The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 174

arternoon than I ever tole before in
all my life. I told 'em that they was two of you, an' that the biggest
one hed red hair, an' the little one was all pock-marked. Then they said
you prob'ly wasn't the man at all, an' my! how they did swear at them
two tramps fer gettin' 'em way out here on a wild-goose chase; but
they're goin' to look fer you jes' the same in Olathe, only they won't
find you there," and she laughed, a bit nervously though.

It was dusk when Mr. Shorter returned from Holliday, but after he had
heard his wife's story he said that he'd drive "them two byes" all the
way to Mexico, if there wasn't any better plan.

"Dodson's far enough," Bridge assured him, and late that night the
grateful farmer set them down at their destination.

An hour later they were speeding south on the Missouri Pacific.

Bridge lay back, luxuriously, on the red plush of the smoker seat.

"Some class to us, eh, bo?" asked Billy.

Bridge stretched.

The tide-hounds race far up the shore--the hunt is on! The breakers roar!
Her spars are tipped with gold, and o'er her deck the spray is flung,
The buoys that frolic in the bay, they nod the way, they nod the way!
The hunt is up! I am the prey! The hunter's bow is strung!


IT WAS twenty-four hours before Detective Sergeant Flannagan awoke to
the fact that something had been put over on him, and that a Kansas
farmer's wife had done the putting.

He managed to piece it out finally from the narratives of the two
tramps, and when he had returned to the Shorter home and listened to the
contradictory and whole-souled improvisations of Shorter pere and mere
he was convinced.

Whereupon he immediately telegraphed Chicago headquarters and obtained
the necessary authority to proceed upon the trail of the fugitive,

And so it was that Sergeant Flannagan landed in El Paso a few days
later, drawn thither by various pieces of intelligence he had gathered
en route, though with much delay and consequent vexation.

Even after he had quitted the train he was none too sure that he was
upon the right trail though he at once repaired to a telegraph office
and wired his chief that he was hot on the trail of the fugitive.

As a matter of fact he was much hotter than he imagined, for Billy and
Bridge were that very minute not two squares from him, debating

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