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MonkeyNotes-The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
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Chapter 7

Summary

Neither Hawkeye nor the Mohicans can identify the source of the cry, so the party goes outside to inspect it further. The Major identifies it as the shrieking of horses in terror, which he has heard on the battlefield. Hawkeye, who has never heard this sound before, is grateful to have the mystery cleared up. He believes that the wolves that are hovering in the area must be frightening the horses and sends Uncas to scare the wolves off, lest they betray the horses' location.

Hawkeye has everyone sit in different strategic points to guard the cave. A little before daybreak, Hawkeye asks Duncan to wake up the sisters. Suddenly shrieks and yells fill the air. David Gamut stands up suddenly and is shot. The Mohicans scream and return fire. Hawkeye shoots one of the attackers, causing the rest to flee. In the meantime, the wounded David is taken into the cave. A long anxious watch continues. Toward dawn, Duncan begins to hope that they have scared the enemy off, but Hawkeye assures him that the attack will be renewed. Soon they notice four Hurons preparing to sneak down from the top of the falls. As they watch, a fifth one floats downstream to join them, but before he can be seized by his companions he plunges to his death. Hawkeye whistles and signals to the Mohicans. They answer back. The four Indians charge and the party manages to kill them in a dramatic fight: Hawkeye and Uncas shoot two, Hawkeye kills one with his knife, and Uncas saves Duncan from the last one, who is about to drag him over the cliff. The party retreats to cover.


Notes

The battle between Hawkeye and group of Hurons has been so picturesquely written that it can almost be visualized. Cooper describes the clash between the two -- involving swords, guns, blows, and kicks -- with great attention to detail.

In the first skirmish, the enemy is driven off. But Hawkeye knows the nature of Indians and is certain they will return. Although they vanquish their foes in the next battle, Hawkeye knows that the "work is but half-ended," and the party retreats to await the next round.

Hawkeye and two Mohicans enter into battle with the Hurons for two reasons. First, they took the responsibility for the safety of the group when they volunteered to guide the group. Second, Hawkeye and the Mohicans hate the Hurons, whom they contemptuously refer to as "Mingos."

In this chapter David Gamut is seen as a harmless singer of the psalms. He is portrayed as a harmless but good-natured man. Hawkeye is incredulous that he would stand up in the middle of an attack and "expose six feet of flesh and blood" to the enemy.

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