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|The Last of the Mohicans||James Fenimore Cooper|
|Page 5 of 9||
"La Longue Carabine!" exclaimed Tamenund, opening his eyes, and regarding the scout sternly. "My son has not done well to call him friend."
"I call him so who proves himself such," returned the young chief, with great calmness, but with a steady mien. "If Uncas is welcome among the Delawares, then is Hawkeye with his friends."
"The pale face has slain my young men; his name is great for the blows he has struck the Lenape."
"If a Mingo has whispered that much in the ear of the Delaware, he has only shown that he is a singing-bird," said the scout, who now believed that it was time to vindicate himself from such offensive charges, and who spoke as the man he addressed, modifying his Indian figures, however, with his own peculiar notions. "That I have slain the Maquas I am not the man to deny, even at their own council-fires; but that, knowingly, my hand has never harmed a Delaware, is opposed to the reason of my gifts, which is friendly to them, and all that belongs to their nation."
A low exclamation of applause passed among the warriors who exchanged looks with each other like men that first began to perceive their error.
"Where is the Huron?" demanded Tamenund. "Has he stopped my ears?"
Magua, whose feelings during that scene in which Uncas had triumphed may be much better imagined than described, answered to the call by stepping boldly in front of the patriarch.
"The just Tamenund," he said, "will not keep what a Huron has lent."
"Tell me, son of my brother," returned the sage, avoiding the dark countenance of Le Subtil, and turning gladly to the more ingenuous features of Uncas, "has the stranger a conqueror's right over you?"
"He has none. The panther may get into snares set by the women; but he is strong, and knows how to leap through them."
"La Longue Carabine?"
"Laughs at the Mingoes. Go, Huron, ask your squaws the color of a bear."
"The stranger and white maiden that come into my camp together?"
"Should journey on an open path."
"And the woman that Huron left with my warriors?"
Uncas made no reply.
"And the woman that the Mingo has brought into my camp?" repeated Tamenund, gravely.
"She is mine," cried Magua, shaking his hand in triumph at Uncas. "Mohican, you know that she is mine."
"My son is silent," said Tamenund, endeavoring to read the expression of the face that the youth turned from him in sorrow.
"It is so," was the low answer.
A short and impressive pause succeeded, during which it was very apparent with what reluctance the multitude admitted the justice of the Mingo's claim. At length the sage, on whom alone the decision depended, said, in a firm voice:
"As he came, just Tamenund," demanded the wily Magua, "or with hands filled with the faith of the Delawares? The wigwam of Le Renard Subtil is empty. Make him strong with his own."
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|The Last of the Mohicans
James Fenimore Cooper
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