SUMNER AT HOMME [Page 18
"Tr nLAMINGO IrATHrR"
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L I T FA SouTH .
IL THEnE CANOES, AND THE FATz oF OFn
IlL SUMNaR RECEIVES A-SECOND
IV. TEACHING A THaIr A LEsoN
V. THE GREAT FLORIDA REEF
VL PINEAPPLES AND SPONGES.
II. MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE
IIL LIFE ON THE LONELY ISLAND
IX. THE NCTruRNA VITrro .
X WaosE AR TaHEY AND
THEY COME FROM ? .
XL SUMNER DIrrIe AwaY ON A
SOF THE CA-
PICKED UP IN THE GULF STREAM
A MYSTERY Or TH REEF .
WORTH AND QUORUM ARE MISSING
WorTH AND Quoanu IN SEARCHor SOFUM
A NIGHT IN ALLIGATOR LIGHT
AN ENTERTAINMENT ON TH K .
OF FOR THE EVRGLAD. ...
XIX. TmzCANous ARa AGAIN LosT, AD AGAIN
FoUND . .
TaH PsYoaH As A LIIE-BOAT
SUMNER'S SELF-SACRIFIC. 160
GOOD-BYE TO THE TRANSIT . 168
WORTH MEETS A PANTHER . 175
RATTLESNAKES AND RIFL-SOTS 184
WORTH'S LONELY NIGHT-WATCH 192
THE FLORIDA EVERGLADES . 201
A PnREHITORIc EVERGLADE MOUD 209
WHAT BECAME OF QUORUM AND THE
CANOES . . 218
A VERY SERIOUS PREDICAMENT. 226
QUORUM AS AN AMBASSADOR 234
A CLOSELY GUARDED CAMP . 242
CROSSING THE 'GLADES WITHOUT SnE-
INGTHEM . 250
AN ADVENTUROUS DEER-HUNT 258
HEMMED IN BY A FOREST FIRE 266
THE BOYs IN A SEMINOLE CAMP 275
ONE OF THE RAREST ANIMALS IN THE
VII. FISHING IOR SHARKS
'III. LITTLE Ko-WIK-A SAILS
IX. A BLACK SQUALL AND
XL. THa HAPPY ENDING OF
OUT TO SEA 301
BUMNB AT HOME * Pnii
"WITH THE NEXT SEND OF THE SEA THE
CANVAS CANOE WAS CRUSHED BENEATH
THE PONDIEOUS BOWS . acg p. 18
SHE RETURNED TO THE BUOY, ON WHICH
THE RECENT FUGITIVE WAS NOW SIT-
TING ." . 30
TORCH-FISHING FOR MULLET 40
"THE LATTER WAS ROLLING ON THE GROUND
AT THE FOO OF A COCOANUT-TEE" 68
QUORUM IS HAPPY 84
"TWO PAIRS OF POWERFUL ARMS DRAGGED
HIM INTO THE BOAT" . 94
" AS HE STEPPED ASHORE A PLEASANT-FACED
YOUNG MAN ADVANCED TO MEET HIM 108
QUORUM DANCES A BREA-DOWN ." 136
"HE FOUND BUST NOBBIS CROUCHING IN THE
LEE OF THE LITTLE DECK-HOUSE" 158
"A VOLLEY OF RIFLE -SHOTS FLASHED AND
ROARED FROM THE FOREST" 188
" OUGH-LOOxING CHARACTERS, WHOM HE AT
ONCE RECOGNIZED AS SOUTH FLORIDA
" HIS ,WRISTS WERE UNBOUND, AND THE
CLOTH THAT ENVELOPED HIS HEAD WAS
MATCHED FROM IT . .
" DIRECTLY AFTERWARDS A CANOE APPEARED
AT THE OPENING IN THE BUSHES .
"THE ORDEAL OF FIRE LASTED BUT A MIN-
UTE, 0 0 5 5 0.
"THE SURPRISE AND DELIGHT OF THE TWO
GENTLEMEN CAN BE BETTER IMAGINE
na o p.
A Story of the Everglades.
I THE FAR BOUT.
RELLY, mother, it doesn't seem as though I
could stand it any longer! Life in this place
isn't worth living, especially when it's a life of
poverty, and what people call 'genteel poverty,'
as ours is. Our struggle is for bare existence,
and there doesn't seem to be any future to it. If
you'd only let me go to New York, I'm sure I
could do something there that was worth the do-
ing, but I can't do anything here, and I'd almost
rather die than live here any longer !" With
this Sumner Rankin flung himself into a chair,
and his flushed face was as heavily clouded as
though life held nothing of hope or happiness for
Why, my dear boy," exclaimed his mother,
standing beside him and smoothing his tumbled
brown curls with her cool hands, what is the
matter I I never knew you to speak so bitterly
Mrs. Rankin still looked so young and pretty
that she might almost be taken for an elder sis-
ter of the handsome, seventeen-year-old boy over
whom she now bent so tenderly.
To the casual observer the Rankins' home was
a very pleasant one. It was a pretty, broad-
verandaed cottage nestled in the shadows of a
clump of towering cocoanut palms, on the far
southern island of Key West. It stood on the
outskirts of the town, and so close to the beach
that the warm waters of the Mexican Gulf rip-
pling on the coral rocks behind it made a cease-
less melody for its inmates. Jasmine-vines clam-
bered over it, glossy-leaved myrtles, a hedge of
night-blooming cereus and other sweet-scent-
ed tropical shrubs perfumed the air about it.
Through these, looking out from the shaded
coolness of the verandas, the eye caught fasci-
nating glimpses of blue waters with white sails
constantly passing, and stately men-of-war swing-
ing idly at their moorings. It looked an ideal
home; but even in this tropical Eden there was
one very large serpent, besides several that were
smaller though almost equally annoying. The
big one was poverty, and it held the Rankins in
A Story of the E&erglades. 3
its dread embrace as though with no intention
of relaxing it.
Mrs. Rankin was the widow of a naval officer
who had been stationed at Key West a few years
before. He had sent his wife and only child
north to escape a dreadful summer of yellow-
fever, while he had stayed and died at his post.
Shortly before his death Commander Rankin,
believing that Key West property was about to
increase rapidly in value, had invested all that he
had in the little jasmine-clad cottage, expecting
to be able to sell it at a handsome profit when
his term of service at that station should expire.
Thus it was all that remained to his family, and
to this haven Mrs. Rankin, sad-eyed and wellnigh
broken-hearted, had returned with her boy. The
fever had caused real estate to become of so little
value that there was no chance of selling the cot-
tage; so they were forced to live in it, and the
widow eked out her scanty pension by letting
such rooms as she could spare to lodgers. During
the pleasant winter season she rarely had diffi-
culty in filling them, but through the long, hot
summer months desirable lodgers were few and
far between, and the poverty serpent enfolded
One of the lesser serpents against which the
Rankings had to contend was the lack of conge-
nial society; for, with the exception of a few
government employs and those whose business
compels them to live there, the population of Key
West is composed of spongers and wreckers, Cu-
ban and negro cigar-makers. Another was the
lack of good schools, and the worst of all was the
lack of suitable business openings for Sumner, or
"Summer," as his Chinese nurse had called him
when he was a baby, and as he had been called
ever since on account of his bright face and sun-
ny disposition. He would have loved dearly to
go through the Naval Academy and follow the
profession that had been his father's, but the
Rankins had no political influence, and without
that there was no chance. He could not go into
a cigar-factory, and though his boyish love of
adventure had led him to take several trips on
sponging vessels, it was not the business for a
Born in China, the boy had, with his mother,
followed his naval father to many of the princi-
pal ports of the world.
mother had devoted all
education, and thus he
many branches of which
little or nothing. He Rl
thing connected with it.
Both his father and
their spare time to his
was well informed in
the average boy knows
>ved the sea and every-
From his babyhood he
had played with and sailed boats.
A Story of the Eer glades. 5
was no better sailor in Key West than he, nor
one more at home among the reefs of those
southern waters. He knew the secrets of boat-
building from keel to truck, and from stem to
stern, while his favorite employment was the
whittling out of models, the drawing of sail plans,
and the designing of yachts. But nobody want-
ed yachts in Key West, nor did its sailors care
to have improved models for their fishing-boats
or sponge-vessels. So Sumner was considered a
dreamer, and people said he ought to be doing
something besides whittling and idling about
home. The boy thought so himself, but what to
do and how to set about it were problems the
attempted solution of which caused him many an
On the perfect winter day that he had come
home in such a despairing frame of mind, his
own life had just been presented in vivid con-
trast to that of another boy who seemed to have
the very things that Sumner most longed for.
He had been down to the wharf to see the OUi-
vette, the West Indian fast mail-steamer from
Tampa, come in. There he had been particularly
attracted by a boy somewhat younger than him-
self, standing with a gentleman, whom Sumner
supposed to be his father, on the after-deck. As
the steamer neared the wharf this boy amused
himself by flinging silver coins into the water for
the fun of seeing little negroes dive after them.
"Only think, mother I" exclaimed Sumner in
relating this incident, "he threw money away as
I would so many pebbles, and didn't seem to
value it any more. Just imagine a boy having
money to waste like that! And some of those
little rascals who dived for it made more in a few
minutes than I have to spend in months."
But, Sumner," said Mrs. Rankin, gravely, "I
hope your unhappiness does not arise from jeal-
ousy of another's prosperity ?"
Yes, it does, mother," replied the boy, hon-
estly; "though it isn't only because he could
throw money away; it is because he has the
very thing that I would rather have than any-
thing else in the world-the prettiest, daintiest,
cedar sailing canoe that ever was built. I never
saw one before, but I've read of them, and stud-
ied their plans until I know all about them. She
is as different from my old canvas thing as a
scow is from a yacht."
"But you thought your canvas canoe very
nearly perfect when you built her."
"I know I did, but I have learned better since
then, and now it seems as though I should never
care to look at it again."
Yet this same despised canvas canoe, which
A &ory of the Everglades.
Sumner had built himself the year before with-
out ever having seen one, had been considered
both by himself and
ever since with great
You have yet to
much harder to be
have than to obtain
Shis friends a masterpiece of
and he had cruised in her
learn, dear, that it is ever so
satisfied with the things we
those for which we long, no
matter how far beyond our reach they may seem,"
said Mrs. Rankin,
"I suppose it is,
rid to come to you
ings; but I wish I
mother, and I know it is hor-
with my miserable complain-
had never seen those canoes-
for there were two of them just
wealthy people wouldn't come
such things. They don't do
only make us feel our poverty
Why, there they are now! Tu
What can they want with us, I
see them at any rate. I've
wealthy snobs than they have
So saying, Sumner left the
alike-and I wish
to Key West with
us any good, and
ruing in h
door, and the steps of the approaching visitors
sounded on the front veranda.
THREE CANOES, AND THE FATE OF ONE
As Sumner's mother opened the door, she saw
that the gentleman who, politely lifting his hat,
asked if she were Mrs. Rankin, was too young
to be the father of the boy by his side.
"May I introduce myself as Mr. Tracy Man-
ton,. of New York ?" he said, when she had an-
swered his question in the affirmative; "and
my nephew, Master Worth Manton? We have
called to see
week or so.
tel; but we
if we can engage rooms here for a
We will take our meals at the ho-
have two canoes that we propose fit-
ting out here for a cruise up the ree
want to find a place close to the water
can keep them in safety, and at the
be near them. Mr. Merrill advised u
here, and it looks as though this we
the place of which we are in search.
can accommodate us we shall esteem
With the remembrance of Sumner's:
Mrs. Rankin hesitated a moment bel
rf, and we
s to come
So if you
it a great
A Story of the verglades 9
ing; whereupon Mr. Manton added: "I trust
you are not going to refuse us, for I have set
my heart on coming here, and will gladly pay
full hotel rates for the accommodation."
"If my vacant rooms suit you I shall be pleased
to let you have them at my regular rate, which
is all they are worth," answered the widow, qui-
etly, as she reflected on the poverty which would
not allow even a mother's feelings to'interfere
with honorable bread-winning. "Will you step
in afd look at them ?"
"We are in luck, my boy, and our little expe-
dition has begun most prosperously," said Mr.
Tracy Manton an hour later, as he and his
nephew sat in one of the two pretty back-rooms
that they had engaged, surrounded by their be-
longings, and looking out on the sparkling wa-
ters of the Gulf. On the grass of the palm-
shaded back yard, and in plain sight from the
windows, lay the two canoes that had so excited
Sumner's admiration and envy. They were in-
deed beauties as they lay there divested of their
burlap wrappings, and that they were fresh from
the builder's hands was shown by their un-
scratched varnish and gleaming metal fittings.
They were fifteen feet long by thirty inches
wide amidships, were provided with folding
metal centre -boards, metal drop- rudders, foot-
and-hand steering gear, water-tight compart-
ments fore and aft, and were decked, with the
exception of their roomy cockpits. These were
with the deck
fused mass of
stout oak coamings three inches
nted, and flaring outward at the
rubber aprons, cushion
pleted their equipment
feet in every detail,
things Sumner Ranki
upon. At least he t
from a long tramp o
walk off his unhappin
in the yard. In spite
them there, and a retu
ing of envy, he could
mire them and study t
down so as to be flush
eside them lay the con-
sails, spars, canoe tents,
i, and cordage, that com-
They were simply per-
nd the most' beautiful
had ever set his eyes
ought so, as, returning
which he had tried to
ss, he found them lying
>f his surprise at seeing
rn of his unwelcome feel-
not help stopping to ad.
"Hello I" exclaimed Mr. Manton, again look-
ing from his window. "There's a chap down there
staring his eyes out at our boats. I shouldn't
wonder if he were our landlady's son-the one,
you know, we were advised to engage as a guide.
You wait here while I run down and find
So Worth waited and watched from the win-
dow to note the result of his uncle's negotiations.
A Soy of the Eerglades. 11
At a first glance one would have said that
Worth Manton was an effeminate boy, with a
pale face, blue eyes, and fair hair. If, however,
the observer looked long enough to note the
square chin, the occasional compression of the
thin lips, and flash of the eyes, he might form a
different opinion. He was the son of Guy Man-
ton, the great Wall Street operator who had
made a fortune out of western railroads, and
he had all his life been accustomed to lav-
ish luxury. He was rather delicate, and it was
largely on his account that his parents had de-
cided to spend a winter at St. Augustine. The
boy had taken but slight interest in the gayeties
of the Ponce de Leon, nor had he gained any
benefit from the chill rain-storms driven in from
the ocean by the east winds of midwinter. The
doctor had advised his going farther south; and
when his uncle Tracy proposed that they make
a canoe trip up the great Florida Reef, which
lies off' the most southerly coast of the United
States, Worth had eagerly seconded the propo-
sition, and had finally won the reluctant consent
of his parents.
He knew nothing of canoing, nor did his un-
cle know much more; but the latter was a good
yachtsman, and Worth had had some experience
of the same kind, so they felt confident they could
manage. They intended to devote some time to
studying their craft, and learning their possibil-
ities in the waters about Key West; so two
canoes, completely equipped, were ordered from
the builder by telegraph. Worth's father prom-
ised to charter a yacht, sail down the coast in
it, and meet them at Cape Florida about the
first of April, and the two would-be canoemen
started for Key West full of pleasant anticipa-
Sumner Rankin started at being asked if that
were his name, for he had not heard Mr. Man-
ton's step on the grass behind him, and answered
rather curtly that it was.
"Well," said the young man, plunging into
business at once, as was his habit, "I have been
told that you are a first-class sailor, as well as a
good reef pilot. My nephew and I are going
to cruise up the reef, and I should like to en-
gage your services as boatman and guide. I am
willing to pay-"
"It makes no difference what you are willing
to pay," interrupted Sumner, with flushed cheeks
and flashing eyes. "My services as boatman are
not for hire at any price."
With this assertion of his pride, or, as he imag-
ined, of his independence, the boy turned and
walked into the house.
A &ory of the Everglades. 1s
"Whew I" whistled Mr. Manton, gazing after
the retreating form in amazement. "There's a
bit of dynamite for you! Pride and poverty
mixed in equal parts do make a most powerful.
explosive. However, I haven't forgotten my
own days of poverty, and can fully appreciate
the boy's feelings. Pll try him on a different
tack as soon as this little squall has blown over.
He and his mother must be different from the
majority of the people down here, for they are
the first we have met who don't seem to want to
make money out of us."
Mr. Tracy Manton had no idea of giving up
his purpose of engaging Sumner to accompany
them on their trip, for he was the kind of a man
who wins his way by sticking to whatever plan
he has decided upon, in which respect his nephew
Worth strongly resembled him. So the next
time he met the lad, which was in the afternoon
of the following day, he held out his hand and
said: "I beg your pardon for my unintentional
rudeness of yesterday, and my forgetfulness of
the fact that' a gentleman is such, no matter
where he is found. Now, I want you to forgive
me, forget mr offence, and do me a favor. I
can't make head or tail of our sails, and they
don't seem to me right somehow. If you will come
and look at them I shall be greatly obliged."
By this time Sumner was so heartily ashamed
of his conduct of the day before that he was
only too glad to accept this overture of friend-
ship, and a few minutes later the two were busi-
ly discussing the sails of the Cupid and Psyche,
as the Mantons' canoes were named. The spars
were much heavier than they need be, while the
sails were of the ill-shaped, unserviceable pattern
generally furnished by canoe builders, and these
defects were quickly detected by Sumner's expe-
rienced eye. When he pointed them out to Mr.
Manton, the latter readily comprehended them,
but was at a loss how to make the improvements
that were evidently demanded.
In order to explain more thoroughly the idea
that he wished to convey, Sumner dragged out
his own canvas canoe, stepped her masts, and
hoisted her sails. They were of a most ingen-
ious and effective lateen pattern, such as Mr.
Manton had never before seen.
"Where did you get hold of that idea he
asked, after studying them carefully a few mo-
ments. "It is a capital one."
"I got it partly from an Arab dhow that I
once saw off Madagascar, and partly from the
feluccas at Civita Vecchia."
"Madagascar and the Mediterranean I" repeat-
ed Mr. Manton, in astonishment. If you have
A storyy of the Everglades.
visited both of those places you must have trav-
Yes," answered Sumner, quietly, but with a
twinkle of amusement in his eye. "The son of
a naval officer who attempts to follow his father
about the world is apt to see a good bit of it be-
fore he gets through."
ever, too wise
subject, and m
who had known nothing of Sum-
no longer wondered that he had
at being taken for a boatman
could be hired. He was, how-
to make further mention of the
have had a splendid chance to
study sails." And again turning to the subject
under consideration, he asked, "Would you be
willing to help us cut out some for our canoes
after your models ?"
Sumner answered that he would not only be
willing but glad to lend every aid in his power
towards properly equipping the two canoes for
In the mean time the sun had set, and the sky
was black with an approaching squall that caused
them to watch with some uneasiness for Worth's
return. He had gone out in one of the canoes,
an hour before, for a paddle, and had not since
been seen. Just as the storm broke he appeared
a point and headed
As his course lay
wind, his struggle
watched him anxi
Sumner offered to
but his uncle said
self-reliance more t
was too good a le
go to t
the young paddler conqi
landing-place in safety, E
either too exhausted or
secure his canoe, and a
towards the little
they were standing.
in the teeth of the
ig and hard. They
nd more than once
he boy's assistance;
wished Worth to learn
anything else, and this
to be spoiled. Finally
aered, and, reaching the
prangg ashore. He was
too careless to properly
s he stepped from it a
spiteful gust of wind struck it full on the side.
In another moment it was beyond reach and
drifting rapidly out to sea.
Both the Mantons were confused by the sud-
denness of the mishap. Before they could form
any plan for the recovery of the runaway, Sum-
ner had shoved his own canvas canoe into the
water, jumped aboard, and was dashing away
in pursuit of the truant. He was almost within
reach of his prize, and his tiny sail was almost in-
distinguishable amid the blackness of the squall,
the watchers on
other and much
dead before the
the tiny canoe
shore were horrified to
larger sail come rushing
wind, directly towards it.
sail disappeared; and a
A Story of the Everglade. 17
the larger one seemed to sweep over the spot
where it had been, the Mantons gazed at each
other with faces that betokened the dread they
dared not put into words.
SUMNEB RECEIVES A SECOND OFFER.
FOR a few minutes Sumner Rankin's peril was
most imminent. He was almost within reach of
the drifting canoe, which he had been watching
too closely to take note of any other object, when
he became conscious of the clumsy, wood-laden
schooner rushing down on him before the squall.
She was manned by a crew of two negroes, and
by the manner in which she yawed, heading one
moment this way and the next another, he saw
that they had but little control of, her move-
ments. In vain did he shout to them to look out.
His voice was lost in the shriek of the wind, and
they did not hear him. He tried to cross their
bows, and might have succeeded in sp doing, but
at that moment their main-sail gybed over with
a crash, and the heavy craft, looking as large
as a man-of-war in comparison with his cockle-
shell, headed directly for him. With the next
send of the sea the canvas canoe was crushed
beneath the ponderous bows, and blotted from
existence as though it had been a drifting leaf.
"WTIT TTT NEXT TEND OF TE HE SEA THE CANVAS CANOE WAS CRUSHED BENEATH THE PONDEROUS
A Story of the oerglades.
As Sumner saw the black mass towering above
him, and before it could descend, he rose to his
feet, and taking a straight header, dived deep
into the angry waters. When he again came to
the surface he was swimming in the foaming
wake of the
him from th
schooner, and drifting down towards
e windward was the beautiful cedar
was the cause of all the trouble, and
which he had passed in his effort to
from destruction. A few strokes
her, and with a feeling of devout
he clutched her gunwale.
Worth Manton, or any other ii
canoeman, would have attempted
over the bow or stern, and, sitting
save his own
took him to
to climb up
slippery deck, to work his way into the cockpit.
Such an attempt would have been almost certain
to roll the light craft over and fill her with wa-
ter, in which case she would become wholly un-
manageable. But Sumner knew better than to
do such a thing. He had practised capsizing so
often in his crank canvas canoe that to get into
this comparatively broad-beamed and stable craft
was the easiest kind of a performance. Seizing
hold of the coaming directly amidship, he placed
his left hand on the side of the cockpit nearest
him, and reaching far over, grasped the other
side with his right. Then kicking in the water
behind him until his body lay nearly flat on its
surface, and bearing as much weight as possible
on his right hand, he drew himself squarely
across the cockpit, and in another moment was
seated in it, without having shipped a drop of
water over the coming.
There was no paddle in the canoe, and though
she rode the waves like a cork, she was entirely
at the mercy of the wind and tide. Although
the squall was passing, the darkness of night was
shutting out all familiar objects, and
was on the point of resigning himself to
of aimless drifting, with an interesting
nty as to when he should be picked up,
distant shout, that sounded exceedingly
own name, was borne to his ears. He
k an answering cry, the shout was re-
and a few minutes later the shadowy
I tell yo
he Psyche, with
Mr. Manton wielding a
aded paddle, shot out of the darkness.
rer was so glad to find any one in my
claimed the new- comer. "We were
at clumsy schooner had run you down.
1 what, boy, the last ten minutes have
most anxious I ever passed, and I
go through with them again for all the
the world. But what has become of
A Story of the Everglades. 1
"She has gone to the bottom, like many a
good ship before her," replied Sumner; "and
it wasn't the fault of those lubbers on the schoon-
er that I didn't go with her. Have you an extra
paddle with you ?"
"No; I neglected to bring one, and I shall
have to take you in tow."/
They had already drifted down past the fort
that commands the harbor from the south-west
point of the island, and as they could not hope
to make their way back against wind and tide,
they were compelled to work in behind it, and
make a landing on the south beach a mile or
more from where they started. Here Mr. Man-
ton remained in charge of the canoes, while
Sumner ran home to announce his own safety,
obtain a change of clothing and another paddle.
He found his mother and Worth in a terrible
state of anxiety concerning him; but he made
so light of his recent adventure that it was not
until after the canoes were brought safely back,
an hour later, that they learned the full extent
of his recent peril.
This incident seemed to cement a firm friend-
ship between Sumner and the Mantons, and while
the former stubbornly refused to accept the rec-
ompense for his lost canoe that Mr. Manton tried
to force upon him, declaring that it was only his
own carelessness in not keeping a s
out, the latter made up his mind tha
his pride, the boy must and should
in some way for what he had done.
,t, in spite of
following week? was busily and happily
making new sails for the two canoes,
g them, and in teaching Worth how to
his. It struck Sumner as a little curious
en after the new sais were made, Mr.
was always too busy to go out on these
practice trips with his nephew, and invariably
asked him to take the Psyche and act as instruc-
tor in his place. Of course he could not refuse
to do this, nor did he have the slightest inclina-
tion to do so; for what boy who loved boats
would not have jumped at the chance of sailing
that dainty craft ? How Sumner did appreciate
her speed and seaworthy qualitiesI He raced
with every sponger and fisherman in the harbor,
and caused their eyes to open with amazement
at the ease with which he beat them. How
fond he became of the canoe that bore him to so
many victories I How, with all his heart, he did
wish he were going in her on the cruise up the
reef, for which such extensive preparations were
being made I Much as he wished this, however,
he was very careful not to express the wish tq
any person except his mother, to whom he a-
A Story of the Everglades. 2S
ways confided all his hopes, fears, and plans.
After his refusal of Mr. Manton's offer to accom-
pany them as guide, he would not for anything
have let that gentleman know how eagerly he
longed to have the offer repeated in such form
that his pride would allow him to accept it.
Still, as he had no canoe now, it would be impos-
sible for him to go, and there was no use in
thinking of it.
So he tried to make the most of his present op-
portunities, and gain all the pleasure that they
held. Nor did he neglect Worth, but instructed
him so thoroughly in the art of canoe-handling,
that at the end of a week the boy was as much
at home in his canoe as he had ever been on a
One day, as the two beautiful craft, with their
perfect setting lateen-sails, were glancing in and
out among the anchored sponge fleet on the
north side of the island, like white-winged sea-
birds, a young sponger, named Rust Norris, called
out from one of the boats, "Say, Sumner, come
here a minute, will yer ?"
As the latter sailed alongside and asked what
he wanted, the sponger answered: "I want to
try that fancy trick of yourn. Let me take her
a few minutes, will yer "
"No," replied Sumner; "I can't, because she
isn't mine to lend. Besides, as
customer to this style of craft,
her, anyhow; and you'd upset
gone a length."
"Oh, I would, would I ? Wt
sail anything you can, or any
you are not ac-
you couldn't sail
before you had
ll, I'll bet I can
that thinks he knows it all because his daddy
belonged to the navy."
Then, as Sumner, with a flushed face, but dis-
daining any reply, sheered off and sailed away, he
added, "I'd jest naturally hate myself if I was
as mean as you be, Sumner Rankin, and I won't
forget your disobligingness in a hurry, neither 1"
In the mean time Mr. Manton had studied
Sumner's character carefully, and the more he
did so the more he was pleased with the boy.
He found him to be proud and high-tempered,
but also manly, straightforward, and honest to a
fault, as well as prompt to act in emergencies,
self-reliant, and a thorough sailor. In the course
of several conversations with the boy's mother
he learned much of Sumner's past history and
of his dreams for-the future. To her he finally
confided a plan, formed on the day that Sumner
saved Worth's canoe at the expense of his own,
and after some discussion won her assent to it.
It was nothing more nor less than that Sum-
ner should take his place on the proposed cruise
A Story of the Everglades.
up the reef, and
ion, and friend to
I shall not for
mistake of trying
said Mr. Manton
plan to Sumner;
favor to both me
a great favor to
saw an expression
I really ought to
act the part of guide, ompan-
the younger canoeman.
Sa second time be guilty of the
to hire you to take this cruise,"
smiling, as he unfolded this
"but I ask you to do. it as a
and Worth. Indeed, it will be
me," he added, hastily, as he
of doubt on the lad's face; "for
be in New York at this very
Sto some important business,
which I was only willing to neglect in case
Worth could not take this trip without me.
Now, however, I am confident that he will be
safer with you than he would be with me alone,
and if you will take my canoe and accompany
him to Cape Florida, where I shall try to meet
you about the first of April, you- will place me
under an obligation.
Will you do it I"
TEACHING A THIEF A LESSON.
WAs there ever such a chance to do the very
thing he most longed to do offered a boy be-
fore? Sumner did not believe there ever had
been, and with a quick glance at his mother's
smiling face, in which he read her assent to the
plan, he answered:
"I don't know how to thank you, sir, for
making me such a splendid offer, and not only
will I gladly accept it, but I promise to do every-
thing in my power to make Worth have a good
time, and see that no harm befalls him. But [
wish you were going too. I hate to think of
taking your place and depriving you of all the
pleasure of the trip."
"My dear boy," replied Mr. Manton, "you
must not look at it in that way, for, as I said be-
fore, you will doing me a real favor in tak-
ing my place. ) am more of a yachtsman than
a canoeman ayway, and I look forward with
fully as much pleasure to cruising down the Ind-
ian River from St. Augustine in the yacht that
A &ory of the soerglades. 7
my brother proposes to charter, and meeting you
at Cape Florida, as I should to running up the
reef in a canoe. There is one more thing, how-
ever. I must-insist upon your sailing your own
canoe, for I make it a rule never to lend my
boats to any one, and you will have enough re-
sponsibility in looking after Worth, without hav-
ing the added one of caring for another person's
canoe. So, from this moment, the Psyche, and
all that she contains, is yours."
"Oh, Mr. Manton !"
"That will do. Not another word," laughed
the young man. "I am as obstinate as a mule
when I have once made up my mind to a thing,
and so there is nothing for you to do but take
the canoe, and make the best use you can of
Sumner's protests against this generosity were
but feeble ones, and were quickly disposed of by
Mr. Manton, who simply refused to listen to
them. He cut them short by saying," Now that
this matter is settled, and everything is in read-
iness for a start, I propose that you get off in the
morning, for I want to take to-morrow night's
steamer for Tampa."
That night, after everybody had gone to bed
and the house was still, Sumner lay wide awake,
thinking over the good-fortune that had befallen
him. At length he could
tion of getting up, partly
slipping out for a look
own! the most beautiful
and such a one as in his
never hoped to possess.
The two canoes had
Snot resist the tempta-
y dressing himself, and
at his canoe, his very
craft he had ever seen,
wildest dreams he had
grass not far from the water's
with some bits of old canvas.
a moonlit night, the moon wi
secured by drifting clouds,
the house everything wa
cause. He moved very
wish any one to know of
him to look at something
ready familiar, merely b
edge, and cov(
ly, for he did
with which he was al-
ecause it had acquired
the new interest of possession.
To his amazement, when he reached the place
where the canoes had been left, he could find but
one of them. In vain did he lift the canvas that
had covered them both, and look hurriedly about
the little yard. One of them was certainly gone,
and no trace of it remained. As the boy stood
irresolute, wondering what he ought to do, he
was startled by a slight splash in the water. At
the same moment the cloud passed from the face
of the moon, and by the light thus afforded
Sumner saw the figure of a man seated in the
A Story of the Everglades. s9
missing canoe, and cautiously paddling from the
Without an instant's hesitation he slid the re-
maining canoe over the grass and into the water,
sprang into it, seized a paddle, and started in pur-
suit. Of course the paddler in the first canoe
might be one of the Mantons, but Sumner did
not believe it was either of them. He thought
it more than likely that the stranger was some
one who only desired to try the canoe, but it
might be a thief. At any rate, the boy deter-
mined to discover who he was, and what he meant
by his stealthy performance before they were
many minutes older.
The stranger did not realize that he was pur-
sued until Sumner had shoved off from shore, and
was urging his own craft forward with vigorous
strokes of his double-bladed paddle. When, by
a glance over his shoulder, he discovered this, he
redoubled his efforts to escape, and by his clumsy
splashings proved himself a novice in the art of
paddling. Still he made fair headway, and it
was not until they were several hundred yards
from shore that Sumner overtook him.
Here was anchored an immense mooring-buoy,
with a round, slightly conical top, having in its
centre a great iron ring. It did not rise more
than a foot from the surface of the water, and
in trying to watch Sumner, the occupant of the
leading canoe did not notice it until his light
craft struck it a glancing blow, and very nearly
upset. The next instant an effort to recover his
equilibrium had precipitated the fellow into the
water, and as Sumner shot past him he was wild-
ly clutching at
to. gain its uppe
he clung to thi
the drifting can
to the buoy on
now sitting, clin
presenting a coi
in an imploring
the buoy, with desperate efforts
he could not drown so long as
e buoy, Sumner first picked up
oe. With it in tow he returned
which the recent fugitive was
going tightly to the iron ring, and
nical picture of misery.
me here," Sumner !" he cried,
tone, in which the boy at once
of Rust Norris.
" I didn't
mean no harm. I
trick, and I meant
I found her. Hon
"Well, I don't
could not help lau
spite of his anger
without leave, and
not have been re
claimed it would.
ble as you deserve
Only just wanted to try the
to put her back again where
est I did!"
ghing at the other's
at him for taking 1
i his suspicion that
turned so promptly
" You look quite as
to be; besides, you
a nice quiet chance out here to learn the lesson
lIE 1 ETI'INEl) ') T Ill: IUOY,(t WIII(.II rTIlE l:('EINT FUGITIVE WAS NOW SITTING."
A Story of the Everglades.
that it is better to leave
alone than to take it wi
the whole, I think I w
are for a while. I did
rested for stealing, but
Thus saying, the boy
shore, and at the same
pleading tone to one of
loud threats of what he
for in the future.
Without paying any
Other people's F
ill leave you wh
think of having
I guess this will
began to paddle towards
time Rust changed his
bitter invective, uttering
would make Sumner suf-
young canoeman continued on
shore. From there he watched
dim form of a fishing-boat come
down the harbor with the tide.
his way to the
until he saw the
As she neared
the spot where he knew the buoy with its un-
willing occupant to be, he heard shouts, saw the
boat alter her course, and stop for a minute. As
she again proceeded, and he was satisfed that his
prisoner had been rescued, Summer again went
to bed, this time to sleep soundly until morning.
When he related this adventure at breakfast-
time, Mr. Manton said he had served the rascal
right; but Mrs. Rankin was fearful lest some
future mischief should come of it. At this Sum-
ner laughed, and said he thought the lesson would
teach Rust Norris to let his things alone in the
future, also that he was not afraid of anything
the young sponger could do anyhow.
The morning was spent in loading the canoes
and in making final preparations for the start.
By noon all was in readiness, and after a hasty
lunch the two young canoemates stepped aboard
their dainty craft. Then, amid a waving of hand-
kerchiefs and a chorus of hearty good-byes from
the group of spectators assembled to see them
off, they hoisted sail, and bore away on the first
reach of what was to prove one of the most
eventful and exciting cruises ever undertaken up
the Florida Reef.
A Story of the Herglades.
THE GREAT FLORIDA REE.
THz great Florida Reef, up which our young
had just started on their adventu-
is about 230
Florida, on ti
nd the southel
and far out into the Gulf
The island of Key West
the main-land, and about
the Dry Tortugas, whici
ie Atlantic coast, com-
rn end of the.peninsula,
of Mexico on the west.
lies some 70 miles off
the same distance from
1 group of little coral
islets forms the western extremity of the reef.
Between Key West, on which is a city of the
same name containing nearly 20,000 inhabitants,
who live farther south than any one else in the
United States, and Cape Florida, 150 miles east
and north, a multitude of little keys or'islands,
covered to the water's edge with a dense growth
of mangroves and other tropical trees and shrubs,
stretch in a continuous line. Between these keys*
The word key" is a corruption of the Spanish Cayo or
island. Thus Key West was originally "Cayo Hueso," or
Bone Island, so called from the quantity of human bones
found on it by the first white settlers.
and the main-land lies a vast shallow expanse of
water known as the Bay
of them is the narrow and
Channel, running along 'their
bounded on its seaward side
broken wall of the outer reef.
above the surface, and on it
sects pursue their ceaseless to
Beyond the reef, between it
Cuba, eighty miles away, pour
entire length, and
by the almost un-
This rarely rises
the busy coral in-
il of rock-building.
and the island of
rs the mighty flood
of the Gulf Stream.
For nearly 300 years these peaceful looking
keys, with their bewildering net-work of chan-
nels, kept open by the rushing tide-currents, and
coral reefs were the chosen resorts of pirates and
wreckers, both of whom reaped rich rewards from
the unfortunate vessels that fell inf) their hands.
Now the pirates have disappeared, and the busi-
ness of the wreckers has been largely taken from
them by the establishment of .a .range of light-
houses along the outer reef, at intervals of twenty
to thirty miles. The first of these is on Logger-
head Key, the outermost of the Tortugas. Then
comes Rebecca Shoal, half-way between Logger-
head and Sand Key Light, which is just off Key
West. From here the lights in order up the
reef are American Shoal, Sombrero, Alligator,
Carysfort, and Fowey Rocks, off Cape Florida.
A Story of the Everglades.
With this chain of flashing beacons to warn
mariners of the presence of the dreaded reef, the
palmy days of wreckers and beach-combers have
passed away, and they must content themselves
with what they can make out of the occasional
vessels that are still drawn in to the reef by the
powerful currents ever setting towards
sequently most of those who would other
wreckers have turned their attention to
in the waters behind the keys, which f
of the great sponge-fields of the world,
raising of pineapples and cocoanuts on
the islands as afford sufficient soil for
There are four ways by which one
up the reef. The first is outside in t
Stream, or by "way of the Gulf ;" th
is between the reef and the keys, thr
Hawk Channel; the third is through
intricate channels among
as the spongers say; and
or to the
Way," or through the shoal waters be-
these, the third, or inside way, was the
one chosen by Sumner as being the most pro-
tected from wind and seas, the most picturesque,
the one affording the most frequent opportuni-
ties for landing, the most interesting, and in
every way best adapted to canoes drawing but
a few inches of water.
As the Psycl and Cupid are running easily
along the north shore of the key before a light
southerly breeze, there is time to take a look at
the "duffle" with which they are laden. In the
first place, each has two lateen- sails, the long
yards of which are hoisted on short masts rising
but a few feet from the deck. These sails can
be hoisted, lowered, or quickly reefed by the
canoeman from where he sits. The two halves
of the double-bladed paddles are held in metal
clips on deck, on either side of the cockpit. Also
on deck, securely fastened, is a small folding
anchor, the light but strong five-fathom cable of
which runs through a ring at the bow, and back
to a cleat just inside the forward end of the
On the floor of each canoe is folded a small
tent made of gay-striped awning-cloth, and pro-
vided with mosquito-nettings at the openings.
Above these are laid the pair of heavy Mackinaw
blankets and the rubber 'poncho that each car-
ries. These, which will be shelter and bedding
at night, answer for seats while sailing.
Under the deck, at one side of each cockpit,.
hangs a double-barrelled shot-gun; and on the
other side are half a dozen tiny lockers, in which
A storyy of the Everglades. 37
are stowed a few simple medicines,.fishing-tackle,
matches, an alcohol lamp (Flamme forc6), loaded
shells for the guns, etc. In the after-stowage
lockers are extra clothing and toilet articles.
The Psyche carries the mess-chest, containing a
limited supply of table-ware, sugar, coffee, tea,
baking-powder, salt, pepper, etc., and a light axe,
both of which are stowed at the forward'end of
the cockpit. The Cupid carries in the same
place a two-gallon water-keg and a small, but
well-furnished tool chest. The provisions, of
which bacon, flour, oatmeal,- sea-biscuit, a few
cans of baked beans and brown bread, dried ap-
ples, syrup, cocoa, condensed milk, corn-meal,
rice, and hominy form the staples, apd the few
necessary cooking utensils, which are made to fit
within one another, are evenly divided between
the two canoes and stowed under the forward
hatches. By Sumner's advice, many things that
the Mantons brought with them have been left
behind, and everything taken along has been re-
duced to its smallest possible compass. Besides
the shot-gun that Mr. Manton had given him as
part of the Pycl'e outfit, Sumner was armed
with a revolver that had been his father's.
Late in the afternoon they passed the eastern
point of the island of Key West, and crossing a
broad open space, in the shoal waters of which,
but for Sumner's intimate knowledge of the place,
even their light canoes would have run aground
a dozen times, they approached the cocoanut
groves of Boca Chica, a large key on which they
proposed to make their first camp.
The western sky was in a glory of flame as
they hauled their craftashore, and from the
tinted waters myriads of fish were leaping in all
directions, as though intoxicated by the splendor
of the scene.
"We will catch some
little later," said Sumner,
their canoes and carry
they had already chosen
"But it will be dark,"
"So much the better.
to catch fish in the dark
of those fine fellows a
as they began to unload
the things to the spot
for a camp.
It's ever so much easier
than by daylight."
There was plenty of drift-wood
and in a few minutes the merry
camp-fire was leaping from a pile
waiting for it to burn down to a
each of'them drove a couple of sto
pitched their canoe tents near a
on the beach,
blaze of their
of it. While
bed of coals,
ut stakes, and
clump of tall
palms, just back of the fire, looped up the side
openings, and spread their blankets beneath
"Now let's fly round and get supper," cried
Sumner, "for I am as hungry as a kingfish.
A Story of the &Ergladee. 39
You put the coffee water on to boil, while I cut
some slices of bacon, Worth, and thenI'll scram-
ble some eggs, too, for we might as well eat them
while they are fresh."
With his back turned to the fire, the former
did not notice what Worth was doing, until a
hissing sound, accompanied by a cr of dismay,
caused him to look round.
I never saw such a miserable kettle as that I"
exclaimed Worth. "Just look; it has fallen all
For a moment Sumner could not imagine what
had caused such a catastrophe. Then he. ex-
claimed: "I do believe you must have set the
kettle on the coals before you put the water
"Of course I did," answered Worth, "so as
to let it get hot. And the minute I began to
pour water into it, it went all to pieces."
"Experience comes high," said Sumner, "es-
pecially when it costs us the loss of our best ket-
tle; but we've got to have it at any price, and I
don't believe you'll ever set a kettle -on the fire
again without first putting water or some other
liquid inside of it."
"No, I don't believe I will," answered Worth,
ruefully, "if that is what happens."
In spite of this mishap, the supper was success-
fully cooked, thanks to Sumner's culinary knowl-
edge, and by the time it was over and the dishes
had been washed, he pronounced it dark enough,
to go fishing. First he cut a quantity of slivers
from a piece of pitch-pine drift-wood, then,
having emptied one of the canoes of its contents,
he invited Worth to enter it with him.
"But we haven't a single fish-line ready,"
Oh yes, we have," laughed Sumner, lighting
one end of thi
it to Worth to
is in a minute
gently a few
e bundle of pine slivers, and giving
hold. You just sit still and hold
find out what sort of a fish-line it
. Then lie paddled the canoe very
rods off shore, at the same time
on one gunwale until it was even
*face of the water. "Look out,
here they come I" he shouted.
TORCH-FISHING FOR MULLET
A Story of the Everglade.
PINEAPPLES AND SPONGES.
THE next instant Worth uttered a
and very nearly dropped his torch,
leaping from the water, struck him
of the head, and fell flapping into th
"Never mind a little thing like
Sumner. "Hold your torch a t
That's the kind I"
Now the mullet came thick and fa
to the bright light
They leaped into
fell on its decks a
they struck the
though they were
balls; and at lenj
as a mullet,
on the side
like moths to a candle-flame.
the canoe and over it, they
ad flopped off into the water,
two boys until they felt as
being pelted with wet snow-
rth one of them, hitting the
torch, knocked it from Worth's hand, so that it
fell hissing into the water.
The effect of this sudden extinguishing of the
light was-startling. In an instant the fish ceased
to jump, and disappeared, while the recent noisy
confusion was succeeded by an intense stillness,
only broken by an occasional flap from one of
the victims to curiosity that had fallen into the
"Well, that is the easiest way of fishing I
ever beard of," remarked Worth, as they stepped
ashore, and turning the canoe over, spilled out
fifty or more fine mullet. A dozen of them
were cleaned, rubbed with salt, and put away
for breakfast. Then the tired canoemates turned
in for their first night's sleep in camp.
Sumner's eyes were quickly closed, but Worth
found his sur
time he lay
the splash ol
waves on the
less rustle of
At length hi
and when he
Toundings so novel that for a long
dreamily awake watching the play
on the rippling water, listening to
f jumping fish, the music of little
shell-strewn beach, and the cease-
the great palm leaves above him.
is wakefulness merged into dreams,
next opened his eyes it was broad
sun had just risen, and Sumner
Worth! Tumble out of bed and
before this fire 'll
ing his actions to
his clothes, and a
diving into the cc
water," he called at that mo-
just time for a dip in the briny
be ready for those fish." Suit-
his words, he began pulling off
minute later the two boys were
)ol water like a couple of frisky
A Story of e verglades.
Oatmeal and syrup, fresh mullet, bread-and-
butter (which they had brought from home), and
coffee, formed a breakfast that Sumner declared
fit for a railroad king.
The sun was not more than an hour high be-
fore they were again under way, this time work-
ing hard at their paddles, as the breeze had not
yet sprung up.
hind them, they
indeed begun in
For the next
way, under sail
less keys and t
Having left their first camp be-
felt that their long cruise had
three days they threaded their
or paddle, among such number-
hrough such a maze of narrow
channels, that it seemed to Worth
they were entangled in a labyrinth f
they would never be able to extricate t
Whenever a long sand-spit or reef sho
the north side of one key, a similar o
was certain to be found on the south
next one. Thus their course was a
zigzag, and a fair wind on one stretch
t out from
end of the
dead ahead on the next. Now they slid through
channels so narrow that the dense mangroves
on either side brushed their decks, and then they
would be confronted by a coral reef that seemed
to extend unbrokenly in both directions as far
as the eye could reach. Worth would make up
his mind that there was nothing to do but get out
and drag the canoes over it, when suddenly the
Peyche, which was always in the lead, would dash
directly at the obstacle, and skim through one of
the narrow cuts wita which all these reefs abound.
For a long time it was a mystery to Worth
how Sumner always kept in the channel without
hesitating or stopping to take soundings. Finally
he discovered that it was by carefully noting the
color of the water. He learned that white water
meant shoals, that of a reddish tinge indicated
sand-bars or reefs, black water showed rocks or
grassy patches, and that the channels assumed
varying shades of green, according to their depth.
They camped with negro
one key, and visited an extends
on another. Having heard
as growing on trees, Worth
it borne on plants with long
reached but little above his
stood so close together, and
interlaced, that he did not se
walked among them to cut t]
at the head of each one; ai
stepping high to avoid the
ive pineapple patch
this fruit spoken of
was amazed to find
prickly leaves that
knees. The plants
their leaves were so
ie how any one ever
he single fruit borne
id when he tried it,
his wonder that any human being could traverse
the patch was redoubled.
"I would just as soon try to walk through a
field covered with cactus plants," he said.
A Story of the Everglades.
"So would I," laughed Sumner, "if I had to
walk as you do. In a pineapple patch you
must never lift your feet, lit always shuffle
along. In that way you force the prickly leaves
before you, and move with their grain instead
of against it."
Although the crop would not be ready for
cutting much before May, they found here and
there a lusciously ripe yellow "pine," and after
eating one of these, Worth declared that he had
never before known what a pineapple was. He
did not wonder that they tasted so different
here and in New York, when he learned that
for shipment north they must be cut at least
two weeks before they are ripe, while they are
hard and comparatively juiceless.
At the end of three days an outgoing tide,
rushing like a mill-race, swept the canoes through
the green expanse of "The Grasses," that looked
like a vast submerged meadow, and into the
open waters of the Bahia Honda, or, as the reef-
men say, the "Bay o' Hundy." Here they first
saw spongers at work, and devoted an entire
day to studying their operations.
Worth had always supposed that sponges were
dived for, but now he learned his mistake. He
found that in those waters they are torn from
the bottom and drawn to the surface by iron
rakes with long curved teeth attached to slender
handles from twenty to thirty feet in length.
The sponging craft are small sloops or schooners,
each of which tows from two to six boats behind
it. When a sponge bed is discovered, two men
go out in each of these boats. One of them
sculls it gently along, while the other leans over
the gunwale with a water-glass in his hands, and
carefully examines the bottom as he is moved
slowly over it. The water-glass is a common
wooden bucket having a glass bottom. This is
held over the side of the boat so that its bottom
is a few inches below the surface of the water,
or beyond the disturbing influence of ripples.
With his head in this bucket, the sponger gazes
intently down until he sees the round black ob-
ject that he wants. Then he calls out to the
sculler to stop the boat, and with the long-handled
rake that lies by his side secures the prize. It
is black and slimy, and full of animal matter that
quickly dies, and decomposes with a most dis-
gusting odor. To this the spongers become so
accustomed that they do not mind it in the least,
and fail to understand why all strangers take
such pains to sail to windward of their boats.
When the deck of a sponge boat is piled high
with this unsavory spoil of the sea, she is headed
towards the nearest key on which her crew have
A Story of the Eerglades
established a crawl,* and her cargo is tossed into
it. The crawl is a square pen of stakes built in
the shallow water of some sheltered bay, and in
it the sponges lie until their animal matter is so
decomposed that it will readily separate from
them. Then they are stirred with poles or
trodden by the feet of
are free from it, when t
crawl, and spread on a b
in the sun.
When a full
the spongers until they
hey are taken from the
each to dry and whiten
cargo has been obtained,
they are strung in bunches, and taken to Key
West to be sold by the pound at auction. There
they are trimmed, bleached again, pressed into
bales, and finally shipped to New York.
Sponges are of many grades, of which the
sheep's wool is the finest, and the great logger-
heads the most worthless. As spongers can only
work in water that is smooth, or nearly so, half
their time is spent in idleness; and though they
receive large prices for what they catch, the
average of their wages i
One hot afternoon at
our canoemates half-w
preaching a key called
for several reasons one
of all the keys. It is a
the end of a week found
ay up the reef, and ap-
Lignum Vita, which is
of the most remarkable
large island lifted higher
* Crawl is a corruption of corral, meaning a yard or pen.
above the surface of the water than any of the
other keys, and it contains in its centre a small
fresh-water lake. It is covered with an almost
impenetrable forest growth, and concealed by
this are ancient stone walls, of which no one
knows the origin or date.
Sumner had told Worth so much concerning
this key as to arouse his curiosity, and they both
looked forward with interest to reaching it. All
day they had seen it looming before them, and
when they finally dropped sail close beside it,
Worth proposed that they take advantage of the
remaining daylight to make a short exploration
before unloading their canoes and pitching camp.
To this Sumner agreed, and as they could not
drag the laden boats up over the rocky beach,
they decided to anchor them out and wade
ashore. So the Payce's anchor was flung out
into the channel, the Cupid was made fast to
her, and a light line from its stern was carried
ashore and tied to a tree. Then. taking their
guns with th
and half a d
em, the boys plunged into the forest.
hour later, they returned from their
bringing with them a brace of ducks
ozen doves that they had shot, they
them in bewildered dismay. The
not where they had left them, nor
could any trace of them be discovered.
A Story of the Everglade. 4
MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF THE CANOES
THE canoes are gone I" cried Worth.
"It looks like it," replied Sumner, in an equally
"Are you sure this is where we left them V'
"Yes; sure. There is the stern line that we
made fast to the Cupid, or what is left of it."
Sure enough, there was a portion of the light
line still fast to the tree, and as Sumner pulled
it in, both boys bent over to examine it. It had
been broken, and not cut. From its length it
must also have been broken close to the canoe.
"Oh, Sumner, what shall we do asked
Worth, in a tone of such despair that the former
at once realized the necessity of some immediate
action to divert his comrade's thoughts.
Do he cried. There's plenty to do. First,
we'll go down to that point and take a look to
seaward; for, as the tide is running out, they are
more likely to have gone in that direction than
any other. It would be a comfort even to catch
a. glimpse of them. Then, perhaps, they have
only drifted away, and are stranded on some bar
near by. Besides looking for the canoes, we must
build some kind of a shelter for the night, cook
supper, and discuss our plans for the future. Oh
yes, we've plenty to dol"
While he spoke, the boys were making their
way to the point in question, and when they
reached it, they eagerly scanned every foot of
water in sight. Diagonally to the right from
where they stood stretched the long reach of
Lower Metacumba, desolate and uninhabited as
they knew. Almost directly in front, but several
miles away, rose the palm-crowned rocks of Indian
Key, with its two or three old shed-like buildings
in plain view. These had been used and aban-
doned years before by the builders of Alligator
Light, the slender tower of which they could see
rising from the distant waters above the outer
reef. Diagonally on the left was the tiny green
fprm of Tea Table Key, and dimly beyond it
they could make out the coast of Upper Meta-
cumba, which Sumner said was inhabited. In all
this far-reaching view, however, there were no
signs of the missing canoes.
"I'm glad of it I" said Sumner, after his long
searching gaze had failed to reveal them. "It
would be rough to have them in sight but out of
A Story of the Everglades.
Already the sun was sinking behind the tree-
tops of Lower Metacumba, fish were leaping in
the placid waters, and a few pelican were soar-
ing with steady poise above them. Every now
and then these would swoop swiftly down, with a
heavy splash that generally sealed thl fate of one
or more mullet off which the great birds were
making their evening meal A flock of black cor-
morants, uttering harsh cries, flew overhead with
a rushing sound, returning from a day's fishing
to their roosts in the distant Everglades. With
these exceptions, and the aiiit boom of the surf
on the outer reef, all was silence and desertion.
Besides the light-house tower there was no sign
of human life, not even the distant glimmer of a
sail. While the boys still looked longingly for
some trace of their canoes, the sun set, and a red
flash, followed at short intervals by two white
ones, shot out from the vanishing form of Alli-
"Come l" cried Sumner, heedful of this warn-
ing. "Night is almost here, and we have too
much to do in every precious minute of twilight
to be standing idle. I'll take the bucket and run
to the pond for water,'while you cut all the
palmetto leaves you possibly can, and carry them
to the place where we landed."
"The bucket repeated Worth, looking about
"Where are you going to find
Without answering, Sumner sprang down the
rocks to the water's edge, where he had noticed
a stranded bamboo, and quickly cut out a short
section of it with the hatchet that he had thrust
into his belt before leaving the canoes. As he
made the cuts just below two of the joints, his
section was a hollow cylinder, open at one end,
but having a tight bottom and capable of holding
several quarts of water. With this he plunged
into the forest in the direction of the pond, hand-
ing Worth the hatchet as he passed, and bidding
him be spry with his palmetto leaves.
A few minutes later, as Sumner emerged from
the trees, carrying his full water-bucket, and
breathless with his haste, he indistinctly saw the
form of some animal at the very place where
they had left their guns and birds. As
dashed forward, uttering a loud cry, the
animal scuttled off into the bushes.
"Oh, you vil-li-an !" gasped Sumner
reached the place, "I'll settle with you
row, see if I don't."
Four of the doves had disappeared, and the
head was torn from one of the ducks.
"What is it cried Worth, in alarm, as he
entered the clearing from the opposite side, stag-
A story of the verglades.
gearing beneath an immense load of cabbage-jialm
"A rascally thieving 'coon," answered Sumner,
"and'he has got away with the best part of our
provisions, too; but I'll get even with him yet.
Now give me the hatchet, and then pick up all the
drift-wood you can find, while I build a house."
Worth would gladly have helped erect the
house, as Sumner called it, for he was very curi-
ous as to what sort of a structure could be built
of leaves, but he realized the necessity of doing
as he was bidden, and at once set to work gather-
Sumner, after carefully propping his
water-bucket between two rocks, so as to insure
the safety of its contents, began cutting a num-
ber of slender saplings, and turning them into
poles. The stoutest- of these he bound with
withes to two trees that stood about six feet
apart. He fastened it to their trunks as high as
he could reach. Then he bound one end of the
longer poles to it, allowing them to slant to the
ground behind. Crosswise of these, and about a
foot apart, he tied a number of still more slender
poles, and over these laid the broad leaves. He
would have tied these
had time. As he had
before he finished eve
forced to leave them
securely in place if he had
not, for it was quite dark
n this rude shelter, he was
so, and hope that a wind
would not arise during the night. For himself
alone he would not have built any shelter, but
would have found a comfortable resting-place
under a tree. Knowing, however, that Worth had
never in his life slept without a roof of some kind
above him, he thought it best to provide one,
and thereby relieve their situation of a portion
of the terror with which the city-bred boy was
inclined to regard it.
It was curious and interesting to note how
a sense of responsibility, and the care of one
younger and much more helpless than himself,
was developing Sumner's character. Already the
selfishness to which he was inclined had very
nearly disappeared, while almost every thought
was for the comfort and happiness of his com-
panion. Worth, accustomed to being cared for
and having every wish gratified, hardly appreci-
ated this as yet; but the emergencies of their
situation were teaching him valuable lessons of
prompt obedience and self-reliance that he could
have gained in no other way.
As Sumner finished his rude lean-to, and placed
the guns within its shelter for protection from
the heavy night dews, Worth came up from the
beach with his last load of drift-wood. It was
now completely dark, and the notes of chuck-
wills-widows were mingling with the whoo,
A &ory of te 'ewrglade.
whoo, whoo ah-h I" of a great hoot owl in .the
forest behind them.
"Now for a fire and some supper," cried Sum-
ner, cheerily. You've got some matches, haven't
"I don't believe I have," replied Worth, anx-
iously feeling in his pockets. "I thought you
must have some."
No, I haven't a sign of one I" exclaimed Sum-
ner, and an accent of hopelessness was for the
first time allowed to enter his voice. "They are
all aboard the canoes, and without a fire we are
in a pretty pickle sure enough. I wonder how
hungry we'll get before we make up d: minds
to eat raw duck I This is worse than 1l ing the
canoes. I declare I don't know what to do."
"Couldn't we somehow make a fire with a
gun I Seems to me I have read of something of
that kind," suggested Worth.
"Of course we can 1" shouted Sumner, spring-
ing to his feet. "What a gump I was not to
think of it! If we collect a lot of dry stuff and
shoot into it, there is bound to be a spark or two
that we can capture and coax into a flame."
So, with infinite pains, they felt around in the
dark until they had collected a considerable pile
of dry leaves, sticks, and other rubbish that they
imagined would easily take fire. Then, throwing
a loaded shell into a barrel of his gun, and plac-
ing the muzzle close to the collected kindlings,
Sumner pulled the trigger. There was a blind-
ing flash, a loud report that rolled far and wide
through the heavy night air, and the heap of
rubbish was blown into space. Not a leaf re-
mained to show where it had been, and not the
faintest spark relieved the darkness that instantly
shut in more dense than ever.
"One cartridge spent in buying experience,"
remarked Sumner, as soon as he discovered the
attempt to be a failure. Now we'll try another.
If you will kindly collect another pile of kindling,
I'll prepare some fireworks on a different plan."
Thus saying, he spread his handkerchief on the
ground, cut off the crimping of another shell with
his pocket-knife, carefully extracted the shot and
half the powder, and confined the remainder in
the bottom of the shell with one of the wads.
Then he moistened the powder that he had taken
out, and rubbed it thoroughly into the handker-
chief, which he placed in the second pile of sticks
and leaves that Worth had by this time gathered.
A shot taken at this with the lightly charged
blank cartridge produced the desired effect. Five
minutes later the cheerful blaze of a crackling
fire illmined the scene, and banished a cloud of
anxiety from the minds of the young castaways
A Story of the verglade. 67
I FE ON THE LONELY ISLAND.
THE influence of a brisk wood-fire on a dark
night is remarkable. Not only does it give free-
ly of its heat and light, but gloom and despair
are banished by its ruddy glow, while cheerful-
ness and hope spring forward as if by magic to
occupy their vacant places. At least, this was
the effect of the cheery blaze our canoemates
had at length succeeded in coaxing into life, and
though it had cost them two of their half-dozen
cartridges, they felt that these had been well
expended. Their prospects had looked dismal
enough when they had been compelled to con-
template an existence without a fire; but with
it to aid them, they felt equal to almost any
emergency, and they turned to the preparing of
their ducks for supper with renewed energy.
Surely fire is well worthy of being classed with
air and water as one of the things most neces-
sary to human life and happiness.
Now that they had time to think of it, the
boys were very hungry, for since an early break-
fast they had eaten but a light lunch of crackers
and jam. So they barely waited to assure them-
selves that their fire was going to burn, before
the feathers from their ducks were flying in all
directions. When the birds were plucked and
cleaned, two sharpened sticks were thrust through
their bodies. These were rested on one rock,
with another above them to hold them in place,
so that the ducks were lifted but a few inches
above a great bed of glowing coals. Then the
hungry lads sat down to watch them, and never,
to their impatient belief, had two fowls taken so
long to roast before. They began testing their
condition by sticking the points of their knives
into them long before there was a chance of
their being done. At length Sumner declared
that he was going to eat his even
raw, and the half-cooked ducks w
two broad palm leaves that served
bles and plates.
"My! but isn't this fowl toug'
Worth, as he struggled with his
feast. "Sole-leather and rubber a
if it were still
ere placed on
at once as ta-
h !" exclaimed
share of the
ire nothing to
"Yes," replied Sumner; "ten-ounce army duck
would be easier eating than this fellow. I wish
we could have stewed them with rice, a few bits
of pork, a slice or two of onion, and a seasoning
A &ory of the Everglades.
of pepper and salt. How do you think that
would go "
"Please don't mention such things," said
Worth, working at a drumstick with teeth and
"Ducks ought always to be parboiled before
roasting," remarked Sumner, wisely.
I believe this fellow would be like eggs," re-
plied Worth; "the more you boiled him the
harder he would get."
However, hunger and young teeth can accom-
plish wonders, so it was not very long before
two little heaps of cleanly-picked bones marked
all that was left of the ducks, and though they
could easily have eaten more, the boys wisely
decided to reserve the doves for breakfast.
Although the darkness rendered it a difficult
task, Sumner managed to cut a few armfuls more
of palmetto leaves. These, shredded from their
heavy stalks and spread thickly over the floor
of the lean-to, made a couch decidedly more
comfortable than a bed on the bare ground would
They could do nothing more that night, and
lying there in the firelight they had the first op-
portunity since discovering the loss of their ca-
noes to thoroughly discuss the situation.
"What would our mothers say if they could
see us now, and know the fix we are in I" queried
Worth, after a meditative silence.
"I'm awfully glad they can't know anything
about it," replied Sumner.
But I wish some one could know, so that they
could send a boat for us. I am sure that we don't
want to stay on this island for the rest of our lives."
"Of course not, and I don't propose to, even
if no boat comes here."
What do you propose to do ?" inquired Worth,
leaning on his elbow, and gazing at his compan-
ion with eager interest.
"Well, in the first place, I propose to explore
this key thoroughly to-morrow, and see
traces of the canoes are to be found, as
what it will afford in the way of food ai
ber. Then, if we don't find the canoes,
boat comes along, I
of a raft, on which
Key. While boats
are certain to pass
almost every day.
have little difficulty
propose to build
we can float over
rarely pass this way, some
within a short distance of it
So from there we would
in getting taken off."
"Well," said Worth, regarding his companion
admiringly, "I'm sure I couldn't build a raft
with only a hatchet, and I'm awfully glad that
I'm not here all alone. What can possibly have
become of our canoes, anyway ?"
A Story of the oerglades.
"I'm sure I can't imagine," replied Sumner,
"unless some one stole them, and I don't know
of any one on the reef mean enough to do that.
Besides, we haven't seen a sail all day, nor a sign
of a human being. They couldn't have gone
adrift, either at least, I don't see how they
could. So, on the whole, it's a conundrum that
I give up. You'd better believe that I feel badly
enough, though, over losing Psyche. That wor-
ries me a great deal more than how we are going
to get away from here, for I never expect to own
another such beauty as she is. But there's no
use crying over what can't be helped, so let's go
to sleep, and prepare for a fresh start to-morrow.
Whenever you wake during the night you want
to get up and throw a fresh stick on the fire, and
I will do the same, for we can't afford to let it
"All right," said Worth. But, Sumner, there
aren't any wild beasts or snakes on this key, are
"I don't believe there are any snakes," was
the reply, "while there certainly aren't any ani-
mals larger than 'coons, and they won't hurt
any one. No, indeed, there is nothing to be
afraid of here, and you may be as free from anx-
iety on that score as though you were in your
own room in New York City.
added, with a laugh; "for there you might have
burglars, while here there is no chance of them.
I only wish there was; for burglars in this part
of the country would have to come in boats, and
we might persuade them to take us off the key.
Now go to sleep, old man, and pleasant dreams
"Good-night," answered Worth, and closing
his eyes, th
it had been
The loss of
3 boy made a resolute effort to sleep.
e found it harder to do so now than
on his first night of camping out
the canoes seemed to have removed
of safety on which he had depended,
and to have suddenly placed him at an infinite
distance beyond civilization, with all its proteo-
tions. It was so awful to be imprisoned on this
lonely isle, in those far-away southern seas. He
wondered what his father and mother and Uncle
Tracy were doing, and if there was a dance at
the Ponce de Leon that night, and what his
school-fellows in New York would say if they
knew of his situation. He wondered and thought
of these and a thousand other things, until finally
he, too, fell asleep, and the silence of the lonely
little camp was unbroken save by the voice of
the great hoot owl, who called at regular inter-
vals, "Whoo, whoo, whoo- ah !"
It still wanted an hour or so of moonrise, when
A Story of the Evrglades. 63
the waning firelight half disclosed a human fig-
ure that emerged from the woods behind the
lean-to, and stealthily crouched in the black shad-
ow beside it. For some moments it remained
motionless, listening to the regular breathing of
the boys. Then it moved noiselessly forward
on hands and knees.
Suddenly Worth awoke, and sprang into a sit-
ting posture. At the same time he uttered a
startled cry, at the sound of which the creeping
figure drew quickly back, and disappeared be-
hind the trunk of a tree.
"What is it I" asked Sumner, who, awakened
by Worth's cry, was also sitting up.
I don't know," answered the boy, "but I am
almost certain that some one was trying to pull
my gun away."
TH NOCTURNAL VISITOR
Fox a full minute the boys sat motionless,
listening intently for any sound that should be-
tray the presence of the intruder who, Worth
was positive, had visited their camp. Once they
both heard a slight rustling in the bushes behind
them, and Worth, putting his hand on Sumner's
arm, whispered, breathlessly,
"There !-hear that "
"That's nothing," answered Sumner. "Prob-
ably that 'coon has come back to look for the
rest of his supper."
"But a 'coon wouldn't pull at a gun," insisted
"Oh, you must have been dreaming," returned
Sumner. "Your gun hasn't disappeared, has
"No, but I am sure I felt it move. I threw
my arm across it before I went to sleep, and its
moving woke me. I felt it move once after I
was awake, as though some one were trying to
pull it away very gently. Then I sat up and
A Story of the Everglade.
called out, 'Who's there but there wasn't any
answer, and I didn't hear a sound. But, Sum-
ner, there's some one on this island besides our-
selves, I know theie is, and he'll kill us if he
gets the chance. Can't we get away somehow
-can't we I shall die of fright if we have to
stay here any longer I"
of course we can," answered Sumner,
ly, "and we'll set about it as soon as
daylight comes. Until then we'll keep a sharp
lookout, though I can't believe there is a human
being on the key besides ourselves. We surely
would have seen some traces of him."
As the boy finished speaking he went outside
and threw some more wood on the fire. In an-
other minute a bright blaze had driven back the
shadows from a wide circle about the little hut,
and rendered it impossible for any one to an.
proach without discovery. Then the canoemates
sat with their precious guns in their hands, and
talked in low tones until the moon rose above
the trees behind them, flooding the whole scene
with a light almost as bright as that of day.
By this time Worth's conversation began to
grow unintelligible; his head sank lower and low-
er, until at length he slipped down from his sit-
ting position fast asleep. Then Sumner thought
he might as well lie down, and in another min-
ute he, too, was in the land of dreams. Worth
was very restless, and occasionally talked in his
sleep, which is probably the reason why the dark
form still crouching in the shadows behind the
camp did not again venture to approach it.
It was broad daylight, and the sun was an
hour high, when the boys next awoke, wonder-
ing whether their fright of the night before had
been a reality or only a dream. Under the fear-
dispelling influence of the sunlight even Worth
was inclined to think it might have been the lat-
ter, while Sumner was sure of it.
After replenishing their fire, they went down
to the beach in the hope of seeing a sail, and for
their morning plunge in the clear water. There
was nothing in sight; but while they were bath-
ing, Sumner discovered a fine bunch of oysters.
These, roasted in their shells, together with the
birds saved from the evening before, made quite
a satisfactory breakfast. After eating it, and
carefully banking their fire with earth, they set
forth to explore the island.
As they were most anxious to search for traces
of the lost canoes, and had already penetrated
the interior as far as the central pond of fresh-
water, they decided to follow the coast-line as
closely as possible. Accordingly, with their load-
ed guns over their shoulders, they set out along
A Story of the Everglade.
the water's ed
in many place
that they founn
ty of planks,
Their progress was slow, for
es the mangroves were so thick
d great difficulty in forcing a way
Then, too, they found a quanti-
many of which they hauled up,
as well as they could, beyond the
tide for future use. While thus
meridian sun and their appetites i
hour of noon before they reached a
of cocoanut-trees on the north end
beneath which they decided to rest.
reach of the
of the island,
Sumner climbed one of the tall, smooth trunks,
and cutting off a great bunch of nuts, in all
stages of ripeness, let it fall to the ground with
a crash. As he was about to descend, his eye
was arrested by something that instantly occu-
pied his earnest attention. It was only the stem
of another bunch of nuts; but it had been cut,
and that so recently that drops of fresh sap were
still oozing from it. From his elevated perch he
could also see where other bunches had been cut
from trees near by, and he slid to the ground in
a very reflective frame of mind. He could not
bear, however, to arouse Worth's fears by com-
municating his suspicions until he had reduced
them to a certainty. The nuts might have been
taken by some passing sponger, though he did
not believe they had been.
So he said nothing of his discovery while they
lunched off of cocoanuts, ripe and partially so,
and took refreshing draughts of their milk. He
did, however, keep a sharp lookout, and finally
spied what resembled a dim trail leading through
the bushes behind them towards the interior.
Finally, on the pretext that he might get a
shot at some doves, and asking Worth to remain
where he was for a few minutes, Sumner entered
the bushes, determined to discover the mystery,
if that trail would lead him to it. He had not
gone more than a hundred yards when his foot
was caught by a low vine, and he plunged head
first into a thick ty-ti bush. He fell with a great
crash, and made such a noise in extricating him-
self from the thorny embrace that he did not hear
a quick rush and a rustling of the undergrowth
but a short distance from him. What he did
hear, though, a minute after he regained his foot-
ing, was a startled cry, and the roar of Worth's
gun. Then came a succession of yells, mingled
with cries of murder, and such shouts for help,
coupled with his own name, that for a moment
he was paralyzed with bewilderment and a sick-
ening fear. Then he bounded back down- the
dim trail, just in time to see Worth throw down
his gun and rush towards the struggling figure
of a negro. The latter was rolling on the ground
ON TIlE G;IROUNI AT TIIE FOOT OF A COCOANUT-TREE."
"TIIE LATTER WAS ROLLING
A Story of the Everglades. 69
at the foot of a cocoanut-tree, and uttering the
most piercing yells.
As Worth became aware of Sumner's presence,
he turned with a white, frightened face, exclaim-
ing: Oh, Sumner, what shall I do I I've killed
him, and he is dying before my very eyes I Of
course I didn't mean to, but he came on me so
suddenly that I fired before I had time to think.
The whole charge must have gone right through
his body, judging from the agony he is in. What
shall I do I Oh, what shall I do 1"
"Well, he isn't dead yet, at all events," said
Sumner. "Perhaps, if he will keep still for a
minute and stop his yelling, we can find out
where he is hurt and do something for him."
With this he attempted to catch hold of the
struggling figure at his feet; but the negro rolled
away from him, crying:
"Don't tech me, Marse Summer! Don't yo'
tech me I's shot full o' holes, an' rs gwine ter
die. Oh Lordy! Oh Lordy Sich pain as I's
asuff'rin' I An' I didn't kill nobody, nuther. I
didn't nebber do no harm. An' now I's full ob
holes. Oh Lordy I Oh Lordy 1"
"Why, it's Quorum 1" exclaimed Sumner, men-
tioning the name of one of the best cooks known
to the Key West sponging fleet. Sumner had
sailed with him, and knew him well. About a
month before, the captain of the schooner on
which he was employed had been found dead in
his bunk. Quorum
him for the sake of a
tain was known to
not now be found.
and an attempt was
alleged crime. He
was accused of poisoning
sum of money that the cap-
have had, but which could
The cook had been arrested,
made to lynch him for the
had, however, succeeded in
escaping, and had disappeared from the island.
That no active search was made for him was be-
cause the money was found concealed in the cap-
tain's bunk, and it was proved that heart-disease
was the cause of his death.
At length the negro, exhausted by his strug-
gles, lay still, though groaning so heavily that
Worth imagined him to be dying, and Sumner,
bending over him, searched for the fatal wound.
His face became more and more perplexed as the
examination proceeded, until finally, in a vastly
relieved tone, he exclaimed:
"You good-for-nothing old rascal l What do
you mean by frightening us so I There isn't a
scratch anywhere about you. Come, get up and
Don't yo' trifle wif a ole man what's dyin',
Marse Summer," said Quorum, interrupting his
groans and sitting up.
"You are no more dying than I am," laughed
A Story of the Everglades. 71
Sumner, who was only too glad to be able to
laugh after his recent anxiety. "I don't know
what Worth, here, fired at, or what he hit; but
it was certainly not you."
"Didn't I, really ?" cried Worth. "Oh, I'm so
glad! I don't know what possessed me to fire,
anyhow; but when he came dashing out of the
woods right towards me, my gun seemed to go
off of its own accord."
"Yo' say I hain't hit nowhere, Marse Sum-
mer?" asked the negro, doubtfully; "an' not eben
"No," laughed Sumner, "not even 'hurted.'
You know, Quorum, that I wouldn't hurt you
for anything. I like your corn fritters and
conch soup too much for that."
Why for yo' a-huntin' de ole man, den ?"
"Hunting you? We're not hunting you. What
put such an idea into your head ?"
"Kase ebberbody er huntin' him, an' er trying'
ter kill him for de murder what he nebber done."
"Of course you didn't do it. Captain Rube
died of heart-disease. Everybody knows that
What yo' say ?" cried the negro, springing to
his feet, his face radiant with joy. "He die ob
he own sef, an' ebberybody know hit, an' dey
hain't er huntin' ole Quorm any mo' I Glory be
to de Lawd Glory be to de Lawd an' bres
yo' honey face, Marse Summer, for de good news I
De pore ole niggah been scare' 'mos' to def ebber
sence he skip up de reef in a ole leaky skiff, what
done got wrack on dis yer key. Now he free
man, he hole he head up an' go cooking' agin.
Bress de Lawd I Bress de Lawd I"
A Story of Me eerglades. 78
WHOSE ARE THEYT AND WHERE DID THRY COME PFOMt
"LOOK here," said Sumner, sternly, to the ne-
gro, after his excitement had somewhat subsided,
"didn't you. try to steal one of our guns last
Yes, honey, I's afeared I did," confessed the
black man, humbly. "But I didn't know hit war
you, Marse Summer, an' I did want er gun so
"I'm glad that mystery is cleared up, at any
rate," said Worth, with a relieved air. "And
I'm glad to find out that I was right about some
one being in the camp, too. Now I wonder if
he doesn't know something about our canoes "
"Do you, Quorum, know anything about the
canoes that we came here in ?" asked Sumner.
"No, I don't know nuffin' 'bout no cooner. Ps
bin wondering' what sort of er boat you'll come
in, an' er looking' fer him, but I don't see him
"I suppose you. would have stolen it if you
had found it ?"
"Maybe so, maybe so.
Ole Quorm not 'spon-
sible fer what him do when he bein' hunted like
er 'possum or er 'coon. Yo' like 'possum when he
roasted, Marse Summer ?"
"Indeed I do when you roast him, Quorum.
Why ? Have you got one ?"
Yes sah, cotch him in er trap dis berry maw-
nin'. I jist setting' hit agin when yo' come er
trompin' troo de trees an' scare de pore ole nig-
gah 'mos' to def. Now, if yo' say so, we go roas'
him, and hab berry fine suppah."
"Certainly I say so. You lead the way, and
we'll follow you. I tell you what, Worth, we've
struck it rich in falling in with one of the best
cooks on the reef."
"I don't know how I shall like 'possum," re-
plied Worth, "for I have never eaten any; but
I am sure it will make fully as good a meal as
raw cocoanut. I do wish, though, that we had
some bread, or at least some crackers, and a lit-
And sugar and coffee and bacon, and a cook-
ing outfit," laughed Sumner. "I wouldn't mind
spending a few days here if we had all those
"Wouldn't it be fine ?" replied the boy, who
had all his life revelled in luxuries that he hardly
cared for, but would now have appreciated so
A Story of the Eirglades.
highly the commonest of what are generally re-
garded as necessities.
As they talked in this strain, they followed
the negro through the narrow trail leading back
from the cocoanut grove to his camp. It was
but a short distance from the place where Sum-
ner had taken his header into the ty-ti bush.
Here Quorum had built himself a snug palmetto
hut in a place capitally concealed from observa-
tion, and had managed to surround himself with
a number of rude comforts. A fire was smoul-
dering in a rough stone fireplace, and from an
adjoining limb hung the 'possum that they were
to have for supper.
Well," exclaimed Sumner, looking about him,
"I don't see but what you are living like an
African King, Quorum. Have you had plenty to
eat since you came here ?"
"Yes, sah. Plenty such as hit is-'possum,
'coon, turtle, fish, oyster, conch, cocoanut, banana,
limes, lemons, an' paw-paw; but no terbakker.
I tell yo', sah, dat a berry pore place what hab
"So you want tobacco to make you happy,
and Worth wants bread and butter, and I want
coffee. It seems that we all want something
that we haven't got, and aren't likely to get in
this world, doesn't it I But, Quorum, what on
earth are you throwing all that iron into the fire
for? It won't burn."
"No, him won't burn," answered the negro,
chuckling at the idea, "but him good to bile de
As neither of the boys had the least idea
what he meant, they watched him curiously.
The iron that he had thrown into the fire, which
he now heaped with wood, consisted of a number
of old bolts that he had obtained from some
wreckage on the beach. While these were heat-
ing, he filled a small hollow place in the rooks
with water, and when the bolts were red-hot
he dropped them into it. In about two seconds
the water was boiling. Throwing a few hand-
fuls of ashes into the boiling water, he soused
the 'possum in it and held him there several min-
utes. After this he scraped the animal with a
bit of iron hoop, and to the surprise of the boys,
its hair came off almost without an effort. In a
minute it was as bare as a suckling pig, which it
greatly resembled. Shortly afterwards it was
cleaned, washed, and ready for roasting.
Just here Sumner proposed that they return to
their own camp, and do the roasting there, as
from where they now were they had no chance
of seeing any boats that might pass the island.
As Quorum no longer felt the necessity for hid
A &oryvqf the Everglades.
ing, he readily agreed to this, and carrying with
them the few articles belonging to him that were
worth removing, they started through the woods
towards what the boys already called home.
The afternoon was nearly spent when they en-
tered the clearing and came in sight of their
own little lean-to. Sumner, who was some dis-
tance in the lead, was the first to reach it. The
others saw him suddenly stop, gaze at the hut as
though fascinated by something inside of it, and
then, without a word, start on a run towards the
This curious action excited Worth's wonder;
but when he reached
same thing. When
reached it, he gazed in
not move from the
overspread his face, ai
the hut he did exactly the
Quorum, who came last,
open-eyed wonder, but did
spot. A smile gradually
id, with a long-drawn sigh
of happy anticipation, he uttered the single word,
as he joined
go and take
sign of the
se" it?" asked
Sumner on th
perhaps it is 1
vessel that t
d Worth, breathlessly,
behind the point. Let's
the point there was no
hey fully expected to
puzzled than they had
ever been before in all their lives, even at. the
mysterious disappearance of their canoes, the
boys slowly retraced their steps towards the hut.
It was completely filled with barrels, boxes, and
various packages, most of which evidently con-
"There is a sack of coffee," remarked Sumner.
"And a box of crackers. And, yes, here is
butter!" cried Worth, lifting the cover of a tin
"Dat ar am sholy a box ob terbakker," put
in Quorum, pointing to the unmistakable box,
from which his eyes had not wandered since they
first lit upon it.
"It certainly is," replied Sumner, in a voice
expressive of the most unbounded amazement.
"And there, if my eyes do not deceive me, are
cases of milk, canned fruit, baked beans, and
"Hams and bacon," added Worth.
"Kittles and pans," said Quorum.
"In fact," concluded Sumner, "there is a
bountiful supply of provisions for several months,
and a complete house-keeping outfit into the bar-
gain. There is no doubt as to what these things
are. The only unanswered questions are, Whom
do they belong to, and how did they get here P"
"Perhaps whoever stole our canoes has left
them here in part payment," suggested Worth.
A Story of the EBerglaes. 79
"You might just as well say that Elijah's
ravens had brought them," laughed Sumner.
"Marse Summer, sah, 'souse me, but do hit
'pear to yo' like hit would be stealing' to bang de
kiver offen dat ar box, an' let de ole man hab
jes one smell ob dat terbakker I" asked Quorum,
"No, Quorum, under the circumstances I don't
believe it would," replied the boy, who forthwith
proceeded to attack the box in question with his
SUMNER DRITS AWAY ON A BA.
THE display of layer upon layer of black plug
tobacco such as Quorum had been accustomed to
using for longer than he could remember caused
the negro's eyes to glisten as though they saw
so many ingots of pure gold. For more than
two weeks he had longed unavailingly for a frag-
ment of the precious weed. Now to have an
unlimited quantity of it placed before him so
very mysteriously and unexpectedly seemed to
him the climax of everything most desirable and
best worth living for. He sniffed at it eagerly,
inhaling its fragrance with long, deep breaths.
Then, producing a stubby black pipe from some
hidden recess of his tattered clothing, he asked,
pleadingly, for "jes one lilly smoke."
"After supper," said Sumner. "Get supper
ready first, and then you shall smoke as much as
you want to."
At this Quorum's countenance fell, and seating
himself on the ground, he remarked, stubbornly:
"No, sah. Ole Quor'm do no cooking' wifout
A Story of the Everglade9. 81
him hab a smoke fust. No smoke, no cooking no
cooking no suppah. Why yo' no gib one plug ob
terbakker fur dat 'possum, eh? Him monstrous
fine 'possum, but I willing' to sell him fur jes one
lilly plug ob terbakker. Yo' can't buy him so
cheap nowhar else, specially on dis yer oncibil-
ized Niggly Wity Key."
But it is not my tobacco," laughed Sumner,
greatly amused at the old man's attitude and
Who he b'long to, den ?" demanded Quorum,
"I'm sure I don't know," answered the boy.
"Den he your. You fin' him. You keep him.
Hit all de same like er wrack. Yo' catch him,
nobody else want him, yo' keep him. Jes one
lilly smoke, Marse Summer-jes one; den de ole
man go to cooking' de berry bestes yo' ebber seen.
Come, Marse Summer, jes one; dat's 'a honey-
There was no resisting this pleading appeal,
and cutting off enough for a single pipeful from
one of the plugs, Sumner handed it to the negro,
saying: "Well, then, if you must have it, take
that, and hurry up with supper the very minute
you have finished your smoke. I never was so
hungry in my life, while Worth begins to look
dangerously like a cannibal Come, Worth, we
must fly round, and build another palmetto shan-
ty before dark. At this rate we'll have a town
here before long."
Two hours of hard work found a second hut,
much more pretentious than the first, nicely
roofed in. By this time the sun was setting, and
what was of infinitely more importance to the
young canoemates, Quorum announced that sup-
per was ready. And what a feast he had pre-
pared Had there ever been one half so good
before I In the opinion of the boys, there cer-
and if the
set on a b
had felt no scruples about helping
the provisions so liberally provided,
boys had noticed what he was doing,
not possessed the moral courage to
As a result, he had baked the 'possum
th cracker-crumbs, bits of pork and
up fine, and well seasoned with salt
, in a Dutch-oven. The oven had been
ed of coals, and a fire of light-wood
knots built on its heavy iron lid. The 'possum
had been surrounded with sweet-potatoes, and
both were done to a brown crisp. Then there was
coffee, with sugar and condensed milk, toasted
hardtack with butter, and bananas for dessert.
"Talk about eating I" said Sumner.
"Or Delmonico's I" added Worth.
A Story of the erglades. 88
As Quorum sat and watched them, a broad
grin of happiness overspread his features, while
wreaths of blue smoke curled gently upward
above his woolly head. His pipe was again full,
and he now had possession of an entire plug of
tobacco, for which he felt profoundly grateful
to some unknown benefactor.
Among other things in the hut, which the
boys now called the storehouse, they had dis-
covered a bale of blankets. These they did not
hesitate to appropriate to their own use, and as
they lay stretched on them, under their new roof,
blinking sleepily at the fire, their comfort and
happiness seemed almost to have attained per-
"Except for our canoes," said Sumner. "If
we only had them, I, for one, should be perfectly
'happy; and to-morrow I am going to make prepa-
rations for finding them."
How t" asked Worth; and for an hour or so
they talked over their plans for the future. The
intervals between their remarks became longer
and longer, until finally, when Worth asked,
"Whom do you suppose all those provisions be-
long to, anyway, Sumner I" the latter answered:
" Give it up. I'm too sleepy to guess any more
The boys slept almost without moving until
sunrise; but Quorum was frequently aroused to
repel the invasions of certain 'coons that, but for
his watchfulness, would have made free with the
contents of the storehouse. He also had to pro-
tect the fire against a heavy shower that came
on towards morning; and on each of these oc-
casions he rewarded himself with a few whiffs of
smoke from his black pipe.
The next morning the two boys, leaving
Quorum to devise traps for the capture of the
'coons and prepare dinner, started out to collect
some of the planks they had seen the day before.
With these Sumner proposed to build a raft on
which they could drift over to Indian Key with
that afternoon's ebb-tide. Once there, he antici-
pated no difficulty in hailing some passing craft
that could be chartered to search for their canoes,
and carry them back to Key West in case the
search proved fruitless.
As the channel from Lignum Vite, through
which the strongest tide currents flowed, led di-
rectly past Indian Key and close to it, this plan
seemed feasible. By noon the boys had towed
around to the cove in front of their camp two
heavy squared timbers and a number of boards.
These they lashed together in the form of a rude
raft. They had no nails, and but a limited sup-
ply of line for lashing, so that the raft was by no
QUORUM 18 HAPPY.
A &ory of the Everglades. 85
means so strong as they could wish. Neither
was it very buoyant, the material of which it
was built being yellow pine, already somewhat
water-soaked and floating very low. To their
dismay, when it was completed, the boys found
that instead of supporting three persons, as they
hoped it would, it was awash and unsafe with
but two of them on board.
There's only one thing to be done," said Sum-
ner, when this state of affairs became evident,
and that is for me to go alone. When I get hold
of a craft of some kind, I can bring her here after
you two; and if I don't find one, it will be an
easy matter for me to come back on a flood-tide."
"But, Sumner, it seems awful for you to go
'way off there alone on such a crazy raft at this.
Do you think it is absolutely necessary ?"
Yes," answered the other, whose mind was
now intent only upon recovering his beautiful
canoe, "I do think it is necessary for one of us
to go. We can't stay here forever, living off of
some unknown person's provisions. Besides, sup-
posing those canoes should be wrecked and dis-
covered in that condition, and the report that we
were lost should reach Key West, how do you
think our mothers would feel ? Yes, indeed, it is
necessary that I should go, and I mean to start
the minute the tide serves."
Neither Worth nor Quorum could move Sum-
ner from this determination, and it
heavy hearts that they watched him,
o'clock in the afternoon, step aboard t
shove out into the current, that had
to run ebb. 'He was provided with
and a small box of provisions, the h
placed in the middle of the raft.
Its movement was at first heavv
gish, but as s
current, it w
ions. For so
their hats, bu
his sight, and
reach of their
he raft and
a long pole
;oon as it felt the influence of the
ras borne along with comparative
a few minutes served to take the
er beyond earshot of his compan-
ae time he could see them waving
at length their forms faded from
he realized that he was beyond
assistance in case his undertaking
should fail. Now that he could no longer note
the speed with which he had left the island, his
progress seemed irritatingly slow.
The channel was very crooked, and his clumsy
craft frequently grounded on the projecting
sand-bars at its many turns. In each case valu-
able time was lost in pushing it off and getting
it again started. From this cause his rate of
progress was so slow that Indian Key was still
some distance ahead when the sun sank from
sight in the western waters. Now, for the first
A Story of the Evergladea.
time, Sumner experienced a feeling of uneasi-
ness, and a doubt as to the success of his venture.
He strove to add to the speed of his raft by pol-
ing, but as the depth of water was generally too
great for him to touch bottom, nothing could be
accomplished in that way.
Now he began to notice the numbers of sea-
monsters that were going out with the t
using his channel as their pathway to
waters. On all sides were to be seen the tri-
angular fins of huge sharks rising above the sur-
face so close to him that he could have touched
them with his pole. He also saw hundreds of
sawfish, stingarees, devil-fish with vampire-like
wings, the vast bulks of ungainly jew-fish, por-
poises, and other evil-looking creatures of great
size and phenomenal activity. He shuddered to
think what would be his fate if a slip or a mis-
step should precipitate him into the water among
them. At length their forms were hidden from
him by the darkness, and
and the gleaming trails of t
the phosphorescent water
Suddenly, while his atte
these, he became aware th
Indian Key and passing it
on the opposite side, and p
only their, splashings
heir progress through
denoted their swarm-
nation was fixed upon
at he was abreast of
.There was -a shoal
lunging his pole into