The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 215

a whole
troop of cavalry out here in the open. If you take my horse we can both
get out of it, and later I'll see you in Rio. Good-bye, Billy, I'm off
for town," and Bridge turned and started back along the road on foot.

Billy watched him in silence for a moment. The truth of Bridge's
statement of fact was so apparent that Billy was forced to accept the
plan. A moment later he transferred the bags of loot to Bridge's pony,
swung into the saddle, and took a last backward look at the diminishing
figure of the man swinging along in the direction of Cuivaca.

"Say," he muttered to himself; "but you're a right one, bo," and
wheeling to the north he clapped his spurs to his new mount and loped
easily off into the night.


IT was a week later, yet Grayson still was growling about the loss of
"that there Brazos pony." Grayson, the boss, and the boss's daughter
were sitting upon the veranda of the ranchhouse when the foreman
reverted to the subject.

"I knew I didn't have no business hirin' a man thet can't ride," he
said. "Why thet there Brazos pony never did stumble, an' if he'd of
stumbled he'd a-stood aroun' a year waitin' to be caught up agin. I jest
cain't figger it out no ways how thet there tenderfoot bookkeeper lost
him. He must a-shooed him away with a stick. An' saddle an' bridle an'
all gone too. Doggone it!"

"I'm the one who should be peeved," spoke up the girl with a wry smile.
"Brazos was my pony. He's the one you picked out for me to ride while
I am here; but I am sure poor Mr. Bridge feels as badly about it as
anyone, and I know that he couldn't help it. We shouldn't be too hard
on him. We might just as well attempt to hold him responsible for the
looting of the bank and the loss of the pay-roll money."

"Well," said Grayson, "I give him thet horse 'cause I knew he couldn't
ride, an' thet was the safest horse in the cavvy. I wisht I'd given him
Santa Anna instid--I wouldn't a-minded losin' him. There won't no one
ride him anyhow he's thet ornery."

"The thing that surprises me most," remarked the boss, "is that Brazos
doesn't come back. He was foaled on this range, and he's never been
ridden anywhere else, has he?"

"He was foaled right here on this ranch," Grayson corrected him, "and
he ain't never been more'n a hundred mile

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121 5 wont.