The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 105

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

And with the awakening there came to Billy Byrne the withering, numbing
knowledge that his love must forever be a hopeless one--that this girl
of the aristocracy could never be for such as he.

Barbara Harding, still looking questioningly at him, saw the change that
came across his countenance--she saw the swift pain that shot to the
man's eyes, and she wondered. His fingers released their grasp upon her
arm. His hands fell limply to his sides.

"Don't be afraid," he said. "Please don't be afraid o' me. I couldn't
hurt youse if I tried."

A deep sigh of relief broke from the girl's lips--relief and joy; and
she realized that its cause was as much that the man had proved true to
the new estimate she had recently placed upon him as that the danger to
herself had passed.

"Come," said Billy Byrne, "we'd better move in a bit out o' sight o' de
mainland, an' look fer a place to make camp. I reckon we'd orter rest
here for a few days till we git in shape ag'in. I know youse must be
dead beat, an' I sure am, all right, all right."

Together they sought a favorable site for their new home, and it was
as though the horrid specter of a few moments before had never risen to
menace them, for the girl felt that a great burden of apprehension had
been lifted forever from her shoulders, and though a dull ache gnawed
at the mucker's heart, still he was happier than he had ever been
before--happy to be near the woman he loved.

With the long sword of Oda Yorimoto, Billy Byrne cut saplings and bamboo
and the fronds of fan palms, and with long tough grasses bound them
together into the semblance of a rude hut. Barbara gathered leaves and
grasses with which she covered the floor.

"Number One, Riverside Drive," said the mucker, with a grin, when the
work was completed; "an' now I'll go down on de river front an' build de
Bowery."

"Oh, are you from New York?" asked the girl.

"Not on yer life," replied Billy Byrne. "I'm from good ol' Chi; but I
been to Noo York twict wit de Goose Island Kid, an' so I knows all about
it. De roughnecks belongs on de Bowery, so dat's wot we'll call my dump
down by de river. You're a highbrow, so youse gotta live on Riverside
Drive, see?" and the mucker laughed at his little pleasantry.

But the

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