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|The Last of the Mohicans||James Fenimore Cooper|
|Page 2 of 8||
"Le Renard is too brave to remember the hurts received in war, or the hands that gave them."
"Was it war, when the tired Indian rested at the sugartree to taste his corn! who filled the bushes with creeping enemies! who drew the knife, whose tongue was peace, while his heart was colored with blood! Did Magua say that the hatchet was out of the ground, and that his hand had dug it up?"
As Duncan dared not retort upon his accuser by reminding him of his own premeditated treachery, and disdained to deprecate his resentment by any words of apology, he remained silent. Magua seemed also content to rest the controversy as well as all further communication there, for he resumed the leaning attitude against the rock from which, in momentary energy, he had arisen. But the cry of "La Longue Carabine" was renewed the instant the impatient savages perceived that the short dialogue was ended.
"You hear," said Magua, with stubborn indifference: "the red Hurons call for the life of 'The Long Rifle', or they will have the blood of him that keep him hid!"
"He is gone--escaped; he is far beyond their reach."
Renard smiled with cold contempt, as he answered:
"When the white man dies, he thinks he is at peace; but the red men know how to torture even the ghosts of their enemies. Where is his body? Let the Hurons see his scalp."
"He is not dead, but escaped."
Magua shook his head incredulously.
"Is he a bird, to spread his wings; or is he a fish, to swim without air! The white chief read in his books, and he believes the Hurons are fools!"
"Though no fish, 'The Long Rifle' can swim. He floated down the stream when the powder was all burned, and when the eyes of the Hurons were behind a cloud."
"And why did the white chief stay?" demanded the still incredulous Indian. "Is he a stone that goes to the bottom, or does the scalp burn his head?"
"That I am not stone, your dead comrade, who fell into the falls, might answer, were the life still in him," said the provoked young man, using, in his anger, that boastful language which was most likely to excite the admiration of an Indian. "The white man thinks none but cowards desert their women."
Magua muttered a few words, inaudibly, between his teeth, before he continued, aloud:
"Can the Delawares swim, too, as well as crawl in the bushes? Where is 'Le Gros Serpent'?"
Duncan, who perceived by the use of these Canadian appellations, that his late companions were much better known to his enemies than to himself, answered, reluctantly: "He also is gone down with the water."
"'Le Cerf Agile' is not here?"
"I know not whom you call 'The Nimble Deer'," said Duncan gladly profiting by any excuse to create delay.
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|The Last of the Mohicans
James Fenimore Cooper
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