Summary – Chapter Six
Shortly after Judith leaves, Hutter raises the sail and in two hours the castle comes into sight. He insists they do not use a light and Hurry takes the opportunity to ask him about his past. Hutter is evasive and says they should be thinking of the next 24 hours and not what has already happened.
When the women go to bed, Hutter says how there are still two canoes hidden on the shores and that the enemy could get hold of them. Deerslayer agrees to come to retrieve them and the three men set off with Hutter directing the way.
They reach land and find one in a fallen tree. They return it to the lake and when they paddle off Hutter lets it loose as he knows where it will drift when he later wants to find it. They then find the second one and when they paddle away again they are less cautious now they have found what they wanted.
On Hutter’s instructions, they head towards a bay and see a ‘flickering and failing light’. Hutter presumes this is from an encampment of women and children as there is also a spring and a good fishing station in that area. He says how there is bounty there (meaning scalps) and says they should send the lad to the canoes as they take the matter in hand. Hurry agrees and says he will make the sound of a loon when they need him.
Deerslayer complies ‘with great reluctance’. He lets the second spare canoe loose in the lake as instructed and heads to where he has been told to go. He waits for what seems like an hour and a half until he hears a loon. He is undecided whether it is Hurry or not, though, and waits for a second call. When this comes, he waits for a less perfect one. He then hears a shriek of agony from either a woman or a boy.
He sets off in his canoe in that direction and still does not know what to do. He hears five or six rifle shots and then hears shrieks and the sound of threshing in the bushes. He hears Hurry’s voice and then sees him on the beach ‘literally loaded down with enemies’ and Hutter is in the water. Deerslayer sees they are prisoners and knows he will be too if he joins them. Hutter shouts for him to keep off the land as his daughters need his protection and Deerslayer says that he will do this.
Hurry tells him there are at least 40 men and Hutter says he should stay at the castle for a week as it is safer. Hurry calls back that this will not be safe, as this gives the enemy time to build a raft, and his face is slapped to quieten him.
The two men are then taken into the woods. After Hutter calls once again, Deerslayer hears nothing more. He is paralyzed for a short time and then retrieves the canoes. He lies down to sleep in his canoe and thinks he hears Hurry’s signal again, but when he hears the bird a second time he realizes his mistake.
Analysis – Chapter Six
The greed of Hutter and Hurry is highlighted all the more by the ready comparison with Deerslayer and his piety. Whereas the two older men are seen to be willing to slaughter innocents for money, Deerslayer is more reserved.
This central heroic character is also depicted as less heroic than might be expected, though, as he gives no strong indication that he does not agree with them and nor does he try to stop them. It is possible that for the purposes of the plot he accompanies them to the side of the lake and waits for them, but his lack of courage in challenging them in their actions is inconsistent with the heroism we have been led to believe he possesses.
The DeerSlayer: Chapter 6
Summary – Chapter Six