Study Guide

Last of the Mohicans Chapter 5

By James Fenimore Cooper

Chapter 5

  • Epigraph from The Merchant of Venice.
  • Heyward is stunned for a moment then heads into the bushes. He soon comes across Chingachgook, Uncas, and Hawkeye looking disheartened. Heyward points out that Magua has been wounded and they may still be able to capture him, but Hawkeye argues that the wound will only make the Indian harder to catch.
  • Heyward wants to continue pursuing him.
  • Hawkeye, acknowledging this to be a natural reaction, says Magua will likely lead them to more unfriendly Indians, who apparently are hiding in every nook and cranny of the woods.
  • This reminds Heyward of his responsibilities. The other three stand apart and confer (Heyward assumes) about the travelers. He goes over to talk about compensation.
  • Hawkeye and the Mohicans offer to see the travelers to safety for free, on two conditions.
  • Condition One: Be quiet when traveling.
  • Condition Two: Hawkeye and the Mohicans will take the travelers to a super-secret hiding place that needs to stay super-secret.
  • Heyward agrees. He re-joins his companions and acquaints them with the new circumstances.
  • Remember Awkward Singing Man? After some debate, the colt that accompanies him is put to a quick death. Letting it continue traveling with them would be too dangerous.
  • No one is happy witnessing such an act of apparent cruelty. Except the Indians. They take the remaining horses and guide them into the river.
  • Hawkeye produces a canoe practically out of thin air and gestures for the women to get in.
  • Hawkeye and Heyward get in the water and escort the canoe upstream while Awkward Singing Man follows behind. At one point in their journey Heyward spots a strange cluster on the banks of the river. Hawkeye tells him that is where the Indians have hid the horses.
  • Soon the whole gang is back together to discuss their next move.
  • Hawkeye puts Heyward and his companions in the front end of the frail canoe and seats himself in the back. They go off on a bit of a whitewater rafting adventure, with Hawkeye steering. Convinced they are going to capsize and die, Alice closes her eyes, right as the canoe stops in perfectly still water underneath a cataract (read: waterfall).
  • Hawkeye directs everyone onto a flat rock near the canoe while he attends to dinner.
  • The travelers are left helpless, afraid they may fall to their deaths if they move very far.
  • Hawkeye and the Indians quickly re-join them, however.
  • During the ensuing conversation, Hawkeye makes it clear he has no respect for any Indians other than the Delawares (this group includes the Mohicans). Hawkeye has known the Delawares for twenty years. Hawkeye labels any Indian group that speaks a foreign tongue as "Iroquois."
  • The Awkward Stranger adds some incomprehensible mutterings about his dead colt to the conversation.
  • Hawkeye thinks the man will eventually get over it.
  • As he speaks, he gathers certain tools and promptly disappears with the Mohicans.