The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 37

yourselves with crowbars and axes, an' see that that son of a
sea cook don't get out on deck again alive. Hold him there 'til I get a
couple of guns. Then we'll get him, damn him!"

Skipper Simms hastened below while two of the men were carrying Theriere
to his cabin and Mr. Ward was fetching the brandy. A moment later
Barbara Harding saw the skipper return to the upper deck with a rifle
and two revolvers. The sailors whom he had detailed to keep Byrne below
were gathered about the hatchway leading to the forecastle. Some of them
were exchanging profane and pleasant badinage with the prisoner.

"Yeh better come up an' get killed easy-like;" one called down to the
mucker. "We're apt to muss yeh all up down there in the dark with these
here axes and crowbars, an' then wen we send yeh home yer pore maw won't
know her little boy at all."

"Yeh come on down here, an' try mussin' me up," yelled back Billy Byrne.
"I can lick de whole gang wit one han' tied behin' me--see?"

"De skipper's gorn to get his barkers, Billy," cried Bony Sawyer. "Yeh
better come up an' stan' trial if he gives yeh the chanct."

"Stan' nothin'," sneered Billy. "Swell chanct I'd have wit him an'
Squint Eye holdin' court over me. Not on yer life, Bony. I'm here, an'
here I stays till I croaks, but yeh better believe me, I'm goin' to
croak a few before I goes, so if any of you ginks are me frien's yeh
better keep outen here so's yeh won't get hurted. An' anudder ting I'm
goin' to do afore I cashes in--I'm goin' to put a few of dem ginks in
de cabin wise to where dey stands wit one anudder. If I don't start
something before I goes out me name's not Billy Byrne."

At this juncture Skipper Simms appeared with the three weapons he had
gone to his cabin to fetch. He handed one to Bony Sawyer, another to Red
Sanders and a third to a man by the name of Wison.

"Now, my men," said Skipper Simms, "we will go below and bring Byrne up.
Bring him alive if you can--but bring him."

No one made a move to enter the forecastle.

"Go on now, move quickly," commanded Skipper Simms sharply.

"Thought he said 'we'," remarked one of the sailors.

Skipper Simms, livid with rage, turned to search out the offender from
the several men behind him.

"Who was that?" he roared. "Show me the blitherin' swab. Jes' show him
to me,

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