The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 248

toward the
south over the same trail he had just traversed.


THE Brazos pony had traveled far that day but for only a trifle over ten
miles had he carried a rider upon his back. He was, consequently, far
from fagged as he leaped forward to the lifted reins and tore along the
dusty river trail back in the direction of Orobo.

Never before had Brazos covered ten miles in so short a time, for it was
not yet five o'clock when, reeling with fatigue, he stopped, staggered
and fell in front of the office building at El Orobo.

Eddie Shorter had sat in the chair as Barbara and Billy had last seen
him waiting until Byrne should have an ample start before arousing
Grayson and reporting the prisoner's escape. Eddie had determined that
he would give Billy an hour. He grinned as he anticipated the rage of
Grayson and the Villistas when they learned that their bird had flown,
and as he mused and waited he fell asleep.

It was broad daylight when Eddie awoke, and as he looked up at the
little clock ticking against the wall, and saw the time he gave an
exclamation of surprise and leaped to his feet. Just as he opened the
outer door of the office he saw a horseman leap from a winded pony
in front of the building. He saw the animal collapse and sink to the
ground, and then he recognized the pony as Brazos, and another glance at
the man brought recognition of him, too.

"You?" cried Eddie. "What are you doin' back here? I gotta take you
now," and he started to draw his revolver; but Billy Byrne had him
covered before ever his hand reached the grip of his gun.

"Put 'em up!" admonished Billy, "and listen to me. This ain't no time
fer gunplay or no such foolishness. I ain't back here to be took--get
that out o' your nut. I'm tipped off that a bunch o' siwashes was down
here last night to swipe Miss Harding. Come! We gotta go see if she's
here or not, an' don't try any funny business on me, Eddie. I ain't
a-goin' to be taken again, an' whoever tries it gets his, see?"

Eddie was down off the porch in an instant, and making for the

"I'm with you," he said. "Who told you? And who done it?"

"Never mind who told me; but a siwash named Esteban was to pull the
thing off for Grayson. Grayson wanted Miss Harding an' he was goin' to
have her stolen for

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