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The Last of the Mohicans

Chapter 31
"Flue.--Kill the poys and the luggage! 'Tis expressly against the law of arms; 'tis as arrant
a piece of knavery, mark you now, as can be offered in the 'orld."--King Henry V
So long as their enemy and his victim continued in sight, the multitude remained
motionless as beings charmed to the place by some power that was friendly to the Huron;
but, the instant he disappeared, it became tossed and agitated by fierce and powerful
passion. Uncas maintained his elevated stand, keeping his eyes on the form of Cora, until
the colors of her dress were blended with the foliage of the forest; when he descended,
and, moving silently through the throng, he disappeared in that lodge from which he had
so recently issued. A few of the graver and more attentive warriors, who caught the
gleams of anger that shot from the eyes of the young chief in passing, followed him to the
place he had selected for his meditations. After which, Tamenund and Alice were
removed, and the women and children were ordered to disperse. During the momentous
hour that succeeded, the encampment resembled a hive of troubled bees, who only
awaited the appearance and example of their leader to take some distant and momentous
flight.
A young warrior at length issued from the lodge of Uncas; and, moving deliberately, with
a sort of grave march, toward a dwarf pine that grew in the crevices of the rocky terrace,
he tore the bark from its body, and then turned whence he came without speaking. He
was soon followed by another, who stripped the sapling of its branches, leaving it a naked
and blazed* trunk. A third colored the post with stripes of a dark red paint; all which
indications of a hostile design in the leaders of the nation were received by the men
without in a gloomy and ominous silence. Finally, the Mohican himself reappeared,
divested of all his attire, except his girdle and leggings, and with one-half of his fine
features hid under a cloud of threatening black.
* A tree which has been partially or entirely stripped of its bark is said, in the language of
the country, to be "blazed." The term is strictly English, for a horse is said to be blazed
when it has a white mark.
Uncas moved with a slow and dignified tread toward the post, which he immediately
commenced encircling with a measured step, not unlike an ancient dance, raising his
voice, at the same time, in the wild and irregular chant of his war song. The notes were in
the extremes of human sounds; being sometimes melancholy and exquisitely plaintive,
even rivaling the melody of birds -- and then, by sudden and startling transitions, causing
the auditors to tremble by their depth and energy. The words were few and often
repeated, proceeding gradually from a sort of invocation, or hymn, to the Deity, to an
intimation of the warrior's object, and terminating as they commenced with an
acknowledgment of his own dependence on the Great Spirit. If it were possible to
translate the comprehensive and melodious language in which he spoke, the ode might
read something like the following: "Manitou! Manitou! Manitou! Thou art great, thou art
 
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