The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 42

Mr. Theriere," exclaimed the girl.
"You cannot imagine how I loathe the man now that I know him in his true
colors. For years he has importuned me to marry him, and though I never
cared for him in that way at all, and never could, I felt that he was
a very good friend and that his constancy demanded some return on my
part--my friendship and sympathy at least; but now I shiver whenever he
is near me, just as I would were I to find a snake coiled close beside
me. I cannot abide treachery."

"Nor I, Miss Harding," agreed Theriere glibly. "The man deserves nothing
but your contempt, though for policy's sake I hope that you will find
it possible to lead him on until his very treachery proves the means
of your salvation, for believe me, if he has been false to you how much
more quickly will he be false to Simms and Ward! He would ditch them in
a minute if the opportunity presented itself for him to win you
without their aid. I had thought it might be feasible to lead him into
attempting to take the ship by force, and return you to San Francisco,
or, better still possibly, to the nearest civilized port.

"You might, with propriety suggest this to him, telling him that you
believe that I would stand ready to assist in the undertaking. I can
promise you the support of several of the men--quite a sufficient
number with Divine and myself, easily to take the Halfmoon away from her
present officers."

"I will think over your suggestion, Mr. Theriere," replied Barbara, "and
I thank you for the generous impulse that has prompted you to befriend
me--heaven knows how badly I need a friend now among so many enemies.
What is it, Mr. Theriere? What is the matter?"

The officer had turned his eyes casually toward the southeast as the
girl spoke, and just now he had given a sudden exclamation of surprise
and alarm.

"That cloud, Miss Harding," he answered. "We're in for a bad blow, and
it'll be on us in a minute," and with that he started forward on a run,
calling back over his shoulder, "you'd better go below at once."



CHAPTER VII. THE TYPHOON


THE storm that struck the Halfmoon took her entirely unaware. It had
sprung, apparently, out of a perfectly clear sky. Both the lookout and
the man at the wheel were ready to take oath that they had scanned the
horizon not a half-minute before Second Mate Theriere had come racing
forward bellowing for all hands on deck

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