Study Guide

Last of the Mohicans Chapter 9

By James Fenimore Cooper

Chapter 9

  • Epigraph from Gray, Agrippina, A Tragedy. This one is a quote asking fair maidens to smile in the midst of their troubles.
  • Heyward is disoriented in the sudden quiet that ensues. He is afraid of what the future may bring.
  • Eventually the sounds of nature return him to his senses.
  • He tells the still-wounded David that they need to head for the safety of the caverns.
  • After some more chit-chat, everyone heads for the caverns. Heyward tries to hide the entrance with some plants, and then inquires as to how the women are feeling.
  • Heyward tells them he is inspired by their bravery.
  • He stands guard in the center of the cavern and waits for some Hurons to blunder in.
  • The cavern is silent; everyone's hopes increase as time passes.
  • David begins singing the "Isle of Wight." Cora asks if this is dangerous. Heyward replies that it's probably fine.
  • The listeners are soon drawn into the music.
  • The music is interrupted by some frightful screaming.
  • Alice immediately freaks out, but Heyward points out their enemies haven't exactly found the caves yet.
  • More cries of the "fiercest barbarity" fill the air.
  • A triumphant yell is heard, but soon the hidden company realizes that Hawkeye's rifle has been discovered. All the enemy Indians gather around, calling out for "la Longue Carabine." Shortly after, they disperse to search the area.
  • Several times, they come close to where Heyward, the sisters, and David are hiding. Heyward positions himself in front of the others, determined to protect them for as long as possible.
  • Eventually the searchers discover the bodies of their dead comrades and subsequently leave.
  • Heyward whispers that they are safe.
  • Alice immediately gets up and starts pouring out her thanks to God, heaven, and whoever else will listen.
  • Heyward is in the middle of admiring how pretty Alice is when she suddenly stops her joyful exultation.
  • There is an Indian in the cave!
  • Heyward can tell the enemy's eyes haven't properly adjusted to the light. He contemplates retreating further into the caverns at the same moment that the Indian's eyes adjust.
  • Heyward quickly loses it and shoots the man, resulting in a deafening explosion.
  • Great. They've given away their position.
  • And the Indian is still alive.