'A Tallahassee Girl' Excerpt #4

                MR. JUMAS'S HOUSE              315

    "When  you  go  to Tallahassee,  give  that  to
the gentlemen  at  Lewis's  Bank, and  you'll  get
the money to  buy your mule  and  wagon," said
Cauthorne, handing  the check to the astounded
negro.    The poor  fellow would  hardly  take it;
but   Cauthorne   explained   and   insisted,  and
finally  had  his  way.    Then  Jumas  was  over-
joyed.     He  did  not  say  much,  but  his  face
worked, and his eyes shone with excitement.    
    This was all  that  could  be found  out about
Cauthorne's trip to Wakulla.                            
    The  presentation  of  the  check  at  Lewis's
Bank  was  the  cause  of  the  inquiry  and  the
    The only statements Cauthorne  ever  made
were given  to a detective  whom  he sent after
his guide.                                                       
    A  long,  unauthorized, and wholly  fictitious
account of the  exploration  was  sent  by some
anonymous correspondent to a Western news-
paper of  wide  circulation ;  but  it  created  no
sensation, and was never contradicted.             
    The smoke of  Wakulla  still  lifts  its  slender
column   against  the  sky,  and  still  defies   all
comers.    The sailors see it, and say, "The Old

316            A TALLAHASSEE GIRL              

Man of the Swamp is smoking his pipe to-day."
The negroes call  it " De Debil's tar-kiln."    The
Crackers, " 'low that  mebbe  hit's  a  passel  of
old  light'ud  logs afire, or  else  a  patch  of  this
'ere swamp mud what gits dry and burns."        
    Its principal use seems to be, that  it serves as
a  point towards which all visitors to Tallahassee
may turn their eyes in  wonderment, as  towards
a  comet  or a  meteor, with  the  assurance  that
they  know all  that  any one  else  knows  about
the mysterious phenomenon.