The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 30

he said, jerking his thumb in the general
direction of Skipper Simms' cabin. "Maybe that accounts for their
bringing me along. The 'Count de Cadenet' is a fellow named Theriere,
second mate of this ship. They sent him to learn your plans; when you
expected sailing from Honolulu and your course. They are all crooks and
villains. If I hadn't done as they bid they would have killed me."

The girl made no comment, but Divine saw the contempt in her face.

"I didn't know that they were going to do this. If I had I'd have died
before I'd have written that note," he added rather lamely.

The girl was suddenly looking very sad. She was thinking of Billy
Mallory who had died in an effort to save her. The mental comparison she
was making between him and Mr. Divine was not overly flattering to the
latter gentleman.

"They killed poor Billy," she said at last. "He tried to protect me."

Then Mr. Divine understood the trend of her thoughts. He tried to find
some excuse for his cowardly act; but with the realization of the true
cowardliness and treachery of it that the girl didn't even guess he
understood the futility of seeking to extenuate it. He saw that the
chances were excellent that after all he would be compelled to resort to
force or threats to win her hand at the last.

"Billy would have done better to have bowed to the inevitable as I
did," he said. "Living I am able to help you now. Dead I could not have
prevented them carrying out their intentions any more than Billy has,
nor could I have been here to aid you now any more than he is. I cannot
see that his action helped you to any great extent, brave as it was."

"The memory of it and him will always help me," she answered quietly.
"They will help me to bear whatever is before me bravely, and, when the
time comes, to die bravely; for I shall always feel that upon the other
side a true, brave heart is awaiting me."

The man was silent. After a moment the girl spoke again. "I think I
would rather be alone, Larry," she said. "I am very unhappy and nervous.
Possibly I could sleep now."

With a bow he turned and left the cabin.

For weeks the Halfmoon kept steadily on her course, a little south of
west. There was no material change in the relations of those aboard
her. Barbara Harding, finding herself unmolested, finally acceded to the
repeated pleas of Mr. Divine,

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