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MonkeyNotes-The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
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Chapter 13

Summary

Hawkeye takes a route through a sandy plain, which was earlier crossed by the group in the morning. They soon reach a decayed blockhouse set upon a small hillock. Duncan and his companions hesitate but Hawkeye and the Mohicans enter it. While Hawkeye surveys it with obvious interest, Chingachgook explains in Delaware the history of the skirmish fought in that secluded spot. The sisters dismount and enjoy the rest while Hawkeye tells them the history of the place. A great battle had been fought there many years ago, and the hillock is the burial mound for the fallen. Of all the survivors, only Hawkeye and Chingachgook remain.

The men try to make the blockhouse more habitable. Duncan is told to rest by the Mohicans. David is still sufferings from his bullet wound. All of them except Chingachgook fall asleep and wake up with the rising of the moon. They suddenly hear the sound of footsteps approaching. They realize that around twenty Hurons are approaching. However, the Hurons do not come towards the mound because of their respect for the dead. After the enemy group goes away, the party continues on their journey.


Notes

The author gives a scenic description of the night sky and the blockhouse. Chingachgook talks to Uncas about the history of the place. There is an almost musical tone in his words. The depth of his knowledge of the history is an echo of the author's own knowledge about the Indians.

Duncan's sense of hearing is getting sharper. He, like the Indians, has become sensitive to the small sounds of the forest. He is still a man of the city, however. When he wishes to spend the night awake keeping watch, Hawkeye advises him to sleep, telling him that he does not yet know all the sounds of the forest.

Twenty of the enemy appear but do not see them. Rather, they see the graveyard and very respectfully leave. The irony of this scene is not lost on Hawkeye, who remarks that the Hurons' respect for the dead has saved their lives.

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