The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 20

for the work he had handled so expeditiously and
so well.

Ward was pleased that he had not been forced to prolong the galling
masquerade of valet to his inferior officer. He was hopeful, too, that
coming events would bring to the fore an opportunity to satisfy the
vengeance he had inwardly sworn against the sailor who had so roughly
manhandled him a few weeks past--Theriere had not been in error in his
estimate of his fellow-officer.

Billy Byrne, the arduous labor of making sail over for the time, was
devoting his energies to the task of piecing out from what Theriere had
told him and what he had overheard outside the skipper's cabin some sort
of explanation of the work ahead.

As he pondered Theriere's proposition he saw the wisdom of it. It would
give those interested a larger amount of the booty for their share.
Another feature of it was that it was underhanded and that appealed
strongly to the mucker. Now, if he could but devise some scheme for
double-crossing Theriere the pleasure and profit of the adventure would
be tripled.

It was this proposition that was occupying his attention when he caught
sight of "Bony" Sawyer and "Red" Sanders emerging from the forecastle.
Billy Byrne hailed them.

When the mucker had explained the possibilities of profit that were to
be had by entering the conspiracy aimed at Simms and Ward the two seamen
were enthusiastically for it.

"Bony" Sawyer suggested that the black cook, Blanco, was about the only
other member of the crew upon whom they could depend, and at Byrne's
request "Bony" promised to enlist the cooperation of the giant
Ethiopian.

From early morning of the second day out of Honolulu keen eyes scanned
the eastern horizon through powerful glasses, until about two bells
of the afternoon watch a slight smudge became visible about two points
north of east. Immediately the course of the Halfmoon was altered so
that she bore almost directly north by west in an effort to come safely
into the course of the steamer which was seen rising rapidly above the
horizon.

The new course of the brigantine was held as long as it seemed
reasonably safe without danger of being sighted under full sail by the
oncoming vessel, then her head was brought into the wind, and one by one
her sails were lowered and furled, as the keen eyes of Second Officer
Theriere announced that there was no question but that the white hull in
the distance was that of the steam pleasure yacht Lotus.

Upon the deck of the unsuspecting vessel a merry party laughed and
chatted in happy

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