The Last of the Mohicans
"They linger yet, Avengers of their native land."--Gray
The warning call of the scout was not uttered without occasion. During the occurrence of
the deadly encounter just related, the roar of the falls was unbroken by any human sound
whatever. It would seem that interest in the result had kept the natives on the opposite
shores in breathless suspense, while the quick evolutions and swift changes in the
positions of the combatants effectually prevented a fire that might prove dangerous alike
to friend and enemy. But the moment the struggle was decided, a yell arose as fierce and
savage as wild and revengeful passions could throw into the air. It was followed by the
swift flashes of the rifles, which sent their leaden messengers across the rock in volleys,
as though the assailants would pour out their impotent fury on the insensible scene of the
A steady, though deliberate return was made from the rifle of Chingachgook, who had
maintained his post throughout the fray with unmoved resolution. When the triumphant
shout of Uncas was borne to his ears, the gratified father raised his voice in a single
responsive cry, after which his busy piece alone proved that he still guarded his pass with
unwearied diligence. In this manner many minutes flew by with the swiftness of thought;
the rifles of the assailants speaking, at times, in rattling volleys, and at others in
occasional, scattering shots. Though the rock, the trees, and the shrubs, were cut and torn
in a hundred places around the besieged, their cover was so close, and so rigidly
maintained, that, as yet, David had been the only sufferer in their little band.
"Let them burn their powder," said the deliberate scout, while bullet after bullet whizzed
by the place where he securely lay; "there will be a fine gathering of lead when it is over,
and I fancy the imps will tire of the sport afore these old stones cry out for mercy! Uncas,
boy, you waste the kernels by overcharging; and a kicking rifle never carries a true bullet.
I told you to take that loping miscreant under the line of white point; now, if your bullet
went a hair's breadth it went two inches above it. The life lies low in a Mingo, and
humanity teaches us to make a quick end to the sarpents."
A quiet smile lighted the haughty features of the young Mohican, betraying his
knowledge of the English language as well as of the other's meaning; but he suffered it to
pass away without vindication of reply.
"I cannot permit you to accuse Uncas of want of judgment or of skill," said Duncan; "he
saved my life in the coolest and readiest manner, and he has made a friend who never will
require to be reminded of the debt he owes."
Uncas partly raised his body, and offered his hand to the grasp of Heyward. During this
act of friendship, the two young men exchanged looks of intelligence which caused
Duncan to forget the character and condition of his wild associate. In the meanwhile,