The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 168

the fellow's intentions the dog wheeled
from the tramp upon the floor, toward whom he had leaped, and sprang for
the other ragged scoundrel.

The muzzle of the gun met him halfway. There was a deafening roar. The
dog collapsed to the floor, his chest torn out. Now the woman began to
scream for help; but in an instant both the tramps were upon her choking
her to silence.

One of them ran to the summer kitchen, returning a moment later with
a piece of clothesline, while the other sat astride the victim, his
fingers closed about her throat. Once he released his hold and she
screamed again. Presently she was secured and gagged. Then the two
commenced to rifle the Bible.

Eleven hundred dollars in bills were hidden there, because the woman
and her husband didn't believe in banks--the savings of a lifetime. In
agony, as she regained consciousness, she saw the last of their little
hoard transferred to the pockets of the tramps, and when they had
finished they demanded to know where she kept the rest, loosening her
gag that she might reply.

She told them that that was all the money she had in the world, and
begged them not to take it.

"Youse've got more coin dan dis," growled one of the men, "an' youse had
better pass it over, or we'll find a way to make youse."

But still she insisted that that was all. The tramp stepped into the
kitchen. A wood fire was burning in the stove. A pair of pliers lay upon
the window sill. With these he lifted one of the hot stove-hole covers
and returned to the parlor, grinning.

"I guess she'll remember she's got more wen dis begins to woik," he
said. "Take off her shoes, Dink."

The other growled an objection.

"Yeh poor boob," he said. "De dicks'll be here in a little while. We'd
better be makin' our get-away wid w'at we got."

"Gee!" exclaimed his companion. "I clean forgot all about de dicks,"
and then after a moment's silence during which his evil face underwent
various changes of expression from fear to final relief, he turned an
ugly, crooked grimace upon his companion.

"We got to croak her," he said. "Dey ain't no udder way. If dey finds
her alive she'll blab sure, an' dey won't be no trouble 'bout gettin' us
or identifyin' us neither."

The other shrugged.

"Le's beat it," he whined. "We can't more'n do time fer dis job if we
stop now; but de udder'll mean--" and he made a suggestive circle with a
grimy finger close to his neck.

"No it won't

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