The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 136

I really never LOVED him
as--as--" Again she stumbled, but the mucker made no attempt to grasp
the opportunity opened before him.

Instead he crossed the library to the telephone. Running through the
book he came presently upon the number he sought. A moment later he had
his connection.

"Is this Mallory?" he asked.

"I'm Byrne--Billy Byrne. De guy dat cracked your puss fer youse on de
Lotus."

"Dead, hell! Not me. Say, I'm up here at Barbara's."

"Yes, dat's wot I said. She wants youse to beat it up here's swift as
youse kin beat it."

Barbara Harding stepped forward. Her eyes were blazing.

"How dare you?" she cried, attempting to seize the telephone from
Billy's grasp.

He turned his huge frame between her and the instrument. "Git a move!"
he shouted into the mouthpiece. "Good-bye!" and he hung up.

Then he turned back toward the angry girl.

"Look here," he said. "Once youse was strong on de sob stuff wit me,
tellin' me how noble I was, an' all de different tings youse would do
fer me to repay all I done fer youse. Now youse got de chanct."

"What do you mean?" asked the girl, puzzled. "What can I do for you?"

"Youse kin do dis fer me. When Mallory gits here youse kin tell him dat
de engagement is all on again--see!"

In the wide eyes of the girl Billy read a deeper hurt than he had
dreamed of. He had thought that it would not be difficult for her to
turn back from the vulgar mucker to the polished gentleman. And when he
saw that she was suffering, and guessed that it was because he had tried
to crush her love by brute force he could carry the game no further.

"O Barbara," he cried, "can't you see that Mallory is your kind--that HE
is a fit mate for you. I have learned since I came into this house a few
minutes ago the unbridgeable chasm that stretches between Billy Byrne,
the mucker, and such as you. Once I aspired; but now I know just as you
must have always known, that a single lifetime is far too short for a
man to cover the distance from Grand Avenue to Riverside Drive.

"I want you to be happy, Barbara, just as I intend to be. Back there in
Chicago there are plenty of girls on Grand Avenue as straight and clean
and fine as they make 'em on Riverside Drive. Girls of my own kind, they
are, and I'm going back there to find the one that God intended for me.
You've taught me

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