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.
Then the girls hear a familiar voice shouting orders to kill the intruders. Upon hearing her father, Alice shouts out, telling her father that it is she and her sister and that he should order his soldiers to stop shooting at them. Finally father and daughters are reunited.