The Last of the Mohicans
"Well go thy way: thou shalt not from this grove Till I torment thee for this injury."--
Midsummer Night's Dream.
The words were still in the mouth of the scout, when the leader of the party, whose
approaching footsteps had caught the vigilant ear of the Indian, came openly into view. A
beaten path, such as those made by the periodical passage of the deer, wound through a
little glen at no great distance, and struck the river at the point where the white man and
his red companions had posted themselves. Along this track the travelers, who had
produced a surprise so unusual in the depths of the forest, advanced slowly toward the
hunter, who was in front of his associates, in readiness to receive them.
"Who comes?" demanded the scout, throwing his rifle carelessly across his left arm, and
keeping the forefinger of his right hand on the trigger, though he avoided all appearance
of menace in the act. "Who comes hither, among the beasts and dangers of the
"Believers in religion, and friends to the law and to the king," returned he who rode
foremost. "Men who have journeyed since the rising sun, in the shades of this forest,
without nourishment, and are sadly tired of their wayfaring."
"You are, then, lost," interrupted the hunter, "and have found how helpless 'tis not to
know whether to take the right hand or the left?"
"Even so; 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. Know you the distance to a post of the crown called William Henry?"
"Hoot!" shouted the scout, who did not spare his open laughter, though instantly checking
the dangerous sounds he indulged his merriment at less risk of being overheard by any
lurking enemies. "You are as much off the scent as a hound would be, with Horican
atwixt him and the deer! William Henry, man! if you are friends to the king and have
business with the army, your way would be to follow the river down to Edward, and lay
the matter before Webb, who tarries there, instead of pushing into the defiles, and driving
this saucy Frenchman back across Champlain, into his den again."
Before the stranger could make any reply to this unexpected proposition, another
horseman dashed the bushes aside, and leaped his charger into the pathway, in front of
"What, then, may be our distance from Fort Edward?" demanded a new speaker; "the
place you advise us to seek we left this morning, and our destination is the head of the