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16. Chapter XVI (continued)
The situation in which the ark now lay had its advantages and its disadvantages. The fire had been hid by sheering towards the shore, and the latter was nearer, perhaps, than was desirable. Still, the water was known to be very deep further off in the lake, and anchoring in deep water, under the circumstances in which the party was placed, was to be avoided, if possible. It was also believed no raft could be within miles; and though the trees in the darkness appeared almost to overhang the scow, it would not be easy to get off to her without using a boat. The intense darkness that prevailed so close in with the forest, too, served as an effectual screen, and so long as care was had not to make a noise, there was little or no danger of being detected. All these things Deerslayer pointed out to Judith, instructing her as to the course she was to follow in the event of an alarm; for it was thought to the last degree inexpedient to arouse the sleepers, unless it might be in the greatest emergency.
"And now, Judith, as we understand one another, it is time the Sarpent and I had taken to the canoe," the hunter concluded. "The star has not risen yet, it's true, but it soon must, though none of us are likely to be any the wiser for it tonight, on account of the clouds. Howsever, Hist has a ready mind, and she's one of them that doesn't always need to have a thing afore her, to see it. I'll warrant you she'll not be either two minutes or two feet out of the way, unless them jealous vagabonds, the Mingos, have taken the alarm, and put her as a stool-pigeon to catch us, or have hid her away, in order to prepare her mind for a Huron instead of a Mohican husband."
"Deerslayer," interrupted the girl, earnestly; "this is a most dangerous service; why do you go on it, at all?"
"Anan! - Why you know, gal, we go to bring off Hist, the Sarpent's betrothed - the maid he means to marry, as soon as we get back to the tribe."
"That is all right for the Indian - but you do not mean to marry Hist - you are not betrothed, and why should two risk their lives and liberties, to do that which one can just as well perform?"
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