The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 141

met who recognized him had seemed
particularly delighted at his return. The whole affair had been
something of a disappointment. Therefore Billy determined to go at once
to the Lake Street Station and learn the status of the Schneider murder
case. Possibly they had discovered the real murderer, and if that was
the case Billy would be permitted to go his way; but if not then he
could give himself up and ask for a trial, that he might be exonerated.

As he neared Wood Street two men who had been watching his approach
stepped into the doorway of a saloon, and as he passed they stepped out
again behind him. One upon either side they seized him.

Billy turned to remonstrate.

"Come easy now, Byrne," admonished one of the men, "an' don't make no

"Oh," said Billy, "it's you, is it? Well, I was just goin' over to the
station to give myself up."

Both men laughed, skeptically. "We'll just save you the trouble," said
one of them. "We'll take you over. You might lose your way if you tried
to go alone."

Billy went along in silence the rest of the way to where the patrol
waited at another corner. He saw there was nothing to be gained by
talking to these detectives; but he found the lieutenant equally
inclined to doubt his intentions. He, too, only laughed when Billy
assured him that he was on his way to the station at the very instant of

As the weeks dragged along, and Billy Byrne found no friendly interest
in himself or his desire to live on the square, and no belief in his
protestations that he had had naught to do with the killing of Schneider
he began to have his doubts as to the wisdom of his act.

He also commenced to entertain some of his former opinions of the
police, and of the law of which they are supposed to be the guardians. A
cell-mate told him that the papers had scored the department heavily
for their failure to apprehend the murderer of the inoffensive old
Schneider, and that public opinion had been so aroused that a general
police shakeup had followed.

The result was that the police were keen to fasten the guilt upon
someone--they did not care whom, so long as it was someone who was in
their custody.

"You may not o' done it," ventured the cell-mate; "but they'll send you
up for it, if they can't hang you. They're goin' to try to get the death
sentence. They hain't got no love for you, Byrne. You caused 'em a

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