The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 236

after me an' old man Villa'll be
sore as a pup."

"You know my maw?" asked Eddie, and there was a wistful note in his
voice. "Aw shucks! you don't know her--that's jest some o' your funny,
slicker business. You wanna git me in there an' then you'll try an'
git aroun' me some sort o' way to let you escape; but I'm too slick for
that."

"On the level Eddie, I know your maw," persisted Billy. "I ben in your
maw's house jest a few weeks ago. 'Member the horsehair sofa between the
windows? 'Member the Bible on the little marble-topped table? Eh? An'
Tige? Well, Tige's croaked; but your maw an' your paw ain't an' they
want you back, Eddie. I don't care ef you believe me, son, or not; but
your maw was mighty good to me, an' you promise me you'll write her an'
then go back home as fast as you can. It ain't everybody's got a swell
maw like that, an' them as has ought to be good to 'em."

Beyond the closed door Eddie's jaw was commencing to tremble. Memory
was flooding his heart and his eyes with sweet recollections of an ample
breast where he used to pillow his head, of a big capable hand that was
wont to smooth his brow and stroke back his red hair. Eddie gulped.

"You ain't joshin' me?" he asked. Billy Byrne caught the tremor in the
voice.

"I ain't kiddin' you son," he said. "Wotinell do you take me fer--one o'
these greasy Dagos? You an' I're Americans--I wouldn't string a home guy
down here in this here Godforsaken neck o' the woods."

Billy heard the lock turn, and a moment later the door was cautiously
opened revealing Eddie safely ensconced behind two six-shooters.

"That's right, Eddie," said Billy, with a laugh. "Don't you take no
chances, no matter how much sob stuff I hand you, fer, I'll give it to
you straight, ef I get the chanct I'll make my get-away; but I can't do
it wit my flippers trussed, an' you wit a brace of gats sittin' on me.
Let's have a light, Eddie. That won't do nobody any harm, an' it may
discourage the rats."

Eddie backed across the office to a table where stood a small lamp.
Keeping an eye through the door on his prisoner he lighted the lamp and
carried it into the back room, setting it upon a commode which stood in
one corner.

"You really seen maw?" he asked. "Is she well?"

"Looked well when I seen her," said Billy; "but she wants her

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