The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

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...THE MUCKER

By Edgar Rice Burroughs



THE MUCKER: Originally published serially in All-Story Cavalier Weekly.
Copyright (c) 1914,...

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...he was robbing freight cars in the yards along Kinzie
Street, and it was about this...

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...Larry Hilmore.

Now it happened that while the new light-weight was unknown to the
charmed circle of...

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...upon them to safeguard the lives and property which they
considered theirs by divine right. It...

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...make him mad--before he had been but peeved--peeved at the
rank crust that had permitted these...

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...of the manly art of self-defense.

On the night that things really began to happen in...

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...east in the alley toward Lincoln
Street. Lasky returned to Robey Street. In Lincoln Street Billy...

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...stomach nearly to his
mouth.

Billy shut his eyes. Still the awful sensation. Billy groaned. He never
had...

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...pulled it off pretty slick," said Billy.

"What do you mean?" asked the other with a...

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...death. He never had squealed on a pal,
and he never had left a wounded friend...

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...for a week; but every day the captain visited him
in an attempt to show him...

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...in the past. His
features, always regular and strong, had taken on a peculiarly refined
dignity from...

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...had had enough of him. They left him severely alone.

These ofttimes bloody battles engendered no...

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...Skipper Simms--just enough to set him to wondering what was
doing, and to show him that...

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...had once held
a commission in the French Navy, from which he doubtless had been
kicked--in disgrace.

The...

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...concentrated essence of all that was pusillanimous, disgusting,
loathsome in that other world that was as...

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...him
quite as had their host. Barbara Harding seemed particularly taken with
the Count de Cadenet, insisting...

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...can give you an excellent recommendation should you desire to take
service with another gentleman."

"That'll be...

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...the figure of a man disappearing forward.

"Hey there, you!" he cried. "Come back here."

The mucker...

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...to prevent Ward letting you have it in the
back, purely by accident; and if he...

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...for the work he had handled so expeditiously and
so well.

Ward was pleased that he had...

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...ignorance of the plotters in their path. It was nearly
half an hour after the Halfmoon...

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...black cook of
a bundle of oily rags in an iron boiler.

"By Jove!" exclaimed Mr. Harding....

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...last moment and that then they had done the
only thing they could to protect the...

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...close to the yacht, which had slowed down
almost to a dead stop. In answer to...

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...to make myself so agreeable heretofore that you'd finally
consent to say 'yes' for a change."

"Now...

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...the upper
deck. Billy Mallory had overheard the conversation below and Simms'
command to Byrne. Disengaging himself...

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...clinch with the brute before him. Again the
mucker struck his victim--quick choppy hooks that rocked...

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...to take the places upon the brigantine
of those left as a prize crew aboard the...

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...Mr. Divine; "and thank God that I am
here to do what little any man may...

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...he said, jerking his thumb in the general
direction of Skipper Simms' cabin. "Maybe that accounts...

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...to whose society she had been driven by
loneliness and fear, and appeared on deck frequently...

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...am I to believe?" cried the girl. "Mr. Divine assures me that he,
too, has been...

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...was a
mistake to so totally disable the Lotus as you did. Why, how on earth
are...

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...did so, swinging the portal wide that
she might pass out. "I feared interruption," he said,...

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...the girl swung around to meet the man's eyes squarely upon her.
Instantly she recognized him...

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...your life now. And if I
ever hear of your speaking to her again, or offering...

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...yourselves with crowbars and axes, an' see that that son of a
sea cook don't get...

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...I tell you, an I'll learn him. Now you," he yelled at the top of
his...

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...while beyond them
stood Barbara Harding held fascinated by the grim tragedy that was
unfolding before her...

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...you. We
cannot succeed, either one of us, alone. I think you made a fool play
when...

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...the erstwhile recalcitrant Byrne, and for two days the
latter languished in durance vile, and that...

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...Mr. Theriere," exclaimed the girl.
"You cannot imagine how I loathe the man now that I...

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...and ordering a sailor below to
report the menacing conditions to Captain Simms.

Before that officer reached...

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...between waves. All semblance of discipline had vanished.
For the most part they were a pack...

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...It was very interesting--he wondered what odds O'Leary would have
laid against the man.

In another moment...

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...the
man he had long since rated as a cowardly bully. He was fully determined
to repay...

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...no canvas, no boats;
and though I am not much of a sailor, I can see...

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...distrust that had tinged her thoughts of him earlier in their
acquaintance, while his heroic act...

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...you at first--I doubted everyone connected with the Halfmoon.
Why shouldn't I? But now I think...

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...which
he had planted in the unconscious man's face, were true indications of
manliness. He gauged such...

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...pain. Fer half a cent I'd soak youse a
wallop to de solar plexus dat would...

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...diatribe. Billy did nothing
of the sort. Barbara Harding's words seemed to have taken all the...

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...frightful destroyers would mean
the instant annihilation of the Halfmoon and all her company, yet this
was...

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...their place at the wheel.

Unassisted he could do little with the heavy helm. Barbara saw...

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...all, should
be showing no signs of cowardice now--probably he was paralyzed with
fright. The moment that...

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...opposite the cleft in the cliffs. Theriere had lashed
a new sheet in position. Now he...

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...disgust she turned away from the man at the wheel.

Theriere by this time had managed...

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...last the swimmer beneath
her forged steadily and persistently toward the sandy beach to flounder
out at...

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...The best thing for all concerned is to divide up
this party now once and for...

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...me. You can make the start now, Larry,
by walking over and placing yourself at Mr....

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...more likely to work out to Skipper
Simms' interests than some unadvised act of Skipper Simms...

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...retrieving such of the wreckage and the
salvage of the Halfmoon as the waves had deposited...

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...arose and with a few whispered instructions commenced
the descent of the cliff toward the cove...

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...others have gone for the supplies now and as soon as
they return we shall commence...

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...a
killing, especially on Barbara's account.

Ward stopped at one of the water casks. He tipped it...

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...they did not come, and when, in alarm, the entire party started back
in search of...

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...horrified. She had thought her lot before as bad as it
could be, but to be...

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...father will reward you
fabulously. Ten thousand koku he would gladly give to have me returned
to...

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...expecting momentarily to be attacked by the guards
which they felt sure Ward would post in...

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...first opportunity to return Miss Harding to
civilization unharmed and without the payment of a penny...

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...with Bony Sawyer, should be left behind
on the morrow to hold the cliff top while...

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...her block?" he whispered in an
awed voice. Something strange rose in the mucker's breast at...

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...borne the girl away.
Outwardly Billy showed no indication of the turmoil that raged within
his breast.

"We...

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...heads cut off," cried Red Sanders. "We
found the bunch that got Miller, Swenson, and the...

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...the savage, snarling faces of the
head-hunters appear.

"Surrender! You swabs," called Ward from below, "or we'll...

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...other hand, he
reasoned, it would be as much to their advantage to have the deserters
return...

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...that he was with you when you
planned it. That you wanted to git rid o'...

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...us next
to that long before we sailed from Frisco."

"Clinker lies," cried Divine. "He doesn't know...

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...she felt about the smaller apartment
for some heavy object with which to barricade herself; but...

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...not
be denied. Suddenly an inspiration came to her. It was a forlorn hope,
but well worth...

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...rushed into the main street of the
village shouting at the tops of their voices that...

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...the trail for the better part of an hour. "Hadn't
we better wait for them to...

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...the most powerful chief; but he wished to
verify his deductions if possible. He knew that...

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...use fer Chinks," said the mucker, as though in
extenuation of his suggestion that they murder...

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...it were an after-thought, "I ain't got no use fer dat
ransom eider--youse can have dat,...

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...her prison
advancing toward the door that separated them from her. She pressed the
point of the...

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...to pass
through into the little room.

The mucker won to the girl's side first, and snatching...

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...take him from
behind. The battle could not last long, so unequal were the odds. She
saw...

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...unaccustomed to firearms, drew back in dismay. Again Theriere
fired point-blank into the crowded room, and...

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...kiddo," he remarked to
Miss Harding, and then he came to his feet, seemingly as strong...

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...veins with
that of the descendants of Taka-mi-musu-bi-no-kami.

Three-quarters of the distance had been covered in safety...

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...nodded her head, affirmatively.

"Youse savvy deyre lingo den, eh?"

"A little."

"Tell dis gazimbat to wise his...

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...now. The man still lay, unconscious and
moaning, where Byrne had deposited him. The mucker removed...

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...tigress upon the youth.

"Quick!" she cried. "Tell them to go back--that I shall kill you...

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...emotion took possession of him. It was none
other than a desire to atone in some...

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...with
bloody foam, and again he closed his eyes. Fainter and fainter came
his breathing, until it...

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...week ago I thought you were
a coward--I ask your forgiveness."

"Ferget it," whispered Byrne, "fer a...

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...career. In his death
he had atoned for many sins.

And in those last few days he...

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...loss of blood, strode
sturdily upward while the marveling girl followed close behind him. A
hundred yards...

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...was the mucker, and at sight of him there swept over the girl the
terrible peril...

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..."I tink I'll poun' my ear fer a few. You
kin keep yer lamps peeled fer...

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...From behind a shoulder of rock they peered down into the
forest below them. For several...

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...some questionable act.

"I suppose so," he said; "this ain't no place to spend the night--it's
too...

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...be
mistaken? And the mucker saw the true eyes of the woman he loved without
knowing that...

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...the truth
flashed upon him. He saw that he could not harm her now, or ever,...

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...girl did not laugh with him. Instead she looked troubled.

"Wouldn't you rather be a 'highbrow'...

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...certain more or less obvious
irregularities of grammar and pronunciation that are particularly
distasteful to people of...

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...don't go very far--I shall be terribly lonely and frightened
while you are away."

"Maybe you'd better...

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...did those
terrific, relentless blows cease to fall upon his unprotected face.

The sole witness to this...

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...a different way than I ever
had learned to before. I'm not sorry for that--I'm glad,...

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...around saloon corners rushing the can
and insulting women--I didn't want to be decent--not until I...

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...rescued
at all. Most of your reasons for postponing the trip have been trivial
and ridiculous--possibly you...

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...one hand he bore the long war spear of
the head-hunter he had slain. At his...

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...her delight that Byrne
was still on his feet, fighting. Foster and Norris were pushing their
man...

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...that father is dead?" she asked, a look of terror coming
to her eyes.

"Not that--we hope,"...

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...it might be the 'Clarinda,' or Halfmoon.

"We made the island, and after considerable search found...

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...the Grand Avenue mucker as a prospective son-in-law. And
then there was Mallory! He was sure...

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...his throat and the long sword of his dead daimio
passed through his heart.

Byrne held the...

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...found themselves surrounded
by a pack of howling warriors who cut at them with long swords...

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...pull the three
shafts from him.

"What are we to do?" cried the older man. "They will...

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...He shook his
head.

"There is something familiar about your face," he said; "but I cannot
place you....

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...they stopped and hallooed. Almost instantly three
figures rushed from the interior of the island to...

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...would be in the way. He would be a constant embarrassment
to them all, for they...

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...the likes of me; but if I can't live with her, I can live for
her--as...

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...once more he took up his
wearisome journey.

That night he reached the coast. Early the next...

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...the island.

Close in she came, for the sea was calm and the water deep, and...

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...come back
an' scrap."

"You're on," said Billy, commencing to divest himself of his outer
clothing.

Stripped to the...

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...is nothing more discouraging than to
discover that your most effective blows do not feeze your...

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...was sufficient
to draw a fair house, and there were some there who had seen Billy...

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...Billy recalled the yelling samurai with their
keen swords and terrible spears. He saw the little...

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...with
his old familiar crouch, and stopped his man with a straight to the
body.

Cassidy saw it...

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...I'm reserving the
finish for the fifth round, and if you want to win some money...

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...Interviews with Cassidy. Interviews with the referee.
Interviews with everybody, and all were agreed that he...

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...staring at the heavy weight until he had perused it.

"Any answer?" he asked.

"No answer, kid,"...

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...it all would have meant, before he
let her see that he had seen it.

"I've been...

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...I really never LOVED him
as--as--" Again she stumbled, but the mucker made no attempt to...

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...what a good girl can do toward making a man of a beast.
You've taught me...

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...and though the young man was far from happy
something in the nature of content pervaded...

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...had not killed Schneider. He had been nowhere near the
old fellow's saloon at the time...

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...away for
her to recognize his features, but his size and bearing and general
appearance appealed to...

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...met who recognized him had seemed
particularly delighted at his return. The whole affair had been
something...

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...lot
o' throuble in your day an' they haven't forgot it. I'd hate to be in
your...

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...was better
to lose any other possession rather than lose honor. Billy realized that
it had been...

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...criminal," he said. "Society will be
safer when he is behind the bars."

The next day they...

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...had leaped from the moving
train dragging his guard after him.



CHAPTER II. THE ESCAPE

BYRNE had no...

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...conjured from nothing, there rose between himself and the
unconscious man beside him the figure of...

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...ken of the
trussed deputy sheriff, and as Billy had no desire to be seen he...

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...to
the ground.

It looked much like a camp fire, and as Billy drew nearer he saw...

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...Out there somewhere along the sea a ship is waiting patiently,
While up the...

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...to the tramp's jaw that sent
the fellow spinning backward to the river's brim, where he...

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... I rustled grub, he rustled rhyme--
Blind-baggage, hoof it, ride or climb--we...

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...said the other; "here's to his Knibbs, and--Penelope!"

"Drink hearty," returned Billy Byrne.

The poetical one drew...

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...of a happy dog
just released from a night of captivity.

Bridge yawned and stretched. Billy rose...

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...an' thought
I was smart. Funny how a feller'll change--an' all fer a skirt. A skirt
that...

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...elevated his eyebrows a trifle. He had been mistaken, after all.
At the farmhouse the farmer's...

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...hangin' to the
ropes."

Bridge cleared his throat, and recited:


Silver are the ripples,
Solemn...

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...in his pocket--a whole dollar. He had earned it assisting an
automobilist out of a ditch.

"We'll...

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...placed it
in a pocket of the coat hanging upon the foot of the bed. A...

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...upon a word from Bridge--and Bridge would get five hundred
dollars. Just then Bridge burst forth...

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...the gun of the deputy sheriff still rested. They would never
take him alive, of that...

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...hun. I ought to of known
better. The other is that I didn't kill Schneider. I...

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...before I took a tumble to myself I'd
have hated you, Bridge. I'd a-hated your fine...

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...better English than another, or has read
more and remembers it, only makes him a better...

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...his companion
went wide in incredulity and surprise.

"Do youse know dem guys?" asked the first, and...

Page 165

...entrance and waited until the two should have
come closer.

They were directly opposite him when the...

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...I'll
find he's corraled a nigger," and he looked sorrowfully at the three
specimens before him.

"I dunno,"...

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...but about
the young man who had come earlier in the day and purchased food from
her,...

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...the fellow's intentions the dog wheeled
from the tramp upon the floor, toward whom he had...

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...nothin' of de kind," urged his companion. "I got it all
doped out. We got lots...

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...he
had not had the road work that Billy recently had been through in his
training for...

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...of the weapon and threw the muzzle up
toward the ceiling as the tramp pulled the...

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...have
about de house--an' her all alone. You ought not to a-done it."

She took the money...

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...says I am an' what de law says,
goes."

He turned toward the doorway with Bridge, calling...

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...arternoon than I ever tole before in
all my life. I told 'em that they was...

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...as to
the future and the best manner of meeting it before it arrived.

"I think," said...

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...other fellow at least as
soon as the other fellow saw him. The other fellow being...

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...is certain--if all the love that was felt for
policemen in general by the men in...

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...A dozen dog-eared and filthy magazines and
newspapers were snatched from a hiding place beneath the...

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...his face, and it was not
until they had all emerged and he had reentered the...

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...out there somewhere you wait for me
With buds of roses in your hair and...

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...gentleman is not an Italian, Billy," he concluded. "He's a
Mexican."

"Who said he was an Eyetalian?"...

Page 182

...may tell all this to Pesita himself, senor," he said. "Now
come--get a move on--beat it!"...

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...of a
general--ideas more or less influenced and modified by the chance and
caprice of fortune.

At the...

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...suddenly burst upon Pesita. He turned upon Bridge.

"Your friend is not then an American?" he...

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...gringo. I become savior of my
country. I rid her of all Americanos."

"Nix on the captain...

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...of
great service to us, for he is very friendly with the Germans--yet he
looks like a...

Page 187

...made no objection when Billy approached the
prisoners though they had looked in mild surprise when...

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...reason why I should need an escort.
I know my way throughout all Chihuahua as well...

Page 189

...his hand.

"Senor Captain," he said, "we welcome you. I am Captain Rozales." He
hesitated waiting for...

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...it will not be our fault. We will swear
vengeance upon Villa, and the Captain Byrne...

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...Spanish that he was upon the wrong trail.

"Wot's this guy chewin' about?" asked Billy, turning...

Page 192

...they espied two Indians, carbines
in hand, standing in evident consternation because of the unexpected
fusillade of...

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...him and
unless I miss my guess you'll have to pay for it."

"No," said Billy, "I...

Page 194

...of
a depredating Mexican outlaw. Billy knew nothing of the political
conditions of the republic. Had Pesita...

Page 195

...might now be expected to receive the news that eight of his
troopers had been killed...

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...correctly may or may not have been the fact. He
stood looking straight into Byrne's eyes...

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...an American named Grayson. He was a
tall, wiry man whose education had been acquired principally...

Page 198

...duties under any other circumstances
than those which prevailed in Mexico at that time. He was...

Page 199

...a combination of admiration
for the agility and courage of the men and pity for the...

Page 200

...superintendent turned back to the paper in
his hand which he had been discussing with his...

Page 201

...well enough to get along anywhere that it is spoken."

Grayson wanted a bookkeeper worse than...

Page 202

...Grayson.

Bridge hesitated. "Oh, put me down as L. Bridge," he said.

"Where from?" asked the ranch...

Page 203

...Grayson. "Who the devil does he mean by James? I hain't
seen but one of 'em."

The...

Page 204

...I ken trust."

"Send him with a couple of the most trustworthy Mexicans you have,"
suggested the...

Page 205

...bank appeared almost
impregnable to silent assault.

Inside everything was primitive and Billy found himself wondering how
a...

Page 206

...in the rear of the building, overlooking the yard. The
layout was eminently satisfactory to Captain...

Page 207

...as he was saddling the animal, he was accosted, much to his
disgust, by the proprietor.

In...

Page 208

...that
this was attended to before he went further with his labors. It were
well to have...

Page 209

...as he did so he could see
through the window beside him into the yard at...

Page 210

...rapidly
forward that he might keep them within a few inches of his center of
equilibrium.

The distance...

Page 211

...and that the wealth which he had been detailed to guard had
been taken while he...

Page 212

..."Why the
devil should I take all this swag back to that yellow-faced yegg? Who
pulled this...

Page 213

...had a glimpse of the horseman in
his rear--two miles behind him, now, but rapidly closing...

Page 214

...fallen bandit. "You?"

Bridge was off his horse the instant that the familiar voice sounded in
his...

Page 215

...a whole
troop of cavalry out here in the open. If you take my horse we...

Page 216

...from it. If he ain't dead or
stolen he'd a-ben back afore the bookkeeper was. It's...

Page 217

...to a
young lady."

"But it does, though," she replied; "at least to me. There's a swing...

Page 218

...opportunity to discuss with another for a long, long time.

And slowly he had found delight...

Page 219

...back now," she explained. "Papa will be wondering what
has become of me."

"Yes," said Bridge, and...

Page 220

...upon Bridge.

"Well," snapped Grayson, "what you gotta say fer yourself? I ben
suspectin' you right along....

Page 221

...of war, to die, for General Villa, I am told, considers
that a treasonable act. Some...

Page 222

...love to your daughter."

The older man laughed. "Don't be a fool, Grayson," he said, and...

Page 223

...with the other struck him
across the face.

Grayson dropped her arm, and as he did so...

Page 224

...alone."

For awhile the girl sat in silence, and presently her father arose and
entered the house....

Page 225

...of Pesita and
his retainers. Here each little adobe dwelling, and they were scattered
at intervals of...

Page 226

...stretched forth a clawlike hand for
the money.

"Good!" exclaimed Barbara. "Now start at once," and she...

Page 227

...Cuivaca shone but a short
distance ahead and they could hear plainly the strains of a...

Page 228

...a barred
window.

Within Bridge paced back and forth the length of the little building. He
could not...

Page 229

...a low whisper, came a familiar voice:


"There ain't no roses in my hair, but there's...

Page 230

...knocked the bar from its place, the door swung
in and Bridge slipped through to liberty.

"Quick!"...

Page 231

...Bridge admitted; "but what's the use? Let's
forget it. Oh, say, is this the horse I...

Page 232

...from the hut, Billy approached cautiously,
since the world is filled with dangers for those who...

Page 233

...but from de looks I
guess youse need spyin, yuh tinhorn."

A pony whinnied a short distance...

Page 234

...to see ef I could catch 'em at it," he explained.

"He is an American?" asked...

Page 235

...gettin' out of the little bedroom in back there except through this
room. The windows are...

Page 236

...after me an' old man Villa'll be
sore as a pup."

"You know my maw?" asked Eddie,...

Page 237

...boy back
a whole lot. I guess she'd look better still ef he walked in on...

Page 238

...Americans at El Orobo would be definitely sealed.

She turned the knob and pushed the door...

Page 239

...was there. He's the squarest guy
in the world, Bridge is. He follered me that night...

Page 240

...a sudden
halt. Her entire manner indicated final decision, and determination. A
moment she stood in thought...

Page 241

...that they had crossed. Should she brave the
nervous fright of a passage through that dark,...

Page 242

...thrown herself in, she was in the channel swimming for her life.

The trend of the...

Page 243

...it was safely in place she
breathed a deep sigh of relief and throwing her arms...

Page 244

...crept forward in the shadows. Behind
them a matter of a hundred yards stood a little...

Page 245

...of Barbara
Harding's life, she thought--before the knots gave to her efforts; but
at last the rope...

Page 246

...Languidly he gathered up the reins and mounted, and then
unconcernedly as though he were an...

Page 247

...Orobo Rancho and
its foreman; but the fact that Anthony Harding owned it and that he...

Page 248

...toward the
south over the same trail he had just traversed.



CHAPTER XV. AN INDIAN'S TREACHERY

THE Brazos...

Page 249

...him."

"The hound!" muttered Eddie.

The two men dashed up onto the veranda of the ranchhouse and...

Page 250

...Grayson covered as he replied to the request of Harding.

"This guy hires a bunch of...

Page 251

...had come and
saw Eddie Shorter running toward him, a smoking six-shooter in his right
hand.

"Go back,"...

Page 252

...the skyline of the low bluffs beyond. The
others looked. A horseman was just visible urging...

Page 253

...do except talk about their troubles. They
had not been paid since the looting of the...

Page 254

...pony; but when he had mounted and ridden from
town he took a strange direction for...

Page 255

...witness of some unhappy event which should carry Senor
Bridge to the arms of his fathers.

Rozales...

Page 256

...and then he remounted and rode on
down into the valley, leading Rozales' horse behind him.

It...

Page 257

...as they approached higher ground, or wound through
gullies and ravines it was lost to their...

Page 258

...from its location evidently led directly up to the village. "We
ain't far from 'em now,...

Page 259

...If he could
but reach the shelter of the bowlders before the Pimans discovered them!

The minutes...

Page 260

...all right, old man," he whispered. "I know you're lyin' an' so
do you; but it...

Page 261

...the matter seriously there came a staccato report and Billy
Byrne fell forward in a heap.

"God!"...

Page 262

...Side was a tear?

The afternoon waned and night came, but it brought to Billy Byrne
neither...

Page 263

...few dying fires
cast a wavering and uncertain light upon the scene. Through the shadows
Billy Byrne...

Page 264

...of him that he might shield her body
with his own, turned directly out of the...

Page 265

...enemy as it hid the enemy from them. They had
reached the point where Barbara was...

Page 266

...ranchhouse. We may be able to
stand 'em off. Have you heard anything of Miss Barbara?"

Anthony...

Page 267

...is stay here and use it. Will you men stand by us?" he addressed the
Chinaman...

Page 268

...for the north side of the house; but when Bridge
dropped the first of them before...

Page 269

...barred
their way to liberty.

That they had surprised him even more than he had them was...

Page 270

...went. The night grew cold. Far ahead there sounded the
occasional pop of a rifle. Billy...

Page 271

...are. You fellows
have fought splendidly. Wish I could give you something more substantial
than thanks; but...

Page 272

...long enough for Pesita to speak
the single word that would have sent eleven bullets speeding...

Page 273

...a rapid
gallop.

"I guess," said Billy, "that we'd better open up on 'em. It's a cinch
they...

Page 274

...than apparent
adoration which marked his friend's attitude toward Barbara.

As daylight waned the fugitives realized from...

Page 275

...the house when Bridge lunged forward
from his saddle. The Clark boys had dismounted and were...

Page 276

...girl here with a bunch of Dagos yappin' around."

"You'll be killed," said Price Clark. "You...

Page 277

...loomed the giant
figure of a man in nondescript garb which more closely resembled the
apparel of...

Page 278

...tell me what you meant by saying that Bridge
couldn't have me. I never knew that...

Page 279

...my clothes somewheres that gives all the dope."

He drew some papers from his coat pocket...