The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 41

the erstwhile recalcitrant Byrne, and for two days the
latter languished in durance vile, and that was the end of the episode,
though its effects were manifold. For one thing it implanted in the
heart of Theriere a personal hatred for the mucker, so that while
heretofore his intention of ridding himself of the man when he no longer
needed him was due purely to a matter of policy, it was now reinforced
by a keen desire for personal revenge. The occurrence had also had its
influence upon Barbara Harding, in that it had shown her Mr. Theriere
in a new light--one that reflected credit upon him. She had thought his
magnanimous treatment of the sailor little short of heroic; and it
had deepened the girl's horror of Billy Byrne until it now amounted to
little short of an obsession. So vivid an impression had his brutality
made upon her that she would start from deep slumber, dreaming that she
was menaced by him.

After Billy was released for duty following his imprisonment, he several
times passed the girl upon deck. He noticed that she shrank from him
in disgust and terror; but what surprised him was that instead of the
thrill of pride which he formerly would have felt at this acknowledgment
of his toughness, for Billy prided himself on being a tough, he now felt
a singular resentment against the girl for her attitude, so that he came
to hate her even more than he had before hated. Formerly he had hated
her for the things she stood for, now he hated her for herself.

Theriere was often with her now, and, less frequently, Divine; for
at the second officer's suggestion Barbara had not acquainted that
gentleman with the fact that she was aware of his duplicity.

"It is just as well not to let him know," said Theriere. "It gives you
an advantage that would be wanting should he suspect the truth, so that
now you are always in a position to be warned in plenty of time against
any ulterior suggestion he may make. Keep me posted as to all he tells
you of his plans, and in this way we can defeat him much more easily
than as though you followed your natural inclinations and refused to
hold communication of any sort with him. It might be well, Miss Harding,
even to encourage him in the hope that you will wed him voluntarily. I
think that that would throw him entirely off his guard, and pave the way
for your early release."

"Oh, I doubt if I could do that,

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