The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 119

found themselves surrounded
by a pack of howling warriors who cut at them with long swords from
every side, blocking their retreat and hemming them in in every
direction.

Byrne called to his companions to close in, back to back, and thus, the
gangster in advance, the three slowly fought their way toward the end of
the narrow street and the jungle beyond. The mucker fought with his long
sword in one hand and Theriere's revolver in the other--hewing a way
toward freedom for the two men whom he knew would take his love from
him.

Beneath the brilliant tropic moon that lighted the scene almost as
brilliantly as might the sun himself the battle waged, and though the
odds were painfully uneven the white men moved steadily, though slowly,
toward the jungle. It was evident that the natives feared the giant
white who led the three. Anthony Harding, familiar with Japanese, could
translate sufficient of their jargon to be sure of that, had not the
respectful distance most of them kept from Byrne been ample proof.

Out of the village street they came at last into the clearing. The
warriors danced about them, yelling threats and taunts the while they
made occasional dashes to close quarters that they might deliver a swift
sword cut and retreat again before the great white devil could get them
with the sword that had been Oda Yorimoto's, or the strange fire stick
that spoke in such a terrifying voice.

Fifty feet from the jungle Mallory went down with a spear through the
calf of his leg. Byrne saw him fall, and dropping back lifted the man to
his feet, supporting him with one arm as the two backed slowly in front
of the onpressing natives.

The spears were flying thick and fast now, for the samurai all were upon
the same side of the enemy and there was no danger of injuring one of
their own number with their flying weapons as there had been when the
host entirely surrounded the three men, and when the whites at last
entered the tall grasses of the jungle a perfect shower of spears
followed them.

With the volley Byrne went down--he had been the principal target for
the samurai and three of the heavy shafts had pierced his body. Two were
buried in his chest and one in his abdomen.

Anthony Harding was horrified. Both his companions were down, and the
savages were pressing closely on toward their hiding place. Mallory sat
upon the ground trying to tear the spear from his leg. Finally he was
successful. Byrne, still conscious, called to Harding to

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