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MonkeyNotes-The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
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Chapter 20

Summary

Hawkeye wakes the party up before dawn and they resume the trail. At Lake George they begin traveling by canoe. Near the narrows of the lake, Uncas spots something. He sees black smoke coming from a small island. As they head their canoe toward it, they see two canoes, which begin chasing them and shooting at them. Hawkeye is about to fire back when Uncas points out that another canoe is headed right for them from the opposite shore.

They begin paddling away with the Indians in pursuit. Bullets whistle by, as shouts of "Le Gros Serpent," "La Longue Carbine," and "Le Cerf Agile" rent the air. Hawkeye urges Munro and Duncan to hide themselves, as they cannot be of any help, but they refuse. Chingachgook is slightly wounded by the bullets, and Hawkeye manages to wound a Huron. By now the party has managed to pull away from the Hurons. Hawkeye wants to stop and continue shooting, as his rifle has a longer range than those of the enemy, but Duncan and Munro want to continue on.

They paddle away and the Hurons appear to have abandoned their pursuit. But they are once again spotted in canoes. Trying to lose their enemy once and for all, they land and begin walking, making an obvious trail until they come to a large rocky place. They then walk backwards in their footprints down to the lake and set off again in the canoe, staying close to the shore until they find a place to land and hide.


Notes

The author again emphasizes the hunting skills of Indians. Uncas is able to spot faint trails that are normally not seen by other men. He spots black smoke but does not speak up until his father Chingachgook gives him permission. Duncan is slowly improving his skills. He is able to see the canoe on the horizon that Hawkeye points out to him, though he still does not have the experience to figure out what it is on his own.

Although Hawkeye is the consummate individualist, he still defers to the authority of Duncan and Munro, his military superiors. He obeys when they urge him to give up trying to shoot any more Hurons and make their escape. He still maintains his own opinions, however. When Duncan and Munro refuse to hide themselves due to their code of honor, Hawkeye calls their "white man's courage" the height of foolishness.

The Hurons resolute spirit is also denoted, as they at first appear to give up chase. But then they are spotted following them. The party must resort to an extreme trick to escape them.

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