Study Guide

Last of the Mohicans Chapter 12

By James Fenimore Cooper

Chapter 12

  • The Indians begin shrieking about "la Longue Carabine."
  • Chingachgook shows up.
  • General hand-to-hand combat ensues. Everyone matches up nicely to their enemy.
  • While everyone is thus engaged, one of the enemy Indians approaches Cora. His tomahawk cuts through her bonds, but rather than flee, Cora remains at her sister's side to make sure she is OK.
  • Quickly the former prisoners emerge victorious. Only Chingachgook and Magua are left fighting.
  • Chingachgook's friends try to get a good angle and take out Magua, but to no avail.
  • Magua loses. It appears he is dead. But at the very moment that they are about to finish the man off, Magua leaps up and runs off. The Delawares give chase, and soon it's no use.
  • Hawkeye lectures emphatically that honest Delawares would have stayed still and accepted their fate, while treacherous Maquas cling to their lives.
  • Hawkeye says they better make sure the others are dead. He takes his long knife and plunges it into the breast of each wounded man.
  • The elder Mohican scalps their former enemies.
  • Uncas, "denying his habits, we had almost said his nature," goes straight to the women and releases them so they can console each other. The two sisters sink to their knees and praise God for their deliverance.
  • Hawkeye releases David Gamut, advising him to sell off his musical instruments and buy some useful weapons.
  • David replies with a song of thanksgiving that goes unheeded by the rest of the party.
  • He takes out a book and a little flute.
  • Hawkeye cleans his rifle, which he has recovered from their defeated enemies.
  • Chingachgook, Uncas, and David raid the weapons stash as well, either reclaiming their old weapons or choosing new ones.
  • Everyone walks down the hill. Heyward and Uncas help the sisters.
  • Once on lower ground, Hawkeye takes them on a short trip to a narrow dell with a beautiful stream. Hawkeye notes that other Indian tribes—the Mohawks, Tuscarora, and Onondaga, to be exact—have been using the same place as a watering hole and have been very careless with their garbage.
  • Uncas gives Hawkeye a gourd filled with water. After drinking, Hawkeye looks around and spies the rest of the deer carcass. He calls their old enemies savages for eating their meat raw and failing to consume the whole beast. They roast the remainders for their own supper.
  • Hawkeye, Chingachgook, and Uncas describe how they found the others. Basically, they hid themselves very, very well and spied on the enemy.
  • The twig that Cora broke also proved useful as the Indians were able to spot it as an unusual breakage.
  • The ladies' horses, the small Naragansetts, provided additional clues, as they have a unique way of walking (and thus a unique set of tracks).
  • Lastly, Hawkeye had a hunch the Mingoes might stop by this particular spring.
  • This arouses Heyward's curiosity, and he asks for a taste of the spring water. The flavor apparently takes some getting used to.
  • The food is now ready, and the group eats. Once finished, the whole group moves off with Hawkeye in the lead, the sisters mounted, and the Mohicans taking up the rear.
  • The dead are left behind to fester and decompose, which the narrator notes is rather common in these parts.
  • A footnote informs us that this beautiful area is now the site of the village Ballston.