DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
THERE GOES YOUR PET. THAT'S THE LAST OF HIM
F F^ 3
COPYRIGHT, 1909, BY
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY
All rights reserved
-- --- ---- -
Dick in the Everglades is a true story. All that
imagination had to do with it was to find names
for the boys and arrange a sequence of events.
Other characters, white and Indian, appear under
names similar to, or identical with their own. Any
old alligator hunter, familiar with the swamps and
the Ten Thousand Islands, can follow the course of
the explorers from the text of the story. It would
be possible for two fearless boys, imbued with a
love of Nature and the wilderness, to repeat, inci-
dent by incident, the feats of the explorers in the
identical places mentioned in the story.
Many of the stories are understatements, seldom
is one exaggerated. I have been asked if it were
possible for a boy to handle a manatee in the water
as one of the boys was represented as doing. I
have done it myself three times with manatees three
times the size of these in the story. In the story
the manatees escaped. Two of those which I cap-
tured were sent to the New York Aquarium, where
one of them lived for twenty months. The croco-
diles which the boys sent to the Zoological Park
may be seen to-day, alive and well in the reptile
house. The frequent swamping of canoes and
skiffs by porpoises, or dolphins, tarpon and man-
atees are all experiences of my own.
Aside from the Government charts which give
the coast line only, the existing maps of the scene of
the story are worse than useless. In them a hun-
dred square miles are given to Ponce de Leon Bay,
which doesn't exist, unless the little depression in
the coast which is called Shark River Bight is ac-
counted a bay. Rivers are omitted; one with a
mouth fifty feet wide is represented as a mile broad.
A little stream four miles long is sent wandering
over a hundred and forty miles of imaginary terri-
tory. I have sailed and paddled for days at a time
over the watercourses of South Florida, with a com-
pass before me and a pad at hand on which every
change of course was noted and distances estimated,
and although no attempt at accurate charting has
ever been made, I am quite sure that none of the
natural features or products of the country traversed
by the young explorers have been misrepresented in
The pictures are from photographs taken on the
scene of the incidents they illustrate. They show
more conclusively than can any words of mine, how
beautiful is the region traversed by the boy explorers
and what interesting and exciting adventures they
I THE CHUMS ................................... I
II DICK GOES TO SEA ............................ 15
III LIFE ON A SPONGER. ......................... 27
IV CAUGHT IN A WATERSPOUT ................... 38
V OUTFITTING FOR THE HUNT................... 51
VI DicK's HUNT FOR HIS CHUM ................ 61
VII THE MEETING IN THE GLADES ............... 76
VIII OLD DREAMS REALIZED ...................... 93
IX THE CAPTURE OF THE MANATEE................ I08
X HARPOONING FROM A CANOE ................. 123
XI GHOSTS AND ALLIGATORS...................... 129
XII HUNTING IN HARNEY'S RIVER.................. 136
XIII EDUCATING AN ALLIGATOR .................... 150
XIV ENCOUNTER WITH OUTLAWS................... 157
XV DICK AND THE BEAR........... .............. 65
KXVI IN THE CROCODILE COUNTRY ................. 171
XVII AMONG THE SEMINOLES.......................... 183
%XVIII DICK'S WILDCAT AND OTHER WILD THINGS... 195
XIX A PRAIRIE ON FIRE........................... 209
XX DICK'S FIGHT WITH A PANTHER................. 219
XXI CONVALESCENCE AND CATASTROPHE ............ 234
XXII THE RESCUE................... .............. 245
XXIII MOLLY AND THE MANATEE.................... 258
XXIV To THE GLADES IN THE "IRENE". .............. 271
jXXV IN FLORIDA BAY............................... 286
'XXVI MADEIRA HAMMOCK AND-THE END........... 297
"THERE GOES YOUR PET. THAT'S TIE LAST OF HIM,"
"DICK HUNTED ALL THE TURTLES HE SAW" ................ 30
"A SILVERY, TWISTING BODY SHOT TEN FEET IN THE AIR" 46
"THE EVERGLADES AT LAST" ........................... 76
"WE'VE COTTER HAVE ONE OF THEM YOUNG TURKS IF IT
TAKES ALL NIGHT". ................... ........ .... .. 82
"THE SEMINOLE WAS STANDING IN HIS CANOE, LOOKING
FIXEDLY AT US ....................................... 98
"HE FOUND DICK STANDING IN WATER SHOULDER DEEP,
HANGING ON TO THE FLIPPER OF THE MANATEE...... 112
"THE STRICKEN TARPON LEAPED SIX FEET IN THE AIR".. 124
"THE TARPON BEGAN A SERIES OF LEAPS"............... 126
"GROUPS OF TALL PALMETTOES, OR MAGNIFICENT TALL
PALMS" ......... .... .............................. 130
"HE HELD THE JAWS OF THE 'GATOR SHUT WHILE DICK
SEIZED THE HIND LEGS OF THE REPTILE"............. 134
"THE TARPON LEAPED AGAINST NED WITH FURY"......... 146
"OUT CAME THE REPTILE'S HEAD FROM THE CAVE"........ 152
"SEE THE BABY 'GATOR SIT UP, NED!................. 156
"A FEW OF THE HOMELESS BEES LIT ON THE COMB".... 200
"ALL BEYOND THE DARK MEADOW WAS A LIVID MASS".... 210
"THE BARB CAUGHT IN THE REPTILE'S LOWER JAW" ...... 216
"THE COON SCRAMBLED TO THE TOP OF A LITTLE TREE" 226
"HE SAW THE GENTLY SWAYING HEAD AND TIIE LIGHT-
NING PLAY OF THE FORKED TONGUE" ................... 232
"NED FOUND A GOOD CAMPING SITE MARKED BY A FREAK
PALMETTO" .............. ............. ............... 234
-mI~. _~r- C ~
"THE LYNX SPRANG INTO THE CANOE AND SEIZED ONE OF
THE FISH".............. ........... ................... 236
"PORPOISES ROLLED THEIR BACKS OUT OF THE WATER".. 238
"THE HARD, POINTED HEAD OF THE BIG TARPON TORE
THROUGH THE BOTTOM OF TIE FRAGILE CANOE".... 242
"THE INDIGNANT BIRD PUNCHED HOLES THROUGH HIS
HAT ............... .. ........................... 260
"THE LIGHT FROM THE BULL'S-EYE SHOWED THE HEAD
AND BODY OF THE REPTILE" ....................... 264
"SLOWLY LIFTING HIS HUGE HEAD OVER THE SIDE OF THE
SKIFF". ......................... .................. 284
"YOUNG HERONS SPREAD WINGS AND STRETCHED LONG
LEGS AS THEY FLED".............. ................. 292
"THEY SAW A CROCODILE SWIMMING UNDER WATER NEAR
THEM3" ........................... ................. 298
"THE HARPOON STRUCK THE FISH IN THE MIDDLE OF HIS
BROAD BACK"........................................ 300
"SIXTEEN FEET OF FIERCENESS LAY STRANDED ON THE
BANK" .............................. .... .......... 302
"THEY HAULED THE HEAD OF THE BRUTE OVER THE SIDE
OF THE BOAT". .................................. 304
"HE TOOK THE BABY CROCODILE IN HIS ARMS" ........... 306
DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
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MAP SHowIN DICK'S CRUISE IN A CANOE
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Dick in the Everglades
The doctor's voice had a note of stern-
ness which was not lost on the two boys
waiting outside his study door. The taller of the
two, Ned Barstow, turned the handle and stepped
into the study, followed immediately by Dick Wil-
liams. The doctor, sitting behind his desk, looked
decidedly uncompromising as he said:
"Now, Barstow and Williams, you were absent
from your room last night. Where were you?"
"Camping in Farmer Field's woods, sir," replied
"How often has this happened before?"
"Was any one else with you ?"
"Only last night, sir. Another boy was with us
then," said Ned.
"Who was he?"
2 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
"I can't tell you, sir."
"Williams, you may go now. I will see you
After the door had closed on Williams, the doctor
turned again to Barstow, and said:
"Barstow, I have always felt that I could rely
upon your influence with the younger boys being for
good. Now, I find you aiding to upset the whole
discipline of the school by this camping affair. I
hope there has been nothing worse. You know I
never insist on tale-bearing regarding mere boyish
escapades, but I would like to know if there was
any other reason for your refusing to give up your
"Yes, sir, there was. We had a chicken for sup-
per, that was taken from Farmer Field's poultry-
"Did you or Williams steal that chicken, Bar-
"No, sir, but we knew about it and helped eat it,
and are just as much to blame as the boy who
"And, now, you mean to protect the thief?"
"Well, you see, Doctor, a good many fellows
don't look at hooking apples, or nuts, or chickens as
"What do you think about it ?" asked the doctor.
"I think it was wrong and I am very sorry it
happened. It won't occur again."
"I have no fear that it will. But it is too serious
an offence to be lightly passed over. In the first
place you and Williams must see Farmer Field, tell
him what you have done and pay for the chicken
that was-taken. After that I will talk with you.
Now send Williams to me."
When Dick Williams came in the doctor began:
"Williams, how much do you love your mother ?"
"Why, more than anyone else in the world, sir."
"She is keeping you here at considerable expense.
Don't you think you owe it to her to pay more atten-
tion to your studies ?"
"Yes, Doctor, and I am going to do better here-
"How will your mother feel when she hears of
this chicken-stealing episode?"
"Oh! Doctor; she mustn't hear of it that way.
We didn't think of it as stealing last night, but this
morning Ned and I talked about it and we are going
to see Farmer Field and tell him what we did and
pay for the chicken."
"Do you mean, Dick," and the good doctor's voice
shook a little as he asked the question, "that you and
Ned decided to tell Farmer Field about the taking
of his chicken, before you knew that I had heard
of your camping out?"
"Why, yes, sir. I supposed Ned had told you."
"Your friend Ned is rather a curious boy, but
when you are in doubt about the right and wrong
of anything, you might do worse than ask his
4 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
"Oh! I get enough of that without asking for it,"
And the doctor laughed, but he soon looked
pretty serious again, and said:
"Dick, I think no one will tell your mother and
she need never know, but I hope you will tell her all
about it of your own accord."
"Sure!" said Dick, "I couldn't keep that or any-
think else away from Mumsey for five minutes after
I saw her."
There was a significant pause, during which the
doctor stroked his chin meditatively before asking:
"Now, what in the world made you two boys go
on that camping escapade? I want you to tell me
The boy hesitated a moment and then said:
"Why, I really don't know, Doctor-we just
wanted to. You see, there are so many things to
see and listen to at night that way. Birds and ani-
mals, I mean. Ned and I are going to be explor-
ers some day, you know."
"Hum!" said the doctor.
"Well, that will do for the present, Williams. I
hope you understand that you are escaping serious
trouble very easily and that you mean to be as good
as you can for the rest of the time you are at the
Farmer Field received Ned and Dick with an air
of gruffness that was belied by twinkling blue eyes
and, when Ned had finished telling his story and
offered to pay for the chicken, said:
"Did you take that chicken out of my poultry-
"Not exactly, but it's the same thing. We knew
about it and helped eat it."
"Was it tender?" asked the farmer.
"No, sir, it was the toughest thing I ever put
in my mouth."
"I thought so. Why, that rooster was a regular
antique. He must have been a hundred years old.
Next time you want a chicken for a late supper, bet-
ter let me choose it for you. Who helped you eat
"Please don't ask us that. We'll tell you anything
about ourselves, but we can't give him away."
"Wouldn't think much of you if you did. No
need of it anyhow. I know who it was."
"He must have told you then, for we haven't told
"Do you remember that while you were cooking
that rooster out in my woods, Steve Daly, your
companion, said he heard somebody in the bushes
and you said it was only a dog?"
"Yes, I remember it. I did say that."
"Well, I was that dog!"
"And you never told on us?" asked Dick. "Then
you've been mighty kind and I'm ashamed to look
you in the face."
"Never be ashamed to look anyone in the face,
6 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
my boy. It isn't good to take even a little thing
that doesn't belong to you, but that won't happen
again to you. But weren't you playing truant when
you had that tough supper in my woods? Doesn't
your conscience trouble you at all about that?"
"Not a bit," said Dick; "that wasn't mean."
It was fortunate for Dick's peace of mind that his
conscience wasn't troubled by mischief, for he was
never out of it and was at the root of about all the
purely mischievous happenings at the school.
Even the lesson of the camping incident and the
doctor's kindly talk wore off in a fortnight. Yet he
was popular with teachers as well as pupils. His
head was crowned with a mass of sandy hair and
his impertinent face plastered with freckles. The
boy was quick and full of grace as a wildcat and
so well built and lithe that he was a terror on the
Dick was often too busy to attend to his studies
-,and fell behind in his lessons, until the good doctor
Sent for him and gave him an earnest but under-
standing talk which sent the boy back to his books,
filled with remorse and determined to get to the head
of his class in a hurry. One of these resolves was
usually effective for about a week. After which
Dick generally suffered a severe relapse.
During his last winter at school, he frequently
took long tramps in the woods in the hours when he
should have been at his books, and was finally taken
to task by his chum for the bad example he was set-
ting the younger boys by playing truant.
"But, Ned," said Dick, "I just can't keep away
from the woods, and they do me good, I know they
do. I am a whole lot better every way after a good
long tramp by myself through the thickest woods I
can find. I'd like to camp out in them to-night and
I believe I will."
"That's all right, Dick. I'll camp with you; only
we've got to have Doc's permission. He trusts us a
lot, and we can't go back on him."
"Nice chance we've got of getting that. Maybe
he'd camp with us!" said Dick satirically.
"Shouldn't wonder if he would. You don't un-
derstand Doc. Did you ever know him to refuse a
fellow anything he squarely asked for, unless he
simply had to do it? Come along."
And the boys walked together to the study.
"Doctor," said Ned, "Dick and I want to camp
out to-night in Farmer Field's woods, if you have
"Want to camp out? Well, so do I, only I am
afraid I might be needed here. Do you know how
to camp? What do you expect to take with you and
how will you keep warm?"
"We thought of taking a hatchet, a blanket for
each of us and some potatoes to roast. Then we
will make a bed of hemlock boughs, build a fire near
it and roll up in our blankets."
"Well, you may go, and I will help out your com-
8 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
missariat with a loaf of bread and a chicken. But
be sure you have plenty of fuel ready before dark.
It will be a cold night and you will have to replen-
ish your fire three or four times before morning."
"Thank you, Doctor. You don't know how much
obliged we are to you for your kindness."
"And you don't know how much trouble I am in
for, when the rest of the boys hear of this escapade
But after the study door closed the doctor smiled
quietly to himself and said under his breath:
"Just like myself at their age-have the woods
Ned and Dick slept little that night. There was
about a foot of snow on the ground and they scraped
bare a place for their camp-fire beside a big stump
and gathered enough fuel from windfalls for the
night. Then they rolled a log beside the fire for a
seat and built a soft bed with fragrant branches of
hemlock and spruce. They roasted the chicken over
a thick bed of glowing coals and baked potatoes in
the ashes of the fire. The chicken was carved with
their pocket knives and they got along without forks
or plates. By using bark gathered from a birch
and softening it over their fire they made cups
with which they brought water from a nearby brook.
When supper was finished the boys rolled up in their
blankets and lying on the bed they had built on the
snow, inhaled its fragrance as they watched the'
eddying smoke of their camp-fire and the stars that
shone through the spreading branches above them
and listened to the voices of the night, frm the
distant cry of an owl to the whish of falling snow,
shaken from evergreen boughs by the breeze. They
had visions of camps, scattered from the equator to
the poles, some of which were destined to be real-
ized. Ned formed a plan that night, of which he
wrote to his father, but of which he said nothing at
the time to his chum.
But as Dick stood beside Ned in their last hour at
Belleville, and the sadness of parting was in the face
and eyes from which fun usually bubbled, Ned
"My father owns a tract of land in the Big Cy-
press Swamp of Florida. There is a lot of fine tim-
ber on it and he intends to set up a lumber mill in
the swamp and perhaps build a railroad from Fort
Myers to some part of it. A surveyor with a guide
is going into the swamp this fall to locate the best
timber and I'm going with them. You know how
we have planned to do real camping and exploring
together. Well, here's our chance. I've written to
Dad and he invites you to go with me. We can start
any time. When can you be ready, Dick ?"
"Ned, I'd give all I have in the world to go with
you, but I can't-I can't. Mother has spent more
than she could afford to keep me at this school and
sometimes I'm ashamed when I think how I've
wasted my time. Now I don't mean to be an ex-
pense to her or anyone else hereafter. I won't take
10 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
a penny that I don't earn, from anybody, and I won't
go on any trip, even with you, until I can pay my
own way, every cent of it."
"But, Dick, your companionship and the work you
can do will be worth all it costs, twice over, to me
and to Dad and he will feel just that way about it."
"It's like you, Ned, to say all that, but it's no use
and you know it. You've been mighty good to me
ever since I came to this school and I'm going to
keep your good opinion by not accepting your offer
to go with you now. Some time, when I can keep
up my end, I'll be with you bigger than an Injun.
If you ever find strange footprints down in those
Everglades, better foller 'em up. They'll likely be
mine. Good-bye, Ned."
The boys clasped hands and as Dick walked away
tears rolled down his freckled cheeks.
Four months after the parting of the two friends,
at Belleville, Dick received a letter postmarked "Im-
mokalee, Florida," which was headed:
Big Cypress Swamp,
20 miles from anywhere,
Here I am! on a prairie inside the Big Cypress
Swamp, about which we used to talk and where we
planned to camp some day. Well, it's bigger than
anything we ever dreamed of and every foot of it
is alive. Sometimes I sleep in a tent, but more often
under the stars. Last night I heard the scream of a
panther, so near that it made me shiver, and the next
minute a frog dropped from the branch of a tree
over my head and fell on my face. I must have
screamed louder than the panther, for I scared Chris
Meyer, the surveyor, who is camping with me, pretty
badly. The guide we expected didn't come, so we
are guiding for ourselves. I hope Chris knows
where we are, for I am sure I don't. We measure
the big cypress trees with a tape line and Chris cal-
culates the number of feet of lumber in each tree.
Then we estimate the trees in an acre and guess at
the number of acres. At least that's the way the bus-
iness looks to me. Sometimes the walking is easy,
but to-day we had to wade through mud waist-deep
and the moccasins were pretty thick. I watched out
for the ugly things and it kept me on the jump, but
Chris marched straight ahead and paid no atten-
tion to them, excepting once when a big cotton-
mouth that was coiled on top of a stump struck at
him. Then he fell over backward into the mud,
and I had a good laugh at him-afterwards. Chris
killed that snake. It was a short, thick snake and
about as pretty as a Bologna sausage, but its mouth
opened five inches and its long, needle-like fangs
were dripping with venom. I am hungry all the
time and enjoy our bill of fare very much, although
it is only bacon, grits and coffee, morning, noon and
night. We are traveling light, for we carry all our
baggage on our backs. We see deer and wild turkey
12 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
every day and it's pretty hard to keep my hands off
my rifle, but I promised Dad not to shoot anything
out of season. In three weeks the law will be off
and then it will be bad for the first buck I meet.
Chris says it's good for me to see a lot of deer be-
fore I shoot at any. He says I won't be so likely
to miss or only wound them when I really hunt
them. I guess he's about right, for when I first saw
a deer-it was a big buck and only twenty yards
away-I had a regular attack of buck ague and I
couldn't have hit the side of a house even if I'd been
inside it. Now I can look at one, point a stick at
him and say bang, with my nerves just as quiet as
if it were a cow. I have seen a few bears, but they
are very shy. We'll turn loose on them, too, when
we get round to hunting, but in the mean time we
are sticking to our timber job for all there is in it.
An old alligator hunter is camping beside us to-
night. He is bound for Boat Landing, with a lot of
alligator hides and otter skins, and I am finishing up
this letter to send by him. Just as soon as this sur-
veying business is over I am going to have a glorious
hunt. If only you were here we would start out by
our lonesomes and have all the adventures we ever
talked about. Probably Chris will go with me. I
haven't quite the pluck to try it alone, as I know you
would do in my place. I may brace up to it, though.
Dad has given me permission to do just as I please.
He says he trusts me not to be foolish or foolhardy
and to keep him informed of my plans. Isn't he a
good Dad? Come if you can. Come when you
Always and forever your chum,
Dick's mother read Ned's letter and was quiet
and sad all the rest of the day. After Dick had gone
to bed she went into his room, sat down on the bed
beside him, kissed him and said:
"Dicky boy, mother wants you to take a good, long
vacation. You've worked hard and been a great
comfort to her since you left school and now she's
going to send you to your chum Ned, down in Flor-
ida where she knows your heart is. Now-don't
speak yet-mother knows what you want to say,
dear, but she can perfectly well afford to send you
and you will hurt her feelings if you don't let her."
Dick put his arms around his mothers' neck and
as soon as he could speak, half sobbed out
"Oh, Mumsey, I can't take your money. You've
got so little."
"But mother wants you to, so much.
Dick held his mother's face close to his own for a
minute and then said, very slowly:
"Mumsey, I'll go-and it's really and truly be-
cause you want me to-but I won't take any of your
money. Hush, now! Don't you say a word, or I'll
-disown you. I've got a ten-dollar bill of my own
and I'll keep that in my pocket just so you won't
worry for fear I'm hungry; and I will bet you ten
14 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
dollars I'll bring that same bill back to you and I
won't go hungry one day either."
"Not one word, Mumsey, except to say you'll take
that bet. I can get a ride to New York on a boat,
any day. Then I'll go to the Mallory Line and work
my way to Key West on one of their boats; and
from Key West I can find a fishing boat that will
land me on the west coast of Florida somewhere
within a hundred miles of Ned, and I'd walk that
far just for the fun of surprising him."
DICK GOES TO SEA
THREE days after Dick's talk with his mother,
he boarded a Key West steamer just as it
was. leaving its New York pier. He sat
on the deck and watched busy ferry-boats in the
river, fussy tugs and chug-chugging launches in the
harbor, and the white-winged yachts and great ocean
steamers in the lower bay. He looked back from
the Narrows upon the receding city, to the east upon
Coney Island with its pleasure palaces, and to the
southwestt upon the great curve of Sandy Hook.
Every step upon the deck near him brought his heart
into his mouth in dread of what he knew he had to
face. When the steamer was opposite Long Branch
and there was small chance that he could be sent
back, he inquired for the captain, whom he found
talking to some young girls among the passengers.
This somewhat reassured pilly, for he felt that the
captain wouldn't eat him up in the presence of the
young ladies, and he stood waiting with his cap in
his hand until the captain spoke to him.
"Do you want to see me, my boy ?"
16 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
"If you are Captain Anderson, I do, sir."
"All right, go ahead."
"I want you to set me to work, sir."
"Why should I set you to work? Do you belong
on the boat ?"
"Not yet, but you see it's this way. I had to get
to Key West and I thought I'd work my passage
"Why didn't you ask me before we left the
"Because I was afraid you wouldn't take me, if
you could help it, and I had to go."
"You cheeky little devil, I believe I'll chuck you
"Oh!" said a brown-eyed girl who stood beside
the captain, "you mustn't do that!"
The captain laughed and said to Dick:
"I hope you understand that you owe your life to
this young lady. Now, go and report yourself to
the cook and tell him to put you on the worst job
"Thank you very much, Captain, but couldn't you
make it the engineer instead of the cook? I'd rather
work than wash dishes."
"I'd like to oblige so modest a boy. Report to the
chief engineer, give him my compliments and tell
him you are to have the hottest berth on the boat.
Ie'll probably set you to shoveling coal."
Dick thanked him again; then looking into the
face of the girl, he said:
DICK GOES TO SEA
"Thank you, Miss Brown-Eyes, for saving my
life," and, bowing low, turned away.
"Captain, couldn't you see that he was a gentle-
man? What made you give him such hard work?"
asked the girl.
"Because he was such a cheeky gentleman that if
I let him stay on deck he would take command of
the boat by to-morrow and all you young ladies who
helped him would be guilty of mutiny and would
have to be executed."
Dick was put to work in the engine-room, oiling
the machinery. Some of the work was easy and
safe, some of it was easy but not safe. Oil cups had
to be filled as they flew back and forth, bearings
must be oiled after great steel rods had flashed by
and before they returned. The swift, silent play
of the great piston and the steady motion of the
resistless, revolving shaft, half hypnotized the boy
and he stood, dazed and in danger, until called down
by the sharp rebuff of the engineer.
"'Tend to your business, there. Don't watch
that shaft or you'll go dotty."
On the second day of the trip there was trouble
in the fire-room. The steamer had started on the
trip short of firemen and now a fireman who had
fallen in the furnace-room, striking his head on the
steel floor, was lying unconscious in his berth. The
pointer on the steam-gauge fell back, the engine
slowed down, crisp commands came from pilot-
house to engine-room, sharper messages passed be-
18 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
tween engine and fire rooms, while overworked
men grew sullen and threatened to throw down their
Dick offered to do the work of a fireman, but the
engineer shook his head and said:
"That's a man's work, boy."
"Give me a shovel and a chance."
And they were given him. IIe soon learned to
throw the coal evenly and feed the furnaces like a
fireman, but his unseasoned body shrank from the
fierce heat; he staggered back from the hot blast
every time he swung open a great furnace door and,
until the clang of its closing, he could scarcely draw
a breath. He threw off his jumper and his white
skin fairly gleamed in that grimy place. The other
firemen looked curiously at that slight, boyish form
which was doing a man's work like a man and there
was no more shirking in front of those furnaces.
The fireman nearest the boy often pushed him aside
and spread shovelfuls of coal over his grates, rush-
ing back to his own work that it might not fall
behind. A strong beani wind sprang up and the boat
rolled badly, while Dick, with his hands blistered,
fought fiercely to keep off seasickness and to keep
up his fire.
Up in the main saloon and around the deck a
young girl wandered as if she wanted something
without quite knowing what it was. She climbed
stairs under the sign "passengers not allowed," went
in and out of the pilot-house and, meeting the cap-
DICK GOES TO SEA 19
tain, asked if she couldn't go wherever she wished on
the boat. lie replied:
"Yes, Miss, T appoint you third mate, with power
to give any orders you pla e ail go wherever you
A little later, with a dari wat-prpin f drawn tight-
ly over her light dress, she opened the door leading
to the engine-room, and clinging to the heavy brass
rail, climbed slowly down the narrow, greasy iron
stairway till she stood beside the mighty engine.
The engineer hastened to her side.
"It's against the rules and very dangerous, Miss,
for a passenger to come iinto hiis louirt."
"But the captain told me I could come."
"All right, but please be very careful and hold
tight to that rail. I am afraid I haven't any right
to let you stay, anyhow."
"Thank you very much and I'll be very careful.'
The girl watched the engine for some time and
then crept slowly along a sleel bridge that looked like
a spider's web, from which she could look into the
furnace-room, with its roaring fires, scorching heat
and constantly clanging iron dcors. For some min-
utes she gazed silently, then turning quickly, hurried
across the bridge. up thli greasy stairs and on to the
main salmon where she found her father in a big
arm-chair, ibried in a book. The girl first pulled
the book out of her father's hands, then. sitting on
the arm of his chair, clasped her hands on his shoul-
der and whispered eagerly into his ear.
20 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
"Daddy, I want you to get that boy out of that
hot place down in the bottom of the boat where he
is at work I know lie's sicl, for T Iaw him lean
ip against the wall and shut his eyes and he was just
"Why, Molly, where have you been to see all
"Tirst, T went where the big engine is, then I went
a little farther and saw--Oh! Daddy, hurry, please;
if you don't T know he'll die."
"So you want me to get this boy up in the saloon
to play with you?"
"I don't mean that at all, Daddy. I should think
you'd hate to see anybody worked to death down in
that hot hole."
"Well, I'll see the captain about it as soon as I
have finislied my lok."
"Don't you think you'd better see him now? I'm
quite sure you won't enjuy your book while I'm
here and I've decided to stay with you for the
"All right. Molly, come along," and they hunted
up the captain, whom they found sitting near the
"Captain, I have taken an interest in that stow-
away of yucsrs. Is there any objection to having his
name put on the cabin list, at my expense, of
"No kick coming from me," said the captain,
"though we are short-handed in the fire-room and
DICK GOES TO SEiA at
the boy has been doing a marn, o rk there. T dInn'
believe he will accept your iffer, for he's an indepcn-
dent little cub and, as i haSc put him ti work. T
can't insist upon it."
The captain sent a deck-hand for Dick, and the
boy appeared on deck in overalls and jumper, cap
"Dick," said the captain, "this gentleman has
put your nam ne on te passenger list. The purser will
give you a room and a seat at the table."
"Oh, Captain, please don't take me from my work.
I know I've got to leave it if you say o, but-- "
"No, you haven't," interrupted the captain:"you
are on the pay-roll and can hang on to your job as
long as you do your work."
Dick's face was still troubled as he turned toward
Molly and her father, meeting a reproachful look
from the girl, which made him wonder if he had
seemed ungrateful for the kindness shown him, and
"I want to thank you a thousand times for your
kindness and 1 will come to the cabin if you think
I-- Have you any boy of your own, sir?"
"Yes, I have a boy fn about your age."
"If he were here, in my place, what would you
like to have him do?"
"I'd be proud of him if he did just what you're
doing, my boy."
Tears were in Dick's voice as he said:
"Thank you very much, sir," then, turning to
I I ~
22 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
Molly, a roguish smile lit up his face as he bowed
to her, saying:
"Thank you again, Miss Brown-Eyes."
The next day when Dick was off duty, instead of
going to his bunk, he dressed himself carefully and
went up on the promenade deck. It was quite con-
trary to the rules, but the officers only smiled and
looked away, while many of the passengers spoke to
hinm, for the story of his having refused cabin pas-
sage was pretty well known on the boat. He walked
about restlessly, as if in search of something or
somebody, until he caught sight of a girl in the
extreme bow of the boat, looking down upon the
water twenty feet below her. Dick suddenly discov-
ered that lie wanted to look over the bow, too. A
minute later he was leaning on the rail behind the
girl. looking down upon a school of porpoises, or
herring hogs, which were playing about the boat.
A jet of water and spray curled upward from the
cutwater of the steamer, which was running at high
speed, but the graceful little creatures kept abreast
of hel without apparent effort. There were twenty
or thirty of them, gliding in and out as gracefully
as if they were moving to the measure of a waltz.
Sometimes cne touched the prow or side of the boat;
usually they kept pace with the steamer as evenly as
if they were a part of it; but occasionally one darted
ahead at a speed which left the boat behind as if it
were standing still. At last the girl, long conscious
DICK GOES TO SEA g3
that some one was standing beside her, putting out
her hand to that somebody, said:
"Aren't they dears ? Oh sihe addd, as her hand
was taken and she looked around, "I thought it was
Daddy. Please excuse me."
Dick looked as if he might be persuaded to for-
give her, and for some minutes they stood in silence.
leaning over the rail and looking at the playful por-
poises beneath them, when he said:
"I hope you don't think I didn't appreciate your
father's lovely offer. You will never know how
grateful I really was to him-and to somebody
else, too, who, I think, had something to do with it."
"Of course I don't think you were ungrateful, but
I did hate to see you at work down in that hot place
and I don't see why you couldn't have come up in
the cabin and been comfortable and not had to wear
such greasy clothes."
"How did you know where I was at work?"
"I happened to be looking at the big engine and I
walked along a little way and saw you t ay, way
down near the bottom of the boat in front of a hot
furnace, shoveling coal into it."
"Now I know where that offer came from," said
Dick, "and I want you to see why I couldn't accept
it. I wanted very, very much to get to Key West
and I was very glad of the chance to work my pas-
sage. Perhaps it was wrong to come aboard the
way I did. I guess it was. But Captain Anderion
gave me a job and made it all right. Now I'm not
24 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
ashamed to look anyone in the face, even when I
have on my fireman's clothes, while if I gave up my
work and let a stranger give me what I could earn
myself I would feel like a charity scholar and I don't
think I'd have the cheek to speak to you or any one
else on board."
Molly told her father of her talk with Dick and
"I can use that kind of a boy in my business. I'll
have a talk with him when we get to Key West."
Three days later the great steamer lay beside her
wharf in Key West. Dick was paid the full wages
of a fireman for the trip and when lie said lie wasn't
worth so much. was good-naturedly told to shut up
and advised ihat if he refused to take money that
was offered him in that tnwn he was likely to be
caught and exhibited as a freak. IIe shed his jumper
and overalls and exchanged hearty good-byes with
the whole crew of the steamer. IHe walked through
the salons, but it was early, most of the passengers
were yet in their berths and neither Molly nor her
father was to be seen. Dick went out on the dock
to inquire for a boat to Chokoloskce, Caxambas or
Marco. He was referred to a Captain Wilson, who
told him that the boat for Chokoloskee had just
sailed, was beyond hailing distance and wouldn't
leave again for a week, and that there was no Cax-
ambas or Marco boat in port. Dick found the cap-
tain so genial and friendly that he told him some-
thing of his story.
DICK GOES TO SEA 25
"I'll fix you out," said Captain Wsilsol. 'T own a
sponging outfit ind ;mii jiut iarling out on a cruise,
but I'm one man short. So you come in his place.
It will be a short trip, not over four weeks. You'll
make good wages and I'll iihd you a chance to gct to
Chokoloskee when we get back. You can live on
board till I find it. If you stay here you are bound
to lose a week and your board anyhow."
"I'd like to go first rate, but I don't know anything
"You'lllearn fast enough. Can you scull?"
"A little. I can row better."
"Have to scull in sponging, but you'll pick that up.
Can you come aboard now? I want to be off."
"I need some clothes and would like to say 'good-
bye' to some friends on the steamer."
"I can fit you out on board with all the clothes you
will need on the cruise, so hurry up and see your
friends. I'll wait here for you."
But Molly and her father had Ilft the steamer and
Dick went with Captain Wilson aboard his sloop,
which sailed at once.
The captain hunted up some clothes for Dick to
wear while sponging and as the hoy came on deck
after putting them on, his first glance fell on the
white sails of a schooner yacht which had just passed
them, but was then two hundred yards away. The
beauty of the boat appealed to Dick and his eyes
rested lingeringly upon her. Hod, much g:reter
would have been his interest had Le known that the
26 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
two forms which he could see on the deck of the
yacht, near the companionway, were the Molly of
whom he was thinking at that moment, and her
father, and that they were talking of him. What a
pity that he couldn't have known that Key West had
been searched for him and that Molly's father had
offered a reward for his name and address! Had
Dick come on deck two minutes sooner the bow of
the yacht Gypscy would have been thrown up in the
wind and that tiny launch lowered from tie boat's
davits in less time than it takes to tell of it. And
then, had Molly's father known Dick's name, he
would have taken the boy to his yacht, if he had had
to tic him to do it, but if Dick had unce heard the
name of Molly's father it would not have been neces-
sary to tie him. However, if either had known the
name of the other this story would not have been
LIFE ON A SPONGER
Captain Wilon, who stood at the wheel,
said, as he lifted his cap
"I beg to report for duty, sir." The captain
grinned, as he replied:
"I hope you'll always be as polite. You'll sure be
a curiosity on this coast. I'll put you in with Pedro.
He doesn't know much English, but you can talk
enough for both. There he is, that black-mustached
fellow, with little rings in his ears. He will let you
know what your duties are."
A string of four dinghies trailed behind the sponger
and as many poles, eaci thirty feet long, with a
sponge-hoInk at one end. lay upon the deck. Pedro
was examining one of these poles when Billy went
to him and said:
"Pedro, I am to go in your boat. What do I have
to do i"
"You ccull where T tell you-slow-I look in
glass-see sponge-take up pole-you stop still-
. [i, FE 11 T i [,i-if I I ,F';g .p
ii ... I ''i.h- 1." r r
I I I I .1
/,. Ii I I ,.. ..I 1", ,,I
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r .I I l I I rl .
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h. ii, f ii I- I, ,~ h I I,
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l', ~ ~ ~ II ... I I I h. I, ,.I'
.. ..:-! ] rl ii i I h- r ,. I .. .
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LIFE ON A SPONGER 29
and Pedro got into the boat and pulled the turtle
beside it. In rolling the i .'pile alxsrrd they shipped
a lot of water and as the turtle dropped suddenly to
the bottom of the lingy Dick fell bIackwarda out of
the boat. Pedro began to express himself in Span-
ish again, and, as the sponger was less than two
hundred yards distant, Dick siwan to it, leaving his
companion to bail out the dingy and scull it to the
big bNat. The boat's tackle was required to list
the turtle aboard, where it was turned over to the
cook, who hutcheied it un deck. The heart of the
reptile continued to beat for hours after it had been
removed from the body, so strongly that its throb-
bing could not be restrained by the grip of the most
powerful hand. Pedro said that the heart would
beat till the sun went down, and it did.
For days Dick hunted all the turtles he saw lying
on the water. At last he got near enough to one to
grab him before he dove. But he got hold too far
back, the reptile's head was already turned down-
ward and his flippers forced him rapidly forward.
Dick hung on as well as he could, which wasn't for
long, for the strong rush of the water and its great
pressure as the reptile made for the bottom quickly
compelled the boy to let go. Yet he was under water
so long that when he came I u tie surface Captain
Wilson was in a dingy semling like mad to reach
him. The chaplain gave the boy a kindly warning,
which affected him so much that in ten minutes lie
was off after another turtle, which he saw asleep.
80 DICK IN TIE EVERGLADES
The creature began his dive just as Dick jumped for
him, and the boy got hold of his tail-end as it was
lifted above the water, in time to get a sharp slap
in the face from the heavy hind flipper of the turtle.
Dick sculled for an hour without seeing another
turtle, when, as he was returning to the boat and
within a hundred yards of it, one rose beside the
dingy so near that the boy was on its back before
it could go under the surface. He soon had his
charger in fair control, but the science of riding a
big loggerhead turtle isn't picked up in a minute.
One of the crew came out in a dingy to help, but
Dick asked him to pick up hi s oat and oar and take
them to the sponger and said that he would ride
back on the turtle. Sometimes his steed was man-
ageable, anid once he got itthin a few yards of the
big boat. when it broke loose and carried him fifty
yards away. Then t D:ck tried to check the rep-
tile. he pulled its head too far and tipped it over on
its Lack on top of Iimself, with his own head so near
the parrot-like jaws of the loggerhead that when
Ihey were snapped in his face they missed his nose
by about an inch. The turtle was as anxious to turn
over as the boy, and, by favoring his motions. Dick
soon had the creature right side up, while he again
rode triumphantly on his back. In another hour the
halyards were fast to the turtle and Billy bad made
good his promise to ride it back to the boat.
When the water became clear the dingies were sent
out with two men in each, one of whom sculled while
LIFE ON A SPONGER 81
the other sat with his face in a water-glass watching
the bottom for sponges. The water-glass is a bucket
with a glass bottom ,h.chI so smooths the surface
of the after as to pirolce the effect of a perfect
calm to one who is looking through it. The first
day of sponging was like a dream to Dick. The
water was smootll as a mirror and no water-glass
wa nc needed. -He sculled slowly over water so clear
that I e seemed to be floating in the air. Beneath
him was fainyland, filled with waving sea-featherf
and anemones, paved with curious shells, strangely
beautiful forms of coral and sponges of various
kinds, a.id ah\c with fih oif Teaiy varieties. Some-
times there floated on the surface of the water Portu-
guesec imenn--war, most beautiful of created things,
like iridescent bubbles, with long silken laments,
delicately lined n pink, purple and entrancing blue.
Lighter thn tllistlcdown, fitted to drift with the
merest zephyr. they can nevertheless force their way
against a breeze. Hlarmlea s as a soap-bubble in
appearance, each of them is charged with virulent
poison, and when Dick touched one with his hand
he received a shock that made him wonder if a bunch
of hortets had hidden in that innocent-looking
Sometimes schools of little fish gliding beneath the
dingy began to dash wildly about, and a moment
later a group of jackfish or Spanish mackerel could
be seen darting around and picking up stragglers
from the little school, which often huddled for pro-
S9 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
tection close beside and beneath the dingy. Dick
like all brave boys, was on the side of the under dog,
and he laughed with glee when a quick-moving
mackerel shark appeared among the pursuers of the
little fish and picked up a few of them for his break-
fast as he drove the rest away. As Dick sculled
easily with one hand, he kept an eye upon Pedro,
and obeyed the signals of his hand, to go to the
right, the left, or stop, as sponges were seen. Then
from time to time the long pole with the claw at the
end was lowered to the bottom and a sponge torn
Sometimes Dick changed places with Pedro, and
manipulated the long pole with the claw, while Pedro
handled the sculling oar. Then Dick began to learn
the difference between coarse grass and common cup
sponges, and the finer fired glove and choice sheep's
wool varieties. For when he was clumsy with the
pole, Pedro only swore softly in Spanish, but when
he brought up a worthless grass sponge, the big oar
was lifted, and the boy might have been knocked
overboard hut for the iron claw which he held high,
while a purpose gleamed in his eye which made
Pedro peaceful. Rut Dick felt that Pedro was half
right and he set to work studying sponges until he
knew them almost as well as his teacher. His
strength and skill with the sponge hook were less
than the Spaniard's, but his eye was quicker and
Pedro's chronic growls were often changed to grunts
of approval. When the surface of the water was
LIFE ON A SPONGER 83
ruffled by a breeze it was needful to use the water-
glass. Then Pedro sat with his head in the bucket,
studying the bottom, and when he took up the heavy
pole which lay on the thwarts of the dingy and
dipped it vertically in the water, it was the duty of
Dick to stop sculling at once. But once while Dick
was sculling and looking for sponges he saw gliding
beneath the dingy, a whip-ray, the most beautiful
member of the ray family. Shaped like a butterfly,
its back is covered with small, light rings on a black
background. Its long, slim tail is like the lash of
a coach-whip and at ils base is a row of little spears
with many barbs. which are capable of inflicting
exceedingly painful wounds. The roof of the mouth
and the tongue of the fish are hard as ivory and shell-
fish are ground between them as rock is pulverized
by the jaws of a quartz-crusler. As Billy watched
the graceful swaying of the body of the whip-ray
under the impulse of its wings, a wandering shark
came upon it. In its first rush the tiger of the sea
almost caught the beautiful creature, which fluttered
for a hundred yards upon the surface of the water,
with the jaws of its pursuer opening and closing
within a few inches of its body.
Dick was so busy watching the chase and so ear-
nest in his sympathy with the frightened, fleeing
whip-ray that he quite forgot his duties. He was re-
minded of them when Pedro, who had been fran-
tically signaling him, took his Ilead from the bucket
and made a speech in Spanish to Dick that must have
34 DICK IN THTE EVERGLADES
used up all the bad adjectives in that language
Dick's conscience hampered him so much that he
was quite unable to reply fittingly, and the battle of
words was won by Pedro. The dingy drifted so far
during the discussion that they were unable to find
the sheep's wool sponge that Pedro had seen, and
which he now described as the finest one ever found.
Each day the spongers in the dinghies worked
farther from the sloop and each day more time was
lost when the sloop made its round to pick up the
spongers for dinner. There were too few sponges
to please Captain Wilson, who sailed over the
ground whenever the water was smooth, studying
the bottom with practiced eye and throwing out little
floats, with anchors attached, wherever a sponge was
"FTm going to the 'Lake,' said the captain, one
afternoon at the end of a day of little success. "It's
a feast or a famine there. You get rich or go broke."
"What is there at the 'Lake'?" asked Dick.
"Sponge, all sponge, the bottom lined with sponge.
If the weather is just right we'll pile the deck with
sponges in a week till you can't see over them. If
the weather isn't exactly right we won't get a sponge.
On one cruise there, the men on this sloop averaged
twenty-five dollars a day apiece. I've been there
five times since without ever making enough to pay
for our alt."
A week later the captain said to the boy:
"Dick, you are a mascot. You've brought us big
I I ~
LIFE ON A SPONGER a-
luck. We never had such weather here but once and
I don't care now how soon it comes on to blow.
I reckon it'll begin to-night from the looks and we'll
hike for Key West to-morruw."
Dick was glad to go. The week had been a hard
one. the work incessant and each night lie felt as if
his back were broken. He was used to the fresh,
sweet air of his country home and the sloop he was
in was arranged like most of the sponging craft, with
quarters sufficient for half the crew it carried. The
deck of the sponger was piled wilt the result of the
work of the week. The sponge of commerce, the
one you buy at lihe drug store, is the skeleton of the
creature; tthe ing taken from the water is its corpse.
Not vntil this lbidy has rotted away is it pleasant to
hve with. Day by day the btench, like that of a char-
nel house, became more unbearable to Dick. The
crew seemed necer to notice it, which caused the boy
much wonderment that noses had ever been given
them. He wa, glad when a strong wind came and
swept some of the smell away instead of leaving it
to settle in chunks in every nook and cranny on the
At Key West most of the crew went to their
homes, but Dick was invited to live on the sloop till
he found a boat for the coast he wanted to reach.
Cargoes sent to Key West for a market are almost
always sold at auction and the auctlin houi e in the
early morning are busy marts. Cargoes of sponge,
fruit, vegetables, lumber and other good, are sold
36 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
in lots to suit purchaeters, who range from the dealer
who buys by the cargo, or the small merchant who
takes a few boxes of pines, oranges, grape-fruit, or
tomatoes, to the housewife who wants a watermelon
or a bunch of bananas. On the day following their
arrival at Key West Captain Wilson handed Dick a
roll of bills containing a hundred dollars, saying to
"That's about your share in the cruise, Dick. The
sponge hasn't been sold yet, but you are in a hurry
to get off and I reckon that's about right."
Dick was dazed as he took the roll, hut a moment
later he handed it back to the captain, saying:
"I can't take that, Captain Wilson. Tt is ten
times as much as I have earned. You took me on as
a boy and I want you to pay me just what you would
have paid any other boy."
"Put that money in your pocket, Dick. You've
done a man's work and now you've got a man's pay
and that's all there is to it. Lucky for you, though,
that the weather was good at the Take. If it hadn't
been you wouldn't have got anything but your board.
Now come ashore and we'll hunt up a boat for
Marco or Chokoloskee."
They stopped at an auction room in Key West
for a minute, when Captain Wilson sang out to a
boy who was passing:
"Hi, Johnny! Where's the Etta?"
"Same old place, off the end of the duck."
"Thought yesterday was your sailing day."
LIFE ON A SPONGER 37
"So it was. but Cap'n's in the calaboose. Got
drunk yest'd'y and had a fight. I got ter rai-,c th'
cash ter git him out.'
"Why don't the boss bounce him? He's drunk
most of the time."
"Boss says Cap'n Tom't a better sailor when he'
drunk than any of th' others when they're sober."
"\Vell, I'll get Tom out of limbo for you and
charge it to the boss. Only you nmst take this
friend of mine with you to Chokoloskee."
"Sure! What's his name?"
"Name's Dick. Can you make an alligator-
hunter of him?"
"Reckon I kin, or kill him trying. "
CAUGHT IN A WATERSPOTT
HE next morning the Etta, with Dick on
board, started for Chokoloskee. The
weather was bad, with a succession of
squalls from the southwest, and the captain kept in
the lee of the line of keys instead of taking the
straight course across the Gulf. But he carried all
sail till the rotten main-sheet parted at the boom,
and when he came up in the wind to lower the sail
the main throat halyard refused to unreeve. Before
an order was given Dick was half way up the mast
and soon came hiding down to the deck on the gaff.
When reefs had been taken in the sails, the sheet
replaced, and the boat was again under way, the
captain taid to Dick:
"Who taught you sailoring?"
"Captain Wilson taught me some, and-- "
"That's enough. You don't need to mention any-
body close. What Wilson doesn't know about sail-
ing, sponging and fishing isn't worth knowing."
By noon they were about twenty miles southwest
of North-West Cape and, as the wind had moder-
ated, the reefs were shaken out and the bow of the
1 ; i
CAUGHT IN A WATERSPOUT 89
Etta pointed due north, straight for Sand-Fly Pass.
The breeze grew lcss and less, and in two hourly, hai
died away entirely. From the iorthleast a black,
threatening clotd was moving slowly toward them,
while the sails flapped idly as the Etta rolled to a
heavy ground swell The cloud came nearer and
grew backer, while swirling little tails dropped
ini it, almost touchlling the water, awl theii sud-
denly returned to the black mass above.
"What a funny cloud." said Dick to Captain Tom.
"Does it mrean a hurricane?"
"NLo. This is the hurricane month, but hurricanes
always give a day or two's tarnilg through the
barometer and that hasn't changed a tenth in a week.
But this is worse than a hurricane if it hits us. Those
are waterspouts in the making, that you see dropping
from the big cloud, and when one of them gets a
good hold on the water you will see something that
you won't forget as long as you live, which won't be
a great while if it hits us," said the captain.
Almost as he spoke a great inverted cone of cloud
settled down from the mass above and touching the
surface of the water set it whirling furiously. The
water from the Gulf was lifted skyward, in a col-
umn which constantly grew broader at the base while
its pointed top, mingling with the almro-t equally
solid cloud, gave hour-glass form to the huge, swirl-
ing, threatening mass that bore down on tie Eila,
within a half mile now. Suddenly the waterspout
separated from the great cloud inas and moved
40 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
rapidly eastward. For ten minutes the crew of the
Etta watched it until, when more than a mile distant,
the waterspout collapsed more suddenly than it had
formed and from the foam-covered water a great
wave rolled outward, spreading until the Etta rocked
in its path.
"Thank goodness, that trouble's over," said Dick
to the captain.
"Yes, but how about this one?" replied Captain
Tom, as be pointed to the big cloud which was now
within two hundred yards of them and more threat-
ening than ever. Another waterspout was forming
and soon its roar filled their ears, while a towering
mass seemed to spread over their heads, ready to
Fall upon and crush them. Already, spiteful patches
of wind, turn from the revolving cyclone, slapped the
sails of the Rtta as if to tear them from tile mast.
"Shan't I take in sail?" asked Johnny of the cap-
"No use," was the reply. "When that thing
strikes us nothing will make any difference and a
bit of breeze in the next minute might pull us out."
For a long minute they watched the approaching
Idemon which was now within a hundred yards and
its tremendous suction was already disturbing the
water about them when the captain shouted:
S"Launch the dingy and get aboard; leave the oars
In an instant the little dingy had been slid over-
board and the boys were sitting in the stern; then
CAUGHT IN A WATERSPOUT 41
Captain Tom stepped aboard and was soon pulling
mightily away from the Etta anl across the line of
progress of the waterspout. But it was I ll too late.
The dingy was less than two Imidi-red feet from the
Etta when she began to tcss, lifting her bow high
and then plunging it deep beneath the surface. The
fust touch of the waterspout carried away mast and
sails and swept clear the deck. In another instant
the schooner was engulfed, ibt her bulk broke the
back of the waterspout and it began to sway: its
straight, smooth column began to kink up and break,
and many hundred tons of water fell cracking into
the Gulf. When the great column fell the .lingy
was within three hundred feet and, as Captain Tom
threw his weight on the oars in a last effort to in-
crease the distance, one of the oars snapped and the
captain fell on hs back in the bow of the boat, strik-
ing his head on the gunwale with a force that
stunned him. At this moment the outflowing wave
from the falling water swept over the lkifa, rolling
it upside down. Dick, who was a regular water-
dog, saw the big wave coming and, as it rolled the
dingy over, he sank for a moment beneath the sur-
face till the wave had passed, then came up vith all
his senses alert. He swam to the capsized dingy,
which was near him, and was soon joined by Johnny.
"Where's the captain?" shouted Dick. "We've
got to find him. Look everywhere, Johnny."
The broken water was now tossing madly and it
ecmned an age to Dick before he caught a glimpse
U 'I111111 ..
42 DICK IN THE EVERGT.ADES
of the captain's head on the crest of a wave two
boat's lengths distant. He swam to the place, and
searched the water abtove and below, diving until he
was exhausted. tHe was losing hope when once more
the captain's bodv came to the surface and Dick
seized it. He started for the dingy with his burden,
but was fearing he would never make it, when he
found Johnny beside him, saying:
"Here, you're played out Put your hand on my
shoulder. I can take care of the cap'n. too."
"All right. you take care of the captain. I can
get back to the dingy."
iWhen rhey reached the dingy the water had be-
come so much smoother that they were able to rest
while clinging to the side of the dingy and holding
the captain's face out of water.
"Don't spousee Cap'n's dead, do yer?" said Johnny.
"Don't think so, but we've got to get this dingy
failed out and get him in it, mighty soon. Then I
know what to do to bring him to, if there's life in
him. Lend me your cap and I'll bail out the dingy."
"That ain't the way we bail boats down here," said
Johnny, who got into the dingy and began to rock
it. In about a minute he had rocked it nearly dry
and finished ile job with his cap. Dick then climbed
into the dingy and the boys pulled the body of the
captain beside it and, bearing down on the gunwale
until water began to come in, dragged it aboard, half
filling the dingy as they did it. As Johnny began to
bail again a feeble voice beside him whispered:
CAUGHT IN A WATERSPOUT 4
"What you fellers doing? "
The captain soon got stronger, and aid be was
all right but for a headache which was splitting !1,
skull. He tried to rise, but fell back in a fair.
and Dick told him lie must lie till and give order,,
ihich Juhnny and he would nley. Then Dick etn
on a thwart and studied the water as far a, he coulJ
see, hoping to find an oar. lie saw a mast, a hazitr
cover and some broken fragments fi-m the FRio,
and at last the blade from the oar wlich the captain
had broken. Johnny anld he paddled with lheir
hands until they recovered the oar blade. As a light
breeze had sprung up from the south, which was
causing them to drift northward, they headed south.
paddling and watching by turns, until tliy Foutd the
lost oar. Then Dick, resting the oar in the sculling
hole, called on the captain for orders.
"Better strike out due east and make for Nor'-
West Cape. That's the nearest land and we're liable
to be struck by a squall 'most any minute. Then
there's a cocnanut grove at the Cape and you'll be
thirsty by the time you get there."
"Gee!" said Dick. "I'm thirsty now. Wish you
hadn't spoken of it."
Dick put his weight on the oar and as he swung
back and forth on it the captain called out:
"You sure can scull, boy, but take it easy; you've
got over a dozen miles of it to the Cape and near
fifty more up the coast, after that."
"Where do I come in ?" said Johnny.
44 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
"Go'way, child, this is man's work," replied Dick,
as he swung easily on his oar, but with a vim that
drove the dingy through the water at good speed.
Johnny begged for his tunt, but didn't get it for
two hours, by which time the tops of the cocoa palms
could be seen. Then Captain Tom began to fel
better and talked of doing his share of the work,
upon which Dick whistled a few bars of "Go 'Way
Back and Sit Down," which the captain seemed to
understand, for he gave no more trouble.
It was nearly dark when they landed on a beach
at the border of a forest of cocoa palms and in a few
minutes Johnny had a dozen young nuts on the
ground and was hacking at the tough husk of one
with his knife. When the ape-faced end of the nut
had been laid bare and the eye cut out with a pen-
knife blade, he gave the nut to Dick, who was soon
absorbing the most delicious drink of his life. There
was about a pint of milk in each nut. and it took a
round dozen to quench the thirst of the three. They
broke open lialf-grown or-custard nuts and ate their
pulpy meat and they tried some of the hard flesh of
the mature nut.
The castaways built a fire on the beach for cheer
and warmth and piled up fallen leaves of the palm to
soften their beds on the sand. Captain Tom told the
boys that the plantation house was not occupied, and
that the next house down the coast was a number of
miles distant and just opposite to the course they
wanted to take. He then added that he was no
CAUGHT IN A WATERSPOUT 45
more captain now than his i companini and n would
give no orders, but he advised that they start up the
coast before sun-up and do a lot If thcir sculling in
the cool of the morning. The hoys collected a couple
of dozen of nuts to keep cown their thirst and when
the sun rose they were several miles up the coast.
About nine o'clock Dick said to the captain :
"I wish it was breakfast time. I'm starving."
"Have your breakfast any time you want it."
"Want it now."
"All right," said the captain, who was sculling,
and he headed the dingy for shoe, where it struck
on a reef at the mouth of a stream.
"Now, if you boys will rustle some wood I'll have
your breakfast ready."
"T don't see anything to eat round here,' said
"How would an oyster roast strike you?" asked
"My, but wouldn't an oyster taste good? Do you
s'pose there is one within ten miles ?"
Johnny laughed and said:
"What you standing' on ? Must be a hundred
barrels on 'em."
Dick looked down and was amazed to see that the
whole reef was composed o oysters-oysters of all
sizes, oysters single, in small bunches and in great
"WVoods are full of 'er," said the captain, and he
pointed to the mangrove trees that lined the stream,
46 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
the lower branches of which were burdened with
bunches of oysters bigger than Dick's head. A fire
was made and branches of these trees containing
bunches of oysters were thrown on it. A cew min-
utes later the branches were taken off of the fire,
with shells bursting open showing hot, steaming oys-
ters ready for the sharp sticks which took the place
of forks with the castaways. After Dick had filled
himself with roast oysters, he ate a few dozen raw,
by way of a change, and then went back to his -rast-
ing, until he was so full that ie lold Johnny that he
never wanted to eat again a, long as he lived, at
which Johnny grinned. Only three hours later, as
Johnny was sculling over a shallow bank, he stopped
work and began to thump the bottom with his oar.
"What is it?" asked Dick.
"Bottom covered with clams. Reckon I'll pick up
a few for Cap'n and me. You said you didn't want
to eat again, ever," replied Johnny.
But both of the boys went overboard and in a few
minutes had put more clams aboard the dingy than
the whole party could have eaten in a week.
The castaways camped on their second night at
the mouth of Lossman's River, where they had a
famous clanm-roast. They found a fisherman's house
where they got fresh water and a can to hold it, also
Some cornmeal, with which Johnny made an ash-
S cake, or, as Dick called it, Johiny-cake. The cap-
tain said it was the best thing he had ever eaten, and
CAUGIIT IN A WATERSPOUT 47
Dick engaged him on the spot as a camping com-
panion on his hunt for his chum.
The next iorninng tlie Ioys slept till the sun
had risen and the captain awoke lici to look upon
a gorgeous picture seklion Lo be seen. The unclouded
sun was shining brilliantly and the eatiern sky clear
and bright, but in the west a storm was gathering.
There were now-clad peals Iriilliant with sunshine,
thunder-head, lack ai midnight fruom which light-
ning was playing, while above and beneath them all
shone a perfect double rainbow and an equally per-
feet reflection of it from the mirror-like surface of
the Gulf. So perfect a double-circled rainbow the
captain had never before seen. and, though he lived
near the coast, Johnny had never seen one at all. By
the time they had finished their breakfast of roast
clams and ash-cake the rainbow had melted away
and the storm-clouds were nearer, but Dick wanted
to start on up the coast. The captain shook his head
and Johnny recited:
"Rainbow in the morning sailors take warning. "
Half an hour later all hands were glad to run to
the fisherman's house, from the doorway of which
tiey looked out upon sturm-driven sheets of rain
that shut out the Gulf and fell in hissing masses
upon the palmetto roof that covered them, while the
confinlinuis bla/e of lightning and crash uo Ihunder
gave Dick his first taste of a tropical thunderstorm.
Half an hour later the sky was cloudless, the sunl
more brilliant than ever, and the only reminder of
48 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
the storm that had passed was the sullen roar of the
surf as the big waves broke on the beach.
When Johnny proposed to reenw their voyage
and the captain assented, it was Dick who held back.
"What can we do out there?" said he, waving his
hand toward the white-capped waves that were
sweeping in and sending their loarn high up the
beach. Johnny only laughed in reply, but the captain
and he dragged the dingy, in which two poles had
been placed, out into the surf until the waves rolled
waist deep past them.
"Tumble aboard, both of you," ordered the cap-
tain, as he stood by the stern of the craft, holding
its how squarely against the incoming waves. The
boys climbed aboard, and Dick, following Johnny's
example, seized a pole and together they held the
boat against the sweep of the surf until the captain
was aboard with the oar in his hands. it was ex-
citing work and as they pushed on and out, with
each new wave tossing the bow of the boat in the
air and spilling its crest of water and foam over
the glunwales, Dick exclaimed:
isn't t it glorious? I never had such inn," and
even the captain smiled assent.
They pushed on until outside of the bakers and
among the smooth-rolling waves, where the deep-
ening water made poling difficult and they resumed
their sculling. The captain look the first trick, while
Johnny bailed out, with his cap, the water that the
waves had spilled aboard.
CAUGIIT IN A WATERSPOUT 49
Everything went smoothly an there was no more
excitement on tile Ltip until in the afternoon, when
Dick, as working the sculling oar. He was swing-
ing it slowly, as he looked clown into the water,
when there appeared suddenly, just under the dingy,
a great black creature, broader than the boat was
long. As it rose nearer to the surface, almost touch-
ing the craft, lhe saw a great open mouth, three feet
across, with a heavy black hern on each side of it,
which looked quite equal to disposing of Dick and
his boat at a single iite. The sight was so frightful
that Dick impulsively thrust his oar agaaist the
creature, and was instantly thrown from his feet
as the stern of the dingy was tossed in the air and a
column of water fell upon and around him. When
the commotion was over and Johnny had crawled
bade into the submerged boat and was rocking it dry,
Dick said to Captain Tom, who was swimming
"I believe I'll swim the rest of the way. I'm
getting tired of being pitched overboard every few
After they were all aboard and Dick had resumed
his work with the oar, he asked the captain:
"What was that thing that looked like a devil,
that I hit and that hit back?"
"That was a devil-fish. They are perfectly harm-
less," said the captain, adding, reflectively, "unless
you punch 'em."
The tide favored the castaways at Sand-Fly Pass
50 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
and they reached Chokoloskcc Bay without further
adventure, but then came the painful part of the trip:
telling the owner of the Etta of its destruction by a
waterspout. All the comment Mr. Streeter made
"Glad none of you went down with the boat."
The captain and Johnny went to their homes,
while Dick accepted Mr. Streeter's invitation to stay
OLTFITTTNG FOR THIE IITNT
T HE Streeter home \ as on the bank of a little
river that emptied into Chokuolokee Bay,
and Dick, for the first time, saw oranges
and grape-fruit growing and tasted the delicious alli-
gator pear and the guava.
After supper Mr. Streeter said to Dick:
"Johnny tells me you have got a friend lying
around loose somewhere in the Big Cypress Swamp,
or the Everglades, and that you and he are going to
take a day off to look him up."
"That's about the size of it, only of course 1 don't
expect to find him in a day or a week. I had some
hope that a month would do. I suppose it all seems
very silly to you ?"
"Not a bit, not a bit. The Big Swamp isn't a bad
place, if you've sand and sense, and I reckon you
have both or you wouldn't have got as far as you
have. I suppose it's Ned Barstow you're looking
"Who in the world could have told you ? I haven't
spoken his name since I !eft home."
"Nobody told me, but last week Chris Meyer, the
52 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
surveyor, was here and, as we are old friends, we
talked half the night. He told me of his work for
Mr. Barstow, the big lumber man, and said that Ned
Barstow, his son. had been out in the swamp with
him as surveyor's assistant for 'most a month. Chris
told me liat when he left. Ned was arranging to go
on a hunting trip with Billy Tommy, a Seminole
Indian. He thought the plan was to hunt slowly
through the swamp to Tommy's canoe, which he had
left somewhere between Boat Landing and Charley
Tiger's. Ned expected then to work down through
the Everglades to Cape Sable if possible."
'Is there any chance of my finding him in that
great wilderness. Mr. Streeter? It looks so much
bigger than it did from up north. How is it possi-
ble to keep from getting lost?"
"Don't have to. Soon as you begin to worry be-
cause you don't know where you are, trouble begins.
More than one man in this country has gone crazy
and killed himself because he thought he was lost.
Why, you canlt be really lost. If you're worried just
start for the North Star. You'll hit somebody before
you strike the North Pole. But it's a heap easier
to keep from worrying if you've got company.
Lordy. the picnic you and Johnny are gang to havel
I wish I was as young as you and going with you.
Your best way to find Ned will not be to fellow his
trail, but to head him off somewhere in the Glades.
That's easier than you think. I could pretty nearly
figure out to a mile where he is this minute. You
OUTFITTING FOR THE HUNT 53
see, he's with Billy Tommy, and I know that Injun.
Couldn't make him hurry if he tried, and he won't
try. He'll be so busy shooting' things and sktinin'
'em and fussin' 'round camp that they'll get ahead
mighty slow. Shouldn't wonder if it took 'em a
week from the time they started to get to where
Tommy left his canoe. Then they will put out in
the Glades and head straight for Charley Tiger's
"How do you know that?"
"Because I know Tommy and because it's the only
Injun camp 'round there where he'd be sure to find
whyome-that's whisky, or rum, or anything that'll
make drunk come."
"But suppose Ned wouldn't go that way?'
"Oh, Tommy'd fIx that. He'd point to the west
and say, 'Big Swamp, canoe no can take!' Then he'd
wave his hand to the east, 'No trail, oko suchescha
(water all gone), saw-grass ojus (heaps)!' No,
they never got past Tiger's camp without stopping.
Then Tommy got drunk and Ned couldn't move him
under four days. It's an even chance that they are
right there now."
"How far from here is Tiger's camp?" asked
"Less than forty miles, but you'd think it was
four hundred before you got there, if you tried to
cross the swamp to reach it. Besides, they would
certainly be gone before you could possibly get to
54 DICK TN THE EVERGLADES
the camp. Then you couldn't take a boat, and you've
got to have one to follow your friend."
"Can I buy or hire a skiff, here?"
"You can do a lot better. One of your Northern
tourists left a little beauty of a canoe with me, to be
sold first chance I got. It cost seventy dollars, deliv-
ered here, and you can have it for twenty. Tt's only
fifteen feet long and about two feet wide amidships,
but it weighs only forty pounds and when there isn't
water enough for the canoe to carry you, why, you
can carry the canoe. Then a few little traps go with
it which you may find useful. There's a broken fly-
rod, which you can fix all right, and a little single-
barrel shot-gun, not worth much, but you can always
pick up a supper with it. There are also a pair of
grains, a light harpoon, and a cast-net which is torn
some, but Johnny can fix it. Johnny's got a rifle and
all the camp kit two tough boys will need.
"Better take a piece of light, waterproofed canvas
big enough to keep cff some of the rain when it
storms, an axe, a bag of salt to save the hides of the
alligators you will be sure to kill if Johnny goes with
you, and sine grits and bacon. Oh! you may need
a mosquit-hbar, and if you do want it you're likely
to want it bad. Make it of cheese-cloth; that'll keep
out sand-flies, too. Some of my folks will run it up
on the machine for you in a few minutes. There
may be some other little things that you'll need, but
you can trust Johnny to think of 'cm. Now, Dick,
you don't have to pay for any of these things till you
OUTFITTING FOR THE TTUNT 55
get good and ready. Fi' usel to giving long credits
and this time I'm glad to do it."
"Oh, Mr. Streeter, you don't know how grateful
I am to you for all you are doing for me. The
money is the least part of it and I can fix tlha nil
right. You wouldn't think I was a capitlit to look
at me, would you?" said Dick, laughingly. "Since
I left home I've rolled up quite a fortune as a fireman
and a sponger and I can pay my little bills and have
money to burn besides. How soon do you think we
can get off?"
"You ought to start to-morrow. You can get
ready in an hour. Know anything about canoeing?"
"Not much, but l've rowed some in a shell."
"That'll help you a little, but it leaves you sinme-
thing to learn. The man whose canoe you have
bought was cruising down here with his family and
he told me that every time one of 'em stepped in that
canoe lie went overboard. He said he had to choose
between the canoe and his family and had concluded
to let the canoe go. One of my boys owns a little
Indian canoe in which Johnny and he have poled
around a good deal, so T reckon Johnny can keep
inside of your canoe. but you'd better spend the fore-
noon to-morrow practicing in it with a paddle, then
you can get off right after dinner and your clothes
will be dry before you make camp at night."
"Does Johnty know the course we ought to take
"Not far, hut I can help you some and you'll find
56 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
out the rest for yourselves. You'll have to. Then
Johnny savvies Injun talk pretty well and you're
sure to run across them or their camps. And he'll
likely know them, and if Ned's anywhere in their
country or has been there they'll sure know it. You
will leave this bay by way of Turner's River, which
will take you into the most tangled up part of the
Ten Thousand Islands. You will go through rivers
and bays, around keys, along twisting channels and
up narrow, crooked creeks. You'll be lost from the
start, but you don't want to think of that. Just
make your course average southeast for the first
fifty miles, which you ought to cover in three days.
Then hunt for some creek coming from the east. It
will be a little one, you will have to drag your canoe,
perhaps for miles, under branches that close over the
creek and you may have to carry your canoe and
pack your dunnage over prairie land. In a day you
ought to strike the Everglades. Then turn to the
north and look for Indian trails, which you want to
follow whenever they lead anywhere near where you
are trying to go. They will help you to dodge the
worst of the saw-grass which is likely to be your
"Keep along the border line between the Ever-
glades and the cypress country and you will probably
hit Osceola's camp. He's about the whitest Seminole
in the State and he'll help you all he can. Remem-
ber, when in an Indian camp, that their brand of
politeness is different from a white man's, though it
OUTFITTING FOR THE HUNT 57
may be just as sincere. If you're hungry, and don't
see a spoon lying around, j st dip your hand in the
family pot, if you can eat that way. If you want
to sleep lie down on the nearest unoccupied hunk.
If you make a mistake they won't tell you of it.
"Now, remember above all things, that you
mustn't get rattled. That's the biggest risk you'll
run in this country. If you get separated from
Johnny and think about being lost and get excited
and begin to walk fast, or run, stop right there and
sit down and don't go on till you're perfectly cool,
not if you have to camp right where you are for a
night, or a day, or both. Just as soon as you have
taught yourself that when you get excited you
have got to sit still for an hour or two, you'll
stop getting excited. There is mighty little
real danger where you are going. There are
bear and panther, but the only thing on
earth that's a bigger coward than a bear is a panther.
People front your country think the alligator is a
dangerous brute. I have lived among them, killed
them, dealt in their hides, of which 1 have shipped
north the biggest consignments sent from this
coast, since before you were born, and I never knew
of a human being having been harmed by one. This
deep river running in front of my door used to be
full of them, and there are some there now, but my
whole family of children swim in it almost every day
without thought of danger. Only two weeks ago
Johnny killed a ten-foot 'gator right in front of my
68 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
house and within a hundred feet of it. Any of our
hunters will wade into a pond where there are fifty
alligators, to drag out one they have shot: many of
them will tackle, with nothing but a stick, any 'gator
under six feet that they can catch on a prairie or
asleep on a bank, and a few of the boys will wade
bare-footed and bare-handed into a pond on the
prairie and bring out little alligators. Johnny i, a
dabster at that. Likely you'll see him do it before
"Of course rattlesnakes are bad, but they always
give warning, usually a good long one. I've killed
hundreds, perhaps thousands of them and never been
bitten. Cottoin-mouth moccasins are poioninu but
they are sluggish and not so very plentty. You'll
have to get used to the smaller moccasins. You will
find lots of them. I've kicked them out of my path
on the prairies and in the marshes for a good many
years without having been bitten by one.
"Sharks have a bad name, and Florida waters are
full of them, hut there is no authentic instance on
record of hleir having killed a man, woman, or child
in this country. There are convicts and other out-
laws in the Ten Thousand Islands. They may steal
something from your camp, but they won't harnl
you. Some of them are bad men, and when they kill
their own kind, people here don't mind it. but the
outlaws know that the community wouldn't stand
for their hurting any of you boys."
Dick was ashamed when he got up to breakfast
OUTFITTING FOR THE HUNT 59
to find that Mr. Streeter and Johnny had been at
work for an hour and had goL everything ready for
a start, even to the mosquito-bar, which one of the
family had already made.
The outfit consisted of a fly-rod, with reel, line
and flies; rifle and shot-gun. with fifty cartridge for
each; pair grains, harpoon, line and pole; cast-net,
fish hooks and lines; forks, tin-cups and plates, two
each; light axe. saucepan and frying-pan; piece of
waterproofed canvas, six by eight feet; lantern, kero-
sene, and bag of salt; white bacon, hominy and corn
meal, five Ibs. each; canoe, two paddles and one long
oar; five gallon can of water, and bucket; waterproof
box filled with matches.
Each of the boys carried a clasp knife and a
pocket, watertight match safe.
Nothing had been loaded on the canoe, as Mr.
Streeter wanted to be sure that Dick could stay in it,
before he filled it with goods that water mighi harm.
He was soon satisfied on this point, for although
Dick got into the canoe with exceeding care, he kept
his balance perfectly, and after the first few strokes
appeared perfectly at home in the craft. He paddled
for a few minutes kneeling on the bottom of the boat,
then sitting on a thwart, and finally came back to
the dock sitting on the stem, while the bow of the
canoe tilted up in the air. Then Johnny got in with
him and the boys maneuvered the cratt until Mr.
Streeter called out to them:
"You kids are all light and don't need to waste
60 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
any more time. Better pack up and be off, and save
half a day." They loaded the canoe carefully and
took their positions, Dick in the stern and Johnny
in the bow. Then lifting their caps to the family,
who had come down to the dock to see them off, the
boys dipped their paddles together in the river and
began Dick's hunt for his chum.
DICK's HUNT FOR His CHUM
AN hour's paddling brought Dick and Johnny
to the mouth of Turner's River, up which
they headed the canoe. A strong tide set-
ting up the river nearly doubled their speed.
"Lucky for us that the tide is running our way,"
"Not much luck about it. Mr. Strecter knew
about the tide. That's why he hurried us off 'fore
dinner. Tide'll be other way this evening, replied
"Isn't Mr. Streeter a brick?"
"He's all that. Lots o' people 'd have hard times
'f he moved away. He helps th' Injuns, too, when
they're in hard luck."
The first fork in the river was a mile from its
mouth and Dick, who was steering, took the right
branch, which led southeast, although it was much
the smaller stream. At the next parting of the
stream one branch led to the east and the other due
south. Fortunately Johnny knew which fork to
take, and for a mile or two there was no trouble.
Then the river opened out into a broad shallow bay,
62 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
filed with little keys, hlt nothing to tell Dick which
way to steer. He tried to keep to a southeast course,
but ran into shallow which soon ended in a pocket
from which they had to back out. Often they fol-
lowed a good channel for a mile, only to have it end
in an oyster reef, and again they had to turn back.
A pair of dolphins lifted their heads love the sur-
face in front of the canoe and with a sniff of fright
started away across the bay like an express train.
They were great creatures, nearly nine feet long, and
were followed in their flightt by a baby dolphin less
than half theii size, which rose within reach of Dick's
paddle, sniffed impertinently in his face and skit-
tered away after hii mother as fast as he could wig-
gle his funny flat tail.
"Better fuller them porpoises," said Johnny; "they
know the channel."
The dolphin is so uniformly miscalled porpoise, on
the west coast and everywhere else. that the creature
will soon come to think that it really is a porpoise.
Dick followed the dolphins as long a lie conld see
them and as led into a deep channel which opened
out into a series of broad bays through which they
paddled until, among the sunken lands of the flooded
mangrove keys, they came upon a shell mound, the
site of an old abandoned plantation. Dick's aching
muscles and Johnny's clamorous stomach had long
been pleading for a rest, and the boys landed on the
mound for a picnic dinner. They opened a box
which Mrs. Streeter had given them as they started
DICK'S HUNT FOH HIS CHUM 6i1
from her home, and found a bountiful lunch Io cold
venison, baked sweet potatoes, boiled eggs, bread,
butter, orange marmalade and two pineapples.
"Gee!" said Dick. "Are we going to live thiq
way, Johnny ?"' bu JulIny only grinned.
After the boys had eaten, as only Iys can eat,
they crawled through the vines and among the thorns
of the overgrown plantation. They found stalks
of sugar-cane and bunches of baannas; wide-spread-
ing guava and lime trees, loaded with fruit; and tll
Avocado pear trees from which hung purpling
globes of that great, creamy, most delicious fruit,
commonly called alligator pear. They tilled with
fruit the shirts they wore, till they bulged like St.
Nicholas, and made many trips between the trees
and their canoe. As Dick was standing beside a
lime tree, he heard a sound near him like the whir-
ring of a big locust. Dick had never before heard
the angry jarring of the rattles of the great king of
snakes, but he didn't need to be told the meaning of
the blood-curdling sound, which seemed to come
from all directions at once. He gazed about him for
a moment, with every muscle tense, until he caught
sight of the head of the reptile waving slowly to and
fro above the irregular coils of his body. The snake
seemed to be within striking distance and the un-
nerved boy sprang suddenly away from it, landing
among the thorn-bearing branches of a big lime t -e.
Dick soon recovered his nerve, and hunting up a big
stick, went cautiously in search of the reptile, which
64 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
he found still coiled. He broke the creature's back
with his first blow and had struck several more when
Johnny came crawling through the undergrowth,
and called out:
"Want to save his skin ?"
"Sure," replied Dick, who hadn't thought of it
"Then don't smash him any more and I'll show
you how to round-skin him. He's dead enough,
now. A feller from New York showed me how.
He skinned 'em for a living Birds, too. Said he'd
give me ten dollars if I'd get him the skin of one of
these fork-tailed kites. He wanted the nest and eggs,
too. Say, but he could skin things. Skin a bird
without losin' a feather or getting' a drop o' blood on
it. Said the best way to skin snakes was 'fore they
As Johnny began cutting the skin free from the
jaws of the reptile, the long, needle-like fangs
dripped yellow venom and Dick, looking on with a
white face, half whispered:
"Suppose you happened to touch those fangs?"
"Ain't a-goin' to touch 'em. Wish I had my pliers
here, to pull 'em out. You oughter save 'em, and
the skull, too. The feller I was tellin' yer about
"I don't want them; makes me sick to look at
them," said Dick, who looked mightily relieved
when, the head having been skinned, it was cut off
and thrown into the bay. After that he became
I I ~
DICK'S HUNT FOR IIIS CIIUM 65
interested and helped Johnny with his work until he
held in his hand the beautiful skin of a diamond-
back rattlesnake, over six feet long.
In the afternoon the boys entered a big hay that
seemed to have no other outlet. They followed its
shore for an hour, exploring every little bay that
looked big enough to hide the smallest creek. They
sounded the depth of the water with their paddles
and traced a little channel to a clump of bushes that
overhung the water from tihe shore. Johnny pulled
the bow of the canoe under the overhanging branches
and found a little creek through which the water
was flowing. They dragged the canoe into the
stream and found water deep enough to float it, but
branches and vines obstructed them above, while logs
and snags troubled them below. They used their
knives and the axe more than they did their paddles.
At times they lay down in the canoe and dragged
it under branches and at others got overboard, and
standing in water and mud, lifted it over logs. They
were in the deep gloom of a jungle from which the
thick growth above shut out nearly all the light. As
they pushed the canoe forward, unseen vines seized
their throats in a garroting clutch, while solid masses
of spider-webs,stuck to their faces and spiders the
size of a saucer ran over them. As Johnny sat in
the bow, he collected the most spiders, since Dick
only got those which his companion managed to
dodge, but then Johnny was used to the critters and
didn't mind them, while Dick wasn't, and did.
66 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
"What kind of snakes are these swimming round
my legs?" asked Dick. as he stood nearly waist-deep
in mud and water and helped lift the canoe over the
big-g'et log thcy had struck.
"Speckle-belly moccatain-. 1utstn't get scared o'
them, if you're going' to hunt in this country. They
ain't likely to bite if yer don't sctp un 'em and they
won't kill ycr. nohow," said Johnny.
The stream was so crooked that the boys had to
travel three miles to gain one and a, the troubles
in their path seemed to increase they talked of turn-
ing back. But as it wis already too late to get out
of the creek before dark. they decildd to keep on.
As it was. darkness u kertook them while they were
yet in tile creek. Among their stores was a lantern,
by the lightt of which they progressed for a little
wiilc, when Johnny prnpo-ed making camp.
'"lnt we can't camp here. I'm not a merman, to
sleep in the walker said Dick
''You can stretch out in the canne, if we tie it
so it won't tip over, and 'll build a brush bed good
enough fnr me in ten minutes," said Johnny, who
took the axe. and cut a short pole, which he rested on
the branches of t\o trees which grew side by side,
so that the stick lay parallel to a fallen tree trunk
which lay :about five feet distant Then he cut a
number of inch saplihgs into six-foot lenlths, with
which lie made a platform fritm the pole to the tree,
and preading hiis blanket on this elastic couch an-
nounced that his lied was ready. lhe boys made a
DICK'S [ITTNT FOR HIS CHUTM 6
hearty supper from the fragments that were left
from the bountiful provision that Mrs. Strcclri had
made for their dinner. Dick's bed in the canoe wa;
probably softer than Johnny's bed, but lie didn't
sleep as well. The sides of his canac were only five
inches above the water which contained the moc-
casilts, and Dl.k -i a suree could feel thicl tonlgie0
touch his face as the reptiles searched for a soit
place to strike. Then the snarling from a tree he-
side him wild have been less terrifying if he had
known that instead of being. as he supposed, two
wildcats quarreling for the first bite at him, it was
merely a friendly family discussion between two
Things looked more cheerful by daylight, and
when Johnny asked whether they should go on or
turn back, Dick replied:
"Go on just as long as the creek runs." But the
creek became choked with brush and turned back
on its course, until Johnny aaid:
"If this crik gits any crookeder it'll fetch us back
The boys had to cut away two trees which had
fallen across the creek where the growth was so
thick that to cut a path arnond would have been
more work than to clear away the logs. The trees
were large, their axe a little une, and when the boys
came to three trees lying near together across the
stream Dick was so dismayed that he said to
68 DICK IN TIE EVERGLADES
"Let's get back out of this creek. We must be
on the wrong track. AMr. Streeter said Indians and
hunters got through this country, but they never
got throilgll ilhi way. What do you think?"
"late to go back, but s'pose we've got ter."
Dick's spirits ran low during the return trip
through the creek. They were going in the wrong
direction, and each hour was taking him farther
away from where he supposed Ned was. Many
times lie wished they had kept on and fought their
way through the creek. After reaching the bay
they had lcif the day before they turned to the east
and north as they followed labyrinthic channel, that
led around big and little keys in that part of the
ten times Ten Thousand Tslands. The work be-
came confusing, the waterways they followed led
them toward every point in the compass. Some-
times a narrowing stream made them think they had
struck a creek which flowed from the mainland, but
always it opened into some small hay filled with lit-
tie icys. Late in the afternoon they found a point
of land Iigh enough for a camp, where they spent
the night. After they had eaten their supper, Dick
"Johnny. do you know where we are?"
"Nope; bin going' 'round so fast I've got dizzy."
You mean we are lost ?"
"Yep; but that's nothing' long's we don't stay
".What shall we do, and where shall we go?"
DICK'S IIHUNT FOR HIS CHUM 69
"Go anywhere, only stick to it. Got ter do sump-
thin; fresh water's 'most gone Reckon we'd bet-
ter go 'bout sou'west. We kin find ia river that'll
take us t' the coast, 'nd I kin find a way that'll take
us where you water go."
An hour's paddling brought the boys to a bay
in which were several pretty keys, on one of which
Dick saw a number of beautiful white birds.
"What are those?" he asked.
"Egrets," said Johnny. "Want ter shoot 'em?"
"Of course not," replied Dick. "It's against the
law, and wicked, besides. They are the loveliest
birds there are and never ought to be killed just
"We never kill 'em for fun. Only tourists do
that. If you Northern fellers didn't pay us ter git
plumes we'd never kill 'em. D'ye remember that
key over there?"
"No. What about it?"
"See that crik by the palmetter 'nd the big stump?
Know it now?"
"What! Isn't that the creek we slept in night
before last ?"
"Sure! 'nd that's where we water go now. Them
trees that we stopped fer was cut by our fellers to
keep off the Lossman River plume hunters. We've
got ter cut 'em out, er git 'round 'em if 't takes a
"How about water?"
70 DICK IN THE EVPERGLADES
"Find it t'other s:de o' tie crik. I'd ruiher go
without than go back 1' anliiod'; house for it."
"But that old shack where ve killed the rattler
isn't far cff, and T saw ; watt'r-Larrel under the
"So did T. 'nd a possum floating' in it too. That's
why I didn't fill u there. We'll go slow on what
we got 'nd do without a day 'r two, 'nd we'll find
some by then if we stick t' anything."
"We're "icig to stick to thlilgs hireafter, Jilinny.
It was plumb foolish to lay lowln just because
a tree got in our way, aid it wv';s nmy fault, tli, It
i- n't going to happen again, though. Let's get
through thlat creek Lo-ight, if w e have t work by
the light of the lanren.'"
"Ain'l yun afraidd o' the snakeb?" said olhnny.
''No. I'm too iahnmed of imysel for backing
out o[ Ihat creek to be afraid of anything, except
doing it agail."
When the boy, got back to the trees which lay
across the creek, tliey too( til ns wih the little axe,
which was not much heavier than a hatchet, until
they had cleared an piec flr the canoe They
found ailer trees in their \ay, but they kept on.
Once they uniloded the canoe on stumps and logs
until they could lift it over a log that lay so deep
in r he ati that it was hard to cut. Fire minutes
later, and within a hundred yaris of where they
had turned back oni the Ipreviuu dty. the boys
reached the end of the creek, wlic-e it oclpened into
DICK'S HUNT FOR HIS CHUM 71
a bay which seemed to Dick as beautiful as a dream
It was dotted with little islands, on some of which
were picturesque groups of palmettos, and on oth-
ers big trees filled with white-plumaged birds. Two
black dots on the surface of the water a hundred
yards from the canoe moved slowly across its bow.
Johnny stopped paddling and said:
"There's a 'gator. D'ye want him ?"
"I don't see him."
"See them two black knobs on the water? The
little one's his nose 'nd the big one's hi, eye. IIc's
turning' 'round 'nd showing' both eyes, now. Shoot
him in the eye if yer want t' kill him. It'll take
some time t' skin him, though, 'nd mebbe ye're in
a hurry to get along."
"I sure am," replied Dick, and as the paddles
dipped together in the water, the alligator, suspi-
cious of them, slowly sank from their sight.
At the end of the bay the boys found a deep,
narrow river with a current which Dick supposed
was tidal, but which Johnny thought came from the
Glades. Dick tasted the water and was surprised
to find that instead of being salt it had the sweetish
taste of merely brackish water. There were birds
of many kinds in the trees on the banks of the river,
and as the boys paddled against the current Johnny
saw a brace of ducks swimming ahead of the canoe.
He took in his paddle and picked up the shotgun,
which, with much forethought, he had placed be-
side himself in the canoe before starting out. Dick
72 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
paddled very slowly and quietly toward the ducks
until they were wiitlil easy range. Johnny had been
told that if hie wanted to Ie a real sportsman he
must never fire at birds with a shotgnn unless they
were flying, So he waited nntil the ducks rose be-
fore firing a I lhem. lhe next instant a bird fell
heavily on the water a few yards ahead of the canoe.
"Why. that lird fell out of this tree!" aid the
astonished Dick. "I didn't know you fired up in
"I didn't," replied Johnny. 'That was a water-
turkey, and he isn't hurt a bit. They often act so
when they're scared. Watch our for him under the
In a minute or two Dick saw n Iong, snake-like
head and neck t(m t ot of the water by the hank.
The head twisted about with a quick, jerky motion
till the bird's eyes rested on the canoe, when it dis-
appeared as suddenly as it had appeared.
"What became of the clicks?" said Dick.
'"Rcckl we'll find one of 'em 'round that p'int.
The other got away." Johnny was right, and the
duck was found jnst around the point.
At some places the river narrowed into deep creeks
and at others broadened out into wide, shallow bays,
where the boys were puzzlcd to find the inlet they
wanted. It was nearly noon when they struck a
stream of quite a different sort from anything they
had previously scene. Its mouth lay between banks
that were high for Flolida, and through it flowed
DICK'S HUNT FOR HIS CIIUM 78
a stream of crystal-clear water, which, to the great
relief and delight of the boys, was fresh as a moln-
tain brook. The bed of the stream looked like sand
to Dick, but when lie thumped it with his paddle
he found it was coral rock. Suddenly Johnny called
"Watch out fur the boat," and resting his hands
on the sides of the craft leaped into the water with-
out disturbing in the least the balance of the canoe.
As Johnny swam rapidly under water, close to
the white coral bottom of the creek, Dick saw that
he was chasing a turtle which was skurrying toward
the bank for protection. It got there all right, but
the bank didn't protect it, and soon Johnny came
to the surface hugging to his breast with his left
hand a wildly flapping turtle, while with his right
he struck out for the canoe. Getting into the canoe
would have been a ticklish job, so Johnny handed
the turtle to his companion and swam to the bank
while Dick followed with the canoe. By the time
Johnny had butchered the turtle, Dick had construct-
ed a very creditable camp-fire under a palmetto, in
the shade of which the boys rested while they waited
for the' turtle stew to be ready for them. Their
breakfast had been a cold one, consisting entirely of
fruit, and they had decided that for dinner they
would begin with turtle stew and end with broiled
duck. When the stew had been finished, Johnny
"Want that duck cooked now ?'
74 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
"No, I don't. If I ate another mouthful T'd bust.
Let's have the duck next cck."
Yet each of the boys managed tl ea about a hat-
ful of wild grapes. which they found growing a
sliort instance from their camp-Fle.
Just as the oys 'e starting oiut again. Dick
saw a turtle, and, laying down his paddle, said:
"Johnny, if you can catch turtles, T can. See me
go for that one."
"1 old on." shouted Julonny, as Dick was about
to jump overboard. "That's an alligatn- turllc.
Bites worse'n a hulldog, and ai't good fur much
t' eat. nohw,"
As they kept on up the cr-eck. its hanks came
nearer together, tree icre more nIumIelou'-t and
thle bushes thicker. Soon lhese began Lo close over-
head, while the stream itself broke up into several
smaller ones. As thee twisted about, forming a
labyrinth of little channels bounded by hundreds of
tiny keys, all covered by an iterlaced canopy of
leaves and branches, Dick wondered if ever they
could find their way out. But he had resolved that
morning that never again would he turn back in
lin exploring so long as it was possible to go on.
The little streams contilned to Iecoine smaller and
the turns shorter, until to cge around the bends the
axe was in constant ise to clear a path, while tle
boys waded and often driggned or carried the canoe.
It was wearing v ik, and they flrequiitly tat (Iwn
to rest. On one of theic occasions Joiiny inquired:
DICK'S HUNT FOR HIS CHUM 75
"IIow long you want ter keep this up? This
ain't the right creek, not the one Mr. Streeter told
"I know that. The creek he spoke of must be
away south of this. but this will probably take us
to the Everglades, or near them. So we had better
keep on till the brook gives out and then travel to
the east, toting the canoe till we get to the Glades.
We may he away north of Osceola's camp, but there
will likely le a trail that vill help u to find it, and
anyhow we will be near the hne that Mr. Streetcr
thinks Ned and the Indian will follow. Don't you
hke the plan?"
"Me? Sure! I don't want any better fun than
t' keep on t' te Atlantic Ocean, only 'fraid it'd be
too hard fer vcu."
Night found tlhe boys in a narrow stream, scarce-
ly more than the width of the canoe, wilh bushes
around them so thick that they found it hard to
clear a place big enough to sleep on. They were
tired enough to sleep usundly, in spite of the oc-
casional cries of the birds and beasts of the forest,
They made an early start in the morning, and,
although the creek was crooked and they had to cut
away many small trees, they were encouraged to
find the bushes becoming lesri abundant as the water
grew more shallow, and by dark they were on the
border of an open prairie, where they made camp
for the night.
THE MEETING IN THE GLAneS
T HE Everglades at last!" said Dick the next
morning as the rays of the rising sun fell
on the waters of the Everglades in the dis-
tance and lit up the clumps of cypress and groups
of palmettos that dotted the prairie before him. A
little to the north and extending into the Glades was
a row of willows which Johnny visited and found
that it marked the course of a slough that crossed
the prairie and extended far out into the Glades.
They were soon afloat in this slough, paddling
toward the Everglades, but the channel which they
followed was crooked and it was an hour before
they reached them. The boys made their camp be-
side a little group of palmettos on a bit of dry
ground which had often been used for that pur-
pose. Johnny pointed to a faint line in the grass
of the Glades and told Dick that it was an Tndian
trail. Dick was excited at the thought that the
chum he had come so far to meet might even now
he in sight. When, far to the north, he saw what
Johnny said was an Indian canoe with two people
poling it, he could scarcely restrain himself from
"TxE EvanrmAss AT S
THE MEETING IN THE GRADES 77
paddling out to meet it. The canoe came on rapid-
ly, and Dick's excitement increased until he began
to fancy that in one of the faces that showed above
the grass he could make out the features of his chum,
when Johnny dashed his hopes to the ground by
"Them's Injuns. Squaws, too. B'lieve I know
Then as the approaching faces showed more clear-
ly through the tall grias :
"Sure thing. It's Miami Billy's girls. They'll
savvy where Charley Tommy is."
The Indian girls were poling past the canoe with-
out appearing to see it, when Johnny poke to them.
Then the girls, who weie clothed in the brightest
of prints, with masses of beads on their necks, sat
down in their canoe and had a puw-wuw with Johnny
that was altogether unintelligible to Dick. When
the girls had gone, Johnny explained:
"Squaws say: 'Think so Charley Tommy not
been Osceola Camp, two moons. Been Rig Cypress;
hunt 'gator. Maybe so hunt with white man. Not
been Charley Tiger camp this moon.' The girls
left that camp day 'fore yesterday. Only other trail
from Tiger's camp goes t' Miami. We c'n camp
right here 'nd ketch 'em sure."
Johnny proposed that while waiting they do some
alligator hunting. They got out their canvas and
rigged up a regular camp. Dick wrote a few lines
on a scrap of paper, addressed it "Mr. Edward
78 DT)K IN 'ITHE EVERGLADE
Barstow,' and fastened it on a palmetto t ree in sich
a way that no one passing along the trail could fail
to see it. The boys ihen unpacked lthe cane, and
turning it upside down on a bit of dry land stowed
their stores under it. They gathered a lot of grass
for their beds, arranged for an early start in the
morning, and slept dreamnlesly till mrnirlng came.
The hunt was to be on foot, and Johnny insisted
that Dick carry the rifle, while lie made up a light
pack for himself of axe, frying-pan, forks and a
little bacon, crn meal. salt and matches. When
Dick saw Johnny's pack, he said to rhin:
"Won't we get Inck to-night?"
"Mebbe so. but you can't callers tell. We might
get to foller'n' sunithiii and be gone two or three
days. I don't reckon we're going' to get lost, though
we may he bothered some."
"If there's a chance of that we haven' t ot enough
S"Got plenty. All we really want is a rille, match-
es and salt. They'd he go d for a month."
"What do you do for bread?"
"Cut the bud out of a cabbage tree.'
The boys tramped across the prairie to a belt of
cypress, hilcte Joihny stopped for some minutes,
Looking back to study the nlandcape and take note
of every clump of trees and bit of water in sight.
"I thought you were not afraid of getting lost,"
THE MEETING IN T IF, GLADES 79
"I ain't afraid. T could allers git home all right,
but T'd hate to lIoe the canoe.
The cypress triand wa; swaampy, and they crossed
it by stepping froun iuot toi root, excepting that once,
when Dick was looking at a moccasin, he made a
misstep and landed in the mud. where he sank to
his waist. The woods were narrow, and beyond
them was a bload prairie with clumps of trees and
pools of water scattered firni h it. As they walked
and waded they cro0ed the tracks oi many ani-
nals and birds, to nmot of winch .Jl olny could give
names. There were plenty ci 'coons, a few wild-
cats, some deer, and one bear, while between the
little ponds alligators had worn regular paths.
"What's that?" said Dick as a lizard-like creature
scuttled through the grass -ome ffty yards in front
"'Gator! Shoot quick, 'fore he gits t' that pond!"
Dick iired, and his bullet spattered the mud over
the reptile's back as it slid into the water.
Dick was \ery much clhgrined at missing his
quarry, but Johnny consoled him.
"I'll git ye another shot at him. I'll call him
out o' the water, and if he don't come I'll take a
stick an' go in there an' run him out."
Johnny stood beside the pond and grunted in
imitation of a young alligator. In a few minutes
two black dots appeared on the surface of tile water,
and, slowly rising, disclosed the eyes and the point
of the nose of an aligator. Johnny grunted again,
80 DICK IN TIE EVERGLADES
and the big mouth opened wide to take in the baby
'gator which the reptile thought he heard. Then the
horny ridges of the back began to appear, and soon
the whole body of the reptile lay on the surface.
Johnny whispered to Dick:
"Shoot him in that bump behind his eyes." Dick
took careful aim and fired. The alligator rolled
slowly over, with its yellow belly on top and its
four paws uplifted. Johnny waded into the pond
and dragged out the body of thle reptile, which Dick
helped him skin. When this had been done Johnny
ent iroi Ithe creature a round strip of white flesh,
about a foot long, beginning at ihe hild leg and
running toward the tail.
"Whal's that for?" said Dick.
"Fur dinner. 1 told ye we'd find 'nuff t' eat."
'Do you s'pose T'm going to eat that?"
"Sure 'nd yer going' ter like it."
'Then T wi-ls I hadn't helped skin it."
Just as the boys were leaving the pond they heard
a little grunt, and turning around saw a baby al-
ligator, less than two feet long, lying on the sur-
"Want ter ketch that alive?" asked Johnny.
"Can you do it?"
"I'1l show yer."
And Johnny took off his shoes and waded into
the pond. He waded about tlle pond, feeling in the
mud with is toes until he felt the reptile, when,
slipping his toes under it he lifted his foot sudden-
THE MEETING IN THE GLADES 81
ly and brought the alligator near enough to the sur-
face to be able to -eize him. Dick was delighted
with the captive, but was frank enough to say:
"Johnny, I said once that I could learn to do any-
thing that you could. T take that back. I couldn't
learn to do what you did then in a thousand years."
Johnny laughed and said:
"You'd do it this afternoon, and I'll bet on it."
Johnny tied a string around the jaws of their
little pet and handed it to Dick, who carried the
wiggly thing so awkwardly that Jolnny took it
back and, opening the bosom of his shirt, put the
alligator where he would have a soft bed and plenty
of room to prowl around.
"That's another thing I'd be scared to do," said
Johnny led tile way to a clump of palmettos be-
side a clear little spring and a nice shady bit of
ground, where they made a camp fire, after driving
away a family of moccasins that seemed to own the
place. A slice of alligator steak, nicely browned,
was served on a palmetto Ian i't Dick, who nibbled
squeamishly at the delicate morsel at first, but soon
handed back his leafy plate fur another helping.
"Wouldn't have believed it," said Dick, "but I
never tasted any better meatt"
"Wal till I cook ye a rattler. That beats fried
"No, thank you. I draw the line at snakes."
82 DICK IN THE EVERGLADES
"You drawed it at 'gators this morning Want
And Dick shamelessly passed up his plate.
The boys walked and waded several miles, until
they were near a heavily wooded tract, which
Jolnny said was cypress siamep. It was late in the
day, and they were about to t urn back when Dick
saw a turkey, which was holding her head half as
high as his own, step silently inln Ithe cover of the
woods, followed I:y half a dozen of her half-grown
brood. Johnny saw the birds almost as soon as
Dick, and exclaimed excitedly:
"We've get ter have one of them young turks if
it takes all night.
They entered the swamp and got sight of one of
the turkey' as he ran along a log, and they walked
to where they saw the bird. uily to get another
glimpse at about the same distance. Again they fol-
lowed the birds, this time as cautiously as if they
had been stalking hostile Indians. Often they saw
one or more of the turkeys, but never within easy
"'Better try a long shot. They're getting' wild,"
"No, you try 'em, Johnny; you're used to the
rifle and you're a better shot than 1, anyhow "
Johnny took the weapon, and his chance came
soon. One of the young birds lit on a stump within
long range of him and remained there until he had
taken a careful sight and fired. The bird fell, and