The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 140

away for
her to recognize his features, but his size and bearing and general
appearance appealed to the lonesome Maggie. She hoped it was someone she
knew, or with whom she might easily become acquainted, for Maggie was
bored to death.

She patted the hair at the back of her head and righted the mop which
hung over one eye. Then she rearranged her skirts and waited. As the man
approached she saw that he was better looking than she had even dared
to hope, and that there was something extremely familiar about his
appearance. It was not, though, until he was almost in front of the
house that he looked up at the girl and she recognized him.

Then Maggie Shane gasped and clutched the handrail at her side.
An instant later the man was past and continuing his way along the
sidewalk.

Maggie Shane glared after him for a minute, then she ran quickly down
the stairs and into a grocery store a few doors west, where she asked if
she might use the telephone.

"Gimme West 2063," she demanded of the operator, and a moment later: "Is
this Lake Street?"

"Well say, Billy Byrne's back. I just see him."

"Yes an' never mind who I am; but if youse guys want him he's walkin'
west on Grand Avenoo right now. I just this minute seen him near
Lincoln," and she smashed the receiver back into its hook.

Billy Byrne thought that he would look in on his mother, not that he
expected to be welcomed even though she might happen to be sober, or
not that he cared to see her; but Billy's whole manner of thought had
altered within the year, and something now seemed to tell him that it
was his duty to do the thing he contemplated. Maybe he might even be of
help to her.

But when he reached the gloomy neighborhood in which his childhood had
been spent it was to learn that his mother was dead and that another
family occupied the tumble-down cottage that had been his home.

If Billy Byrne felt any sorrow because of his mother's death he did
not reveal it outwardly. He owed her nothing but for kicks and cuffs
received, and for the surroundings and influences that had started him
upon a life of crime at an age when most boys are just entering grammar
school.

Really the man was relieved that he had not had to see her, and it was
with a lighter step that he turned back to retrace his way along Grand
Avenue. No one of the few he had

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