The Last of the Mohicans HTML version

Chapter 12
"Clo.--I am gone, sire, And anon, sire, I'll be with you again."--Twelfth Night
The Hurons stood aghast at this sudden visitation of death on one of their band. But as
they regarded the fatal accuracy of an aim which had dared to immolate an enemy at so
much hazard to a friend, the name of "La Longue Carabine" burst simultaneously from
every lip, and was succeeded by a wild and a sort of plaintive howl. The cry was
answered by a loud shout from a little thicket, where the incautious party had piled their
arms; and at the next moment, Hawkeye, too eager to load the rifle he had regained, was
seen advancing upon them, brandishing the clubbed weapon, and cutting the air with
wide and powerful sweeps. Bold and rapid as was the progress of the scout, it was
exceeded by that of a light and vigorous form which, bounding past him, leaped, with
incredible activity and daring, into the very center of the Hurons, where it stood, whirling
a tomahawk, and flourishing a glittering knife, with fearful menaces, in front of Cora.
Quicker than the thoughts could follow those unexpected and audacious movements, an
image, armed in the emblematic panoply of death, glided before their eyes, and assumed
a threatening attitude at the other's side. The savage tormentors recoiled before these
warlike intruders, and uttered, as they appeared in such quick succession, the often
repeated and peculiar exclamations of surprise, followed by the well-known and dreaded
appellations of:
"Le Cerf Agile! Le Gros Serpent!"
But the wary and vigilant leader of the Hurons was not so easily disconcerted. Casting his
keen eyes around the little plain, he comprehended the nature of the assault at a glance,
and encouraging his followers by his voice as well as by his example, he unsheathed his
long and dangerous knife, and rushed with a loud whoop upon the expected
Chingachgook. It was the signal for a general combat. Neither party had firearms, and the
contest was to be decided in the deadliest manner, hand to hand, with weapons of offense,
and none of defense.
Uncas answered the whoop, and leaping on an enemy, with a single, well-directed blow
of his tomahawk, cleft him to the brain. Heyward tore the weapon of Magua from the
sapling, and rushed eagerly toward the fray. As the combatants were now equal in
number, each singled an opponent from the adverse band. The rush and blows passed
with the fury of a whirlwind, and the swiftness of lightning. Hawkeye soon got another
enemy within reach of his arm, and with one sweep of his formidable weapon he beat
down the slight and inartificial defenses of his antagonist, crushing him to the earth with
the blow. Heyward ventured to hurl the tomahawk he had seized, too ardent to await the
moment of closing. It struck the Indian he had selected on the forehead, and checked for
an instant his onward rush. Encouraged by this slight advantage, the impetuous young
man continued his onset, and sprang upon his enemy with naked hands. A single instant
was enough to assure him of the rashness of the measure, for he immediately found
himself fully engaged, with all his activity and courage, in endeavoring to ward the