The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 0


By Edgar Rice Burroughs

THE MUCKER: Originally published serially in All-Story Cavalier Weekly.
Copyright (c) 1914, by The Frank A. Munsey Co.

THE RETURN OF THE MUCKER: Sequel to THE MUCKER. Originally published
serially in All-Story Weekly. Copyright (c) 1916, by The Frank A. Munsey

First Ballantine Edition: January, 1966

Manufactured in the United States of America

BALLANTINE BOOKS, INC. 101 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10003



BILLY BYRNE was a product of the streets and alleys of Chicago's great
West Side. From Halsted to Robey, and from Grand Avenue to Lake Street
there was scarce a bartender whom Billy knew not by his first name. And,
in proportion to their number which was considerably less, he knew the
patrolmen and plain clothes men equally as well, but not so pleasantly.

His kindergarten education had commenced in an alley back of a
feed-store. Here a gang of older boys and men were wont to congregate
at such times as they had naught else to occupy their time, and as the
bridewell was the only place in which they ever held a job for more than
a day or two, they had considerable time to devote to congregating.

They were pickpockets and second-story men, made and in the making, and
all were muckers, ready to insult the first woman who passed, or pick
a quarrel with any stranger who did not appear too burly. By night they
plied their real vocations. By day they sat in the alley behind the
feedstore and drank beer from a battered tin pail.

The question of labor involved in transporting the pail, empty, to the
saloon across the street, and returning it, full, to the alley back of
the feed-store was solved by the presence of admiring and envious little
boys of the neighborhood who hung, wide-eyed and thrilled, about these
heroes of their childish lives.

Billy Byrne, at six, was rushing the can for this noble band, and
incidentally picking up his knowledge of life and the rudiments of his
education. He gloried in the fact that he was personally acquainted with
"Eddie" Welch, and that with his own ears he had heard "Eddie" tell the
gang how he stuck up a guy on West Lake Street within fifty yards of the
Twenty-eighth Precinct Police Station.

The kindergarten period lasted until Billy was ten; then he commenced
"swiping" brass faucets from vacant buildings and selling them to a
fence who ran a junkshop on Lincoln Street near Kinzie.

From this man he obtained the hint that graduated him to a higher grade,
so that at twelve

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