The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 206

in the rear of the building, overlooking the yard. The
layout was eminently satisfactory to Captain Byrne and it was with
a feeling of great self-satisfaction that he descended and sought a
restaurant.

He had been sent by Pesita merely to look over the ground and the
defenses of the town, that the outlaw might later ride in with his
entire force and loot the bank; but Billy Byrne, out of his past
experience in such matters, had evolved a much simpler plan for
separating the enemy from his wealth.

Having eaten, Billy returned to his room. It was now dark and the bank
closed and unlighted showed that all had left it. Only the sentry paced
up and down the sidewalk in front.

Going at once to his room Billy withdrew his tools from their hiding
place beneath the mattress, and a moment later was busily engaged in
boring holes through the floor at the foot of his bed. For an hour he
worked, cautiously and quietly, until he had a rough circle of holes
enclosing a space about two feet in diameter. Then he laid aside the
brace and bit, and took the keyhole saw, with which he patiently sawed
through the wood between contiguous holes, until, the circle completed,
he lifted out a section of the floor leaving an aperture large enough to
permit him to squeeze his body through when the time arrived for him to
pass into the bank beneath.

While Billy had worked three men had ridden into Cuivaca. They were
Tony, Benito, and the new bookkeeper of El Orobo Rancho. The Mexicans,
after eating, repaired at once to the joys of the cantina; while Bridge
sought a room in the building to which his escort directed him.

As chance would have it, it was the same building in which Billy labored
and the room lay upon the rear side of it overlooking the same yard. But
Bridge did not lie awake to inspect his surroundings. For years he had
not ridden as many miles as he had during the past two days, so that
long unused muscles cried out for rest and relaxation. As a result,
Bridge was asleep almost as soon as his head touched the pillow, and
so profound was his slumber that it seemed that nothing short of a
convulsion of nature would arouse him.

As Bridge lay down upon his bed Billy Byrne left his room and descended
to the street. The sentry before the bank paid no attention to him,
and Billy passed along, unhindered, to the corral where he had left his
horse. Here,

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