The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 36

your life now. And if I
ever hear of your speaking to her again, or offering her the slightest
indignity I'll put a bullet through you so quick you won't know what has
struck you."

"T'ell yeh will!" sneered Billy Byrne. "I got your number, yeh big
stiff; an' yeh better not get gay wit me. Dey ain't no guy on board dis
man's ship dat can hand Billy Byrne dat kin' o' guff an' get away with
it--see?" and before Theriere knew what had happened a heavy fist had
caught him upon the point of the chin and lifted him clear off the deck
to drop him unconscious at Miss Harding's feet.

"Yeh see wot happens to guys dat get gay wit me?" said the mucker to the
girl, and then stooping over the prostrate form of the mate Billy Byrne
withdrew a huge revolver from Theriere's hip pocket.

"I guess I'll need dis gat in my business purty soon," he remarked.

Then he planted a vicious kick in the face of the unconscious man and
went his way to the forecastle.

"Now maybe she'll tink Billy Byrne's a coward," he thought, as he
disappeared below.

Barbara Harding stood speechless with shock at the brutality and
ferocity of the unexpected attack upon Theriere. Never in all her life
had she dreamed that there could exist upon the face of the earth a
thing in human form so devoid of honor, and chivalry, and fair play
as the creature that she had just witnessed threatening a defenseless
woman, and kicking an unconscious man in the face; but then Barbara
Harding had never lived between Grand Avenue and Lake Street, and
Halsted and Robey, where standards of masculine bravery are strange and
fearful.

When she had recovered her equanimity she hastened to the head of the
cabin companionway and called aloud for help. Instantly Skipper Simms
and First Officer Ward rushed on deck, each carrying a revolver in
readiness for the conflict with their crew that these two worthies were
always expecting.

Barbara pointed out the still form of Theriere, quickly explaining what
had occurred.

"It was the fellow Byrne who did it," she said. "He has gone into the
forecastle now, and he has a revolver that he took from Mr. Theriere
after he had fallen."

Several of the crew had now congregated about the prostrate officer.

"Here you," cried Skipper Simms to a couple of them; "you take Mr.
Theriere below to his cabin, an' throw cold water in his face. Mr. Ward,
get some brandy from my locker, an' try an' bring him to. The rest of
you arm

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