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beauty unknown in northern climes. Moss pink ISox,
rose and violet petunias, varicolored geraniums, rare



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Kidnapped Millionaires 219

specimens of purple and yellow zinnias ; strange forms
of dahlias and gorgeous lilies formed a riot of color;
a floral foreground for the nodding palms and the
more umbrageous trees in the distance.

" This is a superb spot," said Sidney. " Did you
ever see such flowers and trees? How t^me the
products of conservatories seem compared with na-
ture's work ! There is a bunch of roses which would
be worth a hundred dollars in New York. What kind
of a tree is that?" Sidney pointed to a medium-
sized tree about fifteen feet in height, with broad
spreading leaves.

"Why, it's a banana tree," he exclaimed, in great
delight. "And what is more, it is loaded with
bananas."

A large bunch of yellow and yellow-black bananas
hung from the point where the broad leaves spread
like a stalk of celery. Sidney took out his knife and
cut several from the bunch.

"You are sure these are bananas, are you?" asked
Mr. Kent " Don't poison yourself."

"They certainly are," said Sidney, "and they are
delicious. These are the first ripe bananas I have
ever tasted. The stuff we get in New York is no
more like this than potatoes are like pears. They pick
them green, months before they are ripe, and ship
them north to ripen in basements or in tenement
houses. Did you ever taste anything so delicious?"

" They are fine," said Mr. Kent. " Cut some more."

They found scores of banana trees with bunches of
fruit in various stages of development. They knew
that life can be supported for an indefinite period
from the banana tree alone, and while they had no
intention of remaining on the island, the thought was
a comforting one.

" Look out there, Hammond ! " exclaimed Mr. Kent,
as he jumped back and grabbed Sidney by the arm.
"See that snake!"

He raised his shot gun and aimed at a bunch of
grass.

" Don't shoot him," said Sidney. " Let's see what
kind of a reptile it is."

" Shoot him first and study him later," said Mr.
Kent, but he lowered his gun as Sidney stepped
quickly to the opposite side of the grass clump.



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220 Clever Business Sketches



'Mr. Pence frantically waved his handkerchief on the end
of a stick."



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Kidnapped Millionaires 221

A snake about three feet long ran out in front of
Mr. Kent, but soon stopped. Sidney walked up to him
and studied the reptile intently. It was a most peculiar
looking snake. The body was about as thick as a man's
forearm, and its size was uniform from the head to the
extremity of the tail, which seemed chopped oflf like
that of a gigantic caterpillar.

"He's got a head on both ends !" exclaimed Mr.
Kent. As he spoke, the snake moved towards him.
He made a motion at it, and the snake, without turn-
ing around, moved in the opposite direction with equal
ease

"Didn't I tell you?" said Mr. Kent. "He is a
double-ender. He can run either way without turn-
ing around. What a great stock speculator he would
make!"

On closer examination, the reptile was found to
have but one head. Two spots at the end of the blunt
tail looked like eyes. It had square scales, and Sid-
ney declared that it had no fangs, so they decicfed to
let him live. Sidney had no idea to what species the
snake belonged, and promised to make a search for
information in such books as the bungalow afforded.
Later, when he did, he discovered that this snake
is not uncommon in the West Indies and in Mexico
and South America. It belongs to the family of am-
phisbaena, and can move with equal facility forward
or backward.

They returned to the brook and followed it in a
northwesterly direction. For some time they had
heard the sound of falling water, and soon circled a
ledge of rock and had a full view of a beautiful cas-
cade. The brook leaped eighty feet; not from the
top of a precipice, but from a point fully forty feet
below the top. It came welling from a cavern and
fell unbroken into a pool below. There could be no
mistake as to this. On the crest of the rocks there
were trailing vines and ivy directly above the tun-
nel from which poured the waterfall.

" There is the end of our brook," said Sidney, as he
studied the viev/ before him. " I remember now that
underground rivers and brooks are common in these
southern latitudes. There are lots of them in Mexico
and especially in Yucatan. I wonder if I can scale
those rocks?"



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222 Clever Business Sketches

" I know that I cannot," said Mr. Kent, as he sat
down on a boulder. " Go ahead and I will stay here
and watch you."

It was a hard climb, but Sidney made it. He stood
at last directly over the waterfall. Without stopping
to admire the view spr'^ad out before him, he plung^
into the forest which s'oped upward. It grew thicker
as he advanced. Suddenly he came to a solid mass of
trees and brush, woven into a thicket so dense that no
animal larger than a rabbit could penetrate it for a
yard. Thousands of thorns bristled like an army of
bayonets. Sidney walked along the edge of this jun-
gle for half a mile or more, but his search for an
opening was stopped by the fact that the vegetable bar-
rier finally extended to the edge of the cliff. The ex-
Elorer then selected a tall logwood tree, and after a
ard struggle, " shinned " up to the lower branches
and climbed nearly to the top. From this elevation
he had a fair view of this part of the jungle, but could
only guess at its extent. He found that it continued
unbroken to the top of a hill fully a mile away, and
beyond he made out the outlines of other and higher
hills, probably four or five miles away. So far as he
could judge, the jungle of chaparral and other thorny
bushes and trees was continuous.

Sidney Hammond was not unfamiliar with such jun-
gles, having encountered them in the mountains of
New Mexico, but those northern thickets were not to
be compared to the tropical mass which now con-
fronted him. He sat in the branches of the tree for
some time. Suddenly, he realized it was hot, and at
the same moment the sound of two shots came from
the valley. As Sidney scrambled down the tree, he^
heard the faint snap of a revolver. He was fearful
that his companion was in danger. Mr. Kent had
selected the shot gun, hoping to shoot grouse or quail.
These birds had been seen in abundance, but it had
been decided to bag none until the time came to start
for camp. In a few minutes Sidney was at the bot-
tom of the cliff. Mr. Kent was not to be seen. Sid-
ney ran to where he had left the millionaire speculator.
He then yelled at the top of his voice.

An answering call came from a ravine to the left.
Sidney ran in that direction. Mr. Kent was standing
under a tree, with the shot gun half raised. He was



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Kidnapped Millionaires 223

looking intently at a jagged pile of rocks a short dis-
tance away. At his feet was a dead deer.

" Hurry up ! " said Mr. Kent, as Sidney approached.
"Do vou see that fellow on that rock over there?
See him?"

Mr. Kent pointed at the rocks. Stretched out at full
length on a flat slab of sandstone was a lean, lithe,
dun-colored beast. He looked and acted like a big
cat. When Sidney approached, the large round head
was lowered over the edge of the rock, and the animal
was intently watching Mr. Kent and the deer. A
moment later he rose to his feet, stretched out his neck,
and emitted a half-yawn and half-growl. Sidney
brought the rifle to his shoulder. The beast snarled
and poised for a leap to the ground below. The shot
rang out. The big cat turned his head like a flash
and bit at his shoulder, as if a bee had stung him. He
gave a roar, leaped into the air, and fell in a heap at
9ie bottom of the rocks. Sidney advanced toward
him slowly, but no caution was necessary. The moun-
tain lion was dead.

" There is the coolest beast I ever saw," said Mr.
Kent. *' He made me nervous. I started up this ra-
vine and had reached this point of rocks when that
deer," pointing to a good-sized buck near the tree,
" came dashing down the gully. He turned the corner
of that rock and almost ran into me. I gave him both
barrels and dropped him. He was not quite dead,
arid I put him out of his misery with a revolver
shot. I thought it pretty good work shooting a deer
with No. 6 bird shot. As I stood looking at him, this
* painter ' jumped up f rom^ behind that rock and be-
gan to spit and growl at me. I know the brutes. I
have shot 'em in California, and you want to kill 'em
when you hit 'em. You see he had been chasing the
deer, and it made him mad when he found I had
landed him. Still he was rather afraid of me.
Chances are he never saw a human being before. No
Rocky Mountain * painter ' ever acts as this fellow did.
He wanted to tackle me, but he kind of hesitated. He
would walk around the top of that rock, lick his
chops, growl, and then lie down and watch me. He
kept getting bolder and might have come* at me after
a while. K he had, I should have quit and let him have
the deer. That was what he wanted. I am not hunt-



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224 Clever Business Sketches

ing 'painters* with bird shot or pop guns. He's a
big one, isn't he?"

" It seemed a shame to kill him," said Sidney, as
he lifted one of his big paws. " He looked fine on that
rock."

"He didn't look so blamed fine to me," said Mr.
Kent.

It was noon, and, although the sun was warm, Sid-
ney was reluctant to return to the bungalow without
making one more attempt to penetrate the jungle to
the west, and, if possible, reach the crest of the hills
which could be seen beyond. He imagined that from
that point of vantage it would be possible to deter-
mine the approximate shape of the island, and hoped
to identify it by a comparison with those islands shown
on the maps which he had found in the books of the
bungalow library. They, therefore, decided to satisfy
their hunger with bananas and pawpaws. They found
the latter very refreshing. Sidney knocked two from
a tree. They were the size of a small pumpkin, and
the flavor was much the same as that of a nutmeg
muskmelon. These, with fresh water from a spring,
were sufficient to stay their hunger.

"This is the first Robinson Crusoe meal we have
had," said Mr. Kent. " There is not much of the
romantic in my disposition, but I rather like this sort
of thing for a change. But only for a change. I
would rather be cast away in a bungalow with electric
fans and a cooking range, than on a desert reef with
a shot gun and a naked savage. To my mind, old
Robinson Crusoe was in mighty hard luck."

It would not do to leave the deer behind ; there being
no place to hide it where wild animals could not reach
the carcass, and it was agreed that Mr. Kent should
guard his trophy and attempt to shoot some grouse,
quail or other game, while Sidney completed the
search for an outlet through the jungle. Mr. Kent
said he would take chances with a shot gun, and
agreed to fire twice in rapid succession if he needed
assistance. Sidney started for the cliffs and prom-
ised to return within two or three hours.

He scaled the rocks and again stood on the height
overlooking the valley. The bluff extended as far as he
could see, but as Sidney continued south he found
that it gradually decreased in height until it finally



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Kidnapped Millionaires 225

came to the level of the " park." The edge of the jun-
gle was irregular, but at no place was he able to pene-
trate it a distance exceeding two hundred yards from
the edge of the cliffs. Gradually he worked to the
east. Here the jungle was not so thick, but yet it was
impossible to force a way through it. The trunks of
the small trees and bushes were not more than six
inches apart, and were matted together with clinging
vines, most of which were covered with thorns. Much
of this vegetation was flower bearing. Myriads of
bees and other insects, including the world-wide mos-
quito, swarmed and buzzed until the air was vibrant
with their drone.

Thus Sidney toiled along. At times he saw deer,
and could easily have shot them, for they were abso-
lutely fearless, and seemed devoured by curiosity. He
was startled once by the sound of a snapping twig
behind him, and turned only to see a splendid spotted
deer not two rods distant. Sidney threw up his hands
and f* shooed " him away. The buck ran a few yards
and stopped, but did not follow up his study of hu-
man species.

Suddenly Sidney came upon the reservoir. He
had made the circuit of all that part of the park south
of the brook. It did not take long to complete the
survey of the remaining portion. The "park" was
an island in a jungle, which would yield a passage only
to an ax. He rejoined Mr. Kent, who proudly ex-
hibited an assortment of game, which spoke well for
his markmanship. He had several grouse and three
splendid pheasants, which Sidney at once recognized
as specimens of the gold-breasted trumpeter. They
were beautiful birds. The breast was of iridescent
green and gold. The skin around the eyes was scarlet,
the body and plumage green and gray, and the tail
partially covered with light silky plumes.

Sidney told what he had learned, and they started
for the bungalow. The birds were strung across the
back of the deer. It was a heavy load, and they
took frequent rests. With faces and hands scratched,
and necks and cheeks sunburned, they reached the
bungalow about five o'clock in the afternoon.

The colony was in a furor of excitement. Mr.
Pence was in great peril! In fact, he might be dead!

Mr. Rockwell hurriedly explained what had hap-



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226 Clever Business Sketches

pened as he ran with Sidney and Mr. Kent to the
stone pier, where Mr. .Carmody and others were
launching a raft which had been constructed in great
haste. Mr. Pence announced, when he reluctantly
started along the beach, that he would not remain
away later than noon. He said he might be back
sooner, since the chances were that the tide would
rise so high as to render his later return difficult and
dangerous. He did not appear in camp at noon, and
half an hour later Mr. Carmody took the marine
glasses and went to the beach. Out near the gate to
the bay he saw Mr. Pence standing on a rock, seem-
ingly looking into the water. He saw Mr. Pence go
ashore and disappear for a time in a thicket. Then
he returned to the rock and remained for nearly an
hour. Mr. Carmody thought from his motions that
he was fishing, but it was learned he had taken no
tackle with him. Mr. Rockwell, Mr. Haven and
others came down to the beach and watched the figure
across the bay. They were equally mystified. At last
Mr. Pence again disappeared. In a few moments he
reappeared, and frantically waved a handkerchief on
the end of a stick, as an evident signal of distress.

During this time, those on the stone pier noted with
alarm that the tide had risen, so that it was impossi-
ble to walk along the beach at the base of the cliffs.
It was at once decided to build a raft and rescue Mr.
Pence. For some time he had not been seen, neither
had the flag of distress been waved from the rock.

Rough paddles were chopped from pieces of lum-
ber, and the raft was launched with Sidney Ham-
mond, Vincent, Mr. Carmody and Mr. Morton as the
life-saving crew. The tide was strong against them,
and it was half an hour before they approached the
place where Mr. Pence was last seen. They called his
name, and were delighted to hear a faint response
from behind the rocks. The rescuers paddled around
and found a crouching figure on a narrow ledge just
above the steadily rising tide.

Simon Pence was speechless with terror. The ledge
on which he stood was now an island, but Sidney ob-
served that at low tide it must have been connected
with the shore. They placed the third member of the
Committee on Exploration on the raft, and aided by
the tide, made a quick voyage back to the camp. By



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Kidnapped Millionaires 227

this time, Mr. Pence had partially recovered, and un-
der the stimulus of a glass of brandy to}d his story
of his awful adventure.

" I went along the shore and kept a sharp lookout,
for alligators and things like that," said Mr. Pence.
" Nothing happened, however, and I went clear out
to those big rocks by the ocean. There the sea comes
right in and you cannot get past. The rocks drop
down into deep water, and there is no sign of a beach,
I started back and decided to go out on that rock
where you found me."

Mr. Pence paused and shuddered at the thought

" It ran out from the shore like a pier," he con-
tinued. " I went out at the end and sat down to watch
the fishes. The water was clear as crystal, and the
bottom was white sand. It was cool in the shade of
the rock and I enjoyed it. I noticed a funny piece of
quartz in the rock, and took out my knife to see if I
could pry it out. In doing so I pulled out a coin and
it struck the rock and bounded into the water. I could
see it as it zigzagged through the water. A fish
chased after it, and for a moment I was sure he was
going to swallow it, but he didn't."

Mr. Pence took another small taste of brandy to
steady his nerves.

. " I could see where the nickel lay on the white sand,"
he said. " I knew it was a nickel, as I had but eleven
cents and a bridge ticket when I left New Vork, and
when I counted my money out on that rock I only
had six cents. That proved it was a nickel; and be-
sides, it looked like a nickel. I went "

** You know what a nickel looks like, all right/'
said Mr. Kent. " Go on with your story. It grows
interesting."

" I did not propose to lose that money," said Mr.
Pence, regarding Mr. Kent with suspicion. " I could
see it as plain as I see you. It was in about ten feet
of water. I went ashore and cut a pole about sixteen
feet long, trimmed it up nicely and went back. I
reached down into the water and started to poke the
nickel along towards the other end of the rock, where
the water was shallow and I could reach it. It was
slow work. Sometimes I would poke it into the sand,
and one time I was sure it was lost, but I dug it up
again. At last I got it around to the other side of the



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228 Clever Business Sketches

*
rock, but was astonished to find that the water was
five feet deep there. Then I thought of the tide! I
jumped to the other side. To m)r horror, I saw that
the water was three feet over the place I had crossed,
and was running like a millrace ! "

" Did you get the nickel ? " asked Mr. Kent.

" No," said Mr. Pence, sadly. " An eddy of water
whirled the sand over it while I was away. I put
my handkerchief on the pole and waved for help.
In my excitement I dropped the pole and it floated
away with my handkerchief. The tide kept on rising
until I could not stay on that side of the rock, so I
went to the place where you found me. I expected
every minute that an alligator, or a crocodile, or a
shark would come along and get me. It was awful."

" You should be more careful with your money,
Simon," said Mr. Kent. "You let me keep that
bridge ticket for you. With your careless, reckless
disposition in money matters you will be so reduced
in circumstances when you reach New York that you
will have to walk home."

Mr. Pence looked at the millionaire operator doubt-
fully, but said nothing. He reached into his pocket,
produced the six pennies and the red bridge ticket, and
went to his room where he placed them in the inner
recesses of a drawer.

During the absence of the relief committee, Mr.
Kent dressed the deer with much ^eftness, and Mr.
Haven had, after some trouble, prepared three of the
birds for the roasting pan. The range glowed with
heat, and Sidney aided in the preparation of a dinner
which had much of promise. The explorers had
brought back two dozen bananas, and these graced the
table. Pawpaws were picked from a tree near the
bungalow. In about two hours the table was set, with
a huge joint of roast venison and browned potatoes
as the piece de resistance. This was flanked by a
grouse and the gold-breasted trumpeter, which had
fallen before the prowess of Mr. Kent. Sidney had
essayed some " baking powder biscuits," and had at-
tained a culinary triumph. These served with jellies,
some fine claret, and topped off with bananas, pawpaws
and coffee completed a dinner which will not be for-
gotten by those who gathered around the board in that
tropical bungalow.



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Kidnapped Millionaires 229

1^ CHAPTER XVIII.

THE HURRICANE.

" What does the Exploration Committee do today ? "
asked Mr. Kent, as he pushed his chair back from the
breakfast table and bit the end from a cigar. " Mor-
ton," he said, as he finished the last of his coflfee,
" those venison chops were fine. Nature must have
hesitated a long while before she decided whether to
make you a financier or a cook. I am not sure that
she did not make a mistake. Come on, Hammond, you
cannot find out where we are by studying that map.
Let's get busy."

" I do not care to be officious," said Sidney, " but I
wish some of you gentlemen would give our com-
mittee your assistance for a day or two. The work
I have in mind properly belongs to the housekeeping
committee, anyway. The ' park,' as we call it, is our
game and fruit preserve. In an hour any one can
shoot grouse, quail, pheasants, or deer, and can pick
all the bananas we need. The trouble is to get there,
and to bring back these table luxuries. The trail
along the brook is almost impassible. Two men with
axes can put it in good shape in a day. I would like
to explore the east shore of the island with Mr. Kent.
Mr. Rockwell, you are President of the Social Island
Colony. I suggest that you detail members to do
this work on the trail."

" Certainly," answered the magnate. " Mr. Morton
and I will put the trail in good shape. Mr. Carmody
is working on hi» plans for a boat, and will not need
assistance for a day or two. How far is it from here
to the 'park?'"

" About a mile, I should say," said Sidney. " Fol-
low the brook until you come to the reservoir. I would
take a gun along. You may meet one of Mr. Kent's
* painter* friends."

This being settled, Sidney prepared to start across
the bay. Mr. Vincent expressed a wish to help on the
work of exploration, and it was decided that matters
could be expedited by forming two parties — one to
explore the coast north of the gateway of the bay, and
the other to work along the south shore. It was, there-
fore, agreed that Mr. Pence and Mr. Vincent should



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230 Clever Business Sketches

take the south shore, and Mr. Hammond and Mr.
Kent the north shore. Mr. Pence protested vigorously
a|;ainst doing any more exploring, but Mr. Kent cut
him short and reminded him that he was under mili-
tary discipline.

" In cases like this," he said, " it is always custo-
mary to shoot those who disobey orders. I have al-
ways been your friend. Pence, as you know, but if the
chairman of the Committee on Exploration ordered
me to shoot you, I would do it with cheerful prompt-
ness."

Mr. Kent examined his rifle critically and looked
serious. Mr. Pence said he was only joking, and
would be glad to go. Each member of the expedition
provided himself with a luncheon, and at eight o'clock
they got on board the raft and paddled across the bay.
The sun was not warm and shone through a peculiar
saffron haze. The air was motionless. It was decided
that Pence and Vincent should be landed first, and
that Hammond and Kent should return for them with
the raft not later than five o'clock in the afternoon.
All were provided with rifles and ammunition.

The bay was as smooth as polished glass. The foli-
age of palm and magnolia was reflected on its surface
as an inverted tropical skyline. In the deeper shadows
of rock and cliff the green of ocean plants bordered the
line of shore and water. But the voyagers had no
eyes for these beauties of landscape and sky. They
were silent in contemplation of the vision over which
their rude craft was floating. They ceased to ply the
oars, and gazed into the clear depths. There was a
sense of height which made them dizzy. They seemed
to be floating high in air above some enchanted forest.
Fifty — sixty — one hundred feet beneath their feet, the
floor of the pool rose and fell in fantastic contour.
Ridges, battlements, crags, and minarets gave way
to plateaux, and these in turn to caverns and ravines


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