The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 77

that he was with you when you
planned it. That you wanted to git rid o' as many of us as you could
so that you'd have more of the ransom to divide. So all we done was in
self-defense, as it were.

"Why not let bygones be bygones, an' all of us join forces ag'in' these
murderin' heathen? There won't be any too many of us at best--Red
an' Wison seen more'n two thousan' of the man-eatin' devils. They're
a-creepin' up on us from behin' right this minute, an' you can lay to
that; an' the chances are that they got some special kind o' route into
that there cove, an' maybe they're a-watchin' of you right now!"

Ward turned an apprehensive glance to either side. There was logic in
Bony's proposal. They couldn't spare a man now. Later he could punish
the offenders at his leisure--when he didn't need them any further.

"Will you swear on the Book to do your duty by Skipper Simms an' me if
we take you back?" asked Ward.

"You bet," answered Bony Sawyer.

The others nodded their heads, and Divine sprang up and started down
toward Ward.

"Hol' on you!" commanded the mate. "This here arrangement don' include
you--it's jes' between Skipper Simms an' his sailors. You're a rank
outsider, an' you butts in an' starts a mutiny. Ef you come back you
gotta stand trial fer that--see?"

"You better duck, mister," advised Red Sanders; "they'll hang
you sure."

Divine went white. To face trial before two such men as Simms and Ward
meant death, of that he was positive. To flee into the forest meant
death, almost equally certain, and much more horrible. The man went to
his knees, lifting supplicating hands to the mate.

"For God's sake, Mr. Ward," he cried, "be merciful. I was led into this
by Theriere. He lied to me just as he did to the men. You can't kill
me--it would be murder--they'd hang you for it."

"We'll hang for this muss you got us into anyway, if we're ever caught,"
growled the mate. "Ef you hadn't a-carried the girl off to be murdered
we might have had enough ransom money to have got clear some way, but
now you gone and cooked the whole goose fer the lot of us."

"You can collect ransom on me," cried Divine, clutching at a straw.
"I'll pay a hundred thousand myself the day you set me down in a
civilized port, safe and free."

Ward laughed in his face.

"You ain't got a cent, you four-flusher," he cried. "Clinker put

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