The Last of the Mohicans

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Duncan Heyward Character Analysis

A Major in the “Royal American” (English) army, Duncan fights against the French and their Mingo allies. At the beginning of the novel, he is tasked with escorting Cora and Alice Munro from Fort William Henry to Fort Edward, and the adventures that occur along the way, including numerous run-ins with Magua, set the stage for the later drama of the novel.

Duncan Heyward Quotes in The Last of the Mohicans

The The Last of the Mohicans quotes below are all either spoken by Duncan Heyward or refer to Duncan Heyward. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
“Savagery,” Civilization, and the Frontier Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Bantam Classics edition of The Last of the Mohicans published in 1982.
Chapter 5 Quotes

What is to be done? . . . Desert me not, for God’s sake! Remain to defend those I escort, and freely name your own reward!

Related Characters: Duncan Heyward (speaker), Hawkeye
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

Duncan Heyward admits that he does not know, and cannot learn, the "ways" of the forest - certainly not in the time remaining to him, after they have been abandoned in the woods by Magua. Hawkeye therefore arrives just in the nick of time, and clearly demonstrates that he understands the paths, and hiding places, in those woods. Heyward has no trouble asking Hawkeye for this kind of help. 

The idea of "escorting" is an important one in the novel. Heyward is tasked with moving Cora and Alice through the forest because, it is assumed, they are utterly incapable of this kind of activity themselves. This is a commonly-held belief among the Europeans (English and French) in the New World - that men must make the colonies safe and civilized for the women who travel with them. But as will become apparent later in the text, Huron and Iroquois tribes do not feel the same way - women in those societies take on much more prominent roles outside the home. 

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Chapter 6 Quotes

Are we quite safe in this cavern? Is there no danger of surprise? A single armed man at its entrance, would hold us at his mercy.

Related Characters: Duncan Heyward (speaker)
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

Heyward seems to recognize that the cave in which they hide themselves could prove to be a burden to the group - it could trap them, since it protects them so thoroughly from the outside world and has so very few points of escape. For his part, Heyward tends to critique the plans that have been laid out by others - namely, Hawkeye and Chingachgook - rather than offering plans himself.

This, because Heyward understands tactics from the perspective of the European military - in which soldiers march in rows and wear brightly-colored uniforms, identifying them as belonging to one or another side. The kind of warfare practiced in the forests of the New World, in which opponents hide among the trees and wait to strike, is utterly foreign to Heyward - he does not understand the mechanics of how this kind of warfare might operate in reality. 

Chapter 8 Quotes

He [Uncas] saved my life in the coolest and readiest manner, and he has made a friend who never will require to be reminded of the debt he owes.

Related Characters: Duncan Heyward (speaker), Uncas
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

This shows another aspect of Uncas' and Heyward's personality. Uncas helped Heyward, in part, because he trusts Hawkeye, who has agreed to help Heyward and his party. Uncas thus agreed to be loyal to Heyward, and to provide support for that group in any way possible. Uncas' loyalty to friends is unquestioned. 

Heyward, then, also demonstrates his loyalty here - although characteristically he does so not only by embodying it in action, but by proclaiming it in a direct speech to the group assembled. He argues that, because Uncas has saved his life, he is forever indebted to Uncas, and will do what he can to support him. This, for Heyward, would be the natural outcome of this kind of demonstration of honor - the kind of loyalty that is announced and firmly established in the social codes of the Old World as well as in the New. But Cooper makes plain that Uncas has already possessed and demonstrated this loyalty, without having to announce it so publicly. 

Chapter 10 Quotes

Yes, the pale-faces are prattling women! They have two words for each thing, while a redskin will make the sound of his voice speak for him.

Related Characters: Magua (speaker), Duncan Heyward
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

Magua believes, just as heartily as some of the European characters believe, that there are essential differences between Native Americans and Europeans. One of those differences, for Magua, has to do with patterns of speech. Europeans, he charges, use a lot of words to say very little - they use language not to tell the truth but to speak around it, to obfuscate it - in a word, to lie. By contrast, the Native Americans believe that a voice ought to be used when someone has something true, and direct, to say. Magua does not believe in the use of language for deception.

But, of course, both Heyward and Magua practice deception throughout the novel, and so Magua's distinction is a theoretical rather than an actual one. Heyward attempts to use his cunning to build up Magua's vanity and therefore save his friends, and Magua, at the beginning of the novel, pretended to be a scout favorable to Heyward and company before abandoning them. 

Chapter 15 Quotes

Ah! thou truant! thou recreant knight! He who abandons his damsels in the very lists! Here we have been days, nay, ages, expecting you at our feet, imploring mercy and forgetfulness of your craven backsliding . . . .
You know that Alice means our thanks and our blessings . . . .

Related Characters: Cora Munro (speaker), Alice Munro (speaker), Duncan Heyward
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:

This is a small moment of levity in a novel where levity is not all that common. Cora and Alice make fun, gently, of Duncan for his seriousness, and for his desire only to fight the French from the fort, and not to spend time with them within it. 

Cooper's characterizations, as those of Cora and Alice and Heyward here, tend to be schematic, or organized broadly according to theme and type. Heyward is a good, loyal, but somewhat inflexible soldier, who never sways from his devotion. Cora is a passionate defender of the rights of all people, and especially of the rights of Native Americans, whom she believes to be treated unjustly by Europeans. And Alice is a very kind and (as is implied repeatedly) "pure" person, whose honor has in no way been besmirched. Cooper, in this scene, therefore disrupts these types somewhat, without abandoning them - and these three will stay true to their general characters throughout the rest of the novel. 

Chapter 23 Quotes

When an Indian chief comes among his white fathers, he lays aside his buffalo robe, to carry the shirt that is offered him. My brothers have given me paint, and I wear it.

Related Characters: Duncan Heyward (speaker)
Page Number: 271
Explanation and Analysis:

Gradually throughout the novel, Heyward has come to realize that there are some customs of the native tribes that he is to obey, not simply because they would be politically or militarily expedient, but because he has come to genuinely feel loyal to his native friends. One of these is depicted here, in which Heyward conceals himself using the paint of the Hurons, just as, he argues, a Huron chief would dress like a European as a symbol of his communion with that group.

What Heyward cannot know, however, is just how one-way this transaction will be in the years after the novel. That is, natives will be asked to dress "like Europeans" for a great many years, whereas it will be far less common for Europeans genuinely to inhabit the cultural traditions of the native tribes they decimate across what becomes the United States. Cooper seems, gently, to understand that exchange between Native Americans and Europeans will be affected by this inequality going forward. 

Chapter 25 Quotes

Heyward, give me the sacred presence and the holy sanction of that parent [Munro] before you urge me further.

Related Characters: Alice Munro (speaker), Duncan Heyward, Colonel Munro
Page Number: 300
Explanation and Analysis:

Alice is in love with Heyward, and has indeed been waiting for some time for Heyward to propose marriage to her. But Alice, in her "purity" (as it is described throughout the novel), wishes to do everything properly, including getting permission from her father, Colonel Munro, before Heyward can take her hand in marriage. Cooper has clearly set up Alice as a paragon of virtue in the text - as a character who cannot be corrupted, whose purity is so obvious as to be beyond question.

What is more troubling is Cora's relative lack of virtue, despite nothing that Cora has done. Cooper's narrator instead avers that Cora has, in her temperament (perhaps deriving from her mother, a native of the West Indies) a tendency toward a more tempestuous life. Cora, then, although she commits no crime, winds up in situations in which her virtue is continually tested - and Alice, coincidentally, does not. This is another aspect of Cooper's "schematic," or broadly theme-based, somewhat flat depiction of certain characters. 

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Duncan Heyward Character Timeline in The Last of the Mohicans

The timeline below shows where the character Duncan Heyward appears in The Last of the Mohicans. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...through the wilderness, on horseback, from Fort Edward to Fort William Henry. The officer, named Duncan Heyward, promises Webb and the two young women that he will get them to Fort... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Alice, the fair-haired of the two young women, asks Heyward whether the runner up ahead is not a “specter” of the forest, and if he... (full context)
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...why they are not traveling with the troops, in their caravan, to the fort; but Heyward counters that it is safer to travel in the backwoods with the runner, as the... (full context)
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...is traveling to Fort William Henry, and figured he would take the same path as Heyward and the two young women, because there is safety in numbers. This man says that... (full context)
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The psalmodist sings one of his hymns, and Alice is delighted to hear it, although Heyward stops him and says that they ought to travel silently, so as not to stir... (full context)
Chapter 3
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The narrator pauses in his description of Heyward’s party, and turns to a white man and a Mohican native talking, in a native... (full context)
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...arrow, and after he does so, Hawkeye and the Mohicans hear the “hooves of white horses”—Heyward’s party, drawing near in the forest. (full context)
Chapter 4
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Heyward approaches Hawkeye, and says that his party has become lost in the woods—that their guide,... (full context)
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Hawkeye tells Heyward to busy the runner, whose name is Magua, or Le Renard Subtil, in conversation, so... (full context)
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Heyward, however, asks Magua whether that is a wise move—leaving the party—since Magua has been promised... (full context)
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Magua then approaches Heyward, who has dismounted from his horse, showing Heyward that the corn in his “food wallet”... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Uncas, Chingachgook, and Hawkeye attempt to track Magua for a moment, but then return to Heyward, who has been frozen in his spot, wondering if Magua will get away. Heyward criticizes... (full context)
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Heyward, with desperation in his voice as the night falls, asks Hawkeye if he and his... (full context)
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...Mohicans’ canoe has been hidden. Alice and Cora are seated in the canoe, and Hawkeye, Heyward, and the Mohicans, with David walking along, use poles to drag the canoe upstream, toward... (full context)
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...helped out of the canoe, which is stowed in hiding along with the horses; and Heyward is delighted to fight a series of hiding places in the rocks where the group... (full context)
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...group is getting situated along the banks, in preparation for retiring to the hiding place, Heyward asks Hawkeye if the Delawares (a larger tribe closely related to the Mohicans) and Mohicans... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook direct Heyward, David, Alice, and Cora into the caverns near the waterfalls, showing them that, once inside,... (full context)
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Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook go off to another part of the cave to sleep, and Heyward, after inspecting the caverns again, tells Cora and Alice that they are safe till morning.... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Hawkeye says to Heyward and his band that he (Hawkeye) has never heard such a cry as this, although... (full context)
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...group waits for several hours. After Cora and Alice and David sleep for a time, Heyward and Hawkeye awaken them and say it is time to move the band onward. At... (full context)
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...only superficial, promises the band that the singer will improve after his shock wears off. Heyward tells Cora and Alice to hide with David in the cavern; Heyward joins Hawkeye, Uncas,... (full context)
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Hawkeye and Heyward spot five Mingos drifting down the river on wooden logs; one Mingo falls over the... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Once Heyward, Hawkeye, and the Mohicans have regrouped on the rocks, a new volley of fire from... (full context)
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Heyward and Cora, however, dispute that the band has to die at all. Cora tells Hawkeye,... (full context)
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...the other two and hope to save the band later on. Cora then turns to Heyward telling him that he, too, ought to float downstream and leave Alice, Cora, and David... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Heyward looks around, into the beauty of the forest, as the Mingos have pulled back and... (full context)
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Just then, Heyward hears another splitting cry in the woods—the Maquas are remounting their assault of the cavern.... (full context)
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The group of Maquas moves on, however, and Heyward tells Cora, Alice, and David that they are saved—they have escaped detection. Just then, however,... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Heyward is surprised by the conduct of the Mingos, who do not “disturb” him or Alice... (full context)
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Magua asks Heyward where Hawkeye went, and Heyward replies that Hawkeye and the two Mohicans floated downstream to... (full context)
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The Mingos herd Heyward, David, and the two women down the rocky outcropping into a large canoe. The canoe... (full context)
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En route, Heyward attempts to play on Magua’s vanity by congratulating him for his cunning displayed over the... (full context)
Chapter 11
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At the top of the clearing, some of the Hurons sit and eat, and Heyward goes to Magua, telling him that perhaps they ought to hurry on to Fort William... (full context)
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...their tomahawks. In a large group they run at the members of the band, but Heyward jumps in front of Alice and Cora, attempting to save them from the Hurons’ violence.... (full context)
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...to the band, says only that Magua is evil and a liar, but Alice and Heyward press her, asking the nature of Magua’s bargain. Cora finally announces to the rest of... (full context)
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...nearly slicing Alice—the tomahawk instead is lodged in the tree to which she is bound. Heyward, angered at this sight, bursts from the tree to which he is tied, and runs... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook storm into the clearing, determined to kill all the Mingos present. Heyward grabs the tomahawk thrown by the Huron, and he, Hawkeye, and the Mohicans beat and... (full context)
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Uncas and Heyward rush to Cora and Alice, making sure they are all right—the young women cry out... (full context)
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Heyward, on their walk to a nearby watering hole, asks Hawkeye and the Mohicans how they... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...“block house,” or abandoned forest outpost, that looks to be almost in ruins. Hawkeye tells Heyward the story of his defense of that block house, with the Mohicans, against Maquas some... (full context)
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Alice and Cora go inside the block house to sleep, and though Heyward wishes to keep watch during the night, Hawkeye says it would be better for Chingachgook... (full context)
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...English. The band retires to the block house, putting everything inside, including the horses. Although Heyward wants to fire on the Hurons as they approach, Hawkeye cautions him, saying they ought... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...riverbank—the men do this to avoid detection of their footprints as they travel. Hawkeye tells Heyward of some of the battles he has fought, on the English side against the French,... (full context)
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Luckily, however, Heyward speaks very good French, and tells the Frenchman, a soldier in the army, that he... (full context)
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...along a high ledge, rimming the forest, and enter the fort from the opposing side. Heyward agrees to the latter, and Hawkeye says this course is probably more prudent, although the... (full context)
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Heyward asks Hawkeye the most prudent course to gain admission to the fort, through enemy lines.... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...continues for four more days, as the two sides fire their artillery back and forth. Heyward, on a post near the edge of the fort, looks out on the morning of... (full context)
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Alice and Cora then thank Heyward, in seriousness, for his efforts in saving them thus far, and Cora goes on to... (full context)
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Munro meets with Heyward, telling him that Hawkeye has passed through enemy lines and been released by Montcalm back... (full context)
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Montcalm welcomes Heyward, and Heyward rapidly realizes that Montcalm expects Heyward, as Munro’s emissary, to sue for peace... (full context)
Chapter 16
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Heyward returns from Montcalm’s camp, and finds Munro seated with his two daughters within Fort William... (full context)
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Munro is surprised; he had assumed that Heyward wished to marry Cora. Munro says he will have a much harder time parting with... (full context)
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Suddenly, however, Munro snaps out of his sadness and asks, in an officious voice, if Heyward has news from Montcalm’s camp—Heyward understands this to mean that Munro wishes to suspend, for... (full context)
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...that Webb will be sending reinforcements from Fort Edward, but Montcalm, now quite proud, shows Heyward and Munro a letter, intercepted from the British and signed by Webb, stating that Webb... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...the French lines, and the narrator shifts the scene to inside Fort William Henry, where Heyward meets with Cora and Alice, telling them they must prepare for their own “safe conveyance”... (full context)
Chapter 18
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The morning after, Munro, Heyward, Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook walk out on the field where the massacre has taken place.... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...quarters to spend the night alone, and to worry about the fate of his daughters. Heyward and Hawkeye mount the fort’s rampart to look over the plains again, where the massacre... (full context)
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Uncas lies close to the ground and, as Heyward watches with Hawkeye, proceeds to sense that a native is in fact walking nearby, perhaps... (full context)
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When Heyward expresses confusion as to why an Oneida would attack a Mohican, Hawkeye answers that, perhaps,... (full context)
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Heyward withdraws a few paces and watches as Uncas, Chingachgook, and Hawkeye dine around their fire... (full context)
Chapter 20
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The next morning, Hawkeye wakes up Munro and Heyward, and the five of them move, on rocks and twigs (so as not to leave... (full context)
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Uncas, Chingachgook, and Hawkeye begin paddling the canoe, with Heyward and Munro sitting towards its rear. As the band gets out farther into the center... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Hawkeye begins to laugh and approach this man, and though Heyward is confused as to why Hawkeye is not afraid of him, soon Heyward realizes that... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Hawkeye, Uncas, Chingachgook, Munro, and Heyward begin speaking to David. David says that Alice and Cora are all right, physically, though... (full context)
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Heyward asks David how they came to travel over land to their current location, and David... (full context)
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Uncas dresses Heyward in the costume of a “fool,” a wandering songster in the French-speaking regions near Ticonderoga;... (full context)
Chapter 23
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Heyward and David walk into the center of the village, and the children give long shouts,... (full context)
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Heyward walks outside with the other warriors in the main lodge when he hears a large... (full context)
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Heyward also realizes that the other Huron brought with Uncas, who does not manage to escape... (full context)
Chapter 24
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Heyward manages to speak quickly with Uncas in the confusion following the execution of the young... (full context)
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Before Heyward can depart, Magua enters the lodge, having been away conveying Cora to the other, related... (full context)
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...old man leaves, Magua turns and recognizes Uncas in the lodge—although he does not recognize Heyward, whose medicine-man clothes are a convincing disguise. Magua immediately demands that the captured Uncas must... (full context)
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Heyward is then led through the village, across the path of a domesticated bear, into a... (full context)
Chapter 25
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Soon, however, the warrior states that Heyward must be alone to work his magic, and so leaves Heyward with the bear and... (full context)
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Hawkeye then asks if Heyward has managed to find any trace of Alice, and Heyward says that he has not.... (full context)
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Just as Heyward is telling Alice that he loves her and wishes to marry her, Magua enters the... (full context)
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...of the sick girl and other warriors as they seek to escape the village, but Heyward tricks them by saying that the woman flung over his shoulder is also sick, and... (full context)
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After they walk farther into the woods, Hawkeye directs Alice and Heyward to the Delaware village nearby, where Cora is believed to be held. Hawkeye states that,... (full context)
Chapter 27
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...shocked to find that Magua, so great a warrior, has been trapped and duped by Heyward, Uncas, and Hawkeye. Magua, enraged, screams that he will exact revenge, and wonders aloud how... (full context)
Chapter 28
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...the Delawares have received among them members of the “band,” including Hawkeye, Uncas, Alice, and Heyward—the Delawares then bustle about, realizing that one of the prisoners they have captured is “La... (full context)
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...warriors, some Delawares go to the village’s prison-lodge and lead out Cora, Alice, Hawkeye, and Heyward, as the assembled Hurons and Delawares wait to hear Tamenund speak. (full context)
Chapter 29
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...younger warriors—ask which of the prisoners is “La Longue Carabine,” owner of Kildeer, and both Heyward and Hawkeye say that they are; Heyward, worried about what the Delawares will do to... (full context)
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Heyward shoots very close to an earthen vessel nearby, but Hawkeye completely shatters it. In the... (full context)
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...are his,” and Magua, cheered at this news, eyes Cora longingly, and has Cora, Alice, Heyward, and Hawkeye seized and held in place by obliging Delawares. Cora, however, wrestles free of... (full context)
Chapter 30
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...the members of the band then turn to Tamenund for his judgment: Tamenund says that Heyward and Alice, being innocent of any grudges between tribes, must be free to go; that... (full context)
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Alice and the rest of the band are aghast at this judgment, and Heyward says that he could surely arrange for Munro and the English to pay a large... (full context)
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...Hawkeye’s generosity anyway, that it is her lot to go with Magua. Cora then tells Heyward to take care of Alice, and follows behind Magua out of the Delaware camp. Heyward... (full context)
Chapter 31
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...the band may again attack Magua and attempt to wrest Cora from his control. Uncas, Heyward, and Hawkeye gather their weapons, and Heyward places Alice safely among the Delaware women in... (full context)
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Heyward and Hawkeye believe they see a Huron in the forest, but it is only David,... (full context)
Chapter 32
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Uncas, Heyward, and Hawkeye make their way through the forest, dodging bullets shot by scattered Hurons, who... (full context)
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After moving forward and running up against Huron opposition, however, Heyward and Hawkeye hear shots fired from behind enemy lines, and recognize Chingachgook and Munro, who... (full context)
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Heyward, Hawkeye, and Uncas find that two Huron warriors are in fact carrying Cora up the... (full context)
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...with his back exposed, and weaponless, Uncas is stabbed by Magua multiple times, and killed. Heyward and Hawkeye then pursue Magua, who jumps from ledge to ledge on the cliff on... (full context)