The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 85

it were an after-thought, "I ain't got no use fer dat
ransom eider--youse can have dat, too."

"Hold on, Byrne," cried Theriere; "I have something to say, too. I do
not see how I can expect you to believe me; but under the circumstances,
when one of us and maybe both are pretty sure to die before the day is
much older, it wouldn't be worth while lying. I do not want that damned
ransom any more, either. I only want to do what I can to right the wrong
that I have helped to perpetrate against Miss Harding. I--I--Byrne,
I love her. I shall never tell her so, for I am not the sort of man a
decent girl would care to marry; but I did want the chance to make a
clean breast to her of all my connection with the whole dirty business,
and get her forgiveness if I could; but first I wanted to prove my
repentance by helping her to civilization in safety, and delivering her
to her friends without the payment of a cent of money. I may never be
able to do that now; but if I die in the attempt, and you don't, I wish
that you would tell her what I have just told you. Paint me as black as
you can--you couldn't commence to make me as black as I have been--but
let her know that for love of her I turned white at the last minute.
Byrne, she is the best girl that you or I ever saw--we're not fit to
breathe the same air that she breathes. Now you can see why I should
like to go first."

"I t'ought youse was soft on her," replied the mucker, "an' dat's de
reason w'y youse otter not go first; but wot's de use o' chewin', les
flip a coin to see w'ich goes an w'ich stays--got one?"

Theriere felt in his trousers' pocket, fishing out a dime.

"Heads, you go; tails, I go," he said and spun the silver piece in the
air, catching it in the flat of his open palm.

"It's heads," said the mucker, grinning. "Gee! Wot's de racket?"

Both men turned toward the village, where a jabbering mob of half-caste
Japanese had suddenly appeared in the streets, hurrying toward the hut
of Oda Yorimoto.

"Somepin doin', eh?" said the mucker. "Well, here goes--s'long!" And he
broke from the cover of the jungle and dashed across the clearing toward
the rear of Oda Yorimoto's hut.


BARBARA HARDING heard the samurai in the room beyond

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