messieurs. ‘There is a vast difference between understanding and speaking a foreign tongue.’ said Montcalm. his countenance changed from its look of military pride to one of deep chagrin.’ rejoined the Frenchman.

he read at a glance its cruel purport. Listen to my terms before you leave me.’ ‘Boy.’ ‘The man has betrayed me!’ Munro at length bitterly exclaimed.’ said Montcalm. ‘Here is no deception!’ exclaimed Duncan. ‘we are yet masters of the fort. ‘he has brought dishonor to the door of one where disgrace was never before known to dwell.’ ‘Messieurs. so far from encouraging them to resist. advancing toward them a step. and must be the captured letter. Let us. Their common superior.’ ‘Say not so. ‘you little know Louis de St. and dig our graves behind those ramparts. or to build up a dishonest reputation for himself. urging in the plainest language. then. like that of a man whose hopes were withered at a single blow. and without apology for the liberty he took.  The Last of the Mohicans . We will go back. and shame has he heaped heavily on my gray hairs. his head dropped upon his chest. rousing himself from his stupor. and of our honor.’ ‘What says the Frenchman?’ demanded the veteran. advised a speedy surrender. Veran if you believe him capable of profiting by this letter to humble brave men. examining the billet both inside and out. sell our lives at such a rate as shall make our enemies believe the purchase too dear. as a reason. the utter impossibility of his sending a single man to their rescue. I thank thee.’ cried Duncan.lip began to quiver. ‘this is the signature of Webb. for once. reminded Munro of his duty. and suffering the paper to fall from his hand. ‘you have.’ exclaimed the old man. Duncan caught the letter from the ground. in generous interest.

’ ‘Our arms?’ ‘Keep them. to go and sit down before Edward if he wishes to frighten his enemy with words.’ Duncan now turned to explain these proposals to his commander. and a Frenchman too honest to profit by his advantage.’ said his liberal enemy. with a note from headquarters?  . there is no privilege dear to a soldier that shall be denied.’ ‘Our march. and show them to your king. An Englishman afraid to support a friend. Duncan. ‘Go you. ‘does he make a merit of having captured a scout. ‘To retain the fort is now impossible. none can use them better.’ Duncan explained the other’s meaning. as Duncan ended. ‘Monsieur de Montcalm.’ So saying. the surrender of the place?’ ‘Shall all be done in a way most honorable to yourselves. more calmly. we will hear you.’ the veteran added.’ he said. the veteran again dropped his head to his Free eBooks at Planet eBook. marquess he should be. as. ‘it is necessary to the interests of my master that it should be destroyed. ‘Carry them to England. who heard him with amazement. indeed. ‘go with this marquess. I have lived to see two things in my old age that never did I expect to behold. but as for yourselves and your brave comrades. and a sensibility that was deeply touched by so unusual and unexpected generosity.’ ‘Our colors?’ demanded Heyward.sternly. he had better raise this siege. go to his marquee and arrange it all.

exhibiting. which accompanied him to a speedy grave.chest. with the morning. to leave them again. He was seen to reenter the works during the first watches of the night. 0 The Last of the Mohicans . and returned slowly toward the fort. but from that moment there commenced a change in his determined character. according to military opinion. the colors and their baggage. the garrison to retain their arms. their honor. a harbinger of evil tidings. Duncan remained to settle the terms of the capitulation. and. It was then openly announced that hostilities must cease — Munro having signed a treaty by which the place was to be yielded to the enemy. From the shock of this unexpected blow the haughty feelings of Munro never recovered. consequently. by the dejection of his air. and immediately after a private conference with the commandant. to the anxious garrison.

and dejected.’—Gray T he hostile armies. which lay in the wilds of the Horican. at which period a listener might have sought in vain any evidence of the presence of those armed powers that then slumbered on the shores of the ‘holy lake. sullen. 1757. The work is done. Even these occasional threatening sounds ceased to be heard in that dull hour which precedes the day. had they encountered on the fairest field of Europe. The thread is 1 . He was enveloped in a cloak that might have been intended as a Free eBooks at Planet eBook. which sternly forbade the approach of any hostile footsteps before the stipulated moment. While the conquered were still.’ It was during these moments of deep silence that the canvas which concealed the entrance to a spacious marquee in the French encampment was shoved aside. The web is wove. passed the night of the ninth of August. or a menacing challenge from the fort. But there are limits alike to grief and joy. and a man issued from beneath the drapery into the open air. the victors triumphed. and long before the watches of the morning came the stillness of those boundless woods was only broken by a gay call from some exulting young Frenchman of the advanced pickets. much in the manner they would.Chapter 17 ‘Weave we the woof.

who watched over the slumbers of the French commander. He was permitted to pass the grenadier. ‘vous promenez bien matin. ‘C’est bien. throwing his musket from the charge to his shoulder. as the other passed swiftly through the little city of tents.’ the other observed. and looking the soldier close in the face as he passed him. for he was uniformly allowed to proceed without further interrogation. his answer was prompt. drawing so nigh as to be heard in a loud whisper. satisfactory. and.’ returned the sentinel. his arms rattled heavily as he threw them forward in the  The Last of the Mohicans . mon enfant. in the direction of William Henry. as it appeared. As he approached he was received with the usual challenge: ‘Qui vive?’ ‘France. but which served equally well as a mantle to conceal his person. The man started. without interruption. when he drew nigh the soldier who held his watch nearest to the works of the enemy.’ said the other. Whenever this unknown individual encountered one of the numberless sentinels who crossed his path. still continuing his way toward the British fortification. monsieur!’ ‘Il est necessaire d’etre vigilant. ‘Le mot d’ordre?’ ‘La victorie. dropping a fold of his cloak. he had moved silently from the center of the camp to its most advanced outposts. With the exception of such repeated but brief interruptions. the man making the usual salute which betokens military from the chilling damps of the woods.’ was the reply.

though dim. perceptible in their outlines. took the precaution to place himself against the trunk of a tree. nor did he again pause until he had reached the low strand. where it stood. The light of an obscure moon was just sufficient to render objects. without affecting to hear the words which escaped the sentinel in his surprise. as if anticipating the approach of the morning. but his looks wandered from point to point. denoting his knowledge of military usages. His gaze at the ramparts was not that of a curious or idle spectator. and when he had again recovered his piece. when a light sound on the nearest angle of the bastion caught his  . muttering between his teeth: ‘Il faut etre vigilant. he was in the act of turning on his footsteps. un caporal qui ne dort jamais!’ The officer proceeded. and induced him to remain. en verite! je crois que nous avons la. and seemed to contemplate the dark and silent mounds of the English works in profound attention. he turned to walk his post. and having cast his eyes impatiently upward toward the summit of the eastern mountain. and in a somewhat dangerous vicinity to the western water bastion of the fort. and betraying that his search was not unaccompanied by distrust. At length he appeared satisfied. where he leaned for many minutes. therefore.lowest and most respectful salute. apparently contemplating in its turn the distant tents of the French encampment. when the form leaned against Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Its head was then turned toward the east. as though equally anxious for the appearance of light. He. Just then a figure was seen to approach the edge of the rampart.

Montcalm sternly demanded: ‘What means this? Does not my son know that the hatchet is buried between the English and his Canadian Father?’  The Last of the Mohicans . Delicacy. and was succeeded by a grating of pebbles one against the other. and seemed to gaze upon the glassy expanse of the waters. no less than prudence. musing. and he had moved cautiously round the body of the tree for that purpose. the French officer laid his hand on the shoulder of the Indian. the hour. where their subsequent dialogue might have proved dangerous. left no doubt as to his person in the mind of the observant spectator. as it were. which. against the English ramparts. and steal without further noise to the land. It was a low and almost inaudible movement of the water. and where it seemed that one of them. glittered with its thousand mimic stars. like a submarine firmament. but before it could be discharged his own hand was on the lock. Without making any reply. In a moment he saw a dark form rise. together with the vast frame of the man who thus leaned. A rifle next slowly rose between his eyes and the watery mirror. sought a victim. and led him in profound silence to a distance from the spot. Then throwing open his cloak. Louis which was suspended at his breast.the mound. whose treacherous aim was so singularly and so unexpectedly interrupted. at least. out of the lake. so as to expose his uniform and the cross of St. within a few feet of the place where he himself stood. The melancholy air. now urged him to retire. when another sound drew his attention. and once more arrested his footsteps. ‘Hugh!’ exclaimed the savage.

’ ‘Why did the chief of the Canadas bring his young men into the woods. The enemies of the great king across the salt lake are his enemies.’ ‘Tis well.’ ‘Magua is a great chief. I well know. his friends. when it is red.’ ‘But Magua is pledged not to sully the lilies of France. ‘for yesterday he hunted for their scalps. It is now bright. and your father was ordered to drive off these English squatters. My master owns the land. and it is dark and cold. it shall be buried. Le Subtil is the sun of his tribe. Magua took the hatchet to color it with  . and the pale faces make friends!’ ‘Ha. and to-day they hear him at the council-fire. speaking also. Le Renard Subtil! Methinks this is an excess of zeal for a friend who was so late an enemy! How many suns have set since Le Renard struck the war-post of the English?’ ‘Where is that sun?’ demanded the sullen savage. and now he calls them enemies no longer. by teaching his nation how to conduct themselves toward our new friends. but now he shines and it is a clear sky!’ ‘That Le Renard has power with his people.’ ‘Let him prove it. ‘To subdue it. But when he comes again. There have been clouds.’ said Montcalm. in the French language. They have consented to go. the friends of the Hurons. though imperfectly. ‘Not a warrior has a scalp. and many mountains between him and his nation.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and fire his cannon at the earthen house?’ demanded the subtle Indian. it will be bright and warm.‘What can the Hurons do?’ returned the savage. ‘Behind the hill.

which did not conceal the fierce temper that nearly choked him. the savage cast his rifle into the hollow of his arm.‘Friends!’ repeated the Indian in scorn. with sudden and native dignity. who felt that his influence over the warlike tribes he had gathered was to be maintained by concession rather than by power. his body being without its usual calico mantle. The savage placed the fingers of the French commander on a deep scar in his bosom.’ Without deigning to bestow further words. who has done this?’ ‘Magua slept hard in the English wigwams. Le Renard Subtil knows how to speak to a Huron warrior.’ returned the savage. he added: ‘Go. ‘This! — my son has been sadly injured here. but he stalked sullenly onward. with a hollow laugh. Every few yards as he proceeded he was challenged by the sentinels. utterly disregard The Last of the Mohicans . teach your young men it is peace. recollecting himself. or to wait for any answer. Then. and moved silently through the encampment toward the woods where his own tribe was known to lie.’ Montcalm.’ ‘And this?’ continued the Indian. and then exultingly demanded: ‘Does my father know that?’ ‘What warrior does not? ‘Tis where a leaden bullet has cut. ‘Let his father give Magua a hand. complied reluctantly with the other’s request. and the sticks have left their mark. who had turned his naked back to the other.

As he mused he became keenly sensible of the deep responsibility they assume who disregard the means to attain the end. rising long. they became mute. Then that success. giving the order as he passed to make the signal that should arouse the army from its slumbers. The horns of the victors sounded merry and cheerful flourishes. who only spared his life because they knew the air and tread no less than the obstinate daring of an Indian. until the last laggard of the camp was at his post. Then shaking off a train of reflections that he accounted a weakness in such a moment of triumph. and in circumstances fearfully resembling those under which he now found himself. The first tap of the French drums was echoed from the bosom of the fort. and when the line of the French army was ready to receive its general. which was already so well known. and of all the danger of setting in motion an engine which it exceeds human power to control. the rays of a brilliant sun were glancing along the glittering array. In the meantime the day had dawned. Already had his fair fame been tarnished by one horrid scene. the favored band who were selected Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he retraced his steps toward his tent. was officially announced. Montcalm lingered long and melancholy on the strand where he had been left by his companion. but the instant the British fifes had blown their shrill the summons of the soldiers. and presently the valley was filled with the strains of martial music. brooding deeply on the temper which his ungovernable ally had just discovered. thrilling and lively above the rattling  .

Duncan was touched at the quiet and impressive exhibition of his grief. like men whose blood had been heated by the past contest. and who only desired the opportunity to revenge an indignity which was still wounding to their pride. The sullen soldiers shouldered their empty tubes and fell into their places.’ was the brief but expressive reply. He had discharged his own duty. and others searching in the ranks for those countenances they looked up to for protection. though he struggled to sustain his misfortune with the port of a man. the signal of their approach was given. ‘My daughters. and all the usual preparations for a change of masters were ordered and executed directly under the guns of the contested works. A very different scene presented itself within the lines of the Anglo-American army. As soon as the warning signal was given. to know in what particular he might serve him. Munro appeared among his silent troops firm but dejected. it exhibited all the signs of a hurried and forced departure. ‘Good heavens! are not arrangements already made for their convenience?’  The Last of the Mohicans . It was evident that the unexpected blow had struck deep into his heart. some bearing the scanty remnants of their baggage. and defiled before their chief. and he now pressed to the side of the old guard the gates of the fort were detailed. concealed as it was under the observances of military etiquette. Women and children ran from place to place.

Though the cheeks of Cora were pale and her countenance anxious. They both. But.’ ‘Tis brighter than  . being the first to speak. she had lost none of her firmness. Military usage — pride — that pride on which you so much value yourself. received the young man with undisguised pleasure. it is time to think less of others. with a melancholy smile. that had gathered about the place. and to make some provision for yourself. already prepared to depart.‘To-day I am only a soldier. the former. ‘though our good name.’ continued the youth. in quest of the sisters. demands that your father and I should for a little while continue with the troops. with a sort of instinctive consciousness that it was the point most likely to be protected. and surrounded by a clamorous and weeping assemblage of their own sex.’ she said. ‘The fort is lost. and betrayed how long and bitterly she had wept. remains. dearest Miss Munro. ‘All that you see here. however. ‘for the command of Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but the eyes of Alice were inflamed. looking about him in a hurried manner.’ said the veteran.’ returned Cora. claim alike to be my children. Then where to seek a proper protector for you against the confusion and chances of such a scene?’ ‘None is necessary. ‘who will dare to injure or insult the daughter of such a father. Major Heyward.’ Duncan had heard enough. Without losing one of those moments which had now become so precious. he flew toward the quarters of Munro. He found them on the threshold of the low edifice. for a novelty. at a time like this?’ ‘I would not leave you alone. I trust.

so well known to the eastern provinces. and in a few words explained his wishes. extending the little volume. with a fixedness of manner that it was not easy to interrupt. by touching his shoulder. Remember.’ Then. he drew the attention of the other to himself. and God only knows the terror she might endure. when. There he found David.’ Cora replied. should abide together in peace. when the young man had ended. and the tune ‘Southwell’. but far more sadly than before. and on the instant comprehended her meaning. ‘Listen! chance has already sent us a friend when he is most needed. The low and serious sounds of the sacred music.’ ‘You may be right. friend? The meter is common. Wilt thou bear a part. to which nothing is now wanting but the doxology. our Alice is not gifted with all your firmness. ‘Even so. smiling again.’ replied the single-minded disciple of the King of Israel. Heyward was fain to wait 0 The Last of the Mohicans . and it is fitting that we who have consorted in so much peril. by the cessation of the movement of the hand. and instantly drew him to an apartment in an adjacent building. Duncan waited. until. pouring out his pious feelings through the only medium in which he ever indulged.the best regiment in the pay of the king.’ Duncan did listen. I will attend them. caught his ear. David recommenced and finished his strains. and giving the pitch of the air anew with considerate attention. when I have completed my morning praise. he believed the strain was ended. which had already been deserted by its customary tenants. ‘I have found much that is comely and melodious in the maidens.

Duncan took occasion to assure them he had done the best that circumstances permitted. He then Free eBooks at Planet eBook. as he believed.’ returned David. he continued. quite enough for the security of their feelings. and even the pallid features of Alice lighted again with some of their native archness as she thanked Heyward for his care. when. In this task you will be seconded by the domestics of their household.’ ‘If not.’ ‘Even so. uttered. in which case you will remind them of the terms of the capitulation.until the verse was ended. shall quiet the most unruly temper: ‘Why rage the heathen furiously’?’ ‘Enough. or to offer insult or taunt at the misfortune of their brave father. of danger there was none. and together they sought the females. I have that here which shall.’ ‘It is possible that the Indians and stragglers of the enemy may intrude. or rather thundered. with an air in which meekness and confidence were singularly blended. interrupting the burst of his musical invocation. and replacing the book.’ said Heyward. it is time that we should now assume our respective duties. exhibiting his book.’ Gamut cheerfully assented. and threaten to report their conduct to 1 . ‘we understand each other. Here are words which. at least. seeing David relieving himself from the spectacles. Cora received her new and somewhat extraordinary protector courteously. and in measured time. ‘It will be your duty to see that none dare to approach the ladies with any rude intention. and. with proper emphasis. A word will suffice.

spoke gladly of his intention to rejoin them the moment he had led the advance a few miles toward the Hudson. bowed often and low. and together they left the parade. was in motion. By this time the signal for departure had been given. who had learned their rank. forbearing. groaning and in suffering. they knew not of what. for the want of the necessary means of conveyance in that wilderness. The whole. looking upward. and immediately took his leave. many a maimed and feeble soldier was compelled to drag his exhausted limbs in the rear of the columns. they discovered that they stood beneath the wide folds of the standard of France.  The Last of the Mohicans . the French officers.’ Alice clung to the arm of her sister. to intrude those attentions which they saw. might not be agreeable. they saw the white uniforms of the French grenadiers. Cora had decided to endure the fatigues of a foot march.’ said Cora. ‘this is no longer a fit place for the children of an English officer. however. the weak and wounded. and glancing their eyes around. The sisters started at the sound. and the head of the English column was in motion. As every vehicle and each beast of burden was occupied by the sick and wounded. Indeed. accompanied by the moving throng that surrounded them. At that moment an enormous cloud seemed to pass suddenly above their heads. with peculiar tact. and. As they passed the gates. ‘Let us go. their comrades silent and sullen. rather than interfere with their comforts. who had already taken possession of the gates of the fort. however. and the women and children in terror.

They were attentive but silent observers of the proceedings of the vanquished. where they stalked in sullen discontent. of near three thousand. had already reached the defile. and issued on the open  . like vultures who were only kept from swooping on their prey by the presence and restraint of a superior army. the whole scene was at once presented to their eyes. The advance. a vista cut through the lofty trees. the French army stood to their arms. so soon as his guards had possession of the works. in their success. and gradually approached each other. and hovering at a distance. as they converged to the point of their march.As the confused and timid throng left the protecting mounds of the fort. At a little distance on the right. attentive. in the whole. though. passive observers of the moving multitude. failing in none of the stipulated military honors. were moving slowly across the plain. eyeing the passage of their enemies. and somewhat in the rear. when the attention of Cora was drawn to a collection of stragglers by the sounds of contention. Montcalm having collected his parties. and was slowly disappearing. The man was of powerful frame. A truant provincial was paying the forfeit of his disobedience. with Heyward at its head. A few had straggled among the conquered columns. to the amount. and offering no taunt or insult. to their less fortunate foes. Living masses of the English. Along the sweeping borders of the woods hung a dark cloud of savages. where the road to the Hudson entered the forest. toward the common center. as yet. by being plundered of those very effects which had caused him to desert his place in the ranks. and too avaricious Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

as the female crowd approached them. with the other. But the cupidity of the Indian was soon gratified. It was then that Cora saw the form of Magua gliding among his countrymen. and the different bodies again moved slowly onward. Individuals from either party interfered. while. and hovered together like alarmed and fluttering birds. and speaking with his fatal and artful eloquence. and seemed content to let their enemies advance without further molestation. He advanced to seize it without the least hesitation. and tore the screaming infant from her arms. more in terror than through love of the ornament. The mass of women and children stopped. and folded both more closely to her bosom. as it were. he flourished the babe over his head. wrapped her child in the coveted article. holding it by the feet as if to enhance the value of the ransom. and extended one hand. Cora was in the act of speaking. Abandoning everything to the greedy grasp of those around her. The savages now fell back. the mother darted. when the savage relinquished his hold of the shawl. the gaudy colors of a shawl attracted the eyes of a wild and untutored Huron. The Indian smiled grimly. and a hundred savages appeared. The woman. with an intent to advise the woman to abandon the trifle. by magic. the one side to prevent and the other to aid in the robbery. But. where a dozen only had been seen a minute part with his goods without a struggle. to reclaim her child. in sign of a willingness to exchange. with distraction in her mien. Voices grew loud and angry. ‘Here — here — there — all — any — everything!’ ex The Last of the Mohicans .

grasping at her child. At that dangerous moment. little inferior to that dread which may be expected to attend the blasts of the final summons. The mother sank under the blow. More than two thousand raving savages broke from the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. as if calling on God to curse the perpetrator of the foul deed. She was spared the sin of such a prayer for. and directly there arose such a yell along the plain. Magua placed his hands to his  . and perceiving that the shawl had already become a prize to another. like a statue of despair. and raised the fatal and appalling whoop. with the same engrossing love that had caused her to cherish it when living. looking wildly down at the unseemly object. he dashed the head of the infant against a rock. his bantering but sullen smile changing to a gleam of ferocity. and through the arches of the wood. The scattered Indians started at the well-known cry. as coursers bound at the signal to quit the goal.claimed the breathless woman. and fell. as seldom burst from human lips before. ‘take all. and excited at the sight of blood. but give me my babe!’ The savage spurned the worthless rags. maddened at his disappointment. in death. tearing the lighter articles of dress from her person with ill-directed and trembling fingers. the Huron mercifully drove his tomahawk into her own brain. They who heard it listened with a curdling horror at the heart. which had so lately nestled in her bosom and smiled in her face. and cast its quivering remains to her very feet. For an instant the mother stood. and then she raised her eyes and countenance toward heaven.

hellishly.  The Last of the Mohicans . The experiment in some measure succeeded. It might have been ten minutes (it seemed an age) that the sisters had stood riveted to one spot.forest at the signal. moving rapidly across the plain. At this moment. We shall not dwell on the revolting horrors that succeeded. groans. and drank freely. their screaming companions had pressed upon them in a body. exultingly. in the vain hope of appeasing the savages. When the first blow was struck. in truth. but such as conducted to the tomahawks of their foes. in the direction of the French army. rendering flight impossible. and now that fear or death had scattered most. exhortations and curses. Death was everywhere. The flow of blood might be likened to the outbreaking of a torrent. On every side arose shrieks. of the crimson tide. In such a scene none had leisure to note the fleeting moments. He was. and as the natives became heated and maddened by the sight. Resistance only served to inflame the murderers. if not all. from around them. many among them even kneeled to the earth. The trained bodies of the troops threw themselves quickly into solid masses. Alice caught a glimpse of the vast form of her father. they saw no avenue open. though far too many suffered their unloaded muskets to be torn from their hands. and threw themselves across the fatal plain with instinctive alacrity. endeavoring to awe their assailants by the imposing appearance of a military front. horror-stricken and nearly helpless. who inflicted their furious blows long after their victims were beyond the power of their resentment. and in his most terrific and disgusting aspects.

or fell of themselves. ‘Come to us. ‘Father — father — we are here!’ shrieked Alice.’ said Gamut. and proceeded. and in terms and tones that might have melted a heart of stone. fearless of every danger. Munro shook his head in disappointment. who.’ ‘Go. but it was unanswered. or we die!’ The cry was repeated. Let us up and fly. even in their fury. and this is not a meet place for Christians to tarry in. Once. still gazing at her unconscious sister. ‘Lady. without appearing to heed them. and Cora had sunk at her side. bent on the high duty of his station. had not yet dreamed of deserting his trust. To me thou canst not be of further use. indeed.’ said Cora. ‘it is the jubilee of the devils. Fortunately. as he passed. but Alice had dropped senseless on the earth. Fifty glittering axes and barbed spears were offered unheeded at his life. by the simple but expressive gesture that accomFree eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘save thyself. at no great distance. father. hovering in untiring tenderness over her lifeless form.’ David comprehended the unyielding character of her resolution. The dangerous weapons were brushed aside by the still nervous arm of the veteran. helpless and useless as he was. after menacing an act that it would seem no one had courage to perform. the old man appeared to catch the sound. for he paused and listened.proceeding to Montcalm. but the savages respected his rank and  . to claim the tardy escort for which he had before conditioned. the vindictive Magua was searching for his victim in the very band the veteran had just quitted.

Is it not better than this place?’ ‘Away!’ cried Cora. ‘the wigwam of the Huron is still open. it may not be amiss. More than one savage rushed toward them. ‘If the Jewish boy might tame the great spirit of Saul by the sound of his harp. scorning to touch the vulgar herd. and seemed to speak with the power of the feelings by which he was governed. who flew raging from group to group.’ Then raising his voice to its highest tone. who uttered a yell of pleasure when he beheld his ancient prisoners again at his mercy. thinking to rifle the unprotected sisters of their attire. but when they found this strange and unmoved figure riveted to his post. It was Magua. David exerted all his powers to extend what he believed so holy an influence. laying his soiled hands on the dress of Cora. Astonishment soon changed to admiration. ‘to try the potency of music here. Encouraged and deluded by his success. and bear away their scalps. they paused to listen. He gazed for a moment at the dusky forms that were acting their hellish rites on every side of him. he poured out a strain so powerful as to be heard even amid the din of that bloody field. and the words of sacred song. and every feature swelled.panied her words. hunted for some victim more worthy of his renown. like one who. The unwonted sounds caught the ears of a distant savage. and his tall person grew more erect while his chest heaved. openly expressing their satisfaction at the firmness with which the white warrior sang his death song. and they passed on to other and less courageous victims. ‘Come. veiling her eyes from his revolting as The Last of the Mohicans .’ he said.’ he said.

the faithful David followed the distracted sister.’ ‘Magua is a great chief!’ returned the exulting savage. the subtle Indian moved swiftly across the plain toward the woods. The fierce Huron was. and complete thy revenge. with his long arm. at any time. ‘Hold!’ shrieked Cora. and answered: ‘It is red. he was unheeded. ‘will the dark-hair go to his tribe?’ ‘Never! strike if thou wilt. after the unconscious Cora. sufficient for himself and the victim that he bore. raising his voice again in sacred song.pect. In this manner they traversed the plain. ‘release the child! wretch! what is’t you do?’ But Magua was deaf to her voice. ‘The holy charm is beginning to be felt. through the flying. and then catching the light and senseless form of Alice in his arms. though Cora would have fallen more than once under the blows of her savage enemies. or. and was determined to maintain it. in diligent accompaniment.’ He hesitated a moment. but for the extraordinary being who stalked in her rear. and sweeping the air to the measure. ‘Stay — lady — stay. oceans of blood.’ Perceiving that. rather. as he held up his reeking hand. upon thy soul. following wildly on his  . The Indian laughed tauntingly. thy spirit has moved this scene. and who now appeared to the astonished natives gifted Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and soon shalt thou see this horrid tumult stilled. in his turn. but it comes from white veins!’ ‘Monster! there is blood. the wounded and the dead. he knew his power.’ called Gamut.

Placing Alice. they gained the flattened surface of the mountain-top. to note the direction in which they journeyed. and also to elude pursuit.with the protecting spirit of madness. however. who knew how to avoid the more pressing dangers. and commenced his route by plunging deeper into the forest. and approached the eastern precipice. and made such progress in the pursuit as the difficulties of the path permitted. They soon began to ascend. there was a present relief in escaping from the bloody scene enacting on the plain. on the same animal with Cora. he seized the bridle. he made a sign to Cora to mount the other. perceiving that he was left alone. entered the woods through a low ravine. Notwithstanding the horror excited by the presence of her captor. Laying Alice on one of the horses. and in listening to the cries which were still too audible on the plain. threw his long limb across the saddle of the beast they had deserted. in custody of a savage as fierce and malign in his expression as himself. which the travelers had abandoned so shortly before. Magua. where he quickly found the Narragansetts. She took her seat. awaiting his appearance. to which Cora could not be altogether insensible. but as the motion had a tendency to revive the dormant faculties of her sister. and held forth her arms for her sister. utterly disregarded as a subject too worthless even to destroy. David. with an air of entreaty and love that even the Huron could not deny. When. then. she recognized the spot to which she 0 The Last of the Mohicans . the attention of Cora was too much divided between the tenderest solicitude in her behalf.

or were drowned in the loud. On every side the captured were flying before their relentless persecutors. Here Magua suffered them to dismount. induced them to gaze at the sickening sight below. the curiosity which seems inseparable from horror. and the yells of their murderers grew less frequent. Nor was the sword of death stayed until cupidity got the mastery of revenge. the cries of horror were lost to their ear. finally. until.had once before been led under the more friendly auspices of the scout. long and piercing whoops of the triumphant savages. the shrieks of the wounded. The cruel work was still 1 . and which has left an immovable blot on the otherwise fair escutcheon of their leader. Then. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. indeed. while the armed columns of the Christian king stood fast in an apathy which has never been explained. and notwithstanding their own captivity.

high courtesy. Pages might yet be written to prove. from this illustrious example. but all in honor. the defects of human excellence. For naught I did in hate. like love. have yet to learn how much he was deficient in that moral courage without which no man can be truly great. to show how easy it is for generous sentiments. but who was found wanting when it became necessary to prove how much principle is superior to policy. It is now becoming obscured by time. who know that Montcalm died like a hero on the plains of Abraham. and.’ It so far deepened the stain which a previous and very similar event had left upon the reputation of the French commander that it was not entirely erased by his early and glorious death.Chapter 18 ‘Why. is so apt to surround her The Last of the Mohicans  . if you will. But the task would exceed our prerogatives. and chivalrous courage to lose their influence beneath the chilling blight of selfishness. and to exhibit to the world a man who was great in all the minor attributes of character.’—Othello T he bloody and inhuman scene rather incidentally mentioned than described in the preceding chapter. as history. An honorable murderer. anything. is conspicuous in the pages of colonial history by the merited title of ‘The Massacre of William Henry. and thousands.

but the business of the narrative must still detain the reader on the shores of the ‘holy lake. were now returning in an interminable dusky sheet. were stiffening in their deformity before the blasts of a premature November. A frightful change had also occurred in the season. charred rafters. which had so lately rung with the merry rejoicings of a victorious army. The fortress was a smoldering ruin. and. The sun had hid its warmth behind an impenetrable mass of vapor. lay a silent and deserted city of huts. which had been seen sailing above the hills toward the north. The blood-stained conquerors had departed. The third day from the capture of the fort was drawing to a close.heroes with an atmosphere of imaginary brightness. They were now possessed by stillness and death. The crowded mirror of the Horican was gone. the environs of the works were filled with violence and uproar. we shall at once retire from her sacred precincts. while his cruel apathy on the shores of the Oswego and of the Horican will be forgotten. in its place. and hundreds of human forms. the green and angry waters lashed the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and rent mason-work covering its earthen mounds in confused disorder.’ When last seen. that was urged along by the fury of a  . within the proper limits of our own humble vocation. and their camp. it is probable that Louis de Saint Veran will be viewed by posterity only as the gallant defender of his country. which had blackened beneath the fierce heats of August. The curling and spotless mists. fragments of exploded artillery. Deeply regretting this weakness on the part of a sister muse.

but it reflected only the somber gloom that fell from the impending heavens. which. had disappeared. That humid and congenial atmosphere which commonly adorned the view. appeared now like some pictured allegory of life. The fiercer element had cropped the verdure of the plain. sometimes sweeping heavily along the ground. The whole landscape. But. veiling its harshness. then rising in a shrill and mournful whistling. seen by a favoring light. here and there. The solitary and arid blades of grass arose from the passing gusts fearfully perceptible. and the eye even sought relief. and without the relief of any shadowing. it entered the forest with a rush that filled the air  The Last of the Mohicans . and in a genial temperature. had been found so lovely. which looked as though it were scathed by the consuming lightning. the bold and rocky mountains were too distinct in their barrenness. in vain. as if indignantly casting back its impurities to the polluted strand. Still the clear fountain retained a portion of its charmed influence. seeming to whisper its moanings in the cold ears of the dead. the northern air poured across the waste of water so harsh and unmingled.shores. a dark green tuft rose in the midst of the desolation. in which objects were arrayed in their harshest but truest colors. by attempting to pierce the illimitable void of heaven. the earliest fruits of a soil that had been fattened with human blood. or fashioned by the fancy. and softening its asperities. that nothing was left to be conjectured by the eye. The wind blew unequally. which was shut to its gaze by the dusky sheet of ragged and driving vapor.

than they gladly stopped. passed. moved a little on one flank. and for the first time since the perpetrators of those foul deeds which had assisted to disfigure the scene were gone. both in quality and color. but no sooner was the green ocean of woods which stretched beneath them. In short. at random. and indicating by gestures. But the prohibition had ceased. Amid the unnatural shower. to his companions. the route he deemed it most prudent to pursue. the forms of five men might have been seen issuing from the narrow vista of trees. or dreaded the renewal of its frightful  . Free eBooks at Planet eBook. at a blow. The remaining three were white. where the path to the Hudson entered the forest. with eyes long accustomed to read the smallest sign of danger. and advancing in the direction of the ruined works. as though they entered with reluctance amid the horrors of the post. living human beings had now presumed to approach the place. a few hungry ravens struggled with the gale. and watched the margin of the woods. and it appeared as if all who had profanely entered it had been stricken. he also was an Indian. to their hideous banquet. A light figure preceded the rest of the party. ascending every hillock to reconnoiter. with the caution and activity of a native.with the leaves and branches it scattered in its path. About an hour before the setting of the sun. by the relentless arm of death. At first their progress was slow and guarded. though clad in vestments adapted. One among them. on the day already mentioned. it was a scene of wildness and desolation. Nor were those in the rear wanting in every caution and foresight known to forest warfare.

The sensations produced in the minds of even the white men were different. was not ashamed to groan aloud. One. but with execrations so bitter and deep as to denote how much he denounced the crime of his their present hazardous pursuit—that of hanging on the skirts of a retiring army in the wilderness. The young man at his elbow shuddered. whenever a spectacle of more than usual horror came under his view. though uniformly sorrowful. and an eye so calm. without fear of observation or dread of consequences. betrayed. in spite of the disguise of a woodsman’s dress. a man long experienced in scenes of war. He gazed at the most appalling sight with eyes and muscles that knew not how to waver. The youth in front threw serious but furtive glances at the mangled victims. He passed the groups of dead with a steadiness of purpose. and yet too inexperienced to quell entirely their sudden and powerful influence. the straggler who brought up the rear appeared alone to betray his real thoughts. Of them all. as he stepped lightly across the plain. but seemed to suppress his feelings in tenderness to his companion. were as different as the characters of the respective individuals who composed the party. The reader will perceive at once. however. The effects produced by the appalling sights that constantly arose in their path to the lake shore. in these respective char The Last of the Mohicans . His red associate. was superior to such a weakness. blending with a martial air and tread. afraid to exhibit his feelings. that nothing but long and inveterate practise could enable him to maintain. whose gray locks and furrowed lineaments.

and with the power of the Lord Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘but never have I found the hand of the devil so plain as it is here to be seen! Revenge is an Indian feeling.’ he said. the father in quest of his children. in the face of heaven. silent and thoughtful. the sturdy woodsman. who had already proved their skill and fidelity through the trying scenes related. the scout. endeavoring. who moved in front. Munro and Heyward flew toward the festering heap. and their white friend. The father and the lover found instant relief in the search. around the melancholy pile. he raised a cry that drew his companions in a body to the spot. The young warrior had halted over a group of females who lay in a cluster. together with Munro and  . for the first time since his entering the plain. a confused mass of dead. had reached the center of the plain. It was. though each was condemned again to experience the misery of an uncertainty that was hardly less insupportable than the most revolting truth. in truth. and those brave and trusty foresters. and all who know me know that there is no cross in my veins.acters. with a love that no unseemliness could extinguish. the Mohicans. Eyeing the sad spectacle with an angry countenance. When Uncas. attended by the youth who felt so deep a stake in their happiness. and have followed a trail of blood for weary miles. They were standing. but this much will I say — here. Notwithstanding the revolting horror of the exhibition. when the scout approached. to discover whether any vestiges of those they sought were to be seen among the tattered and many-colored garments. spoke intelligibly and aloud: ‘I have been on many a shocking field.

and he should have burial like a stout warrior. Delaware. and then turning calmly from the sight. Sagamore. Chingachgook.’ he added. he found the distinguishing marks of one of those six allied tribes. with the judgment hanging about his soul! Ha — as I am a man of white blood. and that by eyes cleared from mortal infirmities. as they were called. a Huron pays for this. he loosened his knife in his sheath. Woe betide the wretch who is born to behold this plain. yonder lies a red-skin. while they fought in the English ranks. there is one rifle which shall play its part so long as flint will fire or powder burn! I leave the tomahawk and knife to such as have a natural gift to use them. ‘Montcalm! Montcalm!’ continued the deeply resentful and less self-restrained scout. were so deadly hos The Last of the Mohicans .so manifest in this howling wilderness — that should these Frenchers ever trust themselves again within the range of a ragged bullet. in Delaware. his countenance settled into a repose as deep as if he knew the instigation of passion. or nations. it may be one of your missing people. and. afore the fall winds have blown away the scent of the blood!’ Chingachgook approached the mutilated form. I see it in your eye. without the hair of his head where nature rooted it! Look to him. who. turning it over. ‘shall the Hurons boast of this to their women when the deep snows come?’ A gleam of resentment flashed across the dark lineaments of the Mohican chief. ‘they say a time must come when all the deeds done in the flesh will be seen at a single look. What say you.

Uncas. unless a march in front. short of the other. that can replace the creatures of the Lord? I hold it a sin to kill the second buck afore the first is eaten.’ ‘Hugh!’ exclaimed the young Mohican. boy?’ whispered the scout. ‘What is it. frightening the ravens to some other prey by the sound and the action. white or red. lad. according as their natures may happen to be. lowering his tall form into a crouching attitude. Spurning the loathsome object with his foot. continuing. I  . ‘for it is only the one that can know the necessity of the judgment. that they have a craving for the flesh of an Oneida. rising on the extremities of his feet.’ he added. or an ambushment. and gazing intently in his front. ‘Nothing but vast wisdom and unlimited power should dare to sweep off men in multitudes. The scout comprehended the action. skulking for plunder. ‘God send it be a tardy Frencher. for ‘tis their gift to die with the rifle or the tomahawk in hand. however. and it is as well to let the bird follow the gift of its natural appetite. come this way. he turned from it with the same indifference he would have quitted a brute carcass. be contemplated. from often seeing it. and let the ravens settle upon the Mingo. I do believe ‘killdeer’ would take an uncommon range today!’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and very deliberately pursued his own way. his denunciations against the French commander in the same resentful strain. It is a different matter with a few warriors in open and rugged fight. like a panther about to take his leap. and what is there.tile to his own people.

and clearer than the heavens above our heads.Uncas. ‘Here are no dead. bounded away from the spot. The simple but meaning assurance was lost on the father. and waving in triumph. have passed the bush. ‘the storm seems not to have passed this way. the exhibition. without making any reply. and the cry which again burst from the lips of the young Mohican. the dark-hair has been here. On reaching the spot. none who could fly would remain to be murdered. ‘give me my child!’ ‘Uncas will try. or they that have robbed her. ‘My child!’ said Munro. to the wood. to Indian eyes. a fragment of the green riding-veil of Cora. before the former raised a cry of success from the margin of the forest. for. the anxious party perceived another por0 The Last of the Mohicans . and the scout had hardly done speaking. who seized the piece of gauze.’ ‘That’s manifest. and crushed it in his hand. for I remember the rag she wore to hide a face that all did love to look upon. The movement.’ was the short and touching answer. and in the next instant he was seen tearing from a bush. Uncas. you are right. ‘but either she. instantly drew the whole party about him.’ The young Mohican darted away at the suggestion. speaking quickly and wildly.’ said Heyward. I sometimes think a humming-bird leaves his trail in the air. while his eyes roamed fearfully among the bushes. Let us search for the marks she left.’ returned the undisturbed scout. and she has fled like a frightened fawn. as if he equally dreaded and hoped for the secrets they might reveal.

and. ‘we now know our work. you are as impatient as a man in the settlements. bless ye. Uncas. observing the powerful anxiety and disappointment the listeners exhibited. and where are my babes?’ ‘The path they have taken depends on many chances. but the beauty of the trail must not be deformed. softly. gently. though they should be a hundred leagues asunder! Gently. ‘Here is the palpable impression of the footstep of a man. ‘whither then.’ said the scout. though.’ cried Heyward. in the attitude and with the air of a man who beheld a disgusting serpent. you forget that light feet leave but faint marks!’ ‘Hugh!’ exclaimed Chingachgook. or any of the French Indians. ‘here are the Mohicans and I on one end of the trail.’ ‘Bless ye. ‘tis probably they are now near the borders of the Canadas. extending his long rifle in front of the eager Heyward. But what matters that?’ continued the deliberate scout. as he pointed downward. If they have gone alone. that much is beyond denial. We have them. rely on it. worthy man!’ exclaimed Munro. ‘he has trod in the margin of this pool. bending over the indicated 1 . have they fled. and who now stood erect. and the mark cannot be Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Softly. we find the other. who had been occupied in examining an opening that had been evidently made through the low underbrush which skirted the forest. and they may be within a dozen miles of us. but if the Hurons. A step too soon may give us hours of trouble.tion of the veil fluttering on the lower branch of a beech. have laid hands on them. they are quite as likely to move in a circle as straight.

’ demanded the attentive scout. some intoed. I would wager fifty beaver skins against as many flints. and no shoe. he examined it with much of that sort of scrutiny that a money dealer. some with high. satisfied with the result of the examination. that the Mohicans and I enter their wigwams within the month! Stoop to it.’ ‘Better so than left to starve in the wilderness. and removing the scattered leaves from around the place. and some out. some broad and others narrow. and now expressed rather his hopes than his doubts by saying: ‘One moccasin is so much like another. One moccasin is no more like another than one book is  The Last of the Mohicans . it is probable there is some mistake. At length he arose from his knees. They are captives. and others short. for moccasin it plainly is. would bestow on a suspected due-bill.’ ‘One moccasin like another! you may as well say that one foot is like another. ‘what does it say? Can you make anything of the tell-tale?’ ‘Le Renard Subtil!’ ‘Ha! that rampaging devil again! there will never be an end of his loping till ‘killdeer’ has said a friendly word to him. though we all know that some are long. ‘Well.’ The young Mohican bent over the track.mistaken.’ Heyward reluctantly admitted the truth of this intelligence. ‘and they will leave a wider trail. boy. and try what you can make of the moccasin. and some with low insteps.’ returned the scout. in these days of pecuniary doubts. Uncas.

‘What have we there? Uncas. here. it being the gift of a drunkard to straddle. he arose. Uncas. he merely pronounced the word: ‘Magua!’ ‘Ay. instead of one. ‘tis a settled thing. ‘Tis just the length and breadth.’ Chingachgook complied. the scout received the prize. have passed the darkhair and Magua. and after finishing his short examination. whether of white or red skin. then. giving to every man his natural advantages. looking closely around at the trees. too! look at it.’ The scout stooped to the task. and holding it on high. when we hunted the varmints from Glenn’s to the health springs. you measured the prints more than once. And the fellow will drink when he can get an opportunity.’ returned the scout. your drinking Indian always learns to walk with a wider toe than the natural savage. and with a quiet demeanor. bring hither the thing you see dangling from yonder thorn-bush. and instantly added: ‘You are  . Which is all ordered for the best.’ When the Indian had complied. the bushes and the ground.’ ‘And not Alice?’ demanded Heyward. Let me get down to it. here is the patch we saw so often in the other chase. neither book nor moccasin is the worse for having two opinions. ‘Tis the tooting we’pon of the singer! now we shall have Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Sagamore. he laughed in his silent but heartfelt manner. another: though they who can read in one are seldom able to tell the marks of the other. ‘Of her we have not yet seen the signs.

’ said Hawkeye. however. I begin to have some hopes of the fellow. and the bird vulgarly called ground-thresher. Can he slay a buck for their dinner. ‘Here is something like the footstep of one who has worn a shoe. Well. dropping his rifle. since he has given up squalling to follow some better trade. ‘he will do their singing.a trail a priest might travel. shoving the bushes aside. That! that is the print of a foot.’ ‘At least he has been faithful to his trust. and bending fondly over  The Last of the Mohicans . but ‘tis the dark-hair’s. Either of these last two birds is superior to the nightingale or the lark. and small it is. where it has. journey by the moss on the beeches.’ said Heyward.’ said Munro. or cut the throat of a Huron? If not. any signs of such a foundation?’ * The powers of the American mocking-bird are generally known. in general. so often named by the scout. the first catbird* he meets is the cleverer of the two.’ he said. look for the marks of a shoe that is long enough to uphold six feet two of tottering human flesh. too. and leaning on it with an air of visible contempt. the American birds are less musical than those of Europe. can it be that of our friend?’ ‘Touch the leaves lightly or you’ll disconsart the formation. though. ‘Uncas. two substitutes of inferior excellence. But the true mocking-bird is not found so far north as the state of New York. for one of such a noble height and grand appearance.’ ‘Where! let me look on the footsteps of my child. The singer would cover it with his heel. the catbird. ‘And Cora and Alice are not without a friend. boy.’ ‘Yes.

A moment. Though the tread which had left the mark had been light and rapid. and the dark-hair. and the singer. for here she has not passed. Has she no friend. ‘we know that the rampaging Huron has  .’ Heyward drew back. and pleasant in discourse. the young man said to the scout: ‘As we now possess these infallible signs. all his ardor to proceed seeming to vanish on the instant. at such a time. but where is she of the yellow locks and blue eyes? Though little. by giving the veteran something to do. The aged soldier examined it with eyes that grew dim as he gazed. nor did he rise from this stooping posture until Heyward saw that he had watered the trace of his daughter’s passage with a scalding tear. she is fair to the view. I will never cease the search till she be found. Willing to divert a distress which threatened each moment to break through the restraint of appearances. that none care for her?’ ‘God forbid she should ever want hundreds! Are we not now in her pursuit? For one.’ ‘It is not the swiftest leaping deer that gives the longest chase. and far from being as bold as her sister. Without attending to this sudden change in the other’s humor. will appear an age to the captives.the nearly obliterated impression. without moving his eyes from the different marks that had come under his view. light and little as her footsteps would be. the scout after musing a moFree eBooks at Planet eBook.’ returned Hawkeye. it was still plainly visible. let us commence our march.’ ‘In that case we may have to journey by different paths.

‘What have we here? An ambushment has been planted in the spot! No. We know that the first has been here. but the dark-hair or her sister. in waiting. and if nothing offers. Both father and son spoke quick and loud.ment continued: ‘There is no woman in this wilderness could leave such a print as that. Uncas. and keep your eyes on the dried leaves. here they have mounted. friends. the sun is getting behind the hills. ‘They have found the little foot!’ exclaimed the scout. you can keep in our rear and be careful not to cross the trail. ‘yes. by the truest rifle on the frontiers. here have been them one-sided horses again! Now the whole secret is out.’ Before they had proceeded many rods. and appeared to gaze at some signs on the earth with more than their usual keenness. moving forward. the Indians stopped. Move on. while your father shall run with a low nose to the ground. we must go back to the plain and strike another scent. and now regarding each other with the most unequivocal pleasure.’ ‘Is there nothing that I can do?’ demanded the anxious Heyward. There the beasts have been bound to a sapling. was already advancing in the order he had prescribed. but where are the signs of the other? Let us push deeper on the trail. now looking at the object of their mutual admiration. ‘You?’ repeated the scout. who. and all is plain as the north star at midnight. Move on. Yes. and yonder runs the  The Last of the Mohicans . without attending further to his own portion of the duty. with his red friends. I will watch the bushes.

in full sweep for the Canadas. dangling from the fair neck of his  . Lawrence. and that is enough to settle all disputes between me and the Mingoes. and not to be seen! Well. and which he recollected. Pass it this way. ‘Pshaw!’ said the disappointed Hawkeye.’ ‘Young blood and hot blood.’ returned Heyward. too.broad path away to the north. Such a glittering gewgaw. We are not about to start on a squirrel hunt.’ ‘But still there are no signs of Alice. long after it was warmly pressed against the beating heart of Duncan. I should like to find the thing. if it were only to carry it to the right owner.’ Heyward instantly knew it for a trinket that Alice was fond of wearing. ‘Unless the shining bauble Uncas has just lifted from the ground should prove one. they say.’ ‘So much the more reason why we should not delay our march. and that would be bringing the two ends of what I call a long trail together. and as he proclaimed the fact. on the fatal morning of the massacre. that we may look at it. the Great Lakes themselves. of the younger Miss Munro. or to Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ceasing to rake the leaves with the breech of his rifle. with the tenacious memory of a lover. it vanished from the eyes of the wondering scout. I can squint along a clouded barrel yet. or perhaps. for by this time the broad St. He seized the highly prized jewel. ‘tis a certain sign of age. who in vain looked for it on the ground. are much the same thing. to have seen. lad. when the sight begins to weaken.’ said Duncan. are between us. ‘let us proceed. well.

but to outlie for days and a deer into the Horican. and ready to undertake our work like men. An Indian never starts on such an expedition without smoking over his council-fire. We will. the young man took the veteran by the arm. and followed in the footsteps of the Indians and the scout.’ Heyward saw. that altercation would be useless. and to stretch across a wilderness where the feet of men seldom go. seeing that they are deliberate and wise. and. who had already begun to retrace the path which conducted them to the plain. go back.  The Last of the Mohicans . and from which he was apparently to be roused only by some new and powerful excitement. and in the morning we shall be fresh. and not like babbling women or eager boys. Making a merit of necessity. therefore. by the manner of the scout. though a man of white blood. Munro had again sunk into that sort of apathy which had beset him since his late overwhelming misfortunes. and where no bookish knowledge would carry you through harmless. I honor their customs in this particular. and light our fire to-night in the ruins of the old fort.

The young Indian pointed toward his rude hut when his labor was ended. too much excited himself to seek the repose he had recommended to his veteran friend. gently urged Munro to enter. it will feed my revenge. While Hawkeye and the Indians lighted their fire and took their evening’s repast. a frugal meal of dried bear’s Free eBooks at Planet eBook. if it will feed nothing else. if he forfeit. the temporary accommodations were deemed sufficient. The scout and his companions immediately made their preparations to pass the night there.Chapter 19 ‘Salar. when the party entered the ruins of William Henry. and when Uncas had covered them slightly with brush.—To bait fish withal. thou wilt not take his  .’—Merchant of Venice T he shades of evening had come to increase the dreariness of the place. A few fragments of rafters were reared against a blackened wall. what’s that good for? Shy.—Why. who understood the meaning of the silent gestures. but with an earnestness and sobriety of demeanor that betrayed how much the unusual horrors they had just witnessed worked on even their practised feelings. and Heyward. Duncan immediately returned into the open air. I am sure. Leaving the bereaved old man alone with his sorrows.

a red and fiery star struggled through the drifting vapor. Of this scene. gathering in black masses about the horizon. which lay like a dreary void on that side of him where the dead reposed. where the foresters were seated around their glimmering fire. were breaking asunder. Within the bosom of the encircling hills. His eyes wandered from the bosom of the mound. as to render not only their nature but even their existence uncertain. so chillingly in accordance with the past. his too-con00 The Last of the Mohicans . an impenetrable darkness had already settled. hovering around their roosts. as if tired of their furious chase. Ashamed of his apprehensions. the young man turned toward the water. and the plain lay like a vast and deserted charnel-house. and then rested long and anxiously on the embodied gloom. while the lighter scud still hurried above the water. Duncan stood for many minutes a rapt observer. though so indistinct and stolen. He soon fancied that inexplicable sounds arose from the place. The clouds. and the waves were already rolling on the sandy beach beneath him. Here and there. furnishing a lurid gleam of brightness to the dull aspect of the heavens. or eddied among the tops of the mountains.meat. in a more regular and tempered succession. the young man paid a visit to that curtain of the dilapidated fort which looked out on the sheet of the Horican. the heavier volumes. like broken flights of birds. without omen or whisper to disturb the slumbers of its numerous and hapless tenants. and strove to divert his attention to the mimic stars that dimly glimmered on its moving surface. Still. to the fainter light which still lingered in the skies. The wind had fallen.

‘Listen!’ said Duncan. unless when blood is hot. like to get back. a swift trampling seemed. and have a dance. to rush athwart the darkness. who. It would be well to extinguish the fire. Unable any longer to quiet his uneasiness.’ ‘Then ears are better than eyes. he forgets his enmity. for your Frenchers. quite audibly. and have a watch — listen! you hear the noise I mean!’ ‘An Indian more rarely lurks about the graves. as if to warn him of some lurking danger. having just deposited a portion of a bear between his grinders. when the other placed himself deliberately at his 01 . spoke thick and slow.’ said the undisturbed scout. and not over regardful of the means. but after spirit is once fairly gone. An Indian seldom sleeps in war.’ ‘I know not. but with an air so unmoved and calm. as to prove how much he counted on the security of their position. Though ready to slay.scious ears performed their ungrateful duty. when they have done a clever thing. he is commonly content with the scalp. ‘there are suppressed noises on the plain which may show Montcalm has not yet entirely deserted his conquest. with all his host. like one whose mouth was doubly occupied. Hawkeye threw his rifle across an arm and complied. At length. ‘I myself saw him caged in Ty. and temper up. and is willing to let the dead find their natural Free eBooks at Planet eBook. or a merrymaking. with the women over their success. Duncan spoke in a low voice to the scout. and plunder may keep a Huron here after his tribe has departed. requesting him to ascend the mound to the place where he stood.

‘Ay. I have heard preachers say. a wolf grows bold. concerning the life that is to come. ‘There would be picking. and that men will be indulged in it according to their dispositions and gifts. do I think it would be any disparagement to a man without a cross to pass his time —‘ ‘You hear it again?’ interrupted Duncan. it would be no great indulgence to be kept shut up in those mansions of which they preach. but with a vacant and careless manner. judge that a red-skin is not far from the truth when he believes he is to find them glorious hunting grounds of which his traditions tell. Now. if there was light and time for the sport. Speaking of spirits.’ Duncan. major. in the settlements. I thought I heard it again! or was it the rustling of the leaves in the top of the beech?’ ‘For my own part. I.’ said the unmoved scout. major. men’s minds differ as to their ideas of enjoyment. with more attention 0 The Last of the Mohicans . among the skins of the devils. that heaven was a place of rest. when food is scarce.’ continued Hawkeye. for that matter. and when food is plenty. ‘I believe that paradise is ordained for happiness. having a natural longing for motion and the chase. For myself. turning his face for a moment in the direction indicated by Heyward. too. nor. are you of opinion that the heaven of a red-skin and of us whites will be of one and the same?’ ‘No doubt — no doubt. answered. and I say it with reverence to the ordering of Providence. who was now made to understand the nature of the noise he had heard. But. therefore.

though we do it each after his fashion. however. and in a few moments. When he had taken this precaution. Duncan saw the figure of Uncas stealing cautiously along Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and beckoned for Duncan to follow him to a spot to which the glare from the fire did not extend. for a man who has passed his days in the open air. and. and he may hear what is hid from us. to sleep within sound of the roaring Mohawk. His vigilance. seemed exercised in vain. being a white-skin. indeed. The boy has Indian senses. he looked toward the black mounds. for. as if seeking the place whence the sounds proceeded. the scout placed himself in an attitude of intense attention and listened long and keenly for a repetition of the low sound that had so unexpectedly startled him. ‘and who has so often broken his fast on the head waters of the Hudson.’ ‘It would be a 0 . But it is a comfort to know we serve a merciful Master. for after a fruitless pause. and with great tracts of wilderness atween us — what goes there?’ ‘Is it not the rushing of the wolves you have mentioned?’ Hawkeye slowly shook his the subject which the humor of the scout had chosen for discussion. I will not deny my nature.’ The young Mohican. springing on his feet. The scout repeated the call. by saying: ‘It is difficult to account for the feelings that may attend the last great change. who was conversing in a low voice with his father. started as he heard the moaning of an owl. he whispered to Duncan: ‘We must give a call to Uncas.’ returned the single-minded scout.

‘What has become of the Mohican?’ he demanded of the scout. Look at the Sagamore. and that he beheld only the dark outline of an inequality in the embankment. to the spot where they stood. that we may stand to our arms. that we suspect danger at hand.the rampart. if any such are about us. Hawkeye explained his wishes in a very few words. Here are five of us. will find their equal. who are not unused to meet an enemy. he appeared to lie quiet and motionless. Then it was he discovered that the form of Uncas vanished. and curious to observe the manner in which he employed his faculties to obtain the desired information. they will never discover. which were spoken in the Delaware tongue. how like a grand Indian chief he sits by the fire. Surprised at the immovable attitude of the young warrior. ‘it was here that I saw him fall. for we know not what ears are open.’ ‘Hist! speak lower. he threw himself flat on the turf. If there are any skulkers out in the darkness. he is out on the plain. and bent over the dark object on which he had kept his eye riveted. where. So soon as Uncas was in possession of the reason why he was summoned. by his countenance. As for Uncas. to the eyes of Duncan. and could have sworn that here he yet remained.’ ‘Not a word to either. stepping back in amazement.’ ‘You think that Montcalm has not called off all his Indians? Let us give the alarm to our companions. and the Maquas. as you value your life. Heyward advanced a few steps.’ 0 The Last of the Mohicans . and the Mingoes are a quick-witted breed.

within reach of his hand. I will tell him that we are on the trail of the Mingoes. betraying more anxiety than was usual. He knows. as he sat musing by himself but the moment he had heard the warning of the animal whose name he bore. perhaps.‘But they may discover him. his Indian nature will teach him how to act.’ ‘It is undeniable that now you speak the truth. involuntary movement. by the call I gave to Uncas. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. With his sudden and. His rifle lay untouched. like that of a man whose nerves and sinews were suffered to relax for the purpose of 0 . the native awaited the result with a calmness and fortitude that none but an Indian warrior would have known how to exercise. Cunningly resuming his former position. though with a change of hands.’ returned the scout. believing that he heard a serpent. and his dark eyes glanced swiftly and keenly on every side of him. His person can be too plainly seen by the light of that fire. and he will become the first and most certain victim. and apparently unnoticed. every appearance of surprise or alarm ended. was even suffered to fall from its usual situation to the ground.’ The scout applied his fingers to his mouth. he arose to an upright position. and his form seemed to sink. and raised a low hissing sound. that we have struck a scent. ‘yet what can be done? A single suspicious look might bring on an attack before we are ready to receive it. that caused Duncan at first to start aside. The tomahawk that he had loosened in his belt for the sake of ease. The head of Chingachgook was resting on a hand. as if the movement had been made merely to relieve the limb. and it will prove his death.

as if to assist the organs of hearing. A second look told him that Chingachgook had disappeared in the confusion. and awaited impatiently the moment when an enemy might rise to view. the attack appeared to have terminated. his head was turned a little to one side. around that spot where the eyes of Heyward were still fastened. ‘the boy bears a smart piece! I know its crack. ‘See the noble fellow!’ whispered Hawkeye. The air was filled with sparks of fire. his nostrils were expanded.’ as they fled precipitately before the passage of some intruder on their proper domains. ‘he knows that a look or a motion might disconsart our schemes. like one prepared for service. and put us at the mercy of them imps —‘ He was interrupted by the flash and report of a rifle. After an impatient and breathless pause. and that his quick and rapid glances ran incessantly over every object within the power of his vision. a plunge was heard in the water. In the meantime. pressing the arm of Heyward. ‘There goes Uncas!’ said the scout.But Heyward saw that while to a less instructed eye the Mohican chief appeared to slumber. the scout had thrown forward his rifle. as well as a father knows the lan0 The Last of the Mohicans . and it was immediately followed by the report of another rifle. with admiration and wonder. as bodies of some unknown description rushed through them. Once or twice the listeners thought they could distinguish the distant rustling of bushes. nor was it long before Hawkeye pointed out the ‘scampering of the wolves. But with the solitary and fruitless attempt made on the life of Chingachgook.

dropping his rifle across his arm again. until after he had examined the firebrand which had been struck by the bullet that had nearly proved fatal to himself. that they are scarce among the Maquas. let him — let him. and make their boast among the squaws of the valiant deeds done on the pale faces?’ Chingachgook very quietly resumed his seat. Well.guage of his child.’ ‘I thought as much. After which he was content to reply. for I carried the gun myself until a better offered. go in.’ returned Hawkeye. who just then reappeared within the circle of light. and. with the English monosyllable: ‘One. ‘How is it. holding a single finger up to view. There are always some honest men in every nation. it is more than probable the knave will sing his lies about some great ambushment. though heaven knows. to scalp the dead. into the bosom of the work. ‘and as he had got the cover of the lake afore Uncas pulled upon him. as it would seem. and this Indian will testify that no harm has been done. marked for destruction. or is it only one of those reptiles who hang upon the skirts of a war-party. too.’ ‘Yonder scattered brand can witness that no good was intended. nor did he make any reply. and following Chingachgook. ‘we are watched. to look down Free eBooks at Planet eBook. seating 0 . Sagamore? Are the Mingoes upon us in earnest.’ returned the scout.’ ‘What can this mean?’ demanded Duncan. in which he was outlying on the trail of two Mohicans and a white hunter — for the officers can be considered as little better than idlers in such a scrimmage.

and considered it for a moment with deep attention. It was. with a composure that could not be disturbed by so trifling an incident. Uncas?’ demanded Duncan. had Heyward neglected to inquire. and it is probably that. Of these several moments Heyward was a deeply interested and wondering observer. he 0 The Last of the Mohicans . ‘What has become of our enemy.’ The young chief removed a fold of his hunting skirt. in fact. The varlet sent his lead within whistle of your ears.’ Chingachgook turned a calm and incurious eye toward the place where the ball had struck. and quietly exposed the fatal tuft of hair. with the same appearance of indifference as was maintained by his father. It appeared to him as though the foresters had some secret means of intelligence. and then resumed his former attitude. that which had passed out in the darkness of the plain. neither the moment nor the occasion for an Indian to boast of his exploits. Just then Uncas glided into the upstart when he brags ag’in the face of reason. which had escaped the vigilance of his own faculties. Then dropping it. and seated himself at the fire. have been uttered on the subject. not another syllable would. which he bore as the symbol of victory. and perhaps exaggerate. Sagamore. Chingachgook laid his hand on the scalp. just then. ‘we heard your rifle. In place of that eager and garrulous narration with which a white youth would have endeavored to communicate. with disgust depicted in his strong features. and hoped you had not fired in vain. the young warrior was seemingly content to let his deeds speak for themselves.

of what people was the knave?’ Uncas raised his eyes to the face of the scout. nay. who was fast losing his interest in the scene. What right have Christian whites to boast of their learning.’ ‘Oneida. and yet the Sagamore declares it came from the poll of a Mingo. for there Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘He mistake a Mohican in his paint for a Huron! You would be as likely to mistake the white-coated grenadiers of Montcalm for the scarlet jackets of the Royal Americans. when a savage can read a language that would prove too much for the wisest of them all! What say you. in his soft voice: ‘Oneida. nor was there any great mistake in the matter. but when he is supported by his people. if the Oneidas are outlying upon the trail.’ returned the scout. and each hair a letter. in an apathy nearly assimilated to that of his red associates. ‘or he would not have attempted the life of a friend. but who now advanced in uncommon earnestness to regard the bloody badge. with as much ease as if the scalp was the leaf of a book.ejaculated: ‘Oneida!’ ‘Oneida!’ repeated the scout. and answered. he even names the tribe of the poor devil. the sarpent knew his errand. ‘By the Lord. we shall by flanked by devils on every side of us! Now. again! when one Indian makes a declaration it is commonly true.’ said Heyward. set it down as gospel!’ ‘The poor fellow has mistaken us for French. to white eyes there is no difference between this bit of skin and that of any other Indian. ‘No. 0 . lad.

’ continued Hawkeye. and unworthy of your character. It is true that white cunning has managed to throw the tribes into great confusion. for myself. For that matter. Now. I do love justice. so that the Hurons and the Oneidas. I believe it is natur’ to give a preference to one’s own quarrels before those of strangers. and. though the Oneidas do serve his sacred majesty. for I had believed those natives who dwelt within our boundaries had found us too just and liberal. as respects friends and enemies. let their tribes go out to fight for whom they may. ‘if they were honest and he no knave. Yet a red natur’ is not likely to alter with every shift of policy. not to identify themselves fully with our quarrels. who is my sovereign lord and master. take each other’s scalps. and destroying all the harmony of warfare. or what may be called the same. in a white quarrel. and fighting on the same side with the Mingoes while the greater part are in the Canadas. who speak the same tongue.’ ‘I regret to hear it.’ ‘That would have been an abuse of our treaties.’ ‘Why. for 10 The Last of the Mohicans . and the Delawares are divided among themselves. love will grow up atwixt them. a few hanging about their great council-fire on their own river. so that the love atwixt a Mohican and a Mingo is much like the regard between a white man and a sarpent. I should not have deliberated long about letting off ‘killdeer’ at the imp but little love atween a Delaware and a Mingo. out of natural enmity to the Maquas — thus throwing everything into disorder. had luck thrown him in my way. therefore.’ ‘When a man consort much with a people. I will not say I hate a Mingo.

content to let the controversy slumber. while the latter sought the scalp of the Huron. as if satisfied with the force of his own reasons. after having detected the danger. was severed in many places. of a common origin. The great tie of language. too uneasy and too little accustomed to the warfare of the woods to remain at ease under the possibility of such insidious attacks. and it was one of its consequences. The confusion of nations. Not so.that may be unsuitable to my color and my religion. Not one of the three appeared in the least to doubt their perfect security. Heyward withdrew to the rampart. to which Hawkeye alluded. whatever might be their effect on the opinions of the other disputant. that the Delaware and the Mingo (as the people of the Six Nations were called) were found fighting in the same ranks. the honest but implacable woodsman turned from the fire. with the scout and the Mohicans. though believed to be the root of his own stock. and. and even of tribes. though I will just repeat. whose powers so often exceed the limits of all ordinary credulity. Those acute and long-practised senses. it may have been owing to the night that ‘killdeer’ had no hand in the death of this skulking Oneida. existed at that period in the fullest force. The Delawares were even divided among themselves. as was indicated by the preparations that were soon made to sit in council over their future 11 .’ Then. however. Though love for the soil which had belonged to his ancestors kept the Sagamore of the Mohicans with a small band of followFree eBooks at Planet eBook. of course. had enabled them to ascertain its magnitude and duration.

and whose stem was a tube of wood. In this manner the pipe had made its rounds three several times. of whom the community of the Mohicans was an ancient and highly honored member. took their seats within the curl of its smoke with so much gravity and decorum. that the Delaware. Chingachgook lighted a pipe whose bowl was curiously carved in one of the soft stones of the country. When he had inhaled enough of the fragrance of the soothing weed. not excepting Hawkeye. claimed to be the progenitors of that numerous people. amid so many jarring and savage races of men. by far the largest portion of his nation were known to be in the field as allies of Montcalm. amid the most 1 The Last of the Mohicans . who once were masters of most of the eastern and northern states of America. and why the warriors. The reader probably knows. he passed the instrument into the hands of the scout. he awaited the result with as much patience as he could summon. or Lenape. Placing himself at an angle of the works. where he might be a spectator of the scene without. under the banners of the English king. of course. and brought natural enemies to combat by each other’s side. It was. Duncan knew enough of Indian customs to understand the reason that the fire was replenished.ers who were serving at Edward. After a short and impressive pause. and commenced smoking. if enough has not already been gleaned form this narrative. that the scout and his companions now disposed themselves to deliberate on the measures that were to govern their future movements. with a perfect understanding of the minute and intricate interests which had armed friend against friend.

Then the Sagamore. the scout was obscure. in complaisance. demanded his opinion. he rather affected the cold and artificial Free eBooks at Planet eBook. in a few calm and dignified words. until it was quite evident the feelings of the speakers began to be somewhat enlisted in the debate. bestowed in deliberating on what had already been 1 . until Hawkeye. Notwithstanding the increasing warmth of the amicable contest. and so far from manifesting any impatience. because from the lingering pride of color. the most decorous Christian assembly. seemingly. On the other hand.profound silence. not even excepting those in which its reverend ministers are collected. and Chingachgook rejoined. He was answered by the scout. The words of Uncas were received with the same deep attention as those which fell from the maturer wisdom of his father. before either of the party opened his lips. while the white man maintained the other. when the other objected to his opinions. until a few moments of silent meditation were. Heyward gathered from the manners of the different speakers. as the oldest and highest in rank. proposed the subject for deliberation. might have learned a wholesome lesson of moderation from the forbearance and courtesy of the disputants. neither spoke in reply. that the father and son espoused one side of a disputed question. The language of the Mohicans was accompanied by gestures so direct and natural that Heyward had but little difficulty in following the thread of their argument. But the youthful Uncas continued a silent and respectful listener. The contest gradually grew warmer.

The latter was to every appearance fast losing ground. repeating the gesture for every day that was necessary to accomplish their objects. The Mohicans listened gravely. amid rocks and water-courses.manner which characterizes all classes of Anglo-Americans when unexcited. it was evident they urged a pursuit by land. and toward the close of 1 The Last of the Mohicans . when he arose to his feet. The age and weakness of the slumbering and unconscious Munro were indicated by signs too palpable to be mistaken. and shaking off his apathy. Then came a representation of the light and graceful movements of a canoe. while the repeated sweep of Hawkeye’s arm toward the Horican denoted that he was for a passage across its waters. and adopted all the arts of native eloquence. By the frequency with which the Indians described the marks of a forest trial. set in forcible contrast to the tottering steps of one enfeebled and tired. and apparently urging the necessity of their departing speedily. as the scout extended his palm. he pointed out the track of the sun. Then he delineated a long and painful path. Elevating an arm. and the point was about to be decided against him. he suddenly assumed the manner of an Indian. Duncan perceived that even his own powers were spoken lightly of. and in a manner that should leave no trail. Conviction gradually wrought its influence. and mentioned him by the appellation of the ‘Open Hand’ — a name his liberality had purchased of all the friendly tribes. He concluded by pointing to the scalp of the Oneida. and with countenances that reflected the sentiments of the speaker.

abandoning their own previously expressed opinions with a liberality and candor that. without looking round to read his triumph in applauding eyes. very composedly stretched his tall frame before the dying embers. particularly that of the youth. and everything connected with it. seized the moment to devote some attention to themselves. by destroying forever their reputation for consistency. the Mohicans. and before the hard breathing of the scout announced that he slept. Chingachgook commenced speaking to his son in the soft and playful tones of affection. The instant the matter in discussion was 1 . in such a way as to render it intelligible to those whose ears have never listened to its melody. Hawkeye. The compass of their voices. It is impossible to describe the music of their language. whose time had been so much devoted to the interests of others. a complete change was effected in the manner of his two associates. In short. except the result appeared to be forgotten. Uncas and his father became converts to his way of thinking. would have infallibly worked their political ruin. and closed his own organs in sleep. Left now in a measure to themselves. had they been the representatives of some great and civilized people.Hawkeye’s speech. Uncas gladly met the familiar air of his father. Casting off at once the grave and austere demeanor of an Indian chief. while thus engaged in laughter and endearments. his sentences were accompanied by the customary exclamation of commendation. the debate. was wonderful—extending Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

and carefully raking the coals in such a manner that they should impart their warmth to his father’s feet. After an hour had passed in the indulgence of their better feelings. seemed to slumber as heavily as the unconscious multitude whose bones were already beginning to bleach on the surrounding plain. they who lay in the bosom of the ruined work. Chingachgook abruptly announced his desire to sleep. no trace of ferocity was to be seen in the softened features of the Sagamore. and he never failed to smile in reply to the other’s contagious but low laughter. The merriment of Uncas instantly ceased. The eyes of the father followed the plastic and ingenious movements of the son with open delight. 1 The Last of the Mohicans . by wrapping his head in his blanket and stretching his form on the naked earth. and long before the night had turned. While under the influence of these gentle and natural feelings. His figured panoply of death looked more like a disguise assumed in mockery than a fierce annunciation of a desire to carry destruction in his footsteps. Heyward soon imitated their example. Imbibing renewed confidence from the security of these experienced foresters.from the deepest bass to tones that were even feminine in softness. the youth sought his own pillow among the ruins of the place.

But speak not a syllable. Casting aside their cloaks Munro and Heyward were on their feet while the woodsman was still making his low calls. they found the scout awaiting their appearance nigh by. Come. it is rare for a white voice to pitch itself properly in the woods. thou rugged nurse of savage men!’—Childe Harold T he heavens were still studded with stars. as they approached him. and be regardful to step on the stones and fragments of wood as you go. as we have seen by the example of that miserable devil. When they issued from beneath its concealment. when Hawkeye came to arouse the sleepers. and the only salutation between them was the significant gesture for silence. at the entrance of the rude shelter where they had passed the night.’ His companions complied. made by their sagacious leader. ‘for He to whom you make them. the singer.’ he whispered. ‘let us get into the ditch on this side.Chapter 20 ‘Land of Albania! let me bend mine eyes On thee. that of the heart. as well as those of the mouth.’ he continued. turning toward a curtain of the 1 . though to two of them the reasons of this extraordinary precaution were yet a mysFree eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Think over your prayers. knows all tongues.

or the knaves will know by what road we have left the place. indeed. a man may trust himself. until they reached the sandy shore of the Horican. made a sign for the two officers to enter. have been something to fear. looking back along their difficult way. but wood and stone take no print from a moccasin. ‘That’s a trail that nothing but a nose can follow. and the scout. this sand will take a stamp as easily as the butter of the Jarmans on the Mohawk. and then Hawkeye succeeded in reaching his little birchen vessel.’ said the satisfied scout. When they were in the low cavity that surrounded the earthen fort on three sides.tery. Heyward was silent until the Indians had cautiously paddled the canoe some distance from the fort. Shove in the canoe nigher to the land. Softly. When this was done. With care and patience. there might. but with the deer-skin suitably prepared. they found that passage nearly choked by the ruins. without leaving behind him any of those marks which he appeared so much to dread. lad. however. softly.’ The young man observed the precaution. it must not touch the beach. then he demanded: ‘What need have we for this stolen and hurried departure?’ 1 The Last of the Mohicans . Had you worn your armed boots. on rocks with safety. and within the broad and dark shadows that fell from the eastern mountain on the glassy surface of the lake. laying a board from the ruins to the canoe. ‘grass is a treacherous carpet for a flying party to tread on. generally. Uncas. everything was studiously restored to its former disorder. they succeeded in clambering after the scout.

if a word from a white can work so strongly on the natur’ of an Indian?’ The reply of Heyward was interrupted by a groan from Munro.’ returned the scout. But he was said to be alone.’ ‘But our presence — the authority of Colonel Munro — would prove sufficient protection against the anger of our allies.’ ‘Ay. ay. especially in a case where the wretch so well merited his fate. for they are bottomed on religion and honesty. need seldom fear his blood will run without the death shriek coming speedily from some of his enemies. though his sacred majesty the king had stood in its path?’ returned the stubborn scout. and dead men give no cause for fear. bury the tomahawks of the Hurons. he was alone in his deviltry! but an Indian whose tribe counts so many warriors. Have you forgotten the skulking reptile Uncas slew?’ ‘By no 1 .‘If the blood of an Oneida could stain such a sheet of pure water as this we float on. he who is captain-general of the Canadas. now there is reason in your words. ‘Ay. but after he had paused a moment. in deference to the sorrow of his aged friend he resumed the subject. ‘The marquis of Montcalm can only settle that error with his God. ‘Why did not the grand Frencher. I trust in Heaven you have not deviated a single foot from the direct line of our course with so slight a reason!’ ‘Do you think the bullet of that varlet’s rifle would have turned aside. There is a vast difference between throwing a regiment of white coats atwixt the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘your two eyes would answer your own question.’ said the young man solemnly.

we can manage to keep a few hours ahead of the knaves. looking back at the dim shore of William Henry. while the canoe glided over several miles of water.’ It is possible that Heyward’s estimate of danger differed in some degree from that of the scout. with vigilant ears and quick eyes. but always where covers are good. or some such divarsion. and stole swiftly and cautiously among their numberless little islands. and ammunition abundant. not of danger. there are three of us who understand its gifts as well as any you can name on the borders. but that we shall have what you may call a brisk push of it. our journey is like to be one of danger. No. no. ‘no. he now sat in silence. they entered the narrows of the lake*.’ ‘With foes in front. 0 The Last of the Mohicans . No. and it may happen.’ ‘Danger!’ repeated Hawkeye. a scrimmage. with words that must begin with calling him your son. is probable. or. a brush.’ continued the scout. instead of replying. if we must try the rifle. we shall throw the length of the Horican behind us before they have made up their minds which path to take. and coaxing an angry savage to forget he carries a knife and rifle. It was by this road that Montcalm had retired with his army. calmly. and foes in our rear. and laughing in his own silent but heartfelt manner. and the adventurers knew not but he had left some of his Indians in ambush. and unless the imps can make friends with the fishes. which was now fast receding. for. not absolutely of danger.tribes and the prisoners. and hear who has paddled across their basin this fine morning. Just as the day dawned. for. ‘I have put a trail of water atween us.

as well from the beauties of the place as from the apprehension natural to his situation. his keen vision was bent along the bald rocks and impending forests that frowned upon the narrow strait. who was a doubly interested spectator. which connect what may be 1 .to protect the rear of his forces. and in artificial accessories. when a clearer sheet of water permitted. while in outline and purity of water it is fully their equal. The lake itself varies in breadth from one to three miles. and collect the stragglers. and in the number and disposition of its isles and islets much superior to them all together. The eyes of the Sagamore moved warily from islet to islet. and copse to copse. and. approached the passage with the customary silence of their guarded habits. when the paddle ceased moving. in obedience to a signal Free eBooks at Planet eBook. There are said to be some hundreds of islands in a sheet of water less than thirty miles long. two lakes. Chingachgook laid aside his paddle. was just believing that he had permitted the latter to be excited without sufficient reason. The narrows. it is inferior to the finest of the Swiss and Italian lakes. * The beauties of Lake George are well known to every American tourist. In the height of the mountains which surround it. in truth. where every foot that they advanced exposed them to the danger of some sudden rising on their progress. They. therefore. Heyward. are crowded with islands to such a degree as to leave passages between them frequently of only a few feet in width. as the canoe proceeded. while Uncas and the scout urged the light vessel through crooked and intricate channels.

and a lovely scene it is. and which you may trace down into the thicket of hazel? ‘Tis from a fire. nearly at the moment that the light tap his father had made on the side of the canoe notified them of the vicinity of danger.’ said the impatient Duncan. and yet it is not natural. there is always a reason for what you do.’ ‘That a child could tell. push for the place. ‘I see nothing. that is rising above the island. But what is the edging of blacker smoke that hangs along its lower side.’ ‘Let us. ‘but land and water. ‘Hugh!’ exclaimed Uncas. has been suffered to burn low.’  The Last of the Mohicans . there is not so much as the black head of a loon dotting the water. then. You see the mist. ‘the lake is as smooth as if the winds had never blown. and relieve our doubts.’ The Indian gravely raised his paddle.’ he said. Duncan’s eyes followed the motion. ‘What now?’ asked the scout. major. but one that.’ ‘Hist!’ interrupted the scout. Sagamore.from Chingachgook. ‘Ay. and pointed in the direction in which his own steady look was riveted. but it appeared as calm and peaceful as if its solitude had never been disturbed by the foot of man. in my judgment. ‘the party must be small that can lie on such a bit of land. for it is more like a streak of thin cloud —‘ ‘It is vapor from the water. you can’t call it a fog. A few rods in their front lay another of the wooded islets. and I can see along its sheet for miles. ‘Tis but a shade.

and are alFree eBooks at Planet eBook. As he held the office of directing its course. and if the Indians or Frenchers are in the narrows. to return. his resolution was sufficiently indicated by the movement. it will be to say. ‘I am much of your mind myself. The knaves haven’t yet got their eyes out of the mist. that we have but two things to choose between: the one is. ‘If I may be permitted to speak in this matter.’ whispered the scout. Sagamore?’ The Indian made no other answer than by dropping his paddle into the water. or by white sagacity. by all the truth of signs.’ returned Hawkeye. make a push. and urging forward the canoe.’ continued Hawkeye. We must. run the gauntlet through these toppling mountains. examining the signs of the place with that acuteness which distinguished him. and give up all thoughts of following the Hurons —‘ ‘Never!’ exclaimed Heyward. or we should hear the accursed whoop. if not to your death. and in a very few moments they had reached a point whence they might command an entire view of the northern shore of the island. though I thought it becoming my experience to tell the whole. the side that had hitherto been concealed. Is there reason in my words. The whole party now plied their paddles vigorously. Together. then. well. friends! we are leaving them. in a voice far too loud for their circumstances.‘If you judge of Indian cunning by the rules you find in books. they will lead you astray. ‘Well. making a hasty sign to repress his impatience. ‘There they are. ‘two canoes and a  .

which were soon dancing over the water in pursuit. he as often lowered it to request the Indians would permit their enemies to approach a little nigher. and a shrill yell from the island. who sat in the bow. ‘you save a Hu The Last of the Mohicans . and announced that their passage was discovered. Them Hurons have never a piece in their nation that will execute at this distance. when an exclamation from Uncas. except that the strokes of their paddles were longer and more in unison. once more caused him to suspend the shot. and caused the little bark to spring forward like a creature possessing life and volition. whose ball came skipping along the placid surface of the strait. ‘What. Sagamore. while he still plied his paddle. and. In another instant several savages were seen rushing into canoes. lad?’ demanded Hawkeye. Three several times he brought the piece to his shoulder. looking coolly backward over this left shoulder. ‘Hold them there. These fearful precursors of a coming struggle produced no change in the countenances and movements of his three guides. deliberately laid aside his paddle. At length his accurate and fastidious eye seemed satisfied. interrupted his speech. but ‘killdeer’ has a barrel on which a man may calculate. and when his companions were expecting its report. so far as Duncan could discover.ready nearly out of whistle of a bullet. throwing out his left arm on the barrel.’ The scout having ascertained that the Mohicans were sufficient of themselves to maintain the requisite distance. and raised the fatal rifle. ‘keep them just there.’ said Hawkeye.’ The well-known crack of a rifle. now. he was slowly elevating the muzzle.

and perhaps they may try to strike our trail on the long calculation. by gradually bearing more and more obliquely. while Chingachgook inclined the bows of the canoe a little toward the western shore. within two hundred yards of each other. and resumed the paddle. with the mien of a tired  . that the lake curled in their front. gliding on parallel lines.’ Hawkeye was not mistaken.’ he said. The scout laid aside his rifle. whence another war canoe was darting directly across their course. until. Lay her more along the land.’ returned the scout. ‘Let us make for the rocks on the main. for when the Hurons found their course was likely to throw them behind their chase they rendered it less direct. Sagamore. in order to increase the distance between them and this new enemy. It now became entirely a trial of speed. we are doubling on the varlets. The stirring scene awakened even Munro from his apathy. So rapid was the progress of the light vessels. should ever trust again to the faith of any servant of the Louis’s!’ ‘He who wishes to prosper in Indian warfare. In the meantime they were reminded of the presence of those who pressed upon their rear. ‘and give battle to the savages. God forbid that I. by wild and exulting shouts. or those attached to me and mine. ‘must not be too proud to learn from the wit of a native.ron from the death-shriek by that word. ere long. in Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the two canoes were. It was too obvious now that their situation was imminently perilous to need the aid of language to confirm it. have you reason for what you do?’ Uncas pointed toward a rocky shore a little in their front.

in addition to the necessity of keeping every hand employed at the paddles. smiling. that the scout began to look anxiously about him. like two coursers at the top of their speed. as if searching for some further means of assisting their flight. and. A long. ‘Edge her a little more from the sun. however.’ said the stubborn woodsman. apparently more in satisfaction at their superiority in the race than from that prospect of final  The Last of the Mohicans . Sagamore. ‘You showed knowledge in the shaping of a birchen bark. and their motion became undulating by its own velocity. the fugitives taking the lead. and the pursuers had the advantage of numbers. Uncas. low island lay at a little distance before them. they redoubled efforts that before had seemed prodigious. ‘I see the knaves are sparing a man to the rifle. but the instant they were hid from observation by the bushes. A single broken bone might lose us our scalps.’ said the scout. This change had brought them nigher to each other. The two canoes came round the last low point. The exertions of the fugitives were too severe to continue long. while it altered their relative positions. It was. The scout and his companions did not neglect this advantage. Duncan observed with uneasiness. when you chose this from among the Huron canoes. that the Hurons had not immediate recourse to their firearms. Edge more from the sun and we will put the island between us. owing to this circumstance. as they closed with it. perhaps. the chasing canoe was compelled to take a side opposite to that on which the pursued passed.miniature waves.’ The expedient was not without its use.

Duncan saw the head of Uncas turned. into the bottom of the canoe. while the warriors were under fire. then.’ returned the scout. A long stroke. Do you think the Sagamore. as the former was compelled to Free eBooks at Planet eBook. or Uncas. when an open body would do no good? For what have the Frenchers reared up their Quebec. and together. and we are to struggle for our scalps with bits of flattened wood.escape which now began to open a little upon  .’ replied Heyward. if fighting is always to be done in the clearings?’ ‘All that you say is very true. and as the bullets whistled about them. as he answered: ‘It would be but an ill example for the highest in rank to dodge.’ ‘They are preparing for a shot.’ ‘Lord! Lord! That is now a white man’s courage!’ exclaimed the scout. ‘still.’ said Heyward. ‘and as we are in a line with them. who am a man without a cross. not to be maintained by reason. would deliberate about finding a cover in the scrimmage. and his own great personal danger. or even I. it will be so much taken from the size of the mark. Notwithstanding the nearness of the enemy. the countenance of the young warrior expressed no other emotion.’ A volley from the Hurons interrupted the discourse. ‘you and the colonel. instead of clouded barrels and true eyes. ‘The imps have put all their strength again at the paddles. friends. looking back at himself and Munro. ‘and like to many of his notions. my friend.’ Heyward smiled.’ ‘Get you. our customs must prevent us from doing as you wish. it can scarcely fail.

A ball soon struck the light and polished paddle from the hands of the chief. and flourishing it on high. No perceptible emotion could be discovered in the Mohicans during this critical moment. and. Uncas described an arc in the water with his own blade. than amazement at finding men willing to encounter so useless an exposure. far in the advance. and drove it through the air.think. he gave the war-whoop of the Mohicans. and one even pierced the bark of their little vessel. The bullets pattered along the lake. and immediately another volley succeeded. and seemed to give new zeal to the pursuers. The scout seized ‘killdeer’ in his left hand. he shook it in triumph at his enemies. A shout arose from the Hurons. and then lent his strength and skill again to the important task. who seized the opportunity to fire another volley. Chingachgook recovered his paddle. but the scout again turned his head. Chingachgook was probably better acquainted with the notions of white men. and as the canoe passed swiftly on. their rigid features expressing neither hope nor alarm. he said to Heyward: ‘The knaves love to hear the sounds of their pieces. laughing in his own silent manner. The clamorous sounds of ‘Le Gros Serpent!’ ‘La Longue Carabine!’ ‘Le Cerf Agile!’ burst at once from the canoes behind. and elevating it about his head. but the eye is not to be found among the Mingoes that can calculate a true range in a dancing canoe! You see the dumb  The Last of the Mohicans . for he did not even cast a glance aside from the riveted look his eye maintained on the object by which he governed their course. The savages answered the insult with a yell.

suffering his gun to escape from his hands into the water. The Hurons soon fired again. ‘it would not have cut the skin of an infant. that owing to their superior dexterity. The latter then took a swift aim and fired. who. and a bullet struck the blade of Hawkeye’s paddle without injury. was glad to find.’ Heyward seized the  . In an instant. and the chasing canoes clustered together.’ said the scout. if you will try to use this piece of flattened wood.devils have taken off a man to charge. have been blown upon by the heavens in their anger. they were very sensibly obtaining the advantage. while Hawkeye was engaged in inspecting the priming of his rifle. though Duncan continued to work with the most persevering industry. much less of men. and the diversion among their enemies. and he now fell backward. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. who was not altogether as easy under this nice estimate of distances as his companions. ‘That will do. he recovered his feet. major. At the same moment his companions suspended their efforts. like us. examining the slight indentation with a curious eye. though his gestures were wild and bewildered. The father and son now cast calm but inquiring glances at each other. and by the smallest measurement that can be allowed. Chingachgook and Uncas profited by the interval to regain their wind. and applied himself to the work with an eagerness that supplied the place of skill. however. and became stationary. however. I’ll let ‘killdeer’ take a part in the conversation. Now. The Huron in the bows of the leading canoe had risen with a similar object. we move three feet to their two!’ Duncan.

major. ‘we are a little too far already for a rifle to put forth its beauties. A few large drops of blood were trickling down the shoulder of the Sagamore. was content to manifest. who. Let them come up within striking distance — my eye may well be trusted in such a matter — and I will trail the varlets the length of the Horican. and you see yonder imps are holding a council.’ returned the diligent Duncan. in this simple manner.’ ‘Give me my children. His efforts were seconded by those of the Mohicans and a very few minutes served to place such a sheet of water be0 The Last of the Mohicans . ‘trifle no longer with a father’s agony. while ‘killdeer’ shall touch the life twice in three times. which he wielded with sinews that never tired. raised some water in the hollow of his hand. the slightness of the injury.’ said the scout. more than break the skin. at the worst. ‘For God’s sake let us profit by this advantage. when he perceived that the eyes of Uncas dwelt too long on the learn if either had sustained any injury by the fire. relieving the wearied Duncan. resumed the paddle. hoarsely. guaranteeing that not a shot of theirs shall.’ ‘We forget our errand. and increase our distance from the enemy. Throwing a last and lingering glance at the distant canoes. and washing off the stain. who by this time had reloaded his rifle. in such a moment of necessity have been permitted to betray the accident. but restore me my babes. for both well knew that no cry or exclamation would. softly. and. ‘Softly. he laid aside his rifle.’ Long and habitual deference to the mandates of his superiors had taught the scout the virtue of obedience.’ said Munro.

and their route lay along a wide reach. to every appearance. after the close and deadly chase from which they had just relieved themselves. nay. while they who plied them continued their labor. Instead of following the western shore. It was. and easily avoided. The strokes of the paddles grew more measured and regular. As the Hurons.tween them and their enemies. with as much coolness as though their speed had been tried in sport. at the distance of several miles. were you left alone to white experience to find your way through this wilderness?’ ‘But for its distance and its magnitude. Here the canoe was driven upon the beach. maintained for hours. rather than under such pressing. what would you account that spot. until they had reached a bay. almost desperate. nigh the northern termination of the lake. as before. But the islands were few. I should suppose Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Hawkeye and Heyward ascended an adjacent bluff. circumstances. by high and ragged mountains. ‘Do you see it?’ demanded the scout. where the former. hovering under a headland. however. after considering the expanse of water beneath him. the wary Mohican inclined his course more toward those hills behind which Montcalm was known to have led his army into the formidable fortress of Ticonderoga. that was lined. ‘ 1 . pointed out to the latter a small black object. whither their errand led them. and the whole party landed. The lake now began to expand. that Heyward once more breathed freely. had abandoned the pursuit. there was no apparent reason for this excess of caution.

’ continued the scout. Though Providence has lent to those who inhabit the woods eyes that would be needless to men in the settlements. and descended. but the moment it is dark they will be on our trail. yet no human organs can see all the dangers which at this moment circumvent us. and it is time that we were doing. without some good and obvious cause. the three instantly set about executing their  The Last of the Mohicans .it a bird. and paddled by fierce and crafty Mingoes. which you may see worming up along the rock above the canoe. and a short and earnest consultation succeeded. God knows what the country would be. if the settlements should ever spread far from the two rivers. Can it be a living object?’ ‘Tis a canoe of good birchen bark. other eyes than ours see it.’ ‘I little like that smoke. Both hunting and war would lose their beauty. ‘My life on it. ‘but they give no cover. as true as hounds on the scent.’ Hawkeye moved away from the lookout. He communicated the result of his observations to his companions. Well. gazing about him with a countenance of concern. where there are inventions to assist the sight. and know its meaning. These varlets pretend to be bent chiefly on their sun-down meal.’ interrupted the abstracted scout.’ ‘Let us not delay a moment. to the shore. or our pursuit of Le Renard Subtil may be given up. musing profoundly. words will not mend the matter. These lakes are useful at times. except it be to the fishes. in Delaware. We must throw them off. When it terminated. especially when the game take the water.

they toiled their way. The boat was again lifted and borne into the  . Then they resumed their route. into which they immediately launched their canoe again. with the utmost care. Although the rugged outline of mountain. until they came to an extensive and naked rock. until the scout pronounced that he believed it would be safe once more to land. Under the cover of these natural advantages. and the margin of the lake was fringed for some distance with dense and overhanging bushes. They soon reached the water-course. and borne on the shoulders of the party. they proceeded into the wood. where their footsteps might be expected to be no longer visible. they retraced their route to the brook. where it was carefully concealed under a pile of brush. making as broad and obvious a trail as possible. The adventurers assumed their arms and packs. to which they were steering. They now followed the bed of the little stream to the lake. presented no distinctive marks to the eyes of Duncan. with patient industry. pushed silently and vigorously toward the western shore. A low point concealed them from the headland. At this point. The halt continued until evening rendered objects indistinct and uncertain to the eye. which they crossed. and. and the scout announced to Munro and Heyward that he and the Indians Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The canoe was lifted from the water. continuing onward. and. the Mohican entered the little haven he had selected with the confidence and accuracy of an experienced pilot. favored by the resolutions. walking backward.

 The Last of the Mohicans .were at last in readiness to proceed.

and holding a short consultation with the Indians.’— Merry Wives of Windsor T he party had landed on the border of a region that is. until the scout called a  . As Hawkeye and the Mohicans had. or the steppes of Tartary. guided by a star.Chapter 21 ‘If you find a man there. they did not hesitate to plunge into its depth. though none but the hunter or the savage is ever known even now to penetrate its wild recesses. and the St. with the freedom of men accustomed to its privations and difficulties. the Mohawk. and made the usual preparations to pass the remainder of the night where they then were. however. or following the direction of some watercourse. he shall die a flea’s death. often traversed the mountains and valleys of this vast wilderness. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. less known to the inhabitants of the States than the deserts of Arabia. they lighted their fire. even to this day. Lawrence. It was the sterile and rugged district which separates the tributaries of Champlain from those of the Hudson. For many hours the travelers toiled on their laborious way. Since the period of our tale the active spirit of the country has surrounded it with a belt of rich and thriving settlements.

until they might strike the springs of the Canada streams. The dews were suffered to exhale. At last the scout spoke in English. Distrusting his own judgment. ‘When I found that the home path of the Hurons run north. when the travelers resumed their journey. that. if not without uneasiness.Imitating the example. After proceeding a few miles. became more deliberate and watchful. who led the advance. and emulating the confidence of their more experienced associates. which would lead them into the heart of the country of the Frenchers. like himself.’ he said. and not a  The Last of the Mohicans . and at once explained the embarrassment of their situation. the velocity. He was strongly tempted to address the young chief. and the sun had dispersed the mists. as he imagined. the progress of Hawkeye. and was shedding a strong and clear light in the forest. though. and the color of its waters. his appeals to the opinion of Chingachgook were frequent and earnest. and demand his opinion of their progress. an interested listener. nor did he cross a rivulet without attentively considering the quantity. but the calm and dignified demeanor of the native induced him to believe. ‘it did not need the judgment of many long years to tell that they would follow the valleys. Munro and Duncan slept without fear. the other was wholly dependent on the sagacity and intelligence of the seniors of the party. During one of these conferences Heyward observed that Uncas stood a patient and silent. He often stopped to examine the trees. and keep atween the waters of the Hudson and the Horican. Yet here are we. within a short range of the Scaroons.

and examine as we go. and motioning with his hand. over a spot of fresh earth. and stood. but. a few rods in advance. at his  . ‘the lad is quick of sight and keen of wit for his years. Bounding forward like a deer. The moment this permission was accorded. No. the scholar is made to know the value of years. but. ‘Let us retrace our steps. that looked as though it had been recently upturned by the passage of some heavy animal. he sprang up the side of a little acclivity. and it is possible we may not have taken the proper scent. pointing north and south.’ ‘Heaven protect us from such an error!’ exclaimed Duncan. and respects them accordingly. where experience is the master. exultingly.’ ‘Tis extraordinary that he should have withheld his knowledge so long. who gathers his learning from books and can measure what he knows by the page. and read their success in the air of triumph that the youth assumed. maintaining his quiet and reserved mien. he bade him speak. may conceit that his knowledge. ‘Tis the trail!’ exclaimed the scout. outruns that of his fathers’.’ muttered Duncan. at the evFree eBooks at Planet eBook. with keener eyes. Has Uncas no counsel to offer in such a strait?’ The young Mohican cast a glance at his father. the countenance of Uncas changed from its grave composure to a gleam of intelligence and joy. no. advancing to the spot. he continued silent. ‘It would have been more wonderful had he spoken without a bidding.sign of a trail have we crossed! Human natur’ is weak. like his legs. The eyes of the whole party followed the unexpected movement.’ ‘See!’ said Uncas. your young white. Chingachgook had caught the look.

dashing forward. Their progress was much facilitated by the certainty that Magua had found it necessary to journey through the valleys. in which a circuitous distance of more than forty miles had been passed. did not fail to impart a portion of hope to the whole party. ‘we are favored. on the indicated route. a circumstance which rendered the general direction of the route sure. ‘the dark-hair has gone toward the forest. at once. False trails and sudden turnings were frequent. or a rivulet. The fellow is stricken with a judgment. or a bit of earth harder than common. the true eye of the scout recovered them at a distance. ‘we shall soon have the fool journeying in a coach. and the astonishing success of the chase. but his pursuers were rarely de The Last of the Mohicans . here are both your waddling beasts: this Huron travels like a white general. and can follow with high noses.’ ‘Hound never ran on a more beautiful scent. and made with as much confidence as a traveler would proceed along a wide highway. Nor had the Huron entirely neglected the arts uniformly practised by the natives when retiring in front of an enemy. If a rock. and laughing in his newly awakened satisfaction. looking back. and seldom rendered the delay of a single moment necessary. Sagamore. Ay.ident marks of the broad trail on either side of him. severed the links of the clew they followed.’ responded the scout. and is mad! Look sharp for wheels.’ The spirits of the scout. Their advance was rapid. greatly favored. wherever a brook or the formation of the ground rendered them feasible.’ he continued. and that with three of the best pair of eyes on the borders in his rear.

com  . and contemplated with tender emotion. the youth reappeared. before they had lost either time or distance on the deceptive track. turning pale. with their saddles broken. By the middle of the afternoon they had passed the Scaroons. At length Uncas. who. they suddenly came to a place where the party of Le Renard had made a halt. and never failed to detect their error. the trail appeared to have suddenly ended. and while the latter were consulting on the circumstance. At a little distance. and the housings soiled. leading the two fillies. Heyward discovered. It was easy to follow the tracks of the Narragansetts. the small bower under which he was fain to believe that Cora and Alice had reposed. the offals of a deer were scattered about the place. through which a swift stream glided. But while the earth was trodden. and were following the route of the declining sun. as if he feared the brush and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Before following the clew. and glancing his eyes around him. Extinguished brands were lying around a spring. with his father. and the trees bore evident marks of having been browsed by the horses. as though they had been permitted to run at will for several days. After descending an eminence to a low bottom. ‘What should this prove?’ said Duncan. had endeavored to trace the route of the horses. but they seemed only to have wandered without guides. or any other object than the pursuit of food. came upon a sign of their presence that was quite recent.ceived. and the footsteps of both men and beasts were so plainly visible around the place. he communicated his success to his companions.

leaves were about to give up some horrid secret. no wiser than when they started. and we are getting within scent of their camp. until they assembled in the center once more. he would not hurt a hair of their heads. and with such rugged beasts as these. I have heard that the French Indians had come into these hills to hunt the moose. Again the scout and his companions made the circuit of the halting place. A circle of a few hundred feet in circumference was drawn. unless it be to tomahawk her. and the gentle ones wanted horses to keep up with the party. or the laws of the woods. ‘That our march is come to a quick end. but the Hurons are gone. but he who thinks that even a Mingo would ill-treat a woman.’ returned the scout. resulted in no discovery. and that we are in an enemy’s country. It is true that the horses are here. ‘Had the knave been pressed. I know your thoughts. knows nothing of Indian natur’. hunt for the path by which they parted.’ Hawkeye and the Mohicans now applied themselves to their task in good earnest. for the Frenchers are running a new line atween the provinces of the king and the Canadas. but they all appeared like those of men who had wandered about the spot. without any design to quit it. 0 The Last of the Mohicans . The impressions of footsteps were numerous. however. but without an enemy at his heels. let us. Why should they not? The morning and evening guns of Ty may be heard any day among these mountains. each slowly following the other. The examination. and each of the party took a segment for his portion. and shame be it to our color that you have reason for them. no. No. he might have taken their scalps. then.

‘We must get down to it. for Indian cunning was known frequently to adopt these objects as covers. So soon as its narrow bed below the dam was dry. whose activity had enabled him to achieve his portion of the task the soonest.’ Setting the example himself. The whole party crowded to the spot where Uncas pointed out the impression of a moccasin in the moist alluvion. pigeon-winging his tribe! Run Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the scout engaged in the scrutiny with renewed zeal. Not a leaf was left unturned. At length Uncas. regarding the trail with as much admiration as a naturalist would expend on the tusk of a mammoth or the rib of a mastodon. and diverted its course into another channel. raked the earth across the turbid little rill which ran from the spring. Yet that is not the footstep of an Indian! the weight is too much on the heel. Sagamore. ‘This lad will be an honor to his people.‘Such cunning is not without its deviltry. and going over the ground by inches. A cry of exultation immediately announced the success of the young warrior. he stooped over it with keen and curious eyes. The sticks were removed.’ exclaimed Hawkeye. beginning at the spring. and the toes are 1 . and a thorn in the sides of the Hurons. ‘ay. The Huron shall never brag in his tribe that he has a foot which leaves no print. to conceal each footstep as they proceeded.’ said Hawkeye. laboring with the utmost patience and industry. as though one of the French dancers had been in. Still no discovery was made. and the stones lifted. when he met the disappointed looks of his assistants.

who had once more been made to exchange his shoes for moccasins. following the course of the rill.’ cried Duncan. the foresters pursued their way content with knowing that the trail lay beneath. as plainly as if I had seen the arts of Le Subtil. and bring me the size of the singer’s foot. Uncas. imitating their formation. The water soon flowed into its bed again. ‘I see no signs of —‘ ‘The gentle ones. the scout and Chingachgook were attentively considering the impressions. was made to go first.’ While the youth was engaged in this commission.’ ‘But. It was fortunate they did so. ‘the varlet has found a way to carry them. ‘I can now read the whole of it. until he supposed he had thrown any followers off the scent. More than half a mile was passed. Here they paused to make sure that the Hurons had not quitted the water. agin the hillside.’ The whole party now proceeded. The measurements agreed. before many rods go by.’ interrupted the scout. before the rill rippled close around the base of an extensive and dry rock. we see their pretty little feet again.  The Last of the Mohicans . but watching the ground on either side. keeping anxious eyes on the regular impressions.’ he added. and the former unhesitatingly pronounced that the footstep was that of David.back. For the quick and active Uncas soon found the impression of a foot on a bunch of moss. My life on it. and the others have trod in his steps. ‘the singer being a man whose gifts lay chiefly in his throat and feet. You will find a beautiful print of it just opposite yon rock.

It is amazing that any mortal beings can journey on limbs so small! Pass me the thong of buckskin. he entered the neighboring thicket.’ ‘Will this assist in explaining the difficulty?’ said Heyward.’ ‘Shall we proceed?’ demanded Heyward. there is little chance of learning from the open land of Providence. which is the manner that the knave contrived to get the gentle ones along the blind trail. Pursuing the direction given by this discovery. as fresh and obvious as it had been before they reached the spring. and bound together with withes. and struck the trail. Uncas. ‘Softly. when the party was assembled around the place. and at once terminated the search. it has been planned with Indian judgment. and which now seemed carelessly cast aside as useless. but it is good to examine the formation of things. we know our path. major. This is my schooling. I’ve known them to waste a day in the same manner to as little purpose. and two of little feet. they have spent hours in striving to fabricate a lying end to their trail! Well. All is plain but one thing. Another shout announced the good fortune of the youth to his companions.where it would seem an Indian had inadvertently trodden. ‘and would have blinded white eyes. ‘Ay. pointing toward the fragments of a sort of handbarrow.’ said the scout. Even a Huron would be too proud to let their tender feet touch the water. and if one neglects the book. ‘If them varlets have passed a minute. that had been rudely constructed of boughs. and let me Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Tis explained!’ cried the delighted  . softly. Here we have three pair of moccasins.

looking at the light footsteps of his children. No. Cheered by these assurances. ‘this is a firm and straight. Ay. can hardly give his legs a proper training. he slipped.’ ‘Of that there is little cause of fear. and satisfied by a reasoning that was so obvious. Now. for its own wise reasons. By the Lord. with nearly as much certainty and precision as if he had been a witness of all those events which his ingenuity so easily elucidated.’ ‘The tender limbs of my daughters are unequal to these hardships. after making a short halt. When the meal was ended. the singer was beginning to be footsore and leg-weary. neither of them was nigh fainting. and there again it looks as though he journeyed on snowshoes. the best and most contented of us must allow. as is plain by his trail. a man who uses his throat altogether. with a parent’s love. That Providence is partial in its gifts. here he has traveled wide and tottered.take the length of this foot.’ returned the scout. There. the party resumed its course. hereaway. you see. and there the dark-hair has made a little jump. ‘we shall find their fainting forms in this desert. to take a hurried repast.’ From such undeniable testimony did the practised woodsman arrive at the truth. and not over long. it is no longer than a child’s and yet the maidens are tall and comely. from root to root. while it was so simple. the scout cast a glance upward at the setting sun. no. the heel has hardly touched the ground. slowly shaking his head. though a light step.’ said Munro. and pushed forward with a rapidity which compelled Heyward and the still vigorous Munro to  The Last of the Mohicans . my knowledge for it. See. ay.

the progress of the pursuers was no longer delayed by uncertainty. I saw one of the birds fanning himself in the air. Duncan obeyed. as usual. was fringed with a thicket. Sagamore. He soon stopped again. through the treetops. and soon found himself in a situation to command a view which he found as extraordinary as it was novel. the speed of Hawkeye sensibly abated. and we are getting too nigh their encampment. instead of maintaining its former direct and forward look. as if he were conscious of approaching danger. while Hawkeye cautiously proceeded with the two gentlemen. Their route now lay along the bottom which has already been mentioned. for he wished to examine certain suspicious signs a little on one side.’ he said. ‘yonder is open sky. If anything should happen. The trees of many acres had been felled.’ The Indians departed their several ways without reply. Heyward soon pressed to the side of their guide. however. began to turn suspiciously from side to side. Uncas will bend along the brook to the left. His companion told him to steal to the edge of the wood. the call will be three croaks of a crow. ‘I scent the Hurons.exert all their muscles to equal. you will take the hillside. to the right. and the glow Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and wait his coming. and waited for the whole party to come up. speaking to the Mohicans. eager to catch an early glimpse of those enemies he had pursued with so much toil and  . which. As the Hurons had made no further efforts to conceal their footsteps. Before an hour had elapsed. while I will try the trail. just beyond the dead oak — another sign that we are approaching an encampment. and his head.

admirably molded for defense against the weather. and apparently dragging in the train some heavy. as to allow no opportunity of examining their humors or pursuits. ordinarily. and the place seemed suddenly alive with beings. in a cataract so regular and gentle. At least. he was about to attempt the signal of the crows. some formidable engine. and even in its waters. glided from cover to cover so swiftly. A hundred earthen dwellings stood on the margin of the lake. Just then a few darklooking heads gleamed out of the dwellings. to the Indian habits. A short distance from the place where Duncan stood. but. from mountain to mountain. in beautiful contrast to the gray light of the forest. however. that it appeared rather to be the work of human hands than fashioned by nature. It appeared. denoted more of industry and foresight than the natives were wont to bestow on their regular habitations. Alarmed at these suspicious and inexplicable movements. as though the latter had overflowed its usual banks. however. so thought Duncan for many minutes. the stream had seemingly expanded into a little lake. covering most of the low land. possessed more of method and neatness of execution. much less on those they occupied for the temporary purposes of hunting and war. when the rustling of leaves at  The Last of the Mohicans . which. to be deserted. and as he was quick to apprehend. he fancied he discovered several human forms advancing toward him on all fours. Their rounded roofs. The water fell out of this wide basin. than the white men had been accustomed to believe belonged. In short.of a mild summer’s evening had fallen on the clearing. at length. the whole village or town. whichever it might be termed.

from whose tuft three or four faded feathers from a hawk’s wing were loosely dangling. His head was shaved. he remained stationary.hand drew his eyes in another direction. Recovering his recollection on the instant. Altogether. instead of sounding an alarm. while his nether garment was composed of an ordinary shirt. ‘You see we have reached their settlement or encampment. the appearance of the individual was forlorn and miserable. The native. though Duncan fancied it was rather melancholy than savage. in a very embarrassing position for our Free eBooks at Planet eBook. covered with a pair of good deer-skin moccasins. the sleeves of which were made to perform the office that is usually executed by a much more commodious arrangement. Duncan was still curiously observing the person of his neighbor when the scout stole silently and cautiously to his side.’ whispered the young man. It was impossible to discover the expression of his features through the grotesque mask of paint under which they were concealed. A ragged calico mantle half encircled his body. His legs were. as usual. The young man  . when he found himself within a hundred yards of a stranger Indian. An instant of calm observation served to assure Duncan that he was undiscovered. however. an attentive observer of the other’s motions. with the exception of the crown. and recoiled a few paces instinctively. and the stolen movements of its inhabitants. ‘and here is one of the savages himself. seemed occupied in considering the low dwellings of the village. which might prove fatal to himself. like himself.

and take him alive. Do you keep him under your rifle while I creep in behind. Fire on no account. Ay. and dropped his rifle. nor does he seem to be viciously inclined. are dodging about the water. directed by the finger of his companion. ‘so much for schooling and passing a boyhood in the settlements! The knave has long legs. Can you see where he has put his rifle or his bow?’ ‘He appears to have no arms. and a whooping. by his clothes. Then lowering the dangerous muzzle he stretched forward his long neck. ‘The imp is not a Huron.’ he said. ‘nor of any of the Canada tribes.’ Hawkeye started. Unless he communicate the alarm to his fellows. Montcalm has raked the woods for his inroad. when. and yet you see. he indulged in unrestrained and heartfelt laughter. as if to assist a scrutiny that was already intensely keen. ‘Fellows who are dodging about the water!’ he added. the stranger came under his view. though in that silent and peculiar manner which danger had so long taught him to practise. and regarded him a moment with unconcealed amazement. murdering set of varlets has he gathered together. and shall not be trusted. as you see. through the bush.’ Heyward had already permitted his companion to bury part of his person in the thicket. Then opening wide his mouth. though. when.further movements. stretching forth his  The Last of the Mohicans .’ The scout turned to Heyward. who. Repeating the words. we have but little to fear from him. the knave has been plundering a white.

nodding his head. he arose to his feet. major. in order to ask: ‘If I see you in danger. in a body. several loud blows were struck on the water. into the troubled little sheet. Then he reappeared.arm. silently and slowly. When the peculiar and hearty laughter of Hawkeye was ended. the uplifted hand of Hawkeye was above him. he arrested him. as if he also watched the movements about the gloomy lake. then. still laughing. the unconscious savage stretched forward his neck. and Duncan turned his eyes just in time to perceive that a hundred dark forms were plunging. without any apparent reason. before he caught another glimpse of the scout. may I not risk a shot?’ Hawkeye regarded him a moment. directly in the rear of his intended captive. and exclaimed aloud: ‘How now. he tapped him lightly on the shoulder. Instead of taking the alarm. he answered. But. fit of  . though still silent. Duncan waited several minutes in feverish impatience. At that instant. In the meantime.’ In the next moment he was concealed by the leaves. though inaudibly: ‘Fire a whole platoon. Having reached within a few yards of the latter. from which his dress was hardly distinguishable. and its owner indulged in another long. instead of grasping his victim by the throat. it was withdrawn. like one who knew not how to take the question. with a sort of silly curiosity. friend! have you a mind to teach the beavers to sing?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Grasping his rifle his looks were again bent on the Indian near him. creeping along the earth.

’ 0 The Last of the Mohicans .‘Even so. would not deny them voices to proclaim His praise. ‘It would seem that the Being that gave them power to improve His gifts so well.’ was the ready answer.

the master of psalmody. The merriment of Hawkeye was not easily appeased. constructed by those industrious and ingenious quadrupeds. and more than once affirmed that the Hurons had done themselves great credit in the fashion of his costume. ‘You were about opening your throat-practisings among Free eBooks at Planet eBook. seizing the hand of the other. his lake into a beaver pond.—Pat—pat. The presence of the latter created so many unexpected hopes relative to the sisters that. the young man broke out of his ambush. His lurking Indians were suddenly converted into four-footed beasts. he twirled the supple Gamut around on his heel. his cataract into a dam. and with a rough 1 . he squeezed it with a grip that brought tears into the eyes of the placid David. and sprang forward to join the two principal actors in the scene. Then. Without ceremony. and a suspected enemy into his tried friend.’— Midsummer Night’s Dream T he reader may better imagine.—Abibl we all met? Qui.Chapter 22 ‘Bot. and wished him joy of his new condition. than we describe the surprise of Heyward. and here’s a marvelous convenient place for our rehearsal. without a moment’s hesitation. David Gamut.

now tell us what has become of the maidens.’ returned the  The Last of the Mohicans . and in good time it was.the beavers. who. ‘and. ‘I shall then receive my babes. by being thus led in captivity into a far land. though greatly troubled in spirit. ‘this is music which has its natural virtues. too.’ said David. as I lost them!’ ‘I know not that their delivery is at hand.’ ‘They are captives to the heathen. except the violence done our feelings. as he pointed toward the remainder of the party. ‘See!’ continued the laughing scout. for they beat the time with their tails. or ‘killdeer’ might have sounded the first note among them. I have known greater fools. were already approaching. in obedience to the signal. we have had little other cause for complaint. Though our wayfaring has been sore and our sustenance scanty. and even Heyward apprised as he was of the nature of the cry. as the cawing of a crow rang in the air about them. ‘The cunning devils know half the trade already. as you heard just now. were ye?’ he said. But we see that you are safe. than an experienced old beaver.’ ‘Bless ye for these very words!’ exclaimed the trembling Munro. it brings two good rifles to my elbow. spotless and angellike. enjoying comfort and safety in the body. but as for squalling.’ ‘Both!’ demanded the breathless Heyward. ‘Even so. to say nothing of the knives and tomahawks. the animals are born dumb! What think you of such a song as this?’ David shut his sensitive ears. looked upward in quest of the bird. who could read and write.

when the ears of the savages are astounded with the upliftings of our voices.’ ‘And why are you permitted to go at large. ‘the leader of these savages is possessed of an evil spirit that no power short of Omnipotence can tame.’ ‘Where is the knave?’ bluntly interrupted the scout. ‘He hunts the moose to-day. At such moments I forbear to press the holy songs. before he meekly Free eBooks at Planet eBook. they pass further into the  . with his young men. but neither sounds nor language seem to touch his soul. I have tried him sleeping and waking. unwatched?’ David composed his features into what he intended should express an air of modest humility. though it must be acknowledged that.’ ‘Alice. my gentle Alice!’ murmured Heyward. But so far as praise and thanksgiving in psalmody can temper the spirit in affliction. on a table-land. but there are many sweet and comfortable periods of satisfactory communication. ‘she has lost the consolation of her sister’s presence!’ ‘Even so.’ ‘Has she then a heart for music?’ ‘Of the graver and more solemn character. whose dwellings are but two short miles hence. she has not suffered. whose lodges are situate beyond yonder black pinnacle of rock. in spite of all my endeavors. where the fire had done the office of the axe. the maiden weeps oftener than she smiles. while the younger is detained among the women of the Hurons. The elder maiden is conveyed to a neighboring people. and nigher to the borders of Canada. and prepared the place for their reception. as I hear. and tomorrow.doubting David.

remembering only his own sturdy and iron nature. tapping his own forehead significantly. when the path lay open before your eyes.replied: ‘Little be the praise to such a worm as I. though the power of psalmody was suspended in the terrible business of that field of blood through which we have passed. while his father expressed his satisfaction by the ordinary pithy exclamation  The Last of the Mohicans . and regarded the speaker with a look of commendation. and the glow of his honest countenance.’ The scout laughed. and bring in the tidings to Edward?’ The scout. the latter was content to answer: ‘Though my soul would rejoice to visit the habitations of Christendom once more. But. the sincere and steady expression of his eye. without entirely losing the meekness of his air. while they pined in captivity and sorrow. But why. it has recovered its influence even over the souls of the heathen. under no circumstances. could have performed. and I am suffered to go and come at will.’ Though the figurative language of David was not very intelligible. were not easily mistaken. he perhaps explained the singular indulgence more satisfactorily when he said: ‘The Indians never harm a non-composser. than take one step backward. But. and. my feet would rather follow the tender spirits intrusted to my keeping. had probably exacted a task that David. Uncas pressed closer to his side. did you not strike back on your own trail (it is not so blind as that which a squirrel would make). even into the idolatrous province of the Jesuits.

in contrast with his own voice. take it. I did intend to kindle a fire with this tooting-whistle of thine. Heyward. was constrained to answer. Here. whenever a fitting occasion presented. friend. but. and in a manner more methodical than had been permitted by his feelings in the opening of their interview. among the beauties of the forest. David. to the neglect of other and better gifts! But he has fallen into the hands of some silly woman.’ Gamut received his pitch-pipe with as strong an expression of pleasure as he believed compatible with the grave functions he exercised. especially as the venerable father took a part in the interrogatories. when he should have been gathering his education under a blue sky. Nor did the scout fail to throw in a pertinent inquiry. he made a very serious demonstration toward achieving a few stanzas of one of the longest effusions in the little volume so often mentioned. though with frequent interruptions which were filled with certain threatening sounds from the recovered instrument. The scout shook his head as he rejoined: ‘The Lord never intended that the man should place all his endeavors in his throat. however. as you value the  . and. though he regarded his treasure with longing eyes. the pursuers were put in possession of such leading circumstances as were likely to prove useful in accomplishing their great and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. with an interest too imposing to be denied.of approbation. After essaying its virtues repeatedly. and blow your best on it. hastily interrupted his pious purpose by continuing questions concerning the past and present condition of his fellow captives. satisfying himself that none of its melody was lost. In this manner.

At the spring. separated his prisoners. Cora had been sent to a tribe that temporarily occupied an adjacent valley. in obedience to a policy seldom departed from. The narrative of David was simple.engrossing object — the recovery of the sisters. that his own presence had been rather endured than desired. and the facts but few. their progress had been moderate. It appeared from the unembellished statement of David. as has been seen. though David was far too ignorant of the customs and history of the natives. On their arrival at the encampment of his people. At night. the utmost care had been taken of the captives. to be able to declare anything satisfactory concerning their name or character. that. Magua had waited on the mountain until a safe moment to retire presented itself. As the subtle Huron was familiar with the paths. both to prevent injury from the damps of the woods and to guard against an escape. in order to cut off every clue to their place of retreat. and that they maintained an amicable. when he had descended. and well knew there was no immediate danger of pursuit. and far from fatiguing. notwithstanding the remoteness and length of their trail. like the Hurons themselves they were allies of Montcalm. the artifices already named were resorted to. though even Magua had not been entirely exempt from that veneration with which the Indians regard those whom the Great Spirit had visited in their intellects. He only knew that they had not engaged in the late expedition against William Henry. the horses were turned loose. and taken the route along the western side of the Horican in direction of the Canadas. Magua. and. though  The Last of the Mohicans .

It is true. for the grain. they endeavor to make truces to Free eBooks at Planet eBook. that the latter abruptly demanded: ‘Did you see the fashion of their knives? were they of English or French formation?’ ‘My thoughts were bent on no such vanities. and it would seem that they are among the profanest of the idolatrous. for a time.’ returned the scout. I know not the meaning.’ ‘The time may come when you will not consider the knife of a savage such a despicable vanity. we had many and plentiful feasts. with an interest that obviously increased as he proceeded. with a strong expression of contempt for the other’s dullness. but rather mingled in consolation with those of the maidens. Of  . brought in such close and disagreeable contact with themselves. Even the Mingo adores but the true and loving God. They never join their voices in praise. and I say it to the shame of my color that would make the warrior bow down before images of his own creation. it need not be inquired after at their hands. being in the milk is both sweet to the mouth and comfortable to the stomach. but if it appertaineth in any wise to the art of Indian music.’ ‘Therein you belie the natur’ of an Indian. ‘Had they held their corn feast — or can you say anything of the totems of the tribe?’ ‘Of corn. ‘Tis wicked fabrication of the whites. and it was while attempting to explain the pursuits of the community in which Cora was detained. The Mohicans and the scout listened to his interrupted and imperfect narrative.a watchful intercourse with the warlike and savage people whom chance had.

and at times energetic. and that. in the language of the Delawares. a foul and loathsome object. and with a calmness and dignity that instantly arrested the attention even of those to whom his words were unintelligible. His wish. It was in the likeness of an abject and creeping tortoise. worked in blue tint. Duncan’s eyes followed the movement. and he perceived that the animal just mentioned was beautifully. especially one. His gestures were impressive. a finger resting on his breast. as if he would enforce his meaning by the attitude.’ ‘It may be so. however. on the swarthy breast of the chief. too. with a suspense that was rendered nearly intolerable by his interest in the stake. as it descended. of which their admiration and care savored of spiritual pride. though faintly. ‘Much the same. Once he lifted his arm on high. was anticipated by the scout who turned from his red friend. and he awaited the proper moment to speak. Then the father spoke. while the scout shook his head with the air of one who had made an important but by no means a pleasing discovery.’ ‘Was it a sarpent?’ quickly demanded the scout. ‘but I have seen strange and fantastic images drawn in their paint.’ said David.the wicked one — as who would not with an enemy he cannot conquer! but they look up for favor and assistance to the Great and Good Spirit only. and. All that he had ever heard of the violent separation of the vast tribes of the Delawares rushed across his mind. saying:  The Last of the Mohicans . the action threw aside the folds of his light mantle.’ ‘Hugh!’ exclaimed both the attentive Mohicans in a breath.

But the scout. altogether. The impatient Duncan now made several hasty and desperate propositions to attempt the release of the sisters. and.’ ‘Explain. though he seemed anxious to waive the further discussion of a subject that appeared  . Munro seemed to shake off his apathy. But it has ended in turning the tomahawk of brother against brother.’ said Duncan. It is. and is the great chief of their Tortoises! That some of this stock are among the people of whom the singer tells us. after suffering the ardor of the lover to expend itself a little. a dangerous path we move in. and brought the Mingo and the Delaware to travel in the same path. found means to convince him of the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. is plain by his words. we might have known how many warriors they numbered.‘We have found that which may be good or evil to us. as heaven disposes. for a friend whose face is turned from you often bears a bloodier mind than the enemy who seeks your scalp. The Sagamore is of the high blood of the Delawares. then. ‘Tis a long and melancholy tradition. suspect it is a portion of that people among whom Cora resides?’ The scout nodded his head in assent. had he but spent half the breath in prudent questions that he has blown away in making a trumpet of his throat. for it is not to be denied that the evil has been mainly done by men with white skins. and one I little like to think of.’ ‘You. and listened to the wild schemes of the young man with a deference that his gray hairs and reverend years should have denied.

’ ‘He speaks of the wish-ton-wish.folly of precipitation. 0 The Last of the Mohicans . any or everything to rescue her I love. ‘are you tired of seeing the sun rise and set?’ ‘David is a living proof that the Hurons can be merciful.’ ‘I too can play the madman. by signal. now assumed the superior.’ he added. you are to come into the bushes where the bird might be supposed —‘ ‘Stop.’ said the scout. with a manner that was not easily resisted. giving notice to the gentle ones of our approach. it shall be your signal. in a manner that would require their coolest judgment and utmost fortitude. ‘to let this man go in again. from the whistle of the whip-poor-will?’ ‘Tis a pleasing bird. Name your objections no longer: I am resolved. who. as usual. He waved his hand. ‘It would be well. in short.’ returned David. then.’ ‘Ay. ‘I will accompany him. until we call him out. the fool. But Duncan. You know the cry of a crow. and for him to tarry in the lodges.’ Hawkeye regarded the young man a moment in speechless amazement. in deference to the other’s skill and services. ‘well. the hero. to consult. since you like his whistle. ‘and has a soft and melancholy note! though the time is rather quick and illmeasured. Remember.’ interrupted Heyward.’ ‘You!’ exclaimed the astonished Hawkeye. had hitherto submitted somewhat implicitly to his dictation. friend. when you hear the whip-poor-will’s call three times repeated. as no man in his senses would pervart the gift. but David can use his throat.

in sign of his dislike to all remonstrance, and then, in more tempered language, he continued: ‘You have the means of disguise; change me; paint me, too, if you will; in short, alter me to anything — a fool.’ ‘It is not for one like me to say that he who is already formed by so powerful a hand as Providence, stands in need of a change,’ muttered the discontented scout. ‘When you send your parties abroad in war, you find it prudent, at least, to arrange the marks and places of encampment, in order that they who fight on your side may know when and where to expect a friend.’ ‘Listen,’ interrupted Duncan; ‘you have heard from this faithful follower of the captives, that the Indians are of two tribes, if not of different nations. With one, whom you think to be a branch of the Delawares, is she you call the ‘dark-hair’; the other, and younger, of the ladies, is undeniably with our declared enemies, the Hurons. It becomes my youth and rank to attempt the latter adventure. While you, therefore, are negotiating with your friends for the release of one of the sisters, I will effect that of the other, or die.’ The awakened spirit of the young soldier gleamed in his eyes, and his form became imposing under its influence. Hawkeye, though too much accustomed to Indian artifices not to foresee the danger of the experiment, knew not well how to combat this sudden resolution. Perhaps there was something in the proposal that suited his own hardy nature, and that secret love of desperate adventure, which had increased with his experience, until hazard and danger had become, in some measure, necessary
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to the enjoyment of his existence. Instead of continuing to oppose the scheme of Duncan, his humor suddenly altered, and he lent himself to its execution. ‘Come,’ he said, with a good-humored smile; ‘the buck that will take to the water must be headed, and not followed. Chingachgook has as many different paints as the engineer officer’s wife, who takes down natur’ on scraps of paper, making the mountains look like cocks of rusty hay, and placing the blue sky in reach of your hand. The Sagamore can use them, too. Seat yourself on the log; and my life on it, he can soon make a natural fool of you, and that well to your liking.’ Duncan complied; and the Mohican, who had been an attentive listener to the discourse, readily undertook the office. Long practised in all the subtle arts of his race, he drew, with great dexterity and quickness, the fantastic shadow that the natives were accustomed to consider as the evidence of a friendly and jocular disposition. Every line that could possibly be interpreted into a secret inclination for war, was carefully avoided; while, on the other hand, he studied those conceits that might be construed into amity. In short, he entirely sacrificed every appearance of the warrior to the masquerade of a buffoon. Such exhibitions were not uncommon among the Indians, and as Duncan was already sufficiently disguised in his dress, there certainly did exist some reason for believing that, with his knowledge of French, he might pass for a juggler from Ticonderoga, straggling among the allied and friendly tribes. When he was thought to be sufficiently painted, the scout 
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gave him much friendly advice; concerted signals, and appointed the place where they should meet, in the event of mutual success. The parting between Munro and his young friend was more melancholy; still, the former submitted to the separation with an indifference that his warm and honest nature would never have permitted in a more healthful state of mind. The scout led Heyward aside, and acquainted him with his intention to leave the veteran in some safe encampment, in charge of Chingachgook, while he and Uncas pursued their inquires among the people they had reason to believe were Delawares. Then, renewing his cautions and advice, he concluded by saying, with a solemnity and warmth of feeling, with which Duncan was deeply touched: ‘And, now, God bless you! You have shown a spirit that I like; for it is the gift of youth, more especially one of warm blood and a stout heart. But believe the warning of a man who has reason to know all he says to be true. You will have occasion for your best manhood, and for a sharper wit than what is to be gathered in books, afore you outdo the cunning or get the better of the courage of a Mingo. God bless you! if the Hurons master your scalp, rely on the promise of one who has two stout warriors to back him. They shall pay for their victory, with a life for every hair it holds. I say, young gentleman, may Providence bless your undertaking, which is altogether for good; and, remember, that to outwit the knaves it is lawful to practise things that may not be naturally the gift of a white-skin.’ Duncan shook his worthy and reluctant associate warmly by the hand, once more recommended his aged friend
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to his care, and returning his good wishes, he motioned to David to proceed. Hawkeye gazed after the high-spirited and adventurous young man for several moments, in open admiration; then, shaking his head doubtingly, he turned, and led his own division of the party into the concealment of the forest. The route taken by Duncan and David lay directly across the clearing of the beavers, and along the margin of their pond. When the former found himself alone with one so simple, and so little qualified to render any assistance in desperate emergencies, he first began to be sensible of the difficulties of the task he had undertaken. The fading light increased the gloominess of the bleak and savage wilderness that stretched so far on every side of him, and there was even a fearful character in the stillness of those little huts, that he knew were so abundantly peopled. It struck him, as he gazed at the admirable structures and the wonderful precautions of their sagacious inmates, that even the brutes of these vast wilds were possessed of an instinct nearly commensurate with his own reason; and he could not reflect, without anxiety, on the unequal contest that he had so rashly courted. Then came the glowing image of Alice; her distress; her actual danger; and all the peril of his situation was forgotten. Cheering David, he moved on with the light and vigorous step of youth and enterprise. After making nearly a semicircle around the pond, they diverged from the water-course, and began to ascend to the level of a slight elevation in that bottom land, over which 
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they journeyed. Within half an hour they gained the margin of another opening that bore all the signs of having been also made by the beavers, and which those sagacious animals had probably been induced, by some accident, to abandon, for the more eligible position they now occupied. A very natural sensation caused Duncan to hesitate a moment, unwilling to leave the cover of their bushy path, as a man pauses to collect his energies before he essays any hazardous experiment, in which he is secretly conscious they will all be needed. He profited by the halt, to gather such information as might be obtained from his short and hasty glances. On the opposite side of the clearing, and near the point where the brook tumbled over some rocks, from a still higher level, some fifty or sixty lodges, rudely fabricated of logs brush, and earth intermingled, were to be discovered. They were arranged without any order, and seemed to be constructed with very little attention to neatness or beauty. Indeed, so very inferior were they in the two latter particulars to the village Duncan had just seen, that he began to expect a second surprise, no less astonishing that the former. This expectation was is no degree diminished, when, by the doubtful twilight, he beheld twenty or thirty forms rising alternately from the cover of the tall, coarse grass, in front of the lodges, and then sinking again from the sight, as it were to burrow in the earth. By the sudden and hasty glimpses that he caught of these figures, they seemed more like dark, glancing specters, or some other unearthly beings, than creatures fashioned with the ordinary and vulgar
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materials of flesh and blood. A gaunt, naked form was seen, for a single instant, tossing its arms wildly in the air, and then the spot it had filled was vacant; the figure appearing suddenly in some other and distant place, or being succeeded by another, possessing the same mysterious character. David, observing that his companion lingered, pursued the direction of his gaze, and in some measure recalled the recollection of Heyward, by speaking. ‘There is much fruitful soil uncultivated here,’ he said; ‘and, I may add, without the sinful leaven of self-commendation, that, since my short sojourn in these heathenish abodes, much good seed has been scattered by the wayside.’ ‘The tribes are fonder of the chase than of the arts of men of labor,’ returned the unconscious Duncan, still gazing at the objects of his wonder. ‘It is rather joy than labor to the spirit, to lift up the voice in praise; but sadly do these boys abuse their gifts. Rarely have I found any of their age, on whom nature has so freely bestowed the elements of psalmody; and surely, surely, there are none who neglect them more. Three nights have I now tarried here, and three several times have I assembled the urchins to join in sacred song; and as often have they responded to my efforts with whoopings and howlings that have chilled my soul!’ ‘Of whom speak you?’ ‘Of those children of the devil, who waste the precious moments in yonder idle antics. Ah! the wholesome restraint of discipline is but little known among this self-abandoned people. In a country of birches, a rod is never seen, and it 
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ought not to appear a marvel in my eyes, that the choicest blessings of Providence are wasted in such cries as these.’ David closed his ears against the juvenile pack, whose yell just then rang shrilly through the forest; and Duncan, suffering his lip to curl, as in mockery of his own superstition, said firmly: ‘We will proceed.’ Without removing the safeguards form his ears, the master of song complied, and together they pursued their way toward what David was sometimes wont to call the ‘tents of the Philistines.’

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Chapter 23
‘But though the beast of game The privilege of chase may claim; Though space and law the stag we lend Ere hound we slip, or bow we bend; Whoever recked, where, how, or when The prowling fox was trapped or slain?’—Lady of the Lake


t is unusual to find an encampment of the natives, like those of the more instructed whites, guarded by the presence of armed men. Well informed of the approach of every danger, while it is yet at a distance, the Indian generally rests secure under his knowledge of the signs of the forest, and the long and difficult paths that separate him from those he has most reason to dread. But the enemy who, by any lucky concurrence of accidents, has found means to elude the vigilance of the scouts, will seldom meet with sentinels nearer home to sound the alarm. In addition to this general usage, the tribes friendly to the French knew too well the weight of the blow that had just been struck, to apprehend any immediate danger from the hostile nations that were tributary to the crown of Britain. When Duncan and David, therefore, found themselves in the center of the children, who played the antics already mentioned, it was without the least previous intimation of their approach. But so soon as they were observed the whole
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of the juvenile pack raised, by common consent, a shrill and warning whoop; and then sank, as it were, by magic, from before the sight of their visitors. The naked, tawny bodies of the crouching urchins blended so nicely at that hour, with the withered herbage, that at first it seemed as if the earth had, in truth, swallowed up their forms; though when surprise permitted Duncan to bend his look more curiously about the spot, he found it everywhere met by dark, quick, and rolling eyeballs. Gathering no encouragement from this startling presage of the nature of the scrutiny he was likely to undergo from the more mature judgments of the men, there was an instant when the young soldier would have retreated. It was, however, too late to appear to hesitate. The cry of the children had drawn a dozen warriors to the door of the nearest lodge, where they stood clustered in a dark and savage group, gravely awaiting the nearer approach of those who had unexpectedly come among them. David, in some measure familiarized to the scene, led the way with a steadiness that no slight obstacle was likely to disconcert, into this very building. It was the principal edifice of the village, though roughly constructed of the bark and branches of trees; being the lodge in which the tribe held its councils and public meetings during their temporary residence on the borders of the English province. Duncan found it difficult to assume the necessary appearance of unconcern, as he brushed the dark and powerful frames of the savages who thronged its threshold; but, conscious that his existence depended on his presence of mind,
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he trusted to the discretion of his companion, whose footsteps he closely followed, endeavoring, as he proceeded, to rally his thoughts for the occasion. His blood curdled when he found himself in absolute contact with such fierce and implacable enemies; but he so far mastered his feelings as to pursue his way into the center of the lodge, with an exterior that did not betray the weakness. Imitating the example of the deliberate Gamut, he drew a bundle of fragrant brush from beneath a pile that filled the corner of the hut, and seated himself in silence. So soon as their visitor had passed, the observant warriors fell back from the entrance, and arranging themselves about him, they seemed patiently to await the moment when it might comport with the dignity of the stranger to speak. By far the greater number stood leaning, in lazy, lounging attitudes, against the upright posts that supported the crazy building, while three or four of the oldest and most distinguished of the chiefs placed themselves on the earth a little more in advance. A flaring torch was burning in the place, and set its red glare from face to face and figure to figure, as it waved in the currents of air. Duncan profited by its light to read the probable character of his reception, in the countenances of his hosts. But his ingenuity availed him little, against the cold artifices of the people he had encountered. The chiefs in front scarce cast a glance at his person, keeping their eyes on the ground, with an air that might have been intended for respect, but which it was quite easy to construe into distrust. The men in the shadow were less reserved. Duncan 
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soon detected their searching, but stolen, looks which, in truth, scanned his person and attire inch by inch; leaving no emotion of the countenance, no gesture, no line of the paint, nor even the fashion of a garment, unheeded, and without comment. At length one whose hair was beginning to be sprinkled with gray, but whose sinewy limbs and firm tread announced that he was still equal to the duties of manhood, advanced out of the gloom of a corner, whither he had probably posted himself to make his observations unseen, and spoke. He used the language of the Wyandots, or Hurons; his words were, consequently, unintelligible to Heyward, though they seemed, by the gestures that accompanied them, to be uttered more in courtesy than anger. The latter shook his head, and made a gesture indicative of his inability to reply. ‘Do none of my brothers speak the French or the English?’ he said, in the former language, looking about him from countenance to countenance, in hopes of finding a nod of assent. Though more than one had turned, as if to catch the meaning of his words, they remained unanswered. ‘I should be grieved to think,’ continued Duncan, speaking slowly, and using the simplest French of which he was the master, ‘to believe that none of this wise and brave nation understand the language that the’Grand Monarque’ uses when he talks to his children. His heart would be heavy did he believe his red warriors paid him so little respect!’ A long and grave pause succeeded, during which no
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Instead of looking forward to reward his Indians. ‘and doubtless.’ ‘Our Canada father does not think it. ‘His ears are open to the Delawares. evasively. He sees the dead Yengeese. or white. is it with the tongue of a Huron?’ ‘He knows no difference in his children. See. has more thoughts than tongues. but no Huron. in order to arrange his ideas. whether the color of the skin be red. What can this mean?’ ‘A great chief.’ ‘It cannot be. and they fill them with lies. nor any expression of an eye. he will say. he has bid me. who are not our friends. my Hurons are very gallant. it is good. At length the same warrior who had before addressed him replied.’ said Duncan. like him. in the language of the Canadas: ‘When our Great Father speaks to his people.’ returned Duncan.movement of a limb. shuddering involuntarily. ‘when the runners count to him the scalps which five nights ago grew on the heads of the Yengeese?’ ‘They were his enemies.’ ‘The canoe of a dead warrior will not float on the Horican. by dryly demanding. gladly had recourse to the custom. ‘though chiefly is he satisfied with the brave Hurons. who knew that silence was a virtue among his hosts. his eyes are turned backward. who am a man that  The Last of the Mohicans . Duncan.’ ‘In what manner will he speak. betrayed the expression produced by his remark. He looks to see that no enemies are on his trail. gloomily.’ demanded the wary chief. or black.’ returned the savage.

com  . Duncan began to breathe more freely. to go to his children. with an intelligence and keenness that caused the subject of their scrutiny to tremble for the result. While his lips were Free eBooks at Planet eBook. believing that the weight of his examination was past. and ask if any are sick!’ Another silence succeeded this annunciation of the character Duncan had assumed. in order to make a suitable answer to the declaration their guests had just given. however. his hopes of ultimate success grew brighter. ‘we have heard them boast that their faces were pale. as if to inquire into the truth or falsehood of the declaration. which was answered by most of his companions. to carry the shirt that is offered him. who each threw forth a hand and uttered a brief exclamation of pleasure. The elderly chief made a gesture of commendation. and. and placed himself in an attitude to speak. After a silence of a few moments. ‘he lays aside his buffalo robe. He was.’ ‘When an Indian chief comes among his white fathers. as he had already prepared a simple and probable tale to support his pretended occupation. as if adjusting his thoughts.’ A low murmur of applause announced that the compliment of the tribe was favorably received.knows the art of healing. My brothers have given me paint and I wear it. the red Hurons of the great lakes.’ returned Duncan. Every eye was simultaneously bent on his person. with great steadiness. ‘Do the cunning men of the Canadas paint their skins?’ the Huron coldly continued. another warrior arose. relieved again by the former speaker.

and children. within the limits of the encampment. the active. women. One in front bore a short pole. The startling sounds that Duncan had heard were what the whites have not inappropriately called the ‘death-hallo”. Unable to command himself any longer. Heyward was soon enabled to find its solution by the scene that followed. There yet lingered sufficient light in the heavens to exhibit those bright openings among the tree-tops. were suspended several human scalps. shrill yell. and all expressing their savage pleasure in some unexpected event. and each  The Last of the Mohicans . and presently stood in the center of a disorderly throng. that included nearly everything having life. a line of warriors issued from the woods. that was drawn out. at first. and was immediately succeeded by a high. until it equaled the longest and most plaintive howl of the wolf. on which. as it afterwards appeared. some exclaiming aloud. others clapping their hands with a joy that seemed frantic. Beneath one of them. Though astounded. were alike abroad. The sudden and terrible interruption caused Duncan to start from his seat. the inform. and advanced slowly toward the dwellings. where different paths left the clearing to enter the depths of the wilderness. a low but fearful sound arose from the forest. that nearly drowned those awful sounds.yet in the act of parting. unconscious of everything but the effect produced by so frightful a cry. by the uproar. which were still ringing beneath the arches of the woods. and the strong. the aged. At the same moment. Men. the youth broke from the place. and the outer air was filled with loud shouts. the warriors glided in a body from the lodge.

and stole into the ranks. Their plaintive and terrific cry. and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Large piles of brush lay scattered about the clearing. little able to wield the instruments. Even the children would not be excluded. in words that were far from appalling. though not more intelligible to those for whose ears they were  . and rushed eagerly to act their part in the cruel game that was at hand. became a scene of the most violent bustle and commotion. for the opportune relief and insignificance it conferred on himself. every disagreeable sensation was quieted in inward congratulation. One of their number now called aloud. and flourishing them. forming a lane that extended from the war-party to the lodges. The warriors drew their knives. axes. The squaws seized clubs. but boys. which was intended to represent equally the wailings of the dead and the triumph to the victors. had entirely ceased. The whole encampment. or whatever weapon of offense first offered itself to their hands. Thus far the knowledge of Heyward assisted him in the explanation. than their expressive yells.repetition of the cry was intended to announce to the tribe the fate of an enemy. apt imitators of the savage traits exhibited by their parents. they arranged themselves in two lines. and as he now knew that the interruption was caused by the unlooked-for return of a successful war-party. When at the distance of a few hundred feet from the lodges the newly arrived warriors halted. tore the tomahawks from the belts of their fathers. in a moment. It would be difficult to convey a suitable idea of the savage ecstasy with which the news thus imparted was received.

the youthful captive before him might hope for success in the hazardous race he was about to run. who were apparently selected from the rest. seconded by such noble resolution. and scarcely breathed. as the principal actors in what was to follow. could bear one harmless through so severe a trial. however. and the momentary quiet which had preceded it was broken by a burst of cries. and. its power exceeded that of the parting day. though it was quite evident that they were governed by very different emotions. As the flame arose. The warriors just arrived were the most distant figures. the other bowed his head. A little in advance stood two men. He watched his slightest movement. so intense became his interest in the spectacle. that. though no opportunity could offer to exhibit his generous emotions. as he traced the fine outline of his admirably proportioned and active frame. While one stood erect and firm. Insensibly the young man drew nigher to the swarthy lines of the Hurons. if the powers of man. Just then the signal yell was given. he endeavored to persuade himself. whose frame was composed of the dark and tall border of pines. The high-spirited Duncan felt a powerful impulse of admiration and pity toward the former. as if palsied by terror or stricken with shame. The whole scene formed a striking picture. The more ab The Last of the Mohicans . The light was not strong enough to render their features distinct. and assisted to render objects at the same time more distinct and more hideous.a wary and aged squaw was occupied in firing as many as might serve to light the coming exhibition. prepared to meet his fate like a hero. that far exceeded any before heard. with eager eyes.

but the other bounded from the place at the cry. and leaping the heads of a row of children. The forms in the background looked like unearthly beings. through a pillar of forked flame. while the savage passions of such as passed the flames were rendered fearfully distinct by the gleams that shot athwart their inflamed visages. amid such a concourse of vindictive enemies. and cleaving the air with frantic and unmeaning gestures. he just entered the dangerous defile. but the whole body of his captors threw themselves before him. as had been expected. Instead of rushing through the hostile lines. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. with the swiftness of an arrow. which resembled some unhallowed and supernatural arena. A dozen blazing piles now shed their lurid brightness on the place. gliding before the  . and drove him back into the center of his relentless persecutors. It will easily be understood that. turned short. There was a single moment when it seemed as if he would have reached the forest. and before time was given for a single blow. with the activity and swiftness of a deer. and spread themselves about the place in wild confusion. and the whole of the excited multitude broke from their order. Turning like a headed deer.ject of the two victims continued motionless. no breathing time was allowed the fugitive. he gained at once the exterior and safer side of the formidable array. The artifice was answered by a hundred voices raised in imprecations. and passing the whole multitude harmless. he shot. he appeared on the opposite side of the clearing. in which malicious demons had assembled to act their bloody and lawless rites.

and what seemed to Duncan a final effort to gain the wood. Now and then Duncan caught a glimpse of a light form cleaving the air in some desperate bound. As if aware that no danger was to be apprehended from the young soldier. too. and approached the spot where he himself stood. as if seeking safety in its blindness. the fugitive nearly brushed his person in his flight. The awful effect was heightened by the piercing shrieks of the women and the fierce yells of the warriors. and formidable clubs. he was met and turned by a few of the older and more subtle of the Hurons. Of this the captive seemed conscious. Arms. Human power could not. Once more he tried the throng. but the blows were evidently given at random. Nothing could be distinguished but a dark mass of human forms tossed and involved in inexplicable confusion. however. Profiting by the momentary opening. who had husbanded his forces. The stranger reappeared in the confusion. he darted from among the warriors. Duncan thrust forth a foot. pressed close upon his heels. and he rather hoped than believed that the captive yet retained the command of his astonishing powers of activity. and bore them to the earth. and the shock precipitated the  The Last of the Mohicans . and made a desperate. Suddenly the multitude rolled backward. The heavy body in the rear pressed upon the women and children in front. appeared above them. gleaming knives.Here. much longer endure so severe a trial. and then several moments succeeded. A tall and powerful Huron. and with an uplifted arm menaced a fatal blow. during which Duncan believed the active and courageous young stranger was lost.

There was no term of abuse known to the Huron vocabulary that the disappointed women did not lavishly expend on the successful stranger. His person was now protected by immemorial and sacred usage. gloomy and sullen. He followed the crowd. and gazed around in quest of the captive. Duncan left the place without delay. and told him. standing with one arm cast about the protecting post. at the next moment. however. and that he merited wings. until the tribe in council had deliberated and determined on his fate. Curiosity. he saw him quietly leaning against a small painted post. It was not difficult. induced him to approach the stranger. They flouted at his efforts. with bitter scoffs. he turned. Apprehensive that the part he had taken in the escape might prove fatal to himself. like any other multitude that had been disappointed in an execution. when the latter recovered his recollection. if any presage could be drawn from the feelings of those who crowded the place. and breathing thick and hard. Thought itself is not quicker than was the motion with which the latter profited by the advantage. which drew nigh the lodges. but disdaining to permit a single sign of suffering to escape. or perhaps a better feeling. To all this the captive made no reply. many feet in advance of his intended victim. gleamed like a meteor again before the eyes of Duncan.  . that his feet were better than his hands. to foretell the result.eager savage headlong. but was content to preserve an attitude in which Free eBooks at Planet eBook. which stood before the door of the principal lodge. after his exertions. while he knew not the use of an arrow or a knife. He found him.

Exasperated as much by his composure as by his good-fortune. skinny arm.dignity was singularly blended with disdain. and. their words became unintelligible. who stalked in the background silent and sullen observers of the scene. the woman placed her arms akimbo. nor did he betray the slightest consciousness that any were present. and were succeeded by shrill. piercing yells. Your squaws are the mothers of deer. during which the soft and musical merriment of the younger females strangely chimed with the cracked voice of their older and more malignant companion. The squalid and withered person of this hag might well have obtained for her the character of possessing more than human cunning. Infuriated at the self-command of the captive. His head was immovable. but if a bear. ‘your nation is a race of women. throwing herself into a pos0 The Last of the Mohicans . she commenced aloud: ‘Look you. The Huron girls shall make you petticoats. who had taken the necessary precaution to fire the piles. in derision. except when his haughty eye rolled toward the dusky forms of the warriors. Delaware. ye would flee.’ she said. and cleared a place for herself in front of the captive. But the stranger was superior to all their efforts. and we will find you a husband. made her way through the throng. as more intelligible to the subject of her gibes. and using the language of the Lenape. she stretched forth her long.’ A burst of savage laughter succeeded this attack. Throwing back her light vestment. and the hoe is better fitted to your hands than the gun. Just then the crafty squaw. or a wildcat. snapping her fingers in his face. or a serpent were born among you.

among whom the anxious Heyward found means to enter without attracting Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and most of the distinguished warriors. Thither all the chiefs. however. expended in vain. Heyward recoiled before the look. trembling lest its meaning might. At the next moment he resumed his quiet and reclining attitude against the post. for.ture of defiance. Her breath was. and heavily oppressed with the critical situation of his friend. however. attempted to assist the termagant. Just then a warrior forced his way into the exasperated crowd. any instant cause for such an apprehension. the captive turned his face toward the light. Breathless with amazement. The effect of his indifference began to extend itself to the other spectators. and a youngster. in a torrent of words that no art of ours could commit successfully to paper. and looked down on the stripling with an expression that was superior to contempt. and adding his empty boasts to the taunts of the women. although distinguished in her nation as a proficient in the art of abuse. and led him toward the door of the council-lodge. There was not. But the change of posture had permitted Duncan to exchange glances with the firm and piercing eyes of Uncas. Then. he took Uncas by the arm. without causing a muscle to vibrate in the motionless figure of the stranger. Motioning the women and children aside with a stern gesture. who was just quitting the condition of a boy to enter the state of 1 . indeed. she was permitted to work herself into such a fury as actually to foam at the mouth. followed. by flourishing his tomahawk before their victim. hasten the prisoner’s fate. in some unknown manner. she broke out anew.

The case was different with the individual whom Duncan had observed to stand forth with his friend. elevated. nor yet an eye had condescended to watch his movements. and. what was still more inexplicable. who often bent their looks on his person. he had also entered the lodge. calm. Heyward profited by the first opportunity to gaze in his face. instead of joining in the chase. secretly apprehensive he might find the features of another acquaintance. throughout its turbulent uproar. His high and haughty carriage was not lost on his captors. had remained. within the powerful light of a glaring torch. presenting a dark outline of swarthy and marked visages. with eyes which. plainly betrayed their admiration of the stranger’s daring. Though not a hand had been extended to greet him. without a struggle. of one who  The Last of the Mohicans . A few minutes were consumed in disposing of those present in a manner suitable to their rank and influence in the tribe. while they lost none of their inflexibility of purpose. as though impelled by a fate to whose decrees he submitted. like a cringing statue. In the very center of the lodge. seemingly. and who. previously to the desperate trial of speed. while their juniors and inferiors were arranged in the background.any dangerous attention to himself. the aged and superior chiefs occupying the area of the spacious apartment. and collected. stood Uncas. immediately under an opening that admitted the twinkling light of one or two stars. An order very similar to that adopted in the preceding interview was observed. expressive of shame and disgrace. but they proved to be those of a stranger.

Instead of mingling with his tribe.’ Uncas coldly replied. since he has been your prisoner. has the Delaware heard a gun that he knows. ‘twice. but he who eats with a Huron should become his friend. a solitary being in a multitude. and silence reigned in the place. you have proved yourself a man. Duncan. Rest in peace till the morning sun.’ he said. his form shrinking into a crouching and abject attitude. and as many summer days. bent forward in earnest observation of the effect it might produce on the conquerors. who understood the Mohican to allude to the fatal rifle of the scout. ‘Delaware. then will our wise man say to you ‘live’ or ‘die’. ‘when they get back. as if anxious to fill as little space as possible.’ ‘Seven nights. without appearing to regard the boast of his captive. when our last words shall be spoken. When each individual had taken his proper station. ‘though one of a nation of women.’ ‘Two of my young men are in pursuit of your companion. spoke aloud. Your young men will never come back!’ A short and sullen pause succeeded this bold assertion. I would give you food. he sat apart.’ resumed the other. in the language of the Lenni Lenape. however.’ ‘Has a Huron no ears?’ scornfully exclaimed Uncas. ‘the children of the Lenape know how to travel the path of the just without lingering to eat. have I fasted on the trail of the Hurons. but the chief was Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the gray-haired chief already introduced to the reader.bore all the distinctive marks of a Huron  .

In the meantime. the more aged chiefs. no gap had been left. by all present.  The Last of the Mohicans . They who composed the outer circle of faces were on tiptoe to gaze. The words of the answer and the air of the speaker produced a strong sensation among his auditors. and exposed his abject features. and fell into a snare. and a low. in order to cast an anxious and troubled glance at the dark assemblage of chiefs. Not a word was uttered that did not convey the meaning of the speaker. in the center. to be the brave precursor of a weighty and important judgment. and the women and children pressing into the throng.content with simply retorting: ‘If the Lenape are so skillful.’ As Uncas thus replied. communed with each other in short and broken sentences. and even the culprit for an instant forgot his shame in a deeper emotion. threatening murmur passed through the crowd. a long and deeply solemn pause took place. he pointed with his finger toward the solitary Huron. It was known. between shoulder and shoulder. in the simplest and most energetic form. Every eye rolled sullenly toward the individual indicated by the simple gesture. but without deigning to bestow any other notice on so unworthy an object. Again. that was not now filled with the dark lineaments of some eager and curious human countenance. why is one of their bravest warriors here?’ ‘He followed in the steps of a flying coward. The cunning beaver may be caught. The ominous sounds reached the outer door. The silence was finally broken by the aged warrior so often named.

addressing the young culprit by name. ‘Reed-that-bends.’ he said. dwelt steadily on the distance. it would have been better that you had not been born. and moving past the immovable form of Uncas. The light rendered every limb and joint discernible. placed himself in a dignified attitude before the offender. and his eyes. The woman was commencing a low and plaintive howl at the sad and shameful spectacle. and muttering the indistinct words of what might have been a species of incantation. with a slight expression of pleasure. and in his proper language. holding the torch. and proceeded to practise the same trying experiment on her delinquent countryman. she held the blazing brand in such a manner as to cast its red glare on his person. and very little of a finely molded form was concealed by his attire. Satisfied with her examination. The young Huron was in his war paint. when the chief put forth his hand and gently pushed her aside. the withered squaw already mentioned moved into the circle. Approaching Uncas. she left him. it was unheeded. sidling sort of a dance. The Mohican maintained his firm and haughty attitude.He arose from the earth. in a slow. so far from deigning to meet her inquisitive  . At that moment. Though her presence was altogether an intrusion. Your tongue is loud in the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘though the Great Spirit has made you pleasant to the eyes. as though it penetrated the obstacles which impeded the view and looked into futurity. and to expose the slightest emotion of his countenance. and Duncan turned away in horror when he saw they were writhing in irrepressible agony.

Shame. He arose to his feet. and fell heavily on his face. which was contracted with inward anguish. Three times have they called on you to come. gleamed on the persons of those whose breath was his fame. and baring his bosom. As the weapon passed slowly into his heart he even smiled. and buried everything in darkness. The squaw gave a loud and plaintive yell.  The Last of the Mohicans . horror. but they have never seen the color of your eyes. as if in joy at having found death less dreadful than he had anticipated.’ As the chief slowly uttered these words. pausing impressively between each sentence. and Duncan thought that he and the yet throbbing body of the victim of an Indian judgment had now become its only tenants. The enemy know the shape of your back. and pride struggled in its lineaments. None of my young men strike the tomahawk deeper into the warpost — none of them so lightly on the Yengeese. The whole shuddering group of spectators glided from the lodge like troubled sprites. His eye. the culprit raised his face. that was already upheld by his inexorable judge. and as often did you forget to answer. at the feet of the rigid and unyielding form of Uncas. dashed the torch to the earth. Your name will never be mentioned again in your tribe — it is already forgotten.village. but in battle it is still. in deference to the other’s rank and years. and the latter emotion for an instant predominated. glittering knife. looked steadily on the keen.

and the rifle of Hawkeye is not asleep. and the low voice of Uncas muttered in his ear: ‘The Hurons are dogs. and exhibited the figure of Uncas still maintaining its upright attitude near the dead body of the Huron.’—Pope’s Iliad A single moment served to convince the youth that he was mistaken.Chapter 24 ‘Thus spoke the sage: the kings without delay Dissolve the council. on his arm. The sight of a coward’s blood can never make a warrior tremble. Slowly and reluctantly yielding to the necessity. Go — Uncas and the ‘Open Hand’ are now strangers. with a powerful pressure. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but a gentle push from his friend urged him toward the door. It is enough. The ‘Gray Head’ and the Sagamore are safe. and admonished him of the danger that might attend the discovery of their intercourse. he quitted the place. A hand was laid. The dying fires in the clearing cast a dim and uncertain light on the dusky figures that were silently stalking to and fro. and their chief obey. and mingled with the throng that hovered  . and occasionally a brighter gleam than common glanced into the lodge.’ Heyward would gladly have heard more.

endeavoring to find some trace of her in whose behalf he incurred the risk he ran. Though the return of Duncan was likely to remind them of his character. therefore. The warriors had reassembled. it produced no visible sensation. had such a wish crossed his mind.A knot of warriors soon entered the place again. After this termination of the scene. until he had made the entire circuit of the village. and the suspicious circumstances of his visit. and he required no other prompter than his own feelings to convince him of the expediency of profiting by so unexpected an advantage. they bore the senseless remains into the adjacent woods. resolved to seek and question David. unquestioned and unnoticed.  The Last of the Mohicans . in order to put an end to his doubts. He continued. the terrible scene that had just occurred proved favorable to his views. a fresher though feebler interest in the fate of Uncas assisted to chain him to the spot. in addition to the never-ceasing anxiety on account of Alice. But. On reaching the building. the young man found that the excitement had already subsided. So far. which had proved alike the seat of judgment and the place of execution. to stray from hut to hut. while they conversed gravely on the chief incidents of their recent expedition to the head of the Horican. Abandoning a species of inquiry that proved so fruitless. looking into each only to encounter additional disappointment. Duncan wandered among the lodges. and reissuing. In the present temper of the tribe it would have been easy to have fled and rejoined his companions. he retraced his steps to the council-lodge. and were now calmly smoking.

An evil spirit lives in the wife of one of my young men. when another of the elder warriors. who spoke the French language. He had not long occupied the seat wisely taken a little in the shade. though an armed warrior leaned against the post that formed one side of the narrow doorway. ‘I thank him. Can the cunning stranger frighten him away?’ Heyward possessed some knowledge of the mummery practised among the Indians. A hasty but searching glance sufficed to tell him that. the captive seemed at liberty. and took his seat with a gravity that accorded admirably with the deportment of his hosts. still he was excluded from all participation in the discourse. Heyward had too recently witnessed a frightful instance of the prompt punishments of the people into whose hands he had fallen to hazard an exposure by any officious boldness.’ said the chief. He would greatly have preferred silence and meditation to speech. in the cases of such supposed Free eBooks at Planet eBook. In every other respect. addressed him: ‘My Canada father does not forget his children. his entertainers appeared otherwise disposed. when a discovery of his real condition might prove so instantly fatal. who had placed himself at  . and possessed much more of the air of some finely molded statue than a man having life and volition.Without seeming to hesitate. No other restraint was imposed on the former than the watchful looks of a young Huron. he walked into the lodge. though Uncas still remained where he had left him. David had not reappeared. Unfortunately for this prudent resolution.

inwardly execrating the cold customs of the savages. resuming his pipe. and.’ said the cunning savage. he seated himself on one end of the low pile of brush which sustained Duncan. he repressed his feelings. 0 The Last of the Mohicans . at a glance. equal to that maintained by the chief. was fain to assume an air of indifference. while others are too strong.visitations. He saw. as if about to lead the way to the lodge of the invalid. that the circumstance might possibly be improved to further his own ends. therefore. some yield to the power of wisdom. which required such sacrifices to appearance. darkened the door. he awaited the proper moment to move. Aware of the necessity of preserving the dignity of his imaginary character. and stalking silently among the attentive group. just then to have uttered a proposal that would have given him more satisfaction. a warrior of powerful frame. however. a near relative of the afflicted woman. and the delay had seemed an hour to the adventurer in empiricism. who was. in truth. The minutes lingered. The impatient Heyward.’ ‘My brother is a great medicine. Just then. The Huron was content with the assurance. have been difficult. and answered with suitable mystery: ‘Spirits differ. The latter cast an impatient look at his neighbor. ‘he will try?’ A gesture of assent was the answer. when the Huron laid aside his pipe and drew his robe across his breast. and felt his flesh creep with uncontrollable horror when he found himself in actual contact with Magua. It would.

‘has my friend found the moose?’ ‘The young men stagger under their burdens. There was nothing in the air or attire of this Indian that would seem to entitle him to such a Free eBooks at Planet eBook. without speaking a word. though a few of the younger and less gifted of the party suffered their wild and glaring eyeballs to roll in the direction of a white-headed savage. Several pipes. and curling in a spiral form it ascended swiftly through the opening in the roof of the 1 . ‘Welcome!’ one at length uttered. who sat between two of the most venerated chiefs of the tribe. and the warriors were fairly enveloped in a cloud of white smoke before any of them spoke. Ten minutes.’ returned Magua. The looks of most of the warriors were riveted on the earth.’ A deep and awful silence succeeded the utterance of the forbidden name. might have passed in this manner. were lighted again. and each dark visage distinctly visible. drew his tomahawk from his girdle. The smoke wreathed above their heads in little eddies. and filling the bowl on its head began to inhale the vapors of the weed through the hollow handle. he will meet them. that had been extinguished.The sudden return of this artful and dreaded chief caused a delay in the departure of the Huron. with as much indifference as if he had not been absent two weary days on a long and toilsome hunt. Each pipe dropped from the lips of its owner as though all had inhaled an impurity at the same instant. ‘Let ‘Reed-that-bends’ go on the hunting path. while the newcomer. leaving the place beneath clear of its fumes. which appeared so many ages to Duncan.

the wicked Chippewas cheated my squaw. ‘I had no son. that the family of Wissentush should end. as if seeking commendation of his stoicism in the eyes of the auditors. in the privacy of his own abode. who was the father of the recreant young Indian. Like most around him for more than a minute his look. too. He who was called by that name is forgotten. and it came not from the veins of a Huron. as if sickening at the gaze of men. But the stern customs of his people had made too severe an exaction of the feeble old man. aged. The Great Spirit has said. than remarkable for the bearing of the natives. and the latter was such as was commonly worn by the ordinary men of the nation. but. suffered him to depart  The Last of the Mohicans . forlorn and childless. looked round and about him. and. veiling his face in his blanket. The former was rather depressed. the sympathy of one like himself. his blood was pale. The expression of his eye contradicted his figurative and boastful language. he walked from the lodge with the noiseless step of an Indian seeking.’ he said. I have done. trusting his eyes at length to steal a glance aside. he perceived that he was becoming an object of general attention.’ The speaker. while every muscle in his wrinkled visage was working with anguish. Standing a single minute to enjoy his bitter triumph. he is happy who knows that the evil of his race dies with himself. The Indians. was on the ground.distinction. ‘It was a lie. who believe in the hereditary transmission of virtues and defects in character. Then he arose and lifted his voice in the general silence. he turned away.

Instead of manifesting any womanish curiosity to feast his eyes with the sight of a captive from a people he was known to have so much reason to hate. he permitted himself to ask no questions. one of the chiefs drew the attention of the young men from the weakness they had just witnessed. But who has ever found a Huron asleep?’ The darkness of the impending cloud which precedes a burst of thunder was not blacker than the brow of Magua as he exclaimed: ‘The Delawares of the Lakes!’ ‘Not so. as the newest comer: ‘The Delawares have been like bears after the honey silence. They who wear the petticoats of squaws. Then. pointing to the immovable form of Uncas. reserving his inquiries for a more suitable moment. with an elevation of breeding that many in a more cultivated state of society might profitably emulate. replaced the tomaFree eBooks at Planet eBook. prowling around my village. Magua continued to smoke. on their own river.’ returned the other.’ ‘Did my young men take his scalp?’ ‘His legs were good. when there was no immediate call on his cunning or his eloquence. in a cheerful voice. addressing himself in courtesy to  . by saying. It was only after a sufficient interval that he shook the ashes from his pipe. with the meditative air that he usually maintained. though his arm is better for the hoe than the tomahawk. Although secretly amazed at the facts communicated by the speech of the aged father. One of them has been passing the tribe.

The lineaments of the quivering features of Magua proved more ductile. Near a minute these two bold and untamed spirits stood regarding one another steadily in the eye. who stood a little behind him. casting for the first time a glance in the direction of the prisoner. his countenance gradually lost its character of defiance in an expression of ferocious joy. caught a glimpse of the movement. when the sensation among the men had entirely abated. The latter was not yet ended. The hated and yet respected name was repeated as by one voice. but so rigid and unyielding was his posture. he pronounced aloud the formidable name of: ‘Le Cerf Agile!’ Each warrior sprang upon his feet at the utterance of the well-known appellation. and turning suddenly to the light. and arose. and his nostrils opened like those of a tiger at bay. which was succeeded by another shrill and plaintive howl. neither quailing in the least before the fierce gaze he encountered. Each one in presence seated himself. that he might easily have been converted by the imagination into an exquisite and faultless representation of the warlike deity of his tribe. The wary. took up the words in an echo. though seemingly abstracted Uncas. as though ashamed of his precipitation. and heaving a breath from the very bottom of his chest. The women and children.hawk. who lingered around the entrance. carrying the sound even beyond the limits of the lodge. and there was a short period during which the stoical constancy of the natives was completely conquered by surprise. their looks met. The form of Uncas dilated. but  The Last of the Mohicans . tightened his girdle.

in curious examination of a warrior who had so often proved his prowess on the best and proudest of their nation. he stretched forth his arm. and commenced a burst of his dangerous and artful eloquence. However much his influence among his people had been impaired by his occasional and besetting weakness. Go! call together the Huron dogs. My nostrils are offended. Dropping the light robe of skin from his shoulder. He never spoke without auditors. among which number was Magua. their men are squaws: their women owls. and instantly profited by his advantage. as. in a tone of vengeance.’ The latter allusion struck deep. ‘the tumbling river washes their  . you die!’ ‘The healing waters will never bring the dead Hurons to life. his courage and his fame as an orator were undeniable. that they may look upon a warrior. in the music of the Delawares. and the injury rankled. but was content with merely exhibiting his triumph by a quiet smile — an emblem of scorn which belongs to all time and every nation. as well as by his desertion of the tribe. he shook it at the captive. Many of the Hurons understood the strange tongue in which the captive spoke. he exclaimed. in English: ‘Mohican. and rarely without Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Magua caught the expression. and raising his arm. the light silver ornaments attached to his bracelet rattling with the trembling agitation of the limb. Uncas enjoyed his was many minutes before their meaning eyes ceased to roll toward their captive. they scent the blood of a coward. This cunning savage beheld.’ returned Uncas.

so motionless was the posture. to the happy hunting-grounds. every eye was riveted on his face.’ he concluded. In short. some breast in which to vibrate. As usual. No quality that was likely to command the sympathy of an Indian escaped his notice. his native powers were stimulated by the thirst of revenge. and looked about him. he so managed his allusions. strong and elevated. Their spirits are gone toward the setting sun. but passed rapidly on to the surprise of the party by ‘La Longue Carabine. Then he described the nature and position of the mount whither he had led such captives as had fallen into their hands. the death of his associates and the escape of their most formidable enemies. This was brave. On the present occasion. in its turn.’ and its fatal termination. ‘Are the bones of my young men.  The Last of the Mohicans . and touched upon the merits of the dead. and are already crossing the great waters. Here he paused. Then Magua dropped his voice which had hitherto been clear. to note the effect of his opening narrative. One had never been known to follow the chase in vain. and of his baffled malice he made no mention. that generous. another had been indefatigable on the trail of their enemies. he contrived to strike every chord that might find.making converts to his opinions. Of his own bloody intentions toward the maidens. He again recounted the events of the attack on the island at Glenn’s. ‘in the burial-place of the Hurons? You know they are not. that in a nation which was composed of so few families. Each dusky figure seemed a breathing statue. so intense the attention of the individual. in affected veneration for the departed. in truth. but.

But they departed without food. they say. Then will they go on happy. Let this Delaware die. they will know we are of that mind. Shall this be? Are their souls to enter the land of the just like hungry Iroquois or unmanly Delawares. without moccasins. A stain on the name of Huron can only be hid by blood that comes from the veins of an Indian. One warrior in particular. ‘So did our fathers to their friends. We will load the back of this Mohican until he staggers under our bounty. and our children will say.’ The effect of such an harangue.’ When they see the spirit of this Mohican toiling after them with his burden. could scarcely be mistaken. ‘Go! a Chippewa has come hither with the name of a Huron. so must we do to them. a man of wild and ferocious mien. had been conspicuous for the attention he had given to the words of Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Magua had so artfully blended the natural sympathies with the religious superstition of his auditors. ‘Forget us not. lost every vestige of humanity in a wish for revenge. without guns or  . though our ears are not open. or shall they meet their friends with arms in their hands and robes on their backs? What will our fathers think the tribes of the Wyandots have become? They will look on their children with a dark eye. delivered in the nervous language and with the emphatic manner of a Huron orator. and say. They call to us for aid. and dispatch him after my young men. already prepared by custom to sacrifice a victim to the manes of their countrymen. that their minds. we must not forget the dead. naked and poor as they were born.’ What is a Yengee? we have slain many. a red-skin never ceases to remember.’ Brothers. but the earth is still pale.

looking his enemy in the eye with features that seemed superior to emotion. the squaws must see his flesh tremble. The former was the tomahawk in its passage. Go! take him where there is silence.the speaker. after satisfying himself of the safety of the captive. ‘the sun must shine on his shame. his polished little axe was seen glancing in the torchlight as he whirled it above his head. until it settled into a look of deadly malice. A glance told him that the blow had failed. It appeared as if a bright gleam shot from his hand. the latter the arm that Magua darted forward to divert its aim. The motion and the cry were too sudden for words to interrupt his bloody intention. and muttered a few words of contempt in his own tongue. or steadier than the countenance he put upon this sudden and vindictive attack. His countenance had changed with each passing emotion. and sprang upon his feet. Then. ‘No!’ said Magua. and terror changed to admiration. while it leaped into his throat. he smiled. The quick and ready motion of the chief was not entirely too late. or our revenge will be like the play of boys. with a heart which. Marble could not be colder. calmer. swelled with the most generous resolution in behalf of his friend. as if pitying a want of skill which had proved so fortunate to himself. The keen weapon cut the war plume from the scalping tuft of Uncas. As Magua ended he arose and. let us see if  The Last of the Mohicans . and passed through the frail wall of the lodge as though it were hurled from some formidable engine. Duncan had seen the threatening action. uttering the yell of a demon. which was crossed at the same moment by a dark and powerful line. Uncas stood still.

Magua was content with his success. Duncan caught a look which he was glad to construe into an expression that he was not entirely deserted by hope. Heyward felt sensibly relieved by the absence of so dangerous and so subtle a foe. in the sweeping and haughty glance that he threw around the circle of his enemies. The warriors resumed their seats and clouds of smoke once more filled the lodge. For near half an hour. he made a final and successful movement toward departing.’ The young men whose duty it was to guard the prisoner instantly passed their ligaments of bark across his arms. and led him from the lodge. or too much occupied with his secret purposes to push his inquiries any further. A motion of a finger was the intimation he gave the supposed physician to follow. finished his pipe. Shaking his mantle. a grave and meditative silence being the ordinary succession to every scene of violence and commotion among these beings. and folding it on his bosom. or scarcely a look cast aside. who had solicited the aid of Duncan. who were alike so impetuous and yet so self-restrained. and in the morning die. and. and his anxiety on behalf of Uncas. The excitement produced by the speech gradually subsided. When the  . his natural firmness. not a syllable was uttered. There he turned. and passing Free eBooks at Planet eBook. It was only as the figure of Uncas stood in the opening of the door that his firm step hesitated.a Delaware can sleep at night. Notwithstanding his rising resentment. without pursuing a subject which might have proved so fatal to the individual at his elbow. amid a profound and ominous silence. he also quitted the place.

and were enacting a mimic chase to the post among themselves. his companion turned aside. and was reflected downward upon a dark and mysterious-looking being that arose. At a little distance from a bald rock. one of the boldest of their number had conveyed a few brands into some piles of tree-tops that had hitherto escaped the burning. Just then fresh fuel was added to the fire. which they prepared to cross. and it became necessary to proceed through a crooked and narrow path. as if doubtful whether to proceed. The Indian paused. and permitted his companion to approach his side. by its restless and sidling 00 The Last of the Mohicans . to be able at last to breathe the pure air of a cool and refreshing summer evening. Again the fire brightened and its glare fell more distinctly on the object. they entered a grassy opening. In order to render their games as like the reality as possible. and gave a character of additional wildness to the rude scenery. now began to move in a manner that to the latter was inexplicable. in their path. A large black ball. which at first seemed stationary. Then even Duncan knew it. Instead of pursuing his way among those lodges where Heyward had already made his unsuccessful search. which overhung the temporary village. on more accounts than one. A thicket of brush skirted its foot. unexpectedly. The boys had resumed their sports in the clearing.through the clouds of smoke. Duncad was glad. It fell upon the white surface of the mountain. The blaze of one of these fires lighted the way of the chief and Duncan. and directly in its front. and a powerful light penetrated even to that distant spot. and proceeded directly toward the base of an adjacent mountain.

and was gladly closing the slight cover to the opening. to be a bear. the Huron. while the animal itself appeared seated. who had at first so warily determined the character of his strange visitor.attitudes. but Heyward was unable to prevent his eyes from looking backward. They were now in a straight and long gallery. Profiting by so easy a method of retreat. was now content with proceeding without wasting a moment in further examination. for after giving it an attentive examination. They passed it unmolested. in salutary watchfulness against attacks in the rear. he quietly pursued his course. at least. Though obliged to come nearly in contact with the monster. Duncan. Duncan stepped after him. He would have spoken. believing that some favorite of the tribe had found its way into the thicket. when he felt it drawn from his hand by the beast. it gave no other indications of hostility. The Huron. whose shaggy form immediately darkened the passage. but the Indian at that moment shoved aside a door of bark. and following their footsteps. which kept the upper part of its form in constant motion. and there were instants when its glistening eyeballs might be seen. in a chasm of the 01 . where retreat without encountering the animal Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and entered a cavern in the bosom of the mountain. His uneasiness was in no degree diminished when he perceived the beast rolling along their path. followed the example of his companion. Though it growled loudly and fiercely. who knew that the animal was often domesticated among the Indians. seemed assured that the intentions of this singular intruder were peaceable. in search of food.

he soon found relief. and hither. and once or twice its enormous paws were laid on his person. A glimmer of light had constantly been in their front. and at night fires and torches supplied the place of the sun. The subdivisions were simple but ingenious.was impossible. intermingled. happily. How long the nerves of Heyward would have sustained him in this extraordinary situation. Hither the Hurons had brought most of their valuables. under an impression that her tormentor would find more difficulty in making his assaults through walls of stone than through the leafy coverings of the lodges. being composed of stone. it might be difficult to decide. The latter approached her bedside. keeping as close as possible to his conductor. Openings above admitted the light by day. Making the best of the circumstances. for. sticks. as it now appeared. and bark. A large cavity in the rock had been rudely fitted to answer the purposes of many apartments. The apartment into which Duncan and his guide first entered. which was surrounded by females. as if disposed to prevent his further passage into the den. in the center of whom Heyward was surprised to find his missing friend David. especially those which more particularly pertained to the nation. The bear growled frequently at his heels. the young man pressed forward. who was believed to be the victim of supernatural power. had been transported also. had been exclusively devoted to her accommodation. and they now arrived at the place whence it proceeded. A single look was sufficient to apprise the pretended leech that the invalid was far beyond his powers of heal0 The Last of the Mohicans . the sick woman.

The effect of so strange an echo on David may better be imagined than described. and Duncan too glad of the delay to hazard the slightest interruption. drew a strain from his pipe. in a voice half human and half sepulchral. after delaying a moment. the Indians respecting his imaginary infirmity. A deep-laid scheme. while his restless body swung in the uneasy manner of the animal. and his voice became instantly mute in excess of wonder. The slight qualm of conscience which had been excited by the intended deception was instantly appeased. of communicating some Free eBooks at Planet eBook. in a sort of low growl. indifferent to the objects which crowded before her sight. and happily unconscious of suffering. Looking around. when he found he was about to be anticipated in his skill by an attempt to prove the power of music. He was allowed to proceed to the close. His eyes opened as if he doubted their truth. which bore some slight resemblance to the melody of the singer. and he began to collect his thoughts. She lay in a sort of paralysis. who had stood prepared to pour forth his spirit in song when the visitors entered. and commenced a hymn that might have worked a miracle. where. Gamut. it repeated. As the dying cadence of his strains was falling on the ears of the latter. Heyward was far from regretting that his mummeries were to be performed on one who was much too ill to take an interest in their failure or success. he started aside at hearing them repeated behind 0 . he beheld the shaggy monster seated on end in a shadow of the cavern. if not words. in order to enact his part with suitable spirit. had faith in its efficacy been of much avail.

he exclaimed aloud: ‘She expects you. 0 The Last of the Mohicans . and precipitately left the cavern. and is at hand”. was driven from his recollection by an emotion which very nearly resembled fear. but which he was fain to believe was admiration.important intelligence to Heyward. Under its influence.

if it be.—Have you the lion’s part written? Pray . in his native tongue. put to every conjecture on the subject. though its ludicrous attempt to imitate the melody of David ceased the instant the latter abandoned the field. Quince. The beast still continued its rolling. by the manner of the chief. The words of Gamut were. who advanced to the bedside of the invalid. though reluctantly. had ceased. pointing toward his insensible daughter. natural gallery. obeyed. for it is nothing but roaring. and beckoned away the whole group of female attendants that had clustered there to witness the skill of the stranger. He was implicitly. give it to me. though nothing present assisted him in discovering the object of their allusion.’—Midsummer Night’s Dream T here was a strange blending of the ridiculous with that which was solemn in this scene. for I am slow of study. as has been seen.’ 0 Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and apparently untiring movements.Chapter 25 ‘Snug. and to Duncan they seem pregnant with some hidden meaning. and when the low echo which rang along the hollow.—You may do it extempore. from the distant closing door. however. he said: ‘Now let my brother show his power. A speedy end was.

The latter listened to the movements of the Indian with that air of sagacity that a bear is known to possess. under which the Indian conjurers are accustomed to conceal their ignorance and impotency. if not fatal. error had not his incipient attempts been interrupted by a fierce growl from the quadruped. until another echo announced that he had also left the cavern. ‘The cunning ones are jealous. Endeavoring. he prepared to perform that species of incantation. ‘I go. The youth looked anxiously about him for some weapon. beckoning to the discontented beast to be quiet. Three several times did he renew his efforts to proceed. It is more than probable that. deal justly by her. he would soon have fallen into some suspicious. Heyward was apprehensive that the smallest delay might prove dangerous. each interruption seeming more savage and threatening than the preceding. the woman is the wife of one of my bravest young men.’ said the Huron.’ The chief was as good as his word. when it turned and came waddling up to Duncan before whom it seated itself in its natural attitude.Thus unequivocally called on to exercise the functions of his assumed character. with which he might make a resistance against the attack he now seriously expected. and as often was he met by the same unaccountable opposition. then. 0 The Last of the Mohicans . ‘I go. to collect his ideas. in the disordered state of his thoughts. Brother. and those uncouth rites. erect like a man. and Duncan now found himself alone in that wild and desolate abode with the helpless invalid and the fierce and dangerous brute. Peace!’ he added.

and why you have attempted so desperate an adventure?’ ‘Ah. or manifesting any further signs of anger. for your high north-west Indians. who was indulging from the bottom of his soul in his own peculiar expression of merriment. where they are safer from the Hurons than they would be in the garrison of Edward.It seemed. After we parted I placed the commandant and the Sagamore in an old beaver lodge. the whole of its shaggy body shook violently. however. I will tell you the whole in order.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. interrupting Heyward’s exclamation of surprise. The huge and unwieldy talons pawed stupidly about the grinning muzzle. Instead of continuing its discontented 0 . not having as yet got the traders among them. and condemned to die at the rising of the sun. After which Uncas and I pushed for the other encampment as was agreed. Have you seen the lad?’ ‘To my great grief! He is captive.’ ‘Tell me the meaning of this masquerade. ‘the varlets are about the place. reason and calculation are often outdone by accident. and any sounds that are not natural to witchcraft would bring them back upon us in a body. as a story should always commence at the beginning. continued to venerate the beaver.’ returned the scout. and while Heyward kept his eyes riveted on its movements with jealous watchfulness. the grim head fell on one side and in its place appeared the honest sturdy countenance of the scout. as if agitated by some strange internal convulsion. ‘Hist!’ said the wary woodsman. ‘But. as if the humor of the animal had suddenly changed.

Uncas and I fell in with a return party of the varlets.’ ‘No fear of them. in a more audible though scarcely more intelligible language: ‘After the loss of the boy I turned upon the Hurons.’ The scout significantly passed his hand across his own throat. A rare time the knaves would have of it. he was not so much to blame. and in fleeing led him into an ambushment. in a less confident and joyous tone. he continued: ‘His bad fortune is the true reason of my being here. as you may judge. for that matter. being of hot blood. the lad was much too forward for a scout. But soon regaining his naturally firm voice. for it would never do to abandon such a boy to the Hurons.‘I had misgivings that such would be his fate.’ resumed the scout. ‘we know not at what moment the Hurons may return. and nodded. A conjurer must have his time. as they call me. We are as safe from interruption as a missionary would be at the beginning of a two hours’ discourse. ‘I comprehend your meaning. but that is neither here nor 0 The Last of the Mohicans . as if he said. nay. after all. like a straggling priest in the settlements. could they tie ‘The Bounding Elk’ and ‘The Long Carabine’.’ After which he continued. as there is between the natur’ of a pipe-stone and a flint. there being as little likeness between the gifts of ‘killdeer’ and the performance of one of your real Canada carabynes.’ ‘Keep to your tale.’ ‘And dearly has he paid for the weakness. one of the Hurons proved a coward. and. Well. to the same stake! Though why they have given me such a name I never knew. There have been scrimmages atween one or two of their outlyers and myself.’ said the impatient Heyward.

without discovering the slightest trace of her presence in the tribe. But it is no such marvelous feat to exhibit the feats of so dull a beast.’ ‘And admirably did you enact the character.there. I have examined every lodge in the village.’ ‘Lord. did I not know how to set forth the movements or natur’ of such a beast. to prevent an 0 . which it now seems was an especial ordering of Providence. and leaving him a bit of walnut for his supper. as I well knew. Then what should luck do in my favor but lead me to the very spot where one of the most famous conjurers of the tribe was dressing himself. it is not every imitator that knows natur’ may be outdone easier than she is equaled. Had it been now a catamount. ‘I should be but a poor scholar for one who has studied so long in the wilderness. as he left us: ‘She is at Free eBooks at Planet eBook. for that matter.’ returned the flattered woodsman. yes. I made free with his finery. too. or even a full-size panther. though. But all our work is yet before us. the animal itself might have been shamed by the representation. Where is the gentle one?’ ‘Heaven knows. and took the part of the bear on myself.’ ‘You heard what the singer said. for some great battle with Satan — though why should I call that luck. I got in pretty nigh to the lodges without further commotion. Yes. after I had shot the imps. So a judgmatical rap over the head stiffened the lying impostor for a time. I would have embellished a performance for you worth regarding. and stringing him up atween two saplings. major. a bear may be overacted. So. in order that the operations might proceed.

and expects you’?’ ‘I have been compelled to believe he alluded to this unhappy woman.’ ‘The simpleton was frightened. major. ‘Am I.’ he whispered. but the instant the summit was gained he made a gesture for silence. Though for that matter. your streaked countenances are not ill-judged of by the squaws. There may be honey-pots hid in these rocks. you know.hand. who had already swung eagerly forward. drew instantly back on hearing these discouraging words. and blundered through his message. as he went. therefore will I take a look above them.’ The scout looked behind him. but young women of white blood give the preference to their own color. with an air of chagrin. but the sight of such a monster might upset her reason. but I have seen the time when you had a better favored look.’ he added. and slid down with the utmost precipitation.’ Duncan. that has a hankering for the sweets. you are none of the most inviting yourself in your paint. the clumsy motions of the beast he represented. so very revolting?’ he demanded. or turn the Royal Americans from a discharge. Here are walls enough to separate the whole settlement. and I am a beast. pointing to a place where the water trickled from a 10 The Last of the Mohicans . imitating. A bear ought to climb. ‘She is here. ‘and by that door you will find her. I would have spoken a word of comfort to the afflicted soul. ‘You might not startle a wolf. See. while he clambered up the partition. laughing at his own conceit. then. but he had a deeper meaning.

being used as a receptacle for the fruits of their hunts. He was yet speaking when Duncan availed himself of the water. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. among other purposes. ‘you may easily get rid of the Sagamore’s daub. It was profusely strewed with the plunder of that unlucky fortress. In a moment every frightful or offensive mark was obliterated. and disappeared through the indicated passage. the cavern. By its aid he was enabled to enter the haven of his hopes.’ The deliberate woodsman had little occasion to hunt for arguments to enforce his advice. before it found an issue through the adjacent crevices. after which he very coolly set about an examination of the state of the larder. the office of a polar star to the lover. In the midst of this confusion he found her he sought. Thus prepared for an interview with his mistress. and muttering his good wishes. which served. Duncan had no other guide than a distant glimmering light. and the youth appeared again in the lineaments with which he had been gifted by nature. forming a little crystal spring. It’s as common for a conjurer to alter his paint as for a buck in the settlements to change his finery. that had been solely appropriated to the safekeeping of so important a prisoner as a daughter of the commandant of William Henry.rock. and when you come back I will try my hand at a new 11 . pale. which was merely another apartment of the cavern. but lovely. David had prepared her for such a visit. nodding his head after him. among the Hurons. he took a hasty leave of his companion. however. anxious and terrified. The scout witnessed his departure with complacency.

and furniture. and how much his happiness. leaping carelessly among trunks. the scout. soon quieted the first burst of her emotions. arms. and though the young man touched lightly on the sorrows of the stricken father. The soothing tenderness of Duncan. ‘I knew that you would never desert me. until he stood at her side. ‘But you are alone! Grateful as it is to be thus remembered. not to wound the self-love of his auditor. however. however. ‘you will see how much is still expected of you. Remember that you fly to the arms of your venerable parent. depends on those exertions. looking up with a momentary glow on her otherwise dejected countenance. while he recounted those leading incidents which it has been our task to accord. By the assistance of our experienced and invaluable friend. observing that she trembled in a manner which betrayed her inability to stand. taking care. and she then heard him to the close with undivided attention. Alice listened with breathless interest. as well as your own. ‘And now. gently induced her to be seated. we may find our way from this savage people. ‘Alice!’ he answered. Alice.’ she said.’ he added. but you will have to exert your utmost fortitude. in a voice that seemed to tremble at the sounds created by itself.‘Duncan!’ she exclaimed. boxes. the tears ran as freely down the cheeks of the daughter as though she had never wept before. if not with composure.’ ‘Can I do otherwise for a father who has done so much 1 The Last of the Mohicans .’ Duncan. I could wish to think you are not entirely alone. 1 . Your venerable father knew no difference between his children. that to me her worth was in a degree obscured —‘ ‘Then you knew not the merit of my sister. but I — Alice. hastily. leaving her Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘but what heart loaded like mine would not wish to cast its burden? They say misery is the closest of all ties. you will not be offended when I say.’ returned Duncan. Alice. dearest Cora. too.’ continued the youth. Duncan. withdrawing her hand. The look of innocence and surprise which he received in return convinced Duncan of the necessity of being more explicit.’ said Alice. but with you. ‘of you she ever speaks as of one who is her dearest friend.’ ‘I would gladly believe her such. surely Cora was not forgotten?’ ‘Not forgotten! no.’ he added. as woman was seldom mourned before. and there was an instant during which she bent her face aside. gently pressing the hand he held in both his own. our common suffering in your behalf left but little to be explained between your father and myself. I have the permission of your father to aspire to a still nearer and dearer tie.’ Alice trembled violently. ‘This is neither the place nor the occasion to detain you with selfish wishes. ‘I could wish her to be even more.for me?’ ‘And for me. yielding to the emotions common to her sex. but they quickly passed away.’ ‘And.

at such a moment. ‘give me the sacred presence and the holy sanction of that parent before you urge me further. less I could not say. without arms of any description. to Duncan. The exulting Indian had resumed his austere countenance. ‘What is your purpose?’ said Alice. The deep guttural laugh of the savage sounded. when he was interrupted by a light tap on his shoulder. and charged with the safety of one who was just then dearer than ever to his heart. he no sooner entertained than he abandoned the desperate intention. ‘Heyward.’ ‘Though more I should not.’ the youth was about to answer. and. in the usual cold and distant manner with which she received the visits of her captor. looking him full in the face with a touching expression of innocence and dependency. and struggling to conceal an agony of apprehension in behalf of Heyward. meekly folding her arms on her bosom. he turned. ignorant of what succor his subtle enemy could command. stepping aside. if not of her affections. his looks fell on the dark form and malignant visage of Magua. though he drew warily back before the menacing glance of the young man’s fiery eye.mistress of her deportment. Starting to his feet. and committed their fortunes to the issue of a deadly struggle. But. He regarded both his captives for a moment with a steady look. he would have cast himself on the Huron. Had he pursued the sudden and fierce impulse of the instant. he dropped a log of wood across a door different 1 The Last of the Mohicans . and then. like the hellish taunt of a demon. confronting the intruder.’ she said.

do your worst!’ exclaimed the excited Heyward. and said in English: ‘The pale faces trap the cunning beavers. how little faith he had in the other’s resolution by the sneer that accompanied his words. but the redskins know how to take the Yengeese. But Magua meditated no immediate violence. When Magua had effected his object he approached his prisoners. His first measures were very evidently taken to secure his new captive. nor did he even bestow a second glance at the motionless forms in the center of the cavern. ‘he will go and bring his young men. to see how bravely a Free eBooks at Planet eBook. believing himself irretrievably lost. or in the presence of your nation. singly to your face.’ ‘Will the white man speak these words at the stake?’ asked Magua. however. who. ‘Here. forgetful that a double stake was involved in his life. at the same time.from that by which Duncan had entered. and. He was watched in all his movements by Heyward.’ ‘Le Renard Subtil is a great chief!’ returned the Indian. since it was to be suffered in such company. at once too proud and too hopeless to ask favor of an enemy so often foiled. until he had completely cut off every hope of retreat through the private outlet he had himself used. he drew Alice to his bosom. ‘you and your vengeance are alike despised. still folding the fragile form of Alice to his 1 . The latter now comprehended the manner of his surprise. remained firm. manifesting.’ ‘Huron. and stood prepared to meet a fate which he hardly regretted.

when. ‘go play with the children and squaws. in the manner practised by its brutal prototype. He was far above the more vulgar superstitions of his tribe. At first he relinquished his hold of Alice. The figure of the bear appeared in the door. that was pendent from his belt. eyed it keenly for a moment. it beat the air with its paws. rolling from side to side in its customary restlessness. until it arrived again at the pass. or tomahawk. retired slowly in his front.pale face can laugh at tortures. like the father of the sick woman. as if to ascertain its character. which had been used around some 1 The Last of the Mohicans . which had advanced a little. But a louder and more threatening growl caused him again to pause. and was about to leave the place through the avenue by which Duncan had approached. leave men to their wisdom. rearing on his hinder legs. ‘Fool!’ exclaimed the chief. Heyward had watched the whole procedure. and inclosed him in a grasp that might have vied with the far-famed power of the ‘bear’s hug’ itself. Magua. scorning even the parade of threatening to use the knife. or rather legs. and moved resolutely forward. and caused him to hesitate. he prepared to pass it in cool contempt. with breathless interest. Then he seemed as if suddenly resolved to trifle no longer. The mimic animal. then he caught up a thong of buckskin. when a growl caught his ear. in Huron. Suddenly the beast extended its arms.’ He turned away while speaking. and so soon as he recognized the well-known attire of the conjurer.’ He once more endeavored to pass the supposed empiric. where it sat. on the part of Hawkeye.

When the formidable Huron was completely pinioned. Arms.’ ‘By what place did the imp enter?’ asked the industrious scout. though he had struggled violently. he rushed upon him. you’ve found your tongue. removed the shaggy jaws of the beast. and effectually secured them there. by way of making a summary explanation of his 1 . and exposed his own rugged and earnest countenance to the gaze of the Huron. and feet were encircled in twenty folds of the thong. and when he beheld his enemy with his two arms pinned to his side by the iron muscles of the scout. his enemy might safely have been considered as ‘hors de combat. in order that you shall not use it to our ruin. ‘now. until assured he was in the hands of one whose nerves were far better strung than his own. and Duncan laid his enemy on his back. Throughout the whole of this sudden and extraordinary operation. the scout immediately set about effecting so necessary a precaution. ‘Not a soul has passed my way since you left me.’ said his undisturbed conqueror. legs.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the scout released his hold. when his work was ended. utterly helpless. the philosophy of the latter was so far mastered as to permit him to utter the never failing: ‘Hugh!’ ‘Ay. Magua. had not uttered the slightest exclamation.’ As there was no time to be lost. I must make free to stop your mouth.bundle. But when Hawkeye. in less time than we have taken to record the circumstance. and when he had gagged the Indian.

patiently awaiting a summons to re-enter. it will betray her. wrap her in them Indian cloths. and passed swiftly on. every part. my own Alice. ‘fear has overcome her. and followed in the footsteps of the scout. as may be gathered from the words of his companion. Alice! my sweet. ‘we must make a push for the woods by the other outlet. to the place of entrance. As they approached the little door of bark. that foot has no fellow in the wilderness. and leave me to my fate. You must give ‘em 1 The Last of the Mohicans . save yourself. All. by the natural gallery. still alone. ‘Tis in vain! she hears. will tell the varlets that an enemy is among them. as the other finished speaking. and which now presented too many obstacles to a quick retreat. then.’ ‘Every trail has its end. but is unable to follow. Nay. he took the light person of Alice in his arms.’ Hawkeye whispered. now is the moment to fly. ‘If I open my lips to speak. arouse yourself. Leave the rest to me. and she is helpless.’ continued his friend.’ Duncan. ‘There. Go. Conceal all of her little form. which is the genuine tongue of a white-skin.’ ‘Tis impossible!’ said Duncan. and follow. Now take her in your arms.Duncan pointed out the door by which Magua had come. ‘Bring on the gentle one. was eagerly obeying. and. noble and worthy friend. a murmur of voices without announced that the friends and relatives of the invalid were gathered about the place. and every calamity brings its lesson!’ returned the scout. ‘my English. They found the sick woman as they had left her.

where I will strengthen her against any further attacks. A fierce growl repelled the eavesdropper. She will be in the wigwam of the young man when the sun comes 1 . The chief himself waved his hand for Duncan to proceed. enacting the character of a bear as he proceeded. and I will enter the rock and fight the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Duncan kept close at his heels. saying aloud. ‘Has my brother driven away the evil spirit?’ demanded the former. to approach. and left the place. ‘the disease has gone out of her. it is shut up in the rocks. and with a lofty manner: ‘Go. a suppressed murmur announced the satisfaction with which this intelligence was received. The crowd fell back a little.your jargon. and compelled the scout to cease his directions. ‘What has he in his arms?’ ‘Thy child. I am a man. in a firm voice. for it is a lawful undertaking. and say that we have shut the evil spirit in the cave. and one who appeared to be the husband of the woman.’ The door opened a little. and soon found himself in the center of a cluster of twenty anxious relatives and friends.’ returned Duncan. I take the woman to a distance. and are taking the woman to the woods in order to find strengthening roots. as if one without was listening to the proceedings within. Practise all your cunning. gravely.’ When the father had translated the meaning of the stranger’s words into the Huron language. and permitted the father. major. and then the scout boldly threw open the covering of bark.

was not ignorant that they were rather tolerated than relied on by the wisest of the chiefs. ‘Is my brother mad?’ he exclaimed. by the fad0 The Last of the Mohicans . therefore.wicked one. No. when these startling words arrested him. when he sees how many are ready to fight him. He is cunning. he rather skirted than entered the village. at the same time that he had presumed so far on the nature of the Indian superstitions. let my children wait without. while the women and children broke branches from the bushes. Whatever might be the extent of the self-delusion of his enemies. Hawkeye. Taking the path. with a similar intention. or he will drive out the disease. or seized fragments of the rock. the father and husband drew their tomahawks. At this favorable moment the counterfeit conjurers disappeared. acting on the subtle nature of an Indian. would be likely to prove fatal. Instead of entering the cavern. The warriors were still to be seen in the distance. and it will chase his daughter into the woods. ‘is he cruel? He will meet the disease. and posted themselves in readiness to deal their vengeance on the imaginary tormentor of their sick relative. He well knew the value of time in the present emergency. and however it had tended to assist his schemes. and was already past the little group. and it will enter him. and will bury himself in the mountain. the slightest cause of suspicion.’ This singular warning had the desired effect. that was most likely to avoid observation.’ Heyward had gladly obeyed. and if the spirit appears beat him down with clubs.

she stood in no need of any explanation of that which had occurred. ‘Now let me make an effort to walk. and he was. But the children had abandoned their sports for their beds of skins. a stranger also to the nature of that feeling of ingenuous shame that oppressed the trembling Alice. though unseen. and you will see the fires of the other people. ‘follow its northern bank until you come to a fall. when they had entered the forest. The representative of the bear had certainly been an entire stranger to the delicious emotions of the lover while his arms encircled his mistress. and spoke on a subject of which he was thoroughly the master. The Hurons would follow up Free eBooks at Planet eBook. if they are true Delawares you will be safe.’ The maiden struggled gently to release herself. you are yet too weak. There you must go and demand protection. and Heyward was compelled to part with his precious burden. stalking from lodge to lodge. ‘I am indeed restored.’ ‘Nay. as her physical rather than her mental powers had been the subject of weakness. that she had not been sooner able to quit the arms of 1 . and. just now. But when he found himself at a suitable distance from the lodges he made a light of the fires. Alice revived under the renovating influence of the open air. A distant flight with that gentle one.’ he said. ‘This path will lead you to the brook. and the quiet of night was already beginning to prevail over the turbulence and excitement of so busy and important an evening. is impossible. blushing. perhaps.’ she said. mount the hill on your right. Alice.

in a tone that instantly silenced Alice. ‘that there is a feeling in youth which binds man to woman closer than the father is tied to the son. You have risked life. while it told Heyward how fruitless any further remonstrances would be.’ returned the scout. be called the child of his adoption.’ ‘And you!’ demanded Heyward. the Indians shall see also how a man without a cross can die. and master our scalps before we had got a dozen miles. the last of the high blood of the Mohicans is in their power. Go. The scout heard them attentively. ‘I go to see what can be done in his favor. major.our trail. Had they mastered your scalp. Duncan still continued to urge such reasons against so desperate an effort as presented themselves. a knave should have fallen for every hair it held. in some degree. but such may be the gifts of nature in the settlements. and Providence be with you. by answering. and finally closed the discussion. with so little hope of success. Their eloquence and ingenuity were expended in vain.’ Not in the least offended with the decided preference that the sturdy woodsman gave to one who might. I have seldom been where women of my color dwell. but if the young Sagamore is to be led to the stake. ‘I have heard. and I suppose that some such  The Last of the Mohicans . as I promised. in surprise. who mingled her entreaties with those of Heyward that he would abandon a resolution that promised so much danger. ‘surely we part not here?’ ‘The Hurons hold the pride of the Delawares. but impatiently.’ he said. It may be so. He was aided by Alice. to bring off this gentle one. and all that is dear to you.

eating of the same dish. Winters and summer. and so long as I could hear the crack of his piece in one ear. and well has he paid me for it. who turned. and ‘killdeer’ become as harmless as the tooting we’pon of the singer!’ Duncan released his hold on the arm of the scout. nights and days.disposition is at the bottom of it all. After pausing a moment to gaze at his retiring  . I have fou’t at his side in many a bloody scrimmage. and I at hand — There is but a single Ruler of us all. and that of the Sagamore in the other. I taught the lad the real character of a rifle. and afore it shall be said that Uncas was taken to the torment. one sleeping while the other watched. and Him I call to witness. have we roved the wilderness in company. the successful and yet sorrowful Heyward and Alice took their way together toward the distant village of the Delawares. and steadily retraced his steps toward the lodges. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. good faith shall depart the ‘arth. that before the Mohican boy shall perish for the want of a friend. As for me. whatever may the color of the skin. I knew no enemy was on my back.

As he approached the buildings. such as wood or water. utterly unworthy of one who boasted a descent from men that knew no cross of blood. Nothing but the color of his skin had saved the lives of Magua and the conjurer. inferior to his own. in no degree. his steps become more deliberate.—Let me play the lion too. who would have been the first victims sacrificed to his own security. In his return to the camp. however congenial it might be to the nature of an Indian. had not the scout believed such an act.’—Midsummer Night’s Dream otwithstanding the high resolution of Hawkeye he fully comprehended all the difficulties and danger he was about to incur. A faint light  The Last of the Mohicans N . and his vigilant eye suffered no sign. and appeared as if it had been deserted when half completed — most probably on account of failing in some of the more important requisites. his acute and practised intellects were intently engaged in devising means to counteract a watchfulness and suspicion on the part of his enemies. that he knew were. whether friendly or hostile. Accordingly. he trusted to the withes and ligaments with which he had bound his captives. A neglected hut was a little in advance of the others.Chapter 26 ‘Bot. to escape him. and pursued his way directly toward the center of the lodges.

though in his assumed character. Hither the faithful singing-master had now brought himself. like a prudent general. he eschewed the belief of any direct supernatural agency in the management of modern morality. In other words. however. He was seated on a pile of brush. in a posture of melancholy musing. and yet he had been assured of the latter. a few twigs from which occasionally fed his low fire. The costume of the votary of music had undergone no other alteration from Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and his meek dependence on the protection of Providence. he was somewhat skeptical on the subject of a bear’s singing. the scout proceeded.glimmered through its cracks. was the subject of the solitary being’s profounded reflections. Thither. the woodsman himself. before he hazarded the main attack. At the precise moment when his ungainly person came under the observation of the scout. with his head leaning on his arm. while he had implicit faith in the ability of Balaam’s ass to speak. who was about to feel the advanced positions of his enemy. and announced that. then. together with all his sorrows. However implicit the faith of David was in the performance of ancient miracles. There was something in his air and manner that betrayed to the scout the utter confusion of the state of his  . where he might command a view of the interior. in the manner just mentioned. it was not without a tenant. notwithstanding its imperfect structure. his apprehensions. Hawkeye crawled to a little opening. Throwing himself into a suitable posture for the beast he represented. It proved to be the abiding place of David Gamut. on the testimony of his own exquisite organs.

listen to the inspired language of the youth of Israel. into the very presence of Gamut. who recalled the hasty manner in which the other had abandoned his post at the bedside of the sick woman. during which the two remained regarding each other without speaking. the gifted version of the psalms. and sought his never-failing resource in trouble. He fumbled for his pitch-pipe. near a minute elapsed. which had not proved sufficiently alluring to excite the cupidity of any of his captors. ‘Dark and mysterious monster!’ he exclaimed. The suddenness and the nature of the surprise had nearly proved too much for — we will not say the philosophy — but for the pitch and resolution of David. and then a well-known voice replied: ‘Put up the tooting we’pon. was not without his suspicions concerning the subject of so much solemn deliberation. and teach your throat mod The Last of the Mohicans .’ The bear shook his shaggy sides. and that the character of its inmate was likely to protect it from visitors. he ventured through its low door. while with trembling hands he disposed of his auxiliary eyes. but if aught you meditate against the person and rights of one of the humblest servants of the temple. and ascertaining that it stood quite alone. First making the circuit of the hut. except that he had covered his bald head with the triangular beaver. The ingenious Hawkeye. ‘I know not your nature nor intents. and arose with a confused intention of attempting a musical exorcism.that so lately described. and when Hawkeye had seated himself on end. The position of the latter brought the fire between them. and repent.

come. they are happily freed from the tomahawks of these varlets. hesitating. and nearly gasping for breath. or an Indian. Have you so soon forgotten from whom you received the foolish instrument you hold in your hand?’ ‘Can these things be?’ returned David. has no tinge of red to it that the winds of the heaven and the sun have not  . I greatly mourn that one so well disposed should die in his ignorance. ‘A man like yourself. uncasing his honest countenance. if it be not as white as one of the gentle ones. the better to assure the wavering confidence of his companion. breathing more freely. and of the youth who so bravely sought her. ‘you may see a skin.’ ‘Come. and I have sought a goodly hymn —‘ ‘Can you lead me to him?’ ‘The task will not be difficult. Five words of plain and comprehendible English are worth just now an hour of squalling. utterly disqualified to pursue his original intention. and one whose blood is as little tainted by the cross of a bear. ‘though I greatly fear your presence would rather increase Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘First tell me of the maiden. but surely nothing to excel this. which. as the truth began to dawn upon him. ‘Ay. But can you put me on the scent of Uncas?’ ‘The young man is in bondage. ‘I have found many marvels during my sojourn with the heathen. as your own.esty.’ returned Hawkeye. Now let us to business.’ returned David.’ ‘What art thou?’ demanded David. and much I fear his death is decreed.’ interrupted David.

and most of the warriors. had been selected by David as the subject of a religious conversion. but lead on. by instantly quitting the lodge. as the whole will be sufficiently explained to the reader in the course of the narrative. perhaps. Presuming on his disguise. As they proceeded. But it was not the policy of Hawkeye to affect the least concealment. aided by the favor he had acquired with one of the guards. he took the most plain and direct route to the place. The lodge in which Uncas was confined was in the very center of the village. in consequence of speaking a little English. and all the women. the scout ascertained that his companion found access to Uncas. had  The Last of the Mohicans . more difficult than any other to approach. or leave. How far the Huron comprehended the intentions of his new friend may well be doubted. The hour. it had produced the effect we have mentioned. It is unnecessary to repeat the shrewd manner with which the scout extracted these particulars from the simple David. but as exclusive attention is as flattering to a savage as to a more civilized individual.’ ‘No more words. and in a situation. under privilege of his imaginary infirmity. The boys were already buried in sleep. afforded him some little of that protection which he appeared so much to despise. and his ability to sustain the character he had assumed. neither shall we dwell in this place on the nature of the instruction he delivered. who. however.than mitigate his unhappy fortunes. concealing his face again.’ returned Hawkeye. without observation. when completely master of all the necessary facts. and setting the example in his own person.

he was compelled to trust the conversation entirely to David. accompanied by one in the wellknown masquerade of their most distinguished conjurer. and strike their fathers in the Canadas. have told them to take up the tomahawk. at the stake?’ The exclamation ‘Hugh!’ delivered in a strong tone of assent. they readily made way for them both. At the sight of Gamut. and see him weep before the Hurons. more than fulfilling the strongest hopes of his  . my foolish countrymen. announced the gratification the savage would receive in witnessing such an exhibition of weakness in an enemy so long hated and so much feared. Four or five of the latter only lingered about the door of the prison of Uncas. Does my brother wish to hear ‘Le Cerf Agile’ ask for his petticoats. addressing himself to the savage who had a slight understanding of the language in which he spoke. and they have forgotten their sex. wary but close observers of the manner of their captive. and the cunning man will blow Free eBooks at Planet eBook. From the total inability of the scout to address the Hurons in their own language. he did ample justice to the instructions he had received.retired to their lodges for the night. Still they betrayed no intention to depart. Notwithstanding the simplicity of the latter. ‘the Yengeese. ‘The Delawares are women!’ he exclaimed. they were evidently disposed to remain bound to the place by an additional interest in the mysterious mummeries that they of course expected from such a visit. ‘Then let him step aside. On the other hand.

being tenanted solely by the captive.upon the dog. ‘they must stand further off. fell back in a body. by strong and painful withes. who. instead of obeying. to ascertain they were not observed. thought it prudent to preserve his disguise until assured of their privacy. They drew back a little from the entrance and motioned to the supposed conjurer to enter.’ The Hurons. and growled: ‘The cunning man is afraid that his breath will blow upon his brothers. improving the hint he received. which had been used for the purposed of cookery. he exerted himself to 0 The Last of the Mohicans . maintained the seat it had taken. It was silent and gloomy. Instead of speaking. The scout. being rigidly bound. taking a position where they were out of earshot. and slowly entered the place. listened to the project with that sort of satisfaction that their untamed spirits might be expected to find in such a refinement in cruelty. and take away their courage too. as if satisfied of their safety. But the bear. who would have deemed such a misfortune the heaviest calamity that could befall them. When the frightful object first presented itself to the young Mohican. in a reclining attitude. the scout left his position. both hands and feet.’ The Huron explained the meaning of David to his fellows. though at the same time they could command a view of the entrance to the lodge. therefore. who had left David at the door. and lighted by the dying embers of a fire.’ continued David. Tell it to my brothers. he did not deign to bestow a single glance on the animal. Uncas occupied a distant corner. in their turn. Then.

as if willing to exclude so contemptible and disagreeable an object from his sight.enact one of the antics of the animal he represented. Again the same sounds were repeated. he arose. As soon. where it remained riveted. certain blemishes. detected in those performances that to Heyward had appeared so accurate.’ said Hawkeye to David. evidently proceeding from the mouth of the beast. bending his head low. Had Hawkeye been aware of the low estimation in which the skillful Uncas held his representations. therefore. a low hissing sound was heard in the lodge in place of the fierce growlings of the bear. and turning it inquiringly in every direction. and cast his looks on each side of him. who just then approached them. who at first believed his enemies had sent in a real beast to torment him. as though fixed by the power of a charm. The young Mohican. that at once betrayed the counterfeit. But the scornful expression of the young man’s eye admitted of so many constructions. he would probably have prolonged the entertainment a little in pique. that the worthy scout was spared the mortification of such a discovery. and returning to the former resting place. in a 1 . he uttered. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Once more the eyes of the youth roamed over the interior of the lodge. But the moment the noise of the serpent was heard. and try his nerves. until his keen eye rested on the shaggy monster. suppressed voice: ‘Hawkeye!’ ‘Cut his bands. as David gave the preconcerted signal. Uncas had cast his body back against the wall of the hut and closed his eyes.

and Uncas found his limbs released. intuitively.’ ‘Ay. and I doubt not. on a rush. scornfully. and presently the scout arose to his feet. The Delawares are children of the tortoise. in proper person. I believe.’ said the scout in English — a language he was apt to use when a little abstracted in mind. he drew a long. When Hawkeye had cast his shaggy vestment. there is truth in what you say. ‘their ‘totem’ is a moose.The singer did as he was ordered. ‘The red Hurons are without. in a straight  The Last of the Mohicans . and they run like snails. lad. ‘the same blood runs in your veins. you would pass the whole nation.’ said Uncas. neither tongue nor feature betraying another symptom of surprise.’ ‘The Hurons are boasters. At the same moment the dried skin of the animal rattled. lad. which was done by simply loosing certain thongs of skin. and this singer is as good as nothing.’ said Uncas. The Mohican appeared to comprehend the nature of the attempt his friend had made.’ he said.’ At the same time he laid his finger significantly on another similar weapon. but time and distance has a little changed its color. What shall we do with the Mingoes at the door? They count six. and they outstrip the deer. and put it in the hands of Uncas. ‘let us be ready. ‘We will go. and. both being the fruits of his prowess among their enemies during the evening. they are the children of my grandfathers. glittering knife. ‘Whither?’ ‘To the Tortoises.’ ‘Ay.

I can brain a Huron as well as a better man. But I thought Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Uncas. ‘Well. and trust to cunning for want of speed. as the knaves will give chase to you at first. in the bottom of the lodge. you had better take the lead.’ ‘Ay. afore a knave of them all was within hearing of the other village. As for myself.’ was the calm reply. continued speaking more to himself than to his companion. who had already approached the door. lad. now recoiled. but when it comes to a race the knaves would prove too much for me. squeezing the hand of Uncas between his own iron fingers. in readiness to lead the way. ‘why do you tarry? There will be time enough for me. But the gift of a white man lies more in his arms than in his legs. and leaned his body against one of the upright posts that supported the wall of the hut. ‘twould have been more like a Mingo than a Mohican had you left me. ‘After all. ‘For what?’ ‘To fight with his father’s brother. and get your breath again. who was too much occupied with his own thoughts to note the movement.’ Uncas. But Hawkeye. but quietly folded his arms.’ ‘Uncas will  .race of two miles. would be in. ‘it is unreasonable to keep one man in bondage to the gifts of another. and placed himself.’ returned Hawkeye. So. and die with the friend of the Delawares. while I will put on the skin again.’ he said. once more.’ The young Mohican made no reply.’ said the scout looking up at him.

must be done by circumvention. You must trust me with the book and spectacles. had he not certainly profited. the scout turned to David. with many thanks into the bargain. take my hunting shirt and cap. by starlight. seeing that youth commonly loves life. addressing David. and give me your blanket and hat. inasmuch as you are but little accustomed to the makeshifts of the wilderness. Put on the skin.’ Whatever might have been the private opinion of Uncas of their respective abilities in this particular. as well as the tooter. by  The Last of the Mohicans . Hawkeye was not long in assuming his borrowed garments. As soon as these dispositions were made.’ David parted with the several articles named with a readiness that would have done great credit to his liberality. and when his restless eyes were hid behind the glasses. as their statures were not dissimilar. too. he might readily have passed for the singer. and his head was surmounted by the triangular beaver. what can’t be done by main courage. friend. in war. if we ever meet again. He silently and expeditiously encased himself in the covering of the beast. you shall have all back again. his grave countenance manifested no opinion of his superiority. ‘Are you much given to cowardice?’ he bluntly asked. I doubt not you can play the bear nearly as well as myself. and gave him his parting instructions. in many particulars. ‘Now. ‘an exchange of garments will be a great convenience to you. and then awaited such other movements as his more aged companion saw fit to dictate. in better times. Well.I would make the offer.’ said Hawkeye. Here. by the exchange.

If however. even in the greatest straits. and draw in your legs. your being a non-composser will protect you. ‘I will abide in the place of the Delaware. their formation might tell the truth too early. they take your scalp. and like one who. when you do speak. firmly. your times of trial will come.’ ‘You have spoken as a man. and more. when. under wiser schooling. If you are not then knocked on the head. ‘but there are none who can say that I have ever forgotten my faith in the Lord. ‘My pursuits are peaceful. depend on it. to break out suddenly in one of your shoutings.’ ‘Your chiefest danger will be at the moment when the savages find out that they have been deceived. Bravely and generously has he battled in my behalf. and this.’ ‘Even so. until such times as the cunning of the Indians discover the cheat. and it would be wise. it must be to sit down here in the shadow.’ returned David. So choose for yourself — to make a rush or tarry here. If you stay.’ said David. Keep silent as long as may be. I humbly trust. and my temper. as I have already said. and take the part of Uncas. would have been brought to better things. is greatly given to mercy and love.way of obtaining a suitable understanding of the whole case before he ventured a prescription. as I trust and believe they will not. but revenge it as becomes true warriors and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. a little nettled at so direct an attack on his manhood. which will serve to remind the Indians that you are not altogether as responsible as men should  . Hold your head down. will I dare in his service. Uncas and I will not forget the deed. and you’ll then have a good reason to expect to die in your bed.

let it be in prayers for the enlightening of their minds. seek no victims to my manes. he added: ‘it is what I would wish to practise myself. the scout returned and shook David cordially by the hand. ‘different from the law of the woods. therefore. and yet it is fair and noble to reflect upon. though it is not always easy to deal with an Indian as you would with a fellow Christian. threw out his arm in the act of keeping time. and keeping eternity before the eyes. Should I fall.’ he said. as one without a cross of blood.’ ‘Hold!’ said David. Happily for the success of this delicate ad The Last of the Mohicans .trusty friends. perceiving that with this assurance they were about to leave him. I do believe your scent is not greatly wrong.’ Then heaving a heavy sigh. after which act of friendship he immediately left the lodge. The instant Hawkeye found himself under the observation of the Hurons. when the matter is duly considered. and if you remember them at all.’ So saying. friend. and commenced what he intended for an imitation of his psalmody. ‘There is a principle in that. God bless you. and the force of temptation. though much depends on the natural gifts.’ The scout hesitated. and for their eternal welfare. probably among the last he ever drew in pining for a condition he had so long abandoned. but rather forgive my destroyers. ‘I am an unworthy and humble follower of one who taught not the damnable principle of revenge. he drew up his tall form in the rigid manner of David. and appeared to muse. attended by the new representative of the beast.

proceeded from the beast. as they thought. and the voice of the scout grew louder as they drew nigher. The little knot on Indians drew back in a body. and stopped the supposed singing-master. ‘The Delaware dog!’ he said. however. and no counterfeit. especially as they immediately perceived that curiosity had so far mastered Free eBooks at Planet eBook. to break out anew in such a burst of musical expression as would. as if to assure himself that it was not a veritable bear. ‘is he afraid? Will the Hurons hear his groans?’ A growl.venture. leaning forward.’ Among his actual auditors. who feared his voice would betray him to his subtle enemies. he had to deal with ears but little practised in the concord of sweet sounds. that the young Indian released his hold and started aside. and peering through the dim light to catch the expression of the other’s features. It required no common exercise of fortitude in Uncas and the scout to continue the dignified and deliberate pace they had assumed in passing the lodge. or the miserable effort would infallibly have been detected. probably. and suffered. It was necessary to pass within a dangerous proximity of the dark group of the savages. in a more refined state of society have been termed ‘a grand crash. that was rolling before him. When at the nearest point the Huron who spoke the English thrust out an arm.  . the conjurer and his inspired assistant to proceed. it merely gave him an additional claim to that respect which they never withhold from such as are believed to be the subjects of mental alienation. gladly profited by the interruption. so exceedingly fierce and natural.

‘two. and time was absolutely necessary to insure the safety of the scout.’ He had no occasion to delay. The loud noise the latter conceived it politic to continue. and were now swiftly approaching the shelter of the woods. proving their principal friends. drew many curious gazers to the doors of the different huts as thy passed. at least. for at the next instant a burst of cries filled the outer air. led to the act by superstition and watchfulness. and glided ahead.’ Then. like sportsmen  The Last of the Mohicans . Hawkeye tapped him lightly on the shoulder. The adventurers had got clear of the village. however. when a loud and long cry arose from the lodge where Uncas had been confined. and ran along the whole extent of the village. The Mohican started on his feet. and shook his shaggy covering. ‘Hold!’ said the scout. The least injudicious or impatient movement on the part of David might betray them. in order to witness the effect of the incantations. the darkness of the hour. interrupted. with all their attendant accouterments. ‘Now let the devils strike our scent!’ said the scout. throwing their pieces to a low trail. as though the animal he counterfeited was about to make some desperate effort. as to induce the watchers to approach the hut.fear. and stepped forth in his own beautiful proportions. and flourishing ‘killdeer’ as he handed Uncas his weapon. ‘let them yell again! ‘Twas nothing but wonderment. from beneath a bush. will find it to their deaths. and the boldness of the attempt. They were not. tearing two rifles. and once or twice a darklooking warrior stepped across their path. grasping his friend by the shoulder. Uncas cast his skin.

they dashed  .in readiness for their game. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and were soon buried in the somber darkness of the forest.

For several minutes they mistook the form of David for that of the prisoner.’—Julius Caesar T he impatience of the savages who lingered about the prison of Uncas. They stole cautiously. They rushed together into the lodge. on their captive. It was The Last of the Mohicans 0 . immediately detected the imposition. and exposed his simple. At first the Hurons believed the Delaware had been thus deformed by witchcraft. mild countenance.Chapter 27 ‘Ant. to a crevice. until one of his misshapen feet actually came in contact with and shoved aside the embers of the fire. it would have exceeded the credulity of even a native to have doubted any longer. turned his head. unconscious of being observed. with but little ceremony. as has been seen. had overcome their dread of the conjurer’s breath. it is performed. the singer gradually suffered the lower limbs to extend themselves. laying their hands. I shall remember: When C’sar says Do this. but the very accident which Hawkeye had foreseen occurred. in place of the haughty lineaments of their prisoner. and with beating hearts. Then arose the cry first heard by the fugitives. But when David. Tired of keeping the extremities of his long person so near together. through which the faint light of the fire was glimmering. and.

the presence of the cunning Magua could scarcely fail of being needed. The escape was soon known. A native warrior fights as he sleeps. In the meantime. The Indians were seasonably reminded of his infirmity. in a body. hardly uttered before two hundred men were afoot. David. as either might be required. designed no mischief. therefore. In such a sudden demand on their wisdom. and all looked round in wonder that he did not 1 . firm in his determination to cover the retreat of his friends. Deprived of his book and his pipe. rushing into the open air. the whole encampment exhibited another scene of wild and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he endeavored to smooth his passage into the other world by singing the opening verse of a funeral anthem. and ready for the battle or the chase. and breaking forth in a loud and impassioned strain. under cover of the woods. impatiently awaiting the instruction of their chiefs. they aroused the village in the manner described. and.succeeded by the most frantic and angry demonstrations of vengeance. without the protection of anything defensive. Women and children ran to and fro. he was fain to trust to a memory that rarely failed him on such subjects. in order to ascertain that their suspected neighbors. The sounds of the alarm were. and the whole tribe crowded. the Delawares. some of the swiftest and most discreet of the young men were ordered to make the circuit of the clearing. around the council-lodge. His name was mentioned. and. was compelled to believe that his own final hour had come. in short. Messengers were then despatched to his lodge requiring his presence. however.

what he knew. ten of the wisest and firmest among the chiefs were selected to prosecute the investigation. who had been left so long by the scout in duress. and in a few minutes the oldest and most distinguished chiefs were assembled in the lodge. with the firmness of warriors ready to devote themselves to the public good. and the whole proceeded along the low. Notwithstanding this man was held in very unequal estimation among the Hurons. On reaching the entrance. The crowd without gave way. related. though. When his brief story was ended. in a few pithy expression.savage confusion. As no time was to be lost. who might be expected to communicate some intelligence that would explain the mystery of the novel surprise. and several warriors entered the place. and others deeming him an impostor. however. some believing implicitly in his power. the instant the choice was made the individuals appointed rose in a body and left the place without speaking. the father of the sick woman stepped forth. at the same time. and. in his turn. which were now made with the characteristic cunning of savages. the younger men in advance made way for their seniors. The clamor of many voices soon announced that a party approached. these symptoms of disorder diminished. These two narratives gave a proper direction to the subsequent inquiries. secretly doubting the nature of the power with which  The Last of the Mohicans . Gradually. Instead of rushing in a confused and disorderly throng to the cavern. in grave consultation. dark gallery. he was now listened to by all with the deepest attention. bringing with them the hapless conjurer.

they were about to contend. The outer apartment of the cavern was silent and gloomy. The woman lay in her usual place and posture, though there were those present who affirmed they had seen her borne to the woods by the supposed ‘medicine of the white men.’ Such a direct and palpable contradiction of the tale related by the father caused all eyes to be turned on him. Chafed by the silent imputation, and inwardly troubled by so unaccountable a circumstance, the chief advanced to the side of the bed, and, stooping, cast an incredulous look at the features, as if distrusting their reality. His daughter was dead. The unerring feeling of nature for a moment prevailed and the old warrior hid his eyes in sorrow. Then, recovering his self-possession, he faced his companions, and, pointing toward the corpse, he said, in the language of his people: ‘The wife of my young man has left us! The Great Spirit is angry with his children.’ The mournful intelligence was received in solemn silence. After a short pause, one of the elder Indians was about to speak, when a dark-looking object was seen rolling out of an adjoining apartment, into the very center of the room where they stood. Ignorant of the nature of the beings they had to deal with, the whole party drew back a little, and, rising on end, exhibited the distorted but still fierce and sullen features of Magua. The discovery was succeeded by a general exclamation of amazement. As soon, however, as the true situation of the chief was understood, several knives appeared, and his limbs and tongue were quickly released. The Huron arose, and shook
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himself like a lion quitting his lair. Not a word escaped him, though his hand played convulsively with the handle of his knife, while his lowering eyes scanned the whole party, as if they sought an object suited to the first burst of his vengeance. It was happy for Uncas and the scout, and even David, that they were all beyond the reach of his arm at such a moment; for, assuredly, no refinement in cruelty would then have deferred their deaths, in opposition to the promptings of the fierce temper that nearly choked him. Meeting everywhere faces that he knew as friends, the savage grated his teeth together like rasps of iron, and swallowed his passion for want of a victim on whom to vent it. This exhibition of anger was noted by all present; and from an apprehension of exasperating a temper that was already chafed nearly to madness, several minutes were suffered to pass before another word was uttered. When, however, suitable time had elapsed, the oldest of the party spoke. ‘My friend has found an enemy,’ he said. ‘Is he nigh that the Hurons might take revenge?’ ‘Let the Delaware die!’ exclaimed Magua, in a voice of thunder. Another longer and expressive silence was observed, and was broken, as before, with due precaution, by the same individual. ‘The Mohican is swift of foot, and leaps far,’ he said; ‘but my young men are on his trail.’ ‘Is he gone?’ demanded Magua, in tones so deep and guttural, that they seemed to proceed from his inmost chest. 
The Last of the Mohicans

‘An evil spirit has been among us, and the Delaware has blinded our eyes.’ ‘An evil spirit!’ repeated the other, mockingly; ‘tis the spirit that has taken the lives of so many Hurons; the spirit that slew my young men at ‘the tumbling river’; that took their scalps at the ‘healing spring’; and who has, now, bound the arms of Le Renard Subtil!’ ‘Of whom does my friend speak?’ ‘Of the dog who carries the heart and cunning of a Huron under a pale skin — La Longue Carabine.’ The pronunciation of so terrible a name produced the usual effect among his auditors. But when time was given for reflection, and the warriors remembered that their formidable and daring enemy had even been in the bosom of their encampment, working injury, fearful rage took the place of wonder, and all those fierce passions with which the bosom of Magua had just been struggling were suddenly transferred to his companions. Some among them gnashed their teeth in anger, others vented their feelings in yells, and some, again, beat the air as frantically as if the object of their resentment were suffering under their blows. But this sudden outbreaking of temper as quickly subsided in the still and sullen restraint they most affected in their moments of inaction. Magua, who had in his turn found leisure for reflection, now changed his manner, and assumed the air of one who knew how to think and act with a dignity worthy of so grave a subject. ‘Let us go to my people,’ he said; ‘they wait for us.’
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His companions consented in silence, and the whole of the savage party left the cavern and returned to the council-lodge. When they were seated, all eyes turned on Magua, who understood, from such an indication, that, by common consent, they had devolved the duty of relating what had passed on him. He arose, and told his tale without duplicity or reservation. The whole deception practised by both Duncan and Hawkeye was, of course, laid naked, and no room was found, even for the most superstitious of the tribe, any longer to affix a doubt on the character of the occurrences. It was but too apparent that they had been insultingly, shamefully, disgracefully deceived. When he had ended, and resumed his seat, the collected tribe — for his auditors, in substance, included all the fighting men of the party — sat regarding each other like men astonished equally at the audacity and the success of their enemies. The next consideration, however, was the means and opportunities for revenge. Additional pursuers were sent on the trail of the fugitives; and then the chiefs applied themselves, in earnest, to the business of consultation. Many different expedients were proposed by the elder warriors, in succession, to all of which Magua was a silent and respectful listener. That subtle savage had recovered his artifice and self-command, and now proceeded toward his object with his customary caution and skill. It was only when each one disposed to speak had uttered his sentiments, that he prepared to advance his own opinions. They were given with additional weight from the circumstance that some of the runners had already re The Last of the Mohicans

turned, and reported that their enemies had been traced so far as to leave no doubt of their having sought safety in the neighboring camp of their suspected allies, the Delawares. With the advantage of possessing this important intelligence, the chief warily laid his plans before his fellows, and, as might have been anticipated from his eloquence and cunning, they were adopted without a dissenting voice. They were, briefly, as follows, both in opinions and in motives. It has been already stated that, in obedience to a policy rarely departed from, the sisters were separated so soon as they reached the Huron village. Magua had early discovered that in retaining the person of Alice, he possessed the most effectual check on Cora. When they parted, therefore, he kept the former within reach of his hand, consigning the one he most valued to the keeping of their allies. The arrangement was understood to be merely temporary, and was made as much with a view to flatter his neighbors as in obedience to the invariable rule of Indian policy. While goaded incessantly by these revengeful impulses that in a savage seldom slumber, the chief was still attentive to his more permanent personal interests. The follies and disloyalty committed in his youth were to be expiated by a long and painful penance, ere he could be restored to the full enjoyment of the confidence of his ancient people; and without confidence there could be no authority in an Indian tribe. In this delicate and arduous situation, the crafty native had neglected no means of increasing his influence; and one of the happiest of his expedients had been the success with which he had cultivated the favor of their powerful
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and dangerous neighbors. The result of his experiment had answered all the expectations of his policy; for the Hurons were in no degree exempt from that governing principle of nature, which induces man to value his gifts precisely in the degree that they are appreciated by others. But, while he was making this ostensible sacrifice to general considerations, Magua never lost sight of his individual motives. The latter had been frustrated by the unlooked-for events which had placed all his prisoners beyond his control; and he now found himself reduced to the necessity of suing for favors to those whom it had so lately been his policy to oblige. Several of the chiefs had proposed deep and treacherous schemes to surprise the Delawares and, by gaining possession of their camp, to recover their prisoners by the same blow; for all agreed that their honor, their interests, and the peace and happiness of their dead countrymen, imperiously required them speedily to immolate some victims to their revenge. But plans so dangerous to attempt, and of such doubtful issue, Magua found little difficulty in defeating. He exposed their risk and fallacy with his usual skill; and it was only after he had removed every impediment, in the shape of opposing advice, that he ventured to propose his own projects. He commenced by flattering the self-love of his auditors; a never-failing method of commanding attention. When he had enumerated the many different occasions on which the Hurons had exhibited their courage and prowess, in the punishment of insults, he digressed in a high enco The Last of the Mohicans

mium on the virtue of wisdom. He painted the quality as forming the great point of difference between the beaver and other brutes; between the brutes and men; and, finally, between the Hurons, in particular, and the rest of the human race. After he had sufficiently extolled the property of discretion, he undertook to exhibit in what manner its use was applicable to the present situation of their tribe. On the one hand, he said, was their great pale father, the governor of the Canadas, who had looked upon his children with a hard eye since their tomahawks had been so red; on the other, a people as numerous as themselves, who spoke a different language, possessed different interests, and loved them not, and who would be glad of any pretense to bring them in disgrace with the great white chief. Then he spoke of their necessities; of the gifts they had a right to expect for their past services; of their distance from their proper hunting-grounds and native villages; and of the necessity of consulting prudence more, and inclination less, in so critical circumstances. When he perceived that, while the old men applauded his moderation, many of the fiercest and most distinguished of the warriors listened to these politic plans with lowering looks, he cunningly led them back to the subject which they most loved. He spoke openly of the fruits of their wisdom, which he boldly pronounced would be a complete and final triumph over their enemies. He even darkly hinted that their success might be extended, with proper caution, in such a manner as to include the destruction of all whom they had reason to hate. In short, he so blended the warlike with the artful, the obvious with the
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obscure, as to flatter the propensities of both parties, and to leave to each subject of hope, while neither could say it clearly comprehended his intentions. The orator, or the politician, who can produce such a state of things, is commonly popular with his contemporaries, however he may be treated by posterity. All perceived that more was meant than was uttered, and each one believed that the hidden meaning was precisely such as his own faculties enabled him to understand, or his own wishes led him to anticipate. In this happy state of things, it is not surprising that the management of Magua prevailed. The tribe consented to act with deliberation, and with one voice they committed the direction of the whole affair to the government of the chief who had suggested such wise and intelligible expedients. Magua had now attained one great object of all his cunning and enterprise. The ground he had lost in the favor of his people was completely regained, and he found himself even placed at the head of affairs. He was, in truth, their ruler; and, so long as he could maintain his popularity, no monarch could be more despotic, especially while the tribe continued in a hostile country. Throwing off, therefore, the appearance of consultation, he assumed the grave air of authority necessary to support the dignity of his office. Runners were despatched for intelligence in different directions; spies were ordered to approach and feel the encampment of the Delawares; the warriors were dismissed to their lodges, with an intimation that their services would soon be needed; and the women and children were ordered 
0 The Last of the Mohicans

to retire, with a warning that it was their province to be silent. When these several arrangements were made, Magua passed through the village, stopping here and there to pay a visit where he thought his presence might be flattering to the individual. He confirmed his friends in their confidence, fixed the wavering, and gratified all. Then he sought his own lodge. The wife the Huron chief had abandoned, when he was chased from among his people, was dead. Children he had none; and he now occupied a hut, without companion of any sort. It was, in fact, the dilapidated and solitary structure in which David had been discovered, and whom he had tolerated in his presence, on those few occasions when they met, with the contemptuous indifference of a haughty superiority. Hither, then, Magua retired, when his labors of policy were ended. While others slept, however, he neither knew or sought repose. Had there been one sufficiently curious to have watched the movements of the newly elected chief, he would have seen him seated in a corner of his lodge, musing on the subject of his future plans, from the hour of his retirement to the time he had appointed for the warriors to assemble again. Occasionally the air breathed through the crevices of the hut, and the low flame that fluttered about the embers of the fire threw their wavering light on the person of the sullen recluse. At such moments it would not have been difficult to have fancied the dusky savage the Prince of Darkness brooding on his own fancied wrongs, and plotting evil. Long before the day dawned, however, warrior after
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warrior entered the solitary hut of Magua, until they had collected to the number of twenty. Each bore his rifle, and all the other accouterments of war, though the paint was uniformly peaceful. The entrance of these fierce-looking beings was unnoticed: some seating themselves in the shadows of the place, and others standing like motionless statues, until the whole of the designated band was collected. Then Magua arose and gave the signal to proceed, marching himself in advance. They followed their leader singly, and in that well-known order which has obtained the distinguishing appellation of ‘Indian file.’ Unlike other men engaged in the spirit-stirring business of war, they stole from their camp unostentatiously and unobserved resembling a band of gliding specters, more than warriors seeking the bubble reputation by deeds of desperate daring. Instead of taking the path which led directly toward the camp of the Delawares, Magua led his party for some distance down the windings of the stream, and along the little artificial lake of the beavers. The day began to dawn as they entered the clearing which had been formed by those sagacious and industrious animals. Though Magua, who had resumed his ancient garb, bore the outline of a fox on the dressed skin which formed his robe, there was one chief of his party who carried the beaver as his peculiar symbol, or ‘totem.’ There would have been a species of profanity in the omission, had this man passed so powerful a community of his fancied kindred, without bestowing some evidence of his regard. Accordingly, he paused, and spoke in words as kind and friendly as if he were addressing more intelligent be The Last of the Mohicans

ings. He called the animals his cousins, and reminded them that his protecting influence was the reason they remained unharmed, while many avaricious traders were prompting the Indians to take their lives. He promised a continuance of his favors, and admonished them to be grateful. After which, he spoke of the expedition in which he was himself engaged, and intimated, though with sufficient delicacy and circumlocution, the expediency of bestowing on their relative a portion of that wisdom for which they were so renowned.* * These harangues of the beasts were frequent among the Indians. They often address their victims in this way, reproaching them for cowardice or commending their resolution, as they may happen to exhibit fortitude or the reverse, in suffering. During the utterance of this extraordinary address, the companions of the speaker were as grave and as attentive to his language as though they were all equally impressed with its propriety. Once or twice black objects were seen rising to the surface of the water, and the Huron expressed pleasure, conceiving that his words were not bestowed in vain. Just as he ended his address, the head of a large beaver was thrust from the door of a lodge, whose earthen walls had been much injured, and which the party had believed, from its situation, to be uninhabited. Such an extraordinary sign of confidence was received by the orator as a highly favorable omen; and though the animal retreated a little precipitately, he was lavish of his thanks and commendations. When Magua thought sufficient time had been lost in
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by seeing the entire animal issue from the lodge. the same venerable-looking beaver once more ventured his head from its cover. they would have seen the animal watching their movements with an interest and sagacity that might easily have been mistaken for reason. and with a step that would have been inaudible to the ears of any common man. Indeed. that even the most experienced observer would have been at a loss to account for its actions.  The Last of the Mohicans . so very distinct and intelligible were the devices of the quadruped.gratifying the family affection of the warrior. As the Indians moved away in a body. he again made the signal to proceed. the grave features of Chingachgook from his mask of fur. Had any of the Hurons turned to look behind them. uncasing. by the act. until the moment when the party entered the forest. when the whole would have been explained.

that their hatchets were dull. It was the prevalent opinion. for you see. however. to withhold their assistance at the moment when it was most required. Like their neighbors. The politic captain of the Canadas Free eBooks at Planet eBook. of Delawares. and now rendered them reluctant to encounter their former masters. and whose present place of encampment was so nigh the temporary village of the Hurons. ‘tis a busy time with me. it had been content to announce to Montcalm. they had followed Montcalm into the territories of the English crown. The French had accounted for this unexpected defection on the part of their ally in various ways.’— Much Ado About Nothing T he tribe. or rather half tribe. As for the tribe itself. that they had been influenced by veneration for the ancient treaty. I pray for you. through his emissaries. that had once made them dependent on the Six Nations for military  . with the mysterious reserve so common among the natives. and were making heavy and serious inroads on the hunting-grounds of the Mohawks. could assemble about an equal number of warriors with the latter people. which has been so often mentioned. though they had seen fit. and time was necessary to sharpen them.Chapter 28 ‘Brief. with Indian brevity.

musing more than they conversed and when a few words were uttered. some engaged in preparing their morning’s meal. Here and there a warrior was examining his arms. but none departed. He was without arms. but more pausing to exchange hasty and whispered sentences with their friends.  The Last of the Mohicans . actively employed in all the customary avocations of high noon. the eyes of a whole group were turned simultaneously toward a large and silent lodge in the center of the village. And occasionally.had deemed it wiser to submit to entertain a passive friend. than by any acts of ill-judged severity to convert him into an open enemy. The women ran from lodge to lodge. in the manner described. The warriors were lounging in groups. a few earnestly bent on seeking the comforts necessary to their habits. On that morning when Magua led his silent party from the settlement of the beavers into the forests. with an attention that is rarely bestowed on the implements. When in full view of the Delawares he stopped. speaking like men who deeply weighed their opinions. During the existence of this scene. a man suddenly appeared at the furthest extremity of a platform of rock which formed the level of the village. and made a gesture of amity. as if it contained the subject of their common thoughts. and his paint tended rather to soften than increase the natural sternness of his austere countenance. when no other enemy than the beasts of the forest is expected to be encountered. The instruments of the chase were to be seen in abundance among the lodges. the sun rose upon the Delaware encampment as if it had suddenly burst upon a busy people.

opening the way to their most approved orator by the action. When he had reached the group in which it was evident. neglecting to notice the  . Fortified by these assurances. By corn is meant maise. like one who deemed their favor. the stranger paused. As he approached. where it had stood a moment. nothing was audible but the rattling of the light silver ornaments that loaded his arms and neck. The inhabitants of the village answered his salute by a low murmur of welcome. and encouraged him to advance by similar indications of friendship. and the tinkling of the little bells that fringed his deerskin moccasins. as he advanced. by the haughtiness of their common mien. Le Renard Subtil. ‘he is come to eat his ‘succotash’*. ‘The wise Huron is welcome. with his brothers of the lakes. many courteous signs of greeting to the men he passed. He made. in the language of the Maquas. and then letting it fall impressively on his breast. and wary. of no importance. drawn in a strong outline against the blushing morning sky. His reception was grave. that the principal chiefs were collected. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. silent. in the present enterprise.’ * A dish composed of cracked corn and beans. the dark figure left the brow of the natural rocky terrace. It is much used also by the whites. and then the Delawares saw that the active and erect form that stood before them was that of the well-known Huron throwing his arm upward toward heaven. The warriors in front stepped aside.’ said the Delaware. however. and moved with dignity into the very center of the huts. one who spoke all those languages that were cultivated among the northern aborigines.

It would have been impossible for the most finished breeding to wear more of the appearance of considering the visit as a thing of course.’ repeated Magua. and share his morning meal. and yet not betraying the least impatience by sign or word.’ The Delaware gravely bowed his acquiescence to what he knew to be false. and the two parties began to prepare themselves for a subtle trial of their wits. ‘When was it ever otherwise?’ returned Magua. The chief extended his arm and taking the other by the wrist. in which Magua had so lately been engaged. ‘Is the face of my great Canada father turned again toward his Huron children?’ demanded the orator of the Delawares. bending his head with the dignity of an eastern prince. and the two warriors. The invitation was accepted. leaving the rest of the tribe devoured by a desire to understand the reasons of so unusual a visit. and related entirely to the events of the hunt. ‘He calls my people ‘most beloved’. the squaws removed the trenchers and gourds. notwithstanding every individual present was perfectly aware that it must be connected with some secret object and that probably of importance to themselves. the conversation was extremely circumspect.‘He is come. attended by three or four of the old men. and continued:  The Last of the Mohicans . During the short and frugal repast that followed. than did his hosts. When the appetites of the whole were appeased. walked calmly away. Then the Delaware invited his guest to enter his own lodge. they once more exchanged friendly salutations.

still more  . before he added: Free eBooks at Planet eBook. if she gives trouble to my brother. to the repulse he had received in this his opening effort to regain possession of Cora. Why should they brighten their tomahawks and sharpen their knives against each other? Are not the pale faces thicker than the swallows in the season of flowers?’ ‘Good!’ exclaimed two or three of his auditors at the same time. as if recalled to such a recollection.’ returned the other a little haughtily. for the Yengeese are dead.’ ‘It is so. apparently indifferent. however.‘The tomahawks of your young men have been very red. ‘It is well. ‘Do my young men leave the Delawares room on the mountains for their hunts?’ he at length continued. Justice is the master of a red-skin. Then Magua. and the Delawares are our neighbors.’ ‘She is welcome.’ ‘The path between the Hurons and the Delawares is short and it is open. and remained silent. The baffled Magua continued silent several minutes. Magua waited a little. let her be sent to my squaws.’ The other acknowledged the pacific compliment by a gesture of the hand.’ returned the chief of the latter nation. ‘The Lenape are rulers of their own hills. to permit his words to soften the feelings of the Delawares. by the allusion to the massacre. but they are now bright and dull. demanded: ‘Does my prisoner give trouble to my brothers?’ ‘She is welcome.

and gravely spread his presents before the dazzled eyes of his hosts.‘Have there not been strange moccasins in the woods? Have not my brothers scented the feet of white men?’ ‘Let my Canada father come. ‘I have brought gifts to my brother. and legs that never tire! My young men dreamed they had seen the trail of the Yengeese nigh the village of the Delawares!’ ‘They will not find the Lenape asleep. But the Yengeese have long arms. once more shifting his ground.’ ‘It is well. In short. His nation would not go on the warpath. The warrior whose eye is open can see his enemy. because they did not think it well. but their friends have remembered where they lived. he seasoned his offerings to their inferiors with such welltimed and apposite compliments. that it was not difficult for the donor immediately to read the ef0 The Last of the Mohicans . evasively. plundered from the slaughtered females of William Henry.’ returned the other. when he found himself unable to penetrate the caution of his companion. While he bestowed those of greater value on the two most distinguished warriors. ‘his children are ready to see him. They consisted principally of trinkets of little value. too.’ ‘When the great chief comes. it is to smoke with the Indians in their wigwams. the whole ceremony contained such a happy blending of the profitable with the flattering.’ When he had thus announced his liberal intention. In the division of the baubles the cunning Huron discovered no less art than in their selection. he is welcome. The Hurons say. the crafty chief arose. as left them no ground of complaint.’ said Magua. one of whom was his host.

and the host.’ an appellation that the French had translated into ‘le Coeurdur.’ returned Magua. Has not my brother scented spies in the woods?’ The Delaware. after contemplating his own liberal share of the spoil for some moments with peculiar gratification. This well-judged and politic stroke on the part of Magua was not without instantaneous results. which had probably obtained him so significant a title. ‘Why should they not? they are colored by the same sun. whose name in English signified ‘Hard Heart.’ forgot that obduracy of purpose. in the eyes of those he addressed. ‘It would not do. The red-skins should be friends. but not the spy. His countenance grew very sensibly less stern and he now deigned to answer more directly. and look with open eyes on the white men. repeated with strong emphasis.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘The stranger. The stranger is always welcome to the children of the 1 .’ ‘Did my brother beat out the dogs?’ asked Magua. in particular. without adverting in any manner to the former equivocation of the chief. and their just men will hunt in the same grounds after death. ‘There have been strange moccasins about my camp.fect of a generosity so aptly mingled with praise. the words: ‘My brother is a wise chief.’ ‘The Hurons love their friends the Delawares. They have been tracked into my lodges. The Delawares lost their gravity in a much more cordial expression. He is welcome.

‘Would the Yengeese send their women as spies? Did not the Huron chief say he took women in the battle?’ ‘He told no lie. their hunting-grounds and hundreds of their women and children. Accordingly. were actually within the limits of the French territory.’ ‘Will he think so when he hears that his greatest enemy is fed in the camp of his children? When he is told a bloody  The Last of the Mohicans . The recent defection of the tribe had. as they well knew themselves. Their distant villages. the Delawares are our friends. subjected the Delawares to much reproach among their French allies. They have been in my wigwams. with manifest disapprobation. together with a material part of their physical force. The Yengeese have sent out their scouts. they had dreams for not doing so. if not with alarm. ‘he will see no change. Then they fled to the Delawares — for. and one that in a more advanced state of society would have entitled Magua to the reputation of a skillful diplomatist. this alarming annunciation was received. say they. and they were now made to feel that their future actions were to be regarded with jealousy and distrust. their minds are turned from their Canada father!’ This insinuation was a home thrust. as Magua intended. But they love and venerate the great white chief.’ said Le Coeur-dur. It is true. ‘Let my father look in my face. but they found there no one to say welcome. There was no deep insight into causes and effects necessary to foresee that such a situation of things was likely to prove highly prejudicial to their future movements. my young men did not go out on the war-path.

for the first time. were common to them all. with the important intelligence that Magua had just communicated. until the whole encampment became powerfully agitated. and the usual low. ‘Let the Delawares count their prisoners. deep. leaning his head against the side of the lodge. ‘What does my brother mean?’ demanded Le Coeur-dur. they will find one whose skin is neither red nor pale. far exceeded the usual apathy of his race. The news spread from mouth to mouth. The chief consulted apart with his companions. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. one so famous among the Indian allies of France was within their power. guttural exclamation. ‘A Huron never lies!’ returned  . coldly. in turn. in a tone that. they were each made acquainted.Yengee smokes at your fire? That the pale face who has slain so many of his friends goes in and out among the Delawares? Go! my great Canada father is not a fool!’ ‘Where is the Yengee that the Delawares fear?’ returned the other. and drawing his slight robe across his tawny breast. by its wonder. betraying by their amazement.’ A long and musing pause succeeded. ‘who has slain my young men? Who is the mortal enemy of my Great Father?’ ‘La Longue Carabine!’ The Delaware warriors started at the well-known name. As warrior after warrior dropped in. The air of surprise. that they now learned. and messengers despatched to collect certain others of the most distinguished men of the tribe.

as if he had no interest in the result. and all other pursuits seemed discarded in order that the tribe might freely indulge. against the side of the lodge. he knew their intentions. Magua had not only maintained his seat. to catch such syllables as unguardedly fell from the lips of the consulting warriors. The boys deserted their sports. When it was ended. escaped his vigilant eyes. With his consummate knowledge of the nature of the people with whom he had to deal. looked up in curious admiration. and in the midst of the general commotion. however. he anticipated every measure on which they decided. as they heard the brief exclamations of wonder they so freely expressed the temerity of their hated foe. that. the old men disposed themselves seriously to consider that which it became the honor and safety of their tribe to perform. and walking fearlessly among their fathers. in many instances. and it might almost be said. The council of the Delawares was short. but the very attitude he had originally taken. after their own peculiar manner. During all these movements. Not a single indication of the future intentions of his hosts. where he continued as immovable. and. under circumstances of so much delicacy and embarrassment.The women suspended their labors. a general bustle announced that it was to be immediately succeeded by a solemn and formal assemblage of the  The Last of the Mohicans . in an open expression of feeling. even before they became known to themselves. apparently. every occupation was abandoned for the time. In short. When the excitement had a little abated. as unconcerned.

It rested solely with the oldest and most experienced of the men to lay the subject of the conference before the people. injudicious discussion. and. and as deeply interested a multitude. perhaps. therefore. left the lodge and walked silently forth to the place. An act of so much precipitancy and presumption would seal the downfall of precocious intellect forever. in front of the encampment. But when the sun was seen climbing above the tops of that mountain. in order that his own reputation may be the gainer. as was probably ever before lighted by his morning beams. and only called on occasions of the last importance. As such meetings were rare. was in his  . He. a wily and dark observer of the proceedings. The delay had been created by the grave preparations that were deemed necessary to so solemn and unusual a conference. whither the warriors were already beginning to collect. as attentive. there is never to be found any impatient aspirant after premature distinction.nation. Its number somewhat exceeded a thousand souls. including even the women and children. Until such a one chose to make some movement. who still sat apart. no natural gifts. In a collection of so serious savages. most were seated. and as his bright rays darted from behind the outline of trees that fringed the eminence. now knew that all his projects must be brought to their final issue. standing ready to move his auditors to some hasty. no deeds in arms. against whose bosom the Delawares had constructed their encampment. nor any renown as an orFree eBooks at Planet eBook. the subtle Huron. they fell upon as grave. It might have been half an hour before each individual.

inch by inch. At length one of those low murmurs. but no sign of impatience or surprise escaped even the youngest boy. in no manner distinguished from those around it. in such thickness. was heard. that was. and the whole nation arose to their feet by a common impulse. even beyond that period to which the oldest present had reached. His dark. however. would have justified the slightest interruption. which had once been tall and erect. except in the peculiar care that had been taken to protect it against the assaults of the weather. was silent. The elastic. the aged warrior whose privilege it was to speak. that are so apt to disturb a multitude. His frame. wrinkled countenance was in singular and wild contrast with the long white locks which floated on his shoulders.ator. light step of an Indian was gone. was now bending under the pressure of more than a century. slowly approached the place of consultation. like the cedar. where the looks of most were riveted. and three men. who leaned on his companions for support. but one in the center. seemingly oppressed with the magnitude of his subject. On the present occasion. and in its place he was compelled to toil his tardy way over the ground. as to announce that generations had probably passed away since  The Last of the Mohicans . At that instant the door of the lodge in question opened. and strayed toward a particular lodge. Occasionally an eye was raised from the earth. had numbered an amount of years to which the human race is seldom permitted to attain. They were all aged. The delay had already continued long beyond the usual deliberative pause that always preceded a conference. issuing from it.

com  . and the handle of his knife shone like a horn of solid gold. considering his vast age. His tomahawk was nearly hid in silver. which the sudden appearance of this venerated individual created. bore lesser and more glittering ornaments. that sparkled amid the glossy hues of three drooping ostrich feathers. of the latter precious metal. though strictly after the simple fashions of the tribe. His bosom was loaded with medals. and cinctures above the ankles.they had last been shorn. in its turn. the name of ‘Tamenund’ was whispered from mouth to mouth. the gifts of various Christian potentates during the long period of his life. which. in conjunction with his affinity and influence with his people. So soon as the first hum of emotion and pleasure. with some slight alteraFree eBooks at Planet eBook. the pursuits of war having so long been abandoned. which had been deprived of their fur. some in massive silver. and which has since transmitted his name. The dress of this patriarch — for such. He also wore armlets. was encircled by a sort of plated diadem. Magua had often heard the fame of this wise and just Delaware. His robe was of the finest skins. on the whole of which the hair had been permitted to grow. done in former ages. a reputation that even proceeded so far as to bestow on him the rare gift of holding secret communion with the Great Spirit. in order to admit of a hieroglyphical representation of various deeds in arms. and one or two even in gold. His head. in touching contrast to the color of his snow-white locks. had a little subsided. dyed a deep black. he might very properly be termed — was rich and imposing.

which had been traced over most of his person by the operation of tattooing. to a spot whence he might catch a nearer glimpse of the features of the man. as though the organs were wearied with having so long witnessed the selfish workings of the human passions. where he seated himself in the center of his nation. * The Americans sometimes called their tutelar saint Tamenay. The Huron chief. whose decision was likely to produce so deep an influence on his own fortunes. as the imaginary tutelar saint* of a vast empire. and. he passed the observant and silent Magua without notice. with the dignity of a monarch and the air of a father. stepped eagerly out a little from the throng.tion. was received by his people. therefore. There are many traditions which speak of the character and power of Tamenund. The eyes of the old man were closed. Nothing could surpass the reverence and affection with which this unexpected visit from one who belongs rather to another world than to this. After a suitable and decent pause. being richer and darker. seeming to entreat a blessing. the latter having been produced by certain delicate and mazy lines of complicated and yet beautiful figures. to the white usurpers of his ancient territory. they placed his hands reverently on their heads. approaching the patriarch. The color of his skin differed from that of most around him. Notwithstanding the position of the Huron. a corruption of the name of the renowned chief here introduced. the principal chiefs arose. and leaning on his two venerable supporters proceeded to the high place of the multitude. The younger  The Last of the Mohicans .

and when the party had were content with touching his  . the great mass of the multitude deeming it a sufficient happiness to look upon a form so deeply venerated. When these acts of affection and respect were performed. or even drawing nigh his person. a few of the young men. the chiefs drew back again to their several places. to whom instructions had been whispered by one of the aged attendants of Tamenund. arose. in order to breathe in the atmosphere of one so aged. left the crowd. forming a large and dense belt of human bodies. it closed in again. and silence reigned in the whole encampment. and entered the lodge which has already been noted as the object of so much attention throughout that morning. In a few minutes they reappeared. None but the most distinguished among the youthful warriors even presumed so far as to perform the latter ceremony. arranged in an open circle. and so valiant. so just. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and so well beloved. After a short delay. The crowd opened in a lane. escorting the individuals who had caused all these solemn preparations toward the seat of judgment.

The former. and after the usual long. Achilles thus the king of men addressed. rising o’er the rest. and demanded aloud. impressive pause. Uncas was not there. no apprehension on her own account could prevent the nobler-minded maiden from keeping her eyes fastened on the pale and anxious features of the trembling Alice. Notwithstanding the fearful and menacing array of savages on every side of her. Hawkeye had placed himself a little in the rear.Chapter 29 ‘The assembly seated. one of the two aged chiefs who sat at the side of the patriarch arose. Close at their side stood Heyward. in very intelligible English: ‘Which of my prisoners is La Longue Carabine?’ Neither Duncan nor the scout answered. entwining her arms in those of Alice. in the tenderness of sisterly love. with an interest in both. however.’—Pope’s Illiad ora stood foremost among the prisoners. that. at such a moment of intense uncertainty. scarcely knew a preponderance in favor of her whom he most loved. glanced his eyes around the dark and silent as0 The Last of the Mohicans C . When perfect silence was again restored. with a deference to the superior rank of his companions. that no similarity in the state of their present fortunes could induce him to forget.

a little at a loss in what manner to proceed. at any or every hazard to himself. and 1 . remained silent. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Give us arms. and now dreaded that his companion was to be selected for a second. that this wily savage had some secret agency in their present arraignment before the nation. and determined to throw every possible impediment in the way of the execution of his sinister plans. when they fell on the malignant visage of Magua.sembly. I come for food.’ the young man haughtily replied. when first beholding one of his fellows to whom merit or accident. he suddenly determined to cloak his invaluable friend. the mouth has spoken. but the scout. and recoiled a pace. and not the friends of the Yengeese. The head of a warrior needs no other shelter than a sky without clouds. to speak.’ Duncan. however. Our deeds shall speak for us!’ ‘This is the warrior whose name has filled our ears!’ returned the chief. shelter. virtue or crime. at once. ‘What has brought the white man into the camp of the Delawares?’ ‘My necessities. and the Delawares are the enemies. In this dilemma. while the heart said nothing. ‘and place us in yonder woods. who had listened attentively to all that passed. He had witnessed one instance of the summary punishments of the Indians. regarding Heyward with that sort of curious interest which seems inseparable from man. Go. He saw. and with a clearer utterance. the question was repeated in a louder voice. Before he had time. now advanced steadily to the front. The woods are full of game. has given notoriety. with little or no time for reflection.’ ‘It cannot be.

‘for neither one nor the other is the gift of an honest man. still more confirmed in the evil intentions  The Last of the Mohicans . without any warranty from him who is most concerned in the matter. I am the man. Some of their old men consulted together in private. who live on their own river. on the instant. were now turned. But I do not admit the right of the Mingoes to bestow a name on one whose friends have been mindful of his gifts.‘That I did not answer to the call for La Longue Carabine. toward the upright iron frame of this new pretender to the distinguished appellation. ‘Will a wise Delaware believe the barking of a wolf?’ exclaimed Duncan. though rare. ‘My brother has said that a snake crept into my camp. they determined to interrogate their visitor on the subject. which had hitherto been gravely scanning the person of Duncan. ‘which is he?’ The Huron pointed to the scout.’ he said. especially as their title is a lie. were not unknown among the natives. for impostors. in this particular. was not owing either to shame or fear. as it would seem. however. the compliment of Hawkeye from the Delawares. It was in no degree remarkable that there should be found two who were willing to claim so great an honor.’ The eyes of all present. and then.’ said the chief to Magua. that got the name of Nathaniel from my kin. ‘killdeer’ being a grooved barrel and no carabyne. and whom the Iroquois have presumed to style the ‘Long Rifle’. that there should be no mistake in the matter. but it was altogether material to the just and severe intentions of the Delawares.

and a general exclamation of satisfaction announced that the shot was considered Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he fired. ‘My brother has been called a liar. and renewing his aim three several times. over the heads of the seated multitude. They will show that he has spoken the truth.of his ancient enemy: ‘ a dog never lies. and let them prove which is the man. well assured that the sagacity of the Indians would not fail to extract the real merits of the point in  . Raising his rifle with the utmost care. as a compliment. Give my prisoners guns. The bullet cut the wood within a few inches of the vessel. well content that his veracity should be supported by so skillful a marksman as the scout. which lay. for. though he determined to persevere in the deception. he turned away in silent disdain.’ he said. and expressed the determination of the chiefs. after another short consultation. by accident. some fifty yards from the place where they stood. He was not deceived. which he well knew proceeded from distrust of himself. until apprised of the real designs of Magua. the wary Delaware turned to him again. at an earthen vessel. though in the most considerate language. but when was a wolf known to speak the truth?’ The eyes of Magua flashed fire.’ Magua affected to consider the expedient. Heyward smiled to himself at the idea of a competition with the scout. The weapons were instantly placed in the hands of the friendly opponents. on a stump. but suddenly recollecting the necessity of maintaining his presence of mind. and made a gesture of acquiescence. and they were bid to fire. ‘and his friends are angry.

If you know such a being as God. instead of manifesting an intention to contend with the successful marksman. ‘Beat it. and I might draw down evil on tender and innocent heads. like a man who was completely buried in thought. awakened by one of the young Indians who had furnished the arms. produced a sensation of secret awe in all that heard him.’ repeated the young Delaware at the elbow of the scout. therefore. even while he distrusted the forbearance of his enemy. as one who grew to the spot. but Magua himself. Huron.  The Last of the Mohicans . it was better than he expected. where he stood wedged in by the crowd.a proof of great skill in the use of a weapon. raising the short rifle in his right hand. The Delawares held their breath in expectation. From this reverie. Huron!’ exclaimed the scout. angry eye and swelling figure of the scout. however. ‘yes. he was. and no power on earth could prevent the deed! The soaring hawk is not more certain of the dove than I am this moment of you. But. did I choose to send a bullet to your heart! Why should I not? Why! — because the gifts of my color forbid it. and who now touched his shoulder. in your inward soul. saying in exceedingly broken English: ‘Can the pale face beat it?’ ‘Yes. with as much apparent ease as if it were a reed. I could strike you now. as if he would say. he stood leaning on his rifle for more than a minute. and shaking it at Magua. Even Hawkeye nodded his head. remained immovable and calm. for you have reason!’ The flushed countenance. thank Him.

‘Beat what. The first impression of so strange a scene was engrossing admiration.’ The scout laughed aloud — a noise that produced the startling effect of an unnatural sound on Heyward. driving the fragments of the vessel into the air. contemptuously. ‘If the white man is the warrior he pretends. ‘let him strike nigher to the mark. Then a low. by far the larger portion of the tribe were inclined to believe the success of the shot was the result of accident. think it chance? Give him another gun. While some openly testified their satisfaction at so unexampled dexterity. it was discharged. though his eye no longer sought the person of Magua. fool! — what?’ exclaimed Hawkeye. heavily. ‘Does yonder lying Huron. as he suffered it to fall. too. Almost at the same instant. and scattering them on every side. and place Free eBooks at Planet eBook. to the earth. ‘It was chance!’ he exclaimed.’ said the aged chief. into his extended left hand. ran through the multitude. Heyward was not slow to confirm an opinion that was so favorable to his own pretensions. but increasing murmur. ‘none can shoot without an aim!’ ‘Chance!’ echoed the excited woodsman. still flourishing the weapon angrily above his head. then dropping the piece. apparently by the shock. and on whom the secret hints of Heyward to acquiesce in the deception were entirely lost. who was now stubbornly bent on maintaining his identity at every  . the rattling sound of the rifle was heard. and finally swelled into sounds that denoted a lively opposition in the sentiments of the spectators.

‘You see that gourd hanging against yonder tree. if you are a marksman fit for the borders. to you. ‘give them the guns. ‘you have yourself heard him asset you to be La Longue Carabine. let me see you break its shell!’ Duncan noted the object.’ This time the scout seized the rifle with avidity. any further cause for apprehension. by a thong of deerskin.’ he said. while he knew the  The Last of the Mohicans . in the face of this tribe of Delawares. nor had Magua.’ ‘That the Huron is a liar.’ cried the scout. that the young soldier. and prepared himself to renew the trial. for our blood is of a color. had not the aged Delaware once more interposed. which is the better man. and we serve the same master. major. without cover or dodge. So strangely compounded is the feeling of self-love. at the full distance of a hundred yards. tapping the butt of his piece with that finger which had pulled so many fatal triggers. and let Providence. and it was suspended from a dead branch of a small pine. ‘Now let it be proved.’ It were impossible to say what violent assertion the stubborn Hawkeye would have next made. coolly. ‘The hawk which comes from the clouds can return when he will. decide the matter atween us! I do not make the offer. The gourd was one of the usual little vessels used by the Indians. in his headlong wish to vindicate his identity. major.’ returned Heyward. though he watched the movements of the marksman with jealous face to face. is very evident. and our own eyes.

utter worthlessness of the suffrages of his savage umpires. and many a bloody Mingo. and three or four young Indians. it poured forth its contents. and cocked his piece. as though both man and rifle were carved in stone. that his skill was far from being contemptible. and slowly raised the muzzle from the earth: the motion was steady. already. many a marten. glancing sheet of flame. whose skin is now in a lady’s muff. as he  . it remained for a single moment. atween the provinces. forgot the sudden motives of the contest in a wish to excel. I hope the squaw who owns the gourd has more of them in her wigwam. heartfelt manner. on the movements of his rival. inquiringly. while speaking. Had his life depended on the issue. The warriors uttered a common ejaculation of pleasure. ay. When on a perfect level. Again the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. without tremor or variation. the aim of Duncan could not have been more deliberate or guarded. He fired. in a bright. ‘It may do for the Royal Americans!’ said Hawkeye. announced with a shout. who has departed to his final account. ‘but had my gun often turned so much from the true line. and then turned their eyes. would still be in the woods. would be acting his deviltries at this very day. that the ball was in the tree. It had been seen. uniform. During that stationary instant. he threw back a foot. and in one direction. who sprang forward at the report. and he now resolved to put forth its nicest qualities. for this will never hold water again!’ The scout had shook his priming. laughing once more in his own silent. a very little on one side of the proper object. and.

‘Why did you wish to stop my ears?’ he said. they held it on high with an exulting shout. a loud and vehement expression of pleasure burst from the mouth of every warrior present. and not around it!’ The Indian youths instantly comprehended his meaning — for this time he spoke in the Delaware tongue — and tearing the gourd from the tree. but their hurried search and disappointed looks announced that no traces of the bullet were to be seen.’ ‘Ah! had I that piece which furnished the name you use. Those curious and admiring eyes which had been turned again on Heyward. It decided the question. ‘Go!’ said the old chief to the scout. if you would find the bullet of a sharpshooter in these woods. displaying a hole in its bottom.young Indians bounded forward. When the sudden and noisy commotion had a little subsided. which had been cut by the bullet. perfectly undisturbed by the other’s manner. and effectually established Hawkeye in the possession of his dangerous reputation. the aged chief resumed his examination. and drop the gourd without breaking it!’ returned Hawkeye. who immediately became the principal object of attention to the simple and unsophisticated beings by whom he was surrounded. ‘thou art a wolf in the skin of a dog. addressing  The Last of the Mohicans . you must look in the object. I would obligate myself to cut the thong. in a tone of strong disgust. after passing through the usual orifice in the center of its upper side. were finally directed to the weather-beaten form of the scout. At this unexpected exhibition. I will talk to the ‘Long Rifle’ of the Yengeese. ‘Fools.

louder than the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. filled with his own dark intentions. the shrinking figure of Alice he scarcely deigned to notice. You may hear them groan. and yet lovely form of Cora. the Huron arose. where he stood confronted by the prisoners. with an expression that it might have been difficult to define. and advancing with great deliberation and dignity into the very center of the circle. Brother. commanding. and He ordered them to work forever. ‘The Spirit that made men colored them differently.’ Thus singled.Duncan. he spoke in the language of the Canadas.’ commenced the subtle Huron. he bent his eyes slowly along the whole living boundary of earnest  . ‘are the Delawares fools that they could not know the young panther from the cat?’ ‘They will yet find the Huron a singing-bird. on Duncan. a look of inextinguishable hatred. ‘the Delawares listen.’ added the chief turning his eyes on Magua. Then. a tongue that he well knew was comprehended by most of his auditors. These He said should be slaves. like the beaver. when the south wind blows. We will know who can shut the ears of men. however. but when his glance met the firm. endeavoring to adopt the figurative language of the natives.’ said Duncan. Before opening his mouth. ‘It is good. On Hawkeye he cast a glance of respectful enmity. ‘Some are blacker than the sluggish bear. he placed himself in an attitude to speak. as if to temper his expressions to the capacities of his audience. his eye lingered a moment. and directly called on to declare his object.

The winds cooled them in summer. and his arms inclose the land from the shores of the salt-water to the islands of the great lake. in winter. skins kept them warm. which was struggling through the misty atmosphere of the horizon. along the shores of the great salt lake. the sun and rain ripened their fruits. ‘Some the Great Spirit made with skins brighter and redder than yonder sun. Such are the pale faces. ‘and these did He fashion to His own mind. hearts like rabbits.lowing buffaloes. Some He made with faces paler than the ermine of the forests. His gluttony makes him sick. and filled with game. and looked on. pointing impressively upward to the lurid luminary. the cunning of the hog (but none of the fox). more plentiful than the leaves on the trees. his cunning tells him how to get together the goods of the earth. The wind made their clearings. He gave this people the nature of the pigeon.’ continued Magua. He gave them tongues like the false call of the wildcat. they lay in the shade. and yet he wants all. dogs to their women. If they fought among 0 The Last of the Mohicans . What need had they of roads to journey by! They saw through the hills! When the beavers worked. With his tongue he stops the ears of the Indians. and arms longer than the legs of the moose. wings that never tire. God gave him enough. and these He ordered to be traders. young. covered with trees. and wolves to their slaves. and appetites to devour the earth. He gave them this island as He had made it. and the snows came to tell them to be thankful. his heart teaches him to pay warriors to fight his battles. where the big canoes come and go with them in droves.

to redress the wrongs of his race. their deeds. They were brave. ‘It was the Lenni Lenape.’ he continued. as if each individual present felt himself able and willing. heads erect and nostrils expanded. a Huron of the woods. My tongue is still for Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘If the Great Spirit gave different tongues to his red children. ‘It was the tribes of the Lenape! The sun rose from water that was salt. Do my brothers know the name of this favored people?’ ‘It was the Lenape!’ exclaimed twenty eager voices in a breath. He gave the sands of the salt lake. Some He placed among the snows. their misery? Is there not one among them who has seen it all. it was to prove that they were men. singly.’ Here the speaker paused. their ancient greatness. and again looked around him to discover if his legend had touched the sympathies of his listeners. Some on the lands around the great fresh waters. on the road to the happy hunting 1 . they were just. in a low. with their cousin. but to His greatest. But why should I. and set in water that was sweet. their defeats. still melancholy voice. and who knows it to be true? I have done. and never hid himself from their eyes. affecting to bend his head in reverence to their former greatness. He met everywhere. their losses. the bear. they were happy. tell a wise people their own traditions? Why remind them of their injuries. ‘it was that all animals might understand them.’ returned Magua. with eyes riveted on his own. their glory. their happiness. Some he placed near the setting sun. and most beloved.

the eyelids of the old man raised themselves. I listen. and once or twice he even raised his head. in which the skill of the scout had been so clearly established. in a posture commanding by its dignity. He sat bent in feebleness. guttural voice. as if to listen. At the nicely graduated sound of Magua’s voice. and apparently unconscious of the presence he was in. the lips of the patriarch had not severed. toward the venerable Tamenund. From the moment that he took his seat. Then he made an effort to rise. while he tottered with weakness. ‘Who calls upon the children of the Lenape?’ he said. ‘who speaks of things gone? Does not the egg become a worm — the worm a fly. and perish? Why tell the Delawares of good that is past? Better thank the Manitou for that which remains. he betrayed some evidence of consciousness. that was rendered awfully audible by the breathless silence of the multitude. unmeaning expression which might be supposed to belong to the countenance of a specter. during the whole of that opening scene.’ ‘A friend!’ repeated the sage. by a common movement. stepping nigher to the rude platform on which the other stood. every face and all eyes turned. he gained his heart is of lead. however. ‘a friend of Tamenund.’ said Magua.’ ‘It is a Wyandot. on whose brow a dark frown settled. But when the crafty Huron spoke of his nation by name. imparting a portion of that severity which had ren The Last of the Mohicans . in a deep. and he looked out upon the multitude with that sort of dull. and being upheld by his supporters. until the present instant.’ As the voice of the speaker suddenly ceased. and scarcely a sign of life had escaped him.

The words were barely uttered when four or five of the younger warriors. and he comes for his own. submitted without resistance. Against such a decree there was no Delaware sufficiently hardy to murmur. the manner of the scout would not have been so passive. facing the applicant. much less oppose himself. Perhaps. and closed his eyes again. he regarded him a moment with deep attention. in a low and reluctant voice: ‘Justice is the law of the great Manitou. as to hold them both in instant bondage. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and the latter. take thine own and depart. Then. give the stranger food.’ Tamenund turned his head toward one of his supporters. ‘Are the Mingoes rulers of the earth? What brings a Huron in here?’ ‘Justice. to be aware of their intentions before they were  . however. who considered even the hostile tribes of the Delawares a superior race of beings. His prisoners are with his brothers. the patriarch seated himself. passed thongs so dexterously and rapidly around their arms. after which he said. Huron.dered his eye so terrible in middle age. The former was too much engrossed with his precious and nearly insensible burden. Then. as if better pleased with the images of his own ripened experience than with the visible objects of the world.’ On the delivery of this solemn judgment. and listened to the short explanation the man gave. stepping behind Heyward and the scout. had he fully comprehended the language in which the preceding dialogue had been conducted. My children.

and he once more looked upward at the multitude. looking up in his faded but majestic countenance. who poisons thy ears with falsehoods to feed his thirst for blood.’ The eyes of the old man opened heavily. and that hast seen the evil of the world. and finally settled there in a steady gaze. he turned his looks on her he valued most. Gradually the expression of Tamenund’s features changed. should know how to temper its calamities to the miserable. instead of obeying the impulse he had expected. But Cora. and. she remained like a beauteous and breathing model of her sex. on thy wisdom and power we lean for mercy! Be deaf to yonder artful and remorseless monster. he raised Alice from the arms of the warrior against whom she leaned. rushed to the feet of the patriarch. and. Cora had cast herself to her knees. with a species of holy reverence. and beckoning Heyward to follow. Then. that his resolution wavered. they lighted with a portion of that intelligence which a century before had been wont to communicate his  The Last of the Mohicans . Thou that hast lived long.Magua cast a look of triumph around the whole assembly before he proceeded to the execution of his purpose. they moved slowly in the direction of her person. recollecting his former artifice. As the piercing tones of the suppliant swelled on his ears. exclaimed aloud: ‘Just and venerable Delaware. raising her voice. he motioned for the encircling crowd to open. Perceiving that the men were unable to offer any resistance. Cora met his gaze with an eye so calm and firm. and losing their vacancy in admiration. with hands clenched in each other and pressed upon her bosom.

‘We follow none.’ answered Cora.youthful fire to the extensive bands of the  . as he never used violence or injustice in his dealings with them. my children. One of a hated race.’ ‘Tell me. if she would. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. who asks for succor. hoarsely. ‘where have the Delawares camped?’ ‘In the mountains of the Iroquois. he demanded. which is perhaps unequaled in the history of the world. The American is justly proud of the origin of his nation. The children of Minquon* are the justest white men. Rising without assistance. but they were thirsty and they took it to themselves. in a voice that startled its auditors by its firmness: ‘What art thou?’ ‘A woman. But one who has never harmed thee. we covet nothing. and seemingly without an effort. have we been brought amongst you. and.’ continued the patriarch. ‘Captives against our wills.’ continued the sage. motioning to those around him. since no wrong was done the original owners of the soil. and who cannot harm thy people. but the Pennsylvanian and Jerseyman have more reason to value themselves in their ancestors than the natives of any other state. beyond the clear springs of the Horican. Do they follow us so far?’ * William Penn was termed Minquon by the Delawares. though his eyes still dwelt upon the kneeling form of Cora. his reputation for probity passed into a proverb.’ ‘Many parching summers are come and gone. if thou wilt — a Yengee. ‘since I drank of the water of my own rivers.

’ returned the patriarch. ‘by many ages.’ Dost thou remember the name of that English warrior?’ ‘I remember.’ ‘Was it when the Yengeese and the Dutchmanne fought for the hunting-grounds of the Delawares? Then Tamenund was a chief. with wings whiter than the swan’s. ‘I stood upon the sands of the sea shore.and we ask but permission to depart to our own in peace.’ rejoined the aged man. nay. I speak of a thing of yesterday. come from the rising sun.’ interrupted Cora. but of favor shown to thy kindred by one of mine. surely. I had almost said. the birds. owned them for Sagamores. said the white man.’ ‘Nay. ‘Go’.’ ‘It was but yesterday. He claimed to be of the blood of the good and just Tamenund. the beasts. and. ‘for thy parent’s sake thou art free. The fishes of the salt lake. I speak not of a time so very distant. Art thou not Tamenund — the father. and wider than many eagles. and the Mengee of the woods. the judge.’ ‘Tis now some seven years that one of thy people was at the mercy of a white chief on the borders of this province. the prophet — of this people?’ ‘I am Tamenund of many days. with touching pathos. ‘that the children of the Lenape were masters of the world. that when a laughing boy. and saw a big canoe.’ Cora bowed her head in disappointment. with the peculiar recollection of vast age. Surely. for a bit The Last of the Mohicans . within the memory of thy youngest warrior. and first laid aside the bow for the lightning of the pale faces —‘ ‘Not yet then. you forget it not.

‘would bark and caw before they would take a woman to their wigwams whose blood was not Free eBooks at Planet eBook. whose days are near their close. very many. he answered: ‘Of a  . and suffering her head to droop until her burning cheeks were nearly concealed in the maze of dark. venerable chief. I know that they claim not only to have the earth. The dogs and crows of their tribes. much too precious.ter moment struggled with her chagrin. but that the meanest of their color is better than the Sachems of the red man. is Tamenund a father?’ The old man looked down upon her from his elevated stand. without heeding the wounded spirit of his listener. and then casting his eyes slowly over the whole assemblage. ‘the curse of my ancestors has fallen heavily on their child.’ ‘I know that the pale faces are a proud and hungry race. she continued. to become the victim of that villain. in tones scarcely less penetrating than the unearthly voice of the patriarch himself: ‘Tell me. pressing her hands convulsively on her heart. with a benignant smile on his wasted countenance.’ continued the earnest old chieftain. as he proceeded. and delight in her. to love her. But yonder is one who has never known the weight of Heaven’s displeasure until now. whose head was nearly crushed to the earth in shame. She has many. and she is too good. glossy tresses that fell in disorder upon her shoulders. elevating her rich features and beaming eyes.’ she continued.’ ‘For myself I ask nothing. Then. Like thee and thine. She is the daughter of an old and failing man.

There is yet one of thine own people who has not been brought before thee.’ Observing Tamenund to look about him doubtingly.  The Last of the Mohicans . were distinctly heard rustling in the surrounding forest. that the leaves.’ ‘It is so. and may yet go off at the setting sun. hear him speak. ‘but why — it is not permitted us to inquire. which fluttered in the draught of the light morning air.’ said Cora. But let them not boast before the face of the Manitou too loud. before thou lettest the Huron depart in triumph. Then Tamenund once more sank into his seat. They entered the land at the rising. with a kindling eye. but the season of blossoms has always come again. one of his companions said: ‘It is a snake — a red-skin in the pay of the Yengeese. drawing a long breath. as if reviving from a trance. and shaking back her shining veil. I have often seen the locusts strip the leaves from the trees. and a silence so deep prevailed while the young man prepared to obey his simple mandate.of the color of snow. that contradicted the death-like paleness of her countenance. We keep him for the torture. raising her face.’ returned the sage.’ ‘Let him come.

com  . But when. the person of Tamenund came under his glance. But neither the presence in which he found himself. in any manner disturbed the self-possession of the young Mohican. Then. fie upon your law! There is no force in the decrees of Venice: I stand for judgment: answer. which had been curiously studying the lineaments of the sage. meeting the settled expression of hostility that lowered in the visages of the chiefs with the same calmness as the curious gaze of the attentive children. he placed himself immediately before the footstool of the sage. and faultless person of the captive. last in this haughty scrutiny. as the source of their own intelligence. nor the exclusive attention that he attracted.Chapter 30 ‘If you deny me. and Uncas stood in the living circle. turned on the instant. agile. Then the waving multitude opened and shut again. and were now bent in secret admiration on the erect. as though all other objects were already forgotten. though keenly Free eBooks at Planet eBook. shall I have it?’—Merchant of Venice T he silence continued unbroken by human sounds for many anxious minutes. He cast a deliberate and observing look on every side of him. Here he stood unnoted. his eye became fixed. advancing with a slow and noiseless step up the area. All those eyes.

that the winds of heaven have spared! The beasts that run on the mountains. have I seen living in the wigwams of men.’ returned Uncas. ‘Like his fathers. in the softest notes of his own musical voice. ‘With what tongue does the prisoner speak to the Manitou?’ demanded the patriarch. ‘and Tamenund has heard their song.observant himself. until one of the chiefs apprised the latter of his presence. ‘with the tongue of a Delaware. like broken herds of deer.’ The sage started.’ ‘The singing-birds have opened their bills. ‘A Delaware! I have lived to see the tribes of the Lenape driven from their council-fires. into the camps of his nation. as if to catch the fleeting sounds of some passing melody. and the birds that fly above the trees.’ At this sudden and unexpected annunciation. while he repeated. among the hills of the Iroquois! I have seen the hatchets of a strong people sweep woods from the valleys. a low. He passed a hand before his eyes. fierce yell ran through the multitude. without unclosing his eyes.’ Uncas replied. in his low. and bent his head aside. and scattered. though differently exhibited. as his choler is first awakened — a fearful omen of the weight of his future anger. that might not inaptly be compared to the growl of the lion. guttural tones. as if to exclude the least evidence of so shameful a spectacle. but never before have I found a Delaware so base as to creep. The effect was equally strong on the sage. the words he had just heard. 0 The Last of the Mohicans . like a poisonous serpent.

‘Does Tamenund dream!’ he exclaimed. however. and as many warriors sprang to their feet. ‘Delaware!’ resumed the sage. The task might probably have been more difficult. ‘are dogs that whine. My people have not seen a bright sun in many winters. ‘Tis a hound that howls. and perhaps merited retort. one of the aged men. ‘The false Delaware trembles lest he should hear the words of Tamenund. After a patient pause.’ ‘And ye. looking sternly around 1 . when the Frenchman casts ye the offals of his deer!’ Twenty knives gleamed in the air. ‘What voice is at his ear! Have the winters gone backward! Will summer come again to the children of the Lenape!’ A solemn and respectful silence succeeded this incoherent burst from the lips of the Delaware prophet. perceiving that the sage had lost the recollection of the subject before them. but a motion from one of the chiefs suppressed the outbreaking of their tempers. ventured to remind him again of the presence of the prisoner. and the warrior who deserts his tribe when hid in clouds is doubly a traitor. when the Yengeese show him a trail. ‘little art thou worthy of thy name.’ returned Uncas. had not a movement made by Tamenund indicated that he was again about to speak. at this biting. It Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ he said. and restored the appearance of quiet. The law of the Manitou is just. His people readily constructed his unintelligible language into one of those mysterious conferences he was believed to hold so frequently with a superior intelligence and they awaited the issue of the revelation in awe.

nor was a breath drawn louder and longer than common.’ Not a limb was moved. with a yell of frantic pleasure. at that moment. until the closing syllable of this final decree had passed the lips of Tamenund. he leaped toward his unresisting victim and prepared to lead him to the stake. Throughout the whole of these trying moments. The circle broke its order. Heyward struggled madly with his captors. that the captive was condemned to endure the dreadful trial of torture by fire. while the blossoms come and go on the trees. One among them. He looked on the preparations with a steady eye. as it might be. But. Uncas had alone preserved his serenity. He is thine. from the united lips of the nation. in a high voice. a chief proclaimed. Then a cry of vengeance burst at once. while the rivers run and the mountains stand. and when the tormentors came to seize him. once more a suppliant for mercy. my children. seized the hunting-shirt of the young warrior. and at a single effort tore it from his body. the anxious eye of Hawkeye began to look around him. he met them with a firm and upright attitude. with an expression of peculiar earnestness. if possible more fierce and savage than his fellows. deal justly by him. a frightful augury of their ruthless intentions. and Cora again threw herself at the feet of the patriarch. and screams of delight mingled with the bustle and tumult of preparation. when he appeared most a stranger to the feelings of humanity. it must be so. so. In the midst of these prolonged and savage yells. the purpose of the savage was arrested as suddenly as if a supernatural agency had interposed in the behalf of Un The Last of the Mohicans .

‘Men of the Lenni Lenape!’ he said. he pointed with a finger to the bosom of the captive. ‘the blood that came from such a stock would smother your flames! My race is the grandfather of nations!’ ‘Who art thou?’ demanded Tamenund. ‘my race upholds the earth! Your feeble tribe stands on my shell! What fire that a Delaware can light would burn the child of my fathers. in a bright blue tint. ‘Uncas. turning from the nation. The eyeballs of the Delaware seemed to start from their sockets. For a single instant Uncas enjoyed his triumph. more than at any meaning conveyed by the language of the prisoner. fastened intently on the figure of a small tortoise. he advanced in front of the nation with the air of a king. and bending his head in reverence to the other’s character and years.cas.’* * Turtle. ‘a son of the great Unamis. smiling calmly on the scene.’ he added. the son of  . his mouth opened and his whole form became frozen in an attitude of amazement. His companions crowded about him in wonder and every eye was like his own. pointing proudly to the simple blazonry on his skin. Raising his hand with a slow and regulated motion. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and spoke in a voice louder than the murmur of admiration that ran through the multitude. rising at the startling tones he heard. beautifully tattooed on the breast of the prisoner. Then motioning the crowd away with a high and haughty sweep of his arm.’ answered the captive modestly.

Tamenund held him long at the length of his arm and read every turn in the fine lineaments of his countenance. that one is here to fill my place at the council-fire. ye Delawares. the wisest Sagamore of the Mohicans! Tell me. to re The Last of the Mohicans . more plenty than the leaves on the trees! The arrow of Tamenund would not frighten the fawn. Uncas. ‘Have I dreamed of so many snows — that my people were scattered like floating sands — of Yengeese. yet is Uncas before him as they went to battle against the pale faces! Uncas. with the untiring gaze of one who recalled days of happiness. looking in his face with the fondness and veneration of a favored child. however. at last. is found! Let the eyes of a dying eagle gaze on the rising sun. has Tamenund been a sleeper for a hundred winters?’ The calm and deep silence which succeeded these words sufficiently announced the awful reverence with which his people received the communication of the patriarch. the eldest son of the Lenape. where he became visible to the whole agitated and wondering multitude. to the night! I thank the Manitou. ‘the day is come. his arm is withered like the branch of a dead oak. None dared to answer. presumed on his own high and acknowledged rank. ‘Is Tamenund a boy?’ at length the bewildered prophet exclaimed. but proudly on the platform.’ The youth stepped lightly. the panther of his tribe. the child of Uncas. the snail would be swifter in the race.‘The hour of Tamenund is nigh!’ exclaimed the sage. though all listened in breathless expectation of what might follow. Uncas.

Then we were rulers and Sagamores over the land. in reverence. The Delawares were gone.’ we will follow the river to the sea. like fishes of the sea. and lifting his voice so as to be heard by the multitude. he said aloud: ‘Once we slept where we could hear the salt lake speak in its anger. as if to explain at once and forever the policy of his family. in the clear springs. When the Manitou is ready and shall say ‘Come. a flash of recollection destroying all his pleasing fancies. The blood of the turtle has been in many chiefs. there would a Mohican die. Such.’ ‘It is true — it is true. The waters of the river go into the salt lake. But when a pale face was seen on every brook. Few warriors of them all stayed to drink of the stream they loved. is the belief of the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and restoring him at once to a consciousness of the true history of his  .ply.’ he said. except Chingachgook and his son. ‘since the friend of Tamenund led his people in battle. but all have gone back into the earth from whence they came. and take our own again. we shall find streams that run into the great lakes of sweet water. why have their seats at the council-fires of the Delawares been so long empty?’ At these words the young man raised his head. If we go toward the setting sun. we followed the deer back to the river of our nation. Delawares. which he had still kept bowed a little. ‘Here will we hunt.’ returned the sage. ‘Our wise men have often said that two warriors of the unchanged race were in the hills of the Yengeese. ‘Four warriors of his race have lived and died. Then said my fathers.

children of the Turtle. ‘look at this pale face. Then. a just man. ‘for his sight never fails. but we know not whither he goes. using the Delaware phrase.’ ‘Is he a son of Minquon?’ ‘Not so. and once more they stood ranged in their circle. ‘Father. We know whence he comes. and led him to the feet of the patriarch. The Mingoes know him better by the death he gives their warriors. permitting his looks to wander over the silent throng that crowded around the elevated seat of Tamenund. and the friend of the Delawares. a warrior known to the Yengeese. Our eyes are on the rising and not toward the setting sun. and feared by the Maquas.’  The Last of the Mohicans . It is enough. he motioned to the crowd to divide.’ he said. he made way for himself to the side of his friend. Stepping eagerly from his stand. as he perceived that his auditors were content.’ Uncas replied. The Indians silently obeyed. he first perceived Hawkeye in his bonds. and cutting his thongs with a quick and angry stroke of his own knife. Uncas himself watched the effect of his brief explanation with intelligent eyes. finding a secret charm even in the figurative language with which the young Sagamore imparted his ideas. Uncas took the scout by the hand.’ ‘What name has he gained by his deeds?’ ‘We call him Hawkeye. and gradually dropped the air of authority he had assumed.’ The men of the Lenape listened to his words with all the respect that superstition could lend. as before his appearance among them. with them he is ‘The Long Rifle’.

however. but that. ‘My son has not done well to call him friend. then is Hawkeye with his friends. but with a steady mien. opening his eyes. is opposed to the reason of my gifts. ‘The just Tamenund. and all that belongs to their nation.’ A low exclamation of applause passed among the warriors who exchanged looks with each other like men that first began to perceive their error. with his own peculiar notions.’ ‘If a Mingo has whispered that much in the ear of the Delaware. ‘will not keep what a HuFree eBooks at Planet  . with great calmness.’ ‘The pale face has slain my young men. answered to the call by stepping boldly in front of the patriarch. ‘If Uncas is welcome among the Delawares.’ returned the young chief. which is friendly to them. modifying his Indian figures.’ said the scout. ‘That I have slain the Maquas I am not the man to deny. even at their own council-fires. knowingly. and who spoke as the man he addressed. his name is great for the blows he has struck the Lenape.‘La Longue Carabine!’ exclaimed Tamenund. he has only shown that he is a singing-bird. ‘Has he stopped my ears?’ Magua. whose feelings during that scene in which Uncas had triumphed may be much better imagined than described. who now believed that it was time to vindicate himself from such offensive charges. ‘Where is the Huron?’ demanded Tamenund.’ ‘I call him so who proves himself such. and regarding the scout sternly. my hand has never harmed a Delaware.’ he said.

‘has the stranger a conqueror’s right over you?’ ‘He has none.’ ‘And the woman that Huron left with my warriors?’ Uncas made no reply. said. but he is strong. on whom alone the decision depended.’ returned the sage. The panther may get into snares set by the women. ‘She is mine.’ cried Magua. gravely. Go. ‘It is so. during which it was very apparent with what reluctance the multitude admitted the justice of the Mingo’s claim.’ was the low answer.’ ‘The stranger and white maiden that come into my camp together?’ ‘Should journey on an open path.’ said Tamenund. and knows how to leap through them. in a firm voice:  The Last of the Mohicans . son of my brother. you know that she is mine. and turning gladly to the more ingenuous features of Uncas.’ ‘La Longue Carabine?’ ‘Laughs at the Mingoes. ‘And the woman that the Mingo has brought into my camp?’ repeated Tamenund. endeavoring to read the expression of the face that the youth turned from him in sorrow.’ ‘Tell me. shaking his hand in triumph at Uncas. A short and impressive pause succeeded. ‘Mohican. At length the sage. ask your squaws the color of a bear.ron has lent. avoiding the dark countenance of Le Subtil. Huron.’ ‘My son is silent.

a thousand times. An unwilling maiden makes an unhappy wigwam. the Delawares fell back.’ ‘Is this Mingo a chief?’ ‘The first in his nation. and will bargain for a bright look. just Tamenund. Go! thy race will not end.’ demanded the wily Magua.’ ‘Nothing hence but what Magua brought hither.’ ‘Take you the wampum. as if conscious that remonstrance would be useless. what wouldst thou? A great warrior takes thee to wife.’ ‘She speaks with the tongue of her people.’ exclaimed the horror-struck Cora. Let Tamenund speak the words. prepared to Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘or with hands filled with the faith of the Delawares? The wigwam of Le Renard Subtil is empty.’ ‘As he came. it should. and our love. ‘than meet with such a degradation!’ ‘Huron. he asked: ‘Are my ears open?’ ‘It is true. and seized his captive strongly by the arm. ‘She is of a race of traders.’ ‘Then depart with thine own.’ The aged man mused with himself for a time. and then. depart. in silence. Make him strong with his own.’ ‘Girl. her mind is in the tents of her fathers. regarding his victim with a look of bitter  .’ ‘Better. and Cora.’ returned Magua. bending his head toward one of his venerable companions.‘Huron.’ Magua advanced. The Great Manitou forbids that a Delaware should be unjust.

all that becomes the greatest chief. clasping his hands together in agony. many more of your warriors will meet me in the woods. violently shaking the hand which grasped the unresisting arm of Cora. ‘can this be suffered! To you. and dropping back into his seat. silver. ‘Men speak not twice. he wants not the beads of the pale faces. hold!’ cried Duncan.’ ‘Magua is a red-skin. I appeal for mercy.’ ‘That a chief should not misspend his time in unsaying what has once been spoken is wise and reasonable.’ cried Magua. just Tamenund. powder. ‘he has his revenge!’ ‘Mighty ruler of Providence!’ exclaimed Heyward. lead — all that a warrior needs shall be in thy wigwam. ‘but it is also prudent in every warrior to consider well before he strikes his tomahawk into the head of his prisoner. motioning to Duncan to be silent. alike wearied with his mental and his bodily exertion.’ ‘The words of the Delaware are said. Huron.submit to her fate without resistance. then. Put it to your judgment. have mercy! her ransom shall make thee richer than any of thy people were ever yet known to be. springing forward.’ said Hawkeye. nor can I say that any Mingo has ever received much favor at my hands. whether you would prefer taking such a prisoner as that into your encampment. or one like myself. ‘Hold.’ returned the sage. I love you not. ‘Huron.’ ‘Gold. if this war does not soon end.’ ‘Le Subtil is very strong. closing his eyes. It is fair to conclude that. who am a man that it would 00 The Last of the Mohicans .

the piece has not its equal atween the provinces. drawing back with suitable discretion. hesitatingly. threatening. Take the word of an experienced hunter. with the musing air of a man who had not half made up his mind.’ Magua shook his head. and made an impatient sign for the crowd to open. 01 . now — at least six weeks afore the leaves will turn — on condition you will release the maiden. for the best woman on the frontiers. in the prime of his age and usefulness. to give a warrior. who still lingered in an impenetrable belt around him.’ Le Renard fiercely ordered the Delawares. when he noted the eagerness with which Magua listened to his proposal.’ Magua still disdained to reply. to open his path. ‘No. by the glance of his eye.’ added the scout.greatly rejoice your nation to see with naked hands. continuing his efforts to disperse the crowd. for he had already made a motion toward quitting the place with his victim. losing his dissembled coolness exactly in proportion as the other manifested an indifference to the exchange. in hopes he would listen to the amicable proposal. another appeal to the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Well. I might consent to go into winter quarters. ‘It would be an unequal exchange.’ returned Hawkeye. ‘Perhaps. I have not said so much as that.’ ‘Will ‘The Long Rifle’ give his life for the woman?’ demanded Magua. ‘I will throw ‘killdeer’ into the bargain. ‘if I should condition to teach your young men the real virtue of the we’pon.’ added the scout. it would smoothe the little differences in our judgments. no.

but still distinct murmur of approbation ran through the crowd at this generous proposition. I am your prisoner!’ A suppressed. therefore. Tell the Sagamore I never lost sight of him in my greatest trouble.’ added the rugged woodsman.’ ‘What is ordered must sooner or later arrive. you have found friends among your natural kin. ‘I loved both you and your father. lad. as for you. and I hope they will prove as true as some you have met who had no Indian cross. bending his head aside. Uncas. and.’ continued Hawkeye. God bless you. think of me sometimes when on a lucky trail. it may unburden griefs at my loss. and ease your mind.infallible justice of their ‘prophet. and then instantly changing its direction again. so a day or two will make no great difference in the everlasting reckoning of time. and. I must die. as your natural gifts don’t deny you the use of vengeance. turning with a sad and humbled look to Uncas. Huron. boy. though our skins are not altogether of a color. and depend on it. After all. it is. You’ll find the rifle in the place we hid it. As for me. ‘The varlet knows his advantage and will keep it! God bless you. and keep it for my sake. harkee. whether there be one heaven or two. take it. I accept your offer. sooner or later. release the woman. it is likely the imps would have managed to master my scalp. and our gifts are somewhat different. boy. even the fiercest among the Delaware warriors manifesting 0 The Last of the Mohicans . fortunate there are but few to make my death-howl. there is a path in the other world by which honest men may come together again. use it a little freely on the Mingoes. with a wistful look toward the youth.

we will go. and her dark eye kindled.’ wringing the hard hand of the 0 . He intimated his contempt of the offer with a backward motion of his head. ‘a Huron is no tattler. I will not say. while the rich blood shot.’ she coldly said. even to my death. and said. it might be said. But violence is unnecessary. added: ‘Generous hunter! from my soul I thank you. he doubted. laying his hand too familiarly on the shoulder of his captive to urge her onward. and. even more than in your own noble intention. like the passing brightness of the sun. Your offer is vain. And.pleasure at the manliness of the intended sacrifice. Would to God I could hear one word from his lips at this awful moment!’ Her voice became choked. ‘I am your prisoner. at the indignity. he has but one mind. ‘that her father will reward you — for such as you are above the rewards of men — but he will thank you and bless you. but still you may serve me. and for an anxious moment. neither could it be accepted. for Free eBooks at Planet eBook. believe me.’ he added. Come. his purpose became fixed forever. with an expression in which ferocity and admiration were strangely mingled. Look at that drooping humbled child! Abandon her not until you leave her in the habitations of civilized men. casting his eyes on Cora. the blessing of a just and aged man has virtue in the sight of Heaven. into her very temples. in a steady and settled voice: ‘Le Renard Subtil is a great chief. then. Magua paused. at a fitting time shall be ready to follow.’ The maiden drew back in lofty womanly reserve. and immediately turning to Hawkeye. and.

which forbid them to detain you. then. these Delawares have their laws. sir.’ ‘Ay. perhaps. go. go. but less brilliant. in more subdued tones. she arose.’ cried Duncan. She is kind. but in which feeling and the habits of her sex maintained a fearful struggle: ‘I need not tell you to cherish the treasure you will possess. but I will spare you and myself —‘ Her voice became inaudible. she was silent. to the savage. Magua. There was at first a fierce and manifest display of joy. and then it was instantly subdued in a look of cunning coldness. but without even a tear in her feverish eye. I will follow. malignant monster — why do you delay?’ It would be difficult to describe the expression with which Magua listened to this threat to follow. who was supporting her unconscious sister. and with features of the hue of death. good. if it be your pleasure. 0 The Last of the Mohicans . sweet. After a long and burning kiss. though she had them. hand in melancholy affection on the alabaster forehead of Alice. than cooler reason would approve. ‘go. ‘and yet her soul is pure and spotless as her skin! I could say much — more. Heyward. You love her. that would conceal a thousand faults. but I — I have no such obligation. She is fair — oh! how surpassingly fair!’ laying her own beautiful. she continued. and added. with all her former elevation of manner: ‘Now. she turned away. and parting the golden hair which clustered about her brows. Go. and her face was bent over the form of her sister. There is not a blemish in mind or person at which the proudest of you all would sicken. placing Alice in the arms of an Indian girl. gentle. as mortal may instant. advancing a step nigher to Duncan.

When he is seen above the trees. they shall have venison to eat. the justice of the Delawares comes from the Manitou.’ he was content with 0 . there will be men on your trail. ‘Go!’ he added. ‘The Open Hand’ can come. the triumphant Magua passed unmolested into the forest. and corn to hoe. He is now in the upper branches of the hemlock. seizing Duncan by the arm. followed by his passive captive. which had slowly opened to admit his passage. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Dogs. He would lead you to an ambushment.’ ‘Hold. who submissive to the stern customs of his people.’ cried Hawkeye. and detaining him by violence. and.’ ‘I hear a crow!’ exclaimed Magua. with a taunting laugh. had been an attentive and grave listener to all that passed.‘The words are open. Your path is short and open. and your death —‘ ‘Huron. ‘Where are the petticoats of the Delawares! Let them send their arrows and their guns to the Wyandots. rabbits. shaking his hand at the crowd. with these biting words in his mouth. and protected by the inviolable laws of Indian hospitality. ‘you know not the craft of the imp. ‘Huron.’ interrupted Uncas. Look at the sun. boding silence. thieves — I spit on you!’ His parting gibes were listened to in a dead.

who caught the gleams of anger that shot from the eyes of the young chief in passing.—Kill the poys and the luggage! ‘Tis expressly against the law of arms. During the momentous hour that succeeded. and the women and children were ordered to disperse. A few of the graver and more attentive warriors. followed him to the place he had selected for his meditations. Uncas maintained his elevated stand. ‘tis as arrant a piece of knavery. the encampment resembled a hive of troubled bees. as can be offered in the ‘orld. until the colors of her dress were blended with the foliage of the forest. After which. who only awaited the appearance and example of their leader to take some distant and momentous flight. it became tossed and agitated by fierce and powerful passion.Chapter 31 ‘Flue. he disappeared in that lodge from which he had so recently issued.’—King Henry V o long as their enemy and his victim continued in sight. A young warrior at length issued from the lodge of Un0 The Last of the Mohicans S . Tamenund and Alice were removed. moving silently through the throng. when he descended. the instant he disappeared. the multitude remained motionless as beings charmed to the place by some power that was friendly to the Huron. keeping his eyes on the form of Cora. but. mark you now. and.

the Mohican himself reappeared. for a horse is said to be blazed when it has a white mark. or hymn. he tore the bark from its body. in the wild and irregular chant of his war song. and with one-half of his fine features hid under a cloud of threatening black. raising his voice. toward a dwarf pine that grew in the crevices of the rocky terrace. being sometimes melancholy and exquisitely plaintive. divested of all his attire. and. causing the auditors to tremble by their depth and energy. by sudden and startling transitions. * A tree which has been partially or entirely stripped of its bark is said. The words were few and often repeated. to the Deity. moving deliberately. A third colored the post with stripes of a dark red paint.cas. which he immediately commenced encircling with a measured step. in the language of the country. leaving it a naked and blazed* trunk. all which indications of a hostile design in the leaders of the nation were received by the men without in a gloomy and ominous silence. to an intimation of the warrior’s object. with a sort of grave march. Finally. at the same time. He was soon followed by another. not unlike an ancient dance. Uncas moved with a slow and dignified tread toward the post. and terminating as they commenced with an acknowledgment of his own dependence on the Great Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and then turned whence he came without speaking. even rivaling the melody of birds — and then. who stripped the sapling of its branches. except his girdle and leggings. proceeding gradually from a sort of 0 . to be ‘blazed. The notes were in the extremes of human sounds.’ The term is strictly English.

I am slow. Manitou! Manitou! Give me aid. a grave and highly esteemed chief of the Lenape followed his example. and as often did he encircle the post in his dance. I see many spots — many dark. oh. and the cry: In the woods. which burst from the lips of the young warrior.Spirit. and intended to convey the idea of veneration. and the third was the well-known and terrific war-whoop. singing words of his own. the fierce-looking and menacing visages of the chiefs receiving additional power from 0 The Last of the Mohicans . thou art wise: Manitou! Manitou! Thou art just. I hear the whoop. humble and imploring. At the close of the first turn. the second descriptive. Three times did he repeat this song. thou art good. that was peculiarly suited to the sentiment just expressed. The spectacle now became wildly terrific. in the clouds. until all of any renown and authority were numbered in its mazes. the ode might read something like the following: ‘Manitou! Manitou! Manitou! Thou art great. in the air. like a combination of all the frightful sounds of battle. oh. oh. Warrior after warrior enlisted in the dance.’ At the end of what might be called each verse he made a pause. The last was like the first.’ ‘In the woods. however. I see many clouds. The first close was solemn. many red: In the heavens. the long yell. to music of a similar character. If it were possible to translate the comprehensive and melodious language in which he spoke. ‘In the heavens. I hear the loud whoop!’ ‘Manitou! Manitou! Manitou! I am weak — thou art strong. by raising a note louder and longer than common. bordering on the alarming. oh.

rushed in a frantic body on the fancied emblem of their enemy. splinter by splinter. some received the keen and trembling axe. he moved out of the circle. The instant Uncas had struck the blow. the manifestations of zeal and fierce delight were so great and unequivocal. and raised his voice in a shout. and others suffered by thrusts from the fatal knife. It was a signal that awakened all the slumbering passions of the nation. became Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The act announced that he had assumed the chief authority in the intended expedition. which might be termed his own battle cry. when the truce with Magua was to end. and cast his eyes up to the sun. accompanied by a corresponding cry. to prepare for the more hazardous experiment of the reality. who had hitherto been restrained by the diffidence of their years. A hundred youths. The warriors. who were already armed and 0 . with shrill yells of pleasure. The fact was soon announced by a significant gesture. with as much apparent ferocity as if they were the living victims of their cruelty.the appalling strains in which they mingled their guttural tones. the most ruthless deeds of war were performed on the fragments of the tree. In short. which was just gaining the point. until nothing remained of the trunk but its roots in the earth. The whole face of the encampment was instantly changed. and severed it asunder. Just then Uncas struck his tomahawk deep into the post. Some were scalped. that the expedition was declared to be a war of the nation. and the whole of the excited multitude abandoned their mimic warfare. During this moment of tumult.

In this particular he was soon satisfied. After this material point was so satisfactorily decided. into the forest. On the other hand. and some their aged and infirm. however. if detained as still as if they were incapable of any uncommon burst of emotion. Duncan saw Alice to a place of safety. and then sought the scout. In the meantime. was idle. a measure of double policy. as has been already seen. the women broke out of the lodges. But Hawkeye was too much accustomed to the war song and the enlistments of the natives. with a countenance that denoted how eagerly he also panted for the approaching contest. the power of the young chief quickly embraced every fighting man in the nation. with the songs of joy and those of lamentation so strangely mixed that it might have been difficult to have said which passion preponderated. he despatched an Indian boy in quest of ‘killdeer’ and the rifle of Uncas. signified their readiness to accompany Uncas to the field. to betray any interest in the passing scene. after a short and touching interview with Uncas. Thither Tamenund also retired. others their young. with calm composure. inasmuch as it protected the arms from their own fate. which spread itself like a verdant carpet of bright green against the side of the mountain. None. Some bore their choicest articles. to the place where they had deposited their weapons on approaching the camp of the Delawares. He merely cast an occasional look at the number and quality of the warriors. from whom the sage separated with the reluctance that a parent would quit a long lost and just recovered child. and gave them the advantage of appearing among 10 The Last of the Mohicans . who. from time to time. for.

He had actually gained the 11 . The boy answered it with a feeble but contemptuous shout. and was sufficiently crafty. with a bosom that was swelling with the pride of such a confidence. It would. however. proceeded. In selecting another to perform the office of reclaiming his highly prized rifle.the strangers rather as sufferers than as men provided with means of defense and subsistence. his dusky form was to be seen gliding. He knew that Magua had not come unattended. He was successful. a warrior would have fared no better. along the whole boundary of the woods. and bearing a prize in each hand. The boy . when a shot from the woods showed how accurate had been the judgment of the scout. and in another moment he appeared flying across the narrow opening that skirted the base of the terrace on which the village stood. who had been well instructed. with the velocity of an arrow. and he also knew that Huron spies watched the movements of their new enemies. which he entered at a point at some little distance from the place where the guns were secreted. the scout had lost sight of none of his habitual caution. he was concealed by the foliage of the bushes. carelessly across the clearing to the wood. When Heyward joined him. have been fatal to himself to have attempted the experiment. and was leaping up their sides with incredible activity. The instant. and immediately a second bullet was sent after him from Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but the danger of a boy would not be likely to commence until after his object was discovered. toward the desired treasure. like that of a serpent. the scout was coolly awaiting the result of this experiment. therefore. and all the hopes of young ambition.

‘Ah! I see. Go! ‘ having bound up the arm. he received ‘killdeer’ with a satisfaction that. After examining the piece with an intelligent eye. an object of general admiration and envy. this single act of juvenile fortitude did not attract the 1 The Last of the Mohicans . I know many young men that have taken scalps who cannot show such a mark as this. and stalked among the fellows of his age. elevating his guns in triumph. in a moment of so many serious and important duties. lad. At the next instant he appeared on the level above. The urchin looked proudly up in his face.another part of the cover. he turned to the boy and demanded with great manifestations of kindness. In the meantime I will wrap it in a badge of wampum! You have commenced the business of a warrior early. momentarily. and are likely to bear a plenty of honorable scars to your grave. ‘but a little bruised alder will act like a charm. drove all other recollections from his mind. and opening and shutting the pan some ten or fifteen times. prouder of his flowing blood than the vainest courtier could be of his blushing ribbon. But. ‘you will be a chief!’ The lad departed. and trying sundry other equally important experiments on the lock. my brave boy. across which a deep flesh wound had been made by one of the bullets. but made no reply. Notwithstanding the lively interest Hawkeye had taken in the fate of his messenger. taking up the limb of the patient sufferer. the knaves have barked your arm!’ added the scout. while he moved with the air of a conqueror toward the renowned hunter who had honored him by so glorious a commission. if he was hurt.

Accordingly a party of adventurers. and then halted for orders. The calm but still impatient Uncas now collected his chiefs. skillful and resolute. and always found deserving of confidence. was ordered to dislodge the skulkers. After this disposition. for most of the Hurons retired of themselves when they found they had been discovered. He gave the Delawares to understand the rank of Heyward among the troops of the Yengeese. however. As both parties secreted themselves. better suited to the task than the weak though spirited boy. the woods were again as still and quiet as a mild summer morning and deep solitude could render them. He was cheerfully. active. he bestowed on him the command of twenty men. But Duncan declined the charge. the time pressing. He presented Hawkeye as a warrior. he gave forth the word to march. When he found his friend met with a favorable reception. and then tendered to him a trust of equal authority. and divided his power. but silently obeyed by more than two hundred men. and. often tried. served to apprise the Delawares of the position and the intentions of their enemies. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The duty was soon performed. professing his readiness to serve as a volunteer by the side of the scout. like himself. the young Mohican appointed various native chiefs to fill the different situations of 1 . It had. Their entrance into the forest was perfectly unmolested. The Delawares followed to a sufficient distance from their own encampment. apprehensive of being led into an ambush.general notice and commendation it would have received under milder auspices.

‘he must never speak to the Hurons again. thrusting the long barrel of his rifle through the leaves. appeared uncertain what course to take. All eyes were turned now on Uncas. as if seeking directions how to proceed. a solitary individual was seen advancing from the side of the enemy. he would have led his followers to the charge without a moment’s delay. and the chiefs were assembled to hold a ‘whispering council. Here a halt was ordered. in a low voice.’ said the laconic scout.’ At this meeting divers plans of operation were suggested. and finally halted. but such a course would have been in opposition to all the received practises and opinions of his countrymen. though none of a character to meet the wishes of their ardent leader.nor did they encounter any living objects that could either give the alarm. therefore. of the cover behind which the Delaware council had assembled. or furnish the intelligence they needed. until they came upon the lairs of their own scouts. fain to adopt a caution that in the present temper of his mind he execrated. Had Uncas followed the promptings of his own inclinations.’ ‘His time has come. After an unsatisfactory conference of many minutes.’ said the young chief. under the vivid recollection of Cora’s danger and Magua’s insolence. however. with such apparent haste. and put the conflict to the hazard of an instant issue. and taking his 1 The Last of the Mohicans . and to listen to advice at which his fiery spirit chafed. When within a hundred yards. ‘Hawkeye. as to induce the belief he might be a messenger charged with pacific overtures. the stranger hesitated. He was.

‘but when my eye ranged along his ribs for a place to get the bullet in — would you think it. through the Huron encampment. and urged him toward the rear. and. whose death can profit no one. as he took his companion by the arm. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. may be made serviceable to our own ends. ‘I took the imp for a Mingo. crawling through the bushes until within hearing of David. and so. If sounds have not lost their virtue. he now knew whence they proceeded. consequently.’ So saying. and indulged himself in a fit of his peculiar mirth. ‘I wonder what the Hurons will think of that!’ said the scout. it would have been difficult for any other than Hawkeye to produce a similar noise). But. which had conducted himself. laughing.deliberate and fatal aim. Hawkeye laid aside his rifle. The poor fellow appeared relieved from a state of great embarrassment. if this tongue can do anything but sing. and that in a voice he’ll find more agreeable than the speech of ‘killdeer’. after 1 . for. instead of pulling the trigger. The exquisite organs of Gamut could not readily be deceived (and. to say the truth. pursuing the direction of the voice — a task that to him was not much less arduous that it would have been to have gone up in the face of a battery — he soon discovered the hidden songster. ‘If the knaves lie within earshot. he attempted to repeat the musical effort. having once before heard the sounds. and whose life. with so much safety and eclat. as I’m a miserable sinner!’ he said. he lowered the muzzle again. Uncas — I saw the musicianer’s blower. it is the man they call Gamut. I’ll soon have a discourse with the honest fellow. and.

in truth. that I have fled to the Delawares in search of peace.’ Uncas cast a glance along the range of trees which concealed his own band and mentioned the name of: ‘Magua?’ ‘Is among them.’ said David. so much so. He brought in the maiden that had sojourned with the Delawares. at the head of his savages. pointing to Uncas and his associates. has put himself.’ returned the scout a little dryly. with evil intent. had you been quicker of foot. I fear. in mute wonder.’ David gazed about him.they will say there are two non-compossers instead of one! But here we are safe. he soon rallied his faculties so far as to make an intelligent reply. you say.’ ‘Your ears might not have profited much by the exchange. in the cave!’ interrupted Hey1 The Last of the Mohicans . ‘But let that be as it may.’ he added. There has been much howling and ungodly revelry. and without any ups and downs of voice. like a raging wolf. in their habitations within the past hour. ‘and. and. at the fierce and wild-looking chiefs. but assured by the presence of faces that he knew. ‘Now give us the history of the Mingo inventions in natural English. between this spot and their village in such force. ‘The heathen are abroad in goodly numbers. I know not what has troubled his spirit so greatly!’ ‘He has left her. that prudence would teach you instantly to return. together with such sounds as it is profanity to utter. where are the Hurons?’ ‘They lie hid in the forest. leaving her in the cave.

Then. and the chiefs separated. the plan was matured. There may be no great learning. before he asked: ‘What says Hawkeye?’ ‘Give me twenty rifles. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. passing by the huts of the beaver. will join the Sagamore and the colonel.’ After a short conference. we will give them a blow that. Let it be instantly attempted. by a blow and a victory. according to a white man’s battle. and take the woman from the cave. when the affair may be finished with the tribe. and I will turn to the right. ‘I like it much.ward. each to his allotted station.’ ‘I like it very much. Uncas. ‘tis well that we know its situation! May not something be done for her instant relief?’ Uncas looked earnestly at the scout. and.’ cried Duncan. in the Indian fashion. but with courage and patience it can all be done. I pledge the good name of an old frontiersman. and rendered more intelligible to the several parties. the different signals were appointed. do you drive in the front. when they come within range of our pieces. major. You shall then hear the whoop from that quarter. After which. we will carry the village. in this plan. or. shall make their line bend like an ashen 1 . with this wind one may easily send it a mile. along the stream. who saw that the release of Cora was the primary object in the mind of the scout. with dodge and cover.

and occasionally a squirrel dropped a nut. Here and there a bird was heard fluttering among the branches of the beeches. along that verdant and undulating surface of forest. but nowhere was any object to be seen that did not properly belong to the peaceful and slumbering scenery. which spread itself unbroken. the passing air was heard murmuring above their heads.’—Pope D uring the time Uncas was making this disposition of his forces. in every direction. without a ransom paid. but the instant the casual interruption ceased. unless by stream or lake. 1 The Last of the Mohicans .Chapter 32 ‘But plagues shall spread. over such a vast region of country. it seemed as if the foot of man had never trodden. To her own Chrysa send the black-eyed maid. and funeral fires increase. with the exception of those who had met in council. drawing the startled looks of the party for a moment to the place. Till the great king. through the long and shadowed vistas of the trees. But Hawkeye. the woods were as still. The eye could range. apparently as much untenanted as when they came fresh from the hands of their Almighty Creator. so breathing and deep was the silence in which it lay. Across the tract of wilderness which lay between the Delawares and the village of their enemies. and.

whose duty led him foremost in the adventure.’ His companions gave the usual brief exclamation of assent. and after waiting for the whole of his grave and attentive warriors to close about him. perceiving that their leader was about to lead the way in person.’ Then he added. and making a silent signal that he would be followed. pointing in the direction of the place he mentioned. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. into the bed of a little brook which they had crossed in advancing. ‘from the course it 1 . the scout threw ‘killdeer’ into the hollow of his arm. knew the character of those with whom he was about to contend too well to trust the treacherous quiet. the little water will be in the big. he led them many rods toward the rear. one or two made signs that all was not as it should be. Here he halted. Hawkeye. with the two fingers separated. turned and perceived that his party had been followed thus far by the singing-master. he spoke in Delaware. and the bearings of the mountains.’ returned the scout. Men. ‘the two make enough for the beavers. and indicating the manner in which they were joined at the root. glancing his eye upward at the opening in the tree-tops. but. When he saw his little band collected. he answered: ‘Before the sun could go his own length.’ ‘I thought as much. we will keep within the cover of its banks till we scent the Hurons. who comprehended their meaning glances. demanding: ‘Do any of my young men know whither this run will lead us?’ A Delaware stretched forth a hand.

’ asked the scout. and. and put under the command of one who. and sojourned much in good and evil with the maiden ye seek. though another might say it with a better face. for wickedly aspiring to wedlock with a woman of a race that was favored of the Lord.’ returned David. will not be apt to leave them idle. drawing a sling from beneath his particolored and uncouth attire. ‘that this is a band of rangers chosen for the most desperate service. as if weighing the chances of such a strange enlistment in his mind before he answered: ‘You know not the use of any we’pon.’ The scout hesitated. though not a man of war.’ ‘Though not admonished of your intentions in words.‘Do you know. friend. and perhaps with a little of the pride of conscious deserving in his manner. Now. and believe me. living or dead. yet would I gladly strike a blow in her behalf. I have journeyed far. You carry no rifle. it cannot be thirty minutes. what the Mingoes take they will freely give again.’ returned David. and whose ordinarily quiet and unmeaning eyes glimmered with an expression of unusual fire. and peradventure the skill 0 The Last of the Mohicans . before we tread on the body of a Huron. whose face was a little flushed. with my loins girded and my sword sharpened. ‘I have not forgotten the example of the Jewish boy. It may not be five. gravely. With this ancient instrument of war have I practised much in my youth.’ ‘Though not a vaunting and bloodily disposed Goliath. ‘your men have reminded me of the children of Jacob going out to battle against the Shechemites.

’ added the scout. from among the pebbles of the brook. like his royal namesake.’ ‘I thank you. and then Hawkeye. However. casting another observant glance over this followers made the signal to proceed. and the thick shrubbery which skirted the stream. we may find use for you in the shoutings. Their route lay.’ ‘Ay!’ said Hawkeye. ‘the thing might do its work among arrows. tapping his own head significantly on that spot where Gamut was yet sore. with a cold and discouraging eye. and as you have hitherto been favored — major.has not entirely departed from me. and not to musickate. had you sent me away my spirit would have been troubled. friend. you have left your rifle at a cock.’ ‘Remember. it seems to be your gift to go unharmed amid fire. a single shot before the time would be just twenty scalps lost to no purpose — singer. and every few minutes the band came to Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ David nodded. no precaution known to an Indian attack was neglected. ‘though not given to the desire to kill. Until the general whoop is 1 . as much to signify his acquiescence with the terms. supplying himself. along the bed of the water-course. considering the deer-skin thong and apron. you can follow. for the distance of a mile. nothing speaks but the rifle. Though protected from any great danger of observation by the precipitous banks. but these Mengwe have been furnished by the Frenchers with a good grooved barrel a man. ‘we come to fight. A warrior rather crawled than walked on each flank so as to catch occasional glimpses into the forest.’ returned David. or even knives.

in English. Everything is favorable. no little matter in itself. but few living trees. A few long. ‘a bright sun and a glittering barrel are no friends to true sight. ‘We are likely to have a good day for a fight. Their march was. and they reached the point where the lesser stream was lost in the greater. and then a clear view.a halt. with an acuteness of organs that would be scarcely conceivable to a man in a less natural state. they have the wind. in truth. many a girdled stub.’ he said. in these few words. low.’ Hawkeye had. as you see. however. sometimes shooting through narrow fissures in the rocks. whereas. the beavers have had the range of this stream for hundreds of years. and what atween their food and their dams. unmolested. in all the stages of decay. which began to move in broad sheets across the firmament. addressing Heyward. and listened for hostile sounds. The brook was irregular in its width. to consult the signs of the forest. and moss-covered piles were scattered among them. and at others spreading over acres of bottom land. forming little areas that might be termed ponds. too. which will bring down their noises and their smoke. given no bad description of the prospect that now lay in their front. from those that groaned on their tottering trunks to such as had recently been robbed of those rugged coats that so mysteriously contain their principle of life. But here is an end to our cover. without the smallest evidence that their progress had been noted. with us it will be first a shot. like  The Last of the Mohicans . Here the scout again halted. there is. Everywhere along its bands were the moldering relics of dead trees. and glancing his eyes upward at the clouds.

with a gravity and interest that they probably had never before attracted. but on hearing his low. for the sounds of hostility in the quarter where Uncas was left. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. up the stream. The scout had stood. but steadily. He knew that the Huron encampment lay a short half mile up the brook. and to attempt the village by surprise. Then he listened intently. though intelligible. and. Hawkeye advanced. All these minute particulars were noted by the scout. like so many dark specters. but nothing was audible except the sighing of the wind. while making his observations. the trail of but a single man. sheltered by a brake. and proceeding cautiously. yielding rather to his unusual impatience than taking counsel from his knowledge. that began to sweep over the bosom of the forest in gusts which threatened a tempest. if we except Heyward and David. and following so accurately in his footsteps. the band breaking off in single files. but his experience quickly admonished him of the danger of so useless an experiment. At length. Pointing in the direction he wished to proceed. as to leave it. Once or twice he felt induced to give the order for a rush. and his companions still lay in the bed of the ravine. he determined to bring matters to an issue. by unmasking his force. and silently arranged themselves around him. through which the smaller stream debouched. signal the whole party stole up the  . he was greatly troubled at not finding the smallest trace of the presence of his enemy. and with painful uncertainty.the memorials of a former and long-departed generation. with the characteristic anxiety of one who dreaded a hidden danger.

which. until the return fire was very nearly. But the chances were gradually growing unfavorable to Hawkeye and his band. and darting from tree to tree as his enemy slowly yielded ground.The party was. Heyward threw himself among the combatants. and he was safe from their fire. and a Delaware leaping high in to the air. he found himself standing alone with David. if not quite. ‘Ah. men. and charge!’ The band dispersed at the word. never. however. scarcely uncovered before a volley from a dozen rifles was heard in their rear. in his adopted tongue: ‘To cover. I feared some deviltry like this!’ exclaimed the scout. equal to that maintained by the advancing Delawares. like a wounded deer. with the quickness of thought. and before Heyward had well recovered from his surprise. and imitating the necessary caution of his companions. He saw it was more dangerous  The Last of the Mohicans . The quick-sighted scout perceived his danger without knowing how to remedy it. continued to increase in numbers. by discharging his rifle. exposing any part of their persons except in the act of taking aim. Luckily the Hurons had already fallen back. The contest now grew warm and stationary. as it retired on its friends. however. in English. But this state of things was evidently to be of short continuance. he made quick discharges with his own rifle. adding. fell at his whole length. for the scout set the example of pressing on their retreat. indeed. It would seem that the assault had been made by a very small party of the Hurons. Few were injured. as both parties kept their bodies as much protected as possible by the trees. dead.

The Hurons were compelled to withdraw. This fact was doubly apparent. as it now proved to be. a bottom which. At this embarrassing moment. who rushed to assist in maintaining the front. in a manner. which rendered the task of keeping themselves covered so very difficult to the Delawares. in that rude species of warfare. in their turn. The charge. when they began to think the whole of the hostile tribe was gradually encircling  . the enemy. It would seem that. Hawkeye then gave the word to bear down upon their foes. the principal point of defense. and. and by an instant falling off in the number of their assailants. to a spot where the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and his own example. lay beneath the ground on which Hawkeye and his party were contending. nigher to the enemy. had left too small a force to resist the impetuous onset of the young Mohican. having been deceived in its object and in his numbers. as nearly to silence their fire. and the scene of the contest rapidly changed from the more open ground. Animating his followers by his voice. they heard the yell of combatants and the rattling of arms echoing under the arches of the wood at the place where Uncas was posted. consisted merely in pushing from cover to cover. and had consequently retreat than to maintain his ground: while he found his enemy throwing out men on his flank. while his own surprise had been anticipated. on which it had commenced. by the rapid manner in which the battle in the forest rolled upward toward the village. and in this maneuver he was instantly and successfully obeyed. and to the scout and his friends greatly relieving. The effects of this attack were instantaneous.

a quick eye and a good cover. a little fatigued with his previous industry.  The Last of the Mohicans . where they maintained rapid. Hawkeye found means to get behind the same tree as that which served for a cover to Heyward.’ * The American forest admits of the passage of horses. though none of them fell. major. Here the struggle was protracted. The brutes are better than men. dropping the butt of ‘killdeer’ to the earth. shaking his head. discharges on their sheltered enemies. a little on his right. he will never stop to load it again. ‘horse. Now. the Mingoes. and to horse must we come at last.assailed found a thicket to rest upon. how many lives he can spare.’ ‘Ay. most of his own combatants being within call. Put a shodden hoof on the moccasin of a red-skin. No — horse*. in this wilderness. In this crisis. but a man must ask himself. ‘You are a young man. in what manner would you set them to work in this business?’ ‘The bayonet would make a road. like one who mused. though fruitless. arduous and seemingly of doubtful issue. ‘and it may be your gift to lead armies.’ said the scout. there is white reason in what you say. beginning to bleed freely. and leaning on the barrel. ag’in these imps. the Delawares.’ continued the scout. if you had a company of the Royal Americans here. at some future day. You may here see the philosophy of an Indian fight. in consequence of the disadvantage at which they were held. and. I am ashamed to say must sooner or later decide these scrimmages. It consists mainly in ready hand. if his rifle be once emptied.

like so many panthers springing upon their prey. that the red men could not fight the warriors with ‘long knives and leather stockings”.’ Then.’ returned Heyward. glancing before their eyes at the same instant. each warrior made a swift movement around his particular tree. I little relish such a measure. in their own language. the Delawares leaped in long bounds toward the wood. One of the most conspicuous of the chiefs who fought in the battle of Miami assured the writer. to catch the sounds of the distant combat. bending his head aside. and few tangled brakes. Without stopping to breathe. turning with a prompt and decided air. these knaves in our front must be got rid of. he called aloud to his Indians. the Indians were driven from their covers before they had time to load.there being little underbrush. ‘As to rush. at a given signal.’ he added. ‘if we are to be of use to Uncas. for a scalp or two must be thrown away in the attempt. meaning the dragoons with their sabers and boots. His words were answered by a shout. The sight of so many dark bodies. ‘shall we charge?’ ‘I see no contradiction to the gifts of any man in passing his breathing spells in useful reflections. And yet. and. drew a hasty and consequently an ineffectual fire from the Hurons. Hawkeye was in Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The plan of Hawkeye is the one which has always proved the most successful in the battles between the whites and the Indians. and then causing his dragoons to wheel round his flanks. in his celebrated campaign on the Miami. Wayne. received the fire of his enemies in line.’ the scout  . ‘This is a subject that might better be discussed at another time.

and breaking off in a body. and was followed by the fierce and appalling yell of the war-whoop. they spread themselves across the opening. in making the experiment. in their rear. with the sort of obstinacy that is so often witnessed in hunted brutes. answering the cry with his own stentorian voice. the crack of a rifle was heard behind the Hurons. where they clung to the cover. ‘we have them now in face and back!’ The effect on the Hurons was instantaneous. Many fell. who had not been deceived by the artifice which had been practiced to draw their fire. and then the assailed yielded ground rapidly. and a bullet came whizzing from among some beaver lodges. hand to hand. under the bul The Last of the Mohicans . The combat endured only for an instant. the warriors uttered a common yell of disappointment. which were situated in the clearing. until they reached the opposite margin of the thicket.front. when the success of the struggle was again becoming doubtful. heedless of every consideration but flight. At this critical moment. The Delawares broke into the cover with the ferocity of their natures and swept away every trace of resistance by the fury of the onset. A few of the older and more cunning Hurons. But the shock was insufficient to repel the impetus of the charge. brandishing his terrible rifle and animating his followers by his example. ‘There speaks the Sagamore!’ shouted Hawkeye. now made a close and deadly discharge of their pieces and justified the apprehensions of the scout by felling three of his foremost warriors. Discouraged by an assault from a quarter that left them no opportunity for cover.

The land fell away rather precipitately in front.lets and the blows of the pursuing Delawares. who had breathed themselves freely in the preceding struggle. and then Hawkeye. a narrow. dark. he led the party back through the thicket. and beneath their eyes stretched. sprinkled with trees in sufficient numbers to conceal them. and here and there a light vapory cloud. and indicated Free eBooks at Planet eBook. his men scalping the fallen Hurons and secreting the bodies of their own dead as they proceeded. and listened. were now posted on a bit of level ground. Chingachgook assumed the station to which his birth and experience gave him so distinguished a claim. pointing out the Sagamore to his band. which seemed already blending with the atmosphere. for several miles. Following the footsteps of the scout. The Mohican and his friends advanced to the brow of the hill. We shall not pause to detail the meeting between the scout and Chingachgook. to the sounds of the combat. A few brief and hurried words served to explain the state of things to both parties. A few birds hovered over the leafy bosom of the valley. with practised ears. It was through this dense and dark forest that Uncas was still contending with the main body of the Hurons. and wooded vale. resigned the chief authority into the hands of the Mohican chief. arose above the trees. or the more touching interview that Duncan held with Munro. with the grave dignity that always gives force to the mandates of a native warrior. The  . until they gained a point where the former was content to make a halt. frightened from their secluded nests.

as at the place where the final stand was to be made. driven to the skirts of the forest. which began to patter among the dried leaves on the ground. like the bits of falling hail which precede the bursting of the tempest. without the notice of ‘killdeer’. a certain evidence that the Delawares triumphed. by the bullets of the former.’ ‘They will incline into the hollow. ‘and that will leave us well on their flank. These were soon joined by others. Hawkeye and his three companions withdrew a few paces to a shelter. as well as enemies. Sagamore. and to sound like weapons discharged in the open air. Mohican. here and there. into your rear. pointing in the direction of a new explosion of firearms.’ said Duncan.some spot where the struggle had been fierce and stationary. and rallying as he entered the clearing. you will hardly be in time to give the whoop. ‘The fight is coming up the ascent.’ said the scout. where the cover is thicker. It was not long before the reports of the rifles began to lose the echoes of the woods. not a Huron of them all shall cross the swell. Then a warrior appeared. You know me. until a 0 The Last of the Mohicans . and lead on the young men. I will fight this scrimmage with warriors of my own color. ‘we are too much in the center of their line to be effective.’ The Indian chief paused another moment to consider the signs of the contest. nor did he actually quit the place until admonished of the proximity of his friends. and awaited the issue with calmness that nothing but great practise could impart in such a scene. which was now rolling rapidly up the ascent. Go.

’ returned the scout. By the Lord. ‘The time has come for the Delaware to strike!’ said 1 . ‘Not so.long line of swarthy figures was to be seen clinging to the cover with the obstinacy of desperation. like bees settling after their flight. and Uncas issued from the forest through the opening they left. see. Waving his hands right and left. ‘when he scents his friends. not so. who separated in pursuit. the knaves are getting in that clump of pines. See. The war now divided. but the sounds were already receding in different directions. the young chief pointed out the enemy to his followers. A minute might have passed. Heyward began to grow impatient. at the head of a hundred warriors. a squaw might put a bullet into the center of such a knot of dark skins!’ At that instant the whoop was given. hotly pressed by the victorious warriors of the Lenape. and gradually losing their distinctness beneath Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The shout that followed was answered by a single war-cry from the forest. considering the spectacle with an eye as deliberate as if he were posted there merely to view the struggle. with nothing visible but his calm visage. deserting the center of their line. and a dozen Hurons fell by a discharge from Chingachgook and his band. both wings of the broken Hurons seeking protection in the woods again. he will let them know that he is here. and a yell passed through the air that sounded as if a thousand throats were united in a common effort. and turned his eyes anxiously in the direction of Chingachgook. The chief was seated on a rock. The Hurons staggered.

he rushed upon his enemy. and reckless of the disparity of their numbers. and were retiring. and by the air of haughty authority he yet maintained. to mingle more closely in the fray. and commenced a rapid retreat up the ascent. for Uncas. but the moment his eye caught the figure of Le Subtil. however. Uncas had left himself nearly alone. Magua was conspicuous in this party. attended by all his white associates. continued the pursuit with the velocity of the wind. Raising his cry of battle. or the Delaware would soon have outstripped  The Last of the Mohicans . which recalled some six or seven warriors. who watched the movement. the young Mohican braved the dangerous fire of his enemies. In vain Hawkeye called to him to respect the covers. The Huron instantly turned. though unconscious of the presence of his friends. There was no time for greetings or congratulations. But at the moment when he thought the rashness of his impetuous young assailant had left him at his mercy. In his eagerness to expedite the pursuit. had disdained to seek a cover. Le Renard. slowly and sullenly up the acclivity which Chingachgook and his band had just deserted. another shout was given. every other consideration was forgotten. both by his fierce and savage mien.the echoing arches of the woods. like lions at bay. One little knot of Hurons. and that the white men were much favored by their position. and La Longue Carabine was seen rushing to the rescue. It was fortunate that the race was of short continuance. and soon compelled them to a flight as swift as his own headlong speed. paused to receive him with secret joy.

who had vainly sought him in the melee. and fought around their council-lodge with the fury of despair. the Hurons now made a stand. escaped from every effort against his life. darted away from the place. and even the still nervous arm of Munro were all busy for that passing moment. The utmost that the scout could effect. Excited by the presence of their dwellings. was to keep the muzzle of his rifle a little in advance of his friend. Hawkeye. and tired of the chase. Raising a yell that spoke volumes of anger and disappointment. it answered every purpose of a charmed shield. and fallen a victim to his own temerity. and the ground was quickly strewed with their enemies. to whom. leaving the Delawares engaged in stripping the dead of the bloody trophies of their victory.all his companions. Heyward and David still pressing on his footsteps. within striking distance of each other. abandoning his intention as soon as demonstrated. however. he leaped into a thicket of bushes. but. But  . The onset and the issue were like the passage and destruction of a whirlwind. though daring and much exposed. bounded forward in pursuit. the blows of Hawkeye. the pursuers and pursued entered the Wyandot village. when he saw his comrades fallen. Once Magua appeared disposed to make another and a final effort to revenge his losses. ere such a calamity could happen. But. the subtle chief. attended by his two only surviving friends. The tomahawk of Uncas. with that sort of fabled protection that was made to overlook the fortunes of favored heroes in the legends of ancient poetry. Still Magua. through which Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

But their way was becoming intricate. bounding forward like a deer. ‘Cora! Cora!’ echoed Uncas. by a common feeling. The pursuers dashed into the long and narrow entrance. actuated. ‘Tis Cora!’ exclaimed Heyward. when a white robe was seen fluttering in the further extremity of a passage that seemed to lead up the mountain. appeared like the shades of the infernal regions. raised a shout of success. and for a moment the trace was believed to be lost. Heyward and the scout still pressed on his rear. and suddenly entered the mouth of the cave already known to the reader. and the glimpses of the retiring warriors less distinct and frequent. Their passage through the natural galleries and subterraneous apartments of the cavern was preceded by the shrieks and cries of hundreds of women and children. in those dark and gloomy passages. Still Uncas kept his eye on Magua. The place.he was followed by his enemies. in a voice in which horror and delight were wildly mingled. though possibly in a less degree. as if life to him possessed but a single object. ‘Courage. seen by its dim and uncertain light. we come! we come!’ The chase was renewed with a diligence rendered ten The Last of the Mohicans . and proclaimed aloud that now they were certain of their game. lady. ‘Tis the maiden!’ shouted the scout. Hawkeye. in time to catch a glimpse of the retreating forms of the Hurons. across which unhappy ghosts and savage demons were flitting in multitudes. who had only forborne to fire in tenderness to Uncas.

and. and they issued from the cavern on the side of the mountain. in time to note the route of the pursued. At this moment the forms of all four were strongly drawn against an opening in the sky. a moment afterward. they hold the maiden so as to shield themselves!’ Though his words were unheeded. the scout suffered the latter to precede him a little. the bullet from which even gave the young Mohican a slight wound. that the Hurons found time to discharge down the passage in the rocks. Uncas and Heyward increased efforts that already seemed superhuman. and in spots nearly impassable. Heyward rashly imitated his example. who. Encumbered by his rifle. rocks.fold encouraging by this glimpse of the captive. though both were. in his turn. passing his friends by a desperate leap. not sustained by so deep an interest in the captive as his companions. by incredible exertions. ‘We must close!’ said the scout. taking the lead of Heyward. admonished of his madness by hearing the bellowing of a piece. Nearly frantic with disappointment. precipices and difficulties were surmounted in an incredibly Free eBooks at Planet eBook. got near enough to the fugitives to perceive that Cora was borne along between the two warriors while Magua prescribed the direction and manner of their flight. broken. ‘the knaves will pick us all off at this  . and still continued hazardous and laborious. Uncas abandoned his rifle. The course lay up the ascent. or rather unheard. In this manner. and they disappeared. perhaps. his example was followed by his companions. and leaped forward with headlong precipitation. and see. But the way was rugged. Uncas.

encumbered with Cora. stopping unexpectedly on a ledge of rock. would have been deemed almost insuperable. but Magua stayed the uplifted arms. but dropping on her knees. shaking his bright tomahawk at Magua. ‘Kill me if thou wilt. the wigwam or the knife of Le Subtil!’ Cora regarded him not. do with me as thou seest best!’ ‘Woman. and under other circumstances. saying in a meek and yet confiding voice: ‘I am thine.’ repeated Magua. that overhung a deep precipice. ‘Stay. at no great distance from the summit of the mountain. and he raised his arm  The Last of the Mohicans . with a look in which conflicting passions fiercely contended. ‘choose!’ But Cora neither heard nor heeded his demand. ‘chose. she raised her eyes and stretched her arms toward heaven. the Hurons were losing ground in the race. The form of the Huron trembled in every fibre. detestable Huron. I will go no further. and turned to his captive. that at another time. ‘a Delaware girl calls stay!’ ‘I will go no further!’ cried Cora.’ The supporters of the maiden raised their ready tomahawks with the impious joy that fiends are thought to take in mischief. ‘Woman. But the impetuous young men were rewarded by finding that. The Huron chief. dog of the Wyandots!’ exclaimed Uncas. after casting the weapons he had wrested from his companions over the rock. drew his knife. hoarsely. and endeavoring in vain to catch a glance from her serene and beaming eye.short space.’ he said.

the victorious Magua uttered a cry so fierce. ‘give mercy.’ cried Heyward. and yet so Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and struck the murderer of Cora to his feet. But Uncas arose from the blow. Magua recoiled a step. like one who doubted. with a stern and steady look. from a fearful height. but just then a piercing cry was heard above them. still keeping his gaze riveted on his enemy.on high. Once more he struggled with himself and lifted the keen weapon again. but dropped it again with a bewildered air. from above. upon the ledge. by an effort in which the last of his failing strength was expended. leaping frantically. Then. and one of his assistants. before his victim. uttering an unearthly shout as he committed the dastardly deed. Diverted from his object by this interruption. ‘Mercy! mercy! Huron. he turned to Le Subtil. but the falling form of Uncas separated the unnatural combatants. sheathed his own knife in the bosom of Cora. with a look of inextinguishable scorn. The Huron sprang like a tiger on his offending and already retreating country  . profiting by the chance. and maddened by the murder he had just witnessed. so wild. as the wounded panther turns upon his foe. The latter seized the nerveless arm of the unresisting Delaware. and Uncas appeared. Magua buried his weapon in the back of the prostrate Delaware. in tones nearly choked by horror. fell dead at his feet. and thou shalt receive from it!’ Whirling the bloody knife up at the imploring youth. and indicated by the expression of his eye all that he would do had not the power deserted him. and passed his knife into his bosom three several times.

The form of Hawkeye had crouched like a beast about to take its spring. A single bound would carry him to the brow of the precipice. He was answered by a burst from the lips of the scout. a thousand feet below. with steps as bold and reckless as if he possessed the power to move in air. the rifle of Hawkeye was raised. and fell short of his mark. he leaped a wide fissure. which fell on the head of one of the fugitives below. in an awful attitude of menace. and then shot its glances over the difficulties of the ascent in his front. and shaking his hand at the scout. But when the hunter reached the scene of the ruthless massacre. he made a desperate leap. he shouted: ‘The pale faces are dogs! the Delawares women! Magua leaves them on the rocks. for the crows!’ Laughing hoarsely. His keen eye took a single look at the victims. A form stood at the brow of the mountain. though his hands grasped a shrub on the verge of the height. that it conveyed the sounds of savage triumph to the ears of those who fought in the valley. and assure his safety. the Huron paused. Before taking the leap.joyous. and ascended the rocks at a point where the arm of David could not reach him. and his frame trembled so  The Last of the Mohicans . the ledge was tenanted only by the dead. Without stopping to consider his person. with uplifted arms. on the very edge of the giddy height. exposed the indignant and glowing countenance of the honest Gamut. stepping with calm indifference over the body of the last of his associates. along those dangerous crags. and. Then Magua issued from a crevice. but a rock. whose tall person was just then seen moving swiftly toward him. however.

The surrounding rocks themselves were not steadier than the piece became. when the body of his enemy was most collected together. and his dark person was seen cutting the air with its head downward. for the single instant that it poured out its contents. he shook a hand in grim defiance. It was now. and found a fragment for his feet to rest on. in its rapid flight to destruction. Without exhausting himself with fruitless efforts. while his knees still kept their position. and his body fell back a little. Then. But his hold loosened. he renewed the attempt. that the agitated weapon of the scout was drawn to his shoulder. the cunning Magua suffered his body to drop to the length of his arms. until it glided past the fringe of shrubbery which clung to the mountain. and so far succeeded as to draw his knees on the edge of the  . summoning all his powers. for a fleeting instant.violently with eagerness that the muzzle of the half-raised rifle played like a leaf fluttering in the wind. The arms of the Huron relaxed. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Turning a relentless look on his enemy.

across the wide ranges of the woods. His few surviving comrades saw His smile when rang their loud hurrah. The sounds of the battle were over. sufficiently announced of itself. No shouts of success. the sun rose on the Lenape a nation of mourners. that struggled above the summits of the mountains. furnished a frightful direction to the scene of the combat. on the succeeding day. no songs of triumph. a nation of mourners.Chapter 33 ‘They fought. and they had fed fat their ancient grudge. like brave men. or swept. and had avenged their recent quarrel with the Mengwe. Then saw in death his eyelids close Calmly. in noisy flocks. The Last of the Mohicans 0 . as to a night’s repose. the fate of that wandering tribe. And the red field was won. long and well. Still. Like flowers at set of sun. by the destruction of a whole community. Bleeding at every vein. any eye at all practised in the signs of a frontier warfare might easily have traced all those unerring evidences of the ruthless results which attend an Indian vengeance.’—Halleck T he sun found the Lenape. while hundreds of ravens. were heard. In short. They conquered—but Bozzaris fell. The black and murky atmosphere that floated around the spot where the Hurons had encamped. They piled that ground with Moslem slain.

but a hidden anguish struggled about his furrowed brow. Though beings of every rank and age. Pride and exultation were supplanted by humility. which contained the objects of so much and of so common an interest. supported all that now remained of the ardent. in deep and awful silence. of both sexes. dark. Her form was concealed in many wrappers of the same simple manufacture. they were influenced by a single rejoicings for their victory. high-souled. whither everything possessing life had repaired. neFree eBooks at Planet eBook. with their long. only to strip himself of the terrific emblems of his bloody calling. His aged head was bowed nearly to the earth. and of all pursuits. in compelled submission to the stroke of Providence. as a stricken people. flowing tresses falling loosely across their bosoms. and generous Cora. stood apart. and her face was shut forever from the gaze of men. The lodges were deserted. At her feet was seated the desolate Munro. and where all were now collected. had united to form this breathing wall of 1 . The latest straggler had returned from his fell employment. and only gave proof of their existence as they occasionally strewed sweet-scented herbs and forest flowers on a litter of fragrant plants that. and to join in the lamentations of his countrymen. Each eye was riveted on the center of that ring. that was only partially concealed by the careless locks of gray that had fallen. and the fiercest of human passions was already succeeded by the most profound and unequivocal demonstrations of grief. Six Delaware girls. under a pall of Indian robes. but a broad belt of earnest faces encircled a spot in their vicinity.

though his dull eye and vacant lineaments too strongly contradicted the idle tale of pride they would convey. arrayed in the most gorgeous ornaments that the wealth of the tribe could furnish. the Mohican warrior had kept a steady. and medals. that occupied the opposite space of the same area. Seated. But sad and melancholy as this group may easily be imagined. that was indelibly impressed on his naked bosom. but for the occasional gleamings of a troubled spirit. with his form and limbs arranged in grave and decent composure. Rich plumes nodded above his head. which contained so many quaint but holy maxims. gorgets. it was far less touching than another. bracelets. that a stranger might not have told the living from the dead. except the bright blue blazonry of his race. as in life. without arms. Heyward was also nigh. that shot athwart the dark visage  The Last of the Mohicans . anxious look on the cold and senseless countenance of his son. During the long period that the tribe had thus been collected. wampum. on his temples. supporting himself against a tree. seemed to be equally divided between that little volume. and endeavoring to keep down those sudden risings of sorrow that it required his utmost manhood to subdue.glected. So riveted and intense had been that gaze. paint or adornment of any sort. Gamut stood at his side. Directly in front of the corpse Chingachgook was placed. and so changeless his attitude. and the being in whose behalf his soul yearned to administer consolation. while his eyes. wandering and concerned. adorned his person in profusion. his meek head bared to the rays of the sun. Uncas appeared.

com  . as seemed now to have turned each dark and motionless figure into stone. finding his errand of peace frustrated by the fierce impetuosity of his allies. seemingly in readiness to undertake some distant journey. and without it was his warhorse. the sage of the Delawares stretched forth an Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and yet had the multitude maintained its breathing stillness since its dawn. The day was drawing to the close of its first quarter. in commemoration of the dead. was content to become a silent and sad spectator of the fruits of a contest that he had arrived too late to anticipate. leaning in a pensive posture on his own fatal and avenging weapon. nor had even a limb been moved throughout that long and painful period. whence he might look down on the mute and sorrowful assemblage of his people. The scout was hard by.of one. and who. except to perform the simple and touching offerings that were made. The vestments of the stranger announced him to be one who held a responsible situation near the person of the captain of the Canadas. while Tamenund. in the center of a collection of mounted domestics. and the deathlike calm that had forever settled on the lineaments of the other. At length. occupied a high place at hand. supported by the elders of his nation. from time to time. The patience and forbearance of Indian fortitude could alone support such an appearance of abstraction. No sound louder than a stifled sob had been heard among them. as it would now seem. in the military attire of a strange nation. Just within the inner edge of the circle stood a soldier.

His tongue gives no answer. hollow tones. The sounds were those of females.’ As this simple and yet terrible annunciation stole on the ears of the multitude.arm. yet His judgments are before you. compared with the humbled and submissive throng by whom he was surrounded. a stillness as deep and awful succeeded as if the venerated spirit they worshiped had uttered the words without the aid of human organs. but as one ceased another took up the eulogy. You see him not. and him who now tottered on his elevated stand. during which the girls around the bier of Cora plucked the plants and flowers blindly from her body. At intervals the speaker was interrupted by general and loud bursts of sorrow. a low murmur of voices commenced a sort of chant in honor of the dead. however. His ears are shut. The words were connected by no regular continuation. Men of the Lenape! the face of the Manitou is behind a cloud. gradually passed away. Let your hearts be open and your spirits tell no lie. in low. that sounded like a voice charged with some prophetic mission: ‘the face of the Manitou is behind a cloud! His eye is turned from you. ‘Men of the Lenape!’ he said. or lamentation. and even the inanimate Uncas appeared a being of life. as if  The Last of the Mohicans . he arose with an air as feeble as if another age had already intervened between the man who had met his nation the preceding day. whichever it might be called. and were thrillingly soft and wailing. and leaning on the shoulders of his attendants. and gave vent to her emotions in such language as was suggested by her feelings and the occasion. As the immediate effect.

whose eye was brighter than a star in the dark night. and described him as one whose moccasin left no trail on the dews. selected for the task by her rank and qualifications. in substance. was loud as the thunder of the Manitou. embellishing her expressions with those oriental images that the Indians have probably brought with them from the extremes of the other continent. and which form of themselves a link to connect the ancient histories of the two worlds. they who succeeded. a translation of their language would have contained a regular descant.bewildered with grief. whose bound was like the leap of a young fawn. who had left the upper earth at a time so near his own departure. and had called her  . alluded. and whose voice. with the delicacy and sensitiveness of women. which. commenced by modest allusions to the qualities of the deceased warrior. in the milder moments of their plaint. She reminded him of the mother who bore him. A girl. She bade him tell her. might have proved to possess a train of consecutive ideas. these emblems of purity and sweetness were cast back to their places. and dwelt forcibly on the happiness she must feel in possessing such a son. as to render the will of the Great Spirit too manifest to be Free eBooks at Planet eBook. in battle. She called him the ‘panther of his tribe”. But. that the Delaware girls had shed tears above the grave of her child. to the stranger maiden. changing their tones to a milder and still more tender strain. Though rendered less connected by many and general interruptions and outbreakings. when they met in the world of spirits. with every sign of tenderness and regret. Then.

They promised that her path should be pleasant. others again. assuring her that the ‘blessed hunting grounds of the Lenape. and to have consideration for her ignorance of those arts which were so necessary to the comfort of a warrior like himself.’ contained vales as pleasant. A hunter would be her companion. Then. in due succession. and on her noble resolution. spoke to the maiden herself. They cautioned her against unavailing regrets for the friends of her youth. they betrayed. that. who knew how to provide for her smallest wants. and to fear nothing for her future welfare. with  The Last of the Mohicans . They admonished him to be kind to her. Clothing their ideas in the most remote and subtle images. After which. all that became a warrior. and as angels may be thought to delight in a superior excellence. as the ‘heaven of the pale faces. streams as pure.’ They advised her to be attentive to the wants of her companion. and all that a maid might love. in a wild burst of their chant they sang with united voices the temper of the Mohican’s mind. that these endowments should prove more than equivalent for any little imperfection in her education. adding. in the short period of their intercourse. manly and generous. they had discovered. They pronounced him noble. They dwelled upon her matchless beauty. soft language of tenderness and love. They exhorted her to be of cheerful mind. and a warrior was at her side who was able to protect he against every danger. and flowers as sweet. and her burden light. without the taint of envy. and the scenes where her father had dwelt. and never to forget the distinction which the Manitou had so wisely established between them. in the low.disregarded.

that she was equal to the dangers and daring of a life in the woods. the ‘wise one of the earth’ had transplanted her to a place where she would find congenial spirits. her conduct had proved. but though far from expressing such a preference. They doubted not that she was lovely in the eyes of the young chief. the truant disposition of his inclinations. relieved. or rather rendered terrible. as brilliant. it was evident they deemed her less excellent than the maid they mourned. Then. allusions were made to the virgin who wept in the adjacent lodge. and as liable to melt in the fierce heats of summer. any eye might have seen. Why should not such a predilection be encouraged! That she was of a blood purer and richer than the rest of her nation. with its glowing flush of the sun.the intuitive perception of their sex. was admitted to be less attractive than her bloom. and might be forever happy. and the most spotless cloud. as it was. and now. whose skin and whose sorrow seemed so like her own. with another transition in voice and subject. The Delaware girls had found no favor in his eyes! He was of a race that had once been lords on the shores of the salt lake. as white. they added. by those occasional bursts of grief which Free eBooks at Planet eBook. her eye to the blue vault of heavens. as pure. They compared her to flakes of  . or congeal in the frosts of winter. and his wishes had led him back to a people who dwelt about the graves of his fathers. During these and similar songs nothing was audible but the murmurs of the music. Still they denied her no need her rare charms might properly claim. Her ringlets were compared to the exuberant tendrils of the vine.

Even David was not reluctant to lend his ears to the tones of voices so sweet. even at the wildest or the most pathetic parts of the lamentation. and every other sense but that of sight seemed frozen. they knew not the meaning of the wild sounds they heard.might be called its choruses. his gaze announced that his soul was enthralled. to catch their meaning. and resuming his reclining attitude. he shook his head. suffered himself to be a little aroused from his meditative posture. Happily for the self-command of both Heyward and Munro. by the variations of their speaking countenances. The scout. and which were now about to be closed forever from his view. and it was very apparent. of all the white men. a warrior much renowned  The Last of the Mohicans . In this stage of the obsequies. and bent his face aside. Chingachgook was a solitary exception to the interest manifested by the native part of the audience. if that might be called a ceremony. in order that his eyes might take their final gaze at those lineaments he had so long loved. in which feeling was so deeply imbued. But when they spoke of the future prospects of Cora and Uncas. His look never changed throughout the whole of the scene. he maintained it until the ceremony. as the girls proceeded. The Delawares themselves listened like charmed men. how deep and true was their sympathy. was finished. The cold and senseless remains of his son was all to him. the words were intelligible. and long ere the chant was ended. like one who knew the error of their simple creed. nor did a muscle move in his rigid countenance. to whom alone.

rising just high enough on the air to be audible. deep sound was heard. Pride of the Wapanachki. succeeded by another Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘thy time has been like that of the sun when in the trees. thine arm heavier than falling branches from the pine. another deep and breathing silence reigned in all the place. When each had ended. as to leave its character. looking about him with a melancholy gaze. but a hundred Wyandots are clearing the briers from thy path to the world of the spirits. however. ‘and his heart exceeding heavy. and yet so indistinctly. until most of the high and gifted men of the nation had sung or spoken their tribute of praise over the manes of the deceased chief. as if the empty clay retained the faculties of the animated man. thy glory brighter than his light at noonday. and the place whence it proceeded. addressing himself to the dull ears of Uncas. It was. youthful warrior. Who that saw thee in battle would believe that thou couldst die? Who before thee has ever shown Uttawa the way into the fight? Thy feet were like the wings of eagles. advanced slowly from the crowd. and placed himself nigh the person of the dead. Thou art gone.for deed in arms. why hast thou left us?’ He was succeeded by  . in due order. pride of the Wapanachki?’ he said. The tongue of Uttawa is weak. and thy voice like the Manitou when He speaks in the clouds. ‘Why hast thou left us. and more especially for services in the recent combat. Then a low.’ he added. alike matters of conjecture. like the suppressed accompaniment of distant music. a man of stern and grave demeanor.

The Delawares who knew by these symptoms that the mind of their friend was not prepared for so mighty an effort of fortitude. that they drank in the sounds with an intenseness of attention. as they proceeded. and. by one of the elder chiefs. it was apparent. by the manner in which the multitude elevated their heads to listen. as if borne away by a passing breath of wind. until they grew on the ear. looking with his riveted eye and motionless form. like some creature that had been turned from the Almighty hand with the form but without the spirit of a man. another wailing song in praise of the deceased. to the women who crowded that part of the circle near which the body of Cora lay. chanting. each in a higher key.and another strain. seemed to bestow all their thoughts on the obsequies of the stranger maiden. A signal was given. until they finally sank on the ear. The lips of the Sagamore closed. relaxed in their attention. with an innate delicacy. Gamut. first in long drawn and often repeated interjections. and then grew fainter and more trembling. as to announce that it was the monody of the father. now bent 0 The Last of the Mohicans . The strains rose just so loud as to become intelligible. and advanced with slow and regulated steps. the girls raised the bier to the elevation of their heads. who had been a close observer of rites he deemed so heathenish. Though not an eye was turned toward him nor the smallest sign of impatience exhibited. Obedient to the sign. that none but Tamenund himself had ever before commanded. But they listened in vain. and finally in words. and he remained silent in his seat. The lips of Chingachgook had so far parted.

with characteristic 1 . shall we not follow. But when the last and humblest female of the tribe had joined in the wild and yet ordered array. On reaching it the girls deposited their burden. in their own language: ‘My daughters have done well. and as motionless as before. and bestowing one anxious and hurried glance around him. he arose and followed in the simple train.his head over the shoulder of the unconscious father. the men of the Lenape contracted their circle. as grave. where a cluster of young and healthful pines had taken root. said. His friends pressed around him with a sorrow that was too strong to be termed sympathy — even the young Frenchman joining in the procession. as if the last trumpet had sounded in his ear. for some evidence that they whose feelings were most concerned were content with the arrangement. and see them interred with Christian burial?’ Munro started. with the air of a man who was sensibly touched at the early and melancholy fate of one so lovely. At length the scout. the white men thank them. and continued for many minutes waiting.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but bearing the full burden of a parent’s suffering. with the mien of a soldier. and native timidity. forming of themselves a melancholy and appropriate shade over the spot. as silent. The place which had been chosen for the grave of Cora was a little knoll. and formed again around the person of Uncas. who alone understood their habits. whispering: ‘They move with the remains of thy child.

by leaves and other natural and customary objects. nor a look of impatience. glancing an eye at David. who was preparing his book in a manner that indicated an intention to lead the way in sacred song. and concealing the marks of the fresh earth. Excited by the scene he had just witnessed. I see. But when the labors of the kind beings who had performed these sad and friendly offices were so far completed.’ The females stood modestly aside. they now became the meek and attentive observers of that which followed. They listened like those who knew the meaning of the strange words. and perhaps  The Last of the Mohicans . During the time David occupied in pouring out the pious feelings of his spirit in this manner. The ceremony of covering the remains. and not inelegantly. and. hope. after which they lowered it into its dark and final abode.’ he said: ‘the spirit of the pale face has no need of food or raiment. and appeared as if they felt the mingled emotions of sorrow. It was in this stage of the rites that the scout again addressed them: ‘My young women have done enough. fabricated of the bark of the birch. ‘that one who better knows the Christian fashions is about to speak. escaped them. from having been the principal actors in the scene. in a way to show that they knew not how much further they might proceed. was conducted with the same simple and silent forms. their gifts being according to the heaven of their color. the girls proceeded to deposit the body in a shell. ingeniously. they hesitated.Satisfied with this testimony in their favor. and resignation. they were intended to convey. not a sign of surprise.’ he added.

as he had commenced it. the additional power of intelligence. the secret. timorous glances of the eyes. betrayed that something was expected from the father of the deceased. in the midst of a grave and solemn stillness. and shook his head slowly when they were ended. the greatest effort of which human nature is capable. Tell them. the closing cadence had fallen on the ears of his auditors. He ended the anthem. he said: ‘Say to these kind and gentle females. and looked around the timid and quiet throng by which he was encircled. that a heart-broken and failing man returns them his thanks. Then.’ he said. under different names. will be mindful of their charity. His full rich voice was not found to suffer by a comparison with the soft tones of the girls. as one who doubted their efficacy. the master of song exceeded his usual efforts. ‘would be to tell them that the snows come not in the winter. and that the time shall not be distant when we may assemble around His throne without distinction of sex. however. with a firm and collected countenance. perhaps. or color. ‘To tell them this. and his more modulated strains possessed. or that the sun shines fiercest Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and the general and yet subdued movement of the assemblage. When. at least for the ears of those to whom they were peculiarly addressed.influenced by his own secret  . Munro seemed sensible that the time was come for him to exert what is. motioning with his hand for the scout to listen. or rank.’ The scout listened to the tremulous voice in which the veteran delivered these words. He bared his gray locks. that the Being we all worship.

looking about him with an air of lofty composure. he felt his self-control was about to desert him. and to repeat the terms of an engagement they had made to meet again within the posts of the British army. when the young Frenchman before named ventured to touch him lightly on the elbow. though the anguish that quivered in his faded countenance was far too powerful to be concealed. It is the will of Heaven. the head of Munro again drooping on his bosom. my child! if the prayers of a heart-broken father could avail thee now. whence low and stifled sobs alone announced the presence of Alice.’ he added. he made such a communication of the other’s gratitude as he deemed most suited to the capacities of his listeners.’ Heyward gladly obeyed a summons that took them from a spot where. gentlemen. he pointed toward a group of young Indians. The head of Munro had already sunk upon his chest. sir. let us depart. ‘I understand you. he spurred his charger to the side of the litter. and he was again fast relapsing into melancholy. who approached with a light but closely covered litter. however.’ returned Munro. and I submit. how blessed shouldst thou be! Come. and then pointed upward toward the sun. he found time to press the hand of the scout. Then. ‘I understand you.when the trees are stripped of their leaves. each instant. As soon as he had gained the attention of the mourning old man. ‘our duty here is ended. gladly throwing himself into the saddle.’ Then turning to the women. Cora. with Heyward and  The Last of the Mohicans . While his companions were mounting. with a voice of forced firmness. In this manner.

all the white men. where her tears had at last ceased to flow. Neither were the secondary actors in these momentous incidents forgotten. by his military misfortunes. was not so easily broken. and of the young warrior of the Mohicans ceased to beguile the long nights and tedious marches. But the tie which. that the ‘Gray Head’ was speedily gathered to his fathers — borne down. Through the medium of the scout. Deserted by all of his color. who served for years afterward as a link between them and civilized life. they learned. But these were events of a time later than that which concerns our tale. and were buried in the vast forests of that region. passed from before the eyes of the Delawares. and had been succeeded by the bright smiles which were better suited to her joyous nature. or to animate their youthful and brave with a desire for vengeance. and attended by the aide of Montcalm with his guard. Hawkeye returned to the spot where his sympathies led him. through their common calamity. had united the feelings of these simple dwellers in the woods with the strangers who had thus transiently visited them. with the exception of Hawkeye. as was erroneously believed. whom the Delawares were already inclosing in his last Free eBooks at Planet eBook. with a force that no ideal bond of union could destroy. Years passed away before the traditionary tale of the white maiden. He was just in time to catch a parting look of the features of Uncas.David following in sorrowing silence. and that the ‘Open Hand’ had conveyed his surviving daughter far into the settlements of the pale  . in answer to their inquiries.

They paused to permit the longing and lingering gaze of the sturdy woodsman. had been simultaneous and general. his bones should rest among those of his own people. He had not yet spoken. like the feeling. The same grave expression of grief. the stern and self-restrained warrior raised his face. Conscious of the wishes of the people. and protected from the ravages of the beasts of prey. the body was enveloped. and when it was ended. never to be unclosed again. The manual rites then ceased and all present reverted to the more spiritual part of the ceremonies. and the whole was concealed from the instinct. which had latterly been buried in his robe. for the spirit to communicate with its earthly tenement. An opening was left in the shell. the same rigid silence. and the same deference to the principal mourner. The body was deposited in an attitude of repose.vestment of skins. and looked about him with a steady eye. and for the first  The Last of the Mohicans . Chingachgook became once more the object of the common attention. at some future day. The movement. and something consolatory and instructive was expected from so renowned a chief on an occasion of such interest. because it was proper that. His firmly compressed and expressive lips then severed. with the implements of war and of the chase at hand. in readiness for the final journey. Then came a procession like the other. when necessary. by which it was protected from the soil. facing the rising sun. with an ingenuity peculiar to the natives. were observed around the place of interment as have been already described. and the whole nation was collected about the temporary grave of the chief — temporary.

Sagamore. I have no kin. no people. whatever may be our color or our gifts. But who can say that the serpent of his tribe has forgotten his wisdom? I am alone —‘ ‘No. and He has called him away. and in an attitude of friendship these two sturdy and intrepid woodsmen bowed their heads together. and I may also say. the son and the father of Uncas. that a chief has filled his time with honor? He was good. if ever I forget the lad who has so often fou’t at my side in war. As for me. but God has so placed us as to journey in the same path. The gifts of our colors may be different. he was brave. he was  . in the warmth of feeling. no. Who can deny it? The Manitou had need of such a warrior. regarding the dark race of dejected warriors by whom he was environed. Sagamore. I am a blazed pine. while scalding tears fell to their feet. He was your son. with something like his own self-command.’ cried Hawkeye. My race has gone from the shores of the salt lake and the hills of the Delawares. and it may be that your blood was nearer — but. ‘no.’ Chingachgook grasped the hand that. and slept at my side in peace. but whose philosophy could endure no longer. the scout had stretched across the fresh earth. who had been gazing with a yearning look at the rigid features of his friend.time during the long ceremonies his voice was distinctly audible. but. ‘Why do my brothers mourn?’ he said. you are not alone. watering the grave of Uncas like drops of Free eBooks at Planet eBook. may He who made us all. like you. in a clearing of the pale faces. forget me! The boy has left us for a time. and a red-skin by nature. ‘why do my daughters weep? that a young man has gone to the happy hunting-grounds. not alone.

In the midst of the awful stillness with which such a burst of feeling.falling rain. ‘It is enough. the anger of the Manitou is not done.’ he said. In the morning I saw the sons of Unamis happy and strong. Tamenund lifted his voice to disperse the multitude. Why should Tamenund stay? The pale faces are masters of the earth. and the time of the red men has not yet come again. children of the Lenape. have I lived to see the last warrior of the wise race of the Mohicans. My day has been too long. coming as it did. from the two most renowned warriors of that region. was received. ‘Go. before the night has come.’  The Last of the Mohicans . and yet.

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