The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 75

the savage, snarling faces of the
head-hunters appear.

"Surrender! You swabs," called Ward from below, "or we'll string the
last mother's son of you to the yardarm."

For reply Blanco hurled a heavy fragment of rock at the assaulters. It
grazed perilously close to Ward, against whom Blanco cherished a keen
hatred. Instantly Ward's revolver barked, the bullet whistling close
by Divine's head. L. Cortwrite Divine, cotillion leader, ducked behind
Theriere's breastwork, where he lay sprawled upon his belly, trembling
in terror.

Bony Sawyer and Red Sanders followed the example of their commander.
Blanco and Wison alone made any attempt to repel the assault. The
big Negro ran to Divine's side and snatched the terror-stricken man's
revolver from his belt. Then turning he fired at Ward. The bullet,
missing its intended victim, pierced the heart of a sailor directly
behind him, and as the man crumpled to the ground, rolling down the
steep declivity, his fellows sought cover.

Wison followed up the advantage with a shower of well-aimed missiles,
and then hostilities ceased temporarily.

"Have they gone?" queried Divine, with trembling lips, noticing the
quiet that followed the shot.

"Gone nothin', yo big cowahd," replied Blanco. "Do yo done suppose dat
two men is a-gwine to stan' off five? Ef yo white-livered skunks 'ud
git up an' fight we might have a chanct. I'se a good min' to cut out yo
cowahdly heart fer yo, das wot I has--a-lyin' der on yo belly settin'
dat kin' o' example to yo men!"

Divine's terror had placed him beyond the reach of contumely or
reproach.

"What's the use of fighting them?" he whimpered. "We should never have
left them. It's all the fault of that fool Theriere. What can we do
against the savages of this awful island if we divide our forces? They
will pick us off a few at a time just as they picked off Miller and
Swenson, Theriere and Byrne. We ought to tell Ward about it, and call
this foolish battle off."

"Now you're talkin'," cried Bony Sawyer. "I'm not a-goin' to squat up
here any longer with my friends a-shootin' at me from below an' a lot
of wild heathen creeping down on me from above to cut off my bloomin'
head."

"Same here!" chimed in Red Sanders.

Blanco looked toward Wison. For his own part the Negro would not have
been averse to returning to the fold could the thing be accomplished
without danger of reprisal on the part of Skipper Simms and Ward; but
he knew the men so well that he feared to trust them even should
they seemingly acquiesce to any such proposal. On the

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