SAM S) 1
OF THE FLORIDA REEF AND EVERGLADES
A rTIOR OF
THE FLAMINGO FEATHER DERRICK STERLING"
SIDORYMATES 1" iCAMPIMATES ETC.
N \V Y() K
IIAII'IH N, II (IO'IIEIS,1 I"IANKI.I N SQUAIt,
1 8 i9 ;)
Copyright, 1892, by IIARnlEIR & BROTHERS.
All rights reserved.
I. IN THE FAR SOUTII . 1
II. TIIREE CANOES, AND THE FATE OF ONE 8
III. SUMNER RECEIVES A SECOND OFFER 18
IV. TEACHING A THIEF A LESSON ... 26
V. TIE GREAT FLORIDA REEF .. 33
VI. PINEAPPLES AND SPONGES . 41
VII. MYSTERIOUS I)SAPPIEARANCE OF TIE C(A-
NOES .. . .. 49
VIII. IIA'E ON 'TEI0 LONSEI. ISLAND . 57
IX. l'LE NOCTURT NAL VISITOR . 64
X. W\\lOSE AlE THr'EY? ANDI \VlHEli:R ])lD
THiEY COME FROM . 73
XI. SUMNEUR DRIFTS AWAY ON A RAFT 80
XIL. PICKED UP IN THE GULF STREAM 89
XII1. A MYSTERY OF THE REEF .. . 96
XIV. WORTH AND QUORUM ARE MISSINs 105
XV. WoRTHI AND Q ORIUM IN SEARCH OF SUMNER 112
XVI. A NIGaT IN ALLIGATOR LIGTr .. 121
XVII. AN ENTERTAINMENT ON THE KEY .. 128
XV I ll. O(I)' FOHn 'E1 EVERGLADES. . 137
XIX. Trll' CANOES AHIE AcAIN LOST, AND AGAIN
FOUND . 1.15
X X T ill,1;]:SV ,i Z\S .\ L]1' --IIOAT 153
XXI. SUMNER'S SELF-SACRIFICE .. 160
XXII. GOOD-BYE TO TIIE TRANSIT .. 168
XXIII. WORTH MEETS A PANTHER . 175
XXIV. RATTLESNAKES AND RIFLE-SIIOTS 184
XXV. WORTH'S LONELY NIGIIT-YATCH 192
XXVI. TIIE FLORIDA EVERGLADES .. 201
XXVII. A PREHISTORIC EVERGLADE MOUND 209
XXVIII. WHAT BECAME OF QUORUM ANDD THE
CANOES . 218
XXIX. A VERY SERIOUS PREDICAMENT 2 226
XXX. QUORUM S AN A MBASSADOn .. 234
XXXI. A CLOSELY GUARDED CAMP . 242
XXXII. CROSSING THE 'GLADES WITHOUT SEE-
ING THEM . 250
XXXIII. AN ADVENTUROUS DEER-IIUNT 258
XXXIV. IEMMED IN BY A FOREST FIRE 266
XXXV. TIIE BOYS IN A SEMINOLE CAMP 275
XXXVI. ONE OF THE RAREST ANIMALS IN THE
W ORLD . 284
XXXVII. FIsmING FOR SHARKS . 292
XXXVIII. LITTLE KO-WIK-A SAILS OUT TO SEA 301
XXXIX. A BLACK SQUALL AND THE STRANDED
STEAMER . . 308
XL. THE HAPPY ENDING OF TIlE CR1S1E 817
SU NER AT IIO E . .
"WITI TIHE NEXT SEND OF TIE SEA THE
CANVAS CANOE WAS CRUSHED BENEATII
THE PONDEROUS BOWS . .
'IIE RETURNED TO TIE BUOY, ON WHICH
TIE RECENT FUGITIVE WAS NOW SIT-
TING . . .
TIIE "CUPID" AND PSYCHE START ON
THEIR CRUISE .
TORCI-FIISIING "O1 MULLET . .
THIEF CANOES AlI E (IONEI . .
c SOMEI ONE WAS TRYING TO PI'11I. MY GUN
A Y . .
4THE LATTi I rr WAS LIOLLING ON TiIlHE (1lOUNTI)
AT THEIR, FOOT OF A COCOANUT-TI E," .
A GREATT DISCOVERY . .
QUORUM IS IIAPPY . .
"TWO PAIRS OF POWERFUL AIMS DRAGGED
111M INTO TIE, BOAT" . .
'"AS lII STEPPED ASHORE A PI'EASANT-lACEI)
YOUNG i.\N ADVANCED TO MEET 11I" .
QUOI()UM I ESTIONS III1MSI..' TO FATE .
QUORUM DANCES A lFlIEAKI-DOWN .
"HE FOIIUNI) UST NOliIIS CHOUCIIlNG IN THE
LE 'E OF '111THE LITTLE I)'ECK-IIouNI,"
Facing p. 18
REPAIRING TIIE PUNKINN SEED" ..
"A VOLLEY OF RIFLE-ISHOTS FLASHED AND
ROARED FROM TIE FOREST" .
" ROUGH LOOKING CHARACTERS, WIOM IHE
AT ONCE RECOGNIZED AS SOUTH FLOR-
IDA COWBOYS". . .
"IIIS WRISTS WERE UNBOUND, AND TIIE
CLOTH THAT ENVELOPED IIIS IIEAD WAS
SNATCHED FROM IT" . .
"DIRECTLY AFTERWARDS A CANOE APPEARED
AT THE OPENING IN THE BUSHES .
"TIIEY WERE SUDDENLY CONFRONTED BY
AN INDIAN ARMED WITI A RIFLE" .
'"THE ORDEAL OF FIRE LASTED BUT A MIIN-
UTE" . ..... . ..
SUMNER AND WORTH IN TIE SEMINOLE
CAMP . . .
SUMNER RESCUES KO-WIK-A . .
"TIHE SURPRISE AND DELIGHT OF TIE TWO
GENTLEMEN CAN BETTER BE IMAGINED
TIIAN DESCRIBED" . .
Facing p. 168
" c 322
A Story of the E:., .7, .
IN THE FAR SOUTH.
"I EALLY, 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. (ur stri._l..- 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, miy dear boy," exclaiimed his mother,
standing beside himi anld smoothing his tumbled
brown curls with her cool hands, "what is the
matter ? 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 Rltakins in
A Story of the E:' 1 /.7., ..
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 lessor serpents against which the
Rankings hla to contend was the lack of congo-
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. IHe 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. Both his father and
mother had devoted all their spare time to his
education, and thus he was well informed in
many branches of which the average boy knows
little or nothing. IIe loved the sea and every-
thing connected with it. From his babyhood he
had played with and sailed boats. Now there
A Story of the Everglades.
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 Oli-
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!" exclaimed Sumner in
relating this incident, "he threw money rv.'-y 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 'I.-fu:-, 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 Story of the Everglades.
Sumner had built himself the year before with-
out ever having seen one, had been considered
both by himself and his friends a masterpiece of
naval construction, and he had cruised in her
ever since with great satisfaction.
You have yet to learn, dear, that it is ever so
much harder to be satisfied with the things we
have than to obtain those for which we long, no
matter how far beyond our reach they may seem,"
said Mrs. Rankin, gently.
"I suppose it is, mother, and I know it is hor-
rid to come to you with my miserable complain-
ings; but I wish I had never seen those canoes-
for there were two of them just alike-and I wish
wealthy people wouldn't come to Key West with
such things. They don't do us any good, and
only make us feel our poverty the more keenly.
Why, there they are now Turning in here too!
What can they want with us, I wonder? I won't
see them at any rate. I've no more use for
wealthy snobs than they have for me."
So -i ,;'I- Sumner left the room by a rear
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 if we can engage rooms here for a
week or so. We will take our meals at the ho-
tel; but we have two canoes that we propose fit-
ting out here for a cruise up the reef, and we
want to find a place close to the water where we
can keep them in safety, and at the same time
be near them. Mr. Merrill advised us to come
here, and it looks as though this were exactly
the place of which we are in search. So if you
can accommodate us we shall esteem it a great
With the remembrance of Sumner's last words,
Mrs. Rankin hesitated a moment before reply-
A .".. of t/he Everglades 9
ing; whereupon Mr. MAir:no 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 and 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, toot-
and-hand steering gear, water-tight compart-
ments fore and aft, and were decked, with the
exception of their roomy cockpits. These were
surrounded by stout oak coamings three inches
high, sharp-pointed, and flaring outward at the
forward ends, but cut down so as to be flush
with the deck aft. Beside them lay the con-
fused mass of paddles, sails, spars, canoe tents,
rubber aprons, cushions, and cordage, that com-
pleted their equipment. They were simply per-
fect in every detail, and the most beautiful
things Sumner Rankin had ever set his eyes
upon. At least he thought so, as, returning
from a long tramp on which he had tried to
walk off his unhappiness, he found them lying
in the yard. In spite of his surprise at seeing
them there, and a return of his unwelcome feel-
ing of envy, he could not help stopping to ad-
mire them and study their details.
"Hello !" 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 Story of the F..,;.7. ... 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. IIe 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.
HIe 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 Story of the Everglades. 13
"Whew !" 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. I'll 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, le 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 my 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 wi l 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,
a.s 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 ,ir.:.,,1 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~" lie
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 M1adagascar, and partly from the
feluccas at Civita Vecchia."
"Madagascar and the Mediterranean !" repeat-
ed Mr. Manton, in astonishment. "If you have
A Story of the Everglades. 15
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."
Mr. Manton, who had known nothing of Sum-
ner's history, no longer wondered that he had
been offended at being taken for a boatman
whose services could be hired. He was, how-
ever, too wise to make further mention of the
subject, and merely said,
Then you 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
around a point and headed towards the little
landing-place near which they were standing.
As his course lay directly in the teeth of the
wind, his struggle was long and hard. They
watched him anxiously, and more than once
Sumner offered to go to the boy's assistance;
but his uncle said he wished Worth to learn
self-reliance more than anything else, and this
was too good a lesson to be spoiled. Finally
the young paddler conquered, and, reaching the
landing-place in safety, sprang ashore. He was
either too exhausted or too careless to properly
secure his canoe, and as 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. IIe was almost within
reach of his prize, and his tiny sail was almost in-
distinguishable amid the blackness of the squall,
when the watchers on shore were horrified to
see another and much larger sail come rushing
down, dead before the wind, directly towards it.
Then the tiny canoe sail disappeared; and as
A Story of the Everglades. 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.
SUMNER 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. IIe tried to cross their
bows, and might have succeeded in so 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 fronl
existence as though it had been a drifting leaf.
"wrf IE NEri m m E OF 'fill SEA THE' CANVAS CANOE' IA CRCSIIED BENA-ILXi TIIE P'ONDEROUS BOWS."
A Story of the Everglades.
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 schooner, and drifting down towards
him from the windward was the beautiful cedar
canoe which was the cause of all the trouble, and
which he had passed in his effort to save his own
from destruction. A few strokes took him to
her, and with a feeling of devout thankfulness
he clutched her gunwale.
Worth Manton, or any other inexperienced
canoeman, would have attempted to climb up
over the bow or stern, and, sitting astride the
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. lie 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
COafn oem rates.
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
rapidly shutting out all familiar objects, and
Sumner was on the point of resigning himself to
a night of aimless drifting, with an interesting
uncertainty as to when he should be picked up,
when a distant shout, that sounded exceedingly
like his own name, was borne to his ears. He
sent back an answering cry, the shout was re-
peated, and a few minutes later the shadowy
form of the Psyclhe, with Mr. Manton wielding a
double-bladed paddle, shot out of the darkness.
"I never was so glad to find any one in my
life!" exclaimed the new-comer. "We were
afraid that clumsy schooner had run you down.
I tell you what, boy, the last ten minutes have
been the most anxious I ever passed, and I
wouldn't go through with them again for all the
canoes in the world. But what has become of
your own boat ?"
A .*.'.,' of the Everglades. 21
"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 lie 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 sharper look-
out, the latter made up his mind that, in spite of
his pride, the boy must and should be rewarded
in some way for what he had done.
The following week was busily and happily
spent in making new sails for the two canoes,
rerigging them, and in teaching Worth how to
manage his. It struck Sumner as a little curious
that, even after the new sails were made, Mr.
Manton was always too busy to go out on these
practice trips with his nephew, and invariably
asked him to take the Psycke 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 qualities! IHe 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. Iow
fond he became of the canoe that bore him to so
many victories! 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! Much as he wished this, however,
he was very careful not to express the wish to
any person except his mother, to whom he al-
A Story of the Everglades.
ways confided all his hopes, fears, and plans.
After his refusal of Mir. 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 your. Let me take her
a few minutes, will yer ?"
"No," replied Suneor; I can't, because she
isn't mine to lend. Besides, as you are not ac-
customed to this style of craft, you couldn't sail
her, anyhow; and you'd upset before you had
gone a length."
Oh, I would, would I ? Well, I'll bet I can
sail anything you can, or any other landlubber
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 t"
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 ..,. y of the Everglades.
up the reef, and act the part of guide, compan-
ion, and friend to the younger canoeman.
"I shall not for a second time be guilty of the
mistake of trying to hire you to take this cruise,"
said Mr. Manton, smiling, as he unfolded this
plan to Sumner; but I ask you to do it as a
favor to both me and Worth. Indeed, it will be
a great favor to me," he added, hastily, as he
saw an expression of doubt on the lad's face; "for
I really ought to be in New York at this very
minute, attending to 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 ?"
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 I
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 be doing me a real favor in tak-
ing my place. I am more of a yachtsman than
a canoeman anyway, and I look forward with
fully as much pleasure to cruising down the Ind-
ian River from St. Augustine in the yacht that
A Story of the Everglades.
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 not resist the tempta-
tion of getting up, partly dressing himself, and
slipping out for a look at his canoe, his very
own! the most beautiful craft he had ever seen,
and such a one as in his wildest dreams he had
never hoped to possess.
The two canoes had been drawn up on the
grass not far from the water's edge, and covered
with some bits of old canvas. Although it was
a moonlit night, the moon was occasionally ob-
scured by drifting clouds, and when Sumner left
the house everything was in shadow from this
cause. He moved very quietly, for he did not
wish any one to know of the weakness that led
him to look at something with which he was al-
ready familiar, merely because 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, lie
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 .'v.- I of the Everglades.
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 the buoy, with desperate efforts
to gain its upper surface.
Satisfied that he could not drown so long as
he clung to the buoy, Sumner first picked up
the drifting canoe. With it in tow he returned
to the buoy on which the recent fugitive was
now sitting, clinging tightly to the iron ring, and
presenting a comical picture of misery.
"Don't leave me here," Sumner!" he cried,
in an imploring tone, in which the boy at once
recognized the voice of Rust Norris. I didn't
mean no harm. I only just wanted to try the
trick, and I meant to put her back again where
I found her. Honest I did!"
"Well, I don't know," replied Sumner, who
could not help laughing at the other's plight, in
spite of his anger at him for taking the canoe
without leave, and his suspicion that it would
not have been returned so promptly as Rust
claimed it would. "You look quite as comforta-
ble as you deserve to be; besides, you will have
a nice quiet chance out here to learn the lesson
..P W& '
"1Il EI VlrvE 'Z I 0 1)o 'I' BUOY. ON WIIICI[ Tl', II: E(ENI IUGITIll 0 AVA N J 'SITTING."
A Story of the E' ,.'..,.7 .
that it is better to leave other people's property
alone than to take it without permission. So, on
the whole, I think I will leave you where you
are for a while. I did think of having you ar-
rested for stealing, but I guess this will do just
Thus saying, the boy began to paddle towards
shore, and at the same time Rust changed his
pleading tone to one of bitter invective, uttering
loud threats of what he would make Sumner suf-
fer in the future.
Without paying any attention to these, the
young canoeman continued on his way to the
shore. From there he watched until he saw the
dim form of a fishing-boat come silently drifting
down the harbor with the tide. 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 satisfied 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. M.iII.'I 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
teacli Rust Norris to let his things alone in the
future, also that he was not afraid of anything
the i..i.' 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 gc, i 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.
'S / :
L A. -- '
THE CPID l" AND "' PSYCHE STAIT ON THEI'll' CRUISE.
= _- % '. .- ,
r.- -- --
A Story of the Everglades.
THE GREAT FLORIDA REEF.
THE great Florida Reef, up which our young
canoemates had just started on their adventu-
rous cruise, is about 230 miles long. It extends
from Cape Florida, on the Atlantic coast, com-
pletely around the southern end of the peninsula,
and far out into the Gulf of Mexico on the west.
The island of Key West lies some 70 miles off
the main-land, and about the same distance from
the Dry Tortugas, which 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 ','1" I 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 lHueso," 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 Florida. Outside
of them is the narrow and navigable Hawk
Channel, running along their entire length, and
bounded on its seaward side by the almost un-
broken wall of the outer reef. This rarely rises
above the surface, and on it the busy coral in-
sects pursue their ceaseless toil of rock-building.
Beyond the reef, between it and the island of
Cuba, eighty miles away, pours 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 into 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 i.,-.'-r-
head Key, the outermost of the Tortugas. Then
comes Rebecca Shoal, half-way between Logger-
head and Sand Key Light, which is just oil' Key
West. From here the lights in order up the
reef are American Shoal, Sombrero, Alligator,
Carysfort, and Fow(Cy RoAks, off Cape Florida.
A Story of the E ,'. *.
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 it. Con-
sequently most of those who would otherwise be
wreckers have turned their attention to sponging
in the waters behind the keys, which form one
of the great sponge-fields of the world, or to the
raising of pineapples and cocoanuts on such of
the islands as afford sufficient soil for this pur-
There are four ways by which one may sail
up the reef. The first is outside in the (Gulf
Stream, or by way of the Gulf ;" the second
is between the reef and the keys, through the
Hawk Channel; the third is through the nar-
row and intricate channels among the keys, or
inside," as the spongers say; and the fourth is
the bay way," or through the shoal waters be-
hind the keys.
Of all these, the third, or inside way, was the
one chosen by Suinner as being the most pro-
teeted(, from wind and sens, lhe molost, pi)tRiresqule,
thel 1 one all'ffoinilg lthe most Irl'quie tl. oppoHiiuni-
ties lor landing,, Hihe most int, I, liIt, and in
every way best adapted to canoes drawing but
a few inches of water.
As the Psyche 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 loolkrs, in which
A Story of the Everglades.
are stowed a few simple medicines, fishing-tackle,
matches, an alcohol lamp (Flamme force), loaded
shells for the guns, etc. In the after-stowage
lockers are extra clothing and toilet articles.
The Psycke 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, and 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 Psyche's 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 craft ashore, 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 of those fine fellows a
little later," said Sumner, as they began to unload
their canoes and carry the things to the spot
they had already chosen for a camp.
But it will be dark," protested Worth.
So much the better. It's ever so much easier
to catch fish in the dark than by daylight."
There was plenty of drift-wood on the beach,
and in a few minutes the merry blaze of their
camp-fire was leaping from a pile of it. While
waiting for it to burn down to a bed of coals,
each of them drove a couple of stout stakes, and
pitched their canoe tents near a 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 1.iih,1;-i.
A Story of the Everglades.
You put the coffee water on to boil, while I cut
some slices of bacon, Worth, and then I'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 cry of dismay,
caused him to look round.
I never saw such a miserable kettle as that!"
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 W\orth, "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-
tie ; 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,
rme'nully, if that is what happens."
IJ 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 the bundle of pine slivers, and giving
it to Worth to hold. You just sit still and hold
that. You'll find out what sort of a fish-line it
is in a minute. Then he paddled the canoe very
gently a few rods off shore, at the same time
bearing down on one gunwale until it was even
with the surface of the water. "Look out,
here they come he shouted.
, 1i,' 'Jf
TORCll-F'ISHIIIN- I OR IH UI T
A -, f of the 1 ',. tI7. -.
PINEAPPLES AND SPONGES.
THE next instant Worth uttered a startled cry
and very nearly dropped his torch, as a mullet,
leaping from the water, struck him on the side
of the head, and fell flapping into the canoe.
Never mind a little thing like that," cried
Sumner. Hold your torch a trifle lower.
That's the kind !"
Now the mullet came thick and fast, attracted
to the bright light like moths to a candle-flame.
They leaped into the canoe and over it, they
fell on its decks Iand (lopped off into the water,
they struck the two boys until they felt as
though they were being pelted with wet snow-
balls; and at length one of them, hitting the
torch, knocked it from Worth's hand, so that it
fell hissing into the water.
Tie effect of this sudden extinguishing of the
light was startling. In an instant tie lish ceased
to jumpI, 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 heard 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 surroundings so novel that for a long
time he lay dreamily awake watching the play
of moonlight on the rippling water, listening to
the splash of jumping fish, the music of little
waves on the shell-strewn beach, and the cease-
less rustle of the great palm leaves above him.
At length his wakefulness merged into dreams,
and when he next opened his eyes it was broad
daylight, the sun had just risen, and Sumner
was building a fire.
"Hurrah, Worth! Tumble out of bed and(
tumble into the water," le called at that mo-
ment. "There's just time for a dip in the briny
before this fire'll be ready for those fish." Suit-
ing his actions to his words, he began pulling o(1
his clothes, and a minute later the two boys were
diving into the cool water like a couple of' risky
A Story of the Everglades.
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. Having left their first camp be-
hind them, they felt that their long cruise had
indeed begun in earnest.
For the next three days they threaded their
way, under sail or paddle, among such number-
less keys and through such a maze of narrow
channels, that it seemed to Worth as though
they were entangled in a lalbyrinth from which
they would never be able to extricate themselves.
Whenever a long sand-spit or reef shot out from
the north side of one key, a similar obstruction
was certain to be found on the south end of the
next one. Thus their course was a perpetual
zigzag, and a fair wind on one stretch would be
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 reel' that seemed
lo extend unbrokenly in both direction s as ar
as tile cye 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
Psyche, which was always in the lead, would dash
directly at the obstacle, and skim through one of
the narrow cuts with 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 charcoal-burners on
one key, and visited an extensive pineapple patch
on another. Having heard this fruit spoken of
as growing on trees, Worth was amazed to find
it borne on plants with long prickly leaves that
reached but little above his knees. The plants
stood so close together, and their leaves were so
interlaced, that he did not see how any one ever
walked among them to cut the single fruit borne
at the head of each one; and when he tried it,
stepping high to avoid the bayonet-like leaves,
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," lie said.
A Story of the Everglades. 45
"So would I," laughed Sumner, if I had to
walk as you do. In a pineapple patch you
must never lift your feet, but 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 cnd 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 IIonda, or, as the reef-
men say, the Bay o' Ilundy." 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. IlI
1'foll11i ha;1 ill th11ose waters they are torn Iromi
the botftoml and drawln to the sirl'Lace 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 i,,i. .ii. of ripples.
With his head in this bucket, the sponger gazes
intently down until he sees the round black oh-
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 lake
such pains to sail to windward of their boats.
When the deck of a sponge boat is piled high
with this unsavory spoil of tih sea, she is hlIadhed
towards tlhe nearest key on which her I r')ew iha, ve
A Story qf the Eic glacdcs.
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 the spongers until they
are free from it, when they are taken from the
crawl, and spread on a beach to dry and whiten
in the sun. When a full 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 ]..M.-.-
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 is low.
One hot afternoon at the end of a week found
our canoemates half-way up the reef, and ap-
proaching a key called Lignum Vitro, which is
for several reasons one of the most remarkable
of all the keys. It is a large island lifted higher
* (rawl is a1 corruption of corrnl, meanie ing 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 Psyclhe'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 them, the boys plunged into the forest.
When, an hour later, they returned from their
exploration, bringing with them a brace of ducks
and half a dozen doves that they had shot, they
gazed about them in bewildered dismay. The
canoes were not where they had left them, nor
could any trace of them be discovered.
71Z! -li UV,
~A~B~8~ *P" '~:
B~i- -- -
"Tlll,,' CANOFS ARE c~,rs I'
A Story of the Everglades.
MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF THE CANOES.
"THE canoes are gone !" cried Worth.
"It looks like it," replied Sumner, in an equally
Are you sure this is where we left them ?"
"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 do!"
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
form 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!" 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 :-.', of the Everglades. 51
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 the 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 faint 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!" 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
palmietto leaves you possibly can, and carry them
to the place where we landed."
The bucket ?" repeated Worth, looking about
him inquiringly. "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 the boy
dashed forward, uttering a loud cry, the alarmed
animal scuttled off into the bushes.
"Oh, you vil-li-an!" gasped Sumner as he
reached the place, I'll settle with you to-mor-
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 lie
entered the clearing from the opposite side, stag-
A ,.i,,. of the E ..'. '.. .- 53
gering beneath an immense load of cabbage-palm
"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-
ing wood. 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. lie 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. Hie
would have tied these securely in place if lie had
had time. As lie had not, lor it was quite dark
before hle finished even this rude shelter, lie was
forced to leave them 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 lie 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 chluck-
wills-widows were mingling with the whoo,
A \,. ; of t e Everglades. 5S
whoo, whoo ah-h!" 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 !" 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 our minds
to eat raw duck? This is worse than losing the
canoes. I declare I don't know what to do."
"Couldn't we somehow make a fire with a
gun ? Seems to me I have read of something of
that kind," I-, ..-f..1 W north.
Of course we can !" 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 illumined the scene, and banished a cloud of
anxiety from the minds of the young castaways.
A Story of the F '. ...7.,...-
LIFE 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 wore 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 if it were still
raw, and the half-cooked ducks were placed on
two broad palm leaves that served at once as ta-
bles and plates.
My but isn't this fowl tough exclaimed
Worth, as he Jr .i.-_Ll with his share of the
feast. Sole-leather and rubber are 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 Story of th e F.. .... 59
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
,.., [:, ," 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 i'llli. lil
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 thle loss of their ca-
Inoes to thoroughlly discuss tho situation.
"What would oul r mothers say if they could
see us now, and know the fix we are in ?" 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 if any
traces of the canoes are to be found, as well as
what it will afford in the way of food and lum-
ber. Then, if we don't find the canoes, and no
boat comes along, I propose to build some kind
of a raft, on which we can float over to Indian
Key. While boats rarely pass this way, some
are certain to pass within a short distance of it
almost every day. So from there we would
have little difficulty 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 Evcrglade..
"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 Psycke. 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-niorrow.
Whenever you wake during the night you want
to get up and throw a fresh stick on the lire, 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-
mnals 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 freo front anx-
iety on that, score as though you were in your
own room in New York City. More so," he
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, the boy made a resolute effort to sleep.
Somehow he found it harder to do so now than
it had been on his first night of camping out
The loss of the canoes seemed to have removed
an element of safety on which he had depended,
and to have suddenly placed him at an infinite
distance beyond civilization, with all its protec-
tions. It was so awful to be imprisoned on this
lonely isle, in those far-away southern seas. lie
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. IIe 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 1-..7. 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 ?" asked Sumner, who, awakened
by Worth's cry, was also sitting up.
"I don't know," answered tile boy, "but I am
almost certain that some one was trying to pull
my gun away."
THE NOCTURNAL VISITOR.
Fol 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 dr-,'iinn!.," returned
Sumner. "Your gun hasn't disappeared, has
"No, but I am sure I felt it move. 1 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
.,O(fI E (),Ni H NN 'r '( I I ; In p 'A IN ti N AWAN
A Story of the E-. ,,..7..,.
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 there 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 t"
"Yes, of course we can," answered Sumner,
soothingly, "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 ap-
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-
or, until at length he slipped down from his sit-
ting position fast asleep. Then Sumnier 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 slioulders, they set out along
A ". ..j of the -t. .. .7. 67
the water's edge. Their progress was slow, for
in many places the mangroves were so thick
that they found great difficulty in forcing a way
through them. Then, too, they found a quanti-
ty of planks, many of which they hauled up,
as well as they could, beyond the reach of the
tide for future use. While thus engaged, the
meridian sun and their appetites indicated the
hour of noon before they reached a small grove
of cocoanut-trees on the north end of the island,
beneath which they decided to rest.
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. IHe 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 lad 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. lHe
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. IHe 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. IHe 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 lie 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
"'lI. wIk1 L1:\- G U LN N I :o NJ Al TJ:IE FOOT (,F A t('~L R'
A Story of the E. ; /..7 .,. G6
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've killed
him, and he is dying before my very eyes! 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 lie is in. What
shall I do ? Oh, what shall I do ?"
"Well, lie isn't dead yet, at all events," said
Sumner. Perhaps, if lie will keep still for a
minute and stop his 3 .1ini', 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, Mlarse Summer! Don't yo'
tech me I's shot full o' holes, an' I's gwine tor
(die. Oh Lordy! Olh Lordy! Sich pain as I's
a -stu'rin'! An' I didn't kill nobody, nutlohr. I
didn't nebber do no harm. An' now I's full ob
holes. Oh Lordy! Oh Lordy!"
"Why, it's Quorum!" 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 was accused of poisoning
him for the sake of a sum of money that the cap-
tain was known to have had, but which could
not now be found. The cook had been arrested,
and an attempt was made to lynch him for the
alleged crime. ITe had, however, succeeded in
': '-'II. 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 d '; 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, lie exclaimed:
"You good-for-nothing old rascal! What do
you mean by frightening us so? There isn't a
scratch anywhere about you. Come, get up and
"Don't yo' trifle wif a ole man what's dyin',
31 i-.-- Summer," said Quorum, interrupting his
groans and sitting up.
You are no more dying than I am," laughed
A Story of the F.-..- 7... -
Sunner, 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' syv I hain't hit nowhere, Marso Sunm-
mer?" asked the ncegro, 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' do ole man, den ?"
"Hunting you? We're not hunting you. What
put such an idea into your head ''
"Kase cbberbody or Imuntin' him, an' or trying'
teor kill him for doe murder what he nebber done."
O( course you didn'L do it. Captain Eubo
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' ? Glory be
to de Lawd! Glory be to de Lawd! an' bress
yo' honey face, Marse Summer, for de good news!
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! Bress de Lawd!"
A Story of the Everglades.
WHOSE ARE THEY? AND WHERE DID THEY COME FROM?
"Loor 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
lie doesn't know something about our canoes?"
"D)o you, Quorum, know anything about the
canoes that we came here in ?" asked Sumner.
No, I don't know nultin' 'bout no cooner. I's
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, MAarse 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 or
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 '... : of the Everglades. 75
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-
ncr had taken his header into the ty-ti bush.
Iere 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 coinforts. A lire 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 Sunner, looking about him,
"I don't see but what you are living like an
African K(ing, Quorum. Have you had plenty to
eat since you came here ?"
Yes, sahl. Plenty such as hit is-'possum,
'coon, turtl, ish, oyster, c11(h, c cocoanut, banana,
limes, lemons, an' paw-pw; l)bu( no torbakker.
I tell yo', sahl, 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? 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 rocks
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 pi'", whIich it
greatly resembled. Shortly afterwarlds 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 Story of 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 lint 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 the hut lie lid exactly the
same thing. When Quorum, who came last,
reached it, he gazed in open-eyed wonder, but did
not move from the spot. A smile gradually
overspread his face, and, with a long-drawn sigh
of happy anticipation, lie uttered the single word,
)o you see it?"' asked Wolrth, breathlessly,
as lie joined Suiimner on tihe beach.
No; but perhaps it is behind the point. Let's
go and take a look."
But when they reached the point there was no
sign of the vessel that they fully expected to
find there. More greatly 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 Sumnner, 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 ?"
"Perhaps whoever stole our canoes has left
them here in part payment," I-i --,-l -1 Worth.
A EA1- IDISCl'OVJ1;:Y.
A .-. of the EF. ..... 79
"You might just as well say that Llijili's
ravens had brought them," laughed Sumner.
Marse Summer, sah, 'scuse me, but do hit
'pear to yo' like hit would be stealing' to bang de
kivor often dat ar box, an' let de ole man hab
jes one smell ob dat terbakker ?" 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 DRIFTS AWAY ON A RAFT.
THE display of layer upon layer of black plug
tobacco such as Quorum had been accustomed to
using for longer than lie 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. IIe sniffed at it eagerly,
inhaling its fragrance with 1.-i --, deep breaths.
Then, producing a stubby black pipe from some
hidden recess of his tattered clothing, lie asked,
pleadingly, for "jes one lilly smoke."
After supper," said Sumnner. (et 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 E,.. y.', 7 .,. 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 lie b'long to, dcn ?" demanded Quorum,
"I'm sure I don't know," answered the boy.
Den he yourn. 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' do berry bestes yo' ebber seen.
Come, Marso Summer, jes one; dat's a honey-
There was no resisting this pleading appeal,
and cutting off enough for a single pilpefl 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? In the opinion of the boys, there cer-
tainly had not.
Quorum had felt no scruples about helping
himself to the provisions so liberally provided,
and if the boys had noticed what he was doing,
they had not possessed the moral courage to
interfere. As a result, he had baked the 'possum
stuffed with cracker-crumbs, bits of pork and
onions cut up fine, and well seasoned with salt
and pepper, in a Dutch-oven. The oven had been
set on a bed 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 !" said Sumner.
Or Delmonico's !" added Worth.