The DeerSlayer: Chapters 24-25

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Summary – Chapters Twenty Four and Twenty Five
Judith has lit a lamp in the ark and when Deerslayer returns she asks him to talk to her alone in there. The chest is in there too and she explains that Hetty knows what she is about to do and why.
They go through the items in the chest and open the ones they have not yet examined. The first is a flag and the second is a small chest nearly filled with papers and Judith remembers that this used to belong to her mother. The letters appear to be between mother and daughter but the names have been erased and the signatures are cut. There is another bundle of letters and these appear to be love letters and resemble some that Judith has received in the past. In these letters, her birth and Hetty’s are mentioned. These are letters between their mother and Thomas Hovey. There is also a fragment from a newspaper that refers to a reward being offered for the ‘apprehension of certain freebooters’ and Thomas Hovey is named. The rest of the items in the chest are of little interest or value apart from a sword or two and some items of female clothing.
Judith offers him these items to trade for his freedom, but he points out that the enemy already regard these as their possessions. She says if he does not return as promised Hurry may have come back in time with the officers to fight the enemy. He asks her to not try to talk him out of it as he sees the furlough as ‘a sacred thing’.
They then talk of other things and Judith says how she does not want to use the name Hutter and how this was not even the correct name of the man she called father. He was, instead, Thomas Hovey. Deerslayer suggests she takes her mother’s name, but she explains there is no trace of this or the past. He makes a reference to his own name and she says she and Hetty would rather be a Bumppo a thousand times more than being a Hutter. He says good humouredly that this could only happen if one of them married him. This brings Judith to the point she wanted to discuss and says she does not think Hetty will ever marry and so it must be she that does so. He thinks she is joking, but she assures him she is not. He argues that he is lower than her (in the social hierarchy) and she decides to adopt a scheme that will bind her to him. They finish for the night and he promises to not tell anybody of what they have discussed.
The next morning, in Chapter Twenty Five, Wah-ta! –Wah and Chingachgook talk and they say what they will do to help Deerslayer. Their discussion is not related, we are told, until later.
Deerslayer and Chingachgook then talk alone and Chingachgook says how he and Wah-ta! –Wah will be with him tomorrow night. Deerslayer questions this as madness and says how he will have to leave him in the hands of God. He also warns Chingachgook to not act heedlessly and he assures him that the Delawares are ‘prudent’. Later, Deerslayer speaks to Judith alone and says if he does not return he would like her to give the gun to Chingachgook. When he has made certain that Hetty agrees with this, he tells Chingachgook too. The chapter ends with a shooting competition between the two men.
Analysis – Chapters Twenty Four and Twenty Five
The identity of Hutter and the mystery of his past is partially solved as Judith looks through the chest and reads her mother’s letters. Although names have been deleted from many of the letters, she (and the readers) are at least informed that Hutter was using a pseudonym and was also a wanted man.
Judith’s affection for Deerslayer is also made more apparent in these chapters as she attempts to explain to him that she wants to marry him. Deerslayer’s naivety on such issues appear to be the impediment to this discussion, though.

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