The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 159

upon a word from Bridge--and Bridge would get five hundred
dollars. Just then Bridge burst forth into poetry:


In a flannel shirt from earth's clean dirt,
Here, pal, is my calloused hand!
Oh, I love each day as a rover may,
Nor seek to understand.
To enjoy is good enough for me;
The gypsy of God am I.
Then here's a hail to--


"Say," he interrupted himself; "what's the matter with going out now and
wrapping ourselves around that swell feed you were speaking of?"

Billy rose. It didn't seem possible that Bridge could be going to
double-cross him.


In a flannel shirt from earth's clean dirt,
Here, pal, is my calloused hand!


Billy repeated the lines half aloud. They renewed his confidence in
Bridge, somehow.

"Like them?" asked the latter.

"Yes," said Billy; "s'more of Knibbs?"

"No, Service. Come on, let's go and dine. How about the Midland?" and he
grinned at his little joke as he led the way toward the street.

It was late afternoon. The sun already had set; but it still was too
light for lamps. Bridge led the way toward a certain eating-place of
which he knew where a man might dine well and from a clean platter for
two bits. Billy had been keeping his eyes open for detectives. They
had passed no uniformed police--that would be the crucial test, thought
he--unless Bridge intended tipping off headquarters on the quiet and
having the pinch made at night after Billy had gone to bed.

As they reached the little restaurant, which was in a basement, Bridge
motioned Billy down ahead of him. Just for an instant he, himself,
paused at the head of the stairs and looked about. As he did so a man
stepped from the shadow of a doorway upon the opposite side of the
street.

If Bridge saw him he apparently gave no sign, for he turned slowly and
with deliberate steps followed Billy down into the eating-place.



CHAPTER IV. ON THE TRAIL. AS THEY entered the place Billy, who was
ahead, sought a table; but as he was about to hang up his cap and seat
himself Bridge touched his elbow.

"Let's go to the washroom and clean up a bit," he said, in a voice that
might be heard by those nearest.

"Why, we just washed before we left our room," expostulated Billy.

"Shut up and follow me," Bridge whispered into his ear.

Immediately Billy was all suspicion. His hand flew to the pocket in
which

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