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 will play the role of the fool to infiltrate the Huron camp.
So the men split into three sections. Gamut and Heyward will go to the Hurons in an attempt to rescue Alice. Hawkeye and Uncas will discover where Cora is being held and will then devise a plan to free her. And Chingachgook will talk to the people he is related to in an attempt to gain more information about this situation.