The Last of the Mohicans HTML version

Chapter 6
"Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide; He wales a portion with judicious care;
And 'Let us worship God', he says, with solemn air."--Burns
Heyward and his female companions witnessed this mysterious movement with secret
uneasiness; for, though the conduct of the white man had hitherto been above reproach,
his rude equipments, blunt address, and strong antipathies, together with the character of
his silent associates, were all causes for exciting distrust in minds that had been so
recently alarmed by Indian treachery.
The stranger alone disregarded the passing incidents. He seated himself on a projection of
the rocks, whence he gave no other signs of consciousness than by the struggles of his
spirit, as manifested in frequent and heavy sighs. Smothered voices were next heard, as
though men called to each other in the bowels of the earth, when a sudden light flashed
upon those without, and laid bare the much-prized secret of the place.
At the further extremity of a narrow, deep cavern in the rock, whose length appeared
much extended by the perspective and the nature of the light by which it was seen, was
seated the scout, holding a blazing knot of pine. The strong glare of the fire fell full upon
his sturdy, weather-beaten countenance and forest attire, lending an air of romantic
wildness to the aspect of an individual, who, seen by the sober light of day, would have
exhibited the peculiarities of a man remarkable for the strangeness of his dress, the iron-
like inflexibility of his frame, and the singular compound of quick, vigilant sagacity, and
of exquisite simplicity, that by turns usurped the possession of his muscular features. At a
little distance in advance stood Uncas, his whole person thrown powerfully into view.
The travelers anxiously regarded the upright, flexible figure of the young Mohican,
graceful and unrestrained in the attitudes and movements of nature. Though his person
was more than usually screened by a green and fringed hunting- shirt, like that of the
white man, there was no concealment to his dark, glancing, fearless eye, alike terrible and
calm; the bold outline of his high, haughty features, pure in their native red; or to the
dignified elevation of his receding forehead, together with all the finest proportions of a
noble head, bared to the generous scalping tuft. It was the first opportunity possessed by
Duncan and his companions to view the marked lineaments of either of their Indian
attendants, and each individual of the party felt relieved from a burden of doubt, as the
proud and determined, though wild expression of the features of the young warrior forced
itself on their notice. They felt it might be a being partially benighted in the vale of
ignorance, but it could not be one who would willingly devote his rich natural gifts to the
purposes of wanton treachery. The ingenuous Alice gazed at his free air and proud
carriage, as she would have looked upon some precious relic of the Grecian chisel, to
which life had been imparted by the intervention of a miracle; while Heyward, though
accustomed to see the perfection of form which abounds among the uncorrupted natives,
openly expressed his admiration at such an unblemished specimen of the noblest
proportions of man.