The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 109

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

The sole witness to this battle primeval stood spellbound at the sight
of the fierce, brutal ferocity of the white man, and the lion-like
strength he exhibited. Slowly but surely he was beating the face of his
antagonist into an unrecognizable pulp--with his bare hands he had met
and was killing an armed warrior. It was incredible! Not even Theriere
or Billy Mallory could have done such a thing. Billy Mallory! And she
was gazing with admiration upon his murderer!


AFTER Byrne had dropped the lifeless form of his enemy to the ground he
turned and retraced his steps toward the island, a broad grin upon his
face as he climbed to the girl's side.

"I guess I'd better overhaul this gat," he said, "and stick around home.
It isn't safe to leave you alone here--I can see that pretty plainly.
Gee, supposin' I'd got out of sight before he showed himself!" And the
man shuddered visibly at the thought.

The girl had not spoken and the man looked up suddenly, attracted by her
silence. He saw a look of horror in her eyes, such as he had seen there
once before when he had kicked the unconscious Theriere that time upon
the Halfmoon.

"What's the matter?" he asked, alarmed. "What have I done now? I had to
croak the stiff--he'd have got me sure if I hadn't, and then he'd have
got you, too. I had to do it for your sake--I'm sorry you saw it."

"It isn't that," she said slowly. "That was very brave, and very
wonderful. It's Mr. Mallory I'm thinking of. O Billy! How could you do

The man hung his head.

"Please don't," he begged. "I'd give my life to bring him back again,
for your sake. I know now that you loved him, and I've tried to do all I
could to atone for what I did to him; just as I tried to play white
with Theriere when I found that he loved you, and intended to be on the
square with you. He was your kind, and I hoped that by helping him to
win you fairly it might help to wipe out what I had done to Mallory.
I see that nothing ever can wipe that out. I've got to go through life
regretting it because you have taught me what a brutal, cowardly thing I
did. If it hadn't been for you I'd always have been proud of it--but you
and Theriere taught me to look at things in

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He smiled.
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