The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 207

as he was saddling the animal, he was accosted, much to his
disgust, by the proprietor.

In broken English the man expressed surprise that Billy rode out so late
at night, and the American thought that he detected something more
than curiosity in the other's manner and tone--suspicion of the strange
gringo.

It would never do to leave the fellow in that state of mind, and so
Billy leaned close to the other's ear, and with a broad grin and a wink
whispered: "Senorita," and jerked his thumb toward the south. "I'll be
back by mornin'," he added.

The Mexican's manner altered at once. He laughed and nodded, knowingly,
and poked Billy in the ribs. Then he watched him mount and ride out
of the corral toward the south--which was also in the direction of the
bank, to the rear of which Billy rode without effort to conceal his
movements.

There he dismounted and left his horse standing with the bridle reins
dragging upon the ground, while he removed the lariat from the pommel of
the saddle, and, stuffing it inside his shirt, walked back to the street
on which the building stood, and so made his way past the sentry and to
his room.

Here he pushed back the bed which he had drawn over the hole in the
floor, dropped his two sacks through into the bank, and tying the brace
to one end of the lariat lowered it through after the sacks.

Looping the middle of the lariat over a bedpost Billy grasped both
strands firmly and lowered himself through the aperture into the room
beneath. He made no more noise in his descent than he had made upon
other similar occasions in his past life when he had practiced the
gentle art of porch-climbing along Ashland Avenue and Washington
Boulevard.

Having gained the floor he pulled upon one end of the lariat until he
had drawn it free of the bedpost above, when it fell into his waiting
hands. Coiling it carefully Billy placed it around his neck and under
one arm. Billy, acting as a professional, was a careful and methodical
man. He always saw that every little detail was properly attended to
before he went on to the next phase of his endeavors. Because of this
ingrained caution Billy had long since secured the tops of the two sacks
together, leaving only a sufficient opening to permit of their each
being filled without delay or inconvenience.

Now he turned his attention to the rear door. The bar and bolts were
easily shot from their seats from the inside, and Billy saw to it

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