"But you're not an Indian!" "No, but I really am the friend Tachachobee told you of." I could see that she was growing more alarmed, and now spoke frankly, saying: "I pretended to be a Seminole last night because explanations would have taken time; and I thought, too, that you'd feel safer with a good Indian because he's easier to boss than a white man."
'You big man now, Tachachobee, she say. 'Me got big man job, Echochee, me say, and tell her how me take 'em 'way." I was charmed with the way Echochee had put Smilax through the third degree, so to speak, because it proved that Sylvia had a shrewd protector; one who would at least not be outmatched except by force and, judging from the tray episode, even force would have to be considerable.
"Come across with what Echochee said," I told him. He grinned and nodded. "Echochee know me. Me no call like owl, for 'fraid all's-well-men no be fooled; so crawl close and scratch on wall. She come to place inside, then me put mouth to crack and say in Seminole: 'Echochee, me Tachachobee. She squat down by crack and whisper back: 'You lie.
What your father name? Me say: 'Black boy got no father; Echochee friend, Wanona, squaw of Kittimee, raise him. Then she ask back quick: 'How many pickaninny Kittimee and Wanona had? Me say: 'Boy child. She whisper quicker: 'What wigwam stood in morning shadow to Kittimee? Me say: 'Echochee wigwam. She say: 'Who next? Me say: 'Pattawa, him shoot long gun. She wait 'while, and say: 'If you Tachachobee, what scar you got on left leg? Me say: 'No scar on left leg, scar on right leg; four teeth of Pawpawloochee spotted dog what wildcat kill. She know then me tell no lie, and unlock door and come out, and take my hand.
Hoping to reassure Sylvia, I whispered as Smilax would have spoken: "Me friend; come quick!" Above the confusion we could hear the voice of Efaw Kotee bellowing: "Get the punts, you fools! Which way is she?" "On the mainland," someone yelled. "Then catch her," he bellowed again, with a string of blasphemous oaths. This decided her, and she whispered wildly: "Hurry! Take me where Tachachobee said!"
At the door of this I put down her bag, then stepped back and for a second at arm's length flashed my electric torch on it, again being careful to keep my face in shadow. "You safe here," I said. "Tachachobee make this camp for you. Me and him camp little way off. To-night me watch to see when him and Echochee come. No one find you; you sleep well. Tachachobee good man; me and him friends.
I watched last night and there wasn't the slightest sign of anyone. You see, Smilax that's Tachachobee, but we call him Smilax because he smiles well, he and Echochee purposely led those fellows up the coast, and they'll keep on leading them any-old-where until it's safe to join us here. It's been carefully planned out.