The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 214

fallen bandit. "You?"

Bridge was off his horse the instant that the familiar voice sounded in
his ears.

"Billy!" he exclaimed. "Why--Billy--was it you who robbed the bank?"

Even as he spoke Bridge was busy easing the weight of the dead pony from
Billy's leg.

"Anything broken?" he asked as the bandit struggled to free himself.

"Not so you could notice it," replied Billy, and a moment later he was
on his feet. "Say, bo," he added, "it's a mighty good thing you dropped
little pinto here, for I'd a sure got you my next shot. Gee! it makes
me sweat to think of it. But about this bank robbin' business. You can't
exactly say that I robbed a bank. That money was the enemy's resources,
an' I just nicked their resources. That's war. That ain't robbery.
I ain't takin' it for myself--it's for the cause--the cause o' poor,
bleedin' Mexico," and Billy grinned a large grin.

"You took it for Pesita?" asked Bridge.

"Of course," replied Billy. "I won't get a jitney of it. I wouldn't take
none of it, Bridge, honest. I'm on the square now."

"I know you are, Billy," replied the other; "but if you're caught
you might find it difficult to convince the authorities of your
highmindedness and your disinterestedness."

"Authorities!" scoffed Billy. "There ain't no authorities in Mexico. One
bandit is just as good as another, and from Pesita to Carranza they're
all bandits at heart. They ain't a one of 'em that gives two whoops
in hell for poor, bleedin' Mexico--unless they can do the bleedin'
themselves. It's dog eat dog here. If they caught me they'd shoot me
whether I'd robbed their bank or not. What's that?" Billy was suddenly
alert, straining his eyes back in the direction of Cuivaca.

"They're coming, Billy," said Bridge. "Take my horse--quick! You must
get out of here in a hurry. The whole post is searching for you. I
thought that they went toward the south, though. Some of them must have

"What'll you do if I take your horse?" asked Billy.

"I can walk back," said Bridge, "it isn't far to town. I'll tell them
that I had come only a short distance when my horse threw me and ran
away. They'll believe it for they think I'm a rotten horseman--the two
vaqueros who escorted me to town I mean."

Billy hesitated. "I hate to do it, Bridge," he said.

"You must, Billy," urged the other.

"If they find us here together it'll merely mean that the two of us will
get it, for I'll stick with you, Billy, and we can't fight off

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