The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 199

a combination of admiration
for the agility and courage of the men and pity for the horse the tones
of a pleasant masculine voice broke in upon her thoughts.

"Out there somewhere!" says I to me. "By Gosh, I guess, thats poetry!"
"Out there somewhere--Penelope--with kisses on her mouth!"
And then, thinks I, "O college guy! your talk it gets me in the eye,
The north is creeping in the air, the birds are flying south."

Barbara swung around to view the poet. She saw a slender man astride a
fagged Mexican pony. A ragged coat and ragged trousers covered the
man's nakedness. Indian moccasins protected his feet, while a torn and
shapeless felt hat sat upon his well-shaped head. AMERICAN was written
all over him. No one could have imagined him anything else. Apparently
he was a tramp as well--his apparel proclaimed him that; but there
were two discordant notes in the otherwise harmonious ensemble of your
typical bo. He was clean shaven and he rode a pony. He rode erect, too,
with the easy seat of an army officer.

At sight of the girl he raised his battered hat and swept it low to his
pony's shoulder as he bent in a profound bow.

"I seek the majordomo, senorita," he said.

"Mr. Grayson is up at the office, that little building to the left of
the ranchhouse," replied the girl, pointing.

The newcomer had addressed her in Spanish, and as he heard her reply,
in pure and liquid English, his eyes widened a trifle; but the familiar
smile with which he had greeted her left his face, and his parting bow
was much more dignified though no less profound than its predecessor.

And you, my sweet Penelope, out there somewhere you wait for me,
With buds of roses in your hair and kisses on your mouth.


Grayson and his employer both looked up as the words of Knibbs' poem
floated in to them through the open window.

"I wonder where that blew in from," remarked Grayson, as his eyes
discovered Bridge astride the tired pony, looking at him through the
window. A polite smile touched the stranger's lips as his eyes met
Grayson's, and then wandered past him to the imposing figure of the
Easterner.

"Good evening, gentlemen," said Bridge.

"Evenin'," snapped Grayson. "Go over to the cookhouse and the Chink'll
give you something to eat. Turn your pony in the lower pasture. Smith'll
show you where to bunk tonight, an' you kin hev your breakfast in the
mornin'. S'long!" The ranch

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