The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 184

suddenly burst upon Pesita. He turned upon Bridge.

"Your friend is not then an American?" he asked. "I guessed it. That
is why I could not understand him. He speaks the language of the gringo
less well even than I. From what country is he?"

Billy Byrne would have asserted with some show of asperity that he was
nothing if not American; but Bridge was quick to see a possible loophole
for escape for his friend in Pesita's belief that Billy was no gringo,
and warned the latter to silence by a quick motion of his head.

"He's from 'Gran' Avenoo,'" he said. "It is not exactly in Germany; but
there are a great many Germans there. My friend is a native, so he don't
speak German or English either--they have a language of their own in
'Gran' Avenoo'."

"I see," said Pesita--"a German colony. I like the Germans--they furnish
me with much ammunition and rifles. They are my very good friends. Take
Miguel and the gringo away"--this to the soldiers who had brought the
prisoners to him--"I will speak further with this man from Granavenoo."

When the others had passed out of hearing Pesita addressed Billy.

"I am sorry, senor," he said, "that you have been put to so much
inconvenience. My men could not know that you were not a gringo; but I
can make it all right. I will make it all right. You are a big man. The
gringos have chased you from their country as they chased me. I hate
them. You hate them. But enough of them. You have no business in Mexico
except to seek work. I give you work. You are big. You are strong. You
are like a bull. You stay with me, senor, and I make you captain. I need
men what can talk some English and look like gringo. You do fine.
We make much money--you and I. We make it all time while we fight to
liberate my poor Mexico. When Mexico liberate we fight some more to
liberate her again. The Germans they give me much money to liberate
Mexico, and--there are other ways of getting much money when one is
riding around through rich country with soldiers liberating his poor,
bleeding country. Sabe?"

"Yep, I guess I savvy," said Billy, "an' it listens all right to me's
far's you've gone. My pal in on it?"

"Eh?"

"You make my frien' a captain, too?"

Pesita held up his hands and rolled his eyes in holy horror. Take a
gringo into his band? It was unthinkable.

"He shot," he cried. "I swear to kill all

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