The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 48

distrust that had tinged her thoughts of him earlier in their
acquaintance, while his heroic act in descending into the forecastle
in the face of the armed and desperate Byrne had thrown a glamour of
romance about him that could not help but tend to fascinate a girl of
Barbara Harding's type. Then there was the look she had seen in his eyes
for a brief instant when she had found herself locked in his cabin on
the occasion that he had revealed to her Larry Divine's duplicity. That
expression no red-blooded girl could mistake, and the fact that he had
subdued his passion spoke eloquently to the girl of the fineness
and chivalry of his nature, so now it was with a feeling of utter
trustfulness that she gladly gave herself into the keeping of Henri
Theriere, Count de Cadenet, Second Officer of the Halfmoon.

"O Mr. Theriere," she cried, "if you only can but arrange it so, how
relieved and almost happy I shall be. How can I ever repay you for all
that you have done for me?"

Again she saw the light leap to the man's eyes--the light of a love
that would not be denied much longer other than through the agency of a
mighty will. Love she thought it; but the eye-light of love and lust are
twin lights between which it takes much worldly wisdom to differentiate,
and Barbara Harding was not worldly-wise in the ways of sin.

"Miss Harding," said Theriere, in a voice that he evidently found it
difficult to control, "do not ask me now how you may repay me; I--;" but
what he would have said he checked, and with an effort of will that was
almost appreciable to the eye he took a fresh grip upon himself, and
continued: "I am amply repaid by being able to serve you, and thus to
retrieve myself in your estimation--I know that you have doubted me;
that you have questioned the integrity of my acts that helped to lead
up to the unfortunate affair of the Lotus. When you tell me that you
no longer doubt--that you accept me as the friend I would wish to be, I
shall be more than amply repaid for anything which it may have been
my good fortune to have been able to accomplish for your comfort and
safety."

"Then I may partially repay you at once," exclaimed the girl with a
smile, "for I can assure you that you possess my friendship to the
fullest, and with it, of course, my entire confidence. It is true that
I doubted

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