The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 209

as he did so he could see
through the window beside him into the yard at the rear of the building.
There in the moonlight he saw a man throwing a sack across the horn of
a saddle. He saw the man mount, and he saw him wheel his horse around
about and ride away toward the north. There seemed to Bridge nothing
unusual about the man's act, nor had there been any indication either
of stealth or haste to arouse the American's suspicions. Bridge lay back
again upon his pillows and sought to woo the slumber which the sudden
awakening seemed to have banished for the remainder of the night.

And up the stairway to the second floor staggered Tony and Benito. Their
money was gone; but they had acquired something else which appeared much
more difficult to carry and not so easily gotten rid of.

Tony held the key to their room. It was the second room upon the right
of the hall. Tony remembered that very distinctly. He had impressed it
upon his mind before leaving the room earlier in the evening, for Tony
had feared some such contingency as that which had befallen.

Tony fumbled with the handle of a door, and stabbed vainly at an elusive

"Wait," mumbled Benito. "This is not the room. It was the second door
from the stairway. This is the third."

Tony lurched about and staggered back. Tony reasoned: "If that was the
third door the next behind me must be the second, and on the right;" but
Tony took not into consideration that he had reversed the direction of
his erratic wobbling. He lunged across the hall--not because he wished
to but because the spirits moved him. He came in contact with a door.
"This, then, must be the second door," he soliloquized, "and it is upon
my right. Ah, Benito, this is the room!"

Benito was skeptical. He said as much; but Tony was obdurate. Did he not
know a second door when he saw one? Was he, furthermore, not a grown man
and therefore entirely capable of distinguishing between his left hand
and his right? Yes! Tony was all of that, and more, so Tony inserted
the key in the lock--it would have turned any lock upon the second
floor--and, lo! the door swung inward upon its hinges.

"Ah! Benito," cried Tony. "Did I not tell you so? See! This is our room,
for the key opens the door."

The room was dark. Tony, carried forward by the weight of his head,
which had long since grown unaccountably heavy, rushed his feet

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