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MonkeyNotes-The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
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Chapter 5

Summary

After Magua flees, the men give chase but soon give up. Duncan wishes to continue, thinking that Magua might be wounded and that they have him outnumbered, but Hawkeye points out the dangers of continuing into the forest after him. He can tell by the way Magua was running that he was not deeply hurt and he is afraid that his rifle report may have alerted Magua's hidden companions.

Duncan is disheartened and fears for his companions. Hawkeye, at Uncas' urging, offers to lead on the condition that they be silent and promise to keep the place they are taking them a secret. All follow Hawkeye. The group decides that one way of escape from their enemies is to mislead them into believing that they have gone on horseback. They kill David's colt so that it cannot betray them by making a noise and toss its body in the river. While Chingachgook and Uncas hide the remaining horses, Hawkeye loads the party into bark canoes. The party travels upstream and disembarks near the foot of a waterfall, which Hawkeye announces as Glenn's. David sings in sadness for his colt while Hawkeye and the Mohicans then disappear into "the dark face of a perpendicular rock" by the water's edge.


Notes

Hawkeye shows himself to be a capable woodsman in this chapter. He knows the way of the Hurons very well, and realizes that if the party follows Magua, they will be attacked by Magua's waiting companions. At the urging of Uncas, he leads the party to a secret hiding spot known to him and the Mohicans. Uncas' willingness to reveal the location of their "harboring place" shows his sense of chivalry and duty.

David Gamut appears less comical and more tragic in this chapter. The ungainly man laments the death of the colt by singing a passage from the gospel. Hawkeye thinks it "a good sign to see a man account upon his dumb friends."

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