The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 221

of war, to die, for General Villa, I am told, considers
that a treasonable act. Some of the funds upon which his government
depends for munitions of war were there--they were stolen and turned
over to the enemies of Mexico."

"And if we interfere we'll turn Villa against us," interposed Grayson.
"He ain't any too keen for Americans as it is. Why, if this fellow was
my brother I'd hev to turn him over to the authorities."

"Well, I thank God," exclaimed Bridge fervently, "that in addition to
being shot by Villa I don't have to endure the added disgrace of being
related to you, and I'm not so sure that I shall be hanged by Villa,"
and with that he wiped the oil lamp from the table against which he had
been leaning, and leaped across the room for the doorway.

Barbara and her father had been standing nearest the exit, and as the
girl realized the bold break for liberty the man was making, she pushed
her father to one side and threw open the door.

Bridge was through it in an instant, with a parting, "God bless you,
little girl!" as he passed her. Then the door was closed with a bang.
Barbara turned the key, withdrew it from the lock and threw it across
the darkened room.

Grayson and the unwounded Mexicans leaped after the fugitive only to
find their way barred by the locked door. Outside Bridge ran to the
horses standing patiently with lowered heads awaiting the return of
their masters. In an instant he was astride one of them, and lashing the
others ahead of him with a quirt he spurred away into the night.

By the time Grayson and the Mexicans had wormed their way through one of
the small windows of the office the new bookkeeper was beyond sight and
earshot.

As the ranch foreman was saddling up with several of his men in the
corral to give chase to the fugitive the boss strolled in and touched
him on the arm.

"Mr. Grayson," he said, "I have made it a point never to interfere with
you; but I am going to ask you now not to pursue Mr. Bridge. I shall
be glad if he makes good his escape. Barbara was right--he is a
fellow-American. We cannot turn him over to Villa, or any other Mexican
to be murdered."

Grumblingly Grayson unsaddled. "Ef you'd seen what I've seen around
here," he said, "I guess you wouldn't be so keen to save this feller's
hide."

"What do you mean?" asked the boss.

"I mean that he's ben tryin' to make

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