• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Young bucktails at Key West
 The first night out
 The canoe battery called into...
 A wild outside passage
 Storm-bound on a Florida Key
 A wet thrash to windward
 Roland strikes game
 Off for the Everglades
 Canoe life among the Keys
 The muttering in the air
 Striking the silver king
 The first alligator serenade
 A night visitor
 The lost camp-fire
 Foiling the alligator-hunters
 A rainy day in camp
 Swamp life in southern Florida
 Shooting a honey thief
 The Everglades at last
 Fire in the sky
 A bird-hatchery
 Alone in the wilds of Florida
 The Seminole camp-fire
 Andrew's story
 The Seminole guide
 A fire hunt in the pine woods
 Okeechobee, the dismal lake
 A canoe "meet" in the heart of...
 Deer-stalking
 Cruising through the canal
 On guard all night
 On the 'Hatchee River
 Resting at Myers
 A black thief in the night
 The angler's paradise
 Shark fishing
 In Charlotte Harbor
 The last camp-fire
 Advertising
 Back Matter
 Back Cover
 Spine














Title: The boy cruisers, or, Paddling in Florida
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00082328/00001
 Material Information
Title: The boy cruisers, or, Paddling in Florida
Alternate Title: Paddling in Florida
Physical Description: iv, 3, 6-264, 6, 27, 9 p. : ill. ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Rathborne, St. George, 1854-1938
Burt, A. L ( Albert Levi ), 1843-1913 ( Publisher )
Publisher: A.L. Burt
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: c1893
 Subjects
Subject: Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Canoes and canoeing -- Juvenile fiction -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Outdoor life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Camping -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Seminole Indians -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Alligators -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Hunting -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Youth -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1893   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1893
Genre: Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by St. George Rathborne ; illustrated.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00082328
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002445337
notis - AMF0578
oclc - 214278428

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page iv
    List of Illustrations
        Page iv-a
    Young bucktails at Key West
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    The first night out
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    The canoe battery called into action
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
    A wild outside passage
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    Storm-bound on a Florida Key
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
    A wet thrash to windward
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Roland strikes game
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
    Off for the Everglades
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
    Canoe life among the Keys
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
    The muttering in the air
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
    Striking the silver king
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
    The first alligator serenade
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
    A night visitor
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
    The lost camp-fire
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
    Foiling the alligator-hunters
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
    A rainy day in camp
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
    Swamp life in southern Florida
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
    Shooting a honey thief
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
    The Everglades at last
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
    Fire in the sky
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
    A bird-hatchery
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
    Alone in the wilds of Florida
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
    The Seminole camp-fire
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
    Andrew's story
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
    The Seminole guide
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 174a
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
    A fire hunt in the pine woods
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
    Okeechobee, the dismal lake
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
    A canoe "meet" in the heart of Florida
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
    Deer-stalking
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
    Cruising through the canal
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
    On guard all night
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
    On the 'Hatchee River
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
    Resting at Myers
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227-228
        Page 229
        Page 230
    A black thief in the night
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
    The angler's paradise
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
    Shark fishing
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
    In Charlotte Harbor
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
    The last camp-fire
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
    Advertising
        Advertising a-1
        Advertising a-2
        Advertising a-3
        Advertising a-4
        Advertising a-5
        Advertising a-6
        Advertising b-1
        Advertising b-2
        Advertising b-3
        Advertising b-4
        Advertising b-5
        Advertising b-6
        Advertising b-7
        Advertising b-8
        Advertising b-9
        Advertising b-10
        Advertising b-11
        Advertising b-12
        Advertising b-13
        Advertising b-14
        Advertising b-15
        Advertising b-16
        Advertising b-17
        Advertising b-18
        Advertising b-19
        Advertising b-20
        Advertising b-21
        Advertising b-22
        Advertising b-23
        Advertising b-24
        Advertising b-25
        Advertising b-26
        Advertising b-27
        Advertising b-28
        Advertising b-29
        Advertising b-30
        Advertising b-31
        Advertising b-32
        Advertising b-33
        Advertising b-34
        Advertising b-35
        Advertising b-36
    Back Matter
        Back Matter
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text




























































Mae--































































A WILD CAT ON BOARD THE CANOE









THE BOY CRUISERS,

OR


PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


By ST. GEORGE RATHBORNE.



ILLUSTRATED.


NEW YORK:
A. L. BURT, PUBLISHER.







































COPYRIGHT 1893, BY A. L. BUBT.
















CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.-YOUNG BUCKTAILS AT KEY WEST.
CHAPTER 11.-THE FIRST NIGHT OUT.
CHAPTER III.-THE CANOE BATTERY CALLED INTO ACTION.
CHAPTER IV.-A WILD OUTSIDE PASSAGE.
CHAPTER V.-STORMBOUND ON A FLORIDA KEY.
CHAPTER VI.-A WET THRASH TO WINDWARD.
CHAPTER VII.-ROLAND STRIKES GAME.
CHAPTER VIII.-OFF FOR THE EVERGLADES.
CHAPTER IX.-CANOE LIFE AMONG THE KEYS.
CHAPTER X.-THE MUTTERING IN THE AIR.
CHAPTER XI.-STRIKING THE SILVER KING.
CHAPTER XII.-THE FIRST ALLIGATOR SERENADE.
CHAPTER XIII.-A NIGHT VISITOR.
CHAPTER XIV.--THE LOST CAMP-FIRE.
CHAPTER XV.-FOILING THE ALLIGATOR HUNTERS.
CHAPTER XVI.-A RAINY DAY IN CAMP.
CHAPTER XVII.-SWAMP LIFE IN SOUTHERN FLORIDA.
CHAPTER XVIII.-SHOOTING A HONEY THIEF.
CHAPTER XIX.-THE EVERGLADES AT LAST.
CHAPTER XX.-FIRE IN THE SKY.
CHAPTER XXI.-A BIRD HATCHERY.
CHAPTER XXII.-ALONE IN THE WILDS OF FLORIDA.
CHAPTER XXIII.-THE SEMINOLE CAMP-FIRES.
CHAPTER XXIV.-ANDREW'S STORY.
CHAPTER XXV.-THE SEMINOLE GUIDE.
CHAPTER XXVI.-A FIRE HUNT IN THE PINE WOODS.
CHAPTER XXVII.-OKEECHOBEE, THE DISMAL LAKE.
CHAPTER XXVIII.-A CANOE "MEET" IN THE HEART OF
FLORIDA.









iV CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XXIX.-CRUISING THROUGH THE CANAL.
CHAPTER XXX.-DEER-STALKING.
CHAPTER XXXI.-ON GUARD ALL NIGHT.
CHAPTER XXXII.-ON THE 'HATCHEE RIVER.
CHAPTER XXXIII.-RESTING AT MYERS.
CHAPTER XXXIV.-A BLACK THIEF IN THE NIGHT.
CHAPTER XXXV.-THE ANGLER'S PARADISE.
CHAPTER XXXVI.-SHARK FISHING.
CHAPTER XXXVII.-IN CHARLOTTE HARBOR.
CHAPTER XXXVIII.-THE LAST CAMP-FIRE.













ILLUSTRATIONS.



FRONTISPIECE.-" THE BOB-CAT AND THE CRUISER.
PAGE.
INITIAL.-GOOD-BY TO KEY WEST, 4
INDIAN RIVER AND GULF SHARPIE, SCHOONER-RIGGED. 11
TREE POST-OFFICE ON FLORIDA RIVER, 15
TAIL-PIECE.-" UNDER THE SPANISH MOSS," 25
INITIAL.-PADDLING FOR LIFE, 26
"DOWN SAILS, AND TAKE TO THE PADDLE," 31
TAIL-PIECE.-LIGHTHOUSE AND STORM, 40
INITIAL.-PURSUED BY SAND FLIES, 41
INITIAL.-ROLAND STRIKES GAME, 47
THE CANOE CAMP AT NIGHT, .. 49
INITIAL.-READING THE LOG OVER AT HOME, 60
INITIAL.-TARPON FISHING IN A CANOE, 73
THE "CRACKER" HONEY-GATHERER, 77
TAIL-PIECE.-WHITE-HEADED EAGLE, .. ..91
INITIAL.-ROLAND'S BEAR, .. 92
INITIAL.-THE BIRD ROOST IN THE SWAMP, 98
A SHOT FROM THE WATER, 115
INITIAL.-" T," 128
A FLORIDA "PALACE" SKETCHED FROM NATURE, 15S
TURTLE HUNTING ALONG THE KEYS, ... .. 171
INITIAL.--"LITTLE TOMMY AND THE ALLIGATOR," 172
ROLLY'S SCRAPE WITH THE RAZOR-BACK HOGS, 176
INITIAL.-" POSSESSION NINE POINTS OF THE LAW," 18
INITIAL.-A TYPICAL CRACKER,". 193
"THE CRITTER SNAPPED ITS JAWS SHUT ON HIS HAND.". 196
TAIL-PIECE.-" THE SNAKE IN THE GRASS," 222
ROLAND TO THE RESCUE OF THE SEMINOLE, 2,1
THE CANOE CRUISERS OFF PUNTA RASSA, 239
INITIAL.-LANDING A MONSTER STARK, .. 246
THE YANKEE SHOWMAN'S WONDERFUL WHITE WHALE, 249
TAIL-PIEE.--" GOOD-BY," 264














PADDLING IN FLORIDA.

CHAPTER I.
YOUNG BUCKTAILS AT KEY WEST.

WAS exactly noon, on the
/second day of January, 1887,
that the Morgan line steam-
er came into port at Key
S West-that strange city at
the very southern point of the
SUnited States.
r iShe was somewhat over-
S due, for quite a severe spell
-, of weather had been experi-
enced on the way down from
New York, which had delayed her progress, although
at no time was any alarm felt by those on board.
Among other things left on the dock at Key West
were two beautiful canoes, wrapped in heavy folds of
bagging, and which seemed to be well loaded, to judge
from their weight.
There were besides two barrels of duffle,* and a couple .-
of the brightest young fellows one would expect to run v
across anywhere..
- A term used by canoeists to indicate traps of all sorts carried on
a cruise, even to edibles. It is also in vogue among old sportsmen,
and covers, like charity, a multitude of sius.-AUTHOR.








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


One of them had rather a nautical appearance, and
his bronzed features told that he was an old campaign-
er on the water, though still young in years.
His companion was a sturdy, well-built fellow, with
a homely, genial countenance, and, while ready for any
fun, he could be serious enough when the occasion de-
manded it.
These two young cruisers were not down in this re-
mote region of the United States on a mere sight-see-
ing tour.
They had before them a task that had never yet been
accomplished by such small and fragile vessels as their
own.
Other cruisers of a much larger pattern had made a
flying trip from Key West up the Gulf coast since Dr.
Henshall described the sport to be found there, but
never members of the light and airy Mosquito fleet.
This was the task before them.
They intended leaving Key West, and, if no misfor-
tune overtook them, to bring up at Tampa some time
late in the Spring. It was a piece of daring few young
men would have ventured to carry through, but had
long been a dream of the sun-browned cruiser, Andrew
George, while his companion, Roland Carter, had only
lately fallen in with it.
There was danger in the undertaking, but both of
then were used to roughing it in the woods, so that
they anticipated no trouble that could not be overcome
by persistent endeavor. At the same time they knew
full well that such a long cruise, a considerable portion
of which must be made in the open waters of the Gulf,
always deemed a treacherous friend by those who know








YOUNG BUCKTAILS AT KEY WEST.


it best, was sure to bring them no little honor among
their fellows of the American Canoe Association.
The day was lovely and warm, and both boys threw
off their coats in order to get things in readiness for
the business in hand. First of all they took the burlap
covers off the canoes, and found that the delicate boats
had received no perceptible injury as a legacy of their
long transportation from the interior of Pennsylvania.
The boats were not new, but in good condition. They
had carried their daring young skippers on many a
cruise-indeed, the little Mabel had thousands of miles
on her log, and Roland in Sea Urchin, though less of a
wanderer, had been through considerable, considering
that her master was only a two-year canoeist.
With the assistance of ready bystanders they soon
had the little vessels floating on their native element.
Both were rejoiced to find that the strain which had
of late been upon the canoes in handling them partly
loaded, did not appear to have started a single seam,
so well was their planking put together.
Naturally the lookers-on were filled with admiration
,'or the jaunty craft, although when they learned the
destination of the adventurers they predicted all man-
ner of dire things in store for the expedition. These
men were oystermen, fishermen and spongers, who
were supposed to know all about the west coast and
its dangers. Hence Roland heard their comments with
some misgivings, but as he spoke to Andy with regard
to it the other laughed.
Pay no attention to the croakers, Rolly. They
simply underestimate our craft because they have never
seen a canoe ride the waves. If we were going to








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


make the trip in a yacht they would think it all right,
and yet to my mind there is less danger in a canoe, for
we can keep close to land, and get beyond the reach of
a storm by drawing up on shore."
Some of these spongers might give us points, as
they have been over the course so often, Andy."
But the skipper of the Mabel snapped his fingers.
"Every man would tell a different story. No, thank
you Rolly ; all the information we can get lies here,"
holding up a tin chart case, and what this won't tell
us we'll find out for ourselves. We're in for a long
cruise, but in the end we'll pull through.
Listen There's a fellow who's taken the croak-
ers to task. He knows something about canoes, I
reckon. Hear him!"
You fellers leave the boys alone. Ye don't know
what yer talking' about. Them boats ain't to be sunk
by any ornary storm. Cause why? Ain't I seen
Kirke Monroe up at Biscayne Bay come in on rollers
as high as a house, and beach the boat without spill-
in' a drop in her? Ye let the boys alone and they'll
bring up at Tampa."
Still the curious crowd bothered our cruisers so
much with their remarks that the balance of the dufile
was hastily stowed, and they took up the double pad-
dles to seek a more retired place where the rest of
their work could be accomplished without curious eyes
being upon them.
By evening the dunnage was well stowed. They
secured the hatches on their boats and left the iiii.I--
ture craft in charge of a man who rented out row-
boats. Then they went to the city, sought a hotel








YOUNG BUCKTAILS AT KEY WEST.


and had what was likely to be their last civilized meal
for many weeks, if not months.
Key West is a strange city, and the cruisers might
have spent several days in examining its half-Spanish
features and many queer sights ; but they were anx-
ious to be off, and had determined to leave on the fol-
lowing day, should the weather prove favorable.
At this time of the year-the dry spell in southern
Florida-rainy days are seldom seen; indeed, some-
times not a drop falls for a whole month, and as a con-
sequence fresh water commands a premium.
This was one of the most serious problems our
young friends would have to solve, for their stowage
room was so small that only a single can of water
could be carried in bulk, and even this had to be plac-
ed on deck when the time came for sleeping in the
boats. Bottles containing fresh water were stowed
away in a few nooks, and these would come in
handy.
Each canoe was well laden ; they would require no
ballast, for the many packages of canned goods-
corned beef, Boston baked beans, condensed milk,
corn, tomatoes, roast beef, dried beef, etc.-stowed as
well forward as possible, served in lieu of the usual
bar of railroad iron, although in a heavy sea they
were apt to shift and bring danger unless carefully
housed.
After dinner at the hotel, our young friends made a
few purchases, having remembered on their trip
down that a necessity here and there had been for-
gotten.
Thus Roland invested in a second small Chester








10 PADDLING IN FLORIDA.

folding anchor and a strong fifty-foot cable; a few
fixings, such as a chock to place at the bow for the
anchor-rope, and a piece of canvas out of which to
make a temporary hatch, for the wooden sections
were to be left behind at Key West to be shipped to
Tampa, as they are a nuisance on a cruise, being for-
ever in the way.
There might come times when the wind would blow
too heavily to allow the boat tents to be erected, and
on such occasions this canvas hatch could be buttoned
along the outside of the cockpit, and the cruiser sleep
calmly below, safe from rain and spray, as "snug as
a bug in a rug," as Andy declared when showing his
arrangement to his chum.
On his part Andy had secured a few things that
would be valuable, and which his experience told him
would be worth their weight in silver, under certain
conditions that might arise.
The boys were uneasy because of being away from
their beloved craft, and kept imagining all sorts of
evils. About the middle of the night Roland started
up in bed and began to thrash about him with exceed-
ing gusto.
"Let that boat alone, you lubber! Come back
with her, I say. Hello! Andy !"
"Well, what's the matter? said a sleepy voice.
"That sponger has gone off with my boat. Bless
my soul! where am I ?"
"Safe in bed at the hotel. Lie down and go to
sleep, there's a good fellow." And with a yawn Andy
turned over, leaving his bewildered companion to sum
up the situation and turn in again "all standing."




lI-



.77
YOUNG BUCKTAILS AT KEY WEST. 11

With the early dawn Roland was off to the boat-
keeper's, haunted by the -fear that his dream might be
true; but both canoes were safely at anchor, bobbing
up and down on the little waves that came in with the
fresh morning breeze.














CHAPTER II.
THE FIRST NIGHT OUT.

S A HE day was fair, and the
cruisers saw no reason why
They should not be off as early
as possible. One thing or an-
other detained them. It was
S no light task to leave Key
d West and start upon their long
journey of exploration, so a little
delay was better than some blunder in
forgetting a thing that was essential to
their well-being.
So they ate their lunch in the boats, after
which Roland went to mail letters written
to near friends who were decidedly interested in their
contemplated cruise, while Andy finished a job he had
on hand.
It was three o'clock when all had been done, and Ro-
land tossed down his log-book, in which he had been
scribbling.
What say, is it go or hang over here another night,
Andy ?"
Andrew bent nearer him, as though apprehensive of
some one overhearing.
We must change our quarters, going to another
part of the island, anyhow."








THE FIRST NIGHT OUT.


"Why ?"
"Haven't you noticed those two fellows hanging
around-the one with a single eye and a companion
about as good-looking as a Turk ?"
"I have; but, Jupiter Ammon! you don't suspect
-they would attempt anything here ?"
I don't know; such men wouldn't hold back long on
a dark night in New York harbor, and I don't believe
they're any better here. Besides, what with our guns
and the multitude of other things we carry, this is a
cargo to tempt anything."
Andy, you're right-as usual."
Then make ready to up anchor."
Good I'm with you, commodore."
To say the word was equivalent to action with An-
drew. In a minute his Chester mud-hook came
aboard, the little mainsail went up, and immediately
the Mabel started upon her long cruise up the Florida
coast-a cruise that was to be fraught with many
strange perils and adventures, such as would linger in
the memory of the young skippers for years.
The Sea Urchin was not many seconds behind, and
followed her leader out upon the dancing waters of the
Gulf.
Something like a curse sounded from the shore, and
looking back Roland could see the two men whom his
companion had spoken of talking earnestly together,
\ while they gesticulated after the manner of all Cubans.
The boys took off their felt hats and waved them at
the little knot of spongers on shore, who responded with
Sa cheer. One, whose language plainly indicated that
he was a Conch, bawled out:









PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


"'Appy voyage to yer, boys. Don't let a halligator
snap hup one of 'em sweet little craft."
The boys shouted back, feeling particularly joyous
under the exhilarating movement of the well-balanced
canoes with the breeze over the starboard quarter.
And so they left Key West, to see civilization no
more for weeks. If they got through all right, the
next point they expected to strike where men had ga-
thered into a social community would be the thriving
village of Myers, upon the Caloosahatchee river.
Roland kept in the wake of the Mabel, watching to
see what his companion would do. He knew Andy
would not dream of starting upon the long stretch be-
tween the island of Key West and the key next to
them at this late hour in the afternoon and with a
failing breeze.
On the Gulf coast-as is generally the case along the
Indian river-the breeze comes up in the morning with
the sun, fresh and vigorous, and, under ordinary cir-
cumstances, lasts until one or two o'clock in the after-
noon, when it gradually dies out, to arise again-per-
haps from a new quarter later on. This has been the ex-
perience of the writer during many and many a day
spent along the wonderful Indian river, and it will be
found about the same all over the coast region of
Florida.
Their speed became slower, until at last the wind
had passed into the "fluke" stage, and they made
little progress. With canoeists, however, such an event
knows but one remedy. Paddles came into play, and
the prows of the little craft cleft the salt water as roy-
ally as they had ever done the pellucid bosom of Lake








THE FIRST NIGHT OUT.


George, and the St. Lawrence river at Grindstone
Island meets.
Andy kept close to the land, his sharp eyes on the
lookout for a camping site. They would get as far
from the environs of the city as possible, believing that
it was best to do so, and then spend the night on their


A Tree Post Office on a Florida River.


arms," figuratively speaking, so as to be ready to take
advantage of the fresh breeze that would come with
the rising sun.
The little cove they sought was found at last, and









PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


both canoes drawn up on the beach. It was not an
ideal camping ground, by any means, but would pass
muster in lieu of a better.
When all was made snug a fire was started on
shore by Roland, who found plenty of wood that
needed only the sharp edge of his hatchet to make it
available for the purpose. He noticed that Andy
looked in the direction of the city more than once, as
though there was something on his mind.
Sorry you left, Andy ?" he asked.
"Not a bit of it. I was only wondering whether we
would get through the night without a rumpus."
I don't quite understand."
"Those fellows can reach us here, if they know we
are in camp. What is to hinder ? "
Nothing, that's a fact. They can come by boat or
overland. What shall we do, Andy? "
Wait awhile. We'll fix it all."
The meal was prepared in a jolly way, each of the
cruisers joking about everything that turned up out
of the way. Now that the trip was a thing of the
present, and not of the future, they were conscious of a
deep feeling of satisfaction that could not be expressed
in words, but which showed itself in the interest they
took in everything pertaining to their work.
When supper was over they talked about the
situation, and endeavored to develop the best plan that
would meet it. Andy suggested finally that they
anchor their boats in the cove, side by side, and take
turns watching. It would perhaps be the only night
they would have to do such a thing, as their future









THP, FtIRST NIGHT OUT.


ones might be expected to be unmolested, at least so
far as human beings were concerned.
The canoes were anchored about a length apart. If
the wind changed in the night, both would turn to-
gether, and yet the boys could come alongside by the
rear canoe being paddled around, swinging her stern
close to the bow of the forward boat.
Lighting their pipes, the boys talked over matters
connected with the cruise before them. The tents had
been triced up, and all was comfortable on board such
diminutive craft. Experience in the past enabled them
to secure all the comfort possible, and every square
inch of room was utilized to hold some necessity. Al-
though the boats were so well laden, little had been
taken upon the trip that was a luxury. There is one
old veteran camper -Nessmuk -who might have
started upon such an expedition with less than they
carried, but even he has learned of late some new
things with regard to Florida cruising.
Reminiscences were also indulged in, and they
laughed again over some ridiculous scrape they had
gotten into, the previous summer, when making a trip
down the Susquehanna river from a point in the
mountains.
At length Andy yawned, and made a slap at a ven-
turesome mosquito that had managed to find its way
inside the bar of coarse cheese-cloth with which the
interior of each canoe tent was draped.
"You can have either the first or second watch,
Andy," said Roland.
Which do you prefer ?"
I'll stand first, if it's all the same."








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


"Very good. There comes the moon out from be.
hind that cloud. I'm glad it is not going to be dark.
Mind, no sleeping on your post!"
"Don't fear for me. I have too healthy a recollec-
tion of that one-eyed man's scowl. What time shall I
wake you up?"
"Let's see. Call it twelve or one, as you please."
"Good-night, Mabel."
"Ditto, Sea Urchin."
Andy settled down to court the gentle goddess, while
his fellow-cruiser set himself to the task of keeping
awake. It was no light labor, and he more than once
had to shake off the terrible drowsy feeling that crept
over him.
'Everything seemed to induce sleep; the gentle mo-
tion of the cedar craft upon the water, the murmur of
the little waves as they lapped against the starboard
planking (for the wind was gradually veering to the
south), the droning sound of insects in the air-all these
combined to form a lullaby which was soothing to the
cruiser's ears, and it was only by persistent effort that
Roland kept the lids of his eyes from gluing fast.
Hours passed.
The moon had moved along in her course. It must
be after midnight.
Suddenly Roland pricked up his ears to listen, while
at the same time his hand crept to the hook on which
his revolver hung.














CHAPTER III.


THE CANOE BATTERY CALLED INTO ACTION.


HE young skipper of the Sea
Urchin was wide awake in an
instant, for he could still see in
his mind the evil face of that
one-eyed man who had looked
S so gloatingly upon the canoes
Sand their valuable cargoes.
As the little boat swung at her anchorage
she was just ahead of the Mabel. All
seemed silent as the grave on board the
latter craft, and without a doubt her master
was sound asleep.
Roland turned his attention toward the shore; as
the canoe lay she presented her port quarter toward
the interior of the little cove. There were, perhaps,
some twenty feet of water between the spot of their
anchorage and that where the gentle waves splashed
upon the coquina rock-lined shore.
The moon was as bright as a new silver dollar, so
that every inch of this water-covered space could be
seen by a pair of ordinary eyes.
A number of strange noises had greeted the ear of
the young Bucktail while reclining in his boat during
the hours passed by. He had spent many a night in









PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


Northern woods, but there are new things to be met
with in the weird swamps and along the coast line of
fair Florida, from the terrible, yellow moccasin of the
interior, and his alligator companion, to the great tar-
pon of the salt water. Birds, fish and animals-there
are many new things to be found under this Southern
sky, such as Northern eyes have never seen.
Roland had heard the splashing of many fishes, the
rush and roar of schools of mullet when pursued by
their finny foes, and had smiled in contemplation of
the sport for his faithful rod ahead.
He had caught the weird cry-a croaking sound-
of the night heron, as that lonely bird settled upon
the rocks of the little beach, intent on finding a meal
in the water; but even this had failed to arouse him
from his lethargy.
When, however, he caught the splashing sound
coming from between the canoes and the shore, he was
fully aroused. It must be caused by some large ani-
mal or a human being. Perhaps it was an.alligator.
Not having seen a live saurian as yet, his mind was
full of vague alarm with respect to the damage such
a reptile might do; for the words of the melancholy
Conch still rang in his ear with respect to letting an
alligator close his jaws upon one of the frail craft.
No sooner had Roland looked out than he saw the
cause of the commotion.
The side-flaps of his boat-tent were partly up, the
netting of cheese-cloth covering over all, thus prevent-
ing insects from entering, and yet not keeping out the
fresh night air.
Thus Roland was enabled to see without himself be-









THE BATTERY CALLED INTO ACTION.


ing discovered. It was a spectacle to make the blood
dash more violently through his veins, and cause him
to press his teeth together firmly.
Two dark, bulky objects were seen upon the water--
they were the figures of men. Even as the young
Bucktail looked he saw one of them advance a few
feet, making as little noise as was possible under the
circumstances.
Perhaps one of them had tripped over some object
under the water. This would account for the splash-
ing sound that had aroused Roland. If this was really
the case, he and his fellow-cruiser had reason to be
thankful that accidents sometimes occur even in the
best regulated families.
Roland at first sight recognized in the leader of
these two men the one-eyed individual who had evinced
such a decided interest in the canoes. His companion
was no doubt formed upon the same model as himself.
They were evidently desperadoes, who believed a
chance offered to make a big haul with little risk.
For once they mistook their men.
There could be no question as to the motives of the
night prowlers. That their mission was evil was evi-
dent from their very actions
Now, Roland was no old soldier. He had never shed
a drop of human blood in his young life, and had a deep-
rooted horror of ever being compelled to do so, though
should the circumstance arise, and it became neces-
sary for him to defend himself, he would prove equal
to the task.
Under the present circumstances he believed these
thieves were natural cowards, and they would be suffi-








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


ciently alarmed if they suddenly became aware that
they were discovered.
Groping for the edge of the cheese-cloth curtain, he
raised it gently. Nothing now obstructed his vision,
nor was there any impediment to his firing. The
time had come for the circus to begin. Thrusting out
the hand that held the revolver, he aimed between the
two dark figures, at the water, and pulled the trigger.
There was a crashing report. The water spurted
up where the bullet struck. At the same time Roland
let out a shout loud enough to have aroused the dead.
"Andy! Thieves! Alligators! Sharks! Ahoy!"
On deck, Rolly," said a quiet voice close by, and
bang went Andrew's revolver.
The spectacle was really ludicrous now-to those in
the canoes. Such was the fright of the two rascals in
the cove that they made desperate efforts to gain the
shore. All thought of plunder was overwhelmed in
the grand effort to escape what seemed to be a miser-
able fate.
The water was above their knees, and prevented
their bodies from making as rapid progress as their
cowardly souls desired. As a natural consequence,
both of them fell down.
What with the wild splashing of the two thieves,
their loud cries of alarm, the banging reports of revol-
vers, and shouts of the young fellows in the boats, the
scene was one that would linger long in the memory
of the active participants.
The two rascals managed to gain the shore after en-
countering numerous difficulties, and the lively man-
ner in which they clambered in among the sparse









THE BATTERY CALLED INTO ACTION.


vegetation testified to the respect in which they held
the young voyagers.
Listen, Rolly," said Andrew.
They could distinctly hear the plunging of retreating
footsteps. Evidently the would-be thieves were not
halting upon the manner of their going.
I reckon we've scared them off."
"Yes, for once," said Andy, "but they may re-
turn."
What shall we do ? "
You want some sleep, and there's no reason you
shouldn't have it. Get your mud-hook aboard."
While wondering what was up, Roland did as he
was requested, though it was only accomplished after
some difficulty, for the tent made it hard work to get
at the anchor cable.
When he had finally accomplished the task, he
waited for further orders.
Get your paddle, Rolly, and roll up the net on
bolh sides."
Then they were only about to change their place of
anchorage. Had it been Andy's intention to quit the
neighborhood, his first order would have been to strike
the tents, so that they could have made fair progress.
It was difficult work paddling along in this way
with the tent up. Under most circumstances such a
thing would have been impossible, but fortunately
there was only a faint breath of air stirring from the
south, and this was not a head wind.
Yard by yard they worked out of the cove.
Andrew kept plunging his paddle down every little
while to learn the deptli of water. There was little








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


need of this, so shallow did they find it all along. In
most places along the Gulf coast of Florida a yacht
drawing six feet of water has to keep from one to five
miles from land because of the extreme shallow water.
Thus, those who cruise in such boats find little chance
to explore the thousands of inlets that abound in this
region, and which are generally swarming with fish.
When they had gone about a hundred feet from the
shore, Andrew sung out:
Here we are. Come alongside, Rolly."
So saying, he cast his anchor out. There was a
heavy plunge, and the Mabel rode the little waves like
a decoy duck. Roland drew up on a line, although
more than a boat-length away. If the canoes whipped
around they could not foul, as the same breeze or tidal
current would influence both of them.
"Now settle yourself for a good sleep. I'm on
guard, and if the wind rises I'll wake you up, for we
would have to stow the tents or we could never hold
our anchorage here. Turn in, Rolly."
"Just as you say, Andy," came a sleepy voice from
the bowels of the Sea Urchin.
In five minutes' time the heavy breathing that came
from this quarter announced that Roland had turned
in, and was already enjoying the sleep that comes to a
mind free from care.
Through the remainder of the night Andrew sat in
his boat, smoking his pipe and keeping a close watch
over the shining, silvery water that lay between them-
selves and the shore. There was no alarm. The ras-
cals had probably been too badly scared by their
former hot reception to think of renewing the assault









THE BATTERY CALLED INTO ACTION. 25

Ahoy there, Sea Urchin !" came Andy's hail, and
Roland poked his 'head out of the tent.
Hello What's up now ?"
Time you were. Daylight is at hand, and the
breeze freshens. We must have breakfast, down with
the tents, and commence our first day at sea. You
know we have some ugly runs before we make the
mainland at Cape Sable. To work, Rolly!"
"Here's for it !" was the enthusiastic reply as Ro
land's head vanished within.















CHAPTER IV.


A WILD OUTSIDE PASSAGE.

REAKFAST was gotten through
AM I with in a hurry, and then the
S,-- tents demolished and stowed
S i -away.
., I "Make everything snug,
R olly, for we've got to slip over
S- some open work to-day, and its
just possible we may see some
-- wind at sea before we bring up
on the shore of the key we are
aiming for this bright morning in January."
Andy's advice was good, as it generally proved to
be, and his companion did not forget to follow it.
Rolly had had an experience in rough weather upon
Lake Champlain with a loose cargo, and he was apt
to remember it always, seeing that he had come within
an ace of going down. Up went the sails. The gen-
tle breeze filled them as soon as anchors were let
go, and the venturesome young canoeists were off on
their long voyage. All seemed bright and joyous on
this lovely January morning. It would have been
hard to have prophesied evil to an expedition that
started with such pleasant prospects, and yet it is pos-
sible that had the two skippers been able to have fore-








A WILD OUTSIDE PASSAGE.


seen the shadows that awaited them, the grave perils
and narrow escapes that would line the route, they
might have hesitated appalled, and even have changed
their minds. It was well this could not be done, else
this narrative of the lively canoe cruise had never been
written.
The wind could not be more favorable, as it drew
almost squarely out of the south, perhaps S. by W.
It was a gentle breeze as yet, and the light vessels
danced along merrily. How charming it seemed to
lie there and glide along! Rolly watched the island
on which lay Key West until they had cleared it en-
tirely, and were stretching along over the open space
that separated them from the next key.
The Sea Urchin was almost abreast of its companion
craft, and hence the skippers could converse without
much effort. Andy believed in the policy that during
the reign of peace prepare for war.
Acting upon this idea, he arranged a code of signals
with Rolly. The old battered fish-horns were pro-
duced and sounded. One could hear the blast almost
a mile away, and even the roar of a storm could not
have drowned it out.
One blast was intended to signify that the time was
come to turn in, while two meant Go, for all you are
worth."
The wind freshened. They sped along like wild
birds, skimming the surface of the green billows. It
was exhilerating work, and Rolly enjoyed it. What
fun can be had unless there is a spice of danger con-
nected with it?
Here they were,virtually out at sea in mere cockle-








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


shells, so frail that it seemed as though an ordinary bil-
low might slap them to splinters. And such a thing
might occur could the billow get its work in, but they
rode the seas like corks, so buoyant was their construc-
tion.
Fear did not enter into the composition of these
young fellows, and they would never have started
upon such a cruise had it been so, for they knew there
would be hard times ahead--occasions when things
might seem gloomy enough. They were not reckless,
either, but, without seeking dangers, could bravely
meet and overcome a difficulty when it faced them.
The morning slipped away. Noon came. It found
them about half-way between Key West and the low
key for which Andy had been aiming. This seemed
rather poor work, but the wind had flattened out until
it became a mere zephyr, and their progress was very
slow.
The heaving bosom of the Gulf had grown wonder-
fully quiet, until it even looked like a mirror. Andy
had turned his head this way and that while the boats
rubbed together and their skippers ate lunch. He
was wondering from what quarter the new breeze
would arise when it came.
The sun was really hot, and both of them had will-
ingly sacrificed their coats, only retaining trousers
and flannel shirts. Andy was plainly growing uneasy,
and Roland could see it.
I can't stand this. We are losing valuable time.
No one can tell from what direction the wind may
come. It's as likely to beta head one as not, so it will
pay us to get as near that key as we can."








A WILD OUTSIDE PASSAGE.


Then we must stir up a spruce breeze ?"
"That's the idea."
Out came the double-bladed paddles, and the two
canoes were soon cutting a swath through the glassy
sea. This lasted for an hour, and then Andy called out:
The wind will be from the west when it comes."
"How do you know ?"
"See that dark line of clouds slowly forging up
along the horizon."
"Jupiter that means a storm."
"Very likely," coolly replied the other, "and it
would be well for us to be in camp when its full force
breaks upon us."
"To work, then. No time to be lost."
There comes the breeze."
Sure enough, half a mile to the westward the smooth
surface of the water was broken as by a line, and they
could see the rapid advance of the breeze. They would
get it over the port quarter. Rolly saw how rapidly
the line of clouds was climbing up into the heavens,
and he knew they were in for it.
The paddles were stowed where they could be hand-
ily reached. Then the little craft began to glide for-
ward; the murmur of the water parting at the bows
made sweet music to their ears, and they moved on in
the direction of their destination, still some miles
away.
A couple of hours of this satisfactory work would
have been all they could have asked, as it would have
landed them at their destination; but things were not
destined to go on so smoothly.
It was a disagreeable fact, which they could not over-


29








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


come, that the breeze was freshening rapidly. With
it the waves arose. The bosom of the Gulf was no
longer placid and calm, but heaved tumultuously, and
this state of affairs, instead of growing better, promised
to become worse with every passing minute.
Their progress would seem to be fair with such a
breeze, but the waves hindered their movements to
some extent. Both skippers hung well out to wind-
ward, and even then there was danger of the craft
capsizing, so violent were the squalls that struck them
at times.
Andy stretched a point, but finally gave in. Rolly
held out as long as his companion did, but when he saw
that the skipper of the Mabel had stowed his dandy
he hastened to follow suit with a sigh of relief. This
act helped them to a certain extent, but the-wind had
not yet reached its maximum velocity, and it was only
a question of time when they would have to do away
with the other sail also.
To add to Rolly's alarm, his rudder was washed
loose and he had to drag it aboard, doing his steering
with the double-bladed paddle.
The dark bank of clouds had now shown their full
strength. Ahead of them flew outriders. It was just
like an army advancing to battle with a cloud of skir-
mishers thrown out in front.
Roland eyed their advance with considerable appre-
hension, for he knew that, strong as the wind was now
it would presently strike them in a severe squall, after
which the storm would shut them in.
He was grit to the backbone, however, and not the
one to prove faint-hearted. Whenever it was possible



























.-/5




















































"DOWN SAILS, AND TAKE TO THE PADDLE."


E- ,









A WILD OUTSIDE PASSAGE. 33

he cast his eyes about him to see how Andy was com-
ing on.
Once he got a glimpse of what seemed to be land
nearly half a mile to leeward. Then they had actually
come abreast of the key, and it was it he saw, covered
with the mangrove bushes that seem to take root any-
where.
This was encouraging, at any rate. Some cruisers
would have tried landing upon the shore after pass-
ing around the key, but there was danger of the squall
driving them beyond, when they would be lost. Andy
preferred meeting the danger boldly and facing the
music. When the proper time came they would go in
on a giant roller with a rush and be landed on the
sandy beach.
Rolly had seen a wreck on the coast some years be-
fore, and vividly remembered the lashing waves, the
launching of the crude life-boat, the signals of distress
from the doomed ship, and the bravery of the fisher-
man's wife who urged the men to go to the rescue.
Somehow the memory of that stormy night on the
coast haunted the canoeist now in his hour of peril.
Hark! what was the wild clamor that arose above
the whistling of the wind ? Rolly knew it proceeded
from his companion's horn and signified the approach
of the squall. This meant bare poles. Down came the
mainsail in a trice and was secured as best as the cir-
cumstances would allow, and out came the paddle.
Phew what a stinger that wind was Being m the
trough of the sea, the boats escaped its full force, but
even then their skippers were put to their best paces in
order to keep from capsizing.








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


It was a trying occasion, but both of them pulled
through all right, thanks to their intimate acquaint-
ance with their boats' abilities and the knowledge of
what to do in an emergency.
Roland now waited anxiously for the signal that
would mean a new course. All the while he wielded
his paddles with astonishing celerity, and kept the Sea
Urchin where he wanted her.
Perhaps they had not seen the worst of the storm
yet. It might increase to such an extent that the ca-
noes would be swamped. Great care had to be taken
now lest they should lose their grip.
The roar of the surf filled Roland's ears and he could
see the white foam not seventy feet away. Why did
not Andy give the signal? Every nerve was strained
to the utmost tension. He was eager to be in the
worst. There was an awful fascination about the long
lines of foamy billows.
Ah the signal at last Sharp and clear the double
blast rang out. Rolly set-his muscles for the task be-
fore him, and, with a look of grim determination on his
young face, headed the bow of the staunch little Sea
Urchin for the boiling, heaving surf, darting away on
top of a giant roller with race-horse speed, and pad-
dling for dear life!
















CHAPTER V.


STORM-BOUND ON A FLORIDA KEY.


OLAND struck his paddle in
deeply, and brought every
atom of muscular ability he
possessed into action. He knew
that to carry out the plan
with success he must ride on
that roller through the surf.
The boiling, hissing water surrounded
him, seeming like myriads of serpents
carrying his frail craft onward in their
midst with irresistible power.
The boy's teeth were set hard, but he
did not forget his business, which was to
use that double blade with desperate zeal, unmindful
of all else.
There went a thrill of deep satisfaction through his
frame when his paddle touched the sand. Overboard
he jumped. The water was not over his knees, for the
wave had very nearly expended its force. He must
drag the Sea Urchin up beyond the reach of the next
wave, which, being a larger one, might overwhelm him.
This being done, he remembered that he had had a








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


comrade on this wild ride. Where was Andy and the
Mabel ?
"Halloo, Sea Urchin! Come to town, eh ?" said a
voice near by.
Turning his head, Roland saw his friend standing
there with one hand laid affectionately upon the bow of
his faithful little craft, and the other made use of in
lieu of a trumpet; for the wind blew fiercely, seizing
his words and carrying them to leeward.
"What next, Andy ?" asked Roland.
We can't stay here, that's sure. Before this thing
blows over it will grow much worse."
If we could only get to the other side of the key !"
Perhaps that will not be so difficult as you seem to
believe. Take hold and pull the Mabel up further on
the sand. Then we'll perform the same kind office
for the other, after which I mean to investigate this
little inlet."
Roland caught the idea like a flash, and saw what it
promised. The inlet was nothing but a narrow strip
of water a dozen feet in width. It apparently cut the
key into halves, so far as they could see. Once the
canoes were worked into it, and they could probably
pass to the sheltered side of the key.
No time was to be lost. An investigation speedily
showed them that this was the best thing they could
do, at any rate, so with a will they set to work. When
both boats were launched the skippers embarked.
There was little need of paddles, for both the wind
and the rush of water through the inlet carried them
along.
Andy kept his eyes on the alert, and when they








STORM-BOUND ON A FLORIDA KEY.


reached a point where the mangrove bushes sheltered
them in a degree from the violence of the gale, he gave
the signal to land.
Both boys set to work to get things in order, for
there was a promise of rain soon, and although Ro-
land's experience with sub-tropical down-pours had
been limited, he knew that as a general thing they
were heavy.
It was of no use trying to put up the canoe-tents,
for the wind was too strong. So things were made as
cozy as circumstances would allow, the canvas hatches
were buttoned down, after the canoes had been made
doubly secure by lines carried to the strong mangroves
on the shore, the anchors having poor holding ground.
These things were not done any too soon, for present-
ly, while the two cruisers were making a cold lunch,
there was a sudden rush, a tattoo upon the decks, and
the rain had come.
This was their first night out, literally speaking, for
the long cruise did not begin until they left Key West.
It would be marked with a white stone in their ac-
count of the trip, for a more uncomfortable night they
could not have passed. The boats were small, and so
crowded with stores necessary on a salt-water cruise
of this kind that our young adventurers could only with
difficulty turn around.
It may be believed that Roland found daylight com-
ing again with great pleasure. The rain had ceased
and the clouds passed away, but the wind blew great
guns. As the sea was rolling mountain-high, there
was no use of their thinking about leaving the key
that had given them such friendly shelter.








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


It was found possible to start a fire with some wood
picked up here and there, and the balance of the day
was passed in various ways. Toward evening Andy
took an observation, and declared that both wind and
sea were abating.
"We'll be out of this in the morning, Sea
Urchin."
Good! This Crusoe life don't suit me. A dreary
waste of sand and mud, with a few bushes on it-bah!
I don't like it."
How about being lost in a swamp ?"
"You would see life there, at any rate-alligators,
birds, and reptiles of all sorts."
Moccasins, for instance-those yellow fellows that
throw themselves into striking attitudes when in the
water."
"Wait. Don't try my nerves now. How about the
tents to-night ? My bones ache yet after that close
fit. Is there any hope ?"
Certainly. With a wind dying out, my tent shall
go up. I want some comfort, and there's little enough
to be gotten out of a night aboard a fifteen-foot canoe,
even under the most favorable conditions."
It did not take long to get the striped tents in posi-
tion, and, once this was done, much comfort was found
inside.
Andy's prediction was fulfilled. The strong breeze
died out almost as suddenly as it had sprung up.
Roland, waking up about midnight, poked out his head
to take an observation. All was serene. The moon
shone brightly from an unclouded sky. There was
even a balmy feeling in the air. Listening, he could








STORM-BOUND ON A FLORIDA KEY.


hear the gentle splash of the water on the windward
shore of the key.
"What d'ye think, Sea Urchin ?" asked a quiet
voice near by.
There was Andy with his head out of his tent, also
taking a squint at the weather.
I think we'll be away in the morning, and hope
to make Cape Sable by night," returned Roland.
Andy laughed.
You're sanguine, my boy, and I hope you won't
be disappointed, but I know how short-lived each kind
of weather is in Florida. One day up at Jax you'll be
perspiring like fun at this time of year. In the night
the windows rattle, there is a roar like the rush of an
express-train, and lo an old friend from above has
swept into town-the North Wind. Probably the next
morning you will find the mercury down several de-
grees below freezing."
"Well, I'm off again. I didn't sleep much last
night, you know."
"Got used to a hard bed yet?"
Not quite. I miss my canoe cushions, but it would
have been folly to have brought them along. These
water-cans take up the space they would occupy."
Yes; if the cruise was on fresh water-down the
Mississippi, for instance, like that of our genial friend
and ex-secretary, Dr. Neide-we might have been more
comfortable."
Roland crawled under his blankets again and went
to sleep, lulled by the gentle motion of the canoe upon
the water of the inlet.
Early on the morning of the 6th the cruisers were








40 PADDLING IN FLORIDA.

awake. Preparations were soon under way for break-
fast, for Andy vowed he would not go a boat's length
until he had broken his fast; while Roland, eager to
take advantage of the beautiful breeze that had
sprung up toward morning, would have started at
once and eaten something while on the way. Perhaps,
under the circumstances, this would have been the
wiser course, but Andy had learned a good deal by
experience, and he could be trusted to come out all
right in the end.
Then the cables and tents were stowed, sails raised
and the mud-hooks taken aboard. In ten minutes
Roland was waving his hand toward the key that lay
astern.
"Fare thee well, and if forever, then forever fare
thee well!" he shouted merrily.















CHAPTER VI.


A WET THRASH TO WINDWARD.


ARE off on the bounding
sea. A sailor's life's the
S life for me," sang Andy.
Every little while he was
_' apt to break out into song,
and many a night would his
Rich baritone voice arouse
the solemn echoes of the dis-
mal swamps that lay along
their route.
"What is the course ?" asked Roland.
"N. E. by N. as near as I can get it-perhaps a
little further north, half a point or so.'
"Then, like the Irish navigator, we'll lash the rud-
der, and stick to the coorse.' "
But his was 'sou-aist.' "
"That's small difference. We've got our course
and we'll stick to it. How works the compass ?"
"Fairly well, but the motion of the canoe disturbs
the needle a little."
They made fair progress for some time. The
weather was apt to be good for a day or two now,
since the recent storm had cleared the atmosphere.








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


All that Andy feared was a change of wind. Should
it whip around to the north they could not expect to
make decent progress.
Fortune favored them to a certain extent, and by
noon they had made good headway. Lunch was
eaten en route with some gusto, since their breakfast
had been an early one. The great trouble with the
boys was that they were nearly always hungry.
There was something in the air that caused them to
consume their provisions at such a rate that Andy
figured they would not last out unless supplemented
with fish, flesh and fowl, which they expected to strike
along the mainland.
About a quarter to three the breeze died out. No
time was wasted in useless whistling, but the double
blades came out, and the canoes cut through the
water like agile fishes.
"See, a shark yonder !" cried Roland.
Yes, and here comes a school of porpoises. I've
seen them rolling in at the inlets along the Atlantic
coast by dozens, when the young flood tide began to
work."
"What is that black-looking object yonder? It
seems to be asleep."
By Jove! as I live, I believe it's a devil-fish."
Roland reached under the deck beside him.
Hold on there What are you after ?"
My repeating rifle "
"Let it alone. You couldn't kill that monster, and
once wounded it might take a notion to destroy our
frail craft. Let it sleep."
As they sailed past the huge ocean vampire and









A WET THRASH TO WINDWARD.


noted its great size, Roland concluded that his com-
panion's advice was sound. It looked like a great
black bat asleep on the surface of the water, and from
tip to tip of its wing-like arms must have measured
twenty feet.
Several hours of this work brought them to a key,
where they made preparations to pass the next night.
Just then, however, a nice breeze sprung up and
Roland looked at Andy.
An hour of light yet."
There's another key over yonder, and I am of the
opinion it would be a better place than this for a
camp."
"How far do you make it ?"
"Say five miles."
"This breeze is too good to be lost. Shall we try
the riffle ?"
It's a go."
Mainsail and dandy were thrown to the wind, and
immediately the twin canoes were tearing through the
water at a lively rate. The wind increased, but the
sea did not get very rough, so that their progress was
exceedingly rapid. In half an hour they rounded
under the lee of the key. The sun was nearly down
when the anchors were thrown out and tents raised.
Hand me the shotgun and cartridge belt, Andy."
"What's up. More devil-fish ? "
Shore birds over yonder. Tide's going out; I be-
lieve I could pick the bones of a few."
Getting ashore, Roland crept along back of a fringe
of mangroves, and when within range let fly with both
barrels, the last as the flock arose.








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


He picked up seven birds, three being robin snipe,
and the others lesser yellow-legs.
When he got back to where he had left Andy he
found that worthy dragging his boat up on the
sand.
"We'll cook supper over a camp-fire to-night, my
boy. What! Seven snipe, and yellow-legs too.
Good enough I'll get 'em in order while you pull the
Sea Urchin ashore."
"What the deuce !-Andy, have I got a fever, or
what's the matter with my face and hands ? They
smart and burn like fun." And Rolly danced about,
while Andy laughed aloud.
Oh you must get used to that, old fellow. I've
been here before. It's sand-flies."
I see. I've laughed to read about them, but the
experience is no funny business. What can we do
about it ? "
"Nothing much. Let it go on. You'll get used to
it in time. They generally only get their work in about
sunrise or sunset. Sometimes they are very bad
just before a storm, and we make a smudge and sit in
the smoke for relief."
About the camp-fire they talked and smoked and
sang until well into the night. It was strange to hear
Andy's clear voice trolling over the waters of the Gulf
as he rattled off a rollicking song about the bark that
would tack and the tar come back."
Such scenes linger long in the memory, and can be
recalled years hence, when by closing the eyes one can
see the gleaming water, the tented boats, the cheery
fire, and hear the songs that have such a hold upon the








A WET THRASH TO WINDWARD.


mind. Many such nights have I passed upon the
Florida coast with cruising friends.
When the morning came the boats were soon in
order for business, and the friendly key left behind.
Their progress had been so fair up to this time that
even sceptical Andrew gave hope of reaching the main-
land ere they camped again.
All went well.
The mainland was in sight. It looked pleasant after
seeing nothing but a waste of water for a number of
days.
Will we make it? asked Roland.
We must."
"If this wind holds out-"
"That's just it. I believe it is shifting. You see
it comes Erom the west now."
True enough."
"I generally looked for a Norther along the east
coast when the wind got in that quarter. The same
thing may happen here."
Should this occur they would be in rather a desper-
ate strait. Hoping for the best, everything that could
be done was brought to bear in order to further their
progress. How slowly they neared the mainland! It
looked as though they would never reach it, and yet
the breeze held out and they seemed to be making
fair progress.
Andy's prediction was fulfilled. About the middle
of the afternoon the wind made a jump and began to
blow out of the north.
"We're in for it, old comrade. Make all snug on
deck and draw your apron about you as well as you








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


can. A wet thrash to windward here is not to be
sneezed at."
"Dangerous, eh ?"
"Oh! we'll pull through all right. I'm not afraid
of your Corinthian qualities. You will do me proud
before this cruise is over. To work !"
It was a task few young fellows would have liked
to handle, but there was no way to avoid the beat to
windward with a rising sea. Luckily, the first long
tack took them somewhat in the shelter of the land.
They made a short leg of the starboard tack, and then,
coming about again, went on a long port run.
The progress made could be easily seen, and Roland's
boat proved so stiff and stanch under the work that
he was quite encouraged. Spray splashed over them
as the wind threw the waves against the exposed side
of the boat, but each had donned an oilskin jacket and
sou'wester, so that they were impervious to water
The work became lighter as they drew nearer the
land, and finally, passing through a stretch of smooth
water, the canoes went ashore.
Both boys sprang out and drew the dainty craft up
on the mainland of Florida at last.




k<.-











CHAPTER VII.

ROLAND STRIKES GAME.



r, r, / DON'T exactly like this place
for a camp, Andy," said
'. f Roland.

V. f' "It's too exposed to suit
me. I was looking over my
chart a little while ago, and
I believe we are within half
a mile of Cape Sable Creek."
Let me see."
Andy looked it up, and agreed that Roland was
right in his conclusions. It was quickly decided that
they should make at least an attempt to gain this har-
bor. After some labor success greeted them, and the
mouth of the creek was reached. It was about twenty
feet wide, but once the opening was passed a splendid
piece of water lay before them, such as they were not
likely to see again for a long while.
Here they spent the night. It was a very comfort-
able one, and in all respects differed from that night
when storm-bound on the outermost of the Pine Keys.








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


Taking their charts, the boys, by the light of the camp.
fire, traced their recent course.
"You see, Roland, we first headed north, and then
northeast, passing by that wilderness of keys among
which I did not like to venture. Then we struck al-
most due east, camping last night on this patch of
ground, called Center Key. From that our course
here was almost due north."
From this on our line will be near the land. The
worst outside work is over."
Yes, but there are a number of places where we
will have a run through the open water."
Well, we are equal to it, I reckon."
The boats have behaved beautifully. I am proud
of them."
And my courage has been raised to a high pitch
by our success. I confess I had qualms of fear as to
what the result might be, but I am perfectly satisfied
now."
Their surroundings were of a far different nature
from any they had yet experienced, and both of them
were pleased with the change. Life was to be seen in
all quarters-in the air, the pine woods and the water
of the wide creek.
Innumerable birds, many of brilliant plumage, were
discovered, and .Andy presently pointed out a scarlet
flamingo; but it was shy, and although Roland eager-
ly snatched the shotgun up, he was unable to get a
shot at it.
There were a number of queer birds quite new to
Roland. He thought the water-turkey with its long,
snake-like neck, the oddest of all, There were buz-















































CAMPING ON THE MAINLAND OF FLORIDA.









ROLAND STRIKES GAME.


zards, hawks, man-of-war birds, red and white ibis,
together with others,- so that the evening air seemed
filled with bird life.
Roland was tremendously excited at sight of some
moving object along the fringe of woods. Was it
a panther? They knew this animal prowled through
the woods of Florida, in places far away from civiliza-
tion, and it would not have been very singular to have
run across him here.
It turned out to be a'coon, however. Roland knock-
ed him over, and Andy dressed him. The flesh tasted
like pork, but neither of the boys took a particular
fancy to it.
The mosquitoes proved very troublesome for a brief
time, but the north wind, although not cold, seemed
chilly enough to drive them away.
Through the early night the boys slept soundly.
They had rigged up a rude tent on shore with their
canoe masts and sails, together with a piece of canvas
and a rubber blanket.
In front of this burned the fire.
The tent faced the south, and there was a good rea-
son for this, as the north wind blew the smoke away.
Pine wood is generally used in Florida for camp-fires.
It burns fiercely, emits a tremendous heat, but along
with it discharges a black smoke that plunges every
cooking utensil' into mourning. There is no trouble
in cleansing said articles, however, for plenty of sand is
generally to be found, and with a handful of Spanish
moss, that drapes the live oaks and cypress-trees in
all sections, a shine is imparted that would be the
envy of a French cook.









PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


During the night Roland awoke.
Something seemed to have tapped the canvas tent-
cover a light blow just beside his head. He did not
know whether he had been dreaming or not, and lay
still to listen, although his right hand unconsciously
crept toward the little revolver he carried.
Again it came. At the same time he became con-
scious that the form of an animal was outlined upon
the canvas by the newly-risen moon.
He could not exactly make out what it was, but the
shape suggested the cat species. Was this nocturnal
visitor a panther ? Roland felt his heart beat more
rapidly than was its wont, but otherwise he remained
perfectly cool.
There seemed no necessity for arousing Andy, as the
animal would doubtless fly at the first movement of
the kind.
Determined to at least try a shot, Roland worked
his weapon up until he had covered the point that
seemed desirable. Just then the animal tapped- the
canvas again lightly, as though this strange affair
had aroused its curiosity.
Roland pulled the trigger. There was a loud report,
a scream from without, and a shout from Roland's
fellow-cruiser, who, awakened thus rudely from a sound
slumber, could not help believing that an earthquake
or something siliilar had occurred.
What's up, Sea Urchin ? he demanded, as he
came in contact with the other.
"I've shot a panther, I guess," replied Roland, try-
ing to appear cool.
"The deuce you have! Go out and see. Pick up









ROLAND STRIKES GAME.


the shotgun-right barrel has buckshot in it, you know.
Now go it! "
Roland sprang outside. The moon was shining
brightly, the north wind soughed in the pines, but no
living thing appeared to be in sight.
"Where's your game, Rolly?" called Andy from
the opening of the tent.
It was right here, outlined against the tent. I hit
him, I'm positive, Andy. See, this is blood on the
white sand here. And there's the rogue crawling
off. Watch me, Andy. Halt! you beggar, or-"
Roland had thrown the little twelve-bore Parker to
his shoulder, and, as he spoke, pulled the trigger. With
the report the crawling animal was seen to give one
spasmodic leap into the air, and then fell back upon
the sand close to the shelter of the trees it had been
trying to reach. Roland rushed forward and was
soon bending over the prize. It proved to be a wild-
cat of an unusual size -for Florida, though Roland had
seen much larger ones up in Canada and Maine woods.
All animals and many birds in Florida are smaller
than specimens of the same species found in colder
countries. This is natural, as the natives of a warm
climate never equal those of the cold in stature and
endurance.
The black bass of the north is a hard fighter and a
game fish of the first caliber. His cousin of Florida,
though of an enormous size, when hooked comes in
like a log, seldom breaking water. In a few places,
when caught where the water is brackish, he shows
more pluck, but can never be called first-class game.
Roland took one of the wild-cat's claws as a trophy,







54 PADDLING IN FLORIDA.

to remind him in the future of this midnight adventure
on Cape Sable. Then the boys retired to rest again.
There was no further alarm, and morning came with
a clear sky. The wind was still strong in the north,
and as progress would be unprofitable, and not pay
them for their trouble, they determined to remain in
camp and await a change in the weather.
Surrounded as they were by good hunting ground,
there was no reason why they should be idle.
So a hunt was organized. Roland took the rifle
while Andy shouldered the Parker.
A code of signals was arranged between them, and
then they set out, each determined to bring some sort
of game into camp. The canoes had been drawn well
up and anchored where no harm could come to them.















CHAPTER VIII.


OFF FOR THE EVERGLADES.


NDY tramped in a northeaster-
ly direction. He saw a num-
ber of squirrels, and might
have laid some of them low,
,, I but he was determined to try
1B/Z' I for a turkey.
dj i llWI In the early morning he
had heard a gobble-gobble
away off in this direction, and
felt that if he could get but a shot at the fellow from
whom it emanated it would be all that he might ask.
When he came to what seemed to be a small ravine
in the woods, he followed it up, as the most likely
place to find his game. Finally he squatted down be-
hind a tree and gave a gobble that seemed a fair imi-
tation of the genuine cry.
When he had repeated this several times he was
gratified to hear an answer. So he kept up the little
game, the reply growing more and more distinct as
the bird strutted nearer, anxious to meet its kind. All
at once Andy cocked his head in a knowing way, and
something very like a smile crept over his face.
That's the queerest old Turk I ever met, and it's








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


my humble impression there is something of a fraud
about it. Let's see."
He gave another gobble, and wound up with the
bray of a donkey.
Halloo there, Mabel! what are you doing here, and
where's my fat gobbler? "
Roland stalked into view, a look of blank amazement
and disappointment on his young face. Andrew burst
out into a laugh.
You see we've been practicing on each other's cre-
dulity. Another case of a mutual-admiration society,
eh, Rolly ?"
I never dreamed it was you. Perhaps it's lucky
you guessed the truth so soon, or possibly some evil
consequences might have followed."
Well, suppose you let turkey-shooting alone to-day
unless you actually see one. There ought to be deer
about here, off to the northwest."
We know there is one at least, as we saw its sign
yesterday evening. I'm off."
So Roland stalked away. He walked quite a distance.
The woods were open now, and he could see for a long
space all around him. Further north upon the penin-
sula deer are usually found upon "burns." These
are patches of land, generally prairie, where the own-
ers of cattle or their cowboys set fire to the old dead
grass and burn it off, for the young green to shoot up
so as to make fresh browsing-places for the animals.
The deer also seek these places, and often to meet
their death, for Seminole Indians hunt them merci-
lessly. Generally those bronzed remnants of a once
glorious tribe hunt in a way that threatens to soon ex-









OFF FOR THE EVERGLADES.


terminate the deer of Florida, driving them to a cer-
tain point with a "surround and big smoke, when
the poor animals are slaughtered, mostly for their
hides alone.
It was nearly noon when Roland secured a long shot
at a small deer. The Colt's repeating rifle was not
only a powerful shooter but accurate as well, and Ro-
land, being possessed of considerable experience, plant-
ed his bullet where it would do the most good.
When he had dressed his prize for carrying, he plac-
ed it upon his shoulders and started back to camp.
Not until he had tramped for an hour did he realize
that he did not exactly know where the camp lay.
So he stopped to take his bearings, and then once
more moved on. Twenty minutes later he came
to water. It was Cape Sable Creek. Following this
down, he finally sighted the boats. Smoke was arising
from the shore, and this in itself proved that Andy had
returned before him.
He saw a turkey hanging from one of the paddles
that helped to form the ridge-pole of the rude tent.
Then his companion had not returned without the
game he sought.
"Ahoy there in camp !"
Andrew sprang up.
Good for you, Sea Urchin A whole deer, and you
look hot and tired."
"I am. Bless me if I ever try to lug such a fellow
home again. It's too much."
They had a royal dinner. When it was over both
lay back for a nap. Roland was a nervous chap, and
could seldom keep quiet long, so when Andy opened








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


his eyes later on he found that his fellow-cruiser was
using the cast-net along in the shallow water.
Have you ever seen a cast-net, reader? It is an in-
dispensable adjunct to Florida fishing, as with it alone
mullet can be secured, and this fish forms the food of
almost every salt-water fish to be caught along the
shores of the Pelican State.
The net has a combination of lead weights, and lead-
ing-strings that pass up through a horn ring at the top.
It is cast with a rotary motion by the aid of hands
and teeth, falls flat on the water, the leads plunge
down, enclosing the fish, and then the net is drawn into
a purse by a pull at the rope.
A little practice makes one fairly proficient in its use.
Roland succeeded in capturing some dozens of mullet,
several of which were of a good size.
"I say, Sea Urchin !"
"Well, what is it ?"
"Look out for your legs. There's a shark !"
Sure enough, the dorsal fin of a shark could be seen
cutting the water in erratic curves as the monster
hunted a meal in the wide stream, and Roland made a
plunge for the shore.
"Would you like to catch that pirate, Rolly ?"
"Decidedly-yes."
"Then get out your tackle and we'll have a try at
him."
While Roland arranged the large shark-hook and
chain to the end of a manilla rope, Andy pounded down
a snubbing-post on shore. The hook was baited with
a large mullet, and Andy took it out in his canoe, drop-
ping it in the middle of the stream. Before he reached








OFF FOR THE EVERGLADES.


the shore there was a bite. Slowly the rope moved
away, stopped, and then again went on.
Give him a hitch, Rolly."
The other let the shark feel the steel, and instantly
there was a commotion. With a great splash the fish
dashed toward the inlet.
"Snub him, quick, or he'll pull you in "
Roland sprang around the post-there was a shock,
and the shark came up all standing. After a severe
strain they drew the dreadful fish near enough to land
for Rolly to send a bullet from the repeating-rifle into
its head, after which it was drawn up on the sand for
examination.
On the next morning, the wind being fair, the two
canoes left Cape Sable Creek and started up the Gulf
coast. There lay before them several hundred miles
of the finest cruising ground in the world, and which
was filled with possibilities such as would thrill the
boldest heart.
Once the Ten Thousand Islands were gained, they
meant to pass up through White Water Bay and feel
their way into that wonderful region of which so little
is really known, and where a cedar canoe had never
cruised before-the lonely lakes, islands and swamps
known as the Everglades of South Florida, the former
home of Osceola and his valiant Seminoles.














CHAPTER IX.


CANOE LIFE AMONG THE KEYS.


wT vas high noon when Andy worked
near the Sea Urchin and asked
Sif the young skipper did not
feel hungry.
SRoland was ravenous. The
I3 salty air had given him an ap-
petite the like of which he had
never known before; so he an-
nounced himself in splendid
condition to punish something
in the way of food.
"What shall it be, a cold lunch or a hot dinner?"
he asked.
Andy looked around toward the shore, near which
they were then sailing.
See here, we might as well be as comfortable as
possible. We have no need of haste, as the whole
winter lies before us."
"Just as true as you live. Now, what is it you would
suggest, Andy? "
The other continued the argument to defend his
position, just as if Roland had not readily acquiesced..
It was a way he had,









CANE LIFE AMONG THE KEYS. 61

I saw the wind was going down. It will rise again
about three- Then I noticed quite a numerous array
of beach bi-ds along the shore. They quite made
my mouth water. See, there goes a flock skimming
along. Halloo! whither bound, Roly ? "
"I'm for the shore. Farewell, fellow-cruiser."
Not much. I'm in that deal myself."
So both canoes were headed shoreward, and in ten
minutes,had run their sharp noses upon the mud flats
that here abounded. Meanwhile each of the boys had
donned a stout pair of rubber boots. These articles
are really an indispensable part of the outfit of a
Florida cruiser, and may be put to a great variety of
uses.
Overboard they tumbled. In another minute the
stanch little craft were drawn up on the muddy
beach. Just back of the spot were the inevitable
mangroves.
It was low tide. At such times the bay birds are to
be found busily engaged upon the mud flats, picking
up morsels of food left behind by the retreating ocean.
"You light the fire, Andy, while I secure our din-
ner," said Roland.
Picking up the little Parker and half a dozen shells,
he was off.
Left alone, Andrew proceeded to get his share of the
affair in working order. He gathered some wood,
such as could be found, using his little camp hatchet
to chop with.
Soon a smoke curled up and announced that the fire at
least was ready for business. When this duty had been
accomplished Andy got out a sheet-iron frying-pan








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


and coffee-pot. Into the former he put a couple of
pieces of salt pork, and allowed it to simmer while he
measured out the water for the coffee from the can in
his boat.
Just as he was placing the coffee-pot upon a place
prepared for it at the fire where it would soon boil, he
heard two gun-shots, one following close upon the
other.
He smiled, and, holding up his hands, said :
I guess seven."
The minutes passed away. The coffee boiled up
three times, and on each occasion had a dash of cold
water thrown in to dampen its ardor. After its last
unsuccessful attempt to froth over it was placed aside
to settle. Already the bacon-as they call salt pork
down there, the other variety going as breakfast
bacon-was sizzling loudly in the pan, as though im-
patient for its comrades in misery to appear.
Just then came a heavy report close by and Andy
sprang to his feet in some alarm. It was evident his
companion had fired both barrels of the shotgun at
once, and such an unusual occurrence aroused the
curiosity of the cruiser who had remained behind to
start the fire.
He was even meditating upon the advisability of
taking the repeating rifle and running in the direction
from whence the shots had come, when Roland sud-
denly appeared.
The latter had quite a bunch of bay birds fastened
by the heads in a peculiar loop of string. Andy was
surprised, not at the number but variety of his com-
panion's haul. There were two yelpers also, known









CANOE LIFE AMONG THE KEYS.


as the greater yellow-legs, robin snipe, a red-breasted
sandpiper known by this name along the Jersey and
New England coasts, one krieker (also a sandpiper),
and three jack curlew.
"Nine in all," said Roland, as, with an expression
akin to disgust, he tossed gun and birds down.
Come, what's wrong?" asked Andy, as he pro.
ceeded in lightning style to prepare a robin snipe for
the pan.
I'm mad, and that's a fact. Catch me ever going
without a buckshot cartridge again."
Andy looked up quickly.
Ah then you did fire that double load at big game.
What was it-a wild-cat ?"
"No, a deer."
Jupiter so near the camp ?"
Yes, and a beauty of a mark, but too far for
number eight shot, you know. I had plenty of time
to slip them in both barrels, and they might as well
have been buckshot. Then we'd have had game for
dinner that was worth something."
It is a lesson, anyway, Andy. Come, we'll fix the
shells in the belt so that any one taking the Parker out
will be supplied for an emergency."
Roland brightened up under this inspiration and
even set to work upon a krieker. It was not long be-
fore such of the birds as they desired were sputtering
in the pan. Then condensed milk, ship biscuit and a
few other things were produced from the lockers of
the canoes.
Just as I predicted," said Andy, as they sat down,
tailor fashion, to dinner.








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


Following the direction of his finger, Roland saw
that the wind had almost completely died out, and the
Gulf was rapidly growing calm.
They had not lost much time in deciding to come
ashore and have a cooked dinner.
When the meal was over they lay back and enjoyed
themselves basking in the warm sunshine, and won-
dering what their friends up North were doing on this
ninth day of January-for this was the day they left
Cape Sable Creek.
Shoveling snow, I warrant," remarked Roland,
and both boys laughed at the conceit.
They considered themselves as exceedingly fortunate
in being permitted to knock around in such a genial
climate while their friends were being half frozen at
home.
Before three o'clock a breeze started up, and both
canoes were soon making good time along the coast.
As the breeze was light, they brought every inch of
sail to bear.
The miniature craft bowled along quite merrily,
while their daring and light-hearted skippers sat aft,
bracing themselves against the dandy masts and en-
joying themselves hugely.
This was one of the pleasant spots to be marked with
a blue cross in the log of the cruise. There were
enough shadows along the course to make the con-
trasts decidedly interesting.
By and by the wind took a notion to increase its
force. Roland shifted his weight to the weather rail,
and kept a watchful eye upon the Mabel, which was
about seventy feet ahead of him.









CANOE LIFE AMONG THE KEYS.


When he saw Andy stow his dandy he immediately
followed suit. Already quite a little sea had been
kicked up. The cedar boats started along like birds
upon the wing.
The breeze was growing too strong for even the main-
sail, and Roland was glad to see his companion come
to this conclusion and round-to for the purpose of tak-
ing in a double reef.
Thus both craft were together when they started
out once more. Andy had shouted out his plan to his
comrade, who approved of it.
Although the sky was clear, the breeze kept on in-
creasing until Roland feared his mast would be
blown fron its socket or something give way. As
before, he was delighted with the working of the Sea
Urchin. She rode the heavy swells with the buoyancy
of a duck, and recovered almost instantly whenever a
counter sea slapped her heavily on the planking.
Nevertheless her skipper looked longingly ahead to
where a key was to be seen, and speculated upon the
probability of their reaching it without an accident.
They approached the key with racehorse speed. It
was not Andy's intention to land, however, for the
waves dashed madly over the muddy beach, throwing
clouds of spray over the mangroves.
Thousands of great birds soared through the air
above; cormorants, man-o'-war birds, ospreys, buz-
zards, eagles and even others. Upon the mangroves
could be seen many water-turkeys, that queerest of
all queer birds in Florida, while pelicans rode the great
waves all around the boats with as much unconcern as
so many corks.


65








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


The canoes were now steered so as to enter the pass
between the key and the mainland. Here the force of
the wind was broken and the water comparatively quiet.
This is one of the best features of cruising along the
Gulf coast, although there is considerable outside work
to be done. The gulf is generally calm, or at least only
a favorable breeze blowing. Should a storm come up,
one can at almost any time get under the lee of a man-
grove key. Indeed, the larger part of the cruising is
done in the broad or narrow channels lying between
these keys and the mainland.
On the Atlantic coast it is different. There is a
dangerous outside passage, with no harbor, between
Matanzas inlet at St. Augustine and that of Mos-
quito inlet above New Smyrna. Then comes another,
south of Jupiter inlet to that of Lake Worth. An-
other long and dangerous outside run, exposed to the
sudden fury of the treacherous Atlantic, is the passage
between Lake Worth and Biscayne Bay. Taking it
all in all, the Atlantic coast does not offer half the
advantages to the enthusiastic canoeist that he will find
from Cedar Keys to Cape Sable along the Gulf shore.
Once in this sheltered water the boys sailed along
for quite a while in comfort, until the day began to
wane. The key also came to an end, and a sight of
the white caps and billows beyond warned the young
cruisers that it was time to wind up their day's run.
It had been a profitable day, as splendid progress had
been made.
Soon the canoes headed in shore, and the boys used
their eyes to advantage looking for a snug cove where
they could anchor for the night.















CHAPTER X.


THE MUTTERING IN THE AIR.



ERE we arc, comrade."
Roland urged the Sea Urchin
into the cove he had found, and
Andy followed suit. A glance
around showed them that it was a
splendid harbor, almost land-locked.
They selected positions and cast their an-
chors. The mud hooks could be changed
when they were about to retire. Meanwhile
they desired to remain alongside and chat
while they ate their evening meal.
Such a life as our two boys were now leading would
do wonders for a dyspeptic. The open air, healthy ex-
ercise and salty breezes developed what was really an
abnormal appetite in the cruisers, so that it would be
folly in our omitting everything that pertained to their
meals, when the preparation and demolition of them
occupied such a large share of their every-day atten-
tion.
Truth to tell, there was much of interest in the
unique manner of their doing their culinary labors.
Andy was a bright student, and developed resources
that no one would have believed lay in a boy's mind.








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


He loved to meet a difficulty face to face and solve
the secret. Sometimes this was done as Alexander of
old cut the Gordian knot, with a blow of his sword.
That was his way of brushing difficulties aside.
The reader will forgive us if we go into detail occa-
sionally with regard to what was upon the canoe bill of
fare, as information may thus be imparted that would
be valuable to any intending cruiser.
Supper over, the boys lay back and talked awhile
as they smoked their pipes. The tents had been put
up as soon as anchors were cast out. Inside of each
was the mosquito net of coarse cheese-cloth, which
would pretty effectually exclude any insect pest they
might run across.
They certainly came into use on this night, for the
mosquitoes were plenty. Andy pronounced the ma-
jority of them "blind" mosquitoes and harmless;
but there were a few of the vicious kind, so it would
pay them to be careful.
Each of the canoeists kept a separate log in which
the stirring events of the day were jotted down on
each evening while fresh in the memory. Thus, if one
of the books were lost, the log of the cruise would still
remain.
The log written up, each of them did a little in the
line of correspondence, the letters being mailed at the
first available opportunity. There was no chance
ahead for many weeks to come, but they might meet
a sponger or turtler bound for Key West at any time,
and the skipper of which would gladly mail their let-
ters.
Such accommodation is common along the coast of









THE MUTTERING IN THE AIR.


Florida, where one meets genial fellows, though un-
couth many of them may be.
"Nine o'clock, comrade," sung out Andy from
within the recesses of his tent.
"'Time to anchor out for the night, and then for a
jolly sleep," returned Roland.
Andrew remained where he was, but his comrade
pulled off some twenty feet, when he threw his anchor
out. This gave them plenty of swinging room. In a
short time both weary cruisers were far gone in the
land of Nod.
Roland was awakened by a wild flapping of his tent.
He noticed that the little Sea Urchin was bobbing up
and down in a way suggestive of quite a heavy sea.
Something had occurred to change the looks of
things since they retired.
It was beautifully clear overhead-indeed, as Roland
poked his head out he thought he had never seen the
stars shine more brilliantly.
"Halloo, Sea Urchin /"
Ah! Andy was on the alert. Looking over to his
boat, Roland could just make out the head of his
-friend poking out.
What's the row, Andy ?"
"The wind has whipped around due S.E. by E. I
never dreamed it would happen. We are exposed
here. No danger, but it's rather unpleasant to have
your tent flapping so wildly about your ears. Shall
we change anchorage ?"
"Yes. I'm going to pull over to the mangroves
yonder and tie up to one of them until morning."
"Bright thought, my boy. I'll follow suit."








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


In this position they were sheltered from the wind
in its new quarter, and the balance of the night was
spent comfortably.
With the morning they prepared to move on.
Knowing the month so well, Andy believed it was
time for another Norther. This was what bothered
them the most of all. Roland was overhauling his
kit and repacking in a more compact shape when he
was startled by the loud report of the Colt's rifle.
Got him," said Andy quietly.
There was a fluttering in the air, and a great crane
fell almost at their feet. Andy had made a very neat
wing shot with the rifle, something to be proud of.
"How I'd like to stuff that fellow !" said Roland, as
he, spread out the wings and looked at the yellow-
green legs; "but there's no need of it-we can get
more later on."
"Yes, wait until we strike a roost in the Ever-
glades."
"A 'roost'? What is that ?"
"Where thousands of birds come together to roost
for the night. It is generally some favored spot
where the trees are more than ordinarily heavy, for
the weight of these great birds is enormous."
"Is it not their nesting place, then ?"
Oh! no. That is a separate place entirely. Per-
haps we may have an opportunity of seeing such a
roost before we are done."
All was soon in readiness for business. They start-
ed, filled with anticipations of pleasure for the day.
Everything seemed so lovely, one could hardly believe
evil would follow.









THE MUTTERING IN THE AIR.


Andrew, however, knew something of Florida cli,
mate. He had learned one great fact-never to trust
to appearances there. The fairest of days was apt to
be succeeded by the wildest of windy nights, so sud-
denly does the terrible Norther sweep down upon them.
Andy had figured that one of these storms was about
due, and he kept his weather-eye open for it, as he de-
clared.
If they could only be in safe quarters when it arriv-
ed, let it howl; but to be caught out upon the open
water would be both unpleasant and dangerous.
Their progress was slow. The breeze came in fit-
ful gusts. More than once they were compelled to
take to their paddles in order to move, when the dying
wind left them in the middle of the broad sound
stretching between some outlying key and the'shore.
They knew they must be near the wonderful conglom-
eration known as the Ten Thousand Islands. This
was an object in view. It marked the entrance to the
bay which they must enter in order to reach the Ever-
glades.
Their charts were not complete, and as to being per-
fect such a thing was really impossible, considering the
tremendous difficulties in the way of the men who
made the Government survey. They would prove a
great help, however, in navigating that wonderful mass
of water and vegetation.
Slowly their day passed by.
Andrew, being on the alert, was the first to discover
signs of clouds banking in the north. He drew the at-
tention of his companion to them.
That means business, comrade."









PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


"When will it strike us, do you think ?"
"By midnight, I should judge."
"We'll be prepared," returned Roland philosophi-
cally.
He was growing accustomed to such storms by this
time. They failed to arouse any decided alarm or even
interest in him.
That afternoon they fastened up behind a very small
island of mangroves. It was the only thing that pre-
sented itself. Tents went up, and soon the cheerful
odor of the evening meal could be discovered in the
still air. After this had been finished the boys pre-
pared for the night. It was the same thing over
again.
When Roland looked out for the last time ere surren-
dering himself, rescue or no rescue, into the keeping of
the drowsy god, the skies were fair. It seemed to
him that there was a far-off murmur in the air, but
this might have been only the droning of insects among
the mangroves, or perhaps the pounding of water upon
the shore at some distant point where the wind had
started into life again. Roland turned in, and in
five minutes he was fast asleep, dreaming of his far-
away Northern home.
















CHAPTER XI.


STRIKING THE SILVER KING.

ITH a screech and a roar the
Norther broke upon them an
Hour after midnight. Roland
sprang up to a sitting posture,
His tent was flapping wildly,
,, and to his consternation he
discovered that he was mov-
ing through the water.
The alarming truth burst upon him-he was drag-
ging his anchor, and would soon be out upon the open
water. So long as the anchor served as a drag the
bow was presented to the wind and it would not be so
bad ; but let it slip off into deep water, and the canoe,
presenting her broadside to the gale, would be readily
overturned.
These things flashed through the boy's mind with
the rapidity of thought. Something must be done, and
that immediately.
Inspired by the occasion, Roland seized upon his sec-
ond anchor. While he opened the flukes the wind was
singing in his ears like a nest of mad hornets. Still
he preserved his self-possession, and this was what
saved him.








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


No sooner was the little Chester anchor, attached as
it was to another cable, rigged, than Roland unbutton-
ed the fore part of the tent and cast it out.
All was inky darkness. The wind howled and the
water already rolled along with a savage hiss. Speed-
ily the cable was paid out. To the delight of the cast-
away, it held. The canoe no longer moved through the
water.
This was good enough so far as it went, but Roland
knew much more had to be done. He quickly stowed
away his blankets and reached for his oilskins.
When he had donned these he was ready for the busi-
ness in hand.
The tent was stowed away with some difficulty, and
an apron buttoned over the cockpit. While engaged
in this work Roland saw a light upon the water ahead.
It cheered him, knowing that it proceeded from the
tent of his comrade. He took hold of his horn, and
blew a blast upon it that reached Andy's ear, for he
answered it.
Now began the work of regaining his former posi-
tion behind the mangrove island.
A paddle would not have done the business, for he
could not have done more than held his own against
such a sea and wind.
Luckily there was another method of accomplishing
the same thing. Roland drew in the useless anchor.
Then he began to shorten the cable of the other. The
tent being down, the strain amounted to very little now,
so that he was able to accomplish his purpose. When
almost above the holding anchor he heaved the other
ahead just as far as his arm could do it.








STRIKING THE SILVER KING. 75

Thus, a dozen feet or so at a time, the energetic
young cruiser worked his way back to where the
Mabel bobbed at her anchorage. He tied up to the
mangroves, cast a stern anchor out, and then began
to put up his tent again, for the rain was coming
down quite lively.
"Well done, Rolly !" said Andrew, when, by the
light in the Sea Urchin's tent, he knew all was snug.
It had been quite an exciting episode for Roland,
and he had come out of it with honor.
The Norther proved to be short-lived. Perhaps the
very fierceness of its assault caused it to blow out so
speedily. When morning came it had settled down to
a steady breeze a point or so north of N. E.
The boys concluded that there was no further need
of their hugging the little mangrove island when they
had a chance of beating to windward.
So they put off about eight o'clock. A long leg was
taken on the starboard tack, and then a whip across
to the east until within a short distance of land. Then
another long leg of several miles was made. This
brought them to noon, and, anchoring near a key, they
ate a cold lunch.
When they were ready to move again, the wind was
coming directly out of the east. This was a favorable
breeze for progress with them, and the rest of the day
was put to good service.
That night they ran up a little creek that was dis-
covered by accident. Andrew bent over and tasted of
the water when they had gone up for a little distance..
"Almost fresh, I declare "
Yes, and there is a perceptible current setting in








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


toward the Gulf, although the tide is on the young
flood."
That means one of those splendid, mysterious
streams flowing out of the ground, such as the great
Silver Spring at the head of the Ockawaha river, or
Crystal Spring on the Gulf hamak below Cedar
Keys."
"Is it far away, do you suppose ? "
"I do not think so. We will paddle up as far as
we can, and in the morning make a determined effort
to find it. To fill our cans with clear, fresh water now
would be a blessing."
In the morning the bubbling, boiling spring was
discovered, and every available receptacle filled, for
it would probably be weeks ere they could secure more
of the same sort.
Look yonder, Andy Smoke, I declare! I wonder
what's up? Some one has a fire. Suppose you take
the gun and investigate."
Nothing loth, the older cruiser pulled on his rubber
boots and went over the knoll. The smoke came from
the foot of a great tree. A tin bucket sat near by.
Andy guessed the truth.
"Jove! a honey-gatherer. There he comes down
the vines that hang to the tree."
Sure enough, a native cracker with a pack-basket
on his back came slipping down. The honey-gatherer
was a queer fellow, half-witted, and actually dangled
an old Confederate sword at his heels; but he was
death on bees, and had gallons of the wild honey stored
in his old boat, hidden near by. Andy bought a can
and lugged it over to the canoes. They kept an eye













































"The honey-gatherer was a queer fellow, half witted, and actually
carried an old Uonfederate saber dangling at his heels."








STRIKING THE SILVER KING.


out for bees themselves, and later had a chance to lay
in a store of honey.
So they set out for open water again and paddled
to the mouth of the little stream, where, finding things
favorable, they threw both mainsail and dandy to the
breeze, standing over in a westerly course for the low
key that seemed to be a mile from the shore, but
which was in reality two of them.
The day was one of disappointments, and yet they
managed to make pretty good time, so that, as evening
drew on, Andrew, consulting his chart, declared an-
other day would see them at the point where they
meant to leave the Gulf.
This was cheering news to them, for like all persons,
they liked a change. Perhaps before they had been in
the swamps long they would wish themselves once
more on the salt water of the Gulf.
Roland as yet had found neither the time nor oppor-
tunity to do much fishing.
It was not from lack of fish, for at times they fairly
made the water boil, such were their numbers and
ferocity.
Especially was this the case when they were near an
inlet where the waters of the Gulf at flood tide rushed
into the more quiet lagoons near by.
There one could haul in many varieties of fish with
hardly an effort save that of tugging at the line.
Andy had a big record in this line, but Roland had
much to learn, though a true disciple of Isaac Walton.
He had fished many a time in Northern waters and
was well acquainted with the various finny members
of the various streams.








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


That evening, after an early supper, Roland got out
his fishing tackle and prepared to try for big game.
He baited the large hook and cast it over, having
seen a number of fins in the shallow water, which Andy
told him belonged to that silver king, acrobatic leaper,
the tarpon.
The sun had set. A golden radiance seemed to hang
over the western heavens, and upon the still waters
an air of solitude reigned, broken only by the splash
of the mullet or the cry of some hungry bird of prey.
A pelican came sailing along close to the water,
with broad wings extended, and eye on the alert for
a good spot to drop in order to get his fill of small
mullet.
Outside a school of porpoises went rolling by, leav-
ing quite a wake behind.
It was a dreamy scene. They had come to some
live-oak trees and fastened up under them. The long,
pendent moss was swaying to and fro as the wind
came gently higher up among the trees, although
scarce a ripple was upon the water.
Falling into a sort of reverie, Roland was suddenly
aroused by feeling the line slowly taken from his
hands. He had a strike. To give line was his first
thought, and presently the fish had taken thirty feet
or more.
Then came a pause. Roland knew the time had
come to sink the barb home. He tightened the line
and then struck.
There was an immediate commotion in the water.
The line ran off the reel like lightning for a few seconds.
Then the water parted and the great silvery fish









STRIKING TfIE SILVER KCING.


sprang several feet up into the air, shaking his head as a
terrier would shake a rat.
Roland had been well coached. He gave a slack
line as soon as he saw the fish leave the water, and
hence it was impossible for the tarpon to dislodge the
hook.
Then he went spinning through the water again.
Roland had been prepared for the emergency. He
had a buoy fastened to his anchor. All he had to do
was to cast the cable off, and the canoe was free to
follow at will.
He tightened up the line. The stout rod bent but
did not break. Hurrah he was off. The Sea Urchin
was gliding through the water, propelled by fish
power-Neptune drawn by dolphins over again.
When the tarpon pulled too hard and the strain
became great, Roland gave him line, to recover it later
whenever the chance occurred.
Again and again the magnificent game fish sprang
out of the water, disclosing his whole proportions in
the air. Once he actually leaped over the canoe. As
time went on he showed signs of becoming wearied, so
that finally the young sportsman was enabled to sink
the gaff into his side and kill him.
It was a great capture.
When they came to measure the fish it lacked but
two inches of being six feet in length, and the boys,
giving a rough guess, judged that he weighed over
one hundred and twenty-five pounds.
Roland was tired out. He fished no more that
evening. Andy had occupied his time pulling in
sheepshead, so that they had more than enough for








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


breakfast. Among the other fish were several cre.
valle, and a peculiar one which Andy called a sergeant
fish. It had a stripe running along its side like a bar,
but it was full of bones and of no account as a food fish.
Again they were on the move as morning came, and
working along they managed to make fair headway.
Andrew had his eyes fastened upon the mass of vege-
tation ahead. He consulted his chart frequently, and
seemed satisfied with the progress they were making.
Alabama-here we rest, Rolly," he cried, at about
four o'clock, as he ran the nose of the Mabel close up
to one of the numerous mangrove islands among which
they had now entered.
For to-night? "
Yes; and we might as well stow masts and sails
away for some time, as I do not believe we will have a
chance to sail again soon."
"Then paddling is the word."
"Yes. We must depend on spruce blades among
these islands and the Everglades. In the morning we
will start inland."
Roland was thrilled with the thought of the new
scenes and adventures that awaited them on the
morrow.















CHAPTER XII.


THE FIRST ALLIGATOR SERENADE.



HEY sat up quite late that
night, talking over events that
had happened in the past. An-
drew had seen considerable in
Life. His disposition was a rov-
ing one, and yet he managed to
pick up a wonderful amount of
knowledge for so young a fellow.
It would be hard to talk upon any subject
with which he was not familiar, and as a
canoe cruiser he had spent much time upon
the waters. He could tell of cruises in
Maine, moose-shooting away up in the wilds of New
Brunswick, adventures out in the RockyMountains,
and of his trips upon the waters of the Mississippi
basin.
It may readily be supposed that he was a most
agreeable companion to have along. In times of emer-
gency he was full of expedients, and no difficulty
seemed able to stagger him. Indeed, seeing the light
of determination flash over his strong young face when
some trouble came in their way, Roland actually be-
lieved his companion really enjoyed a tussle with Fate.








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


Andy was modest withal. He generally related
what he had seen, although now and again an adven-
ture of his own crept in.
So they sat up late, talking of home and the past.
On the morrow they would part from the Gulf, with
its salty breezes, and begin a new experience, working
through swampy regions toward the wonderful Ever-
glades, where the last remnants of the once powerful
Seminoles had their homes.
The air was so balmy they seemed to enjoy every
breath they drew. It was glorious. And yet they dis-
liked leaving the Gulf. It was like parting from an
old friend. Neither expressed any desire to back out,
as their course was laid.
Good-by, old Gulf cried Roland in the morning
as he waved the broad expanse of water farewell with
his paddle raised in the air.
"I hope we will see it again ere many weeks, when
we pass Fort Myers and come out at Punta Rassa,
where lies the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River."
The paddles dipped into the water.
They were off !
Andrew took the lead. Together they had studied
the charts on the previous night. The route had been
laid out, although of course it was subject to change.
Something might occur, so that they would want to
alter it. Under such conditions they meant to be gov-
erned by circumstances. As the sun arose and began
to get in his work, the day gave promise of being a hot
one. Our cruisers soon discarded coats and shoes, and
worked quietly with the spruce blades.
They were in no hurry. The whole winter lay be-









THE FIRST ALLIGATOR SERENADE.


fore them, so to speak. It was better to go slow and
make sure of their way. Too much haste might bring
them into some difficulty that would cause a waste of
time and no little confusion.
Even with the utmost caution, it will be seen later
that the boys lost themselves in that labyrinth whith-
er they were now bound.
The boats were well provisioned for the cruise, and
as they could eke out with game on the way there was
no danger of starvation. Water was what troubled
them the most, or rather the scarcity of it. True, they
would be surrounded by fresh water at all times, but
to drink much of this was to invite an attack of ma-
laria or else some break-bone fever.
One way it might be utilized in case they had to come
to it, as was very likely to happen. When boiled, the
disease germs it contained would be destroyed, and it
could then be drank with impunity.
At noon they had made fair progress, and both of
them were satisfied with the work done. They were
still among the Ten Thousand Islands. The water was
salty, although not so much so as when upon the Gulf.
After a cold lunch the work was resumed and pro-
gress made. The scenery around them was far from
being beautiful. It consisted of sluggish water, mud-
flats and mangrove islands.
They were hemmed in all day with these latter. In-
deed, at times their passage seemed blocked ahead, but
the chart, such as it was, helped them amazingly, and
the trouble was brushed aside.
These mangroves are peculiar things. Down in this
region they assume the respectability of a tree. Away








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


up on the Halifax River, on the east shore around Day.
tona, they are bushes. Their size appears to increase
with the more tropical climate. They love the water,
and are generally found where the tide will cover their
gnarled roots when at the flood. At ebb tide one can
walk upon these interlaced roots for miles. See how
wonderfully nature provides for their propagation!
The seed is like a very large cigar. When ripe it falls,
sharp end down, into the soft mud below, and takes
root quickly. Any other kind of seed would be washed
away. Some plants drop their seed in the shape of a
light ball, which is dashed along by the wind until it
reaches some damp place suitable for growth, when it
takes root. Others, like our common thistle, have the
seed blown through the air to distant parts. These
plants desire to scatter, while with the mangrove it
is an object to concentrate.
At night the little canoe fleet-if one can so term the
expedition-tied up to the mangroves. The mosquitoes
were found to be so furious, however, that the boys
changed their location, this time anchoring in the mid-
dle of a wide lagoon. There was no danger of being
swept away by a wind-storm here.
Nothing unusual happened on this night, and with
the dawn of another day they were again ready to pro-
ceed. The morning opened with a cloudy sky, and all
day it was threatening, but the rain did not descend
until nearly night. Then the boys had to make haste
to get the tents up in order to spare themselves wet
jackets.
It was chilly enough to make it comfortable in the
boats with the battery of flamme force lamps going.









THE FIRST ALLIGATOR SERENADE.


Over these they cooked their supper. Roland made a
canoeist's stew out of corned beef hashed up, some suc-
cotash and a small amount of crumbled ship biscuit to
thicken it with. A cup of tea followed, and warmed
Roland up better than any other stimulant would have
done.
One thing the boys disliked about the canoes. They
were so small and crowded with necessary things that
there was no more room than the law allowed when
the tent was strung up. A single-handed cruiser, say
of five by sixteen, would have been large enough for
both to have come together, after the labors of the day
were over, and spent a comfortable evening in compa-
ny. As the next best thing they generally drew along-
side, and, keeping the mosquito netting down, conversed
from behind it. The rain kept up at intervals all that
night. When morning came it gave promise of being
a nasty day. The wind- seemed to be S. W., veer-
ing to W. Clouds hung low over them, and all day
this thing kept up.
SOur boys, however, were no mollies. They declared
that they were not made of salt. Stowing things away
thoroughly, and buttoning the aprons over the cockpits
forward, they took hold in earnest. The paddles played
pretty much all day.
It was a wet thrash. Sometimes the wind literally
picked the water up and threw it after them. Luckily
they had it at their backs, and progress was much
easier than it would otherwise have been.
Both were glad when the day drew near its end and
they found a good place to lay up. They had reached
about the last of the mangrove islands. It was some-








PADDLING IN FLORIDA,


thing which Andrew had reason to be proud of-navi-
gating the intricate passages of this labyrinth without
losing his reckoning once.
On the following day they hoped to begin their jour-
ney up the stream, at the mouth of which they were
anchored. It was down upon the map, and from ac-
counts he had heard, and the situation of certain things,
he believed it would lead them to the grassy waters of
the basin beyond-the lonely expanse of wilderness
called the Everglades.
During the night the wind shifted to the north.
There was a heavy thunderstorm about eight or nine
o'clock, but later on the clouds passed away and
the stars appeared. Andrew took an observation
about midnight and found the breeze strong in the
north.
During the whole of the next day they fought breeze
and current, although the latter did not amount to a
great deal.
New sights came to them as they progressed.
Birds that they had not seen along the coast were
here in the swamps, some of them possessing brilliant
plumage.
Roland secured a scarlet ibis, which gratified him
exceedingly, while Andy shot at a wood ibis, but the
bird was too far distant and flew on, though a falling
feather told he had not passed unscathed.
They kept a bright lookout for that remarkable
bird with the bright plumage and long legs, the scar-
let flamingo, but the bird-hunters have made this
beauty very scarce in even the wildest parts of Flor-
ida. Only once on his trip did Roland see this tall








THE FIRST ALLIGATOR SERENADE.


bird, and he was ready to go to great trouble in order
to secure a specimen of it.
When they drew their boats up that night, it was
upon a small island where grew a single tree. Roland
climbed up and cut off some dead branches, which
would give them firewood the whole night. Andy had
a twinkle in his eye that his companion did not under-
stand, though he had a lurking suspicion that the
other was up to some mischief.
Shall we sleep on shore or in the boats, Andy ?"
"'Just as you say."
"Well, do you know, this little island looks so
smooth and nice, I reckon we couldn't do better than
to camp right here for the night. I get terribly
cramped in the boat."
Ditto Come, carry the duffle ashore."
The tent was made up. Roland saw that his com-
panion was more than ordinarily careful about ar-
ranging things before leaving the canoes, even hauling
them up on the bank further than seemed necessary.
He knew what it meant later. They lay down to
sleep, Andrew with the rifle beside him.
"What in the world is this for, Andy? Do you
look for a wild-cat in the night ? One would think we
might be safe from them here in the middle of the
drink."
Andy grunted a reply and rolled over.
Some time later Roland was aroused from sleep by
a dream he had. Instantly he sat up. What in the
world was that noise ? At first it came like a tremu-
lous grunting of some giant bull frog. Then came a bel-
low such as a bull would have uttered. Others joined








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


in, until Bedlam seemed to have been let loose.
Roland was really alarmed. Coming so soon
after a realistic dream, it seemed enough to startle
one.
"For goodness' sake, what wild menagerie of bulls
has swooped down on us now ? "
How d'ye like the serenade, Rolly ?"
"Abominable! "
"Well, you'll have to get used to it.'
"What is it-panthers or what ?"
"Bulls, my boy."
"Down here in this swampy region ? "
"Oh they live in the water part of the time."
"Andy, you're chaffing me."
"Alligator bulls."
Roland laughed.
"I see. Stupid that I was not to guess the truth
before! What a tremendous noise they keep up !
There's nothing like getting used to a thing, I sup-
pose."
"That's logic."
"No danger ? "
"Not a bit. The fire keeps them away, and I have
just replenished it."
"Then I'm off again."
Roland rolled over and went to sleep. He did not
awaken again until morning, and then it was time to
get up. The alligator chorus had kept up through the
night, from a troubled grunt all the way up the
gamut to a terrific bellow.
What's the cause of all this, Andy ?" asked the
other, as he watched the coffee boil up for the third








THE FIRST ALLIGATOR SERENADE. 91

time, and then, dashing it with a little water, took it off
the fire.
Just this, Rolly. The island is a favorite place
of theirs. That's what makes it so smooth. They
were troubled to see the fire on it. That's all."














CHAPTER XIII.


A NIGHT VISITOR.

.' HEY were now entering upon
'i. -.j a new phase of their wonder-
ful cruise. The mangrove
islands became a thing of the
S. past. In their place they
found islands and the main
S shore covered with a growth
of timber, most of which appeared to be pine, though
at times they could distinguish other varieties.
The soil looked black. It was unlike the sandy
loam of higher portions of Florida, and appeared as
though it had been subject to an annual overflow
until of recent years. Perhaps the digging of the
great canal that let the waters of Okeechobee reach
the Gulf and drained the neighboring country had af-
fected even this remote region southwest of the Ever-
glades.
Game became more abundant. They had a chance
at a deer about ten o'clock in the morning. Roland
was paddling along in the lead, when, upon turning a
bend, he saw a deer standing at the edge of the
stream. Instantly he dropped his paddle and put his
hand under the deck for the Colt's rifle. The deer









A NIGHT VISITOR.


seemed surprised at first, but immediately took the
alarm.
As Roland drew the gun out, the wary animal
sprang off into the bushes with flag erect. Roland
sent a bullet after him, but he did not believe he struck
home. So confident was he regarding this that he did
not even think it worth while to go ashore to find out.
Alligators were plentiful. They saw them every-
where. When a bend was turned great fellows slid
into the water from the low banks where they had
lain basking in the sun. Sometimes they floated upon
the creek like great logs.
More than once the boys prodded some sleeping
saurian that had not noted their approach. Evidently
the alligator hunter had not been in this region to any
extent.
Birds were also seen in abundance. Andy bowled
over a couple of ducks neatly, and they were found to
be of a fair quality when they came to eat them.
Raccoons are met with in great plenty all through
the woods of Florida., The negroes delight in their
flesh, but to one born without this liking for a'coon its
meat tastes like very rich pork and is not relished.
Squirrels were seen from time to time. The fox-
squirrel seemed to be most plentiful, and at almost
any time they could get one for a stew.
The day passed pleasantly. It was delightfully
warm, and the young cruisers enjoyed every minute
of it. They kept their paddles in motion. When
evening came on they had made splendid progress.
As the chance of camping on shore was something
that did not come every day, they determined to take








PADDLING IN FLORIDA.


advantage of it. So a suitable camping spot was
looked out for in the latter part of the day and found.
All was soon arranged. The business was rapidly
getting down to a system now, and they were able to
do an incredible amount of work in a very little space
of time.
Around the camp-fire that night the boys sang and
laughed. All went as merry as a marriage bell. It
was pleasant to hear their hearty voices ring out with
the Warrior Bold," the "Sailor Boy," or that ven-
erable old shanty song, Rolling down to old Mohea,"
which every canoeist has heard around the camp-fire
at the Grindstone Island meet.
It was later than usual when they retired, and,
being wearied from the ardor of their day's work, they
slept quite heavily. Dreams of home came to them,
perhaps, as they lay there under their shelter. The
camp-fire dwindled down, as neither awoke to replenish
it, for this Florida pine burns out quickly.
Roland awoke with a start. Something cold had
come in contact with his face, and he found he had
rolled out of the tent near the fire. His first thought
was of snakes-the deadly rattlesnake or equally ven-
omous moccasin. Chilled with horror at the idea of
such things being their bedfellows, he remained quiet,
not daring to move a hand, lest by so doing he would
invite an attack.
There was a movement near by. Then he heard an
unmistakable growl. A new thought flashed through
his brain. The fire had burned very low, but it was
not out, and as he twisted his head around that way
he could see some dark body outlined there.


1 94




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