James Fenimore Cooper: The Deerslayer

5. Chapter V.

"Why, let the strucken deer go weep,
The hart ungalled play,
For some must watch, while some must sleep,
Thus runs the world away."

Hamlet, III.ii.271-74

Another consultation took place in the forward part of the scow, at which both Judith and Hetty were present. As no danger could now approach unseen, immediate uneasiness had given place to the concern which attended the conviction that enemies were in considerable force on the shores of the lake, and that they might be sure no practicable means of accomplishing their own destruction would be neglected. As a matter of course Hutter felt these truths the deepest, his daughters having an habitual reliance on his resources, and knowing too little to appreciate fully all the risks they ran; while his male companions were at liberty to quit him at any moment they saw fit. His first remark showed that he had an eye to the latter circumstance, and might have betrayed, to a keen observer, the apprehension that was just then uppermost.

"We've a great advantage over the Iroquois, or the enemy, whoever they are, in being afloat," he said.

"There's not a canoe on the lake that I don't know where it's hid; and now yours is here. Hurry, there are but three more on the land, and they're so snug in hollow logs that I don't believe the Indians could find them, let them try ever so long."

"There's no telling that- no one can say that," put in Deerslayer; "a hound is not more sartain on the scent than a red-skin, when he expects to get anything by it. Let this party see scalps afore 'em, or plunder, or honor accordin' to their idees of what honor is, and 't will be a tight log that hides a canoe from their eyes."

"You're right, Deerslayer," cried Harry March; "you're downright Gospel in this matter, and I rej'ice that my bunch of bark is safe enough here, within reach of my arm. I calcilate they'll be at all the rest of the canoes afore to-morrow night, if they are in ra'al 'arnest to smoke you out, old Tom, and we may as well overhaul our paddles for a pull."

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