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|The Last of the Mohicans||James Fenimore Cooper|
|Page 2 of 7||
His reception was grave, silent, and wary. The warriors in front stepped aside, opening the way to their most approved orator by the action; one who spoke all those languages that were cultivated among the northern aborigines.
"The wise Huron is welcome," said the Delaware, in the language of the Maquas; "he is come to eat his 'succotash' , with his brothers of the lakes."
"He is come," repeated Magua, bending his head with the dignity of an eastern prince.
The chief extended his arm and taking the other by the wrist, they once more exchanged friendly salutations. Then the Delaware invited his guest to enter his own lodge, and share his morning meal. The invitation was accepted; and the two warriors, attended by three or four of the old men, walked calmly away, leaving the rest of the tribe devoured by a desire to understand the reasons of so unusual a visit, and yet not betraying the least impatience by sign or word.
During the short and frugal repast that followed, the conversation was extremely circumspect, and related entirely to the events of the hunt, in which Magua had so lately been engaged. It would have been impossible for the most finished breeding to wear more of the appearance of considering the visit as a thing of course, than did his hosts, notwithstanding every individual present was perfectly aware that it must be connected with some secret object and that probably of importance to themselves. When the appetites of the whole were appeased, the squaws removed the trenchers and gourds, and the two parties began to prepare themselves for a subtle trial of their wits.
"Is the face of my great Canada father turned again toward his Huron children?" demanded the orator of the Delawares.
"When was it ever otherwise?" returned Magua. "He calls my people 'most beloved'."
The Delaware gravely bowed his acquiescence to what he knew to be false, and continued:
"The tomahawks of your young men have been very red."
"It is so; but they are now bright and dull; for the Yengeese are dead, and the Delawares are our neighbors."
The other acknowledged the pacific compliment by a gesture of the hand, and remained silent. Then Magua, as if recalled to such a recollection, by the allusion to the massacre, demanded:
"Does my prisoner give trouble to my brothers?"
"She is welcome."
"The path between the Hurons and the Delawares is short and it is open; let her be sent to my squaws, if she gives trouble to my brother."
"She is welcome," returned the chief of the latter nation, still more emphatically.
The baffled Magua continued silent several minutes, apparently indifferent, however, to the repulse he had received in this his opening effort to regain possession of Cora.
"Do my young men leave the Delawares room on the mountains for their hunts?" he at length continued.
"The Lenape are rulers of their own hills," returned the other a little haughtily.
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|The Last of the Mohicans
James Fenimore Cooper
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