'Pcl~n~- J: 4
IN BISCAYNE BAY
CAROLINE WASHBURN ROCKWOOD
ILLUSTRATED WITH PHOTOGRAPHIC SKETCHES
BY THOMAS AVERY HINE
DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY
By DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY
All rights reserved
JOHNWI itN A S C I
JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE
ANNA WASHBURN AND THOMAS AVERY HINE
WHO INSPIRED THE IDEA, ENCOURAGED THE WORK, AND
MADE POSSIBLE THE COMPLETION OF THIS
STORY OF SOUTH FLORIDA
It is tebicattb
WITH AFFECTIONATE GRATITUDE
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
EARLY MORNING ........ Fre tipec
HAULING IN THE DEEP-SEA LEAD, ETC . ... 23
MOONLIGHT IN THE GULF STREAM . . .. 25
A DERELICT, ETC . . . .. 27
FOWEYS ROCK LIGHT . . . .. 31
"NETHLA" AT ANCHOR . . .. 39
A SPONGE AUCTION, ETC. . . . 57
COMING ABOARD, ETC . . ... 63
DATE-PALM IN KEY WEST . . . 67
" LITTLE NIGS . . . . 71
BAMBOO AND BETEL-NUT PALM . . 81
A FIVE-YEAR-OLD COCOANUT . . .. 85
ALONG SHORE AT COCOANUT GROVE . .. 103
MIAMI RIVER . . . . 09
A COCOANUT WALK . . .. . 121
BITS OF SOUTH FLORIDA ARCHITECTURE . 157
BEAR CUT BAR . . . .. 167
CABIN OF THE NETHLA". . . ... 171
THE EDGE OF THE GLADES. . . .. 187
A SASSY 'GATOR, ETC . .. . .... 191
THE EVERGLADES . . . . 195
AN INDIAN CANOE . . . 207
List of Illustrations.
SEMINOLE INDIANS ....
LAUNCHING THE SEINE BOAT . .
HAULING A SEINE ON THE BEACH . .
CHILLED FISH . . .
KEY WEST BILLY'S BOY . .
AN AFTERNOON'S CATCH OF BAY SNAPPERS .
A GROUP OF SEMINOLES . .
RETURN FROM KINGFISHING . .
FISHERMAN'S LUCK .. ...
A PALMETTO THATCH, ETC .
SITE OF OLD FORT LAUDERDALE .
THE "ARROW," ETC.......
"NETHLA" ... .
. . . 253
. . 271
. . 275
. . 279
. . 283
IN BISCAYNE BAY.
IT is hardly yet a year since Barton Kennard was shaken
out of the polite apathy incidental to the independent
New York bachelor, and involved in the experiences and
results of a yachting cruise in the coral-edged waters of the
Atlantic, that play about the South Florida keys and reefs,
and reflect the skies of that sunny clime. His nautical
knowledge having been limited previously to much the-
ory, as acquired in clubs, and such practice as comes
from short and luxurious coastings, well within the limits
of social recall, it followed that yachting among unknown
and far-removed regions and' conditions promised novelty,
if nothing else.
Kennard had travelled far and wide in foreign lands. He
had drained the cup of variety in his choice of temporary
abiding-places, in his investigations and his associations,
limited only by an extreme aversion to anything approach-
ing promiscuous crowds, and by a somewhat over-zealous
regard for personal comfort. As a callow lad of eighteen,
he had regarded a certain twice-removed cousin on his
In Biscayne Bay.
paternal relative's side as possessing the most uncommon
sense of any girl he had ever known. In fact, she was
the only girl that had ever interested him sufficiently to
induce him to call on her a dozen times; and when a
certain Tom Haines married her, without very much inter-
vening time between the wooing and the wedding, Barton
Kennard did his duty, like the gentleman he was: he
entertained the cousin-elect at his club, and sent the
bride a choice and dainty gift; but in his heart he voted
Haines a nuisance.
Happily for all concerned, this somewhat uncalled-for
and slenderly-founded estimate had no blighting effect upon
its unsuspecting object, and for several years after incur-
ring Barton Kennard's disapprobation, Haines's life moved
quietly and comfortably on, brightened and electrified, so
to speak, by the companionship of that cousin, whose rare
qualities as a woman, a companion, and an every-day, all-
the-time delight furnished most convincing proof of Ken-
nard's youthful perspicacity.
Nan Haines came of much the same stock that Barton
Kennard did,--a Puritan-stamped race, that still carried the
principles of their Calvinistic inheritance bravely, though
compelled by natural and blessed growth to recognize the
superior force of love over fear, gladness and trust over
self-doubtings and misgivings. She would have made
quite as first-class a martyr, when martyrs were the fash-
ion, as anyof the historic fuel-doomed, if there had been
no cooler and equally honourable way of defending her
principles; but she never wasted a moment of her pre-
In Biscayne Bay. I
cious life on the side of wilful and unnecessary discom-
fort, for herself or anybody else.
It does not matter what Nan's maiden name was, for it
is as the cousin of Barton Kennard and the wife of Tom
Haines that she has to do with this story, and as such,
that she won the hearts of all who knew her, by the
straightforward, unaffected manner which kept shams at a
respectful distance as effectually as it attracted all the rest
of the world. It never made the least difference to her
in whose presence she might be, so long as there was
anything in them worth knowing, or--what seemed to
answer her purpose equally well--anything she could do
to make them worth knowing.
In fact, Barton Kennard was wise when he recognized in
his Cousin Nan a rare bit of womankind, and he envied
Tom Haines as the man who carried off the prize. Tom
Haines's portrait should be painted with a firm touch
and a keen sense of the difference between force and
heaviness. Conservative, impatient of all artificialities, in-
dependent and practical as he gloried in being, he pos-
sessed the soul of an artist, the tastes of an aristocrat,
and the tenderness possible only to the strongest and
Photography, as a common ground of fascination, inves-
tigation, and investment, was the prime means of introdu-
cing to each other Tom Haines and Ralph Littleton. They
met in a New York establishment for photographic supplies,
where they were both hunting for anything but each other.
Both men were about equally tired of the "shoreless,
12 In Biscayne Bay.
bottomless, and tideless." monotony of business routine
and city turmoil. Both were born yachtsmen, young, fear-
less, and venturesome.
So it came to pass, a few months after their first meeting,
that Nan Haines saw them sail away, out of the chill and
dreariness of a late autumn day, and, five months later,
welcomed them back, listened to their enthusiastic reports
of the Southern climate, the Italian skies, the wonderfully
tinted waters, the lavish charms of hommock tangle, fruit,
and flower, all of which were set forth and verified by
stacks of photographs, taken on the spot" by one or
both of them, until she yielded to the intoxication of the
craze, and declared herself not only quite ready but eager
to turn her back upon civilization, and with them devote
herself to the pursuit of whatever they decided would con-
duce most to their individual health, wealth, and happiness.
This offer was unanimously accepted, after all the prob-
able drawbacks to a woman's pioneering had been un-
availingly set before her.
"Don't say another word about it unless you wish to
hurt my feelings," quoth Nan Haines. "Where Tom goes
I go; and that's all there is about it."
"All right, Nan," said her husband. "We should hate to
go without you; but it would n't be fair to take you away
from everybody and everything you have been used to,
without warning you of the loneliness and the roughness
and, the newness of it all."
Nan Haines smiled brightly as she answered, by way of
dismissing the subject,-
In Biscayne Bay. 13
"If you are the captain, Tom dear, and Mr. Littleton is
the commodore of our fleet, I need not anticipate absolute
desolation; and as for the rest, I '11 risk it."
So they went forth into the new world of tropical trea-
sures, which lay rioting in warmth and perpetual sunshine,
to lay the foundations for much more than their own loftiest
reaches of imagination could even outline; and Nan's old
friend and cousin lost sight of the one girl that ever had
approached his ideal of a perfect woman.
,.w .r.x i n--. I
T HE position of a man of leisure is or is not desirable
according to one's way of filling it.
Barton Kennard was educated with a vast deal more
regard for the value of time than of money. Doubtless,
the fact that he had never known any lack of the latter
substance explained his indifference to it, -just as his
mother's training and example explained his estimate of
the precious, unpurchasable hours, of which she was never
known to have enough for her tireless benevolence and
good works. Too well aware of her views to permit him-
self any extravagance of indolence during his youth, the
habits of study and travel were early established; and his
twenty-eighth birthday found him somewhat at a loss
where to turn his steps for the rapidly approaching winter
months which always made New York undesirable.
In glancing through a society journal, one morning, Ken-
nard's attention was attracted by an article concerning a cu-
rious and celebrated ring, which was bought by an hidalgo
from an emir for a white mare." The article went on to
state that "this ring had been stolen by the famous brigand
Henriquez from the Marquis of Arora, and bartered an
hour before the rascal's death upon the gallows for a glass
of brandy; and the Duchess of Medina-Corla also once
In Biscayne Bay. 15
treasured it and lost with it her love and her reason. It
was a circlet of magnificent sapphires, and seemed to pos-
sess a subtle, protective charm for its owner."
Dropping the paper in his lap, Kennard's thoughts
wandered through a labyrinth of memories.
"Where have I heard of this ring before?" he queried.
Rising slowly, and crossing the room to a wall cabinet of
solid old oak bound with iron, he unlocked it, and opened
a drawer lined with black velvet and flashing with curios.
Set and unset gems, crystals, wrought gold and silver, his-
toric medals in metal and stone, damascene, pearl, ivory,
and mosaic work lay in a blinding splendour of prismatic
colour before him, representing years of careful gleaning
and trained taste.
The trend of his fancy had always been toward art
rather than nature,- toward the inanimate, irresponsive,
senseless works of men's hands, rather than any living
loveliness. He revelled in history and tradition. His fancy
delighted in the thoughts that thronged upon him under
the shadows of hoary cathedrals, in the chill suggestiveness
of the catacombs, and amidst, the relics of ancient gods and
Truth to tell, Kennard knew as little of his own heart
as when, in the first hour of his motherless sorrow, he had
taken that holy love for the Alpha and Omega of all love,
and turned his eyes from women. Loving art alone, he
was always at peace, always sure of the unchangeableness
of his treasure, always dignified by the possession and in-
spiration of these faithful, ever-waiting beauties. And now,
z6 In Biscayne Bay.
standing in his luxurious room, with the masterly touch of
art apparent on every side, in tapestry, paintings, and
statuary, noble in their avoidance of superfluity, restful
in their individual perfection, he seemed the very incar-
nation of cold, polished, elegant research.
Taking up one article after another, as if looking for
a particular object, Kennard finally pushed the drawer back,
locked the cabinet door, and with lowered head and slow
even step paced up and down the length of the room, not
even noticing the overtures of his favorite collie.
A familiar step upon the stairs and a resounding rap at
the door interrupting his thoughts at this apparently un-
satisfactory point of introspection, Kennard looked up with
a quick brightening of face, as if sure of some timely
pleasure close at hand, and shouted cordially,-
"Come in, Larry as he hastened to meet the tall,
athletic fellow who opened the door. "How are you?
I am delighted to see you again. Upon my word,
That's nice. In fact it is just what my timid, shrinking
nature craves, dear fellow," murmured the manliest of
voices, in an affected falsetto that aptly pointed its own
Kennard smiled again, as he regarded the height, width,
and muscular mightiness of his favorite friend. Sit down,
then, and give an account of yourself. Have a cigar? No!
too early for a drink, and too late for breakfast? Well,
where do you hail from last, my vagabond? "
Time evidently was no object to the "vagabond." He
In Biscayne Bay. 17
stooped his six feet two to pet Tatters, surveyed the pleas-
ant apartment with the eye of a connoisseur, and by slow
stages finally reached the most comfortable lounging-chair
in the room, and stretched himself in its depths as if to stay.
"Last? Let me see. How last? -an hour, a day, or a
week ? Command me, old chappie, but be more explicit.
I am here to confess, as usual."
Barton Kennard inspected his guest, keenly. Behind that
mask of indifference and elegant indolence he read all the
signs of disquietude and unrest that demanded and yet
postponed sympathy. Larry is in trouble again," he
thought. An expression of amused perplexity passed over
his face as he answered: Oh, begin at the beginning and
go all through to the bitter end, Larry, for I suppose it
is the same old story. I have not seen you for six weeks,
and then you were quite convalescent; but you look worse
than ever again. 'Pon my word, I should think you'd
get as used to it as eating."
Humph I" growled the Vagabond. Little do you know
about it, you devotee to idols of silver and gold and pre-
cious stones! I tell you what it is, my good fellow, when
your time does come it will be my turn to laugh and
play the fatherly act; and I think I deserve to enjoy that
superior position ere I die."
A portentous sigh followed this somewhat suggestive
remark, and Lawrence Barrymore-more commonly known
as Lal, Larry, Cyclops, Rex, and a few other titles and cog-
nomens, equally well suited to his proportions, possessions,
or peculiar characteristics frowned ominously.
18 In Biscayne Bay.
You do not seem particularly to enjoy your own supe-
riority over my choice of idols," laughed Kennard, slyly.
"Oh, go on! You know you've got to tell me all about
it. Or shall I do it for you? Well, here goes: Country-
houses, riding, driving, moonlight walks, talks, etc.; cere-
mony, luxury, intellectual feasts and flows; ethical discus-
sions, special discoveries in soul sympathy; doubts, fears,
misapprehensions, misplaced affections Shall I proceed,
Larry listened patiently. When the cynical sketch
came to an end he only smiled, somewhat sadly to
be sure, but still he smiled.
Kennard regarded him with increased curiosity. "What
ever is the matter, Rex? Are you in earnest this time, or
are you too much bored to enjoy talking it over? "
The Vagabond tapped his number ten soles with a walk-
ing-stick, and thoughtfully regarded the tiles in the floor
as he answered, -
I believe I don't feel like talking, after all, old chappie.
Would you mind coming away with me for a month or
two? I am 'weary, so weary' of people, dancing, dining,
calling, driving, and all the rest of it. Why not run down
the coast, on one of the Galveston steamers, and cruise
about the Florida keys? We shall have peace and quiet,
pleasant weather, and perhaps some good fishing and shoot-
ing. By Jove! I am quite pleased with my inspiration.
Will you go?"
"Yes, gladly. I was just wondering what to do with
myself; but the trouble is, I cannot come back in the
In Biscayme Bay. 19
middle of winter, and you will want to. What is to
become of me?"
Oh, if I leave you, I will not take my tub or my man.
He can cook, and can pilot you anywhere, for he belongs
down there; and the 'Arrow' is large enough to be com-
fortable on. I will get her ready at once, and she can
go on the same steamer with us. That's settled, and I
feel better." And, forthwith, Tatters found himself stand-
ing on his head, balanced by Larry's. strong hand, and in-
stantly vindicated the discernment of his sponsor by a
torrent of joyous yelps and barks which fittingly expressed
his relief at the dispelling of his old friend's unwonted
"When shall we start?" asked Kennard.
"I can be ready in ten days. That will be a month
too early, though, for South Florida. It is hardly wise to
go before the first of November. Suppose we cruise about
here for a little, to kill time, and get off to Florida about
Very well. Anything, to get out of the city; I be-
lieve I am more than usually tired of it. Are there not
some possibilities for me around the Florida coast, upon
some of those keys where the old Spaniards and French
and Indians used to wreck vessels and bury treasure?
Wait a minute!" and Kennard struck his forehead with
quite tragic force. "Why, I believe you have offered the
very opportunity that I have been searching for, mentally,
for the last hour. Did not Ponce de Leon land some-
where down there? I am on the trail of a ring that he
20 In Biscayne Bay.
lost; and do you know, I believe it is just as likely to be
on one of those keys as anywhere else. Here, read
Larry took the paper and read the story of the wonder-
ful ring. Well, Ken, I fancy you are just about as likely
to find your heart's desire where we are going as I am.
However, the jolliest thing about this extremely unac-
countable orbit is its unaccountableness."
They chattered on for another hour; but when Larry
Barrymore took his leave it was decided that whatever
methods might be taken for killing time before the first
of November, they would then (Deo volentc) sail on the
good ship Comal" for Key West, with Barrymore's launch
and steward at hand, for as long or short a cruise in South-
ern waters as should prove agreeable.
N exact proportion to Barton Kennard's recent indiffer-
ence as to where his wintering should be, did circum-
stances seem to combine fairly to compel him to make
the Southern tour so impulsively suggested by Larry
Barrymore. His friends warned him against the inferiority
of the steamer lines, the unreliability of Hatteras, the
stupidity of Key West, and the solitudes of the flat coral
keys and reefs, but without avail. His word was given;
Larry had made all ready, and depended upon him. The
underlying chance of finding, his long-sought-for talisman
had a subtile charm of its own; and at any rate, it would
be a new and fairly untrodden ground, and there would be
no society obligations to meet. So the 2d of November
found them steaming down the East River, with Larry's
naptha-launch snugly stowed on the forward deck and
his man Jack in attendance.
The cabin-passengers were few in number, and not
particularly interesting. They consisted of some Cubans
going back to Key West, after a Northern visit; two drum-
mers on their way to Mexico; one or two ranchmen
en route to Texas; and a little group of New Englanders,
whose names on the passengers' list read, "L. W. Brooks
and party, Boston," but whose personalities remained as
In Biscayw Bay.
unfamiliar as their names, nonto of them appearing during
Larry seemed very much as r sual; and both men found
Captain John capital company rwhen he could be got at,
and the forward part of the ship more to their liking than
any other. There was little excitement to either of them
in watching the daily operations of heaving the lead, or
hauling in the deep-sea lead, tb.ogh the performance of
these duties never failed to attract a group of on-lookers.
Hatteras behaved in the most, exemplary manner, and
the leaden skies and chill November winds of the North-
ern coast melted little by little iamto brightness and com-
fortable warmth, so that by th time they were parallel
with the Carolinas the shadowed nooks and corners about
deck were agreeable and always in demand. The nights
were wonderful. A golden moon suffused everything
with a radiance that idealized the commonest objects,
and converted the wake of the Iteamer into a ceaselessly
quivering, dancing trail of limpid liquid loveliness.
Kennard had never referred to Larry's unusual reserve
concerning the experiences of histtrecent summer campaign
among the country-houses that always claimed him for
those weeks, but he could nm: help feeling curious.
Something more than usual h s certainly happened to
the boy," he thought.
Larry seemed to have discovered the principle of per-
petual motion within himself. Fown morning until night
he paced the decks, when notr watching the steerage
passengers, or running back abd forth in behalf of
In Biscayne Bay. 25
needy creatures more or less overcome by old ocean,
even in his most gentle mood. Sometimes it was a
forlorn woman with a young child, whose weight threat-
ened to capsize both, that Larry's strong arm would rescue,
and his cheery voice encourage. Give me the little one,
26 In Biscayx Bay.
Madam. You are not strong enough to carry such a fine
fellow. Now, just let me tuck him into this corner and
put this cushion close to him so! There, sir, you can
look at your mother all you like; but mind you behave,
or I'll be after you!" And with lifted hat and a more
interested expression than any belle could have won, Larry
would stride on to make some one else comfortable.
Kennard enjoyed lounging, and often rallied the
Vagabond upon his abnormal activity," as he called it.
Good gracious, man! I am worn out watching you.
One would think you were paid a salary to make the
Comal' popular. An awful pity there is n't a pretty
girl among us; then I could understand your devotion
to the cause."
I would stick to my berth until we were ready to land
if there were a girl on the ship," growled Larry, with sudden
and most unusual curtness; and in another moment his
receding steps evidenced his renewal of the war-path.
"Least said, soonest mended," mused Kennard, wise in
his day and generation. He had known Larry Barrymore
for years. At least half a dozen times had he been called
upon to pull the big fellow through an afaire du ceur,
and each time had he been alternately touched, amused,
and amazed at the susceptibility, sentimentality, and
recuperative faculty of his patient. Nothing would have
surprised him, in the way of flirtations and escapades;
but his silence was an entirely new phase, and that,
Kennard felt pretty certain, time would break. But the
days passed on, the nights fell upon the Gulf Stream, the
In Biscayne Bay. 29
mornings blushed rosy red under a Southern sun, and
yet Kennard waited.
One day, as a magnificent sunset was painting the west
in more gorgeous colouring than any Turner, Larry stood,
tall and straight, against the captain's cabin, looking out
over the sea as if his whole great heart were drawn from
him to some object beyond the sight of mortal eye.
Kennard interrupted his revery. "Look, Larry! did
you ever see anything so peaceful as that old derelict,
swaying back and forth in this wonderfully tinted water,
with those clouds for a background? It makes me hungry
for palette and brushes, though it does seem almost an
impertinence to touch such a subject with any hand less
inspired than a master's."
Larry started as if from a dream, and sighed heavily.
Don't laugh, Ken; but honestly, I feel as though that
battered old wreck was a striking illustration of myself.
'Pon my word, I do. I suppose I ought to be seventy or
eighty years old to make that comparison seem suitable;
but I feel old enough, Heaven knows! And pulling himself
together in evident resentment at his momentary loss of
self-control, the Vagabond turned away before another
word was said, and directly he could be heard around the
corner, chaffing the second mate.
That night was the last at sea. Early in the morning,
long before sunrise, and while the moon still held full sway,
Fowey Rocks Light could be seen, and Larry, in strict
neglige, and absorbed in his own thoughts, sauntered
back and forth in the shadow of the staterooms on the
In Biscayne Bay.
port side of the ship. His tread was noiseless, for the
Vagabond never forgot the comfort of others, and only
a thin wall separated him from the Brooklets, as he styled
the unknown passengers. Occasionally he would stop to
watch the clear gleam from the lighthouse, as it fell
across the more brilliant moonlight, with which it vainly
competed. The real thing is the only thing that counts,
after all," he soliloquized.
Exchanging greetings with a sailor as he passed, upon
his duty intent, Larry looked after him with a feeling
extremely akin to envy. He is perfectly satisfied with
his life; does his work, gets hungry, has plenty to eat,
gets tired, sleeps like a baby, earns enough money for
it to feel like a man, and wants nothing better! Now,
that is worth while. Confound it all! what is the use of
my going all over this business every five minutes?" and
again he would dash off, as if to catch up with his old self.
At noon on the fourth day they arrived at their desti-
nation, and preparations for lowering the Arrow and get-
ting all their traps into her so absorbed both Larry and
Kennard that all the passengers had landed and disappeared
before they knew it.
We shall never know what the Brooklets look like,"
quoth the former, as he shook hands with courteous
Captain John. It is really quite tantalizing!"
No one knows but you may, after all," said the captain;
"at least one of them, who is going up the coast. You
are not likely to get into any such crowd up there that you
can help running across her, either."
In Biscayne Bay. 33
"Her!" exclaimed Kennard, in an interested tone that
"Yes, the nicest little her I have ever seen on this ship,"
answered the captain; but all further remarks upon the
subject were cut short by his being suddenly summoned
away to attend to his duties. A jolly time to you," he
called back, as he disappeared, "and be sure to find her."
W HILE Barton Kennard and the Vagabond were
overlooking the lowering of the Arrow" from the
forward deck of the "Comal," the other cabin-passengers
were dispersing in all directions, after having escaped the
dangers of a gang-plank placed at an angle of forty-five
degrees, an importunate rush of Jehus, and the counter-
current of waiting and impatient friends, many of whom
insisted upon imperilling the lives of all concerned by
meeting the objects of their welcome in the very midst
of their descent from the ship's side.
The Cubans came out like brilliant flowers after a storm,
brave in heavy velvets and jet, with feathers and laces
setting forth their peculiarly striking complexions, and
their voices raised in shrill greetings to their home and
kindred. The genial old Irish gentleman, who was bound
for New Mexico, bowed his adieux to the little woman
with the baby, whose husband waited for her on the dock
below; and she returned his courtliness with a vigour
and good cheer as complimentary to her better half as
"Faith, I never would have belaved that the sight of
dhry land and a look at the husband could make such a
different body of her," muttered the old fellow, with an
In Biscayne Bay. 35
appreciative smile.. "She's younger by ten years, and
not at all bad-looking."
Quite apart from the others, and as if expectant, stood a
group of four. The man of the party held a tourist's glass
to his eyes, through which he was inspecting both harbour
and land. The eldest of the three women leaned against
the ship's rail, intently watching the faces of the surging
crowd below, while the two .younger seemed absorbed in
each other with the tremulous tenderness of an impending
and painful separation. They were the Brooklets, -or
more respectfully speaking, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Brooks,
of Boston, their niece, Margaret Grey, and her friend Zilla
Boston was written all over the Brookses. They could n't
help it, any more than they could help using the broadest
of a's in their pronunciation. For generations back they
had lived and breathed that atmosphere, east wind, sym-
phony concerts, and all the rest of it. Margaret Grey had
gone through the various educational phases of a Beacon
Hill infant, child, girl, and debutante. She had enjoyed
the unbuyable advantages of a Cecilia Club membership,
had figured prominently as one of Lang's most promis-
ing amateur pupils, had permitted her high-bred face
to become immortalized by Porter's skilful brush, and
her high-bred name to become associated with amateur
theatricals, when assured of an aristocratic audience; had
presided at Beacon Hill and Back Bay teas, sung at musi-
cales, and danced at balls, until a trip to the City of Mex-
ico, or some other place with an equally salubrious climate,
36 In Biscayne Bay.
had become a necessity to her impaired nerves and
Zilla Carlyle had shared Margaret's studies and pleas-
ures at the select school on Mount Vernon Street, and
had spent many gay weeks both at the Grey's Chestnut
Street house and at the Brookses' summer home on the
Massachusetts coast. So it happened quite naturally that
she should gladly seize the opportunity of Mr. and Mrs.
Brooks's kindly protection and Margaret's companionship
as far as Key West, where she was to leave them for a
yachting cruise with her cousins the Haineses, upon the
Nethla; and it was for the Captain and Cousin Nan that
both Mr. and Mrs. Brooks were so eagerly looking, while
the two girls whispered their final confidences.
"I do wish, dear, that you did not look so white
and wan," said Zilla. It spoils all my pleasure to have
you out of it, and makes me wretched to know that you
Margaret stroked the slender hand that lay on her arm,
as she half stood and half leaned against the side of the
upper saloon. "Don't worry about me, dear child. I
shall get my roses back before long. There will be noth-
ing to worry me in these new places we are going to,
and I shall rest."
Zilla looked at her friend keenly. "I think- I am almost
sure that you need something more than rest. Margaret,
why will you not trust me, before we part? Have I ever
failed in love and loyalty to you, in all the years of our
In Biscayne Bay. 37
"Never, Zilla; and I would willingly and gladly trust
anything to you. But"-and the dark eyes grew moist
and the pale lips trembled -" there really is nothing to
tell, dear, except that I have grown into a weak, hysteri-
cal creature, such as I always have felt nothing but con-
tempt for. Perhaps it is a just punishment for my pride
and self-sufficiency," she added, as she drew herself up and
furtively wiped her eyes. "At any rate, I am determined
to get the better of my nerves, if it takes a year to do it."
Zilla did not look satisfied; but perceiving that any fur-
ther pursuance of the subject would be intrusive, she only
kissed her friend, and turned to see if her relatives were
anywhere in sight.
"What in the world are you going to do, Zilla dear?"
asked Mrs. Brooks. "We can see nothing of the 'Nethla'
here in the harbour, and nothing of Captain or Mrs. Haines.
Did they advise you where to go, in case you should reach
here before them?"
Oh, yes, Mrs. Brooks. I have the address of friends
of theirs. But there is Cousin Nan! right down there
behind those Cubans, in a grayish-blue yachting-dress
and cap. Don't you see her? And there is the Captain,
too. Oh, I am so relieved!"
And then followed the arrival on deck of the Haineses,
the interchanging of greetings and good-bys, a reitera-
tion of good wishes on all sides, and Zilla's departure.
The Nethla' is only a short distance from here, though
she is not in sight," said the Captain. "Will you ride
38 In Biscayne Bay.
Oh, please let me walk. It is such a luxury to be on
terra firma once more," cried Zilla, and then blushed at
her want of tact in thus revealing her lack of the true
nautical spirit. "I am dreadfully afraid I shall be a very
poor guest for you," she added, too honest to hide her
misgivings. "I was not able to raise my head all the way
down, though they said it was a very smooth passage, and
I have never spent any time on a yacht in my life; but
if I prove a nuisance, all you have to do is to ship me
North again, you know. Oh, what a quaint street! and
how clear the air is! I feel like another creature
Nan Haines hastened to reassure her young cousin.
"Don't worry about us, my dear. If you do not enjoy
life on the 'Nethla' we shall not keep you in misery; but
it is quite different from being on an ocean steamer,
and I think you will get used to it very quickly. I
am a miserable sailor, but more at home on our little
yacht than anywhere in the world. When we turn this
next corner you will see her. There! Gus is waiting
At this moment they came in full view of the harbour
again, and there, in the emerald water, lay a snow-white
yacht, with the sunlight touching the gold balls on her
masts, the gold tracery on bow and stern, and her brass
finishings; her colours were flying, everything was as trim
as a soldier on parade, and the awning over the cockpit
added an effect of shade and comfort that completed the
1 ''' ?4
In Biscayne Bay. 4x
"Oh, what a darling!" cried Zilla. "Why, Cousin
Nan, I never dreamed of such luxury. Why did you not
tell me that the 'Nethla' was like that?"
Zilla's surprise was, evidently, extremely pleasurable.
Her eyes danced with delight, and she seemed on tip-toe
The Captain having stayed to attend to the baggage, they
did not wait for him, but were immediately transferred to
the yacht by the picturesque Gus, who doffed his Nethla"
cap in acknowledgment of their arrival, and in five minutes
brought them to the gangway, where the steward waited
to assist them on board.
Welcome to the Nethla,' Zilla dear," said Cousin Nan,
as she waved her toward the companion-way. "Go below,
and see if you think you can stow yourself and your
belongings in such snug quarters for a while."
Zilla quickly descended, at the same time involuntarily
bending her head.
"Stand up! stand up, dearie! cried her hostess.
"There is plenty of room. You will have to grow about
eight inches before you need stoop in this cabin."
The mistress of the Nethla quite gloried in the lofti-
ness of her floating castle, and never permitted any one to
bend one's head unless one was abnormally tall. Now she
stood in the companion-way, with the air of one well used
to the situation, as Zilla proceeded to inspect the dainty
cabin, accompanying herself with little cries, exclamations,
and gestures of admiration, and shall it be acknowl-
edged? -yes, relief. At last she sank into a rocking-
In Biscayne Bay.
chair, threw aside her sailor hat, fanned her flushed face,
and again viewing her surroundings, said, -
"Just to think of all the doubts and fears I have been
cherishing ever since I accepted your invitation! It posi-
tively makes me blush. I feel as though I ought to beg
your pardon! There is nothing rough about this cabin.
It is a charming little drawing-room. But where in the
world are we all going to sleep and eat; and where do
you keep all your clothes ?"
Zilla's powers of speech gave out completely when she
was shown the secrets of lockers, lounges turned into sleep-
ing-bunks, the cabin transformed into admirable staterooms
for four people by heavy portiires, the oaken dining-table,
which hung in folded leaves from the sides of the centre-
board-trunk when not needed, the little library with its
book-racks, Nethla stationary etc., and all the devices for
economy of space peculiar to nautical life.
Oh, how I do wish the Brookses and Madge could
see it!" she sighed, at last. "How long do you think
they will be at the wharf ?"
"I think the 'Comal' is just blowing the warning whistle."
Do they go by us when they start off ? "
"No. They go out by the same channel that they
entered the harbour."
I'm sorry for that. Well, I shall try to write them all
about it; but I never can make them understand one half
how charming it all is."
Nan Haines smiled as she thought to herself that
perhaps, after all, Zilla might be able to sustain life upon
In Biscayne Bay. 43
the Nethla" for a while. She was very fond of the young
girl; in fact, she delighted in everything that was sweet
and fresh and bright, and had a special affection for this
child of her mother's only sister, whose name and face
and ways constantly recalled the days of her own child-
hood and the aunt who had embodied to her almost every
The Captain, too, was as pleased as she at the prospect
of having Zilla with them. He did not fancy everybody.
Indeed, his likes and dislikes were pronounced, and his
reasons for both strictly his own; but he never inflicted
his prejudices upon any one, and it was only those few
who knew him best who appreciated their force.
When Zilla's mother died, her father had gladly accepted
Nan Haines's urgent request that the child should be left
in her charge during his absence abroad; and before his
return, which was not for two years, both Nan and her
husband had become so attached to little Z, as they grew
into the habit of calling her, that if they could have had
their way she never would have left them. Now that
she was through with school, they lost no time in claim-
ing her for as long as she cared to stay on the "Nethla; "
and while never venturing to suggest any plans beyond
the present, they both indulged in the hope that she might
be induced to give a large share of her time and society
to them in their Northern home, after the weather grew
mild enough to return.
Mrs. Haines was scarcely through with Zilla's introduc-
tion to her new home, when the Captain arrived with her
44 In Biscayne Bay.
trunks and wraps. Well, little woman, what do you think
of your quarters ?" he asked, as he affectionately patted her
upon the head.
"Perfect!" she replied with enthusiasm, snuggling up
to him in the old-time fashion. I need n't be grown up
with you, need I ?" she pleaded.
"Never! he promptly answered, as he encircled her
with his strong arm, while his wife exclaimed, -
"Why, childie, you always have been little Z, and I
rather think you always will be, to us."
The promised land is the land where one is not. AMIEL.
ZILLA CARLYLE had scarcely opened her eyes the
morning after her arrival upon the Nethla," and had
not yet gotten her bearings, when a curious sound like the
puffing of a giant tea-kettle excited first her attention and
then her curiosity to such an extent that, in spite of the
delicious lethargy of the early hour, she tumbled out of her
bunk and looked through the port upon the emerald waters
of Key West Harbour at the exact moment that his majesty
the sun popped above the eastern horizon and dashed
everything with pink and gold. She could see several
spongers lying at anchor off shore, while within the limits
of her outlook, various boats, rafts, and dingeys shot back
and forth, propelled by oars, poles, or paddles, and bearing
cargoes as unfamiliar and indiscriminate as the men or
boys in charge of them.
Negroes, Cubans, Conchs, and natives, of all shades,
sizes, and sorts, clothed and unclothed, were beginning the
labours of the day with much noise of song and laughter,
greetings and animadversions.
Hi, yer black nigger dare! Wat chew doin' wid dat
heap o' trash?." shouted an ebony Sampson to a passing
sponger, in mellifluous sub-base.
46 In Biscayne Bay.
The answer came promptly, and Zilla laughed softly to
herself as she heard it: -
Bress yer, Jim! I 'se got mo' money en my pocket dis
time dan yer eber seed en all yer misable eghistence, sar!
Yas, when I goes fer sponges, I don't do no foolin' roun',
an' don't chew forgit it! I jess combusticates dem yere
projuches o' nachure an' sails off wid de hole community,
I does. Yah, yah!"
The last voice well matched the first, but its owner was
a tatterdemalion of a Goliath, his jawbone being his main
weapon of offence, and his impudence his sole wealth. The
scow over which he presided, and which he was sculling to
shore with a battered old stick, looked as if it had been
through veritable wars of tempest and flood, and the
cargo matched the ship and the crew; but it is a question
if this ebony-hued, animated rag-bag could not give
points in happy-go-lucky contentment to thousands of his
Zilla took all this in like a flash, while trying to discover
the cause of that curious hissing sound which had roused
her from her dreams. It had constantly gained in volume,
and now seemed more like a small locomotive or a bit of
a tug-boat; but still nothing was in sight that seemed in any
way connected with this disturbing element of the fair
morning scene. Just as she was turning away, however,
her waiting was rewarded by the appearance of a natty
little craft about thirty feet long and eight feet wide, that
seemed to be a combination of naptha-launch and sailing-
yacht, and was flying the Larchmont colours and the private
In Biscayne Bay. 47
signals of our friend the Vagabond, while her general
appearance unmistakably stamped her as the plaything
of a wise and experienced cruiser.
At the instant of the Arrow's appearance, Jack, the fac-
totum of the little ship, was at the helm, while Larry and
Kennard were still making their toilets within the shelter-
ing walls of the cabin. As Zilla was peering out of her
tiny port, they were doing the same thing on the Arrow; "
and if the wind had not been exactly the wrong way, she
might have heard Larry's voice as he summoned Kennard
to a hasty inspection of the "Nethla."
"Hullo! here is somebody's yacht. Come and see her.
I wonder where she came from and where she is going.
She looks like a flyer, does n't she?"
Kennard nearly knocked his head off in his forgetfulness
of the extra inches not provided for by the dimensions of
Larry's cabin, but got to his port just in time to see the
golden word Nethla" across the white stern, and repeated
it slowly, as if trying to recall something.
"N-e-t-h-l-a; where have I seen that name lately? Yes,
she's a daisy. 'Nethla,' he mused. I 'll tell you,
old man!" he cried at last, after a brief but intent intro-
spection. I believe that is the Haineses' yacht. It never
came into my head until this blessed moment that Nan and
her husband are down in these parts somewhere. They
come down every winter; and I believe they own a lot
of land, cocoanut-groves, keys, and pine-apple fields along
the coast. I have been so constantly on the go for the last
few years that I have lost sight of them, and am not at all
48 In Biscayne Bay.
sure that either of them will rejoice over my' bobbing up in
this quarter of the earth; but unless my cousin Nan has
wonderfully and most unpleasantly changed since I saw
her last, she will give us a welcome, and Captain Haines
knows more about this coast than the government survey-
ors ever found out. What do you say to lying by a day or
two and paying our respects? "
By the time Kennard had finished his investigations,
conclusions, and suggestions, the "Arrow had taken them
well on their way toward the outlet of the harbour, and
Larry had resumed the finishing touches to his dress, with
a precision and absorption that evidenced no particular
interest in the Nethla" or her owner. When called
upon to answer Kennard's question, he only said, with ill-
concealed indifference, -
Just as you like, Ken."
"But I 'm not going to impose my relatives upon you,
Lal, if you would rather not stop. We neither of us care
much for company just now, I know; and"-looking some-
what puzzled "I am afraid you are not inclined to make
an exception in favour even of my jolly cousin. I think,
after all, we had better carry out our original plan, and see
what we can find along the keys." And as if considering
the subject finally settled, Kennard proceeded to apply two
abnormally developed brushes in swift, alternate passes
across his thick mane, as he called the wavy mass of copper-
brown hair, which glinted in the morning light like polished
This amiable setting aside of his own wishes, however,
In Biscayne Bay. 49
produced an instant and unlocked for effect upon impulsive
"What a nuisance you must find me, Ken!" he cried,
laying his hand upon Kennard's shoulder with a sort of
appealing tenderness. "Much worse, even, than ever be-
fore," he added, though in a questioning tone that suggested
the hope of contradiction. However, he did not wait for
any assurance to the contrary, even if it had been forth-
coming, but put his head up the companion-way and en-
tered into a conversation with his man.
"Jack, what is the outlook for a good run to-day?"
"First-rate, sar; er fair wind, after we git out uf their
harbour, ef yer like ter sail, or er good day fer steamin'.
We ought ter make sixty or seventy miles by three o'clock,
end ef yer want ter see Long Key, hev three hours uf
daylight ter dew et en, after thet."
What is there to see, there? "
"A purty well grown cocoanut plantation, sar. Ther
best anywhere 'bout here. Some folks likes ter pick up
shells on their beach; end, onct I took er party uf North-
erners there ter see er new kind uf palm-tree thet they
say don't grow nowhere else."
Larry did not seem to be much interested. Evidently
his mind was wandering.
"Do you know who owns the white yacht we just
passed?" he asked.
"Ther 'Nethla'? Yas, sar. She wuz down here' two
year ago, when I wuz weth Commodore Littleton. I guess
she stays here summers end es only used winters. She es
In Biscayne Bay.
counted their best boat south uf Augustine, end es all
rigged out fine."
"Well, who owns her? interrupted Larry.
"Cap'n Haines, sar. He es er New York man thet hes
bought er lot uf land all along their keys, end up ter Cocoa-
nut Grove, end belongs ter their Biscayne Bay Yacht Club,
end es er picture crank -"
"A what ?" again interrupted Larry.
"Wall, one uf these fellers thet es always travellin' roun'
weth er box end er three-legged consarn, like en Italyan
weth er orgin, end takin' photographs uf most everything
he can get er pop at. They say he beats all at et tew,
sar. Ther last time I wuz up Biscayne Bay, I used ter
see their Injuns paddling up ter his boat, end he would
go ashore end set um end take um, easy as kiss yer
hand. I know his cook, and got er look at some uf um.
Miss Haines, she always goes along tew. Prob'bly they
air goin' up purty soon, now. Leastways, they most gen-
erally make er short stop here. Thes place ain't no
Larry smiled at the contempt conveyed in the man's
tones as well as words, and turning to Kennard, who had
also been an amused as well as interested listener, said:
Let us stay and see your friends, if you are in the
least inclined to. You hear what Jack says. There is
no doubt about the identity of your cousins and the
Nethla-ites; and they must be mighty queer people if
they are not glad to see you. There is no need of my
intruding upon them. If they are going to Biscayne Bay
In Biscayne Bay. 51
I shall have opportunities there of extending to them the
hospitalities of the 'Arrow,' through you."
No, no! Many thanks, Lal, but, as you say, we can
hunt them up later. I am in no hurry, except for my
breakfast. Let's drop anchor pretty soon. That cup of
coffee was prime, but not sufficiently staying, my dear
So the "Arrow" was brought home for a brief stop,
and an hour later set out again on the cruise, which to
one at least of its passengers was an eager pursuit of for-
getfulness, and escape from that sometime bitter shadow,
A S the "Arrow" passed across Zilla Carlyle's horizon
seven bells sounded, and the voice of the Captain
directly followed, in the cheeriest of morning salutations,
at her stateroom door. Ahoy there, little woman The
top o' the morning to you. Hurry out, and let me rejoice
in the light of your blessed countenance!"
"In half a minute !" gaily responded the "little woman,"
ignoring the fact of her present unbegun toilet and the
equally unquestionable fact that she was never known to
dress in less than three quarters of an hour. To be sure,
the long golden braids could hang unfettered and unpinned,
and the yachting-dress was a simple matter to put on.
By dint of energetic and concentrated attention to the
business at hand, the half minute became but fifteen
whole ones (which the Captain declared "was not half
bad for a woman"), and Zilla appeared, sweet, fresh, and
fair, to claim the affectionate morning greetings of her
To be twenty years old, well-born, well-bred, and pleas-
ant to look upon are each and all subjects of congratula-
tion and sources of joy, not only to the possessor but to
all within the influence of those charms. Zilla had fallen
heir to all the graces that result from a double line of
ancestral culture and elegance. Never yet had she touched
- -L_-... _~---~_ L_*
In Biscayne Bay. 53
the deep places in life. Never had she known an hour's
anxiety or an hour's distrust of what the future might
bring. With a child's craving for the beautiful, she had
passed along the flowery paths of a luxurious, protected,
petted girlhood, accepting happiness as her rightful ele-
ment, and knowing nothing, practically, of less fortunate
lives. When her mother died, suddenly and painlessly, she
had missed her, and wept for her, but with a child's easily
comforted tears and short-lived heartache. During the
years of her school experiences she had added to her
friends as well as to her own resources; and now, with
the unruffled confidence of inexperience, she anticipated
new triumphs and new pleasures.
Cousin Nan presided over the dainty breakfast-table,
and held up her face for a kiss as Zilla patted her affec-
tionately on the cheeks with both hands.
What a splendid colour you always have!" cried Zilla.
"How do you get it? I look like a washed-out rag
"You look more like a pink-and-white rosebud, dearie,
while I may be likened to a squaw. However, if mahogany-
red is your ambition, you ivill have every opportunity of
attaining it before you go North."
In the mean time, my lady, I am torn between my
hunger for my morning salutation and- must I confess
it my breakfast! solemnly announced the Captain, as
he drew Zilla's chair back from the table with one hand
and detached her from his wife with the other.
Nothing loath, the young girl threw her arms about
54 Is Biscayne Bay.
his neck and bestowed upon him a cordial salute, and
the party proceeded to show their appreciation of Carl's
efforts in their beIlalf.
"What is on time tapis for to-day, Nan?" asked the
"I think Zilla and I will go ashore to see the sights.
She has never had any experience with Southern shopping
or Southern city life, and I am sure she will find much to
Did you see the pretty yacht that steamed by us
this morning ?" as Iced Zilla. "It woke me from some
lovely dreams; ani I saw my first sunrise while trying
to find out what made that queer noise. I think it car-
ried the Larchmon.t colours, and so I fancy there are
some club men on board."
"If so, we shall be sure to run across them some-
where," answered tlae Captain. "I never yet knew of a
yachtsman coming into these waters without putting in
an appearance at the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club's head-
quarters. So you need not despair of meeting some vic-
tims on your cruise, little Z, on whom to work off some
of your heart-break:ing business, by way of keeping in
"Cousin Tom, don't be silly I loftily returned the Cap-
tain's guest. "You are not at all interesting when you
perpetrate such remarks, dear; and you know I am a
very dignified young woman outside of my own family,"
with which rebuke tie Captain seemed immensely amused,
and forthwith indulged in loud and repeated laughter,
In Biscayne Bay. 55
while Zilla, with great effort suppressing an answering
smile, turned to Nan, who was quietly enjoying her hus-
band's mood, and asked her if Cousin Tom had not im-
proved the least bit, in all the years since he used to
It depends altogether upon circumstances. When the
sun shines, Tom is simply irrepressible. I look forward
with dismay to the possible results of a couple of such
creatures as you being bottled up in such limited quarters,
if you happen to be taken with your mad-cap freaks at
one and the same time. But sufficient unto the evil is
the day. Let us leave him to his own devices, and go
on an exploring expedition on our own account. Carl,
make out your list of needs, and we will delight your
chef-istic eyes with treasures of eggs, chickens, etc., be-
"Yes, mam," answered Carl, obediently disappearing to
carry out his mistress's orders.
In another hour Gus was at the side ready to row
Queenie, as Zilla had always called her cousin, and little Z
to the wharf nearest their moorings; and soon afterward
they were picking their way over the holes and rubbish
heaps, which anywhere else would have completely dis-
mayed them, but under the dazzling blue of the Southern
sky and the influence of an unrivalled clearness and purity
of atmosphere, only added to the general strangeness of
this city, set upon the coral rocks.
Dear me i I should think it would be really dangerous
to venture out at night here," said Zilla. One would
56- In Biscayne Bay.
never know at what moment one might plunge into an
abyss or run into a rock. Is this place so poor that they
cannot afford to clear the streets properly? "
No indeed, it is anything but poor, and is the largest
city in this great State. I often find myself picturing it as
it could be, if only some enterprising, far-seeing, and
monied leader took hold of it. Why, there is not a place
in the world that might more easily become a perfect
paradise for the thousands of people that love a warm
climate, out-door life, and water sports. There are persons
living here that could easily turn these streets and water-
fronts into magnificent avenues and facades, and at the
same time double their own wealth; but they do not seem
to realize it. It makes me impatient sometimes.".
As they landed, a crowd attracted their attention a few
rods up the street.
"Oh, I am glad!'" exclaimed Nan. "We are just in
time to see a sponge auction. Auctions are one of the
characteristic features of Key West life. They buy and
sell everything at the n, from a toothpick to a mule. We
will stop here a moment to see how they do it."
Groups of men and boys were gathered about a pile of
sponges at the side of the street, and every available sitting-
place was occupied, while posts, doors, and the sides of the
adjacent buildings were utilized as supports for a motley
crowd of chewing, spitting, whittling on-lookers. The
sponges were just as they were brought in from the
crawls, where they are thrown to die and bleach. Zilla
had seen several of these crawls along the shore, and had
In Biscayne Bay. 59
also seen piles of the sponges before they were put into
the crawls, black and heavy, and sickening to smell. She
had also been told that when taken from the crawls they
are beaten, and strung together according to their quality
and size, and then brought to auction or to private sale.
As they approached, everybody regarded them with
a fixed stare, and Zilla felt inclined to sacrifice her thirst
for knowledge rather than remain under the inspection of
such criticism; but Queenie seemed entirely oblivious of
her embarrassment or its cause, and greeted several of the
men and boys with an evident acquaintance that relieved
Zilla of all personal consciousness.
"Mornin', Miss Haines. Jest in?" queried a pleasant-
faced sponger as he pulled his conch hat in greeting.
Good-morning, Mr. Williams. No; we came yesterday.
This is my cousin, Miss Carlyle. Have you any particularly
fine sponges to show her? She has just come from the
North, and everything down here is new and interesting,"
answered Queenie, with the heartiness which always set
every one instantly at ease.
Zilla looked up into the weather-beaten face, and dis-
covering a kindly twinkle in the deep-set eyes, felt moved
to add quickly, "Yes, I am as green as green can be, sir;
and very curious too," with a little deprecating turn of her
head, which made the man laugh.
Wall, Miss, I reckon I'd be pretty much so meself, ef
I was walking' round up North, among your stores and
things. I reckon I'd get clean lost, let alone understanding'
ways. Here's the biggest sponge we got this last trip, an'
60 In Biscayne Bay.
you ain't likely ter see nothing' much bigger, no how, I
Zilla's eyes grew large as she regarded the great yellow-
brown sponge which Mr. Williams pointed out.
"My, what an immense one! How much do you sup-
pose that weighs?"
When we pulled it up, I reckon it weighed nigh on to
thirty pound. Now it's cured, I should n't wonder ef it was
'bout eight pound. It's over five foot two round, and 'bout
a foot and a half high, 'cause I measured it."
I suppose it is worth a great deal of money," delicately
"Wall, that ere sponge ought ter fetch seven or eight
dollars, Miss. Be you going up the Bay soon? Ef you
be, I can, maybe, show you some awful pretty shells. We
find um when we are spongin', and the Northern folks all
likes ur. I'm goin' up next week."
"Thanks," cordially answered Zilla and Queenie to-
gether, the latter expressing her hope that she could keep
her young cousin with her for most of the winter; and.
finding the auction hour indefinitely postponed, they bade
their polite sponger good-morning, and proceeded on their
"I do love to go around with you, Queenie, dear, for
everybody is always so glad to see you," said Zilla, as she
took her cousin's arm and gave it a little squeeze.
Perhaps their pleasure in seeing me is largely owing
to my company," laughed Queenie, looking in no wise
In Biscayne Bay. 6z
Shopping proved much more interesting to Zilla in Key
West than it ever had been before. When the war of
wits which is involved in getting a dollar's worth out
of every fifty cents is abolished by an ample supply
of money, shopping becomes stupid to any sensible per-
son. It then is simply going through a function, meeting
the inevitable, or choosing between evils. As to there being
any pleasure in breathing the fetid air of a great city shop,
or in listening to the familiar advice of the average patron-
izing man or woman clerk, or in wasting one's precious time
in waiting for that elusive cash-boy, it remains to a pecu-
liar and otherwise unoccupied type of woman to discover
it. But here the commonest articles claimed an especial
interest. The air was fragrant with roses, the stores were
gay with the colours so dear to the tropical eye, and if
the choice was limited, the value of every desirable arti-
cle was so much the more enhanced. Then the attendants
were so cordial and friendly! Queenie was welcomed
everywhere, and the welcome was based upon something
quite independent of her value as a buyer. Even her brisk
New England manner could not inspire a corresponding
energy in those easy, happy-go-lucky shopkeepers, who
never seemed to know whether they had what was wanted
or not, and would take their own time about finding out.
If they had it, they were as pleased as if it were an
unexpected delight; and if they had n't, they were "down-
Then followed few calls on several families where
Queenie felt enough at home to take Zilla without any
62 In Biscayne Bay.
ceremony, and the child had exhausted her vocabulary
of exclamations and adjectives before she had half gone
through the collections of new fruits and flowers that were
bestowed upon her.
"What hospitable souls these Southerners are. They
fairly overwhelm one," said she, as they returned to the
Nethla," after a long morning on shore. "And how
much more there is to see in Key West than one would
imagine at first. It is a stupid thing to judge of any place
without seeing the home-life of the people."
It is the commonest form of stupidity among travel-
lers, too," added Queenie. She had her hands full of
parcels; and they both realized the heat and fatigue of the
noon hour, and were all the more grateful to exchange
the land for the harbour breezes, and the hot streets for
the awning-shaded deck.
The Captain and Carl assisted them on board, and the
former had many remarks to make about little Z's girlish
appearance, with her braid down her back and her short
"You are nothing but a bit of a child yet," he declared.
"Don't hurry about growing up, dear; I prefer you just
as you are."
Do you, Cousin Tom?" laughed Zilla. I am so glad I
Dear me! what an appetite one does get down here. I
am as hungry as a bear."
"Nothing could be more timely, for luncheon awaits
your ladyship," gallantly responded t~ captain as he led
the way to the cabin.
*-gLu;r;i~:~'~a~~L;~i6;-;--i-.-.C.- :1_ .. i -
QUEENIE and Zilla proposed resuming their Key
West investigations as soon after luncheon as
Come with us, Tom," said Nan. "We want some one
to take us over the cigar-factories."
Don't tempt me, for if you do I never shall get my
letters ready for the mail."
"Oh, my letters I I quite forgot them," cried Zilla.
"When must I have them written? Won't it be time
enough directly after dinner, this evening? I suppose it
will not do any great harm if I should miss the afternoon
mail, if they are ready for the midnight express."
"Midnight express I" exclaimed the Captain and his
wife, in one breath, as though immensely amused.
Zilla looked so innocently amazed and puzzled that they
found it difficult to restrain their laughter; but Nan opened
her eyes to the situation by remarking, -
"You see, my dear child, we are on an island,--or
rather Key West is, -so there are difficulties in the way
of expresses at any hour; and if there were every facility
for a sixty-mile-an-hour train, I cannot fancy a Southerner
thinking it at all worth while sending it off at any such
unseemly time. is an absolute fact that nobody
here can get servamstay to cook a late dinner. So
66 In Biscayne Bay.
the ladies have to get along as they best can, and get tea
or supper to suit themselves."
"How very disagreeable that must be!" exclaimed
Zilla. "And how stupid of me to forget that Key West
is not on the mainland. I suppose we have to send our
letters by steamer to New York."
"No. The mails go by steamer to Tampa, and then
by rail to their destination. Of course it takes several
days from two to three to get a letter from there to
New York; and equally of course, if you miss a mail it
means just so much added to the delay in getting an
answer. You had better make up your mind to this
new state of things right away, little woman, and not
worry a bit about letters; and, while you are about it,
just write to all those admirers of yours whom you left
dangling their heels on the New York wharf, and tell them
not to be surprised if they hear nothing from you for a
month at a time," mischievously remarked the Captain.
You shall try the horse-cars, no, mule-cars," said Nan,
as they walked up a broad street that afternoon. They
will take us through a part of the town with much more
comfort than those sorry carriages would. There is a
beautiful date-palm with a fig-tree growing around its
trunk and up to its lower leaves, that is considered a
What a tropical look the various palms give the city I "
said Zilla. "Look at that beau~, st beyond the man
with the basket on his arm; an :& the great trees of
In Biscayne Bay. 69
oleanders and hybiscus, peeping over that fence. It is
utterly impossible for me to realize that at this very
moment the snow may be falling at home."
It gives me the shiver-de-freeze to think of it," said
Nan. I am thankful to escape it all. Do you suppose
you will find this picnicing sort of life a satisfactory ex-
change for the balls and dinners and city pleasures you
have given up for it?"
Yes, indeed! cried Zilla. I shall enjoy every moment
I am with you, so long as I am quite sure that you love to
have me here. I cannot honestly say, though, that I have
ever yet tired of people and society and all that sort of
thing. I do like excitement and bustle and novelty, and
I delight in meeting new people. I believe there is nothing
human that is not interesting. Now, how can anybody live
in such a shut-up box as that? pointing to a little cabin
in a backyard that was not more than ten feet square, with
closely shuttered windows on each side except the front,
where the door was just enough ajar to reveal the fact that
the interior was the home of a family.
I dare say half a dozen persons live there, and take in
washing besides," said Nan. "Now wait a moment and
we will take these cars, and you can see street after street
of just such tiny homes, as we ride along."
Zilla heard the tinkle-tinkle of a bell, and in another
moment saw the most primitive mule-car approach around
the next corner. The driver was brave in a gay blue-cotton
shirt and a broad copch hat, and kept up a lively rat-tat
of reins upon the sturdy mules, which looked more like
In Biscayne Bay.
animated hair trunks, as to their backs, than anything else,
and were so out of proportion to the high, lumbering car
that Zilla sat in constant fear of running the beasts down.
But it was "great fun," as she expressed it, to watch the
manceuvrings of this curious public conveyance, which
rattled and crashed along, only stopping to accommodate
its passengers, and carrying them out to the sea and around
by the convent, through the main thoroughfares and past
houses belonging to the Cuban population, to the old Key
Westers and Conchs, and to the negroes, until she had
formed a good idea of the city's general plan.
"You know the fire a few years ago destroyed all the
trees as well as buildings in the lower part of the town,"
said Nan; "but beyond the fire-limit I think some of the
trees are beautiful. Here we are, back where we started
from; and there are two specimens of' little nigs' for you.
Just see that mite smoke. Yes! he is smoking, certainly.
Why, every negro and Cuban in Key West that can get
a cigar or a pipe is at it early and late; even the American
women often become slaves to the habit. What is your
name, my boy?" she asked the larger of the two staring
urchins, as the car rattled away from them.
"Harris, marm," he returned.
"What is your little brother's name?"
At this question the diminutive puffer dropped his great
black eyes and dug his bare toes into the ground, but
Harris seemed ready with the required information. He
ain't my brudder, marm. He is Herbert Grober, marm.
I hain't got no brudder, nur nottin."
;"' "' L'''
In Biscayns Bay. 73
There was a kind of grim pathos in the boy's whole
attitude, and Zilla was quick to appreciate it.
"Poor little fellow. He looks as if he was likely to
have 'nottin' in the way of clothes much longer. Did
you ever see such rags! Here, Harris, will you take
this?" holding out a ten-cent piece to him; "and give
this," handing him another small piece of silver, to little
Tank you, marm," replied Harris, as he took both
pieces, and tried to make the young Grober accept his;
but nothing could overcome the latter's embarrassment,
and the last Zilla saw of them, Harris was pulling his old
conch hat with one hand, in a kind of repressed ire of" dat
little nigger's badness," and clasping her gifts in the other,
while Herbert still maintained the imperturbability pos-
sible only to babes and royalty.
As Nan and Zilla sauntered along, the passers by seemed
to take a great interest in them. One bright-eyed Cuban
girl turned deliberately around and walked backward, that
she might not allow any detail to escape her.
"It is our yachting-dresses," said Nan, as she quietly
passed her. They are not used to them here."
Zilla would have liked to speak to the strange, foreign
seftorita, and discover, in turn, some of her peculiar tastes
and habits, but could not invent any excuse for so doing,
and was forced to curb her curiosity.
When I see any girl that is about my own age, and has
been brought up in an entirely different way, I cannot help
wondering what I should be in her place and she in mine,"
74 In Biscayne Bay.
she said. "That girl had on about all the crude colours
that I ever heard of. Is she a fair representative of the
better class of Cubans here ?"
I think it more probable that she is a cigar-maker,"
answered Nan. These factories employ hundreds of
girls in different departments of the work, and they earn
all the way from five and six to forty and fifty dollars a
week. They love bright colours and gay fabrics, as you
see by the goods in the shops, and are a volatile, chirpy,
chattering order of girl, that is content with a present
supply of ribbons, silks, and admirers, and does not bother
her head about much else. I have been told some very
odd things about their customs of marriage and burial,
but will not try to repeat them now. Look at this sugar-
cane! Five cents will buy about two yards of it."
"What do they do with it?"
"Eat it. Will you try some? "
"Why, I should feel as if I were eating an incipient
flagstaff, if I began on five cents' worth. Can't you buy
one cent's worth, and cut off a bit of it for me to try?"
queried Zilla, as she glanced at the proprietor of the
fruit-stand, to see if he was surprised at her ignorance.
He made haste to cut off a dainty inch or two, and
putting it on a leaf which he took from a banana plant,
presented it to her, saying, Hit's right good, Miss, but
you may 'ave to learn to like hit. Hit does not please
everybody hat first;" and he turned to wait upon an-
other customer, while Zilla whispered to Nan, as she
nibbled the sugar-cane, -
In Biscayne Bay. 75
"A cockney down here I how very odd! "
"He is a regular Conch," was the return. Many of
them drop their h's and misfit them, after the fashion of
their English ancestors; but the most curious thing about
it is that different members of the same family will often
disagree on this point, some retaining the cockneyism,
and others speaking pure English. Here are some new
fruits for you. Have you ever tasted a guava?"
"No, never. This sugar-cane is not bad, but a little
goes a long way. What is that?" pointing to a queer,
gnarled, green fruit, about the size of a small apple.
A sugar apple. I will get some, for we like them."
Nan also added a few tiesas, a cross between a hard-
boiled egg and a New England pumpkin in taste and inside
appearance, and like a large yellow plum or apricot in
shape and skin, a dozen guavas, and other Southern
fruits, and sent them down to the wharf. "Now," she
said, "we must hurry home. The convent, the cigar-
factories, and the sponge-houses must await our return;
for Tom intends sailing early to-morrow morning, and
we shall not come ashore again before we start."
So they picked their way across town, in and out of the
queer streets, by the new line of real horse-cars," that
were already running in opposition to the old-time mule-
boxes, until they stood once more by the water's edge.
"Are you tired, Zilla?" asked Nan, as they sat down
to dinner a half-hour later.
"Not a bit; but, oh, so hungry "
IN the mean time, the "Arrow" was verifying Jack's pre-
dictions, and flying on its way to Long Key.
As they sped along, Kennard, armed with his glasses,
and Larry, with his inevitable cigar, lounged upon the
top of the cabin and digested Jack's bits of information,
as meted out to them from his post as pilot. Noth-
ing seemed trivial enough to have escaped some share
in his past experience, and nothing lost in interest or
detail by the telling. He was, originally, a long-shore
man, born of Key West parents, and had varied his em-
ployment as circumstances suggested. He was apt at
so many trades that by all established precedent he
should have been good at none. Perhaps he was the
exception that proves the rule for Larry had first heard
of him as a cook, and as such had engaged him, the
year before, on a west-coast cruise, and kept him all
the following summer in the various capacities of valet
(on shore), sailing-master, and crew, as he was most
needed. He could be anything, Lal said, but a groom;
but he did not know any more about horses "than a
duck knows about fiddling."
"All my ideas about these coral keys have been, en-
tirely incorrect," said Kennard. "I always fancied them
barren, white, and glistening, except the few larger ones
In Biscayne Bay. 77
that are under cultivation. On the contrary, I find trees
growing on bits of coral so small that the water covers
them, and scores of little islands looking picturesque
enough to be the ground of an old-time romance or
tragedy. Jack, have you ever heard of treasures or curi-
osities of any kind being found about here?"
Oh, yas, sar; boxes of et. Old gold end silver-pieces,-
Spanish they say. I kin show yer one uf their keys where
they found some, ef yer likes, tomorrer. Up their Bay
they keeps finding' something every little while; end there
es er mighty purty place jest between Cocoanut Grove
end Miami thet they calls their Punch Bowl, where their
Spaniards cut down inter their solid rock fer er spring,
end opened up er lot uf steps from their bottom uf et,
end clean up inter their hammock. Then I've often
heerd uf their stone turtle thet they planted over er lot
uf their stuff thet they left behind um. Most likely they
meant ter come back fer et, end never got er chance.
Thet's ef enythink's there, which nobuddy don't know
"Why does not some one dig and find out?"
"I guess thet their folks thet lives there air tew took
up weth getting' their livin' ter resk much time en diggin'
inter solid rock fer onsartinties; end nobuddy else hes
taken stock enough en et ter dew et fer fun," said Jack.
We'll take all these places in, Lal?" said Kennard,
interrogatively, as he looked over at the recumbent
smoker, who was puffing away in silence.
"Oh, yes, by all means. How enticing it all sounds!
In Biscayne Bay.
Spanish gold and silver, which, of course, includes per-
sonal and table ornaments. Personal ornaments naturally
would embrace not only chains and pins and necklaces
and bracelets, but and Larry chuckled over his friend's
favourite weakness rings. Why not a ring of sapphires,
such as no man but Ponce de Leon ever left on these
Southern shores? And why should not my own, my heart's
best, my alter ego, be the happy and proud discoverer? Ah,
Ken! just consider the Arrow" and its humble proprietor
as the instruments at your command in this glorious quest,
and go, stop, dig where you will. If Jack cannot help
you out, nobody can;" and Larry floated circle after
circle of smoke with practised skill between his upturned
face and the blue of the afternoon sky, under the lee of
the foresail, smiling somewhat sceptically the while.
They dropped anchor within a hundred yards of the
inside beach at Long Key by three o'clock, and rowed
ashore to get their first glimpse of a cocoanut plantation.
It was really their first yiew of key vegetation; for the
few moments they had spent on shore at Key West were
devoted to the business part of the town, and to the pur-
chase of such necessities for their cruise as had been over-
looked previously. As they stepped upon the dazzling
coral sand and followed the trail across the key to the
plantation, which lay along the outer coast, something
of interest presented itself on every side in the unfamiliar
vegetation, the varied flora, the gay butterflies that spat-
tered the trees and vines with glints of rainbow colours,
the curious soldier-crabs that swarmed on the cocoanut-
In Biscayne Bay. 79
tree trunks and over the ground, and the peculiar warmth
and radiance of the whole atmosphere. On the edge of
the cocoanut-grove they came to a stand-still lost in
"By Jove!" exclaimed Larry, "I 'd give five thousand
dollars if I could get a picture of this that would do it
half justice. What perfection of lines, sweeps, and curves
in these broad arched aisles! What a brooding tender-
ness in each trailing leaf! What a unity of strength,
endurance, and grace!"
"And hear the music of their incessant motion!" said
Kennard. It out-does even the pines, I do believe."
While absorbing the loveliness of the whispering, shad-
owy vistas, and the refreshment of the flower-laden sea-
breezes, Jack overtook them.
Kennard, with his trained artistic sense, rejoiced in Jack's
peculiar fitness to whatever background he happened
against; not that Jack was a beauty, but because he was
such an athletic, well-conditioned, alive creature, with a
head and face that inspired respect and confidence, and
an eye that swept the horizon like that of a falcon. There
was an attention to the suitable and a regard for scenic
effect paid to every-day things by the rough fellow, that
constantly amazed his employers. As they turned at the
sound of his step, they perceived a long piece of yellow-
brown, circular wood in his hand.
"What have you there, Jack?" queried Larry. "It
looks as though it was too heavy to carry in that careless
In Biscayne Bay.
"Wanter heft et, sar?"
Lal pulled himself together and took hold of the wood.
"Good gracious! what on earth is it, man! It's lighter
"Bamboo, sat. Er real nice stick tew. Prince well
make some furst-class cups outer et."
Kennard took the stick and examined it curiously.
It was at least eight inches in circumference and hollow,
except where divided by thin layers into sections of a
foot or more in length.
"I would like to see it growing," said Lal. "What
does it look like?"
"Wall, I never see et growing' but twict," answered
Jack, as he resumed possession of the stick. "Ther fust
time wuz at Fort Meyers, where I see their only betelnut-
trees I guess there es en their country. Them air their
nuts thet their East Indy women-folks blacks their teeth
weth. Curiss how they works ter spile their looks! Ther
other bamboo es growing' up ter Cocoanut Grove, end es
easy enough ter look at."
"Does n't it grow on this key, then ? asked Kennard.
"No, sar. Thes piece come over from their Bahamas,
likely. Lots uf et drifts on ter all their keys. I picked
et up on their beach."
"How old is that cocoanut you are standing under?"
asked Larry. It rose a good fifteen feet above his head,
and seemed to lack nothing but length of trunk to quite
equal its older fellows.
Jack examined the tree critically, and declared it to be
a "five year-er."
Is Biscayne Bay. 83
"There's one thet ain't mor 'n four year old," he said,
pointing to a smaller tree, under which lay several nuts
from which shoots were bursting. "End them two trees
thet air kinder all mixed apart like, air full ten year
"How long does it take them to bear fruit?"
"Eight year, sar. Thes grove es ten year old, end as
fine as eny on their coast. I hev seen er hundred end
twenty big nuts on ter one tree, up ter Miami; but thet
tree wuz twenty year old, end growing' all by ets lonesome,
so et got other full good uf other land."
Larry strolled off toward the heap of shoots, and ex-
amined them closely. How deep do they plant the
nut?" he asked.
"Oh, they jest cover et up. Et don't take much ter
start er tree here."
"Do they need much care after they are started ?"
"Wall, they's er good deal like young folks," sen-
tentiously remarked Jack. "They hev ter watch um, end
keep um well end strong 'bout their roots. Et takes two
men ter tend rightly ter thes place, summer end winter.
Ther gov'ner ain't here now. I see him en Key West.
But Prince es always 'roun'."
They sauntered on, only pausing to notice some new
flower or tree, until the sharp crack of an axe pierced the
combined rustle of leaves and swash of waves, and a sud-
den turn revealed an ebony-hued wood-cutter, busily at
work upon a pile of stumps.
"Good-evenin', Prince I How air yer?" shouted Jack.
In Biscayne Bay.
The negro dropped his axe at the unusual sound of
an unfamiliar human voice, and with extreme deliberation
turned to inspect his visitors. His face expressed no
particular surprise, and his tone even less interest; but he
jerked at his ragged broad-brimmed hat with evident wish
to do his duty, and answered with a half smile: -
"Good-evenin', sari putty well, sar."
Ain't nobuddy ter home but yer, I s'pose," said Jack.
"No, sar. De boss, he's ter Key West. He ain't
gwine ter come back 'fore de end uf de week, I specks,
sar. Did yer want ter see him, sar?"
"No. These Northern gentlemen wants ter see their
cocoanuts. I s'pose we kin look 'roun' all we're mind
ter, eh? "
Prince made his little bobs to Larry and Kennard as he
answered, "In course, sar! Yer kin go inter de housee
ef yer likes; but I specks et's mighty onfixed, fer I'se
been right busy wid dese yere roots, an' has n't had no
time fer clarin' up none," and he turned around and
resumed his work without further word or look.
Larry and Kennard exchanged glances, and when be-
yond his hearing the latter gave utterance to his thought.
"That man looks as if he had either never grown up
to, or had outlived himself. Did you ever see such a
thoroughly mechanical creature? We did not count as
matters of interest, or even curiosity, -simply did not
count in the least; and yet he does not look more than
thirty years old, and is in splendid physical condition."
Yes," said Larry, "he is a puzzle. If he were a white
In Biscayne Bay. 87
man, with every chance open to him of going and coming,
and being what he liked, one would call him a crank or
a refugee to stay in this isolated place, entirely cut off
from every form of pleasure; being an uneducated, com-
mon black negro, it is still more strange to see him so
utterly devoid of the usual petty outcomes of ignorance.
I cannot help fancying that he has suffered some dreadful
shock or loss, though he is hardly heroic in build or by
I've heern tell," drawled Jack, in his most historic
tone, "thet there es er key 'bout ten mile above here
where there es er white man livin' all by his lonesome.
End folks dew say thet one time when he wuz down ter
Key West, foolin' 'roun' weth their gurls, thet he jest lost
his head complete over er young nigger gurl thet wuz
there. She wuz n't mor'n sixteen year old, end he wuz
much as thirty-five; but he hed soft, perlite ways weth
him, and talked er lot uf 'way up en their air' stuff, sech
as gurls think so much uf, end she wuz all broke up, tew,
en no time. As their man wanted ter marry her, end there
want nobuddy belongin' ter him ter prevent,- leastways
so fer as she know'd uf, it would n't hev ben eny parti-
kelar matter ef he did marry her, 'ceptin' thet thes Prince
jest 'bout worshipt their groun' she walkt on. He wuz
twenty year old, end er master han' at dancin' end prayin'
(fe\ niggers mixes things up yer know) end gallovantin'
'roun'; end tell thes white feller stept in, he hed their
place ter himself, so fer as their young gurl wuz consarned.
Wall, they dew say he wuz as mad with jealousy end
88 In Biscayne Bay.
misery as their other feller wuz weth love; end when she
went end married their white man end went off weth him
ter their key up yonder, Prince, he jest raged end tore
ubbout like er crazy feller, end would n't hear ter reason
or nothing He swore he would kill thet man, end he
went off- nobuddy knows where ter fer months. Ther
strange part uf their story es thet when he did come
back he looked jest as he duz now. Nobuddy ever hes
hearn him sing or laugh out loud sence, end nobuddy hes
ever seen thet nigger gurl sence. Some folks thinks he
knows more 'bout her then enybuddy but their feller thet
carried her off; but I don't b'leve there es er man within
er hundred mile uf Key West thet could be hired ter ask
him er question 'bout her;" and Jack stuck between his
teeth a tooth-pick which he had been sharpening, and
fanned himself with his hat, as he looked off over the
waters of the Atlantic, which suddenly lay before them
through the cocoanut-leaves.
"Do people believe that the girl is living?" asked
Larry, as if he was thinking out the story and its possible
"There's some as dew end more as don't. Then there's
them thet suspicions Prince, end lays whatever hes hap-
pened on ter him. But Lord sakes! et ain't fair ter lay up
enythink against er feller, when yer don't know there es
enythink. I don't know nothing' what-some-d'-ever 'bout
et, but I '11 tell yer what I think: Thet nigger's heart es
dead busted! "
The three men made no further reference to Prince at
In Biscayne Bay. 89
that time, but passed into the three-roomed unpainted
house which the overseer and his man had made their
home for several years.
Perhaps it was fancy, but Kennard thought he discerned
an expression of pain and regret on Lal's face, and he was
quite sure that he heard him say, "poor fellow," under
his breath, as he stood in the doorway, looking upon
the rough belongings of Prince's life; but what Larry's
thoughts were, no one could tell, and the genial laugh and
old-time chatter of the Vagabond soon turned aside the
I think there air some fine trees er little farther ter
their east, ef yer like ter look at um," said Jack, after they
turned from the house. I can't speak their name, et's tew
much fer my jaws; but I guess I've got et put down some-
where en my pockets," and he proceeded to empty one
after another in search of the stowed-away information.
Finally, his efforts met with success, and he pulled out a
small, soiled blank-book from a back receptacle, and handed
it to Kennard, who found a long list of the trees peculiar
to or planted and growing upon Long Key, which Jack
had got somebody to write for him.
Why, this is astounding! exclaimed Kennard. "Here,
on a coral key, are more valuable and rare trees than our
rich Northern lands and all the efforts of advanced agricul-
ture can show. Just listen to the list: red and black man-
grove, madeira, mastic, button-wood, crab-wood, iron-wood,
lignum vitm, stopper, gumbo limbo, live-oak, pear cactus,
cocoanut, silver thatch palmetto, chame-phoenix sargenti,
93 In Biscayne Bay.
Spanish top palmetto, white-wood, gum elemy, wild lime,
pigeon-plum, which of them all is the rarest? "
"Them tall, smooth-tru nked palms," answered Jack, point-
ing to a group of trees just before them. Nobuddy knows
where they come from -or how they got here, end their
fellers they call botanists jest go inter home-made fits over
um. Yer'll find their nane there," pointing to the book in
Kennard's hands. I never set to ter larn thet name, but et
begins weth some sham business, end hes three words
Kennard smiled. Chamae-phoenix sargenti. Is that
Yas; gol darn et did yer ever hear sech er rattlesnake's
tail uf er name as thet tackled on ter er good-lookin' tree,
eh?" and Jack shrugged his broad shoulders and jammed
his hat on to the back of his head in disgust. "Et's like
some folks. They 'll go end saddle er poor, innocent
little kid weth names ugly enough end numerous enough
ter load um right down; end ef he ain't their kind ter get
red uf all but their starting' or endin' ufum, he well go
down sure. Now, my folks named me Jonathan Richard-
son Jackson, but I bet there ain't er dozen folks 'roun' thet
knows me by enythink but Jack; end ef they write ter me,
they directs Jack Jackson.'" Here the disgust gave way to
a comfortable chuckle.
"What kind of a man is the overseer?" asked Larry, who
had been examining the trees with the objectionable name
while Jack was holding forth.
"Ben Williams? Wall, he-'s what yer'd call er one-er, he
In Biscayne Bay. 91
es. Why, I've seed him set right still on er log under
them cocoanut-trees, end reel off yarns by their mile. He's
got er memory's long as their moral law, end I bet he's ben
ter more places then I ever heard uf. What he don't know
'bout farmin' end trees end growing' things ain't worth
knownn; end I don't doubt he could tell yer their number
uf nuts on every tree en thes grove ef he wuz er mind ter,
end there's 'bout seventeen thousand uf um. He's ben
here 'bout six year, summer end winter, right through;
end everybuddy calls him their Gov'ner uf Long Key."
I should think it would be about as comfortable here
in summer as in winter, there is such a fine breeze," said
Et's all right when there's er breeze; but ef yer hap-
pened ter land here when et wuz still, I bet yer'd think
et wuz all wrong, sar. Why, sometimes there ain't no
livin' weth other skeeters. They air jest something' horrible.
Yer hev ter tie yer head up end stick yer hands en yer
pockets; end how their gov'ner end Prince can go 'roun'
working I don't see. They must hev hides like er alligator.
Ther gov'ner says he don't mind um so long as he don't
hev ter breathe um; but when they get so pert thet they
flies down his gullet every time he opens his mouth, he hes
"And they are worse in summer? questioned Kennard.
"Wall, I should smile I drawled Jack, with a suggestive
elevation of his left shoulder and an arching of his shaggy
As the young men retraced their steps to the inside
92 In Biscayne Bay.
shore, Prince called to Jack from under a cocoanut-tree,
where he was filling a wheelbarrow with ripe nuts that he
had husked, Here's some fine nuts, sar, ef yer wants me
ter tote 'em ter de sho'. De boss tells all de folks ter
hev some, when dey comes yere; an' I kakerlate these
yere air full er milk, an' prime gud uns."
Larry answered for Jack, and seemed glad of an oppor-
tunity to speak to the man.
Thank you, my good fellow. Our little boat can't stow
away more than two or three of those big nuts, and we can
carry them ourselves. Do you never get discontented on
this lonely key, Prince? he asked kindly, as he handed
the fruit to Jack and turned again to the negro.
Kennard wished impotently for his palette, that he might
perpetuate that striking contrast, Larry, like a young
god, tall, straight, noble of air, and clothed with the
subtle graces of social experience; Prince, broad shoul-
dered, muscular, thick-chested, and clothed with the phy-
sical endurance and silent patience of perpetual servitude.
And yet there was a link between them. On both faces
rested the seal of some psychological struggle, some inner
warfare. Neither ignorance nor habit could veil this in-
tangible, common sympathy from Kennard's experienced
eye; and he was suddenly oppressed with the same feeling
that he had several times known in the presence of death.
He listened for Prince's answer, breathlessly, hardly know-
ing his own interest in this curious life-drama. It was
"Yes, sar, I 'se alias discontented yere. Ef I could
In Biscayne Bay. 93
n't work all de time, I reckon I could n't stan' et, no
There was such hopelessness in the great eyes and in
the lower lines of the heavy face that Kennard looked
away, unable to gaze upon it; but Larry went closer to
the speaker, and said in a low voice, -
This is no lonelier, Prince, than any place is when
one wishes to be somewhere else. Is there nothing I
can do to help you?"
A tremor passed over the black face. The thick lips
quivered and great tears welled into the eyes at these
few quiet words of recognition. Kennard walked on,
leaving the two together, and it was some moments be-
fore Larry rejoined him, as he stood on the beach gazing
at the magnificence of the western clouds.
Larry looked like one whose eyes are held from
external things; and all he said was, "There is no royal
road to happiness, old man, any more than there is out
LARRY was very silent for the remainder of the day,
and Kennard respected his mood. Men-like, they
recognized the right of each to consult his own feelings
upon all matters of a personal nature, and were scrupu-
lous in paying to each other the tribute of that lofty
confidence that never questions.
Jack had beguiled the after-dinner hour with gory tales
of Spanish privateers of the olden days, who infested
the waters of the Florida coast, and utilized the keys for
their own nefarious ends. One of these desperadoes, a
fearless and unprincipled Spaniard, had perpetuated his
name and fame in Caesar's Creek and Key; and on the
latter had been found some of his buried hoards. How
much more there might be, still hidden beneath the coral
rock and mangrove roots, no one could tell.
"What did they find? questioned Kennard.
"A iron box, sar, full uf gold end silver. I kin show
yer one uf their silver-pieces when we get ter Cocoanut
"Do we pass through Caesar's Creek?"
"Yas, sar; et's their shortest cut inter Biscayne Bay.
On one side es Caesar's Key, end on their other es Elliott's
Key. Casar's Key es small, end ain't much account; but
Elliott's es one uf their biggest keys uf their hull lot, end hes
In Biscayne Bay. 95
heaps uf good wood on et. Why, there's er Northern set
uf fellers that they calls The Florrider Lumber end Im-
provement Company, er some sech name, end they keeps
er gang uf men on their key all their time, cutting' end ship-
pin' mahogany North. Then there's heaps uf fine pine-
apples end guava's riz on Elliott's, besides."
The next morning, at earliest dawn, the Arrow steamed
away from her night's harbour, for Cocoanut Grove.
Scarcely a breath of air ruffled the glassy water. Over-
head, the sky domed the horizon in softest, tenderest
blue; a radiance suffused earth, air, and sea; the peace
of untouched Nature rested on the fleeting isles; and the
Angel of Silence brooded over all.
The new day seemed to have brought with it a new
zest, at least to Kennard, who felt inclined to laugh at
the vagaries of the previous afternoon. The sage says,
" A man only understands what is akin to something
already existing in himself." Barton Kennard as yet
recognized no power, within or without, that could un-
balance the even tenor of his correct and unemotional
way. He loved to say and to believe, "I am master of
myself." He gloried in the calmness of soul inherited
from Puritan ancestry, and only by innate delicacy
escaped a self-sufficiency that would have closely re-
sembled cadishness. That there could be any common
ties of heart or soul between the princely Vagabond and
the mis-named child of a slave-born race was impossible;
and, with that conclusion, he dismissed the subject.
Larry studied the clear depths through which they were
96 In Biscayne Bay.
flying, questioned Jack upon the best methods of king-
fishing, ducking, and deer-stalking, and discussed the ex-
pediency of stopping at Caesar's Key to give Kennard
an opportunity for his investigations. They finally decided
first to explore the upper Biscayne Bay region, that they
might obtain all possible information upon which to act
on their return. So they made no stops, except for
the usual meals of the day, and came in sight of the
white coral house on the ridge above the headquarters of
the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club at nine o'clock that evening,
and in an hour were at anchor. ,
The night was bathed in glorious moonlight. Larry
seemed inspired by his surroundings.
"Were you ever in Florence, Ken? Do you remember
'Pascarel' and its tribute to her beauty? Builded in a night
by Hercules, as a pleasuretory for Venus and Flora; made
with the stones from the golden Arno water; and set up
in a meadow of lilies? Hercules gave her his strength
as a birthright, and Flora, being content, touched the soil
and said,' All the year long flowers shall bloom here,
and their smile shall not cease in any season;' and Venus,
being well pleased likewise, called her son to her, and
said, 'When you dart your arrows hither, wreathe them
with roses and wing them with the eagle and the dove.'"
His voice was as deep-toned and musical as a violoncello,
and his spirit seemed deeply stirred. Kennard's mood was
to his as the content of the scholar in contrast with the
feverish outreaching of a new-born soul.
Practically they were alone. Jack was wrapped in pro-
In Biscayne Bay. 97
found slumber, after a long and arduous day's vigil at
the helm. The light from the club-house burned faith-
fully but needlessly under the moonlight. The shore-line
lay in deep shadow; and off to the southeast gleamed
Fowey Rocks Light, like a star. A little farther toward
the east, Cape Florida lighthouse arose, white and grace-
ful, its darkened lantern resting upon its solid walls
like an unregarded and deserted friend. All about them,
phosphorescent dashes of rippled wave and leaping fish
multiplied the lunar shafts, and the whirr of a swift winged
night-bird, or its clear ringing note, accented the tropical
hush. Again Kennard felt the shadow of an unknown,
unseen presence falling around him, and again did he
question his own unaccountable, vague misgiving.
Larry did not seem to desire any response, but mur-
mured on, How can we know, you and I, Ken, or dream
of what the men and women dead and gone those strong
and passionate souls, whose footprints can be found all
through these coral shores have lived and loved and
suffered here, under just such burning days and flower-
scented nights as Fair Florence by the sea' bequeathed
to all her children, rich and poor? What is the use and
end of all this sweet and unappropriated earth, that laughs
and dimples like a little child left' to itself with sunbeams
for its only mate? Think what a waste it seems, when,
farther North, so many beauty-hungering eyes are forced
to shut their souls away from things too hard and coarse
to bear. Ken I and Larry laid his hand with sudden force
upon his puzzled friend, Ken, I am only now beginning
98 In Biscayne Bay.
to see my real self; and it has been a most painful revela-
tion, old boy. If I have not revealed the picture to you,
it is only because I am fearful of the' consequences; and
my burdens are heavy enough without adding your loss to
"What is it, Lal? Speak out, old man! You make me
crawl with all this mystery. Let's have it straight, and see
if your trouble is not more imaginary than real, after all.
You have n't murdered anybody, have you? said Kennard,
with an ill assumed jocularity.
"That's just what I have done, Ken," answered the
Vagabond, in such a serious voice and with such a hopeless
look that Ken sprang to his feet in unrestrained horror.
"Great heavens! Murdered! Who, when, where? Why
man, I believe you are mad! "
"No, Ken; I have murdered myself: my self-respect,
my happiness, my hopes, my life! Stop! as Ken gave
a sigh of relief and settled back into his old comfortable
attitude, with a nervous laugh. "Don't smile yet; and
I will tell you all the bitter, hateful story."
For three hours they sat there, under that gleaming
moonlight, and all through those hours Larry's voice
murmured on, -sometimes rising in angry protest, then
returning to its usual monotone.
What he told Kennard is not for other ears; but when
the latter spoke, he said, But, Larry, why did you leave
her without knowing how she felt?"
Larry put out both his hands in sudden appeal.
In Biscayne Bay. 99
"How can I make you, who never have been touched by
this all-consuming influence, understand? I do not know
why it is that Pascarel seems present with my every
thought to-night; but if you can recall his love for Nella
and hers for him, you may see why I, a man known only
to her as a selfish, changeable, volatile creature, could not
endure her look of surprised and perhaps offended dignity.
For what have I ever been or done or aimed at that should
inspire even respect in such a girl's heart? Does a man
with but one chance for life throw that chance away
lightly? No! much better plod on with a little ray of hope
to brighten the weary way. Like Pascarel, I am no more
the creature of indolent impulses, by which the heart of
man is drawn hither and thither, without once touching or
sighting the goal of his ideal. I am almost hopeless, almost
certain of a life-long desolation, but I can at least become
a man; and whether I succeed or not in winning my soul's
other and better self, I will make her respect me if I live
Kennard's face expressed what his appreciation of Larry's
earnestness forbade his putting into words. With all his
inconsequence, his instability, his restlessness, there was
no man among all whom he had ever called friend more
truly manly, or more entirely admirable, than Larry
Kennard fell to musing over the story to which he had
just listened, and presently said: "It seems to me, dear
boy, that your first experience of the grand passion adds
neither to your happiness nor to your dignity. Am I not
In Biscayne Bay.
wise in steering clear of any such disturbing element? Are
not my quiet, comfortable ways those of pleasantness and
peace, in comparison with yours?"
Doubtless," answered Larry. But the strangest thing
about all this new and troubled existence is that my anxie-
ties and despondencies seem to be centred on something
entirely apart from my individual pleasure; and nothing
would induce me to lapse into the old apathy, which once
I supposed contentment. Why, Ken, can you believe it?
I am possessed now with a keen sympathy for every human
creature that makes me distrust appearances, and look for
possible undercurrents of suffering, even where there seems
the greatest mirth. In every throb of my heart I feel my
own unworthiness, my own sore hunger for the first, the
last, the only real love of my life; but in thus estimating
myself I only the more worship the object of my love. The
more glorious the sun, the more insignificant becomes the
sun-worshipper. I would rather live out the rest of my days
in an ideal devotion to this one woman, though I never
again behold her sweet face, than re-awaken to the old,
fitful, shallow, fleeting fancies, which have perhaps fatally
wrecked my best and fullest joy."
"And are you going to give up all hope, all effort, just
because you think this angelic unknown for do you
realize, Lal, you have used no names? considers you an
arrant flirt? Why, bless my soul! I do thinkyou are carry-
ing your self-abasement too far. Do you not know that the
best of women are not averse to playing the rble of re-
formers to a devoted lover; and besides, old man, what have
In Biscayne Bay. 101
you to be so ashamed of? I might as well give up my
pleasure in my rare treasures, lest, perchance, at some
future day I may become a victim to the charms of a real,
living beauty, from whom I must tear myself away, because
I first admired something else." And Kennard laughed
heartily, and looked hopefully at Lal to see what effect his
arguments might have.
Lal did not even smile. He drew himself up to his fullest
height, and turning toward his would-be comforter, with the
brilliant moonlight resting full upon his earnest, handsome
face, he said: Ken, I never shall give up the hope of
winning that girl while I live; but time and my new self
must work out this hope, for how can any woman worth
the having give herself to a fellow who has played the
part of an empty-headed, self-conceited, soft-hearted fool?
Faugh! and the Vagabond shivered at the unflattering
portrait he had drawn of himself. Why, I am not fit to
serve her as a stepping-stone! You see, she is the sort of
woman that cares for external appearances only as they are
results of internal realities. I heard her say once that she
had no respect for a man or a woman that was solely self-
centred and lived only for personal comfort and pleasure.
Of course she likes all that belongs to refined society, and
has never known anything else. She has always been in the
midst of what is called fashionable life too; but with all the
love and admiration and attention she has received, I do not
believe she has ever permitted a man to propose to her.
She possesses a dignity that it is simply impossible to
ignore or willingly offend. Some call her distant and cold.