The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 220

upon Bridge.

"Well," snapped Grayson, "what you gotta say fer yourself? I ben
suspectin' you right along. I knew derned well that that there Brazos
pony never run off by hisself. You an' that other crook from the States
framed this whole thing up pretty slick, didn'tcha? Well, we'll--"

"Wait a moment, wait a moment, Grayson," interrupted the boss. "Give
Mr. Bridge a chance to explain. You're making a rather serious
charge against him without any particularly strong proof to back your
accusation."

"Oh, that's all right," exclaimed Bridge, with a smile. "I have known
that Mr. Grayson suspected me of implication in the robbery; but who can
blame him--a man who can't ride might be guilty of almost anything."

Grayson sniffed. Barbara took a step nearer Bridge. She had been ready
to doubt him herself only an hour or so ago; but that was before he had
been accused. Now that she found others arrayed against him her impulse
was to come to his defense.

"You didn't do it, did you, Mr. Bridge?" Her tone was almost pleading.

"If you mean robbing the bank," he replied; "I did not, Miss Barbara. I
knew no more about it until after it was over than Benito or Tony--in
fact they were the ones who discovered it while I was still asleep in my
room above the bank."

"Well, how did the robber git thet there Brazos pony then?" demanded
Grayson savagely. "Thet's what I want to know."

"You'll have to ask him, Mr. Grayson," replied Bridge.

"Villa'll ask him, when he gits holt of him," snapped Grayson; "but I
reckon he'll git all the information out of you thet he wants first.
He'll be in Cuivaca tomorrer, an' so will you."

"You mean that you are going to turn me over to General Villa?" asked
Bridge. "You are going to turn an American over to that butcher knowing
that he'll be shot inside of twenty-four hours?"

"Shootin's too damned good fer a horse thief," replied Grayson.

Barbara turned impulsively toward her father. "You won't let Mr. Grayson
do that?" she asked.

"Mr. Grayson knows best how to handle such an affair as this, Barbara,"
replied her father. "He is my superintendent, and I have made it a point
never to interfere with him."

"You will let Mr. Bridge be shot without making an effort to save him?"
she demanded.

"We do not know that he will be shot," replied the ranch owner. "If
he is innocent there is no reason why he should be punished. If he is
guilty of implication in the Cuivaca bank robbery he deserves, according
to the rules

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