The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 28

to take the places upon the brigantine
of those left as a prize crew aboard the yacht returned with the girl to
the Halfmoon.

The sailing vessel's sails were soon hoisted and trimmed, and in half
an hour, followed by the Lotus, she was scudding briskly southward. For
forty-eight hours this course was held until Simms felt assured that
they were well out of the lane of regular trans-Pacific traffic.

During this time Barbara Harding had been kept below, locked in a small,
untidy cabin. She had seen no one other than a great Negro who brought
her meals to her three times daily--meals that she returned scarcely
touched.

Now the Halfmoon was brought up into the wind where she lay with
flapping canvas while Skipper Simms returned to the Lotus with the six
men of the yacht's crew that he had brought aboard the brigantine with
him two days before, and as many more of his own men.

Once aboard the Lotus the men were put to work with those already on the
yacht. The boat's rudder was unshipped and dropped into the ocean; her
fires were put out; her engines were attacked with sledges until they
were little better than so much junk, and to make the slender chances of
pursuit that remained to her entirely nil every ounce of coal upon her
was shoveled into the Pacific. Her extra masts and spare sails followed
the way of the coal and the rudder, so that when Skipper Simms and First
Officer Ward left her with their own men that had been aboard her she
was little better than a drifting derelict.

From her cabin window Barbara Harding had witnessed the wanton wrecking
of her father's yacht, and when it was over and the crew of the
brigantine had returned to their own ship she presently felt the
movement of the vessel as it got under way, and soon the Lotus dropped
to the stern and beyond the range of her tiny port. With a moan of
hopelessness and terror the girl sank prostrate across the hard berth
that spanned one end of her prison cell.

How long she lay there she did not know, but finally she was aroused by
the opening of her cabin door. As she sprang to her feet ready to defend
herself against what she felt might easily be some new form of danger
her eyes went wide in astonishment as they rested on the face of the man
who stood framed in the doorway of her cabin.

"You?" she cried.



CHAPTER V. LARRY DIVINE UNMASKED


"YES, Barbara, it is I," said

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