The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 133

Interviews with Cassidy. Interviews with the referee.
Interviews with everybody, and all were agreed that he was the most
likely heavy since Jeffries. Corbett admitted that, while in his prime
he could doubtless have bested the new wonder, he would have found him a
tough customer.

Everyone said that Byrne's future was assured. There was not a man in
sight who could touch him, and none who had seen him fight the night
before but would have staked his last dollar on him in a mill with the
black champion.

Cassidy wired a challenge to the Negro's manager, and received an answer
that was most favorable. The terms were, as usual, rather one-sided
but Cassidy accepted them, and it seemed before noon that a fight was
assured.

Billy was more nearly happy again than he had been since the day he had
renounced Barbara Harding to the man he thought she loved. He read
and re-read the accounts in the papers, and then searching for more
references to himself off the sporting page he ran upon the very name
that had been constantly in his thoughts for all these months--Harding.


Persistent rumor has it that the engagement of the beautiful Miss
Harding to Wm. J. Mallory has been broken. Miss Harding could not be
seen at her father's home up to a late hour last night. Mr. Mallory
refused to discuss the matter, but would not deny the rumor.


There was more, but that was all that Billy Byrne read. The paper
dropped from his hand. Battles and championships faded from his
thoughts. He sat with his eyes bent upon the floor, and his mind was
thousands of miles away across the broad Pacific upon a little island in
the midst of a turbulent stream.

And far uptown another sat with the same paper in her hand. Barbara
Harding was glancing through the sporting sheet in search of the scores
of yesterday's woman's golf tournament. And as she searched her eyes
suddenly became riveted upon the picture of a giant man, and she forgot
about tournaments and low scores. Hastily she searched the heads and
text until she came upon the name--"'Sailor' Byrne!"

Yes! It must be he. Greedily she read and re-read all that had been
written about him. Yes, she, Barbara Harding, scion of an aristocratic
house--ultra-society girl, read and re-read the accounts of a brutal
prize fight.

A half hour later a messenger boy found "Sailor" Byrne the center of
an admiring throng in Professor Cassidy's third-floor gymnasium. With
worshiping eyes taking in his new hero from head to foot the youth
handed Byrne a note.

He stood

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