The Last of the Mohicans HTML version

Chapter 29
"The assembly seated, rising o'er the rest, Achilles thus the king of men addressed."--
Pope's Illiad
Cora stood foremost among the prisoners, entwining her arms in those of Alice, in the
tenderness of sisterly love. Notwithstanding the fearful and menacing array of savages on
every side of her, no apprehension on her own account could prevent the nobler-minded
maiden from keeping her eyes fastened on the pale and anxious features of the trembling
Alice. Close at their side stood Heyward, with an interest in both, that, at such a moment
of intense uncertainty, scarcely knew a preponderance in favor of her whom he most
loved. Hawkeye had placed himself a little in the rear, with a deference to the superior
rank of his companions, that no similarity in the state of their present fortunes could
induce him to forget. Uncas was not there.
When perfect silence was again restored, and after the usual long, impressive pause, one
of the two aged chiefs who sat at the side of the patriarch arose, and demanded aloud, in
very intelligible English:
"Which of my prisoners is La Longue Carabine?"
Neither Duncan nor the scout answered. The former, however, glanced his eyes around
the dark and silent assembly, and recoiled a pace, when they fell on the malignant visage
of Magua. He saw, at once, that this wily savage had some secret agency in their present
arraignment before the nation, and determined to throw every possible impediment in the
way of the execution of his sinister plans. He had witnessed one instance of the summary
punishments of the Indians, and now dreaded that his companion was to be selected for a
second. In this dilemma, with little or no time for reflection, he suddenly determined to
cloak his invaluable friend, at any or every hazard to himself. Before he had time,
however, to speak, the question was repeated in a louder voice, and with a clearer
"Give us arms," the young man haughtily replied, "and place us in yonder woods. Our
deeds shall speak for us!"
"This is the warrior whose name has filled our ears!" returned the chief, regarding
Heyward with that sort of curious interest which seems inseparable from man, when first
beholding one of his fellows to whom merit or accident, virtue or crime, has given
notoriety. "What has brought the white man into the camp of the Delawares?"
"My necessities. I come for food, shelter, and friends."
"It cannot be. The woods are full of game. The head of a warrior needs no other shelter
than a sky without clouds; and the Delawares are the enemies, and not the friends of the
Yengeese. Go, the mouth has spoken, while the heart said nothing."