The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 116

it might be the 'Clarinda,' or Halfmoon.

"We made the island, and after considerable search found the survivors.
Each of 'em tried to lay the blame on the others, but finally they all
agreed that a man by the name of Theriere with a seaman called Byrne,
had taken you into the interior, and that they had believed you dead
until a few days since they had captured one of the natives and learned
that you had all escaped, and were wandering in some part of the island
unknown to them.

"Then we set out with a company of marines to find you. Your father,
impatient of the seeming slowness of the officer in command, pushed
ahead with Mr. Mallory, Mr. Poster, and myself, and two of the men of
the Lotus whom he had brought along with us.

"Three days ago we were attacked and your father and Mr. Mallory taken
prisoners. The rest of us escaped, and endeavored to make our way back
to the marines, but we became confused and have been wandering aimlessly
about the island ever since until we were surprised by these natives a
few moments ago. Both the seamen were killed in this last fight and Mr.
Foster and myself taken prisoners--the rest you know."

Byrne was on his feet now. He found his sword and revolver and replaced
them in his belt.

"You men stay here on the island and take care of Miss Harding," he
said. "If I don't come back the marines will find you sooner or later,
or you can make your way to the coast, and work around toward the cove.
Good-bye, Miss Harding."

"Where are you going?" cried the girl.

"To get your father--and Mr. Mallory," said the mucker.



CHAPTER XVI. THE SUPREME SACRIFICE

THROUGH the balance of the day and all during the long night Billy Byrne
swung along his lonely way, retracing the familiar steps of the journey
that had brought Barbara Harding and himself to the little island in the
turbulent river.

Just before dawn he came to the edge of the clearing behind the dwelling
of the late Oda Yorimoto. Somewhere within the silent village he was
sure that the two prisoners lay.

During the long march he had thrashed over again and again all that the
success of his rash venture would mean to him. Of all those who might
conceivably stand between him and the woman he loved--the woman who had
just acknowledged that she loved him--these two men were the most to be
feared.

Billy Byrne did not for a moment believe that Anthony Harding would look
with favor upon

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