The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 117

the Grand Avenue mucker as a prospective son-in-law. And
then there was Mallory! He was sure that Barbara had loved this man, and
now should he be restored to her as from the grave there seemed little
doubt but that the old love would be aroused in the girl's breast. The
truth of the matter was that Billy Byrne could not conceive the truth of
the testimony of his own ears--even now he scarce dared believe that the
wonderful Miss Harding loved him--him, the despised mucker!

But the depth of the man's love for the girl, and the genuineness of
his new-found character were proven beyond question by the relentless
severity with which he put away every thought of himself and the
consequences to him in the matter he had undertaken.

FOR HER SAKE! had become his slogan. What though the results sent him
to a savage death, or to a life of lonely misery, or to the arms of his
beloved! In the face of duty the result was all the same to Billy Byrne.

For a moment he stood looking at the moon-bathed village, listening for
any sign of wakefulness or life, then with all the stealth of an Indian,
and with the trained wariness of the thief that he had been, the mucker
slunk noiselessly across the clearing to the shadows of the nearest hut.

He listened beneath the window through which he and Barbara and Theriere
had made their escape a few weeks before. There was no sound from
within. Cautiously he raised himself to the sill, and a moment later
dropped into the inky darkness of the interior.

With groping hands he felt about the room--it was unoccupied. Then
he passed to the door at the far end. Cautiously he opened it until a
narrow crack gave him a view of the dimly lighted chamber beyond. Within
all seemed asleep. The mucker pushed the door still further open and
stepped within--so must he search every hut within the village until he
had found those he sought?

They were not there, and on silent feet that disturbed not even the
lightly slumbering curs the man passed out by the front entrance into
the street beyond.

Through a second and third hut he made his precarious way. In the fourth
a man stirred as Byrne stood upon the opposite side of the room from the
door--with a catlike bound the mucker was beside him. Would the fellow
awake? Billy scarce breathed. The samurai turned restlessly, and then,
with a start, sat up with wide-open eyes. At the same instant iron
fingers closed upon

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