The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 38

I tell you, an I'll learn him. Now you," he yelled at the top of
his voice, turning again to the men he had ordered into the forecastle
after Billy Byrne, "you cowardly landlubbers you, get below there quick
afore I kick you below."

Still no one moved to obey him. From white he went to red, and then back
to white again. He fairly frothed at the mouth as he jumped up and down,
cursing the men, and threatening. But all to no avail. They would not

"Why, Skipper," spoke up Bony Sawyer, "it's sure death for any man as
goes below there. It's easier, an' safer, to starve him out."

"Starve nothin'," shrieked Skipper Simms. "Do you reckon I'm a-goin' to
sit quiet here for a week an' let any blanked wharf rat own that there
fo'c's'le just because I got a lot o' white-livered cowards aboard? No
sir! You're a-goin' down after that would-be bad man an' fetch him up
dead or alive," and with that he started menacingly toward the three
who stood near the hatch, holding their firearms safely out of range of
Billy Byrne below.

What would have happened had Skipper Simms completed the threatening
maneuver he had undertaken can never be known, for at this moment
Theriere pushed his way through the circle of men who were interested
spectators of the impending tragedy.

"What's up, sir?" he asked of Simms. "Anything that I can help you

"Oh!" exclaimed the skipper; "so you ain't dead after all, eh? Well
that don't change the looks of things a mite. We gotta get that man outa
there an' these flea-bitten imitations of men ain't got the guts to go
in after him."

"He's got your gun, sir," spoke up Wison, "an' Gawd knows he be the one
as'ud on'y be too glad for the chanct to use it."

"Let me see if I can't handle him, sir," said Theriere to Skipper Simms.
"We don't want to lose any men if we can help it."

The skipper was only too glad to welcome this unexpected rescue from
the predicament in which he had placed himself. How Theriere was to
accomplish the subjugation of the mutinous sailor he could not guess,
nor did he care so long as it was done without risk to his own skin.

"Now if you'll go away, sir," said Theriere, "and order the men away
I'll see what I can do."

Skipper Simms did as Theriere had requested, so that presently the
officer stood alone beside the hatch. Across the deck, amidships, the
men had congregated to watch Theriere's operations,

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