Dick among the Seminole Indians

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Dick among the Seminole Indians
Dimock, A. W. (Anthony Weston)
Dimock, J. A. ( Photographer )
Frederick A. Stokes Co.
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Seminole Indians -- Fiction ( lcsh )

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University Of South Florida
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University Of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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023287752 ( ALEPH )
84136703 ( OCLC )
C21-00012 ( USFLDC DOI )
c21.12 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Children's Literature Collection

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Copyright, I9I3, by FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY All rights reser







DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES CHAPTER I DICK STRIKES THE TRAIL '' RICHARD WILLIAMS, LA TU QUE, CAN ADA: Meet me oh Mallory boat, Satur day D on't fail. Hire a special, or buy an aero plane if necessary. (Signed) NED." "Wonder what's biting Neddy," soliloquized Dick. Got to take the next train and it starts in seven minutes -five to pack and pay my bill, and two to make the station. That's oodles of time, with enough over for a nap." A darky was importantly beating a gong and sonorously repeating: "All ashore that s goin'," as Dick quietly I


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES stepped aboard the Mallory liner where he was seized and shaken by the impulsive Ned, who ex claimed: I was just giving you up. It was great luck that you caught the boat. You hadn't a minute to spare." "No luck about it, and no danger of missing the boat. I had half an hour to spare and as I needed some dinner I got it. I was only just around the corner." Do you mean to tell me, Dick Williams, that you have been keeping me on tenter-hooks for thirty minutes while you were stowing away grub, half a block away?" "Don't get excited, Neddy. You telegraphed me to be on this boat and you ought to have known that I would be here. And now that I am here, tell me where I am going and what's up?" I've a notion not to tell you and I hope you'll lose that precious dinner before we pass Sandy Hook." Well, young man came in a gruff voice as a heavy hand was laid on Dick's shoulder, "which is it to be this trip, the fire room or the galley or do you propose to take command of the ship?" "Oh, no! I'm satisfied with the way the boat is run. But I'm glad enough to see you again Cap tain Anderson. You were sure good to me when 2


DICK STRIKES THE TRAIL I was nothing but a stowaway. I've often felt ashamed of the way I came aboard that time." Ashamed nothing! You came aboard like a boy with sand and you worked like a man. Ever hear of Mr. Barstow and that pretty daughter of his, the one who begged me not to throw you over board?" The boy colored a bit as he replied: "I see her sometimes. This is her brother Edward, who is going to Key West with you." "Glad to see you, Mr. Barstow. Wish your sister was with you. Does Dick follow her around with his eyes now, as he used to do on the boat here?" Guess it would be safer for me not to give him away. But when Molly heard what boat I was coming on, she said : Be sure to give my love t o Captain Ander son.' Well! Well! Sometimes things happen that make nie wish I was twenty years younger," said the captain as he walked away to welcome some old friends among the passengers. The boys walked to the bow of the boat and were looking down on the jets of water it was toss ing into the air, when Ned began: "Dicky, we're up against it for fair. Tlie work in the West goes over for a year and we're off 3


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES on a wild goose chase. And we've simply got to make good." "Of course we have, Neddy, but what's the contract? All in two words, Find Moore! "Who's Moore and where is he?" "He's a crank who married a forty-leventh cousin of Dad. He was an Oxford man, bright as they make 'em and always good as pie to his family. But he would smuggle matter of prin ciple, he said, and the Government got him. He wouldn't settle, but fought hard and so got a jail sentence as well as a fine. He gave bonds and appealed and when that went against him, skipped. He made good to his bondsmen, though, before he left. The Government detectives were after him hot-foot for a while but it didn't amount to any thing." So we've got to succeed where the detectives failed? Looks like it, only we've got a clue that they haven't. Dad kept his eye on Moore's wife and daughter until they suddenly disappeared, two or three years ago. He had some careful inquiries made which led him to believe they had taken a steamer of this line for Galveston. The trail was lost at Galveston and Dad dropped the matter. Then he took it up again the other day and got 4


DICK STRIKES THE TRAIL busy. He telephoned for staterooms on this boat, told me to wire you to be on hand and sent me out to buy everything I thought we needed for the trip." "That isn't much. We are used to traveling light and I hope you didn t pile up a lot of plun der." Don't worry about that. All our belongings are in two bags, a big and a little one. That all? said Dad when he saw my baggage, but he sort of smiled as if he liked it. Then he got serious and gave me some more instructions. He said, There was no trace of Mrs. Moore and her daughter at Galveston and I have thought since she may have left the steamer at Key West. So begin your search there and make it thorough. Take plenty of time and follow the slightest clue. If you fail at Key West go on to Galveston. Write me occa sionally but don't wire unless necessary. Now go and find William Moore and give him this letter!' Then he sent his love to you, and Molly asked to be remembered to you, if you hadn't forgotten her. I mentioned that Dad had sent his love, but she said her message would have to do for this time." "Have you any notion Ned, why your father warned you against wiring him? "Can't imagine. It isn't a bit like him. He usually wants everything telegraphed or 'phoned 5


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES There is some mystery about this. You remem ber when you told him about Jackson's attempt to drown me?" Guess I do. I was boiling over with excite ment, myself, but I haven't forgotten how he looked nor how quickly he acted." "Well, he was just that serious when he came home after being gone a day, and started in with me on this Moore business Well, our first job is to find Moore and we ll do it if he is above ground." There were a good many passengers on the boat and as several of them knew Ned s father a n d all knew of him he received considerable attention. There were games in the saloon, dancing' on deck, with lively groups of pretty girls and college boys chattering and singing all over the boat. Ned made many acquaintances and talked, sang and danced like the boy he was, while Dick was as seri ous as his friend was gay. By day he talked with the officers and crew of the boat, finding a number who remembered his 'vork in the fire room on the trip which he began as a stowaway. Instead of joining in the games of the young folks at night, he sat with the wall-flowers or walked the deck with men who cared for his company. At night, under the stars, men open their hearts easily and Dick formed a warm friendship with a 6


DICK STRIKES THE TRAIL man of about twice his age. There was a mag netism about the man that drew Dick to him and for the first time during the trip he talked about himself to a stranger. He compared the warmth of the night with the forty below zero of a winter survey camp in Northern Quebec, and Mr. Brooks, his new friend, nodded as he made reply: Yes, I know, I've been there." How far north have you been in winter? "On the eastern side of the continent, Fort George on James' Bay." What took you 'way up in that country? in quired Dick. "A dog team," was the politely evasive reply. "I don't forget faces often, Mr. Brooks, and there is something familiar about yours. Haven't I met you before, perhaps in Canada? "I happened to be in La Tuque when your friend Jackson went over the falls." I knew I had seen you. I hope Jackson wasn't a friend of yours, though." "I didn't sit on the mourner's bench, and I don't think anybody missed him. Are you going to try tent life in Florida, by way of a change from Canada?" "I don't know just what I will do. My business here is confidential -" "Don't speak of it then!" interrupted his com-7


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES panion sharply, and afterwards apologized for his harshness Two days later as the boys were landing at the Key West wharf Mr. Brooks took Dick by the hand saying: Au revoir, my young friend, for I fancy we shall meet again." I hope so, let me introduce-" but Mr. Brooks had disappeared. "There, Ned, that was my mysterious friend and I wanted to introduce you "He's mysterious, all right. I hope he isn't an enemy. But where do we stop in this town? We ought to keep under cover, much as we can Do you know of a second class hotel that would take us in? "Nothing of the kind in the place, unless it has improved since I was here We are going to trot around to Captain Wilson's and you will see him take us to his bosom as if we were long lost broth ers." Suppose the captain isn t home, how will Mrs. Captain receive us? Same way, only more so She'll fill you up at your meals and stuff you with cake and fruit the rest of the time." The captain chanced to be at home and his own and his wife's welcome of the boys was all that 8


DICK STRIKES THE TRAIL Dick had painted it. The captain had to show the boys his new sponging outfit and tell Ned the full history of Dick's cruise with him and what a mascot he had proved, giving them a trip which was talked of to that day for its big haul of sponges and record profits. Then both the captain and his wife had to hear the further adventures of Dick and his companion, both in the Everglades and Canada. Early in the evening, perhaps on a hint from her spouse, Mrs. Wilson bade the boys good night and then Captain Wilson, having refilled his pipe said to Dick: I can see you've got trouble on your mind. Out with it and we'll see what can be done." Captain, a few years ago, a lady sailed with her child on a Mallory steamer from New York bound for Galveston. She was never heard from in Galveston and we think she got off the steamer at Key West. Ned will give you the exact date of her leaving New York. If she did come here she could only leave by boat, and probably went to some other key or some little place on the peninsula of Florida." Easy as falling off a log," interrupted the cap tain. "We'll find what became of her, probably in forty-eight hours. I know an old clerk in the steamship office who can probably find out from their records if the woman left the steamer at Key 9


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES West. Then we'll interview every boatman in town beginning with those that regularly carry pas sengers. These Conchs sit around and listen to everything that relates boats and are too lazy to forget anything. If your lady and her child got off here and asked any questions about a boat to some little place, every Conch who heard won dered who she was and told about her to every other Conch he met and then sent word to those he didn't meet. First thing is to get hold of my steamship man and I'll tend to that right early." The captain started out right after breakfast and returned in half an hour a good deal excited. The records we want can't be found. A lady and child did ship for Galveston but there is noth ing to show that she didn't arrive there. That's about what I expected. But there was something else that I didn't expect and that means trouble for you. The same question that I asked my friend for you had been recently asked the office both from New York and right here in this town. That means other folks are on the track and a little ahead of you. I am sorry I wasted time yesterday. I won't lose a minute to-day." After the captain had started on his quest Dick said to his companion : "I'm worried a lot about these inquiries, Ned. Somebody's after Moore and your father wants to IO


DICK STRIKES THE TRAIL warn him. That's why we are down here, and we've got to beat the other fellow and win out." But the only fellows likely to run down Moore are officers of the Government and Dad wouldn't work against them." Don't you worry about what your father would be likely to do! He wants that paper handed to Moore before the other fellows find him and by the Great Horn Spoon it' s going to be did! I can't wait for Wilson. I am going on a still hunt my self and I can do better at that alone, so you stay here and wait for us, unless you want to go sight seeing." Ned had a dull day. It was nearly dark when the captain came home filled with gloom. I am afraid she didn't get off here. I have talked with most of the boatmen likely to have seen her. I saw two who remembered the very boat because they got passengers from her. One of them said that no such party got off the boat, that he stood at the gangway from the time it was put out looking for passengers until he got one the very last to get off the steamer. I hate to tell Dick about it. Where is he? "Here he is," said Dick as he entered the roon:. "What is it you hate to tell me?" Only that I've tried all the likely places and II


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES can find no trace of the lady you are looking for. She couldn't have got off here." I tried the same thing with the same result and then began to inquire in the unlikely places. Then I stumbled on something and have got the lady and child treed, sure as you live." Bully for you! said the captain, while Ned clapped his hand on his companion's shoulder and said: Won't Dad be delighted! He always has sworn by you. But where is Mrs. --the lady? I guess I talked too fast. I haven't found her yet, but I am on a sure trail and we'll beat the other fellow out of sight, whoever he is." Tell us all about it, Dick. Captain Wilson and I are crazy to hear. Aren't we, Captain? "No, Dick," said the captain, "don't tell me a word that ought not to be told." Thank you, Captain, but you are entitled to know all that I have heard to-day. course back of it all is a secret which we are not at liberty to tell at present. What I found out to-day was really by accident. I had tried everything I could think of and was standing by the dock where the Mallory boats land, hoping it would give me in spiration, when I saw an old man sitting on the dock fishing from it. I sat down beside him and asked a lot of qu-estions about his life. He used to 12


DICK STRIKES THE TRAIL be a sailor, but was crippled by a fall from the mast head,-" I know the man! broke in the captain. He has sat and fished near that same spot for years. The only excitement in his life is watching the steamers come in and the passengers get on and off. I was a dunce not to think of him. Of course he saw the lady get off. Bet you he could have de scribed her dress and told how many bundles she carried." "I didn't ask about that, but what he did tell me was that she waited on board until all the other passengers had left and then walked very quickly to a man who seemed to be waiting for her. 'Reason I noticed her,' said my fishing friend, was coz she slipped right off with that Wilkins. Why he hadn't no call to be with ary lady. Course he's a smuggler and that ain't ag'in him as I knows on, but he's pretty near a pirate, too. I useter know him, but he don't show his nose outside o' the swamp, very off en.' Now Ned and I know about this Wilkins and pretty near where to find him. That will put us on the track of the lady." I wouldn't like to have any lady I cared for in charge of that scamp," said the captain. You can bet he wasn't in charge long, and that he behaved well while he did have her. There 13


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES isn't much law in that Big Cypress Swamp, but there is liable to be pretty sudden justice at times. Whoever sent Wilkins to meet her was waiting near by, Boca Chica, for a guess." "Likely as not," said Captain Wilson, "but you said you and Ned knew about Wilkins. Where did you meet him ? He called at our camp when we were away and borrowed a rifle. Then when we returned his call he threatened to blow off Ned's head, but he gave up the rifle all the same. You ought to have seen Ned, Captain, when he demanded that rifle. You can't imagine what a rampaging ruffian he can be when he lets himself loose. He scared Wilkins out of at least a year's growth." Shut up, Dick, unless you can talk sense! ex claimed Ned. "Just listen to that, when I am blowing his horn for him, too. It shows the impolite sort of hairpin he can be. Now, Captain, we can't afford to waste an hour. How soon could you rustle a launch for us?" "Have you aboard with your stores in an hour. Where you going? '' Going over that west coast with a fine comb, from Cape Sable to Punta Rassa. After that our work will be by canoe and we won't need the launch." 14


DICK STRIKES THE TRAIL "Want a pilot, someone to run the launch, of course?" "Not a bit of it. We are our own pilots and engineers. Ned's got a map of South Florida in his noddle, and I can run an engine in my sleep." I would go with you, if you wanted me. I know the coast pretty well." Yes, I know. You used to be Deputy Sheriff, and if you went with us, South Florida would be an uninhabited country so long as you were in sight." "I guess that's so," laughed the captain, "but I wish I was going. If you really want to start right off I must get busy. Mother'll get you some sup per, and if you'll come down to the wharf in about an hour I think your launch, with full tank and stores for a week will be waiting for you."


CHAPTER II THE MAN HUNT BEGINS NED and Dick found Captain Wilson ready with a pretty little hunting cabin launch, full tank and a week's supply of food, as he had promised. I suppose you would like a faster boat boys always do but it wouldn't be as good for you. It would have drawn more water and you are likely to be where the water is shoal. Then this is a pretty able craft and it's going to blow to-night." Thank you, Captain," said Dick, you've fitted us out to a T. Now if I haven't forgotten the courses we will be off Sandy Key by daylight if the boat can do seven miles." "Nearer eight in smooth water and I am glad you are going to run along the keys instead of strik ing out for deep water. I was going to speak about that. It's a good boat, but it hasn't any busi ness out in deep water in the squalls we often have around here There is another reason for our keeping along 16


THE MAN HUNT BEGINS the keys," said Dick. "We mean to begin work at Flamingo, away beyond East Cape." "Why not begin at Boca Chica? Inquire of Pedro you remember him, the Spaniard you used to tease when you went sponging. He has a shack at Chica and knows all the disreputables of the keys and of the Ten Thousand Islands. He' ll tell you anything he knows, for he likes you, in spite of, or because of, the way you teased him." "We will do just that. And now, Captain, good-by, and thank you a thousand times for what you have done for us." You are welcome a thousand, thousand times and I wish I could do more for both of you." Here, Captain," said Ned, is a receipt for the boat and a letter to my father. He will pay for the boat if it doesn't come back to you and pay the bill for its use and all damages if it does." "Take care of yourselves. I'd rather lose the boat than have anything happen to you boys." Later in the evening the launch was running at half speed along the shore of Boca Chica while Dick was peering into the darkness. "I know Pedro's cove and his shack and it ought to be right here," said Dick to his companion. "There's a shadow right ahead of you that looks as much like a shack as anything else "That's it, must be, stop the engine." 17


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES A minute later the launch slid along a little dock made of poles and Dick shouted into the dark ness: Hey, Pedro! You old pirate, where are you? He had to repeat the call before Pedro's tousled head appeared lit up b;_: a tiny torch of palmetto leaves. Who want me? What for? I want you to come aboard here and chin awhile. You know me." Oh, yes, I savey you now, Mr. Dick. You got some whisky? "No, you old reprobate, you've had too much already. I mean to make you sign the pledge." I no sign." Pedro came aboard the launch and Dick put him through the third degree. Pedro, you know Wilkins? "I no savey heem. He bad man How do you know he is a bad man if you no savey him? Now, Pedro, I won't hurt you nor Wilkins nor make trouble for anybody. I want you to tell me something just for myself. Will you do it?'' What you want know, Mr. Dick? I tell." "That's right. Two or three years ago Wilkins and another man came here in a boat from the main18


THE MAN HUNT BEGINS land. Wilkins went to Key West and brought back a woman and a child. Remember that? "I savey, Wilkins s mine friend." Thought you said you didn't know him and that he was a bad man." I tell truf, this time." Who was the man with Wilkins? He no tell." "When they took the woman and child away, where did they go?" Shark River." How do you know they went to Shark River? "T'other man give me money and paper, buy many things at store, take to Shark River in two days." Did he meet you at Shark River? "He come with In jun and canoe." "Was Wilkins with him?" "Nobody with him, only Injun." Where does Wilkins live? "Eferywhere, Big Swamp, Ten Thousand Islands, Whitewater Bay; nefer can find him." I'm very much obliged to you, Pedro, and here s a dollar to pay you for waking up I no take it, Mr. Dick. I tell for friend, you. I not tell for money. I not tell anybody else for nothin'." 19


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES "Pedro, you make me ashamed of myself. Good by." "Why didn't I have more sense than to hurt that poor fellow's feelings by offering him money?" said Dick to his companion as soon as they were again on their way. "Guess the wound wasn't very deep. It's usually easier to hurt folks' feelings by not offering them money. But, Dicky boy, isn't it the big luck we're having?" "We sure are, but it's the big work we are in for, too. No use finding Wilkins, even if he would tell us anything, for Moore dropped him at the start. He showed sense in trusting the Indian." "No use scouring the coast now, Dick. The Moores are hidden up snugly somewhere in the in terior. We have got to get a canoe and explore every square mile of this whole great wilder ness." It isn't so big a job as it looks. So much of the country is under water that the places where a family could live are limited. It is pretty certain to be within canoe reach, perhaps on one of those patches of land on Harney River that only Indians and outlaws know. We could go over a lot of the likely places in a week or two. Then they can't help leaving signs that we will find when we get near them." 20


THE MAN HUNT BEGINS "They have got to trust somebody to get sup plies for them, Dick. Moore trusted an Indian once, and turned down an outlaw. Don't you sup pose he is doing that all the time? "Just my notion, Neddy, but how will we ever get an Indian to give him away?" We have got to make them trust us. We used to play Indian, and now we've got to be Indians, the real thing, live with them, hunt with them, think with them and if we don't run across the Moore trail, it will be because there isn t any more Moore." Guess you've struck it, only we won't tie up to the Indians so that we can't go off alligator or deer hunting by our lonesomes. How we will explore the country on those hunting trips! You'll have to do some real hunting, Dicky. If we come home empty handed too often they 'll smell a mice and turn their backs on us, or else they will think we are holowaugus (no good) and bounce us for that." "There is a lot more danger of our breaking the game laws a heap more than is necessary and get ting into trouble with the Government, besides dull ing our moral sense." You haven't got any to dull. Remember how you sat down to dinner just before the boat left New York and kept your old chum dancing about like a 21


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES hen on a hot stove, he being of a sensitive, nervous disposition?" You are wasting time with foolishness, Neddy. Get busy with your chart and give me some courses. That shadow south of us is Cudjoe Key and some where to the north of us is a two or three fathom channel that will take us into the open Gulf. Then you can give me the course, about nor' -nor' -west, I think, and we 'll point straight for Carlos Pass and, Ho, for the Caloosahatchee River!" "I thought we were going by way of Cape Sable and keep along up the coast." "So we were, but things have changed. We've agreed to drop the coast exploration and start for the Seminole camps. Best way to get there is to cross the prairie from Fort Myers to Boat Landing. We will find Indians at the Outpost and can get a canoe, which we have got to have at the start." "That's all right, Dick, but 'the longest way round is the shortest way home sometimes, and you know what Captain Wilson said of this launch and of the chance of a blow." He was right, and so are you. It would be foolish to take the risk just to save a few miles." Before morning the boys were glad enough of the shelter of the keys, for a stiff sou'wester was blowing. The waves tossed them about off Sandy Key and as the sweep of the wind grew wider the 22


THE MAN HUNT BEGINS launch buried her nose deeper between the waves of the choppy sea, some of which began to spill their crests spitefully over the side of the craft. At East Cape the rollers were bigger, but less broken, and Dick hesitated for a moment whether to seek safety in the quieter waters toward Flamingo, or keep on toward Middle Cape. He kept on and having passed Middle Cape plunged into the storm tossed waters that beat about Northwest Cape. There was no turning back now and for six miles the propeller alternately raced and chugged against solid water, while Dick kept the wheel whirling back and forth to meet each incoming wave at the angle easiest for the craft. They shipped a good deal of water and took turns at the pump until the Cape had been passed and the course changed to east of north. The shoaling water and the partly protecting shore made the slight and in an hour the launch was safe within one of the mouths of Shark River. We pulled through that without much trouble," said Dick. Suppose we put out and run up to Harney River. It's only four or five miles and nothing could hurt us much in that distance." What is the use of taking any risk, when we can run up this branch of Shark River to Tussock Bay and down Harney River to its mouth? It's only about twice the distahce and then it is probably 23


DICK: AMONG THE SEMINOLES the way the Moores traveled, as far as Tussock Key. We might get some hint of where they went." Ned took his turn at the wheel and in less than an hour they were at the entrance to the bay. The launch was turning down Harney River, which met Shark River at this point, when Dick exclaimed: "Look up the bay, Ned! See those two masts over that little key? Mighty few boats come into this part of the country. Let's see who it is." When the launch rounded the little key the boys saw a small schooner at anchor with a white-headed darky on deck. As they passed under the stern they saw the name" Manatee-Key West." As they came alongside and the motor was stopped, they were welcomed by the ancient mar iner with a courteous : Come aboard, Sah, come aboard." After the boys had seated themselves on convenient sticks of wood, Ned began: "Lumbering, Uncle?" "Runnin' buttonwood to Key West, Sah." Been acquainted with this country long? "Knowed it fob you was bohn, I reckon." Anybody live around here? "No, Sah, not nearer'n Whitewater Bay an' ony one fambly dar. Mr. Wiggins useter live up dataway, long ago, fore you bohn, too." 24


THE MAN HUNT BEGINS "Ever hear of a white woman coming here a few years ago ? "No, Sah. What for white woman come hyar?" When Ned and Dick reached the mouth of Harney River the storm had increased and the waves were beating fiercely against the oyster reefs that guard it. As they lay in the lee of the little key that marks the mouth of the river, Dick proposed that they try the Gulf once more. "It is only three or four miles to Broad River and a clam bank protects us part of the way. Then we can reach Rodgers River without going outside and sleep once more beside that house that ought to be haunted if it isn't." I'm game to try it. There isn't much risk, for the worst that could happen would be the wrecking of the launch. We could get ashore all right. Then when Dad wants a thing he wants it bad, and he'd rather we d lose a boat than a day." The trip to Broad River was made in safety and the narrow channels bounded by oyster reefs, lying between Broad and Rodgers Rivers threaded without even a scratch on the paint of the boat. They slept by the haunted house which was more dilapi dated than when they had last seen it, but their sleep was untroubled by spooks "Now, Neddy," said Dick in the morning, "I've 25


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES a map of this country in my mind and can take you through to Chokoloskee by a route that only hunters and red men know." Which are you, Dicky? interrupted Ned. Don't talk so much. We will look around the head of this river where there is land that a family might live on and then run down to the mouth of Lossman's, and find that old fisherman who wouldn't believe we had found a manatee. He may know something that will help us. After that we will take a look around the Chatham River country." "Is the chance of finding anything worth the loss of time?" We won't lose more than a day and it will make us feel surer we're on the right track." There was no sign of a habitation on the lands the boys visited and they met no human being in the sixty or seventy miles they traveled. It was nearly night when they reached the shack of their friend, the fisherman, who shouted when he saw them: "Ho, ho! Here's the fellers that ketches mana tees. Want me to make some boxes? "Not this time," said Dick, "but we really did catch several manatees." Yaas, I knowed it all the time. What you want now?" We want to find a woman and child who came 26


THE MAN HUNT BEGINS to this coast from Key: West two or three years ago." There's womans and childers come to Chokolos kee and one come to Chatham Bend." I know them, but these came to Shark River and went inland from there." "I dunno. Wunner how many peoples comin' here and ask fool questions 'bout dat woman? I don't know nuthin' about her." Who has been asking you questions about the woman?" "I dunno. He come here day 'fore yist'd'y in big launch with feller f'm Key West. I dunno him, nuther." Where did he go? "Went up coast. I dunno where." Ned, I'll bet a hat it's that man, Brooks! You know he said we'd meet again." "Then he must be after Moore, and he's two days ahead of us." "Well, he won't be ahead long. We know just what we're up against and we are not going to waste another minute." The boys hurried to their launch and as they stepped aboard Ned said: "Better try the outside, hadn't we? It's getting dark already and we might have trouble picking our way through some of those crooked channels." 27


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES "I might manage that, but I'd get aground some and we'd lose time that we can't afford Dick took the wheel and after safely following the labyrinthic channel that wound among the oyster bars off Lossman's River, found himself bucking a nor'wester. As the launch pitched and tossed, making little headway Dick fretted and wished he had tried the inside route. After four hours of rough work they had gained only ten miles. They were in the lee of Pavilion Key and making better weather when Ned said: "We can't go outside of Cape Romano in this wind, even if we can get there. Can you find your way from Coon Key to Marco? "Got to, there's no other way. It's dark as the inside of a whale now. Reckon I'll have to shut my eyes and pretend it's daylight. See that riding light just ahead of us? It is a schooner, I can make out the masts against the sky. I am going to hail her. Hello, the schooner! Hello, yourself! Who are you? came back in a pleasant voice. "I know that chap," exclaimed Dick, excitedly. "It's Ed Watson and he'll help us out if anybody on the coast can. Hello, Ed, don't you know me, Dick Williams? "Sure enough I do Come right aboard. It's 2 8


THE MAN HUNT BEGINS good for sore eyes to see you. We heard down here that you were up at the North Pole or some where round there." "Well, it was 'somewhere round,' but who's aboard with you? Colonel, you remember him? He kicks at being called Colonel' now, thinks he's too big but he can't stop us until he's big enough to lick us. He is getting tolerably near that now." "Then he is big enough to take care of the schooner alone so long as it is at anchor? At anchor! came in another voice. I can run this bally old boat alone, in my sleep, anywhere between Tampa and Key West, and don't you forget it! ,, That's straight goods," added Ed. Glad to hear it, for now you can help us out." I sure will, if I can What is the trouble? "We must be in Myers at the earliest possible minute, and you are the boy to put us there." "I reckon that's so, and I'll do it." 0 f course you know it is business and you can name your own terms." We won't talk business, I'm doing it for fun. Wouldn't miss it for a farm. I'll put you in Marco time to catch the mail boat for Punta Rassa at day light in the morning. You couldn't do much in your little boat between Marco and the Caloosahatchie." 29


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES How soon can you start? "This minute, for it's going to be a close rub Colonel, you meet me at Marco soon as you can get there. Don't try any foolishness, though, starting 'fore the wind lets up." But, Ed," said Dick, we are going to turn the launch over to you at Marco to be returned to the owner at Key West." All right Colonel, you report at Key West and wait for me if you get there first, and I'll bet you a dollar you don't." Take that bet and dare you to double it,'' replied the Colonel. "I'll go you," replied Ed. "Now let's be off."


CHAPTER III CRUISING IN THE DARK ( D 0 you know your engine? asked Ed as he took the wheel. "Better than the man that made her," replied the modest Dick. I don't want her to miss an explosion this night." And the wheel was rolled until the craft was headed southeast. How are you going? inquired Ned. Down to Chatham Bend, inside to Chokoloskee Bay through that to Fahkahnatchee, then outside, if the launch can make it, to Coon Key." Half an hour later, as they were plunging through the darkness, Dick asked: "Do you really know where you are, Ed?" Know where I am? was the contemptuous re ply. Why I live here! Don't you know your own dooryard? I know some of these waters by daylight and there are mud banks and oyster reefs -" "Yes, we re twisting around some of 'em now," 3 I


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES interrupted Ed, as he rolled the wheel back and forth. "Supposing we run aground Yes, we're taking that chance and making a long trip of a short one, but we are going to save time. I figure it out that the chances are three to one that we'll catch the Marco boat, going this way and three to one against our catching it if we tried to buck Overboard, all hands, and rush her! he shouted as the craft slowed down and dragging in the mud, nearly stopped. But the three boys were wading beside the launch and boosting it along, so that it never quite ceased to move and soon began to gather headway again When they were again on board going ahead at full speed, Ed said laugh ingly: Guess you fellers think I talked too much, and didn't know where I was going? "Not a bit of it," replied Ned. "Anybody who can get along at all through this blackness, can take my hat. I am ready to believe that you took the best channel there was." I really did that, but the tide was so low that we couldn't help dragging. We may touch once more, in Chokoloskee Bay but we'll have good wate r after that unless we have to keep inside beyond Fahkahnatchee." "Where are we now? asked Dick a little later. 3 2


CRUISING IN THE DARK "Near the mouth of Turner's River. That's Chokoloskee Island right ahead of you. In a min ute we'll turn up the bay toward Half-way Creek and Allen's River." You don't mean to tell me that you can see that i s land and the rest of it?" exclaimed the doubting Richard. See it! I don't have to see it. I can smell it and I've got a picture of it in my head. Don't you know anything beyond what you can see? I wouldn't need to know anything beyond what you can see, if you can make islands and rivers out of this Egyptian darkness." From time to time Watson called out names of creeks, rivers and bays as they passed them. "It may all be so," Dick remarked, and I couldn't dispute you if you called out the Bay of Bisca y or the Gulf of California and I wouldn't be any more surprised to find myself at either of those places than really to land at Marco. I can feel trees all around me and I believe you're lost in the woods." You will wish you were in the woods about five minutes from now, if you are anyways liable to be seasick." In five minutes they were tossing in the waters of the Gulf, but still making fair headway. "This isn't very bad," said Ned, and there was 33


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES relief in his voice as he spoke. "I was afraid we should have to turn back, but this isn't as rough as we had it coming up from Sable." "Wind was fair then, from the sou'west, wasn't it?" It was fair, all right, but it was about as rough as I ever saw it." "Wait till you are outside the shelter of Panther Key. That'll be in less than five minutes." In five minutes the launch stood on end, first one end and then the other. Spray swept over them with many a dash of solid water. As the launch tumbled over on its side and Dick grabbed the edge of the cabin to keep from going overboard, a bucket ful of water struck him full in the face. As soon as his gasping would permit him to speak he ex claimed to the pilot: "Too bad! Too bad! I hoped we could get through. I hate to have to put back." Put back, nuthin' said Ed. This is only a one reef breeze, and we've got all Romano to windward of us." Constantly the launch changed her course, as the wheel swept one way or the other. One moment it was climbing a wave and the next almost in the trough of the sea. Bully boy! exclaimed Dick, after watching the pilot awhile. I thought you'd gone crazy and 34


"CRUISING IN THE DARK were going to wreck us, till I saw you were just keeping her screw in solid water." Why not? replied Ed. '1 If I let her race she ll likely break a shaft and how could I get you to Marco after that? After passing Horse Keys the wind seemed to slacken and the waves ran down until the boat plunged into the deeper darkness beyond Coon Key. "We are safe now," said Ed. "Six miles to go and three quarters of an hour to do it in." But that is eight miles an hour, and we can't quite do it." Don't have to. There is enough flood tide left to help us to Half-way Point and the ebb will be with us to Marco." Things seem to be coming our way. on in one direction and both flood and us." We keep ebb favor "That's coz you're lucky," commented Ed. "It was just as likely to work against you both ways." The launch turned sharply to the left and two minutes later resumed its course. What did you do that for? Dick inquired. "To keep in the channel around Goodland Point. You remember that, don't you? Oh, yes I remember that all right, but I don't much believe we are there." Half an hour later he asked : 35


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Where are we now ? "Coming into Alligator Bay. The narrow chan nel opposite Bird Island is just ahead of us. I'll show you. Keep that mangrove point right on a line with the Olds' dock. That's what I'm doing now." I suppose it is all so, but I don't see you and I'm standing beside you. How can you see a dock a quarter of a mile away? Have you got cat's eyes?" "I just know it's there. You've got to feel things that way if you want to travel in this coun try. Where do you suppose you are now? I don't believe anybody knows. I am sure I haven't an idea." "Shut off the motor and you will have one." Dick stopped the engine and a moment later the launch rubbed gently against a dock. "Now where are we?.,' said Ed as he stepped on the dock and with a turn of his hand made the painter fast to a post. "Well, I'm blessed if it isn't Collier's dock at Marco!-or else a dream." The boys walked up the shell pathway to the ho tel, which, having been closed for the season, re mained wide open. They knew where the captain slept and pounded his door till he came out arrayed in his night gear.


CRUISING IN THE DARK Glad to see you was his greeting. You know we're not open now, so just run along and pick out your own rooms and make yourselves com fortable. Breakfast whenever you want it. I'll see you then." Sorry, Captain, but we can't even breakfast with you. We must take the mail boat this morn ing." Sho I hoped you were goin' to stay a spell. Boat'll be leavin' in about half an hour. Can I get you anything before you go? "Nothing, thank you," replied Ned, "only take care of Ed Watson as long as he wants to stay and charge it to me." "That's all right; I'll see him at breakfast." But the captain didn't see him at breakfast, for as Ned and Dick left the hotel they were met at the door by Ed, who said to them: I've left your bags on the mail boat and told Captain Keys that if he left without you I'd break his neck next time I saw him. Good-by and good luck. I'll be off before you." "But Captain Collier expects you to breakfast with him," said Ned. "I'll be south of Coon Key before breakfast is ready in that house. I'll eat as I go along. There's grub enough on board to last me to Key West and back, with plenty over for a 'gator hunt." 37


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Glad you won't go hungry. We are a thou sand times obliged to you for pulling us through and we owe you a lot of money for it. Tell us how much." "I'd have done it for nothing, but as I s'po s e you wouldn't like that, we ll .call it ten dollars. That'll pay everything." "Nonsense! Here's twenty-five, and that is lit tle enough." "It's too much and I won't take it." Yes, you will, and I'll tell you why Ed. It was worth a good many times twenty-five dollars to us to catch this boat. When we asked you to put us here we would gladly have given a hundred dollars and perhaps two or three times that to be sure of getting here. So don't you kick at twenty-five. If you do, I'll make it fifty." "AnCi if he refuses that I'll lick him till he takes it," added Dick. Gwan, chile, foh I eats yo' up! said Ed as he pocketed the twenty-five.


CHAPTER IV A RIVAL IN THE FIELD ''I'LL pilot you out, Captain Keys," said Dick as the motor of the mail boat started. The captain grinned as he sat down on a box beside Ned and lit his pipe for a comfortable smoke. Yet as he talked with Ned he kept the tail of his eye on Dick until he saw that the boy was keeping in the middle of the narrow channel and making every turn with exactness. After the boat was outside the pass, running smoothly in the swash channel the captain said to Dick: "I guess you know the way all right, so I'll take a little nap. Call me when we get to Naples, though it may be too rough to land there. It was yesterday. I lost a lot of sleep that trip. Weather was bad, and then I had to run up to Myers." How did that happen? Thought you never went beyond Punta Rassa." "Don't often, but owin' to bad weather we missed the Myers boat. Then a passenger who was in a hurry hired me to take him there. That's how I lost some sleep. He paid well for it, though. 39


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Who was your passenger? Said his name was Brooks. Seemed to be a nice man. Asked a good many questions in a quiet sort o way." After the captain had curled up on a seat near the motor where he couldn't overhear their talk, Ned sat down by Dick and they discussed the bad news. "That man, Brooks, seems to know all that we do and he has two days the start of us. What can we do? We haven't gained an hour on him." "Neither have we lost one. He can't know what Pedro told us and it isn't likely he knows Wilkins Then if he savies the wilderness we're headed for better than we do, he must have been born in it, and he doesn't look like that." He looked like a square man and I reckon he thinks he's doing his duty," said Ned. Well, we think we are doing ours, only we have got to do it faster hereafter." Big waves were tossing the spray high over the Naples pier as they broke against it and there was no chance of making a landing The mail boat was pitching badly and the captain said to Dick as he stood beside him. "We're going to miss the Myers boat again, I'm afraid." "Should we do any better if you took the wheel?" asked Dick.


A RIV AL IN THE FIELD "Not a bit. You're doing as well as I could." Then you go back and make up some more sleep. You'll need it, for if we miss that boat you will have to take us to Myers." But though they were late in reaching Punta Rassa, the captain of the Myers boat had seen them coming and waited for them. The boys were well known at Myers, and the keeper of the hotel greeted them heartily with: Glad to see you back again! What are you after this time, panthers or manatees? And where is Mr. Barstow and that pretty sister of yours? I hope they are coming to see us again." "That's a good many questions," laughed Ned. I don't think Dad or the girl will be here this sea son unless Dick gets into more trouble with tarpon or panthers. That would bring them both in a hurry." "Hope he ll get into just enough of a mixup with a tarpon to bring them here, without really hurting himself. Will you room together, or-" "We won't room 'at all," interrupted Dick, "or only long enough to make up our packs. We must be off in half an hour." Where are you going? "Boat Landing, first." Oh, another trip in the Everglades! You'll pretty near have to swim, in places between here 41


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES and Boat Landing. That's what Frank Brown t o ld me when he got in from there a few days ago." Is he here now? "No, he started back yesterday morning. He came here to meet a scientific feller from New York who wanted to collect curiosities. He might better have stayed here. He' d pick up more curiosities round this town than he 'll find where he is going. Pity you didn't get here sooner. Frank' s got two yoke of oxen and a good cart. He'd have had room for you and he's fixed well for camping." "Maybe we'll overtake him. He must be trav eling slowly." Mighty slowly. He doesn't make over twelve miles a day, for he only travels in the cool of the morning and the evening. He expected to be in Immokalee to-morrow night "We'll be there, too," said Dick. "It is thirty-two miles from here. That's quite a pull." "We will do ten of it to-night, and twenty-two to-morrow will be easy as pie. Any trouble about finding the way? '' "None at all. Just follow Frank's cart. It's sixty-seven miles to Boat Landing and the course is almost due southeast. After leaving Immokalee you'll find the country pretty wild and quite unin habited." 42


A RIVAL IN THE FIELD "Do you happen to know the name of the scien tific gent who is Frank's passenger?" "He didn't stop here. I don t know who he was, yes, I do. Frank stopped here just before he started and told us to keep all letters addressed to his man, but if a telegram came to send it to lmmokalee to be forwarded to Boat Landing, first chance. I've got the name somewhere. Here it is, George Brooks.' Half an hour later the boys were on the road, each of them carrying a pack of less than twenty pounds' weight. Much experience had taught them what not to carry, which is the most important les son the tramper and camper can learn. A cheese cloth bar with canvas top served as tent and for protection against insects, while a light take-down, repeating rifle, insured them against hunger in emer gency. Their aluminum camping kit weighed less than two pounds, their rubber blankets were gossa mer, but good, their stock of clothing ample and their supply of food good for ten days of comfortable camping. And they were just the boys who would have thought it no hardship to spend a month or more in the wilderness without any addition to their stores beyond what their rifle would provide. What a scare we had about that man Brooks, and to think he turned out just a fossil digger, or a bug stuffer, or maybe a botany sharp! We sure 43


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES hurried and worried ourselves for nothing," said Ned. You bet we haven't hurried for nothing. Your father had some reason for posting us off as he did, and it wasn't just to give us a nice little summer va cation, either. We are going to act just as if Brooks was really on the track of our man. I move we walk till dark to-night. Are you too soft to stand it?" I can stand it if you can, only I won't walk after it gets too dark to see those things," replied Ned as a ground rattler wriggled across the road in front of him. Wish I had my shotgun here," exclaimed Dick, as a flock of quail rose from beside the road. You always said you wouldn't carry one out of season for fear of being tempted to break the game laws." "Sometimes I say foolish things, Neddy, and that's one of 'em. I'd like to be tempted right now. We are out in the wilderness and hungry. It was never intended to apply the game laws to starving people and that's me." The road wound among shallow ponds bordered by pines and a few cypress heads. The road was overflowed in places and the boys made detours through the grass to keep out of the water. "That makes me think of my home," said Dick, 44


A RIVAL IN THE FIELD as two meadow larks rose out of the grass ahead of him, and flew straight away, making their usual dis play of white tails. "Well, this doesn't make me think of home," Ned yelled, as he sprang into the air away from the coiled reptile in his path, from which came the s ound of the rattles which can never be mistaken. Keep your e y e on him while I get a club! shouted Dick. And in a few minutes the life of the venomous creature had been hammered out of it. See s aid Dick, as he held the snake up by the tail, "it's as long as I am and big around as my wrist. Don't you want the rattles? There are fourteen of them I don't want anything connected with that ugly old thing except to get away from it and out of this grass to the road where I can see a snake before I step on it." For the rest of the day the boys kept to the road even when the water in it was a foot or more deep. When they stopped to camp for the night by the wayside they had made the twelve miles they had planned. Ned and Dick breakfasted at dawn and when the I sun rose, were well on their way. They were in a cattle country, and herds of half-wild creatures roamed over it. Bunches of inquisitive cows fol lowed them from a little distance and occasionally 45


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES a savage bull came toward them, bellowing and pawing the ground. When these fellows came too near the boys started toward them, or threw sticks at them and the creatures scampered back to the herd which, with heads and tails held high, were watching their champion. "This is getting beyond a joke," said Dick as he took his rifle from his pack and assembled it, ready for action. "These cattle are private property, Dicky, and you mustn't shoot them! So am I private property, and they mustn't gore me." Before the day had ended the boys had reason to rejoice at the precaution Dick had taken. Their path wound through groves of southern pine and strands of tall cypress, with foliage so scanty and high that it scarcely cast a shadow. "Just think of the difference, Neddy, between these phantom evergreens and the Canada balsam, spruce and pine." "I'm too busy watching this scrub palmetto un dergrowth." It is pretty." That isn't why I'm watching it. I'm interested in the rattlesnakes and moccasins that live under it. Look at those funny little animals! See 'em scam-46


A RIVAL IN THE FIELD per away from us! Why, they're little pigs, and I see the old sow, too." I see them and I believe I could hit one with the rifle. I'm awful hungry, Neddy. Them's pri vate pigs, and it wouldn't break any game law to kill one." "It would break another law, though: 'He who takes what isn't his'n, Must give it back or go to pris'n.' Besides I don't believe you could hit one of them." I'll have a whack at one, anyhow. It won't be stealing, coz we'll find out who owns it and pay up. Then, just think of broiled pig for dinner. Wow!" Dick started out to stalk the pigs and in five min utes the report of his rifle was heard. He returned with the quarry, which wasn't a pig, but a young wild turkey. How is that for luck? he exclaimed. I was just going to fire at a pig, when I happened to see the turkey slip out of a bunch of scrub. I most fainted away when I thought how near I had come to losing it by firing at the pig you wanted me to kill." I wanted you to kill? Didn't I warn you not to kill it? 47


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES "Ofi, that's what you said, but didn't you really want me to kill it? Now be honest, Neddy." You talk too much. But since the turkey has been killed we might as well eat it soon as it can be cooked. We've walked four hours this morning and I'm hollow as a drum." An hour later the bird had been broiled, piece by piece, and eaten till there were not enough scraps left for the lightest lunch. That was the biggest, bangest up and best din ner I ever ate," said Dick as he rearranged his pack after the meal was finished. How about that ptarmigan-rabbit stew that saved all our lives in that forty-below-zero-survey affair? We were starving, then, and wanted to eat the bird raw, feathers and all, and when it was cooked we had to hold back so hard from gorging ourselves that we didn't know what we were eating." As the boys advanced, the country became more open, with little lakes, long stretches of overflowed road and patches of grass-covered prairie where cattle were grazing. The cattle were wild and fled from them and the boys had ceased to regard the animals, when a little red bull sprang out of a thicket and came bellowing toward them. Better take to the trees exclaimed Dick. I don't want to shoot till I have to." 48


A RIVAL IN THE FIELD The bull was delighted with his easy victory and having driven Ned behind a big oak, cavorted about it, making occasional charges toward it. "What is your notion, now, about 'private property' in bulls, Neddy?" shouted Dick from behind a tree, as he raised his rifle. Don't kill him, Dick I Just touch him up a lit tle." "You watch your Uncle Dudley touch him up," was the reply. "Why don't you fire? called out Ned, a minute or two later. You keep still and let that friend of yours get quiet and you'll be glad you've got a front seat at the show." A moment later came the crack of Dick's rifle and the show began. The brute dropped to his knees and then sprang into the air. He spun around like a teetotum, roaring with pain and fright and then galloped bellowing away toward the startled herd. What did you do to make him so crazy, Dick? "I just splintered the point of his horn. I wanted to discourage him from hooking folks." A little before dark the boys overtook the outfit they were following and found Frank Brown be side the camp-fire, frying wild turkey for supper. "Hope you've got plenty of that," said Ned, who had met Frank before. "I thought to-day I'd never 49


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES care to eat again, but I'm hungry as ever to night." Got plenty for to-night, and Cypress will pick up some more in the mornin' ." "Who is Cypress?" "That Injun over there, fetchin' a pail o' water." You've got a collector of curiosities with you? You bet I have. Ought to see him grabbin' bugs. He's round, pickin' up snakes, now. Gets me ter hold 'em while he ties 'em up, or pulls out their fangs. You kin have the job if you want it." thank you, we have troubles of our own. We met your friend on his way to Key West, but he beat us from there to Myers." "That ain't the way Mr. Patton come. He come by train all the way. He told me so." Isn't his name Brooks? "No, no, Brooks is another feller. He came along 'nd wanted me ter take him ter Boat Land ing." Where is he now? Just gone ter Immokalee, over beyont them woods, ter get a horse. He's in an awful hurry ter get through." What was he in a hurry about? Dunno, I've seen folks in a hurry ter git ter the Glades, but mostly the sheriff was arter 'em. He ain't that kind o' man, though." 50


" 'GETS ME TER HOLD 'EM WHILE HE TIBS 'EM UP' "-Page 50 CopyriJrht, Outiug 191J


A RIVAL IN THE FIELD Did he talk much? asked Dick. He asked questions about everything. He wanted to know where everybody lived and how big families they had. He asked all about Injuns, too. Wanted ter know if white folks was 'lowed in their camps."


CHAPTER V THE PROFESSOR AND THE BULL "I KNEW it, I knew it! exclaimed Dick to his companion, when they had walked out of hearing of the camp. I felt in my bones that Brooks was my enemy, yet I let the first bit of rumor put me off the trail." "We are not off the trail, now, at any rate," re plied Ned, "and we have gained nearly two days for we are almost on his heels. We can start in the morning, early as we can see, and be in Boat Landing as soon as he." "It won't do, Neddy, we've got just one advan tage and we must keep it, if we can. He doesn't know where we are, though he is probably doing some mighty close guessing." Frank said he would take two days and a half to get to Boat Landing. We could hire him to do it in two days, suggested Ned. Better not. Brooks will get there to-morrow night, and it might take all the next day to arrange for his trip into the Glades, for that is where he is bound." What makes you so sure of that?. 52


THE PROFESSOR AND THE BULL Because we know the best chance of finding Moore lies that way and we've got to assume that Brooks knows as much as we about it. It is going to be a close game and it won't do to underrate the enemy, or let a single chance escape us. Now if Brooks does get off day after to-morrow we will be on his track the next day, without his know ing it. If he is delayed a day he will yet be off some hours before we get in. But here comes a spectacled chap. It must be Mr. Patton." After the boys and the Professor had introduced themselves to each other, the latter held up a wrig gling little rattlesnake, saying: Isn't it a beaut? I just picked it up, right here in the path. Did you ever see anything so white and slick as those fangs? and as he spoke the Professor pinched the neck of the reptile till its jaws opened wide showing the glistening ivories, from which the yellow venom dripped as he pressed them back with his pliers. Suddenly thrusting out the creature to Dick, he exclaimed : "Here, hold this for me, quick! There's a specimen I have got to have and the Professor was off in chase of a skipping-flying bug, which he finally caught b y k nocking it down with his hat. When he returned he was sucking the thumb of one hand while the other held a wide-mouthed vial in which the insect was imprisoned. 53


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Sorry the bug bit you, Professor," said Dick, politely, as he handed back the rattler. Glad the snake didn't bite you," replied the Professor, with equal politeness, as he took the reptile. Supper was nearly finished, and the last bit of wild turkey had disappeared when two men rode up on their ponies and joined the circle around the camp-fire. One was the father of Frank, who lived near Immokalee, and the other a neighbor. Mr. Brown, Frank's father, was the oldest Indian trader in the country and had lived at Boat Land ing, within the border of the Everglades, for many years. One of the chief delights of camping out and of life in the open is the charm of the camp-fire around which each night the events of the day are lived over. The Professor was an enthusiastic col lector and his camps had been many. He was alike at home on an arid prairie in Arizona and in a snow hut on the shores of Hudson's Bay. On snowshoes or the back of a bronco, by dog-team or canoe, with Indian hunter or white trapper, with equal ardor he had sought curios for the great museum. He knew the customs of camps and he called on Ned to tell his story of the day. We will tell our stories in their turn," said Ned, but you are the oldest and ought to begin." 54


THE PROFESSOR AND THE BULL "My story is in two parts," replied the Pro fessor. Frank, you tell what you know about our mixup with the bull." "It was thisaway, Professor. We stopped 'bout 'leven ter rest the cattle 'nd you went huntin' bugs, same as usual. Then I got dinner 'nd you didn't come. I yelled some, but couldn't hear nothin' from you. Then I got worried and told Cypress, mebbe you lost. Cypress shook his head and said you d find the wagon trail, easy. I said if you did come to it and knew it you d likely turn the wrong way and land back in Myers. So I told Cypress to find you. First, though, I fired two shots. Then we thought we heard somethin' down thataway. Then Cypress said, Bull got him in tree, me think so.' Pretty soon I heard the bull 'nd I thought so, too. Then we ran till we saw you sittin' in a live-oak, most hid in the moss, whackin' at the bull with a switch. When we got pretty near, the bull came away from you and ran at us. Then I fired over his head and yelled at him and he went off a humpin'. vVhen the bull was most out o' sight you dumb down the tree 'nd told me I couldn't shoot for sour apples 'nd that you could have hit the bull with a rock that far. I told you so could I, but the bull belonged to somebody round here and I didn't want ter kill it. Then you said anybody that kept a bull like that oughter have it killed." 55


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Everybody laughed at this, and the old Indian trader said to the Professor: I know the little red devil that treed you. He' s as lively a two-year-old as I ever saw," and again the two guests laughed. Have you ever been treed by a bull? inquired the Professor. Dozens o' times," replied the trader, "but not by a two-year-old, that I rec'lect, though he added reflectively. What do you do when a two-yearo ld tackles you?" I useter take 'em by the horns and throw em. Then I pulled one o' the critter s legs over his horn and ran for my horse "I wish I'd met you this morning, and learned how you do things down here then I'd have pulled that red devil's legs over his horns and walked away instead of being treed and serenaded for half a day. If I had been carrying my gun I would have killed the beast though it's the owner that ought to be shot for keeping a brute running around in the open that's as dangerous as a panther." Frank laughed at this, but his father said : "Don't worry 'bout panther s They're no more dangerous than pussy cats. You could chase one around with a stick till he died of heart failure. They will pull down a deer or a calf and rob a hen-56


THE PROFESSOR AND THE BULL roost, but the c owa rdl y brutes never did tackle a man unless he cornered 'em first." One went for Dick, here, pretty savagely," said Ned. "No," replied the trader, "you and Dick went for the panther. Everybody 'round this country knows about that. You two went up to a panther, within ten feet, and you shot him and the critter jumped at you and Dick jumped at the panther and grabbed him 0 f course the brute bit and clawed and you were lucky to come out alive, either of you, but you began it." How about rattlesnakes? inquired the Pro fessor Are the people around here afraid of them?" "Some of 'em says they ain't. Shows they've got no sense. I've killed over five hundred of 'em and I'm scared now at sight of one." Ever know any one to die of rattlesnake bite? Never knew but one feller that didn't, and I reckon it was a ground rattler that bit him. They don't count. Diamond-backs have killed fifteen of my neighbors since I settled in this neighbor hood." "Now, Professor," said Ned, "it's your turn. Frank has told his half of the bull story all right, hasn't he? He's made it bullier than it really was, I'm 57


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES afraid, and he hasn't left much for me to tell. I was chasing a flying insect and trying to knock it out with this big red bandanna. I suppose the bull had a right to think I was challenging him. Anyhow, he charged me in great shape. I should like to have seen it if he had been after some one else. I didn't know then about grabbing them by the horns, so I took to the timber. There was a big live-oak pretty near, and I got there be fore the bull. The tree was hung with festoons of Spanish moss and it looked so pleasant among the branches that I climbed up I was sitting on one of them, seven or eight feet above the ground, when the bull arrived. He invited me, as well as he could, to come down and have it out. He roared and reared, tossed his head, lashed his tail and pawed the ground. I got out my pocket-knife, cut off a branch and whittled out a club, not a switch, as Frank called it. I sat down on the branch and shook my club at the bull and when he came near batted him on the nose. I must have been doing this an hour, when I heard Frank's rifle. I yelled and that made the bull bellow, but I don't know which Frank heard." That was a good story, Professor, and I'm much obliged for my share of it. Come and see me whenever you can spare the time. I reckon we'd better be goin', Brown." 58


THE PROFESSOR AND THE BULL Don't be in a hurry," said the Professor. The night is young and probably Ned has a good story, though I don t suppose it will be about a bull." "Yes it will," said Ned, "and about the same bull too. "What! interrupted the Professor. Did that bull get after you ? Sure was the reply. And did it tree you? "Oh, no." How did you get away? What happened?" "Dick shot him." Mr. Brown was the only one who laughed at this and turning to his friend he said : "This will be a good story, and we must stay and hear it." After the story of the day had been told by Ned, the visitors left and there was a peculiar twinkle in the eye of Mr. Brown's friend as he said to Dick: I wish you would come and see me. I am sure we should be friends and I will tell you another g o od story about that bull." After the guests of the evening had departed, Dick turned to Frank, who was chuckling to him self and asked : Who was your father's friend? He seemed 59


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES mightily amused about something or s o mebod y Looked as if it was me." Why, that was the man that owned the bull, laughed Frank. The Cypress Express," as the Professor had christened their caravan, started an hour before dawn and when the day broke was two miles to the good. I didn't get you any breakfast," explained Frank, "coz I reckoned you'd ruther wait till you could have fresh meat. I've sent Cypress ahead for some. He'll meet us about six miles from here. If you d ruther not wait, I'll boil you some coffee and make you some flapjacks now." Every one chose to wait and as the oxen plodded slowly along, the Professor and Dick walked ahead, the former hunting for rare insects and queer bugs and Dick helping to catch them when found. Ned had never lived on a farm and he watched Frank with wonder as he walked beside him. A spirit of evil possessed the half-wild oxen, and leaders and wheelers, pretending to be frightened, would dash to one side and make for the woods. Then Frank became eloquent and his words poured vol ubly forth. "Whoo-ey, Dave! Gee, Duke! Come up there, Bob! Gee, Sam! Whoo-ey, Dave, you son of a gun!" 6 0


THE PROFESSOR AND THE BULL with each shout the long, heavy, braided lash streamed forth, straight as an arrow to the ox addressed, and the curling tip hunted the tender sp o ts and would have flecked out bits of flesh had the hide been a trifle less tough. Ned tried to get on to the game and borrowed the whip of Frank, but the lash wouldn't go straight, and whenever he fired at Dave he hit Duke. Instead of going like an arrow the course of his lash was like the arm of a girl when she throws a stone. Ned essayed Frank's forceful language to the brutes but he was asked if he had always gone to school with girls. When Dave, the off leader of the team, who was the imp of the bunch, heard his name called in Ned's gentle tones he turned around and looked at the boy with the expression of one CJ,bout to faint. Dick, who knew something of cattle from his childhood life in the country, took the whip and soon the young oxen, which had been having fun with Ned, settled down to work. "I could learn you to drive this team, easy," said Frank. Them oxen is hard of hearin' and you want ter talk to 'em like this."-Then Frank called the roll of the oxen in a shrill voice that sent every neck hard against the yoke and made cattle that were grazing half a mile away lift their heads in apprehension. 61


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES "If you're goin' ter drive I'll help the Professor ketch bugs," said he, and soon was chasing insects with the Man of Science. Often prairie and road were flooded and as the Professor splashed along beside the cart he envied the Indian his costume of bare legs but could not be persuaded to adopt it. Suddenly a heavy cloud rolled up from the hori zon and swiftly spread its inky blackness across the eastern sky, while yet team and travelers were bathed in brilliant sunshine. Soon the on-coming clouds shut out the sun and a wall of wind-driven water struck the outfit. In the falling flood it was hard to breathe, but above the roar of the wind and the hissing of the water Frank could be heard as with whip and voice he conversed with the frantic oxen. The storm passed quickly, leaving a silence so complete that Dick said he could hear it. In five minutes not a cloud could be seen, but every thing was soaked and when the oxen were out spanned for their midday rest, stores were over hauled and blankets and clothing hung out to dry. Cypress had been found at the appointed place, with a fire ready to cook the dressed carcass of a deer, which was hanging from a tree beside him. "Neddy," said Dick half an hour later, "that's the third slice of broiled venison that you have stowed away on top of about four pounds of fried 62


THE PROFESSOR AND THE BULB buck liver. It don't seem possible that you could be the fellow who talked game laws to me, only yesterday." I didn't shoot this deer." "You are eating it and you encouraged Cypress to break the law. You are a subterfuger." I didn't encourage Cypress to break any law. He is a Seminole and his people owned this country before Columbus was born. Cypress and his folks inherited it, and 'stead of talking game laws to him you ought to take your hat off this minute and ask him to please let you stay on his property." It doesn't make any difference who used to own the land in Noah's time, or a little later. When you live in a country you have got to obey its laws." That comes well from you, Dicky. Remember how you went for that wild turkey, yesterday? I didn't go for the wild turkey. I went for a private pig, and the turkey got in the way." Don't have ter go fer pigs," interposed Frank, "jist call 'em when you want 'em. Now, look!" and his shrill call pierced the open forest. He re peated it again and again and soon a drove of half grown, half-wild hogs, followed by a sow with a litter of little pigs came trotting toward him. They stopped within twenty yards and scampered a short distance away when he approached them. 63


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Hey, Cypress! Help me ketch one! yelled Frank as he dashed toward the creatures. The Indian was followed by Ned and Dick, and the pigs were headed for a shallow pond. As they neared its borders the larger animals turned, and dodging between their pursuers, escaped. Frank got his hand on one, but couldn't hold on, while another dodging between Ned's legs threw him prone on the ground. The little pigs had kept on and were scrambling and swimming in the shallow water when Frank and Dick plunged after them. Dick tripped and fell headlong into water barely deep enough to cover him, while Frank kept on till he held a little pig in his hands, the only trophy of the raid. In the afternoon the road taken by the travelers wound through heavier timber, of pine, cypress and live-oak. They crossed the Okalowacoochee Slough, the clear, sweet waters of which flowed into the body of the cart as they forded it. Near it grow the big cypress trees from which the Indians construct the curious craft that enables them to navigate the saw-grass of the Everglades. A half-finished Seminole canoe lay on the bank of the stream and the boys examined the work, wonder ipg at its accuracy in view of the few tools pos sessed by the Indians. They camped near the slough and Ned and Dick 64


THE PROFESSOR AND THE BULD slept on its bank, while Frank crept under the wagon and the Professor chose a bit of soft ground for his bunk. The call of an owl was replied to by Frank and a regular dialogue followed After this other owls chipped in and the boys went to sleep in the midst of a caucus of the birds, presided over by Frank.


CHAPTER VI A NIGHT WITH A RATTLESNAKE DICK got up in the morning as soon as it was fairly light and walked toward the fire which Frank had just built. He was soon joined by Ned and the three chatted as Frank broiled the venison and made the coffee. The Professor must be sleepy this morning," said Dick. Where did he bunk? "Down thataway som'eres; said he wanted ter go where he could hear somethin'." I'll wake him up," said Dick as he started in the direction indicated by Frank. A moment later he returned running, and seizing a stick of wood that lay by the fire, rushed back. Ned and Frank followed in time to see Dick's quick advance on the Professor, who was lying quietly on the ground, the club uplifted above the head of the sleeping man and the tremendous force with which it was brought down. Several times was the blow re peated and then Dick, taking by the tail the thickset body of a six foot rattlesnake dragged it quickly away. 66


A NIGHT WITH A RATTLESNAKE The face of the Professor was pale as he rose languidly from his bed and walked slowly to the fire. He talked little and ate less at breakfast while Dick's hand trembled as he handled his food. Frank broke a long silence by saying: I didn't tie the oxen ter the wagon last night and they've run off. Cypress has gone fer 'em, but he's no good with cattle, 'nd I reckon I've got ter find 'em myself. I'll likely be back in an hour." "I am glad the oxen ran away," said the Professor as soon as Frank was out of hearing. "I didn't sleep much last night and my nerves are pretty shaky this morning. I'll feel better for an hour's rest and perhaps it'll do me good to tell you just what happened, or. what I thought happened. To begin at the beginning, when you boys went off to look at that canoe I looked around for a good sleeping-place and picked out that spot under the live-oak, where you found me this morning. I like to sleep beyond the little noises of a camp and hear the buzzing of insects, the rustling wings of night-flying birds and the step of soft-footed ani mals. Well, after I had picked out the tree I was going to sleep under, I carried my blankets there and pretty nearly threw them on a big rattlesnake that came out of the grass beside the tree. I fol lowed the reptile till I could get hold of a stick and then I killed him. Yes, I must have killed 67


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES him three or four times. I pounded his head to pieces and cut off his rattles, twelve of 'em and a button. Frank saw the snake after I killed it, but I told him not to tell you boys till to-day I was afraid it would keep you from sleeping. I wished afterwards I had told you." I wish so now," interrupted Dick. Things might have happened differently, if you had. You must have had a horrid time if you were awake at all." "I was awake all the time There wasn't an element of horror about it that didn't soak into me. I dropped into a doze after Frank and the owls stopped talking and then awoke suddenly,so suddenly. And how wide awake I was! I heard the rustling in the grass beside me as a rep tile cautiously extended his head and slowly drew forward his tail. I recognized the sound of the slow curving of his sinuous body around the ob stacles in his path. I knew when he stopped that he was within striking distance, for I could feel the slight motion of the air as his head swayed above my face. I fancied that if I kept perfectly quiet the rattlesnake might not strike and for what seemed an eternity I scarcely breathed, while drops of cold sweat gathered on my face. Then I felt the reptile receding, though whither I could not guess, yet the heavy body was still 68


A NIGHT WITH A RATTLESNAKE dragging beside my face. The sound became more distant and I could almost breathe when I received another shock. The head of the rattlesnake, for it was such, touched my foot and I fancied his fangs were pressing into my flesh. The skin of my scalp puckered while goose-flesh covered my body and limbs. I almost screamed as the heavy b6dY, began to drag across my leg. At last the weight grew less and soon the creature had passed. Once more I began to breathe when again came the rustling beside my face the other side this time. Every motion of that reptile head was carried to my face by swaying air currents. The very quiet of the creature frightened me. Always it seemed as if he must be poising for the fatal blow. I must have been dotty for a while. First I thought that I was dreaming and the snake was the one I had killed, and then I killed him a few more times. When I had overcome that delusion I began to recall stories of the Indian cobra and especially of one which had followed the trail of its murdered mate, and then I was sure that the mate of the snake I had killed was after me. Sometimes a soft step in the grass relieved the tension that was killing me. It might be a field mouse or a tree rat, a rabbit or a wildcat, anything was better than a snake. I heard frogs croaking in that 69


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES bit of swamp, and more than once shivered as there came to my ears the long-drawn-out squeak which the amphibian gives as he is being slowly swallowed by his reptile enemy. Something hopped near my face which I was sure was a frog and I waited for the blow of the snake thinking to clutch it by the throat as its fangs were fixed in its victim. As the reptile let the chance go by I was yet more sure that he was saving his venom for me. I thought of calling to you, but that seemed like suicide. You know how dark the night was and I dared not open my mouth which might be within a few inches of poised, poisonous fangs. My position was cramped and every bone ached, but I dared not turn over. The sound of the wings of night-flying birds, buzzing of insects, falling of leaves and the hundred noises of the night, were of sinister significance to my in flamed nerves. There were moments when desperation almost drove me to spring to my feet and challenge the worst that the monster could do. A hundred times exhaustion half-conquered fear, nerves relaxed and sleep seemed possible, but a hundred times some slightest sound as if the fearsome creature were crawling nearer, came to brain and heart, and the one flamed out with fear, while the other ceased to beat for one instant and then choked me with its 70


A NIGHT WITH A RATTLESNAKE throbbing the next. I lay until dawn in one long nightmare, unable and not wishing to move, but from the first ray of the morning light, until you, Dick, approached me seemed like several ages. As you came on I nearly shrieked to you to go back and not disturb the snake. Then as you stopped, turned, and ran quickly back I was afraid the reptile would hear the rush of blood as it coursed through my every limb. I thought you had gone for your rifle and I wondered if your hand would be steady as you fired. I wasn't afraid of your hitting me, but only of your missing the beast. When you returned and crept cautiously toward me with the club in your hand, my thoughts turned upon little things. I saw that the stick you held was one I had used the night before to poke the fire and I wondered what part of it would hit the snake and where. I could see your arm stiffen before you struck and I closed my eyes as the blow fell, which for a moment seemed to have landed upon my head. "As the reptile writhed there came strongly to me the fetid, yet fruit-like odor that I then remem bered had oppressed me through all the night. I shivered as I staggered to the fire, while the horrors of those long hours of darkness paraded before my spiritual vision. I thought they would soon go as the vagaries of a dream are dissipated 71


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES by the morning light, but I am not yet ready to laugh at them." Neither were the boys and it was a quiet group that sat by the camp-fire, until the cheery voice of Frank broke in upon their meditations: Hi, there, Dave! Want me to break your neck, you son of a gun?" Frank had had a long chase after the truant oxen, for most of which he blamed their leader in mis chief, Dave. For an hour after the team started, the cracking of his whip was continuous and he anathematized the animal until his voice was re duced almost to a whisper. A quail, feeding be side the road, was killed by the lash of Frank's whip, and the youth explained in a hoarse whisper. that the blow had been intended for Dave, whereupon that ox nearly twisted his head out of the yoke to cast back a reproachful glance at the boy. It was a lovely country for snakes and Ned and Dick, armed with big sticks walked ahead of the team and rolled up a goodly record of slain ground rattlers, moccasins and a few diamond-backs. The Professor walked quietly by the wagon until the midday halt, frankly admitting that his nerves were too shaken for work. Hair of the dog is good for the bite," is a proverb which the cure of the Professor verified. while Frank was unyoking the oxen and the In-72


A NIGHT WITH A RATTLESNAKE dian starting a fire the Collector wandered afield in pursuit of specimens. He was following an in sect through palmetto scrub when he nearly stepped on a huge rattlesnake. The reptile instantly threw himself into a coil and witli swaying neck and head, wide-open mouth, vibrating tail and hissing rattles threatened death to the intruder. The Pro fessor coolly stepped back a pace, out of reach of the threatened blow, and looked about until he found a stick about three feet long. With this he threatened the snake waving it until the reptile struck it, again and again. Partly stunning the creature by a blow of the stick the Professor sprang forward and caught it by the neck. As he walked back to the camp-fire the reptile recovered and threw coils of its big body around the arm that held it, but the voice of the man was cheerful and quite unexcited as he said : Well, boys, I am cured. Now, Dick, you hold this thing while I skin it for the museum. They skin better while they're alive." In the afternoon the Professor was on his job again, dashing through scrub and grass as if quite immune to the venom of the crotalus adamanteus. The country became more beauti fut as the outfit progressed. There were groves of palmetto, heads of pop-ash, maple, water and live-oak draped in moss and covered with orchids. It was the border 73


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES land between the Big Cypress Swamp and the pine and prairie country. The road wound through dense woods, peopled with creatures of the wild; past open glades where startled deer gazed for a moment before bounding away; among little lakes from which rose flocks of fussy ducks and slow flying, long-legged heron; and through fields where thick-growing wild sunflowers rose three feet above the backs of the oxen, quite hiding the team from view. Wider fields were passed where herds of cattle were grazing, and in one a group of the ani mals was seen surrounding some object on the ground and groaning piteously. They're holdin' a wake over a dead cow," said Frank. "They allers do thataway." As the journey continued it became a voyage, for the waterscape increased while the landscape diminished, and often the voyagers waded in water that was knee-deep. "There ought to be alligators in this country," said Dick to the Professor as they wandered away from the team, among a lot of little ponds. I wish I could find one. I've got to take home a specimen or two." "That will be easy. Just watch for a trail in the grass, leading to one of these ponds." What will it look like? Only a little groove in the dirt under the grass, 74


A NIGHT WITH A RATTLESNAKE as if some one had dragged a stick through it. You might see footprints each side of the groove that the tail makes, but I don't believe you could make them out. We'll take opposite sides of the ponds." Half an hour later the Professor shouted to Dick and showed him a trail in the grass. There it is, just as you described it and it leads right into this little pond. How are we going to get the reptile out of the pond? "It isn't in the pond. See those little claw marks leading out of the pond? We've got to follow the trail the way the 'gator was going, to find him. But I reckon we can do that." It was an easy trail to follow and within a hun dred yards was lost in a little pool, hardly twenty yards in diameter. "We've got him," said Dick exultingly. "He can't get out of that and you see no tracks lead away from it. Now just keep still and see me call him up." Dick grunted in the fashion he had practised before and soon the top of a little head appeared and rested on the smooth water of the pool, while two tiny bright eyes were fixed on the intruders. How can we catch him?" asked the Professor eagerly. Just wade in and pick him up," replied Dick. 75


mcK AMONG THE SEMINOLES "Not me! exclaimed the Professor. "I don't mind doing some things, but wading into an alligator's private apartment and pulling him out of it isn't one of them. I don't believe you would care to, either." ''Just watch me;" and Dick waded into the pool where the reptile had disappeared. After feeling around with his feet for a while, he suddenly plunged his arm deep in the water and brought out in his hand a struggling baby alligator. "Bully for you!" exclaimed the Professor. I'll tie it in my handkerchief till we get back to the wagon." "I'll carry it for you, if you like," said Dick, as he partly unbuttoned his outing shirt and dropped the squirming reptile inside I think I should like you for a companion," ob served the Professor. You seem to have a lot of resourcefulness. Wouldn't you and Ned like to go through the Everglades with Frank, the Indian and me? I am a museum man and my mission is to exploit the Seminoles." Ned and I have a mission, too, and it may take us among the Seminoles, but if we started with you we might have to drop out any minute "That's all right. You stay with us as long as it suits your purposes, dropping out the minute 76


A NIGHT WITH A RATTLESNAKE it pleases you to do so and no questions will be asked." It was arranged that night by the camp-fire that the boys were to join the Professor's party for the trip into the Everglades. Can we get an Indian canoe at Boat Landing, Frank?" inquired Dick. Sure. I'll get you a good one, at a fair price, too. Want an Injun to pole?" "No, we'll do that for ourselves and we will carry our own supplies." Course you don't want any guide? You fel lers don't need one. It wouldn't hurt you ter git lost, anyhow." "No, we don't want a guide, but what we do want is for you to find out where Mr. Brooks has gone, who has gone with him and all you can learn of his plans. Keep it on the dead quiet and don't let any one suspect what you are after." I'll do that all right. I kin turn any of the Boat Landing crowd inside out without their know in' it." 77


CHAPTER VII SHOT UP! ''WONDER what's happened ter Cran ford," said Frank, as a cart, drawn by slow-moving oxen turned into the road ahead of him. "Hey, Cranford! What's the trouble? Where ye goin'?" Bin shot up, goin' t' the Mission," replied the tall Florida Cracker and his Whoa, there! halted the oxen and brought the creaking wheels to rest. There were four sleepy-looking children in the cart and the Cracker's hard face softened as he looked at them. "They've had a hard ride, but that's better'n be in' shot." But you don't mean, Mr. Cranford," exclaimed Ned, "that anybody would hurt those babies?" They was shot at last night, so dost that one bullet cut th' table 'tween Mary Ann 'nd th' baby!" Where were you ? "Th' devils hed sot th' barn afire 'nd I'd gone t' put et out. Et burnt up, though." 78


SHOT UP! What are you going to do about it? Can't you find out who did it? "Know who they is, now, 'd I'd like t' clean out th' devils, but they's a lot like 'em 'nd some on 'em 'nd git me sure." At Boat Landing the boys found Dr. Goodwin, who had recently bought out the Indian trader and established a mission hospital, and a store for the benefit of the Seminoles. Before the introductions were fairly over, Ned spoke to the Doctor of the Cranford outrage and while they were talking of it the Cracker arrived at the Mission. "Come, kids!" and he lifted the babies to the ground. "Ann Mary'll take keer o' yer." Ann Mary was only eight, but she marshaled her small flock, each carrying a little bundle, though that of the youngest was only a doll made of rags. She led them to the porch of the mission house, spread out the pieces of quilts from the bundles and soon all four were asleep. "Ann Mary's a good young-un," said Cranford to the Doctor. She's nigh taken keer 'f all 'f us sence her mammy died. I dunno what we'd a done without her." They are all good children, Cranford, and you ought to thank God that they escaped injury last night." "Them' s the fellers ter thank Him. Ef a bullet 79


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES hed teched one o' th' kids both them sons o' guns'd be dead 'fore now, or I'd be." Are you going to let them drive you from your home?" "I'll fight et out ef yer say so, but who'd look arter th' kids, ef th' devils got me? Poor youngsters! Where will you take them? "I did reckon I'd take 'em up th' country, where I useter live." "You are right, Cranford, though it couldn't be wrong if you fought it out. How can I help? I'll send for your furniture and hold it for you Our team will take you to Myers. Let me lend you money for your fare to your old home." "No! No I Not a cent but et's mighty good 'f yer. Look arter th' truck ef yer like. Sell et ef yer kin." Cranford went out to care for his cattle and Dr. Goodwin unburdened his mind to the boys: It is a shame,-a horrible shame! Cranford would stand for his rights, but it would mean a bloody feud." But you won't advise him to run away? ex claimed Ned. Send for the sheriff and hound the criminals Dick and I will join his posse The Doctor shook his head: I used to feel so, but there is another side. Cranford knows who did the shooting, but he can't 80


SHOT UP! prove it. His neighbors are his enemies. He is poor, his fences are broken down and cattle destroy his crops." "What is the matter with the law?" inquired Ned. Florida was long a cattle State and cattlemen made the laws to suit their interests. He has no r e dress." How did he get his neighbors down on him? Some of them are likely to be tried for steal ing cattle and he might be a witness against them." "Then the law gets men who steal cattle, but not murderers?" Cattle are owned by companies with money. Money will buy justice, or injustice. It will send sheriffs and posses even into the E'.verglades. Then, neither Cranford nor his enemies have much legal ground to stand on. The very land they occupy is owned by the Big Cypress Lumber Co. and the stockholders up North are only interested in the timber." "Don't you believe it, Doctor! exclaimed Ned, excitedly. "That Lumber Company won't stand for any such hideous injustice, on its property, not for a minute. Show me how the Big Cypress Lum ber Co can right this wrong and Cranford shall stay and his enemies go." I am very, very glad to hear what you say of 81


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES this company. It can do much for this country in the future, but it will take time and cannot help Cranford now." Doctor, that company is going to get busy help ing Cranford, right off. Is there any one here who can take me to where the fellows live who are sup posed to have shot him up? "Frank Brown could take you." Don't think I want him to go He lives near here and whoever goes with me -" "Say us," interrupted Dick, for I am in on this job." Whoever goes with us," said Ned, will be un popular with that murderous bunch. Think I'll bor row Cypress." He can show you the way, but I hope you are not going to risk your life with those people." "I don't think we are running any serious risk, Doctor. Those fellows are troubled over the chance of being held for stealing cattle. They care to invite a more serious charge." Ned and Dick were off at daylight the next morn ing with Cypress to pilot them. They found the Cranford cabin with its door wide open and its scat tered belongings giving evidence of the hasty de parture of the family. They saw the course of the bullet through the table and the holes in the wall where it and another entered. In these they placed 82


SHOT UP! straws to establish the course, which Cypress fol lowed, noting with the instinct of his race every sign that leaf, twig or footprint held. At length he stopped and pointed to footprints a few feet apart. "Think so eestee hotkee shoot choko!" Unca." Think so know 'im bimeby? asked Ned as he pointed to the marks left by the boots the men had worn. Unca," was the Indian's reply, but his tone said, What a silly question." Cypress followed the trail of the men whom he said had fired the shots, for about two hundred yards, when he came upon the tracks of two unshod horses They had been left tied to a tree for some time and before the Indian took up the trail he pointed out breaks in the hoofs of both that made future identification certain. After half an hour of rapid walking Cypress motioned with his hand to a cabin which they were approaching, saying: "Eestee hotkee." Two men were standing by the cabin, just about to mount their ponies as Ned and Dick approached. The former omitted his customary courteous greet ing and started in on his errand : I represent the Big Cypress Land Co., which owns this property."


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES I don ; t care what you represent. You can't move us till you pay for our improvements," re plied one of the men, whose face, despite its sinister expression, suggested a cultivated man gone wrong. "That is not what I am after. If I wanted you moved the sheriff would attend to that, on the charge of attempted murder." For a moment the man made no reply, but his burly companion broke in: Look a-here, I don't erlow ary man er boy ter talk that-er-way ter me. I hain't 'tempted no der." How about your shooting into Cranford' s cabin, night before last? Dunno nothin' 'bout it." "How happened your boots to be there, and your horses' hoofs? I am not the only one who will swear to them." Half-wild with rage and fear the man lifted his rifle threateningly, when his companion spoke sharply: Drop that gun, you fool. Where would you hide if you hurt him? Then turning to Ned he continued, You said you didn't want to move us. What do you want? Want to warn you. I am going to advise Cran ford to come back to his home under the protection of the Big Cypress Lumber Co. Then if anything 84


SHOT UP! happens to him or his family you two will be rounded up if you are on top of the earth." But some one else might hurt him." Better watch out that they don't, for you would probably have to pay for it." "We don't want any trouble with the company and Cranford needn't be afraid of us." When the boys reached the Mission, on their return, Dr. Goodwin sent Cranford out in a canoe with his children, and then turning to Ned ex claimed: I am glad enough to welcome you back, for I was really getting anxious about you. What suc cess did you have?" All we could have hoped for. Those people won't attack Cranford again," and Ned started to tell the story of the morning but was interrupted by Dick, who, accusing him of shameless omissions and suppressions, proceeded to tell the story as it was. Your account is far more picturesque than Ned's and more in accordance with the facts, I think," was the Doctor's comment. He added "I believe Cranford will decide not to go back, after all. His wife died there and he has been talking of that and other troubles and now he is excited by the thought that his children may have other children to play with." "Then I suppose we have wasted our morning 85


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES "You never put in a better one. Life is safer in the county for what you have done this day. It is a great thing to know that your big company stands for justice and the protection of the weak as well as for the making of money. But here comes the Immokalee mail." A boy came galloping up with a mail bag fast to his saddle and the carcass of a deer lying across his pony's back. How much time did you lose getting that deer? inquired the Doctor. "'Bout five minutes, I reckon, 'fore I had him tied on. Jumped him back here a piece and shot him on the run." Doctor, who are the people we see about here, red, white and black? inquired Ned. "Those two white men are alligator hunters, who have stopped in for some supplies and will be off in a few minutes. The red are Seminoles, come to trade alligator hides for grits and coffee, bacon and tobacco. They will spend a day making their small exchanges. One of them, Tommy Osceola, has brought his squaw for medical attention. The blacks are mostly outlaws, often for very slight offenses, trifling thefts, or even jumping their jobs, where they had been held, substantially in peonage. See that negro sitting on the steps, gnawing bread and bacon like a wolf ? The bandage you see is my 86


SHOT UP! work and it covers an arm badly torn by a bullet. See him slink away? He knows we are talking about him and he is frightened. He will sleep in the swamp to-night." "Do any of them talk to you of what they have done or suffered ? Sometimes I hear stories and see scars of that criminal institution, the chain-gang, that make my heart bleed. I don't wish to know too much. My call is to minister to the mind and body of these poor people and not to serve the cause of human venge ance, or human justice. You may have some re sponsibility, yourself," and the Doctor smiled as he turned to Ned, for these people live on the land of your big company." I want the responsibility and I want to know what big thing a big company can do for the people of this country." "Ah," and the Doctor's voice grew earnest, "I can tell you that! It is a job for big men, but per haps you can accomplish it. For the sake of hu manity and to save the honor of your country, the Florida Seminoles must be cared for, and quickly. They are in extremity, hemmed in by advancing foes, in the last ditch and that ditch is being drained. They are like Poe's prisoner in a dungeon of which the iron walls contracted daily. They were the owners of this land, but, tricked 87


DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES by treaties and driven by force, they have been pushed back and always back, from the more fertile soil. Now from their very last foothold, in the swamps, they turn to the west to meet bark, fruit and lumber companies seizing their latest habitat. From the east come great dredges, draining their domain, followed by a countless horde of their an cient enemies seizing each acre as fast as it is re claimed from the water that covered it. White hunters have slaughtered the deer, trapped the otter and murdered the snowy heron. A few alligators, only, stand between this people and privation, per haps starvation. "My own work among the Indians is hampered and thwarted by their inherited suspicion of all white men, their especial distrust of missionaries and their bitter animosity toward any one connected with the Government. There are those who see the end coming and threaten to die with their rifles in their hands. It is too pitiful to think of. A sher iff's posse can wipe them out, but what then can blot out the stain from a Christian people or a Christian Government? But, Doctor, the railroads can't be stopped, the dredges held up, nor the people pushed back. Can anything be done excepting to induce the Govern ment to pension them with enough to buy little farms to live on? 88

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SHOT UP! "They should have a pension, a small one would do, but above all else they should have a portion of the inheritance that belongs to them, of that home which they love, and the fear of being driven from it should be dispelled forever. An Indian Reserva tion, three townships wide and twelve long, running south from where we are sitting would probably be sufficient. This tract of eighteen by seventytwo miles includes a little unused prairie land, some of the Big Cypress Swamp, a small section of the Everglades, a bit of mangrove swamp, and part of the shallow lagoon known as Whitewater Bay. It has no important stream, does not touch the coast line and includes few habitations other than Indian. Its boundaries should be sternly guarded against the uninvited white hunter, tourist or trader." "That is Washington work. My people will do what they can and they have many friends in Con gress." There is work down here for you, that you can do better than Congress," said the missionary. These simple-hearted, injured people must be taught to trust where they have distrusted. Friendliness must be put into hearts where hatred now lives. I don't know what your mission among the Seminoles may be, but you can serve them greatly. You have been among them a little, the whole tribe knows of you and they are disposed to like and trust 89

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES you. They don't suspect you of being missionaries or Government officials." You have done your best to make us both, Doc tor, and I feel like a spy already," laughed Dick, and the good missionary laughed with him. "Now I'll tell you our mission, Doctor," con tinued Ned. Only leaving out real names, which wouldn't help you to understand. Somewhere in this country, probably near or among the Indians, there is living with his wife and child, a man to whom we have a message. The message is from a friend and we couldn t make an Indian believe that, so we have got to find him without their help. Our theory, and we have something to confirm it, is that he gets his supplies for his family through an In dian and we have assumed that he secured the sym pathy of the Indian by telling him that he was afraid of a visit from an officer of the Government. Our plan is to live with the Indians till we get on the right trail or, failing there, to explore every haunt in the whole wilderness of South Florida where a family could live. Can you help us? Maybe I can," replied the Doctor. The whole story was gone over to me within twenty four hours." "Was it Brooks?" inquired Ned excitedly. It was Brooks, but don t let that worry you. He didn't get any help here, partly because I didn t 90

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SHOT UP! happen to remember what I am going to tell you, and partly, perhaps, because he failed to mention that his errand to that poor family was a friendly one." It wasn t friendly. I can tell you that." I don t want to know anything about it. Is the friend you are looking for an educated man, one likely to teach his child geometry? "That's just what he is, and he'd likely throw in Latin if not Sanscrit." That is exactly what he did, the Latin, not the Sanscrit. A year or so ago, an Indian brought me a list of three books with just money enough to pay for them. He allowed time for their arrival from New York before calling for them. The books or dered were Virgil, somebody's plane geometry and another school book, the title of which I fail to re member. Both times the Indian came when no one else was here and he was dumb when I asked his name." He was from our man, without a doubt. Now we must have a talk with Frank." The boys found Frank teaching the Professor to stand up in an Indian canoe and spear a couter at the same time. Frank poled the canoe and man aged to steady it until the Professor saw one of the little turtles and threw his harpoon at it. Then the Man of Science turned a half-somersault backward, 91

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES while Frank made a forward dive and the only un troubled creature in the vicinity was the couter. Soon as you get on your dry clothes I want to talk to you, Frank," said Dick as the boy floundered ashore through the mud. "Got 'em on now, all I'm goin' ter have, 'nd say, I found out about Mr. Brooks. He started off in a canoe yes't'd'y mornin' with Bill Day." Do you know where he was going? Couldn't find out for sure, but reckon 'twas some Seminole camp, same as we. 'Twon't do him any good. The Injuns'll think he's a Gov'ment man 'nd '11 shut up like clams when he's round." Who is Bill Day? "Bill's a fust rate 'gator hunter, but th' Injuns ain't got no use for him." How did you find out about Brooks? "Bill's brother, Joe, got after me 'nd wanted ter know all about you fellers. He asked if you were goin' with me 'nd I said 'no,' cause I didn't want ter give you away." It was true, too, because we won't go with you, at least we won't start with you. That fellow is working for Brooks and we must throw him off the trail." "Sure he is workin' for him. Joe told me he didn't know where Bill had gone, 'nd that made me sure he did. When he finds out 'bout you, he'll hike 92

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SHOT UP! out m a hurry ter tell that Brooks. What has Brooks got agin you? "Nothing at all, Frank. Mr. Brooks is a good man, only we are after the same thing and I want to beat him out." I'll help all I can." Does any one know where you are going with the Professor? "Everybody knows that. We're gain' ter the Injun camps. He wants ter buy Injun things. Some of 'em will think he's a Gov'ment man 'nd then I can't do anythin' with 'em." We want to visit the Indian camps, too but we don't want Brooks to know where we are, nor any thing about us." "Joe'll tell him, if you go with us. Why don t you make out you're gain' 'gator huntin' or gain' ter cross the 'glades? Nobody' d think anythin' of that after what they've heard about you. Then you could find us, if you wanted, at Fewell's or Billy Conapatchee's camp." When do you start? "Day after to-morrow. The Professor is havin' some boxes made that'll take till then." "We will start early to-morrow morning, if we can get a canoe." "Dr. Goodwin's got one Better see him your self. I'm goin' ter keep shy of you, 'count o' Joe." 9 3

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES That is right. Where are those camps you spoke of?" Conapatchee, that's Little Billy, you better go there. Billy savies English pretty good, only maybe he won't talk. His camp is a little way in the cypress, 'bout fifteen miles south of here." Do you know how long you will stay there? Can't tell. Professor says he may get through with a camp in one day or it may take two weeks. I'll tell Little Billy you're comin'. He knows who you fellers are. All the Injuns know that. Osce ola's here now. Says you good ojus. You come his camp, all right. Maybe I could help you if I knew what you wanted. Of course I wouldn't give you away." I know that, and I will tell you all I can. There is a man living with his wife and child somewhere in this country whom we want to find. I have a notion that he is living near some Indian camp and gets an Indian to buy his supplies for him." Best thing he could do. You can trust an Injun, drunk or sober. I never heard of him Maybe he told the Injuns he was hidin' from Gov'ment men. Then they wouldn't tell me, nor anybody else." The boys bought an Indian canoe of Dr. Good win. It was extremely light for a Seminole dugout, which is the only craft fitted to deal with the saw grass of the Everglades. They laid in a store of 94

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SHOT UP! grits, bacon, coffee, Florida syrup, salt, matches, lantern and oil, ax, light harpoon, bucket and five gallon water can. With their aluminum cooking outfit, rifle and cartridges they felt that they were equipped for a month in the Everglades, Big Cypress Swamp or the Ten Thousand Islands. 95

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CHAPTER VIII AT HOME WITH THE SEMINOLES '' BETTER strike for the east coast," said Dick t o his companion, as they started out in their Indian canoe. Joe Day is watching us from the corner of the piazza and we don't want him to think that we have anything to do with Frank's outfit. I told Frank not to get up to see us start and not to show any interest in us Alle samee, we had better stick to this course most of the day, for Joe may follow our trail for a few miles to make sure we are not fooling him." "Won't be any danger of his finding us after a few hours of this. Only thing I'm afraid of is that we 'll have trouble finding ourselves. We shall be in the Big Saw-grass, all right, but how to get out so as to strike a straight trail for Conapatchee's camp is a puzzler." Where shall we sleep to-night? In the canoe, of course. There won't be less than two feet of water within miles of us. I wish I had legs like those big blue herons and could sleep standing, way they do

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AT HOME WITH THE SEMINOLES Better learn to pole a canoe standing, before you talk about sleeping that way. You almost cap sized us then." While the boys were resting and eating a mid day lunch Ned said: "What's the use of going any farther this way? Joe Day couldn t follow us this far if he tried to, and we'll fail to find Conapatchee s camp and miss meeting Frank if we get lost any more than we are now." I don't care much whether we find him or not We should have to drop him pretty soon, anyhow, and something might happen any minute to start us off on an entirely new trail." Something did happen, for the sound of a canoe being forced through the saw-grass of the trail came to their ears. "There is Joe Day, now! whispered Ned. I hope he didn't hear what I said." Maybe it isn't Joe, at all. I can see his canoe and he's got bare legs! By the Great Horn Spoon, Neddy boy, it's your old guide, Charley Tommy!" Sure as shooting it is that reprobate. Oh, Charley! You humbug, humbuggus cha (come eat). Charley made no reply until he had pushed his canoe beside that of the boys, when he said: 97

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Me sick, o jus (a heap)", whyome (whisky), you got 'im? Me think so." "You think wrong, then," said Ned. are sick I've got good medicine for you. remember those pills I gave you? "If you Do you Me savey ojits. Think so you holowaugus (no good)." Charley Tommy understood English and could speak it fairly well, but avoided doing so whenever i;>ossible. Ned took the job of pumping him and slowly learned the things he wanted to know. The Indian was bound for his own camp, which was in the Big Cypress about ten miles from Conapatchee's and he offered to put the boys on a trail that led to the latter. "Charley Tommy hates to work," said Ned, as he picked up his pole to follow the Seminole, and as it's two to one, with a light canoe, maybe we're not in for an easy time." Possibly Charley; overheard and put up a little game on the boys, or perhaps they were soft of muscle; and then poling a Seminole dugout isn't al ways as easy as falling off a log, though in this case it proved to be the same thing. As the pol e of the Indian touched bottom, his weight fell back upon it, making with it an obtuse angle while he easily climbed to its upper end and the heavy craft was in rapid motion. The vis viva of the ponderous canoe 98

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AT HOME WITH THE SEMINOLES scarcely permitted its speed to slacken as Charley, leaning a little forward, drew the pole to its first po sition, ready for the second stroke. His motions were machine-like, there was no tremor to the canoe and its prow held true as the needle to the pole. The boys saw the beauty and ease of the action and felt sure they could imitate if not equal it. Ned even exclaimed: "I could do that in my sleep," which may have been true, although it soon became cer tain he couldn't when awake. For a few strokes they made fair headway, though the bow wobbled and their wake was a wiggly one. Soon the widen ing gap between the canoes put the boys to shame and Ned, lying back on his pole, in imitation of the Seminole, gave a thrust that sent the bow well ahead, but also swung the stern far to one side. No re covery of balance was possible to Ned. He clung to the pole with his hands and his 'feet held to the canoe as it moved away, but, first slowly and then swiftly, his body was lowered until it rested upon and then sank beneath the surface of the Everglades. Dick saw the stern of the craft swinging away from Ned and hastily pushed the bow toward him, which only hastened the catastrophe. Then he dropped to the bottom of the canoe just in time to save it from rolling over. The Indian returned, unsmiling, to help Ned back into his boat and gravely remarked as he resumed the lead : 99

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES "Me go too fast, me think so," and Ned didn t repeat his comment on the Seminole's hatred of work. Charley found a dry place to camp that night, on the border of the Conapatchee trail. It was nearly as large as the hall bedroom in a city house and looked big to the boys who had thought to sleep in their rolypoly canoe. The Indian was persuaded to stay to supper and invited himself to remain over for breakfast. Ned utilized the evening in extract ing from Charley a list of the Indian camps, with their occupants, on the west side of the Everglades. As the questioning proceeded, the Seminole's memory began to fail and his answers became shorter. "Any white men, squaws, pickaninnies in these camps?" asked Ned. "No. Eestee hotkee (white man), squaw, pick aninny, no live In jun camp. E e stee leskee ( negro), sometime." Any white men have camps near Indian camps?" "Dunno." "Any other camps near yours m the Big Cypress?" Me think so One time, eestee hotkee, squaw, two pickaninnies, come stay tw.o moons, hunt 'gator, go 'way, come some other time. Maybe so there now." IOO

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AT HOME WITH THE SEMINOLES "Charley Tommy, we want to hunt 'gators, too, and we mean to camp with you." Me no care, you come." "Didn't I tell you," said Dick to his chum a little later in the evening, "that whatever we planned to do we should be sure to do something else? We can t go on to Conapatchee s camp till we know for sure about these people that Charley Tommy talks about "Whoever they are, it won't be easy to get an in troduction. They are not living where they are for the sake of picking up new acquaintances." "They have got to be interviewed if we have to hold them up while doing it." Two hours of poling in the morning carried the well within the borders of the Big Cypress to a point beyond which they could not be floated. "We walk now ojus,'1 said Charley, "leave somethings in canoe." The boys made up their packs, stowing the rest of their supplies under the canoe, which they had rolled upside down. Your people won't interfere with these things, Charley, but how about bad white men? inquired Ned as they were about to start. Dunno. White man holowaugus. Maybe so steal everythings." IOI

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES If any one does steal them can you find out who it is? "Maybe so, most sure. Then you shoot 'im with rifle, stick 'im in alligator hole, tell nobody, no body no care." The bare-legged Seminole, with a back load of alligator hides slipped through the tangle of the cy press swamp as easily as an experienced ghost passes through doors that are locked. His prehensile feet clutched the slimy roots and clung to the slippery logs and poles which kept him from sinking in un known depths of reptile-infested morass. Brown moccasins lifted their heads from the mud beside him, poisonous little swung their ac tive heads as with open mouth and erected fangs they threatened the invader of their habitat. Often from the top of a cypress knee, that singular growth through which the tree itself is said to breathe, a cotton-mouth lifted its ugly head from a coiled body as big as one's arm. Stretching five inch jaws to the utmost, it displayed a white mouth and gleaming fangs from which the yellow venom could almost be seen to drip. The Indian walked rapidly, kicking aside the smaller reptiles, but chang ing his course a foot or two to keep out of range of the cotton-mouths. The boys followed the Seminole, but they made wider detours when passing a cotton-mouth and they 102

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AT HOME WITH THE SEMINOLES didn't kick the little snakes out of the trail, but walked around them. The poles which had supported the red man's greater weight let the white boys down into the mud, and the roots that carried him safely dumped them into slimy pools. Out of one such hole, in which he had sunk to his waist, Dick scrambled hastily, while an alligator on which he had stepped went floundering through the mud. But the Seminole was quickly on the trail of the reptile and with a hatchet (for the day of the tomahawk has long passed) smashed the top of his skull. The boys were glad to sit on a log and rest while Charley skinned his victim. What made you jump so, Dicky, when you landed on that 'gator? Ned asked laughingly You didn't used to mind going for them in the puddles where they lived." "That was different, Neddy, for it was out in the bright sunlight and the ponds looked clean; but this dark, slimy place gives me the creeps. When I slipped into that gruelly mud I thought I was going through to China, and when I lit on the alligator he felt as if he was forty feet long." "It sure is creepy in here. See how those thick tree tops shut out the light and look at the great twisted cables that hang from them to the ground "Yes, and take in that cannibal fig that is chok ing a big tree to death. It has grown around til e 103

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES whole body of it, excepting a few little bits of places." There is something else to look at, too, on the top branches. The buzzards are lighting there waiting for Tommy to get through carving the 'gator. How do you s'pose they got here so soon, Dick?" "They must have read Charley Tommy's mind and knew he was going to kill something. Or more likely they just followed us on general principles and the chance that a cotton-mouth would get one of us." "They haven t lost that chance by a good-hand me the rifle Dick passed the weapon to his companion, who held it for an instant to his shoulder before the sharp crack came. Then a hundred yards away through an opening in a thicket the head of a'buck could be seen settling slowly down. Ned started for the quarry, but was soon waist deep in mud. "N ock e e ? (What is it?) exclaimed the Indian, looking around as he rose from his work of skin ning the alligator "Echu (deer), replied Ned. Me hie pus (go), find 'im Ned had started for the deer but as he was al ready waist deep in the mud he was glad to return to his log and leave to the red man the task he had ass umed. Soon the Seminole returned, stepping 104

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AT HOME WITH THE SEMINOLES lightly from log to root, while hanging from his neck was the disemboweled body of the buck. When the alligator had been skinned and the march resumed, the carcass of the deer was added to the Indian s pack, but his step was as light and he sank as little in the swamp as before he had as sumed the new burden. Charley Tommy's camp was of orthodox Sem inole build and consisted of a big, high roof beauti Jully thatched, supported by poles and with open sides, but with eaves that came within four feet of the ground. Inside were long tables about four feet high on which the Indians lived, dined and slept. The cook-house was an open shed and the fire made of logs which radiated like the spokes of a wheel from the hub where the cooking was done. When more heat was required the logs were fed up to the center, when less, they were drawn apart and al lowed to smolder. Charley's family consisted of his squaw, "Chobee" (big) and five pickaninnies, two of whom were orphans. No more hospitable people than the Seminoles live, and a single member of the tribe has been known to support from his meager earnings twelve dependent women and children, not one of whom belonged t o his immediate family I am glad you forgot the game laws, again, Neddy," said Dick as he hauled a slice of venison 105

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES from the coals. "I had been wondering if I could ever starve myself down to eating that sof kee mess of sour corn, and sour everything else, not to speak of the promiscuous way it is pawed over." "I didn't forget any game laws. I told you the other day that this country and the game in it be long to the Indians, and that's us. I had a talk with Charley Tommy and he has agreed to adopt us. I said we wanted to hunt, to shoot deer and alliga tors, but not plume birds. It was arranged that we should go away as often as we pleased and come back when we got ready. I agreed to give him the hides and venison we got in return for board and some information we wanted." Will he take us to the camp of the white man he spoke of, the one with a wife and two chil dren?" He said no, said man was holowaugus, and he added a word or two of English that he couldn t have learned from Dr. Goodwin. He said man told him 'somebody Injun boy come round his camp get hole shot in him.' Charley says he will take us part way to the camp and show us the trail so we can't miss it." "Then business begins to-morrow. Hooray!" "Not that way," replied Ned. "We must put in a day or two getting acquainted with the country .Io6

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AT HOME WITH THE SEMINOLES and making notes, or we'll get lost on the first day of the campaign." "You are always for making maps, Neddy, but I give notice that that swamp angel may look for callers in about forty-eight hours."

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CHAPTER IX AN OUTLAW'S CAMP '' HOW are we going to know this man, Moore, when we find him, Ned ? inquired Dick. He isn't wearing his own name, of course." Dad says there will be no trouble about that. Moore is an educated man of fine appearance with a high degree of personal magnetism. He says that we shall feel personally drawn to him, whenever and however we meet him. He says that Ii fe among savage and semi-savage people may have changed him somewhat, but he believes the kindly nature of the man will shine through any crust that may have grown over it. He thinks, too, that when Moore hears the name of Barstow he will throw aside all concealment." The boys were resting on a bit of dry land in the Big Cypress Swamp after a hard morning's tramp. Ned had studied his compass, estimated distances, blazed trees and was prepared to make a map of the region that would enable him always to recognize it. Dick had carried the rifle, but though he had 108

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AN OUTLAW'S seen several deer, he had shot none, as there was already several days' supply of venison in the camp. It was agreed between the boys that although they counted themselves as Seminoles for a time, that only gave them the right to shoot game as they reallx needed it for food. For two days they tramped from morning till night studying the features of the Big Cypress Swamp around the Seminole camp, until they had landmarks in every direction and were confident they could not be lost. On the third day they ex tended their tramp to the westward and at noon were about to turn back when they came upon a trail which they followed until it brought them in sight of a dilapidated camp of Indian construc tion. A sluggish, muddy stream, flowing beside it guarded the camp as the moat protected the ancient castle. "That couldn't be Moore's camp," said Dick, but I'm going to visit it even if I ha v e to swim this abominable ditch." "Look, Dick! Isn't that the end of a canoe sticking out of those bushes? And here s the mark of it on the bank! "That's so and here's where we waken old Charon to ferry us across the Styx," and Dick let out a series of yells calculated even to arous e sleep ers in the realm of Shades. At first there was no 109

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES response, but after the calls ha? been repeated a figure, rifle in hand, slouched toward the boys and stood on the opposite bank of the little stream. The appearance of the man was most uninviting. Though dressed in Indian costume, he lacked the erectness and dignity of carriage of the Seminole. Though darker than members of that tribe he was yet not black enough for a negro and the boys looked upon him as a half-breed, a reminder of the time when Indians, like white men, held members of the black race in slavery. When Dick called to the man to bring over the canoe, the half-breed shook his head and only relented as the boy started to ford the slimy creek. He walked surlily with his unwel come guests, pretending to understand no English and thus limiting the conversation to signs and the boys' meager acquaintance with the Seminole tongue. The half-breed's squaw was a sad-looking Sem inole, who made no reply to remarks addressed to her, whether in English or in Indian. Two little quarter-breed pickaninnies could be seen peeping out from a thicket near the shack and Dick soon coaxed them into the open and started a game of romps with them. When he found them jabbering to him in English, Dick turned to the old half-breed and said: See here, Old Melancholy, you can talk English IIO

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AN OUTLAW'S CAMP as well as I and you may as well be decent. You know who we are, don't you? Unca" (yes). "Now what's the use of that gibberish with us? You know we're good friends of the Seminoles and we want you to let us have something to eat and then tell us all you know about the country and the people and where we can find deer and turkeys." "Echu (deer), panewa (turkey), thataway, no peoples, only Charley Tommy and Little Billy. You savey them?" "We savey them all right, but there is a white man's camp near here. Where is that?" "Me no savey." The half-breed was hospitable and the boys ate of the sofkee and sour biscuits as if they enjoyed them, but on the way back to their Seminole home Dick asked Ned: How could you eat that mess when you thought of the hands that had been pawing it over?" I just shut my eyes and thought hard of an old darky cook of ours who used to make cakes for me. I never worried over her black hands." "Charley Tommy," said Ned that evening, "who is that half-Injun with a squaw and two pickanin nies, that lives off there in the swamp, beside the creek?" Hirn eestee leskee, no good III

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES But his squaw is one of your people and he is part Seminole, himself. Tell me all you know about him." Long time ago, eestee loskee (old manJ tell me, Seminole have eestee leskee slave, same like eestee hotkee (white man). Molly Pitcher slave squaw Miami Billy. Charley Dixey, their pickaninny. Then bimeby eestee leskee make trouble, chiefs say kill 'im. Tommy Osceola say to chiefs 'no kill Molly Pitcher, no kill pickaninny, me st.and for 'im They do bad you kill me Dixey says no white man camp around here any where." "Dixey lie ojus. Him 'raid somebody shoot 'im if tell. Me show you trail to-morrow." A hard tramp the next day brought the boys with their guide to a stretch of higher ground, where oc casional tall palmettoes lifted their heads above the surrounding heavier timber. At the border of a dense bit of forest the Indian stopped and pointing with his hand said: "One mile, me think so." A minute later the Indian had disappeared and Dick and Ned were making their way through the thicket in search of the outlaw camp. Ned car ried the rifle as he walked in advance and both were as silent as if stalking the shyest game. Little noise though they made, a startled buck Ii f ted his head Il2

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AN OUTLAW'S CAMP and gazed at them through an opening in the thicket, fifty yards away. Instinct or habit sent Ned's rifle to his shoulder, but the crack that followed was echoed by another from beyond the thicket that held the deer, which now sank slowly to the ground. "There's our outlaw!" said Ned in a low voice to his companion, as they hurried toward the quarry. "I'll be glad to have the introduction over." As Ned reached the fallen buck he looked across it into the shifty eyes and repellent face that seemed to proclaim the outlaw. "Good afternoon, sir," was his salutation, to which came the reply: Who are you, and what the blazes do you want?" My name is Barstow and I want the deer I shot." "I shot that deer and I'm goin' to have it." "That's easily settled. The buck was facing me, I fired at his head and here is the bullet hole in the middle of his forehead. Moreover, my rifle is a 22 and this is a 22 hole. Your Winchester looks like a 44 and unless you can find a 44 wound on the animal, you have nothing to claim. You fired high, my friend, for I heard your bullet whistle over my head. People might think you fired at us." Don't start a story like that down here. You can have the deer. I reckon I missed it." I IJ

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES "Well, we are going to let you have it and we will stay with you to-night and help eat it." What do you want at my camp? "Nothing that will harm you, nor any one else. We do want to find some one, but it is to do him a good turn and not to injure him. If you would help us locate him we would make it pay you." l "Givin' away the addresses of folks in this swamp isn t usually a payin' business. Besides, I may not know the feller y;ou're after." "We'll talk about that to-night, at your camp." Some people might think it was risky to invite themselves to the camp of an outlaw down in these swamps." "We don't see much risk in it." "What makes you feel so sate?" "Because if there really was danger you would protect us at the hazard of your life, for you know that if anything did happen to us this country would be raked over with a fine comb and every man in it rounded up and made to give an account of him self." "Reckon you're right, come along." After dis emboweling the deer, the outlaw slung the carcass on his back and strode away at a rate that would have been accounted brisk walking for a man with out a load. A few minutes brought them to a little clearing on which was a tiny shack, in the 114

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AN OUTLAW;S CAMP door of which a tall woman stood holding a. rifle in her hand. "It's all right, Lucy," said the outlaw. "These are friends of mine, goin' to spend the night." The man might have come from anywhere but the woman was a raw-boned Cracker from the backwoods. There was no mistaking that, and if either of the boys had cherished the thought that the man might be the one they sought the hope died at sight of her. Then the two shy little chil dren were almost babies, while both were boys. But the woman won the hearts of the hungry boys by the dinner she gave them. There were broiled venison, fried wild turkey, hoecake baked on a pal metto fan, and to crown the repast a cup of coffee. For the guests, alone, there were china cups. The family drank from tin cans. As the outlaw smoked his pipe after dinner, his face lost its sinister ex pression and the woman became less suspicious. When Ned told them he had good news for a man who was living with his wife and daughter some where in the wilderness of South Florida, they showed much interest and did what they could to help him. You can take it from me," said the outlaw, "that they don't live to the north of here between this and Boat Landing, nor to the south this side of Little Billy's. Better work south from there. IIS

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES There's a lot of country along those west coast rivers from Chokoloskee Bay to Whitewater Bay." "We know that country pretty well and have some reason to suspect that our friend has lived near Harney River." "Plenty of good hiding-places round there Lucy and I know some of 'em-but I never heard of a woman of your kind bein' there. If she's been there long she's been kept mighty well hidden. There's one feller goes round in a boat and takes his wife with him but he's got two kids. You might find him anywhere in the Ten Thousand Islands." You know all the white men who have lived long in that country, don't you?" "Reckon I've met up with most of 'em." Isn't there some one of them different from all the others, some one who knows more than the rest and whom you are always glad to meet? Don't know about that. Some ain't so bad as others, but some are worse. You mostly have to keep your eyes peeled when any of 'em are round. Of course there's Devins. He's different, and he's got more friends and more enemies than any other man in the country." Which are you, his friend or his enemy? Both, I reckon. Sometimes I like him first rate and sometimes I'd blow the top of his head n6

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AN OUTLAW'S CAMP off if I didn't know how blamed quick on the trigger he was and that he'd likely get me if I tried it. Then any one of the niggers in the swamp, and it's full of 'em, would shoot you in the back if you hurt him. He treats a coon just as if he was a white man and that don't go very well in this part of the world." We want to meet that man. How can we find him?" Have to wait till he comes round, never knew anybody to try follerin' him. Last time I met him was at Wiggin's shack, near Whitewater Bay. He was just starting out in a canoe, with a strange man, first time I ever heard of any one bein' with him. When he saw me lookin' he scowled so that I didn't care to faller him." As the boys were leaving the outlaw's camp the next morning Ned said to him : We are much obliged to you for taking care of us and for the information you have given us. But we don't like to think of your having to live in the way you do. We have got friends and in fluence and would be glad to help you. Can't some thing be done that will leave you free to live where you please without fearing to meet any man? The sinister look with which the outlaw had first met the boys, returned to his face as he growled: 117

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES I talked too much last night. All I want is for you to forget that you ever saw me." We can't do that, but you need fear no harm from us." II8

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CHAPTER X THE CIPHER MESSAGE 'M A YBE so you lost, me think so? was Charley Tommy's salutation to the boys on their return from t ha outlaw's camp. Lost yourself," replied Dick. We know the way round here well as you." Where you stay last night? "We stayed with your outlaw friend, the one you told us about." "Me think so, hear you shoot im, then hear 'im shoot at you." "You heard wrong, Charley. Both of us fired at a deer. Then we went to his camp and stayed all night." "Catch 'im white squaw, pickaninny all you want?" "No, that wasn't the woman we wanted The man said there was no other woman in swamp this side Little Billy's. So we shall start for Billy Con apatchee's camp in the morning. Will you go with us?" Unca, liltly bit, not go all way." I 19,

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES That suits us. All we want is to be put on the track." Ned and Dick made better time on the return trip from Charley Tommy's camp to their canoes than when going the other way. They had become used to traveling in the bog and no longer made wide detours to avoid reptiles in their path. TheY. kicked the lesser moccasins aside, though they usually hunted a club for the cotton-mouths and left only dead ones behind. They found their canoe as they left it with their stores quite undis turbed, evidence that no white man had passed that way. Charley, who was wearing his brightest cos tume in their honor, led the way in his canoe for an hour at a rate that exhausted the boys. Then pointing to the southwest He said: Little Billy, his camp, 'bout five mile, me think so. He no like eestee hotkee, his camp. Maybe so he shoot. Then you come back my camp, stay long time." Turning his canoe the Indian poled swiftly away without once looking behind him. "We don't need to worry about Little Billy's re ception since Frank and the Professor have visited him. I wonder if they are there yet," said Ned. "I wonder if they got in at all. Maybe they were bounced at the start," was his companion's com ment. But isn't this the prettiest ever? he con tinued, waving his arm toward the horizon. 120

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THE CIPHER MESSAGE "It is all as beautiful as a dream," replied Ned, "and I only wish Dad and Sis could be here to en joy it." Me, too, but such luck doesn't happen twice." It would, if you should get chewed up by a panther again. Then they d both come-a-runnin' ." The surroundings justified all their enthusiasm. They were floating in a shallow sea, dotted with tiny keys of sweet bay, fragrant myrtle and fruit laden cocoa-plums. Flowers, white, yellow, violet and blue upthrust and rested on its brilliant sur face. From beneath the horizon, in the southwest, a group of cypress trees lifted their evergreen tops, forming a dark green band. After gazing a few moments Dick exclaimed: "Why, this is the garden spot of the world. It ought to be kept as a national park. It's a shame to drain it and raise truck on it." The trail the Indian had pointed out was well marked and the boys followed it easily, while the water shoaled as they progressed, until the coral bottom of the Glades was scarcely a foot beneath the surface. Then the trail divided into several branches, all hard to follow in the scanty grass which rose from the few inches of soil which lay upon the rocky bottom. Tired of poling, they stepped overboard into the clear water and pushed a.rad pulled the canoe. 121

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES I'm going barefoot, hereafter," said Dick as he removed his shoes and stockings and rolled up his trousers. But myriads of little fish nibbled at his legs while tiny crawfish tickled his toes. Some times, too, the footing changed and as he waded through a foot of muck he imagined at every step that he felt moccasins squirming beneath his feet. There was no dry land for a camp-fire so they built one in a tree on a submerged key, and stood knee-deep in water as they ate their dinner. In the afternoon they struck heavier grass and a well defined Indian trail which they followed as it boxed the compass in its turnings and twistings. Finally it straightened out and, leaving the Everglades, plunged into the Big Cypress Swamp. The channel grew narrow as the big trees pressed in upon it while the heavy foliage closed over it, almost shut ting out the light. Just as Ned had exclaimed: "S'pose anybody ever lived in this spooky place? two naked pickaninnies sprang from a thicket beside the trail and scooted away at the top of their speed for a hundred yards when a turn in the channel carried them out of sight. When they reached this turn the boys looked down a lane of open water upon a picturesque scene. Before them was a key of less than an acre on which was a typical Seminole camp consisting of five shacks, open below, with I2Z

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THE CIPHER MESSAGE tall, high-pitched roofs beautifully thatched. The tiny island was surrounded by a flooded cypress forest, and upon it were growing oranges, bananas and guavas. Brilliant masses of many-colored clouds formed a background for the semi-tropical scene, and surmounting it was a sky of intensest blue. The pickaninnies had disappeared and no one was in sight about the camp as the canoe ap proached it. This looks hospitable! said Dick. "What's become of those kids? Wonder if Little Billy has got his artillery trained on us." As he spoke an Indian appeared, rifle in hand, and stood by the edge of the water, looking at him but making no threatening motion. Ned called to him : You Billy Conapatchee? M ackillesee timin ittitee (young man Brown) you see 'im? Profes sor, you see 'im?" "Suckescha" (all gone), replied the Indian. "Me Conapatchee, savey you. Humbitggus cha." That means come and eat," said Dick to his companion. "I was afraid it was going to be the other way round and that they were fixing to eat us." Little Billy proved a dignified, courteous host and made the boys feel very much at home during their stay with him. While they were eating, the other members of Conapatchee's family came in. 123

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES There was his own squaw and four pi c kaninnies and Charley Cypre ss with his squaw and five pick anmmes. Pigs, puppies and chickens abounded but it was a cleanly camp for all that, since even the pigs were scrubbed daily which is more than hap pens to the children in many a civilized home. When dinner was over Conapatchee took a yellow envelope from a crack in one of the posts that sup ported the roof of the camp and handed it to Ned Look at this, Dick! A telegram from Dad. It must have reached Boat Landing after we left and been brought here by Frank." Hope there isn't any bad news in it." "Guess there isn't. It's in cipher and that only means secrecy. It is likely to be about our work down here." Have you a key to the cipher? Sure! Carry it in my head It's a kind that can't be lost. Dad and I often amuse ourselves with magic squares and you can never forget how to make them after you have once learned. They can be squares of three, four, five, eight, nine, or more. The six is no good. This message must be read by the four square." How do you know that? Because there are sixteen words in the despatch and that makes four rows of four each. This is the way it reads: Man is very boat you for out 1 2 4

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THE CIPHER MESSAGE same him as errand watch he on your shrewd.' The magic square of four consists of the numbers from one to sixteen arranged in four rows of four each, checker board fashion, the top row read ing from left to right l, 14, 15, 4; the second row reading 8, II, IO, 5; the third 12, 7, 6, 9, and the fourth 13, 2, 3, 16. Here is the arrangement. Now we write in the same squares the sixteen words of the telegram just as they come. That is what we get. I 14 15 4 Man is very boat 8 II IO 5 you for out same 12 7 6 9 him as errand watch 13 2 3 16 he on your shrewd When we read the words m the order in which they are numbered we have: Man on your boat, same errand as you. Watch out for him, he is very shrewd.' "No doubt in the world about Brooks now," said Dick, and there wasn't much before, but it shows that your father thinks his presence in the field pretty dangerous. Wonder if he isn't some cele brated detective. We've sure got to hustle." If I ever get a chance to borrow his canoe when he isn't around and leave him afoot in the 125

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Glades, I'll do it! exclaimed Ned. (But when the chance came it wasn t the detective's canoe that was Neddy, you say you can never forget those magic squares. I don t see how you remember them over night." They've got mighty curious properties. Take this four square, for instance, just as it 1s ar ranged here. That first horizontal row of four numbers, r, r4, r5 4 foots up 34. So do all the other rows. The first vertical row, 1, 8, 12, 13, and all the others, same way. Then the diagonals r, II, 6, 16, and 4, 10, 7, r3, do the same, also the four corner squares, and the four center ones, as well as the four at the right hand upper corner and all the other corners the same. There are a lot more you can pick out, enough to make you dizzy." "It does look like magic. Is it easy to learn the rules for making these squares, or isn't there any rule?" Oh, yes. The rules for making the odd num ber squares are easy to learn, but the others are pretty complicated. I can teach you the whole busi ness so that you won't forget it, and you must learn right off because a message might come when I wasn't around." The boys decided that they had got to have Sem r26

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THE CIPHER MESSAGE inole help in their hunt for Moore, and Dick said: "We must win the confidence of these Indians if we have to eat and live and feel with them. We have got to be Seminoles, inside and out for a while and I'm going to begin on the ground floor." Then he started a ball game with the kids, using limes for balls, and the pickaninnies played with all the abandon of white children, yelling like civilized youngsters. The girls took a hand in the game and threw the balls as gracefully as girls usually do, whether at Vassar, Bryn Mawr, or elsewhere. He got up canoe races, which, being stronger than the pickaninnies, he often won, but then he frequently capsized his craft which they never did. On these occasions their shrieks of laughter brought out the camp, and as Dick scrambled to his feet in the waist-deep water, he faced squaws, while even Little Billy's grave face broke into a smile. Sometimes when the squaws were grinding c o rn in a wooden mortar Dick borrowed a pestle and did some vigorous work. He hunted with Little Billy and marveled when the Indian, touching his shoulder, pointed through the woods half-whispering, "Echu." 1 No see 'im," said Dick after looking carefully for half a minute. Again the Indian pointed and at last Dick made out the motionless antlers and 127

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES little head of a buck outlined against the heavy foliage of a low-branching fig tree, some two hun dred yards away. The head of the creature was too small a target for the distance and the body was hidden by a clump of bushes, but Dick figured out where the heart must be and was slowly raising his rifle for a shot when Little Billy again touched his shoulder and whispered : "No shoot now. Too far. Little gun no kill 'im echu." But the rifle continued to 1 rise as Dick's cheek snuggled closely to its stock and when the crack came the deer disappeared. "You kill 'im. Me think so," said the Indian as he started for the quarry. When he found that the tiny bullet had been sent so truly that it had touched the heart of the animal which had dropped in its tracks he looked his admiration of both the rifle and the boy. Billy was so socia):>le and friendly that evening that Ned told him they were looking for a white woman and child, and asked if he knew of any such in an Indian camp, or anywhere else "Me savey all Injun camp. No white squaw, no white pickaninny But, Billy, maybe they live in other camp, get Indian buy 'irn supplies, bacon, grits, coffee." Dunno, maybe so." 128

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THE CIPHER MESSAGE Are there any camps in the swamp near here? Two, three, 'bout six, nine mile. Some eestee leskee, holo w augus, steal pig, chicken, everything. Same eestee hotkee, holowaugus, say shoot Injun boy." You think any white woman and pickaninny in those camps? "Me no think so. Maybe hide Whitewater Bay. That good place." Sometime Injun boy buy things for them at store. We might find him." "No use ask. Injun never tell." We want to visit these camps that are six, nine miles from here. Will you show us where they are?" Me tell you. Me no go their camp. Me no want 'im my camp." Billy, do you know a white man named Dev-. ? ms. "Unca, me savey him velly good." Is he holowaugus '!" Me no think so. He good friend." What do you know about him? One time me think go George Streeter trade osana (otter), and alpate (alligator). Take squaw and pickaninny in canoe. Camp one night Onion Key. Pickaninny sick, feel bad, think so maybe die pretty quick. Devins, he come in canoe, stop, 129

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES say what de trouble. He look at pickaninny, say 'im sick but fix 'im all lite, think so two days. He give pickaninny somethings like medicine man. He stay one night and give more things. Then he stay other night and say Pickaninny get well pretty soon, go shoot bird.' He cut pieces bird and make sofkee in cup. Pickaninny eat 'im pretty fast. Then Devins, he laugh say 'Liltly man all lite now,' and go away in canoe." "Dicky boy," said Ned, "I'm betting that Dev ins' other name is Moore." "Anyhow, we've got to find him," said Dick. Billy," he continued, we are going to do Devins just as much good, when we find him as he did your pickaninny. Tell us where we can find him." Me think Harney River try first." Ned," exclaimed Dick, what do you say to starting for Harney River to-morrow morning and hunting up Devins? We know that country so well that we can r-un him down in a few days, if he is there.'' Better go a little slow and be sure. We don't know that Devins is the man we are looking for. We haven't heard of his having a wife and child and that's the trail we are following in the Moore hunt. We had better go to the camps we have heard of, and keep up the search for the woman and child as we go down the coast. Of course we shall r30

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THE CIPHER MESS.A.GE be looking for Devins as we go on, but I don't be lieve in breaking up our regular campaign to go on a special scout." I am with you," said Dick, and we'll do as you say, only I can't help a feeling in my bones that Devins is the man we should go for." 131'

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CHAPTER XI LOST IN THE SW AMP ''THIS is the worst trail I ever saw," com plained Dick. The underbrush is so thick that I can hardly ever see three steps ahead. I don't believe there's a camp within a mile of this forsaken place." "We have come exactly as Little Billy told us and the camp ought to be here, or hereabouts. Then the people we expect to find don't usually se lect turnpikes for their residences. They are a lpt more likely to hide in a jungle like this." "Maybe so. It looks a little lighter out that way and I am sure I heard a sound from there." Two or three minutes later they came to a wall of mud and roots, made by two great trees up rooted in some storm. A bunch of hanging vines closed a narrow opening between them, and when Dick pushed them aside the boys looked upon an open glade, scarcely twenty yards in diameter, in which four negroes were sitting around a stump playing cards, while one lay asleep under a little pal metto shelter which served as a camp. As Dick 132

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LOST IN THE SW AMP stepped into the glade, one of the card players sprang to his feet and seizing a rifle, that was leaning against a tree near him, pointed the weapon at Dick exclaiming : What you want o' me? I ain't goin' back to no chain-gang, Boss Nobody wants you to. Put up your gun and don't be a fool," replied Dick. "I know who dem fellers is," said another. "Dey ain't wantin' us. Say, Boss, got any baccy? "Here is some," said Ned who always carried a package for just such an emergency. See that you divide it fairly." We'll see to that," replied an intelligent-look ing darky, with a smile that showed all his ivories. Do you know all the camps around here? in quired Dick of the last speaker. "Reckon I know most of 'em, Boss." "Do you know of any camp in the Big Cypress where a white man is living with his wife and daugh ter? "Some man and woman lives back of Charley Tommy's camp. They've got some kids." I don't mean them." "There's some lives out Immokalee way and some down Lossman's River." I don't mean those. The woman I want to know about came from the North." 133

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES "They ain't no such round here, Boss." "Do you know a white man named Devins? "Everybody knows him." Where does he live? Don't anybody know dat." "Has he got a wife?" Never heard o' none." Are there any other camps near here, excepting the one back of Charley Tommy's?" "They's two old colored folks, 'bout three miles from here. The old man shoots alligators fur a livin' ." "Then there is no other camp of white men around here? Might be a camp off that-a-way three or four miles. I saw two survey men there this mornin' ." Can you take us there, now? "I don't believe I can. I don't feel well." Stop talking nonsense and tell us your real ob jection to going with us." Mr. Chris Meyer didn't see me this mornin', when I saw him, and I don't mean to give him an other chance." Chris Meyer exclaimed Ned. If you know where Chris Meyer is, you take us to him fast as you can walk. I'll see that he doesn't trouble you, no matter what you've done to him. Now come along." 134

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LOST IN THE SWAMP The negro continued to demur until Dick took a hand and said : We are going to start for that survey camp this minute. If you come with us you get a silver dollar and no trouble. If you don't come with us and show us the way we will put men on your track who will run you down and take you where you belong. Now make your mind up quick." "Can I come back after I show you Mr. Meyer, before he sees me?" Yes, you can run as soon as you like after we have set eyes on Mr. Meyer, but you would be a fool not to wait and get the good, square meal that he would give you." Sure Mr. Meyer let me go? Sure!" "Then I go with you and stay to dinner." It was nearly dark when the light of the sur veyor's camp was seen and the boys were a sight when they reached it. They had stumbled over logs and wallowed through mire and there was little in the way of looks to choose between them and the negro who piloted them. When Chris Meyer recognized Ned he nearly hugged him and then gave a warm welcome to Dick, but when he saw the negro he exclaimed : How did that scamp get here? "He is your guest, Mr. Meyer," said Ned, ''and 135

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES he has the promise of a good dinner from y ou, and of being free to go where he pleases after ward." I ought to wring his neck, but I suppose I'll have to stand by what you promised him. Which will you take, Jim, a drink of whisky or a good dinner? "Guess I'll take the whisky, Mr. Meyer." Guess again, Jim. You won t get anything to drink here and you're lucky to escape a hiding." "You must remember he has our promise," said Ned. That's all that saves him and I hope you won't be so free with your pledges next time. But you look as if you had been under a harrow and so does your friend. Wonder you didn't run afoul of s o me moccasins in the swamp." "We did! exclaimed Dick. Millions of 'em. Every time I put down my foot I could feel them squirm and all the sticks and roots I touched acted like cotton-mouths. When I fell into a bush the branches struck my face like so many speckle bellies and I could feel the venom pouring into the cuts they made." You'll feel better after you've washed your face and that will give me a chance to see what you look like. But what brought you children back to these swamps? Is it another manatee hunt? 136

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LOST IN THE SW AMP. "It's a man hunt this time, Chris," said Ned. You may find that more exciting than fighting panthers. I shouldn't hanker after the sport, my self. If you get into a bad mixup with some of these outlaws you would be avenged all right, all right, but that wouldn't be much comfort to your families." "Our hunt isn't that kind. We're not looking for trouble. We won t have any fracas with out laws unless they start it. We are hunting for a man to give him a message that he'll be glad to get." "What's the name of the man?" "We can't tell you what he calls himself in the wilderness and to give you his northern name wouldn't help to locate him. He is probably living with his wife and daughter somewhere in the Big Cypress country south of here." I know the Big Cypress as well as any living white man and I never heard of any such family. There are a few places around Whitewater Bay and Upper-Harney River, and just a few keys in the Glades where such a family could live, but some one would have to come out for supplies occasion ally and that would give them away." Couldn't they get Indians to buy supplies for them?" They might do that, but if you knew the Indian 137

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES that acted for them it wouldn't help you, for if you tried to pump him about it you'd think he was born dumb." "Well, we are going to visit every one of those places where a family could live. But, Chris, do you know a man named Devins? Can't say I do, though I've heard a lot about him. But it's mighty curious that you should ask me that question." Why is it curious? Because the same question was asked me by a stranger, two days ago." "This is very important to us, Chris. Tell us all about it, and don't skip the leastest thing." "Johnny, here, and I left Allen's River about a week ago to look over some land that your father has an option on. We stopped at Langley's Grape Fruit Plantation that's where Jim skipped from and that's why he's so scared of me and from there walked over to the Glades. Three days ago we camped near Charley Tigertail's. Know where that is, don't you? "Yes, we have visited Charley Tigertail and ex pect to call on him again in a few days." "While we were in camp two fellows looked in on us. Maybe they came from Charley Tigertail's, I don't know. They said mighty little about themselves."

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LOST IN THE SWAMP "Did you know either of them?" asked Ned. "One was a fellow named Bill Day, a 'gator hunter -I never liked him and the other man never happened to mention his name. He was a pleas ant-spoken man and I couldn't help liking him, but I did notice that whenever Bill Day started to chip into the talk, the man gave him a glance that shut him up like an oyster. He asked about deer and wild turkey until I was sure he was a sportsman, but at the first hint that I was a surveyor he talked about that as if he had invented it and showed so much interest in land and timber that I reckoned he was down here to buy up the country. He wanted to know if the Indians were mostly friendly and if it was safe to travel in the swamp, on account of outlaws, and what parts of it should be avoided and just as he was going away he said, I've heard several times of an outlaw named Devins. Is he a very dangerous man? I don't suppose he lives around here, though.' I said I had never met the fellow, but what I had heard of him was in his favor, that I had been told he would travel all day to do a man a kindness, and then tramp all night to get square with any one who injured him." Did the man make any reply to that? "He just nodded his head, as if he understood and walked away as if he was afraid I was going 139

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES to ask him some questions. Is Devins the man you are after?" "_I don't know, but if Brooks that's the name of the man who called on you is after him, he probably is the man we are looking for and this confounded Brooks is ahead of us." He isn't far ahead and you know the country while he doesn't and I don't think Bill Day can help him much." "I'm more afraid of Brooks than a hundred Bill Days, for he has brains and they always count in the long run." "That's as sure as shooting, and it is equally cer tain that Brooks has them, but I'm betting on you boys for all that and wish you could tell me some way to help you." If you run across this Brooks just tie him to a tree and keep him there and you will help us amaz ingly," said Dick. In the meantime we will leave you as soon as we can see to walk and get on his track ourselves as soon as we can manage it." "What is this new land deal of Dad's, Chris?" asked Ned as they sat by the camp-fire, later in the evening. You know my work for your father is confi dential but he told me expressly that that didn't count against you; that he trusted you and I might do the same. So here goes to tell you all I know. 140

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LOST IN THE SW AMP Firstly, if it was anybody but your father I should call him land-crazy. He wants full reports from me and then he buys lands without any reference to what I say. I reported on a lot of land covered with valuable timber which was offered at a low price and he wouldn't touch it, but bought another piece that was nothing but mangrove swamp at twice its value. He keeps me in the wilderness where there is nothing worth having, and won t listen to me when I tell him of land near the coast, or the railroad, or ahead of the dredges, where values are sure to increase over night and prices bound to go-a-whooping. He is getting a big chunk of land, all wilderness and most of it good for nothing but a game preserve or to raise alligators on. I don't see how he can make anything out of the deal." "Neither does he, Chris. That isn't what he is after, but he is going to do a lot of good with it, as you will see sometime." The next day took some of the conceit out of the boys. They had become careless and the night trip through the bog had confused them. Every few minutes they changed their course and every minute the traveling became worse. Suddenly they were startled by a harsh voice from a thicket before them: What yer want here? 141

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES The man who had challenged them carried his rifle threateningly as he awaited a reply. He was probably an outlaw and was certainly a moonshiner, for the fire was blazing beneath the still which was constructed of an iron kettle with a homemade cypress cover. From this a small pipe leading through a trough of water completed the outfit. "We are looking for a friend," replied Ned who was in advance. Say, yer didn't come here to spy me out? "Not a bit of it. You needn't worry about us." "Come 'nd take a drink." "No, thank you," said Ned, and the boys were going on when the outlaw begged them to stay and talk. He was a genial old party who suffered much from loneliness during the intervals between the visits of his few customers. He exhibited and explained his still, showing much pride in his own handiwork. He told of his life, its pleasures and hardships, and showed how and where he lived. He was an ignorant man, but of kindly instincts, and though he may have gone a little wrong, the boys left with the friendliest feelings for him. Soon after leaving the moonshiner's camp the boys again became confused regarding their course. They tramped fast and far until tired out and then took the back track for half the distance. At last, 142

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.... "' .... Cl'.; I H z < ;:. H < :i: Cl .. :. ...,

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LOST IN THE SW AMP by a mutual impulse, they stopped and gazed at one another. Dick spoke first: Ned, we 've been plum crazy all day. What started it? Reckon a snake bit us in the swamp last night? "No, Dick, it was a case of swelled head to be gin with and then it ran into a panic. It's exactly what we have warned others against and were cock sure it could never happen to us." "Guess that's it, Neddy. Now we takes our own medicine. Remember how often we have told fellows that the minute they thought they were lost and began to get frightened and travel fast, to sit right down and camp and stay there till they got some sense, if it took a week? "I'm just tired enough for that medicine to taste good. Here is a place for a fire and some half-dry mud that will hold us if we cover it with small brush. If you will tend to that and the fire I will pick up a young turkey for supper. I saw two or three over there a minute ago." Keep your eye on this big cypress and don't go out of sight of it. If you find yourself getting loony again, sit down and yell till I get to you." A wild turkey is a shy bird and it was more than an hour before Ned got one and then it wasn't the one he started for, but another that lit in a tree near him as he was on his return to camp. 143

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES "Can't give you any credit for that bird, Neddy," said his companion. You lost the turkey you hunted and brought in one that hunted you." Slice by slice of breast, followed by wings and legs, the turkey, which was a small one, was broiled over the fire and eaten by the boys. They agreed not to discuss their locality until a good dinner had calmed their brains. You heard me tell Chris that Dad wasn't buying land around here to make money out of it?" asked Ned. Yes, I heard you and I wondered if you knew what you meant." Well, I'm not dead sure, because Dad hasn't told me, but I know he is mighty anxious to have something done for the Indians. You remember Dr. Goodwin said the Seminoles ought to have a reservation of thirty-six townships and he told just where it ought to be? Now you find Dad buying into that tract, not caring what he pays, nor whether the land is timbered, and quite indifferent to land outside of it. Looks to me as if either Dad and the Doctor were working in cahoots, or else that they have reached the same conclusion by different roads." "Won't the Doctor be pleased, if he doesn't al ready know, when he finds out what your father is doing? But by the same token, we're bound to 144

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LOST IN THE SW AMP help what we can, just as Dr. Goodwin suggested." I'll start in on Little Billy to-morrow if we can find his camp." Ned drew a map of their course of the previous two days, as he imagined it and the boys agreed that they were south of Little Billy's camp. They decided that their safest plan would be to make for i h e Everglades and then travel north on its border till they struck the Conapatchee trail which both felt sure of recognizing. They carried out this plan to the letter although on their way they recog nized landmarks that would have helped them to a short cut, for as Ned remarked: "We must work this swelled-head-panic com pletely out of our systems." r45

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CHAPTER XII NED'S MESSAGE TO THE INDIANS LITTLE BILLY could see from the plight of the boys, as they approached the camp from the Everglade side, that they must have been lost, but being a polite Indian nothing in his manner gave his knowledge away. He ap peared not to see the accumulations of mud from fording the creeks near the Glades that morning nor the scratched faces from the night tramp in the swamp. The pickaninnies remembering their romps with Dick, fell upon him in a bunch and strove to drag him down as a pack of dogs seeks to pull down a stag. A laughing squaw coached the children in team work, until Dick had to flee while yet some of his clothing remained on him. An excited puppy which had been an active partisan of the young sters while the game lasted, sought farther amuse ment by seizing in his teeth the tail of a sleeping pig. He rolled over and over seeking to twist off the appendage while the squealing pig dragged him about the camp. The contest ended when the puppy was hauled across the logs of the camp-fire. At 146

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NED'S MESSAGE TO THE INDIANS this instant his attention was taken by the untimely crowing of a cock and soon a tailless rooster was seeking to hide his shame, while an ecstatic puppy went careering about the camp with his mouth full of feathers. Meantime Ned was having a heart to heart talk with Billy Conapatchee. Billy," said he, "you catch 'im alpate, osana, echu, trade 'em at store, get bacon, flour, grits, to bacco. Bimeby alpate, osana, echu all gone, what you do then? "Me dunno." Billy, big dredges out Miami way, you see 'em?" "Me see 'im. No like 'im." Bimeby they take all water away, nobody go anywhere in canoe. Pretty quick great many white people come, make houses, farms, everywhere." "Me think so, they come, then me shoot 'im. Me talk Injun boy ojus, old chief liltly bit. Every body say, Eestee hotkee come choko eestee chattee (red man's house) then In jun boy shoot 'im all time." You don't shoot me when I come to your camp." You good friend. You come other time, me glad see you. Bimeby Gov'ment man come, me shoot 'im." 147

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES But, Billy, you mustn't do that. Don't you know that if you shoot a Government man other men will come with rifles, more men than there are trees in these woods, and they will carry you away, if they don't kill you?" Me no care, me shoot." Don't you care for your pickaninnies, don t you want them to grow up, have nice camp and plenty to eat? Me no like Gov'ment man, him always promise, promise, him always loxie (lie) ojus, him holowau gus. Some day Gov'ment mans take Billy Bowlegs away, say 'im come back pretty quick, him not come back, maybe so they kill 'im." Billy, that was before you were born. All those people are dead. Maybe they did wrong. Maybe some of your people did wrong, too. You heard your old Chief Motley tell how he tossed white babies in the air and caught them on his knife. Your people wouldn t do that now, and my people now want to be good friends to you." "All this our country. Your people go way, let us have it? Me no think so." They couldn't give you all of it, Billy, and it wouldn't be right. The Great Spirit that made this land and that made the red man, made the white man, too. Do you think he ought to give this whole big country to just a few Indians when he 148

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NED'S MESSAGE TO THE INDIANS has such an awful lot of white folks to take care of?" "You talk like missionaly man." The missionaries are good friends of yours." Me no like 'im. Talk, talk, talk, about white man's God. Injun want eestee chattee Esaka ta me se (Indian God). "Dr. Goodwin is a good friend of yours and he is working hard to help your people." "They no want 'im work for them." "But, Billy, all of us have to let somebody work for us. You work for your squaw and your pick aninnies, to give them good house and plenty to eat and something to wear Sometimes Injun dies, leaves pickaninnies, no home, nothing to eat. Then good Indian, like Little Billy, takes them home and gives them plenty to eat and good place to live." Injun no let other Injun be hungry." "Now, Billy, Dr. Goodwin is trying to get our Government to buy all the land from Boat Landing almost to Cape Sable and from out in the Ever glades away into the Big Cypress Swamp. He wants the Government to give all this land to the Seminoles forever and ever. He wants Govern ment to say no white man go in Indian country, only when Indian ask him to come. If white man come when Indian no ask him, soldier take white man and lock him up. He wants Government to 149

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES give every Indian, every squaw and every pick aninny fifty dollars every year to buy food and clothes. My people and all their friends are going to work hard to get the Government to do all this and we want you to help us with your people. Tell them what we are trying to do for them. Tell them that our Government is so big that it is slow and it takes a long time to get it to do anything, but that our good people do care for their red brothers and are going to see that they have good homes and plenty to eat." That night the boys talked late and seriously as they lay beside one another on one of the tables at the extreme western end of the camp. As they talked, a storm started somewhere in the west and as it rolled toward the camp it was preceded by the roaring of the wind in the trees and the crashing of thunder, accompanied by an almost continuous blaze of lightning. As the first of the blast struck them the boys sat up on the end of the table and Dick shouted into his companion's ear: "If it gets any worse the camp will go, sure." He had scarcely spoken when out of the west came a tornado-like blast that tore up trees by the roots, filled the air with flying branches, leveled all the banana plants and stripped the trees on the island of their fruit. It prostrated one of the build ings of the camp and twisted and partially stripped 150

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NED'S MESSAGE TO THE INDIANS the roof above the boys, while it sent flying every thing in the camp that was movable. Both were swept from the table where they slept and while Ned struck hard upon the ground, Dick's fall was broken by a litter of young pigs. For a time the outcries of the pigs and their mother seemed to rise above the tumult of the storm and when the boy had escaped from the squealers he joined in the laughter with which his chum was choking. That blast was the culmination of the storm which by morning had quieted down to an ordinary gale. Little Billy was silent at the morning meal and Ned was worried lest his frank talk of the pre vious day had done harm instead of the good he had hoped to accomplish. He feared that the Indian looked upon him as a Government agent and would always regard him with inherited dis trust. The pickaninnies chattered to Dick as the boys got into their canoe, but Conapatchee looked on with a grave expression, speaking no word till they were ready to leave. Then taking up a pole he stepped quickly into his own canoe, saying to Ned: You want go other camp pretty quick, me think so. Maybe so you no find way Liltly Tiger. Me hiepus, show trail," and the Indian's canoe shot ahead at a rate that left the boys breathless when they reached the Glades. 151

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES "Oh, Billy," shouted Ned, "can' t you let up a little and give us a chance to rest? I feel as if I was going to die The Seminole turned upon him a face broadened by a boyish smile, saying: "Me think maybe so make you liltly bit tired?" You've done that all right Billy," and the Indian's smile became nearer a laugh than the red man often permits himself to indulge in. Thereafter he and Ned at every opportunity jabbered like boys, wh o having had a tiff and not spoken to one an other for a week, seek to make up for lost time. "You are solid with Billy, Ned, and the Doctor will be delighted with the work you have done." I reckon, Dicky, it was the way you won over the kids that fetched him. Or maybe it was your adventure with his pigs that broke him up. He looked at them several times this morning, but al ways turned away as if afraid of being caught with a smile on his face." "That Indian has a sense of humor that will be the making of him some day. Did you see him chuckle when the puppy bit off the rooster's tail? He got one of the feathers and tickled the toes of a pickaninny and when the youngster looked around, Little Billy s face was as expressive as that of a Hindoo idol." Yes, I saw it and a lot of other things that 152

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NED'S MESSAGE TO THE INDIANS reminded me of white folks. Do you remember when that oldest youngster did some forbidden thing and Billy got after him with fire in his eye and a stick in his band, how the kid went splashing out into the swamp and hid away for an hour or two? And did you see Billy when the pickaninny: came sidling back? I tumbled to the whole thing, the unconscious father who didn't know the boy was around and the conscious youth with one eye on his father and the other fixed on the nearest avenue of escape." Billy is white, that's the matter with him. Wonder if he is going all the way to Little Tiger's camp with us. It begins to look like it." I hope he is," replied Dick. I hate the un certainty of these strange camps, where I don't know whether an Indian is likely to fall on my neck like the prodigal father or give it to me in the neck like any other savage." Billy went with the boys to Little Tiger's camp, where to their pleasure and surprise they found the Professor and Frank. Did you get your telegram? was the Pro fessor's first question. I was afraid it might call you home and cause me to lose the chance of seeing you again." It did quite the other thing, for it told us to keep on and we may be down here for some time. 153

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES How are you getting on with your museum work? Are you finding what you want?" It was pretty slow work at first. The Indians were offish and suspicious and I had to be care ful not to make things worse. But I had a bit of good luck this morning and now trade is booming What was your good luck? I was looking at some belts and sashes, calling Frank's attention to the angular designs in which respect Seminole work differed from that of any other tribe with which I was acquainted. I pointed out, too, certain symbols expressed in the designs, of which the rattlesnake was obvious, but others drew on the imagination. The Indians became in terested and looked at Frank, who translated as fast as he could until Old Tigertail's hundred year-old squaw interrupted him and talked as fast as a suffragette. According to Frank she told the Indians that I no lie and that she remembered some things that the others never knew. I was so grate ful to the old squaw that I paid her a double price for a string of beads. That pretty girl over there tried to get a big price for some beads, just on the ground of her beauty, same as if she had been a belle at a fair in New York. I told Frank to tell her that the museum men I was working for wouldn't know a pretty girl if they met her when they were out walking with their .wives." 154

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NED'S MESSAGE TO THE INDIANS But I saw you sitting on a bench with a couple of girls and I supposed you wanted them for the museum," said Ned. The Professor laughed as he said: "I only wanted the costume of one of them, and I am going to buy it of her mother now." The Professor soon returned with an announce ment of his failure. "That squaw acted about as a Boston matron would if I offered to buy the frock off her daugh ter's back." I'll fix that for you," said Frank, who over heard the lament, "if you ll go 'way." When the Professor returned, in about ten min utes, Frank had the costume, but the girl was gone. Tiger is a famous Seminole and there were plenty of Big Tigers, Little Tigers, and Tigertails in the camp, with a couple of Osceolas thrown in. It was a merry camp, for Dick and Frank got up wrestling and canoe matches among the pickanin nies. The Seminole child that can walk, can pole a canoe and three-year-old Tadpole was an expert who could manage one without removing the quid of tobacco from his mouth. And as Tadpole poled like a veteran, the century-old widow of Tiger Tail handled a canoe like a youth For several rounds the three-year-old held his own in wrestling with a six-year-old of more inches but less stamina. 155

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES It was an era of good feeling and Indians brought out ceremonial costumes, seldom worn ex cepting at the Green Corn Dance or similar func tions. The home dress of the Seminole is a shirt of bright colors, made by the men themselves on the sewing machine. The dress of the squaw consists of beads pounds of them. In addition she wears a waist and a skirt, both of bright-colored calico, but always separated by some inches. The cos tume of the children, when they have any, usually con sists of one piece. This is convenient in many re spects. The flowing hem of the garment is avail able as a handkerchief and a child can sit down in the mud without soiling his dress. Trading became a mania with the Indians, like shopping with civilized women and the Professor bought fast and furiously. He gathered in cere monial costumes with full regalia of buckskin leg gins, silver-banded turban, etc. He bought beaded sashes and shoulder belts, silver bracelets and feather fans, rattles of turtle shell, skin scrapers of bone and beads galore. The Professor's bag of silver dollars which lay open on a table was melting away, when Dick observed: "You wouldn't dare let money lie around that way in many white men's camps?" I have traded with Indians from Huds on's Bay to the Pacific coast and from Alaska to Mexico," i56

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NED'S MESSAGE TO THE INDIANS said the Professor, and never dreamed of los ing a dollar of my store by theft, while from the white man's camps that were nearest them I would never expect to recover a dollar that I had left there." The Professor got the Indians to shoot at birds with bow and arrow, alligators with rifles and to strike turtles with spears ; and then bought bow, ar rows and spear He bought a peach of a little canoe, even smaller than the one that carried Ned and Dick. His restless eye, that of a born collec tor, searched the camp and unearthed more speci mens silver rings, ornaments for turbans, combs and watch fobs, a blowpipe for silver work, baskets, sof kee spoons, pestle and mortar, ball and ball sticks and more costumes of plain material and decorated with silver, for ordinary wear and cere monial use. His last purchase was a bead necklace which was ornamented with silver work in which thirty-six silver quarters had been used. As he walked about after completing his purchases, he found the silversmith of the camp hammering away at heated silver coins as he fashioned them into or naments for the next day's trade. The Professor had won fame as a Medicine Man in Little Tiger's camp. He had a medicine case of imposing appearance and from its stores had cured a sick pickaninny with a dose of quinine. He prescribed a pill for a pain that Little Tiger thought 157

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES he had, and when the Indian, who like his race wanted big doses, asked for four pills he got them. When asked the next morning how he felt he re plied: Last night, 'bout midnight, me think so you holowaugus

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CHAPTER XIII THE TRAIL GETS WARMER '' BILL DAY 'nd his man been here," said Frank to Ned and Dick when he got the chance to take the boys out of hearing of the camp. When did they come? asked Ned. "Here when we got here 'nd left next mornin'." Did you talk to them? Didn t have no chance, the man did the talkin' ." What did he say? Talked about you fellers 'nd asked when we 'spected you. I said we didn't 'spect you at all. Heard you talkin' about Cow Creek Seminoles, 'nd reckoned you might have gone there. I didn't mean to give you away Bully for you," said Dick. You did just right. We don't want that man to know anything about us I don't believe I fooled him a bit. I kinder felt as if he didn't believe me. He tried to fool me, though. He asked me some questions about Little Billy's camp 'nd I thought sure he was goin' 159

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES there, but I got it out of Day that they were going to Charley Tigertail's, though he was scared after he told me." He did go there, for we heard of him from there. Do they know anything in this camp about people like those we are looking for? "No, there ain't a white woman and child livin' in this part of the country 'nd there ain't any livin' in no Injun camp. You can bet on that. Reckon you'd better start south 'nd get ahead o' those fel lers. You can beat 'em out o' sight polin' and pretty soon you'll know the country 'nd they won't." "We'll be off and after them at daylight, Frank." When Ned and Dick started out at daybreak, Little Billy went with them and piloted them for a few miles before turning back toward his own home. When he was leaving them he said: Me think so, you good friend, you come my camp, me glad. Me talk all Injun boy, think so you talk good ojus." "When I tell Dad about Little Billy," said Ned a little later as they were resting from some hard poling, he will say that our success with him is worth the whole campaign if we fail in everything else." But we are not going to fail in anything else. 160

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THE TRAIL GETS WARMER To-night we shall be at Charley Tigertail's store and we'll find out pretty quick all he knows. After that we shall be on familiar ground, and if we can't sail all around that Brooks outfit, we ought to be ducked." That is likely to happen any minute if you don't learn to be steadier in the canoe. You can't pole ahead and look around at the same time, with out taking chances. Better be modest about finding our way so easily, too. We haven't been distin guishing ourselves that way, lately." About noon a small camp was reached containing but a few Indians and Dick was for pushing on without stopping, but Ned thought some missionary work was possible and they poled up to the camp. As they stepped ashore no Indian looked up and the only attention they received was from an Indian dog which grabbed Ned by the leg. Dick nearly broke the dog's head with a club which he picked up, and as an angry Indian approached, he turned upon the red man with loud denunciations as he pointed to the dog. His apparent anger so overtopped that of the Seminole that the latter retreated, taking the dog with him. "Now you've made him so mad that we can't do anything with him," said Ned He was mad already and all I have done was to scare him a little. I've a notion to get the rifle 161

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES and shoot that dog. If he has bitten you badly I'll do it anyhow." "Don't get excited, Dicky, it's only a scratch. Let's see what we can do with these people." Ned first addressed himself to a squaw, who re plied by looking over, around and through him be fore turning away as if she saw nothing. "That's encouraging," said Dick. "Now we'll try that bronze image that I yelled at, once more. What is he up to, over there? Looks like he d got a sick man on his hands." They soon saw that it was a Medicine Man and his patient the latter as yellow as saffron and ap parently likely to leave the world, even without the assistance of the Medicine Man. Here's for the cook camp and an invite to din ner," said Dick as he started for that building He found the sof kee kettle and the big sof kee spoon, but no invitation to partake. The squaw who pre sided over the building didn't see them and when a pickaninny said something, a sharp word from the woman sent the child skurrying into the bushes. How do you like missionary work Neddy? inquired Dick as he pushed the canoe from the in hospitable shore. "There is something to be said in favor of Chris tianizing savages with cannon," was the reply of the disgruntled Ned.

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THE TRAIL GETS WARMER "Neddy," exclaimed Dick a couple of hours later, "just look around you and feel at home. Why, I know every bunch of saw-grass and every tiniest trail from here to Charley Tigertail's and I could pole the rest of the way in my sleep. Hope Charley is home, and will remember us. I hate breaking in new Indians." Never fear an Indian forgetting. Charley is more than half-civilized, anyhow, and he'll welcome us like long lost brothers." Soon they came upon a building of boards con structed in civilized fashion, across the top of which was a big sign, "MR. CHARLEY TIGER TAIL'S STORE." The welcome by Charley was all that Ned had predicted. He remembered their previous visit as if it had been the day before. He brought out a book in which two little sketches stood for them, and underneath was a list of the few things they had bought. "You keep books pretty well, Charley," said Dick by way of leading the conversation. "Yes me learn long time. Keep 'im fine." Where do you get your books ? Buy 'im Miami." "Ever buy other kind of books?" 163

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Sometimes, liltly bit. Injun boy like picture book." "Do all Indians have to go to Miami for books? Couldn't they get 'em from this side Glades?" Somebody say one time Injun boy buy im Boat Landing. Take long time get 'im. Think so Rope Cypress go two time before find 'im." "Rope Cypress read books same as you? Me dunno, think so me talk too much." Dick turned the conversation to the subject of stores, of which he ordered enough for a cruise of weeks. You catch 'im manatee, some more? asked Charley. Maybe so, but what do you know about our catching manatee ? Somebody Injun boy say you catch 'im." "Mr. Charley Tiger Tail's" camp was a popu-. lous one. His family proper consisted of his mother and his sister, but with Seminole generosity he provided for the widow and the fatherless There is no charity scholar in a Seminole house hold, no feeling that one has less claim than an other. The merriest boy in the camp had no claim of relationship upon it, and the casual guest could remain a day or a month without evoking an in hospitable thought. "The trait's getting warm, Neddy," said Dick, 164

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THE TRAIL GETS WARMER the first chance he had for a private talk after his interview with Charley. "Moore bought those books through Rope Cypress and it's up to us to find that Injun. I can't talk any more to Charley He' s suspicious of me already. Maybe you can do something "I'll sound him about the white woman and child. We mus t keep that clue in mind." Then, I'll g o and pump Charley Jumper or Cypress Tiger. They are here and they know us and if they are anywhere near sober I'll find out about Rope Cypress. But, Neddy, look there! Tommy Osce o la, sure as you live. The same Tommy that we left a few days ago at Boat Land ing. His camp is right on our way and we prom ised to stop there. We'll go along with him." Dick soon arranged to accompany Tommy Osce ola to his camp, which Tommy said could be reached in two days if they started early. After the start had been fixed for the next morning Dick said to Tommy: Me think white squaw, white pickaninny live Big Cypress, maybe so near your camp? "Me no think so, no savey 'im "Maybe some key in Glades, you think so?" "Me dunno, maybe so." You come with us, look at all keys? Maybe so find squaw."

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Tommy shook his head, saying: "No can go, squaw sick, must stay camp. Other Injun boy know all keys, maybe can go." "Who can we get, Tommy? "Think so get Smallpox Tommy, here, get Rope Cypress, my camp." We are going to your camp, so we'll get Rope Cypress there." Ned's interview with Charley Tigertail resulted in nothing new excepting that the Indian insisted that it was quite impossible that any white woman and child could be living near his camp. "Maybe so, Whitewater Bay, maybe so Harney River, not any nearer," was his affirmation The boys discussed Dick's great news for half the night and then lay awake most of the rest of it, so excited were they by the near prospect of reaching what both felt would prove to be the seat of war. They held in their hands the thread that led to the man they were after. The circle that enclosed the woman and child was narrowing. Then there was the trail of Devins always ready to be picked up. Dick saw them all in dreams that night. Moore and Devins were one, the lady and child were there all waiting for the paper which Dick was struggling to hand them. But a great weight held him mo tionless, the body of a panther was crushing him, its sharp claws piercing his shoulders, its breath 166

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l'HE TRAIL GETS WARMER burning his cheek and its yellow eyes boring into his, while its face was the face of Brooks. At daylight theY. were off, Tommy Osceola in the lead, poling like a machine in the stern of his heavy canoe, while his squaw lay on a blanket near the bow. Three times in the first hour, he laid down his pole and picking up a spear, soon threw a couter in the bow of the canoe, resuming work with his pole before the momentum of his craft had been lost. Again he stopped as a buck, starting from a thicket near him, ran splashing through the shallow water toward a more distant key. Twice the Win chester responded to his touch and then magazine and barrel were empty, while the unhurt deer sped on. A hundred and fifty yards lay between Dick and his quarry when the boy fired, but the deer fell in his tracks. Tommy looked from the boy to the buck and back again, saying something in Seminole which neither of the boys understood. "Well, Old Sureshot," said Ned, "you're mak ing a reputation with the tribe. You'll be a big Seminole chief, first you know." After Osceola had dressed the buck and stowed the venison in his canoe he asked Dick for his rifle, which he examined carefully, paying especial atten tion to the 22 cartridge, which was perhaps smaller than any he had seen before. As he handed back the weapon he said to Dick: 167

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES "Ifche (gun), ifche lockee (cartridge) shoot ojus. Think so kill nokashe (bear), kecha ,(tiger)?" Unca, kill anything, replied the boy, and Tommy resumed poling with enhanced respect for his companions Once they met a solitary Seminole, driving his dugout at a rate that won the admiration of the boys. He stopped for a chat with Tommy and as the two Indians brought their canoes together, each leaning on his pole, they jabbered in turn and gos siped as if they belonged to the same sewing circle. Even Ned understood nothing that was said until the strange Indian turned to him saying: Whyonie, got some, me think so? Osceola looked as hopeful as his friend, until Ned shook his head, saying: "No got 'im." The strange Seminole tried again: "Maybe so got 'im eche polka (cigar)?" "No, got 'im ech e (tobacco),'' replied Ned, as he offered a paper of tobacco that the Indian might help himself. The Seminole availed himself of the offer by pocketing the whole paper in the bosom of his shirt and starting away on his course without a backward look. 168

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THE TRAIL GETS WARMER "I've got to economize on tobacco," said Ned. Next time I am asked for any, I mean to hand out what I intend to give and not have a whole paper swiped at once." "Esoka bonus che" (me want some), came at this moment from Tommy Osceola and Ned meekly handed over the last paper in his pocket, only to see it find a destination similar to the previous one. Tommy's weighty canoe was heavily loaded, while the boys were traveling light, but the Everglade s that evolved the Seminole canoe developed the Sem inole muscle, and they were glad enough of the rest, when Osceola stopped beside a bit of dry land, saying: "Echu tuckanoe (deer meat), lockawa (turtle), humbitggus cha." Tommy's squaw expected to prepare the dinner, but she sank back with relief on her blanket when Dick offered to attend to the cooking. "Your turtle stew is a dream Dicky," said Ned about an hour later, while Osceola and his sick wife stowed away a pot of hominy and enough slices of broiled venison to have fed a family of the effete East for a week or two. The water was deeper, the Glades more open and progress better in the afternoon. They passed through meadows of white pond lilies and crossed 169

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES winding and limpid streams that were carrying the surplus waters of the Everglades to the rivers of the west coast of the peninsula. What a perfect day! exclaimed Dick. See how the palmetto on that key stands out against th e sky And how near those keys look, though we know they are miles away! Wonder why Tommy is running up to that key? Looks as if he meant to stop." The Indian did stop and helping his squaw ashore began to prepare a shelter. "What are you stopping for, T o mmy? asked Ned. "Squaw sick?" "Okobotchee (rain), ojus, me think so pretty quick." "Why, it is the pleasantest weather I ever saw and it won't rain for a week Maybe so," was the stolid reply, and each held to his own opinion. But within half an hour the sky was darkened as inky clouds shut out the sun and the boys had to hustle to get their canoe out of the water and upside down with supplies snugly cached and a shelter fixed for themselves, before the deluge came. In an hour the sky was clear as before the storm and a few mile s more could have been easily made, but the Seminole remembered his dinner with delight and wanted to devote the s pare daylight to another. 170

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THE TRAIL GETS WARMER Where do you suppose they put it all? asked Ned of his chum. Don't forget that we accounted for a few of it, ourselves," was the reply. The following afternoon the boys pulled their canoe out of the water beside Osceola's camp. "Just look at that venison!" said Ned as Tommy unpacked his canoe. Hardly enough left for an other day. Nearl:y: a whole deer since yesterday morning." "But it wasn't a big one and then Tommy handed over a hind quarter with a tender backstrap at tached, to that Indian that swiped your paper of to bacco." "I didn't see that." "Well, Tommy wasn't ostentatious about it, and the other Indian took it as a matter of course." Of course he did, and equally of course I kicked about a little tobacco. Sometimes I think, Dicky, that an Indian is as much whiter than a white man inside, as he is darker on the outside. But come, watch those Indians turn that hide into buckskin. They are at it already, and if you keep your eyes on 'em you may learn something."

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CHAPTER XIV OLD ACQUAINTANCES ''DOESN'T it all look natural, Ned? Think of the time that has passed since we were here, and all that has happened. But everythin g here is the same. Same buildings, same squaws, same pickaninnies and I guess that sof kee mess is the same." "It does seem natural and it is hard to believe that we were here only four days. We are likely to be here that long again, for Tommy says Rope Cypress has gone away for three, maybe so four days It's too bad to lose the time, but we mustn't leave a straight trail to run all over South Florida." How about taking a look around the head of Lossman's River? We could be back in four days and there are places there, you told me, where peo ple could live without being troubled by callers. You could find the way all right, couldn't you? "No trouble about that and there are good hiding-places there, too. I saw some of them while we were on our way to the Glades find you. We 172

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OLD ACQUAINTANCES may have a little trouble with this Seminole canoe of ours. When Johnny and I came through, you know, it was with our forty-pound Peterbor ough." It is easy to follow a familiar trail, when some one else takes the lead. Then you recognize every turn that is made and anticipate each change of course. But if the leader falls back and the guid ance is left to you, doubt takes possession of your soul. You become hesitating and distrustful, you waver, vacillate and finally take the wrong path. While Osceola led, from Tigertail's camp to his own, the trail seemed so familiar to Dick that he fancied he could follow it blindfolded. But from Osceola's camp to the head of Lossman's was quite another affair and though Dick knew the trail better than the other one, he felt his hair turning gray as he tried to follow it. Yet, though he made some mistakes, in the end he pulled through, and his first niglit's camp was at the mouth of a deep creek of crystal water, from the high bank of which the boys looked down upon a white coral bottom. "Do you remember, Neddy, how I surprised you once by diving up a turtle, against your protests, and how you wondered who taught me the trick? I do seem to remember that you played some such trick on your confiding old chum." "Well, it was Johnny who taught me, in this very 173

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES place, and there's the mate to the turtle he caught and we'll have it for supper to-night." Dick dove for the turtle and though he missed it at first and had to come to the surface for breath several times, yet he followed the reptile up the stream and at last returned clutching the creature in triumph. I wonder if I can stew it like Johnny," said Dick, and an hour later remarked: "It is better than Johnny's, though the turtles were mates and were eaten under this same pal metto, but I hadn't found you then, Neddy, and that seems to make a difference." Dick wakened his companion before it was fairly dawn, saying: There is a key near here that I want to reach before daylight. Possum Key is in the middle of a little bay, and has often been chosen for a home by outlaws, because its outlook on every side makes it easy to guard against surprise." "Makes it handy, too, for 'em to pump bullets into us, doesn't it? Well, we haven't had any very serious excitement for some time." I don't believe there is any risk. If anybody is there, which is doubtful, they can see us coming and have plenty of time to see who we are and to make up their minds about shooting us and there fore they won't fire. They will probably threaten 174

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OLD ACQUAINTANCES us and order us off and then we will go But we may get a look at them and perhaps a little pow wow." You haven't a notion of finding Moore or his family there? "Hardly. It isn't a place where his famHy could stay. It's only the chance in a lottery we're taking, with little hope of drawing a prize." As they neared Possum Key they saw that it was occupied, but apparently by one man only. They cautiously approached within twenty yards when Dick hailed : Halloo, the Key A head was lifted quickly, a rifle presented and the hail responded to : Who are yer? What yer want? "We are friends of yours. You did us a good turn, once. Don't you remember us? "Sure! Over in East River, wasn't it? "That's where it was." "And that feller's the one that called Wilkins all the names he could think of and made him eat dirt? "Same feller. What's become of Wilkins?" "Dead and-somethin' worse, I reckon." Are you sure he is dead? How do you know?" "Never ought'er ask that question in this coun-175

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES try. 'Tain't perlite. I tell yer he's dead. That's enough." "I'm very sorry he is dead." "Nobody else is. What did yer want of him?" "Wanted to ask him a question." "Better ask me. He'd have lied about it, what ever it is, and I'll tell you fellers the truth, if I know it." Wilkins met a a few years ago. it?" woman and child at Key West Do you know anything about Know that much. It wasn't his woman, though, and he never saw her again." "No, the woman's husband met her and brought her into this country. Do you know where she is now?" "No, never heard of her or the young one after they got here." "Of course you know the man's name?" "Reckon not, though he goes by the name of Devins down here. I told yer some things ain't perlite, and askin' a man's name is one of 'em." "Where can we find Mr. Devins?" I don't just know and if I did I couldn't tell yer. Addresses is mighty private and perticerler in the Big Cypress and Ten Thousand Islands." "But you must tell us what you know. I give you my word that we only mean good to Mr. Dev176

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OLD ACQUAINTANCES ins. We want to give him a message from his best friends that is very important for him to receive. Don't you know enough of us to take our word for that? Yes, I'll take your word and tell you all I know. If he doesn't like it, and he's a regular devil to find things out, I'll have more trouble on my hands than I like to think of. Last time I saw Devins was about a week ago goin' down Harney River with an Indian in a canoe. I wasn t near enough to see who the Indian was, but I knew Devins." "Then you don't know anything about his wife and child, nor where they all live? "Couldn't tell yer to save my life. Course he's got 'em cached up somewhere, but they keep mighty close. Wilkins tried to find 'em once and I reckon he did run across Devins, from the way he used to swear about him afterwards. He stopped lookin' for 'em, though." "We have got to find him, and as quickly as pos sible. Where do you suppose he was going when you saw him with the Indian? Couldn't have been goin' fur. Reckon he had the Indian along to do somethin' for him, maybe to meet somebody with supplies. He doesn't trust white folks much and he's 'bout right." How about that Whitewater Bay country 177

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES around those two East Rivers? There were good places to live there. Think it likely his family are there?" "Don't think so. I've used round there consid erable and never saw a sign of 'em. Probably the Indians could tell yer if they wanted to, but 'tain't likely they would If yer keep lookin' 'round yer may run across him, 'less he's keepin' out of yer way." You are sure there is no u s e looking around here?" "Not a bit. Too many plume and alligator hunters come thisaway. Better begin at Harney and work south. That's yer best chance to find the woman and as good as any to meet him." "We are much obliged to you for all you have told us and if we can do anything for you, just let us know." Best thing you can do for me is to forget yer saw me. I'm some modest about havin my name talked about." "But we don't even know what your name is." "I've got several. You can take your pick of 'em or make up a new one." We won't talk about them. And we would rather you wouldn't say anything about us." "Anybody likely to ask? 178

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OLD ACQUAINTANCES Yes, but he isn't a friend of Devins as we are." "He'll find me dumb as an oyster, unless I get a chance to send him on a wild goose chase." "You'll have to be careful about that, for he isn't an easy man to fool." "Want me to say anything to Devins if I happen to run against him? Yes, tell him that young Mr. Barstow is down here with a message for him and his family which it is very much to his interest to get." I'll tell him if I meet him, which won't happen very soon if I can help it." After leaving Possum Key, Ned and Dick de cided that it was useless to explore the vicinity any farther, and that it was best for them to return at once to Osceola's camp and start on their cam paign to the south. "Isn't it wonderful, Ned, the way things hap pen? This Possum Key man has cleared up the identity question, and narrowed the field a whole lot." "I wonder what he has done," replied Ned. "I couldn't help liking him, and I don't believe he is a bad man." "That's the way I felt and that's why I talked so freely about our plans. I believe the man can 179

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES be trusted. There are plenty of people outside of this wilderness that are worse than anything we have found in it. I wonder what trouble this man has had with Devins. He didn't seem to want to meet him." Whatever it is, it is unlucky for us, for I be lieve he could help us to find our man. Probably Rope Cypress could find him, but I doubt if he will." So do I, Ned, but it is the best we can do. We won't talk to the Indian about Devins, but only of the woman and child, in the hope that Devins hasn't told him of his family. Then if we get sus picious of Rope we will drop him and work by our selves." As the boys approached the Everglades on their way to Osceola's camp they came upon two Indians skinning an alligator. One they knew as Miami Charley and soon learned that the other was Rope Cypress. They said nothing to Rope of their plan of exploring the keys with him, leaving that to Osceola to propose. "Neddy," said Dick, as they neared Osceola's camp, I suppose I am getting too suspicious, but I got it in my mind that Rope Cypress was off on an alligator hunt. Now, where are the hides? He hadn't enough in his canoe to account for a three day hunt. I wonder if he hasn't been off with 180

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OLD ACQUAINTANCES Devins and if he wasn't the Indian the outlaw saw." Don't know how we can find out. The surest way to learn nothing about it is to ask him." There was news at Osceola's camp, for Day and his companion had spent the night there and inci dentally had inquired about Devins. "What did you tell him, Tommy?" asked Dick. "Tell 'im dunno. Think so 'im holowaugus. No ifche, no kill e chu, no talk like missionaly, maybe so Gov'ment man." Did the other man say anything? "Other man ask Injun boy if know Harney River. Say maybe so no get there in canoe? Injun boy say get there in canoe all lite." "Dicky," said Ned a little later, "something ought to be done to head off that Brooks. He is always on our trail and a little ahead of us at that. Whenever we strike a new scent we find he has already taken it up. When we really land Moore we'll find Brooks has got him." "It isn't as bad as that, Neddy. Brooks heard of Devins early in the game, and that has naturally brought him into this part of the country, but he hasn't the news that the outlaw gave us, he doesn't know the country as we do, and he hasn't the Rope Cypress thread in his hand." "I wish we were surer of following that thread." 181

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES So do I, but I m glad Brooks got away before Cypress arrived. We may be wrong in going off among the keys when the trail seems to lead Harney River way, but I want to keep in touch with Cypress as long as there is a chance of his helping us." "If he finds out what we want he won't be likely to help us." "If he gets in our way we will drop him quick." Sooner or later, Dick, we are bound to meet Brooks face to face. How do you propose to treat him?" I mean to be as polite as I know how, and to say as little as possible. We have the advantage of him in several ways, but I don't think we'd find one in the open matching of wits." Reckon you are right. We have had good luck, but are only amateurs while he is probably a pro fessional. It is encouraging to think that so far the Indians are all on our side rather than his "If we can manage to win over Cypress it will be worth all the rest. I've got a hunch that he could take us straight to Moore if he wanted to." Soon after Rope Cypress reached the camp Osce ola had a long talk with him and then coming to Dick said: Cypress, he say show you alle keys. He say think so you no catch 'im white squaw, no catch 'im white pickaninny." 182

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OLD ACQUAINTANCES "What do you think, Tommy?" Me dunno. Maybe so Cypress, he dunno. He hunt alpate, long time, no catch 'im." "Osceola's suspicions are the same as yours," said Ned to his chum, when he got the chance. "He couldn't well have made them plainer. Does it change your plans in the least? "It only makes the policy plainer. It is almost certain that Cypress is working for our man and that he means to keep it secret. We must take every chance of worming it out of him."

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CHAPTER XV THE HUNT IN THE GLADES THE hunt for the keys began with daylight, Cypress leading in his own canoe. Dick had proposed taking but the one light canoe, but the Indian had insisted on having his own. "Wonder if he wants to be able to leave when he pleases," was Dick's comment on the decision. You are getting too suspicious and think that every one is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils,'" said his chum. "Of course he wants to leave when he pleases and go where he likes, and why shouldn't he? When he really wants to go we shall probably be glad enough to have him. Then we couldn't have our confidential talks if he was in the same canoe. And by the same token there may be another reason, the most natural of all." "Trot it out, Neddy, and get it off your mind. I know from your tone that it is an impertinence, though." I was only thinking maybe Rope has noticed 184

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THE HUNT IN THE GLADES how you make the canoe wabble every time you turn around to speak to me." The first midday meal of the explorers was taken on a small key marked by a solitary palmetto. There was plenty of room for a camp and plenty of camp-fires had been built upon it, but it was too open to approach and too inviting through its tall palmetto landmark to be chosen as a retired re sort. It was nearly dark when the next key was reached, and the Seminole stepped quickly aside after first setting foot upon it. "Chinte-chobee (big snake, rattlesnake)," he ex claimed, but made no attempt to harm the reptile. Why don't you kill it? shouted Dick, but the Indian only shook his head, whereupon the boy got a club and bruised the serpent's head as had been the custom of his people since their removal from Eden. The key had been recently camped upon, but apparently for no long time. "Find bigger key to-morrow," said Cypress, who seemed to understand English whenever he wanted to, "somebody camp there long time, me think so." Cypress was a handsome young Seminole and under the always-mellowing influence of the camp fire became sociable. Ned, mindful of what he con sidered his mission to the Seminoles, sounded the youth on the subject of a reservation and Govern185

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES ment aid to the tribe. He found the prejudice against the Government which he had expected, but far less bitterness than he had looked for. When he lay down for the night he was hopeful of mak ing a new convert to the cause for which he was working, the bringing a neglected people into friendly relations with the Government that must control them. The next day's voyage was a l o ng one, without a bit of dry land on their course; but the key where they stopped was of goodly size, well wooded and difficult of approach. This looks promising," said Ned as they waded through mud beneath overhanging bushes that con cealed the borders of the key. "What better place for a secluded home could there be than this? Look at the high and dry level ground and see that fruit laden papaw tree and that pile of Dicky boy! We have been here before and this is our own old island. Look at the antlers in the tree and the bear's skull. I don't believe a soul has been here since we left it." That shows how easy it would be for a little family like Moore's to hide on one of the keys Things look more hopeful. And I am sure Cypress doesn't connect up our hunt for a woman and child with Devins. So probably the Indian doesn't know anything about Devins having a wife and child 186

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THE HUNT IN THE GLADES And that reminds me -of something I meant to speak of. What do we know about this child? Only that she was a girl quite some years ago. We ought to have remembered that girls grow older in time. Then men don't buy geometries and Virgils for in fants. We had better be looking for a young woman than for a child." "I wish we could hear of either. It is strange to me that they could be hidden so long without some little bit of a rumor getting out about them." Cypress had come to share the desire of the boys to find this mysterious woman, and showed his dis appointment at finding the key unoccupied. He told them they would find a key the next day where there was plenty of room for many people to hide, where there were echu, kecha, and nokashe. "That must be Pine Island. It's eight or nine miles long and if any people do live there in hiding it would be a piece of luck if we found them." "Well, we have had luck before and maybe we'll tumble into some more. I'd like mighty well to know exactly where Brooks is and just what he is doing. I'll feel better when I know where he IS. So will I," said Dick. I am always afraid of his popping up unexpectedly in our path and thwart ing such plans as we have. The way I feel now I'd like to meet him face to face and fight it out, what187

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES ever the result. MJ. nerves are all on edge with suspense." Brace up, Dicky. When you really get in the thick of the fray you will forget you have any nerves." I wish I was there now It was a long trip to Pine Island, by the course the canoes had to take, but it was the easiest day for the boys since they first stepped into their Indian canoe. Their muscles had become adjusted to the work as they picked up the knack of handling their craft and even Cypress nodded approval as they stepped, fresh as daisies, from their canoe to the key, where they took their midday meal. "You'll grow to be a man, yet, Dicky," said Ned to his companion as they poled over the bright wa ters in chase of the Everglade craft that the Sem inole was driving at near his best speed. You can turn your head and talk without making me ex pect to land in the drink the next minute." "It's your own precarious footing that has trou bled you, Neddy, and I am glad to see that you are growing a little less unsteady. But just cast your eyes on that Pine Island key. I can make out al ready, palmetto and pine, oak and mastic trees and a lot of others that I shall know pretty soon." As Dick set foot on the dry ground of the tiful key he saw through the trees a grazing buck. 188

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THE HUNT IN THE GLADES "We are out of fresh meat," said the boy to him self, "and that deer was sure sent to our larder." Already he was raising his rifle when he felt the hand of Cypress on his shoulder. No shoot," said the Indian. "White squaw hear 'im. Maybe so run away." "Did you hear that; Ned? A wild Indian keeps me from breaking the white man's law and warns me against going on a still-hunt with a brass band. I ought to have a guardian." "Kecha!" said the Seminole the next morning as he pointed out footprints which only an Indian eye would have discovered. "Ugh!" exclaimed Ned. "It brings back the time when the panther so nearly killed you. And to think that the beast was within fifty yards of us last night and I never heard him. We might have been eaten up in our sleep." "Kecha, big coward, run away from pickaninny. Me hear 'im in night," was the red man's comment. The Seminole planned the campaign for the day: "Me go so," pointing to the south, "maybe so find camp white squaw. You go so," pointing north. "Maybe you catch 'im. No shoot, no make big noise." Ned and Dick hunted faithfully but fruitlessly. They found where hunters had made temporary camps, but nothing with signs of recent occupation. 189

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES They had returned to the canoes by the middle of the afternoon and were sitting at lunch by their camp-fire when the Indian returned and seating him self stolidly beside them, began to eat. "We didn't find anything, Cypress, and I suppose you didn't, either," began Ned Me find camp. Catch'im white squaw, you come pretty soon." Pretty soon? We'll start this minute After a silent tramp of about four miles, at what seemed the culmination of their pursuit the boys were too excited to talk, Cypress pointed to a light smoke rising through the trees. "White squaw camp there. Me go back canoe." "That In jun has tact," said Dick, a moment later, but I am beginning to wonder if it is pos sible that this is the woman we want to find. Cypress didn't say anything about a child or what kind of a camp it was and we were too excited to ask. There it is, now! And Neddy, Neddy, it's only a fresh palmetto shack, just about what a guide would put up for a tourist who thought he wanted to rough it. Isn't it a beautiful end to our trail? Yes, Dick, and now I see the woman, sitting on a log by the fire and I know the store near Broadway which fitted her out with her hunting toggery. And there is her mate behind her. He 190

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THE HUNT IN THE GLADES looks like the president of a bank who telephoned to the proper shop for a regular sportsman's outfit." I think they see us, Ned, so put on your Waldorf style and march up like a little man. I wish I had a bunch of violets or a box of Huyler's at least." Boy hunters always scorn tourists, yet even under the conventional sportsman's garb of the shops in terestfog folks have occasionally been found. Neither Ned nor Dick could resist the cordial welcome of Mr. and Mrs. Mallory of Pittsburg. They had been cruising in their house-boat on the west coast and the lady's wish to visit the Ever glades had led to their present excursion. Mr. Mallory proved to be an old friend of Ned's father and took great interest in the boy's account of their hope to help sol v e the Seminole problem. He told Ned to tell his father that he would be glad of an opportunity to help forward the work. In the meantime Dick showed great diplomacy by congratulating Mrs. Mallory upon being the first lady to explore the wilderness of the Glades. Her interest in the adventures of her guests kept Dick talking until Ned reminded him that it was time to leave if they wanted to 'find their camp that night. As they were leaving, the Mallory guide, who had been out for deer, returned empty handed, and they were glad to recognize in him the Captain 191

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Hull whom Mr. Barstow had sent out to search for them when they w ere thought to have been wrecked, and in whose boat they had afterwards cruised. It was dark when the boys got back to their own camp and they might not have found it that night but for the thoughtfulness of Cypress, who kept up a big blaze to guide them. The Indian looked glum when Dick told him he had found the wrong squaw. He seemed to think that any white squaw should have satisfied them and that he had found them a pretty good sample anyhow. Are there anymore camps on the island? he was asked. "Me think so, see one canoe, find 'im to-mor row." The Indian shook his head when Ned proposed to accompany him in the morning and again mo tioned him to the north. "We'll make thorough work of this end of the island, Ned, and if we don't find anything we will try the other to-morrow, Indian or no In dian." I was awfully disappointed yesterday and I'm losing faith in this blooming old island," was the reply. I am hungry, too, and sick of slops and if I don't shoot a deer to-morrow it will be because 192

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THE HUNT IN THE GLADES I can't find one. I work to-day, but to-morrow I eat." They explored so long and so late that they had trouble in finding their camp in the fading light. As they neared it they fancied they saw an Indian canoe with two spectral figures pass a distant point. Do you suppose that was a phantom canoe with a ghostly crew, or is the island becoming populous? asked Dick. Wonder if the Mallorys won't make some ceremonial return of our formal call. The least they can do if they leave is to send us a p. p. c. by their bubble. Here comes Cypress, looking like a thunder-cloud as well as I can judge by the light of the fire." "Me go now," and the Indian stalked past the fire to his canoe. "But where are you going, Cypress?" "Me go back Osceola camp, bimeby. No hunt white squaw any more. Me go now." You must be crazy. Did you find another camp to-day?" "Me go now," was the red man's only reply as he pushed off in the darkness. "Well, if that isn't a regular sockdolager What do you think of it, Dick? "Think, I'd give anything I've got to have gone with Cypress this morning on his hunt for a white squaw. He found Moore, sure as you live, and 193

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Moore told him the white squaw hunters were after him. Now the Indian believes that we were cheat ing him, which we were, and that we meant harm to Moore, which we didn't." "Then Cypress has gone to join Devins, as he is called and as we had better call him, and we have nothing more to hope from him ? "That's about the size of it, Ned, and though it leaves us adrift in the Everglades I don't care for that. We have been here before, when we knew a lot less about them than we do now. But I wish, and I wish that I had gone with Cypress to day." "No use crying over spilt milk. Cypress is with Devins by this time and we can't take a step to night, but we'll be on their trail to-morrow. Only, don't you forget that everything stops to-morrow till I get a bellyful of venison. For three days I have watched it on the hoof while I was starving for a piece to broil. I'll be up with the breaking of day and, if you will take an extra nap I'll prom ise you a meat breakfast. I know just where to find the beautifullest buck you ever laid eyes on." 194

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CHAPTER XVI THE RIVALS MEET DICK opened his eyes to the faint light of the early morning and saw his partner start out, rifle in hand. Half an hour later he woke again to the crack of that rifle and then showed his faith in his companion s skill by arising and building a fire of large wood and hard wood that there might be plenty of coals for the broiling of the promised venison. Even before the coals were ready Ned came staggering in with the carcass of a buck slung on his back. "What's the easiest way to carry a deer? asked the breathless boy as he dropped his burden. Just help me sling it on this branch and I'll tell you. There isn t any easy way. Whichever you try is the worst. Try to hold it anywhere and it will wriggle like a snake to get away from you. You can skin the legs enough to tie them together and putting your arms through, wear it like a coat. Your other coat will become like Joseph's, of many colors, principally crimson. The 195

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DICK AMONG .THE SEMINOLES really best way is to let the other fellow carry it." "That's what I'm going to do and please take notice you are the other feller." "Wow! but that's fine," said he ten minutes later as he held in both hands a thick piece of venison, burned on the outside but only warmed through within. The re never was anything better to eat. I'd like to give everybody in the world a taste, ex cept the vegetarians, and Rope Cypress, and that man Brooks. I hope he doesn't get anything to eat but slush, such as we have had lately, until he goes back home where he belongs." "Brooks isn't so bad," said Dick as plainly as he could with his mouth full of venison, but he has been in my mind so much, asleep or awake, that I have got into the habit of picturing him with horns, hoofs and a forked tail but do my eyes deceive me, Neddy, or have we callers already this morn ing? Is this the wilderness we thought it, or a fashionable summer resort? It isn't a return of the Mallory call, for it lacks their painful correct ness of costume. Wake me up, Neddy, for I've got a bad nightmare. Brooks, with his horns, hoofs and forked tail has come for me I Wonder whether I'm alive or dead? Stop your nonsense, Dick, for we need all our wits now. The enemy is upon us." 196

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THE RIVALS MEET Good morning," came to the boys in the win ning tones of the great detective. How do you do, Mr. Brooks? I am glad to see you. You know you told me on the boat that we should probably meet again," replied Dick. If I mentioned Pine Island at that time I'll claim some credit as a prophet." "Mr. Brooks," said Ned, "I can recommend this venison. It was on the hoof an hour ago." Then perhaps I heard the shot to which I am indebted for the treat you offer me? "That was Mr. Barstow. He is the hunter of the outfit." I am glad he was so successful on this oc casion. Have you had good sport on your trip, Mr. Barstow? Ned was a little confused by a twinkle in the detective's eye, and he replied with some hesitation: "We are not exactly on a hunting trip. My father and some of his friends are anxious for the Government to do something for the Seminoles and we are trying to help the cause along by pro moting a friendly feeling among the Indians toward the Government." You couldn't be engaged in a better cause and it is always wise to work on the side of the Gov ernment." 197

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES "Especially if you do it from principle and not for pay," replied Dick, as he forked a thick steak from the coals upon a palmetto leaf and handed it to Mr. Brooks who was smiling at the sharpness of the speech that accompanied it. The canoe man, Day, was called in to the feast during which nothing more was said on the subject that most in terested all of them. After breakfast they sat for a time around the fire, while Bill Day smoked his pipe and the de tective lit a cigarette after vainly tendering the case to the boys. "I haven't enjoyed anything so much as that venison since I came to Florida." You don't mind defying the Government that makes the game laws? inquired Dick. "How about you?" was the laughing response. "Oh, we have been admitted to membership in a Seminole camp and their title to the game ante dates even Government rights." To reward you for your compliment to your breakfast, Mr. Brooks," said Ned, "you are to carry home with you a haunch of this buck." But I really can't take it from-" "Oh, yes, you can," interrupted Dick. "Just before you arrived, Ned was wishing he could give a lot of it to some one. I believe he even men tioned your name in that connection." 198

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.THE RIVALS MEET Sure it wasn't as the exception? laughed the detective, and Ned's blushes told him his guess was a good one. "Do you think of making a long stay here, Mr. Brooks? asked Dick playfully. What would be your advice? was the reply. "I should recommend you to stay, the climate is good and so is the society, what I know of it. When we saw you coming we thought it was the Mallorys of Pittsburg, returning our call. They reside here at present and I think you would like them." "Are there any other residents of the island to whom you could commend me? We have met none that interested us until you came." "Thank you," said the detective as he rose to leave, I may look around a little myself." Then he added gravely, "I am glad that we have met in this way and I really wish that some things were different." Then he laughed at Dick's saucy re ply: I've been wishing that you were different, too, Mr. Brooks, but maybe it will all come out in the wash." After their guests had left, the boys began to wonder if they had played their game badly and given any points to the enemy. 199

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DICK AMONG l'HE SEMINOLES Why did you tell what I said about the veni son? I thought I should sink into the ground when he tumbled to the truth so quickly," said Ned. I wanted to get on a good human basis. The man has been a nightmare to me long enough and I feel a lot better already. He may beat us, but I shall never be afraid of him again in the way I have been." "I am glad we have met him, too, but I wonder how he got on Devins1 track. We didn't know he was here." Like as not Cypress did, only he didn't tell us. We are better off without that Injun." He came pretty near helping us. If we had gone with him yesterday we should have won out and delivered the letter to Moore, alias Devins." But then Brooks would have caught him. He would have caught him anyhow if Cypress hadn t broken with us and started off with Devins last night. So we can't complain of our luck, though we hope it will be better next time." I wish I knew exactly what is in the letter Dad is sending to Moore. If we have any more such close calls as we have had on this key I'll bust the seal and find out." "It couldn't help us any just now, Neddy, for Devins has probably gone and it may be a long 200

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THE RIVALS MEET time before we get on his track. It is likely he knows that two parties are after him." Hadn't we better go back to his old haunts around Harney River and mix in with the refugees until we get on his track? It's the safest place for him and he is bound to get back there." "We have got to think that over. Of course it will come to that by and by, if we don't find him sooner. You see he has just left that country, either because he knew he was hunted and wanted to get away or because he was anxious to see his family which is hidden somewhere, and why not on this big island ? Then you believe we had better look over Pine Island first? I sure do and I've got other reasons. We don't want to leave it while Brooks is here if there is a ghost of a chance of his finding anything here to help him. He may know something that we don't about the Devins family. Lastly, we shall be getting hungry every day or two and this will give us a chance to lay up a little store of jerked venison." I most wish I hadn't given Brooks that beau tiful haunch." "Don't be an Injun giver if you are a full blooded Seminole, as we claimed to him. Let's get onto our jobs." 20!

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES They gathered wood for the fire, cut poles for the scaffolding and sliced the venison into thin strips for jerking. In an hour it was drying in the smoke and the boys were on a scout to the south, de termined to explore every hiding-place that might shelter a family. Their day was a short one and they found only the ashes of old camp-fires and one that still smol dered, where Devins had probably camped They had worked apart taking different courses and Ned had returned early to camp to attend to the fire. He was just in time to rescue the venison from buzzards which, undeterred by the flowing gar ments which had been hung up to frighten them, were waiting for the fire to die out. That night they arranged the drying and shrinking flesh more compactly and surrounded it with a buzzard-proof cage of heavy, green withes in preparation for the next day's tramp which began as early as they could see. Again they worked separately, meeting near noon at the southerly end of the dry land of the island, quite satisfied, after comparing notes that there was nothing like a permanent human habitation on the island. Ned, who had carried the rifle in the morning, handed it to Dick as they started on their return, saying: I had half a dozen chances at deer and let them 202

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THE RIVALS MEET all go, but I don't believe I could resist any more temptations." Then I'll keep the rifle, for we can't spare the time to cure any more meat." As they walked near the middle of the island toward camp they were often in sight of one an o ther. Once Ned saw his companion level his rifle, and looking past him was surprised to get a glimpse of a deer running in the distance "I shouldn't have thought it of Dicky," he said to himself, as he contirlued to watch. Again the rifle was raised and once more lowered. Once more it was lifted, this time quickly, and the crack of the discharge followed, but the deer continued on its course, seemingly unharmed. Served you right, Dick, for firing at a deer after what you said to me. It was a doe, too, which makes it about a hundred times worse." I fired to save its life," cried Dick, hurrying toward the place where the deer had been when he fired. Were you as sure of missing it as all -Holy Smoke! Why, it's a panther! Yes, and it was chasing the deer which r(\Jl as if it had been hurt. I was afraid it was going to catch the doe before I could get a fair chance for a shot." 203

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES The bullet had broken the back of the panther and its hind quarters were paralyzed, but the claws of the fore legs were partly unsheathed and the half-opened mouth of the snarling beast showed the curved, glistening weapons of its species. "Look out, Neddy! That brute has a longer arm than you think," and as he spoke the paw of the panther flashed out. But it was Dick himself instead of Ned that suffered, for his sleeve was in ribbons and the blood was flowing from several ugly scratches on his forearm. Dick laughed at his mishap, but Ned insisted on binding up the wounds after dressing them with carbolated vase line, from a tube which he carried. As he lo o ked up after finishing the job he met the eyes.of Mr. Brooks who stood beside him. I am sorry for your accident," said he, but it is a little price to pay for a trophy like that. What a beautiful creature I wish I had it un injured in a cage. I would take a good deal of trouble to get it safely to the Zoo in New York." So would we," replied Dick, but as it can't be alive and well in a cage I wish it was dead, for it has got to be shot and I hate to But it must be done, so here goes," and in a moment the big cat was dead with a bullet through its brain Is that your first panther? "It's the first one he has killed," replied Ned 204

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THE RIVALS MEET but one killed him almost not many miles from where we are standing." The dangers of the past are the pleasures of the present, and I am glad of your continued succes s in hunting. But as we shall be off to-morrow I shall say' Good luck, and good-by '-till we meet again." It is likely we shall be leaving, too, if our veni son is sufficiently smoked," responded Dick "Haven't we talked too freely?" asked Ned of his companion as they were hard at work, skinning the panther. "Was it policy to tell him that we thought of leaving to-morrow? Won't he be on the lookout to see which way we go? I wanted to be as frank as he was. He is working on a bigger plane than trailing around to see what any of us are doing. He is reasoning out what Devins is likely to do. If he wants to follow us, it will be in the same way, from the in side. He isn't looking for little clues from us, but I'll bet he hasn't wasted his time here and I am sure he could make a shrewd guess at what we would do under given circumstances. Our hope is that we know the situation better than he." "Have you been thinking which way we should go when we leave the island?" Haven't been doing much else for a day or two and my head is like a hive of bees with the worry of 205

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES it. But this is how it pans out. Devins came out here on the run, and we are pretty sure now it wasn't to find his family. So he is seeking to es cape something that threatens from the mainland. With Cypress to guide him he can circulate around the Seminole camps to the north and east of us for a long time without being heard from by his pur suers." Then you think we had better strike out for an Indian camp, perhaps something like northeast from here? "With your approval, Neddy, that's what I would do, and I would start to-morrow." "That suits me. It will give me a chance to talk to a lot more of the Indians about their Uncle Samuel, whom they don't seem to appreciate." Don't they? Seems to me they appreciate him too well." Mustn't tell them that. It's a hard enough row to hoe as it is. But do you know this panther is two inches over eight feet? That is nearly four inches longer than the one that chewed you up." Might have been its mate. It has had time to grow that much." To round-skin a panther for mounting is a good deal of a job and some of the more careful work together with the cleaning of the skull had to go over to the next day. As it was it was late enough 206

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THE RIVALS MEET when they started for camp to make their homeward trip with their load a hard one. They found the fire nearly out and the venison insufficiently smoked so they replenished the fire by turns through the night and by morning the meat was safe from spoiling. They had eaten their breakfast and were at work on the panther skull and skin, when they saw through the trees the canoe of the detective pointed toward the west. His reasoning is different from yours, Dick, unle ss he is trying to fool us." "You can be sure it isn't that, Neddy. He may change his mind any minute and turn back, but he isn't trying to deceive us. He is heading for Harney River, because he doesn't know what we know. We should be going that way ourselves but for Cypress, and Brooks doesn't know that Indian." Dick resumed his work but from time to time looked out over the waters, until the detective's canoe was melting into the horizon four or five miles away, when he half-whispered to himself as he gazed: "I wonder when and how we shall meet again

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CHAPTER XVII A CALAMITY "I don't know where I'm going, But I'm on my way. I don't know where I'm going, But I'm on my way." THE canoe of the detective was well be neath the western horizon and our heroes were making good speed in nearly the op posite direction, while Ned as he poled sang with droning reiteration the couplet written above. Where did you pick up that coon song, Ned, and what is the matter with you? came from Dick, in the bow of the canoe. "I'm sick of being keyed up to concert pitch and I'm letting myself down a little, musically speaking. The pace has been too fast and the ex citement too much for my bucolic mind. I like detectives in books, of the Sherlock Holmes kind, because I can shut them up when I get tired of them, but I don't like to have one shut up with me on an island where I can't get away but have to meet him at breakfast and when I take my walks abroad." 208

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A CALAMITY "That is all past, now, Neddy. It's the simple life for you, flirting with dusky maidens, dipping your hand in the common dish when you are hungry, your costume a shirt and your conversation limited by a language of a hundred words of which you understand about ten." I don't believe any limitation of language would keep you from talking. You seem to feel pretty cheerful, have you any notion where you are bound?" I am not worrying about that, just yet. We ought to reach an Indian camp to-morrow, and after that the way from one to another can be easily found. There are not many camps to explore and, if we fail to find any traces of the man we are after, we can round them up in a week or two. Of course if we find anything to follow up we can take all the time that is needed Camping ground was scarce that day and the boys ate their lunch cold, sitting in a canoe that threatened each moment to roll them out. How do you like balancing the canoe with one hand and eating with the other? inquired Dick. "Don't like it," was the reply, "and I mean to go without grub hereafter until I have a fire to warm it and a place that will keep still to sit on." "I'll stand by you if we starve to death." But both recanted when night came with no more 209

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES dry land in sight than the dove of Noah found on its first flight from the Ark. They ate standing nearly waist deep in the water, opening their mouths to bite and grumble alternately The question of how to sleep seemed an uns o lved problem, as the little log dugout could be relied upon to roll them out the instant they fell asleep. Harmony came with the agreement that one should stand in the water and steady the canoe while the other slept, but discord broke out afresh over the question as to who was entitled to the honor of remaining out side. At last both wearily climbed aboard, and they laid their course for a distant key, which they dimly descried in the fading light. The cocoa plum, myrtle and bay of the Everglade keys like to stand with their feet in the water, and the boys found when they reached their island that they would have to sleep standing if they slept upon it. But they had to sleep, so they lashed their poles across their craft and fastened them as best they could to the trees. This made a bed for the two of them which was nearly as comfortable as the ordinary watering trough of the farmer, or that from which he feeds his stock. It twisted their legs, cramped their muscles and bruised the flesh over their bones, making Dick cry out: "I feel as if I was in a plaster cast!" But both were tired and soon fell into a troubled 210

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A CALAMITY sleep from which the flashings and mutterings of an approaching storm failed to rouse them. But soon the clouds burst over their heads and the water falling in solid masses made them gasp for breath as they protected their faces with their hands. How does the water come down at Lodore '? gasped Dick to his companion in misery. If it ever came down like this there wasn't any Lodore left. But what shall we do? Shall we stick it out? We can't get any wetter." "We could drown, though. My head is lower than yours and the water is most up to my eyes and rising fast. So hold steady while I get out." The poles had been fastened across the top of the log-like canoe by belts and cords that were carried around its smooth bottom. As Dick un balanced the craft in his struggles to get out, it rolled over within the enveloping lines and sent everything weighty within it to the bottom. Dick fell clear of the canoe and was on his feet in an instant, which was fortunate for Ned whose legs were caught by the lines and his head held under the overturned craft. It took but the frac tion of a minute to rescue him, but the struggle for breath after his head was above water lasted longer. Yet his spirits came with the power to speak and he laughingly said : 2II

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES "I shouldn t mind this a bit, if I thought Brooks was in the same kind of a fix. I hope he i s Wouldn t it surprise Dad and Molly if they could have a flashlight of us now? Don't you s pose they d take the next train south? I can't make up my mind to laugh at it quite yet, Neddy. When I felt that I had turned the canoe over on you, it was a good deal of a shock." "Nonsense, Dick, that hollowed-out log rolled o ver of itself and you couldn t have helped or hindered it. The blamed thing had it in for us from the start, and I always knew it. I don t believe we are through with it, either. But let's take account of stock and look into the situ a tion." "I wish I could, but I can't see my hand before my face. We are at s ea without c o mpass or rud der, our boat a wreck and all our goods gone to the bottom. If we roll the water out of the canoe this rain will fill it in about a minute. Soon as that lets up what's left of our plunder? Most of our sup plies are spoiled, I reckon." Luckily: our cartridges are waterproof, and our match-cases, too, and there is some salt in a tightly corked bottle. But the rain is stopping and we must get busy diving up our goods." They rolled and bailed the water out of the canoe and began groping for their stores The water came up to their chins as they knelt on the bottom 212

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A CALAMITY and as they groped in the mud their faces went below the surface. Some few things were quickly found, rifle, clothing, hunter's axe and most of their cooking outfit of aluminum. Dick's knife had escaped from its sheath but he found it by striking his hand against the point, while Ned rejoiced when he brought their little medicine case out of the mud. All paper parcels dissolved while salt, sugar and cereals melted away. Some watersoaked venison and a bit of bacon were found but for a long time not a cartridge could be discovered though the empty pasteboard case had turned up. Inch by inch in the Cimmerian darkness they groped in the water rub bing the soft mud between their hands and occa sionally finding a tiny cartridge. Sometimes as one of them reached a little farther with his out stretched hands the half submerged head sank to the crown and the buoyant water lifted the youth from his place and occasionally rolled him over. When the hunt was over Dick totted up the result and announced : Including what is in the magazine there are only eighteen shots between this outfit and starva tion." That being the case I vote we move along. The stars are out and we can make our course just as well as if it was day Besides we haven't any par ticular course to make anyhow." 213

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Daylight seemed long in coming to the tired boys as they toiled, but when the sun rose its rays pene trated the clear water and were reflected from the white coral bottom of the shallow streams that wound about the meadows of the Everglades. A palmetto-crowned key promised dry ground for a camp with a chance to rest, but Ned exclaimed as he studied it: I remember that key and I know where we are. Two hours' work, and maybe one, just a little south of east will take us to the camp of Wilson Cypress. Don't you remember, Dick? That's where you got the lynx that you gave to Molly. And old Cypress was a mighty decent Injun, and he liked you a lot." I couldn't forget him and I remember the pick aninnies that capsized the canoe when I was in it and the pretty girl that wouldn't notice you when you spoke to her." You shameless prevaricator, you tipped the canoe over through your own clumsiness and nearly drowned a few dozen innocent children and it was you that the pretty girl turned down, and you know it. But what is it to be, this key or the Indian camp?" The camp, of course. Maybe Rope Cypress is with the other Cypress and Devins somewhere in the grass." 214

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A CALAMITY As they progressed new landmarks appeared, fa miliar to both of the boys and soon they made out the Wilson Cypress camp and the muddy channel through a meadow that led to it. They were poling up this channel when Ned's pole slipped and he fell in the mud beside the canoe. Dick with his pole saved the canoe from rolling over but as he turned to his companion, prostrate in the mud and water he was horrified to see the head of a little speckle-bellied moccasin lifted above the scanty grass and brought down upon Ned's bare neck. Leaping from the canoe he had the snake in his hand in an instant, tossing it far to one side. Then calling to Ned to lie still he placed his lips to the wound and sucked out venom and blood, repeating the action till Ned protested: "There, Dicky, the poison's all out and I want some blood left in my body. I don't believe I'm any the worse for the bite. Now, Dicky, you mustn't worry." I'm not worrying, but I must get you to that Indian camp just as soon as possible, and you are not to lift a finger for yourself. If you are going to be sick you will need all your strength." Excitement doubled Dick's strength and he picked up his chum and laid him in the canoe as if he had been a child. Then taking the canoe by the bow he dragged it after him as he splashed 215

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DICK AMONG .THE SEMINOLES ahead through the channel. When he reached the bank where lay the canoes of the camp, he was met by Wilson Cypress whom he recognized as the Indian who had sold him the lynx. The Indian had no word of welcome for Dick His eye was on the sick boy, for the excitement that sustained him at first had passed away and the poison was doing its work. "Chinte-chobeet Me no think so. Chinte, maybe so," said he as he looked at the two punctures in Ned's neck, which Dick had pointed out. Unca, moccasin, speckle-belly," replied Dick. The Seminole nodded, saying: "Sick liltly bit. Get well, bimeby." Then he helped Dick carry the patient, who by this time was ready to be carried, up to the camp where he was placed on one of the tables which the Indians used as beds. Cypress gave directions and blankets appeared borne by the same pretty girl whom the boys had discussed an hour or so before. She ar ranged the blankets and coddled her patient as a civilized girl would have done and after she had left Ned turned a look of amusement on his chum as he said: How about turning me down that time, Dicky? and Dick delighted at his cheerful tone, replied: "That's because you are down already, and even 216

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A CALAMITY an Indian wouldn't hit you then. But, Ned, I am going to bother you with serious talk for a mm ute." I won't listen to it. I know what you are going to say for I can read it in your eye. You want to talk about the world outside just as I am getting back to nature. You are thinking doctors, and hospitals, surgeons and specialists, trains and trained nurses, telegrams and telephones and I won't have any of it." "But, Ned, just think what your father would expect of me." Don't you worry about that. coddle. I'll take all the blame. Dad isn't a mollyIt couldn't have happened better. I'll lie here and be coddled while you go around and accumulate information. There are four or five buildings here and there must be thirty Indians. We've a good excuse for staying here now and no one will be suspicious. If you will go out and renew your acquaintance with those pickaninnies I think I'll take a nap." Dick went away reluctantly and had a romp with the youngsters who remembered him well and were delighted to resume the games which he had for merly played with them. On his return to Ned, Dick was surprised to find him with his head propped up, drinking black coffee from a tin cup which the pretty Indian girl was holding to his 217

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES lips. As soon as the coffee was finished the girl lowered her patient's head and with a glance that plainly asked if she could do anything more for him, left the building. I'm in clover, Dick," said the sick boy, and his voice was cheerful, though weak, and am getting just as good treatment as if I was in town. Old Cypress has been sitting beside me and talking, and would you believe it he speaks English as well as I do the old hypocrite, to keep us sputtering Injun baby talk-" But, Neddy, you are too weak to talk any more now. Try to go to sleep and we 'll talk a whole l o t to-morrow." I am going to talk now, so you keep still. I want to tell you that old Cypress sat down where you are and looked at me solemnly, with just the expression an old doctor of ours in the country used to have before he ordered a big dose of castor oil for me. Then his squaw took a look at me a of physicians, I suppose and then the girl brought me the coffee and if I understood the orders given her, she has been appointed head nurse with her own head the forfeit if anything g oes wrong with me." They have begun all right with you. I have read up about snake poison and what you need are gentle stimulants and tonics. The coffee was a 218

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A CALAMITY stimulant. I am going to give you a quinine pill, as a tonic and it looks to me as if this Injun girl was going to be both. Now no more talk till to-mor row, or I throw up the case." Just one word more Dicky, and I'll be good. Don't let them bring that sof kee mess near me. I saw the girl pick up the spoon and look at me." "I'll take care of that. I am going to educate that nurse of yours." Dick began his education of the girl at once. He brought in the little aluminum outfit and she was as pleased as Punch when he instructed her in its use. He used one of the precious cartridges to kill a young ibis and the delicate stew they concocted therefrom would have seduced an anchorite. There was fresh venison in the camp and the tiny slices broiled for the boy tempted his appetite with out chance of repelling it by the quantity. They took coarse meal freshly pounded in the Indian mortar and made small dishes of mush, and the girl with a little of the precious flour in the camp baked a tiny biscuit which she timidly tendered to her instructor. When a slice of this had been toasted and given to the invalid with a cup of tea brewed from leaves of the sweet bay, his grateful glance brought a pleased smile to the face of his dusky nurse. 219

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES After the first lesson no further instruction was required and Ned's need of food was supplied, al most before he knew it existed. Dick was soon given to understand that when cooking for the pa tient was proceeding, his presence was an act of supererogation, although the Seminole maiden did not express her views in precisely that language. When Dick was about to start out for another ibis he found one already hanging by the cook-camp. Then he saw the head nurse hold a slice of stale venison before the eyes of Old Cypress and two hours later the carcass of a freshly killed deer hung beside the camp. Your nurse is surely running this camp," said Dick, laughingly to his chum. "Why shouldn't she? was the reply. Many a New York girl runs a million dollar camp in the Adirondacks." '.220.

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CHAPTER XVIII DICK UNDER FIRE '' GREAT news, Dicky l said Ned, after a long powwow with old Cypress. "I have had a heart to heart talk with that Injun, and he s white, he is. He is just as angry with our Government as any other Sem inole, but he has got sense, and he isn't going to bite off his nose to spite his face. He knows his people have got to go and says some of them want to fight till they are killed. I told him how friendly all our people felt to the Seminoles and what they were trying to get the Government to do and it is working in his mind now. But that isn t the big news. Hold your breath and listen. Rope Cypress and Devins have been here! That is, Rope was here for an hour or so, having left his companion, who must have been Devins, hid den out somewhere nearby. Our .Cypress here, thinks they have gone to Willy Willy's camp. I'm feeling better and by getting an Indian to pole in my place and making short stages I can stand the jour ney." 221

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES "Neddy, you might as well talk of a trip to the moon. You can't even think of going." But the man we are after is almost within reach and we may never again have so good a chance at him." That is no reason why you should kill your self, and that is what an hour under the sun out in the canoe would do for you.'' But I must go." Him no go way! Him sick! came explosively from Ned's nurse, who was bringing him a bit of broiled venison. Do you hear that? said Dick. The boss of the camp says you can't go, and so you have got to stay here." The girl made no farther comment, but as she walked away the added color in her cheeks showed that an Indian maiden may blush as prettily as one of her Anglo-Saxon sisters. "That question having been settled, Neddy, I'll tell you what is to be done. Just as soon as you are ready to promise to be good, to take no risks, to mind your nurse and eat only what she is willing for you to have, I will take the letter and start for the Willy Willy camp with it. It can't be very far. I can get Charley Tiger to go with me to help pole and pilot me." But Willy Willy threatens to shoot any white 222

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DICK UNDER FIRE man that comes to his camp. He did shoot one last year." Frank Brown told me about that. He said Willy was scared to death for fear the old chiefs would have him shot for making trouble for the tribe. I am ready to start to-morrow if you think you are all right here. It will give you a fine chance at old Cypress. He will be a regular mis sionary for you among the rest of the tribe." I believe he is going to be that, for he has al ready cautioned me not to say too much to his people and hinted that if they got mad it would be hard to control them. I want another talk with him before you go, to hear what he says about your going to Willy Willy's camp. He likes you first rate, but I think he talks more freely when I am alone with him." I don't see anything to worry about in the trip. If Rope Cypress and Devins can go to the Willy Willy camp, so can Charley Tiger and I." Ned had his interview with the Seminole, which he reported to Dick. I hate to tell you," said he, for you are reck less enough already." Trot it out, Neddy, and let us hear the worst." Cypress says Willy Willy will never shoot an other white man, that old chiefs told him not to. He says you needn't be afraid of him any more than 223

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES you were of that lynx he let you have. You made an impression that time, Dicky." The next morning Dick started with Charley Tiger in the little canoe for Willy Willy's camp. When he said good-by to his chum he also took the half-resisting hand of the Indian girl in his and told her to be good to his friend while he was gone. Although the maiden made no response, the expres sion on her face was an assurance that the charge was not likely to be forgotten. Standing in the bow of the little canoe while a Seminole propelled it was a novel experience to Dick. There was a strange steadiness to a craft that had always before had an uncertain feel. As it sped on its grassy-watery way Dick came to doubt if his own hesitating strokes were of any use. when some expression of Charley Tiger suggested that he was a sharer of these doubts, Dick laid aside his pole and sitting down in the canoe proceeded to en joy himself. The weather was perfect and the course ran through ravishing scenery, beneath gorgeous coloring of cloud and sky. The trail wound among the flags, maiden-cane and saw-grass, each with its own shade of green, passed over lakes and broad streams of clear water and ran by flowery meadows and orchards of the curious custard ap ple. Sometimes several channels opened before them, with nothing to show which should be taken; 224

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DICK UNDER FIRE but the Indian's hand never faltered and his eye never signalled a doubt. Dick was a dreamer and visions occupied his mind while the splendor of his surroundings filled his eyes, but his companion inherited the taciturnity of his race. Thus hours went by without a word passing between them. Once the Indian intermit ted a stroke to ask Dick if he cared to eat, and when the boy shook his head the interrupted task was resumed. No Seminole labor union nor tribal law has established an eight hour day and Tiger's task, which had begun with the rising of the sun, ceased as that orb disappeared and they arrived at an Indian camp. It was the camp of Jack Tigertail, built on an ancient Indian mound, and it illustrated the hospi tality of the Seminole, for its five shacks sheltered and its owner fed a family of fourteen, six of whom had no claim of kinship upon him. It was a jolly camp, filled with the laughter of women and chil dren, but unswept and uncared for. If one struck the palmetto-thatched roof with a stick all the chick ens in the camp would hustle toward the sound, knowing of the rain of roaches that was coming. Jack's reception of Dick was reserved, though not unfriendly but after Tiger had delivered a message from old Cypress he was welcomed tb the freedom of the camp. He lived nearer the east 225

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES coast of the peninsula than the Indians whom the boys had hitherto met and was more alive to the imminence of the peril which the approaching great dredges presaged. Dick had started on his little trip without thought of the possibility of mission ary work, but the message of Cypress and the ap prehension of Tigertail opened a promising vein. Yet he found he was treading on delicate ground, for at his first suggestion of Government aid in pro viding permanent homes for the Indians, coolness came between them and the suspicion arose that Dick might be an agent of the Government. The boy's earnestness soon overcame suspicion and his frank admission of ancient wrongs and the justice of much of the hereditary suspicion paved the way to friendly consideration of possible provision for the Indian's people. But when Dick suggested that Tigertail might in fluence his neighbor, Willy Willy, whose camp was only eight miles distant, he shook his head vehe mently and warned Dick of the danger of even visiting that camp. When Dick told him that he believed Rope Cypress and a white man had gone to that camp within a few days, the Seminole denied any knowledge, but said they might have taken an other trail that could not be seen from his camp. As Dick was about to start for Willy Willy's camp Tigertail again warned him against going, 226

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DICK UNDER FIRE and when the boy persisted he talked long and e a rnestly to his canoe-man, Charley Tiger. Dick afterwards learned that Tigertail was sending a message and a warning to Willy Willy that neither his camp nor the tribe would stand for any harm to the boy who was the friend of many of their people. If Dick could have known this at the time it would have comforted him when he needed cheering, for he was alone of his people, bound for a hostile camp of an alien race, warned by those who best knew the danger and certain that his life would be threatened on the threshold of his ad venture. He was as silent as the Indian until the camp was near. It was a large camp, but neither squaws nor pick aninnies were in evidence. The half dozen Indians in sight carried rifles and occasionally presented them threateningly. One of them, advancing, lev eled his weapon at Dick and called out something in the Seminole tongue that the boy could not un derstand. His canoe-man stopped poling, but Dick promptly stepped overboard, wading toward the leveled rifle through the knee-deep water. He was pale and drops of sweat covered his face, but he walked steadily forward Charley Tiger came splashing after him, sputtering staccato Seminole at the hostiles. Laying his hand on Dick's shoulder he begged him to wait "liltly minute Passing 227

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES the Indian, whose rifle was still leveled, he thrust it aside, speaking sharply to the man, who ceased to threaten with his weapon A heated discussion followed and after a minute Dick resumed his advance. There came two shots from the camp and one bullet fanned the cheek of the boy, while another cut a twig from a branch just over his head without checking his advance for an instant. His step was more assured, his head held higher and his cheek burned while there was obvious panic among the Indians One of them rushed toward Dick, exclaiming: "Me Willy Willy This my camp. You come stay, my people no shoot. You fetch canoe my camp." Then the Indian became voluble in Seminole, talk ing so fast that Dick couldn't have understood it if it had been his mother tongue. As Willy Willy talked they walked slowly back to the canoe, which the Indian dragged to the bank by the camp. Dick was welcomed to the camp in the Seminole for mula, "Humbuggus cha," and he ate from the sofkee pot with a pleasure that he had never before believed possible. Willy Willy prolonged the pow wow as if from a special motive, but Dick had a purpose of his own, and when he got the chance he spoke of the beauty of the camp and professed a 228

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DICK UNDER FIRE desire to explore it. His examination of the build ings was cursory, but his interest in the land on which they were built was such that he followed its border to the Glades on the western side of the key. He found here what he sought, the mark of a canoe on the bank, with yet muddied water about it. l'hen fixing his gaze on the western horizon he soon made out a solitary figure, silhouetted against the sky and seeming to fade as he looked at it. "Everything is plain now," said the boy to him self, and as soon as Neddy is strong enough we'll know just what to do. I can guess what scared Willy Willy and I am going to talk Government to him till he froths at the mouth." Willy Willy was over his panic and Dick had an Indian to deal with who, at least, was outwardly calm, but the boy was just beginning to get angry over his reception and pitched in quite regardless of prudence. "Willy Willy, what are you going to do when the big dredges take away all this water and make the land into farms and gardens and white men build houses like Miami everywhere? "They come my camp, maybe so me shoot." Haven't you had enough of that? What will your own people do to you if you shoot? What will my people do? Maybe so, your people shoot 229

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES me when I come. Where you hide to-morrow when many, many men come with guns hunt you like alligator? "My people no shoot you! White man shoot!" exclaimed the Indian passionately. I know that, Willy Willy, but your people did point rifles at me." "They no shoot." I know that, too, but what makes you talk of shooting? What makes you hate white men? I don't hate Indians." "White man steal all Injun land. White sol diers take away Chief Billy Bowlegs, no bring 'im back, maybe so kill 'im." "Willy Willy, all those people died long time ago. Maybe white man did wrong, maybe red man did wrong. Maybe bad white people now, and maybe you're not so very good, yourself, Willy Willy, but all my people want to be good to the In dians and we work hard to get our Government to say Indian shall have big piece of land, from way out in Everglades, way back in Cypress Swamp a:nd from Boat Landing into Whitewater Bay. Then if white man go on Indian land when Indian don't want him white soldier lock white man up in cala boose." "White man promise, promise, then lie ojus." "I don't lie to you, Willy Willy, my people don"t 230

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DICK UNDER FIRE lie to you and we want our Government to be good to you, but you must be good and help us. When Government man come to talk, don't you shoot, say 'Humbuggus cha' just as you do to me." Willy Willy replied with a near-smile on his face! You good friend. Me always say Humbug gus cha' to you,"and if white man or Indian who knew Willy Willy had seen and heard him as he made this reply, he would have looked upon the boy as a worker of miracles. Dick's heart throbbed happily and his mind was at peace as he sat in the little canoe which the vig orous thrusts of young Tiger were sending back to the Tigertail camp. Jack Tigertail's welcome was written in his face, where curiosity struggled with the stolidity of race. "Willy Willy is all right, Jack," bubbled the en thusiastic boy. You need never warn your friends against him. He's a friend of mine, hereafter." But Jack wanted details and gossip, and listened with intensest interest while Young Tiger recited his Iliad. The talk lasted well into the night and Dick made it clear to his host that he appreciated the message and warning that had served him well in a hostile camp. 231

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CHAPTER XIX WINNING OVER A SEMINOLE CAMP THE day of the return to the camp of Wil son Cypress passed slowly to Dick, so im patient was the boy to carry his news to his chum. Charley Tiger seemed slow and Dick tried to help even after he found he was only a hin drance. Then he missed a stroke and fell at full length in the canoe which no one but a Seminole could have then saved from turning over. Dick rubbed his bruised elbows, while Tiger, being an In dian, let no gleam of pleasure appear in his eyes. When the Seminole turned to ask if he should stop for lunch the question was answered before it could be asked. Dick continued to chafe under the slow progress that was made and was often on the point of spea ing of it, but when he arrived at the Cy press camp and found that Young Tiger had cut out an hour from a trip that was already a record, he rejoiced that he had only his own thoughts to apol ogize for and that this could be done to himself. Ned was overjoyed to see him and crazy to hear the news, but Dick had to tantalize him for a min-232

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WINNING OVER A SEMINOLE CAMP ute while he commented upon his improved condi tion and congratulated the happy-looking maiden beside him on the good result of her care. What has happened, Dick? Did you get to Willy Willy's camp? Did you see Devins? in quired the impatient patient. "Everything is all right, Neddy, though I only saw Devins against the horizon, and even that is a little doubtful. As to Willy Willy 'I came, I saw, I conquered.' Everybody helped; Charley Tiger was a brick and Jack Tigertail sent a whooping mes sage to Willy Willy. I believe he threatened to send around a squadron of battleships and blow little Willy Willy to Halifax, if he wasn't polite to me. Of course it wasn't all quite smooth and there was a time when I was really scared blue, but I hope I got over it before any one found it out." Don't talk drivel to your chum about your being scared, but start in with your story from the time you left me and don't you dare to skip." Dick told of his trip at length and though at times he attempted to slur over features of interest, this was usually detected by Ned, who soon worried him to a full disclosure. Ned drew a long breath when the story had been told and his comment upon it was: "I can't take it all in at once, and I'm thinking we shall have to tie old Cypress, here, to a tree 233

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES before we tell him about Willy Willy, but what could that Indian have meant when he said that none of his people had fired at you, and, by the same token, what did you mean when you said you knew it? You've been suppressing the truth, Dicky, and keeping back something from your poor old chum who is flat on his back and can't keep tabs on you." I did hold back something, but I told you all the facts, just as they happened and what I didn't tell was only inference, so here is the rest of the story. Those two shots that were seemingly fired at me came from a Luger automatic, if I am any judge of the way that weapon works. Of course that means that the shots came from a white man and that confirms what Willy Willy said. There isn't any doubt that he and the other Indians were panic-stricken by that shot. They wouldn't give the man away, though, and Willy Willy did his best to keep me off his track." '' But the only white man traced to that camp was Devins, who was supposed to have gone there with Rope Cypress. Now you don't mean that you suspect-" "Yes, I do, Neddy. I haven't the least doubt that the canoe I saw near the horizon contained Devins and Rope Cypress and was poled by the In dian. And I am morally certain that it was Moore, 234

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WINNING OVER A SEMINOLE CAMP alias Devins, that sent those bullets within a few inches of my face." "Dicky boy," and Ned's face flamed with indig nation as he sat up in his bed, "this hunt for Moore stops right here. I hope Brooks will get him and I will help him to run the scoundrel down if I can. You don't know Dad if you think he'd stand for our lifting a finger to help Moore after he fired at you." I expected just this from you, Neddy, but you are wrong, and the hunt must go on, more earnestly than ever, as soon as you are strong enough. Half of our job was the Indian business and we have had big luck with that. Now we mustn't make a fail ure with the other half." But we can't overlook the attempt to kill you." The only attempt was to scare me back. There was no thought of harming me." "Two bullets within two inches of your head, and no thought of harming you? Tell that to the marines." "Ned, I was standing perfectly still, and there are men who at that distance could have trimmed my hair without cutting the skin and this man was an expert of experts." What makes you think so? I could feel the firmness with which the weapon was held, and the second shot followed with a quick ness impossible to an amateur. The man who fired 235

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES those shots placed the bullets within a fraction of an inch of the place he chose. I am sure of it and I want you to withhold all thought of blame till you can question him face to face." I s'pose you will have to have your way, but alle samee Devins was powerful reckless and ought to have some kind of a lesson. Where do you think he is now?" "It's a cinch that he is bound for his old haunts on the mainland near the Harney and Shark River country. He must be. sick of the keys by this time, having been run out of two of the best of them before he had time for forty winks of sleep." "I wonder if I shall be strong enough to start with you to-morrow. I am in an awful hurry to get into the game again." You needn't worry. I'll attend to all that and let you know when it's time for you to do anything It is going to be hard on you when we do start. We haven't room for your Indian friend and you'll have to give up being coddled by a pretty girl, coaxed to eat and having your head held while she feeds you." Shut up, Dick, and talk sense." Which shall I do? Don't see how I can man age both at the same time." Go and tell old Cypress to come here. I want to paralyze that Injun with your Willy Willy yarn 236

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WINNING OVER A SEMINOLE CAMP Cypress was less surprised than Ned had antici pated, for the Indian had talked with Charley Tiger, who had sized up the situation very well. But the old Seminole had much to say of the boy who had walked steadily up to leveled rifles without flinching when the bullets flew past his face. And the feeling of the whole Indian camp toward their tradi tional enemies, the white men, had completely changec;l because of the two boys who were its guests. "Neddy," said Dick the next morning, "you are looking fine. Shouldn't wonder if we could get off in a few days. Like to have me go out and kill a bird for your breakfast? He has plenty to eat and he isn't strong enough to go away yet," came from Ned's nurse as she walked away to leave the boys together. "Edward, Edward, you've been running a grammar school and your pupil does you great credit." "The girl does learn easily," said Ned, with a studied indifference of tone, but a considerable heightening of color. Sometimes I think Indians are pretty human With half a chance and a little education your Indian girl would hold her own among white folks fairly well." But she isn't my Indian girl." "That's lucky, because you will have to be sepa-237

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES rated soon. I have arranged for Charley Tiger to take his own canoe and go with us for the present. You can have a regular bed in his canoe and he won't be likely to capsize you. Then he knows the camping sites and you will always have land to sleep on. We will make short stages 'count o' your being sick and my being a poor poler." How soon can you start? You know I walked around quite a lot yesterday." If you do a little more to-morrow without get ting tired and keep it up the next day, I think we can start out day after to-morrow morning. Tiger says good place to camp in two hours.' "That's bully. Why not start to-morrow? More haste, less speed. The next day will be early enough. Besides, you'll need a day to explain to your nurse why you have to go." "That's rubbish. She is an extremely sensible girl and she will understand without a word." But she didn't. She argued with Ned on the ground of his health, she scolded without any ground whatever, and finally had a pouting fit of an intermittent character which resulted in the alternate stuffing and starving of her patient. The net result of her conduct was to bring Ned around to the view expressed by Dick, or as he himself chose to state it : "Girls are pretty much all alike." The boys found a lot more that was human in 238

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WINNING OVER A SEMINOLE CAMP. the red man when it was known in the camp that they were to leave. In ways that were sometimes clumsy, but always filled with feeling that made them sacred from ridicule, the camp showed its regard for the boys and sorrow over their coming de parture. Pickaninnies were loud-voiced at the pros pective loss of their playmate, Dick, while the face of old Cypress was solid with gloom. Ned had smiled at the petulance of his nurse when he first talked of going away, but the sight of tears in the eyes of the girl as he was actually leaving made him remorseful and he consoled himself with thoughts of the gifts he would send her, the many yards of bright calico and the gewgaws so dear to the feminine heart under whatever shade of skin. The whole atmosphere of the camp forbade the thought of money compensation for its but the boys planned a package to be sent some day to the camp, which should be filled with such goods, from cartridges to candy:, as should best appeal to the Seminole taste. Ned stood the eight mile journey of the first morning so well that he wanted to repeat it in the afternoon, but Dick was firm in refusing, while Tiger told him it was many miles to the next good camping place. The rest of the day was spent in luxurious idleness, beneath the shade of a great mastic tree on an old Indian camping ground. 239

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES There were orange and lime trees in bearing, ripe guavas and giant papaws and, for a vegetable, the potato-like tanier. They feasted on the fruit and rejoiced in the addition to their stores, which con sisted chiefly of jerked venison and pounded corn. Dick gathered as much fruit as he thought they could eat on the trip and stowed it away in the canoes. Then he feasted on guavas and the luscious melon-like papaws until he felt sure he hadn't pro vided enough for the journey. Once more he made a round of the field and added another bushel or two to the store. He would probably have kept this up all day but for nearly stepping on a rattle snake on his third round and hearing two others, which discouraged him. Both Ned and Dick had once nearly overcome all fear of snakes, but since the former had been bitten, all the dread of the rep tiles had come back, and overcoming this again was likely to be a slow, if not painful, process On the morning of the second day of their jaunt Ned claimed to be as well as ever and insisted on taking his place with his pole in the little canoe. Dick's opposition was resented at first, but when repeated ten minutes later, a white-faced boy petu lantly threw down his pole and meekly climbed into the bigger canoe, where he remained without com plaint all the morning sucking oranges and spooning out the flesh of the papaw. 240

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WINNING OVER A SEMINOLE CAMP The camping ground for the night was as big as the average hall bedroom in a city house, and a family of great, black ants had to be ousted before it could be occupied. Tiger offered to sleep in his canoe, which the boys thought generous at the time, but when a lot of the ants came back in the night they wondered if his motives had been mixed with prudence. It is difficult to sleep when big black ants are biting one, so Ned was stowed in the canoe while the camp-fire was replenished, and by its light Dick and the Indian beat every inch of the ground with branches and cut away all the bushes that seemed capable of harboring the pests. It was a long job, but it was thoroughly done, and when the tired Dick lay down he felt that he had earned his rest. He doubtless had, but he failed to get it, as folks often fail to receive their just deserts in this world. He was only half asleep when the rolling thunder aroused him and sent him skurrying around for something waterproof to spread over the in valid before the deluge was upon them. When the flood came and Ned found he was protected while his comrades were exposed to the storm, he howled a protest that could be heard above the roar of the wind and the splash of the tumbling water. "Now, you shut up!" shouted Dick in his ear. Haven't I trouble enough on my hands? I'm more than half drowned and liable to be blown away 241

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES any minute, and you want to start a mutiny in the camp! There will be a drumhead court-martial on this key in the morning, if you open your head again!" The storm wore itself out and Dick got to sleep at last, but already there were signs of dawn in the eas tern sky and the boy was never able to look back upon that night as a restful one. The brightness of the morning made the events of the night seem only like troubled dreams and all were ready for the long day s work which Charley Tiger warned them was before them. Once more Ned claimed his pole and place in the little canoe and he did a good half-hour's work before he could be persuaded to relinquish them. Another half hour in the afternoon tired him even less and left him rejoicing in his returning health and strength. That night their rest was undisturbed and their progress the next day rapid, until shortly after noon, when Tiger, stopping his poling until Dick had overtaken him, pointed to something on the very edge of the western horizon, which looked, if one could see it at all, like a tiny stretch of clouds and said: Harney River, me think so."

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CHAPTER XX MAROONED BY THE ENEMY '' ISN'T it good to see the old river again, Neddy? That is where the Irene lay and this is where the alligator towed us while Molly and your father followed in the motor boat." Yes, and over there is where we made a hos pital camp and you tried to save what was left of me after the otter had eaten all he wanted." Camp was made at the head of the river and supper was just being finished, when an Indian was seen poling up the stream toward them. "That is Smallpox Tommy, whom we left at Charley Tigertail's camp," said Dick, and he saw Brooks and Day, and maybe can tell us something about them." Unca, Smallpox Tommy," said young Tiger, sententiously. "Now, Tiger, you talk better Seminole than I, so you pump that Injun, best you know how. Find out about Bill Day and the other man, and ask about Rope Cypress, too, will you? Me find out everything. Maybe so you go way liltly bit, Injun talk ojus." 243

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Course we'll go way, we want to pick some flowers." And then Dick hailed Smallpox Tommy and motioned to him to come to the camp, which was quite superfluous, as Tommy had already de cided to dine with them. The Indians sat long at dinner and when the boys returned from their wanderings they found Tommy just stepping into his canoe. "Why don't you camp here, Tommy? asked Dick. "Bad medicine, me think so," replied the Sem inole as he pushed out into the Glades. Wonder what he meant by that? Do you s pose, Neddy, that those Rodgers River ghosts have moved down to the head of Harney? How is it, Tiger, are there any bad spirits around here? Me think so, somebody Injun boy see hoket eelite (old woman) burn up in sky. Think so eestee hotkee (white man) hunt al pate (alligator}, etolitke (camp) here, see holowaugus (bad) fire spirit, run away, no come back. Somebody say eestee loskee (old man} spirit make noise like feel bad." "That's a pretty fine lot of ghost stories, Tiger Now tell us what you found out about Bill Day s man and where Rope Cypress is." "Rope Cypress, Tommy no see im Think so no come Harney River. Tommy saw other mans Tussock Bay. They tell Tommy they go down 244

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MAROONED BY THE ENEMY nver. Tommy think so the)': go other way, come here." "What do you make of it, Neddy?" Think Brooks is here somewhere near us, be cause Tommy saw him, and he, or Day, said they were going the other way, and think Devins is round here because Brooks is." That is just the way I spell it out, but what of all these ghost stories? S'pose they have any more basis than some big white bird flying around in the dark?" That can't be anything more than some camp fire ghost story started by some imaginative tourist and kept alive by the guides." "I am not so sure of that. I reckon we had better begin right here and explore every bit of dry land between this and Tussock Bay, spreading out to the south where the river forks. I'll start in on the job in the morning." I'll be with you, Dicky." You will do nothing of the kind, till you are a lot stronger, Neddy. You will 'tarry at Jerico till your beard be grown,' which means that you will stay in camp while I wander around in the wilder ness in search of the missing family." You wait till morning and see whether I stay in camp or not." "Lots of things might happen before morning. 245

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES We might have another call from Brooks or per haps one from Devins." Dick was awakened the next morning by the voice of his chum, who stood over him, saying: "Wake up, Dick, and tell me which it was." Which what? was the drowsy reply. The gift of prophecy was on you, last night, and one of your friends did call." "What has happened? asked Dick as he sat up, thoroughly aroused. Somebody has stolen both the canoes. How about your high-toned Devins, now? Don't you begin to think he may have fired at you, after all?" "No, I don't!" Maybe Rope Cypress did it, unbeknownst to Devins." I don't believe that, either. What does Tiger say?" I haven't heard. He is down where the canoes were. Here he comes. Hey, Tiger! Rope Cypress steal 'im canoe?" "Injun boy, no steal 'im. Eestee hotkee, holowaugus. Me go way liltly bit, think so find etolitke." I'll go with you," said Dick, and he splashed away with the Indian through the water of the Glades along the border line between it and the sub merged forest. Half an hour later they returned 246

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:MAROONED BY THE ENEMY and the excitement of Dick as he told his story was equaled by that of Ned, who heard it. We found the camp, Ned, and it was the camp of Brooks and Day. I don't know how Tiger knows, but he seems to be sure. Then one of them came last night and pushed our canoes into the river. Then they went away themselves, before midnight, Tiger thinks. He says they saw us come in from the Everglades and kept still till dark to steal our canoes and run away without being seen. He says they are holowaugus and a number of other things which couldn't be mentioned in polite so ciety." I don't know what they were, but I reckon that Brooks deserved them all. Who would have thought him a sneak thief? It's another of your idols gone wrong, Dicky." But Brooks didn't do it, and I'll bet my head against a china orange that he doesn't know it was done." "What makes you want odds if you're so sure of winning your bet? Did you ask Tiger which of them stole the canoes? I didn't have to, I knew." "Well, I'll ask. Oh, Tiger, which man steal 'im canoe?" "Man hunt alpate." How do you know? 247

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES "Other man boots like you." What are you going to do about it? Me go down river, find canoe, maybe so come back two, tree days. Injun boy come here, you tell 'im. Me start light now." We haven't much left to eat, but _we will give you half." Me no take nothing. Find canoes first, then eat somethings." As soon as the Indian had started Dick took account of stock. There was a rifle with eight cartridges in the magazine, a hatchet, the knives they wore and the well-filled matchboxes they car ried. The food consisted of enough dried venison for a single meal and about enough pounded corn to go with it. A little bottle of salt held enough of that essential for their immediate needs. Pretty slim lot of rations, Dick. Shall we be prudent and put ourselves on allowance? "Not on your life, Neddy. It's 'eat, drink and be merry,' for us. If I can't keep the tummies in this camp properly distended, I'll go out by the day or take in washing for a living." "But you've only got eight cartridges." That is twice as many as I need. We have got enough for dinner and I will shoot a bird for supper and breakfast, if something bigger doesn't come along. Then to-morrow I will find a deer or an 248

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MAROONED BY THE ENEMY alligator or something else filling. Then think of the fruits that we know of round here, the turtles and their nests of eggs and the birds ditto, and I can see the bud of a cabbage palm this minute that will furnish us bread for days! And all the time I am getting these things I'll be looking for the cave where Devins caches his wife and the girl-child, that must be about as old as your Seminole sweet heart." Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speakest,' Dick, and if I hear any more about a Seminole sweetheart I'll publish it from Dan to Beersheba that it is thine own, thou art speaking of." And Dick, having in mind the channels which Ned's publications might take, dropped the subject once and for all. It was a day of fruitless toil for Dick. He waded and wallowed through swamps, swam a few clear streams and floundered through others that were choked with manatee grass. On his way back to camp he passed through a rookery where he cap tured a couple of curlew squabs and robbed some herons' nests of a dozen eggs which he stowed in the bulge of his outing shirt, where only two or three of them broke on his homeward tramp. As he neared the camp the curious cry of a fat limpkin, or Indian hen, tempted him and he expended a precious cartridge to secure it. 249

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Find any place where a family could live? was Ned's first question after welcoming his chum. "Not unless they were web-footed," was the re ply. "But, Neddy, I'm starving and if you'll dress those squabs I'll chop out a loaf of palmetto bread to boil for breakfast." "I've tended to that, Dicky, and it's already cooked, ready for dinner." You had no business to do that. Chopping the bud out of a cabbage palm, with a hatchet is work for a well man." It did tire me a bit, but I tried something else that was worse. You know that deep pool of clear water where the stream comes in from the Glades about a quarter of a mile from here?" Yes, I know it and it is farther than you ought to have walked." "I did go there and I saw in the bottom of the pool a turtle like those you used to dive up. I dove for it, but couldn't catch it." "Neddy, I'm your nurse till you get well and I'm 'sponsible for you, and nurses have to be severe when patients are foolish, so I mean to tie you to a tree before I start out to-morrow." I've some notion of going with you, but when do you look for Tiger with the canoes? I don't s'pose that Brooks would break them up and he wouldn't dare keep them." 250

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MAROONED BY THE ENEMY Brooks doesn't know anything about it, as I have already told you. Day sneaked up here and turned them adrift and took mighty good care that Brooks shouldn't come across them afterward. So it is safe to figure that the canoes followed the cur rent. They may have gone by the crooked creek and either stuck there or kept on toward Tussock Bay, but if they passed the creek to where the river spreads out, there are a dozen courses they might take. Tiger might make a good guess and be back to-morrow, or he might be gone a week or more. He will have to swim a lot of streams anyhow and the 'gators are pretty thick in the river. I saw quite a lot to-day and one was in a stream just before I swam it." What made you take such a risk? "You and I know there wasn't any real danger, only when the water is so muddy that you can't see, you imagine things. Same way when a fellow on a dare goes through a grave-yard at midnight. He knows there is nothing to hurt him but he gets cov ered with goose-flesh from top to toe." That's so, and I had a heap rather deal with real alligators than unreal ghosts." A Seminole ought to know by instinct just what one of these rivers will do to anything that floats on it. That's what I'm hoping of Tiger. But we haven't any time to lose, with Brooks sky-251

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES hooting around us. So you have got to promise to behave to-morrow so that I can work without worrying." But, Dick, I've simply got to be doing something. You can plan the campaign for the day, but I must have some part in it. I won't be foolish and ask for more than I can do, but it will be much better for me to have a task to perform even if it is a little one. You don't know how it wears on me to be idle while you are at work." I suppose I haven t thought of that as I ought, though youf idleness hasn't been visible to the naked eye, so we will plan for to morrow and you shall pick out your own job." Where do you want to start in? "To the north, I guess. I can take my affidavy that, for two miles down the river on the south bank going west, then two miles straight south, after that two more miles east to the Everglades, and finally two miles north along the border of the Glades to this camp, there isn't a square rod where any man but a merman or a South American tree dweller can live. Even the frogs that live there get so hoarse they can hardly croak." Suppose I take the first half mile on the north bank, and you take the ne x t mile, and we work north as far as we can to-morrow ? That first half mile is a hard one and we had 2 5 2

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MAROONED BY THE ENEMY better tackle it together. Don't you remember that big slough we shall have to cross, all choked with grass and long lily stems? It's neither swimming nor wading, and I shouldn't have you try it alone for Neddy, Neddy, look there! See the antlers of that buck among the bushes, right on the edge of the Glades! That's the buck I told you I would get to-day." Dick picked up his rifle and waited for a good chance to fire, but the buck was browsing and his head continually in motion. The light was fading and too weak for a fine sight. Then the distance was too great for as small a target as the head of a deer, and its body was hidden by the bushes. Dick watched the motion of the head till he was sure he had located the body, and fired at the place where he had figured the heart to be. He missed the heart, but he broke both shoulders, and the crea ture was dying when he reached it. He carried the carcass to camp and as he threw it on the ground he exclaimed : "Look at that dead thing, Neddy, and think how beautiful it was in life only a few minutes ago! I never do shoot them till I think I need them, but next time I mean to wait till I'm starving." "I saw you hesitate, Dick, before you fired, and I could feel that it was the thought of me that decided you. Don't do it again. I'll take as many 253

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES chances as you. And we can't really suffer with eggs, turtles, young birds, cabbage palms and fruits from custard apples to cocoa plums all about us." Of course we can t suffer, and aren t we the nice bunch, Neddy, waiting till we've got more deer flesh than we can eat and then resolving that it is wicked to kill the pretty things? But this changes our plans, for we have got to save this meat and one of us must stay in camp to cure it, and that's you." I'll bet you thought of that when you fired. Now didn't you, honor bright?" Honor bright, I didn't. But I'm mighty glad of the change in our plans." They may change again before morning." Dick cut poles for a scaffold and gathered wood, and together by the light of the fire they carved the venison into thin strips for smoking They saved out the liver for which Dick had a weakness, and reserved a haunch and the tenderloin back strap for early consumption. "If we were sure of Tiger's getting back in a day or two we shouldn't have to smoke any of it," said Ned, for that Injun will sure have an appe tite that will dispose of whatever we've got. I wish we could bake the head the way we baked the moose head in Quebec. What do you say, Dick? "I'd like to eat it all right, but we haven't got 254

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MAROONED BY THE ENEMY time for frills. Then we should strike water be fore the pit was half deep enough. Finally, I'm dead tired and will be asleep in a minute." Five minutes later Ned thought to follow his chum to the land of dreams, but met with a strange interruption. :i55

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CHAPTER XXI THE RESCUE ''WAKE up! Wake up, Dick, and tell me if I am dreaming!" What has happened? What is the matter with you? I don't know whether I'm dreaming, or that Indian yarn has obsessed me, but sure as I live I saw that fire phantom! Your young men shall see visions and your old men dream dreams,' quoted Dick, and you are doing both at once. That talk about ghosts and grave-yards has unsettled your mind, me boy. Go to sleep and we'll talk it over in the morning." "There it is again, I saw it!" "False wizard, avaunt-" Dick Williams, stop your nonsense, and get up and look for yourself." As Dick arose and turned to the northwest where his companion was pointing, there floated above the tops of the trees a ghostly and ghastly figure. It had arms and no arms, body and no body. It was neither man, woman nor child, yet somehow it seemed human. It exhaled a pale light like a will-256

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THE RESCUE o' -the-wisp and finally faded away as they looked upon it. How about seeing v1s10ns and dreaming dreams, Dicky? Are you ever troubled that way yourself ? I don't wonder that white hunters run away and that Indians think the place is haunted," said Dick gravely, "and it changes our plans for to morrow, again, as you suggested they might be changed." But what do you think will happen to-mor row?" "I think the hunt ends to-morrow, Ned, and I wish I knew what the result is to be. It makes me nervous as a witch to think of it, now it's so near." "What makes you so sure we have reached the end?" Everything. From the beginning the trail pointed to the head of Harney. We have followed false trails but always turned back to the true one. We struck out into the Big Cypress but were sent back. Pine Island seemed certain and Willy Willy's camp a cinch. We have tried them all and here we are back at Harney. Only bad feature is that Brooks is here, too. But we've got the inside track this time for we were the ones to see the phantom." 257

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES You think that is the key to the riddle, Dick? Can't be a doubt of it. The only wonder has been how a family could live here so long without being seen. This slough is a moat that guards the castle, and the only ones likely to cross it are alligator hunters or Indians, and both of these are as superstitious as they make 'em. Any bright man could rig up a scarecrow like that good enough to frighten folks, for most people are ready to be fooled." "That seems to fit me, Dicky." "Me, too, Ned. I had the advantage of you this time for it didn't come suddenly on me. While I was chaffing you I had a chance to think and the meaning of the whole thing was struggling with my mind before I saw it. But now I am going to sleep if I can, for to-morrow will be an eventful day." But excitement kept the boy from sleeping and just before the breaking of day he whispered to his chum: "Oh, Neddy, wake up, but don't make a noise." Do you hear something out on the river?" "I hear some one paddling a canoe. It must be Tiger. Why not call out to him? If it's Tiger we don't need to, for he will come right here. Besides, Tiger doesn't use a paddle. I'm afraid it's Brooks and that would scare me 258

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THE RESCUE blue." As the sound grew less the canoe seemed to be moving down the river and Dick breathed a sigh of relief as he said: If it is Brooks he is off the trail and before he finds it again his bird will have flown." Which shows that Dick didn't know as much about what was to happen as the writer of this book. They were two very serious boys who started to storm the castle. "I wish I hadn't been so certain last night," said Dick, "for it would be an awful blow to find that I had been wrong and have to start all over again." "If I wasn't as worried as you I'd try to cheer you up, but here is the slough and we have got to swim the moat before we can capture the castle "It will be tough swimming through that tangle of lily stems and I am afraid it will be too much for you. Let me try it first." As Dick started to wade into the slough he sud denly plunged into eight feet of water, and as he rose to the surface sputtering because the unex pectedness of the plunge had caught him with his mouth open, he found his feet tangling in a maze of lily stems like a mass of small ropes He met the imminent danger coolly, paddling gently with his hands on the surface of the water and letting his legs hang straight down while he slowly worked 259

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES them out of their tangles. He was quite exhausted when he reached shallow water in which he could wade, and he turned to warn his companion not to attempt to cross. But to his horror Ned was al ready half-way across the slough with strength nearly gone and engaged in a death struggle with the octopus. Dick's faculties were at their best as he swam slowly back to his friend. He crushed down all excitement and held back every impulse of his heart. Every particle of strength, every fiber of muscle and each atom of brain must be utili zed to the limit and above all, nothing must be wasted He measured Ned s failing strength without hasten ing a stroke. He saw the last feeble motion of the boy as consciousness left him and he lay as one dead, but no impulse or sorrow was allowed to waste even a shadow of his strength. Dick knew that Ned was tied to the earth by a score of twisted, elastic cords. It was of no use to struggle with them. He must go to the bottom of the slough and with strong hand and firm footing tear them one by one from their hold. The diver is helpless even in shallow water without the leaden soles to his and Dick planned, as he swam to his friend, the weight that was to hold him down He took the insensible form of his friend in his arms and, lifting it higher and higher, lowered his 260

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THE RESCUE own body until his feet rested firmly on the bottom of the slough. Holding to Ned with one hand he broke one by one with the other the cords that were holding the boy. One by one he broke them but always so many were left, while his brain seemed ready to burst and his senses about to leave. But as each fetter was broken the soul of the body called on heart and muscle for just one more effort. At last all were broken and Dick gasped for breath for a minute before entering on the second half of his task. It was only twenty yards to the shore and he traveled five before the tangled stems stopped him. Once more he went down, finding fewer stems to break than before but, his s trength nearly exhausted, he strove with the last impulse he could control to walk with his burden to the shore. When his failing senses sent him to the surface with the feeling that hope was gone, his hand touched an outstretched branch while his tired eyes looked upon the pale face of a young girl standing more than waist deep in the water. Please don't faint," came to him in a pleading voice. If only you will hold on I can pull you ashore." Dick held tight to the stick as he was told an.i he didn't let go of Ned but he did faint, as he was asked not to do. At least he could never re member what happened before he found himself 261

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES lying on a bank asking a buzzing brain where he was and who was that girl was it Molly Bars tow? and what was she trying to drag out on the bank? Then his senses came back with a rush and he helped haul the unconscious form of his chum out of the water, while his memory opened quickly to a page headed, Restoring the Appar ently Drowned." Rolling his chum on his back he tore open his shirt at the throat and slapped his chest sharply with his open hand When his patient failed to revive, Dick turned him on his face, resting his stomach upon a little hummock of grass and mud, and, placing a bit of wood between the teeth of the boy, pressed heavily upon his back as long as water flowed freely from his mouth. Then, turn ing the patient over till his back rested upon the hummock, Dick drew the tip of his tongue from his mouth, with a sharp, Hold that! to the girl who was kneeling beside him. He now seized Ned's arms below the elbows, drawing them steadily up ward by the sides of his head to the ground. Lastly he lowered the arms to the boy's side and pressed firmly downward and inward on the sides and front of the chest over the lower ribs, drawing the arms toward the patient's head. Again and again Dick repeated the process with machine-like motions and a face expressionless as a plaster cast. 262

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THE RESCUE Suddenly there came a gasp, a cry from the girl and, Dick's anxiety over, the tension of soul and body relaxed, the mask-like face was convulsed and boy-like he buried his face in his arms on the sod beside the form of his friend who had returned to life. When Dick lifted his head he saw the wide-open eyes of his chum gazing wonderingly upward as one who, awaking to life from a dream, is puzzled to tell which is which. And that face with the parted lips and the great dark eyes looking down upon the boy,-why, he had thought the girl was pale, but the southern sun had tinged with olive the complexion of this beautiful child, down to the white throat exposed through a rent made in her garments during her struggle in the water. As he looked at the rounded cheeks, half-hidden by masses of wavy brown hair, he saw the red blood that had left them, at sight of the peril of the boys, flow back until his mind rechristened her and instead of a pale Lily of the South he thought of her as a Southern Rose. Dick would have dreamed longer, but the girl, rising to her feet, spoke imperatively: Come! We must get him home right away, where we can take care of him." Is there a place where we can take him? said Dick inquiringly

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Of course there is," was the reply, and it is sheltered and shaded though it is only a camp sur rounded by a swamp. You mean a castle encompassed by a moat," came in a weak voice from the invalid "Nothing so nice as that," said the girl, "and y ou won t find any Rebecca or Rowena, only me." It is probable that Ned was disappointed, but being a gentleman, he concealed it. "Now you take half of him, and I'll carry the other half," said the girl to Dick. But Ned would have none of this and insisting that he could walk, struggled nearly to his feet only to fall to the ground in a dead faint. When he recovered, Dick was lugging his legs and body, while the girl was l e ading the way with his shoulders and head. Ned renewed his remonstrance but was told to be quiet and sh o w some sense, up o n which the boy, since he couldn t h elp himself, subsided. The path wound through tall cane grass for nearly two hundred yards and the ground was marshy and covered with grassy hummocks. When they reached a bit of dry ground, Ned was carefully placed upon it, while the girl and Dick sank breathless beside him. Once more Ned began to protest that he wouldn't be carried another foot but the girl told him to hush or she would leave him and Dick threatened to go with her if she did. A few minutes later she mo-264

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THE RESCUE tioned to Dick that she was ready to go on and, turning to Ned, she said : "Now please be patient and good, and if you really are very nice I'll show you the fountain of Ponce de Leon's dream." This time the journey was less than a hundred yards, along the banks of a crystal stream to its source in a pool of fathomless depth, up which the living water streamed and bubbled. It was in a little glade, bounded on the north by the thick growth of a hummock, mastic trees and palmettoes, oaks and cypress garmented with moss and adorned with orchids. Stretching to the horizon on the east lay the Everglades, with its flooded meadows, patches of white pond lilies, open leads of purest water and little keys of palmettoes and cocoa plums, fragrant myrtle and sweet bay trees. South of the spring was the barrier of tall cane grass through which they passed, while the western side was walled in by a broad low-growing live-oak draped to the earth by long festoons of gray, Spanish moss. The silence that followed their arrival in the glade was first broken by the joyous song of a red bird that, perched on the branch of a sweet bay tree, filled the air with its music. Yet the pret tiest thing in the glade was the girl, who, like Longfellow's maiden, was: 265_

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Standing with reluctant feet, Where the brook and river meet." As Ned looked into her eyes that sparkled with excitement he exclaimed : "This is all a dream, a dream of fairyland, and fairies." Nonsense," was the reply, "this is Ponce de Leon's fountain and it never had a fairy, except maybe a moccasin and once I did find an alligator in it. When I am trying to teach you history I wish you wouldn't bring in fairy stories. It isn't polite. Now do you think you could walk a very few steps, if we almost carried you? Ned thought he could walk a few steps without help but when Dick took him by one arm and the girl placed the other one on her own shoulders he was really too weak to remove it. They walked to the great live-oak and the girl parted the cur tains of Spanish moss, and slipping her shoulders from under Ned's arm turned toward him, saying, shyly: "Welcome to our vine and fig tree, Mr.-? "My name is Edward Barstow, known to my friends as Ned, and this is Richard Williams, com monly called Dick, Miss -? "Oh, my name is Lura," said the girl, adding with hesitation and a slight blush, "Devins." 266

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THE RESCUE Then she took Ned's arm again, and by this time he needed it, leading the boys under and past the oak, to a wide-spreading fig tree which a vine of wild grape bowered, enclosed and decorated with dusters of unripe fruit. Beneath its canopy a pal metto roof kept rain from the living room and sheltered on the one side the moss-curtained alcove of the girl's apartment, and on the other a farger room, containing a bed, made of saplings heavily cushioned with moss, clothing, and a rough box which served as a table for books. "This is my father's room," said the girl. "He left me before daylight this morning and he may not be back for a week. I was never so lonesome in my life and I tried to walk it off, when I saw you struggling in the slough and was almost par al y zed with fright,-but hasn't it turned out lovely?" "Loveliest thing I ever knew," replied Ned, though just what he referred to wasn't exactly clear. "Now Mr. Barstow, this is a hospital and I am head nurse of this ward and while I am getting dinner for my distinguished guests, Dick will put you into some of my father's dry clothes and tuck you up in bed." "Now Miss Lura, I told you my friends called 267

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES me 'Ned' and I won't stand for anything else from you, especially since you have called him Dick." The girl nodded, blushing prettily, and hereafter it was "Lura" and "Ned." Dick obeyed the instructions of the nurse and soon had the tired boy arrayed in dry garments that were big enough for two of him, and then put the patient to bed where he almost instantly fell asleep. When Dick took the wet garments out into the sunlight to dry them, the Barstow message to Moore, heavy and soggy from the soak ing it had received, fell to the ground and the loosened paste of the envelope let the contents fall out. 268

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CHAPTER XXII THE PRINCESS OF THE SWAMP AS Dick picked up the paper to restore it to the envelope, a single word caught his eye and he shouted aloud in surprise and Joy. He wanted to carry the news to Lura, to shout it to Ned and proclaim it everywhere. Then the boy woke to the fact that the news was not his. Mr. Barstow had given the message under seal to his son, without telling him the contents. The secret that he had surprised did not belong to him, and he must not only keep it inviolable, but must always act as if he had never heard it. This might not always be possible, but he meant to do his best. He returned the paper to the envelope which he resealed as well as he could and went into the camp to talk to Lura. She introduced him to the living room and he looked with interest at the stand and table made of vine-lashed saplings, the former laden with books, and two hand-made benches, while bales of moss were provided for seats. She showed him two low-branching lime trees, a clump of Spanish bayonet and a bank of 269

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES night-blooming cereus in blossom, which made a barrier of thorns between the little camp and the jungle. "I am hungry to hear you talk," said the girl, but I know you are starving, so I will not listen to a word until you have eaten." Dick followed her back to her work and, al though she refused to talk, this princess of the swamp, she couldn't hide the picture she made hov ering over the Indian camp-fire beneath the live oak where the dinner was prepared. She made Dick place the little table beside the bed of the invalid and carry to it the two little benches. She insisted on serving the meal herself and brought it on with the pride of a chef. There were small, hard-shelled eggs of a little land turtle, which she had found early that morning, a savory venison stew and smoking hoe cake. Dessert was of cocoa plums, custard apples and mastic berries which grew nearby, while ripe figs were gathered from branches that drooped overhead How will you take your after-dinner coffee? asked the girl. Shall it be made from the leaves of the sweet bay or the fruit of the lime tree?" The boys chose the fragrance of the bay tree and then Dick, who was in a state of excitement over the great discovery of which he must not speak, became a living interrogation point. 270

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THE PRINCESS OF THE SW AMP "Tell us about yourself, fairy of the fountain. How long have you lived here? Have you no fear when your father is away? Are you never lonesome? The queer assortment of books that I saw on your table, Virgil,' the Bible, Plane Geometry,' The Ancient Mariner,' Ganot's Physics,' Kipling's 'Ballads' and Smith's 'Wealth of Nations! Do you study them all? That is a long list of questions, and I mustn't talk much about myself. I am never afraid and not very often lonesome, only I do get homesick for my father when he is away too long and I would like to talk sometimes with mine own people.' These books are to keep me out of mischief, and I really do study hard to have my lessons ready to recite to my father when he comes home." "When do you expect your father back? asked Dick. "He said perhaps a week, but I don't know, and I am worried, for he had only just got home when he went away this morning." "Then we must have heard him paddle past our camp. Ned wanted to call out, but I thought it was an Indian and stopped him. I wish I hadn't." So do I. I wish you could meet him ; but I don't know. There are so many things I can't un derstand and I mustn't talk about them." "You spoke of your own people. ';rhey are 271

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES north, of course. Don't you ever expect to visit them?" "I don't know how you knew they were north, but they are, and I am going to them soon, and it breaks my heart to think of it, for my father won't promise to go with me I may never see him again." "Don't you worry about that, for he will go with you. I would wager my head on that. But I've got to go back to our camp and I am afraid Ned isn't strong enough to be moved." "Oh, I can go, all right," said that young man, with little enthusiasm in his manner, however. He isn't strong enough and he isn't going and I don't see why you should go yourself." We have got a lot of venison being smoked, and the buzzards will have it if I leave it much longer. Then somebody stole our canoe and the Seminole who was with us has gone for it and I ought to be there when he comes back." If I let you go will you come to-morrow to see how good a nurse I have been?" If I don't you can be looking up a suitable in scription for my tombstone, for I shall surely be in the way of wanting it." Then I will take you across the slough in my own li!tle canoe where there are only a few of those awful lily-pads."

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THE PRINCESS OF THE SW AMP Before leaving the castle in the swamp Dick had an interview with Ned in which he was upbraided for telling Lura that her father would surely go north with her. "What made you deceive her so, when you know the only way that her father can go north, and that that would break the child's heart? And then Dick felt the burden that comes to all who carry great secrets, for he had to accept with humility a reproach that he didn't deserve. Lura piloted Dick by a well hidden trail to where a canoe was concealed and then ferried him across the slough, promising to listen the next day for the bar of music which she taught him to whistle as a signal. When the boy reached his camp the Indian had not returned, so he replenished the fire and in the evening got supper for himself, thinking as he ate it how much nicer his last meal had been. When he lay down for the night he could not sleep, for his brain was busy with plans for the new campaign. Devins must have his mes sage, but there was no knowing when he would return and, in the meantime, Brooks was on his track. He figured out that one of them should get on the trail of Devins, while the other waited at the camp in the swamp on the chance of his returning there. "It's me for the trail," soliloquized Dick, "for 273

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Neddy's laid up in a hospital in charge of a pretty nurse. My, to think of the luck that boy runs into, first an Indian beauty and now this princess! And then Dick's conscience rebuked him for har boring envious thoughts, for hadn't he once been an invalid himself, and wasn't it Ned's sister who had coddled him? His thoughts had a way of lingering when they g o t on tha t subject and there they remained until his attention was claimed by the feeling that often comes over us when we think we are alone, but for which we can never account, the feeling that some one is near u s When Dick sat up, with that strange sensation possessing him, he looked toward the smouldering fire and saw the Seminole he was waiting for standing beside it. Catch 'im canoes, Tiger? he ca1led out. Unca, me catch 'im." "Where you find 'em?" asked Dick as he walked toward the Indian. Charley Tiger replied in the Indian tongue with the Indian hand. Though the boy missed the most of the former, the expressions of the latter and the significant marks made on the ground told him the story The canoes had been carried by the current past the crooked creek and drifted down the broad fork to the south The small canoe had been carried through a little cut-off that led to a broad, shallow river, where Tiger found it after a long 274

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THE PRINCESS OF THE SW AMP tramp. The large canoe had hung by the bank of the cut-off for some time and had then been carried across the stream by the wind till it reached deep water and a g o od current. After that there were many leads to be explored and the canoe was finally found in Tussock Bay where it must have gone by a long and tortuous route. Did you find the men that stole our canoes? Me no see 'im. Think so Shark River, maybe so Tussock Bay." "Tiger, somebody paddle close by this camp, this morning before sun." "Me savvy. Eestee hotkee, Injun canoe, me see 'im." "Anybody steal anything out of canoes?" "Nobody steal nothin', nobody touch 'im. Now me think so want echu ojus." And, while the Indian made up for two days' abstinence from fod, Dick, with his plans formed, slept the sleep of youth. Tiger," said Dick the next morning, "can you find the man that paddled past this camp yesterday morning? Maybe so suckescha." Then we follow him till we find him." Where other man? He too sick to go, stay at other camp. I am going to carry him some echu and when I come 275

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES back we will hide one canoe in bushes and go find man. You wait here." Me wait, then hide liltly canoe, go in my canoe Dick started off with a quarter of venison on his shoulder, and when he had reached the place where Lura had left him he whistled the melody she had taught him. Soon the bushes were parted by the girl herself, the little canoe drawn from its hiding place and a minute later the boy stepped aboard, amid laughing injunctions to be more careful, and was again ferried across the slough. When they reached the fountain of perpetual youth" they found Ned awaiting them and then a happ y -looking child of the wilderness sat down beside the two chums. "Now, Dick," said t he child, "you are going to be good, and not leave us again for a long, long time? And the appealing eyes and pleading voice might have moved an older man than Dick. And it wasn't altogether easy for Dick to refuse the ap peal of the girl and say as he did: I must leave in an hour, I don t know for how long, but Ned can stay." "No, I must go, too, I am ready, Dick." "But why must you go?" broke in the girl, pas sionately. "I thought you were friends of mine, and friends don't do cruel things How would you like to live for years, seeing but one familiar 276

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THE PRINCESS OF THE SW AMP face and that not so often? There have been times since my mother died when I wanted to die, too. I laughed when you talked of the fairy of the fountain, because you didn't, you couldn't, know. But there is a spirit, though no one knows it but me, and when I am down in the depths the very voice of my mother comes in the murmur of this fountain bringing peace and I never needed her more than now, when 'mine own people' desert me." Lura," said Ned, I am going to stay right here until I am well, and then until your father comes home and possibly even longer than that. I won't tell you why I talked of going aW\lY because you don't know enough of the wicked world to under, stand." This time the spirit of my mother spoke through you," the girl, while smiles and tears struggled for supremacy. But I've got a lot more to say. Firstly you are really of mine own people.' Then you are the lady of this castle and I am your sworn knight! and the boy's manner, though playful, bespoke true chivalry. Now I am going to trust you and tell you all I know about myself. My name is not Lura Dev ins. It is Lura Moore and why we have to call our selves Devins I don't know. Maybe I'm not re spectable enough for you to speak to." 277

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES "Now we have some more to tell you," said Dick. "We came all the way from New York on purpose to speak to you and to give a letter to your father which will do him a great deal of good and make both of you very happy." Have you really been looking for me? We have been all over the country for you, through the Big Cypress Swamp and among the Indians of the Everglades. We should be looking for you down toward the Ten Thousand Islands now, if we hadn't seen your fire phantom." "Father does that to frighten away bad men. He puts phosphorated oil on my old kimono and swings it up among the trees." There is nothing more for us to do but to give that letter from Ned's father to yours. After that it's New York for you and your father, and if you invite us very nicely we may go with you." "It is the beautifulest fairy story that ever was told and I would be the happiest girl in the world if it should come true." It will come true all right, but that letter must find your father just as soon as possible. That is very important." But I don't know when he will be home and I can only guess where he is." What is your best guess? 278

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THE PRINCESS OF THE SWAMP "Last time he was on one of the keys in the Everglades, Pine Island, but he didn't stay long. He doesn't often go farther away: than Harney or Shark Ri v ers." Well, I m off on a hunt for him, and I must start right off. Soon as I find him I'll bring him home in a hurry. If he comes back before I run across him Ned will be here with the letter. He doesn't know Ned and may be angry to find him here, so if he happens to be quick tempered you had better mention Ned Barstow's last name early in the dis cussion." "Father is never quick tempered with me." "Wish me good luck, both of you, and you, Lura, please act as Charon once more." But before he left, Ned took him aside and be rated him soundly for raising hopes in the heart of the girl, that could by no possibility he realized. And Dick, misunderstood, had to reply meekly: All the harm is done now and you must not make the child unhappy by disabusing her mind until it has to be done." When the boy had been ferried across what he had christened the Styx,' Lura held out her hand and as he took it she said : Wait a little till I can speak. I wish I had words to thank you for all you have done and 279

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES are doing for my father and me, but I haven't, I haven't." Yet Dick thought otherwise and felt as he walked away that he had already been richly repaid.

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CHAPTER XXIII DICK' S HUNT WITH TIGER: D ICK found the Indian ready for the trip, with the little canoe cached and its contents stowed away in the big one "Now, Tiger," said Dick, as he stepped into the canoe, we must find the man that you saw this morning. Do you want me to help pole? But the Seminole shook his head, saying: "Me pole ojus," as he started the dugout down the river. The canoe moved swiftly on its zigzag course, hunting the channels in the masses of float ing manatee and eel-grass or seeking the patches where the obstructions were thinnest. Dick was carried luxuriously past the rookery of talkative birds., the swamp through which he had wallowed, the ditches he had waded and the creeks he had swum, down to the forks of the river Here the Indian turned south and after poling through shallow waters for half a mile drove the bow of the canoe into a clump of thick-growing sedge. Through this the barefooted Seminole tramped re gardless of moccasins that slipped out of his path, 28I

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES or, remaining, lifted threatening heads. Dick fol lowed for a hundred yards when a piece of open ground was reached, on which the ashes of a camp fire were yet warm. "Eestee hotkee suckescha," said Tiger, pointing to the charred remnants of a fire which had been built after the fashion of white men. But Rope Cypress, he was with the man, where is he? "Injun boy no come here, maybe so etolitke Os ceola." The ground where they stood had been the site of an old Indian camp. Corn and bananas had been grown upon it, while lime and lemon trees, overtopped and surrounded by quick-growing for est trees, were yet bearing. Sugar-cane, elsewhere in the United States an annual, here perennial and Dick found stalks of it in the surrounding thickets. It was obvious that Devins was now alone and knew that he was being pursued and probably that two parties were after him. Dick reasoned that hiding-places about Harney River were too few and that the Whitewater Bay country would seem safer to the man. Then Lura had spoken of Shark River which opened into that region. "We will go to Shark River, Tiger," said the 282

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DICK'S HUNT }iVITH TIGER boy, "and if we don't find our man we'll cross over to Whitewater Bay." The Seminole silently led the way back to the canoe which he soon was sending through unmarked channels with a sureness that showed he had a map of the country in his brain. He entered Tussock Bay at its southern end and crossing it reached the junction of Harney and Shark Rivers. Down the latter he poled till he reached the labyrinth of chan nels near its mouth, when he turned to the east and entered the maze of little keys called Little White water, or Oyster Bay. As he was passing a dense1y wooded point he spoke in a low voice to Dick, saying: "Eestee leskee," and the boy saw beside him framed by the green leaves of thick-growing bushes the glistening eyeballs and ivory teeth set off by the black face of their possessor. When Dick mo tioned to the Indian to head the canoe for the shore, the negro seemed about to flee, but stood his ground till the craft touched the bushes and Dick ex claimed: "What are you afraid of? I am not the sher iff! A broad smile extended the black man's mouth almost from ear to ear and he bethought himself of his most pressing need.

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Got any baccy, Boss? he pleaded, and Dick won his gratitude by depleting Ned s store for his benefit. After adding a piece of venison to his gift he asked the darky: "Did you see Mr. Devins here yesterday? The negro looked startled and replied : "Dunno, Boss." Don't be foolish, he was here yesterday and you must have seen where he went. Now I am a friend of his and want to find him." Sure you is a friend of his? Sure!" "Evah see him cunjer a bullet?" "I have had him shoot a twig from the top of my head. Ever see him shoot a penny out of any body's hand? Y ah, yah Reckon I've held 'em. Guess you is a friend of his. He done come here yist'dy, gain' thataway to Whitewater Bay Dick knew the country about the bay as well as the Indian and they camped at night by the mouth of the river which he wished to explore. The next forenoon the Seminole poled up the south branch of the river, studying the banks for some sign of a camp or the landing of a canoe. In the afternoon they took the northern branch and, after exploring it in vain, camped near its head, on the beautiful site where he and Ned had once been visited b y 284

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DICK'S HUNT WITH TIGER what they afterwards called the good and bad out laws. Dick knew that Wilkins, the worst of the outlaws, was dead while he had recently met his companion at Possum Key, but he wondered what had become of the good one, who had helped Ned make maps of the country and shown them a way through the swamps to Barnes Sound. Dick was dozing by the camp-fire after supper, and when the sound of oars came to his ears it was so much like old times at that camp that he was hardly surprised when his outlaw friend drew his skiff up on the bank and came forward to the fire. Dick welcomed him heartily, saying: How did you know I was here? Seed yer comin' up the river. Knowed Tiger fust. Where's the other feller? I'd tramp a hundred miles to see either on ye." "Ned Barstow is up near the head of Harney River getting over a moccasin bite. He i s nearly well, though." What brung yer down here without him? "I want to find a man." "What name does he call himself? I know most of the poperlation round here." He calls himself Devins.' I know him. Hope yer haven't anythin' agin him, for if yer have yer'll find him a holy terror. He's square, tho', 'nd if ye're his friend he'll 285

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES do anythin' fer yer. He hain't bin round here lately." He came to Whitewater Bay two or three days ago. Ned and I are good friends of his and we want to find him to do him a great service. Where had I better look for him ? Try Wiggins' shack, he's most sure to go there." That used to be on Harney River. I thought he had given it up." Harney River was gettin' too popler fer us fellers thet trade with him. He's moved ter th' north side er Whitewater. Tiger'll take yer ter th' place." How do the poor fellows in the swamps like him?" "They'd do anythin' fer him. He's allers got terbacker 'nd tea in his pocket fer 'em Won't stand fer whisky, tho'. Saw Wilkins tryin' ter sell a little bottle er whisky ter a nigger, 'nd Dev ins shot it out er his hand 'fore ther nigger could git it." Then he is a crack shot with a pistol? "He's a witch 'nd his bullets goes jist whar he wants 'em." On the afternoon of the following day, as the Seminole was poling his canoe along the eastern side of Whitewater Bay, he asked Dick: "Think so you see 'im, Wiggins' store?" 286

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DICK'S HUNT :WITH TIGER After Dick had looked around in vain for any sign of a settlement, the Indian turned his canoe toward the nearby shore and passing into a narrow channel, the entrance to which Nature had con cealed by bushes, soon emerged into a broad, shal low river. The mouth of the stream was so com pletely concealed by a long, narrow key, the ends of which melted into the banks of the river, that not one passer-by in a thousand would have even suspected its existence. Dick found the little shack of Tom Wiggins around the first bend in the river. Wiggins was a queer little man with queer prejudices who for two score years had traded with Indians and refugees alike. His trade was altogether barter, and he swapped off ammunition and tobacco, grits, bacon and salt, bright calico, rough clothing and a few fancy goods for alligator hides and otter skins. He was not possessed by the love of money, for he refused to trade in the one thing that would have paid him the largest profits and whisky could not be bought at his store. The man whom he didn't like got no favors in trade and one whom he fancied could pay when he pleased. He had never met Dick, but knew who he was and asked him about his Barstow partner. When Dick inquired about Devins, the old man replied : Mr. Devins is a friend of mine and I answer no 287

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES questions about him till I know why they are asked. And it would make no difference if it was the Gov ernor of the State that wanted to know." Here is my hand on that, Mr. Wiggins, and you are going to take my word that Ned Barstow and I are friends of Mr. Devins, though he doesn't know us by sight, and we are down here now, a thousand miles from home, looking for him through the Ten Thousand Islands, the Everglades and the Big Cypress Swamp just to give him the best news that a man ever received." "Don' t say another word, my boy, I'll tell you anything I know, do all I can for you, and shut up my shop to go wherever I can help you to help him. And it's likely he needs help right now." Why do you think so? What has happened, Mr. Wiggins?" "Devins was here last night, and instead of stay ing with me all night, he left just before dark. Then this morning Bill Day came here with a hunter -that is, Bill Day said he was a hunter, and that's how I knew he wasn't one. The rifle he car ried belonged to his guide and he looked as much like a hunter as I look like a New York tourist. Then when Bill Day asked me, indifferent-like, if I had seen Devins lately I sized the other feller up as an officer. So I told Day, just as indifferent like as he was, that Devins had just come past here 288

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DICK'S HUNT WITH TIGER on his way up the river. That fooled Day all right, but there was something about the other man that made me think he wasn't easy to humbug. They started up the river and they haven't come back, but there is another way out of the river, not far from here, and they may have gone that way and be hot on Devins' trail." Do you know where Devins has gone? Know he was going to leave Whitewater Bay, and am pretty sure it was by way of Shark River. He seems to like to hang around Harney River, but that covers a lot of ground and I don't know just where you ought to go." If he is really going to Harney River I know exactly where to find him." I take it you want to find nim before this other fell er gets at him? I sure do." Then if I'm any judge of people from their looks, you have no time to lose." I will be off as soon as I can see in the morn ing." Don't wait for morning. Go now. Tiger has got cat's eyes and he will have you in Harney River by daylight, though the tide will be strong against him going up Shark River. But if he does get you through and you don't give him all the tobacco he can eat in a month, I will." 289

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES I'll give him so much that if he does eat it in a month he'll be dead." Wiggins jabbered earnestly at the Seminole in his own tongue for several minutes and the mo tions of the Indian were panther-like in their smoothness and quickness as he got out the canoe and drove it swiftly down the river as soon as his passenger was aboard. Dick could scarcely see the outline of the trees against the sky as the canoe turned one way and another in following the chan nel down the river, around the long key, out into : the broad Whitewater Bay. Dick followed the course by the stars, and wondered at its steadiness west-south-west, west-south-west, by the hour in the silent night, until passing between two keys, one well-wooded and the other covered with straggling trees, he recognized the canal-like creek leading to Oyster Bay. Passing through this, the maze of the bay, and the shut in, almost ray less channels near the mouth of Shark River, Dick felt rather than saw when the turn up the river came and the Indian was fighting the outgoing tide. He held the heavy canoe against the strong rush of the water. He worked quickly as he drove it across the stream to avail of a shallow or an eddy, and when the river was straight he set his pole firmly on the bottom and holding the canoe steady as he walked to the end of it gave a power-290

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DICK'S HUNT TIGER ful final thrust before dragging forward the pole as quickly and as far as possible. As Dick felt the strenuous work that was being done his muscles contracted, his jaws closed firmly and his body swung forward and back as if he were doing it himself. The night seemed interminable, yet when he saw by the stars and felt by the change in the Indian's work, that Tussock Bay had been reached he wondered how it had been accomplished. As they approached the eastern end of the bay and Dick fancied he could make out the outlines of the two palmettoes on Tussock Key, the canoe swerved to the north and soon the Seminole said to Dick in his lowest tones : "Ee ste e hotkee, etolitke, Tussock Key, me think so." Whose camp is it? wondered Dick. It was a vital question, for if it was Devins' the cam paign could be quickly ended, while if it was t he camp of Brooks no worse move could be made than to waken him. You think so, two white men that camp?" "Me think so," was the Seminole's reply. "Me no want 'em see us," said Dick, and the bow of the canoe plunged into the deeper darkness of a little creek nearly shut in by overhanging bushes. The many turns of the crooked stream were followed for a mile, when it opened out on a 291

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES grassy meadow and entered the main stream far beyond the camp of the enemy. A flash of light nearly blinded Dick as he found himself looking into the lens of a bull's-eye lantern, held above the bow of an Indian canoe. For a moment he feared that Day had beaten them and then saw that the oc cupants were two strange men fire-hunting for alli gators. Soon the dawn began to appear and Dick's spirits rose, first because of the lovely morn ing light after the deep darkness of the long night, and secondly because he was surely ahead of Brooks, with only the danger of a chance meeting between the officer and Devins before the latter reached his home, if indeed he were not already there Then he was gaining every minute, for Day could never approach the speed at which the Indian, fresh as when he started, was driving the canoe. It was broad daylight when he held the craft against the rush of the current in Crooked Creek, and yet early in the day when the bow of the canoe slid up on the grassy border of the Ever glades, at the head of Harney River.

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"TWO STRANGE MEN FIRE-HUNTING FOR ALLIGATORS "-Page 292 CojJyrt'rht, Outin.i:, 1908

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CHAPTER XXIV MILLIONS STAND BEHIND THIS! THE excited beating of Dick s heart was al most painful as the culmination of his work approached. He walked rapidly toward the moat that protected the Castle in the Swamp, wondering what he would find. Had Dev ins reached home and received that letter, and did the barometer stand at fair? Or, did it indicate storm, with Devins unheard from, the enemy at the door and hours and days of deep anxiety be fore them? He could scarcely whistle the bar of music that signalled his coming, but the quick re sponse cheered him and soon with a greeting wave of her hand Lura stepped into the tiny canoe and came to him. In the vivacity of her welcome and her flood of qestions, Dick found no opportunity, till Ned and the castle were reached, to ask the girl if her father had returned. They sat by the fountain while Dick told all that he could of his ad ventures, for he had to cut out all reference to Brooks and the danger that through him impended. Lura rejoiced in the prospective return of her 293

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES father and was happy in the former assurance of Dick, that then all would be well. When the girl left them to prepare an early din ner, Dick told his chum the whole story of the Brooks episodes. Ned was filled with apprehen sion and gloom and again upbraided Dick for hold ing out hopes that couldn t be realized, while the boy wore a look of injured innocence, but could explain nothing. "Brooks will find us here," said Ned, "and then he will intercept Devins before we can reach him, and all our work will have gone for nothing, and then what will become of Lura?" "Whatever happens, she will be all right said Dick, hesitatingly, for your father would wish us to see that she reached her relatives in New York." Do you call it all right for her to have her father carried from her by an officer? was the indignant reply. When Lura called the boys to their dinner Ned couldn't hide his distress and the girl, reading his face, cried out : Why do you deceive me? Has anything hap pened to my father, or is anything likely to hap pen?" Won't you believe me, Lura, when I tell you that nothing threatens your father, that there is nothing to prevent his going north with you and 294

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MILLIONS ST.l\.ND BEHIND THIS your being happy together, there? interposed Dick. You have said that before and I believed it, but why does Ned's face deny it? Tell me, Ned, for I will believe what you say, does no danger threaten my father or me? See! He doesn't an swer!" and the girl's eyes flashed indignantly, while tears rolled down her cheeks. What is the meaning of this? came in stern tones to the group, and a man who had entered the room by the rear, between the Spanish bayonets and cactus plants, looked frowningly upon the boys. "Who are you who have dared to enter my home in my absence and apparently offend my daughter? Speak quickly! Father, they are my friends and my guests! Then they are mine, Lura, and yet there may-" I regret to disturb you, but I have a duty to perform," came in even tones from a man, who, parting the streamers of Spat).ish moss that consti tuted the door, stepped quietly into the room. "My duty compels me to arrest you, Mr. Moore, and this paper is my warrant for doing so." Brooks! exclaimed Ned with a groan, while Lura with a cry of despair covered her face with I her hands. Does it occur to you, sir," came in steel-li k e 295

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DICK: '.AMONG THE SEMINOLES tones from Moore, that in coming here unarmed on such an errand you may be taking some slight risk? I am not protected by anything so archaic as fire arms. My defense compares with them as bat tleships with bows and arrows. Ninety millions of people stand behind that paper! Stop! exclaimed Dick. Give me that let ter, Ned, quick! "It's too late," said Ned, shaking his head mourn fully as he handed the envelope to the boy. "No, Mr. Brooks!" shouted Dick as he tore open the envelope and waved a paper as high as he could hold it. Ninety millions of people in this country don t stand behind you and your paper. They stand behind Mr. Moore and THIS! The air was electrical for the fraction of a min ute until its high tension was broken by the calm voice of Mr. Brooks: "May I be the first to congratulate you, my boy, as well as every one else who is here? As a mat ter of form I must look at that paper, but I have already read its contents in your eyes." A glance or two at the document satisfied the detective and he handed it to Mr. Moore, saying: This changes everything. I am now your guest and I trust you will permit me to add, your friend, while I remain with you." 296

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" MILLIONS ST AND BEHIND THIS But I don't understand," said Moore as he took the paper, and then as he read it his hand shook, while a tear or two rolled down his cheek. Then turning to Dick he said : I am afraid I made you a bad return for all you did for me and mine. Did you know who fired at you from Willy Willy's camp? "I knew who didn't, or I wouldn't be here now. It was your shooting told me who you were. I had heard of what you could do until I would have stood up at that distance and let you trim my hair with bullets." I don't think you can know all the young man has done for you," said Mr. Brooks, for he has fairly beaten me at my own trade." I doubt if we ever fully understand all he has done for us, but I know that we shall never cease to be grateful to him, shall we, Lura? "We are not going to forget what Ned has done, either," replied the girl, at which the detective, wise in his knowledge of human nature, smiled. But I haven't seen that paper yet, and I don't altogether understand things," said Ned. When he had read it he turned to Dick : "Why didn't I know this, as you must have done? It would have saved a lot of anxiety and I shouldn't have misunderstood you as I did." Your father did not intend that we should sec 297

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES it and my seeing it was pure accident, so I thought I had no right to the knowledge or its use I did strain my conscience a little with Lura, when I promised her things that you couldn't understand." "And I think you might have strained it a little more, when you saw how worried your friend was," commented the girl, at which her father laughed, saymg: "You mustn t expect justice from girls, Dick." Isn't it my turn at that paper, Ned? Every one else has seen it." I don't want you to see that paper, Lura," re plied the boy. "It's a whim of mine and I ask you as a favor to me not to look at it now or ever, and not to think of it if you can help it." I'll do as you wish, of course, only-" "It won't do, Ned," interrupted Mr. Moore. "It's like your father to try to protect people from pain, but there mustn't be anything concealed as if there were shame to be hidden. That paper, Lura, is the pardon of your father by the President for the crime of smuggling. I brought goods that be longed to me into the country, making no untrue statement about them. I did not consider it a crime,-" "Neither do I, Father," interrupted the girl. Both the Federal officer and her father laughed at this and the latter continued, but I am going to 298

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"MILLIONS STAND BEHIND THIS!" keep the laws of the country hereafter, whatever I may think of their justice." What are your plans for the immediate future, Mr. Moore? asked the detective. "I had arranged to send my daughter north, very soon. Now I propose to accompany her. If these young men, who have made our going possi ble, will let it fit into their plans we shall go with them "I was going with you, Mr. Moore, even if I had to go in disguise, and I think that if Lura was nice to Ned he might be persuaded to go, too." Upon this Lura made a face at Dick, which shows the result of bringing up a girl in the wilder ness. "How had you thought of sending Lura north?" inquired Ned. I intended to cross the Everglades to Miami, stopping on the way at the camps of some Indians whom I know. I expected to have her met at Miami by a relative." "Why not carry out that programme now? Father and some of his friends are anxious to have something done for the Seminoles. They have bought up land which they are willing to contribute and are asking their friends in Congress to help the matter along. Father especially asked us to use every opportunity to create a kindly feeling toward 299

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES the Government on the part of the Indians. We, and especially Dick"-" Especially yourself, you humbug," interjected Dick-" have had consider able success, and with your acquaintance, a lot more might be done on the way out." "I shall be very much pleased to do what I can. That ought to be a little in your line, Mr. Brooks. \V'on't you go out with us?" I certainly wish it were possible, but my time is not my own. My canoe-man is waiting for me and I must start at once to be in Myers day after to-morrow." The detective and the man he had sought parted with expressions of mutual good-will and there was no one in the little family but saw his departure with regret. The burden of years that had been lifted from Mr. Moore left him as light-hearted as a boy. He rejoiced in his simple home, in the sight of his happy daughter and the presence of his young friends who had already become dear to him. Two days had passed without a suggestion of start ing for Miami from him. Instead of recovering, Ned required daily more attention from his nurse. Dick felt that the responsibility was his and on the third day announeed that he had been making arrangements with Charley Tiger for the Miami trip. "I promised Tiger, for that bully all-night job 300

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" MILLIONS ST AND BEHIND THIS of his, that when we went to Miami he should have more tobacco than he could eat in a month. Now he thinks that I am a fraud. He said this morning: 'Maybe so you no go Miami?' Tiger,' says I, 'me think so we start Miami to-morrow.' How we go?' says he. Sick boy, sick boy nurse, go your canoe. You pole ojus,' says I. How far go to-morrow ? axes he. "'Pine Island ,' I tells him. 'We stay there one, two days, get e chu. Think so we stop all Injun camps Some day go liltly bit in canoe, other day you pole ojus all samee Whitewater Bay.' How much of that did you make up, Dick? It doesn't sound exactly like Indian talk," laughed Lura. "Oh, I cut out most of the Injun. I jabbered a lot of Seminole at him until I found out that he didn't understand his own tongue, then I talked pigeon English till I had him dizzy, after which I told him what I wanted. I've got Tiger trained down fine. If anybody were to ask him if he spoke Seminole he'd tell 'em 'no.'" Dick's programme was carried out and the next morning was spent in bidding the old home goodby. Everything was put in prder as if they were 301

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES leaving for a season only. The two canoes, Lura's and her father's, were dragged out in the shade and turned over. There was little besides books and a few mementoes to be taken away and when the work had been done Lura walked around the place interviewing each individual tree and flower, while Ned accompanied her to see that she omitted none of them. The longest and the last stop was made at the Ponce de Leon fountain, over which the girl used to fancy that the spirit of her mother hovered, and the child's eyes were wet as she came away. 302

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CHAPTER XXV: A SURPRISE GREETS DICK STEPPING into the Indian canoe that morn ing was the greatest event of Lura's life. It was the dividing line between her two lives. As the trees that sheltered her late home sank into the horizon, that home itself began to seem like a dream. Each time she looked it seemed less real, and she turned back so often that Ned, who was sitting in front of her in the canoe, re minded her of the fate of Lot's wife. As the past faded the future became rose-colored and the girl trembled with anticipation. But the cares of the future soon began to fall upon her. No one had hinted of fashions to her, yet she turned upon Ned demanding to know what girls were wearing and when he couldn't remember the style of his sister's costumes, her confidence in his intellect fell several degrees. More and more the responsibilities of the journey fell upon Dick's shoulders Ned was still enough of an invalid to require the constant attention of his nurse, while the novelty of a care-free life had taken full possession of the man who had long 303

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES hunted and been hunted in the wilderness. The first night's camp was on Pine Island and Dick de voted the following morning to providing venison for the voyage. He shot a buck within two hun dred yards of the camp, quite forgetful of his re cent resolve never to kill another of the beautiful creatures, excepting when threatened with starva tion. Tiger skinned and butchered the game, while Moore looked on in luxurious idleness. Then Dick held a council of war with the Seminole, at which Moore acted as interpreter. "Tell your red-skinned friend that Miss Lura wants dry land to sleep on, that she is neither a fish nor a Seminole. Tell him that she must have a good camp every night between here and the camp of Wilson Cypress." Moore laughed as he heard the message and Tiger looked as if he understood it, but was wait ing to hear it translated into a decent language. The reply that came back to Dick through the in terpreter was that there was plenty of good camp ing ground farther south, but that the trip would be lengthened by a day. Will that suit you, Mr. Moore? asked Dick. Don't ask me, my boy, for everything suits me, especially being care-free." "I must find out what Lura and Ned think. What's become of those children, anyhow?" 304

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A SURPRISE GREETS DICK It was an hour before "those children turned up with a volunteered explanation that Ned wanted to revisit the scene of their latest adventure with a panther and that his nurse had accompanied him in the line of professional duty. As to the loss of time through the proposed extension of the voyage, they regarded it with profound indifference. Owing to the illness of his chum and the canoe arrangements, Moore and Dick were thrown con stantly together and between them a close comrade ship sprang up, out of which grew a warm friend ship. The wisdom of the older man with streaks of satire and a strain of sternness in his nature attracted Dick, while the boyish enthusiasm and sterling nature of the latter appealed strongly to Moore. The two talked as they poled the little canoe, and so earnest were their conversations around the camp-fire that neither Lura nor Ned often ventured to interrupt them. Once when Moore was speaking of his old friendship for Ned's father, he asked about Dick's acquaintance with the son. The boy was fluent as he talked of his chum and their adventures, excepting when the narration brought in the name of Molly Barstow, when a curious self-consciousness possessed him that caused the wise man of the world to smile. The last night of the voyagers, before reaching the camp of Wilson Cypress, was spent on the site of 305

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES an old Indian habitation which the boys had previ ously visited. Dick determined to give a great dinner in honor of the only lady in the camp and then by virtue of his authority drafted the young woman herself to prepare it. He commandeered the products of the key and ordered Tiger to cut out the bud of a cab bage palmetto, instructed Moore to dig some taniers and bring in a pumpkin, while to the invalid he allotted the lighter task of foraging for limes, oranges, guavas and papaws. Dick appointed him self cook's assistant, to tend fire and to fetch and carry for his superior officer. The feast was a success, but near the end, as they were drinking their sweet bay tea, Moore said to his daughter : Where are your thoughts, Lura? You look as if you were dreaming." I am, and I'm trying to imagine some future dinner, where everything will be so different, and what it will be like, and who will be there-" "And whether you'll know which fork to use? interrupted Dick. Something like that, I suppose," laughed the girl. Don't let that trouble you, for you can watch me, you know." "But you may not be there." "Watch Ned, then;" and there was no reply 306

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A SURPRISE GREETS DICK beyond a look of indignation from Ned and a half smile from Moore. The welcome of the party to the camp of Wil son Cypress was enthusiastic beyond the custom of Indians. Old Cypress showed no surprise at the presence of Moore, though he must have wondered at it, but his eyes often turned upon Lura, the beau tiful product of his people's wilderness. The girl quickly made friends with all of her sex excepting one, the prettiest young squaw in the camp. When approached she moved away and Lura asked Ned: "What makes that girl dislike me?" to which he mendaciously replied : I think she must be shy," and Dick overhear ing, quoted in a low tone : Oh, what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive.' From the camp of Wilson Cypress to that of Jack Tigertail was a tiresome trip for all but the Seminole. He set his pole firmly down and climb ing to the top of it, withdrew it quickly and re peated the process with a machine-like motion that lasted from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof. Moore and Dick, while refusing to ad mit that they were tired, were really distressed be fore Tigertail' s camp was reached. Then Ned, who had nothing to do but enjoy himself, had 3

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES troubles of his own. There was the same ravish ing scenery and gorgeous coloring of sky and cloud and the same crystal waters and flowery meadows that had fascinated Dick. But when Ned pointed out these beauties of Nature to his companion he received short answers. She suddenly interrupted a question of his with one of her own: "Who took care of you when you were sick in that Indian camp?" "Oh, Dick looked after me when he was there and then one of the squaws brought me things to eat." "Was it that pretty one that wouldn't speak to me?" "Indian girls are often shy." "She couldn't have been very shy with you." And after that Ned got shorter replies than ever, which goes to show that living in the wilderness doesn't change a girl's nature. After a night at Jack Tigertail's the party pro ceeded to Willy Willy's camp, where instead of being met with guns they had a most cordial re ception. Yet the presence of Dick in company with the man who had fired at him a few days before was puzzling to the Indians. Dick wanted to con vince them that Moore had not intended to harm him. Taking a penny in his hand he said to Moore: 1 3o8

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A SURPRISE GREETS DICK You are just about where you were when you cut that twig from over my head. Now I am going to stand where I was and I want you to shoot this penny from my fingers." But I don't like to do that, my boy. Supposing I should happen to hurt you? But you know you won't, and it is important for these people to know that you didn't really fire at me." Well, go ahead," and Dick, walking quickly to his old position, held up the penny between finger and thumb, where it was struck and sent flying the next instant by a bullet from Moore's weapon. The Seminoles were profoundly impressed and looked upon Moore as Big Medicine, but Lura cried out: What made you do that, Father? You might have killed him! There wasn't any danger, Lura," said Dick. "Your father couldn't miss if he tried. Just watch him shoot a penny out of Ned's hand." He won't do anything of the kind. Don't you do it, Father! Please don't let him, Ned," and a few minutes later Dick whispered to his chum : Barometer seems to have risen. Don't you think you owe me one?" and Ned's only reply was a grin Moore and the sat with the Indians around 30Q

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES a regular council fire that night. The former threw himself earnestly into the effort to win the confidence of the Seminoles in those who were really working for them. The prejudice of genera tions couldn't be sponged out at a stroke, but Ned felt that much had been accomplished and was eager for the hour to come when he could make his report to his father. The start the next morning was an early one, for it was to be their last day in the wilderness, and already the shadow of civilization was upon them The boyishness that had characterized Moore for days fell from him and a slight austerity of de meanor took its place. Lura had put the old life away and was shivering on the brink of a plunge into the new. Ned was already figuring out the form of telegram that might go to his father that night, or at le. the next morning. He must have considered a score which varied in style from the crisp Veni, vidi, vici," of the Roman con queror to the elaborate report of the college pro fessor out for fossils. Upon Dick, as commander of the expedition, the practical responsibility rested. He knew how dis tasteful publicity would be to all concerned, but how could that Princess of the Swamp, with' her striking beauty so simply clad, escape the re porters of Miami, even on her way to a train? '310

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A SURPRISE GREETS DICK Questions, too, would be asked about that distin guished-looking man with the face of a scholar and the garb of an alligator hunter. He finally con cluded to camp for one night near the head of the Miami River. He proposed that Mr. Moore and he go to Miami early in the morning, where the for mer could fit himself out with clothing and get an unobtrusive costume for Lura. While this was being done, Dick hoped to be able to charter a small, cabined launch on which the party might be car ried to Miami and where they could remain until a train for the north was ready. Dick planned to reach the Miami River at dusk, but Tiger poled fast, as he thought of the town, and the ojus whyome it held, while even the re served Moore quickened his stroke a little in the excitement of the hour. It was yet light when the Miami River was reached, and a camping site in a group of trees selected. Voices could be heard from the water and Dick, Ned and Lura walked to the bank of the river. A little launch filled with gay young people singing college songs was pass ing, but Lura shrank back and insisted on return ing to camp. "I am ashamed to have them see me," said she, as she stepped behind Ned. "I don't see why," replied Ned. "There is nothing in that bunch to compare with you." JI!

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Ned Barstow, I'm dressed like a wild Indian, and I am not fit to be seen, and you ought not to ask me to stay," and the girl started for the camp with Ned not far behind her. There were several craft in sight and Dick won dered if he wouldn t have trouble the next day in smuggling his cargo down the river. He walked slowly at the side of the stream as he pondered over the subject and was passing a cabined launch that lay by the bank, when a familiar voice called to him: The Barstow family are at supper and would be pleased to have Mr. Richard Williams join them!" 312

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CHAPTER XXVI MOLLY AND LURA ''MOLLY BARSTOW!" exclaimed Dick. Wherever did you ? It was a long jump from the bank of the river to the deck of the launch, but Dick made it, greeting the laughing girl with a tor rent of eager questions. One at a time, Dick, please! And I want my turn. Where's Ned? And where are all the rest of you? Come into the cabin and see everybody and tell all you know. They would mob me if I kept you out here." But the boy's voice had been recognized and Mr. Barstow hurried out with warmest welcome. In the cabin Dick was introduced to a sister of Mr. Moore. I can't imagine how you happened to be here, Mr. Barstow, but it would have saved me a few gray hairs if I had known you were coming." How is that, Dick? "Why, I have been in charge of the party, Mr. Moore seeming to prefer it and Ned's nurse ob jecting to his doing anything that was useful." 313

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Has Ned been sick? interrupted Molly. He was sick for a few days, but he is all right now. He was bitten by a moccasin first and then he was caught in some lily-pads in the water." Did it happen by any chance, Dick, that you pulled Ned out of his trouble with the lily-pads?" Really, Mr. Bars tow, it was Lura Moore that pulled us both out and she had to risk her life to do it. She has taken care of Ned ever since." Lura is my niece. She was a rather pretty child," said Miss Moore, "but I suppose that her life in the wilderness has spoiled her looks." She is the prettiest thing in the State of Florida, Miss Moore," said Dick earnestly, adding lamely as he caught a flash of Molly's eyes, "or was until now." But what was it, Dick, that was turning your hair gray?" inquired Mr. Barstow. "The responsibility of getting a striking-looking man in very common clothing, and a princess of a girl who says she hasn't anything to wear, past the reporters of this town. I have got them all rounded up over by those trees, and will turn them over to you as soon as you are ready They will be a surprised lot of people." The meeting beneath the trees was a solemn one. The brother and sister, separated for so many years, 314

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MOLLY AND LURA looked long and earnestly at one another. But the face of the woman was deeply moved and tears of joy rolled down her cheeks as she clasped in her arms the beautiful girl whom she had last seen as a child. Ned was seized by his father and sister and made to give an account of his sickness. You tell the story better than Dick," said his father. I didn't gather from him that he had anything to do with getting you out of the water But the comment of Molly was: "I am going to be your nurse hereafter, Neddy. You couldn t be expected to get well with such an astonishingly pretty girl to wait on you! When it was fairly dusk Molly put her arm around the other girl, saying: "Now, Lura, your wardrobe and mine are all mixed up and we must go aboard and straighten them out. Dick, if you are running this show, please remember that no one will be at home on the launch for at least an hour." When the girls had gone Ned turned to his father: "Dick and I are just eaten up with curiosity. It wasn't chance that brought you and Molly here just at this time, with Mr. Moore's sister, too. It looks as if you had an outfit for Lura, beside, though Molly would have acted as if you had, any how. Now, Dad, nobody knew we were coming. 315

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES We didn't know it ourselves till we were ready to start. I" don't suppose Tiger sent a wireless?" Was Tiger the most intelligent man you en countered ? "Why, we met no one, Dad, who could possi bly Oh! I have it now! Mr. Brooks is the man, Dick! He must have sent a telegram from Myers Brooks is the man who was on our track night and day, Dad, and he gave us a lot of trouble. But he was a good square man and we couldn't help liking him, though we did offer a re ward to any one who would tie him to a tree and keep him there." "I did get a telegram from Myers, though whether the name signed to it was Brooks or some other is immaterial. At any rate it was the man whom you met. I believe the message read : Your young agents w o n out in great shape. Better have your car at Miami as soon as possible to meet a party of four, one of them a young lady.' Now I have some curiosity myself, and I want to hear all about your adventures and as Molly would make trouble in the family if she missed a word we had better go aboard." We must settle with Tiger before we go and add enough to his wages to pay for all the tobacco he can eat in t.wo months," said Dick. "I know 316

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MOLLY AND LURA it sounds extravagant, but that Seminole earned it." And when Mr. Barstow heard the story as Dick told it he exclaimed: I would be glad to keep him in tobacco for a year. Tiger was impressed with the amount he re ceived and promised faithfully not to spend a penny for whyome. He can't keep that promise, no matter how hard he may try. It is quite beyond his control," said Mr. Moore. But Tiger is different from most Indians. I am sure he won't touch a drop," insisted Dick. I hope you are not mistaken, but I fancy that five minutes in the streets of Miami to-morrow will con y ince you that you are." I will hunt him to-morrow and find out "May you not be disappointed!" said Mr. Moore. A surprise awaited the whole party at the launch. The "Princess of the Swamp" was now arrayed in correct yachting costume How is that? asked Molly, proud of her work, as she waved her hand toward the blushing girl. I wouldn't have known the child! exclaimed 317

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES Mr. Moore as he looked admiringly at his daugh ter, but Ned wore a superior expression, which plainly said that he had known it all the time. As the launch reached Miami, there was another surprise for some of the party, for the craft kept on till it stopped beside a sea-going yacht that lay pff the mouth of the river. There was a late dinner on the yacht that even ing, but neither the glitter of glass and silver nor the formality of service abashed the child of the wilderness. Probably inheritance helped her, and being a young woman she saw without seeming to see, but at least there was nothing to suggest that she was not "to the manner born." After dinner, on deck beneath the electric lights the story of the search was told. It was not a continuous narration, for Ned had frequent occa sion to interrupt and correct his chum, while Mr. Moore impeached the boy's account of the visit to Willy Willy, and himself gave a dramatic version of the storming of that hostile camp. Then Lura, as the only competent observer, told of the swim ming of the castle moat so effectively that there were tears in the eyes of more than one of her audience, while Molly threw her arms around her and several others looked as if they would like to do the same. Ned got several kisses from his sis ter in recognition of the peril he had passed 318

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MOLLY AND LURA through, while Dick, who got nothing, resolved that never again would he rescue any one. Mr. Moore and Dick went ashore at Miami in the morning, the former to procure conventional garb, while Dick was in search of evidence that the Seminole had kept his promise. To his astonishment he found Tiger in charge of the Professor, who, having completed his collection, had just reached Miami on his way to New York. Dick told the Professor of the pledge that the Seminole had made him and of his own profession of faith that it would be kept. I was just in time to save your credit," was the reply, "for I took away a bottle that some one had given him, which he would have emptied in the next ten minutes. I met him on my trip and I liked the boy and I'll help him keep his promise to you. I don't leave until to-morrow, so I can stay by him to-day and have him in his canoe homeward bound to-night." I wish I could stay and help you, but we leave to-day. It doesn't seem fair for you to be doing our work." "Oh, I'm having the time of my life. Just look at him, from his eigrette plume and silver-span gled turban, down past gorgeous sashes and rattle snake belt to the bare legs of him!" You don't mind a little notoriety? 319

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES "Love it! Why, we are the show of the town, and everybody thinks I own him He is getting a dollar apiece for kodak snaps and is talking of founding libraries." Was your trip successful? asked Dick. We crossed your trail a few times, and were sorry that we didn't meet you again." Trip panned out all right. I got all the an tiques they haa, but they have promised to make up a lot more for next year. How about yourself? Was it the Golden Fleece or a girl you were after, and did you get her? There is one of our trophies," and Dick indi cated Mr. Moore, who was approaching them ar rayed in his recent purchases. "I see," said the Professor. "Looks like an Everglade product, doesn't he? If that man knows three words of Seminole I'll eat my hat." He ought to have begun his repast at once, for to something the Seminole said, Mr. Moore made quick reply and the short dialogue in the Seminole tongue was so fluent that the Professor could scarcely catch a word of it. But after the intro duction he didn't miss a word of the language of the scholar whose full appreciation of the Profes sor's own work was most flattering. I wish you would come aboard and meet our friends," said Dick. 320

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MOLLY AND LURA I should be glad to, but I couldn't trust Tiger among these people," replied the Professor. "I will be responsible for him," said Mr. Moore. "I have really something to say to him." Dick took the Professor to the yacht, where he renewed his acquaintance with Ned and met Mr. Barstow and the girls. Gee! exclaimed the Professor to Dick while returning to the hotel wharf, for the Professor was yet a young man, I wish I had known what you were after. I'd have joined you and let the mu seum go hang." Mr. Moore was much interested in the plans of Mr. Barstow and his friends to help the Seminoles and induce Congress to make permanent provision for their welfare. In their long talks on the voy age up the coast he was able to give Mr. Barstow information of great value. He was appreciative of the work of Ned and Dick and on one occasion said: I know the Seminole nature as few men do and I can assure you it is marvelous what those boys have accomplished. Ned has won the confi dence of Conapatchee, Cypress, Osceola, and other leaders in the tribe, while Dick captivated the heart of every Seminole that saw his advance on the Willy Willy camp." I am happier than I can say in the thought of 321

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DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES what they have accomplished. It was partly a tryout of them. I postponed work I had planned for them in the West and sent them out suddenly on two new jobs, scarcely daring to hope that they would make good all around." They certainly won out in great shape, as Brooks wired you, but you must hear more of their own story. They have talked very little on the trip." "I have noticed that, and I think we had better have them up here now." "I will look for them. I saw Ned up in the bow a little while ago." When Mr. Moore returned he was alone and Mr. Barstow inquired: Couldn't you find them? Oh, yes, I found them. Dick is down in the engine room with Molly, teaching her how to run the engine in case of mutiny of the regular force. Ned is up in the bow with Lura, telling her the history of New York, I should think." Well, we were young once ourselves," com mented Mr. Barstow, and the two men smiled as they silently watched the far horizon. THE END 322

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SEMINOLE 'Al pate Cho bee Chinte Chinte chobee Choko Choko loskee Eche Ee he-polka GLOSSARY Echu Echu-tuck-a-no Esaka-ta-me-se Esoka-bonus-che Eestee hotkee Eestee leskee Eestee Chattee Eestee loskee Es-tee-min-nit-tee Etolitke Hie pus Hoke-tee-Ii-tee Holowaugus Humbuggus cha Ifche Ifthe-lockee lmmokalee Kee ha Lock-a-wa Loskee ENGLISH Alligator Big Snake Rattlesnake House Old house Tobacco Cigar Deer Venison God Me want some White man Black man Red man Old man Camp A great talker Go Old woman No good Come eat Gun Cartridge Home Tiger Turtle Old

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324 GLOSSARY SEMINOLE ENGLISH Loxee Lie Nockee What is it? No-ka-she Bear Ojus Plenty Oko Water Oko-botchee Rain Osana Otter Panewa Turkey Suck-es-cha All gone Unca Yes Whyome Whiskey