The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 126

the island.

Close in she came, for the sea was calm and the water deep, and when
Billy was sure that those on board saw him and his frantic waving, he
hurried, stumbling and falling, down the steep face of the cliff to the
tiny beach at its foot.

Already a boat had been lowered and was putting in for land. Billy waded
out to the end of the short shelving beach and waited.

The sight that met the eyes of the rescuers was one that filled them
with awe, for they saw before them a huge, giant of a white man,
half-naked except for a few tattered rags, who wore the long sword of an
ancient samurai at his side, a modern revolver at his hip, and bore in
his brawny hand the heavy war spear of a head-hunter. Long black hair,
and a huge beard covered the man's head and face, but clean gray eyes
shone from out of the tangle, and a broad grin welcomed them.

"Oh, you white men!" shouted the mucker. "You certainly do look good to

Six months later a big, smooth-faced giant in ill-fitting sea togs
strolled up Sixth Avenue. It was Billy Byrne--broke, but happy; Grand
Avenue was less than a thousand miles away!

"Gee!" he murmured; "but it's good to be home again!"

There were places in New York where Billy would find acquaintances.
One in particular he recalled--a little, third-floor gymnasium not far
distant from the Battery. Thither he turned his steps now. As he entered
the stuffy room in which two big fellows, stripped to the waist, were
sparring, a stout, low-browed man sitting in a back-tilted chair
against one wall looked up inquiringly. Billy crossed over to him, with
outstretched hand.

"Howdy, Professor!" he said.

"Yeh got me, kid," replied Professor Cassidy, taking the proffered hand.

"I was up here with Larry Hilmore and the Goose Island Kid a year or so
ago--my name's Byrne," exclaimed Billy.

"Sure," said the professor; "I gotcha now. You're de guy 'at Larry was a
tellin' me about. He said you'd be a great heavy if you'd leave de booze

Billy smiled and nodded.

"You don't look much like a booze fighter now," remarked Cassidy.

"And I ain't," said the mucker. "I've been on the wagon for most a year,
and I'm never comin' down."

"That's right, kid," said the professor; "but wots the good word? Wot
you doin' in little ol' Noo York?"

"Lookin' for a job," said Billy.

"Strip!" commanded Professor Cassidy. "I'm lookin' for sparrin' partners
for a gink dat's goin' to clean up de Big Smoke--if he'll ever

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