The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 205

bank appeared almost
impregnable to silent assault.

Inside everything was primitive and Billy found himself wondering how
a week passed without seeing a bank robbery in the town. Possibly the
strong rear defenses and the armed guard in front accounted for it.

Satisfied with what he had learned he passed out onto the sidewalk and
crossed the street to a saloon. Some soldiers and citizens were drinking
at little tables in front of the bar. A couple of card games were in
progress, and through the open rear doorway Billy saw a little gathering
encircling a cock fight.

In none of these things was Billy interested. What he had wished in
entering the saloon was merely an excuse to place himself upon the
opposite side of the street from the bank that he might inspect the
front from the outside without arousing suspicion.

Having purchased and drunk a bottle of poor beer, the temperature of
which had probably never been below eighty since it left the bottling
department of the Texas brewery which inflicted it upon the ignorant, he
sauntered to the front window and looked out.

There he saw that the bank building was a two-story affair, the entrance
to the second story being at the left side of the first floor, opening
directly onto the sidewalk in full view of the sentry who paced to and
fro before the structure.

Billy wondered what the second floor was utilized for. He saw soiled
hangings at the windows which aroused a hope and a sudden inspiration.
There was a sign above the entrance to the second floor; but Billy's
knowledge of the language had not progressed sufficiently to permit him
to translate it, although he had his suspicions as to its meaning. He
would learn if his guess was correct.

Returning to the bar he ordered another bottle of beer, and as he drank
it he practiced upon the bartender some of his recently acquired Spanish
and learned, though not without considerable difficulty, that he might
find lodgings for the night upon the second floor of the bank building.

Much elated, Billy left the saloon and walked along the street until he
came to the one general store of the town. After another heart rending
scrimmage with the language of Ferdinand and Isabella he succeeded in
making several purchases--two heavy sacks, a brace, two bits, and a
keyhole saw. Placing the tools in one of the sacks he wrapped the whole
in the second sack and made his way back to the bank building.

Upon the second floor he found the proprietor of the rooming-house and
engaged a room

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