The Last of the Mohicans
"They do not sleep, On yonder cliffs, a grizzly band, I see them sit." Gray
"'Twould be neglecting a warning that is given for our good to lie hid any longer," said
Hawkeye "when such sounds are raised in the forest. These gentle ones may keep close,
but the Mohicans and I will watch upon the rock, where I suppose a major of the Sixtieth
would wish to keep us company."
"Is, then, our danger so pressing?" asked Cora.
"He who makes strange sounds, and gives them out for man's information, alone knows
our danger. I should think myself wicked, unto rebellion against His will, was I to burrow
with such warnings in the air! Even the weak soul who passes his days in singing is
stirred by the cry, and, as he says, is 'ready to go forth to the battle' If 'twere only a battle,
it would be a thing understood by us all, and easily managed; but I have heard that when
such shrieks are atween heaven and 'arth, it betokens another sort of warfare!"
"If all our reasons for fear, my friend, are confined to such as proceed from supernatural
causes, we have but little occasion to be alarmed," continued the undisturbed Cora, "are
you certain that our enemies have not invented some new and ingenious method to strike
us with terror, that their conquest may become more easy?"
"Lady," returned the scout, solemnly, "I have listened to all the sounds of the woods for
thirty years, as a man will listen whose life and death depend on the quickness of his ears.
There is no whine of the panther, no whistle of the catbird, nor any invention of the
devilish Mingoes, that can cheat me! I have heard the forest moan like mortal men in
their affliction; often, and again, have I listened to the wind playing its music in the
branches of the girdled trees; and I have heard the lightning cracking in the air like the
snapping of blazing brush as it spitted forth sparks and forked flames; but never have I
thought that I heard more than the pleasure of him who sported with the things of his
hand. But neither the Mohicans, nor I, who am a white man without a cross, can explain
the cry just heard. We, therefore, believe it a sign given for our good."
"It is extraordinary!" said Heyward, taking his pistols from the place where he had laid
them on entering; "be it a sign of peace or a signal of war, it must be looked to. Lead the
way, my friend; I follow."
On issuing from their place of confinement, the whole party instantly experienced a
grateful renovation of spirits, by exchanging the pent air of the hiding-place for the cool
and invigorating atmosphere which played around the whirlpools and pitches of the
cataract. A heavy evening breeze swept along the surface of the river, and seemed to
drive the roar of the falls into the recesses of their own cavern, whence it issued heavily
and constant, like thunder rumbling beyond the distant hills. The moon had risen, and its
light was already glancing here and there on the waters above them; but the extremity of