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|The Last of the Mohicans||James Fenimore Cooper|
|Page 6 of 9||
The aged man mused with himself for a time; and then, bending his head toward one of his venerable companions, he asked:
"Are my ears open?"
"It is true."
"Is this Mingo a chief?"
"The first in his nation."
"Girl, what wouldst thou? A great warrior takes thee to wife. Go! thy race will not end."
"Better, a thousand times, it should," exclaimed the horror-struck Cora, "than meet with such a degradation!"
"Huron, her mind is in the tents of her fathers. An unwilling maiden makes an unhappy wigwam."
"She speaks with the tongue of her people," returned Magua, regarding his victim with a look of bitter irony.
"She is of a race of traders, and will bargain for a bright look. Let Tamenund speak the words."
"Take you the wampum, and our love."
"Nothing hence but what Magua brought hither."
"Then depart with thine own. The Great Manitou forbids that a Delaware should be unjust."
Magua advanced, and seized his captive strongly by the arm; the Delawares fell back, in silence; and Cora, as if conscious that remonstrance would be useless, prepared to submit to her fate without resistance.
"Hold, hold!" cried Duncan, springing forward; "Huron, have mercy! her ransom shall make thee richer than any of thy people were ever yet known to be."
"Magua is a red-skin; he wants not the beads of the pale faces."
"Gold, silver, powder, lead--all that a warrior needs shall be in thy wigwam; all that becomes the greatest chief."
"Le Subtil is very strong," cried Magua, violently shaking the hand which grasped the unresisting arm of Cora; "he has his revenge!"
"Mighty ruler of Providence!" exclaimed Heyward, clasping his hands together in agony, "can this be suffered! To you, just Tamenund, I appeal for mercy."
"The words of the Delaware are said," returned the sage, closing his eyes, and dropping back into his seat, alike wearied with his mental and his bodily exertion. "Men speak not twice."
"That a chief should not misspend his time in unsaying what has once been spoken is wise and reasonable," said Hawkeye, motioning to Duncan to be silent; "but it is also prudent in every warrior to consider well before he strikes his tomahawk into the head of his prisoner. Huron, I love you not; nor can I say that any Mingo has ever received much favor at my hands. It is fair to conclude that, if this war does not soon end, many more of your warriors will meet me in the woods. Put it to your judgment, then, whether you would prefer taking such a prisoner as that into your encampment, or one like myself, who am a man that it would greatly rejoice your nation to see with naked hands."
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|The Last of the Mohicans
James Fenimore Cooper
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