Study Guide

Last of the Mohicans Chapter 10

By James Fenimore Cooper

Chapter 10

  • Epigraph from A Midsummer Night's Dream regarding the difficulties of sleeping late.
  • The captives are not immediately killed—Heyward is shocked at this consideration. Apparently they are being kept alive for other purposes.
  • Meanwhile, their captors search the caverns thoroughly. They are seeking "la Longue Carabine." Heyward pretends he doesn't know French. The Indians seek out Magua to translate.
  • While his compatriots search the area and loot whatever they can, Magua stands still and looks satisfied with his treachery.
  • Heyward talks to him and asks what's up.
  • Renewed cries of "la Longue Carabine" echo through the woods. Remember, this is the Indians' pet name for Hawkeye.
  • Heyward tells Magua that Hawkeye has escaped.
  • The two men deal with some cultural differences ("escaped—oh, you mean dead" "no, I really just mean escaped").
  • Finally Magua asks about "le Gros Serpent," which is apparently their pet name for Chingachgook. Uncas's name is "Le Cerf Agile," or "nimble deer."
  • The two men argue a bit about terminology.
  • Magua eventually accepts the idea that his targets have escaped.
  • Magua's friends demand a translation. He points to the river and explains that the other men have escaped.
  • The reaction is not good. One of the Indians grabs Alice and pretends to scalp her. Heyward attempts to rush to her aid, but it's a bit difficult seeing as he's bound. The band's nominal leader tells the attacker to lay off, but this is no consolation for Heyward.
  • Heyward believes that leadership among Indians carries little real authority, and that all it takes is one crazy guy to ensure their deaths.
  • Heyward contents himself with making soothing remarks and generally trying to appear calm.
  • The prisoners are led to a canoe on the river. The whole party moves off, eventually stopping to divide up. The horses from earlier in the novel have been recovered. The chief takes the best one and then heads out. The prisoners are left in the power of six Indians headed by Magua.
  • First Heyward hopes that they will be prisoners of war to be delivered to Montcalm, but soon it becomes clear this is not the case.
  • Heyward then switches gears and tries to get a word alone with Magua. Heyward congratulates the Indian on double-crossing his own side and details all of the wonderful rewards the white men will bestow upon him.
  • Magua finally cuts the conversation short, not because he's not interested, but because he doesn't want his friends figuring it out.
  • Magua asks Heyward to help the sisters mount their horses.
  • The women are terrified and barely speaking; Heyward tries to offer them some consolation.
  • They head out in a single-file line and proceed in mostly uninterrupted silence.
  • Cora, remembering Hawkeye's advice to leave a trail, attempts to break twigs and drop possessions along the way, but a watchful Indian scout soon puts a stop to all her ideas.
  • Magua leads them on a long and twisty trail through the forest, eventually stopping to rest at a nice level spot in the terrain.