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 stab beat back and kill the Hurons. Chingachgook and Magua begin to wrestle, as Magua is the only Mingo left, but after Chingachgook appears to have the upper hand, he rises, and looks down at the apparently lifeless form of Magua. Just as Hawkeye is about to kill Magua with a final shot, however, Magua, who had been pretending to be unconscious, scampers up and runs down the clearing, out of the reach of the band.
Another instance of Magua’s treachery. Magua’s behavior—pretending that he has been killed or seriously wounded—is considered ignoble by Uncas, Chingachgook, and Hawkeye, who would not dream of deceiving their enemy in so cowardly a fashion. But, for Magua, survival is the most important goal, and so he escapes once again, to fight another day against the band, and Hawkeye and the Mohicans rescue Heyward, Alice, Cora, and David once more.
Uncas and Heyward rush to Cora and Alice, making sure they are all right—the young women cry out with joy that the band is saved, and Hawkeye unties David, who is similarly thankful. Uncas and Chingachgook then collect scalps from the dead Hurons. David begins giving praise to God, and wonders why the scout does not do the same, but Hawkeye counters that he is a “man without a cross,” though thankful all the same for the band’s survival and speedy recovery. Hawkeye says that he believes in a God-like spirit that “walks with him” in the forests and that lives in no book. David begins a psalm of praise, as Hawkeye walks away, “muttering to himself” that the Maquas might be able to hear them.
An important if short-lived conversation between David and Hawkeye. The two seem to understand that, although they have very different religious beliefs, and very different ideas about warfare, they are nevertheless united in their understanding of a higher power. This foreshadows another scene of common understanding between native and white religions (although, of course, Hawkeye is ethnically white), which occurs at the end of the novel, in the joint funeral service for Uncas and Cora.
Heyward, on their walk to a nearby watering hole, asks Hawkeye and the Mohicans how they came to save them. Hawkeye relates that, after their trip downriver, they waited by the Hudson to see if they could track the Hurons, and after hearing their cries (during Magua’s rousing speech to the warriors), Hawkeye and the Mohicans believed the group to be close by. Uncas had seen the peculiar tracks of the young women’s horses, and had noticed the branch broken by Cora, thus allowing Hawkeye and the Mohicans to locate the clearing; they then crawled through the leaves and surprised the Hurons.
As above, Cora’s willingness to follow directions and mark her way through the woods, even at great personal risk, enabled Uncas, Hawkeye, and Chingachgook to track the band and have the final say, just as Magua was to execute his prisoners out of anger. Cora’s courage is recognized by Hawkeye and Heyward, but she is given very little credit, in later scenes and during the larger village tribunals, for her bravery in times of crisis.
Hawkeye tells the band to drink of the spring near where they’ve stopped, and after a small bit of food, the group sets off with Hawkeye in the lead and the Mohicans in the rear, with the rest of the band in the middle. They head north, toward Fort William Henry, in the hopes of meeting up with Munro and his men there.
Once again, before the group moves on or makes any serious decisions, they stop, at Uncas, Chingachgook, and Hawkeye’s request, have food, and plan their next move.