The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 160

the gun of the deputy sheriff still rested. They would never
take him alive, of that Billy was positive. He wouldn't go back to life
imprisonment, not after he had tasted the sweet freedom of the wide
spaces--such a freedom as the trammeled city cannot offer.

Bridge saw the movement.

"Cut it," he whispered, "and follow me, as I tell you. I just saw a
Chicago dick across the street. He may not have seen you, but it looked
almighty like it. He'll be down here in about two seconds now. Come
on--we'll beat it through the rear--I know the way."

Billy Byrne heaved a great sigh of relief. Suddenly he was almost
reconciled to the thought of capture, for in the instant he had realized
that it had not been so much his freedom that he had dreaded to lose as
his faith in the companion in whom he had believed.

Without sign of haste the two walked the length of the room and
disappeared through the doorway leading into the washroom. Before them
was a window opening upon a squalid back yard. The building stood upon
a hillside, so that while the entrance to the eating-place was below the
level of the street in front, its rear was flush with the ground.

Bridge motioned Billy to climb through the window while he shot the bolt
upon the inside of the door leading back into the restaurant. A moment
later he followed the fugitive, and then took the lead.

Down narrow, dirty alleys, and through litter-piled back yards he made
his way, while Billy followed at his heels. Dusk was gathering, and
before they had gone far darkness came.

They neither paused nor spoke until they had left the business portion
of the city behind and were well out of the zone of bright lights.
Bridge was the first to break the silence.

"I suppose you wonder how I knew," he said.

"No," replied Billy. "I seen that clipping you got in your pocket--it
fell out on the floor when you took your coat off in the room this
afternoon to go and wash."

"Oh," said Bridge, "I see. Well, as far as I'm concerned that's the end
of it--we won't mention it again, old man. I don't need to tell you that
I'm for you."

"No, not after tonight," Billy assured him.

They went on again for some little time without speaking, then Billy
said:

"I got two things to tell you. The first is that after I seen that
newspaper article in your clothes I thought you was figurin' on
double-crossin' me an' claimin' the five

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