The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 69

expecting momentarily to be attacked by the guards
which they felt sure Ward would post in expectation of a return of the
mutineers, the moment they discovered that the girl had been taken
from them; but to the surprise of all they reached the cove without
molestation, and when they had crept cautiously to the vicinity of the
sleepers they discovered that all were there, in peaceful slumber, just
as they had left them a few hours before.

Silently the party retraced its steps up the cliff. Theriere and Billy
Byrne brought up the rear.

"What do you make of it anyway, Byrne?" asked the Frenchman.

"If you wanta get it straight, cul," replied the mucker, "I tink youse
know a whole lot more about it dan you'd like to have de rest of us
tink."

"What do you mean, Byrne?" cried Theriere. "Out with it now!"

"Sure I'll out wid it. You didn't tink I was bashful didja? Wot fer did
you detail dem two pikers, Miller and Swenson, to guard de skirt fer if
it wasn't fer some special frame-up of yer own? Dey never been in our
gang, and dats just wot you wanted 'em fer. It was easy to tip dem off
to hike out wid de squab, and de first chanct you get you'll hike after
dem, while we hold de bag. Tought you'd double-cross us easy, didn't
yeh? Yeh cheap-skate!"

"Byrne," said Theriere, and it was easy to see that only through the
strength of his will-power did he keep his temper, "you may have cause
to suspect the motives of everyone connected with this outfit. I can't
say that I blame you; but I want you to remember what I say to you now.
There was a time when I fully intended to 'double-cross' you, as you
say--that was before you saved my life. Since then I have been on the
square with you not only in deed but in thought as well. I give you the
word of a man whose word once meant something--I am playing square with
you now except in one thing, and I shall tell you what that is at once.
I do not know where Miss Harding is, or what has happened to her, and
Miller, and Swenson. That is God's truth. Now for the one thing that
I just mentioned. Recently I changed my intentions relative to Miss
Harding. I was after the money the same as the rest--that I am free
to admit; but now I don't give a rap for it, and I had intended
taking advantage of the

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