Heyward is surprised by the conduct of the Mingos, who do not “disturb” him or Alice and Cora and David, but instead roam through the caverns in search of Hawkeye. Magua tells Heyward that the Mingos desire to find Hawkeye above all else; Magua also complains that Hawkeye, Uncas, and Heyward himself conspired to kill him (Magua) through treachery earlier that day, and Heyward holds himself back from accusing Magua of the original treachery, that of leading the party through the woods so that they might stray intentionally into Mingo territory.
Heyward wants to accuse Magua of being what, in fact, he actually was: a spy for the Hurons among the English soldiers. But Heyward also recognizes that aggravating Magua would do more harm than good for the band, while captured. It seems that, even in this early stage of the novel, Magua seeks to find and destroy Uncas, Chingachgook, and Hawkeye above all others.
Magua asks Heyward where Hawkeye went, and Heyward replies that Hawkeye and the two Mohicans floated downstream to give word of the band’s capture at the hands of the Mingos. Magua tells the other Hurons that the three have escaped, and they raise cries of anger and frustration at this news. Some of the Hurons shoot menacing glances at the women, and Heyward, moving over to protect them, has his arms bound by several Mingos. Then Magua calls over the warriors, and they seem to be discussing plans to move the prisoners back toward Fort Edward.
Again, Magua demonstrates that his quarrel is primarily with the scout and the two Mohicans. Magua also does not seem, at this juncture, especially interested in Alice and Cora and David—they are, simply, white prisoners he can use for leverage, in order to entice Hawkeye to return and fight him in battle. Heyward, as a representative of the English, is considered a foe of Magua’s from the start.
The Mingos herd Heyward, David, and the two women down the rocky outcropping into a large canoe. The canoe floats some of the way down the river, guided by the Mingos, and when they all reach the place where the band’s horses were kept, some of the Mingos split off and take Heyward’s horse into the forest. The rest stay with Magua and the prisoners as they continue to float down the river. Some of the Mingos walk alongside the canoe in the stream, holding the reins of their horses
Another motif in the novel: the idea of travel by water. Natives seem to prize the practice because it allows one not to leave tracks through the forest, which can be traced by a capable scout like Hawkeye, or by natives like Uncas and Chingachgook. Travel by canoe up-river, though occasionally arduous, also means that men, women, and children do not have to walk long distances through the difficult wooded terrain.
En route, Heyward attempts to play on Magua’s vanity by congratulating him for his cunning displayed over the previous day. Heyward implies that, if Magua turns his sympathies back toward the English—if he double-crosses the Mingos—then Munro would guarantee Magua a large reward upon the safe return of the Munro daughters to Fort William Henry. Magua seems gratified by Heyward’s words, and says that he will consider the plan, and that Heyward ought to fall silent until Magua has made his decision.
Heyward attempts, here, to use cunning to counter the Magua’s famous cunning. Magua’s fatal flaw is his pride—he believes that he is a better warrior than Uncas, a greater chief than Chingachgook, a greater scout than Hawkeye—and Heyward, sensing this pride, does all he can to try to convince Magua that, perhaps, life would be better on the English side. But Magua eventually rejects this offer.
The party switches from canoe onto horseback, with Magua and the other warriors leading the prisoners through the forest. Cora remembers Hawkeye’s injunction to mark the path as they go along, and she bends the bough of a sumach tree to make their path clear. After several hours riding on horseback behind Magua, the group makes its way to the top of a high clearing, where they dismount to rest.
Another demonstration of Cora’s presence of mind in the forest. Although Alice has more difficulty following Hawkeye’s instructions, Cora recognizes that, if she does not leave a path through the woods, the three warriors might never find the band, and Magua might kill them all.