The Wakulla Volcano Archive

A Tallahassee Girl Excerpt #4

Maurice Thompson (1881)


"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

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 meteor, with the assurance that
they know all that any one else knows about
the mysterious phenomenon.

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