Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Major Duncan Heyward has been ordered to escort Cora and Alice Munro from Fort Edward to Fort William Henry, where the young women’s father, Colonel Munro, is commandant. Also in the party is David Gamut, a Connecticut singing master. On their way to Fort William Henry, they do not follow the military road through the wilderness. Instead, they place themselves in the hands of a renegade Huron known as Magua, who claims that he can lead them to their destination by a shorter trail.
It is afternoon when the little party meets the woodsman Hawkeye and his Delaware Mohican friends Chingachgook and his son Uncas. To their dismay, they learn that they are but an hour’s distance from their starting point. Hawkeye deduces that Magua has been planning to lead the party into a trap. His Mohican comrades try to capture the renegade, but Magua flees into the woods. At Heyward’s urging, Hawkeye agrees to guide the travelers to their destination. After the horses are tied and hidden among rocks along a river, Hawkeye produces a hidden canoe from among the bushes and paddles the party to a rock at the foot of Glenn’s Falls. There they prepare to spend the night in a cave.
That night, the party is surprised by a band of Iroquois led by Magua. Hawkeye, Heyward, and the rest might have a chance of victory, but unfortunately their ammunition, which was left in the canoe, has been stolen by one of the enemy. Their only hope then lies in the possibility of...
(The entire section is 1427 words.)
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Summary (Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition)
The Last of the Mohicans, the second of the Leatherstocking Tales published and also the second in the hero’s chronology, picks up the story of Natty Bumppo and Chingachgook in 1757, some fourteen years later. In this, the most popular of the quintet, the scene has moved northward in New York State to Glen Falls and Lake George. The plot centers on a true historical event, the British surrender of Fort William Henry to the French and their massacre by Indians immediately following. Cooper explores the themes of miscegenation, the expansion of America, and the decline of the Indians’ power and domain. Although the story is based on fact, Cooper fictionally realigns the Indians’ true historical alliances to the French and English in order to suit his storytelling needs.
The Last of the Mohicans is first and foremost an adventure story in the tradition of the historical romance. The Delaware are the good Indians; the Huron/Mingoes, treacherous. While Natty, now known as Hawkeye, and Chingachgook remain the moral center of the book, Cooper offers two new creations in his good-evil dichotomy. Uncas, the son of Chingachgook and Hist (who has died), is a living example of physical and moral perfection. Ironically (and appropriately) Uncas’s death occurs because he violates his noble instincts and rushes ahead of the rescue party to save Cora, the woman he loves.
Like The Deerslayer, The Last of the Mohicans...
(The entire section is 631 words.)
The Journey Begins
Set in 1757 during the third year of the French and Indian War the novel opens as Cora and Alice Munro are being escorted to Fort William Henry where they will meet up with the commander of the fort—their father, Colonel Munro. The two women are accompanied by Major Duncan Heyward, a gallant young officer who soon falls in love with Alice, and David Gamut, a ridiculous travelling psalm singer and music teacher. The small group is led by Magua, a mysterious and terrifying Huron, who suggests a "short-cut" that will lead them into an ambush he has prepared. The group are rescued from this fate when they run into Hawkeye, a skilled woodsman also known as Natty Bumppo (his birth name) and Le Longue Carabine (which means "Long Rifle"). With him are his two Mohican friends, Chingachgook and his son, Uncas. Major Heyward tells Hawkeye and his friends about his growing distrust of Magua, and the newcomers agree. Hawkeye and his companions then attempt to seize the "treacherous savage," but the guide escapes into the forest.
Hawkeye predicts that Magua will be back, and—fearing an attack by unfriendly Indians—leads the group to Glenn's Falls. The group takes shelter in a warren of caves behind the waterfall and spends an uneasy night. The sound of horses screaming early in the morning alerts them to danger, and they find themselves under attack by a band of...
(The entire section is 1006 words.)
Chapter 1 Summary
James Fenimore Cooper’s historical novel The Last of the Mohicans was first published in 1826 and is considered by many critics to be his best work. The novel is set in 1757 during the French and Indian War; it takes place in the British-controlled North American colonies. Although historic events in this novel are often embellishments of truth, the novel, when first published, provided readers with a look into frontier life and the relationship between Europeans and Native Americans. These factors made the book very popular in the nineteenth century. Although widespread mainstream readership has declined since then, The Last of the Mohicans continues to be studied in American literature classrooms across the nation.
As the story begins, the narrator explains the present state of war between the British soldiers, who are accompanied by American colonists, and the French forces, which employ Native American soldiers. The British are reputed to have lost the winning edge. Where once the British ruled supreme, they have recently lost major battles in the American colonies due in large part to the cunning and less rigid war tactics of the American Indians.
One of the Native American scouts the British have enlisted, a man named Magua, brings news from the vulnerable Fort William Henry that a troop of French and Native American soldiers have been seen marching toward it. Magua makes this report to General Webb, who is the commander at another British post, Fort Edward. The message to General Webb is to immediately send reinforcements to the fort to aid in its defense during the imminent attack. General Webb orders a detachment of fifteen hundred of his soldiers to ride as quickly as they can to Fort William Henry, which is located at the southern end of Lake George in what is present-day upper New York state.
In addition to the soldiers making their way to Fort William Henry, Alice and Cora Munro, daughters of the commander, at Fort William Henry, insist that they too must go to the fort in order to be with their father, Colonel Munro. Magua says he will guide the two women to the fort by an alternate route, one that is only known by Native Americans. Major Duncan Heyward, a colonist from the South who is not very knowledgeable of either the Northern forests or Native Americans, joins the travelers for the young girls’ protection.
(The entire section is 396 words.)
Chapter 2 Summary
As they begin their travels, Alice, the younger and more frightened of the two sisters, questions Major Heyward about Magua. The major assures Alice that Magua is considered a hero among his own people and, therefore, should be looked upon as trustworthy. The major adds that they should be grateful Magua is taking them to her father’s post by a route that should prove more agreeable. Despite his assurances, Alice tells Heyward that she does not like Magua. Her feelings become even more agitated when Heyward tells her that Magua’s past is shrouded in some mystery about which he has little detail. All Heyward knows is that Alice’s father, Colonel Munro, had an encounter with Magua that resulted in Magua’s being “rigidly dealt” with. Alice responds that if Magua is her father’s enemy, she should like him even less. She then asks Heyward to have Magua speak so she can hear his voice. Alice claims she can tell a lot about a person’s character by the tone of his voice. Heyward is reluctant to do this; he knows Magua would only pretend he does not speak English and does not understand what the major has asked of him.
Cora is Alice’s half-sister. She is stronger and less easily frightened than Alice is. When Alice asks Cora if they should trust Magua, Cora subtly accuses her sister of being racist. She wants to know if they should mistrust Magua because his skin is darker and his customs are different than theirs are.
As they debate their safety, comparing their options of traveling with the troops on the main road versus traveling with Magua, tucked away in the forest, they hear horse hooves galloping toward them from behind. The rider is an awkwardly built, tall, and lanky young man. He is riding a mare whose young colt is rambling through the woods alongside them. The man introduces himself as David Gamut. From his appearance and dress, he looks completely out of place in the forest.
David has asked to join them because he prefers their company to that of the soldiers on the main trail. After the major consents, Alice quickly turns to David as a source of conversation, which she hopes will pass the time as they continue their journey. When Alice discovers that David likes to sing, she suggests that they sing some songs they both know, songs that would normally be sung in church. David is a religious man; the songs he prefers are taken from the psalms in the Bible.
When Alice and David...
(The entire section is 534 words.)
Chapter 3 Summary
The setting shifts to another part of the woods. There, two men are sitting by the side of a stream having a conversation. One of the men is a Native American; the other is of European decent. The Native is Chingachgook, whose head is shaven and body is painted as if prepared for war. The White man is a scout named Hawkeye. They are talking about their personal and cultural histories. Hawkeye also talks of the flow of water in scientific terms, mentioning the pull of the tides. Chingachgook speaks of the river as he references oral histories or stories that have been handed down for countless generations. Although the men’s thoughts reflect different perspectives, it is apparent that they have respect for one another and for their varied points of view.
The two men are allies despite their differences, both in history and in appearances. Hawkeye is dressed in the customary hunter clothes of many of the colonists. His hunting shirt and buckskin leggings reflect the colors of the forest, providing him camouflage. His hunting weapons include a knife and a long rifle. Chingachgook’s chest is bare, and he wears a single feather in his hair. He hunts with an axe and a shorter rifle.
When they continue their discussion, they mention the histories of how their respective relatives came to the land they both now inhabit. During this aspect of their conversation, Chingachgook talks of how his people have suffered from other tribes as well as the White men who have come to colonize the land. Chingachgook focuses on his own tribe, the Mohicans. He says his son, Uncas, is the last of his tribe.
As if their conversation has brought him forth, a young man suddenly appears. He comes to them quietly, and Chingachgook shows no reaction to the sudden appearance of the young man—his son, Uncas. Appreciating if not comprehending the silence of the father toward his son’s sudden presence, Hawkeye tries to mimic Chingachgook’s lack of physical reaction. The three men sit in silence and wait. Then Chingachgook slowly turns his head toward his son and asks if the Maquas (the Iroquois, who are enemies of the Mohicans) are in the forest. Uncas tells his father he has been on the Indians’ trail. They are hiding in the woods, looking for scalps, Hawkeye says. Chingachgook suggests that the three of them eat a good meal that night and then hunt the Maquas in the morning. Later Chingachgook hears horses and exclaims that they...
(The entire section is 438 words.)
Chapter 4 Summary
Hawkeye, Chingachgook, and Uncas’s conversation is broken by the sounds of someone approaching. Hawkeye stands in front of his friends with his rifle ready to defend them. He shouts out for the newcomer to identify himself. Someone answers back that those who approach are people who have been traveling all day and are tired and hungry. Hawkeye says they must be lost. The stranger readily agrees. He then asks if Hawkeye knows the distance to Fort Edward, which they are seeking. Hawkeye laughs and tells the stranger he is way off the route. Hawkeye cannot understand why a soldier would take the more confusing paths in the woods when there is an open and well-marked route that follows the lake. The stranger confesses that he relied on an Indian scout who told him the way through the woods would be shorter and safer.
Hawkeye has trouble comprehending what the stranger is telling him. He wonders out loud how an Indian could ever get lost in the woods. All Indians know how to read the trails, even if they are deer trails. Indians know how to read the sun and the moss on the trees and the stars at night. Then when Hawkeye learns that the Indian scout is a Huron, he understands. Hurons cannot be trusted, Hawkeye tells the man. The stranger insists that he can trust this Indian, who is a legitimate scout for the army. Major Heyward then identifies himself. Hawkeye has heard of the major and respects him. However, Hawkeye remains insistent that the Indian scout has duped the major.
When Hawkeye leaves Heyward to look at the Indian scout, he is slightly disturbed to find the two young women on horseback. He returns to Heyward and tells him he would never trust this Indian scout. He refers to the scout as a Mingo—a tribe that is notorious for their savage betrayal. Hawkeye also informs the major that though the fort he is seeking is only an hour away, he may never make the journey successfully with the two women, especially at night, which is almost upon them. The woods are filled with Indians looking to kill white people, Hawkeye tells Heyward.
Eventually the major is convinced that Magua, the Indian scout, has deceived him. As Heyward talks to Magua, Hawkeye, Chingachgook, and Uncas sneak up behind Magua and try to capture him. However, Magua slips away. Hawkeye aims and shoots his gun, but this does not stop Magua.
(The entire section is 414 words.)
Chapter 5 Summary
Hawkeye is disappointed that Magua has slipped away. When Major Heyward approaches Hawkeye and his Indian friends, he is surprised to find they have given up and are not chasing the unfaithful Indian scout. Hawkeye explains that it would be all but impossible to find Magua in the woods. It would also be a very dangerous undertaking because the forest is full of hostile Indians. The best thing for them to do, Hawkeye says, is find a safe place to spend the night. They must cover their trail, leaving no scents or signs of their journey. They must also be as quiet as they can be. They should not give away their position to anyone who is lingering in the woods, waiting to ambush them.
It begins to dawn on Major Heyward how dangerous their situation is. He realizes that Magua has led him into a trap. He must now rely on Hawkeye, whom he has just met. His charge—protecting the daughters of his commander—is heavy with responsibility. They are all very vulnerable in the woods, especially as the darkness gathers around them. Fully understanding his situation, Heyward begs Hawkeye to save them. He even offers Hawkeye money to take them safely to the fort.
Hawkeye refuses the money. He cannot abandon them, he says; that would be immoral. However, he makes the major promise to follow his directions exactly. By this he means that they must be completely silent. Hawkeye also insists that no one ever tell anyone else about the place to which he is about to take them.
They start out, but Hawkeye realizes the colt must be killed. The young horse is untrained and, therefore, is making too much noise. The killing is observed as a horrendous act for all, though they understand the necessity for it. The animal’s throat is cut and then the young horse is drowned. They all understand the peril of their own situation.
The party then enters the river. The women, Major Heyward, David Gamut, and Hawkeye enter a canoe that was hidden on the riverbank. Once they are seated, Hawkeye steers the boat into the river while Chingachgook and Uncas take the horses and move down the river partially submerged in the water. The river wipes out all scents and footprints of the travelers.
After a harrowing canoe trip through rapids—which the young women, Alice and Cora Munro, think they will never survive—the small boat finally arrives at a quiet spot in the river. Hawkeye deposits the party. He then disappears but...
(The entire section is 444 words.)
Chapter 6 Summary
As the French and Indian War rages around them, Hawkeye, along with his Native American friends, Uncas and Chingachgook, attempt to lead Major Heyward and his two charges, Alice and Cora Munro, along with David Gamut through the woods and to safety at Fort William Henry, where the Munro sisters' father is waiting for them.
After having traveled down a treacherous section of the Hudson River, the young women and the two white men (Heyward and Gamut) think themselves abandoned when Hawkeye and his Indian friends disappear. It is not until Uncas raises a dark blanket from the mouth of a cave in the near distance that they realize that the two Indians and the scout, Hawkeye, have prepared a safe shelter for them.
As the major and the women walk toward the cave, the narrator describes the physique of Uncas, who is waiting for them at the mouth of the cave, as very powerful, suggesting that with Uncas as a friend, the white people should feel well protected from any possible enemies who might be nearby.
However, upon entering the cave, Heyward remains tense. He believes that hiding in a cave is not a very good idea because if just one man were to appear at the mouth of the cave, that man could easily kill all of them; the cave would the become a trap.
As if to demonstrate the wisdom of the Native Americans, who know the forest so much better than the white soldier, upon hearing Heyward's concern, Chingachgook appears at the back of the cave. Standing there, Chingachgook lifts a second dark blanket that is draped across a second entrance that could easily be used as an emergency escape.
In this chapter, the author progresses the theme of possible friendship between white people and Native Americans. Although white people might have the advantages of formal education and more powerful weapons, it is Uncas and Chingachgook who know how to survive in the forest. The cave to which they have brought the white people is well camouflaged as well as sufficiently protected by its position in the rocks, which are in turn surrounded by the raging river.
As the women and Heyward are settling in the cave, they see that the Natives have prepared a meal for them. In addition, the Indians have gathered softly scented boughs upon which the women are invited to make their beds.
After they have eaten, Hawkeye teases Gamut about his profession as a teacher of psalms. Hawkeye does not...
(The entire section is 594 words.)
Chapter 7 Summary
No one of in the cave has fallen asleep when they hear another piercing sound. Hawkeye, although he still does not know who or what is making the shrill yell, commits to discovering its cause. Hawkeye knows enough about the forest to understand that a sound so unnerving as the one they are hearing is a signal that something dangerous is lurking. It makes no matter what the sound's source is; they must honor its warning.
Everyone steps outside of the cave as the men begin their investigation of the sound. When the loud cry is voiced once again, it is Heyward who finally recognizes it. He tells Hawkeye the he has heard that same sound many times before when he was engaged in cavalry battle. Now that he is outside of the cave and can hear it more clearly, he realizes that it is the sound of a scared horse. Either the horse is in imminent danger or has been wounded.
At this pronouncement, all hear a different sound. This time the noise is more familiar to Hawkeye and the Indians. As they owned no horses, they had not recognized the cry of the horse, but the howls and barks of wolves are known to them. A pack of wolves must have found Heyward's horses. The horses must be saved, as the women would never be able to make the trip to the fort without them.
Hawkeye tells the women to wait inside the cave. The men then descend toward the river. They hide in the shadows of the trees, shadows cast by the moon, as they cautiously move forward. The woods are silent all around them. After taking their positions in the shadows, they keep watch through the night. Only Heyward and Gamut fall asleep.
As dawn shows its first light, Heyward rouses Hawkeye. As he does, they all hear the piercing shrieks of what they calculate to be about a dozen Indians. Hawkeye is sure that among those enemy Indians is Magua, the man who had attempted to lead Heyward and the Munro sisters to their deaths. With Magua, Heyward guesses, are a few Iroquois Indians, enemies of the Mohicans.
A few minutes later, the Iroquois begin their attack. Hawkeye is able to wound one of them, and the Iroquois retreat. As the Iroquois disappear, Heyward runs to Gamut, who has been wounded. Hawkeye warns Heyward that the Iroquois retreat is only temporary and they are bound to return. Shortly after making this declaration, the Iroquois reappear and the Mohicans, Hawkeye, and Heyward find themselves in a battle for their lives.
(The entire section is 434 words.)
Chapter 8 Summary
There is a lull in the battle. Hawkeye warns everyone to be cautious with their shots as their ammunition is running low. Again Heyward believes the Iroquois have left, but Hawkeye is sure that their enemies are only waiting for an advantage. Hawkeye tells everyone to keep their voices quiet or, better, remain silent.
As they hide behind rocks, suddenly bullets whiz by. Although the bullets come close, no one is wounded. This situation changes abruptly when one shot feels as if it were aimed from the skies. The men look up but do not see anyone until Heyward notices movement in a large tree leaning over the river. High on one of the large branches is a young Iroquois man. He aims his gun and shoots again, laughing when Heyward jumps because the bullet nipped his clothing.
In a cool, controlled manner, Hawkeye returns the shot and knocks the Iroquois man back into the tree. As they watch, the Iroquois warrior loses his balance and falls forward, saving himself at the last minute by grabbing onto a smaller branch. The warrior is bleeding and struggles to keep from falling into the river.
Heyward's natural inclination is to put the man out of pain by inflicting another shot to kill him. However, Hawkeye reminds Heyward that they must save their bullets for their own good. They watch the suffering warrior for a little while longer. Hawkeye finally raises his gun and kills the man, who then falls into the river and disappears. Hawkeye could no longer allow the man to suffer.
Since there is a lull, Hawkeye tells Uncas to run down to the river's edge where they have anchored their canoe and retrieve the ammunition stored inside the boat. Uncas obeys and quietly steals off for the shore.
Shortly after Uncas leaves, they hear him cry out. Hawkeye knows that Uncas would not make any unnecessary noise with so many Iroquois hiding in the woods and senses that something terrible has happened.
Heyward goes with Hawkeye as they follow in Uncas' footsteps to find out what has happened. In the middle of the river, they see their canoe making its way down the shore. They know that someone must be steering the boat, even though it looks empty. When the boat is out of gunshot range, a head pops up and an Iroquois raises his arm in victory.
Without the boat and ammunition, Hawkeye resigns himself to his death. There is no way they will be able to escape or defend themselves if they...
(The entire section is 515 words.)
Chapter 9 Summary
Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook have left. Only two men remain behind: David Gamut because he was wounded and Major Duncan Heywood because he refused to leave the Monro sisters behind.
Again believing that the Iroquois (or Huron) have retreated, Heywood helps Gamut walk back to the cave where Alice and Cora Munro are in hiding. Once everyone is settled, in an attempt to soothe the young women's nerves, Heywood tells them that he believes they are safe. They have only to wait for Hawkeye to come back with a troop of soldiers.
Heywood gathers the branches the women used as beds the night before and places them around the entrance of the cave so it will not be detected should anyone appear. He then suggests that Gamut sing a song. The women are concerned that the sound of Gamut's voice might attract attention, but Hewood is confident that the cave is dense enough to mute their voices.
Suddenly they hear voices a short distance away from the cave. The Iroquois are shouting. Heywood concludes that they have come back to gather their dead and will soon go away again.
A short while later, however, Heywood realizes that they have surrounded the cave. There are two chambers to the cave, and the Iroquois are now in the main section. Heywood and the women and Gamut are in the smaller portion, which is closed off from the outer section. They still hope that they will not be detected.
The Indians are celebrating in the other chamber because they have found a gun they recognize as Hawkeye's, and they see blood on the floor of the cave. The blood comes from Gamut's wounds, but the Iroquois do not know this; they think that Hawkeye is wounded.
Hearing the Iroquois' reactions makes Heyward happy. The Indians would not have been so excited if they had already killed Hawkeye, so Heyward assumes that Hawkeye is still alive and successfully escaped.
The Indians finally leave, and Heyward relaxes. He tells the women that they are, once again, safe from capture. Everyone gives thanks for their good fortune.
In the middle of their celebration, they notice a look of horror on Alice's face. When they turn, they see a fierce-looking Iroquois man standing at the entrance of the cave.
In desperation, Heyward raises the small pistol he has been holding and fires it. The sound of the gun reverberates throughout the cave, rumbling as loud as thunder. In a few minutes, the...
(The entire section is 437 words.)
Chapter 10 Summary
When Heyward recognizes Magua (who was supposed to lead Heyward and the Munro sisters to Fort William Henry, where the girls' father was waiting for them) in the group of the Iroquois who have captured them, he asks Magua to interpret what the other Indians are saying. The Indians have tied Heyward's hands, so the major is defenseless. However, Heyward needs to know what the Indians are looking for and hopes to find out what they plan to do with him and the others.
Magua confirms what Heyward suspected: the Indians want Hawkeye. When Heyward tells them that Hawkeye has escaped, they can barely believe it. Magua in particular is disappointed because he is seeking revenge; Hawkeye shot Magua in the shoulder when Hawkeye realized that Magua was not taking Heyward and the young women to Fort William Henry but rather was leading them to their deaths.
Heyward learns very little from Magua and must submit to the Indians' demands that he and the women follow them to the canoe the Indians confiscated. Heyward obeys and encourages the women to do the same.
Once in the canoe, the Indians row the boat over to the opposite side of the river, where they all get out. It is there that the Indians tied the horses they stole from Heyward and his group.
The chief of the Indian group selects some of the younger Indians and motions to them to follow him. Magua is left behind and is now in charge of the hostages. After putting the women on two of the horses, Magua signals that Heyward and Gamut must follow them on foot as they traverse the forest.
Before they begin their journey, Heyward takes Magua to the side and attempts to make a deal with him. Heyward wants to convince Magua that he and Hawkeye actually were acting as Magua's friend when Hawkeye shot him.
Heyward explains that he and Hawkeye knew they had been surrounded by the Iroquois Indians and were worried that the Iroquois might not only kill them but also Magua. So they made it look as if Magua was an enemy by shooting him in the shoulder, hoping to save Magua's life.
Heyward points out that Hawkeye is an excellent shot and would have shot Magua in the chest if he really wanted to kill him. Heyward then suggests that if Magua helps him provide a safe journey of the young women to their father, Mague would not only be granted great honors and medals but might be rewarded with riches.
Magua does not tell Heyward...
(The entire section is 548 words.)
Chapter 11 Summary
Magua directs his group of fellow Indians and their white prisoners to stop on top of a tall butte. The height gives them a distinct and clear view of their surroundings, an advantage should other, unfriendly Indians or white soldiers happen upon them.
It is on the butte that Magua finally lies down and rests while the other Indians hunt and kill a deer. The Indians eat the deer without cooking it, which the narrator describes as a disgusting manner of consuming food.
Once again, Heyward approaches Magua and stresses how appreciative the girls' father would be if Magua sees to their safe return. As he speaks, Heyward sees an expression take control of Magua's face, but Heyward is unable to read it. He cannot tell if Magua has become intrigued with Heyward's idea or if Magua is scheming something more sinister than Heyward wants to imagine.
Magua instructs Hayward to tell the older Monro sister, Cora, to come to him. Magua wants to speak to her alone. When Cora arrives, Magua tells her that there is one way that she can save the lives of her sister, Alice, and the two white men. All Cora has to do is to agree to go with Magua back to the Great Lakes, his tribal home, and live with him as his wife.
This proposal disgusts Cora so deeply that she cannot help but display her contempt for Magua's idea. She tries to cover her feelings by pleading with Magua that he could never be satisfied with her because she is not a member of his tribe, does not share the same skin color, and knows nothing about his manner of life. She suggests that Magua would be much better off if he were to return both her and her sister to their father, take the rewards awaiting him, and find a woman of his own kind.
After Magua sends her away, Cora does not divulge his plan to the others. She and the other hostages wait to see how Magua will react to his and Cora's discussion.
Magua calls all his fellow Indians to his side. He rouses them by reminding them of the men they recently lost at the hands of these white people. He then tells them that it is time to seek their revenge.
The Indians rush toward the prisoners, tie them to trees, and prepare to kill them, when Magua tells them that they should torture them first. They prepare several forms of torture while Magua tells everyone that Cora has stated that she is too good for him and has refused to become his wife.
(The entire section is 500 words.)
Chapter 12 Summary
Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook have returned just in time to save the hostages. The Iroquois had carelessly left their loaded rifles to the side of the clearing; when Hawkeye and his men entered the area, they knew they had the advantage.
However, in fairness to the Iroquois, the men decide to fight hand-to-hand with them. Hawkeye had killed only one of them to make the numbers of each side more even.
After untying the major and with Gamut's help, each man fights using hatchets and knives. In the end, only Magua remains alive, and Chingachgook is fighting him.
It is difficult for Hawkeye and the other to distinguish Chingachgook from Magua as the two men are engaged in a tight battle. They are fighting in the middle of a dusty patch of ground, and the dirt clings tightly to both bodies because of the men's sweat and blood.
Finally one of the men ceases to move, and Chingachgook stands up to be recognized. Unfortunately, as Chingachgook lets out a cry of celebration, Magua quickly rises and jumps off the edge of the cliff to his freedom.
Chingachgook and Uncas are about to chase Magua so they can finish the battle, but Hawkeye calls them back. Magua is only one man without a gun or a knife, Hawkeye reminds them. He has no friends in the area and will pose no threat to them.
Hawkeye suggests that the men save their strength. They still have a long journey before they will reach the safety of the fort. So they travel to a fresh water spring that Hawkeye knows about, drink their fill of the clear water, then eat the remains of the deer the Iroquois recently killed.
While they rest, Hawkeye tells Heyward and the others what happened after Hawkeye and his two Indian friends left: They reached a point on the river where they realized it would take them too long to make it to the fort and back. There was a good chance that they would not return in time to save Heyward, Gamut, and the Munro sisters. So they decided to lie in hiding until they could decipher what the Iroquois planned to do with the hostages.
With Uncas's help (he was better at reading trail signs than Hawkeye was), they realized that the Iroquois had split into two groups. However, they could not tell in which group the hostages were until Uncas read the prints of the horses' hooves. Uncas noted that two of the horses, the ones that the sisters rode, walked with a special gait that left very...
(The entire section is 531 words.)
Chapter 13 Summary
As they continue their journey to Fort William Henry to take the Munro sisters to their father, the group grows weary, having traveled all day. Before they stop, Hawkeye remembers an old building he once used somewhere close by. If he has been reading the marks on the trail correctly, they are not too far from a battleground on which Hawkeye, as a youth, fought against the Mohawks.
When he finds a thick grove of chestnut trees, Hawkeye recognizes the spot where he first drew the blood of another man. If they have any luck remaining, Hawkeye hopes they will also find a roughly built lodge in which he and a group of Mohicans (that had included Chingachgook) fought a band of their dreaded enemy, the Mohawks. Hawkeye and Chingachgook had built the log cabin as a jail in which they kept the defeated Mohawks.
Hawkeye is pleased to see that the building is still there. The roof is missing, but the walls still stand. The small cabin will provide a degree of safety while they rest. The sun is just setting. They will need to rise with the moon and continue their trek to the fort.
Everyone but Chingachgook closes their eyes for a few hours. Then Heywood feels someone tugging on his shoulder. When he awakens, he finds Chingachgook at his side. The Indian is whispering, telling Heyward to awaken the women. Chingachgook smells danger in the air.
Shortly after they gather inside the cabin, they hear voices on the other side of the woods. The voices draw nearer. Chingachgook recognizes the language of the Hurons. It is obvious that a group of Hurons, possibly including Magua, has been following them.
The Hurons appear to be arguing. Chingachgook senses that they have lost the trail of Hawkeye's group. In the night, it is more difficult to see footprints, especially through the thicket of chestnut trees growing tightly together around the small cabin.
Some of the Hurons wander off, but one of them enters the thicket and discovers the cabin. He disappears and returns with one other Indian. The two men draw closer to the small lodge.
Hawkeye has brought the horses inside the lodge and worries that one of the horses might make a sound. However, everyone inside remains silent.
As the Hurons walk nearer, they stumble upon the mound of dirt under which the casualties of the battle between the Mohawks and Mohicans were buried. The Hurons sense that the mound is a burial...
(The entire section is 469 words.)
Chapter 14 Summary
Hawkeye continues to lead his group toward the fort. After the close encounter with the Hurons, the scout realizes he has to be more cautious. Toward this goal, he leads Heywood and the women to a stream and tells them to take off their shoes and walk in the water so as to leave no trail.
After walking in the water for an hour, Hawkeye believes it is safe enough to return to land. Shortly after they do this, however, they run into a French guard. Fortunately, having seen the women in Hawkeye's group and hearing Heyward speak in French, the French sentinel allows them to pass.
Hawkeye leaves the French guard, very thankful that the French soldier does not suspect them to be enemies. However, after they pass, there is a loud cry coming from where they left the French guard. Then they hear a splash, as if a body has fallen into the lake.
Chingachgook suddenly reappears after this sound, and Hawkeye notices that his Indian friend is in the process of putting his knife away, a dark scalp hanging from his waist. Hawkeye senses that his friend has scalped the French soldier. It is the way of the Indian warrior, the narrator states.
Up ahead of them, Hawkeye discovers many more French soldiers. He suggests that they charge their way through the more sparsely manned edge of the French convoy, but Heyward is concerned that they would not be successful since the women would make them too vulnerable.
After deliberating other possibilities, they decide to climb a nearby mountainside to better assess their situation. Once on the mountain, they see that a large contingency of French soldiers has surrounded the fort. They estimate that there might be as many as 10,000 soldiers.
Hawkeye is very familiar with this part of Lake George and, after searching the skies, concludes that a thick fog is about to descend upon the field where the French soldiers have positioned themselves. Once the fog has reached the ground, Hawkeye suggests that they use it as a cover and sneak past the soldiers.
As they make their way forward, the fog grows thicker. However, this does not completely protect them, as they soon find out. Some of the French soldiers have seen them and sound a warning, rousing many more troops.
As Hawkeye attempts to lead his friends across the field, shots are fired at them. Some of these shots, Hawkeye senses, are coming from the direction of the fort.
(The entire section is 464 words.)
Chapter 15 Summary
There is now a temporary truce agreed upon between the American/British troops led by Munro, leader of Fort William Henry, and Montcalm, the leader of the French army that has surrounded the fort.
During this truce, Major Heyward wanders inside the fort, climbing to the top of the walls and meditating on the calm of nature around the fort, which appears to be unaffected by the bloodshed that awaits him.
While Heyward reflects on this dichotomy, he sees Hawkeye being led through the French troops outside the fort. Hawkeye's head is bent down, as if he is dejected. Hawkeye had been sent to General Webb at Fort Edward to ask for reinforcement troops to assist in defending Fort William Henry. Hawkeye was on his way back to Fort William Henry with a letter from General Webb when he was captured by French soldiers. They stripped Hawkeye of his letter from General Webb and then escorted him back to Fort William Henry in disgrace.
Upon seeing this, Heyward heads for Munro's office but is stopped by Alice and Cora, who were walking toward him. He has not seen the sisters since they all arrived at the fort a few days earlier. Alice teases Heyward for having abandoned them upon their arrival. Heyward teases Alice in return, pretending to be shamed for his negligence. In contrast to her jubilant sister, Cora appears sad or perplexed by some problem, the source of which she does not divulge. She does not join in the teasing.
Heyward excuses himself from the sisters and continues on to Munro's office. Once there, Munro tells him that Montcalm, the officer in charge of the French troops, has requested a meeting with Munro in the field. Wanting to learn the details of the letter that the French took from Hawkeye but not wanting to appear too desperate, Munro asks Heyward to meet with Webb in Munro's name. This is arranged.
Upon arriving at Montcalm's headquarters, Heyward sees several Indian chiefs standing around Montcalm. Among the Indians is Magua, the Iroquois Indian who had held Heyward and the Munro sisters hostage.
Heyward tries his best to show no emotional reaction upon seeing his mortal enemy. Instead he focuses on his mission to discover why General Webb has chosen not to send reinforcement troops to help defend Fort William Henry.
Montcalm proves to be more confident than Heyward thought. Montcalm not only does not provide any hints about the information contained in...
(The entire section is 457 words.)
Chapter 16 Summary
After returning to Fort William Henry, Heyward immediately goes to Munro to deliver the message from the French leader, Montcalm. When Heyward walks into Munro's office, he finds Cora and Alice there. Alice is sitting on her father's lap, playing with the old man's hair. Alice appears embarrassed at having been caught in this childlike position and jumps up to a more mature position in front of Heyward. Munro then dismisses his daughters to Heyward in private.
While Heyward waits patiently to deliver the message from Montcalm, Munro seems to want to talk of more trivial things. Eventually Munro teases Heyward, suggesting that he thinks Heyward might make a good son. Heyward agrees and lets Munro know that he indeed would like to marry one of Munro's daughters.
When Heyward announces that he would like for Alice to become his wife, Munro unexpectedly becomes perturbed. He is surprised and somewhat offended that Heyward does not ask to marry the elder daughter, Cora.
Thinking that Heyward might be prejudiced against Cora's darker complexion, Munro explains that he was working in the West Indies when he met his first wife, who was, Munro would later find out, of mixed African and European blood. This explains Cora's darker coloring. Alice, on the other hand, is light haired with a fair complexion. Alice's mother was Munro's second wife, who died upon giving birth to Alice.
The conversation about his daughters is dropped abruptly as Munro changes his focus from that of father to that of soldier. He asks Heyward for Montcalm's message. Upon hearing that Montcalm wants to meet with him in person, Munro tells Heyward to arrange for a quick departure to meet Montcalm.
After confronting Montcalm, Munro remains defiant, stating that there is no need for him to surrender as reinforcements are on their way. The British-Americans will defeat the French, Munro declares.
At this, Montcalm hands Webb's letter over to Munro. After reading the letter, Munro bows his head. Webb has written that he cannot afford to send even one soldier to help Munro defend the fort. After Munro finishes reading the letter, Webb suggests that Munro surrender the fort to the French.
Before Munro leaves this meeting, Montcalm implores him to hear the terms that he is willing to offer. Munro reluctantly gives in and waits to hear what Montcalm has to say. Montcalm is willing to end the battle as soon as...
(The entire section is 498 words.)
Chapter 17 Summary
Montcalm walks around the French camp dressed in a cloak to disguise himself. When he nears Fort William Henry, he hides in the shadows of a large tree. The sun is just rising.
It is the day when Munro will surrender the fort to Montcalm. As he lingers near the fort, Montcalm hears footsteps coming from the direction of the forest. When he looks up, he sees Magua.
Montcalm tries to reason with Magua, telling him that Munro, once considered an enemy, is now a defeated friend. There is no need to harbor ill feelings of revenge against Munro. However, Magua shows Montcalm several scars on his body. These wounds were caused by the American-British soldiers, and Magua cannot forgive his enemy.
Inside the fort, Munro is disheartened. When Heyward asks about Munro's daughters, it is almost as if they no longer belong to the father. Munro is a soldier now, and a disgraced soldier at that. His mind is lost to military considerations, so Munro asks Heyward to make sure that his daughters are looked after.
Heyward enlists David Gamut to protect the young women until Heyward is relieved of his duties, which include leading the soldiers out of the fort. David agrees, although all he has to offer for a protective device is his hymnal and his singing of praise to God. David believes this will save them.
It becomes obvious to Magua and his Indians, who number in the thousands, that the French leader is not going to fulfill his promise of offering military protection to the retreating British-American troops. The British-American soldiers who are most able lead the procession, followed by the wounded soldiers, with the women and children at the rear of the line.
The battle that ensues is based on historical fact (although the character of Magua is fictional). The Indians at first merely taunt the women and the weaker soldiers, stealing their possessions from them. Then one bolder and more malicious Indian grabs a baby from a woman's arms and pounds the baby's head against a rock. The mother becomes hysterical, so the Indian stabs the mother and leaves her to die.
The bloody massacre grows more and more intense. Blood covers the ground as the Indians easily murder the unarmed members of the surrendering army. The frenzy becomes so barbaric that many Indians stop killing only to drink the blood of their victims.
The scene is too debilitating for Alice, and she faints....
(The entire section is 533 words.)
Chapter 18 Summary
The massacre is over. The stench of death is in the August air. Five men appear together walking out of the forest into the field, disbelieving the horrors they are witnessing as they search the grounds now covered with dead bodies. They comment that in all their experience in fighting, they have never seen such carnage.
These men are looking for two women, Cora and Alice. The men are Munro, Heyward, Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook. There is no explanation as to where Hawkeye and his two Indian friends have been. Neither is there any description of how Munro and Heyward survived the massacre.
Uncas is the first to find a sign of the two young women. A piece of Cora's green veil lies in the dust. The men become gleeful at the sight of this material fragment. If the women's bodies are not in the field, perhaps they escaped through the woods.
This thought both pleases them and makes them worry. Two women in the woods would have not much chance of surviving. They follow a trail to the forest and find signs of horses' hooves. They also find another piece of Cora's veil. In addition, the Indians are able to detect the particular footprint of Magua.
A little farther up the trail, they find the pitchpipe that belongs to David Gamut. Again they have mixed emotions. They are glad that Munro's daughter and their friends are alive but realize that Magua must have kidnapped Cora. They also are saddened by the fact that they have seen no sign of Alice.
Readers are aware that Alice had fainted and had to be carried to the horses that Magua had left in the forest, so her footprints would not have marked the trail. However, these men are not aware of this and fear that the lack of footprints might mean that Alice is dead.
The men are all anxious to follow the trail of horse prints, but Hawkeye warns them that traveling into the night could be deadly. They all need sleep and nourishment. They also need daylight to help them keep on Magua's tail.
Hawkeye assumes that Magua would head for Canada, as he and his Indian band have been working for the French armies stationed there. Hawkeye suggests that they go back to the now-deserted Fort William Henry, eat a hardy meal, and wait for the sun to rise. He also makes the point that they are not certain about Alice's whereabouts. She possibly could be with Cora and Magua, but she also might have been captured by another band of Indians....
(The entire section is 470 words.)
Chapter 19 Summary
Hawkeye and his Mohawk friends, along with Heyward and Munro, have settled for the night at Fort William Henry. The mood among the men is somber considering the disasters of the massacre just a couple of days before. Munro in particular is very quiet and withdrawn. Not only has he been forced to surrender and then watch his troops be slaughtered, he also has lost his daughters.
Heyward and Hawkeye have moved outside the walls of the fort and are sitting in the shadows of the night eating bear meat when Heyward hears a sound near the woods. Although Heyward is agitated by this noise, Hawkeye pays little attention to it as he does not feel threatened.
Rather than discuss the possible sources of the sound, Hawkeye becomes philosophical, continuing a previous topic about heaven. The two men had been contemplating what the afterlife might be like, wondering if both Indians and white men would end up in the same heaven.
Hawkeye furthers this discussion as he ponders the various aspects of heaven, stating that what one person might find as the perfect heaven might not suit someone else. Hawkeye, for instance, is not comfortable with the idea that heaven is a place for rest. He says that for him to find pleasure, he must be allowed to be almost constantly in motion.
As Hawkeye continues to speak about heaven, he finally concedes that the noise Heyward is hearing comes from the stealth movements of wolves. It is time for them to hunt. This relaxes Heyward to a certain degree; he had thought it might be the sounds of Indians returning to the fields. Hawkeye tells him that typically after a battle, Indians do not linger around the dead.
There is another sound, but this one is different from the previous ones. This time it is Hawkeye who becomes perturbed: the sound is from a man.
Hawkeye decides to call to Uncas. He knows that Uncas' hearing is much more acute than his own. Hawkeye makes the sound of an owl, which Uncas, in the near distance, interprets as a signal that danger is close at hand. Heyward sees Uncas quickly lie down on the ground, but when Heyward walks over to get a better look, Uncas is not where Heyward thought he should be. He snuck away without Heyward seeing him.
Heyward then turns his attention to Chingachgook, who is sitting near the fire; the older Indian looks as if he is about to fall asleep. Hawkeye makes the sound of a hissing snake to warn...
(The entire section is 618 words.)
Chapter 20 Summary
Still dark outside, Hawkeye awakens the other men, signaling that it is time to leave the fort and head toward Canada in pursuit of Magua and the Munro sisters. Although the trip from the fort to the river would have been more easily traversed through the grassy fields, Hawkeye leads the men over a path of rocks and wood so they will leave no footprints.
Once in the boat, Heywood asks for an explanation for Hawkeye's caution. Heywood assumes that with the death of the Oneiga Indian the night before, all danger has passed. Hawkeye, however, informs him that when one Indian dies, his tribe seeks revenge. Hawkeye believes that the woods are filled with enemies, even though they cannot see or hear them.
As they travel along the placid waters of Lake George, the narrator describes the scene as one of incredible beauty. Mountains rim the lake. A scattering of islands is the only thing to break the view of the entire lake. In places, the islands are so close together that the passage for the canoe is extremely narrow, and it is in sections such as this that the men face the most danger.
Although Heyward still does not understand Hawkeye's continued caution, Chingackgook points out signs confirming that danger is very near to them. He shows Heyward and Munro a low-hanging cloud, one that Munro refers to as condensation rising from the lake. However, Chingackgook, as usual, notices more than the white men can see. He agrees with Munro's description of the cloud but then distinguishes the dark rim that lies at the underbelly of this cloud. That black rim, Chingackgook informs them, is the residue of a small man-made fire. There are Indians on this island, Chingackgook warns them, Indians who would like to kill them.
As if on cue, a shot is fired in their direction from the shores of the island they are passing. Then they hear loud hoots of exclamation as the Indians on land come running out of the woods and head for two canoes they have hidden along the beach. They quickly paddle their way out into the lake in pursuit of Hawkeye's boat.
Hawkeye asks Heyward and Munro to lie down on the bottom of the boat so that they do not make such a large target, but Heyward states that that is completely against the rules of his military training. Ungas does not understand this white man's stubbornness and his willingness to die when avoiding this possible misfortune would be so easily attained if Heyward...
(The entire section is 526 words.)
Chapter 21 Summary
Hawkeye and his group reach the northern shores of Lake George, where they abandon their canoe and travel by foot. They are searching for Magua's trail. Since they are in the mountains, Hawkeye and his Mohawk friends know that there are only so many ways for people to travel in this region. They must find valleys or other passage ways, possibly along streams and rivers, rather than climb up and down the steep slopes of the mountains. So far, they have found no recognizable footprints.
After walking for a long time, Hawkeye is embarrassed to admit that he might have missed signs that would have signaled which of the valleys Magua might have taken. Although Hawkeye knows that Uncas is a better path finder than he is, Uncas is not allowed, according to his Indian tradition and in honor of his father's age, to say anything until given permission by Chingackgook. As soon as his father acknowledges him, Uncas searches for marks that will signal that Magua has gone in a certain direction.
It does not take Uncas long to find a trail to follow. He has detected familiar footprints. One of the footprints is that of someone wearing Indian moccasins, but Uncas can tell by the impression on the ground that whoever is walking in those Indian slippers is not an Indian. Not only that, Uncas remembers having seen this type of print before and is almost sure the print belongs to David Gamut, the singing teacher.
This excites the men, and their attitude is uplifted as they follow the pass through the mountains. When they come to a stream, again they lose the trail and again Uncas is able to find footprints, this time hidden under leaves along the edge of the stream. They also find women's footprints, assuring them that they are on the right path.
As they continue, Hawkeye and the Indians become more alert. There is a smell in the air that tells them that they are coming closer to an encampment. They split up, each going a different way. They tell one another to call out using the sound of a crow if they discover anything.
Heyward is by himself when he sees something in the distance. He perceives that he is looking at an Indian village built on the edges of a lake. As Heyward stares at the strangely built structures, the figure of a man with a painted face appears close enough to touch. Heyward is afraid to make the warning call as the Indian is standing too close to him. So Heyward remains silent, merely...
(The entire section is 525 words.)
Chapter 22 Summary
Hawkeye is obviously happy to find David Gamut in the guise of an Indian. Gamut's appearance confirms that Hawkeye, with his Indian friends, followed the correct trail and now must be near enough to the young Munro women to rescue them.
Hawkeye asks about the Munro sisters and Gamut states that they are healthy but very sad. Young Alice, Gamut says, no matter how hard he tries to entertain her, cries much more than she laughs. The sisters have been separated, each living with families from two different tribes. This was done, apparently, to keep the girls from planning their escape.
When Hawkeye asks Gamut why he has been allowed to roam freely, Gamut thinks it might be because the Indians are impressed with his singing. Hawkeye, however, believes it is because the Indians think something is mentally wrong with Gamut, thus making him harmless.
Hawkeye also asks Gamut why, if he has never been confined, he never attempted to run away, returning to the fort to announce where Magua had taken them. The narrator explains that Hawkeye does not understand that the knowledge he has gained concerning survival in the forest is not a skill that Gamut could ever learn.
Hawkeye suggests that Gamut return to the village as he would normally do. While he is among the tribespeople, he should take note of how many people are present and gather any other information that might be helpful to aid the rescue of the Munro sisters.
Gamut had not paid particular attention to his surroundings earlier, so he cannot provide them with much valuable insight into the lives and manners of the Indian people. He had noticed that the Indians he was with prayed to a weird idol that looked like a turtle.
Upon hearing this, Chingachgook makes a sound. The image of the turtle is one that is revered by Chingachgook's people. This means that there is a chance, Chingachgook realizes, that they might be able to talk to these people as friends to gain access to Cora.
When Gamut is about to return to the other tribe, the Hurons, Heyward insists on going back with him. Heyward wants to be the one to save the woman he loves, young Alice. At first Hawkeye is against this plan. However, he changes his mind when he sees how adamant Heyward is concerning his rescue of Alice. So Chingachgook paints Heyward's face with designs traditional Indians will recognize as those of some tribal person who is crazy. Heyward...
(The entire section is 491 words.)
Chapter 23 Summary
As Heyward and Gamut move closer to the Huron camp, they come across a group of naked children playing in the fields. Upon seeing the two strangers, the children let out a loud cry of warning to their elders.
Because of the recent complete victory of the Huron over Munro's troops, this tribe of Indians is not in a state of alertness. They expect no surprise attacks by the British as so many of the British soldiers have been killed. So although the adult Hurons hear the children's warning yells, they merely come to the door of the community lodge and watch Gamut and Heyward approach.
Inside the lodge, Heyward does his best to keep from showing any signs of distress, although he is tremendously fearful of being surrounded by so many savage-looking Hurons. Hawkeye has warned Heyward that the Huron are very clever and observant. If Heyward falters in his role and is found out to be a British spy, the Huron will more than likely kill him. The only consolation Hawkeye could offer was that if the Huron do murder Heyward, Hawkeye will avenge his death.
Heyward observes the expressions on the Huron men's faces. He hopes to detect whether his disguise has the affect that he intends. However, all the faces of the men are expressionless, showing no emotion that Heyward can read.
When he is questioned by one of the Indians, Heyward speaks in French so he can pass as a Canadian. As he answers the Indian's questions, there is a sudden loud cry outside the lodge. The cry is so piercing that all the Huron men inside the lodge disrupt their meeting to go and see what is happening.
Outside, Heyward watches as a group of Huron warriors enter the encampment from the forest. A couple of Indians are carrying a long pole to which is attached several scalps of their enemies. At the sight of the scalps, the crowd cries out loudly.
At the end of the parade of warriors, Heyward sees two Indians who appear to have quite contrary moods to the celebratory sounds of the other Huron Indians. Heyward suspects that these last two Indians are captives.
Heyward sees the crowd form into two lines including women and children as well as the men. Everyone, including the small children, holds some form of weapon. At the end of the two columns stand the two Indian captives.
It becomes apparent to Heyward that what is forming before him is a line of torture. The captive Indians are supposed to...
(The entire section is 566 words.)
Chapter 24 Summary
Heyward has worked his way toward Uncas while the leaders of the Hurans hold a council inside the Indian lodge. Uncas whispers to Heyward that Hawkeye and Chingachgook are safe and that Heyward should not worry about him. Then Uncas tells him to leave so no one will suspect they know one another.
Heyward uses this opportunity to leave the lodge and wander throughout the village, searching for Alice. He looks into each of the huts but does not find her.
Discouraged, Heyward returns to the lodge and sits down at the back of the room so as to go unnoticed. He is not seated for very long when a tall Indian walks into the lodge and sits down beside Heyward. Immediately, Heyward is filled with fear. The Indian is Magua. Fortunately, Magua does not recognize Heyward because of the Indian paint on Heyward's face.
When Heyward looks around the room, it seems that Magua's presence has not been detected. Most of the elder chiefs are staring at the ground. Magua does not appear anxious to make his presence known, at least not yet.
Heyward senses that Magua has seen and identified Uncas, and Heyward is surprised that Magua remains so calm. It is not until Magua finishes smoking his pipe and patiently taps out the ashes that he begins a long, emotional argument against Uncas.
First Magua calls Uncas by name, making the Hurons acknowledge the young man as not only a noble and courageous person but also the declared enemy of the Hurons and other tribes faithful to the French.
Magua reminds the Huron people of the many Indian men who have died at the hands of the British and Uncas. He also tells them that they must honor their dead, who have sacrificed their lives to fight the British. The way to honor them is to seek revenge. Uncas must therefore die.
Even after Magua's moving oratory, the decision about Uncas' fate still will have to wait until the next morning. So the Huron chiefs order that Uncas be taken away to a place where he will sleep under guard. Just before Uncas is taken out of the lodge, he briefly turns and gives a look of defiance to the Huron men, then a quick look at Heyward.
While the elders continue their council, Heyward leaves the lodge with one of the elder Huron men who has requested that Heyward attempt to heal his dying wife. The old man leads Heyward out of the village to the base of a nearby mountain. On their way into a cave in the side of...
(The entire section is 578 words.)
Chapter 25 Summary
Even after Gamut leaves the cave, the bear remains, moving like an animal but acting strangely human. Every time that Heyward tries to proceed with the Indian ritual he is making up as he goes along, the bear makes such loud noises that Heyward must stop. Several times after the bear does this, the Huron people, who believe the conjuror is under the bear costume, decide that maybe the "spirit" (that made the woman sick) wants them to leave. So they go outside to wait, leaving Heyward alone with the dying woman and the bear.
Once the Huron people are outside of the cave, the bear moves as if in convulsion and slowly removes its head. To Heyward's surprise, he sees Hawkeye. Hawkeye explains that he stole the bear robe from a Huron conjuror who was preparing to perform a ritual ceremony for his people. Hawkeye knocked out the conjuror and stole the costume and was thus able to walk around the village unnoticed. Hawkeye continued to interrupt the healing ritual that Heyward was faking because Heyward was making serious mistakes, which could have proven he was a fake and thus ruined his disguise.
Hawkeye then interprets the message Gamut said to Heyward about the woman who was waiting for him. Hawkeye believes it must have something to with Alice, that she must be hidden somewhere in the cave.
After climbing a ladder to a higher quarters in the cave, Heyward finds Alice. He explains what has happened and also declares his love for her.
As Heyward talks to Alice, calming her nerves and preparing her for their escape, Magua appears from a hidden entrance to the cave. Fortunately, Hawkeye tricks Magua into thinking he is the conjuror in the bear costume and catches Magua off guard.
Hawkeye and Heyward tie Magua's hands and feet and secure the door. Before they exit the cave, they completely conceal Alice in a blanket.
Outside Heyward tells the people who are waiting that he is taking the sick woman to the woods and has exorcised the evil spirit making her ill. The spirit remains in the cave. If it should attempt to come out, the people are to force it back in, he tells them, or else that spirit will make all the villagers ill. In the meantime, he will take the woman to the woods where she will be safe until she regains her strength.
As this is happening, Hawkeye, still dressed in the bear skin, and Heyward and Alice flee to the woods. Once they are at a safe distance,...
(The entire section is 521 words.)
Chapter 26 Summary
After Heyward and Alice flee to the nearby friendly village, Hawkeye returns to the Huron village, still disguised as a bear. No one bothers him as they believe he is their own conjuror.
When he sees a partially built hut, Hawkeye's curiosity is roused and he goes over to look inside. This is where he finds Gamut. Hawkeye enters the hut and sits down next to Gamut, who is once again startled and confused that the same bear has come after him. After Hawkeye reveals his identity, he tells Gamut his plan to free Uncas. Gamut says that he will do anything Hawkeye asks of him.
Gamut leads Hawkeye to the hut where Uncas has been taken. There are several guards stationed outside. Gamut, following Hawkeye's instructions, tells the Indian guards that the conjuror (Hawkeye) is going to use a spell to rid Uncas of all his courage. To make sure that the spell does not also affect the Indian guards, Gamut tells the men they should stand at a great distance from the hut. When the conjuror is finished, they can return.
Once inside the hut, Hawkeye steps out of the bear costume and tells Uncas to put it on. Hawkeye then exchanges clothes with Gamut, putting on the singer's long blanket and beaver hat and glasses. He tells Gamut that when the Indians discover what has happened, he is sure they will do no harm to Gamut as the Indians believe that Gamut is something of a natural fool. However, Hawkeye adds, should the Indians kill Gamut, he and Uncas will avenge his death. Gamut says that when the Indians discover him, he will sing. He truly believes that that will save him.
Despite these horrific conditions, Gamut is surprisingly brave and willing to face the dangers. He takes the position on the floor in which he and Hawkeye had found Uncas. Then they say farewell and make plans to meet in the Delaware village when this is all over. So far there is no mention of Cora or how they plan to rescue her.
Hawkeye and Uncas walk out of the hut in their disguises. Hawkeye sings as loudly as he can, pretending that he is Gamut, as they slowly walk away. They take their time as they do not want to raise any suspicions.
They have not gone very far, however, when they hear a loud shout. It is obvious that the Indian guards have just discovered that Uncas has escaped. Uncas wants to run at this point, but Hawkeye insists that they wait for the second yell, which is sure to come. A minute later, the...
(The entire section is 505 words.)
Chapter 27 Summary
Stepping back in time to see the escape of Uncas through the Huron Indians' eyes, the narrator informs the reader of how the Indians who had been guarding the hut in which Uncas was being held captive eventually overcome their fear.
They had been scared by the conjuror (Hawkeye in disguise), who had warned them that he was ridding Uncas of his courage. The guards had moved away from the hut so the spell would not rid them of their courage too.
Having waited a sufficient time, the guards finally walk slowly over to the hut and glance into one of the openings, allowing them to peer into the dark interior.
It takes several minutes for their eyes to become accustomed to the darkness, and it is not until Gamut (pretending to be Uncas) moves closer to the fire that the Indian guards realize that Uncas has escaped.
The guards' first cries occur when they are surprised that Uncas has been changed so dramatically. The second cry occurs when they get over their disbelief and realize that Uncas has fooled them and escaped.
In desperation, thinking that the Indian guards are now going to kill him, Gamut starts singing, which reinforces the Indian guards' conviction that Gamut is crazy. So the Indians leave Gamut unharmed.
With the second cry of the Indian guards, everyone in the village comes out of their huts to find out what is happening. When the guards tell the chiefs that Uncas has escaped, the chiefs send out a few men to scour the woods and find Uncas' trail.
Then the chiefs call everyone to the lodge to tell the chiefs what happened. The chiefs hear the story of the man whose wife was dying and how he took the stranger with the painted face (Heyward) to try to heal her. Then the real conjuror comes forward and relates how someone tied him up and took away his ceremonial bear costume.
The chiefs decide to go to the cave to see what has happened to the sick woman. One Indian told them he saw the conjuror take the woman to the woods. However, when the chiefs reach the cave, they find the woman's body. She is dead. As they stand there, astonished that the conjuror mislead them, they see something roll out of the adjacent room (where Alice had been held). At first the Indians think this person is the evil spirit making the woman ill. When this body becomes erect and faces the chiefs, they recognize Magua.
As soon as they release the bindings in...
(The entire section is 562 words.)
Chapter 28 Summary
Magua has reached the neighboring tribe of the Delawares where Hawkeye, Uncas, Heyward, and Alice are hiding. It is also with the Delawares that Cora has been placed as Magua's captive.
Magua walks calmly through the Delaware village, holding himself as erect as a prince, as he now feels like the best and most noble leader of his tribe of Hurons. He has come to the Delawares with a special message, one that he believes will turn the Delawares against Hawkeye and his group.
After walking through the Delaware village, Magua meets and agrees to sit down with one of the Delaware chiefs. At first the Delaware leader is leery of Magua. The Hurons, in general, are much more warlike than the Delaware. The Delaware try to avoid wars as much as possible. For this, the Huron tend to make fun of the Delaware, often insulting them by calling them women and stating that the Delaware are more useful with a hoe than a gun in their hands.
So when Magua begins to speak with the Delaware chief, searching for information, first about Cora (suggesting that it might be time for the Delaware to send Cora to the Huron village) and second about any suspicious strangers the Delaware might have seen recently, the Delaware chief evades answering Magua's questions. He tells Magua that strangers are always welcome in the Delaware village and that Cora is causing them no trouble. However, when Magua tells the chief that the strangers staying in his village include a spy, the Delaware chief begins to worry.
In the recent massacre by the Hurons as Munro surrendered his fort, the French forces were much aware of the absence of any Delaware Indians, whom the French believed supported them. Magua takes advantage of the Delawares' obvious absence from that battle and warns the chief that the great white Canadian "father" is not pleased with their recent absence.
This particular tribe of Delaware people has taken refuge in Canada, so they are well aware that they must respect the Canadian politicians to remain safely inside the French territories. Therefore, when Magua says that the Delaware are harboring an enemy of the French people, the chief pays closer attention to what Magua is telling him and answers his questions less evasively.
The Delaware chief becomes even more concerned after asking Magua to name this enemy: "La Longue Carabine." This is the nickname the French people gave to Hawkeye. The name...
(The entire section is 624 words.)
Chapter 29 Summary
When the elders are seated, Hawkeye and the others are asked to come to the council meeting. When they arrive, one of the elders asks for the one who is called "La Longue Carabine" to identify himself.
To protect Hawkeye, Heyward steps forward, announcing that he is "La Longue Carabine." Upon hearing this, Hawkeye denies it, saying that he hesitated answering the call to identify himself because he does not accept the French nickname. It is a name that Hurons have used but not one that Hawkeye appreciates or is used to hearing the Delaware call him.
The Delaware chiefs are confused, so they ask Magua to identify the real "La Longue Carabine." Magua points to Hawkeye. Heyward insists that Magua is lying. So the chiefs decide to test Hawkeye and Heyward, knowing that "La Longue Carabine" is notorious for his shooting skills.
The Delawares give Hawkeye and Heyward guns and ask them to shoot at a gourd hanging on a tong a distance above their heads. Heyward shoots first and comes close but misses. Hawkeye is reluctant to shoot, and when he goes to put his gun down, he drops it, the gun goes off from the impact, and the bullet hits the gourd. The Delaware are amazed.
Heyward says this was an accident and demands another test. One of the chiefs then points out another gourd even father away. Again Heyward comes close but misses. Then Hawkeye shoots his gun. A couple of youths run to see if Hawkeye's bullet has hit its mark. They check the tree trunk on which the gourd is tied, but they find no bullet marks, so they announce that Hawkeye missed the gourd. Hawkeye, confident of his skills, tells them to look inside the gourd, and sure enough, the youths find that the bullet pierced the bottom of the gourd.
After Hawkeye is properly identified, Magua stands and delivers a message that stirs the Delaware's hearts, hoping that his oration will turn the Delaware against Hawkeye and his group. After Magua's speech, the chiefs order that Hawkeye's and Heyward's hands and feet be bound. The chiefs then tell Magua to take the other captives away.
Fearing more for her sister Alice than for herself, Cora breaks free from the crowd and throws herself at the feet of the eldest chief, begging him to save her sister. She calls Magua a monster and says she is worried about what Magua will do to her sister.
The chief is not moved. Cora tries to get the chief to remember that not all white...
(The entire section is 487 words.)
Chapter 30 Summary
Uncas is brought to the Delaware council meeting to meet with Tamenund and the other elders who will decide Uncas' fate. Uncas remains as defiant and courageous as always. When Tamenund asks who stands before him, Uncas claims his Delaware heritage.
At first Tamenund and the other Delaware in the group are astounded that someone who sneaks into their village like an enemy could claim to have Delaware blood. To add further insult, Uncas also calls Magua a liar. Upon hearing this, although the Delaware are not fond of Magua, the elders decide that Uncas must face what is referred to as the trial of torture.
Several Delaware men rush at Uncas to prepare him for the torture. When they tear his shirt off, however, they discover a beautiful, blue-tinted tattoo of a tortoise on his torso. The tortoise is a sacred symbol of the Delaware people. In addition, Uncas' voice rouses memories in Tamenund's mind of another Indian named Uncas, a man from his youth, whose voice sounded just like Uncas'.
For a while, Tamenund thinks that he has been transported back in time or that he has just awakened from a long dream and that the man named Uncas that he once knew has risen from the dead and is now standing in front of him.
Uncas clears this mystery for the aged chief, telling him that he is a descendant of the ancient tribe that fathered the Delaware people. Recognizing this fact, Tamenund acknowledges that Uncas must be a great Indian, one of the last of the once-great tribe of Mohicans.
Tamenund then asks Uncas if he is a hostage of Magua, to which Uncas replies that he is not. Tamenund also questions Uncas about Hawkeye and Heyward. Uncas tells the chief that although they are white men, Hawkeye and Heyward are friends of the Delaware and should be allowed to go free.
When Tamenund continues to inquire about the white people, particularly the young women, Uncas declares that Alice should be allowed to go with Heyward. Uncas hesitates when the focus is on Cora. According to tradition, when an Indian kidnaps a person, that person must stay with the tribe. Uncas has to admit that Cora is Magua's hostage and must therefore go with Magua.
Upon hearing this, Hawkeye attempts to bargain with Magua, first offering his gun to the Indian. Magua refuses. Then Hawkeye offers himself. He will become Magua's captive if Magua releases Cora. Magua hesitates for a few seconds but decides he...
(The entire section is 482 words.)
Chapter 31 Summary
Uncas has told Magua that he will give the Huron a a brief truce before coming after him. Uncas warned Magua that when the sun was over the top of the trees, he would seek his revenge for Magua having taken Cora against her wishes. Uncas is determined to save Cora.
While he waits, Uncas meditates on the mission before him. Some of the Delaware warriors gather around him, sensing the impending battle as well as Uncas' growing anger. After sitting quietly with Uncas for a while, the Delaware warriors, in an attempt to brew their own anger before the fight to which they have now committed themselves, strip bark off a nearby tree, paint the trunk of the tree in war colors, and then assault the tree with their hatchets and knives as if the tree were their enemy. The warriors' frenzy spreads and by the time Uncas is ready to leave the Delaware camp, almost 200 warriors are prepared and determined to go with him.
Hawkeye is also in the process of preparing himself for the battle. Prior to entering the Delaware village, Hawkeye hid his gun in the woods. This allowed him to enter the village without looking threatening. Now he must retrieve his gun, but he suspects that there might be scouts from the nearby Huron tribe hiding in the forest, waiting to entrap him. So Hawkeye asks one of the younger Delaware boys to find his gun and bring it back to him. The young boy is glad to be so honored, having been asked to take on such an adult-like challenge.
The boy walks into the woods, confident that the Huron will not be very suspicious of him because of his youth. The boy is too young to fight in the upcoming battle. However, when the boy finds and retrieves Hawkeye's gun, the Huron shoot their guns in his direction.
The boy is clever and not afraid. However, one of the bullets cuts through the outer portion of his arm. He returns to Hawkeye with the gun and willingly accepts Hawkeye's praise. Hawkeye bandages the boy's arm and tells him that his bravery will more than likely lead the boy to one day become a chief in his tribe.
As Uncas and the Delaware warriors leave their village on their way to seek Magua and rescue Cora, they see what looks like a Huron scout sneaking through the woods. Uncas tells Hawkeye to shoot the scout.
Hawkeye takes aim, but just as he is about to shoot, he recognizes Gamut. Hawkeye sings out a melody that Gamut recognizes, and he turns to greet his friend. Gamut...
(The entire section is 521 words.)
Chapter 32 Summary
Uncas and Hawkeye have gone separate ways, each with a band of warriors who follow them as they prepare to fight the Huron. The narrator informs the reader that the woods are as silent as they might have been before man appeared on earth. However, Hawkeye, who is very knowledgeable in the ways of the Indians, knows that silence does not necessarily equate to an absence of men. So he moves forward cautiously.
As Hawkeye and his men progress, he senses that something is disturbing his warriors. When he turns, he notices David Gamut, who has been following them. Hawkeye, who is well aware that Gamut is not a fighting man, being untrained in warfare and without a weapon, talks to Gamut, informing him that they are about to confront Magua in a potentially fierce battle.
Gamut assures Hawkeye that he knows this and is determined in whatever way he can to help them rescue Cora. He then pulls out a slingshot and tells Hawkeye that he is very adept at using this instrument as a weapon.
As Hawkeye continues forward with his warriors, he comes to a clearing in the woods. They are near the beaver dam, where the animals have gnawed all the trees down to build their dens. As they stand on the edge of the clearing, the first shot is heard and a Delaware warrior falls to the ground. The first shot came from behind them, but more numerous volleys are heard coming from all sides as the Huron surround Hawkeye's group.
At this point, Hawkeye's men take cover behind trees, but Hawkeye is worried that they are trapped. Then Hawkeye hears a shout and another volley of gunshot comes from the direction of where Uncas has gone. With Uncas' help, the battle is turned in favor of the Delaware as the Huron are forced to retreat.
Chingachgook and Munro appear and eventually take over the leadership of the battle. This frees Uncas, Hawkeye, Heyward, and Gamut to pursue Magua, who is running toward the mountain with two of his Huron friends. Once they reach the cave, Magua pulls Cora from inside and they begin the ascent of the mountain.
Uncas quickly follows them along a treacherous trail. He drops his rifle so he can run faster. Hawkeye attempts to catch up with Uncas so he might protect him. When Cora hears Uncas and Hawkeye call out to her, she refuses to go any farther. Magua threatens her with his knife, but he hesitates when Cora goes down on her knees and prays. When Magua refuses to kill her,...
(The entire section is 538 words.)
Chapter 33 Summary
Although there is reason for a victory celebration as the Delaware have either slaughtered or frightened away the Huron, there is no sign of gaiety in the Delaware camp. Rather, the mood is somber and humble. Warriors have returned from the battlefield, but their emotions are calmed by the scene that lays in front of them.
Everyone of the Delaware tribe is standing outside of their huts, crowded around the center of their encampment. All eyes are on two central points: on one side are the remains of Cora and on the other side is the body of Uncas.
A group of young Delaware girls are strewing wildflowers on the funeral pyre upon which Cora has been lain. She has been covered with Indian blankets and lies with her eyes closed. Munro, her father, is seated at Cora's feet, lost in his despair. Gamut stands at Munro's side. Heyward is not far away, leaning against a tree, attempting to hide his sorrow.
Uncas' body, in honor of his position as chief as well as out of the respect the Delaware feel toward him, has been placed in a sitting position, in the tradition of the Indians. Uncas' body is decorated with special garments and medals.
Chingachgook stares at his son in a deathlike focus, so serious in his manner that it is difficult for those standing nearby to distinguish between the dead figure of Uncas and the living body of Chingachgook.
On the other side of the field, according to Indian ceremony, several Delaware women take turns chanting either individually or within a group as they state the gifts and strengths of the two people who are deceased. They praise Cora's beauty and courage and her adaptability in living in the wild forests, as they themselves do.
Although they did not know Cora for long, they note the differences between Cora and her sister, Alice. Although Alice also has beauty, the women state, she is frail and as susceptible to change as snow in the summer. Not so with Cora, who was as dark skinned as many of the Delaware women. Cora was not afraid of anything.
While these chants are being expressed, Alice is off by herself inside one of the Indian huts, crying over the loss of her sister.
The scene then returns to the body of Uncas. The people standing around the body wait for Chingachgook to say something about the death of his son.
Up until this point, Chingachgook has been completely silent, showing no emotion except...
(The entire section is 579 words.)