The Last of the Mohicans HTML version

Chapter 22
"Bot.--Abibl we all met? Qui.--Pat--pat; and here's a marvelous convenient place for our
rehearsal."-- Midsummer Night's Dream
The reader may better imagine, than we describe the surprise of Heyward. His lurking
Indians were suddenly converted into four-footed beasts; his lake into a beaver pond; his
cataract into a dam, constructed by those industrious and ingenious quadrupeds; and a
suspected enemy into his tried friend, David Gamut, the master of psalmody. The
presence of the latter created so many unexpected hopes relative to the sisters that,
without a moment's hesitation, the young man broke out of his ambush, and sprang
forward to join the two principal actors in the scene.
The merriment of Hawkeye was not easily appeased. Without ceremony, and with a
rough hand, he twirled the supple Gamut around on his heel, and more than once
affirmed that the Hurons had done themselves great credit in the fashion of his costume.
Then, seizing the hand of the other, he squeezed it with a grip that brought tears into the
eyes of the placid David, and wished him joy of his new condition.
"You were about opening your throat-practisings among the beavers, were ye?" he said.
"The cunning devils know half the trade already, for they beat the time with their tails, as
you heard just now; and in good time it was, too, or 'killdeer' might have sounded the first
note among them. I have known greater fools, who could read and write, than an
experienced old beaver; but as for squalling, the animals are born dumb! What think you
of such a song as this?"
David shut his sensitive ears, and even Heyward apprised as he was of the nature of the
cry, looked upward in quest of the bird, as the cawing of a crow rang in the air about
"See!" continued the laughing scout, as he pointed toward the remainder of the party,
who, in obedience to the signal, were already approaching; "this is music which has its
natural virtues; it brings two good rifles to my elbow, to say nothing of the knives and
tomahawks. But we see that you are safe; now tell us what has become of the maidens."
"They are captives to the heathen," said David; "and, though greatly troubled in spirit,
enjoying comfort and safety in the body."
"Both!" demanded the breathless Heyward.
"Even so. Though our wayfaring has been sore and our sustenance scanty, we have had
little other cause for complaint, except the violence done our feelings, by being thus led
in captivity into a far land."