The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 251

had come and
saw Eddie Shorter running toward him, a smoking six-shooter in his right
hand.

"Go back," commanded Byrne; "this is my funeral."

"Not on your life," replied Eddie Shorter. "Those greasers don't take no
white man off'n El Orobo, while I'm here. Get busy! They're comin'."

And sure enough they were coming, and as they came their carbines popped
and the bullets whizzed about the heads of the two Americans. Grayson,
too, had taken a hand upon the side of the Villistas. From the bunkhouse
other men were running rapidly in the direction of the fight, attracted
by the first shots.

Billy and Eddie stood their ground, a few paces apart. Two more of
Villa's men went down. Grayson ran for cover. Then Billy Byrne dropped
the last of the Mexicans just as the men from the bunkhouse came panting
upon the scene. There were both Americans and Mexicans among them. All
were armed and weapons were ready in their hands.

They paused a short distance from the two men. Eddie's presence upon the
side of the stranger saved Billy from instant death, for Eddie was well
liked by both his Mexican and American fellow-workers.

"What's the fuss?" asked an American.

Eddie told them, and when they learned that the boss's daughter had been
spirited away and that the ranch foreman was at the bottom of it the
anger of the Americans rose to a dangerous pitch.

"Where is he?" someone asked. They were gathered in a little cluster now
about Billy Byrne and Shorter.

"I saw him duck behind the office building," said Eddie.

"Come on," said another. "We'll get him."

"Someone get a rope." The men spoke in low, ordinary tones--they
appeared unexcited. Determination was the most apparent characteristic
of the group. One of them ran back toward the bunkhouse for his rope.
The others walked slowly in the direction of the rear of the office
building. Grayson was not there. The search proceeded. The Americans
were in advance. The Mexicans kept in a group by themselves a little in
rear of the others--it was not their trouble. If the gringos wanted to
lynch another gringo, well and good--that was the gringos' business.
They would keep out of it, and they did.

Down past the bunkhouse and the cookhouse to the stables the searchers
made their way. Grayson could not be found. In the stables one of the
men made a discovery--the foreman's saddle had vanished. Out in the
corrals they went. One of the men laughed--the bars were down and the
saddle horses gone. Eddie Shorter presently pointed out across the
pasture and the river to

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