The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 50

he had planted in the unconscious man's face, were true indications of
manliness. He gauged such matters by standards purely Grand Avenuesque
and now it enraged him to see that the girl before whose very eyes he
had demonstrated his superiority over Theriere should so look with favor
upon the officer.

It did not occur to Billy that he would care to have the girl look with
favor upon him. Such a thought would have sent him into a berserker
rage; but the fact remained that Billy felt a strong desire to cut out
Theriere's heart when he saw him now in close converse with Barbara
Harding--just why he felt so Billy could not have said. The truth of
the matter is that Billy was far from introspective; in fact he did very
little thinking. His mind had never been trained to it, as his muscles
had been trained to fighting. Billy reacted more quickly to instinct
than to the processes of reasoning, and on this account it was difficult
for him to explain any great number of his acts or moods--it is to be
doubted, however, that Billy Byrne had ever attempted to get at the
bottom of his soul, if he possessed one.

Be that as it may, had Theriere known it he was very near death that
moment when a summons from Skipper Simms called him aft and saved his
life. Then the mucker, unseen by the officer, approached the girl. In
his heart were rage and hatred, and as the girl turned at the sound of
his step behind her she saw them mirrored in his dark, scowling face.


INSTANTLY Barbara Harding looked into the face of the mucker she read
her danger. Why the man should hate her so she could not guess; but
that he did was evidenced by the malevolent expression of his surly
countenance. For a moment he stood glaring at her, and then he spoke.

"I'm wise to wot youse an' dat guy was chinnin' about," he growled, "an'
I'm right here to tell youse dat you don't wanta try an' put nothin'
over on me, see? Youse ain't a-goin' to double-cross Billy Byrne. I
gotta good notion to han' youse wot's comin' to you. If it hadn't been
fer youse I wouldn't have been here now on dis Gawd-forsaken wreck.
Youse is de cause of all de trouble. Wot youse ought to get is croaked
an' den dere wouldn't be nothin' to bother any of us. You an' yer bunch
of kale, dey give me a swift

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