Dick in the Everglades
167 Pages
English
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Dick in the Everglades

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167 Pages
English

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Published 08 December 2010
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Language English
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Dick in the Everglades, by A. W. Dimock This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: Dick in the Everglades Author: A. W. Dimock Release Date: August 13, 2004 [EBook #13168] Language: English Character set encoding: ASCII *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK DICK IN THE EVERGLADES *** Produced by Sandra Brown, the Online Distributed Proofreading Team, and Internet Archive; University of Florida, Children Dick In the Everglades BY A.W. DIMOCK Author of "Florida Enchantments" WITH THIRTY-TWO HALF-TONE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM PHOTOGRAPHS BY J.A. DIMOCK NEW YORK FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY PUBLISHERS COPYRIGHT, 1909. PREFACE Dick in the Everglades is a true story. All that imagination had to do with it was to find names for the boys and arrange a sequence of events. Other characters, white and Indian, appear under names similar to, or identical with their own. Any old alligator hunter, familiar with the swamps and the Ten Thousand Islands, can follow the course of the explorers from the text of the story. It would be possible for two fearless boys, imbued with a love of Nature and the wilderness, to repeat, incident by incident, the feats of the explorers in the identical places mentioned in the story. Many of the stories are understatements, seldom is one exaggerated. I have been asked if it were possible for a boy to handle a manatee in the water as one of the boys was represented as doing. I have done it myself three times w i th manatees three times the size of these in the story. In the story the manatees escaped. Two of those which I captured were sent to the New York Aquarium, where one of them lived for twenty months. The crocodiles which the boys sent to the Zoological Park may be seen to-day, alive and well in the reptile house. The frequent swamping of canoes and skiffs by porpoises, or dolphins, tarpon and manatees are all experiences of my own. Aside from the Government charts which give the coast line only, the existing maps of the scene of the story are worse than useless. In them a hundred square miles are given to Ponce de Leon Bay, which doesn't exist, unless the little depression in the coast which is called Shark River Bight is accounted a bay. Rivers are omitted; one with a mouth fifty feet wide is represented as a mile broad. A little stream four miles long is sent wandering over a hundred and forty miles of imaginary territory. I have sailed and paddled for days at a time over the watercourses of South Florida, with a compass before me and a pad at hand on which every change of course was noted and distances estimated, and although no attempt at accurate charting has ever been made, I am quite sure that none of the natural features or products of the country traversed by the young explorers have been misrepresented in the book. The pictures are from photographs taken on the scene of the incidents they illustrate. They show more conclusively than can any words of mine, how beautiful is the region traversed by the boy explorers and what interesting and exciting adventures they enjoyed. CONTENTS I. THE CHUMS 1 II. DICK GOES TO SEA 15 III. LIFE ON A SPONGER 27 IV. CAUGHT IN A WATERSPOUT 38 V. OUTFITTING FOR THE HUNT 51 VI. DICK'S HUNT FOR HIS CHUM 61 VII. THE MEETING IN THE GLADES 76 VIII. OLD DREAMS REALIZED 93 IX. THE CAPTURE OF THE MANATEE 108 X. HARPOONING FROM A CANOE 123 XI. GHOSTS AND ALLIGATORS 129 XII. HUNTING IN HARNEY'S RIVER 136 XIII. EDUCATING AN ALLIGATOR 150 XIV. ENCOUNTER WITH OUTLAWS 157 XV. DICK AND THE BEAR 165 XVI. IN THE CROCODILE COUNTRY 171 XVII. AMONG THE SEMINOLES 183 XVIII. DICK'S WILDCAT AND OTHER WILD THINGS 195 XIX. A PRAIRIE ON FIRE 209 XX. DICK'S FIGHT WITH A PANTHER 219 XXI. CONVALESCENCE AND CATASTROPHE 234 XXII. THE RESCUE 245 XXIII. MOLLY AND THE MANATEE 258 XXIV. TO THE GLADES IN THE "IRENE" 271 XXV. IN FLORIDA BAY 286 XXVI. MADEIRA HAMMOCK AND--THE END 297 ILLUSTRATIONS MAP SHOWING DICK'S CRUISE IN A CANOE "DICK HUNTED ALL THE TURTLES HE SAW" "A SILVERY, TWISTING BODY SHOT TEN FEET IN THE AIR" "THE EVERGLADES AT LAST" "WE'VE GOTTER HAVE ONE OF THEM YOUNG TURKS IF IT TAKES ALL NIGHT" "THE SEMINOLE WAS STANDING IN HIS CANOE LOOKING FIXEDLY AT US" "HE FOUND DICK STANDING IN WATER SHOULDER DEEP, HANGING ON TO THE FLIPPER OF THE MANATEE" "THE STRICKEN TARPON LEAPED SIX FEET IN THE AIR" "THE TARPON BEGAN A SERIES OF LEAPS" "GROUPS OF TALL PALMETTOS, OR MAGNIFICENT TALL PALMS" "HE HELD THE JAWS OF THE 'GATOR SHUT, WHILE DICK SEIZED THE HIND LEGS OF THE REPTILE" "THE TARPON LEAPED AGAINST NED WITH FURY" "OUT CAME THE REPTILE'S HEAD FROM THE CAVE" "SEE THE BABY 'GATOR SIT UP, NED!" "THERE GOES YOUR PET. THAT'S THE LAST OF HIM" "A FEW OF THE HOMELESS BEES LIT ON THE COMB" "ALL BEYOND THE DARK MEADOW WAS A LIVING MASS" "THE BARB CAUGHT IN THE REPTILE'S LOWER JAW" "THE COON SCRAMBLED TO THE TOP OF A LITTLE TREE" "HE SAW THE GENTLY SWAYING HEAD AND THE LIGHTNING FLAY OF THE FORKED TONGUE" "NED FOUND A GOOD CAMPING SITE MARKED BY A FREAK PALMETTO" "THE LYNX SPRANG INTO THE CANOE AND SEIZED ONE OF THE FISH" "PORPOISES ROLLED THEIR BACKS OUT OF THE WATER" "THE HARD, POINTED HEAD OF THE BIG TARPON TORE THROUGH THE BOTTOM OF THE FRAGILE CANOE" "THE INDIGNANT BIRD PUNCHED HOLES THROUGH HIS HAT" "THE LIGHT FROM THE BULL'S EYE SHOWED THE HEAD AND BODY OF THE REPTILE" "SLOWLY LIFTING HIS HUGE HEAD OVER THE SIDE OF THE SKIFF" "YOUNG HERONS SPREAD WINGS AND STRETCHED LONG LEGS AS THEY FLED" "THEY SAW A CROCODILE SWIMMING UNDER WATER NEAR THEM" "THE HARPOON STRUCK THE FISH IN THE MIDDLE OF HIS BROAD BACK" "SIXTEEN FEET OF FIERCENESS LAY STRANDED ON THE BANK" "THEY HAULED THE HEAD OF THE BRUTE OVER THE SIDE OF THE BOAT" "HE TOOK THE BABY CROCODILE IN HIS ARMS" DICK IN THE EVERGLADES DICK IN THE EVERGLADES [pg 1] CHAPTER I THE CHUMS "Come in!" The doctor's voice had a note of sternness which was not lost on the two boys waiting outside his study door. The taller of the two, Ned Barstow, turned the handle and stepped into the study, followed immediately by Dick Williams. The doctor, sitting behind his desk, looked decidedly uncompromising as he said: "Now, Barstow and Williams, you were absent from your room last night. Where were you?" "Camping in Farmer Field's woods, sir," replied Ned Barstow. "How often has this happened before?" "Twice, sir." "Was any one else with you?" "Only last night, sir. Another boy was with us then," said Ned. [pg 2] "Who was he?" "I can't tell you, sir." "Williams, you may go now. I will see you later." After the door had closed on Williams, the doctor turned again to Barstow, and said: "Barstow, I have always felt that I could rely upon your influence with the younger boys being for good. Now, I find you aiding to upset the whole discipline of the school by this camping affair. I hope there has been nothing worse. You know I never insist on tale-bearing regarding mere boyish escapades, but I would like to know if there was any other reason for your refusing to give up your companion's name." "Yes, sir, there was. We had a chicken for supper, that was taken from Farmer Field's poultry-house." "Did you or Williams steal that chicken, Barstow?" "No, sir, but we knew about it and helped eat it, and are just as much to blame as the boy who took it." "And, now, you mean to protect the thief?" "Well, you see, Doctor, a good many fellows don't look at hooking apples, or nuts, or chickens as real stealing." "What do you think about it?" asked the doctor. "I think it was wrong and I am very sorry it happened. It won't occur again." [pg 3] "I have no fear that it will. But it is too serious an offence to be lightly passed over. In the first place you and Williams must see Farmer Field, tell him what you have done and pay for the chicken that was—taken. After that I will talk with you. Now send Williams to me." When Dick Williams came in the doctor began: "Williams, how much do you love your mother?" "Why, more than anyone else in the world, sir." "She is keeping you here at considerable expense. Don't you think you owe it to her to pay more attention to your studies?" "Yes, Doctor, and I am going to do better hereafter." "How will your mother feel when she hears of this chicken-stealing episode?" "Oh! Doctor; she mustn't hear of it that way. We didn't think of it as stealing last night, but this morning Ned and I talked about it and we are going to see Farmer Field and tell him what we did and pay for the chicken." "Do you mean, Dick," and the good doctor's voice shook a little as he asked the question, "that you and Ned decided to tell Farmer Field about the taking of his chicken, before you knew that I had heard of your camping out?" "Why, yes, sir. I supposed Ned had told you." "Your friend Ned is rather a curious boy, but when you are in doubt about the right and wrong of anything, you might do worse than ask his advice." [pg 4] "Oh! I get enough of that without asking for it," said Dick. And the doctor laughed, but he soon looked pretty serious again, and said: "Dick, I think no one will tell your mother and she need never know, but I hope you will tell her all about it of your own accord." "Sure!" said Dick, "I couldn't keep that or anythink else away from Mumsey for five minutes after I saw her." There was a significant pause, during which the doctor stroked his chin meditatively before asking: "Now, what in the world made you two boys go on that camping escapade? I want you to tell me that, Dick." The boy hesitated a moment and then said: "Why, I really don't know, Doctor—we just wanted to. You see, there are so many things to see and listen to at night that way. Birds and animals, I mean. Ned and I are going to be explorers some day, you know." "Hum!" said the doctor. "Well, that will do for the present, Williams. I hope you understand that you are escaping serious trouble very easily and that you mean to be as good as you can for the rest of the time you are at the school." [pg 5] Fanner Field received Ned and Dick with an air of gruffness that was belied by twinkling blue eyes and, when Ned had finished telling his story and offered to pay for the chicken, said: "Did you take that chicken out of my poultry-house?" "Not exactly, but it's the same thing. We knew about it and helped eat it." "Was it tender?" asked the farmer. "No, sir, it was the toughest thing I ever put in my mouth." "I thought so. Why, that rooster was a regular antique. He must have been a hundred years old. Next time you want a chicken for a late supper, better let me choose it for you. Who helped you eat that rooster?" "Please don't ask us that. We'll tell you anything about ourselves, but we can't give him away." "Wouldn't think much of you if you did. No need of it anyhow. I know who it was." "He must have told you then, for we haven't told anybody." "Do you remember that while you were cooking that rooster out in my woods, Steve Daly, your companion, said he heard somebody in the bushes and you said it was only a dog?" "Yes, I remember it. I did say that." "Well, I was that dog!" "And you never told on us?" asked Dick. "Then you've been mighty kind and I'm ashamed to look you in the face." [pg 6] "Never be ashamed to look anyone in the face, my boy. It isn't good to take even a little thing that doesn't belong to you, but that won't happen again to you. But weren't you playing truant when you had that tough supper in my woods? Doesn't your conscience trouble you at all about that?" "Not a bit," said Dick; "that wasn't mean." It was fortunate for Dick's peace of mind that his conscience wasn't troubled by mischief, for he was never out of it and was at the root of about all the purely mischievous happenings at the school. Even the lesson of the camping incident and the doctor's kindly talk wore off in a fortnight. Yet he was popular with teachers as well as pupils. His head was crowned with a mass of sandy hair and his impertinent face plastered with freckles. The boy was quick and full of grace as a wildcat and so well built and lithe that he was a terror on the football team. Dick was often too busy to attend to his studies and fell behind in his lessons, until the good doctor sent for him and gave him an earnest but understanding talk which sent the boy back to his books, filled with remorse and determined to get to the head of his class in a hurry. One of these resolves was usually effective for about a week. After which Dick generally suffered a severe relapse. [pg 7] During his last winter at school, he frequently took long tramps in the woods in the hours when he should have been at his books, and was finally taken to task