The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 210

rapidly
forward that he might keep them within a few inches of his center of
equilibrium.

The distance which it took his feet to catch up with his head was equal
to the distance between the doorway and the foot of the bed, and when
Tony reached that spot, with Benito meandering after him, the latter,
much to his astonishment, saw in the diffused moonlight which pervaded
the room, the miraculous disappearance of his former enemy and erstwhile
friend. Then from the depths below came a wild scream and a heavy thud.

The sentry upon the beat before the bank heard both. For an instant he
stood motionless, then he called aloud for the guard, and turned toward
the bank door. But this was locked and he could but peer in through the
windows. Seeing a dark form within, and being a Mexican he raised his
rifle and fired through the glass of the doors.

Tony, who had dropped through the hole which Billy had used so quietly,
heard the zing of a bullet pass his head, and the impact as it sploshed
into the adobe wall behind him. With a second yell Tony dodged behind
the safe and besought Mary to protect him.

From above Benito peered through the hole into the blackness below. Down
the hall came the barefoot landlord, awakened by the screams and the
shot. Behind him came Bridge, buckling his revolver belt about his hips
as he ran. Not having been furnished with pajamas Bridge had not thought
it necessary to remove his clothing, and so he had lost no time in
dressing.

When the two, now joined by Benito, reached the street they found the
guard there, battering in the bank doors. Benito, fearing for the life
of Tony, which if anyone took should be taken by him, rushed upon
the sergeant of the guard, explaining with both lips and hands the
remarkable accident which had precipitated Tony into the bank.

The sergeant listened, though he did not believe, and when the doors had
fallen in, he commanded Tony to come out with his hands above his head.
Then followed an investigation which disclosed the looting of the safe,
and the great hole in the ceiling through which Tony had tumbled.

The bank president came while the sergeant and the landlord were in
Billy's room investigating. Bridge had followed them.

"It was the gringo," cried the excited Boniface. "This is his room. He
has cut a hole in my floor which I shall have to pay to have repaired."

A captain came next, sleepy-eyed and profane. When he heard what had
happened

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