Study Guide

Last of the Mohicans Chapter 4

By James Fenimore Cooper

Chapter 4

  • Epigraph from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • Hawkeye greets the newcomers warily. The leader asks the distance to William Henry.
  • Hawkeye replies that they are way off course and would be better off heading to Fort Edward and General Webb.
  • Heyward (who, as we might have guessed, is the newcomer who interrupted Chingachgook and Hawkeye) explains that they have trusted an Indian guide, although it is now clear they are completely lost.
  • Hawkeye asks if the Indian is a Mohawk. Heyward replies that the man was adopted by the Mohawks but is originally a Huron. This elicits an unpleasant reaction from Hawkeye and his two companions. Hawkeye claims that Hurons are thieves and vagabonds. He tells Heyward that only Delaware or Mohicans can be trusted as warriors.
  • Heyward asks again for the distance to Edward and asks if Hawkeye will be a willing escort.
  • Hawkeye questions Heyward's readiness to trust in him as a guide. After all, he could be a spy. The two men engage in a game of "do you know…?" until Hawkeye is satisfied. The hunter goes to examine the Indian guide to determine the man's identity. On his way, he sees the women and admires their beauty, especially Alice.
  • Hawkeye returns to Heyward and expresses distrust in the Mingo Indian guide. Prejudice, much? He tells Heyward they could make it to Edward in about an hour, but only if they traveled alone. The ladies are a disability because the woods are full of Iroquois enemies.
  • Hawkeye is adamant that the Indian guide is an enemy, but Heyward wants to be certain before exacting any sort of punishment or revenge. Hawkeye confers with Chingachgook and Uncas, who promptly disappear into the bushes. Hawkeye tells Heyward to talk to the Indian as if nothing is wrong.
  • Heyward keeps the women in the dark as he goes to meet the suspected traitor. He tells the Indian (most commonly referred to as Magua) that Hawkeye will lead their way. Magua starts talking about how Le Renard Stubil will leave, by which he means that he (Magua) wants to bail.
  • We learn that Alice and Cora are the daughters of William Henry's chief, Munro. Magua had promised Munro to see his daughters to safety.
  • Heyward proposes that they rest and eat, then proceed onwards. Magua acquiesces and sits down with some food. Heyward remains mounted on his horse but finds an excuse to dismount. He pretends to offer the Indian better food, but as soon as Magua feels Heyward getting physical, he bolts. Chingachgook and Uncas pursue him.
  • The chapter ends with the sound of a rifle going off.