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|The Last of the Mohicans||James Fenimore Cooper|
|Page 3 of 11||
"What can the Hurons do?" returned the savage, speaking also, though imperfectly, in the French language.
"Not a warrior has a scalp, and the pale faces make friends!"
"Ha, Le Renard Subtil! Methinks this is an excess of zeal for a friend who was so late an enemy! How many suns have set since Le Renard struck the war-post of the English?"
"Where is that sun?" demanded the sullen savage. "Behind the hill; and it is dark and cold. But when he comes again, it will be bright and warm. Le Subtil is the sun of his tribe. There have been clouds, and many mountains between him and his nation; but now he shines and it is a clear sky!"
"That Le Renard has power with his people, I well know," said Montcalm; "for yesterday he hunted for their scalps, and to-day they hear him at the council-fire."
"Magua is a great chief."
"Let him prove it, by teaching his nation how to conduct themselves toward our new friends."
"Why did the chief of the Canadas bring his young men into the woods, and fire his cannon at the earthen house?" demanded the subtle Indian.
"To subdue it. My master owns the land, and your father was ordered to drive off these English squatters. They have consented to go, and now he calls them enemies no longer."
"'Tis well. Magua took the hatchet to color it with blood. It is now bright; when it is red, it shall be buried."
"But Magua is pledged not to sully the lilies of France. The enemies of the great king across the salt lake are his enemies; his friends, the friends of the Hurons."
"Friends!" repeated the Indian in scorn. "Let his father give Magua a hand."
Montcalm, who felt that his influence over the warlike tribes he had gathered was to be maintained by concession rather than by power, complied reluctantly with the other's request. The savage placed the fingers of the French commander on a deep scar in his bosom, and then exultingly demanded:
"Does my father know that?"
"What warrior does not? 'Tis where a leaden bullet has cut."
"And this?" continued the Indian, who had turned his naked back to the other, his body being without its usual calico mantle.
"This!--my son has been sadly injured here; who has done this?"
"Magua slept hard in the English wigwams, and the sticks have left their mark," returned the savage, with a hollow laugh, which did not conceal the fierce temper that nearly choked him. Then, recollecting himself, with sudden and native dignity, he added: "Go; teach your young men it is peace. Le Renard Subtil knows how to speak to a Huron warrior."
Without deigning to bestow further words, or to wait for any answer, the savage cast his rifle into the hollow of his arm, and moved silently through the encampment toward the woods where his own tribe was known to lie. Every few yards as he proceeded he was challenged by the sentinels; but he stalked sullenly onward, utterly disregarding the summons of the soldiers, who only spared his life because they knew the air and tread no less than the obstinate daring of an Indian.
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|The Last of the Mohicans
James Fenimore Cooper
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