Study Guide

Last of the Mohicans Chapter 19

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Chapter 19

  • Epigraph from Merchant of Venice on revenge. Yeah, that seems pretty spot-on.
  • The men reach William Henry at the start of evening and set up camp for the night.
  • Heyward escorts Munro into the fort but is too excited to get any rest himself.
  • He goes out to survey the scene of death and gloom. Soon he thinks he hears some suspicious noises and seeks out Hawkeye.
  • The two men chat for a bit. Hawkeye asks Heyward if he believes white men and Indians go to the same heaven.
  • Hawkeye tells Heyward that heaven doesn't sound too great—he's got a "natural longing for motion and the chase," and heaven sounds too similar to hanging around mansions. Fluffy cloud mansions.
  • He tells Heyward that he can hear wolves.
  • After a time, Hawkeye summons Uncas to get his opinion.
  • After receiving instructions from Hawkeye, Uncas falls into the turf and disappears. Heyward is amazed. Hawkeye tells him Uncas has gone to scout for any enemy Indians. Heyward suggests they all take up arms. Hawkeye dissuades him from this idea, pointing out that Chingachgook is sitting quite calmly by the fire. Chingachgook pretends to sleep but is actually wide awake and alert.
  • After a time, a rifle goes off. Hawkeye identifies it as belonging to Uncas.
  • Clearly the group is being watched.
  • Chingachgook tells them there was only one.
  • Uncas returns to sit by the fire. He shows the group an Indian scalp. Blegh.
  • Chingachgook identifies it as belonging to someone in the Oneida tribe. Uncas agrees.
  • Heyward expresses astonishment that an Oneida would attack Englishmen, based on the treaties that exist. Heyward is not the brightest bulb.
  • Hawkeye tells him that "white cunning" has destroyed all the "harmony of warfare," but that natural enemies will never truly be at peace.
  • We get some more socio-geographical analysis that helps us understand exactly what is going on with the war. All the Native American tribes have been reconfigured into new alliances. The Mingo (which are made up of six different tribes) have been fighting alongside the Delaware. The Mingo have also been fighting the Hurons, although it is believed they are descended from the Hurons.
  • So basically the white settlers have grouped enemy tribes together, and then are confused as to why they don't all get along.
  • To complicate matters further, the Delaware are internally divided. Chingachgook and some of his followers are serving the English, but most of the Delaware have allied with Montcalm.
  • Uncas, Chingachgook, and Hawkeye settle themselves at the fire while Heyward sits off to the side to observe.
  • Chingachgook lights a pipe and passes it around.
  • After everyone smokes for a while, Chingachgook and Hawkeye enter into a discussion. Uncas remains respectfully silent until invited to join in the discussion by Hawkeye. Heyward understands the father and son to be on one side of the issue and Hawkeye to be on the other. The three debate.
  • Heyward figures that the Indians want to continue by land and Hawkeye wants to go via water. The three of them carry on an incredibly civil conversation. Heyward is impressed.
  • Until this point Hawkeye had been acting like a very reserved Anglo-American. Now, however, he stands up and assumes Indian methods of argument. The Mohicans change their minds in Hawkeye's favor. Go Hawkeye.
  • Hawkeye goes to sleep without gloating in his victory, because he's awesome like that.
  • The Mohicans are left to themselves. Chingachgook drops his tough exterior to chat playfully with his son.
  • After about an hour, Chingachgook abruptly goes to sleep, rapidly followed by Uncas.
  • Heyward follows their example.
  • Everyone sleeps while the corpses' "bones were already beginning to bleach on the surrounding plain."

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